Tag Archive for: Outdoor Living

Exotic Landscape Designs You Thought Were Only in the Magazines

Tropical plants, serene settings, and tropical designs; sound like a vacation? Well, it doesn’t have to be. That’s because there are plenty of things you can do to your own garden to make it feel like an exotic escape year-round.

At State of Art Landscaping, we understand how important it is to have a unique outdoor space. That’s why we’re here with our most impactful design tips that will make your garden feel like a beachside resort.

Tropical Plants

The most obvious way to transform any outdoor area from ‘basic’ to ‘exotic’ is to use tropical plants. Of course, these plants will need to be able to survive in the climate and soil type you live in so just be sure to double-check that the ones you are interested in will be able to thrive.

Some examples of plants to add are Tropical Hibiscus, Majesty Palm’s, black-eyed Susan Vine, or Red Dipladenia. Alternatively, try potting tropical-looking plants (especially palms) which can add quite an ‘exotic’ statement. But, just be sure to bring them back inside before the first frost as they are likely not to survive it.

Use Plenty of Linens

Another trick to making an area appear more ‘exotic’ is to use plenty of linens in the space. For example, it can be something as simple as hanging curtains from a pergola to give it a beachy cabana feel.

Also, consider placing a rug under a table, or on the patio, to make the space appear more welcoming. Depending on the look you want to achieve for the space, consider adding a pop of color with a bright yellow, blue, or orange one. Or, opt for a more calming effect by choosing something softer like gray or cream.

Regardless of what you decide, all of these linen features will need to be UV-resistant and specifically made for the outdoors to avoid getting stained or damaged.

Just be sure to have plenty of pillows and cushions on all the furniture so that sitting outside is comfortable.

Use Natural Materials

Whether you’re looking to add a table, pergola, waterfall, or other backyard addition you should use natural materials to achieve an exotic look. That’s because materials such as wood and stone will give off a more natural and earthier feel as opposed to man-made ones which tend to come off as ‘modern’.

Consider Adding a Bar

Every exotic vacation resort has a bar nearby, and your backyard escape should be no different. For those with more space, consider adding an outdoor entertainment area, complete with a prep kitchen. This will be great for entertaining guests without having to run back and forth from the house.

For those with smaller spaces, you can still achieve this by adding a bar cart or cabinet and stocking it with all of the essentials.

Water Features

Another idea that really brings out a tropical feel is running water. Hearing the sound of a fountain or water nearby is a great way to make the space feel secluded and serene. To achieve this, consider adding a small waterfall. This can be done as an addition to an existing pool, as a wall feature, or simply as a stand-alone device.

Whatever you decide, there are water features available in all styles, sizes, and price points. So you are guaranteed to find something that will fit your design dreams.

Add Impactful Lighting

Owners shouldn’t forget about lighting when it comes to creating the ideal exotic outdoor space. Lighting is important in creating a cozy and serene vibe that takes owners well into the night.

To make it tropical, consider using something unique like lanterns and string lights that bring a warm glow to a gathering area. Another idea is to add pot lights or lanterns to walkways to make getting around the space accessible. Finally, accent lights should be used to show off features like waterfalls or plant beds.

However, you will want to avoid any overly bright lights or sleek features as they can come off as ‘modern’.

Ultimately, regardless of what you decide to put in the space, creating an exotic escape is possible. If you’re unsure how your space will look, get in touch with one of us at State of the Art Landscaping. We work with owners to truly understand their needs and can come up with a plan to achieve the backyard of your dream.

See how we can help by calling 703-421-3666 or emailing admin@stateoftheartlandscape.com.

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.