Tag : backyard
Tag : backyard
Wall define a space. Whether they are freestanding, to screen or divide a space, or retaining, to create levels in your garden, in addition walls make landscapes more interesting and dynamic. You can sit on them, install plants that will climb up them, or create curves and angles with them. There are a multitude of contemporary and traditional products to choose from. Use a licensed contractor to install walls that are higher than 24 in.
• Available in an array of earth tones, also with textured, flat, or curved face
• Easy, modular installation
• Maintenance free
• Capstone necessary
• Clean, contemporary look and virtually any color possible
• Concrete block or poured internal wall requires professional installation
• Stucco mustreapplied over time
• Timeless appeal and colors are limited to clay and gray tones but don’t fade
• Create a variety of patterns like running bond and basketweave, or jack-on-jack
• Taller walls should be installed by a professional
• Thin stone installed onto concrete base gives the look of natural stone, but is easier to install and less expensive
• Capstone necessary
• Variations in size, coloring, and stacking styles
• May require professional installation
installed with or without cap, with or without mortar
This riverfront property in New York’s Thousand Islands had a complicated grade, and bedrock underneath the entire property limited the capacity to grow deep-rooted plants, frankly slope make problems.
Landscape architect Mariane Wheatley-Miller created a series of seven linked terraces leading from the house down to the water and boathouse.
Handbuilt walls and stair facings were made of local stone, and bluestone pavers were used for the patios and steps.
We choosing Plant material carefully for its hardiness, as well as its billowing and softening effect on the stone hardscape.
right • Climbing and clinging vines soften the stone walls throughout the property.
above • Wisteria vine shad This dining area under a large scale arbor.
A stately line of river birches (Betula nigra ‘Heritage’) mirrors the arbor’s supports.
above • softly curving retaining wall forms one of the terraces that turns this steep slope into usable living space.
An enclosure, like a wall, fence, screen, or hedge, designates and defines an outside area as special. Such boundaries have always played an important functional role in the landscape: to keep livestock in and intruders out. These days, an enclosure can also be used to mark property lines, close in a hazard like a swimming pool, and provide privacy. An enclosure also acts to extend the walls of the house out into the landscape. It’s strange but true: an enclosed space feels larger than a similar area lacking such definition. Perhaps it’s because a fenced yard seems like it’s marked out as special, with its clear edges and entrance gate.
Wooden, steel, or bamboo fences sit more lightly on the land and are less expensive to erect but don’t last as long as their masonry counterparts. Hedges are the least expensive means of enclosing a landscape. Evergreen or deciduous, tall or low, hedges can be effective living screens for a variety of settings. Gateways, as breaks in an enclosure, allow passage into the delineated realm. Railings are low post and rail structures designed to keep people from falling over an edge, especially on stairways or around high decks. The simplest kind of enclosure—edging—separates plants or garden beds from pathways or lawns in a useful and attractive way.
top right • An ornate wrought-iron gateway, in line with an elegant double staircase leading into the house, links lawn areas separated by stone walls and hedges.
right • Dry-laid stone walls are an ancient form of enclosure, built originally to use up excess material, delineate boundaries, and keep in livestock. These days, we enjoy them for their beauty and sense of history.
above • A wrought-iron handrail softened by a leafy vine embraces this outdoor living room.
right • This 7-ft.-high fence is made of a series of concrete-block piers and wire mesh panels that keep animals out, allow air circulation through, and provide views into the forest beyond.
Walls are powerful visual extensions of the architecture of your house into the landscape. They can be structural or ornamental and can serve different purposes in the landscape. These can provide backdrops to gardens, define the edge of the property, create a sense of privacy, or frame an opening for a driveway or path.
An interesting form can give walls greater character. Straight walls are practical, direct, and efficient. Curved walls, with their softer flow, can be playful, meandering, or sensuous. Tall walls that you can’t see over or where a lot of soil is being retained can be intimidating.
A friendly height for a wall is one that allows a neighborly view between houses. Materials and finish details can make all the difference. Whether stucco or stone, mortared or dry stacked, round or square stone, natural or cut stone cap, stucco texture and color, there are countless details that you can use to give a wall your own personal touch.
top right • Concrete walls that are plastered or stuccoed can resemble traditional hand-molded adobe or mud walls. Vivid colors satisfy in this tropical setting.
bottom right • Irregular blocks of limestone are stacked to form a low planter wall. Use local stone wherever possible.
above • These walls retain a steep slope, creating terraced spaces for trees and large shrubs. Make sure to include weep holes behind the walls to allow water to drain through.
right • This wall is built of concrete faced with stone and capped with a contrasting material, in this case, bluestone. A slightly higher square pier provides a clear end to the wall, marks the top landing for the steps, and provides a base for the Arts and Crafts lantern that lights the way.
Many of us are lucky to live where natural stone is plentiful. Whether flat or rounded, granite, sandstone, or limestone, a stone wall made out of what’s local looks great because it is in keeping with the natural landscape. And there are many ways to build with stone. You can use round or flat fieldstones to face a wall or to create a built-up surface. Joints between stones can be fully mortared, partially mortared (hidden joints), or dry-laid (where no mortar is used at all). Make sure you employ an experienced mason to get the best results.
right • This arching picket fence sits directly on a concrete wall faced with a thin veneer of fieldstone.
above • This dry stone wall was built without mortar. At its end, a ruin-like window seems to erupt from a sea of plantings.
above • A steeply sloping hillside can be held back by building stone retaining walls. Properly engineered, they act as beautifully planted terraces that create more usable living space.
right • Wide stone walls curve between upper and lower lawn areas. Flat fieldstones are secured in place using a dark-tinted mortar instead of a cap.
A recent Boston-area JMMDS project aimed to turn a high retaining wall along a tight entry space into a lovely vertical garden. To do this, we proposed transforming one side of this shady driveway into a living wall.
A steel frame made of cells to hold soil was bolted into a 7-ft.-high, curving concrete retaining wall and then filled with a palette of predominantly native and shade-loving perennials.
Now this north-facing space functions as an outdoor entryway, a driveway turnaround or parking spot, a protected place to read a book, and also a living work of garden art that greets the homeowners whenever they come home.
above • Ferns (both Christmas and autumn), Solomon seal (Polygonatum commutatum), woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis), fringed bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia), and wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) grace this north-facing green wall.
For those who live in southern climes, the bright sun and warm weather offer opportunities to bring color into your open-air rooms.
Artfully designed tiled walls can act as vertical focal points with their planes of smooth, colorful finishes that catch the light and make for an easy-to-clean, moisture-proof surface. Tile can be laid out as a background that highlights a fountain or sculpture or as a focal point in itself.
Colorful tiles made of glass, ceramic, or natural stone are all available in a wide range of sizes and finishes. You can even design your own tile pattern, putting your personal stamp on your backyard.
top right • Large squares of blue tile are used to face an exterior planter wall filled with native plantings, enclosing an ipé deck.
right • Vivid colors stand out in bright light. Flanked by fig trees and agaves, the tile pattern on this wall acts like a hearth in a living room, creating a central focal point around which to place the furniture.
A seating wall is a masonry wall built at a height and depth to provide a place to sit. Retaining and freestanding walls alike can deliver a solid bench for sitting. Since stone can be hard to sit on and cold to the touch, seat walls can be made more comfortable by the addition of a wooden seat or cushions, or when painted in light colors or softened by cascading plants. Typical seat heights can be as low as 12 in. and as high as 30 in. (more of a leaning height), with the usual height being 18 in. or so from the ground.
above • A low concrete wall whose limestone cap doubles as a circular seat retains this island planting and breaks up the expanse of a large concrete driveway.
left • A skilled mason fashioned a built-in seat out of a retaining wall, complete with a side table for setting drinks or containers of plants.
below • An exedra—a semicircular bench—fits perfectly around a firepit that also functions as a coffee table. The thick pillows made of outdoor fabric bring the feeling of inside out. Notice the handsome bevel formed along the inside edge of the bench.
Most of us long to turn our backyard into a place where family and friends love to gather, whether it be for dining out under the stars or sitting around the firepit making s’mores and conversation. All you need is a level area paved or decked is bestgarden that allows safe and easy passage between house and landscape and extends the floor of your house outside. Easy access to your kitchen always helps.
right • In one tiny space, this urban backyard has it all: close proximity to the kitchen, privacy from neighbors, and a beautiful focal point that draws the eye toward the middle of lush gardens.
above • Inviting chairs set around a firepit on this clean-lined terrace are an extension of the indoor living room.
above • In this urban courtyard corner, a sweet seating area is nestled under the umbrella of a whit birch. The high
walls provide privacy as well as a clinging surface for lush greenery that adds to the romance.
Your backyard landscape is not only ideal for gathering; it also can provide the perfect spot for getting away. Finding a cozy corner to hang a hammock, place a bench, or set out a chaise longue creates a place to stop all activity and just kick back and relax. Even better, locate your getaway where you’re shaded beneath a leafy bough or nestled up against a perimeter wall or high fence, or find a spot for an arbor or pergola sized just for an intimate two. Even in the tiniest yard, creating a spot that feels somewhat remote yet not too far from the action offers the delightful adult daydreaming place we all deserve.
above • A large property can enjoy multiple contemplative destinations, especially when there’s a lovely pond to behold. This teak bench is strategically placed to take in the view.
left • A hemp hammock offers repose in a corner of the garden. Even if you rarely end up using it, it’s great to know it’s there.
above • Sometimes a little outbuilding can be turned into the perfect getaway. Here, a winding stepping stone path leads to a rustic bedroom nestled in the forest.
We all know the many benefits of outdoor play, which include being active, collaborative, and imaginative. Now more than ever, our backyard landscapes need to draw kids outside so they can get away from computer and television screens and into nature once more. Play spaces can be simple or elaborate, depending on budget, imagination, and inclination. You may choose to create a fairy-tale tree house, tempting hobbit hole, or simple sandbox . . . but if you don’t, children will create their own from a low-hanging tree branch, the crawlspace under some overgrown shrubs, or a small muddy spot behind the garage. Just as old-time gardeners used to leave an untended corner for the fairies, make sure to leave a place in your yard for imaginative play. And remember that play is not just for children.
top right • This small backyard has just enough soft lawn space for kids to practice their headstands and somersaults. Adults can easily watch from the deck.
bottom right • This driveway offers space level and large enough for an indoor/outdoor ping-pong table. When folded up, it wheels right into the garage for storage.
above • This open platform built around a tree allows many kinds of physical play to happen in one place. A climbing rope, a hammock, a hauling bucket, and even a hopscotch court add to the fun of having a tree house in your own backyard.
Categories: Front yard landscaping ideas
When you place a wall, fence, or hedge around your front yard, you turn it into something special.
An enclosed space along the sidewalk provides a protected place for sitting as well as an edge against which e. Such front yards present a useful alternative to traditional lawn-and-foundation planting fencingyou can plant your favorite flowers. Your front yard becomes your front garden and shows off a bit of your personal style to the world. Surrounding the front of your property with low hedges or what they se helps keeps the world out and children in, while still allowing passersby to peek in and enjoy designs, especially where space is at a premium. Why not use the front of your house for living, entertaining, and play, just as you do in the backyard, and enjoy this valuable piece of real estate?
above • This front yard sits close to the street, yet the protection of a thick stucco wall creates an enclosed space for family dining and entertaining.
left • An attractive wooden fence turns a front yard on a busy urban street into a private garden, yet the open design along the top of the fence prevents it from appearing unfriendly. A wide planting strip outside the fence means the view is as enjoyable from the street as it is from within the garden.
This stucco cottage would be as at home in a fairy tale as it is in a southern California beachside community, thanks to its ivy-clad walls and cottage garden. Romantic touches such as the picket fence and matching old-fashioned streetlamp enhance the quaint effect.
The gently swooping fence is set well back from the sidewalk, creating a narrow front yard but ample space for ferns, hydrangeas, and potted plants placed where passersby can appreciate them. Though enclosed with a low picket fence, this front yard feels open to the world. Visitors can peek in and imagine the hidden life behind the home’s façade.
top right • A curving brick walkway and gate left welcomingly ajar beckon visitors toward the front door. Typical cottage garden plants of English ivy, zonal geraniums, ferns, and hydrangeas cover the landscape.
left • The white chairs with their nautical blue cushions invite us to inhabit them even if only in our minds.
Depending upon your property, a side yard can be a narrow sliver of space between buildings or an area wide enough to house a garage or even a terrace. In either case, a side yard can feel oddly separate from the rest of the property if its design doesn’t include details like plantings or hardscape features that are repeated in the front yard or backyard that integrate the side yard into the entire design.
What unites most side yards is their function as passageway between front yard and backyard. It is important to design a path that flows easily between spaces. Do you want a functional walkway that serves as the shortest distance between two often-visited points? Or would you like a meandering stepping-stone path that slows you down enough to notice a lovely plant, an attractive framed view, or an interesting focal point? Hemmed in by buildings as these spaces can be, light and air circulation are often at issue.
The use of open styles of fencing, where fencing is needed, can let in more light and create a greater sense of spaciousness. Many useful and utilitarian items can be housed in a side yard, such as a tool shed, compost bin, dog run, or grill, because this space is often just out of public view.
In planning your side yard, don’t forget the neighbors. If privacy is a concern, erect a high fence or tall plantings to block visual and physical access between yards. By adding a gate, you can maintain a friendly relationship between the properties. Similar to a front yard, a roomy side yard can also function the way a backyard does: for entertaining, dining, or relaxing. And if your kitchen door opens onto your side yard, it’s a wonderful place to locate a grill or pizza oven. Just make sure to include a buffet table and some comfortable chairs nearby, so the grillmeister of the family can socialize while serving up the meal.
above • A narrow slit looks wider with the addition of a hydrangea hedge and tendrils of ivy that curl over a path of regularly spaced double stepping stones.
left • A diagonal path meanders from driveway to firepit terrace, located on the side of this property. A handsome covered porch adds yet another sitting spot.
above • This side yard doubles as a front garden and informal entry porch. Friends and family enter this way.
right • A path of limestone pavers leads to a gate to the back forty. Shade plantings fill the beds and settle the house into this handsome side yard.
When we want to get outside, we usually gravitate to the backyard, where all manner of outdoor living can occur. Behind our house, protected from passersby or neighbor’s view, we feel the freedom to do and be whatever we want. The best backyards enjoy a comfortable relationship between inside and outside, visual screening from neighbors for privacy, and an interesting view or focal point, either on the property itself or beyond its bounds.
Whereas a front yard creates the first impression visitors will have of your home and should make you and your guests feel welcomed, the backyard exists to lure people outside. It should look inviting from indoors, and it could serve any number of functions (and often several at once). Your backyard might be a space for entertaining and family dining, recreation and children’s play, relaxing and enjoying quiet time, hobbies such as gardening or painting, and just spending time outdoors (for all household members human and otherwise).
Even the tiniest backyard, thoughtfully designed, can accommodate most if not all of these needs for gathering, for play, and for getting away.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a large property with grand vistas, you probably will want to enclose your backyard with a fence, hedge, or wall high enough to keep prying eyes out and children (and dogs) in. At the same time, adding large windows and French doors to the back of your house encourages easy visual and physical access between inside and out.
top right • A colorful tree bench hugs the old apple tree climbed by generations of kids.
bottom right • Big comfortable chairs set into a sunken terrace bring the inside out in this cozy backyard garden with an expansive view.
Categories: Front yard landscaping ideas
Front yards are taking on new roles to better support the life of the family. Rather than the typical broad swath of front lawn, the front yard has also become a welcoming entryway as well as a comfortable living space. No longer just made up of overgrown foundation plantings, now rain gardens, edible landscapes, and riotous perennial borders are planted in this valuable land at the front of the house.
The layout of your front yard also conveys the first impression visitors have of your home and, by extension, your personality. A lively, colorful cottage garden centered on a painted bench gives passersby a very different image of who you are than would a bland open lawn. There are special problems and opportunities that affect the design of a front yard.
When the house sits far above or below the street, getting to it requires thoughtful planning. Similarly, if a house rests too close to a street, it pays to enclose the front yard, not only for safety’s sake, but to increase usability as well. Reframe your thinking: what if you treated your front yard as though it were a backyard. How would it function differently from the way it does right now?
top right • A patio beside the front door can be an unexpected and welcoming touch. Here, the herringbone brick patio, inviting chairs, and bountiful window boxes create a friendly entrance.
bottom right • This suburban home enjoyed a nice large sweep of lawn, but the homeowners decided to create a more interesting space with lots of plantings.
below• A stately planting of river birches, ferns, and ground cover flank a bluestone walkway, leading eye and foot up to the front door.
At first glance, this planting looks like many other handsome front yards in this suburban neighborhood. But look more closely and you’ll see a host of edibles to harvest, including kale, artichoke, and lettuce, interspersed with herbs including basil and sage. Sometimes the best sun exposure is along the street edge. Why not put it to good use while also beautifying the neighborhood?
When you own a formal house, it can pay to extend its proportions right out to the street. This formal front yard was created to complement the designer’s own foursquare 1911 Colonial home in an older neighborhood in upstate New York. The boxwood hedge parterre is laid out in an Arts and Crafts design, which echoes a stained-glass window in the house. The garden is visible from several high vantage points (front and side porches and roof garden), so its intricate design can be fully appreciated from above. The owners, landscape architects A.J. Miller and Mariane Wheatley-Miller, fill the beds with evergreens and annuals.
right • Far more interesting than lawn, the parterre offers lovely views from inside the house. The property sits on a natural drumlin high above the level of the street; steps lead down to the sidewalk below.
Not everyone lives on level ground. Sloping front yards and houses that sit above (or below) the street require a series of stairs or steps to reach the front door. With thoughtful design, the experience of scaling a height can be exciting rather than arduous. Think of a series of steps and landings as being like a waterfall.
The front door is the “origin” of the falls; the front stoop or porch is where it “dams up” and then flows down the steps, pooling where landings occur, until it “spills” out to meet the road or sidewalk below. Make the steps wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side, complete with landings every few feet of rise so that visitors can catch their breath. For safety’s sake, place lights so that every step is well lit. Direct water runoff into adjacent planting beds or lawn areas so that the steps remain dry.
top right • Landscape steps look and feel good when the riser is low and the tread is long. Here, two offset stairways are linked by a long level walkway before reaching the front door. bottom right • These concrete stairs provide a handsome stepped walkway through a colorful garden. Note the location of the landings that provide visitors with a place to catch their breath every four risers. facing page • The wooden bollards on either side of this walkway echo the roofline and bring the architecture into the garden, while also scaling down the entrance to pedestrian traffic. Billowing grasses soften the house and walkway’s squares and angles. Concrete pavers and dimensional wall blocks combine to create inexpensive but handsome planters.
Categories: Front yard landscaping ideas