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A sloped yard can put a damper on your fun by preventing you from using some of your precious space. Luckily, there’s a solution that can allow you to enjoy your property to the fullest. A properly installed retaining wall can correct serious sloping issues and prevent a whole host of issues, from unused space to a more attractive landscape. If your Downers Grove, IL, yard is sloped, here’s how a retaining wall can help.
Incorporating Safety into Your Landscape Design
Safety is an important factor to consider for any outdoor activity. Having a sloped yard can be a safety hazard for anyone, but especially for seniors, children, or pets. It can increase the risk of slipping, falling, and getting hurt because of the lack of an even footing. A retaining wall helps to correct sloping by adding stability so that additional earth can be filled in. This makes your yard surface level, allowing you to utilize the space in a more safe way. A professional contractor will assess your degree of sloping and plan an appropriate sized wall to fit the needs of your outdoor living space.
Related: 3 Stunning Features to Incorporate into your Retaining Wall in Downers Grove, IL
Bringing Practicality to the Forefront
Sloping in your yard, especially a serious degree of sloping, can prevent you from doing even the most basic of outdoor activities. Grilling, gardening, and playing with children or pets are all nearly impossible to do when you’ve got a sloped yard. Outdoor living spaces like outdoor kitchens, fire pits, or lounge areas all require an even space to navigate. If you have sloping in the front, a retaining wall could add tremendous curb appeal. Once front sloping is corrected, you can add decorative components that will bring out your home’s beauty. Correcting sloping can provide you an even surface that will allow you to enjoy everything your yard is meant for while expanding the hours you’ll want to spend outside.
Taking Aesthetics to Another Level
Aside from being unsafe and impractical, a sloped yard can make your home look unpleasing to the eye. A flat, grassy surface suggests a homey, welcoming space for friends and family to mingle and play. A drastic slope looks like the opposite of that—isolating and unwelcoming, no matter what the season. Correcting the slope will give your yard a more pleasing appearance. In addition to the yard, retaining walls themselves are beautiful, especially when made with quality pavers. Pisa2 by Unilock, for example, has a gorgeous naturalized texture that will complement any landscape. Tapered components allow you to build retaining walls of virtually any shape for a custom look you’ll love.
Related: How to Improve the Landscape Design of Your Sloped Backyard in Batavia, IL
The beauty, practicality, and added stability that a retaining wall brings can completely transform your landscape. Retaining walls can make your sloped yard look neat and organized. Add a row of evergreen trees on the lower perimeter of the wall for privacy and increased safety, or turn a multi-level retaining wall into a beautiful spot for plantings. Retaining walls bring lots of flexibility and beauty to a stubbornly sloped yard. Check out our gallery to see some of the beautiful walls we’ve built for our clients, and contact us for more information about how we can help you.
Your outdoor lighting scheme in Burr Ridge, IL, can encompass anything from simple candles to intense spotlights, depending on your desired outdoor living design. While some forms of lighting are geared toward making outdoor living more convenient and safe, other lighting techniques simply create drama and interest within a landscape. The lighting you opt for will not only depend on the size of your outdoor living space and the energy sources you have available, but it will also be determined by the mood and aesthetic you wish to create. Here are a few landscape lighting ideas to enhance your outdoor living space.
Lighting for Character
There are various creative ways to add character to your landscape. One example includes hollowing out logs or tree stumps and fitting bright lights into them so that soft light filters through their many cracks. Line a pathway with a collection of glowing tree stumps for a fairytale-like look and feel. They may look like ordinary logs during the day yet they come alive at night.
Related: Highlighting Trees and Plants with Outdoor Lighting in Hinsdale, IL
You could also have a string of battery-powered fairy lights bundled into a glass sphere and suspend from a low-lying branch for a magical atmosphere. You’ll want these string scattered throughout the landscape for a full effect. An uplight system that subtly shines on your hardscape features is another way to evening charm to your landscape.
String lights overhead can simulate stars in areas where light pollution obscures the night sky. Enjoy romantic “starlight” dinners in the comfort of your own backyard by creating artificial constellations. These lights also pair well with low, round fire pits that bring you back to vacations spent around the campfire. It can create the impression that you are cozied up at a campsite far from home. Fire pits and fireplaces are also excellent sources of light and cast a warm glow that fosters an intimate ambience.
You could consider crafting a chandelier that hangs from a tree branch or pergola and consists of small glass containers, each one housing a tea light or larger candle. It would be a homey touch. For soft glows and warm lighting, landscape experts can help you devise a lighting scheme that’s not obtrusive and doesn’t require any hefty lifting on your part—where all you’d have to do is switch on the lights to set the mood.
Lighting for Safety
The aesthetic appeal offered by landscape lighting is just as important as the safety it grants anyone navigating the area. Keeping walkways well-lit is particularly essential as they are frequently traversed and can present hazards such as lifted pavers. Consider framing your walkways with short, downturned lights that keep the pavers well-lit without casting an unpleasant glare.
Certain lighting options can be used to incorporate exotic elements into your landscape. Metal lanterns, for example, can display customized grillwork resembling a Moroccan aesthetic. They can also be acquired in painted canvas or paper with oriental style. Glass lanterns stained a particular color can give an outdoor room a bohemian look and feel. These lanterns could be strategically scattered along the edge of a staircase or hung overhead.
Some finishing touches are often what’s needed to bring out the true beauty of a landscape design. You may think these additions need to be dramatic, but simple structures—such as a pergola—can also make a big impact. These wooden frameworks are supported by posts sometimes covered with vines or lights. Consider these five pergola design tips to spruce up your Western Springs, IL, landscape.
Pergola Over an Existing Patio
If your home has a patio right outside the back door, you already have an ideal place for building a pergola. The proximity to your home allows for a cozy dining area underneath the new pergola, or you could gather some comfortable furniture underneath it for relaxing after a busy day. A pergola that is anchored by columns to match the color of your home can allow your structure to blend into its surrounding architecture. Topped with wooden rafters and beams, this pergola can create a convenient, shady retreat.
Related: 3 Landscape Design Ideas for Preparing Your Backyard for Fall in Downers Grove, IL
A pergola can be just what you need for a vacant section of your backyard, such as the corner of your fence or the space between two trees. For the wood post supports, consider placing them atop stacked stone foundations. Vines could trail upward to fill the pergola top with green leaves and bold flowers. Add comfortable furniture with lots of pillows, and you’ll have a shaded oasis.
Pools and pergolas were made to go together. Consider how a pergola could transform the nearby grassy area—it could create a shaded shelter for keeping an eye on the kids as they swim. You could place the pergola directly on the grass, or you might choose to elevate it on wooden decking. Curtains on three sides can help to block the sun when it is too bright, and they can be tied back to catch the breeze at other times.
Related: Landscape Design Ideas for Creating an Atmospheric Outdoor Dining Room in Lisle, IL
If you have a walkway that connects your Western Springs, IL, home and garage or an outbuilding such as a pool house, a pergola covering the connecting walkway can bring instant character to this space. This can take an ordinary walkway from blah to breathtaking.
Most pergolas tend to have a somewhat rustic appearance, but that may not be your style. If you lean toward a more contemporary architectural look, you can carry it through to your new pergola. A monochromatic appearance for a pergola can present a sleek look. Many modern pergolas have thin slats for the top instead of large, wooden beams. Consider using galvanized pipes for the top of the pergola to bring out an open warehouse effect that’s reminiscent of modern coffee houses.
All pergola designs can benefit from some form of lighting, from twinkle lights to modern round bulbs. This can allow you to use your outdoor structure for longer in the day, especially if you love to entertain. A pergola can set the tone as the shelter of a dining area or an outdoor living room with a fire pit. An experienced landscape specialist can assist you as you contemplate adding a pergola to your landscape.
Bringing in a new outdoor fireplace to a preexisting patio takes some forethought. You probably want both hardscape features to look as if they have always belonged together. Here’s how to create a cohesive design for your evolving Lisle, IL, landscape.
Finding the Design Aesthetic of Your Patio
When considering the design style that will be emphasized, take a look at what you already have as you look into pairing your new outdoor fireplace with your patio. Notice any features in your patio that stand out such as textures, lines, shapes, and finishes. These prominent design characteristics can be incorporated into your outdoor fireplace. For instance, a rustic or old world design contains beautiful textures that can be mimicked on your outdoor fireplace design.
Related: Choosing the Perfect Material for Your Outdoor Fireplace in Geneva, IL
Once you have picked your favorite aspect of your patio, it's time to incorporate it into your new fireplace design. For example, to stay with a contemporary look, inquire about mixing a geometric design with soft edges and rounded corners. For a modern design, larger, sleeker materials with straight lines could be used such as a zero-bevel paver. You can add even more depth to the design by opting for accents that use the same design aesthetic. For example, for a patio made of soft tan pavers, try using that same color for the accents of the fireplace. The key is to not overdo it. Too much of one color or design concept could overpower the overall landscape design.
Mixing and Matching Materials
If you aren’t particularly in favor of one style over the other, then using certain materials can make the new outdoor fireplace look like it was built with the patio. Natural stone is a great example as it can be incorporated into many stunning design applications. Thanks to its neutral colors and textures, natural stone can create a perfect match of fireplace and patio without pertaining to a certain style criteria. Natural stone or concrete material that resembles natural stone is also an excellent choice because of the expanse of color of options that can blend well with pre-existing features. The texture of these materials can also blend well with the landscape around it. This addresses the concern of new landscape additions looking out of place or too new. Because natural stone has already been naturally aged by the earth, it looks like it has been a part of your landscape since the beginning.
Related: Do's and Don’ts of Building an Outdoor Fireplace in Downers Grove, IL
Picking the Perfect Paver
Another way to seamlessly integrate a new outdoor fireplace into your current patio is by picking a paver that can act as a blending material for the design. You may be able to use the same paver in your patio area for creating accents on your outdoor fireplace. An example of this would be if you have brick-style pavers already in use throughout your patio, then you could try using the same style of concrete coping on your fireplace. Cobblestone or flagstone, for example, can be seamlessly incorporated into your outdoor fireplace design. A helpful tip to remember is that the materials do not have to be the same color. Expand your design’s color palette by bringing two colors of the same style paver into your patio space to create the cohesiveness and contrast you desire.