Build rich soil. Many weeds thrive in poor, compacted or disturbed soil, and enriching your soil can do wonders to reduce weeds. For vegetable gardens, constructing raised beds at least 12 inches tall and filling them with high-quality, weed-free garden soil is one of the quickest ways to prevent the vast majority of weeds. When building a new raised bed, line the bottom of your planting area with a couple of layers of corrugated cardboard (flattened boxes work well) before adding the soil. This layer will help to smother all but the most intrepid weeds. Bonus: The fluffy, highly aerated soil in raised beds makes it easier to remove weeds when they do sprout. Once your soil is in place, take care not to disturb it too much. Tilling or turning soil over can expose buried weed seeds. When adding compost, rake it into the surface of your bed rather than digging it under. The exception is when adding composted manure, which should be dug under in vegetable beds.
We go to great lengths to make the insides of our homes feel inviting — investing in comfortable furniture, adding layers of color and texture with textiles, choosing accessories for tabletops — and we should bring the same intention to our outdoor spaces. Try adopting the mindset you would use when arranging your living room as you consider your outdoor seating area.
Multipurpose Oasis A mix of blackened-steel planters, natural ipe wood decking and verdant plantings dominates this stunning Chicago backyard designed by dSPACE Studio. The yard consists of four distinct areas: a deck for dining, a plunge pool, a lounge and a side yard. An idea to steal: Use planters to separate a large deck into multiple zones. Here, the team used Dura Heat river birch (Betula nigra ‘BNMTF’) in a built-in steel planter to separate the dining terrace and plunge pool.
Dazzling Roof Deck Every comfort is provided on this roof deck designed by Chicago Specialty Gardens. Comfortable seating wraps around a fire feature, which doubles as a table for resting drinks. The pergola overhead features mechanical louvers that can be closed for full shade or shelter from raindrops, and outdoor heaters cast a pool of warmth over the entire area on chilly evenings.
Fireside Seating This stylish covered deck sits right off the kitchen of a contemporary Portland, Oregon, home designed by Jordan Iverson Signature Homes. The location allows the outdoor room to act as an extension of the living area, offering the homeowners and their guests a place to step out in the evening and enjoy a fireside drink. The deck features a smoke-free gas-burning fire feature in custom fabricated steel with matching metal planters mounted along the adjacent concrete wall.
Side Yard Stunner Slotted into the side yard of a Boston home, this dining deck designed by OPRCH proves that you don’t need much space for a deck to add major backyard utility. The homeowners can easily carry plates of food out from the kitchen to the dining table to enjoy dinners outside all summer.
Stylish Lighting Outdoor lighting can often be an afterthought, but this Atlanta backyard shows how it can add to the design. Boyce Design & Contracting used two pairs of subtle LED stair lights to draw people across the yard to a Trex deck and a larger entertaining space. The lights also help prevent tripping. Inset lights dot the deck’s perimeter, while twinkling cafe lights looped on a pergola above an outdoor dining table beckon people to come take a seat.
Artistic Angles This contemporary home in Michigan features strong angular rooflines and has a floor plan spread across two wings. The architects used the triangular space between the two wings to build a deck and expand the home’s living area. The deck looks perfectly in keeping with the style of the home, with angled, ledge-like seating and an inviting smoke-free fire feature to draw the homeowners outside.
Bright colors. Designers have long championed making laundry rooms enjoyable spaces to be in. After all, if you have to do laundry, you might as well be in a pleasant atmosphere. They’re introducing energizing colors, patterns and features to transform these spaces into enjoyable rooms, making them lively, cheerful and a bit quirky. Blue appliances, blue doors, a red sink and vibrant wallpaper give this compact Los Angeles space by New Generation Home Improvements fun bohemian style.
Extra-large islands. As we asked earlier this year, at what size does an island stop being an island and become a continent? nearly 30% of homeowners upgrading kitchen island make it >7 feet. “Many of our clients are doing away with kitchen tables and opting for super-large islands,” designer Katelyn Gilmour of KBG Design says. “That way family and guests can be close by or dine informally while still gathering together in the kitchen.”
Slabs. If the thought of grout lines gives you pause, or you’ve hit analysis paralysis when trying to choose a backsplash tile, consider taking your countertop material one step further. A slab backsplash, especially in a material with lots of movement, makes for an eye-catching design statement.
Soft-colored kitchens. One word that defines a lot of the palettes of popular kitchens in 2019 is “soft.” In this Boston kitchen by Windhill Builders, soft gray cabinets (Light Pewter by Benjamin Moore) join soft satin-brass fixtures, a light marble backsplash and quartzite countertops for a refreshing look.
Trends for 2020 - Three-tone kitchens. Two-tone kitchen cabinets — meaning- upper cabinets = one color &- lower cabinets another, or perimeter cabinets= one color & island is different — dominated kitchens past couple years. So designers are building on the trend In a 3-tone kitchen, 1 more color or material is used to create asymmetry in -palette that helps define zones or functions and keeps the eye moving. Here, is a kitchen w/white perimeter cabinets, a light wood island base and a powder-blue hutch.