While the real world happens all around us, a backyard serves as a natural refuge. But what that means can vary greatly. For some, it’s a garden blooming with vibrant shrubs and flowers. For others, it’s a sturdy deck ready for entertaining.
Landscaping company Exscape Designs brought both ideas together for this transitional hillside patio in Bainbridge. Using inspiration from the owners’ original red-brick patio and wide-open yard, Exscape used perennial plants as a border along the sloping path that led from the balcony deck to the stone fire pit below, tying both areas together.
“They wanted it to look very natural,” says Exscape CEO Bill Dysert. “The view looking out from the deck was important because they spent a lot of time out there. Nestling that fire pit area into the hillside to make it really feel like it wasn’t forced or contrived was a natural fit.”
And if you’re anything like us, you’ve been thinking of spending more time in your backyard this summer, which includes plotting ways to make it a little more welcoming.
“The more you can touch the senses with nature and your surroundings, the better,” says Dysert. He lays down some tips on how to take your backyard to a new level.
Make Brick Work
If part of your planning includes a new backyard path or patio, natural stone, concrete or decorative pavers will all get the job done, and Dysert advises trying to match or complement elements of your home. But he says it’s vital to make sure the ground is ready for everything to be laid down, or it won’t be smooth and even. “It comes down to the base prep,” he says. “The excavation, getting a proper base underneath the patio with premium gravel compacted in places is really the most important.”
Create A Center Feature
Whether your backyard stretches far beyond your home or is on the smaller side, a central focus can help bring everything together. This could be using stones to make a simple fire pit, placing a ceramic vase with annual flowers planted inside, or something more advanced such as installing a water feature. “I know in my home the fire pit is the central point for the family,” Dysert says. “It’s our gathering space, and that’s where we tend to spend most of our time in the summer."
Light The Way
If you just finished a big project such as a deck, garden or winding pathway, but would like to be able to see it better on summer nights, try installing low-voltage landscape lighting. Mount poles along a path or put up simple string lights along the deck to highlight certain parts of the yard. “Proper lighting can transform the space,” Dysert says. “It can look totally different in the evenings and nighttime.”