Serving the Naperville Community
We’re honored to be featured in this blog post by 15 Acre Homestead on How to Have a Yard You Love.
Given how much many of us spend on acquiring a property, we should have high standards relating to the quality of the property. And this means all areas of the home. You’ll probably be spending a lot of time and effort in ensuring that the inside of your home is on point, but what about the exterior area? If you get this area right, then you’ll have a space where you can unwind, relax, and create memories with your loved ones. And the good news is that getting a yard you love isn’t as difficult as many people think. In this blog, we’ll look at a few ways that you can make sure your yard is one of your favorite places at your property. Read more.
If you have a new brick patio or you’re planning to install one, you may be wondering how to showcase it using your landscaping. Here are 4 landscape design tips for drawing attention to your brick patio in Naperville, IL.
Related: Choosing the Right Look for a Retaining Wall That Will Be Part of Your Brick Patio Design in Hinsdale, IL
Brick is a timeless building material that comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Mostly, when we think of brick, we picture the traditional bricks we see on walls and sidewalks; but brick pavers can also be square, large, and they do not have to be reddish.
Brick is a versatile material that will bring visual interest to your outdoor living space whether you use traditional clay bricks (which are more limited in choices) or concrete bricks, which are available in many more styles and colors since they are not tied to the colors of the clay used in the making of clay bricks.
The first decision to make is whether you want your landscaping to contrast or complement your patio. Whether you want it to be a dramatic focal point or whether you prefer that it blends in, you can draw attention to the patio with color.
A light-colored patio will stand out more in any landscape, but especially so in a wooded landscape or in a setting that doesn’t receive much sunlight. In bright, sunny areas, a light-colored patio will instantly grab your attention. A mid-toned patio won’t stand out as much as a light-colored patio, so here you could use interesting laying patterns and textures to make an interesting space. A dark-colored patio (such as granite- or limestone-inspired pavers) will blend in even more with the surroundings, but will also give your outdoor space an elegant look very much worthy of a second glance.
Nature is filled with textures so to make your patio stand out, you could create a contrast. That doesn’t mean the pavers have to be smooth, or that you should avoid texture altogether. Here are a couple of ideas. You could use smooth patio pavers to provide a contrast to a more textured seat wall that softens the transition between the smoothness of the pavers and the varied textures of the natural surroundings. Or, your patio could feature moderately textured brick pavers in a lighter color that will help it stand out. Or, you could embrace the natural visual texture of traditional brick pavers (which is due to their small size and the many joints between them) but use laying patterns to keep the eye engaged in the patio.
3. Vertical Elements
The eye is less interested in flat planes than dynamic spaces filled with a variety of horizontal and vertical elements. You could bring attention to your brick patio by surrounding your patio partially with a seat wall; adding a fire pit or outdoor fireplace; by cladding the walls of your outdoor kitchen in brick pavers; or by using brick pillars at the base of the wooden supports of a pergola.
4. Laying Patterns
You can create a stand-out patio with more structured patterns. If you’re using traditional bricks, then either herringbone, running bond, or basket weave patterns provide a sense of order. If you’re using larger square brick pavers, laying them end-to-end also provides an eye-catching contrast to the softer elements in the landscape, even in a formal landscape where plants are precisely located in symmetrical patterns.
Related: 5 Landscape Design Ideas for a Modern Permeable Driveway in Wheaton, IL
Keeping your landscape illuminated is one of the many ways of keeping your home safe. Driveway lighting is one of the best ways to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere. However, this doesn’t mean that you need glaring floodlights. Your driveway can also be illuminated at night to showcase the beauty of the home, the front yard, as well as the driveway itself. Here are some options for outdoor lighting to improve safety and beauty along your Wheaton, IL driveway.
Related: Why Adequate Outdoor Lighting for Your Naperville IL Driveway and Front Yard Is So Important
Abandon the Floodlight
One of the most common styles of landscape lighting actually does more harm than good. Floodlighting using a single bright light source will do a poor job of covering an area while using a high amount of energy to do it. It will produce a harsh glare - the last thing you want to be looking at when navigating an unfamiliar driveway. Flood lights also produce contrasting shadows that can obscure obstacles in the driveway. Here are some great alternatives.
Solar-Powered LED Path Lights
Placing solar-powered LED path lights along the driveway provides safety as well as a clear delineation of the driveway. Low-lying lights won’t produce glare since their light is aimed at the ground. The downside to path lights is that very low lights could be obscured by snow; so knee-high lights will be more practical in all but the deepest snows.
When choosing the right path lights, you can go off the grid. Choose light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as your main light source in standalone light fixtures that are powered by the sun during the day, and activate as night falls. This will eliminate energy costs for keeping your driveway illuminated while also adding an elegant touch.
If you have any existing structures such as a retaining wall along the driveway edge, this will provide a wonderful housing for your solar-powered LED light fixtures. You can place a series of lights just under the lip of the cap stone on an existing wall - or if you’re thinking about a new wall, you could build them anywhere into the wall itself during construction.
Another option is to install lights embedded into masonry pillars that run the length of the driveway; the pillars could also serve as posts for a decorative fence.
Spotlighting Landscape Features
Part of creating a sense of depth perception for safe driving up and down your driveway at night is by illuminating various landscape features. You can achieve this with the technique of spotlighting, which uses bright lights near the ground that are angled upwards to show something in its full glory. This may be a gorgeous tree that dominates your front yard, a series of shrubs, a beautiful rock outcropping, or maybe even a statue or a retaining wall. Giving these features proper illumination at night will help create a much safer and interesting experience for visitors.
Leading With String Lights
String lights are typically used to create a festive atmosphere for backyard gatherings, but they may find another excellent use for your driveway. String lights can be placed above the driveway along the edge, both giving excellent, soft ambient light for the surrounding features as well as helping a driver or pedestrians find their way. It’s an excellent welcoming tactic that’s simple to install though you’ll want professionals to install string lights from your home or in tree canopies. Best of all, there is a wide variety of string light designs and styles to use in your landscape that conform with all parts of your aesthetic. Once your guests arrive at night, they’ll already be in awe by the time they reach your doorstep.
Related: Outdoor Lighting Trends to Consider for a Naperville, IL, Brick Patio
Choosing the Right Look for a Retaining Wall That Will Be Part of Your Brick Patio Design in Hinsdale, IL
Retaining walls are often thought of as purely utilitarian features. However, retaining walls can serve as important focal points with just as much beauty and character as your patio. The trick is to choose complementary or contrasting wall materials that help the wall become part of the design and not an afterthought. Here are our tips for choosing the right look for a retaining wall that will be part of your brick patio design in Hinsdale, IL.
Related: Take a Fresh Look at Your Patio Options With These 4 Landscaping Ideas in Wheaton, IL
Many factors can go into selecting the right wall materials including size, shape, color, and texture. Regarding budget, most manufacturers will have several price tiers of wall units, with similar appearances - so you can get the look you want, at a budget that works for you.
Modern retaining walls are typically made with a core of stacked concrete blocks and faced with a brick, natural stone, or manufactured stone veneer. This is the case with light-duty retaining walls shorter than four feet tall. Larger heavy-duty structural retaining walls are typically made with full-sized wall blocks that can weigh 50-75 pounds each and they must be designed by a licensed engineer to ensure they can withstand the tremendous weight and pressure of the soil they are holding back.
When it comes to design, the choice of wall units to pair with a brick patio is a personal one, depending on the look you want to achieve. The main thing to remember is that the best look will be achieved using slightly or dramatically different materials, rather than the same materials. In other words, avoid brick for your wall units next to a brick patio which can quickly become tiring to look at. A better option is to choose materials that bring out the best in each other, whether it’s a slight difference or a striking one.
Here are some ideas:
1. Smooth retaining wall blocks alongside textured patio pavers such as brick (contrasting textures)
While brick pavers are not highly textured, due to their small size, they are visually textured (especially if you are using contrasting jointing sand). A beautiful modern look could be achieved by embracing the contrast and using oversized plank-style wall blocks in a smooth texture.
2. Lightly textured retaining wall blocks alongside a brick patio (similar textures):
Lightly textured wall units could look like tumbled quarry stone. This look is in keeping with an easygoing casual/rustic atmosphere: a low-maintenance carefree style that invites you to enjoy the space without worrying about fussy materials. Choose lightly textured wall units that are larger to give the wall a substantial look.
Also factor in laying patterns. If you’re using classic bricks (whether clay or concrete) they will likely be laid in a running bond, herringbone, or basket weave pattern on your patio. The best results will come by using a simple pattern on the wall, such as a running bond (which will also simplify the installation) - no matter what the laying pattern you are using on the patio.
Relatively busy laying patterns on the patio will look best when complemented with simplicity, and using larger format wall units to create visual balance.
Choosing colors is just as important as choosing textures.
Opt for complementary or contrasting colors, and avoid the same tones for the most pleasing results. This will give each element its own distinct character.
Whether you highlight the retaining wall by making it lighter than the surrounding brick patio or give it a dramatic presence with darker tones, the color will draw you in and say, “this wall is important.”
Related: The 5 Benefits of Having a Retaining Wall Near Your Driveway in Naperville, IL