Plan your planting.

Spring has sprung or is about to spring, depending on where you live. At Bailey, we talk a lot about interior design and remodeling, but if you’ve taken the time, effort, and money to refresh your home with a redesign and remodel, shouldn’t you consider updating your landscaping too?

The land around your home should match your home’s character and meet your family’s needs. 

Think big…

In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about turning inside spaces into hospitable suites for guests and family– short and long term. Auxiliary Dwelling Units (or ADUs) are all the rage for people with big yards these days. “Tiny Houses,” pool houses, garage apartments, and the like can make for excellent spaces to invite overnighters or long-termers to stay with you and your family, but have their own private living spaces detached from the main house. 

Some families, who live in desirable areas, are making an extra income by renting out these units through services like AirBnB and VRBO. Here in Louisville, these ADUs can be rented out for thousands of dollars a night during Derby season. Being a temporary landlord isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you, it can be a lucrative proposition.

In some areas, ADUs are tightly regulated by zoning laws, so check with your local authorities before making plans to build your mini-home. 

Think fun…

An outdoor patio or covered porch are the perfect places to entertain, even if your climate isn’t ideal all year round. You can seasonally adapt these spaces with heaters and firepits and outdoor fireplaces for the cold season, and ceiling fans, misters, and awnings and umbrellas for the hot season. 

Patios and porches can be appointed with dining areas or just casual conversation clusters of tables and chairs. An outdoor sound system is a must– speakers and a receiver that pairs with a smartphone lets any family member play DJ. Weather-resistant TVs are available so you can have movie nights, awards show gatherings, or big game watch parties. 

Speaking of games, consider designating areas of your yard for game play. Cornhole is ever popular. A croquet court is easily set-up and dismantled as the need arises. A basketball hoop on a pad of concrete (or in the driveway) has been ubiquitous in American backyards for many decades. Of course, if you really have the space and the inclination, pickleball and home pickleball courts show no signs of letting up in terms of popularity.  

Think yummy…

Consider an outdoor dining and kitchen space. A big, weather-resistant dining table, ceiling fans to keep the bugs away and keep your people cool, outdoor counter space for food prep, a fridge so you don’t have to keep carting food and beverages from the kitchen, and a grill with some burners are some of the elements that make an outdoor dining space an extension of your home. After dinner, it’s a great place for the family to gather to chat or play games. 

Think beautiful…

There are too many planting trends to do all or most of them justice in this blog post, but here are just a few. 

A cut flower garden– What an amazing way to beautify both the outside and inside of your home in one fell swoop. Cut flower gardens are dedicated to growing flowers that are suitable to be cut and arranged for display in your home. Your growing climate may vary, but some of the best flower varieties to grow for a cutting garden in Kentucky include: dahlias, romunculus, zinnias, anemones, cosmos, daisies, peonies, and roses. In your garden, smaller flowers should be placed 8-12” apart. Larger flowers that come in bushes, like roses and peonies, should be placed around 3’ apart.

A fragrance garden– Wouldn’t it be amazing to plant a fragrance garden just outside of your kitchen or bedroom window? Let all the smells of beautiful flowers and herbs populate the most-used or most-intimate rooms of your home? A fragrance garden is just as it sounds, a garden where the plants are selected more for their smell than their appearance. The best fragrance gardens include both daytime and nighttime blooming herbs and flowers. Some examples of night-blooming flowers include moonflower, Nicotiana, and evening primrose. Don’t forget about herbs when planting a fragrance garden (and they can be useful in the kitchen or at the bar too). Some mints smell of more than just mint, like lemon, chocolate, and vanilla. Rosemary, too, has a beautiful fragrance. 

A privacy garden– “Good fences make good neighbors,” said Robert Frost in his poem “The Mending Wall.” What if you could create privacy for your home and family without an expensive or potentially pricey (and maybe unsightly?) privacy fence? Some fast-growing plants, trees, and bushes can be aesthetically pleasing while also providing some sense of seclusion. One of the most notable plants that can create a divider between properties lickety-split is some species of bamboo, which literally can grow up to inches an hour. You have to be very careful with planting bamboo because some species shoot out roots under the soil to propagate more bamboo, and sooner than you can imagine you’ll have a whole bamboo forest in your backyard! Here’s an online tutorial on how to do it right. Evergreens grow much more slowly but are worth the wait to make thick privacy-blockers between you and next door. And that way you’ll have privacy all four seasons.

These are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to outdoor design. But remember, your outdoor design should complement your home and meet your household’s needs. Do you have more ideas (vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, a pool, a gazebo?)– leave them in the comments. Enjoy the nice weather.