Entice Guests to Your Backyard Hangout

It’s time to start planning those outdoor gatherings, which means it’s also time to make an inviting hangout.

“We need to invite people into our backyard spaces, by having interesting places to sit, walk to or move through,” says Barb Kindinger, landscape designer at Countryside Flower Shop and Nursery, in Crystal Lake.

Seating is a good starting point. Add benches and Adirondack chairs that provide both comfort and variety, says Kindinger. If space allows, match them with couches, chaises and hammocks.

Strategically arrange plants in colorful planters, and set up a few whimsical pieces that make conversation starters.

“Paths that lead to different parts of the yard are great,” says Kindinger.

Serious outdoor entertainers are creating the ultimate enticement with full outdoor kitchens, complete with breakfast nooks, wood-burning pizza ovens and covered patios.

Kim Hartmann, landscape designer and horticulture educator at Countryside, believes it’s important to play into your preferences – be it formal, contemporary, cottage-like, eco-friendly, tropical or Zen.

A regular best-seller is calibrachoa, a good container plant also known as the mini-petunia. It comes in a rainbow of colors and blooms all summer long.

Hartmann also suggests lantana, a plant known for multi-colored clusters of flowers in yellow, orange and pink.

“Lantanas attract butterflies and bloom well,” she says.

Consulting with a landscape professional can help you to accomplish your goals while making a solid investment.

“A home with a gorgeous yard isn’t just easy on the eyes,” says Hartmann. “Well-landscaped homes also sell for 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent more, according to research by Virginia Tech.” ❚

Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery and Garden Center is located at 5301 E. Terra Cotta Ave. (Ill. Rt. 176), Crystal Lake, (815) 459-8130.