A Garden for the House Sounds Nice

a garden for the house

When driving through most residential areas, it quickly becomes apparent how the yards and landscapes all blend together. It seems that the homeowners all selected similar trees and flowers, typical yard ornaments and other props creating a dulling repetition of immaculately tailored lawns. But, still, a garden for the house does sound nice doesn’t it?

In such a sea of sameness, it is always easy to appreciate a compelling landscape effort that takes the road less traveled. There exists an almost infinite array of plants, features, pots, and props to make a garden for the house project truly unique. Creating that one-of-a-kind landscaping effort is a challenge limited only to your fertile imagination and available budget.

Work With Nature

Whatever features you propose to implement, never fail to keep the peculiarities of your house and property in mind. The best landscaping efforts will always work in harmony with existing surroundings, enhancing strong points and drawing attention away from any problems. In other words “it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”!
Also be honest about how much time you will have to maintain your planned oasis. It serves no purpose to install a dazzling and enticing landscape only to watch it die or become overgrown from lack of attention.

Garden Features are Many and Varied

In the case of garden features there is lots of to think about. In and of themselves they can seem quite ordinary, but a properly executed landscape design and location can reveal hidden qualities highlighting the features you install. Garden cascades, ponds, wall mounted fountains, labyrinths, mazes, fencing, patios and a myriad of alternative garden features can create a landscape like no other. Something as simple as installing a mosaic walkway rather than the bland, boring cement squares can create a stunning and unusual feature.

If your garden is designed with an over-arching theme each feature should compliment that theme. As an example of an Asian theme, your pathways may well be constructed of bamboo instead of stone or concrete.

When designing a garden for the house including a garden water feature, whether large or small is tempting. If included, make it more interesting with a unique stone bridge or an unusual plant such as an Amazon Lily pad to compliment it. An interesting garden bridge might be as simple as large flat stones above the water’s surface. Or, perhaps, a formal painted and lacquered structure with room for a table and chairs. Does this take both work and money? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes!

Garden Walls are Great for Privacy

Where privacy is a concern garden walls will add a lot of interest to a garden for the house. Walls can be installed along your property’s boundary lines or they can be used to separate areas within the yard itself.

Walls can be constructed by any number of materials to compliment your vision. You can even use plants as borders which will keep your space all “green”.
Garden accessories run the gamut from rustic to formal. Scour local flea markets for plant supports, containers or anything which may be adapted to resist the outdoors. Old wine racks may also be transformed into elegant plant stands Even old discarded headboards or even bed frames can work. Wrought iron pieces of furniture, the older the better, will work in any style garden.

Location, location, location!

How you place your plantings will do wonders to transform your garden into a one-of-a-kind landscape. Rather than a neat hedgerow, plant a small garden maze with a center for a distinct feature like a statue or other theme appropriate accessory. Rather than a plain square bed of flowers, think about a flower clock or flag comprised of colorful plants.

Pleached features, topiaries, and other strategically pruned plants will certainly draw attention to areas of your landscape. Fill containers and window boxes with plants not often seen but still easily grown in your area. Geraniums and petunias are safe favorites. Try some other plants for a more interesting transformation.

Do some research and look at some gardening history books for concepts to make your setting more of a standout. Take your time to design your garden with unique features. You will find more fulfillment and satisfaction from your surroundings.

Doesn’t A Garden for the House Sound Nice?

Backyard Design – Create Your Own Oasis

backyard design

With a bit of planning, you can turn your backyard into a calming oasis from the world, a family entertainment center, or even an entire, open-air home. Creating a backyard design doesn’t need to be expensive. There are any great numbers of simple backyard design tips which allow you to create the right outdoor area for your family, even on a limited budget.

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h3>What Type of Backyard Design Fits You?,/h3>
To begin decide what the backyard should be. Have kids? Design a play area. It is easy to use colorful containers to store outdoor toys. Include a sitting and conversation area within eyesight for easy supervision. The sitting area could very well be as simple as a few lounge chairs or as lavish as a whole outdoor living area. Use weather resistant wicker furniture and colorful throw pillows to decorate.

Want to use your backyard for BBQ and outdoor entertaining? Then your backyard design must include seating areas as well as an outdoor kitchen area. The “kitchen” can be as simple as a charcoal grill and a picnic table or an elaborate built in gas range with running water, refrigerator and food prep space. Your design will be influenced by your budget.

Maybe Just a Retreat for the Two of You

You might prefer a non-public backyard retreat for just yourself and your spouse. This can be designed in a small, secluded area of your backyard, near the wonder and beauty of your garden, or surrounding a soothing hot tub. The furnishings on your personal backyard retreat can range from a cozy garden bench, a hammock, or a repurposed love seat from indoors.

The accessories and lighting effects chosen to embellish your backyard living space set the mood and atmosphere for this portion of your home. Citronella candles are great bug repellents and add a subtle, peaceful glow in your backyard retreat. Creating visual interest with colorful accents, like pillows, placemats, and chair cushions, make your backyard design very inviting. Placing festive vases filled with flowers as table décor brightens up any space. Hanging wind chimes with a soft sound creates a calming, peaceful space.

Think About Your Lighting

Lighting is an important part of your backyard design. If you do lots of outdoor entertaining at night, you need proper illumination. Especially near your dining and food preparation areas. Making use of 12 volt systems rather than household current lighting both saves money and allows for more creative lighting designs. If you space gets a lot of sun, use solar powered lighting around patio edging and pathway. They need no wiring so installation is straightforward and simple.

Don’t Forget Storage

To keep your backyard retreat enjoyable, as well as presentable. include sufficient storage options. Garden tools and maintenance equipment should be out of sight in a shed or even under the deck. Garbage containers can be housed inside the garage or behind a decorative wall. Plants and trees also make wonderful barriers, in addition as terrific backyard decorations.

Backyard retreats can be as simple or as extravagant as your tastes and budget allow. Careful planning and just a few furnishings can transform your basic backyard design into a relaxed outdoor haven or a bright and exciting island vacation!

Decking Designs – Elements of Good Deck Design

decking designs

Decking Designs – Understanding Seven Elements of Good Deck Design
By David Buster

You’re all comfortable in your favorite lounge chair, reading your latest novel with a cool beverage nearby…the aroma of your favorite BBQ drifting from the grill teases everyone…catching a few rays of sunshine never felt better. Warm weather calls us outdoors, and what better place to enjoy life than your deck!

As an extension of your home, appropriate decking designs will provide an attractive outdoor area that you can enjoy every time the weather allows. Whether just hanging out and lounging, entertaining or playing with your kids or pet, a well-designed deck can be a favorite part of your home. Understanding important deck design and planning considerations will help your deck become a successful project.

Here are some considerations for having the deck that’s right for your home:

1. Where should your deck be placed? A characteristic of all good decking designs is when the deck can merge into the environment of your backyard without being obtrusive and highly visible. If you’re fortunate and have a great view, take advantage of the view and locate the deck to enjoy it. If you don’t have a spectacular view, perhaps your deck could be located near a beautiful garden tree. Maybe you want your deck in a shady area or with a sunny southern exposure. Is privacy from neighbors an issue? Are you near a busy street and is noise a problem? If so and if your space is limited, consider the use of shrubbery, walls or fences to resolve the problem.

2. Will the deck be connected to your home? If you’re decking designs are considering placment near the living room, doing so could be a problem if foot traffic will soil your carpets and disrupt anyone that is watching TV or talking. Placing the deck next to the kitchen will make it easier to move food and dishes back and forth when eating outside on the deck. Use sliding glass doors to make the outdoors look even more inviting from the kitchen. Would having two doors connecting different rooms to the deck be a possibility? Having two doors accessing the deck will be the most efficient and best solution for easy foot traffic flow.

3. Do you want a destination deck? The deck doesn’t have to be built connected to your house; it can be a place to go all by itself. If your backyard extends to woods, maybe locating the deck near some beautiful trees makes sense. If your property fronts a pond or lake, what about locating your deck so that it reaches out into the water? If you have a flat roof, say, over a garage — what about a roof deck? The possibilities are endless!

4. How will your deck be used? If your property is small and you’re not expecting to entertain large groups, you likely don’t need a huge deck. Your deck should maintain a reasonable scale between your home and property size, size of your family and the deck size. You should not have a small house, small property and a very large deck. The elements should be proportional. You should not build a small deck if you have a large house on large property.

5. Are you considering dividing your deck into different areas? For example, you could have an area for lounging, sunning or reading and another area for dining, entertaining and cooking. Involve your family and make a list of the activities you would like to have. You may want to include a section for children’s games and playtime. Have a good idea of how traffic will flow on the deck and in your backyard. Understand how family, friends and pets will be walking from the front of the house to the backyard, from the garage to the kitchen, from the greenhouse or tool shed to the garden and so on. If you are going to have a deck area for relaxation, you don’t want all the traffic coming out of the house to merge into this area.

6. What type of decking designs will be best for your home? When designing your deck, consider using a variety of shapes. Keep it simple, but don’t be afraid to add an angle or two to the deck design. For example, add curves or diagonal lines to connect two rectangular or square spaces for the deck plan. Connect the different sections with paths, paving surfaces, stairways, arbors, gazebos or perhaps a water pond. Consider using planters or flower pots with attractive plants, overhead structures or trellises, benches and steps to create a transition between areas in the backyard. If you’re not a good gardener, you can still create a low maintenance landscape by using shrubs and other easy-to-care-for plants. Formal landscapes are more symmetrical and use geometric patterns and straight lines. Informal styles use more asymmetry and more curves — wooden decks are often associated with an informal setting.

7. Do you hire a deck designer, do you plan on using existing decking designs or do you design the deck yourself?
Consider one of the thousands of available decking designs if you can find one that will fit your needs. One of the best ways to simplify deck building is to use decking designs that have been successfully built before. If you need to make some modifications to suit your needs and home, doing so will likely be cheaper than creating deck plans from the beginning. Unless you live in a very rural area, you will need to check with your local building department to find out what requirements and restrictions exist in your area, especially if you are designing and building the deck yourself. If you’re not comfortable with the process, consider hiring a professional deck designer and a deck contractor.

Done correctly, building a deck will provide countless hours of enjoyment for you, your family and friends as well as increase the value of your home. After all, isn’t enjoying our time off why we work so hard? Visit [http://www.yourdreamloghome.com/wooden-decks.html]Building Wooden Decks and learn more about creating the perfect deck for you and your home.

Copyright 2005 InfoSearch Publishing

David Buster is Vice-President of InfoSearch Publishing and webmaster of yourdreamloghome – visit the website to learn more about home decorating and remodeling, backyard living, home plans, kitchen and bathroom design and d�cor tips, home storage, fireplaces, log cabin rentals and more. Receive the free online newsletter by going to Better Home Ideas Newsletter to subscribe.

Decking Designs

Garden Patio Design

garden patio design

Garden Patio Design – Designing the Perfect Patio

By Linsey Evans
A patio is just one element of a garden design, but it is one of the most expensive parts of any garden build. Because the patio fulfills several different functions it needs be given careful consideration. Here are a few pointers on good garden patio design.

Location of the patio

Most patios are sited immediately adjacent to the rear exit from the house because it is convenient – this may not be the best location for your patio. The back of the house may be shaded all day and therefore not ideal if you wish to like to sit in the sun. Consider a small terrace to the rear of the house with another seating area somewhere else in the garden which gets more sun. When designing a garden it’s a good idea to include more than one patio.. One patio can be sited so that it catches the last of the evening sun to provide a warm spot for an evening drink or meal. This makes the garden much more interesting and ensures that you are using more of the garden.

Intended use of the patio

Decide how you want to use the patio. Is the patio mainly for alfresco dining or sunbathing or relaxing with a book or all three? The intended use will dictate the size and location of the patio. A patio mainly for dining is best placed where there is some shade so that diners can keep cool on warmer days and seek the sun when the weather is cooler. A patio intended mainly for sunbathing needs to be in a spot where it’s sunny all day. If you want young children to safely use the patio, it needs to be somewhere you can see them from the house.

Capacity of the patio

The patio needs to be large enough to accommodate the correct size of table with room for chairs to be pulled out and for people to move around easily when others are seated. A guide is to allow 1m width for the table, 500mm width on either side of the table for each chair when not pushed under the table, 300mm between chairs down the side of the table, and 700mm width to pull each chair out and sit down comfortably.

Including built-in seating

A garden patio design that incorporates built-in seating with pergolas and outdoor fireplaces look very chic and transform the patio into an outdoor room. It is also a great way to make use of all available space in a very small garden. This solution is convenient if you don’t want to shuffle around with garden furniture. However, the position of the seating is fixed and restricts how you can use the patio. The space is less flexible as seating cannot be varied to turn a dining area into a lounging area.

Creating privacy

If the patio is overlooked the garden patio design will need to include screening. Walls, hedges, pergolas, and fences can be included in the patio design to provide a sense of enclosure and privacy. When building a wall around a patio it is a great idea to include a window through to other garden areas so that the patio doesn’t end up feeling to claustrophobic. Windows in dividing walls create an interesting glimpse of the rest of the garden without compromising privacy.

The choice of screening will depend on available budget. Walls are expensive to build, wooden screens with posts and trellis panels are much cheaper. Planting a hedge is usually the cheapest option, but may take a while to grow in unless you can afford large plants or an instant hedge.

Decide on the budget

Installing a patio is expensive but it is worth spending as much as you can afford as the patio is such an important part of the garden. The garden should be viewed as an outdoor room and if you are prepared to spend a little extra on getting it right it will be useable for most of the year. Allow around $120 per square metre as an all-in cost to get a contractor to lay your patio.

Choosing the surface material

The most common surface for a patio are paving slabs. There are many different types of paving slab with a wide range of price tags.

Steer clear of concrete slabs – they are often more expensive than natural stone, will fade over time and always end up looking fake. Indian Sandstone has dominated the paving slab market for years as it is cheap, natural, widely available and looks good. Cheaper Indian Sandstone is not always the bargain it appears as it is thinner, or poorer quality and more porous causing leaching of the minerals in the mortar onto the top surface of the stone. There are some inexpensive granite slabs currently available that make a wonderful surface only slightly more expensive than Indian Sandstone. The more expensive options are Travertine, York stone, Basalt, and Marble.

Polished concrete makes a wonderful contemporary surface for the patio.

Resin bound gravel is not only great for driveways, but makes an excellent contribution to the patio paving when combined with other materials for textural contrast.

Get the best quality stone you can afford then the patio will last longer and stay looking good for many years.

A patio should never be designed in isolation without considering the rest of the garden. A well designed garden where all the elements are in scale with each other and the house will connect the house and garden. A balanced design that includes a patio or multiple patios will give the garden coherence and ensure that it is a pleasant, comfortable space in which to spend time.

Linsey Evans is a garden designer who specialises in designing sloping gardens and tricky spaces. Linsey Evans contemporary landscape garden design covers all areas of Berkshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, London and the Thames Valley.

Visit Linseysgardens.com and get in touch if you need help with your garden patio design.

Garden Fencing

garden fencing

What Type of Garden Fencing is Right for Your Garden?

When deciding on installing garden fencing round your garden, bear in mind different fence types may serve different purposes. Fencing can serve as a privacy shield from trespassers as well as from neighbors peering in your garden.The right type of garden fencing t will add artistic appeal to the outside of your home. Garden fencing can be used as a part of your landscaping too. When selecting the type of garden fencing you will use in your yard you first need to decide what main purpose the fencing will provide.For example, if you want privacy fencing, you wouldn’t employ a chain length fence but would likely use a wood or PVC fence instead. You also need to understand your budget, as some types of garden fencing can be very expensive, especially if there is a large area to enclose. Accurate measurements of the area to be fenced in along with how high you want your new fence to be are critical to good results. Lastly, don’t overlook the general weather in your area as some types of garden fencing stands up to certain weather conditions better than others.

Once all this information is in hand, then it is time to shop for your new fence. Here is some of the different types garden fencing that you can choose from.

• Split rail fencing-it is a popular type one that homeowners prefer to install. You can have this type made in concrete or wood. This will give your home a rustic look. When made of wood you will have to paint it and repaint as and when necessary.
• Wrought iron fencing-it is the type to choose if you want a decorative high-end fence. It was very popular and was frequently used before chain link and PVC fencing hit the market. It is not a cheap option but there are benefits to using it, such as it needs less maintenance and last much longer than others.
• Wooden fencing-this is a favorite among people installing their garden fencing as a DIY project. The panels are strong and sturdy with many designs. You can paint or stain the it to match your landscape or home design. With wooden fencing how tall it can vary from a modest four foot to as tall as eight feet which provides excellent privacy.
• Chain link fencing-this is a safe, secure, cost effective fence. It is easy to install and one that many use for gardens and big areas. It is also unquestionably the ugliest of all garden fencing types. I would recommend chain link only in the most industrial of setting.

One type that many would not consider fencing is to plant hedges as an Eco-friendly option to other types of fencing. Thick hedges are hard to penetrate and look very decorative. The downside of a hedge is that it can take, literally, years to reach the height you wish. Or, if you install mature plants that have already reached maturity both the material cost and the installation labor increases dramatically.

Lastly, be sure to check with your local authorities if there are restrictions on any specific fencing types, what the installation requirements are, and if a building permit is required (in most locals it is). If you are hiring a garden fencing contractor they should handle all these details for you.