Architectural Landscapes in your Back Garden

Almost every homeowner dreams of having a architectural landscape in their back garden. Landscape design is now more popular than ever, with some very exciting trends to look forward to this year. It doesn’t matter whether you are attempting to do it yourself or leave it to the professionals; it’s about bringing out the best of what your garden has to offer. Here we look at the top landscaping trends you should consider to make you back garden stand out this year.

Eco-Friendly Designs

Now that the economy is finally getting back on track, people are ready to start investing in their gardens again, with annual growth expecting to grow over the next few years. Homeowners want to invest in their outdoor spaces with high quality and eco-friendly products. One of the top trends in landscape design in Denver is using trees to create natural shade for your home, in order to reduce energy costs and produce fresh air. So, not only is it about making your back garden beautiful, but it’s also about finding ways to make nature work for you.

Plight of the Bees

Everyone has heard about the threats facing the bee population and people are really taking this into account when considering landscape design. More and more homeowners have been making sure they include plenty of plants, trees and flowers that are rich in pollen to create a haven the bees can enjoy.

Let There Be Light

This year is all about creating a dramatic effect in your backyard, through lighting. Some people are opting for natural flames, with the use of torches or an outdoor fireplace. These striking features will really set your garden apart, while maintaining a cozy feel. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can try out the LED lighting trend. Using LED light will help to lower running costs and newer designs can even be controlled via apps.

Low Maintenance

You may dream of an architectural landscape, but maintaining your beautiful new garden can be hard work, especially with all the changes in weather. People are opting for low-maintenance plants and flowers that are better able to tolerate dramatic changes in weather. This will make it easier to maintain your garden, keeping costs low.

Edible Gardens

We are experiencing a move away from turf grass, with vegetables, herbs and fruit coming in to replace it. Not only will these help to feed your family, again helping you to save money, but they can have an ornamental function as well. Instead of veggies being planted in neat little rows, we are seeing vegetable patched set up in squares. Planting them close together means that water will evaporate slower and the moisture will hold for longer in the soil.

As you can see, this year landscape design is all about creating an eco-friendly environment that can help you cut down on costs while also helping the environment. It’s about making the most of your back garden, while still giving yourself a beautiful space you can go to and sit back and relax.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

Exploring the Backyard: Safety Tips & Fun Games for Kids

Even in our own backyards, kids can be adventurous, and as a mom, I love seeing my kids building forts in the backyard or collecting interesting looking rocks, but accidents can still happen and our children may not be as safe as we think. Before your little explorer goes outside, remember these five easy safety tips:

Supervision. It only takes seconds for a child to become seriously injured, so always have at least one adult present when your child is outside. If you casually watch from inside while watching TV, you may not notice when your child falls in the pool or falls from a tree.

Check your surroundings. Last summer, my son went outside literally seconds before me and discovered a nest in some bushes. He was so excited to see baby eggs, he got too close and the next thing I knew, I saw my son being chased by an irate bird. The bird thought he was going to steal the eggs, and of course went into defense-mode. Luckily, I was able to shoo the bird away, but my son could have easily been attacked or bitten. Even in our own backyards, there can be new things to discover, like this nest, so keep your eyes peeled so you aren’t sending your child into contact with danger.

Wear Sun Block. Even in relaxing 70-degree weather or cloudy days, sunburns are still a possibility, especially at the beginning of summer when most of us haven’t been as exposed to direct heat. To prevent sunburns, apply sun block to your little ones.

Bug Repellent. It may seem silly to apply bug repellent to a child at home, but bugs are in your backyard whether you like it or not, especially mosquitoes.

Water Look Out. If you have any water features in your backyard, such a pond, a pool, a plastic/rubber mini pool or any other device that collects water, inspect it before letting your child touch it. When it’s hot out, mosquitoes and other bugs will breed in these waters and we definitely don’t want our little ones exposed to that! I know I don’t. And don’t forget to empty it when done. A child can drown in a few inches of water.

With your safety precautions underway, try some fun outdoor games with your kids:

Scavenger Hunt. Kids love searching, so give them a list of items to search for. For instance, tell them to find you a three-leaf clover in the grass, or a rock with a brown spot on it, or a flower with white pedals. The list goes on and this challenges your children to think while playing.

Search for Treasure. Since we know kids love searching, make a treasure map for them using items already in your backyard – trees, bushes, rocks, etc. Depending on their age, make it as easy or as hard as you desire. Hide something a child would love to find—perhaps a couple of dollars or a small knick-knack from those 0.25 cent machines. Avoid hiding candy since we don’t want ants!

Cloud Watching. Tell your child to lie on their back and watch the clouds to discover the shapes and animals floating in the air.

Roasting Marshmallows. When it gets dark out, if your little ones still love being outdoors like my family, roast marshmallows around a fire and tell stories. If you don’t have a fire pit, the Gas Can by Campfire in a Can is safe and so easy to use!  My family and I use it almost daily and even though we’re at home, it still feels like a little camping get-away.

I hope you found these backyard safety tips and games helpful, and in the words of Doctor Seuss, “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Our backyard adventures don’t have to end today; the fun can last a life time.

Author Bio:

Karen is an outdoor enthusiast who loves relaxing by the campfire ring with family on a chilly night at home. She has her own website, http://www.familyfirepit.com/ where she shares her knowledge on the latest fire pits and their safe use.

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