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Colorful Landscaping Ideas – Using More Than Just Flowers in Your Landscape Design

When designing a garden or landscape, it’s important to maintain a balanced color palette. Just as you wouldn’t want an entire house decorated in blue and yellow, nor would you want an entire garden of only blue and yellow flowers. For this reason, we try to design our gardens and landscapes with a variety of colors that complement each other. The most obvious sources of color in a yard come from plants and flowers; however, color in your garden can come from many other sources. When planning your garden design, don’t underestimate how other materials can impact the overall look of your landscape.

First and foremost, consider the type of garden edging or landscape border that you’ll use in and around your planting beds. The possible material choices are endless. A few of the more common borders used are pavers, black plastic edging, landscape timbers, and brick or stone edgers. Because edging varies so much in color and texture, your choice will have a big impact on the overall look of your landscape. You might also want to consider mixing a couple different types of edging materials to achieve an eclectic look with even more color.

Mulch or groundcover is another easy way to add color and dimension to your garden. Materials range from bark and wood chips to gravel and stone, with many other alternatives in between. Colors of these materials vary widely; it’s possible to find groundcover in almost any hue of the rainbow, as well as many colors that aren’t in the rainbow!

When planning your landscape design, don’t forget to include garden structures such as trellises, arbors, furniture, and more. Garden structures not only add color to your yard, but they also serve as an architectural element that can be used as a focal point in the garden, creating visual interest.

Trellises are probably one of the least expensive garden structures that can still provide a big visual punch. A garden trellis serves as a support structure for climbing plants and flowers, allowing them to grow upward instead of outward, and literally bringing your garden to new heights. Arbors and pergolas are the next step up in size and expense, but they also add a lot more height to your yard and can also provide shade, a place to sit and rest, or even a gated entrance into a back or side yard. Arbors, pergolas, and trellises are all available in a wide variety of materials and colors. If you want to color match the structure to your home, then you’ll probably want to choose wood that can be painted. For something that doesn’t require as much ongoing maintenance, consider a durable PVC vinyl that won’t require painting or staining. Just make sure the plastic has been treated with a UV inhibitor so the color doesn’t fade or change as exposed to sunlight.

Colorful outdoor furniture can compliment your design and improve the functionality of your outdoor space. Consider a well-placed bench in the middle of your garden, or even a pair of chairs and a table, nestled in a bed of daisies in the spring. Smaller pieces of outdoor furniture can be a good investment because they can easily be moved around and rearranged as desired. Like arbors, pergolas, and trellises, garden furniture also comes in a variety of materials and color choices. If you’re really picky about the specific color you want, opt for wood that can be painted. Otherwise, a rust free metal like aluminum or a UV protected vinyl will offer lower maintenance options that are still available in many hues.

As you create your landscape design, remember that plants and flowers are not the only way to add color and visual interest to your yard. By thinking outside the box and incorporating other garden elements like some of those we’ve discussed, you can create a garden that’s not only colorful, but also as individual and unique as you are.

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

Design Your Landscaping With Christmas Decorating in Mind

Every landscaping project has different considerations according to the needs and wants of the owner. Decorating for Christmas and other holidays is a big deal to a lot of folks and so planning electrical access specifically for it into their landscaping can prove to be a convenience when it comes time to decorate for the holidays.

When talking about landscaping for Christmas, most folks will be considering the role of certain plants in the Winter garden. Evergreens like Holly of course are a common symbol of Christmas and keep their color all year. They’re also a common plant for making wreaths. Many other plants that produce red berries, again like the Holly, also can create a Christmas atmosphere throughout the Winter landscape.

While certain types of plants are necessary for design structure and Winter interest in landscaping, this article doesn’t focus on the actual landscaping structure itself. What this article addresses first is the folks that go all out to decorate their yard and home for the holidays. For them, a special consideration in their landscaping plans is for decorating, decorations, lights, and preparing the landscape to use them in an efficient way. What this basically means is to create and provide electrical access throughout the entire landscape.

Some of the Christmas decorations and lighting displays of today are quite elaborate and require a lot of electricity to run them. From simple single displays to incredible computerized syncronized orchestrations that incorporate the entire yard and home. The outlets and circuits required to run these displays may exceed the outlets and power that most homes have available. And most landscaping plans never consider and supply electricity and outlets where they’re needed most for such activities. In the yard itself.

Aside from Christmas and other holiday decorations, having electrical outlets throughout your property is often convenient for a lot of other purposes. And while we most generally plan for low voltage electrical lighting throughout the landscape, very few of our clients ever consider the need for house current in the yard until we mention it as an option in their design.

So once decided as a consideration for your landscaping plan, electrical outlets, lines, and anything house current has to be installed by professionals. There’s is no room for error with electricity. It’s a good idea for the entire network to have its own panel box and circuit breakers. That way, it’s generally assured there is plenty of power for the yard decor network. And if there are problems with the system, it can be shut down independently without affecting the power to the entire home.

A final consideration for placing electrical outlets and other utilities throughout your yard is the visibility factor. Few things look worse in a well groomed yard. If flower and planting beds are in the landscaping plan, electrical outlets can easily be hidden among shrubs, groundcovers, and other plants in the bed areas. Another option, in or outside of the flower beds, is specially designed weatherproof outlets that fit close to the ground. They can be used when needed and are otherwise unaffected by sprinkler systems, mowing, and weather.

Again, every landscaping project is different with different considerations according to the owner. Decorating ideas for Christmas and other holidays is a big deal to a lot of folks, planning it into their landscaping can prove to be a convenient time saving addition when it comes to time to decorate for the holidays.