Diggin' In: Ready, set, landscape

March 2, 2015

Last year, Michael and Suzanne Naler won a landscape makeover for their backyard in Newport News, Va., courtesy of Landscapes by Eric Bailey of Yorktown, Va.

Before the $10,000 redo, the yard was bland, according to the Nalers. They won the prize at a 2014 home and garden show in Hampton, Va., where owner Eric Bailey had a landscape display ó .

"We couldnít get any grass to grow up on the hill," says Michael.

"We had a deck that we built, but the yard was missing something.  Now the bottom of the yard flows into the upper yard and the plants makes the hill look more inviting."

To pull the back yard together, Bailey and his crew created a circular patio area where the family can relax around a wood-burning chimera. They also installed lights on two trees in the back natural area to make the space feel larger, and romantic, at night.

"They already had a beautiful deck and look out to a shaded natural area," says Bailey.

"I wanted to give them some color, fragrance, and texture while keeping it fairly low maintenance. We placed hydrangea for summer color, fall-blooming camellias for fall color, osmanthus for sweet fall fragrance and fatsia and yew for texture. Miniature gardenias were planted close to the deck and sunroom for more good smells.

"The biggest maintenance they have to do during this first year is to water plant material. Then, there will be annual weeding and leaf raking."

Stylish Adirondack chairs with foot stools make the patio a relaxing place to sit and watch the evening unfold, the couple says.

"We really donít use the back yard much different than we did prior to the make over, but now it is more relaxing and we enjoy the scenery more," says Michael.

"We do use the back yard a little more at night than we used to because the tree lighting is there."

Inspired to develop the plan further, the Nalers are hanging hammocks up the hill so they can enjoy the plants and shade more. And, they are extending built-in planters along both sides of the yard so they can bring more plant life into the landscape.

Landscape design 101

When planning a landscape project at your home or business, consider these points, says Bailey.

Define how you plan to use the space.

Know the climate and planting conditions of your area.

Develop a plan. 

Make your wish list of plants and accessories. 

Set your budget.

Consider the upkeep the area will need, and consider how much you like to garden because the space will need maintenance.

Try to provide some year-round interest in your plantings.

Remember, you can use shrubs with interesting foliage to give texture and contrast in the landscape. lowers can be added accents.

Decide if you want to incorporate a hardscape feature such as a deck or patio in the landscape.

Include one of the most important pieces to the puzzle: lighting, which adds such a new dimension to the landscape, plus it offers some additional security.



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