Oct 15

Adding a fire pit to your space provides an eye-catching focal point while increasing the value of your home.


Nothing says “welcome” like a fire pit. They provide both an optimal location for hosting guests, and a relaxing sanctuary for a romantic night in or a quiet evening with the family. The beautiful dancing flames draw you in, making the rest of the world disappear, even for just a moment or two. Fire is also a wonderful way to add a glow to your space without having to install harsh lighting. It adds a certain elegance while also proving a warm atmosphere to unwind in.

Highly customizable from their size, to type, to function, there are endless possibilities when choosing the right fire pit to fit your lifestyle. There are portable pits for those who want to have the option of moving their gathering space around. Customizable built-in pits leave room to create a cohesive look and flow within the space. Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes that allow you to choose exactly what size will work for your needs and space. Wood-burning and natural gas fire pits both have their added benefits and harbor different uses, so thinking about the type of experience you want is important.

Wood burning fire pits provide guests with a nostalgic and traditional experience. Humans have been making fires this way since the beginning of time so why shouldn’t you? There’s something about the smell and warmth of a wood burning fire that allows us to relax and reminisce. This type of fire pit needs to be built and placed safely to ensure the flames and sparks won’t travel outside the pit. Raised pits and the use of gravel or rock around the area can provide a safer environment to light fires.

Natural gas fire pits provide all the benefits of having a fire, without the smell or mess. There is no soot or ash to clean up, no smell left on your clothes, and they cast less emissions when burning. Natural gas pits work by running a gas line to a metal fire pit ring. This ring is placed on top of river rock to provide drainage, then topped with lava rock which absorbs some of the heat. Glass rock can then be added on top to finish the look and give your space that “wow” factor. Natural gas fires do not have sparks that fly out from the flames, making this option the safer of the two.

Now that the bulk of the summer heat is over, the best place to enjoy the expansive, Texas starry-night sky is next to a fire. Give yourself, and guests, the ultimate space to enjoy a drink or toast marshmallows as we head into our cooler season!

 

 

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Oct 6

Image from Hyde Park Modern Retreat – Front Yard

A well-planned landscape can foster community not only for ourselves, but for our landscape as well.


Natives. Most often looked to for their durability and natural stamina in our climate, but a delicious benefit that can be overlooked is the relationships they nurture with wildlife.

Image from Oak Hill Country Estate

Curating a palette of native plants can invite some of our most beloved guests into our gardens. Tubular, nectar-rich flowers can attract hummingbirds flitting from snack to snack. Flat rocks and a wide arrangement of blooms lure in butterflies for rest and sustenance.

Image from Hyde Park Adaptable Landscape

Tiny tree houses, feeders and soft flowing water appeal to many kinds of birds and Fall is a wonderful time to witness an array of them on their annual migration. These are the guests to our homes that fill us with surprise and wonder.

Image from Barton Springs Cottage Community

The restorative quality of nature is a treat that can be integrated into your landscape. Our choices in design can draw or deter desired wildlife to make a seasonal refuge in our gardens or venture elsewhere.  With the right combination of plants and placement, you can become a steward to species that bring you peace and joy.

Image from Boulden Creek Retreat

Another beautiful part of using native and adapted plants is it’s an excellent way to stay connected to our environment. There is an aesthetic to our local plant palette that is unique to our area and it’s creatures.


Everything has a purpose, everything plays into the whole. When crafting a space where plans and plants come together in a unique and complimentary goal we get to experience the seasons through their interactions within our landscape including blooms and wildlife.

Image from Zilker Native Chic

 

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Oct 3

These homeowners were looking to up their hosting game by modernizing their property to create the ultimate entertainment space. A custom outdoor kitchen was added with a top of the line Delta Heat grill and a special nook for a Big Green Egg. Flagstone was added to create asymmetrical walkways throughout the yard that extended into a ring around the fire pit. Four rectangular trellises were added along the fence and shed, with an all metal pergola located at the back of the pool. This unique structure immediately draws the eye and adds a playful, artistic element to the rest of the space. The use of various sized rocks, gravel, and flagstone give a rough texture that creates a symbiosis with the metalwork. Silver Falls Dichondra creates a beautiful contrast to the rocks and can be found all over the property along with various other grasses, ferns, and agave. A large area of gravel rests on the side of the house, giving the client room to park a recreational vehicle. In front, a privacy fence was added along one of the property lines, leading into a drought resistant, eco-friendly section of yard. This fence, coupled with a giant boulder, doubles as a safety precaution in case drivers miss the turn and run into their lawn. This updated landscaping adds an effortless flow for guests to move from the front yard to the back while creating a very open, welcoming feel to all who enter.

 

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Sep 3

See your landscape at any time with the addition of landscape lighting


Lighting can quickly create a sense of drama in your design. Good landscape lighting can highlight the existing design and show off plant features from new angles. Quantity, spacing and placement of your light fixtures have an effect on the mood and function within a space. You have the option to create a sense of wonder, security, and modern practicality with the installation of lights in your landscape.

A good rule to follow when exploring where to place lighting is fixtures should not be noticeable during the day, or distract from the feel of the space. There are the traditional options of white or warm light, and there are also colored choices like pinks, blues, and purples for backyard spaces that can add an eccentric touch to the color palette.

Plants that have an architectural feel like yuccas, agaves, and cacti, or any that you simply love the look of, can become a new focal point with the assistance of lighting. Smaller and softer lights scattered around the landscape can also provide privacy and security; instead of a large single porch light focusing on one area, the dispersed light allows you to see your environment, enjoy the design, and not be centered in an outdoor spotlight.

Available light plays heavily into the perception of a space and will influence the ways you interact with your outdoor decor. Additionally, incorporating lighting is a sensible way to install safety into your outdoor areas. If your design has walkways, corners, or a meandering path, using light as landmarks is a practical choice that will ensure you and your guests can see their way in low light or at nighttime.


Ready to illuminate your space? Contact us to get started!

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Sep 3

Making space for flowers that bloom at different times of year can enhance the passing of time.


Color is emotional. Whether it’s sprinkled around an open space or encouraged into a full color explosion, color has an impact on our mood and influences our perception of a space.


When thinking about your landscape, consider the areas you would like to call attention to and in what way. Yellows and oranges add a bright burst of color and instantly grab attention while pinks and whites can inspire a soft romance or feeling of lightness.

Color choice can be guided by multiple reasons. Selections can be made based on tones that will compliment the exterior of a home or personal preference. If you have a favorite color or combination, that’s always a solid place to start. Another classic jumping off point is to consider a feeling you want to inspire, especially if you are creating your own private retreat.

The shape and texture of foliage in a design can be highlighted by blending colors. Deeper tones like the images above, can add an intriguing contrast against greens and integrate a more muted richness; the distinction punctuating an otherwise monochromatic bed.

Once your plants are selected, they can be placed singularly for a visual focal point or arranged and dispersed across different beds to blend a larger space into a more cohesive color palette. Play with seasonal changes and make your landscape a living self-expression! Happy planting everyone!


Ready to add color to your landscape? Contact us to get started!

For more images of the projects shown above, check out the full portfolio entries:

Brentwood Family Escape

Brentwood Burle Marx Tribute

Brentwood Plunge Courtyard

Oak Hill Country Estate

Zilker Native Chic

 

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Aug 4

Having a place to sit is a pivotal part of creating an outdoor living space.
It is an unspoken invitation that it’s okay to relax where you are, to be there, to stay. 


Imagine having a living room with no seats or a kitchen table with no chairs. You would have questions right? Do I sit…on the floor? Do I sit…somewhere else?

Chairs and benches are welcoming. Not only for guests, but also for yourself – to be in an area and be comfortable for longer periods of time.

Seating ushers in choices. Morning coffee, evening tea, watching the sunrise or the sunset, an impromptu picnic, a conversation, an outdoor writing space, or another quiet cove to just be. All of these opportunities open up with the arrangement or installation of a seating area.

The nice thing about adding seating to a space is it is completely customizable. If you’re working with corners or slimmer pathways, consider building seating into the plan. Sometimes this can be the most efficient use of your space with the added bonus of a custom build.

A good tip for exploring your options while planning is to just stand out there. What do you want to do? What is missing? Find the place where you instinctively hover and mark that spot in your mind. If you find yourself standing in the same location over and over again, you’ve probably already found your seating area!

Once you’ve found your “spot” now comes the fun bit. Do you wish there was a bench, a bed, a swing, a bistro table? Consider the sun, the shade, and your natural instincts. Do you want to lie back and stretch out or prepare a courtyard to host your friends and family? Don’t shy away from multiple options, versatility is welcome!

 

Design intersects with purpose, planning, and personal aesthetic. The space you already have is a canvas where you can paint the picture you’ve been holding in your mind.

Find your outdoor living space, and take a seat!


Can you see the outline of your future seating area? Let us know!

For more images and seating options check out these portfolio projects:

Crestview Modern Craftsman

Barton Hills Modern Xeriscape

Brentwood Family Escape

Modern Family Entertaining Space

Dreamy Crestview Duplex

Native Modern Mueller

Zilker Native Chic

 

 

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Aug 4

harvesting rainwater is great for your landscape, your environment, and your wallet


I’m sure plenty of us can remember the traffic detours, rerouted trail runs, shuffled outdoor show plans, or the last time our smart phones all went off in harmonious unison because…flooding. Mother Nature literally gave us a raincheck.

So let’s work that natural cycle to the betterment of our landscape and our environment.

Harvesting rain water is a great opportunity for homeowners to supplement natural rainfall and contribute to reducing erosion and flooding caused by seasonal rains in our area.


Have gutters with a downspout? Great, you’re almost there! Rain barrels capture water from your roof and hold it for later release. An added financial benefit is rain is provided by nature, complimentary and free of charge. You can use your collected rainwater on the lawn, garden or your indoor plants.

For those keen on conservation, it can be a quick adjustment with a visible impact on your home landscape. Rainwater is great for plants because it has a slightly acidic pH and is naturally soft, lacking the salts and treatment chemicals often found in other water sources .

Cities and states (including our own) offer rebates to encourage implementing changes that can help with both stormwater management and water conservation. This is another key part for environmental change – slow the flow down.

The more rain barrels, cisterns, and rain gardens we have in our area help reduce the likelihood of rains overwhelming our stormwater infrastructure.


Interested in getting started? Let’s do it together!

For more information on harvesting rainwater visit the links below:

Rain Catcher Pilot Program

City of Austin Rebates & Grants

Texas A&M AgriLife Rainwater Harvesting

Texas Water Development Board: Water for Texas

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Jul 7

This month, I sat down with one of our award-winning designers Jill Zimmerman, and asked what she feels when designing a xeriscape.


“It’s an opportunity to show the art of plantings. Using them in clusters, the plants stand out more. Similar to what you see in the wild, with meadow-like areas punctuated by larger upright plants and structural elements.”

Creating a xeriscape is like curating a living collection. There are options on all sides, an array of plant choices for the desired effect. She illustrates how beautiful the selection and arrangement can be, because it mirrors nature.


Designing with native and adapted plants can embody a full spectrum of visual aesthetics. Jill highlights the stunning diversity we find in natural landscapes, mirrored in the design process where each plant and placement is selected with care.

“…different foliage shapes and textures. With pockets of plantings there is more variety in the landscape, each planting has their own color, style and contrast. It becomes an art piece.”


Lawn is often used as a filler, a shortcut for design by way of blanketing a space in turf grass with higher water requirements instead of using alternative grasses. Xeric design does not mean that we must compromise our entire personal style, or that no plants are included – quite the opposite.

“give space, allow plants to do what they do naturally”

Most envision a traditional landscape and start with the expected. In the Greater Austin area we are establishing a new cultural practice. The only difference is, the results are unexpected.


Can you see your future xeriscape? Reach out to us here, let’s bring it into full view.

For more images from the projects displayed above see the full portfolio entries below:

Brentwood Oasis

Brentwood Burle Marx Tribute

Brentwood Family Escape

Native Modern Mueller

Zilker Native Chic

Barton Hills Modern Xeriscape

Travis Heights Modern Bungalow

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Jul 7

Personal Space. There are few things more precious than having a private space to relax, stretch out in, breathe in, and just be yourself. 

I caught up with two of our designers, Erin Spencer and Jill Zimmerman to display some Native Edge favorites for creating a green retreat that suit your space, are responsible for the landscape, and can match your personal style.


One of the most popular and visually interesting choices for privacy is the trellis. The sturdiness of a custom metal frame creates the backbone for wide variety of vining plants. There are non-flowering choices for a consistent living wall, or for those who enjoy seasonal pops of color, there are plenty of options like crossvine, Carolina jessamine, coral honeysuckle, star jasmine and more!

Another great opportunity is to plant tall growing shrubs, like Italian cypress, junipers, viburnums, cherry laurels and the like! Pride of Barbados flowers add a bright touch of color to a lush poolside space.

For the adventurous or those looking to add to preexisting structures, there is also the option to blend more than one privacy element.

The right plantings and planning in a landscape can turn an open space into an intimate enclosure. The jewel of privacy also comes with a design opportunity, ways to preserve the openness of an outdoor living space and create a personal haven for the homeowner.


Ready to turn your landscape into a private oasis? Contact us to get started!

For more images from the design elements displayed above see the full portfolio entries below:

Brentwood Oasis

Brentwood Plunge Courtyard

Ridgetop Modern Makeover

Rustic Crestview Backyard Escape

Midtown Commons Lounge Courtyard

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Jun 2

Container gardening adds versatility to large gardens and is an ideal choice to add character to smaller spaces. Container plantings lend instant color, provide visual interest, and can even bring the architecture of the house into the garden.


Container gardening can be enjoyed for one season, or designed to last for years. A nice feature of container plantings is you can plant almost anything in a container so long as the plant has enough water, light, and nutrients.

Single, large containers can be used for outdoor decoration, and arrangements of various sized pots can create a unique and personal focal point.

Planting with a blend of different species in the same pot are fun to put together and offer almost limitless possibilities. Experiment, and if one plant doesn’t work out, try something else.

A pair of identical containers to frame a walkway can be an inviting welcome! Combining upright and trailing plants, or edible herbs with flowering choices uses the different foliage to create visual and colorful interest.

Container gardening can also be a practical choice. If you are short on space, using containers on a deck or patio brings color and ambiance to different outdoor areas.

Almost any vegetable, flower, herb, shrub, or small tree can grow successfully in a container. Large containers hold more soil, which resists fluctuations in temperature; spread a layer of mulch as you would in the garden to help retain moisture and insulate your plants from the heat.

When making plant selections, choose varieties that suit our climate and the amount of sun or shade the container will receive.

Light-colored containers will keep the soil cooler than dark containers and keep in mind that container plants will need thorough watering and regular feeding in their routine. How often will depend on many factors such as weather, plant size, plant varieties, and the size of your pot. Whichever container style you spring for, drainage holes will be essential.


For containers to remain attractive all summer long, look for warm-weather annuals that bloom all season or have foliage that stays engaging. Whatever your personal style is, there is a container choice and plant option that matches your aesthetic!

Ready to liven up your landscape with container planting and pottery arrangements? Reach out to us to get started!


To see more images of projects with container plants please check out the portfolio links below:
Barton Hills Contemporary Curb Appeal
Barton Springs Cottage Community
Boulden Creek Retreat
Brentwood Plunge Courtyard
Hyde Park Adaptable Landscape
Midtown Commons Lounge Courtyard
Oak Hill Country Estate

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