Preparing your landscape for the summer: Garden retreats

There’s nothing like summer. Long days, warm nights and the great outdoors. You don’t have to leave town to enjoy it. Accentuate your own home with landscaping. Design a garden area with shrubs, trees, benches, grass, flowers and even vegetables. The arrangement doesn’t necessarily have to be done by a professional, the great outdoors testify to that, but with professional advice you can’t go wrong. Professionals can recommend the types of flora and fauna that’s right for you, and help you maintain them.

When planning your landscape garden area, try to imagine a focal point. It might be a water feature,complete with water lilies, fish and maybe a small waterfall. This type of amenity, such as a watertight pool, can be purchased and installed in no time at all, the other alternative is to seek out professional landscape gardeners to help you make a decision on what’s right for your outdoor area.

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Adding shape to your landscape

Consider running pavers — which are small, flat rocks in a variety of shapes and colours similar to cobblestones. Make a wandering path among flowers or succulents. Install a convenient sitting area tucked between greenery by purchasing or building natural wood benches made from cedar or redwood. The combination of greenery, water features and pathways is up to you. If your desires run to the mysterious, plan and install a maze made from arborvitae for a tall, slow growing hedge, or privet for fast growing hedge with small flowers.

If you’re handy with lattice, build a small retreat, alcove or terrace to hang grapes, ivy or climbing hydrangea. Install a bench, maybe a few statues, garden ornaments or wind chimes, and you’ve got the perfect place to enjoy a book while listening to the birds, bees and waterfall.

It’s one thing to build a garden sanctuary if you’re in a rural, country setting but if you’re located in a subdivision or have snooty neighbours to contend with, plan on installing a privacy fence to give you the seclusion you need. This type of fencing, built with a natural weather-resistant wood such as cedar, can make curious neighbours keep their distance. Fencing can be beautiful as well. There are hundreds of designs, some intricate, some simple like the common picket fence. Sink some steel posts in concrete, install cedar cross rails between them and attach the pickets. Other designs include products made with bright-white plastic, nylon or composites. This type of fencing is durable and looks more expensive than it really is.

The important thing is to get started. Don’t just dream about a garden retreat. Begin the planning and building before it gets hot outside. When summer hits, you’ll be ready with the ice tea and lemonade.

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