fire pit on one side and waterfall on the other create a
Itís time to
start spending some long anticipated hours outside, enjoying our
gardens, yards, patios and pools. Creating that outdoor paradise has
traditionally been labor intensive, but products on the market today
have lessened the burden ó allowing more time for enjoyment.
use of organic materials has also made outdoor living areas more
environmentally friendly and a great way to put Mother Natureís work
to good use.
movement toward being better stewards of our environment is very Ďiní
right now. The idea of using natural ground covers and native trees
and shrubs like alder, viburnum, dogwood and native grasses like
miscanthus and Karl Foerster are gaining popularity," says Jeff
Hershberger, senior landscape architect with David J. Frank
Landscaping in Germantown. "In fact, some developers are now
requiring homeowners to leave part of their lot undeveloped."
The use of
natural stone in pathways and decorative walls is also increasing,
according to Hershberger. "This follows the trend of using
materials that are native to this area," he says.
permeable paving material used on a patio or path allows more natural
drainage of rainwater, according to James Drzewiecki, landscape
architect and owner of Ginkgo Leaf Studio in Milwaukee. "I think
it will be a bigger part of the conversation because it allows some
water to go into the ground instead of the sewer system. And, it can
be made of different materials," he says.
considering the use of composite and synthetic lumber, which provides
the look of real wood without the work. Decks, railings and arbors
made of composite and synthetic woods are appealing because they offer
low maintenance and long life, Hershberger says.
beyond the idea of collecting rain in a rain barrel, people are
installing underground irrigation systems. These collect rain water
using plastic tubing that might be tied to a water feature like a pond
or waterfall," Drzewiecki says. "Itís a great way to
Edibles in the
year, an increasing number of people are planting vegetable and herb
gardens and eating what they grow. Weíve seen a sizable demand for
more fruit trees, as well. This is true for people living in houses,
or even condos and apartments with a balcony. Itís convenient and
easy to do, not to mention healthy and good tasting," Hershberger
designing more outdoor kitchens and living areas," Drzewiecki
says. "While this isnít a new trend, itís getting stronger. I
think because people are traveling less, theyíre choosing to invest
in their homes, adding areas for entertaining, including bigger
barbeque grills, wine refrigerators, smokers, pizza ovens and built-in
fire places and fire pits," he says.
Light it Up!
Extend the time
you spend outdoors with the latest in landscape lighting options.
"LED lights have improved tremendously in recent years. They use
far less energy than regular bulbs and their life expectancy is much
longer. And, they donít have that bluish hue any longer," says
Hershberger. The lights can be built right into decks, water features
and along pathways to complement any landscape. m