Installing a patio near the edge of your lawn, away from the house, provides an outdoor escape. Concrete will do, or you can use stones or pavers. Building it near trees or tall flowers gives the area some privacy, while chairs or benches let you sit or lie down to read or nap.
"You want to keep it 6 to 8 feet from your property line," Cording says. "You can maximize it because it is usable space. You can leave the house and have flowers around you on a patio."
Cording encourages homeowners to choose a diverse range of plants that bloom at different times so ornamental leaves will be visible all season long. Otherwise, if all the flowers bloom at the same time, they’ll look attractive during that time frame but will lack color the rest of the year. Cording, for example, likes to use the perennial Rozanne geranium because it blooms from June through October.
Local lawn and garden centers typically sell old-fashioned wagon wheels, split-rail wood fencing, and other materials that deliver a rustic appearance. "Depending on the look you want, you can get it in different elements," Trenary notes. "You can creatively incorporate these elements into the landscape to achieve the look you want."
Landscapers often add edging around flower gardens, the house foundation, and sometimes sidewalks and driveways. Installing the edging in creative curves instead of perfectly straight lines adds appeal and character. "I really enjoy creating those long, serpentine edges," Cording says. "You really just improved the edge of the [garden] bed."
The edging is permanent, so it enhances the landscape all year long. "The edging is there 12 months out of the year, so it is always adding a subtle, very attractive feature," Cording notes. "This is an easy way to go from boring to beautiful."
Attractive landscaping deserves to be seen after hours, which is where landscape lights come into play. The lights play many roles, from adding to the home’s attractiveness to illuminating steps and sidewalks for safety to showcasing points of interest in the landscape. Placing lights alongside paths and walkways is one of their most common uses, although that doesn’t mean they have to be set in straight lines at prescribed intervals. "Don’t feel like you have to follow the straight lines," Trenary says. "You can place them on alternate sides of a sidewalk to break up a line."