Landscaping: Living outdoors
Homeowners are turning their backyards into an extension of their indoor living spaces – ‘taking the indoors outdoors’ – by adding kitchens, comfortable seating, extensive lighting and art
The biggest trend for 2012 is the creation of the outdoor living space. Many homeowners are discovering the joys of dining, relaxing and entertaining in spaces landscaped especially for these purposes. There are many ways to achieve this in just a few steps:
• Plan your outdoor space. It’s really important to decide what use you will have for your new outdoor living space. Will it be entertaining friends and family or an intimate personal oasis? Will this be the same use in five years time?
• A trellis, awning, or pavilion serves as a great cover from the weather elements while providing some privacy.
• Add a comfortable, weather-resistant seating area. Wicker chairs and loveseats with weather-resistant cushions are leading sales at local garden centres.
• Be sure to include a subtle container garden full of your favourite lush greens and summer florals to complement your outdoor living experience.
Every homeowner wants a unique and sustainable landscaped property. Here are other notable trends for spring and summer 2012.
• Container gardens offer variety and solutions. Clustering multiple pots, vertical gardening, placing pots in the flowerbeds, or creating a container garden in your cozy backyard or balcony.
• Take the indoors outdoors. Outdoor living continues with kitchens, fireplaces, family rooms and more weatherproof furniture, sculpture and art.
• Focus on front yard landscaping. What a perfect way to show off your home by putting water features, fences, courtyards and patios out in front for all to see. Not to mention adding the curb appeal and increased property values.
• Irrigation systems are effective and efficient. These systems use drip tubes installed below the soil to water the plant’s roots. They avoid wasting water and are growing in popularity.
• New decks and patios are popular. Weatherproof materials and wood alternatives are in demand and a wider selection of beautiful natural products, including tumbled stones and bricks, are paving the way.
• Water-wise landscape planning is key. Wise water use through plant selection, garden design, and proper irrigation and maintenance is more than a passing fad. The right plant in the right place will help with this.
• Exterior lighting extends garden enjoyment activities. Hard-wired lighting illuminating the garden, trees and the house sheds light on nighttime activities while enhancing security. Solar walkway lighting is a great way to accentuate your outdoor living space.
• Water feature ideas are making a splash. Several water features throughout the yard, pond-less features and fountains enhance sight and sound and reduce and absorb noise pollution.
• Planning is where it’s at. Homeowners are researching garden plans on their own or hiring professionals to create well-designed yards to fit their lifestyles and their budgets.
• Environmentally sensitive gardens are in. Chemically dependent gardens are out. This trend grows every year. Organic product sales are up 200 per cent in the last five years.
Joseph Salemi is the member services manager with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association. Visit canadanursery.com to obtain a copy of its 2012 Trends in Landscaping report.