In this article we'll review some easy and inexpensive ways to keep up with the latest craze in landscaping that reflect green living and economical living. Since they're good for the environment and good for your wallet, these are trends you can truly feel good about.
Green living is simply another way to say environmentally friendly or environmentally responsible. It involves using less energy, utilizing materials which are obtained in earth-friendly ways, and generally doing your part to lessen your impact on the environment in any way possible. This is getting easier and easier to do, thanks to the new crop of materials, products and services which have been designed with green living in mind. These should be no surprise, given that green living is all the rage and the recent recession is still affecting many people.
Economical living is reflected quite obviously in the current landscaping trends. Gone are the elaborate fountains, statues and other status-symbols. Instead, a return to a simpler way of life is trendy for the first time in many years. In addition, since fewer people have extra money to spend on frequent nights out, entertaining at home has risen sharply in popularity. Outdoor entertaining, another activity which was last popular to this degree many years ago, is suddenly chic again!
Outdoor Entertaining Space
When you consider the cost of a night out on the town, it's easy to see why entertaining at home has risen so sharply in recent years. In addition, you can't deny the relaxed comfort of a backyard party! Luckily, setting up your backyard to be the next party hotspot is extremely simple.
Depending on how much money you want to spend, you have many options. You could install a full deck, creating the ultimate in backyard party spots. However, since budgets are still tight for many people, rest assured that this is not necessary. All you really need for a great part is the right mix of seating and lighting...it's really that simple. As long as people can see each other and sit comfortably, they're going to have a good time! Of course, a wonderful grilled meal doesn't hurt anything...luckily for you; inexpensive charcoal grills produce food that's just as good as expensive gas models, perhaps even better.
If you want to entertain in every possible weather condition, you'll need a large tent or awning, in case of rain. They're also very handy for keeping cool on hot days. If you or your guests smoke, have a convenient place for cigarette butts...you don't want them ending up in your yard. Lighting is easy to overlook, but you'd be amazed at how quickly a nighttime party will die out if guests can't see who they're talking to. Go with whatever option looks most harmonious with your yard, but consider stringing some twinkle lights...they lend a whimsical, fun look to any garden décor.
"Greenscaping" Your Yard
If you've always preferred a more natural look, or if you don't love gardening, you'll love this trend. One of the most popular ways to go green is to cultivate a more natural-looking garden. This usually means abandoning the carefully tended plots and rows of flowers that were once in demand, and allowing the plants to do their own thing. Many fans of this style of gardening simply toss seeds on the ground and let them sprout!
English cottage gardens are a perfect example of how this type of gardening can look stunning. Nothing is more welcoming than wildflowers and climbing vines mixed together. You can still do a bit of maintenance, of course, but overall the upkeep required drops dramatically.
In addition to letting your plants run a bit wild, letting them take over some grass is also trendy. Natural plants, including wildflowers and natural grasses, are more environmentally friendly because they filter rainwater more effectively than traditional grass does. Letting these native plants reclaim part of your lawn contributes to the quality of groundwater, which benefits us all.
Another popular way to make your yard greener in every way is to replace any existing concrete with perforated, or pervious, concrete. This is simply concrete which has holes in it, allowing rainwater to run through more naturally instead of being dumped to the side.
In addition to helping the environment, perforated concrete can also be very attractive. The perforations can be in any design you like, making a very unique addition to your patio.
Once an integral part of a typical family's diet, home-grown vegetables (and fruits, depending on your climate) have steadily declined over the years. This is unfortunate, since growing your own food is not only healthier due to the lack of pesticides, but it's much more economical as well.
Tightened budgets have made this almost-lost tradition popular again. Whether you're taking up an old hobby or growing your very first seedlings, a vegetable garden is a very healthy and trendy addition to your yard.
A glance at any gardening website or magazine will show you many different options. If your yard is small, you can choose container gardening. Bad soil? Try raised beds filled with premium topsoil and fertilizer. There's a solution for every dilemma.
A thriving garden is a beautiful addition to your yard, as well. Certain plants, like sweet peas, climb up trellises. Others, like strawberries, are so bright and pretty that they're virtually a decoration! Try hanging baskets of strawberries from your eaves instead of flowers. You'll get all the bright color with the added bonus of a sweet, homegrown treat!
The world of landscaping has changed dramatically in recent years, but the changes are good ones. They're good for the environment, good for your wallet and, in the case of vegetable gardening, very healthy!
Consult a landscaping contractor if you're making big changes, since you may need special permits for digging near utility lines. If you're going it alone, be sure to read up on the project you're taking on before you begin. No matter what, remember to relax and have fun. After all, this is about a return to a simpler way of life!