Category: Outdoor Living Spaces

Spruce Up Outdoor Living Spaces With Fall Trends

Think about how often you change out your interior décor based on the seasons, or how often you feel the urge to rearrange your living room. Your outdoor living space should be treated the same way. Fall is the perfect time of year to sit outside and enjoy your landscaping. It is also the perfect time to change up the décor and landscaping features in your outdoor living spaces. To make your outdoor living space reflect the beauty of fall, try out these fall trends.

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Improve Comfort of Outdoor Living Spaces

Start off your fall décor with the trend of comfort in your outdoor furniture and space layout. You can make outdoor living spaces more inviting by adding cushions and comfortable seating to your living space. Throw pillows with bold patterns are a trend, so try to add indoor/outdoor throw pillows with depictions of fall leaves for the autumn feel. You can also add throw blankets in the harvest hues of brown, orange, yellow, and hunter green for a cozy autumn feel.

You can also rearrange and alter your outdoor living space to increase the cuddle-factor that autumn brings. Define a space in your outdoor living to create extra seating. This is the perfect time to add rocking chair loveseats or additional cushioned seating options. A fall trend this year with outdoor living spaces is to build in bench seats into walls and dividers and include ottomans for footrests and additional seating.

Add Warmth and Light

Warm elements are a very important fall trend for your outdoor living spaces. If you have not added a fire pit or fireplace to your outdoor living space yet, consider it for the perfect focal point for all family get-togethers. Gathering around a fire, combined with the comfort of your outdoor living space changes, will provide the perfect fall comfort and design. You should also opt for unique outdoor lighting that projects the right balance of light and shadow. The more you add this warmth to your outdoor living spaces, the more you will be able to venture out in the cooler weather and enjoy the changing seasons.

Consider Adding Additional Landscaping

Fall is a great time to evaluate your outdoor living space to see how you can improve your landscaping. A current trend in landscaping are large natural stone pavers to outline patio areas and walkways. This element is a perfect upgrade for fall to provide an expansive and comfortable feel in your outdoor living spaces. You should also take a look at adding fall perennials to add some color and depth to spring and summer landscaping that is hibernating for the winter.

Custom Landscaping Project: Before & After

Today we have some awesome backyard landscaping pictures to share with you! We want to highlight a recent landscape design we completed for Scott and Lisa. They have a beautiful home that was not being showcased due to the overgrown beds in the front of the house. They also were not fully utilizing the beautiful setting they had in their backyard with a wonderful lake just a few steps out their back door. They had a number of landscaping ideas, but were unsure of how to execute them, which led them to Second Nature, one of your premier local landscaping companies in the Lee’s Summit area. Our team of designers worked with them to create a custom landscaping plan with one of the best backyard desks we have seen in a while!

Before, the front of the house had visually been taken over by the out of control bed.

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After, the bed will complement, not compete, with the house. We also added a new retaining wall.

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Before, the back deck area was overgrown and almost unusable. It was a dark and uninviting area that was mostly used for storage.

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After, we implemented some of our best deck design ideas to create an amazing space for Scott and Lisa to relax, enjoy their hot tub, or entertain friends! With their outdoor living area they now have an outdoor kitchen, seating area, and fireplace. With the area around the patio and deck cleared out, they now can enjoy the serenity of the lake while they are relaxing outside.

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Before, the back of the house was completely obscured by the overgrowth surrounding the deck.

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Now you can see the house, the deck, their amazing outdoor living area, and the expanded deck we built, which were all key components of the backyard landscape design we created for Scott and Lisa.

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Before, the beds along the house were overgrown and undefined.

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After, now Scott and Lisa have beautiful beds along their home along with a new and defined walkway that gives them easy access to the backyard!

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Here are some additional photos of the final result of Scott and Lisa’s deck landscaping project.12

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If you are ready to make some changes to your home’s landscaping call us at Second Nature, your local landscapers in Lee’s Summit, MO! We would love to discuss all your backyard ideas and help you create deck landscaping or landscape design ideas and plans!

Backyard Design Ideas

Everybody has a different idea of what they want in a backyard. As you begin to plan and design your backyard think about what your perfect yard would look like in order for you to truly enjoy spending time in your backyard. It is a good idea to start with the overall design you are striving to achieve and then move to the smaller details that will really make your backyard design stand out.

Outdoor Entertaining Space

If entertaining is a big part of how you want to spend time in your backyard some backyard design ideas you may want to incorporate might include an area for al fresco dining, an outdoor kitchen and backyard bar, an outdoor living room, a built in fire pit, or a dedicated area for games such as washers or cornhole. When choosing furniture for your outdoor dining and lounge areas make sure you are keeping comfort in mind. Even the best-looking sets won’t be utilized fully if they are not comfortable!

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Family Friendly Outdoor Living

If you are more focused on how your family, and small children, are going to use your backyard you will be interested in a different set of backyard design ideas. If you have small children some elements you might want to be sure to include would be a dedicated play structure area, an area for sand/dirt play, lots of open space for running or playing ball, and a paved track around the exterior edge of your backyard can be great for riding bikes or other wheeled toys. Children’s play areas can be traditional with a cedar play structure, or you can think outside the box with an old canoe filled with sand or dirt, rather than a traditional sandbox.

Backyard Garden Design Ideas

While some people desire entertaining or recreation space some people dream about a beautiful and lush backyard filled with ornamental and flowering plants to soothe their senses. For these people, backyard design ideas may include a wide variety of organic and ornamental flowers, meandering pathways they can use for wandering through the garden, and water features. When planning the types of plants you will want to take into consideration the mature height of the plants, you want to make sure to use plants of varying heights so everything is not on the same level. It is also a good idea to use plants of varying colors and that flower and bloom at different times throughout the growing season. Using plants that are native to your local area will make it easier to grow the plants because they are already adapted to the temperatures and rainfall that your area typically receives. A water feature or fountain not only makes a great focal point, but can also add a musical note into your garden.

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Gardening for Small Spaces

Not everybody has the space available for a lush and sprawling lawn and garden. Even with a small space there are a number of ways to incorporate beautiful ornamental flowers or useful vegetable plants into a garden plan.

Raised Planters

A great small garden idea is a raised planter; with a raised planter you can maximize space but still have a supply of vegetables throughout the growing season. Raised planters can be purchased or easily made yourself.

Experiment With Different Plants

If you are looking for a small garden idea be sure to think outside the box of plants that you typically see in gardens and yards. For example, colonnade apple trees grow upright and are extremely narrow. This gives you the benefit of having an apple tree that doesn’t take up massive amounts of your small yard.

Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening has gained a lot of popularity recently as a small garden idea. They are typically a bit larger than a raised planter and gives you more flexibility in the variety of garden plants you can grow.

Try Vertical Gardening

A trellis can be a stand-alone element in your small garden or it can be attached to the side of the house to even further maximize the space available. Ornamental flowers that grow up the trellis can make any vertical space in your yard more beautiful.

Stacked Pots

Small garden ideas can be as simple as a couple of stacked pots. Depending on the size of the pots they could be set on the edge or corner of a patio, or even on your front step to add a splash of greenery as a greeting to all visitors. Herbs grow especially well in stacked pots like this and have the added benefit of being useful in the kitchen as well as ornamental!

Up In The Air

If you do have room in your yard or garden space an arbor is a great small garden idea that allows you to take advantage of more of the vertical space in your yard. You can grow squashes or melons on an arbor, as the melons grow in size you will need to reinforce them with nylon strips to support the weight of the melons. Or, you can stick with ornamental flowers on your arbor.

Don’t Cut Down The Trees

Many people think if they have a small garden or lawn area there isn’t room for trees, but a small garden idea can absolutely include trees! There are a number of varieties that don’t take up a lot of real estate and still provide ample shade and added beauty to your garden. Crepe Myrtle, citrus trees, and Japanese Maples are just a few examples.

For further guidance on specific plants, trees, or more small garden ideas contact your local landscape design company. They can assist you with a design plan and implementation of that plan in your yard.

Landscaping Design Mistakes to Avoid

Gardening is an extremely rewarding endeavor. In many cases homeowners have great ideas about the various elements of a landscape design, but aren’t sure how to implement them. Planning a landscape for optimum use and ease of maintenance is a specialized skill. Hiring a pro to design your landscape can save you time and money in the long run. We’ll go over a few avoidable mistakes in landscape design to help you get the best out of your home landscape.

  1. Going Completely DIY at the Design Stage
    Use of a professional landscape designer in the planning stages can enhance your enjoyment of your home landscape, even if you intend to do seasonal the maintenance yourself.Landscape design is a profession employing skills in long term visual planning, horticultural knowledge of appropriate and long lasting plants, and the ability to look at the big picture. A living, growing landscape involves thinking about how things are going to look in all seasons, not just during the glorious spring and early summer peak flush. Training and vision is required to see how the landscape plan is going to look in five years, ten years and longer.

    Professional landscape designers have expertise on tap to make your yard maintenance tasks easier, year after year. They will know how to choose the right plants, soil amendments and materials for your climate and site, and provide a cohesive design with functionality, focal points, and low maintenance. Professional landscape design is a worthwhile investment in your home’s value and curb appeal and will pay for itself over the years by saving you the expense and labor of replanting if things don’t work out.

  1. Choosing Great Plants—for the Wrong Area or the Wrong Use
    Every gardener knows how easy it is to go overboard at the garden center when picking out plants. However, just because that plant looks gorgeous under the TLC of the nursery staff doesn’t mean it’s going to work well in your garden. You’ll want to take into consideration factors such as the amount of light or shade, the amount of time—and desire—you have for their care, what type of soil you have and whether you have kids or pets. With the latter, you will of course want to stay away from poisonous plants, but you may also want to steer clear of those rare, exquisite (and expensive) prize plants that could cause family issues if trampled on or kicked up. Your yard is not just a static view—it’s a place to be used by you and your family, a place to grow memories as well as plants. Don’t make those memories be about the time the dog dug up your rare miniature Hosta collection. Save your passion for Oleander bushes until after the kids are grown and you’ll rest easier.Challenging conditions can usually be ameliorated: soils can be amended, and trees can be pruned to open up the light at ground level. Drip irrigation can be added if you are the type of person who forgets to water the garden—or you could bypass that whole issue by choosing drought tolerant landscape varieties. These are all things to think about during the early planning stages of landscape design, and a professional landscape designer can help you make the right choices for your yard, taste, intended use, and lifestyle.
  2. Going to the Extremes
    Overuse of commonly available plants is something to avoid, as is the other extreme of going with too many hard-to-care-for exotics. First though, do your research, both online and at the garden center. Look for plants that thrive in your climate zone. Refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for precise information about average winter temperatures. This map is the standard by which gardeners can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at their location. The Kansas City metro area is zone 6a, but just north of Kansas City has a 5b rating (a bit colder). These temperature ratings will affect what will grow best in your area.It’s great fun to think about growing exotics like citrus trees or other tropical plants in your home garden, but any landscape professional will tell you that these plants are not going to overwinter here. Happily, there are many native plants that can be unusual and interesting.

    Garden centers sell a lot of impatiens, geraniums and marigolds, but not necessarily because they are the best choice for the landscape. Often it’s because they are an easy choice for the grower, with quick propagation, reliable shipping and “shelf life” in small flats. Do use these easy-to-flower annuals for the summer splash of color, but look beyond them at native perennials for that touch of the unusual.

  3. Not Considering Edibles in your Landscape Design
    It’s tremendously satisfying growing your own fresh, delicious food, and it’s easier than you might think. Consider dwarf and semi dwarf fruit trees such as apples and pears, and nuts such as hardy almond and filbert. Evaluate other edibles that can work in a permanent landscape plan, such as grape vines and berries. These can be highly ornamental as well as functional.You can see some interesting tropical fruit trees in garden centers every spring, but think back to that USDA Zone Map. You’ll need to bring these plants indoors during the winter months or they will die off after the first year. Containerized small trees are an option, but think about how much room you have inside for them 5 months out of the year—and whether you have the ideal conditions that they need (humidity and direct sunlight are musts).

    If you plan to grow edibles here, you won’t be limited to a plain-Jane apple tree. There are a large number of heirloom apple trees, and new varieties such as Honeycrisp apples and Asian pears are now available. Cherries, pecans, almonds and filberts will also grow well in our area. Concord grapes, berries of many varieties, and strawberries can be integrated into a landscape design with lovely results. The Chicago Hardy fig tree is productive and easy to grow, and bears fruit on new growth, which means that a bitter winter die-back won’t affect yield so thankfully there are many options here in the greater Kansas City area.

    Make sure that your fruit trees are self-pollinating, or choose several varieties to pollinate your edible landscape.

A well-designed landscape will give your home beauty and increase your property value. Careful preliminary planning will ensure visual integration of your home and yard as a whole. Before you get out the shovel and trowel this spring, consider calling the landscape design professionals at Second Nature Outdoor Living and Landscaping. We will give you a free quote for landscape design, landscape maintenance, and the mundane yard chores that keep you from having the time to enjoy your yard, such as mowing, trimming, fertilizing and pruning. We know you have limited time, so why spend it mowing the grass?

Our goal is to provide you with long-term enjoyment of your home landscape. We have hundreds of happy customers in the greater Kansas City metro area who will confirm the effectiveness of that claim!

4 Low Maintenance Landscape Design Ideas

Low Maintenance Landscape Design Ideas

Are you one of the many people out there that is overwhelmed by the concept of taking care of and maintaining your landscape design? Rest assured that you are not alone! The good news is that there are a number of ways to plan a landscape design that is low maintenance to help minimize what you have to handle on a regular basis.

Use What You Have:

One of the first keys for a low maintenance landscaping idea is to take advantage of design elements that are already present in your yard, but modifying them to be simple and easy to care for.

If you have foliage or plant life growing on your existing hardscape structures, like mailboxes, pergolas, or arbors, you should remove it. This foliage requires continual care and trimming to keep them looking neat and can quickly become an eyesore if you are not caring for them properly. Once the plant life is removed you can repaint or stain the hardscape items to give them a new, clean, and more stream-lined look.

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Clean Up Your Beds

For a low maintenance landscaping idea you want to make sure that the flowerbeds in your yard are requiring minimal upkeep. Typically flowerbeds require extensive work and continual weeding, especially if they have natural groundcover, like mulch. By replacing mulch with stone or gravel and eliminating plants that spread quickly or require constant trimming you can minimize the amount of time you spend in your yard to keep your flowerbeds from looking unruly. When you install stone or gravel groundcover but sure to use an underlayment of weed barrier to further inhibit weed growth in the flowerbed. Creating a crisp border on the edge of the flowerbed by installing timbers or other hardscape edging materials can help to prevent weed growth and create a definite line between the lawn and the bed.

 

 

When choosing plants for the flowerbeds choose non-fussy flowers. Also, choosing perennials means that you aren’t replanting flowers each spring.

 

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Your Path Is Clear

A low maintenance landscaping idea also extends to the walkways in your yard. An overgrown pathway can quickly have your lawn looking messy and unkempt. Replacing stepping stones with either concrete squares or flagstone laid in concrete helps you avoid weeds and unwanted grass growth between steps or on the pathway. By eliminating weeds you eliminate the time needed to battle them!

 

Match Your Design With Your Home

The final point of our low maintenance landscaping ideas is to make sure the style of your landscaping matches that of your home. If your home is more traditional you can create structure in your yard with symmetrical plantings of low-maintenance plants. A more contemporary or modern styled home can more easily go further minimalistic and use concrete, wood, and metal elements. These create cleaner lines and fewer headaches and upkeep for you!

 

If the thought of designing your yard with these low maintenance landscaping ideas is still overwhelming for you, contact your Second Nature Outdoor Living and Landscaping for assistance in both design and execution.