After 20 years of turning my passion into my profession, we’ve developed a few guiding design thoughts that have served us well. They are as follows:
• Plant the right plant in the right place. Sounds simple enough, but planting a shrub that will grow to be 8 inches tall and wide in the 2-inch sliver between the sidewalk and the garage doesn’t work.
• Don’t fight the sight. This is similar to the first point. Got a wet area? Plant things that thrive in wet areas. Shady or full sun? Same thing.
• A hot tub conveniently placed close to the back door tends to get considerably more action than one place at the bottom of the stairs and across the patio.
• Fire pits, fireplaces and grill stations are also victims of convenience … or lack thereof. Safely close and easy to operate are successful strategies.
• Master designs with multiple phases rock. Spending several thousand dollars without a design and end vision in mind can result in a fragmented living area that doesn’t communicate well with the rest of the outdoor living space. Not fun or cost affective.
• Big pots with lots of color are incredibly impactful and a cost friendly way to create excitement and elegance. Go big with lots of variety.
• Spend more than you prefer on great outdoor furniture whose longevity is measured in years instead of months. Cover them when not in use.
• Hire people you like to work with. Nothing worse than working with folks that you don’t enjoy being around.
• Nothing beats real stone for patios. Even crushed gravel offers stately elegance. The style will endure our lifetimes.
Finally, and this is my favorite … well planned outdoor living spaces can have a huge impact on how you and your family live, entertain and communicate with each other.