As we step outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine this March, there is no better time to reenvision our backyards. From sprucing up landscaping and garden design to installing decks, patios, lighting, and pools, we can enjoy our outdoor living spaces like never before (and expand our working spaces too). Who better than local exhibitors at the Montgomery County Home and Outdoor Living Show to inspire our spring makeovers? Mark your calendars for March 4-5 at the Lone Star Convention Center to meet these experts in person.
Softscaping in Nature
Whether you're an amateur or avid gardener, the foundation of most backyards is grass. Understanding the balance between alkaline and acidic soil, as well as how best to doctor gardens and potted plants, requires skill and know-how after a very harsh winter. Achieving 6.2 to 7.0 on the pH scale helps green up grass and make it rebound, and that's where a professional landscaper comes in.
Since 1999, Sergio's Landscaping in Conroe (sergioslandscaping.com) has specialized in landscape design, including pruning bushes and trees and "spring cleaning" beds by clearing away debris to make way for planting. Mulching, fertilizer treatments, weed control, and watering help ensure yards look great and perform optimally. "We offer a wealth of experience and expertise, including experienced landscapers, licensed irrigation specialists, and landscaping architecture on-site," says owner Sergio Martinez.
Even in smaller yards, carpets of heights and textures mixed with standalone containers and box planters can make a world of difference. English-type formal gardens or more informal cottage varieties of any size or scale are amazingly aromatic. They can be dotted with fragrant annuals, perennials, and herbs that grow in the spring. For Zone 8 planting in our neck of the woods, consider bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators that favor ornamental onion and oregano, Japanese anemone, milkweed, Bluebeard shrubs, butterfly bush (buddleia), seven-son flower (heptacodium), and hibiscus. Create pathways and shrub borders along your flower beds and gardens that lead to fountains, birdbaths, and other watering holes, and voila! — you'll attract plenty of winged and feathered friends.
For more ideas, Better Homes & Gardens recommends planting the following in mid-March: Mexican orange, daisy bush, Japanese pittosporum, cherry laurel, Texas mountain laurel, and yucca. Bush beans, hybrid acorn winter squash, and rhubarb plants are good choices if you want to grow vegetables. Top fruits include strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry plants, and even seedless grapes. And ever-popular Meyer lemon trees do well in our area — perfect for iced lemonade as the days grow warmer.
Hardscaping and Pools
Anything solid and unchanging in your backyard falls under the hardscaping category — from pavers and pebbles to retaining walls and masonry to fountains and fire pits, plus kitchens and dining spaces too. Nowadays, with remote employment as the new normal, outdoor living can also include work-from-home options on decks and patios with hanging fans that help beat the heat as we head into summer.
Cabanas, pergolas, garden arbors, metal arches, and wood trellises also offer shady spaces to work or relax while enhancing your home's exterior aesthetics. These useful landscaping elements double as fences or screens and provide a sense of privacy as we gather, dine, or retreat from our busy world.
Debra and Dan Pendley of the award-winning Dominion Pool Group in Montgomery specialize in the custom design and building of all the above, as well as the number one favorite element in backyards — swimming pools! "We insure a family's dream of owning a backyard oasis is a pleasant experience, unencumbered by the worries of its technical details, design limitations, construction standards, or its expected life span for repair or replacement. We take the worries out of your decision to own a swimming pool. When it is time for you to make your dream a reality, we invite you to give us a call," says the couple.
Dominion Pool Group's in-ground pools and spas have been installed all over the county and surrounding areas to maximize at-home enjoyment. View the company's photo gallery (dominionpoolgroup.com) and see the many creative ways you can enhance your backyard and outdoor lifestyle. The company's portfolio includes images of hundreds of installed pools, and the company has an amazing showroom as well.
Glowscaping for Ambiance
What better way to set the mood in a backyard than lighting up evenings, family gatherings, and special holidays? We gathered inspiration from Lone Star Lighting and Audio in The Woodlands (lonestarlighting.com) and learned that backyard lighting options are custom, colorful and unique. Design and installation can include premium fixtures to create optimum illumination, whether festive or calming and serene while blending in with your existing landscape.
Stunning architectural accent lighting, as well as security lighting for your home's exterior and interior, is worth consideration. Audio installation, too, can add ambiance and listening pleasure not just to your evenings, but your days spent in the backyard. Lone Star Lighting and Audio offers a wide range of outdoor furniture too, from comfy weatherproof sofas and chairs to stylish tables.
Everything You Need, Right in Montgomery County
We are constantly amazed at the amount of business and resources in the Conroe area that makes our yards — and our lives — more beautiful. Stay tuned as we feature more tips and resources on the things that matter most. For more information, go to MirrorLakeDesigns.com.
Tip: Determine which plants are most likely to thrive at your location by typing your zip code in the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map at planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/.