3 Front Yard Landscaping Must-Haves

Your front yard is the first thing people see when they come to your home, and as we all know, a first impression is a lasting impression. This is one reason front yard landscaping is an essential part of the aesthetic of your home.

At State of the Art Landscape, we specialize in a variety of landscaping design and build services, including front yards. Working closely with clients we can help you develop a beautiful and welcoming lawn and garden that will add curb appeal to your property.

If you’ve been considering landscaping your front yard, here are 3 popular features to set you apart from your neighbors.

1. Focus on Walkways and Driveways with a Stunning Border 

The place we often start with front yard landscaping is by developing a border and dedicated entryway into the yard and your home. Paving stones, crushed limestone, or mulch are some of the products used to create these looks.

To begin, consider the layout of your driveway. This is the entrance into your home and front yard, so setting it apart from the lawn with a border of stone or gravel creates a sharp impact. Clean lines are essential to a classic, modern yard design.

Next, an entryway into your home from the driveway or lawn gives your home a welcoming appearance. Paving stones or a cobblestone walk are a whimsical way to develop a dedicated footpath without the need to set concrete or dig up your lawn.

To bring together these two elements, consider lining your path with the same product used to line the driveway. This creates a cohesive look and emphasizes the purposeful placement of each feature.

2. Add Some Layers and Structure 

Single level front yards are out, and layered lawns or structured features are in. Building up a retainer wall to separate raised land from dipped land makes the illusion that your yard is bigger and has more to it. If your yard is completely flat, you can build above ground wooden flower boxes, or create raised brick garden features. These add dimension to your property, making a small flat space into an intricate one that draws the eye.

The key to making this newly structured property flourish is to add greenery and floral elements. Garden beds should be filled with blue spiderwort flowers or Virginia bluebells. For land sectioned by retainer walls to separate layers, shrubbery adds texture and buoyancy to the layers.

3. Give Some Love to the Front Porch

As far as front yard landscaping goes, your front porch says a great deal about your personality as a homeowner. A large welcoming porch with steps leading out onto your new cobblestone path ties together home and yard.

There are so many amazing front porch designs in Virginia to choose from. Whether you want a patio-style porch or a small stone archway just before the door – the sky is the limit. One trend right now in Virginia, we’re seeing a lot of moderately-sized porches, big enough for a porch swing, small enough to maximize on gardening space.

When selecting a front porch, consider the colors and textures you’ve implemented into nearby landscaping. For example, if you’ve got red azaleas blooming on either side of the steps, it could be prudent to paint your front door red or add some red to your mailbox or welcome sign.

Bonus Feature: Potted Lights

Something to consider when planning front yard landscaping is the visibility of your yard. In daylight, your shrubs will shine, and flowers will pop, but what about at night? What’s setting your front yard apart from others when the sun goes down? Adding a lighting feature to your landscaping design will make your yard a place you can feel proud of day and night.

Planters can be used to shed some light on your beautiful new lawn. As a bonus landscaping tip, we recommend potted lights within planters. Not only does this illuminate all the beautiful greenery you’ve installed, but also it provides ambiance for outdoor activities, visitors, and reduces the temptation for trespassers.

Contact in the Professionals

For professional tips on front yard landscaping, or to begin bringing your front yard goals to life, we invite you to contact State of the Art Landscape. From water features to fencing and boulder work, we’ve got you covered.

Call 703-421-3666 to speak to one of our knowledgeable team members and begin transforming your front lawn into a home oasis.

What is Hardscaping?

When you see the yard of your dreams, what elements do you see? Likely, there are beautiful natural elements, such as carefully arranged flowers, vegetables and decorative plants. But there are other elements that contribute to a well-designed landscape: the hard materials.

The Low-Down on Hardscaping

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It’s highly possible that, while you have enjoyed your own and your friends’ backyards, that you haven’t realized that the blend of hardscaping and softscaping is what creates the ultimate outdoor experience.

 

Landscaping provides the ability for a customer to have a greater appreciation for being outside and being comfortable in their own living space. With hardscaping and softscaping, you can personalize your landscape, the extension of a perennial garden, a habitat of your own creation and for your enjoyment and leisurely appreciation.

 

Many individuals value their outdoor spaces as a place to entertain and experience outdoor comfort.

Hardscaping for Privacy

 

For many homeowners, buying a home means buying a set of neighbours and a piece of a neighbourhood, whether you would choose it or not. One of the best reasons to consider a carefully designed landscaping project that incorporates hardscaping features is to control the privacy and amount of noise that you can hear from your outdoor living space.

 

For example, water features are able to gently mask the more unpleasant noises of both auto and foot traffic outside of your property. Then, when it comes to privacy, your landscaper will be able to work with you to use retaining walls, gazebo and many other features to give you more privacy from your neighbours in a creative and aesthetically pleasing way.

 

To paint a picture of other ways to promote privacy in your backyard with hardscaping elements include:

 

  •     Woven Screen (using materials like wood or metal)
  •     Solid Panels (translucent or opaque)
  •     Wood Pergola
  •     Ceiling-like Panels (slotted for extra light)
  •     Lattices

 

Many homeowners prioritize the ability to enjoy their outdoor space without interruption from unwanted noise or prying eyes. But privacy isn’t the only benefit to incorporating hardscaping features alongside your natural features such as floral and edible elements.

Endless Benefits to Hardscaping

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Other benefits of hardscaping features include:

 

  •     Guarding your garden against unwanted pests
  •     Extension of your living and entertaining space
  •     Increased property value
  •     Versatility and design expression
  •     Physical boundaries
  •     An added dimension to your natural space
  •     Increased comfort
  •     Ability to enjoy summer nights comfortable seating and ample lighting
  •     Effective yet visually appealing storage for your toys and tools

 

We embrace creativity throughout the whole process. One of the leading trends in landscape design is mixing textures and materials. We embrace the ability to use a variety of different materials, such as natural stone, polished and shaped stone, and even metals and synthetic materials to create the perfect design. Many homeowners use landscaping as a way to express the design and appearances that they love and already have throughout their home.

 

A quality landscaping company will work with you to harness the interaction between hardscaping and softscaping. Since many expert landscape designers believe that hardscaping provides the foundation for the softscaping elements, many will highly recommend that you include complementary elements to your dream garden and backyard.

Common Examples of Hardscaping

 

When designing your yard, here are some common hardscaping elements that you could consider adding to your design:

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  •     Paver Patio
  •     Stone Wall
  •     Gazebo
  •     Garden Walls
  •     Planting Beds
  •     Large Boulders
  •     Stone Edging
  •     Accent Stones
  •     Light Fixtures
  •     Pillars Or Columns
  •     Seat Walls
  •     Stepping Stones
  •     Waterfalls
  •     Swimming Pools
  •     Fountains
  •     Ponds
  •     Stream bed
  •     Fire Features Such As Fireplaces Or Fire Pits
  •     Even a pizza oven feature has become increasingly popular!

Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

 

Your landscaping wish list can (and should) be a mile long when you’re working with your landscaping design company. That way, you can rest assured that your landscape project incorporates elements that you’ve considered and value the most.

 

State of the Art Landscape embraces creativity and challenges, all with the goal to create a dream outdoor living space for you and your family. We professionally design and execute your outdoor living space, with comprehensive services that let you dream big or dream big on a budget. No project is too big or too small for us! We love working with a variety of customers, ideas and yard sizes to create the perfect space for you.

 

Let us bring our passion for quality and our years of landscaping experience to create your dream outdoor living space. Request an on-site appointment with one of our passionate landscape designers today. Let’s get started!

Landscaping North Virginia 

Why Hire A Landscaping Company?

Many people find gardening highly gratifying, especially when they are able to admire their own handy work year after year. But there’s no mistaking it, gardening is work. Landscaping can be an overwhelming prospect even for people with green thumbs. Understanding the complexities of design and making that design work with the right plants that will thrive in their new environment takes some planning and expertise.

That’s where professional landscaping comes in. They have the expertise to take your vision and turn it into a living, breathing garden. They use your ideas or can provide their own, to create stunning gardens and landscapes that elevate the enjoyment of your property. Here’s why hiring a landscaping company makes good sense.

Valuable Design Advice 

Designing a new garden or redoing an old and dying garden can be overwhelming. If you have no love of gardening, it can be even worse. A landscaper understands how to assess a property and work with what they see to create a stunning oasis. You can share your tastes and preferences and they can run with it, or they can do everything from concept to installation. Landscapers also know all the latest trends and can introduce you to new ideas you might not have considered. Ideas that might seem out of reach budget-wise might also turn out to be surprisingly affordable, allowing you to create the garden of your dreams.

Set the Foundation

Just because you hire a landscaping company to design your garden, doesn’t mean you have to give up gardening altogether. You can have them design and install everything, and then take over. You can still get the satisfaction that comes along with gardening but without the worry of choosing the right plants, or designing garden beds.

Upscale Features

Landscapers handle all the elements that complete the look of a garden such as paving stones, arbors, gazebos and fountains. You might know your plants, but these additional garden features require special craftsmanship for proper installation.

Sticking to a Budget 

You’re probably thinking a landscaping company will cost a fortune. However, they can save you money in a number of ways:

  • They get discounts on materials because they buy in bulk
  • They work with the number you provide so you’re never at risk of running over budget
  • They won’t get carried away and start spending without tracking their spend. Instead, they know exactly what to buy and won’t exceed the set budget.

It’s also easy for you to have a plan in mind, get halfway through and run out of money. That leaves you with an unfinished garden. Landscapers look at the big picture and budget accordingly.

Faster Completion 

When you do the work, you only have weekends to take on a landscaping project. This means the work can drag on throughout the summer. A landscaper, on the other hand, will work uninterrupted allowing them to complete the project faster.

Fewer Losses

Landscapers have the training and expertise to ensure your investment lasts. It’s not uncommon for rookie gardeners to choose plants poorly suited to their soil or the area in which they are planted. This greatly increases the risk for lost plants. Plants are expensive so you want to do all you can to ensure they live. You don’t want improper installation or care to lead to dried out plants. Landscapers have dependable suppliers who provide them with the highest quality plants that will be guaranteed to thrive in the environment they plant them. They know what they are doing.

Proper Maintenance

For those of you who just hate gardening, a landscaping company will keep your property looking its best without you having to do the work. They provide a long list of services from mowing the lawn to trimming bushes. They do all the work, while you get to enjoy the results. You can also choose to hire them seasonally for things such a garden clean up and prep or have them come in on a set schedule.  

Return on Investment

Professional landscapers will certainly help you see a return on investment. If you take a ho-hum or even dilapidated yard and turn it into Eden, you will attract more buyers when you decide to sell. However, if you don’t plan to sell any time soon, no worries. Your return on investment will still be appreciated through the added enjoyment you will have from your property.

Make Your Outdoor Living Cozy for Fall

Outdoor living and fall can go together like peas in a pod. You can get more enjoyment out of your outdoor living space by adjusting it slightly for the fall. Whether you’re looking to host fun outdoor Halloween parties or serve a delicious meal for Thanksgiving, a more cozy, warm, and sheltered space will allow you to enjoy the crisp autumn air and the changing leaves in comfort. Here are several great ways to make your outdoor living space more cozy for fall.

Fire Features

Of course, adding a heating feature will help you stay warm when you’re entertaining outside. Think outside of the traditional circular fire pit. You can install a long rectangular fire pit, perhaps with a modern, smooth stone to create a contemporary look. Or, consider a fire pit with wrought iron flourishes that cast gorgeous shadows.

One of our favorite fireplaces that we’ve installed involved creating a stone half-wall on our client’s patio, made of stones in a complex, warm tone. We then embedded a long, rectangular gas fireplace into the wall. This was a perfect focal point for the yard that added warmth and visual interest. With two soft patio chairs in front of the fire feature, our clients had a romantic space to enjoy their fall evenings.

If you’re not ready to add in a fire feature, adding candles can help you get the autumn ambiance you’re looking for. We like plain cream pillar candles on brass plates or in brass holders. It’s a very modern fall look that can match a lot of décor options. Don’t forget to think about scent too; a sweet pumpkin spice or apple cinnamon smell can help make your space more seasonal.

Pergolas and Walls

Too many people leave their outdoor living space without structure. Relying on umbrellas may work in the summer, but in the fall, you’ll need some more stable structural elements to help break the wind. Outdoor walls and pergolas can give you the structure you need to be more comfortable in the fall. Plus, these features can make your space more stylish and private.

Consider incorporating climbing plants onto your walls or trellis. Trumpet creeper is always a nice, vibrant choice for a fall trellis, as it bears bright orange or red flowers through the fall. Stone walls can be made more lively with ivy. Both plants help add bulk to your wall so that it stops more wind and creates a more private, intimate space.

Fabrics

One of the most enjoyable moments in your outdoor living space during fall may be cuddling together with your partner for some warmth. Many different materials can contribute to the coziness of your outdoor living space or just make the space softer and warmer.

One often-overlooked option is a rug. In the summer, a rug may not make much sense, but in the fall, a soft, natural carpet will make your space much more comfortable. We suggest choosing your rug to match your fall décor, as fall is likely the only season you’ll use the rug.

Many of our clients also put out autumn-themed blankets and pillows for their guests. If you normally place out towels, you can replace them with rolled-up blankets. If your blanket of choice is a bit big for that, there’s nothing wrong with just draping it over your seating. Plus, if you’re thinking of adding new throw pillows with a fall theme, you could just swap out the cases instead of buying new pillows.

Fall Drinks

Another great way to heat up your fall space is to offer warm drinks. Hot chocolate, apple cider, pumpkin spice lattés, or fall cocktails can all make your guests happier in your space. Not familiar with any fall cocktails? Here are a few of our favorites:

Whatever you’re serving, we suggest having a dedicated drink spot with several options available so that your guests can help themselves. Either place this spot near a source of warmth or create cozy sleeves that can keep the prepared drink containers warm while outdoors. Plus, consider using a natural wood tray to keep the drinks, cups, and ingredients on hand.

Need to make your outdoor living space more fall-friendly? At State of the Art Landscape, we design and build exquisite spaces that meet your exact needs. Choose us to help design and add the features you need to enjoy your fall entertaining and outdoor living space.

Summer Landscaping Ideas for 2019

Mindful ecology, organic gardening, pollinator and wildflower meadows, outdoor wellness, staycation, and low-maintenance are the keywords in landscaping design summer of 2019. If you’re looking to refresh your yard, or you’re finally getting around to transforming your backyard into an outdoor oasis, here are the latest trends to keep in mind when landscaping in North Virginia.

Inviting Mindful Ecology Into Your Backyard

It’s important to be mindful when dealing with any aspect of the environment, and that includes our gardening. At the core of mindful ecology landscaping lie concepts such as soil ecology, carbon sequestering, sustainable watering, the principles of organic gardening, and pollinator meadows.

Pollinator & Wildflower Meadows

One of the biggest trends of the year is the firm transition towards eco-friendly landscaping. Wildflower or pollinator meadows, consisting of indigenous grasses and native flowering perennials, create a healthy habitat for bee and butterfly populations as well as a beautiful landscape.

To attract pollinators to your garden, choose a variety of nectar and pollen-rich flowers. Consider as many plants native to your area as possible. Native plants evolve closely with native insects and are well-suited to meet their needs. Bear in mind that some pollinator species are entirely dependent on the existence of specific native plants. By adding these plants to your landscaping in North Virginia, you can help dwindling populations rebuild.

It’s All About Low-Maintenance

Simplifying one’s life seems to be what everybody is after these days, and why should your landscaping in North Virginia be any different?

Living in such fast-paced times, with little or no time left for pruning, weeding, and watering, a low-maintenance garden is on likely on your wish-list. Think of these pro ideas to keep your yard as low-maintenance as possible:

  • Perennial plants: Go for perennial plants and even group them based on their watering needs. Choose evergreen shrubs that don’t require much attention as well as dwarf shrubs. Dwarf shrubs are resilient plants with low-maintenance needs and well-suited for smaller gardens.
  • Performant Irrigation System: Invest in advanced irrigation technology because it now allows homeowners to control the quantity of water delivered to plants, encouraging a smart, eco-friendly investment.
  • Set Up Raised Beds: They create less work. There are less weeding and dead-heading involved, and they are a complementary extension for modern backyard landscaping.
  • Painted Structures: If you’re on a shoestring budget and still looking to upgrade your relaxing space, then painting your fences, sheds, and your summer houses will liven up your garden, without much maintenance involved. Tip: Dark grey, green, and blue fences are on trend this summer.
  • Potted Plants: Pots are life-saving landscaping ideas as you have minimal weeding to do and good control over the size of the plant.
  • Artificial Grass or Lawn Alternatives: Instead of a traditional lawn, plant grass mixes that don’t need to be mowed, like Habiturf® and other prairie-type grasses.
  • Choose the Cottage Look: Embrace a natural look with a wildly lush cottage garden! Letting your yard run wild is the best thing you can do for low-cost landscaping. To get that savage, charming cottage look, allow your garden to grow unhindered, but plant large amounts of contrasting grasses and plants of different scales and colors throughout your yard.

Go on a Staycation!

Set up your own staycation hub. As outdoor wellness is already becoming a custom and a must in our hectic society, people are looking for more ways to enjoy a staycation in the comfort of their own garden.

To make the most of your backyard plans for landscaping in North Virginia, consider the best spots to create a hangout area. Set distinct spaces; for example, comfy lounge chairs, decadent hammocks, a lazy swing, and more. No matter how small your area is, arrange the seating in a conversational position. Include lighting to make your outdoor spaces easy to access and inviting even as the sun sets.

To make your space even more welcoming and entertaining, set up a weatherproof speaker system to enjoy music while you’re outside. And if cooking relaxes you, consider an outdoor kitchen in your designs for landscaping in North Virginia. For those looking to make their backyard a true oasis at home, a pool could be the perfect addition to your yard. You’ll never want to leave again!

Is it time for a backyard makeover? Let us bring our craftsmanship and experience to create your outdoor paradise. Request an on-site appointment with one of our passionate landscape designers today!