Designing in nature

Colonial Gardens shares how to transform outdoor living spaces

It is the season for outdoor entertaining, but have you ever come home from an outdoor party and felt inadequate about your own yard? With some help from Colonial Gardens, creating eye-catching outdoor design does not have to be intimidating.  

Raechel Lukowski, marketing manager with Colonial Gardens, says the first step in establishing great outdoor design is to identify the space you are looking to enhance, whether that be a backyard, a patio, or a side porch. Next, she suggests taking measurements of the area and evaluating how much sun and shade it receives. She also emphasizes the importance of setting a budget and determining your top priority and what can wait until time and money allow.

Cassidy Fox, a design specialist with Colonial Gardens, says people often start designing their outdoor spaces with something familiar such as hibiscus, salvia, petunias, pansies, and various hanging plants.

As you begin developing ideas, Raechel says to consider incorporating multiple elements into the design.

“You want to create a space you'll enjoy spending time in,” Raechel says. “So, if your family is the type to sit around a fire on a fall evening, throw a fire pit into your space. If you enjoy having a glass of wine and reading, invest in a quality patio set. You always want to engage all five senses—flowers for smell, herbs for taste, color for sight, textures for feel, and different elements such as a water feature or birdhouse for hearing.”

While brainstorming ideas is important, Cassidy says it is also critical to narrow down ideas to a specific theme that can be executed with relative ease. She says people often have many different ideas they try to combine, and it becomes overwhelming and impractical.  

Here are four common areas around the yard and how Colonial Gardens suggests bringing more life to them:

  • The fully shaded patio close to the home.

Japanese maples can be the perfect tree for a shaded patio area. Additionally, begonias and brunneras can complement the tree, and a Ratana furniture set can round it out.

  • The partially shaded patio with a firepit.

A weigela bush can be a great option in this space. A bromeliad shade combo can also provide interest, and coral bells are a perennial that thrives in this environment. Add a copper bowl firepit to make this type of patio stand out.

  • The full-sun backyard.

While this type of area might seem more challenging, lilacs can thrive in this environment as well as lantanas, petunias, and coneflowers. Also consider putting a bird feeder in the corner.

  • The partially shaded side of the home.

Boxwood shrubs do well in this environment along with dahlias and ostrich ferns. Also consider including an Aquascape water feature.

“These plants are all easy to manage and maintain, are cost effective, and they pair well together in terms of height, colors, and textures,” Raechel says. “Most of the plants are pollinators, meaning they'll attract hummingbirds, bees, and birds, which is great for our environment.”

Cassidy says people sometimes do not attempt to grow many plants because they fear they will kill them. She encourages people to come into Colonial Gardens for advice, and she assures customers that it really is easy to keep larger plants alive.

If you need some additional assistance, Raechel says Colonial Gardens specializes in custom arrangements and combo planters for sun or shade spaces. She says these can be simple or extravagant depending on space and budget, and they will create colors and other elements that match existing spaces.

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