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Design Trends and Landscaping Tips from RenoQuotes

Last modified: 2018/10/05 | Approximate reading time 10 mins

As the weather gets warmer, many of us jump at the chance to spend our days outdoors taking in the sights and sounds while occasionally working to spruce everything up. As much as we love our outdoor space, the fact of the matter is that it’s not always easy to arrange our land in a beautiful as well as functional way.

Luckily, we at RenoQuotes.com have compiled a list of landscaping trends that will help transform your yard into a beautiful haven!

Green spaces help to break up the monotony of a bland urban landscape, which is why we notice them popping up in places like city centers throughout North America. These green spaces hold the same importance for acting as a sort of escape from the norm so by following along, you may have yourself a true urban oasis.

Merging practicality with design in your landscaping design

The aim for curating your landscape is most often to help differentiate your home from others on the block, the positive aesthetics being an added bonus. Here are some of the design principles that are becoming dominant in 2017 but remember, you can always use these as inspirations in order to give your yard the most personal vibe.

While many people focus on landscaping their backyard alone, let's focus for a moment on what can be done to enhance your front yard. One of the most popular ways to liven up the front yard of your home is with a variety of plants. It’s a perfect opportunity to introduce all the beautiful colours that plant life, and flowers especially, can offer. A great way to do this is by building a rain garden.

Basically, a rain garden is made through digging a slight depression in the ground for the plants to sit. Your plants are fed through the rainwater that comes from your gutters. This is a particular favourite of those who are environmentally conscious and want a garden that is ecological.

This low maintenance setup gives you the added benefit of using less water to feed your plants. Plants like swamp milkweed and blue aster flourish in this type of environment, and have a beautiful presence when in bloom! Undoubtedly, a rain garden will add significantly to the curb appeal of your home.

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Photo: Wikimedia

Incorporating a sense of sustainability to your backyard

Designing your landscape with sustainability in mind is definitely a trend that continues to grow year after year. The first and most important thing to consider when planning for a sustainable landscaping setup is to use as many native plants as possible. Of course, variety is important but there is no point in investing in plants that aren’t native to the region. Ultimately, they cost more and require more maintenance to ensure that they'll grow well.

A natural habitat is the perfect way to start your yard off on a sustainable path and a simple way to encourage an active ecosystem within your yard. It can be done easily by installing a birdbath and/or birdhouse to help attract birds which will liven up your yard. As we know, bees are some of the most important pollinators in the insect world so having plants around that attract bees is an excellent way to help bee populations.

Plants like primrose, lavender, foxglove and borage are just some of the many plants that invite bees and contribute to a proper natural habitat while also looking beautiful when in bloom. Again, this helps to increase how attractive your home looks from the street!

Another really unique option some homeowners are trying is decreasing the size of their lawns by removing grass but planting ground covers pachysandra in order to create the illusion of a big green yard. A ground cover refers to plants that are used to cover bare earth and while giving being a visually pleasing element. Aside from their vivid beauty, the great part of ground covers is that they are very low maintenance and require a lot less water than traditional grass.

Edible plants for a great landscape

For the longest time, using your backyard’s green space to create vegetable gardens was a hugely popular way to make your land beautifully coloured while remaining super functional. The reason edible plants like fruits, herbs and vegetables are so popular amongst gardeners is partly due to their aesthetically delightful foliage.

If you’re looking for ideas, keep in mind that certain vegetables should be strategically placed if you want to maximize the space for edibles. For example, leafy vegetables like kale and lettuce are great for helping to create borders around the garden. On the other hand, blueberry and raspberry bushes work best as hedges along a fence. Eggplant and rhubarb are another excellent way to incorporate colours in your flowerbeds while keeping your pantry brimming with fresh produce.

The consistent beauty of perennials

Perennial plants are those which live for more than two years. Typically, perennials are planted just before spring so they can bloom during the spring and summer, then die during the fall and winter months. Thanks to the resilience of their roots, perennials will grow back again during the next spring and summer seasons. Some excellent examples of perennials that will do great in our Canadian climate are hydrangeas, foxgloves, purple coneflower, and even roses. Just make sure to check which strain will flourish best in your region.

water feature closeup_RenoQuotes.com

Photo: Pixabay

Adding a water feature to your yard

Adding a water feature like a small stream, koi point, or even a small waterfall can completely transform your outdoor space and with the sound of flowing water, make it more relaxing. For those with restricted space, a wall fountain is a great space-saving solution. This type of water feature is essentially a waterfall-like stream that emanates from a wall often placed along the edge of your yard. 

Waterfalls into a basin that circulates the water back to the spout with a small pump, creating a cycle that leaves any piping out of sight. If you have the yard space to install a stream water feature then it’s a great idea! A stream water feature can help to water any plants on its banks. You can even have it end in a way that mimics a waterfall feature. The beauty of water features is not easily matched so you can rest assured that it will leave your space looking very natural and unique.

Consider the benefits of a hardscape

The term hardscaping refers to the use of hard structures that are incorporated into the natural landscape such as retaining walls, pathways, and a rock garden. This option is a great way to add character to your yard by integrating various rocks and stones with different shapes and hues, Mexican river rock is an excellent stone to start with. This way, you can shape unique, smaller flowerbeds if you choose.

Rocks and stones are also an excellent addition to a water feature, making it feel even more seamlessly natural. You can easily include brick to help make a beautiful pathway that leads through your yard or even natural stone, while a material like flagstone will give you a more customized, mosaic feel. Another increasingly popular hardscaping trend is the use of tile outdoors to create an eclectic vibe. Just make sure the tiling you choose is suited for outdoor use.

If you’re looking to create a more contemporary atmosphere, concrete is always an excellent choice and its durability makes it even more ideal. For instance, consider a concrete paver. Pavers are outdoor flooring options that can be used to create intricate designs in your backyard. In this case, you would use architectural concrete pavers, as the thicker interlocking pavers are better suited for driveway use.

Architectural pavers are ideal because they have less tendency to crack. While roots as well as the freezing and thawing of soil would normally create cracking in poured concrete, the small slabs help to avoid that effect. Thanks to the open space between pavers, runoff is eliminated so you won’t have to worry about puddles forming on your pathway.

The only real drawback of concrete pavers is their small size, making it easy for them to shift positions over time. Luckily, this can be easily corrected, as pavers can be moved back to their rightful place. Lastly, it's worth mentioning that great advancements have been made in the design of the paver. Now, there are even wet cast concrete options that mimic the look of wood planks with all the detail but the low maintenance as well as the peace of mind.

backyard furniture layout_RenoQuotes.com

Photo: Flickr

What kind of backyard furniture should you choose?

Traditionally, the type of furniture commonly chosen for outdoor spaces was made out of wicker or some straw-like material that was woven to give a similar look. This light and airy vibe conveys a very Caribbean feel which is great for some in the summer time but might not cut it visually for those who are a little bit more particular about design.

Thankfully, you can now  find outdoor furniture that is made from acrylic fibers that are fade resistant and waterproof, giving you furniture that can stand up to the elements and the test of time.

A significant trend of the last few years that still very popular is the attempt to bring the indoors outside. Thanks to the updated fabrics, more and more furniture can be incorporated to create a sort of outdoor living room, making your time spent outdoors relaxing and comfortable.

While the gas grill is a backyard staple, many opt for creating a version of an outdoor kitchen. This option is definitely not for the faint of heart as it will undoubtedly take quite a bit of planning as well as a significant budget to ensure the work is carried out properly. However, with a little bit of time and effort, you will be left with a beautiful cooking space to show off to guests.

Lastly, a great addition to any outdoor space is a fire pit. Fire pits act as an interesting focal point to your outdoor space while giving you an excuse to gather around. They add great ambiance to any backyard and give you the benefit of hanging outside when the temperature dips. Of course, a major added benefit is being able to roast marshmallows over the fire during the fall season.

The world of fire pits is so varied make sure to research which one best fits your budget and size needs. Of course, one which will either match or play off the existing design elements and furniture is best. Considering how often you find yourself outside perhaps installing a fire pit is just what you need to heat things up!

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Photo: Pixabay

Tips on proper lawn care

A major part of creating your custom outdoor space is ensuring that it is well-maintained so that all the beautiful colours stand out. The first and possibly most important element to consider in order to have your lawn in top shape is the soil. In order to ensure your plants will thrive in your newly improved yard, it is essential to preserve a proper pH balance within the soil. The pH balance of your soil coupled with proper drainage will help your new plants flourish and give you the blooms you want to make your yard stand out.

A good way to fix the pH balance of your soil is by using a lime treatment. You should look for a dolomitic mix, as it is rich in calcium and magnesium. Also, remember to use the lime in combination with other fertilizer treatments on a regular basis so that the soil is consistently full of nutrients.

Also, when mowing your lawn, make sure you don’t cut the grass too short as this may expose the ground to scorching that can affect the soil's health cause irregular growth patterns.

Weeds are an inevitable part of lawn maintenance and simply put, killing them at the source is the best way to keep them out for as long as possible. When you begin to notice weeds popping up, you need to apply a product as quickly as possible to kill the weeds in their tracks and stop any potential spread. It is recommended that you use a liquid weed killer solution as they’re easier to apply to individual spots than granular weed killers.

Finally, you must make it a point to frequently monitor the state of your lawn. Proper lawn care is a process that never ends, a constant balance of maintenance so you can truly immerse yourself in your pristine space. Creating great outdoor spaces for you and yours to enjoy is one of the highlights of the warm seasons, so these tips should definitely lead you in the right direction.

It’s important to finalize your newly improved green spaces with accessories that give it the kind of character you want to convey, from rustic style vases to wooden benches. In fact, one small accessory that’s inexpensive is the solar powered LED lamp. Use these to line a path or to add illumination near a seating area. Either way, you won’t regret having them around. Of course, you shouldn’t forget about having a nice shady spot to relax in when the sun is at its hottest, maybe a pergola would be the perfect touch. Regardless of what you plan, remember conveying character is just as important as any other aspect and in some cases, you may find less expensive options actually speak louder.

Naturally, the best way to plan for updating your outdoor areas is to speak with a landscaping professional that can advise you in the best way possible. If you want to guarantee that your space reflects your ideas as closely as possible then the services of professionals is indispensable.

To see examples of landscaping and exterior renovation projects completed by RenoQuotes.com contractors, check out "10 examples of landscaping projects". 

Author: David Ben-Zaken

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