Friday, February 22, 2013

Landscape Ideas For the Backyard Retreat


People are choosing to live a more laid-back life.  As our kids, jobs, and elderly parents need our time and energy, we are seeking a backyard retreat.  We do not need to travel far, and the accommodations are familiar. Why take a couple of hours for a road trip, when the lounge area in the backyard is right here!
Nature has a way of calming us like nothing else.  The rustle of leaves, dappled shade, the sound of crickets remind us of the true blessings of the garden. 
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Surrounding ourselves in nature is a theme that landscapers have sensed recently. They are called upon to create quiet, relaxing outdoor spaces. To do this, natural elements are used.  Rocks, boulders stones offer a natural feeling.  Trees and shrubs are used too, but the easy, low maintenance trees and shrubs are requested.
 
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Homeowners do not want to spend every weekend doing garden chores.  The choice to use native plant material is becoming more and more desirable as these plants are less likely to require expensive pesticide use, pruning or watering.
 
Plants with colorful foliage are a popular addition in the garden.  And using containers, rather than garden beds, cuts down on weeding, mulching, and watering.  Large bold leaves like this Canna give a focal point in the garden.

canna

Along the same line of the large bold leaves, large bold large containers are being featured.  Two advantages I can think of are 1) the great impact, and wow value.  And 2) the easy of planting, and no weeding, or digging.


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Using self-watering containers has the advantage of keeping the plant moist with a reservoir of water to minimize dragging out the hoses.

self watering from gardeners
Self-water containers, Gardener's Supply
self watering ceramic
Ceramic self-water containers from Alibaba
Picking plants that are drought tolerant, may be the simple use of sedums and sempervivums.
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Plants with silver foliage, like Lavender or Lamb’s Ear also need little water.

silver foliage lavender stachys  lambs ear

Connecting with nature in our backyards is not too challenging.  Reflect on what you like.  I equate this process much the same as buying a new pair of shoes. If the shoe doesn't fit, forget it.  If the shoe is a four-inch spiked heel and you want to go hiking….. well,… you get the picture.  So your outdoor space is what you want it to be.


Low maintenance, high impact is a common goal for patios and gardens. But high impact may also be the high priced items.  The budget may need to embrace this ‘wow’ item and then less expensive, more budget friendly plants may fill in the rest. Smart buyers can evaluate the ‘value’of a purchase. One element may be all that is needed.  It is this thinking of ‘less is more’ that sets today's consumer apart from the buy, buy, buy mentality of the past.

 
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Getting out into nature is as simple as going out the back door.  Make your outdoor space special.
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