More than just standard vegetation is being cultivated outdoors as al fresco spaces become an integral part of the home for entertaining and relaxation.
Jim Graeler, Chesterfield Valley Nursery
> Container gardening has become more popular; use worn weathered pots for impact. The combination of annuals and perennials creates a dramatic effect.
> Look for dwarf plant options to meet the needs of a small space.
> Use deer resistant vegetation like boxwood plants, evergreens and crape myrtle, which provide color from mid-July through the first frost.
Mike Brueggenjohann, California Decks
> Deck designs extend beyond the traditional, incorporating fire pits, gazebos, screen rooms and cooking islands.
> Rich, earth-tone flooring with variegated patterns has taken precedence over the lighter, solid colors of the past.
> Consider shade, size, ease of maintenance and lighting for ambiance or safety when designing deck space.
> Under-deck rain drainage on an elevated deck provides protection from the elements and the option to convert the area underneath to a screened area, outdoor kitchen or dining space.
John Jacobsen, Liquid Assets Pools
> Due to the green movement, pools with an eco-friendly design are increasing in popularity.
> Pool covers significantly reduce heating needs, maintenance costs and save energy, often by 50 to 70 percent.
> A salt chlorination system naturally filters chloride, eliminating harsh effects on your hair, skin and the air.
> Use permeable/pervious surfaces for the decking and paving around your pool, allowing excess water to be filtrated and deposited back into the earth, preventing contamination of public waterways.