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Inside Out

Rain gardens, fine fencing or a fire pit?

With more people at home, we turned to Michaela and Brennan Nicholson at Scenic South Landscape and Design for inspiration to help families spend more time outside.

M and B: 2020 has been a year for home improvements with everyone at home. Creating functioning outdoor space with optimal usage has been huge. For example, solving drainage and erosion problems, while creating solid entertaining space. Stack stone or veneer fireplaces add cozy areas to warm up by a fire. Having the options of gas or wood-burning opens so many functions for firepits and places. Large patios with space for games like corn hole and giant Jenga have been popular. Using stone surfaces, such as natural flagstone or modern pavers provide a decorative, solid area to breathe fresh air or entertain guests. With so many great product choices homeowners can achieve a clean modern space or stick with natural rustic look for mountain and lake homes. 

JCL: What design solutions are you excited about for 2021?

M and B: Drainage is always a problem in Georgia. A great solution for swampy areas or places with no where to send water is to create a rain garden. Rain gardens are small or large swells or bermed beds with low spots installed in poor draining areas. Downspouts and drains can be directed to flow into a rain garden. The garden is planted with low maintenance plants that love wet feet or at least tolerate it. Another great trend is stepping outside of the common privacy practice using dog eared fencing or trees/shrubs. Privacy panels, living walls, and decorative accents can be made from unique materials or designs. These panels can be used on a deck edge, as an entire wall bordering property lines, and in the middle of gardens or yards for mediation or quiet spots. A newer stone product we are excited to incorporate are large cut stone slabs like Oklahoma slab stones. They're great for long steps, fireplace mantels, or bridges. They also make a unique patio surface for a modern western look. 

JCL: We need inspiration!  

M and B: For $10k you could freshen up shrubbery, add rubble strip borders to define beds, install boulders, or a small patio with a fire pit. Depending on material choice and current grade, and size of yard, you could do all listed items. 

For $20k you can install a good-sized stone patio, create more usable space with retaining walls, install seating walls with your patio, and spruce up beds. You could also add some yard accents like a dry creek bed or a small water feature. 

For around $50k you can have a newly renovated portion of your yard - upgrade or install an outdoor entertaining area with a fireplace or firepit. Much of the pricing depends on your yard's current status. If you have drainage problems, overgrown trees and shrubbery, or have current hardscape needing replacing, much of your budget will be used towards fixing this first. If starting with an already cleaned and ready yard, you can have a lot done for 50k. 

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