Though the holidays are just around the corner, residents in the Houston area get to benefit from the temperate climate by being able to enjoy the outdoors in comfort while much of the rest of the nation shivers. A local landscaping expert says that now is the time to plan your outdoor decorating and entertaining for the winter season. The moderate weather in the area offers unique opportunities for outdoor parties and get-togethers, just in time for Christmas, New Year, and other seasonal celebrations. “Winter is the time to make your home shine, both inside and out,” said Mark Seavers, President of Seavers Landscape in Houston. “In November and December, we don’t really have the frigid temperatures you see in other parts of the country. This makes it an excellent time to welcome guests to your outdoor spaces to enjoy the cool, crisp weather.”
Seavers stresses the importance of planning for the long term when creating an outdoor gathering area. Improvements and additions to backyard areas that typically can’t been seen from the front can be done at the homeowners’ discretion and budget; however, any modifications to front yard area – “beyond cosmetic or maintenance,” said Seavers – typically require permits or approvals. Professional landscape companies such as his can provide assistance or guidance as to what is needed, but he states that it is up to the homeowner to have all paperwork in order before the renovations can commence.
When planning your holiday entertaining, the first thing to consider is the size of your patio and whether it is big enough to accommodate the number of guests you are expecting. “At the outset, you may want to consider the size of your patio and add to it,” Seavers said. Fire pits are another popular feature for outdoor entertaining. They provide warmth if needed and an inviting atmosphere for guests. A fire pit can be built-in or temporary. “A built-in fire pit with seating around it makes an outstanding focal point,” Seavers said. Whether your seating is built-in or free-standing, Seavers suggests providing movement as well. “Even for your dining chairs you will want something that swivels or rocks,” he said. “It keeps mosquitoes at bay when you and your guests are not just static in the chairs.”
Good lighting is also essential for outdoor gatherings. Ambient, accent lighting will provide overall illumination without glare. Festival lighting will kick the party up a notch with strings of bulbs. “We offer a derivation of the Edison bulb that transitions very well into Christmas decorating,” Seavers said, “as well as providing year-round lighting for your garden.” Various plants can also add to a holiday decorating scheme. “Some people prefer a serene winter white theme, while others like the reds and deep, dark pink colors for a vibrant, festival feeling,” Seavers said. He points out that annuals that work well for this cooler season are snap dragons, cyclamen, pansies, alyssum and newer varieties of dianthus. “The dianthus can grow up to 18 inches and features bold, dramatic reds and pinks.”
Around Christmas time, Seavers recommends adding evergreens in pots near the entrance to your home. Some ideas include upright Rosemary, Junipers, Nandina shrubs, Leland Cypress or other Cypress varieties. “You can decorate potted trees with berry stems and a garland of vines,” Seavers said. Beautiful outdoor living environments are one of the highlights of the holiday season in Houston. They welcome friends and family to your home and provide a relaxing sanctuary from the hustle and bustle at this time of year. For additional ideas and information, visit seaverslandscape.