A beautiful landscape has a big impact on your home’s appearance and property value. A well-designed landscape provides an inviting entrance to your home, color and texture for your yard and outdoor spaces for family activities and entertaining. If you decide to sell your home, a beautiful landscape can increase your selling price by thousands of dollars. With the help of a professional landscape company, your possibilities for landscaping ideas in NJ are endless.
There are so many ways to create a beautiful landscape for your Northern New Jersey home. With good planning and the right plants, you can turn your landscape into a lush, green masterpiece that your neighbors will envy. To get started, here are some important factors to consider:
- Style of Your Home – Whatever the style of your home, your landscape design should enhance your home’s architectural details. Blending the style of your home with proper landscape features will create a sense of balance and continuity between indoors and outdoors.
- Size of Your Yard – Whether your front and back yards are large, open spaces with plenty of greenery or small, confined spaces that don’t have much grass, you can create a visually appealing landscape that fits your property size and enhances your home.
- Existing Property Conditions – Your existing property conditions like type of soil, irrigation and drainage, steep slopes and hillsides and amounts of sun and shade throughout the day will impact the type of plants that are best suited to your landscape.
To create a lush landscape that will thrive year-round, it’s best to work with a professional landscape company that can help with proper design and planning. They have extensive plant knowledge and experience in selecting the right plants for your existing property conditions. By paying attention to the style of your home, the size of your yard and existing property conditions, you can create a beautiful landscape with stunning appeal. Take a look at some innovative landscaping ideas in NJ that address all of these conditions.
The Style of Your Home
Whether the style of your home is traditional, modern, rustic or Japanese, your landscape should reflect a similar style that enhances your home’s architectural features. By selecting the right plants and landscape elements, you will create a natural looking environment with good balance and scale that works well with your home.
Traditional architecture includes many different home styles like Old-English country, French Normandy or provincial, Colonial, Victorian and ranch. Although there are variances in architectural details within these styles, the common thread is often formality and order. Traditional homes lend themselves to formal, structured landscapes with well-manicured trees, shrubs, hedges and plants. They also provide the perfect setting for formal gardens.
To get a clear picture of traditional landscaping ideas in NJ, imagine yourself transported to 17th century France, strolling through the gardens at Versailles. While today’s traditional landscapes are more functional, they are inspired by the beauty of the past. Today’s traditional landscapes include terraced landscapes, outdoor fireplaces, swimming pools and spas and tranquil outdoor water features. Hardscaping materials for patios, driveways, walkways and pathways include natural stone pavers, concrete and wood. Here’s a couple of inspiring garden ideas for traditional-style homes:
- Cutting Gardens – What could be better than beautiful cut flowers from your own back yard? You can grow annuals, perennials and bulbs that provide a colorful year-round formal garden and fresh flowers for your home. Start your cutting garden with easy-to-grow flowers like sunflowers, day lilies, iris, mums, marigolds, daffodils, violets and roses.
- Moon Gardens – Moon gardens provide a great way to enjoy night blooming plants that give off wonderful aromas. White flowers and lightly-colored plants reflect moonlight and attract important pollinators to your yard. Evening primrose, angel’s trumpet and night phlox are popular night bloomers. For foliage, try sage and thyme. For fragrant aromas, mock orange, columbine, jasmine and honeysuckle are great choices.
Modern landscape designs focus on hardscaping and structural features with natural stone, concrete, wood and metal for walkways, patios and fences. Trees, shrubs and plants are usually selected for interesting textures and shapes that provide soft contrast against sterile hardscaping materials. Outdoor design elements and outdoor furniture are selected for visual pops of color that create modern style, depth and further contrast. One of today’s hottest trends for modern landscaping ideas in NJ implements outdoor grids in the yard that emphasize geometric patterns.
- Large Pavers – By using a series of large concrete or natural stone pavers, you can enhance design elements of modern style. With pavers that are 2 feet by 2 feet or larger, you can design geometric walkways that are straight, diagonal or staggered. You can use pavers that are all the same size and shape, or vary sizes and shapes for more visual interest.
- Grass Tiles – By creating a grid pattern with squares or rectangles of grass (grass tiles) surrounded or bordered by concrete or stone, you can design a lush, green landscape with small hardscaping elements. With grass tile grids, you can walk across the entire surface, but you need to keep the grass tiles mowed and maintained.
- Raised Beds – By creating a grid system using square or rectangular planters, you can add height, texture and contrast to your landscape. With a small yard, keep raised beds and planters at low heights and around the perimeter of the yard. For larger yards, taller planters can border patios, walkways and gardens.
If you have a rural farmhouse or ranch-style home, you can design a landscape that’s less formal. Casual, non-symmetrical landscape elements work well to enhance the organic, natural appeal and style of rural architecture. Wildlife gardens reflect natural surroundings that keep you in touch with nature. They use plants and flowers, ponds, birdhouses and natural design elements that attract beneficial insects and animals to the landscape. Think of your wildlife garden as a nature reserve where you’re the warden. Wildlife landscaping ideas in NJ focus on two important features – a safe habitat and good shelter for wildlife.
- Long Grass – Long grass provides an excellent habitat and good shelter
- Thorny Shrubs – Shrubs with thorny branches make excellent nest sites for wildlife
- Dead Wood – Beetles and beneficial insects and fungi gravitate to dead wood
- Water Features – Birds use shallow water areas for drinking and bathing, while outdoor ponds create a perfect habitat for aquatic insects
Zen gardens offer the perfect landscaping solution to compliment Japanese architecture and design. These gardens reflect a feeling of order and serenity by focusing on natural design elements in the landscape that promote good balance, harmony and tranquility.
Zen gardens provide landscapes with carefully planned use of space that’s always well-manicured and easy to maintain. A concrete retaining wall can provide a backdrop for a stone statue, waterfall or lush greenery. A narrow stone pathway can lead to a quiet seating area in the yard with an organic rock waterfall or fountain. For Zen garden landscaping ideas in NJ that reflect natural elements and realistic Japanese style, make sure you include certain design elements:
- Water features with soothing sounds
- Art objects like sculpture and decorative elements
- Focal points in the landscape like Koi ponds, fountains and specialty plants
- Asian plants, Japanese maple trees, flowering cherry trees, crape myrtle trees, dogwoods, well-manicured boxwoods, oriental grasses and bamboo
- Quiet seating areas for meditation and solitude
By implementing some of these design elements and the right plants, you can create a peaceful Zen garden that will enhance your home’s architecture. Place a beautiful teak bench and stone fountain in a quiet garden area surrounded by blooming dogwood trees, then add soft, low-level landscape lighting for relaxing, evening atmosphere.
The Size of Your Yard
The size of your yard will impact your home’s landscaping ideas in NJ, but whether your yard is large or small you can design a beautiful landscape with visual interest and appeal.
If you have a large Bergen County yard, adding outdoor features will create fun, inviting areas for activities and entertaining. If you have children, outdoor features will encourage playful activities that give them fresh air and exercise.
Many professional landscape companies can design and install outdoor features that will turn your back yard into an amazing family-friendly space. Just think about the endless hours of family fun and activities you can enjoy with these outdoor family-friendly landscaping ideas in NJ:
- Swimming pool with kid-friendly water features
- Spa or hot tub
- Outdoor fireplace
- Outdoor kitchen
- Multi-level patio
Outdoor features will provide years of enjoyment for your family. Your kids will love having friends over for a swim and hot dogs on the grill. You’ll love inviting family and friends over for a backyard barbeque or quiet dinner on the patio. Outdoor design/build features will encourage numerous family-friendly activities for all kinds of special occasions and events. If you have a large back yard, talk to your landscape contractor about the possibilities of adding great outdoor features to your landscape. If your backyard is small, choose one outdoor feature that will benefit your family’s needs the most.
If you have a small yard, focus on greenery with trees, shrubs and plants that will add depth and scale to a smaller yard. You can provide privacy around your yard’s perimeter or create colorful borders around your patio. By selecting a variety of foliage and flowers with interesting texture and color, you can increase visual interest in your landscape.
Choose a corner of the yard and create a beautiful garden with fruit trees, dogwoods or colorful azaleas that bloom each spring. The height of trees placed in the corners of your yard will help define your property boundaries while drawing your eye back into the center of the yard. Underneath the trees, plant smaller foliage and flowers that bloom at different times throughout the year, so you’ll have beautiful blooms in your back yard and garden year-round. A quiet corner of the yard is also the perfect place to add small yard landscaping ideas in NJ like an in-ground pond with goldfish and water lilies, a fountain with trickling water or a cozy garden bench for your guest to sit and talk.
Existing Property Conditions
Steep Slopes and Hillsides
If your home is built on a steep slope or hillside, landscaping ideas in NJ can be a challenge. You can encounter a variety of landscape problems with soil erosion, standing water, irrigation and drainage, weed control, pest control and regular maintenance. If you have children, steep slopes and hillsides present dangerous landscape conditions and prevent a safe play area. They also prevent outdoor opportunities for family activities and entertaining.
By creating a wonderful downhill garden, you can prevent landscape problems that typically occur from soil erosion and inadequate irrigation on slopes and hillsides. These landscaping ideas in NJ with the right plants will create an easy-to-maintain area with lush greenery, texture and color. When you landscape with plants, their root systems provide added protection against soil erosion by anchoring and spreading out into the ground. Plant roots help to stabilize and bind loose soil and absorb water as it comes down the hillside. A sloping landscape without plants is certain to suffer major erosion problems from water and wind due to loose soil that will wash down the hillside every time it rains.
Ground covers provide cost-effective ways to stabilize the soil. Certain types of ground covers will quickly form a solid, soil-holding mass and adding large rocks within your planting area will help with erosion problems.
- Creeping Sedum – Creeping sedum takes hold quickly in dry soil and sunny slopes without much need for irrigation, but it does need good drainage. Plants come in an array of beautiful hues that will enhance your landscape with vibrant color from winter through spring.
- Creeping Phlox – With shallow roots and horizontal stems, creeping phlox roots grow easily in most soil conditions. Evergreen foliage remains attractive year-round, and colorful spring blooms provide a thick bed of spectacular color.
- Day lilies – Day lilies form a carpet of soft white and yellow color. They’re great for erosion control because plant roots absorb water and hold it for later use in dry, sunny weather. Day lilies have shorter growing seasons, but bloom every year.
Ornamental grasses are great landscaping ideas in NJ for steep slopes and hillsides. They grow well in both sunny and shady conditions and provide additional height, texture and color to ground covers and other hedge plants.
- Blue Festuca – Boulder blue festuca thrives in most any landscape conditions. It’s a hardy perennial grass that has metallic blue tufts from early spring through late fall. It thrives in high heat, humidity and drought without losing its beautiful blue color.
- Pennisetum – Pennisetum Karley Rose is a great ornamental grass for sunny slopes. It’s a heavy bloomer that produces rose-purple plumes from summer to late fall. It grows well in high heat and drought conditions without too much water.
- Dwarf Pampas Grass – For a plant that’s showy and extra hardy, dwarf pampas grass is a great choice. In mid summer, 5 foot tall clumps topped with fluffy white plumes flower for 10 to 12 weeks. This is an ornamental grass that provides stunning texture and visual appeal.
Sun and Shade
- Sunny Landscapes – In your Northern NJ landscape, some portion of your yard will likely be fully exposed to the west, where intense heat and sun can make planting difficult. If you have sunny landscape conditions, select plants like blue agave, bougainvillea, tropicana, orchid rockrose, Texas ranger, New Zealand flax and Spanish lavender that thrive in sunny locations.
- Shady Landscapes – Shady landscape areas promote moss growth and make your yard rather cold and dreary. Solving an existing shade condition is not easy, but you can cut down the shade by thinning canopy trees and planting shade-loving shrubs, plants and perennials like carpet bugle, fairy wings, bleeding heart, Christmas rose and lungwort.