The leaves are changing colors and the air is bracing–autumn is in full swing in New Jersey. It’s the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. We tapped local landscape and hardscape experts to get their advice on how to beautify your yard with fall decor and seasonal landscaping. Follow these helpful tips to maximize your time outside before winter’s chill drives us from roasting marshmallows over the fire pit to the fireplace.
Choose Transitional Elements
When it comes to fall decor, timing can be tricky. Start too soon and you’re stuck with an inflatable Frankenstein welcoming guests to Thanksgiving dinner. Wait too long and your only option might be leftover mums at the local grocery store.
Bob LaHoff, a co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center & Florist in Berkeley Heights, suggests using brightly colored pots made of synthetic materials when decorating for transitional seasons. This will add a much-needed pop of color and withstand the ever-changing fall weather. An easy solution is to put them in your landscape beds and fill with colorful annuals. For maximum impact, round out the planter with additional elements. “We always say there is a spill, a thrill, and a fill involved in any kind of planting,” LaHoff explains.
A great example of a “spill, thrill and fill” starts with a vertical item, such as a cornstalk cut in half placed in the middle of the pot. Support this with traditional fall elements such as mums, cabbage or kale or add an ornamental pepper for a pop and visual interest. LaHoff suggests filling in with Black Mondo Grass for an unexpected and striking fill.
Wondering what kind of plants to invest in? LaHoff advises choosing perennials such as Sedum Autumn Joy and Montauk Daisies for that ongoing pop of color year after year. If you’re looking to take advantage of the optimal time to plant shrubs, he encourages planting in mass. “Three groups of ten plants or shrubs make a greater visual impact than ten groups of three.”
Add a Fire Pit
You’ve made your outdoor space beautiful, but how do you extend the amount of time you can remain outside to use it? Kris Holland, the owner of Black River Landscape Management, knows the pivotal element for creating an inviting autumn living space. Holland started his business as a general contractor and the majority of the patios he installed feature fire pits. “A fire pit elongates the time outside for families and children,” he explains.
Before you pick out the right marshmallows to roast, there are three critical components to a successful fire pit that need to be considered. Know which brand of blocks your contractor is using, insist they use quality concrete and insert a metal fire ring. “Lesser quality concrete or a lack of a fire ring may still create the look of a fire pit, but the functionality will deteriorate exponentially,” Holland notes.
Whether landscape or hardscape, a well thought-out plan for your outdoor space will create a welcoming oasis your family and friends can enjoy all season long.