These days, homeowners are looking for a welcoming backyard where people want to hang out. But it also should fit your taste and lifestyle.
Experts like Sean Ducey, garden manager at Whispering Hills Garden & Landscape Center, in Cary, can help you to think through every aspect of your design. Factors such as sunlight, traffic flow, drainage and architectural style all provide them with important clues.
Start by anchoring your project with stone elements. Features like a rock, meditation or Japanese garden can bring a sense of serenity into the yard.
“Water features and fire features – such as fire pits – are big right now,” says Ducey. “Water features are a great, and easy, way to draw attention.”
Water features can take many forms, with ponds, stacked stone waterfalls, focal point fountains and smaller waterfalls being some of the more popular choices. Of course, some homeowners opt for hot tubs, patio fire pits and patio fire bowls – all of which draw people together for a summer night under the stars.
Balance your stone elements with pops of color among your plantings. Try mixing something a little exotic with something traditional.
Hydrangeas, shrubs and ornamental grasses are easy to incorporate, and they provide interesting foliage, says Ducey. Allium, an ornamental member of the onion family, is easy to grow and boasts a lengthy bloom time. It’s also deer- and rabbit-resistant.
Perhaps the easiest way to add pops of color is by setting up miniature landscapes in containers. Get creative mixing up plants such as dwarf conifers, succulents, decorative stones, and small-scale perennials and ground covers.
If you’re not feeling brave enough to tackle a project on your own, or you’re simply looking for ideas, a consultation with a local nursery should be at the top of your to-do list.
“Definitely talk to a designer for outdoor spaces, in order to get things done right,” says Ducey. ❚
Whispering Hills is located at 8401 S. Ill. Rt. 31, Cary, (847) 658-5610.