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What's Up Magazine

The Great Outdoors

Jun 28, 2013 05:47PM ● By Anonymous

One of the most persistent trends of the past decade is the addition of an outdoor kitchen and/or pavilion for entertaining and relaxing, but with the creature comforts commonly found indoors. Picture this: you are grilling gourmet while the ballgame is on the flat screen next to the fireplace, all under one roof, sans walls.

“Living walls,” “Eco walls,” “Green walls.” Call them what you may, but these vertical gardens are trending up. Once observed only at arboretums and the like, new technological advances have allowed for any green thumb to install a wall at home.

A brand-new driveway or patio doesn’t have to be an impervious surface after all. Permeable pavers help manage stormwater—allowing it to seep through versus run off —and add visual appeal.

If you’re eyeballing a corner bed or void in your yard, consider blanketing it with wildflower seeds instead of grass. They are, in a word, easy—to purchase, spread/ plant, and grow (pretty much maintenance free)—and they look beautiful when in bloom.

Croquet, horseshoes, Bocce—these are but a few of the tried-and-true lawn games still popular today. But if you want to show your garden party guests a truly exceptional experience, up the ante and install an outdoor bowling alley or even a mini-golf course. It’s the next generation of backyard fun.

Add wow-factor to your front or backyard with an outdoor metal sculpture (to stay even more current with the trends, opt for a brass, a hot accent in interior design this year). From oversized butterflies to Chesapeake-inspired pieces (herons, crabs, etc.), yard sculptures offer instant gratification that doesn’t take a season or several to grow.

Yes, this self-sufficiency philosophy that was oh-so-popular in the 1960s is popping up in conversation once again. You can a la carte this concept one step at a time. For instance: start composting everyday waste; plant a vegetable garden next (using your compost); add rain barrels to your property (to conserve and reuse water); and harvest/can the fruits of your labor to enjoy throughout winter.