Specialized information on Hardscape Landscape Waterscape Ecoscape

Green Schemes creates landscape plans for beautiful sustainable gardens in the Jacksonville area.  Owned by Florida Certified Landscape Designer Laurie Prescott, Green Schemes has been doing business in Jacksonville for over 25 years.  We will work with you to design a dream landscape that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical. Each design is tailored to the homeowner’needs and wishes. Specialty gardens such as butterfly, native or water gardens are really special. Hardscape design makes fences, decks,  arbors and paver, brick or concrete patios easy.  Planting designs put the right plant in the right place.  Residential landscape renovation is our specialty, so if it's a jungle out there we can tame it!  For more information about Green Schemes of Jacksonville please visit www.greenschemesjacksonville.com

Thursday
Jun192008

Creative Backyard Design

Outdoor Living - It started as a trend toward outdoor kitchens. Now it extends to great-room concepts and other ways to create outdoor retreats from simple to elaborate. Conversation nooks, pergolas, gazebos, arbors, trellises, raised beds, walkways and benches are all being used to turn backyards into tranquil retreats and havens for entertaining.

“Homeowners are reconnecting with their outdoor spaces, often in creative and imaginative ways,” says Perry Howard, president of the American Society of Landscape Architects. “It’s no surprise that people want to take elements that work so well inside their home and recreate them outside.”

Outdoor living spaces commonly feature natural materials, especially woods like Western red cedar. The wood’s beauty and durability make it a popular material for pergolas, decks, gazebos and other structures. It creates a natural outdoor feel combined with indoor comfort and design.

A movement toward low-maintenance landscaping is contributing to the outdoor living trend. Landscape architects anticipate yard maintenance costs will increasingly influence the size of the traditional grass lawn among cost-conscious consumers, according to a recent American Society of Landscape Architects survey.

Converting part of the lawn or garden to an outdoor living space reduces both maintenance and water usage. Experts recommend that natural materials play a key role.

“People find woods like Western red cedar allow them to spend a lot more time enjoying their surroundings, with minimal investment in maintenance,” says Paul Mackie, or “Mr. Cedar” as he is known in the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association.

Home and garden shows, popular in the spring and early summer, are full of ideas for building the perfect outdoor oasis. Low-maintenance wooden planter boxes with ornamental plants, basic and elaborate roofing systems, accent lighting, and patio heaters are among the additions helping homeowners enjoy their outdoor spaces well beyond the summer months.

Real estate and landscaping professionals offer a few considerations for creating that perfect outdoor getaway.

* Keep it natural. It is an outdoor space, so use natural materials. Woods and stones, whether used as primary materials or as accents, are durable and relatively easy to maintain.

* Make multi-purpose magic. Add a wide edge to a planter box or join two with a bench. Multi-purpose amenities can transform a space, add function to decoration and keep costs down.

* Have fun with the space. To add charm, salvage furniture and decorative pieces not currently in use around the house or incorporate the whimsical touch of second-hand finds. Personal style and creativity commonly found indoors are every bit as important outside.

* Use low-maintenance plants. Incorporate native and drought-resistant plants to save water and lessen the time spent maintaining the yard. Planter boxes make changing the locations and types of flowers and bushes much quicker and easier. Planters are also an inexpensive way to define an outdoor space and create privacy.

* Keep some of the lawn. Real estate experts recommend leaving at least some lawn. Green grass has a natural cooling effect on hot days and complements woods nicely. It can also be beneficial when reselling, especially for buyers with young children or pets.

* Consider your lifestyle. Be practical. Think about how the space is going to be used and how much time it will take to maintain. Beauty, durability and ease of care can all come together.

Outdoor retreats, whether for conversation or relaxation, can transform a yard, add hours of enjoyment, and cut down on maintenance demands. A little time and investment now will pay dividends this summer and for years beyond.

Tuesday
Feb122008

Designing Your Jacksonville Backyard

With a little thought and creativity, a patio can be an outdoor room that is as inviting as any interior room of your home.

Jacksonville Landscaping Ideas Bubble PlanIf you don't know where to start with your plan or don't have much experience, you may want to try the "Bubble Plan" method.  Start by making simple outlines- circles or squares to define areas and then label them - kids area, entertainment, patio, private space, gardens, etc.  From there you can get more detailed by pacing off measurements and refining the shapes.


Some of the most delightful backyard living spaces are those that have more than one space and are gracefully delineated into sections. These peaceful platforms are interconnected with private walkways and if done properly, each separate area can have its own identity and feel.


There are quite a few things you should consider when planning your Jacksonville backyard design. Two things that should be considered are the primary visual assets in the backyard and the compass direction. You may be lucky and have a view of a lake or natural area. Likewise you could also have obstacles to consider, such as someone's backyard, or a public park or street.  If this is the case, the primary patio view might become the back of your own home. You may want to consider heavily landscaping the rear wall of your home and incorporate a water feature to bring the focal point back into the property. 

Design.jpg Think about where the sun rises and sets. How much natural shade will be available when you decide to relax on the patio?  Will you be suffering because the patio is unshielded form the hot Florida sun?  Can you move the spaces to take advantage of shade from a tree or a part of your home?  A pergola or gazebo can always bring shade into almost any area.

After you have your bubble plan finalized it may be time to make or have a professional drawing made. A great tip is to outline the different areas with a garden hose, or marking paint.  This will help you to get a feel for the size of the spaces.  It's very common to underbuild a patio or simply outgrow the size.  If you plan to entertain, plan on patios a minimum of five hundred square feet.
A great way to get a feel for the size of a patio is to buy the furniture that will be used in this outdoor room. Take delivery of the furniture and place it on the grass or ground as you intend to arrange it on the finished surface.

If you want a really interesting patio and have the space to do it, try to create a few planting beds within the patio. You can purchase smaller trees that grow only 10 or 12 feet high that provide filtered shade.  Seasonal flowers in the planting beds add color, depth and fragrance.

A recently popular patio upgrade is a water feature. Pondless waterfalls, koi ponds and fountains next to a patio add pleasing background sound and motion that can really be a great stress reliever.

Don't forget to plan your entertainment and cooking areas.  Now is the time to think of upgrading from the typical gas grill on wheels from the local hardware store.  Even if you don't incorporate the kitchen into the first phase of your Jacksonville backyard project.  It's always good to run utilities for next springs add-on.

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