Outdoor Decorating With Landscaping – Part 1

No outdoor living space is completely successful until it is integrated with the surrounding landscape. Just as there are principles for designing interior spaces, there are also guidelines for exterior ones. If you are choosing a site for a gazebo or a patio, it is one of the most important landscape design decisions you’ll make. If the structure already exists, you can enhance it by assessing and changing the landscape. For instance, you may want to plan a garden around a gazebo, planting shrubs and flowers to highlight the beauty of the site. Or you may want to treat the gazebo as a secluded retreat. Achieving either goal takes careful planning of the site and surrounding plantings.

Evaluate the site. The landscape design should provide a framework for your outdoor living space. The views, lines, property configuration, and traffic patterns need to work together. Spend some time getting acquainted with your site and noting any special features. What are the site’s assets? Are there beautiful views? Are there natural features, such as trees or streams? Consider the size and shape of your lot, the style of the house itself, as well as your own lifestyle needs and preferences.

Balance the elements. This is the process of arranging various site elements so that they are resolved and balanced. A visually heavy or large object can be balanced by a visually lighter or smaller object on the site if the smaller object is darker in color value, is unusually or irregularly shaped, has a contrasting texture, or is more elaborately detailed. All of these strategies will help to draw attention to the smaller object and thereby visually balance it with the larger object. For example, let’s say you have a large clump of pine trees on one side of your yard. To visually balance the trees you might plant smaller, more colorful ornamental trees on the other side of the yard, or you might use a man-made object such as a gazebo.

Create a cohesive design. Harmony can be achieved by selecting and using elements that share a common trait or characteristic. By using elements that are similar in size, shape, color, material, texture, or detail, you can create a cohesive feeling and relation among the various elements on the site. An example this might be using a shape, such as a square. Imagine having a square concrete patio scored in a square (or diamond) pattern with a square table covered in a checkered tablecloth. The results can be extremely pleasing and harmonious.

You’ve Got Your Iron Gazebo But What Now? Some Decor and Landscaping Tips

It’s wonderful to have a sheltered, shady spot outdoors to enjoy a meal or just sit back and relax on a hot summer day. An iron gazebo can be a charming landscaping feature too. As a focal point they are extremely attractive and will add height to an otherwise flat looking garden. If you’ve just purchased or had an iron gazebo installed, you may need a bit of help personalising it and making it feel like part of your home.

Formal or Informal

Iron gazebos offer lots of decorating potential. To start you off, the most important decision to make is whether you’d like a formal or informal setting. This will ultimately be determined by what you’re going to use it for; elegant dinner parties or naps after you finishing mowing the lawn. Once you have a picture in mind, it will help you make other decisions about your plants and furniture. Wrought iron gazebos naturally lend themselves to formal, more elegant gardens. Although, in an informal setting with wild planting, they’re a great choice as they offer such strong structural support.

Plants

Hard-landscaping of any sort can often look bare until the plants go in. Here are some great climbing plants to make your gazebo blend seamlessly into the landscape: Climbing Roses, Evergreen Clematis, Wisteria, Vines, Ivy, or Jasmines. An iron gazebo looks great with traditional climbing roses or vines. Be sure to think about whether the plants will be North/South facing or against a wall, this could affect your decision. Consider when they flower and what they’ll be like seasonally. Finally find out whether the plants you choose are known to attract insects so you can rule them out. Though, perhaps you might like the idea of attracting butterflies.

Shelter

The more protection you have from the elements, the more you’ll be able to use your outdoor space, extending its use until well into the autumn. The addition of side covers will offer a lot more shelter from strong winds or rain. Curtains on the gazebo may not offer as much protection but will look amazing. They also offer you more flexibility than a completely closed structure with glass.

Traditionally a gazebo has a full roof, however many structures these days can be purchased as a frame thus giving you more options. At this point, if you don’t have a roof, you may want to consider some sort of roof cover or roof canopy. These can be purchased separately, once again, it depends on how you’d like to use the space.

Entranceway

A grand entrance is always important. Highlight the walkway to your iron gazebo so there’s a clear path to your outdoor room, using stepping stones or lighting. Decorate the doorway with hanging baskets, lanterns, a mat, planters to highlight it for a welcoming entrance.

Lighting

Assuming you’ve decided where to put your iron gazebo, you’ve probably thought about your power supply. This will determine the type of lighting you can go for (if any). If you’ve got an electricity supply to your structure then the sky’s the limit when it comes to lighting, it also gives you option to make full use of your gazebo at night, for parties, entertaining and dining. If not, don’t worry, there are lots of great outdoor light solutions these days, from battery operated candles that look just like the real thing – to solar power.

Inside

The interior of your iron gazebo of course depends on the space you’ve got, your existing furniture, and what you will primarily use the space for. Whether you’re fully enclosed or not will also limit your options. You can really enjoy this part; create a formal, elegant dining area under the stars or a relaxed, chill zone with low level seating, bean bags and outdoor rugs.

For an Event

You may have purchased your iron gazebo for an event. It’s always better to bring in benches, placed around the inside of your structure; they’ll provide a lot more seating. You can then put small tables in between; this will mean you’ll have plenty of room in the middle to get in and out. If you’ve got space you could include a centre-table or a feature hanging. The best materials to use when decorating gazebo for an event are light fabrics such as tulle, the rest of the d├ęcor will depend on your theme.

You’ve certainly got plenty think about after reading this post-gazebo-purchase guide. However you decide to use you iron gazebo – make sure you use it often.

What’s At The 2008 Flower and Landscape Exhibitions For You?

Hi, all, the 2008 Flower and Landscape exhibitions are now upon us, likely showing now at your local exhibition center. So what are the landscaping supply manufacturers and the landscaping contractors going to try to sell you as this year’s most wanted property enhancement?

Having just returned from an exhibition in the Northeastern states, my mind is full of creative possibilities for this year’s summer projects. The show was filled with the typical big sellers; hot tubs and spas were present in liberal quantities, windows, sun rooms, and man made ponds are always present at these shows, and will likely be back at the spring Home Shows that will be filling the same exhibition centers a few weeks from now. But the tone of our blog focuses on a rustic decoration style, and there was no lack of displays to spawn the creative thought process.

The thing I like the most about the landscaping shows these days is the fact that you don’t just look at a single product at each display. The companies renting floor space do it all up right, and design an entire landscape in their space. You can imagine looking out your back window and seeing exactly what is laid out in front of you at the show. For example, a manufactured paver company put up quite a display, building a complete landscape. Obviously the entire scene was built upward from their pavers, which were arranged in a complex pattern under foot, but they combined efforts with other products from other companies to give a feel for how their product worked with others. Stackable manufactured stones bordered the paver patio, cedar landscape accents were strategically placed, a striking cedar pergola rose from the patio, and a stackable stone island was placed just outside the pergola with a polished granite counter top to cap the stone and provide a resting place for a propane cooktop. Having taken in that whole scene, I have an idea of what my summer project will consist of this year!

Other displays that I haven’t seen too much of until this year included ‘modular outdoor fireplaces’. These displays looked like stone fireplaces built by skilled stone workers, but were actually pre-cast modules that stack together horizontally and vertically to create sprawling outdoor structures. The show piece was a configuration that included five foot counter top units on either side of the fireplace, and the fireplace itself whose chimney extended upward for about nine or ten feet including the chimney cap. This impressive configuration did come at a price; it was tagged at just under $20,000 installed. That’s 20K, as in new car dollar figures. Of course, there were more reasonable configurations set up that displayed gas grills embedded in them with a bit of usable counter space.

Me, I am sticking with the patio-pergola-counter top configuration this summer next to the pool. That will create a nicely usable outdoor room in a section of yard that I’ve been wondering what to do with for quite a few years now. How about you, what’s your summer project for this year? Not sure? Get out to your local Flower Show or Home Show to get lots of fresh ideas!

Have fun,

Ron