Take a minute to conjure up a vision of what the word “landscape” brings to mind. Got it?
You probably imagined trees, grass, flower gardens. If you give it another minute, you may think about pathways or stepping stones, maybe décor like planters or garden elves. If you’re the culinary sort, you may even imagine a vegetable garden.
But did you know that there is a whole lot more that can go into landscaping than just the grass, trees and décor?
Come along with us and let’s explore some exciting aspects of landscaping that you may not immediately think about. In fact, we want to show you a completely different vision of “landscaping” – one that takes your indoor lifestyle and brings in outdoors, creating a four-season outdoor living space so you’ll never look at those grass and trees the same way again!
Ponds: From Fish To Swimming
Did you know that water of all kinds – from the majestic ocean right down the the humblest of streams – has proven powers to soothe, heal and restore? It can relieve stress and anxiety, help you heal from surgery and illness faster, and even has a positive effect on Alzheimer’s patients.
Plus, koi, goldfish, frogs and other critters are just plain fun!
A pond can offer you a moment of relaxation, a backdrop for entertaining, a playful summer afternoon watching fish frolic, and yes, even a natural swimming pool.
Ponds can be as simple and compact as patio-top container varieties, or as sprawling as an entire back yard – complete with bridges, stepping stones and pathways.
Better yet, a pond is not as high-maintenance as you may think. In fact, a natural ecosystem pond is about as *low* maintenance as landscapes get. With the right combination of circulation, filtration, plants, fish, rocks and gravel, a pond is self-sustaining with minimal intervention required.
So whether you’re sitting outside with a cup of coffee on a summer morning, or watching ice form in breathtaking crystals on your waterfall during winter, you can enjoy your pond all year long.
Streams, Waterfalls & Water Features: Everything BUT The Pond
A pond isn’t the only way to enjoy the delightful sounds and motion of water. If your space is limited, or if you have a pond but still want another source of water, there are other options like bubbling sculptures and columns, spill bowls, waterfalls, streams, and fountains.
These can all be can be incorporated as standalone features, or as extensions of your pond, pool or landscape. Mix and match for the most unique and dramatic effect – ponds with fountains, pools with waterfalls, multiple spill bowls cascading down a sloped yard.
It’s only a matter of imagination!
As with ponds, the calming effects of these water features become clear as you listen to their soothing sounds and watch the water bubble, glitter and cascade over stones, walls or along rock beds within your landscape.
Plus, they’re versatile enough to be designed into a front yard, back yard or even side yard. They’re ideal features for turning an otherwise dull or troublesome space into a source of serenity and enjoyment. Forget those spots where nothing seems to grow – let water spring forth instead!
Fire Features: Celebrate Nature’s Elements
Water, and its complementary element fire, create a multi sensory experience that bring your landscape to life any time of the day or night.
They inspire, evoke emotions and craft the backdrop for relaxation, entertainment and enjoyment. Whether you curl up in front of a fire with a good book, toast marshmallows on a summer evening, gaze peacefully at the dancing flames, or even cooking in your custom fireplace or wood-fired oven, fire adds a uniquely beautiful and functional element to your landscape.
As with all the features we’ve talked about so far, fire features can be scaled to suit the size of your space and your style. From compact fire pits that sit atop your patio, to grand fireplaces for cooking, fire can set the mood you choose – whether intimacy, drama, romance, excitement, serenity and more.
Kitchens And Entertaining Spaces: Go Out To Eat – Literally!
We’ve touched on cooking with fire features, but if you’re a true entertainer at heart, an outdoor kitchen with a seating area (or multiple seating areas if you’re fond of inviting half the neighborhood!) is one of the best ways to bring your indoor lifestyle outdoors.
An outdoor kitchen can have as few or as many amenities as you desire. At its simplest, your kitchen can contain a grill or cooktop, some countertop space and perhaps a small cabinet for storing supplies. Or, you can build an entire room – minus the walls and ceiling – with a refrigerator, sink, running water, island for preparation or seating, gas or electric, even a dishwasher!
Why wait for dinner reservations when you can literally enjoy a night out? Prep, cook, dine, enjoy cocktails, relax, and entertain right from your own New Jersey back yard.
With a little bit of imagination, you can even include an outdoor TV for sports or movie nights, and speakers for ambient music.
Lighting: Form Meets Function
With all this talk of entertaining and enjoying the outdoors, it’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t necessarily have to happen during daylight hours. Why restrict yourself to daytime when the entire evening is yours to enjoy as well?
For outdoor living after dusk, lighting is an essential addition to your landscape. Lighting along walkways, patios and pool edging not only creates a gorgeous and functional space for evening use, but it also enhances safety as you, your family and friends navigate the area.
But lighting is for more than just the ground. Lighting installed in trees can create moonlight effects even on the cloudiest evening. Underwater lighting in pools, ponds, fountains or in waterfalls and other water features is perfect for ambiance and bringing those features to life.
You might be surprised by the variety of effects you can achieve with lighting, from delicate fairy lights strung over patios or embedded in gardens, to bold spotlights that wash your home in a dramatic glow.
Patios & Hardscapes: Four Seasons Of Gorgeous
Hardscapes are truly the unsung heroes of your landscape. They provide the foundation for your cooking and entertaining areas. They can turn a challenging “nothing will grow” spot into one of beauty. They provide structure and flow between spaces. And they require little maintenance, but still look great year-round.
Unlike grassy lawns that can brown during summer months or go dormant during winter, a hardscape adds visual interest no matter the season. No need to prune, weed or water. That can make your life a lot easier, and come in handy during summer water restrictions.
But did you know that hardscapes include more than just patios and walkways? They can be made of large, natural boulders, natural stone gardens, wide stepping stones and more.
From traditional to rustic, modern, or sophisticated there is a natural stone suited perfectly to your home’s style and how you want to use your space.
Pools: A Summer Of Fun
Whether you enjoy swimming laps, lounging on a float, showing off your best cannonball, or playing with the kids, a pool can be designed to perfectly suit your space, your needs and your preferences.
Long gone are the days of rectangular pools or even regularly-shaped ones. Custom pools can be designed in any shape you desire, with multiple sections or tiers, spas, diving boards, waterfalls, slides and whatever you can imagine.
The best part is that you don’t even need a big lawn with space to dig for a pool somewhere away from the house. Pools can be as small or as large as your space allows, and can be designed to flow seamlessly into patios, decks and even ponds. Imagine turning your back yard into a waterscape that you can enjoy from a nearby patio, with all your newly found spare time since you’ll never have to mow the lawn again!
We hope your imagination is running away with you right now as you picture all the exciting things you can do with your landscape beyond the plantings! If you’d like to explore those dreams, get in touch with us for a consultation. We can work with any space to create a place for you to enjoy all year long.