It may only be February, but there's no denying that spring has sprung in Utah. Outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice (unless of course your outdoor hobbies include skiing, in which case... I'm sorry)! With this rather bizarre warm spell upon us, I felt it appropriate to feature Home Landscaping trends now, since many of you will likely be getting outside and tending to your yards soon.
Read on for ways you can take your yard to the next level:
1. LIGHTEN UP
There are few things that can enhance a space faster than great lighting, and who wouldn't want to be able to party outside after dark? Whether you install a fully integrated outdoor light system, or just pick up some DIY options from the store, the addition of light in your space will make it much more usable, and will help it look a lot more high-end.
2. Cooking Al Fresco
Nothing says "Perfect Summer Night" like a nice outdoor dinner party - but how fun is it to host an outdoor party when you're stuck inside cooking? Outdoor kitchens bring the whole party outside, and can create a great, interactive atmosphere for you and your guests. On a budget? Just stick to a simple grill and incorporate some seating around it. If you really want to elevate your space, though you can go as far as installing a full outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchen trends include lots of built-in counter and seating space, commercial-grade grills, refrigerators, and even pizza ovens. An outdoor kitchen can bring summer entertaining to a new level, but unless you know you'll utilize your outdoor kitchen a lot, this trend isn't worth blowing your budget.
3. WARM IT UP
As we all know, Utah goes through some pretty strange climate shifts throughout the year (right now is a great example of that). While our summers generally stay warm, some pretty cold nights can happen in spring and fall. Adding heat lamps, a fire pit, or even an outdoor fireplace can ensure that you enjoy your back yard through all seasons. The most budget-friendly options are propane heaters ($100-300 each), which are very effective and can warm a large area. Outdoor fire pits are great, as well; the wood burning ones are cheapest, but be aware that in Utah we have many no-burn days, and it isn't good for our air quality, so if you want to maximize its use, a propane fire pit is definitely the way to go. If you want to go all-out with the heat in your yard, I would definitely recommend installing a built-in fireplace. Not only does it provide warmth, but it also creates a very upscale look, bringing an outdoor living room to your home. Break out the marshmallows and start roasting!
4. VEGGIES ON DISPLAY
Outdoor vegetable gardens have been a trend for a long time, but in the past they have been installed in planter boxes in far corners of the yard away from view, while traditional plants and flowers took up prime space near the home. Not anymore! Incorporating your vegetable garden into your landscaping design is a great, innovative way to create a lush and natural look in your garden. Keeping them near the house can also provide shade for hours of the day, which many vegetables need, so it can help them grow, as well. If you see your veggies day-to-day you're also more likely to take better care of them, and enjoy them when they're at their ripest! If you don't' want a totally "veggie-driven" garden, try mixing your flowers and vegetables together for an unconventional and beautiful look.
5. Under Cover
The heat of the summer sun can sometimes be too much to handle - especially if your yard is west-facing. Adding a cover to your yard will ensure you can get use of it even on the hottest days. If you want a quick, affordable fix, stick to a large umbrella, but if you use your outdoor space constantly, it might be worth the money to install a cover onto your patio. If you want both affordability and more cover, however the best option (in my opinion) is to install a pergola ($500-3000). They're much more affordable than a full covered patio, and they offer a lot of flexibility because you can install them anywhere in your yard, not just attached to the house. You can also add lights and curtains for a way to easily transform the space for events, and for some added cover during sunset.
6. LET IT FLOW
If you want to add some instant "Zen" to your home, a water feature is a great option. Whether you go all-out and install a koi pond or keep it simple with a wall fountain, the addition of water to your outdoor space will create a relaxing environment for you to practice yoga, read a great book, or even just zone out for a while. Be advised, however that while they're beautiful, adding a large water feature can attract insects, so don't place your pond too close to your entertaining space, or your relaxing evening will turn into a bug fight!
7. PRIVATE PLANTS
There's no need to install an ugly fence to keep your backyard private; plants can offer the same benefit with a much more natural look. Small trees and shrubs can easily create a boundary between you and your neighbor. Tight on space? Even if your outdoor space is just a patio in a condominium, you can use tall planter boxes to achieve some privacy from your neighbors , and they can replace the need for garden boxes to add some greenery to your outdoor space.
8. DESIGNATE YOUR SPACE
Creating a designated patio area in your backyard instantly adds a high-end look to your home. If you want to go all-out, consider a multi-level deck with separate spaces for dining, lounging, gardening and entertaining. If you want to keep it simple (and budget-friendly!), there are many ways to achieve this look. If your "patio space" is simply a cement landing, anchor the space with a seating area, coffee table and planter boxes. The planter boxes will help define the space and make it feel more like an outdoor living space. If you want to do a little more than add furniture but don't want to break the bank, adding a stone pathway is an easy weekend project. By connecting your patio area to your garden boxes, garage, or other yard features, you can create a sense that the features are connected and deliberate. Don't forget to line the path with small lights for an extra high-end look!
I hope these ideas inspire you to enhance your outdoor living space so that you can make the most of this abnormal February heat spell!
The next, and final trend post for the year will be on Green design trends - keep an eye out!