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Create a Garden and Patio Design To Enjoy Year-Round

Retreat to a garden and patio design that’s beautiful year-round, and takes minimum fuss. What makes this possible? Carefree plants with continuous blooms, and a well-planned garden structure.

You don’t need to be a lawn and garden expert or landscape designer to do this. Here are a few tips for creating a super yet simple garden and patio design that will be a knockout!

The first step is to take a birds-eye view of your garden and patio area. Make a rough sketch of your space, and play around with a few designs until you like what you see. As you’re doing this, get some great ideas from existing garden and patio decorations. Pay a visit to other people’s gardens, or public gardens. Look through home landscaping and gardening magazines, find what you like, and develop plans of your own.

Decide what style or theme is right for you… formal, casual, rustic, Southwestern, Japanese… there are enormous possibilities. Then stay with that style and theme so the overall effect does not become confusing. For instance, you wouldn’t want to combine bronze garden sculptures of saints or cherubs with rustic wooden wagon wheels.

Imagine what your patio area will most often be used for. You may plan to entertain lots of outdoor dinner guests. If so, be sure your patio space has plenty of room for the largest number of people right from the beginning. Your patio may be more of a private, reflective retreat for enjoying the sun, reading a book, or gazing up at the stars. Determine the use of shade, open sun, or even covering it with a roof.

Now take your favorite ideas and put them into your rough plans – and soon you’ll have a design that is ready for action.

The next step is to create your garden and patio design to scale – you can use landscaping software for this, or do it by hand. Choose the flowers you intend to plant, noting how many you will need for each month of your growing season, and select the landscaping structures that will give your design its form.

Some say the secret to a beautiful garden and patio design is having a good amount of hard structure. This is what landscape designers refer to as “good bones” – walls, fences, garden bridges, gates, garden arbors, landscape statues, garden fountains … even a strong line of evergreen plants.

Garden structures such as these create forms and lines, giving your garden and patio design definition and dimension. Plus, in the winter when most plants are empty and bare, your garden will preserve its shape and sense of completeness. It’s amazing how just one or two structures can produce this satisfying effect.

Most garden and landscaping structures are built to withstand the elements. Treated pine, cedar and teak garden furniture, trellises, arbors, and decorative fencing are great choices. Stone, copper, and bronze garden statuary will never let you down. Garden fountains bring incredible beauty and atmosphere to any garden and patio design – in fact, entire gardens have been built around them.

Next, choose annual spring flowers and perennial plants that will give you blooms from one season to the next. For instance, select carefree roses that need no pruning or spraying, and bloom continuously from spring through fall. Fill planters with beautiful blooming flowers such as Oriental lilies or verbena for different colors all summer long. Establish flower beds in corners or along walk ways. Always consider your local climate and plant according to the sun and shade needs of your plants.

As you plan your garden and patio design, create paths or walk ways that lead from one area to the next. Rambling garden paths are relaxing and charming… and if laid out thoughtfully, will be a big help to you as the gardener. Paths can be of stone, brick, flagstone, gravel, or mown turf, although grass paths require more upkeep. Garden sculptures or sitting benches thoughtfully placed along the way provide wonderful expression.

If you want garden and patio designs that are pre-drawn, there are ready-made plans available in books and magazines. This is another fine way to get off to a solid start. Use pre-made garden plans from start to finish, or incorporate parts of them right into you own creative plans.

Copyright 2006 Robert Mosse

How to Choose Between Pots and Landscaping Beds For Your Plants and Flowers

Regardless of what types of flowers you would like to purchase or plant in your garden, you will be restricted by space, drainage, light, weather and supplies. Perhaps you live in a high rise and only have a small balcony; or you live on a farm and have too much space and prefer to landscape a secluded area which will become your main patch; in contrast, you may live in a row house with very little natural light and prefer to concentrate on developing a welcoming patio.

Before you begin to plant, you need to assess what types of supplies you have. Do you have a lot of mismatched pots, what heights, how wide? Do you have a lot of dirt, or good top soil? Do you have eclectic accessories that can compliment your decor? If you visualize what you would like to try to accomplish before you start your project, and adapt your vision as you progress into it, you’ll be more satisfied with the end results than if you purchase all types of different plants without a vision of where they will be planted. If you have sun all day long in your front yard, you don’t want to plant flowers that require shade, such as impatients. On the other hand, if you have shade on your patio, then you may want to go overboard with different pots filled with a vibrant variety of colored impatients.

Most landscapers recommend that you purchase good potting soil. Keep in mind that most are in the business to try to get you to purchase new and novel supplies. However, the cheap stuff works just as well if prepared correctly. If you live around a beach, you may want to collect sea shells to put at the bottom of your pots for drainage. In this instance, you won’t have to fill the entire pot with dirt. Packing popcorn is also a good drainage for plants.

The name of the game is creativity. You can tend to a yard with easy care potted plants that allow you to indulge in your vision without a lot of effort. A simple iron bench can become a focus point once complemented with plants or shrubs. In addition, once your project is finished, you’ll reap the benefits all season without having to put in much effort except watering.

Liven up a small townhouse backyard by displaying a yard bench and clay pots around it with colorful plants such as bougainvillea which is a sun climber. Intersperse a statue amongst the pots. If you have climbing roses or vines against a fence, it will focus the eyes on the plants and the bench instead of a blank wall or fence. Create contrast and visual vibrancy by curving the containers, mix or matching, putting tall plants in the back with smaller pots with cascading flowers in front to create height. Instead of waiting for some shrubs which are slow to grow, stand the pots on others to create a wider row of foliage; set them besides a fountain. The entire effect will create a focal point. Offer a welcoming entrance to a section of your garden with a arbor with potted plants on either side. Gather unmatched planters on a ledge, or table, or even recycle iron bins and containers.

Anything you create will translate into the vision you first thought of and will create a sense of satisfaction as you watch your creation grow, mature and deliver a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and beauty. Our website can assist you in designing your vision, create your landscaping and help you enjoy many satisfying moments of rest and relaxation. http://www.theyardbench.com.

A Look Back In Time: Landscaping Trends From the 1920s-50s

Although some of us look at landscaping as more of a business than an art form, the truth is, landscaping has a rich and intricate history that has a lot to say about the social and cultural development of our society. In fact, some speak so highly of landscaping as a form of ancient art that they trace its roots to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon created in 600 BC.

While we’re busy installing landscapes that bring the best of modern technologies to our customers, like outdoor televisions and sound systems, it’s easy to forget just how much the idea of ‘landscaping’ has changed over time. Just a few decades back, landscaping was considered an absolute luxury. Only the ‘well-to-do’ could afford to decorate their outdoor space with beautiful garden beds and patios and deck out their backyard with the latest outdoor toys.

Nowadays, some form of landscaping – even if it means a few trees, a small yard, a porch or patio – is expected. That being said, while basic landscaping is the norm, most homeowners actually take it a step further. They feel it is important to enhance the curb appeal to their home and, more importantly, they enjoy having an outdoor space that is completely tailored to their own tastes. Hence, the desire to treat the landscape as an extension of the home, complete with all the comforts and added luxuries of the inside interior. But it wasn’t always this way.

For fun, here’s a look back at the landscaping trends of earlier decades – minus today’s Japanese-inspired spa gardens, outdoor kitchens, and fire pit tables.

The Roarin’ 20′s:

1920′s landscaping was all about the greenery. There was a real desire to celebrate and welcome nature in all its glory, which led homeowners to install bird feeders, bird houses and bird baths, as well as fish ponds and rock gardens… anything that would draw more nature to the home. At this time, bird watching was a shared hobby, so plants and trees with berries (such as holly, hawthorne, nandina, rugosa roses, crabapples) were popular choices.

In the 1920′s home, the front yard was considered the “public place” and was, therefore, the space that received the most attention with regards to landscaping. Most houses featured a wide front porch, often furnished with rockers and swings so that folks could comfortably enjoy the natural outdoor scenery. Most front yards didn’t have fences, and walkways and driveways were typically lined with perennials, such as Canterbury bells, irises, foxgloves, phlox, pyrethrum, coreopsis, hollyhocks, roses, columbine, delphinium, poppies, and carnations and annuals, such as California poppies, cosmos, petunias, snapdragons, verbena, bachelor’s buttons, centaurea (sweet sultan), strawflowers, marigolds, drummond phlox, asters, etc. Shrubs were boxwood, holly, yews, abelia.

The backyard, often referred to as the “service area” was mostly reserved for drying clothes on clothes lines and storing garbage cans, although some owners designated a small area in the backyard as a “private place,” which was usually screened off or fenced in or surrounded by a border of trees or shrubs to shield residents from their neighbors’ watchful eyes and from the sun.

Popular recreational activities often found their way into the landscape design. Campfires, bowling greens, putting greens, and croquet grounds were popular landscape features.

The Dirty 30′s:

The decade of the Great Depression saw little advancements on the landscaping front. Most homeowners were struggling to make ends meet, which meant little to no money was left over to spend on luxuries, such as landscaping. That being said, there were still a few popular gardening trends. Large rose gardens were popular during the 1930s, as were plants such as hydrangeas, lilacs and hostas.

The Booming 50′s:

Consumerism is probably the most appropriate word to describe the theme of the 1950s. And just as it affected most aspects of life in the 50s, it influenced the type and style of landscaping that was popular in suburbia. Looking back now, we typically associate the 50s garden and landscape style with all things ‘tacky’ – garden gnomes, plastic pink flamingos, an overuse of evergreens as foundation plantings and an excessive amount of green lawn. In other words, a far cry from the modern, eco-friendly looks popular today!

While 1950s landscapes may conjure up images of plastic decorations and boxed hedges, the 1950s are actually defined as a decade of “modernism.” Albeit, a type of modernism far different from the so-called “modern” styles of today. With an incredible amount of soldiers returning home from the war in the 1950s, getting married and starting families, the home building industry boomed.

However, much of the homes built were on the smaller side, leaving limited space for landscaping. The result of space constrictions was “modern” landscaping – a style that was far removed from the overly-embellished look of the pre-war era.

Although modernism was the style du-jour, with the rise of consumerism and the love for all things with a price tag came the fascination with big and showy items. Garden flowers were over-sized, vibrant and colorful, for instance, large tea roses like Garden Party roses, Tiffany roses, and Chrysler Imperial roses were popular choices. And, in line with the whole ‘keeping up with the Jones’ concept, the lawn was the symbol of suburbia dream living. The greener and bigger the lawn, the better! With the boom in consumerism and the desire to keep lawns perfectly maintained, the marketplace was flooded with lawn care products, including pesticides and chemicals for pest control. At this time, the first lawn spreader was also invented.

And there you have it! Times really have changed… next we’ll look at landscaping trends from the 60s to present date. Stay tuned!