Winter Patio Decorating Ideas and Tips

When you think of the outdoors during the winter months, “gray,” “dreary” and “boring” are words that probably come to mind. But your winter patio doesn’t have to be any of that! Here are some helpful winter patio decorating tips and ideas that will brighten any outdoor space:

Poinsettias are in season and their vibrant red, white or pink hues, combined with their green leaves, are enough to add color to any gray and dismal outdoor area. Go to your local supermarket or nursery and stock up on a few of these plants. You can keep them in containers or plant beds outside, but bring them back inside or cover them up if the outdoor temperatures get extremely cold or if a freeze is expected. Be sure to keep them away from pets though. Poinsettias are only mildly toxic to animals, but it’s better safe than sorry!

You can also run to the store and buy holiday decorations, like wreaths and outdoor holiday lights. LED lights are always a good choice because they are so energy-efficient. You don’t have to get too Christmas-y for them to look good either. A few strands of simple white lights are enough to make any outdoor living space look elegant. There’s a fine line between nice and overdone. Be sure to be reasonable about the amount of lights you use.

A less expensive way to dress up your outdoor patio for the winter months is with grapevine. You can buy it at your local florist or art supply store. Maintenance-free, grapevine can be threaded through any lattice work you might have outside or you can use white LED lights and intertwine them with the grapevines. Add sprigs of holly, juniper or boxwood to make your patio even more festive!

One of the more expensive things you can do is add a small outdoor fireplace to your patio. Do some comparison-shopping to see what you can get for what price: outdoor fireplaces can be huge or they can be small and portable. Adding a fireplace to your patio will encourage family and guests to hang out outside a little bit longer. Picture it now: the air outside is cold, but you and your family and friends are all bundled up and roasting marshmallows by the fireside. Yum! What a fun way to spend a cold winter’s night!

However you decide to dress up your patio this holiday season, be sure to let your personality shine through. A little bit of flair can be appropriate all year long. If you still don’t have a patio to spruce up, contact your local patio builder now.

Design Your Landscape and Garden

Landscape and garden design are umbrella terms for a variety of disciplines that focus on the practical, aesthetic and horticultural aspects of an outdoor area of land, generally attached to a property. Whilst having shared purposes, the two activities can be defined separately – landscaping focuses on the relationship of the garden with its surroundings, the integration of nature with man-made elements such as pathways or the home architecture itself, and the practical side of garden maintenance and upkeep. Garden design is traditionally concerned with the choice and distribution of various plants, flowers and shrubbery around the lawn area, but depending on the desired garden, can involve the planning and design of water features, patios, decking and garden boundaries.

When landscape or garden planning, there are key elements to be considered in each case:

Landscape Planning

Practical considerations such as climate, topography, soil and irrigation, planning permission and construction.
View the landscape in terms of things that need to be retained, modified or replaced – with attention given to how original natural features can act as ‘borrowed scenery’ for a garden.
The overall ‘genius loci’ – this term refers to the ambience or atmosphere of the garden area.
Garden Planning

What will the garden space be used for – i.e. raising vegetation, sports, relaxation.
If you are growing plants or vegetables, they need to have a cohesive growth cycle and bloom-time, to enhance the aesthetic or practical function of the garden.
What man-made elements need to be introduced? This can cover water features, raised flower beds, greenhouses, decking, paved or gravel pathways.
Planning your Garden

Starting at the front of the property, it is important to remember that your front lawn provides the first impression of a property to any visitor. While a back garden is more secluded and normally has a number of utilitarian functions (clotheslines or tool sheds, for example), the front garden connects your home to the wider surroundings, and provides a platform for aesthetic display through flower and shrubbery arrangement. Decisions must also be made about human access from the street – will you need driveways or pathways? Do areas need to be covered by gravel, paved slabs, or tarmac?

Generally the backyard is planned more with your personal recreation in mind. If you plan on entertaining guests in the garden, you might want to think about dining areas, seating, lighting and heating, and cooking structure like outdoor kitchens and barbecues. Having children can have a big influence on garden design – areas for sports such as basketball or soccer need to be devised, and the safety and positioning of elements such as ponds or pools should be a consideration.

If you are a green-fingered gardener keen on raising flowers or vegetables, it’s important to outline their arrangement before planting, to ensure maximum aesthetic value or harvest yield. You will also need to decide how to house your vegetation, whether in raised flower beds, rock gardens or greenhouses. Using the Landscape and Garden solution for ConceptDraw PRO gives you full creative control of all these factors before you even have to pick up your tools and get your hands dirty.

A Landscape and Garden Solution

You don’t need to be a professional landscaper to design a garden, and you don’t need to a technical drawing expert to use the Landscape and Garden solution for ConceptDraw PRO. The hard work has been done for you – the solution collects various libraries full of professionally designed stencils and graphics, leaving you free to concentrate on the creative aspects of your garden plan. These libraries include graphic design elements such as bushes and trees, flower and grass, ponds and fountains, garden furniture and accessories, and paths, plots and patios. Using them in combination with the handy templates included with the solution is the quickest and simplest method of starting to plan your garden design.
All this makes the solution ideal for those with any form of residential garden, and a head full of landscape ideas. Knowing that a well-designed front and back yard can really boost the resell value of your property means that proper planning and design is imperative, before you start digging holes and ripping up trees around your house. With ConceptDraw PRO you can find exactly what works for you, and works for the garden – The Landscape and Garden solution allows you to experiment with your design, and find out what it is possible to achieve with the natural space you have available. Deciduous and Coniferous Trees

Trees not only add beauty to the environment, they can be used in a landscape to increase privacy and shade yards and homes. They also help filter the air, and provide wildlife with food and shelter.

There are two main categories of trees, deciduous and coniferous.

Deciduous trees, also called broadleaf trees, have leaves that fall off at some point during the year. In fact, the word deciduous comes from Latin “deciduous” which means “to fall off.” In regions where there is a winter, the tree’s leaves will drop in autumn and grow back in the spring. In tropical zones, a deciduous tree will lose its leaves during the dry season and re-grow them during wetter periods. By losing its leaves (going dormant) the tree can more easily survive changes in the climate.

A deciduous tree’s leaves are large and wide, which enable them to catch a significant amount of light. The tree typically spreads out as it grows. The shape of most deciduous trees is round compared to a coniferous tree. The size of deciduous trees varies according to the type, and can range from a few feet to over 100 feet. Examples of deciduous trees include maple, oak, dogwood and hickory trees.

One of the most appealing characteristics of a deciduous tree is the change in leaf color before the leaves drop. The colors can range from yellow and orange to red and crimson. Some varieties of flowering trees, such as cherry trees and dogwoods, will also flower when they lose their leaves or re-start the leaf growing process. When a tree flowers without leaves, pollination is much easier.

Deciduous trees generally grow best in nutrient-rich soil. Sufficient water is also an important factor when it comes to maintaining their health and vitality. Most deciduous trees will also need to be pruned to keep them in good shape.

Coniferous trees (also known as evergreen trees) have leaves that remain on the tree all year long. The leaves are either needle-like or flat and scaled. The leaves only drop when they become old. The tree’s seeds grow in cones.

Coniferous trees also grow up instead of out, and generally have a triangular shape.

Types of coniferous trees include firs, spruces and pines, such as the red pine, white spruce, black spruce, Norway spruce, red spruce, Eastern white pine and Douglas fir. Most coniferous trees are found in northern, colder regions.

The tree’s needles have a wax-like coating that prevents the loss of moisture during winter months. The sturdiness and shape of the tree, along with its supple branches, also enables snow to slide easily to the ground. Because the tree does not lose its leaves, it can quickly resume food production once winter has passed.

Similar to deciduous trees, coniferous trees can range in height from a few feet to over 100 feet high. They are great as privacy trees.

Many different species of deciduous and coniferous trees can grow in the Pacific Northwest.

If you want to buy tree or big trees for your landscape, a big tree specialist or tree nurserys can help you chose the best tree for your environment and needs.