Posts Tagged ‘backyard landscaping’

Large Backyard Ideas NJ – How To Design A Luxury Resort

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Large Backyard Ideas NJ–How To Create A Luxury Resort

Does your existing landscaping fail to make the most of your large backyard? We have some ideas that can transform your backyard into a luxury resort.–Plant NJ

Do you have a very big yard? Maybe you have decided that your existing landscape doesn’t make the most of your large property. Maybe you are having trouble engaging guests and balancing function and style across the massive backyard property. These are all very common concerns that homeowners have with respect to large backyard landscaping projects.

You may be thinking, “How could anyone complain about having too much space? I would love a bigger yard!” Having a huge back yard usually sounds like a blessing, but, believe it or not, there are some significant challenges with big backyard landscapes as well. One major concern for big yards is that they may look desolate and unwelcoming if they lack engaging destinations. Problems with slopes or flat, uninteresting properties can be compounded by the large property area. Any problems, or even the vast possibilities, with big back yards make for a challenging design and build process.

In order to make the most of large backyard landscaping, here are a few ideas I would suggest. Depending upon your outdoor living needs, try to diversify the landscape design and create various destinations. You can divide the large landscape into multiple destinations with different functions. For example, a large backyard might feature a flat, open grass play area for the kids, a swimming pool and patio area for swimming, an outdoor kitchen space for cooking and dining, and maybe even a separate outdoor living room for quiet relaxation. These varied spaces will engage everyone from children to adults in various ways.

In big yards, you might face the large challenge of a steep slope or, in the other extreme, a boring, flat yard. Creative solutions, usually in the form of terracing, can provide functional interest in both scenarios. Multiple terrace levels can ease a slope transition and create functional areas in the steep yard. Terraces might also create depth and interest across a flat, open landscape.

Whatever sort of large backyard ideas NJ you choose for your big backyard resort, remember to balance function and style. Everything may look good on paper, but it doesn’t always work for the end user experience, especially for large properties. It is important to consider space, foot traffic, and furniture layouts. For example, you might not want to put a dining area right in front of a staircase because the foot traffic could be disruptive and disjointed.  You might have the luxury of a lot of space, but knowing what to do with it is a different ballgame. Experienced landscape architects will best be able to tell you how to make these extensive designs as functional and user-friendly as possible.

Lastly, making the most of the big backyard resort involves using the yard at night. Effective lighting will play a crucial role in the value of your big backyard investment. When choosing features and functions for your large outdoor living space, always remember to put safety first. Inground pools, waterfalls, and fire pits are beautiful, but safety should always be the deciding factor when it comes to including and designing these luxury features.

To summarize, speak with your landscape design company and figure out what options make the most sense for your property, your family, and your lifestyle. From there, try to get a feel for how the landscaping ideas will come together; various destinations must be comfortable and distinct, while remaining functional for the overall outdoor living experience.

If you have any questions about how to achieve your big backyard resort goals, please contact us. We have experience with landscape design for properties up to 10-acres in size!

Turn Your Backyard Landscaping NJ into an Outdoor Living Oasis

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The most popular outdoor living feature for luxury back yards is probably the outdoor kitchen. Everyone loves to fire up the grill and cook a nice meal for friends and family during a summer BBQ. It’s a given that the outdoor kitchen is a must-have option, but is that all you need to spice up your outdoor gatherings? Here are five outdoor living tips to liven up your backyard entertaining for spring 2013!

1. Food and Shelter

covered outdoor patio
outdoor kitchen designs nj

Protecting yourself from the elements is absolutely essential for outdoor cooking, dining, and entertaining. The trick is to provide shelter from sun, rain, and other elements. How can you create a sheltered area like this? There are numerous design options when it comes to this valuable amenity. You can build a cabana with a pavilion. You can have a deck with a dry below system that keeps rain from seeping through the cracks. (As a matter of fact, this system can be applied to an old deck if you choose to build a nice patio space beneath the structure.) Similarly, though incorporating different architecture, covered patios can be included beneath open extensions of the house.  On top of a patio or deck, you can also build a covered porch area off the back of your house. All of these outdoor structures protect you from the elements but still offer the feeling of open-air relaxation and entertainment.

2. The Fire Signal

modern outdoor fireplaces

When stranded in the wilderness, one survival technique includes lighting a fire to attract others to your location. In an exciting, decorative, and practical way, this same technique can be used to liven up your backyard landscape design. Fire features are naturally a destination, gathering place, and source of light and warmth. What types of fire features are out there? There are many different variations, but the basics include the outdoor fireplace, fire bowl, fire table, and fire pit. All of these features can fit any type of style for the back yard, from natural boulder fire pits to sleek, modern outdoor fireplaces.

3. Patios, Patterns, and Possibilities

outdoor kitchen with stamped concrete patio

How can you define separate outdoor rooms across the patio area? The patio stones and patterns play a crucial role in defining different portions of the backyard patio area. The outdoor kitchen, for example, may feature a running bond patio pattern, while the swimming pool area could be set in a 45-degree pattern. Other cases may see a bluestone outdoor kitchen patio transition to a sandstone or crab orchard pool patio. Whether it is a sharp change in stone or a slight inlay or pattern change, the hardscape can better define crucial areas for outdoor living. As far as style and designs go, the possibilities are endless.

4. Elevating Entertainment

outdoor kitchen with stamped concrete patio

If you want to add depth and interest to your outdoor living area, don’t just design a bunch of things on the same patio; this type of design can lose a lot of its potential in the bland, horizontal plane. Incorporating different elevations will better define various pieces of the landscape design. Entertaining friends and family typically involves guests splitting up into smaller groups. Well-defined outdoor rooms accommodate this natural tendency. Also, the different elevations allow for added interest and greater appreciation of the diverse landscape. To transition between elevations, beautiful hardscapes include options like waterfalls, stone veneer walls, boulder retaining walls, and water walls.

5. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

Lighting simply makes outdoor living spaces more functional. Who wants to entertain in the back yard only during the daytime? Landscape lighting, pool lights, and outdoor kitchen lighting extend entertainment hours from dusk to dawn. The lighting will expand the space for a more welcoming and accommodating feel. It will also create greater area in a visual sense. In addition, landscape lights illuminate areas of the yard that may typically go unnoticed and unused. If the lights are on and guests are over, these parts of the landscape design will be the last piece of a beautiful puzzle.

In summary, to liven up the landscape, incorporate landscaping ideas that foster entertainment, comfort, functionality, and definition. Well-defined, comfortable, and practical outdoor living spaces will be exceptional areas for outdoor entertainment. Whether you’re hosting a big party with friends and family or entertaining a few friendly acquaintances, a complete outdoor living space will reach its exciting full potential…way more than just a lonesome outdoor kitchen.


Backyard landscaping NJ

NJ Landscaping Trees – Fall Tree Planting Can Be Risky

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Landscaping Trees Mahwah NJ

NJ landscaping trees provide everything from pure natural beauty to screening, shading, and windbreaks. They stand tall among the landscape and platform themselves as beautiful borders and distinguished centerpieces. That sounds nice, but when should these trees be dug and planted? For people who live in growing zones 5 thru 8, October, November and early December is a good time to plant your trees. The mild fall weather puts less stress on the trees. Also, roots are active during winter months and store nutrients for the next season. But don’t get too carried away with the idea of a Fall planting project just yet. In this blog, I will give you a brief explanation as to why certain trees can be risky to plant in the Fall. By taking these facts into account, you can weigh the risk of a Fall planting for yourself. In addition, these guidelines will help explain why knowledgeable landscape design companies and/or nurseries may refuse to plant a certain tree in your landscape during the Fall months.


Fall dig hazard trees tend to fail for a couple of different reasons. There are roughly about four troublesome types of trees:

Trees with thin bark and lots of small branches: Betula (all) – Birch

Trees with thick roots that regenerate slowly: Nyssa sylvatica -Tupelo, Black Gum, Sour Gum

Trees that harden late in Fall: Crataegus (all) – Hawthorn and Pyrus (all) – Pear

Broadleaf evergreens: Leyland Cypress and Ilex opaca Greenleaf – American Holly.


Trees that are more likely to survive a Fall planting in your landscape are those with shallow, fibrous root systems.

Examples of trees that are not a fall dig hazard:

Aesculus Hippocastanum – Horse chestnut

Amelanchier Leavis – Serviceberry

Fraxinus Americana- White Ash

Hamamelis Virciniana- American Witch hazel

Picea Abies- Norway Spruce

Pinus Stobus- White Pine

Tsuga Canadensis- Hemlock

Here’s a general list of trees that should not be dug during the Fall, known as Fall Dig Hazards. If  you plan on planting trees on your property this Fall or plan on having a landscaper do it for you, do a bit of research. If the tree is on the fall dig hazard list, I would suggest you verify  that the trees were dug this past spring and not this fall.

Abies concolor – Concolor Fir

Acer rubrum – Red Maple
Acer japonica – Full Moon Maple
Acer saccharinum – Silver Maple
Acer freemanii – Freeman Maple
Betula (all) – Birch
Carpinus (all) – American Hornbeam, Ironwood
Cedrus Deodara – Blue Atlas Cedar
Celtis (all) – Hackberry
Cercis – Redbud
Cornus – Dogwood
Crataegus (all) – Hawthorn
Cupressocyparis leylandii – Leyland Cypress ***
Fagus (all) – Beech
Ilex x Fosterii – Foster Holly***
Ilex Nellie Stevens – Nellie Stevens Holly***
Ilex opaca Greenleaf – American Holly ***
Juniper virginiana – Easter Red Cedar
Liquidambar – Sweetgum
Liriodendron – Tulip Tree
Malus (move as late as possible) – Crabapple
Nyssa sylvatica -Tupelo, Black Gum, Sour Gum
Oystrya virginiana – Ironwood, Hophornbeam
Pinus nigra – Austrian Pine
Platanus (all) – Planetree
Pyrus (all) – Pear
Quercus (all) – Oak
Taxodium – Baldcypress
Taxus b. Repandens – English Yew

Tilia tomentosa (other Tilia ok) – Silver Linden
Zelkova (all)

*** Not recommended for fall planting