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Your back yard is an important part of your home’s enjoyment. It serves as a place for relaxation, family activities, entertaining friends and a safe environment for your children and pets. A functional, beautiful back yard will create years of outdoor enjoyment for your family, expand your indoor living space and increase your property value. With creative landscaping ideas in NJ, you can turn your back yard into your dream retreat! Take a look at five inspiring ideas.

Paving Stone Patio

A beautiful paving stone patio will create many new opportunities for family activities and entertaining friends. It will expand your interior living space and give you a comfortable area to enjoy your back yard year-round. Paving stones are more durable than concrete and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors to enhance your home. Pavers have a natural look that will easily blend into any landscape setting and compliment any style of home. They are quick and easy to install and virtually maintenance-free, so you don’t have to worry about a lot of cleaning and upkeep. A paving stone patio will create a backyard landscape that is elegant, yet comfortable in appearance.

Before you build your new paving stone patio, it’s a good idea to consider your family’s needs and determine how you want to use your patio. Do you want to entertain friends and family? Do you want to include outdoor cooking and dining? Do you want a peaceful place to relax after a long work day? How you plan to use your patio will impact construction factors such as location, size and budget.

  • Location – For easy access and convenient entertaining, especially cooking and dining, locate your new paver stone patio close to your house. This way, cooking, dining and after dinner clean-up will be easier and quicker. If you install an outdoor kitchen, you can locate your patio further away from the house, since you won’t need to rely on your indoor kitchen as much. For outdoor relaxation, make sure you choose a patio location that’s quiet with adequate shelter from outdoor elements.
  • Size – The size of your patio will be influenced by the size of your back yard, but you should also consider how you intend to use it. If you want to entertain, make sure you plan for outdoor seating, a dining table and chairs, side tables and perhaps storage. If you have adequate yard space, you can design separate areas for entertaining and relaxing, and even include outdoor features like an outdoor kitchen, spa or fireplace. These landscaping ideas in NJ will add wonderful ambiance to your back yard.
  • Budget –You can design a beautiful paving stone patio with sophisticated style that still fits into your budget. Materials come in so many sizes and shapes, it’s easy to design the perfect patio for your needs. To keep costs down, locate your patio adjacent to your house, especially if you want an outdoor kitchen or spa since these features require electrical or gas lines to operate. If you just want a patio where you can relax and enjoy your back yard, a remote location is a viable option.

A paver stone patio works well with all styles of architecture and most landscape conditions. If you have existing property concerns, consult a professional landscape contractor who can evaluate your property conditions.

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Outdoor Spa

An outdoor spa will provide landscaping ideas in NJ with relaxing, tranquil atmosphere for your back yard. Family and friends will love the soothing water sounds and relaxing features that an outdoor spa provides. It’s a comfortable outdoor spot where you can enjoy quiet family conversations, cool drinks after dinner with friends, reading your favorite novel or simply winding down after a long day at work. An outdoor spa is the perfect way to relieve stress, relax muscles,  rejuvenate energy and create the feeling of a warm, tropical oasis just outside your back door.

Whatever the style of your house or size of your back yard, an outdoor spa can be designed and built to accommodate your needs. You can choose a location that connects to the patio, or a more remote location in the back yard. If you have a swimming pool, your outdoor spa can easily be connected or adjacent to your pool for convenience and shared utilities. If you have a small back yard, an outdoor spa is a wonderful feature that doesn’t require much space or money to install, but provides years of enjoyment for your home. For additional landscaping ideas in NJ with backyard ambiance, you can add special water features to your spa, cascading waterfalls, flowing fountains, water sprays and jets and underwater lighting, as well as convenience features like ledges, seats, arm rests, pillows and cup holders.

An outdoor spa can be designed in many different shapes and sizes. Although most of them are round, they can be built in square, rectangular and oval shapes as well. There’s also a wide range of materials to choose from that will add texture and color to your backyard setting. In-ground spas can be used year-round, even in the midst of a snowy Bergen County winter.

  • Gunite Spas – A gunite spa is the most expensive, but offers unlimited options for size, shape and custom details. It can be installed alone or integrated into a swimming pool design where the two can share heating and filtration systems to cut down costs.
  • Fiberglass Spas – A fiberglass spa is more affordable due to a ready-made shell that can be installed much cheaper. While not technically an in-ground spa, a fiberglass spa’s smooth, easy-to-clean surface offers easier maintenance, and many newer designs allow easy mechanical repairs from the top.

landscaping ideas nj

Outdoor Kitchens

If you love to cook and entertain, you’ll love having an outdoor kitchen for your home. It provides so many opportunities to enjoy time with your kids, outdoor dining and festive parties with family and friends. An outdoor kitchen will expand your home’s useable space, add atmosphere to your back yard and increase your home’s property value. It will allow you to get outdoors year-round and enjoy a back yard setting with customized landscaping ideas in NJ.

Outdoor kitchens can be customized to fit the size of your patio or yard and accommodate all of your cooking and dining needs within your desired budget. You can choose from state-of-the-art cooking equipment that will make cooking simple, and add-on features that provide convenience. Today’s outdoor kitchens can be equipped to compete with the best gourmet indoor kitchens.

The main appliance, typically the grill, is available with state-of-the-art cooking features and great grilling options. You’ll find:

  • natural gas grills
  • electric grills
  • wood-burning grills that provide a smokey, grilled  flavor
  • hybrid grills that provide various cooking options for wood, charcoal and gas

For some homeowners who just want a simple outdoor kitchen, a great grill may be enough, but if you want to do some serious cooking, you can add wonderful extras like cook tops, side burners, warming drawers, storage cabinets, smokers, rotisseries, deep fryers, griddles and pizza ovens.

If you want refrigeration equipment for your outdoor kitchen, you can install under-the-counter refrigerators with energy-efficient features and food-safe temperatures, freezer drawers, ice makers and ice drawers, wine coolers, beer kegerators, beverage coolers and cold storage compartments.

Optional accessories include built-in sinks and faucets, under-the-counter dishwashers, mixers and blenders, cutting boards, storage bins, trash bins, food pantries, paper towel holders, cooking utensils, kitchen lighting and firewood storage compartments for wood-fired grills.

  • Building Materials – Your outdoor kitchen can be built from a variety of materials including natural stone, slate, flagstone, river rock, brick, stucco, concrete, wood and tile. The cheapest options are stucco and concrete and the most expensive option is natural stone. Whatever material you choose, make sure it enhances the style and existing materials on your home.
  • Countertops – Custom countertops can be made from natural stone like granite, marble and slate, concrete, brick pavers and ceramic tile, as well as cultured stone (man-made materials) which are less expensive to guy and install. Choose countertop materials that are easy to clean and maintain in outdoor conditions, especially in freezing temperatures with snow and ice.

Outdoor kitchens are great landscaping ideas in NJ that will benefit any size and style of home. Talk to a professional Bergen County landscape contractor who can help you design an outdoor kitchen that fits your needs and budget.

landscaping ideas nj

Garden Design

There’s no easier or quicker way to create a gorgeous back yard than with beautiful plants and flowers. Whatever the style of your home or size of your back yard, lush landscaping ideas in NJ with trees, shrubs and colorful flowers will add beauty and comfortable backyard atmosphere to your home. Plants will soften the hard edges of architectural materials on your house and hard surfaces like walkways, planters, walls and patios. Lush green foliage will add texture and visual interest, while shrubs and trees will add height and depth. Blooming plants and flowers will add wonderful fragrant scents that welcome guests, as well as attract beautiful birds and butterflies to your yard. By selecting a variety of plants that bloom at different times throughout the year, you can have vibrant color in your backyard landscape year-round. What better way to enjoy the beauty of nature?

Depending on the size and existing condition of your back yard, here are some ideas to explore:

  • Subtle Terracing – If your back yard is flat and boring, consider creating subtle terraced levels to increase excitement. A dramatic stone wall will add texture and create a feeling of enclosure and privacy. A variety of different size plants will provide scale and visual interest. Creating different levels, no matter how small, will make your back yard feel larger.
  • Water Features – Adding an outdoor pond, natural stream or beautiful rock waterfall will create a relaxing backyard atmosphere. The movement of the water and soothing water sounds will create a comfortable and tranquil backyard setting that will welcome guests. Water features offer landscaping ideas in NJ that can make your back yard feel like a tropical oasis.
  • Slopes and Hillsides – If you have a deep slope or hillside for a back yard, you need to consider erosion control. By selecting the right plants, you can control soil erosion and irrigation problems and still create a beautiful back yard. Ornamental grasses like pennisetum and blue festuca will add textural tufts of height and color, while groundcovers like creeping sedum and creeping phlox will cover your slope or hillside with mats of brilliant color.
  • Specialty Gardens – Creating a beautiful home garden doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, but it may look like it did with good design and planning. A beautiful cutting garden full of roses, an edible garden with herbs for cooking or a colorful butterfly garden will provide endless hours of family enjoyment. Landscaping ideas in NJ offer a variety of specialty gardens that will add beauty to any size back yard.

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Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is one of the most important landscaping ideas in NJ for creating a back yard that’s both functional and beautiful, but it’s often overlooked by many homeowners. Landscape lighting provides a warm, inviting ambiance and creates a comfortable outdoor setting where you can spend time in the evening. It creates mood and drama and adds visual interest to your home and your landscape. Soft, landscape lighting in a dark outdoor environment offers magical effects!

Proper landscape lighting allows you to highlight focal points and interesting features on your home and in your backyard landscape. It also allows for additional home safety and security after dark in your back yard and landscape perimeter. There’s a variety of landscape fixtures on the market, but it’s important to choose the right ones for desired lighting effects. The wrong types of fixtures and insufficient wattage can quickly take your outdoor ambiance away.

Landscape lighting comes in a wide variety of low-voltage, LED and solar fixtures in beautiful outdoor finishes like bronze, brass, nickel, chrome, black, white and anodized colors, so it’s easy to find fixtures that compliment any architectural style home. Uplights and downlights are great for accenting trees, plants, garden beds and architectural details on your home. Pathway lights provide extra light and safety for walkways, garden pathways and patio perimeters. Motion detectors provide home safety alerts for unsuspected or unwanted visitors. For innovative backyard landscaping ideas in NJ, talk to a professional Bergen County landscape contractor who can help you design a landscape lighting plan and provide proper lighting installation for your back yard.