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December 2017

Landscaping Ideas for Outdoor Living in 2018

Now is the perfect time to plan for the year to come and imagine the ways in which your Hingham, MA, backyard can evolve. Do you feel like your landscape could be more attractive, or that your outdoor entertainment could be more practical? Read on to discover a few trends that could take your landscape to the next level in 2018.

Beach-inspired walkways

You can make your home feel like a beach-side getaway by creating a charming walkway at its entrance. Landscape designers achieve a distinct beachy look with the use of small white pebbles. These pebbles can be used to frame a walkway consisting of grass, sand, or tumbled pavers. Alternatively, the stones can be assembled to form the body of the pathway, flanked by small shrubs, flowers and larger rocks.

When paired with a large untamed lawn and a Cape Cod style home, the relaxing and isolated atmosphere of a holiday beach-side house can be created. Shells can be scattered around large rocks or between plants to emphasize the theme.

Related: Some Stunning Alternatives to the Traditional Brick Walkway in Hingham

Making the most of small spaces

Is there a corner of your landscape that has remained unused for years, simply because its too small to turn into an outdoor room? Try making the most of your small, neglected spaces in 2018. One way to create an outdoor room free of crowded furniture, is by including multi-purpose retaining walls into the design. Retaining walls can outline the perimeter of the room, while serving as casual seating space or a surface upon which to place food and drinks.

Refrain from incorporating plants and flowers in many different colors, as they can make the room feel crowded. Opt for a monochromatic color scheme instead, filled with pops of cool color like blue, silver, and teal.

Turning small spaces into destinations doesn’t mean that they have to be able to accommodate many people. Consider creating a tranquil space where you can be alone and unwind or meditate. You could nestle a small water feature beside a snug bench and allow the surrounding plant life to envelop the rest of the space.

Related: Landscape Contractors Use These Techniques for Making Small Spaces Appear Larger

Incorporating Japanese influences

Japanese landscapes are inspiring works of art that incorporate many different elements of nature, water features, and organic materials like wood. They refrain from using materials that look artificial, like concrete, for example.

Consider creating a waterfall shrouded in plant life that empties into a large pond. A sophisticated wooden bridge may be constructed, leading to a small patio underneath a pair of large flowering trees. Japanese influences work best when you have a large landscape to experiment with, and are centered around creating harmonious shapes, sounds, and textures.

Related: Backyard Designs that Promote Serenity and Calm

Dining further from the home

Outdoor dining areas are generally situated snugly against the home so that trips to the indoor kitchen can be made unnoticed. However, more homeowners are creating distance between their al fresco dining and home. You could create a decked out kitchen right beside your dining area – with all the appliances and utilities you would ever need. Or you could simply carry your plate a bit further, from your indoor kitchen or existing grill to your new secluded dining area.

Related: Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Improving Safety in Your Hanover Backyard

An isolated dining area can help to make the ambience of dining under the stars more immersive and unique. Having a fire pit or hot tub nearby will ensure that pre- and post-dinner entertainment is always available.

Related: Advantages of Hiring a Design Build Company over a Basic Landscape Contractor in Milton

4 Modern Front Yard Landscaping Ideas for a Trendy Home in Walpole, MA

Your front yard is the prelude to your home, giving guests a peek into the aesthetic and style that pervades the rest of your home and landscape. A contemporary home and hardscape therefore requires a front yard incorporating the latest trends. Minimalism still has a strong influence on modern landscape design and few homeowners still have a flowering garden and cobblestone pathway leading to their front door. Here are a few features that will ensure your Walpole, MA, front yard stays one step ahead of the others on your street.

A sleek patio

A patio is by no means restricted to your backyard. Creating a small patio at the front of your home can serve to welcome guests as they arrive. It can also be the perfect place from which to watch your kids play on the lawn or enjoy a cup of coffee. Make relaxation possible by adorning the patio with a small bistro table or an assortment of comfortable chairs.

Although textured wood can give a structure a time-worn look, it also provides textural interest to an otherwise sleek patio. Incorporating plenty of geometry into the patio will further the modern aesthetic of your patio. Steps leading up to your patio can add vertical interest to your front yard, making it more visual interest than a simple two-dimensional layout.

Related: Natural Stone vs Concrete Paver Patio for Your MA Home

Understated plant beds

Desert-themed, or ‘dry’ gardens are a relatively recent trend that embraces the minimalism of modern landscape design. Instead of soil, these beds feature gravel and small stones. While plants are rooted in fertile soil, these dry materials are scattered on the surface to give the base of the plant bed a textured look. These look especially stunning when paired with minimalist homes that boast the cool, neutral shades found in stone and rock. Dry gardens tend to bear only a few statement plants, sparsely surrounded by smaller shrubs and groundcover.

Landscape lighting

When incorporating all these minimalist design techniques, one risks allowing your hardscape to appear boring or empty. Fortunately, strategic landscape lighting can make the most understated hardscape designs look interesting. There are various techniques, involving the placement of light fixtures at different heights and angles, that achieve various visual effects. Some lighting techniques, like highlighting, draw attention to a feature within the landscape, such as a sculpture or interesting plant. Other techniques, like silhouetting, are more subtle but equally captivating. Landscape lighting will also ensure that your front yard can be navigated safely after sunset, and can even improve your security by making any would-be intruders easy to spot.

Related: Functional Outdoor Lighting Plans: The Do’s and Don’ts

Incorporating Asian influences

Asian-inspired hardscapes are part of a surging trend. While sticking to minimalism, this trend incorporates more textured materials like wood and water. Outdoor designs incorporating these materials also tend to have a wonderfully tranquil appearance. Geometric planters filled with fine stones or sand can mimic small zen gardens and can be filled with a few small plants planted in a linear fashion. Smooth, refined wood is a dominant feature within modern asian-inspired hardscape designs and can be used to create a relaxing deck that leads to the front door. Consider creating a cool geometric pond just in front of your front entrance, with a wooden deck or concrete slab leading to the door. This can add a captivating element to your home and can serve to make it truly unique.

Related: Front Yard Landscaping to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Image courtesy of Unilock.

5 Features to Match your Stone Patio in Walpole, MA

If you’re looking to expand your landscaping beyond a patio, there are many ways to incorporate new features. Working with your already existing patio surface is the best way to make new elements feel like part of the original design. Add some of these features to match your stone patio in Walpole, MA.

Walkways

Walkways add form and structure to your landscape. They also help define the flow of traffic, while guiding visitors to focal points or outdoor rooms. For a cohesive look, opt for walkways that match your existing patio design. To match a classic brick patio, manufactured concrete pavers can offer the same look as natural clay bricks, and are even more durable.

Related: How to Create a Romantic Paver Walkway that Doubles as a Destination

Limestone and flagstone make beautiful walkways that complement a natural landscape. To continue a country garden feel throughout your yard, add paths in a coordinating stone. If you prefer walkways that look a bit more formal, concrete pavers are available to match the look of bluestone.

Related: Some Stunning Alternatives to the Traditional Brick Walkway in Hingham

Steps

The transition from your backyard to your home should be seamless. Extending the same material from your patio to your doorway will create a staircase that blends with your landscape. Whether you have a casual landscape or a classic formal design, there are brick, flagstone, or limestone options to complement it.

To get the look of high-end stone for less, concrete pavers offer an extremely wide variety of design options. There are many stone and brick patterns that look like real stone and will match your existing patio.

Stone Walls

Garden walls and retaining walls can completely change the look of your landscape. If you want to convert a steep grade into terraced sections, retaining walls that match your existing hardscaping will create a unified look. Low walls are an excellent way to help define an outdoor room and can also provide extra seating. Raised planting beds can also be designed to match your patio.

Related: Dry vs Wet Masonry for your Stone Wall in Hanover, MA

Manufactured wall units are ideal for wall construction, and are available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and styles. Manufactured units are also less expensive and easier to work with than natural stone. To soften the look of a stone wall, add curves by incorporating tapered units into the design.

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are one of the most popular ways to transform your yard into an outdoor living space. The ability to cook and dine outside extends your living area and allows you to make more use of your backyard. To add an outdoor kitchen that blends with your current design, choose stones that match the appearance of your patio. To get the look of natural stone for a fraction of the price, stone veneers are available in a wide variety of finishes. Stone veneer is also durable and heat resistant so it’s a popular choice for outdoor kitchens.

Fireplace or Fire Pit

A fireplace adds warmth and creates a beautiful focal point for your patio. A large fireplace will also provide an extra wall to create shelter or privacy. Having your new fireplace finished with the same stone as your patio will make it seem like part of the original plan.  If your patio doesn’t have room for a full fireplace, a fire pit can have a much smaller footprint. Either style will create a cozy and inviting ambiance and can be designed to coordinate with your patio.

Related: Is It Too Late to Start on Your Stone Patio Project in Milton, MA?

Image courtesy of Unilock.

Winter Landscaping Ideas for your Front Yard in Duxbury

The front yard of your home is what people see first, yet many homeowners focus their landscaping efforts solely on the backyard. When winter comes, the backyard is buried under a blanket of snow and is rarely seen. Your front yard is on display all year long, however, and shouldn’t be neglected. Employ these winter landscaping ideas to improve the look of your Duxbury, MA, front yard when the temperature drops.

Plan for Snow Removal

A good landscape plan will take all seasons into consideration. Winter conditions and the maintenance that goes along with them can be hard on a landscape. Snow plows, shovels, and salt are all very harmful to both plants and hardscaping. To minimize damage during snow removal, situate items such as light posts and fences well away from the edge of the driveway. Plants should be kept back at least a foot from walkways to allow for snow pile-up in the winter. Remember to also invest in professional snow and ice management.

Related: Keep your Property in Top Shape All Year Round with these Landscaping Services in Milton

Safe Passage

Icy winter weather can make navigating walkways a hazard. Your front yard landscaping should include easy-to-navigate walkways and accessible entryways. Save meandering paths for the backyard and have front walkways designed to mimic natural traffic patterns. When dealing with a winter climate, walkways should also take snow and ice accumulation into account. A bit of ice makes angled surfaces very difficult to navigate. Incorporate stairs to avoid sloping walkways when possible.

Heated walkways and driveways are one of the most convenient ways to combat winter conditions in your front yard.  Radiant heating systems installed under the driveway or walkway will keep surfaces warm enough to melt snow and prevent accumulation. Once the system is installed a variety of surface finishing options are available. Pavers offer a much nicer appearance than poured concrete or asphalt and will make future repairs easier.

Related: Some Stunning Alternatives to the Traditional Brick Walkway in Hingham

Cold Weather Plants

To break up a blanket of white, ask Towne Tree & Landscaping about hardy plants that will add year-round interest to your yard. Evergreen trees and hedges will offer texture and color to your landscape in all seasons. Include different varieties to take advantage of the varying shades of blues and greens available. Trees and shrubs that hold onto fruits and berries over the winter not only look great against a white backdrop, they also provide food for birds when sources are scarce. Crab-apple trees are beautiful in all seasons and often hold their fruit in colder weather. Winter blooming plants such as Winter Hazel and Holly will provide pops of color in your yard. Include tall perennial grasses to add texture and movement to your front yard. Incorporate them in planting beds that would otherwise be buried under the snow to add interest year-round.

Outdoor Lighting

As the temperature drops and days get shorter, winter lighting becomes even more important. For safety, as well as aesthetics, the front yard should be well lit and inviting. If you arrive home after dark on a regular basis, consider having motion sensor lighting, or timers installed. Lights focused on the driveway and entryway will come on when you approach in the car or leave the house for maximum safety. To prep your landscape lighting for winter, have a timer system installed so you can adjust the schedule for shorter days.  For an extra touch, installing string lights in shrubs or trees will create a beautiful winter ambiance.

Related: 4 Modern Front Yard Landscaping Ideas for a Trendy Home in Walpole, MA