Hot Trends in Backyard Landscaping

Now is the best time of year to be outside enjoying our outdoor living areas. While “new” landscape design products are exciting to reveal, there are a few backyard products we all know and love that are blossoming this year.

One of the best examples is the outdoor firepit. What family wouldn’t love to gather around a warm, inviting fire? Today there is a bouquet of longer-lasting firepits from traditional to contemporary and everything in between.

Classic Wood-Burning Firepits

Homeowners who prefer the beauty of a true wood-burning firepit now can choose rounded, square, rectangular, ground-hugging or bar height. Some are works of art, crafted from clay and stone, in a variety of colors that will make selecting a landscaping focal point easy. Many have large ledges that act as a table. Paving stone manufacturers, such as EP Henry, have caught onto this trend and now offer easy-to-build firepit packages with the right number of bricks along with the pan, screen and poker.

Clean-Burning Gas Firepits

The newest generation of gas firepits is incredibly convenient. Best of all, you avoid the hassle of finding dry wood, starter gel and a match to fire up your evening and the nuisance of smoke wafting in your direction. My favorite is a sleek, rectangle style, modeled after those cool linear direct-vent fireplaces for indoor use. It’s got a dark, charcoal grey base and stainless steel rectangular top. The fire line is cool, straight and narrow and has clear glass beads under the dancing flames. In a more traditionally designed space, try a square or oval gas firepit with a round or square fire line. Choose a softer base, with either stucco or stacked stone. If you want to add some pow to your firepit, change the color of the beads. The most popular, next to clear, is amber, but there are 18 colors to choose from.

Waterfalls in Color

Water is also finding new form this season. Waterfalls are more beautiful than ever with added color for night-time entertainment! Using LED lights and an ingenious remote control, you can pre-set your waterfall to illuminate colors throughout the evening – even red, white and blue for the Fourth of July. If you want turquoise to match your patio cushions, turn the dial on the remote and you’ll get a rainbow of blues. It’s really fun.

Low-Voltage Lighting Now Lasts Longer

Low-voltage landscape lighting is also sprouting new varieties. Manufacturers, such as Cast Landscape Lighting, are adding handsome LED lamps to their product lines faster than a slug can eat your favorite flower. Take advantage of the lighter load on your transformer and reduced maintenance. How does changing bulbs every five years sound, as compared to every year? If you are not ready to make that big of a change, try buying landscape lights with adjustable hubs. They lower the sockets so you can actually get your fingers in to change the bulb. Ah, spring blooms eternal.

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About the Contributor

Kristen Ursomarso

1 Comment

  • I can’t speak for other cities and towns, but permanent firepits are not permitted in Newark, at least the last time I checked.  If you plan on installing a firepit, I would recommend contacting your local code enforcement or building department before doing anything else. There are some safety considerations with respect to placement, so get as much information as you can before spending any money.

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