For Outdoor Living Spaces, Think High Style and Low Maintenance Instead of decking that demands care throughout the season, choose a low-maintenance
deck material. Earthwood Evolutions, a line of natural hardwood style and authentic, varie- gated color and graining decking from TimberTech, is one solution for those who want the aesthetic quality of wood, without the maintenance headaches. It resists the scratching that comes along with parties, kids and pets, the staining that may occur with food and drink and the fading to which traditional decking materials are so susceptible. Once you’ve created your space, you’ll want it to be an extension of your home for years to come, so choosing a product like Earthwood Evolutions, which has a 25-year limited fade and stain warranty, will make your investment worthwhile. To bring some decorative verve to your deck, add color and consistent style elements. Rather than amassing a group of mismatched chairs, choose a suite of outdoor furniture to help create a more cohesive design statement that gives your space the look of a well- designed living room. No matter what price you pay for the furniture, make sure that it’s weather- and fade-resistant—there are options that even stand up to being outdoors through- out the year. For extra protection, consider purchasing furniture covers that will keep the elements at bay.
t’s the time of the year when spending as much time outdoors as possible becomes every- one’s lifestyle priority. But there’s only so much time that you can spend at the beach or on a restaurant patio—enjoying the season at home, in your own outdoor space, is ideal for
so many reasons. You can relax, gather your friends and family, linger as long as you like with no restrictions on kids or pets joining the party. There’s a difference between the modern outdoor space and what’s been the standard in the past. Today, a few stray folding chairs on the grass and burgers on a beat-up old grill doesn’t quite cut it anymore. Outdoor spaces are increasingly viewed as extensions of a home’s interior—and just as worthy of careful designing and planning. That doesn’t necessari- ly mean spending a fortune—one of the best ways to keep costs reasonable is to use materials that don’t require a lot of maintenance. Your first step is creating the space. Your house has walls to define individual spaces—with- out them, it would be impossible to decorate and maximize the functionality of an area. Think of your outdoor space in the same way. Though you won’t need walls, you can literally lay the foundation by adding a deck to your property. A deck provides a space for seating, cooking and interaction that’s separate from the garden or the lawn, making it an ideal solu- tion for creating the focal point of your outdoor living space.
Adding color is easy with planters filled with annuals - combine flowers, like vibrant tuber- ous begonias, and foliage, such as the variegated leaves of many coleus varieties, for interest- ing texture and color variation. There is an ever-expanding selection of planters that are made of foam, but which have the appearance of stone or pottery. Not only are they easier to move around, but they’re immune to the cracking that sometimes happens with extreme tempera- ture fluctuations in winter. Having a view from your deck is also important. If you’re not in possession of a green thumb, it’s still possible to create an attractive backdrop that doesn’t demand too much atten- tion from you. Flowering trees, like crabapples or plums, or shrubs, like hydrangeas or lilacs, offer two different looks with one plant. Look for varieties that have form and foliage just as appealing as the flowers, such as sand cherries, which have soft pink blossoms and glossy red leaves, and you’ll have a plant that you can enjoy with minimal maintenance. Choosing perennial plants makes it easier to maintain your garden from year to year, and adding plants of varying heights, colors and textures creates visual interest. Investing in your yard and outdoor space is something that you’ll enjoy for years to come, but their value goes beyond your own use. The 2011 Husqvarna Global Garden Report showed that for every dollar invested in landscaping, homeowners selling their houses see a $1.80 return. And with long-lasting, low-maintenance amenities, you’ll be able to get that re- turn even if you sell your home years from now. For more information about how Earthwood Evolutions decking can enhance your yard without increasing your workload, go to www. timbertech.com
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How to Avoid Five Common Landscaping and Patio Mistakes
Common mistake: Inconsistent outdoor design How to avoid it: Piecemeal design can occur when you take on one project without thinking about its long-term impact on your out- door space as a whole. For this reason, it can be helpful to sit down and develop a flexible master plan for your outdoor space, which will allow you to complete your ultimate design goals in phases without compromising the look and feel of your yard. Consulting with a professional landscape designer may be helpful when devel- oping this plan.
Common mistake: Plants that don’t fit your space How to avoid it: Choosing plants that will fit in a designated space
when they reach maturity can help ensure your yard and patio don’t become overgrown. Plants that need to be sheered to fit their spaces often don’t look as beautiful as a plant that’s allowed to flower and flourish. Choosing plants that survive well in your climate will also save you time and effort when it comes to lawn maintenance.
Common mistake: Misunderstanding the importance of good design It’s exciting to tackle an outdoor project, but when you forget to think about the big picture, the project can sometimes turn out to be less than what you had hoped for. If you don’t have the time to learn the basics of landscape design yourself, it might be a good idea to hire a professional. A good designer should be able to show you a portfolio of projects he or she has worked on so you can get an idea of whether their work is compatible with your desires. If you need help finding a landscape designer in your area, check out the di- rectory at www.landscapingnetwork.com
. For additional resources, visit the Association of Professional Landscape Designer’s (APLD) website.
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uilding your own outdoor paradise can be a daunting, yet rewarding project. Before you invest your time and money, it’s a good idea to consider the components of a successful landscape or patio project.
A great place to start is to look for professional landscaping design ideas on the Web. Websites like www.landscapingnetwork.com
offer design tips from professionals to help you get your project off the ground.
“Building a poorly designed landscape can cost just as much as building a well designed one,” says landscape design expert Maureen Gilmer. “When you’re forking over big bucks to create the outdoor living space or garden of your dreams, it pays to get the design just right.”
Gilmer offers the following tips on how to avoid five common landscape design mistakes:
Common mistake: Choosing the wrong size for your patio How to avoid it: Of all patio sizing tips, making sure your patio’s dimensions work with your concept for patio furniture arrangements may be the most impor- tant. For example, your patio should be at least 10-by-10 feet to accommodate chairs around a table with a 5-foot diameter. If you’re crunched for space, consider different furniture options, or cre- atively adjust your surfaces to add space behind the areas where chairs will be placed.
Common mistake: Creating a disconnect between indoors and outdoors How to avoid it: Consistent use of colors, materials and even plants between your patio and adjacent indoor space can make your patio seem like an extension of your home. Design consisten- cy makes each place seem bigger and more useful when your patio doors are open.
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