Outdoor decorating for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go overboard, like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In fact, there are lots of relatively simple – and very elegant – ways to compliment the natural beauty of your yard and create a festive mood. Here are eight of our favorite (and easy) holiday landscaping ideas:
Fill those planting pots. Take all those summer planting pots and fill them up with winter bouquets made of evergreen boughs, dried branches, ribbon and berries. Utilize any natural elements from your own yard, like pine branches or needles, pine cones, boxwoods, dried hydrangea flowers or leftover seedpods. Place larger pots alone, or cluster varied sizes together to highlight your walkway, door or patio.
Add mood lighting. Illuminate some of your existing elements in the yard by adding spotlights with colored lights. Or wrap branches or trunks with strands of lights or garland, and add waterproof tubed lighting to sidewalks, under porches, or on other structures in your outdoor space.
Don’t forget the door. Doorways are perfect canvases for holiday spirit. Purchase a couple of smaller trees (like a Frasier fir or Alberta spruce), set them in containers and cover the edges with decorative garland or pine needles. Place them on either side of the entry or front porch (and when you’re ready to take down decorations, plant your new trees in a special place in your yard). Additionally, embellish fresh, pre-made evergreen wreaths with ornaments, ribbons or natural elements like pine cones or dried flowers. Frame the doorway with garland and twinkling lights.
Highlight your mailbox. Wrap garland or tie swags of pine in layers with wire around your mailbox to set a warm or whimsical tone. Add ornaments, ribbons or other items available from your local craft store.
Take it to the next level. If you already have boxwoods, smaller potted arrangements or evergreens in your yard, add seasonal elements that can be changed from fall to winter. Pheasant or peacock feathers, gourds, corn stalks and tree branches are perfect for late fall. Switch to holly, winterberry and velvet ribbons for December. And then add glitter sprays, shiny objects or sprinkle waterproof confetti to bring in the New Year.
Dress up outdoor seating. Benches or built-in seating areas are perfect places to add clusters of holiday greenery, gazing balls, wooden signs or baskets of pine cones. Cruise the aisles of your local nursery or home improvement store to find interesting items that will add color to outdoor tables and chairs.
Switch it up. Look around your storage shelves for any interior design pieces that can be taken outdoors. Plastic fruit, for instance, can add color and warmth to outdoor bushes, trees or containers. Or maybe you have a plastic bin full of old, dried flowers that are begging for attention. Add them to some of your outdoor decorations for color and texture.
Recycle and create new masterpieces. Take your family on a treasure hunt to a nearby Goodwill and rescue wooden signs or frames, old sleds, baskets or other decorative elements that can be embellished and used outdoors. Even a pair of worn boots or ski poles can be the foundation for unique holiday creations. Make it a family event and enjoy the process.
You don’t have to spend a fortune or blow the fuses to show your holiday spirit. But if you are ready for larger landscaping projects, or you want to give the gift of a new patio, fire pit or pergola to your loved ones for the holidays, give us a call at (317) 259-9222. We can help you with that.
Some of the most often-asked questions we get from homeowners as cooler weather approaches tend to revolve around outdoor fire pits: what type or style is best, which kind would work with our back yard, and are they safe?
Backyard fire pits have become increasingly popular over the years, as property owners realize how the element of fire can enhance outdoor living spaces, provide added ambiance, and serve as a natural gathering place for friends and family. In fact, fire pits serve to extend the use of your outdoor area beyond spring and summer, and well into fall and winter.
The bonus? Because outdoor fire pits vary so much in styles, sizes and structure, you can find one to fit almost any budget. Here are some factors to consider when deciding what type of fire pit you want:
Play by the rules
Check to make sure you understand your local ordinances regarding open fires on personal property. Some municipalities ban open burning of any kind.
Consider your budget
Fire pits can cost anywhere from under $100 to upwards of $10,000 (or more), and everywhere in between. Basically, the sky is the limit, depending on your vision and budget. You can dig and build your own or have one built as part of your landscaping design.
As you envision your fire pit, think about if you want it to be permanent or portable. Do you want a built-in structure that can also serve as a focal point for your yard? Or would you rather have a portable, lightweight option that you can move according to where you are gathering? Or do you want both?
If you decide on a permanent fire pit, there are lots of options, including DIY kits or basic designs that can be made with supplies from your local big box store. Professional, custom-built fire pits come in limitless designs, and can include built-in seating for as many or few as you want. Custom designs can also incorporate materials that compliment your home and existing design elements.
No matter which type of fire pit you choose, make sure you use appropriate stones and materials, while also choosing a style that is proportional to the size and shape of your yard. And while custom-built fire pits are more expensive, when installed by a professional, they will last longer and require less maintenance or repair.
Choose your fuel
Do you want the smells and sounds of wood as your fire pit fuel of choice, or do you prefer the ease of gas? Obviously, wood requires some effort to keep those flames burning – and to make sure they don’t escape. You’ll also need a healthy stock of firewood.
You might prefer the use of gas or propane for an instant fire, (sometimes even including a remote control starter), even if it’s not as hot as a wood fire. Some designs can actually incorporate both, if the added cost isn’t a concern.
Choose your location
Remember when we mentioned the importance of knowing your local fire ordinances? Most communities require fire pits to be a minimum distance from your house and neighbors’ yards. Some don’t require a permit if the fire pit fit is smaller than a specific size, while others might require a site inspection from local fire officials to make sure your proposed location is safe (away from structures, fences, overhanging branches, etc.). And, some communities have outright bans on open fires. Remember to check with local officials before you do anything.
Give us a call
Outdoor fire pits can be just the thing to compliment your outdoor living area and bring together your friends and family for endless hours of fun. We would love to help bring your landscaping vision to life. For a free quote or more information, give us a call at (317) 259-9222.
By the end of summer, many feel weary and a little “over” landscaping maintenance – especially when wilting plants and faded mulch have replaced the perky, colorful flower beds of spring. The good news is that fall is the perfect time to make plans to reenergize your outdoor living space. And landscaping rocks can play a big part in giving new life to tired beds and boring or troublesome areas. But where do you begin?
Start with a Good Choice
Landscaping rocks vary in size and color, all of which can compliment your existing plants or lawn features and set a specific mood for your garden. For example, earth-toned beach pebbles can add warmth to a stark corner, while white marble chips can bring light to a shady patch. Black lava rocks or terracotta stones can add a tropical feel, but might look out-of-place next to a Cape Cod-inspired home. Because rock is durable and will last for years to come, it’s important to consider the type and color that will support your current and long-term landscaping vision.
Use Rock Instead of Mulch
Using rock for groundcover instead of mulch is an alternative for those who want low-maintenance landscaping. Although rocks are more expensive, they are durable and don’t have to be replaced every year. In fact, not only can they provide contrast, texture and dramatic color, they will last the lifetime of your garden. Rocks also discourage weed growth, especially when coupled with a weed barrier.
Create a Rock Garden
Installing a rock garden – especially near eyesores or awkwardly shaped areas – can bring artistic elements to any outdoor living area. Rock gardens work especially well in sunny spots. Start with two or three medium to large rocks, and layer with smaller rocks or pebbles. Add low-lying flowers or ground cover, filling in gaps and creating an inviting and beautiful attraction.
Make a Dramatic Statement
Instead of a rock garden, you can just go with one large boulder and create a dramatic focal point – a natural art sculpture. For optimum effect, choose an uniquely shaped or colored boulder, and use it as a centerpiece much like you would an ornamental shrub. These can be particularly useful along monotonous hedges, borders or fences.
Border a Pond or Water Element
Large or medium-sized rocks can enhance water elements and help camouflage pond liners or fountain gear. Remember that natural shapes and sizes (versus pavers) will blend in better with plants and surrounding features, maintaining an organic look and feel.
Create a Path or Walkway
If you have a shady or well-worn area that is challenging for plant or lawn growth, make a path or walkway by using a combination of flat stones and surrounding pebbles. This not only brings color and beauty to an otherwise bland section of your outdoor space, it can also increase accessibility and safety levels on treacherous or uneven ground.
Stones, rocks and pavers can create a beautiful, low-maintenance environment and give new life to your property. Whether it’s with small additions or big landscaping overhauls, we can help you transform your end-of-summer blues into an outdoor dream. Give us a call at (317) 259-9222 to find out more.
Maybe you’ve spent hours gazing at design ideas for your outdoor living space and wistfully thinking, “If only.” Perhaps you’ve dreamed of cool evenings by an impressive fire, snuggling in a blanket and gazing up at the stars with friends. Or you might have perused countless Pinterest posts with gorgeous back yard settings just calling your name.
Fall is the perfect time to start making all those landscaping dreams a reality. Whether it’s a larger patio, more seating or a complete and dramatic transformation, you can bring new life right up to your very own back door. Here are our top outdoor living design tips for the season:
There are so many easy and cost-effective ways to spruce up your landscaping and introduce a beautiful array of fall color to your porch, deck or flower beds. Start by freshening up your existing containers, or plant new ones with mums, cora bells, asters and other fall favorites. Consider adding evergreens in areas that typically become dull and bland during the winter months. Or add new beds in areas that border your property or are “trouble spots” – where grass doesn’t grow or eyesores distract your view.
Outdoor Living Spaces
Property owners often express frustration to us that they have wide expanses of blank yard only serving as wasted space – simply because there’s no seating and nothing appealing about it. By creating areas that are inviting, functional and comfortable, you will increase your available living space along with the value of your property. And you’ll instantly have a place where your family or friends can hang out and create long-lasting memories. The most popular elements that provide instant gratification include: fire pits; a pergola or arbor; walkways; defined patios or sitting areas; water features; and built-in kitchens.
Pavers & Patios
By using pavers to create patios, sitting areas and walkways, your back yard will transform into a bona fide living space providing hours of pleasure to friends and family. Paver colors and designs are as varied as your imagination. Some of the main types include:
- Brick Pavers – Used on decks, driveways, walkways and patios, these are relatively lighter in weight but are strong and easy to install. They withstand the elements and look earthy and rich.
- Concrete Pavers – While very versatile, these are often used for pathways and driveways or other open areas. Many are designed to interlock, and are placed on top of compacted sand. They are excellent for high traffic areas, in particular.
- Natural Stone Pavers – There is so much color and versatility available in this organic type, and come in irregular or smooth finishes. Set in mortar or concrete, they are great options for around swimming pools or other water features. They can also be used for beautiful visual elements in landscaping and flower beds.
- Tile Pavers– Tile pavers provide a different look, and are often preferred for cleaner, more modern lines. They are long-lasting, and can be smooth or textured. They are gorgeous on patios, decks or other outdoor elements, and can effectively compliment natural stones for contrasting designs.
If your home is built on a hill or slope, or you need definition between different areas of your yard, retaining walls might be your answer. They can be both beautiful and highly functional, depending on your needs. Your design will need to accommodate a number of elements – including the slope of the ground – and a professional will need to determine the wall size, height, width, depth and ground pressure.
Fire Pits & Fire Boulders
Adding the element of fire to your outdoor living space can bring instant fun for your family or friends. Fire pits and fire boulders can be as simple or elaborate as you want. You’ll need to consider whether you want a portable or permanent installation, and whether you want a wood burning or gas fire pit. By using high-quality materials that are rust resistant and can tolerate flames and heat, your fire pit and surrounding boulders will be the center point of your outdoor gatherings for years to come.
Outdoor Landscape Lighting
By adding lighting to your landscape, you can enjoy your outdoor living space well after dark and show off your best features. Strategically placed lights can not only highlight seating areas or focal points, but also the architectural design of your home or other areas of interest on your property. Lighting schemes can be subtle, dramatic, or anything in between, and can truly transform your outdoor area into a magical retreat.
Ready to Get Started?
We’d love to help make your outdoor dream a reality. Give us a call for a free consultation today, at (317) 259-9222.