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Functional Landscaping: 10 Tips to Turn Your Backyard Into a Unique Space

7. All fired up
Often, we are drawn to things deeply rooted within our psyche. One of these things happens to be fire. Who does not enjoy an evening gathered around an open campfire with the warm glow reflecting off everyone’s faces? It is a place where you and your family can tell stories, share food and drink, all while relaxing and unwinding by the fire.

In today’s landscapes, a firepit can take many forms and be constructed out a variety of materials. Natural stone is more traditional, but if you are watching your budget, firepits can be constructed from modular concrete products, which, are in fact, being used much more frequently. These are often made from the same materials as pavers and retaining wall products, so everything blends well together in terms of colours and textures. Round shapes are still quite common, but square and rectangular firepits are also coming on the scene to co-ordinate with the rectilinear lines of today’s more modern landscapes.

Regardless of the shape, firepits can be a traditional wood-burning or have the ‘instant on/instant off’ convenience of a gas-fired insert. As with all outdoor construction, you should check your local bylaws first to be sure your firepit complies with all codes.

8. A green with envy
In terms of ‘bang for your buck,’ a putting green is an outstanding investment. All ages can play and a professionally designed and installed green provides a very realistic putting experience. From a design standpoint, the green acts in a similar manner to natural lawn areas in that it provides ‘negative space’ for the eye to rest on. Modern turf materials are long lasting, natural-looking, and low-maintenance. Greens can be shaped to maximize the space available and can be contoured and designed with fringes so they play like standard putting greens. If space allows, separate chipping or pitching areas can be incorporated into the landscape to increase the functionality of the green and provide a broader range of practice. Where space and budget allows a bigger green is more enjoyable to use but even a small green can be an asset to your property. An ideal location is somewhere where non-golfers can observe and interact with the players so everyone is included.

9. Pull up a chair
Furnishing your space can be a very satisfying way to improve the function of your landscape and get your family outside. Wood is still a popular choice with sustainably harvested teak pieces being the best material with respect to low maintenance, while composite wood furniture—in classic designs such as Adirondack chairs—provide the look of bright coloured painted wood without the upkeep.

Fabric upholstered couches and chairs using bold colours and patterns are now the trend. This furniture is designed to withstand ultraviolet (UV) light, dry quickly and provide many years of service with little upkeep. Often incorporated into all-weather wicker frames, these pieces can be arranged in a pleasing ‘living room’ style layout.

Metal furniture is still popular, too. Sometimes this furniture is finished with woven composite materials—known as sling style—that do not require any maintenance, but are cool in hot weather, quick drying, and comfortable.

If you have a pool, do not forget chaise loungers. These are vital to your poolside retreat. Further, you should consider a good patio umbrella as well. Styles using a heavy base that is set to one side while the umbrella tilts out over the furnished area provide excellent functionality and usually offer better coverage options than standard umbrellas which come straight out of a base or table. Whether your style is sleek and modern or rustic country charm, there are an abundance of furniture options for you to choose from.

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2 comments on “Functional Landscaping: 10 Tips to Turn Your Backyard Into a Unique Space”

  1. What a fantastic article with some really unique and innovative tips for homeowners looking to better utilize their outdoor living space. I particularly enjoyed the tips about growing your own garden and devising an outdoor cooking area. Our spring/summer seasons seem to be growing shorter and shorter so when we can get outside and enjoy it is time to make the most of it! Our company provides landscaping, lawn care, and garden maintenance and we will definitely be incorporating some of these suggestions into future jobs Thanks for sharing!

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