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Design Ideas

Landscaping Your Backyard For Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is outdoor entertaining season, and it’s time to get the most out of your backyard. It’s easy to get your deck and porch ready for guests with attractive furniture and decor – but a great landscape design will make your backyard into a prime spot for visitors. Well-placed plantings can soften the edges of a deck, screen off unsightly views, and create separate areas for dining, relaxing, or play.

If you’re moving to a new home, layers of green and colorful summer flowers will get your outdoor spaces ready for guests. From fast, budget-friendly solutions to garden renovations, we’ve collected our favorite ideas here.

Patio Flowers for Outdoor Entertaining

Container gardens are a quick, low-cost way to add greenery to your deck or patio. Flowerpots let you put the color exactly where you need it, and you can add new plants during the season to keep the containers fresh and blooming. Mix various pot sizes, and add height to your display for extra impact:

Container gardens and flowerpots

Photo Courtesy of Signature Gardens

 

If your budget has room for a deck upgrade, consider adding a built-in bench. Benches are an easy way to add extra seating, and incorporating planters adds an upscale touch. Since they’re a permanent part of the deck, there’s no need to buy and store extra outdoor furniture for parties.

Planters for a kitchen garden.

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

 

Planters near the grill area make the perfect spot for a kitchen garden. Plant salad greens and herbs for cooking, or grow cherry tomatoes on a trellis. A deep planter with an attached trellis is a great solution when you need to add privacy to your outdoor seating area. A wall of green helps keep your space cool, and having ready-to-pick produce is perfect for entertaining.

Dress Up A Deck Or Patio With Landscaping

A landscaped border between your deck or patio and the rest of the yard adds a sense of privacy, and softens hard edges. Use low shrubs and flowering plants for layers of color you can admire from the deck.

landscaped border between your deck or patio

Source: Lowe’s

 

If you have the budget for a larger project, building a pergola is a great way to bring landscaping to an outdoor seating area. At night, string outdoor lighting on a pergola for romantic dining. Grapevines, wisteria, and climbing roses are gorgeous climbing plants that provide plenty of shade. They’ll grow just as well in planters, so you can easily cover a pergola that’s close to the house.

pergola over an outdoor seating area

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide

 

This backyard renovation that includes built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees creates an elegant landscape for entertaining right beside the patio:

backyard renovation with built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees

Photo Courtesy of Swell Homes

Landscape Design Creates Outdoor Entertaining Zones

Great spaces for outdoor entertaining have areas for both dining and relaxing. Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, creates “outdoor rooms” for different activities. Formal planting beds and low walls are attractive landscaping features that separate activity areas.

using Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, to create outdoor rooms

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design

 

Shaded areas are important – carefully placed trees can be as shady as a pergola. Seating areas incorporated into the landscaping let you interact with the garden, while a formal dining area is more practical. This project by Amy Martin Landscape Design has all the features of a great backyard for entertaining:

using shaded areas in your landscaping

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design

 

A wide border garden makes a beautiful transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard. Use taller shrubs and small trees to screen off play equipment or a pet run. Small trees like Japanese maples or flowering almonds can be safely planted close to the house for privacy and shade.

using a wide border garden to transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard

Photo Courtesy of Garden Design

 

Backyard Destinations For Entertaining

If your yard is large enough, create a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat. Discovering a seating area behind a flowerbed or hedge is a nice surprise for guests, and you’ll enjoy it too.

a pergola that functions as a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat

Project Source: Lowe’s

 

If you have a large backyard, a dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining. While a permanent structure can be a big-budget project, an enclosed building isn’t necessary. This pergola by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining

Design by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

 

If formal dining isn’t your style, turn a corner of your lawn into a spot to relax. Throw in some curves to break up a boring, rectangular yard. Build a deck around a big tree, or incorporate a patio and fire pit into the landscape. This charming round patio has a matching curved pergola and a swing for fun:

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide

 

Even a simple landscaping project can completely transform the way you use your backyard. There’s nothing fancy about these chairs gathered around an open fire, but it’s certainly an inviting spot:

chairs gathered around an open fire pit

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Snow Photography

 

 

Luxury Home Trends in Kitchen Design

Today’s luxury kitchens have evolved far beyond show-stopping commercial ranges and statement appliances.  Feature walls are the new stars of kitchen design – showcasing open shelving, handcrafted tile, book-matched stone, or a magnificent view. These carefully-curated display areas are complemented by appliances that are fully integrated into the cabinetry, so they almost disappear into the design. 

Islands Make a Statement:

Islands add a luxury touch when fully clad in a quartz surface material, a rich wood such as walnut, or a highly-figured stone:

Source: Knock Architecture and Design

 

With fewer upper cabinets, kitchen designers are using custom cabinetry walls as a way to fully integrate and conceal storage and appliances, leaving the island and prep areas uncluttered. Finished in beautiful wood, the “hidden kitchen” becomes a feature wall itself:

Source: Pinterest

Custom refrigerator and freezer units can be configured to disappear into drawers, or fit under the counters to preserve the clean lines of a modern kitchen.

 

Feature Walls Set The Stage:

A kitchen’s feature wall is its focal point – and in a modern luxury kitchen, that usually means tile or stone displayed in quantity.

Moody, darker colors are trending this year, and the contrast helps hardware and custom details to really stand out. With open shelving and a steel-trimmed range hood, this deep blue tile creates a stunning feature wall. Antique-inspired pendant lighting adds extra charm over the island:

Source: The Urban Electric Co.

 

A tiled feature wall adds Old-World charm to a kitchen with traditional beams and classic white cabinetry:

Source: Pinterest

 

This modern kitchen exudes high-end glamour with a full-height feature wall and island of Caesarstone. Dark stained cabinetry adds contrast, allowing the gold lighting, barstools and accent strip on the island to stand out. Everything about this kitchen has an air of understated, modern luxury:

 

Hardware Is Like Jewelry:

High-quality hardware adds richness and depth to a kitchen. Today’s luxury hardware trends include rose gold, matte brass, deep bronze, and matte black. These finishes are more difficult to produce and not widely distributed – a rarity that adds an instant aura of luxury to a kitchen.

For a traditional home, refrigerators in a custom color with deluxe gold hardware will display gourmet ingredients and a wine collection with style:

Source: True Appliances

 

Luxury Kitchen Lighting:

Quality lighting adds both function and character to a luxury kitchen. Advancements in lighting design have replaced old-style ceiling spots with bright, efficient, and unobtrusive LEDs. Expect no fewer than three levels of lighting in a high-end kitchen. Task lighting is directed at work areas, so it may be a combination of under-cabinet lighting and pendants over an island. Ambient or general lighting comes from pendants or chandeliers, plus small ceiling spots as needed to keep the room comfortably bright. Accent lighting is added above or below cabinets, or behind glass doors, to add ambiance. Dimmers and remote controls make it easy to adjust all three and set the mood.

Instead of small pendants for island lighting, here the designer has chosen three stylish fixtures with shades as a focal point:

Source: Atlanta Homes

 

A custom marble stove back, seamless marble installed on the walls, and massive marble island gives this Atlanta kitchen a sense of updated luxury. The bespoke range hood and custom display shelves are high-end features that make a traditional kitchen stand out.

 

The Butler’s Pantry Is New Again:

Removing upper cabinets creates an open, spacious feeling – but it also reduces storage. Butler’s pantries are the answer. This classic solution is making a comeback, and it can be the perfect spot for a coffee bar, wine refrigerator, or second dishwasher to keep the kitchen mess out of sight. Custom lighting and high-end finishes make it an extension of the kitchen:

Design: Jeff King and Co.

 

A luxury kitchen in 2019 focuses on the highest quality materials. Natural stone and quartz products are being used as statement pieces over large areas, and rich color or tile patterns inject personality. Hardware and lighting are more important than ever, as they’re truly the jewelry of the kitchen.

 

 

 

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