Backyard Bliss

shutterstock_224187460Turn your yard into a garden oasis

Create a utopia on your property by incorporating items you love, flowers that make you happy and a water feature to help connect you with nature. Although the process can seem a bit daunting, a few simple tips—and the assistance of a landscape designer—can make the entire project seamless from design to installation.

Form Meets Function

Think about how you’ll use the space. Are you hosting weekly dinner parties, reading outside by the pool, barbecuing on the weekends?

Once you know how you’ll use the space, you can work with a landscape designer to turn your dream into reality.

“The planning stage of a landscape project is the foundation of a process between client and designer to create the best possible design solution,” says Thomas Cahill, landscape designer at Hicks Nurseries. “The design will establish a seamless connection between the house and the existing landscape. Garden spaces that reflect the client’s tastes, with the influence of modern sophistication or old-world elegance, should be part of the overall plan.”

shutterstock_231909697Seating, Dining and Lounging

An endless number of options are available for outdoor furniture. Choose pieces designed with all-weather woven wicker or cast aluminum. Both are strong and made for outdoor use. Create a cohesive outdoor plan by using the same style of furniture for all areas of the garden and then switch it up with fabrics. Outdoor textiles have come a long way during the last few years. They’re now available in a plethora of quick-drying, nonfading colors. Whether you choose classic or modern casual furniture, bring the look together with fabrics, colors and patterns that complement your home. In addition to seat cushions, don’t forget to coordinate the material of your throw pillows and umbrellas. It’s a simple way to make the design look and feel custom.


Add the relaxing sound of water to your garden with a fountain. Cast-stone fountains add a bit of classic Long Island elegance to any space. They enrich your home’s exterior and provide year-round interest. Choose from tabletop and wall-mounted options to large and small free-standing fountains. Consider adding garden lighting to highlight the fountain as well as other accents throughout the garden.

Flowers for Every Emotion

When choosing plants, think about when you’ll be using the space. If you host mostly nighttime soirees, opt for more white or pale pink flowers, which seem to glow at night. For daytime, think about the activities that will take place in the garden prior to choosing the plants. Areas where you’ll read a book, meditate or do yoga should be filled with calming colors, such as blues, greens and purples. Areas where lots of activity will occur, say around a pool, near a barbecue or playground, are perfect for hot, happy colors like red, yellow and orange.

Think about the time of year, too. For spring, you’ll want to plant lilacs, tulips, daffodils, azaleas and forsythia. For the summer months, depending upon your color needs and how much sunlight the area gets, you should focus on annuals and perennials, such as petunias, begonias, Echinacea and hosta. Suitable options for a base of evergreen plants to ground the garden and block out unslightly views are arborvitae or Leyland cypress.

shutterstock_382659604Pottery and Statuary

The entrance to your home and the perimeter of your patio are crucial places that shouldn’t be ignored. Every visitor to your home will enter through the front door, so make it fabulous. The options are endless, and include everything from colorful glazed pottery to classic cast-stone planters. Fill them with a myriad of your favorite plants to create a welcoming space for your friends and family to enter.

potterystatuaryCast-stone garden statues are also available in many colors and styles, including angels, saints and Buddhas. When paired with a bench, the combination makes for a perfect area for contemplative thinking.

Whether you work with a landscape designer to create a complete backyard transformation or use a few of these tips to update your existing landscape, make sure your garden is an oasis for you and your family. Incorporate items that mean something to you, plants that make you happy and a water feature to help you connect with nature.

Karen Musgrave is a Certified Nursery Landscape Professional (CNLP) and a marketing and
education specialist at Hicks Nurseries, Inc., 100 Jericho Turnpike in Westbury. For more information, visit or call 516-334-0066.

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Karen Musgrave
Karen Musgrave, CNLP, is a marketing and education specialist at Hicks Nurseries and contributing writer to Long Island Weekly.

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