5 Ideas for Creating an Outdoor Extension of Your Home

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Defining and decorating your outdoor space can be as much fun as decorating your home – and just as rewarding. Here are 5 ideas to get your started in creating a yard that extends your home with more space and more enjoyment.

1. Start With a Plan. When you begin to plan your outdoor space, you need a plan. Look at the space and think about how you use it. Is there a grassy area that you and the kids use for tossing a ball around or playing an outdoor game? Is there a shady spot you could become a hideaway for relaxing by yourself or a conversation area for you and your friends? Decide what outdoor areas you want. An outdoor kitchen? A bar area? A fire pit? Plan around fixed objects. You’re not going to want to cut down a big tree and you can’t move the location of a pool easily.

2. Think About Style and Materials. You want your outdoor space to be an extension of your home. So plan accordingly. You can create a rustic look by using railroad ties to create a path – or you can go natural with rocks. Flagstone and landscape blocks are another great combination. Planning a Grecian garden? Think about granite stepping stones. Southwest is your style? Think about flagstone. As a general rule, you want to stick with two textures and two or three different materials to create a unified look. Incorporate different colors for more visual appeal.

3. Getting from Here to There. Paths are a great way to define space as well as leading both the eye and the foot traffic through your outdoor space. For example, a path can outline a grassy area or lead to a conversation area. You can use materials from bricks or pavers to railroad ties or gravel. Two important considerations are design and edging. A curved, flowing path is much more inviting than straight lines and can help transition from the square edges of a porch or deck to the more natural landscaping. Edging will define your path. Think of making it slightly higher than the path to help contain the soil or sand your path is set into and to keep your path looking neat. You can create attractive color combinations. For example, colored gravel lined by white rocks or flagstone or rock stepping stones offset by low growing green planting.

4. Create Multi-levels. Nothing defines space better than different levels. With today’s easy-to-stack blocks, anything is possible. Let your imagination be your guide. You can place a fountain or fire pit on a raised platform and surround it with pavers (don’t forget the edging) to create a wonderful conversation spot. Raised or terraced beds for flowers or drought resistant landscaping plants can outline a path or create a transition from one space to another. A raised area high enough so you can add natural looking rock steps is a great visual. Getting ready of the “flat” can create different spaces while it brings a new appeal to your landscape.

5. Add the Amenities to Make it All Work! This is where you really define the uses of your outdoor space and make it so inviting. Firelight provides more than warmth. The flickering flames say sit back and relax. An outdoor kitchen area and a defined eating area will have you enjoying the BBQ. Don’t forget water features. Nothing is more tranquil than the sound of running water. You can create a pond edged in rock so it looks like a natural spring or add fountains. Consider low walls to provide extra seating. Don’t forget bright pots filled with plants. Make your space your own – ready for the things you love best!

Designing a hardscape means finding the right materials. If you want a natural looking boulder as a focal point to your xeriscaping, you need a company that can put it in place and help you make it look like it’s been there for centuries. Before you start, don’t confine yourself to the common elements available at big box stores. Visit the Pioneer landscaping location closest to you. They are the nation’s largest landscaping material supplier, and will have all the products your yard needs. They’ll have more choices and understand the logistics of helping you or your contractor get the job done right.

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