Ditch the expensive summer trip for a retreat in your own backyard. Decks, patios, gardens and pools can provide a relaxing escape from your standard routine, making every day feel like a lavish vacation.1. Decks: Extended Outdoor Living
Decks are a fantastic way to expand your indoor living space into the outdoors. In fact, outdoor rooms have become popular in every climate. And homeowners with budgets big and small are increasingly remodeling their decks and patios to make room for outdoor kitchens, dining rooms and entertaining areas.
There are three basic components to a great deck: a grilling area, a food prep/sink area, and a dining area. Perhaps the most is the dining area. Be sure to choose a comfortable location that can be shaded in the heat of the day. A tabletop umbrella, a pergola or even large trees will do the trick.
If you don't enjoy working in the yard, a small, low-maintenance patio is a good solution for you.
Small doesn't have to mean dull and uninteresting. The materials you choose for your patio should be based on personal taste. Many people like the classic look of brick, which is durable and easy to install. Patio pavers and flagstone are also inexpensive and easy to install. They're available in many colors, and they're long lasting and durable too.
If you'd like to have box gardens or a small patch of grass on your patio, plan to incorporate these in areas that receive adequate and consistent sunlight.
A fountain or small waterfall will add a luxurious and exotic feel to your patio. Running water helps obscure outside noises and creates a relaxing atmosphere, especially if you are in an urban area.
There is nothing as pleasant as enjoying a meal on your patio. Design an area large enough for a table and a few chairs. If your space is limited, use built-in planters with wide borders as seating for buffets and casual gatherings.
You can model your landscaping directly after traditional garden styles. Or, you can incorporate elements from different styles to create a unique design of your own. The basic principle is to do what you like and work with what you have. Remember, you will spend a lot more time in your yard if you're happy with your landscape design.
English Garden Style: Incorporates many shrubs and perennials in a design that complements the architectural style of your home. Other decorative elements might include an arbor or bird bath.
Oriental Landscape: Uses water, rocks and evergreens with a variety of plants to create distinctive perspectives. Also popular is the traditional Japanese Zen garden.
Woodland Landscape: Reflects the natural way that fauna grows in a wooded area with a less manicured appearance. A good choice if you do not wish to spend a lot of time on maintenance.
Butterfly Gardens: Birds and butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden. Certain plant species attract them.
Xeriscape Gardens: Includes lots of low-water plants and flowers, as well as design ideas to reduce water usage and evaporation.