For those who have a little extra room outside, you might be considering creating an outdoor living space and this would be a good move. In the summer, you would be allowed more room for gatherings and it allows you to make more of your home. Furthermore, it will add charm and value to your home. In truth, it opens up many doors for you and your family/friends.
Of course, the amount that you can do with your outdoor living space will completely depend on what space you have available. Whilst some might be confined to a small, flat area, others may have the luxury of spreading the living room over many different levels. For example, a deck could lead from the house which then leads to a patio area. When many people consider an outdoor living space, they soon put the idea to bed because they restrict themselves in their imagination.
Ultimately, the space belongs to you so you can do whatever you wish with it. If you allow yourself to get really involved, this can be a fun and creative process as you turn an old, unused space into a gathering area for events. Whether you wish to install a fireplace with some comfortable furniture or maybe even a second kitchen with an opportunity to cook with the grill and make space for a fridge, the opportunity is available.
Nowadays, there are many options for weather-resistant furniture including easy chairs, sofas, and lounge chairs. As well as this, you could even install seat walls and benches to provide an attractive element in addition to the functionality of the item. If you are clever, you could even use the furniture to provide more storage.
Once you have this base, you can start to introduce various amenities such as a TV, radio, reading chair, mini-fridge, lamp, laptop, etc. For the slightly colder months, why not consider an outdoor fireplace as we suggested a little earlier? Often, there is a misconception that comes with these types of fireplaces that they have to run on gas but you can also find wood-burning models too. If you don’t have room for a full fireplace, you could also look into tabletop fireplaces or fire pits.
Regardless of what accessories you choose, always pay attention to what’s beneath you because the decking can often make or break an outdoor living room. When looking at flooring, be sure to consider whether your space will be covered or uncovered as this will greatly affect your decision. After this, you can assess your budget, style, quality, and the maintenance required to find the right flooring. Before jumping into a decision, consider ceramic, red cedar, vinyl, composite, plastic, and wood. When you dig a little deeper, you will find a whole host of styles, sizes, and colours to meet your needs and create an outdoor living space you can be proud of!
Outdoor lights are not only essential, but they can also transform your yard into a summer oasis where the whole family can kick back and relax. There are no rules when it comes to outdoor lighting; mix-and-match all the options below to create your own magical nighttime haven.
Candles are a surefire way to create a romantic, intimate ambiance. They’re the easiest to set up and add instant charm. And, let’s be honest, everyone looks good in candlelight. Be careful of open flames however, because the last thing you want on the menu at your barbecue or romantic dinner is the porch furniture. Also, keep in mind that candles are only a temporary form of lighting — they can burn out and need replacing even before the evening’s over.
The best part about these battery-powered candles is that you can’t see the “flame” because it’s designed to look like it melted the same way a wax candle does!
Designed in a similar fashion to the candles above, these candles are also battery-powered, but with a smooth, waxy appearance. Not only do they come in sets of three, but they also come with a remote so you can “blow the flames out” from a distance.
For more festive lighting, choose Colored Paper Lanterns. String them up in a line or clusters, or stack them on poles to create light columns that give the area height. Paper lanterns are available in lots of different shapes and sizes, allowing you to use your own creative flair to personalize your outdoor area. Also consider glass lanterns, which although more expensive, can last through many summer seasons.
These paper lanterns are environmental friendly and come in a variety of colors, so you can match them to the rest of your outdoor decor.
Read more about best Outdoor Lighting at goodhousekeeping.com
Hiring one company to do both Landscape Design-Build and construction can simplify the process. Here are pros and cons for deciding if it’s right for you
What is landscape design-build?
Design-build is a process by which one company provides the landscape design-build and installation services for the project, instead of those services’ being split among separate companies. A firm that provides design-build services is also called a design-build contractor or design-builder.
Here’s what you need to know about how the process works and the pros and cons of using a design-build service in lieu of hiring a separate designer and landscape contractor.
1. You work with one company.
Pro: One obvious advantage of the design-build process is that the client works with one company for all phases and aspects of the landscape project. This means that your project may move more quickly from concept to installation than if you had hired a separate design company and installation company; there is some efficiency for dealing with just one company that can manage the process from start to finish.
Con: The whole project is under the direction of a company with a single perspective. Make sure your vision and goals are aligned with that company’s goals before hiring it to do the work.
Pro: A design-build firm rolls the design services and installation into the full project cost. The design fee is usually listed as a lump sum in a line-item estimate for the work.Con: A design-build firm may provide a design plan that is not properly detailed. This is a problem if you wish to get several contractors to provide a price estimate on a design plan from a design-build firm. When you pay for a design plan, you own the drawings you will use to get the project built. Watch out for companies that have you pay for a design but do not transfer ownership of the drawings to you, or for design drawings that are not accurately detailed.
The ideal home landscaping provides your family with recreation, privacy, and pleasure — even as those needs change over time. What’s more, the landscape should — and will — add to your home’s value and its curb appeal in all seasons, especially fortunate at selling time. Here’s how to get started with your plans.
Think of designing a landscape for the bare lot surrounding your new home as an adventure in creativity. Perhaps your property needs only a few small, easily doable projects to make it more attractive. Either way, it’s important to consider how each change will relate to the big picture. Stand back from time to time to see the entire landscape and how each part fits into it.
Start Home Landscaping at Square One
Begin at square one, whether you seek to perform home landscaping magic by transforming a new site or you are refreshing an established one. Starting at square one means that you first see what you have to work with. Look at your landscape as if through a giant magnifying glass — scrutinizing every detail. Then allow yourself to dream. Soon you’ll be conjuring up all sorts of ideas and sketching out some rough plans. By gradually working through the initial stages, you’ll move on to planning and eventually have a finished design.
Develop a Master Plan
Landscape professionals will tell you that a master plan is the key to any landscape project or solution. A master plan is more than a drawing or a design — it’s a well-thought-out plan of action that includes a design. It enables you to feel confident that you’re on the correct path toward building the landscape that’s right for you and your property.
Any project becomes more attainable when you’re willing to accomplish the plan in stages. Be realistic about how much you can accomplish each year. Many people like to work — and budget — on the basis of a five-year plan.
Although detailed and complex, the process can be enjoyable if taken a little at a time. You won’t regret spending the time to do it right. When you’ve finished, you’ll have a master plan — or a masterful design — to show for your efforts. In the event the words “master plan” seem set in concrete, you may find the idea of “long-range plan” less fixed though no less useful in accomplishing the small and large goals that add up to a satisfying landscape.
Find more home landscaping tips at BHG.com
No matter what time of year it is, you want your yard to look excellent. And if you can do the task yourself, that’s fantastic. But if you want it done and done right, then a landscape design company is who you must call. Check out 5 advantages of doing so.
If you wish to help your yard stand apart, it’s a good idea to consider flowers. Even if you do not have a green thumb, you can still delight in the look of a wonderful and colorful yard. That’s due to the fact that a landscape design company can suggest the perfect flowers for you along with program of ways to upkeep them. And if you do not wish to do that, plenty of landscapers will carry out upkeep concerns for you so that your yard stays looking fantastic all year round.
Unless you’re just a huge fan of backyard work, you will not want to go out in the heat and work on the yard. Although you want your place to look excellent, there’s never a great time to do the task. Luckily, you don’t have to stress over such information if you decide to have a professional service look after it. These specialists will come out, assess your property and talk with you on a variety of ideas that can be brought to life outside your home. The work will be done and you can concentrate on taking pleasure in the view.
Flowers are a big part of a good-looking yard. Yet, nice, lush trees can likewise include a striking look for your yard. Your landscape design company can help you position trees in the right place so that you can get the shade along with beauty you want. There are different trees to choose from and a professional can assist you make the very best choice for you needs. Whether you want smaller trees planted in certain places or you are imagining something bigger, a pro can aid you.
Do Away with Bugs
In addition to enhancing your yard, many landscape design companies likewise can help in helping eliminate bugs on your property. If you’re sick of pesky mosquitoes and other irritating insects, call a pro so that you can start taking pleasure in going outside once more. This way, you won’t need to fret about bug spray or hanging up mosquito netting. Having the ideal system set up will permit you to stop seeming like a prisoner in your own home. Plus, these systems are safe for pets along with your family.
A Landscape Design Company Can Create a Better Outdoor Experience
When you have a gorgeous yard to look at, it can be tough not to wish to get out and have a few individuals over. That’s why getting landscape design is such a smart idea. You can imagine a certain feel and look you desire, and then have a professional make it a fact for you. Best of all, you can be a part of the procedure and feel confident that you’ll get the results you’re wishing for. Family and friends won’t have the ability to get enough of visiting your home.
Natural landscape design for your outdoors is a means to plan, manipulate and construct natural surroundings for year round pleasure. With natural paths, shading, and native plants that keep your outdoor space beautiful and are the essential elements of natural aspect of the landscape design.
Hire Professionals for Natural Landscape Design
Imaginative issue solving and thoughtful application are exactly what make natural landscape design excellent. The business or group of professionals that you decide to work with your space most likely concentrated on either industrial or domestic “curb appeal”. Their backgrounds allow them the understanding to recover, deal with, and keep the quality of soil, turf, plants, and trees that add lovely foliage to your exterior. These experts combine their knowledge of what each living plant needs and their understanding of your vision for your space. Whether you are looking for a low upkeep or abundant blossoming garden that is both inviting and visually attractive, they can create the landscape design of your dreams with the critical elements of soil, light, and watering.
Before your landscape designer can complete the first drawing or computer mock up of your future outside beautification task, they have to understand exactly what you have to work with. First, the quality of soil that you have in your backyard is a huge determining consideration whether or not anything will sprout or flourish there. You may have sand, silt (mud), or clay. When that has been identified, native plants can be chosen to accommodate your local soil quality. Second, the level of your yard space is vital. You might have a small or considerable slope, or several levels that receive various quantities of light and water throughout day. The levels in your yard will likewise influence the quality of soil in one location over another. The soil at the end of the slope will be richer than higher elevation areas that have experienced significant runoff. You may have noticed these problems in your lawn(s) throughout the years but natural landscape design specialists will rescue any lawn by compensating for exactly what it is lacking.
There is a method to accomplish your perfect yard with astute planning and layout that makes improvements to your natural space while making it sustainable. The specialists get all types of request for certain colors, structures, and levels of foliage display, and they are all possible as long as the three thriving elements (sun, water, food) exist. Landscape design build specialists may need to bring in healthier soil or cut down a few of your trees in order to expose more natural light. You might take pleasure in the half day of shade every day, so your landscape design can involve lawn and plants that grow in the shade too. All of the approaches utilized to supply you with the backyard space that you need are a part of the procedure of landscape design that keeps each plant healthy year round whether it is inactive or in full bloom.
The front porch welcomes guests and provides a comfortable space and relaxation for homeowners. A front porch that displays the owners’ ideas of style and aesthetics while fitting in with the neighborhood is largely achieved through landscaping. Choosing and arranging plants that mature to contribute to the architectural style, comfort and value of the home will lead you to a successfully landscaped front porch.
Plants and Preparation
Climate suitability, including rainfall and sunlight exposure, largely determines planting success. A walk or drive around the neighborhood can reveal which plants thrive and which struggle in a given locale. Consider native plants wherever practical, because choosing natives minimizes the need for soil and irrigation adjustments. The plants’ sizes at maturity should also influence plant selection and determine placement, especially near the structure and under eaves. Installing necessary irrigation, soil and structural amendments before planting saves on future expense and labor. Choices made beforehand will determine maintenance requirements, aesthetic appeal and property value for decades to come.
Style and Basic Design of Front Porch Landscaping
The neighborhood’s general architectural style, and that of the individual home, ought to influence the choice of landscaping style. Different arrangements suit Victorian, modern, southwestern or ranch styles, with room for variations according to personal preference. A Japanese-style garden complements a modern-style home, but a cottage garden is not out of the question. While the homeowner’s pleasure reigns above academic correctness, a mishmash of even pretty plants generally pleases no one. Basic design principles of line, form, scale and utility apply to every style.
Foliage and Flower Color
Classic climbing roses (Rosa spp.) on porch supports or along balustrades colorfully frame entryways. Nearly thornless climbers include pink “Peggy Martin,” white or yellow “Lady Banks” and fragrant, deep pink “Zephirine Drouhin.” Brilliant clematis vines, available in species and hybrids for every temperate climate zone, complement climbing roses. Blooming “standards” or evergreen topiary, in-ground or potted, flank the front steps with importance; choices include roses and various conifers. Deciduous ornamental trees, such as Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), suited to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 8, visually meld the porch and surrounding garden with spectacular seasonal foliage color.
Read more about front porch landscaping at homeguides.sfgate.com
Once you’ve decided to implement a landscape design for your lawn or garden, the next step is deciding whether or not to hire a landscape design contractor. Depending on the difficulty of your landscape design, a design contractor can save you time, trouble, and money.
Choosing a landscape design contractor can be a difficult and confusing process. Researching local landscape design contractors and relying on recommendations by your friends, family, and neighbors can help you decide which contractors are reliable and affordable. Preparing yourself with questions for your potential landscape design contractors and educating yourself about local rates and operating standards can help you select a design contractor with confidence.
Look for Experience in a Landscape Design Contractor
The first question to ask your potential contractor regards education and experience. Find out how long your contractor has been landscaping and if he is certified with any nationally recognized organizations? Find out if your potential landscape contractor can supply references from previous clients.
Check out your design contractor’s credentials and company history, as well as previous work. Ask about his design process and what designs he envisions for your lawn or garden. Make sure you ask your designer what his timetable estimates are. How long will your landscape contractor take to finish your lawn? How long were you expecting the project to take to finish? Are your timetables compatible? Make sure to ask about what is included in the contract.
Does your landscape design contractor collaborate with other professionals to complete the job if necessary or do you need to find your own electricians or other contractors? Does your landscape design contractor guarantee his work? What happens if you are not satisfied with the completed project? Does your landscape design contractor understand your ideas and vision for your lawn and garden?
Read more about questions you shoud ask a at EnlightenMe.com
The average residential swimming pool contains between 18,000 and 20,000 gallons of water and will lose about 2 inches per week solely due to evaporation. This can amount to between 10,000 and 20,000 gallons of water loss per year, depending on pool size and water features that increase or decrease evaporation.
But over a three year-period, the average California pool uses about 96,575 gallons of water, versus 116,813 to maintain traditional mowed grass, according to a study by the Santa Margarita Water Distinct. If the pool owner uses a cover, the water use over five years will be less than if the homeowner installed drought-tolerant landscape.
Benedikt Grob and Joseph K. Lee in 2013 used satellite computer imagery from Microsoft’s Bing Maps and Google Geocoder to publish the ‘Big Atlas of LA Pools’. They documented that there are 43,123 pools in the Los Angeles basin. The Atlas found the highest per capita concentration was in Beverly Hills, which has 2,481, and Brentwood, with 1,920. But more middle-class Long Beach has 2,859 pools.
The Los Angeles Times recently ran an article with anecdotal stories about more than 60 homeowners pulling permits for pool demolition in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, up from an average of 21 a year in 2010 through 2012.
The Times indicated that the California dream of a pool for the family was ending due to homeowners being so ashamed of their water use in the fourth year of the drought they were jackhammering them out and putting in drought tolerant vegetation.
Swimming Pool Construction is Booming
But nothing could be further from the truth. A year ago, California pool construction hit a five-year high and is still accelerating. The fastest growth for pool construction per capita is in the sweltering Central Valley, according to the Business Journal.
Orange County was the leading county for pool construction, as homeowners installed 829 new pools in 2014. The area is on track to install over 900 in 2015, according to the Orange County Assessor.
The OC growth was despite a Santa Margarita Water District ban on filling pools in the summer of 2014. But after completing a study of actual water use by its customers, SMWD found that pools and the surrounding hardscape require thousands of gallons of water to fill initially, but actually use about 8,000 gallons fewer per year. The water district lifted the ban, and pool construction boom times quickly returned.
Hardscapes make your outdoor area more accessible and inviting
Fall is the perfect time to start thinking about creating an outdoor living space and your hardscapes.
Adding a hardscape area to a garden will make it more inviting and will “lure you to lounge” outside during all of California’s beautiful seasons.
But what exactly is a hardscape? Hardscape is a term used to describe an area in a garden or other outdoor living space built from non-permeable materials. It is used to enhance the beauty and functionality of a natural space. A hardscape can be as simple and basic as a gravel path through a garden. It can also be an intricate patio made of stone that creates terraces that step down a hillside, and contains creature comforts like an outdoor kitchen, a hot tub, or a shady pergola with a dining table for outdoor dining.
1: Incorporate a path that winds through your garden to encourage you to walk through your plantings.
Gravel is inexpensive and does not break down like mulch or pine straw, but it is heavy. Use pre-bagged gravel available at home improvement stores for small projects and get gravel delivered directly to your house from a landscape supply company for larger ones.
A path is always more inviting if it leads somewhere, so consider creating a seating area in a small clearing with a bench, or add a birdbath or some garden statuary. A portly Buddha and dancing frogs are always welcoming.
2: Use decorative concrete block to edge pathways or flower beds.
Concrete blocks come in many sizes, shapes and colors. These are not your father’s old, gray, cement blocks. They can easily be stacked to form retaining walls or planters, or they can be used single-file to create a simple border or walkway.
Pay a visit to your local home improvement store to see the options.
3: Add a water feature like a store-bought outdoor fountain or create your own using natural rock, a small pond liner and a recirculating pump.
Read more at OutdoorLivingPlanet.com