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Great Outdoors
December, 2016 - Issue #146
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Cut Costs while Boosting Curb Appeal with Succulents
Yes, you can still plant in late fall to bump up the attractiveness of your home - just remember that California's drought isn't going anywhere fast; native plants adapted to our soil and lack of water are best.

What to plant this late in the year? Salvia varieties like Lavender will produce bee-friendly blooms that require very little water and make for stunning display indoors. The same can be said for the Climbing Penstemon, which produces bright-orange flowers. Both may be harder to source, however, when it comes to nicely-sized transplants this time of year - and that's what you want when you need style and design now.

Succulents are an excellent choice that add instant color, dimension and texture to your landscape. An expansive variety are readily available. Even more good news: Your dollar and design can go farther when you repurpose containers like clay and ceramic pots - even interest pieces like vintage wheelbarrows - for planting and display.

No matter how you choose to plant your succulents, be sure to do so with a dedicated drip line that can provide water without waste. About 50 percent of sprinkler water is lost because of evaporation, adjustment problems and wind. With drip lines, you can give these hardy plants a sip of water when necessary (Deep, infrequent watering is best once established.).
NV Landscape, Inc. 286-8888

Open the Door to Better Curb Appeal
Here's a quick way to make a stylish impression on your guests: Have your front door painted. Whether you have basic-builder beige or your custom color has seen better days, a fresh coat (Or two!) of paint can make all the difference. But what color to choose? In Santa Clarita, cinnabar - a rich mix of orange, umber and a deep red - is a popular choice. Reminiscent of paprika, this color will add subtle spice to your front space. Pair it with brass fixtures to add to the warmth. An inky blue works wonderfully with the architecture of communities like Bridgeport, and reminds the visitor that they're lakeside. It's like Cape Cod, but in Santa Clarita! Sad to see your grass go due to the drought? A muted green is a So Cal-friendly option that brings organic color back to your front yard.
Magic Maintenance Inc. Painting 259-3373

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Perk Up your Property with Pavers
Paver stones, or "pavers" as they are often called, add efficiency, beauty and value to your property - and they can be installed before the holidays to give you a curb-appeal kick, too. Options abound, ranging in color, shape and pricing. What's consistent across the board, though, is the durability of a quality concrete paver product. You can expect them to last about 50 years, on average, and to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with poured concrete on instable surfaces like areas with heavy sand content. You'll also see an increase in design flexibility with pavers, allowing for a delineation of space, similar to how you use a combination of soft and hard flooring in your home's interior to segregate rooms with different functions.
Royal Concrete 523-8260

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
A Quick Way to Keep Drifters at Bay

All you want for the holidays is for your most cherished family and friends to linger together, sharing stories and making memories. But how do you cultivate a sense of togetherness that encourages folks to stay "just a little longer?" Our human history has long established that fire draws people as well as it warms. In 2016, we may not build a campfire in front of a cave, but we can do the luxurious equivalent: install a fire pit or outdoor fireplace.

This season, you can warm your guests while warming your heart as friends and family gather 'round your new outdoor space, telling stories and reconnecting. Even on chilly nights, the right set up can cast an impressive amount of heat. Pair that with an inviting pile of warm wool-blend blankets and plenty of seating to encourage guests to sit and stay a while.
Most firepit and fireplace designs can be completed before the holidays.
E & J Construction & Landscape 250-1638

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
2016 Holiday Lighting Trends Go for Greenery
The drought has made many of our yardscapes less than lush; make your holidays festive with the addition of natural-looking faux wreaths, topiaries and more that are illuminated with warm LED lights.

Let there be White
The happiest of hues may be the one that is a mix of all the others! When it comes to festive home decor, lots of white light classically declares the start of the holiday season. The caveat is quantity; too little white lights look underdone. When it comes to an all-white design, go bold.

Be Playful
When there are kids at home, you may feel pressure to cover the front yard with giant blow-up Santas and plastic reindeer. If that is not your definition of high design, look for compromise. Try adding some color! A big trend this season in the "candy-cane" look - alternating red and white lights along the rooflines and mixed into the bushes and trees.
Professional light designer Darell Lee has a vast knowledge of on-trend lighting styles; call for a consultation. 297-7013
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