Hardscaping or Landscaping: What is Best for You & Your Yard?

Hardscaping or Landscaping What is Best for You and Your Yard

There are several factors to consider when you’re trying to enhance the curb appeal of your home or you’re trying to get the most beneficial use of your exterior space. When you begin exploring outdoor living and curb appeal, the terms hardscaping and landscaping will pop up. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice between these two outdoor design ideas, but there may be one that is more conducive to your lifestyle.

Outdoor Design and Entertaining

If you frequently entertain, hardscaping may be the best choice for you. Patios and outdoor kitchens are often considered as hardscaping features. Walkways that lead to your front door, the pool or other special areas are typical hardscaping design features. An outdoor fireplace is often the favorite gathering place for guests.

Gardening as a Hobby

If you enjoy planting flowers, trees, and shrubs, you would probably prefer landscaping over hardscaping. If gardening is a hobby that you find relaxing, pleasantly challenging and an outlet for your creative side, then designing a landscape that allows you to change the appearance of your landscape design each year would probably please you more than a more permanent exterior design that is created using stone, wood or concrete.

Consider the Maintenance

If you like spending your weekend working in the yard or don’t mind the frustration that comes with keeping lawn equipment in good working condition, a lush green lawn might be just the thing for you. If you have the physical ability and don’t mind planting, pruning, weeding and watering plants, then a living landscape design would probably please you. On the other hand, if you like a gorgeous landscape but aren’t crazy about spending all of your leisure time working to keep it beautiful, you can turn to professionals such as Bremerton Landscaping to do the maintenance for you.

Why Choose?

You don’t have to choose between hardscaping and landscaping. You can include elements of both in your exterior design. Hardscaping requires little maintenance and can increase the value of your home. You can add walkways, retaining walls, water features and other non-living elements to your yard to increase its beauty and functionality. Plants and flowers can be mingled in with the hardscape elements in your exterior design. Vines can be grown on a wooden trellis and stone containers or concrete planters can be placed on the patio and filled with flowers that bloom profusely throughout the summer or ornamental grasses that adds texture and movement to your outdoor living space. You could even get help from a professional, such as one from Nature’s Design Landscaping, who is experienced in both types that you can have both hardscaping and landscaping come together in a complimentary way.

When you figure in maintenance cost, labor expenses, replacement cost, such as replacing shrubs or trees that die, and how well a feature fits your lifestyle there’s a good chance that you’ll find that a including a few features from each option is the best way to go. If you enjoy the solitude of a private garden space, you might still appreciate having an attractive stone walkway leading to that garden area. If you decide an expansive patio entertaining area is a feature you want, you can add a few potted plants to the patio to add a bit of nature to your entertaining space.

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Concrete Backyard Design and Decor Ideas

Living in a house with a backyard opens various interesting options making your home even more inviting and comfortable. Concrete patios and backyard designs provide you with a great place to relax after a long day, entertaining playground for your kids, as well as a perfect spot for some intimate parties and barbecues. Designing and decorating your backyard can truly transform the look of your home so if you find yourself interested in this kind of project, keep on reading.

1. Benefits of concrete

If you’re stuck with ideas when it comes to redesigning your backyard/patio, one of the most recommended options is to use the concrete. There are, of course, several reasons as to why concrete is considered to be one of the best options for this project. In general, concrete is highly durable, yet very easily maintained. What’s more, you can adapt your concrete outdoor design to any style you prefer, and shape it according to your own taste and ideas.

2. Touch of personality

You may think that concrete looks plain and boring, but thanks to various decorative concrete options you can still get a pretty unique look of your backyard. In general, stamping and staining are two widely used decorative approaches. For example, if you want to have freshly poured concrete, stamping technique allows you to transform the appearance of your backyard with any texture you want. It can even mimic other natural materials, such as stone and wood. On the other hand, if you already have concrete in your backyard, you can always make it more interesting with a staining technique that comes with warm earthy tones. In the end, using decorative concrete is cost-effective since it will create a high-end, luxurious appearance of your outdoor area without going over your budget.

3. Play with shapes

The best thing about using concrete in your backyard is the freedom to choose the shape and form of your patio. Of course, you can cover your entire backyard with concrete, but you can also use various molds and play with their position in order to create something truly special. You can focus on patio area only, or spice up the garden space as well. If you’d like to use some really nice and unusual molds for concrete pouring, you can easily make one yourself. In general, using styrofoam blue board to shape the molds the way you see fit is definitely one of the most fun, personal and rewarding ways to refresh and redesign your backyard.

4. Add nature to the mixture

One of the mentioned benefits of concrete backyard is its low maintenance. This doesn’t only mean that concrete is just easy to clean, but also you won’t have to deal with dirt and grass in your yard. Still, removing all the traces of nature from your backyard won’t do you any good either. In order to experience true bliss every time you step outside, you can leave enough room for your garden that will be surrounded with interesting paving blocks. Alternatively, you can leave grass openings in your concrete layout for pops of decorative flowers, bushes, and plants. If you don’t mind tending the grass from time to time, you can create a nice balance in your backyard with concrete patio, lovely garden path and grassy area that will occupy the rest of your yard.

5. The heart of your backyard

In order to make your backyard/patio livelier and unique, don’t forget the fire feature. Together with some matching outdoor furniture, this barbecue area will undoubtedly add the final touch to your efforts. There are also many cool ideas online when it comes to building your own backyard, so feel free to check those out.

There are things that you could do yourself when tackling the redesign of your backyard, but sometimes you will need a professional help to accomplish the wanted backyard style. Make sure to be realistic and practical in this project so that your backyard will end up with a clear-cut, modern and creative concrete design.

Guest Post By:

Chloe TaylorChloe is an art historian, recreational ballet dancer and a contributor at smoothdecorator.com. She is passionate about photography, dance and music. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world with her husband and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. She also enjoys learning and writing about home design, since she is crazy about aesthetics. You can find Chloe on FB, Twitter, and G+.

Stand Out: 3 Landscaping Strategies To Make Your Curb Appeal Pop

Stand Out: 3 Landscaping Strategies To Make Your Curb Appeal Pop

Real estate professionals know the importance of “curb appeal” for residential properties. They know that when a home looks attractive and inviting, they’re more likely to attract serious buyers. You can make your home a showplace by adding simple landscaping that adds value to your home and makes it look welcoming and well maintained. Here are a few suggestions that increase curb appeal and help make your home more desirable when you’re ready to sell it:

1 – Ornamental Trees For Your Entryway

Stand at the sidewalk outside your house and take a careful look at the entryway. Consider how an ornamental tree at your entryway would help to balance the visual aspect of your home and create a more tailored look to your property. A slim evergreen can provide more vertical design for the front of your home. If you need more horizontal balance for a tall home, try a rounded, flowering ornamental tree. Dwarf spruce, cypress, crepe myrtle, dogwood and Japanese maple are often used at entryways.

2 – Update Plants On Your Property

One of the easiest ways to improve your home’s curb appeal is to add flowering plants with colorful blooms. You can plant a variety of flowers in curved beds, either in a single color or bold, contrasting colors, such as red and white. Flowering plants can also be hung in baskets on porches to give the entryway an old-fashioned, homey atmosphere. Pansies, marigolds, zinnias, begonias and petunias are good plants for this use. Foundation plants are those that are planted close to the foundation of your home to cover the cement and add more elements to the visual design. These plants are often evergreen types that are easy to maintain and provide both color and texture to your home’s exterior. Boxwood, holly, yew, hydrangea or azalea are commonly used for this purpose.

3 – Add Some Fencing

Another way to enhance the curb appeal of your property is to add a fence that separates the property from sidewalk traffic or close neighbors. You can choose from a variety of materials, colors and style to suit your home’s design. Vinyl fencing, such as the type found at Family Fence Company, allows you to add this important feature to your home at an affordable price.

Homeowners can update the front of their homes in a number of ways that make it look either more tailored or casually welcoming. Many of these measures are generally easy to do, but they make a big impact on your home’s exterior appearance.

Beautify Your Winter Wonderland With These 5 Plants

Beautify Your Winter Wonderland With These 5 Plants

Winter is a beautiful and enchanting time of year. With pure white snowfalls and the smell of chimney smoke in the air, it is a time for wonder and awe. While there are many upsides to winter, there are also quite a few drawbacks. One in particular is the frigid temperatures. If your green-thumb is forced to hibernate all winter long, consider some cold hardy plants to spruce up your winter landscape. It will be able to lift the spirits of everyone who walks by right in time for the holidays. Take a look at these five excellent examples of plants that have no problem with a little chill.

Winterberry Holly

Starting off with the most obvious of selections, the Winterberry Holly Bush has become a staple of Christmas. It has beautiful glossy green leaves adorned with the trademark red berries it is known for. This plant should be planted in the spring in order for the roots to take hold and survive the winter. Over the warmer months white flowers will add a decorative touch and will turn to berries when the air grows colder. Once planted this bush will last all year round making sure you never have to worry about a bare yard again.

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Winter Glow Pigsqueak

You may want something a bit more subtle than red berries in your yard. If this is the case, consider the Winter Glow Pigsqueak. This shrub has gorgeous bright green leaves that look amazing in contrast with the snow. The only time it may change color is during the fall where it could take on a bronze tone. Aside from the color, this plant is also perfect for the winter because it requires very little upkeep. It grows best in the shade so just make sure you have some trees in your yard as well.

Jacaranda

Some people can never get enough flowers. After the first frost hits, it is often time to say goodbye to the soft petals and sweet fragrances. There is, however, a few types of flowers that may be able to bring some color to your home. Jacaranda trees are able to overlook the winter frost and bloom as if it were springtime. The blueish-purple flowers form in clusters making it truly eye catching. Moon Valley Nursery offers a few different varieties of this tree to make sure you can find the perfect fit for your home.

Winter Jasmine

While the plant itself will last all year round, the flowers will open up in late January. Winter Jasmine gives the bleak winter scenery a pop of bright yellow. It is a climbing plant which make it excellent for decorating a fence or trellis. Being an immensely resilient plant, it will survive through heat and frost, as well as dry or wet soil. Though it will not take much work on your part to keep this plant happy, it will always make it a point to keep a smile on your face.

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Lemon Tree

Adding a few more trees to your yard is never a bad idea. They provide shade and picturesque scenery that can always be appreciated. Purchasing a lemon tree has these same advantages and more. If you live in a warmer climate you can have lemons any time you want. Even in cooler weather you will be able to look at your perfect landscape and wait for spring for your fruit. Either way, this is a tree that will always have a way to give back.

Winter does not always mean you have to put away your gardening gloves. Though cold hardy plants usually do not require all that much maintenance, plants always grow better with proper attention. For advice about seasonal plants as well as a wide selection of their own, enlist the help of a professional in your area.

An Introduction to Home Garden Landscaping

So, you’ve realized that your garden can be turned into a thing of beauty and you’ve got time and money to invest? Congratulations and welcome to the club of amateur garden landscapers. We don’t meet once a month to discuss new ideas, nor do we ever stop making changes to our design. There is always room for improvement, as they say, but before you can improve you have to start with something. What do you need to take into consideration?

An Introduction to Home Garden Landscaping

Space

Obviously. Don’t be discouraged by how small or intimidated by how big your garden is. There are many solutions and options to choose from. Finding a suitable one, to begin with, depends on many factors, especially finances.

Elements

Do you want to use your own tomato for that gazpacho in late August? Would you like to be able to entertain friends by a grill or would you rather allow kids some space to roam freely? Your wishes and plans can be saved on a piece of paper, though many are turning to free software for help.

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Know your space

You need to know which part of the garden gets the most sunshine, where excess water flows as well as which way the wind usually blows. These are all important factors for your final design. Perhaps they will make you realize that your first sketch is not really the best idea.

Start small

Choose a small segment of the garden to work on first. It will be easier for you to focus on, cheaper, and you’ll get an idea about what it takes to cultivate a space. If you can’t come up with an original design, fear not. There are so many wonderful and creative garden landscaping ideas you can use to inspire you. A small improvement might give you great satisfaction.

Basic design principles

You’ll have to learn about colors, sizes, shapes and materials and how they interact. This is quite important if you want to achieve the right effect. It is also good to know when each tree or shrub blossoms, and if they do, what color the petals are.

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Terminology

This may not seem crucial, but in order to make the most of all the help available, particularly on the Internet, you need to be able to understand what people are talking about. Here is a glossary to help you get started.

Experiment if you wish

Not every plant needs to be in a bed. Think flowerpots, for example. If you’re not obsessed with symmetry, you can let your imagination run wild and create a masterpiece. Luckily, you may change any part of your work if you realize that’s not what you had in mind.

First things first

Which part of the garden you need to work on first? Is it the lawn, so that kids can play? The backyard, because it’s small and all you can afford at this moment? Whatever the answer, you need to be aware that converting your garden is usually a long process. Don’t be fooled by those TV shows where dozens of knowledgeable, young and strong people storm out of trucks and pick-ups and transform a lucky homeowner’s garden in a day or two. In your case, it will take time. Much more time. And patience.

If you approach garden landscape design as a never-ending process, you won’t be wrong and you’ll be able to appreciate every phase. Ideally, you should equally enjoy the process and the outcome, and learn from the mistakes you’re bound to make. Hopefully, your loved ones will get on board with your idea(s), which would make it even more special and precious. The time spent planning and implementing the plan will most likely be very exciting, but you shouldn’t let it turn into too much stress. The whole point of having a nicely designed garden is to relax and enjoy it, and we hope that’s exactly what you’re going to do.