Top 5 Ways to
The start of summer means entertaining friends and families, hosting cookouts and barbeques, and spending time outdoors. These days, the backyard has become an extension of the family room and kitchen.
According to a U.S. online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on
behalf of the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), spending on
decks and patios has been on the increase. Consumers reported they intended to spend 37 percent more in 2013 to hire professional help for
patios and other hardscape and specialty services.
The experts at PLANET, the national landscape industry association,
offer their top five ideas to transform an ordinary yard into the ultimate
retreat, family fun, or entertaining space this summer.
Add an Outdoor Kitchen. Outdoor kitchens have been growing in
popularity for years and are often the center of family life in the summer.
They can be as extensive as a complete kitchen made of stone, brick, or
concrete pavers with a stove, stone or brick oven, counters, and even a
sink or refrigerator, or they can be as compact as a patio with a grill and
table. There are a wide variety of options for every space, purpose, and
Add Outdoor Lighting. Outdoor lighting highlights a home’s landscape, special trees, as well as walkways and porches, providing both curb
appeal and safety. “Nightscaping” makes gathering spaces usable and enjoyable for entertaining after dark. Landscape professionals can design
lighting to complement or highlight important areas of the yard, and
there are a variety of basic do-it-yourself options, such as adding a set of
solar walkway lights.
Add a Fire Feature. A portable fire pit or chiminea, or building a
stone fireplace into the deck or patio extends the time people can spend