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Landscaping Ideas: Functional for Every Season

Did you know the best time to plan for new landscaping projects is in the winter? It’s a great time to come up with landscaping ideas by visiting landscaping websites, checking out Pinterest, visiting Home and Garden shows, and more. Not only is it a great way to break out of the winter doldrums, but by starting work with a landscape design company early, you get a head start on everyone else this spring.

At LiveWell Outdoors, we specialize in creating outdoor living spaces – that includes your overall landscape design, with hardscape elements such as a patio, pool, or gazebo as well as the landscaping elements such as gardens filled with flowers, blooming trees, shade trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses, and more.

Form and Function Go Hand in Hand

We know from years of experience that beautiful landscaping has to be functional and well thought out, or it can turn into a waste of money. Without making the function a priority, you won’t enjoy it, or it won’t work for your lifestyle, and you may have to overhaul it in a few years.

That’s why we start our landscape design consultations talking about function first.  We may ask you a number of questions, including:

  • How do you plan to use your backyard?
  • Do you have kids? Pets?
  • How much grassy open area do you want?
  • Do you entertain a lot?
  • Do you want an outdoor kitchen? An inground pool?
  • Are you a nature lover?

Based on your answers to these questions, we will ask follow-up questions and make suggestions for possible landscaping elements that would suit your available space and your preferences.

outdoor-fireplace-and-firepit

Think about all the features (like a fire pit) that you want in your dream outdoor living space.

Proper Drainage and Water Management is Vital

You may have noticed we’re getting heavy rains more often, where water flows through neighborhoods. In functional landscaping, the water will naturally flow away from your house rather than toward it.

If your yard slopes towards your house, regrading your yard may be one of the first things we recommend. And if you’re looking for patio installation, proper grading and preparation is key to ensuring your high-end patio doesn’t cause your basement to start flooding.

Proper Placement of Fire Features Makes Them More Functional

We hear a lot about DIY fire pit installation where the homeowners didn’t place the fire pit far enough away from the house and didn’t take prevailing winds into account. We take everything into account.

If you like the warmth of a fire pit but you’re not into building a fire, we may recommend a natural gas fire pit where you just flip a switch to start a fire – with no smoke. And when it comes to building an outdoor fireplace, we follow all of the codes with regard to proper placement, and we build it with the back facing the prevailing winds, to reduce smoke and the chance of flying embers.

Planting Placement is Paramount

We’ve seen so many poorly placed trees and shrubs that sometimes it makes us want to cry. You know what we’re talking about – young trees planted so close to the corner of a house that within a few years they have to be cut down. Or a row of trees planted so closely together that they start dying. 

Here are some things to consider regarding the proper placement of plant material in your landscaping:

  • Spacing. Don’t plant trees or shrubs too close to your home. You want them to have the space to grow to maturity without scraping the side of the house.
  • Plant groupings. Don’t mix plants with different needs in the same garden bed. Plant shade-loving plants where it will be shady, and drought-tolerant plants in full sun. Plant water-loving plants in a water garden. By mixing plants with different water and light needs, some will suffer.
  • Maintenance. Think about your lifestyle, and find good-looking plants and trees that fit in with that. Plant low-maintenance plants if you don’t want to spend a lot of time weeding and pruning. Plant taller plants and arborvitae for privacy. Be sure not to plant anything with poisonous leaves or berries especially if you have children or pets.
  • Remember winter. Plant trees and shrubs with winter interest, such as evergreens, red-twig dogwood, or trees with berries in the winter. Also, avoid planting fragile plant specimens near the street where they can get buried by the snowplow.

Hiring a landscape design company can be the best way to turn your landscaping ideas into a fully functional reality for all seasons.

RELATED READING:

Dream It. Build It. Live It.

If you’re thinking about overhauling your landscape design to make it more functional and more beautiful, we can help. We take your landscaping ideas and turn them into reality. Whether you’re looking for a formal English garden, Zen Garden, or a more natural woodland garden look, we have you covered.

Call us at 301.720.1000 or use the contact form and we’ll set up a consultation. The design process can begin right away, and the hardscape projects can begin as soon as the weather permits. The actual planting will take place in the spring after the threat of freezing temperatures has passed.

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