Here's a great way to spend a Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee: Put pencil to paper to conjure up that fence, pergola, arbor or other decorative structures on your must-do list.
This is the time of year when home-project buffs are antsy to plan the next great addition to their outdoor "yardscape." But before you grab your hammer and nails, make sure what you build is appropriate for your property.
It's important that any yardscape structure is sized right for its surroundings. A beautiful trellis will look awkward if it's too big or small for its setting. The scale and proportions must be correct.
For a pergola, for instance, you wouldn't dream of pairing a set of gargantuan 4-by-4 inch posts with spindly 1-by-2 overhead boards. But some 2-by-6 timbers atop the posts would do wonders and look great, too.
Structures ought to blend into their natural surroundings. Creating a space where architecture and nature merge nicely means that what you build shouldn't stick out like the backyard version of a sore thumb.
It may sound far-fetched but, yes - a chartreuse cinderblock trellis is probably going to clash with a Craftsman-style bungalow. To make sure things look balanced and appropriate, avoid going overboard on design, materials, style and color.
Your safest bet for coordinating any landscape setting is to consider use of all-natural materials. Western red-cedar yard structures have been favored by homeowners for years, for their character, balance and elegance. These beautiful items age gracefully to a pleasing gray, and visually combine natural surroundings and architecture with other all-natural materials, such as siding or brick.
"Cedar presents a more natural image in and around gardens, decks and outdoor areas," Dann Dickey of Weyerhaeuser CedarOne, a primary distributor of cedar material used in and around U.S. and Canadian homes, said.
"It's a great material for homeowners because it is quite durable and blends nicely with the natural surroundings."
Cedar fans are many. Ron Hazelton, home-improvement editor of ABCs Good Morning America, likes the "appearance, durability and stability of cedar. And it has a very nice weight-to-strength ratio, making it quite easy to work with."
He pointed out, too, that cedar's easy maintenance added to its attraction for homeowners. The natural preservatives in cedar's wood fiber help it withstand insects and harsh weather conditions for years of the distinctive beauty cedar is known for.
Outdoor structures, fences and yardscape timber-works offer other pluses. In new neighborhoods, where sapling trees have yet to grow into shady delights, such added outdoor creations please the eye and break up the visual monotony of a barren yard.
Window and planter boxes made of cedar and filled with colorful flowers, herbs or vegetables dress up yard areas, and can be easily changed from time to time out to keep the look fresh.
Even in small yards where space is at a premium, a wooden trellis can serve as a vertical garden for vines such as clematis or climbing roses. And don't discount the way these beautiful creations provide cooling shade when they're placed adjacent to patios or decks.
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