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Landscape Design Ideas for 2015

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 8:00 PM


If you’re ready to turn your yard into a breathtaking work of landscape art, then spring is the best time to get started. Whether you’re stuck on deciding between an outdoor kitchen with a wood-fire pizza oven or a comfortable lounge for star gazing, we have a few spring landscape design ideas to help you fully realize your dream yard.


Clean Up and Maintenance First

 

Before you break ground with your new landscape project, it’s a good idea to pick up any trash, sticks, leaves, and other yard debris that may have fallen during the winter. This will give you a “clean slate” to work with so you can fully concentrate on bringing your new landscape designs to life. If you have an irrigation system, this is a good time to check for damaged sprinkler heads and leaky pipes, as these are especially common problems after months of cold weather. Other maintenance items include servicing your lawn mower, inspecting outdoor spigots, and taking an inventory of garden tools that need to be replaced.

 

Once you finish your spring cleanup, it’s time to get your yard into shape.


Boost Aesthetic Appeal with Hardscapes

 

Installing hardscapes, such as retaining walls and pavers, are great spring projects to boost your home’s curb appeal. As the name suggests, retaining walls “retain” soil between two different elevations and prevent your sloped lawn from intruding into unwanted areas. Available in rock, concrete, timber, or brick, retaining walls are built to last, as landscape designers use them in various climates and weather conditions with great success.

 

If you’re tired of walking through mud and grass in your yard, paving stones make excellent walkways and require little maintenance from season to season. Versatile and weather resistant, pavers can be installed in virtually any landscape regardless of shape, plus they work well to reduce excessive foot traffic in your lawn.


Add Functionality with Outdoor Living Spaces

 

Not all landscapes are used to their full potential. Some yards serve as mere dumping grounds while others are a lonely, unfrequented part of the property. With an outdoor living area, you can repurpose your yard for a functional space that truly suits your lifestyle, so you always have a comfortable place to enjoy the sunshine on a warm spring day. Perhaps you can clear out that old yard debris pile for a pergola or even a gazebo to entertain guests and family, or maybe you can remove that hideous tree stump in the backyard and install an outdoor fire pit in its place. When it comes to outdoor living spaces the options are endless.


Create Ambiance

 

For your next outdoor project, try sprucing up your yard with amenities that create an inviting ambiance. LED exterior lights, for example, are a great way to set a relaxing tone for any yard, not to mention their modest light will keep your outdoor get-togethers going long after sundown. And of course nothing sets the mood of your backyard quite like the soothing sound of flowing water from an outdoor water feature or a comfy outdoor patio set surrounded by flickering bamboo torches. With the right ambiance in your yard, you can transform your outdoor space into a sacred haven that you, your family, and your friends will enjoy.


Minor Enhancements

 

To get your landscape ready for spring, here are a few budget-friendly things you can do:

 

  • Plant beautiful, fragrant flowers that provide a pleasant aroma
  • Paint your fence or stain the deck
  • Add a bird bath to attract singing birds
  • Weed garden areas
  • Trim hedges
  • Topdress beds and add a few inches of mulch

 

If you lack the skills or time for your next outdoor project, you may want to hire a professional landscape designer to help you realize your goals. From initial planning and material selection through construction and ongoing maintenance, a skilled designer can be a valuable resource for your landscape needs. For more landscape design ideas or to get started on your next outdoor project, stop by or give us a call us at 847-566-0799.



15 Easy Ways to Get Your Outdoor Living Space Ready For Summer

Posted on May 4, 2015 at 10:40 AM

 


Is your outdoor living space in need of a makeover? Do you look at your patio and cringe every time you dream of inviting your friends over for a backyard barbecue?

 

Whether you live in the city and have a small outdoor living space, or you live in the countryside and have a wide open meadow to work with, there are simple solutions for turning that drab outdoor area into a fabulous spot for your family and friends to enjoy. With these fifteen simple ways to dress up your outdoor living space, you’ll be able to call your girls over for cocktails on the deck by next weekend!

 

1. Lighting

 

The easiest way to dress up your outdoor living space and still make a big impact is with lighting. There are many options to choose from depending on your space and your style. String lights work really well for small patios, but look great in any outdoor space.


Local Milk via Porch

 

2. Seating

 

The right seating for your outdoor living space can make all the difference. Big spaces can handle the bulk look of a farmhouse table, a custom built bench or an outdoor sectional. In smaller spaces, try brightly colored wicker chairs, or a small bench with bright throw pillows to help make the space feel more open.


A Beautiful Mess via Porch

 

3. Pergola

 

Adding a pergola to your outdoor living space can help define your patio and “hangout zone” from the rest of your backyard. It can lend your space more privacy, shade, and shelter.


Handmade Home via Porch

 


4. Curtains

 

Speaking of more privacy and shade, adding curtains to your outdoor living space can do more than just dress it up. No need to invite the neighbors to every cookout. Just draw the curtains, and they’ll get the hint!


Tiny Sidekick via Porch

 


5. Bar/Kitchen

 

Turn your patio into the ultimate hot spot with a customized bar that is stocked with all the necessary items to make every weekend the perfect summer party. Plus, outdoor bars and kitchens can make hosting duties so much easier!


BHG via Porch

 


6. Beverage Area

 

If you’d love an outdoor kitchen, but don’t have the space, get the best of both worlds with a cute beverage station. Make over an old bar cart, repurpose an unused dresser, or use an few old crates or pallets. The possibilities are endless!


Our Southern Home via Porch

 


7. Area Rug

 

If your budget won’t allow you to buy much more than seating and a table for your patio, you can still dress up your outdoor living space with an area rug. To help stretch your budget even further, purchase an inexpensive rug, and transform it with a stencil.


East Coast Creative via Porch

 


8. Stenciled Deck

 

An area rug isn’t the only way to dress up your patio floor. For a fun, textured look, stencil a design directly on your deck planks or concrete patio.


HGTV via Porch

 


9. Pretty Storage

 

Outdoor storage doesn’t have to be boring. Dress it up and make it multifunctional with a storage box that can function as extra seating for your guests, or as a table for your food and drinks.


Sand and Sisal via Porch

 


10. Mosaic Patterns

 

Do you have a hidden artistic flair that hasn’t yet had the chance to shine in your outdoor space? Use a mosaic tile pattern and some recycled glass pieces to turn simple backyard objects into works of art.


Midwest Living via Porch

 


11. Unique Planters

Don’t settle for just any planter for your beautiful hanging plants. Grab a can of spray paint in your favorite accent color and repurpose unique items like an old tire, a broken wheelbarrow, or bird bath for a fun and rustic look.


DIY Showoff via Porch

 


12. Decorative Planters

 

No old tires lying around? No problem! You can still make a statement with your backyard planters. If you already have tons of plain or mismatched pots in your outdoor space, transform their look with fun pops of color. These DIYs will even work on those plastic pots that come with the plants!


Miss Renaissance via Porch

 


13. Shutters and Flower Boxes

 

Enhance the look of your house by adding shutters and flower boxes. These pops of color that will not only help dress up your outdoor living space, but will also give your home great curb appeal.


Midwest Living via Porch

 


14. Garden Fountain

 

A water feature looks great in both large and small outdoor living spaces. Make a DIY project out of it, and create a garden fountain out of a gorgeous container and some commonplace irrigation tools.


Lowe's via Porch

 


15. Fire Pit Cover

 

Fire pits are a nice addition to any outdoor space. Make your fire pit great do double-duty by creating this game board fire pit tabletop for daylight gatherings.


All Things Heart and Home via Porch



Source:  http://porch.com/advice/15-easy-ways-to-get-your-outdoor-living-space-ready-for-summer/


The Rising Trend of Vertical Gardens

Posted on April 15, 2015 at 8:00 PM

The country is going green, in more ways than one! Everywhere you look, people are finding new and interesting ways to garden. One of the more recent trends is the rise of the what is called “vertical gardening”. Entire websites and companies are devoted to the trend. For those looking to add a little more dimension to their lives, vertical gardening is the way to go.

 

What exactly is a vertical garden?

 

A vertical garden can take any number of forms and is basically any vegetation that exists on a plane other than a flat horizontal surface. It can be as simple as a tier of stacked planters or as intricate as a high-rise wall completely covered in vegetation. Classic forms of vertical gardens include those created with trellises and arbors, but today’s modern vertical gardens have grown to incorporate a variety of ideas, techniques, and materials.


How do I get started?

 

Wherever there is a blank wall or a bare fence, there is the potential for a vertical garden. There are companies that sell pre-made pockets and planters that are specifically designed to attach to walls or fence boards. However, the ideas are virtually endless for creating homemade versions. Unique ideas include converting rain gutters into vertical rows of horizontal planters, or constructing planter pockets out of heavy-duty fabrics.

A vertical garden like this could be constructed with curtain rods, t-shirts, and a glue gun.


What if my yard is sloped?

 

Well then, you have the perfect natural setting to create a vertical garden. Any gardening you do will already be multidimensional. But if you want to create something more structured and permanent, consider terracing the slope with pavers and retaining walls to create layers of built-in planters, which will define the garden areas and, at the same time, make the space more usable.

This sloped yard was terraced to create a meandering walkway with a tailored vertical garden.


Blog entry courtesy of our friends at Belgard Hardscapes


How to Create a Successful Hardscape

Posted on March 20, 2015 at 3:55 PM

Landscape designers offer tips on creating and installing a successful hardscape design.


A great hardscaping project leads you through the landscape and provides a sense of timeless beauty. Image courtesy of Salsbury-Schweyer

 

Hardscaping is an attractive feature and offers many appealing options, from a rustic stacked wall to a fully developed outdoor living room and kitchen. Once you've decided to create an outdoor space, you must plan carefully to meet your hardscaping goals.

 

"Research really pays off, especially when you consider that a fixed object in the landscape is not going to move easily — and you don't want to put in a lot of effort and then have your materials or design fail within a couple of years," says Samuel Salsbury, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and partner with Sabrena Schweyer, APLD, in Salsbury-Schweyer, an Akron, Ohio-based landscape design group.

 

By following these simple tips and avoiding some common mistakes, you can create hardscaping you'll love for years to come.


Consider the Landscaping

 

As much as you can, consider the entire area available to you for hardscaping before you design an element, even if you're just tackling one space for now.

 

"At the bare minimum you should plan a design for the whole area, or consult a professional to create a design for you," Samuel says. "If you don't consider the site comprehensively, it's like building one room of a house, and then a year or so later, a second room. You may decide to plop down a patio, and then decide you want a barbecue, pond or walkway and the patio blocks your plan."

 


Image courtesy of Salsbury-Schweyer

Delve Into Draining Issues

 

Samuel says he's seen more hardscapes messed up by people ignoring drainage requirements than by all the other errors combined.

 

"You must plan how the drainage will be affected when you place, say, a wall or a patio," Samuel says.

 

There's also an environmental consideration, says Weston, Wisc. landscape designer Susan Murphy. "You should plan runoff so you can capture the water and use it on site, instead of letting it hit that concrete and go down the drainage pipe."

Develop a Focal Point

 

"You want the eye to travel toward a destination, and one or two visual elements that make you pause, either visually or literally, like a weeping evergreen with an Oriental lantern," Susan says.


Choose Balanced Elements

 

Susan's pet peeve? "Boulders that are supposed to be helping to naturalize an area, but instead have been dropped right on top of the ground and are sitting there like dinosaur eggs," she says. "To successfully use boulders in hardscape, you need to make sure they're large enough to fit with the scale of the landscape, and bury them deep enough so they look like a naturally-occurring element."

 

Too-linear elements can create the same unnatural feel, says Sabrena, a certified landscape designer. "I see way too many people plop in a straight or L-shaped sidewalk, or stick a linear or rectangular patio or deck on the back of the house without giving further thought to the natural lines of the space," she says. "You should try to include curves and shapes in a way that the hardscape elements transition gracefully into the rest of the landscape."

Circular Brick Sidewalk Around Water Feature


Keep the Greenery

 

Sure, you see all-stone or concrete areas in the Southwest, says Susan, but there the focus on hardscapes can be a matter of necessity, not a trend to follow. "Southwesterners sometimes have to have a hardscape without greenery due to the strong sun and too little water," she says. Everyone else, she says, should definitely include ample vegetation in relationship to hard surfaces.

 

Barbara Pleasant, author of Garden Stone: Creative Landscaping with Plants and Stone takes the idea even further. "You can have a beautiful backyard comprised of a hardscape framed by shrub and flowerbeds, but keeping a small swath of lawn is a good idea," she says. "Grass is a safer playing surface for children, and a patch of turf will help cool down the landscape on hot, sunny days."

 


Image courtesy of Salsbury-Schweyer

Choose Proper Materials for Your Style

 

"Hardscapes can be relaxed or formal, but the best ones show a well-defined style," Barbara says. "Think of a two- or three-word phrase that describes your vision and stick with it. An intimate courtyard, for example, has little in common with a Grecian garden when it comes to style."

 

After selecting your style, choose a few materials that complement your home's interior and exterior. You don't want to have to look at a hardscape with all one color or material, Samuel says.

 

"The idea is to find two or three materials that are visually creative and coordinate not just with each other but with the interior and exterior of the house," says Susan.

 

Textural variety is important, too, Barbara says. "In most hardscapes, it's OK to have two textures going, for example flagstone underfoot and landscape blocks for low walls, but more than two textures tends to look messy. If a wood deck is part of the picture, try to stick with a single type of stone or brick for your hardscape," she adds.

 


Image courtesy of Susan Murphy

Call In the Experts

 

Hire a designer or landscape consultant who knows your style. If you do opt for a hired designer or contractor, get recommendations and check portfolios and references, says Samuel.

 

Samuel insists that anyone embarking on a project that involves a structural wall or a hill with stability issues first contact — or have their builder contact — a geotechnical engineer to discuss the implications.

 

"They can prevent really serious damage, or you get the best case scenario, which is when they come out and say, 'I don't see an issue.'"


Buy More Than You Need

 

"Whether you're working with brick, stone or another material, buy a little more than you need for the project," Barbara says. "Later on, you can use the extra materials to accent pretty beds with temporary edgings, or to add steppingstones or landings, knowing these little features will match the dominant hardscape."

 

"It's rarely a cost-effective strategy just to purchase the least expensive materials or services for a hardscape design — too often you get what you pay for," says Sabrena. "There are a lot of considerations besides price, including how long a material will last and whether it will suit the architecture of your site. It makes more sense to economize by scaling back a project or the number of design elements, with the help of a cost-conscious professional, then to always buy the least expensive materials."

Properly Prepare the Site

 

"The most common mistake I see people make is putting in a hardscape element without preparing the site appropriately, which is a sure formula for future failure," says Susan. "If you don't put the correct amount of base material down, or compact it well enough, you risk having a wall sink or settle or a patio settle and heave in frost."

 

Not everyone needs the 4-foot frost footing that's required to withstand Wisconsin winters, but you can determine the specifications in your area by talking to an inspector at your local building authority or contacting the American Landscape and Nursery Association (ALNA) or your state landscaping association.

 

Samuel says, "People who aren't skilled tradespeople think, 'If I can't see it, it's not worth spending the money,' but a level surface to build on and the proper depth for the freeze line are everything in hardscaping. If you don't have them, five years out, your project will be breaking up."


Source:  http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/how-to-create-a-successful-hardscape

 

Landscape Design Ideas for 2015

Posted on

If you’re ready to turn your yard into a breathtaking work of landscape art, then spring is the best time to get started. Whether you’re stuck on deciding between an outdoor kitchen with a wood-fire pizza oven or a comfortable lounge for star gazing, we have a few spring landscape design ideas to help you fully realize your dream yard.

Clean Up and Maintenance First

 

Before you break ground with your new landscape project, it’s a good idea to pick up any trash, sticks, leaves, and other yard debris that may have fallen during the winter. This will give you a “clean slate” to work with so you can fully concentrate on bringing your new landscape designs to life. If you have an irrigation system, this is a good time to check for damaged sprinkler heads and leaky pipes, as these are especially common problems after months of cold weather. Other maintenance items include servicing your lawn mower, inspecting outdoor spigots, and taking an inventory of garden tools that need to be replaced.

 

Once you finish your spring cleanup, it’s time to get your yard into shape.

Boost Aesthetic Appeal with Hardscapes

 

Installing hardscapes, such as retaining walls and pavers, are great spring projects to boost your home’s curb appeal. As the name suggests, retaining walls “retain” soil between two different elevations and prevent your sloped lawn from intruding into unwanted areas. Available in rock, concrete, timber, or brick, retaining walls are built to last, as landscape designers use them in various climates and weather conditions with great success.

 

If you’re tired of walking through mud and grass in your yard, paving stones make excellent walkways and require little maintenance from season to season. Versatile and weather resistant, pavers can be installed in virtually any landscape regardless of shape, plus they work well to reduce excessive foot traffic in your lawn.

Add Functionality with Outdoor Living Spaces

 

Not all landscapes are used to their full potential. Some yards serve as mere dumping grounds while others are a lonely, unfrequented part of the property. With an outdoor living area, you can repurpose your yard for a functional space that truly suits your lifestyle, so you always have a comfortable place to enjoy the sunshine on a warm spring day. Perhaps you can clear out that old yard debris pile for a pergola or even a gazebo to entertain guests and family, or maybe you can remove that hideous tree stump in the backyard and install an outdoor fire pit in its place. When it comes to outdoor living spaces the options are endless.

Create Ambiance

 

water featuer maintenance and repairFor your next outdoor project, try sprucing up your yard with amenities that create an inviting ambiance. LED exterior lights, for example, are a great way to set a relaxing tone for any yard, not to mention their modest light will keep your outdoor get-togethers going long after sundown. And of course nothing sets the mood of your backyard quite like the soothing sound of flowing water from an outdoor water feature or a comfy outdoor patio set surrounded by flickering bamboo torches. With the right ambiance in your yard, you can transform your outdoor space into a sacred haven that you, your family, and your friends will enjoy.

Minor Enhancements

 

To get your landscape ready for spring, here are a few budget-friendly things you can do:

 

  • Plant beautiful, fragrant flowers that provide a pleasant aroma
  • Paint your fence or stain the deck
  • Add a bird bath to attract singing birds
  • Weed garden areas
  • Trim hedges
  • Topdress beds and add a few inches of mulch

 

If you lack the skills or time for your next outdoor project, you may want to hire a professional landscape designer to help you realize your goals. From initial planning and material selection through construction and ongoing maintenance, a skilled designer can be a valuable resource for your landscape needs. For more landscape design ideas or to get started on your next outdoor project, stop by or give us a call us at 847-566-0799.

Landscape Design Ideas for 2015

Posted on

If you’re ready to turn your yard into a breathtaking work of landscape art, then spring is the best time to get started. Whether you’re stuck on deciding between an outdoor kitchen with a wood-fire pizza oven or a comfortable lounge for star gazing, we have a few spring landscape design ideas to help you fully realize your dream yard.

Clean Up and Maintenance First

 

Before you break ground with your new landscape project, it’s a good idea to pick up any trash, sticks, leaves, and other yard debris that may have fallen during the winter. This will give you a “clean slate” to work with so you can fully concentrate on bringing your new landscape designs to life. If you have an irrigation system, this is a good time to check for damaged sprinkler heads and leaky pipes, as these are especially common problems after months of cold weather. Other maintenance items include servicing your lawn mower, inspecting outdoor spigots, and taking an inventory of garden tools that need to be replaced.

 

Once you finish your spring cleanup, it’s time to get your yard into shape.

Boost Aesthetic Appeal with Hardscapes

 

Installing hardscapes, such as retaining walls and pavers, are great spring projects to boost your home’s curb appeal. As the name suggests, retaining walls “retain” soil between two different elevations and prevent your sloped lawn from intruding into unwanted areas. Available in rock, concrete, timber, or brick, retaining walls are built to last, as landscape designers use them in various climates and weather conditions with great success.

 

If you’re tired of walking through mud and grass in your yard, paving stones make excellent walkways and require little maintenance from season to season. Versatile and weather resistant, pavers can be installed in virtually any landscape regardless of shape, plus they work well to reduce excessive foot traffic in your lawn.

Add Functionality with Outdoor Living Spaces

 

Not all landscapes are used to their full potential. Some yards serve as mere dumping grounds while others are a lonely, unfrequented part of the property. With an outdoor living area, you can repurpose your yard for a functional space that truly suits your lifestyle, so you always have a comfortable place to enjoy the sunshine on a warm spring day. Perhaps you can clear out that old yard debris pile for a pergola or even a gazebo to entertain guests and family, or maybe you can remove that hideous tree stump in the backyard and install an outdoor fire pit in its place. When it comes to outdoor living spaces the options are endless.

Create Ambiance

 

water featuer maintenance and repairFor your next outdoor project, try sprucing up your yard with amenities that create an inviting ambiance. LED exterior lights, for example, are a great way to set a relaxing tone for any yard, not to mention their modest light will keep your outdoor get-togethers going long after sundown. And of course nothing sets the mood of your backyard quite like the soothing sound of flowing water from an outdoor water feature or a comfy outdoor patio set surrounded by flickering bamboo torches. With the right ambiance in your yard, you can transform your outdoor space into a sacred haven that you, your family, and your friends will enjoy.

Minor Enhancements

 

To get your landscape ready for spring, here are a few budget-friendly things you can do:

 

  • Plant beautiful, fragrant flowers that provide a pleasant aroma
  • Paint your fence or stain the deck
  • Add a bird bath to attract singing birds
  • Weed garden areas
  • Trim hedges
  • Topdress beds and add a few inches of mulch

 

If you lack the skills or time for your next outdoor project, you may want to hire a professional landscape designer to help you realize your goals. From initial planning and material selection through construction and ongoing maintenance, a skilled designer can be a valuable resource for your landscape needs. For more landscape design ideas or to get started on your next outdoor project, stop by or give us a call us at 847-566-0799.


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