We are quite fond of saying that your outdoor space is a beautiful extension of your indoor space. Anyone who loves their alfresco entertainment center knows that the pool and patio are the new family room and kitchen. What’s especially refreshing is this is an area virtually free of technology. (At least the kind you utilize while hunched over your home office’s desk!)
Yes, you may have a wonderful outdoor TV and of course your phone that rests beside your chaise lounge like a dutiful robot ready to help you shop or chat. But still… you’re outside breathing fresh air and probably wondering why you don’t spend even more time amongst the trees!
So, when you look out and around you, what do you see? Most homeowners typically see repairs to be made and perhaps improvements they wish to budget for. What about some transformation by landscaping?
If you are considering an ornate Japanese garden with bridges and ponds and topiaries, you are likely looking at a complete overhaul. While that’s certainly a renovation worth the cost, there are so many ways to start small and make a big impact on your yard’s aesthetics.
Where to Begin
Like most projects, you want to start with a fresh slate, so you know what you have. That may mean cleaning out some brush or moving existing plants to a place where they’ll better thrive. Two good rules of “green” thumbs:
Sketch it out
- Even if you haven’t a cool design program, begin with a sketch of your backyard… maybe a current view and the proposed view.
- It would also be a good idea to take measurements of available space, so you not only know what you’re working with, but so you will know how many plants of a certain kind to purchase. That way you’ll have just the right number, so you may place them the desired distance away from one another, giving them the room they need to flourish.
- Before you head to your local home improvement store or nursery, Google around for plants, bushes, and florals that will flourish in your climate. Snap photos or clip and save the images. That way you will accumulate a library of ones that interest you most.
- Make note of the sun/shade ratios they need. You will want to mark your sketch with those exposures, so your new plants feel at home.
- This is also the time to be true to yourself. You may love the way a fieldstone retaining wall boasting a waterfall of burgeoning roses looks, but that takes dedication. Roses are needy. You really must love gardening to dedicate the time they need to prosper. If you’re up to the task, get the info you need on how to properly water and fertilize these classic blooms.
Ask an expert
- Now it’s time to head to the resources who can help you refine that list.
- Together you can winnow the list down to the ones that suit your setting best and for which you have ample real estate.
- Your gardening pro will help you with the placement and assist in the number of plants you need.
- If you are interested in flowering plants, review their seasons. It would be nice if you had something blooming all the time, so when one goes dormant, you have new buds to look forward to.
- Don’t feel this all has to be completed next Sunday! You can plan your yard’s transformation in phases.
Planters and Baskets and Vines
To take a phased approach (especially if you’re new to managing a garden) consider smaller ecosystems you can control… like planters and baskets. There’s an endless array of ceramic and plastic planters that can be placed on wheels, so you may move them easily about your yard. With the capacity to accommodate a wide variety of plantings and even small trees, you’ll be able to paint your world with a delicious collection of colors and textures.
Baskets too may be hung from just about anywhere to provide vivid bursts of blooms all along your line of sight.
The pros at Backyard Boss recommend combining both planting methods for real impact:
“You wouldn’t want to decorate your home in a one-dimensional manner, so why should your landscape be any different. You can add some lovely layers to your garden with planters and hanging baskets that attract the attention of any visitors. This is an amazingly effective strategy that creates a visual effect and draws attention with almost no effort at all. By adding elevated planters and hanging baskets, you create a dynamic look between the ground and the space above it, so that it visually stimulates viewer. This makes a wave like impression of flowers and colours all across your lawn or garden.”
If you’ve ever watched a seasoned florist create a showpiece with blossoms, there is a science to it, so those arrangements make the biggest impact. Backyard Boss shares the “how to”:
- There are three types of plants that any flower basket should contain. The first type is what can be called a “spiller”, this essentially means that it spills over the edge of the basket and hangs down. These can include plants such as variegated sage or begonias.
- The second type of plant should be a “filler” plant, which is something that conforms to the shape of the basket or fills up the center of it. These can be plant-like Kong coleus or other variety of flower plants.
- Finally, the third type of plant required is a “thriller”, which are usually eye catching or centerpiece type of plants that attract attention. This can be plants such as purple cordyline.
Additionally, if you have a porch railing or – even better – a trellis, you can easily train verdant vines to make a bold statement. Flowering vines like clematis are considered the “showiest” of vines, giving you the most for your money. They are available in white, purple, pink, red or blue and can even be bred in a container.
If you’re not yet ready to dig deep and get dirty, you can achieve fabulous effects with ready-to-install dimensional pieces. Think a babbling fountain, or a happy bird house. Be on the lookout for a nice little bench with wrought iron accents to create a cozy niche with planters that can be shaded by a sun sail or umbrella.
You can even go for some real drama with a multi-purpose gazebo. It’ll also serve as yet another place to adorn with your famous flowering baskets!
Let your imagination run wild with ways to embellish your backyard paradise, but remember that sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions.
Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves all the touches that make your outdoor world special! We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.