With cooler fall weather coming our way, it’s a great time to re-evaluate on how to make the most of our home’s outdoor space. Resident designer, Mark Biechler with Pearson Landscape’s, has over 10 years experience in the landscape design industry and helps homeowners decide what elements to use for outdoor spaces by combing the living environment with hard scape factors.
Consider a patio, wall construction, entire landscape, and flower beds for more curb or back door view appeal. “One of the most appealing features a client can add is a stone patio. I also think that wood arbors can really make a dramatic change to an outdoor living space,” says Biechler. Paths and fencing can also be great accents to an area.
Another consideration is the size of your space. “For a smaller area, a good idea is to add a small sitting space set in gravel or stone. Maybe just a small area of turf grass and simply make the rest planting beds,” explains Mark Beichler. In larger spaces, adding large specimen trees can bring dramatic results and can make a large empty yard look much more inviting. The use of large dramatic plant beds with a small path can bring additional interest to a large back yard.
“One of the most inexpensive additions a homeowner can make is just a simple bed make over. Updating plants and adding fresh mulch can make a big change,” describes Biechler. Good plant suggestions are Bulbine, Skullcap, knock out roses, Katie Dwarf Ruellia, Pineapple Guava, Sandankwa Viburnum , and all native grasses. “There are a wide variety of plants that we can use in Austin, from very arid plants to sub tropical.” suggest Mark Beichler. Green Grow Guide provided by the City of Austin is a great resource to get comprehensive information on plants, landscape, gardening basics, and water conservation information. The guide can be found at most local Austin nurseries or on line http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/
Water features and ponds can also add another element to your yard. “I think the simplest water feature to add to a space is the disappearing fountain. If built correctly you will only have to maintain it once a year,” states Beichler but warns to always use a quality contractor, “The correct installation and design can make the difference between a successful water feature or a content maintenance nightmare.”
Long term maintenance should be a consideration on an outdoor space. If using a landscape maintenance service, they need to specialize in detailed plant care with special attention to plant trimming, fertilization and disease control as well as providing quality care and attention to the lawn. Irrigation systems are another determination in the up keep of the lot.
For homeowners not sure where to get started, consult an expert. “Most people have a good idea of what they want. My job as a designer is to elaborate on what they want by introducing or to maybe just refine their idea. In some cases I will need to move them to a totally different mind set because of site conditions,” says Beichler, www.pearsonlandscape.com, (512) 386.5900
By Monica Pena
Austin Times Staff