Bring the indoors out with a variety of infrastructure to make outdoor living hospitable. Decking is a natural transition between interior and exterior that provides the foundation for outdoor living. Outdoor furniture can be every bit as comfortable as indoor furniture, while weathering the elements. Paving materials enable paths to explore the yard and surrounding landscape, and shade systems let you weather the heat.
Decking generally refers to wood, though maintenance-free vinyl and composite decking are also attractive options. For wood, choose from tried-and-true cedar or redwood – durable species with natural rot and insect resistance. Exotic woods like ipe, tigerwood, and mahogany have also come into favor. Fast-growing bamboo is a rapidly renewable and eco-friendly choice, and the safety of treated wood has improved substantially, making it another durable and cost-effective option.
Green walls and wall gardens beautify spaces and improve air quality without taking up square footage. Preserved moss is a maintenance-free option that requires no soil, water, or dedicated lighting. Living walls are made from a specialized matrix with individual plant modules. These are mounted on a vertical surface and the plants intertwine over time for a uniform look. Timed misters and pre-programmed grow lights may be incorporated to reduce maintenance needs.
Eco-friendly landscaping is on the rise among both homeowners and commercial property owners. Innovative concepts like Hydromulch offer solutions for erosion control. No-mow grasses and native wildflower mixes are attractive alternatives for eco-friendly, low maintenance lawns. Recycled products are also growing in popularity – in addition to tree mulch, loose crumb rubber and recycled glass present affordable, low-impact options to help create colorful and comfortable landscapes.
There are so many ways to make a garden path. Classic brick and stone have retained their broad appeal, but brick tends to break down over time and stone can be expensive. Composite pavers made of concrete aggregate can duplicate the look of natural stone or brick in a uniform shape that’s easy to install. Travertine is a good option for pools, and decomposed granite, river rock, or wood mulch provide an informal look for natural landscapes.
Furnishing a site not only means choosing tables, chairs, benches, and rugs, but also pragmatic infrastructure and decorative features. While every location requires weather-resistant furniture, private and public spaces have different needs. The former may specify statues, small water features, and poolside chaises, while the latter might require bicycle racks, trashcans, recycling stations, and large fountains.
In an urban environment, runoff from rain and melting snow/ice often contains pollutants. Stormwater treatment refers to methods that capture these pollutants, removing them from the runoff before it transfers toxic substances to natural waterways. Methods include capture of solids with hydrodynamic separators, filtration with various media or membranes, infiltration using engineered soils that capture specific pollutants, and retention ponds.
Umbrellas keep people shady and comfortable while they lounge outdoors. From standard single-pole umbrellas to contemporary shapes like leaves and waves, umbrellas today offer nearly endless variety. Umbrellas are also a great way to add a splash of color outdoors.