If your yard seems cold and uninviting, you may just need to soften it in order to transform it into a space you'll love to spend time in. But how can you soften things up, especially when hardscape is involved? Here are 5 ways to do it on any budget.
Replace Sterile Concrete. An aging, cracked concrete patio can be a stark and uninteresting part of your landscape design. Dump the traditional pale square or rectangle shape and opt for a more flowing, curved design that has a warmer and more natural feeling. Or upgrade to stamped concrete -- which has the durability of concrete but comes in an almost unlimited range of designs and colors.
Green It Up. It may go without saying, but adding greenery and flowers to your hardscaping -- and the yard in general -- helps make it more appealing. If your budget is small, you can add a lot of color and greenery using simple additions like colorful planted containers grouped around the entertainment space. Add window boxes for a better view from inside and allow climbing vines such as wisteria or morning glory to soften fencing and other outdoor buildings. Create an inviting theme with your plants and flowers -- such as a tropical yard that features lush and fast-growing banana plants and palm trees.
Use Your Senses. Warmth isn't just a visual ideal. Your yard should appeal to all the senses. A bubbling fountain, for example, helps create a feeling of being in a haven and drowns out ambient noise. Fragrant flowers like sweet peas, lilacs and winter honeysuckle give the nose something to enjoy. And a variety of textures can help bring pleasure to guests when enjoying the yard from close up.
Create a Destination. Hardscaping itself can be used to bring coziness to a yard. How so? A walkway made from pavers, pea gravel or flagstone is a semi-natural element that can invite guests to further explore the yard. It can encompass one or more "destinations" -- a birdbath placed alongside the path, a bench for relaxing or a set of bistro chairs and table at the end the road. Create a shaded nook under a tree or add a nice pergola to offer shade where there was none previously. No matter what type of "destination" appeals to you, it can help invite your guests to meander.
Build an Outdoor Room. One sure way to make your yard seem more inviting is to literally turn it into a part of your home. Outdoor rooms vary depending on your budget and needs. They can include an outdoor living room, a dining area, an entertainment lounge or an outdoor kitchen. Make the outdoor room easily accessible and provide large, well-lit entrances from the house. You can add to the cozy feeling in any outdoor room by using indoor furniture, overstuffed pillows, large rugs and plenty of seating.
For more information, contact The Hilltop Landscape Architects & Contractors or a similar company.