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Tag Archives: Backyard

How to Take Care of Your Backyard Outdoor Fireplace in Milton, MA

A backyard fireplace is probably one of the most rewarding investments for your Milton, MA home. Not only does it add to the opulence of your property, but also makes your yard a comfortable gathering place for friends and family. However, keeping a fireplace safe and functional requires some care, and knowing what to look out for can help you enjoy your fireplace to the utmost.

Related: 5 Designs for a Perfect Summer Backyard in Walpole MA

Rechecking the location

Safety is paramount with any fire feature, which is why it is important to revisit the placement of your fireplace. Ensure that plants remain a safe distance from the fireplace, especially after spring summer when most plants go through a growth spurt. Ask your landscaper to trim back branches and ensure that the fireplace’s location is still optimal. Moreover, try to keep the fireplace away from flammable structures and consider relocating it if you have carried out an extension or renovations.

Check for defective parts

Regular use, high working temperatures and exposure to the elements can take their toll on the various parts of your fireplace. Gas fireplaces, in particular, have to be checked more often, given they have a more complex design. It is important to ensure none of the gas lines, fixtures or valves are leaking. This can be done by your landscaper. Similarly, the burners and pilot light should also be examined for corrosion, given their exposure to the elements, as problems with them can result in trouble with lighting up and maintaining a flame.

Related: Five Important Design Trends that are Shaping Landscaping in Scituate MA

Inspect the chimney

A clean and free-flowing chimney is an integral part of any fireplace. A quick inspection of the chimney should be carried out by the homeowner before every use to ensure that it is free of serious blockages. Typically, fireplaces with clogged chimneys experience back puffing, emitting smoke through the opening rather than through the chimney. This can be caused by leaves or debris accumulating, especially during the fall, as well as due to the build-up of soot and creosote. In either case, a clogged chimney is a significant fire hazard and a professional should be consulted, especially after a prolonged period of disuse. Creosote build-up, in particular, is quite dangerous given its inflammable nature. No fireplace should be used if the build up is thick and tar-like, as this is more susceptible to catching fire. Lastly, consider investing in a chimney cover or grill to prevent debris from falling in.

Issues with the masonry

Fireplaces are constructed from a wide variety of materials. Some are more susceptible to degradation over time than others. This is partly due to the high temperature variation, as well as constant exposure to the elements that an outdoor fireplace is subject to. Check the fireplace for cracks and consult a professional over the proper repair procedure. Filling in a crack with the wrong material can cause excessive expansion and exacerbate the crack over time. Similarly, exposure to the rain can result in crumbling masonry, especially inside the chimney, which is often less protected. Coating the entire fireplace with a sealant after repairs is one excellent way to mitigate any potential disasters. Lastly, fireplaces tend to be heavy structures that can cause the soil underneath them to compact. This can result is the ground settling under the structure, potentially causing it to become unstable and a safety hazard. In any of these scenarios, contacting a professional is the best option, given the high-risk nature of structural problems with fireplaces.

Image courtesy of Unilock.

5 Designs for a Perfect Summer Backyard in Walpole MA

The arrival of summer means getting outside to enjoy the warm weather. If your Walpole, MA, backyard is lacking appeal, let Towne Tree and Landscaping, Inc. give it new life. Updating your landscape design can extend your living space and create a yard that you won’t want to leave. Transform your landscape into the perfect summer escape with one of these backyard design ideas.

Relaxing Retreat

If you just want a quiet place to escape to, a backyard Zen garden is the perfect solution. A pond creates a beautiful focal point for a traditional Japanese garden. Whether you opt for a modern patio pond or a natural stone pond, the soothing sounds of moving water will provide a tranquil atmosphere. A fountain will allow you to enjoy the peaceful sounds of a water feature without the maintenance of a pond.

Related: Five Important Design Trends that are Shaping Landscaping in Scituate MA

Instead of a traditional lawn and flower beds, opt for a rock garden with sweeping curves and sand or river rock in place of grass. A Zen garden favors soothing shades of green over brightly colored flowers. Plants such as bamboo, dwarf pine and Japanese cedar will bring life to your Zen garden without detracting from the tranquil feel.

Backyard Spa

Create the feeling of an outdoor spa right in your backyard. A soothing hot tub is a must-have feature for a backyard that makes you feel pampered. Surround the hot tub with a gorgeous multi-level wood deck and comfortable seating to recreate a relaxing outdoor retreat.

An outdoor bar will give guests a place to sit and relax with a chilled drink.  A fireplace to add warmth after a soak on a cool night will round out the perfect backyard spa design.

The Gathering Place

A fire pit with built-in seating creates a cozy atmosphere and invites friends and family to gather and stay awhile. It also means chilly nights won’t end a great outdoor gathering. A fire pit offers design flexibility and is adaptable to any size or style of landscape. A gas-fuelled fire pit will complement a modern landscape, while a natural stone, wood-burning fire pit will fit a less formal yard.

Related: How to Take Care of Your Backyard Outdoor Fireplace in Milton, MA

No party is complete without good food! An outdoor kitchen will make your backyard even more enticing and allow you to cook entire meals without leaving your guests. Think beyond a BBQ and incorporate a grill, side burners and fridge to ensure you have everything you need on hand.

High-Tech Lounge

To truly expand your living space into your yard, bring technology outdoors. A fully equipped outdoor living room is so much more appealing than a dark man-cave. Outfit your space with a good music system and surround sound. For a unique experience, create a theatre under the stars with an outdoor flat screen TV, or a projector and a backyard movie screen. Keep drinks chilled and close at hand with a convenient patio cooler.

English Garden

If you prefer high-tea over high-tech, an English Garden is the perfect backyard design. Classic brick masonry will provide the backbone for a traditional English Garden. Raised planters and a formal patio will give form and function to your landscape. Soften the hardscaping with an abundance of bright blooms, such as roses, peonies and Iris. Boxwood hedges can add privacy or create borders for walkways or flower beds. For an even more formal look, a well-planned knot garden will add structure and balance to any landscape.

Related: Add Character to Your Walpole Landscape with a Brick Walkway

Image courtesy of Unilock.

Landscape Contractors Use These Techniques for Making Small Spaces Appear Larger

Are you looking for ways to improve your small Milton, MA, outdoor area? Maybe make it appear a bit more spacious? Small landscape spaces offer a cozy appeal which gives you the opportunity to get creative with their design. If you want to transform your landscape into a visually larger area, here are some things to consider:

Create Separate Areas

Even though we are talking about a relatively small space, dividing it into two or possibly three separate areas can actually make it seem larger. The trick is simple, creating separate spaces for different experiences means making fuller use of the area and encourages moving from one area to another, creating the psychological impression of more room. Grand structures will have the opposite effect, so dividing the area should be done with more subtlety, such as using a different paver or laying pattern for each area, or using border pavers to separate the spaces.

Related: What’s Missing in your Landscaping Layout?

Use the Vertical Space

One of the cleverest ways to visually expand an area (and create extra space for plants) is to go vertical. If the vertical space in your small backyard is abundant, use it to distract from the lack of horizontal yardage. Add vines, a living wall decorated with flowers, and other colorful greenery on your retaining wall, fence, or railings. A ladder can be an attractive decoration that will freshen up the space with its chic appearance and you can use its rungs as shelving for flowers or other decorative elements. Your vertical space is a great way to draw the eye up and outwards and create a different experience in your backyard.

Related: Backyard Designs for Creating Rustic Charm in Scituate, MA

Add a Focal Point

Having a centerpiece in your backyard draws the attention away from the lack of space. The focal point can be a dramatic piece, like a water feature or a fire pit that will create interest and add intrigue. The size of the focal point determines whether the space will appear larger or even smaller. It is recommended to choose a smaller focal point for smaller spaces because a larger element, like a bold fireplace design, may overwhelm the space and have the opposite effect.

Keep it Clean and Simple

After you divide the small backyard into functional areas, unify the space using similar hardscape materials. Incorporate elements with similar textures and contrasting or complementary colors that will highlight the greenery. Light colors and large format pavers are ideal for visually enlarging the area. Another way to expand the area is to incorporate diagonal lines. Avoid creating short, straight lines on your deck or patio. Instead you can have the pavers laid in a diagonal orientation.

Related: Paver Patterns for Imaginative Patios in Milton, MA

When you are dealing with a smaller backyard, it is crucial to avoid cluttering it with an overflow of furniture in different colors and textures. It is a better option to keep it clean and simple with minimal furniture in preferably neutral or light tones that suit the area.

Create Levels

Landscape professionals recommend elevation changes in smaller backyards because it makes the space look larger. For your backyard, you can keep it straightforward and create different heights with a raised wooden deck, adding retaining wall terraces, or including a layered arrangement of plants of various heights.

Related: What a Landscape Contractor Can Do for Your Property in Duxbury

Image courtesy of Unilock.

Backyard Designs for Creating Rustic Charm in Scituate, MA

Even though a rustic theme calls for a naturalistic look, a good design is just as important as it is for a more formal setting. Towne Tree and Landscaping can help you perfect your backyard design while injecting character and charm into the setting. Here we’ll take a look at some of the design elements you can include in your Scituate, MA, backyard to add that comforting, rustic feeling and authenticity.

Hardscapes

Natural stone, such as flagstone, is an obvious choice for rustic designs, providing irregular shapes and a high degree of visual interest. However concrete pavers should not be discounted. With their rich variations and a wide array of shapes and sizes, concrete pavers can be an excellent alternative to natural stone and are often indistinguishable from their natural counterparts. Their range of sizes means that although they may not offer the same irregularity of flagstone, visually interesting, randomized laying patterns can still be achieved. Both natural stone and concrete pavers can be woven into beautiful meandering country-esque walkways, and cozy rustic patios.

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

Wood is also an important feature of rustic design and can be incorporated into hardscapes in the form of decking. This is an excellent solution for creating outdoor living spaces embedded in densely wooded backyards with the least impact on the environment.

Patio Furniture

Your backyard will definitely need seating space if it’s going to provide you with anything more than just good views. To maintain a rustic look, go for furniture that is rich in natural texture and warm, earthy coloring. For example, furniture made out of wood or wicker can help to complete the look. A picnic table or classic long, solid farmhouse style table with benches provides an excellent rustic addition to the landscape. Alternatively, permanent seating built with units steeped in rugged beauty is a great way to go.

Decorative Elements, Ornaments and Décor

Backyard ornaments and décor to complement a rustic theme include upcycled, vintage and natural elements. Old farm equipment and reclaimed wood are always great options for introducing a touch of rustic charm. Wagon wheels, railway sleepers, milk cans and raw timber can be repurposed to give your landscape a hint of the country. Consider, for example, including a railway sleeper walkway through a deep plant bed to allow easier access, or incorporating logs as casual landscape seating. Water features such as waterfalls, streams and ponds are also perfect elements for adding more natural beauty and serenity to your landscape. Similarly, natural stone, stone veneer, or naturalistic concrete fireplaces and fire pits are an excellent way to add comfort, warmth and an enjoyable rustic ambience.

Related: Capturing the Timeless Aesthetic of the Stone Wall

Flowers and Plants

A rustic backyard design would not be complete without plenty of plants and flowers. Large trees with richly textured bark are also a must. If space is available, why not have a vegetable garden installed and try your hand at growing produce such tomatoes, peppers, onions, and carrots. This not only adds to the rustic theme but contributes to the dinner table as well!

Backyard Designs that Promote Serenity and Calm

A serene and relaxing backyard for your Hingham, MA, property calms the nerves and relieves daily stress. Getting back to nature also offers long lasting health benefits, so why not envelope yourself in the aromas and textures of a natural environment by incorporating these aspects into your own backyard?

To achieve this, the design can be kept simple and uniform or rustic and wild depending on your preferences. Plants and additional features can be included to add beauty and tranquility to the backyard area and stimulate the senses. Even a small backyard space can be designed to offer a relaxing environment in which you find solace and comfort. Here are some tips to promote serenity and calm in your outdoor living space:

Native plants to attract insects and birds

An oasis of native flowers and trees add beauty to the landscape in and of themselves, but the advantages don’t stop there. Native plants also lure butterflies, birds and other wildlife. The sound dampening qualities of plants can help drown out the daily bustle of the street while the sounds of insects and birds can produce restful and melodic ambience.

Related: 4 Gorgeous Landscape Design Themes for your Hanover Backyard

Water Features

You don’t need to have a swimming pool to enjoy the beauty and calmative properties of water. Besides, not every backyard has the capacity to include a full sized pool. However, backyards can still be enhanced with a centerpiece water feature. Cascading streams, waterfalls and small fountains produce negative ions which have a positive effect on overall health. Furthermore, negative ions attract dust and act to purify the air you breathe. Not to mention that flowing water produces a tranquil sound which is considered to be therapeutic—relaxing your mind, soul, and body.

Related: 5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard

Recline in a Hammock

Imagine the setting of a cool spring day in your backyard—birds twittering in the trees and the sun gently warming you as you sway in a soft, calming breeze. Reclining in a hammock in a quiet backyard is the perfect way to separate yourself from the bustle of modern life. Hammocks can be strung between trees or be secured with their own supports. Talk to your landscaper about facilitating a hammock in your backyard.

Bali Hut

Including a Bali hut adds an eco-friendly, attractive edge to your backyard. Natural materials can be used to achieve a sustainable, functional sanctuary which can be used for yoga and pilates to facilitate a calm mind and healthy body.

Related: Creating Privacy in Your Massachusetts Backyard

Food Plants

In place of flower beds, why not incorporate fruit trees, herb plants, and vegetable patches into your backyard design? Besides providing an appealing and beautiful view from your patio, you can also enjoy mouth watering delicacies straight from your backyard.

Harmonious Visual Appearance

Consider selecting your shrubs, groundcovers and flowers according to a simple color palette of only two or three colors so that the result is a harmonious visual appearance. Few plant varieties and mass plantings of each can be used for fullness and to avoid clutter. Achieve serene, scenic views with taller plants on each side and low growth beneath.

Distribute Seating

To enjoy the full serenity of your backyard, distribute seating, placing chairs or benches in strategic places to enjoy every section of your backyard.

Related: Trending Backyard Designs This Summer

Trending Backyard Designs This Summer

Just as you update your Sciituate, MA, home’s interiors, an update to your outdoor areas every once in a while is a great way to give your landscape a fresh new look. So if it is time to give your outdoor living space a makeover, take a look at these top outdoor landscaping trends for this summer season:

Bringing the Indoors Out

Get ready to bring the indoors outside. The biggest trend this year is to create a seamless transition from the indoor living room or sunroom to your outdoor space. This can be done by matching your outdoor pavers to your indoor flooring, add an awning that extends your ceiling into your patio or by adding French or sliding doors that open out onto your patio. You can also use outdoor rugs, sofas, side tables and throw pillows to make it all the more inviting and give your patio a sense of indoor comfort. The backyard is now an extension of the indoor space, and you get to decorate it with fun outdoor furniture and decor just as if you were indoors.

Related: What’s Missing in your Landscaping Layout?

Fun Printed Pillows

A sure way to make the outdoors look more inviting is to add fun colored pillows. Look for bright colors to cozy up your patio space. These patterns and colors can be repeated in your plant beds with bright flowering shrubs or perennials for a cohesive look.

Keep Your Color Palette Cool

Some of the favorite fabric colors this season are soft coastal blues, bisque and ivory. And of course let’s not leave out the already trending bamboo and jute colors. These fabrics can provide a fresh new look to your outdoor areas in the form of outdoor curtains and shade cloths.

Related: 5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard

Retro Is Back

Forget that ornate outdoor furniture of a few years ago. Retro is this year’s summer trend. If you can’t find real retro furnishings, don’t worry! Many manufacturers are bringing the retro look back in their new furniture designs. Natural, woven styles and even crochet are hot items. Think 70’s with rattan and wicker inspired pieces.

Related: Backyard Designs for Creating Rustic Charm in MA

Non-Traditional Colors

Although rattan is back, modern manufactured materials are stronger and the new off-the-wall colors of woven furniture is fantastic. Think light blue distressed, or bright blues and oranges. These can be matched or contrasted with vibrant concrete pavers and brought to life after dark with an effective outdoor lighting system. Speaking of which, experimenting with outdoor lighting colors can also achieve some interesting effects and add a surprising new mood to your outdoor living areas.

Related: Backyard Designs that Promote Serenity and Calm

Natural Materials

By the same token natural is back when it comes to building materials as well. Patios and walkways in natural stone styles are the way to go. Up until recently installing natural stone was a challenging undertaking for homeowners because of availability, cost and the discrepancies in color and size. However with new precision cutting methods for natural stone, a larger global market, and the advancement of concrete pavers with stone-like finishes, these problems have been eliminated. Now the look of flagstone, bluestone, and sandstone is easily achieved.

Related: Natural Stone vs Concrete Paver Patio for Your MA Home
5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard Massachusetts

5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard

Your Massachusetts backyard should be a vibrant, fun area of which you can be proud. After all, it’s a place for spending time with family, entertaining guests, and relaxing after a challenging day. Here are five design essentials to set you on your way towards an incredible backyard.

Originality

Don’t settle for a sterile or cookie-cutter design. Originality is key for a design you can proudly incorporate into your backyard. Try a bold, innovative design or consider a new take on a traditional, modern, mediterranean or rustic theme. Incorporating select, personalized pieces is also an excellent way of achieving originality. Natural features also offer a unique aesthetic owing to the fact they are produced as one of a kind by nature. Consider incorporating natural stone pavers, rock arrangements or naturalistic water features to ensure your landscape stands out from the crowd.

Useable living space

A useable outdoor living space is essential for entertaining and relaxation and may also serve as a space for preparing food and dining. As such, your patio should be designed with elegance, practicality and comfort in mind, while reflecting the beauty of the rest of your property.

High quality paving materials, as well as functional facilities such as an outdoor kitchen, wet bar and fire feature are excellent options for creating such a space. Comfort also plays a huge role and can be facilitated by comfortable, carefully selected outdoor furniture or convenient permanent seating. For an evening ambience, don’t forget to include lighting.

To increase usability and accessibility, a patio should be linked to the home with safe and effective walkways or flow from the home as an extension.

Focal Points

Adding focal points to your backyard will draw the eye while creating a point around which the rest of the area revolves. Focal points also make arranging furniture and other features easier, as they tend to fall into place once focal points are positioned. Water features, sculptures, fire features, custom furniture and other unique pieces make for excellent focal points for adding character and structure to a backyard design.

Related: 4 Design Tips for An Eye-Catching Outdoor Fireplace

Movement

If a space seems boring or unlively, it may be time to incorporate a water feature. These can be used to create a green oasis in your backyard, attract wildlife and promote a soothing backyard ambience.  Fountains, ponds, streams, and waterfall features are ideal for introducing dynamism into your yard. However, movement can also be introduced in a number of other ways as well. Consider a strategically placed cluster of reeds that blow in the wind, or introduce the impression of movement by incorporating sweeping lines and bold curves.

Linked spaces

Linking spaces are essential to creating flow in a backyard design, as well as promoting accessibility to your various backyard spaces. Walkways are ideal for this purpose and can be constructed from gorgeous natural stone pavers, cobblestone or even stepping stones. For multi-leveled backyards, steps are another way of linking spaces and be the perfect opportunity to showcase quality natural stone verticals.

Related: Interesting Laying Patterns for your Brick Walkway