Landscaping Trends

Change happens very quickly in home renovations from the advent of huge, multi-room bathroom facilities to patios that resemble a kitchen and living room without a roof. There has been a flurry of “cocooning” whereby a man's, or woman's, home is the castle. These trends have not been lost on landscaping either because to enter a castle the modern king and the courtesans want something more than a moat to greet them.

Making residential yards both as elegant and functional as those of an English manor house has been on the drawing board of landscape architect since the advent of residential neighborhoods. Many older homes even sport the remnants of glorious gardens and fantastic shrubbery. The only problem with these lush, country gardens is that they have to be maintained; hedges clipped, grass cut, annuals planted and trees clipped. So the challenge here is to make the appearance of a stately garden on a small lot and take away a lot of the consistent care.

The Outdoor Patio

The outdoors for many people begins when the patio doors are drawn back. The deck is the extended living space for the home, a transition zone between the interior and the exterior. Therefore, it should hold many of the conveniences of the entire home from a spa to a kitchen:

Outdoor Kitchen: One of the biggest changes on the outdoor cooking scene is the disappearance of the traditional 2-burner barbecue on wheels and the emergence of the outdoor kitchen. Even the smaller decks are sporting stainless-steel outdoor barbecues with warming ovens and a large, side-mounted pot burner. The serious homeowners are building 5-element grills into brick bays featuring double, ovens, a microwave oven and dishwasher.

Fireplace: In the northern states the outdoor living season spans barely 4 months and then the weather is too chilly for extended patio enjoyment. The advent of the fireplace with large free-standing chimney brings the shoulder seasons of spring and fall more into line with summer enjoyment.

Furniture: New lines of over-stuffed, indoor-style furniture have replaced the traditional Adirondack chairs and folding chairs.

Lighting: The patio would not be complete without a lighting scheme There are new colored LED designs that are both energy-efficient and processors that can change the mood on demand.

Water Features

Another desired element for landscaping is the new water accessories. From simple koi ponds to large jungle waterfalls that empty into a spa or swimming pool there is nothing having the sound and fresh smell of running water. Underwater lights can transform the night into a land of mystic wonder or, with the flip of a switch, a circus-like atmosphere that the kids will love. In dryer areas there is rainwater storage systems to supplement the water use.

Native Plants

One of the greatest treasures overlooked for years by landscapers is native plants. This stemmed from the immigrants' desires to have the flora and fauna that they remember from their native lands. So if a person wanted an “English garden” then roses and sweet peas would trump the wild varieties.

However, landscape designers have had an epiphany when it comes to the natural varieties that once were abundant in their native areas. Flowering wild onions, ladyslipper orchids and many other species have an inbred resistance to the local diseases and insects that kill non-native species. In addition, the local plants have adapted to the weather conditions in the area and do not need the water requirements of imported varieties.

Lawn Driveways

Driveways are usually made of asphalt, cement or brick pavers. It is space that is dedicated to welcoming the car into the garage and then it remains empty. In many parts of the country homeowners are replacing their “hardscape” driveways with grass At first this seems preposterous, a throwback to the days when you parked your Model-T along the side of the home. But in reality it is not as weird as it first sounds.

The key to this process is a plastic grill that sits below the surface of the soil. This absorbs the weight of the vehicle so the grass plant does not get squashed. The “living driveway” absorbs the water which would run off into drains and acts as a filter for oil , salt and other impurities that plague the environment. According to landscapers in wintry areas snow is not a problem. The grass grows back the next year like a lawn does.

The New Garden

With the price of food going up because of fuel prices to cultivate and ship it many homeowners are taking the bite off the budget by growing their own. If a person is organized he or she can put in a few hours setting up the garden in the spring followed by some light care in the early summer and, by late July, there is a cornucopia of table food waiting to be picked. For those who are really adventurous there are now courses in food storage such as canning and blanching.

For help with any or all of these landscaping advancements contact a landscape designer.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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