Constructing Outdoor Dreams: Beautifying the Exterior from Pathways to Structures

It’s not just the inside of a house that can transform an attractive abode into a welcoming and practical retreat!  Accenting your home with natural elements such as walkways, small buildings, fencing, and other structures add to the appearance.

Creative Walkways

Come!  Let’s talk a walk.  Those words are instantly inviting.  In addition to the front walkway, consider other locations that require a designated path. Do you frequently visit a flower garden, barn, or a quiet place with a bench?  The type of material, whether practical with wide stones, crushed rock, or designed with a natural element, moss growing in between bricks or stone, may aid in your decision.

  • Think about your lines: straight, rectangular, wavy with an enlarged circle in the middle, or including steps. Large stones with crushed rock will add layers of visual texture.
  • If seeking a rustic pathway that enhances a cottage, fieldstone and perhaps a layering of squared rocks to serve as stairs works well.
  • A curvy walkway of stepping stones represents a journey to a great destination, whereas a straight path leads to a building or vegetable garden, places where work may occur.

Small Buildings

Storage is a necessity for every homeowner.  Before endeavoring to either buy a modular building or kit, or constructing it yourself, consider the following suggestions.

  • Water, rust, and mildew resistant plastic containers strategically placed near the garden, driveway, or house can serve your needs without needing a building. Imagine a box that holds your garden supplies, or bicycles and a push lawn mower.  The choice of color, mainly a dark brown or green, for instance, serves the purpose of camouflage.
  • A unique nonintrusive space also is underground. Begin by researching the Earthbag, which allows you to stack dirt-filled bags in a location where grass will grow on top. Temperature regulated, it could serve as a root cellar among other expansive possibilities.
  • If the space for equipment, tools, and a table is a necessity, consider the additional purposes the building could serve. A lean-to is quite simply a roofed open area on three sides extending from a structure.  While it has storage potential, it could be used to clean vegetables from the garden or be converted into a greenhouse with the addition of doors, vents, and six-mil plastic sheeting. Please consider whether the lean-to has adequate sunlight or shade to serve your needs.

While ideas are still forming, the placement of a small building is just as important as the structure.  Solar power lighting can aid in providing an adequate light source when needed; however, a building placed outside the reach of southern afternoon exposure may help you to enjoy your building day, evening, and night.

Fencing Options

Fencing provides a means to separate the boundary and protect your garden from some critters. (Let’s be realistic, deer can jump obstacles 10 feet in height.)   In expanding upon the idea of eye-catching structures, think beyond the box of wrought iron or wooden boards.  For instance, a living fence planted with willow sips grows rapidly, even in the first year, and when manipulated can intertwine into unique designs.

  • Wattle Fencing: The idea of placing durable rods (made from oak, bamboo, U-posts, or rebar) two feet apart to weave thin saplings in between. (Use quickly after cutting, or soak in water to maintain its bendability) This barrier of any designated height and length is often intended for raised beds and gardens, walkways, and boundary fencing.
  • A rock wall is an attractive fencing structure; however, even a low two-foot fence will have instant curb-appeal. In addition to a large number of flat, squared rocks, you will need a foundation of either concrete or rocks, as well as stakes and string to maintain a straight line.

The outdoors is an extension of your home, which can include something exciting for all seasons, such as a greenhouse or firepit in winter, a wildflower and vegetable garden in spring and fall, and a pergola or covered desk in summer.  Planning first will help you in fulfilling your outdoor dreams.


Next Month:  Beautifying the Yard with Foliage


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