Posted by Amanda Bruen on 9/12/2017

If you were to look at a photo of a suburban neighborhood from the 1950s and one from today, you would notice many similarities. The houses have gotten much larger, but they still have perfectly manicured lawns and milky white fences. American culture has come a long way since the days of nuclear families. An emphasis on conservation and environmentalism has added recycling bins to many of our homes. But by and large our backyards remain mostly unchanged. Some people are electing to deviate from those norms to make their homes and yard more eco-friendly. Part of that change has been to adapt natural landscaping techniques that make your backyard seem less chiseled-out and more a part of its natural environment. With proper planning and care, natural landscaping can give your yard both a modern and natural look, and it won't look messy or overgrown. Here are some tips to get you started on natural landscaping in your backyard.

Native planting

A big part of natural landscaping is understanding your local plant life. Planting flora that is native to your area is not only helping your yard look more natural but also helping your local plant and wildlife. Often we bring in "exotic" plants and flowers without understanding the ecological issues that can arise from invasive species, both on other plants as well as on the local animals. So what are some ways you could alter your yard to house more local plant life? That depends entirely on your taste and on your local flora. If you live in a coastal, warm area, you might choose a sand or shell path in your yard that leads through tall grasses. If you live inland it might make more sense to choose stones or pebbles for your walkway and a variety of shrubs, flowers, and grasses for around the yard.

Lawn dividers

You won't find any white picket fences naturally occurring in the woods. But nature has its own barriers that can be adapted for use around your property. Vines, trees, bushes, and even rocks can all be used as natural barriers. People have used rock walls to mark of their property for centuries, and for good reason: they last forever (with some occasional maintenance) and they compliment the natural environment of your yard.

Make your lawn livable

Your lawn should be hospitable for your plants, your local wildlife, and for you. Using natural wooden benches, tree swings, and maintained paths will make your backyard look like the walkthrough gardens that we see in old English manor houses. But you should also keep in mind the birds, bugs, and other animals that will frequent your yard. By not using chemical insecticides or weed killers you're already helping your local wildlife thrive. But you can attract even more birds by setting inconspicuous feeders in the trees around your yard.

What's to gain from natural landscaping?

Aside from looking nice, natural landscaping has countless other benefits. When you're growing plants native to your area you know the plants are predisposed to grow well in your yard. That means less maintenance, watering, and less money spent buying replacements for dead plants. You'll be helping the local wildlife fit in, and you'll be helping yourself by giving your yard a refreshing, natural look.





Posted by Amanda Bruen on 7/18/2017

Even if you’re not hopping on a jet plane for a getaway anytime soon, you can make your own backyard your very own relaxation spot. There are a variety of ways that you can get your backyard to a place of zen. 


Focus On The Deck


Your deck can become its own destination. If you have room for multiple levels, use each site for different activities like dining and relaxing. You can use plants or other outdoor items to define the designated spaces on the deck. At the same time, the entire landscape of the area will blend in together, looking natural. 


Make Your Yard An Extension Of Your Home


Your yard can become an extension of your home’s interior pretty easily. Whether you have a season room, a deck, or a patio, you’ll want to be outdoors as much as possible. You can design any of these spaces to be an extension of your home’s architectural design and interior design. From the way your furniture is laid out to the colors you choose to the overall design of the room or patio space, you’ll be able to bring the overall feel you want for your home both indoors and out. 


Create Your Dream Kitchen Outdoors


If you love to eat outdoors and spend a lot of time grilling, an outdoor kitchen could be for you. Any kind of grill will do. To make your outdoor kitchen complete, you’ll need a prep space, complete with countertops. Installing a separate burner will bring your outdoor cooking experience to the next level. If you have the resources, add an outdoor refrigerator and sink to make both the preparation of food and the outdoor cleanup process easier.


Keep Your Privacy 


You want to keep your yard private when you create the perfect outdoor space. Enclosing the space will make your yard feel more like a private escape if it has some sort of enclosure. You can use anything from a fence to walls to bushes and trees. Get creative with how you ensure your privacy.


Make Sure You Have Shade


Even if you love the sun, the shade can be welcome on a hot, bright day. There’s so many ways that you can create shade including using umbrellas, awnings, or natural shade from trees and greenery.  


Define Your Space


You can make your space even more of a pleasant place if you use some sort of structure to define it. Things you can install include a gazebo, pergolas, arbor ways, trellises, or other outdoor structures. If you have a pool, a pool house would add to this division of your yard. It’s not a bad idea to have your entire yard categorized in different spots just like your deck to make your yard an oasis.




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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 7/11/2016

Your backyard represents an outdoor mecca, a space where you can gather with family members and friends and create memories. As such, you'll want to ensure this area of your home looks great as you get ready to list your home on the real estate market. Creating an awe-inspiring backyard can be quick and simple – just consider the following backyard improvement tips: 1. Use Plants to Your Advantage. When it comes to decorating your backyard, be sure to include plenty of plants. By doing so, you'll be able to add a splash of color and give your backyard a unique look and feel. There are many wonderful plants you can use to decorate your backyard, too. From roses to perennials and everything in between, you can choose from a vast assortment of stunning plants to enhance your backyard's décor. Don't forget about vegetables, either. You may be able to plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, one that could sprout peppers, tomatoes and other tasty vegetables that you can enjoy and may help your backyard make a long-lasting impression on homebuyers. 2. Create a Clear-Cut Path. Your backyard should feature a paved path or stepping stones that serve as a guide. The use of a clear-cut path also will enable you to keep outdoor seating or dining areas free from foot traffic. In addition, any path you create should be clutter-free, and you should devote the necessary time and resources to develop a superior path that makes it easy for just about anyone to get around your backyard quickly and safely. 3. Take Care of Your Lawn. The front lawn might be the first thing a prospective homebuyer sees when he or she checks out your home, but the back lawn may make a world of difference in the eyes of a homebuyer as well. Maintaining a neat, clean lawn is paramount for a home seller, and those who mow both the front and back lawns regularly should have no trouble minimizing the appearance of pesky crabgrass and weeds. Furthermore, be sure to trim any bushes and remove any branches or roots from backyard walkways. 4. Add Outdoor Lighting. Who says you can't hang out in your backyard after the sun sets? Thanks to outdoor lighting, you can illuminate your backyard however you'd like. In many cases, outdoor pendants and votive candles can help your backyard sparkle in the evening. These lights will brighten up any outdoor space as well as create a one-of-a-kind ambiance that will help your backyard stand out. Of course, there are many outdoor lighting options available, so you should try to find lights that match your personal style as well. Revamping your backyard doesn't necessarily require extensive time or resources. And with these helpful tips, you should be able to transform your home's backyard into an asset that makes your residence more attractive to homebuyers. Begin your backyard improvements today, and ultimately, you may find that your house's backyard helps generate significant interest in your residence.





Posted by Amanda Bruen on 8/25/2015

A great home is complimented by a good looking yard. No matter how well built your home may look, if your yard is not well maintained, it gives a bad impression to a first time visitor.  Interestingly, it is note worthy that you do not need a huge budget to spruce up your yard.  Through ingenuity and creativity, a great looking yard can be developed at a minimal expense. There are several options to be considered when sprucing up your yard. If you have a larger budget with a lot of cash to spend, adding a patio, deck, arbor or gazebo would enhance the look of your yard while also providing additional areas to enjoy it. However, for those on a tighter budget, the following tips may help them achieve the yard they have always desired. Add some color to your yard by planting a flower garden or expanding an existing one. Look around for plants that are easy to propagate. Ask friends and neighbors if they have any hardy perennials that they are willing to share.  You will find that most gardeners have an abundance of easy to grow plants they are happy to give you when doing their spring and fall transplanting.  This will keep your need to purchase plants to a minimum. When starting a new garden, plant flowers in groups. This will allow your garden to look fuller and more lush quicker and be easier to maintain.  Have a gardener help you identify a few plants that grow really well together.  Take a small clump of each plant, ensuring you have an adequate amount of roots, and plant them a few inches apart.  Spacing of the plants should be based on the size and height of the mature plant.  If well maintained and nourished, you will have a well established garden in no time. Try not to be tempted with beautiful annual plants as they need to be replaced every year. However, a small investment in a few flowers will help add color throughout the season while your perennials become established the first year.  Be cautious not to let a trip to the garden center eat up your budget buying annuals that you will only enjoy for one season. However, purchasing a small garden statue, bird bath, or sundial at a yard sale or consignment shop will add beauty to your garden for years to come. Investing in big pots, and patio containers is a great idea.  Planters are a great way to spread color throughout the yard and are a lot easier to maintain.  However, the start-up expense of container gardening can be relatively high.  You will need to purchase good soil and compost or manure to help feed the plants throughout the season.  Placing large rocks in the bottom of the planter will help reduce the amount of soil needed and help with the drainage aspect of the container.  Typically annuals are best suited for this purpose, when spaced correctly, only a few well selected plants are need.  Consistent watering and fertilizer is key to keeping your planters in full bloom. Strategically placing rocks and boulders in your yard and gardens would increase the aesthetics. There is typically no need to purchase these, there are plenty of places that you can get them for free.  Visit a local construction site,  the contractor may be more than willing to let you take what ever you want.  Rocks that are native to your area always look best and blend well with the landscape of your yard.  A bit of exploring around the wooded area in your neighborhood may produce just what you are looking for.  There is no need to over do it, less is more when it comes to adding rocks that are not naturally occurring in your yard. The addition of trees and shrubbery will also make a great difference to the yard. Trees are often planted first, with the remainder of the landscape designed around them.  Younger trees are much more affordable, be certain to choose a variety hardy to your area.  Adding trees to your yard can be an ongoing project, planting one or two a year can help keep you within your budget.  The shade and beauty the trees provide will make your yard even more inviting. A little creativity, some yard work, and a few dollars is all it takes to spruce up your yard. Keeping your yard clean and well maintained will produce the landscaped look you desire.  







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