Try something new to give your yard a fresh look this season
Gardening offers us the opportunity to use our imaginations and expand our homes into the great outdoors. Every single year you can try something new—a color theme, new planters, garden statuary, patio furniture—all easy ways to freshen up your landscape and create an oasis for you and your family to enjoy.
This year, challenge yourself to look outside the traditional box of garden fads. 2016 is all about getting outdoors and creating comfortable “rooms” that mimic the indoors but allow you to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Build a Summer Kitchen
While many people focus on creating a dining space where they can eat outdoors, you can take it one step further. Create a space where you can cook and prepare cocktails outside. Install a complete outdoor kitchen or start small with a grill, fire pit or smoker. Add a weatherproof shelving unit or cabinet to store unbreakable dishes, silverware and glasses. A small outdoor-use refrigerator can keep beverages cold and serve as a makeshift counter for cutting lemons and limes. Add a freestanding umbrella to keep the sun out of your eyes and voilà—you have an outdoor summer kitchen.
While this may not sound like a new idea, try growing herbs and vegetables in more locations throughout your property. Add a small planter with herbs to your outdoor dining table, plant a tomato plant in the middle of a huge pot of marigolds, line your walkway with lettuce and Swiss chard instead of begonias and petunias. This concept is called companion planting and it’s a genius way to pack a lot of punch into your garden while still making it aesthetically pleasing and cohesive.
Everything you use outdoors this year should be bright, from your cushions and planters to your umbrellas, flowers and fences. Try shades of red, purple, blue, gold or green to add color to your space. Think of your favorite tropical vacation getaway and recreate those colors in your yard.
Add Garden Art
For many years angels, birdbaths and garden gnomes were the only sculptures found in the average backyard, but so many options are currently available in the world of garden statuary. Cast stone garden statues are made in a variety of colors and styles including dragons, whimsical planters, frogs, pet statues and even stone planters that look just like wood.
Modern gardens created with water-saving succulents, grasses and tropical plants like elephant ears create a streamlined look in any outdoor space. Use simple pottery and outdoor furniture to complete the look. Modern design works especially well in small spaces such as a balcony or small deck.
Create a Special Space for Loved Ones
A favorite trend for 2016 is designing spaces for those you love the most—namely pets and children. Make spending time outdoors fun by taking their needs into consideration and creating a place that keeps them engaged.
Think about what your furry friend may enjoy and where he would want to hang out and play.
Is there a path through the bushes for running and hiding? Does she need a dedicated spot on the deck for a pet bed or water bowl?
Get them fully involved in the process of planting and harvesting the garden. Try growing specific vegetables that your children enjoy eating. Sunflowers and peas are easy to grow, and the large seeds make it easy for small fingers to plant.
This spring, let your guard down and take some chances in your outdoor spaces. Experiment with color; try a bright hue you would never think of using indoors.
Create a space for light cooking and cocktails, and spice up your seating and dining areas with bright cushions and pillows. Add a whimsical statue or two. And don’t forget to make the garden a fun space for everyone to enjoy—your children, your pets and especially you.
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 www.hicksnurseries.com or call 516-334-0066.