Atlanta’s connection to nature is inescapable, from its vast canopy of trees, to the gentle meandering of the Chattahoochee River through the city. Life outdoors in Metro Atlanta is a given, if not a uncompromised requirement. While the elements of outdoor design, like earth, fire and water are constants, the way those take shape changes over time. Of course, the first step in creating, or even recreating, an outdoor oasis is an inviting welcome mat.
Rollout the Welcome Mat
Zeon Zoysia is known as the barefoot grass because of its soft texture underfoot, and it’s versatile. Zeon boasts a dark, rich color and a fine leaf blade, it is also thick and lush, which means weeds will struggle to get through it. It is also very traffic tolerant, making it perfect for outdoor entertaining.
“Zeon is so soft to the touch,” Kerri says. “It is probably our favorite grass from NG Turf. We’ve used it on projects for several years now.”
Some winters in Georgia can be mild, which means enjoying the outdoors can be a year-long adventure. With that in mind, consider Fescue, an evergreen grass, for your welcome mat.
While other lawns go dormant in the late fall, cold season grasses like Fescue thrive in the winter. Rebel® Supreme Fescue is medium blade grass that should be maintained at 2 – 3 inches in height; that gives it a thick, almost bushy texture. It is also very shade tolerant, making it a perfect match with Atlanta’s abundant trees.”
After creating a lush, verdant foundation, use hardscapes – non-plant material – to create boundaries and flow. Stone pavers provide a path to conversation points in a yard. Integrating stones into the lawn itself remains a classic design because it leads people from one area to the next – a patio to a pool, a garden to a grill.
Pavers provide form and function. Whether you place the pavers yourself or have someone do it for you, Kerri says homeowners will want to make sure the stones are level with the grass for easier maintenance. You should be able to take the mower right over them with no issues or use a weed-eater if the area is small.
Life by Fire
Fire and water continue to be staples of backyard living, but there are some trends landscape architects are noting. “We’re seeing lots of patios and fire pits, but not as many fireplaces or cook stations,” Kerri says. Once constructed, fire pits require much less maintenance than a fireplace or a second kitchen and they allow for that “sit around the campfire” feel. Fire pits also can be constructed right in your lawn, creating a natural mix of hard and softscapes.
Swimming pools or fountains can transform a backyard and can also help balance hard stones with soft, barefoot grass. The sound of cascading water can create a calm, serene feeling, that calls you back to nature.
Lastly, layer up your yard for that perfect outdoor sanctuary. After your sod is laid, start adding borders of low flowers, taking into account when they bloom and how long those blooms last. Then, add taller shrubs and finally trees. This layering guides the eye and creates interest and even conversation pieces that will keep the party going well into the night.