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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2008

Outdoor Design Trends Renew The Garden

(NAPS) No longer content with merely creating an outdoor kitchen, homeowners are adding entire outdoor rooms this year.

Outdoor fire pits and kitchens continue to be popular trends, but homeowners are now also requesting spaces for outdoor great rooms, incorporating the living room, dining room and kitchen for family gatherings and outdoor entertaining.

Homeowners are reconnecting with their outdoor space, often in creative and imaginative ways, said Perry Howard, president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), which recently surveyed the country s leading landscape architects.

It s no surprise that people want to take elements that work so well inside their homes and re-create them outside.

Landscape architects also anticipate a revival of the garden. Lawn maintenance costs especially irrigation as well as a growing interest in green design will lead homeowners to use less of the traditional grass lawn in order to save water. Instead, gardens are expected to increase in prominence while incorporating more native and drought-resistant plants. These same features can also make a home s landscape more sustainable.

In addition to lowering water use, residential gardens can decrease a home s summer cooling bills.

More homes will incorporate strategically placed trees, covered pergolas, and trellises. When shading the east- and west-facing windows of a home, these plantings can significantly lower utility bills while providing beautiful garden elements.

Another utility-reducing technique expected to increase popularity is the reduction of exposed concrete and asphalt driveways. These can radiate heat directly indoors. Alternative products like pavers can create driveways that lower radiant heat and even allow plants to grow through.

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