What's New In Backyard Gardens?

Many homeowners today are turning their own backyards into personal retreats to "get away from it all". Attractive patios, landscaped gardens, walkways, pools, secluded sitting areas and creative backdrops are easier than ever to incorporate and a pleasure for avid gardeners and nature lovers.

In most parts of Canada, including Manitoba, the summer season is far too short. What better way to enjoy it than to extend and enhance your outdoor living space? Begin by determining how you want to use your little piece of nature. Do you want to relax in privacy, entertain friends and family, set up playground structures, develop new garden areas or incorporate a variety of decorate features?

Today, landscaping has evolved into more than adding trees, patios and gardens. Your personal space or "outdoor room" can incorporate almost anything and add tremendously to the value of your home. Cooking areas, hot tubs, showers, pools, sound systems, elegant lighting, comfortable furniture and even outdoor heaters are among the many products and features available.

If you are planning a complicated project, consider hiring a landscape professional who can install almost any feature you desire, from a fish pond to a waterfall to special fencing, decks, patios, walkways and other features.

Paving stones
High in popularity are paving stones, interlocking bricks, flagstones, crushed stone and just plain rocks. They are used to finish patios, retaining garden walls and more. Available in a wide variety of colours, textures, shapes and sizes, these products add charm and character while cutting down on weeds. They come in natural-looking hues such as slate grey, brown and red, as well as blends of those tones.

Unusual plants
Proper drainage is the key in any backyard garden project. Garden displays, effective lighting, decorative structures and piped in music add the pizzazz. Not all garden areas need to be places of great tranquility and bliss. They can also be shocking and creative, incorporating unusual plants, powerful colours and bold foliage. Forget the petunias and impatiens. Set aside a garden area and make a statement with tropical plants and rare annuals that can be taken indoors for the winter.

Garden ornaments
Garden ornaments such as birdbaths, sundials, fountains, statues, lamp posts and other "decorative" items, swings, specialty patio chairs and benches are also popular. These add depth, character and variety to any landscape. The sky's the limit when it comes to incorporating these landscape ornaments into your gardens and patio.

If you don't want to roam too far afield for fresh hand-picked berries and currents, consider cultivating your own in a special garden area. Berries don't require a lot of space and can add a lot of character to a back yard. Strawberries are fun to pick and delightful to eat, but send runners allover the place and are difficult to control. They demand a lot of sun, are susceptible to pest damage and may not be worth the trouble. Raspberries are a much better choice. They demand little care, attract fewer garden pests and can take some shade. Raspberries are also a lot less common in local stores.

No garden, unless it is densely shaded, can be complete without including some space for the queen of flowers -the rose. This classic, traditional perennial comes in a vast variety of sizes, colours, scents and types. Roses need proper planting and pruning, good soil and feeding, at least half a day of sun, regular watering and winter protection.

Most popular are the hybrid tea roses, as well as climbing and rambling varieties. Most rose bushes require deep watering every four or five days. They dislike anything that stands in their way and demand space around them.




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