• What’s in for outdoors

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    food-gardens20130807

    Photo credit: Stephen Stimson Associates
    Outdoor kitchens and food gardens are growing in popularity.

    IF you want to get more enjoyment out of your yard, you can consider creating attractive outdoor spaces that are both easy to take care of and good for the environment.

    American homeowners are increasingly drawn to adding outdoor rooms for entertaining and recreation on their properties. That’s what the most recent Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects discovered. The survey results also show demand for both sustainable and low-maintenance design.

    Landscape architects who specialize in residential design were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements. The category of outdoor living spaces, defined as kitchens and entertainment spaces, received a 94.5 percent rating as somewhat or very popular. Ninety-seven percent of respondents rated fire pits and fireplaces as somewhat or very in demand, followed by grills, seating and dining areas, and lighting.

    Decorative water elements—including waterfalls, ornamental pools and splash pools—were predicted to be in demand for home landscapes. Spas and pools are also popular.

    Terraces, patios and decks are also high on people’s lists.

    In addition, more people are opting for food and vegetable gardens, including orchards and vineyards.

    Good to know
    If you’re thinking of joining them, a few food-growing facts and hints may help:

    • Food gardens can be easy, rewarding and sustainable. For starters, you can use fallen leaves in autumn and grass clippings in spring and summer as mulch and weed suppressant.

    • Perennial plants can be low maintenance—they come back every year without replanting. Some great examples include asparagus, blueberries, blackberries and rhubarb.

    • Herbs can make for an especially sustainable food garden, as many prefer hot and dry

    Additional information on the survey and on residential landscape architecture in general can be found at www.asla.org/residentialinfo. North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.

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