Calling all Garden Enthusiasts - Daylight Savings Time is Here!

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The time has finally come. We turn our clocks back at 2:00 AM this Sunday, March 9, signaling daylight savings time, which is also a harbinger of the spring season (and the warm weather that comes with it). While it may irk some folks to lose an hour of sleep, others rejoice in the extra daylight we gain and the chance to resume their favorite outdoor activities, like cleaning up and redesigning their landscapes.

There are tons of ways to rework your existing gardens and yards, and the trends are running towards creating an outdoor living space that is as unique and comfortable as your living room.

Check out some of the landscaping trends we think will be prevalent for 2014:

Trendsetters

While some homeowners clean out flowerbeds and prune trees and shrubs, some plan to repurpose high-maintenance/low return lawn and garden areas into private outdoor entertainment spaces. Homeowners with large and small properties alike have taken to adding decorative pavers that define and beautify gardens. Adding walkways or a patio increases home value and function by expanding family living space.

While utilitarian in nature, new colors, patterns and finishes in pavers are being used to create scaled -down "at home" getaways all over America. Creative dwellers are transforming drab and unused yards into romantic getaways and private VIP party spots.

Please Be Seated

Remember those ugly, uncomfortable webbed lawn chairs? Those days are over. Furniture designs for outdoor entertaining rival indoor lines, and allow consumers to decorate their space and continue to maintain consistency with their home's style and quality. Nowadays, patios sport teak, intricate cast aluminum, and all weather wicker sofas, loveseats and chairs.  Finishing touches using accent pillows in lush fabrics cozy up a cold corner and add personality and panache.

Al Fresco Dining

A meal outdoors on a beautiful evening with good food and friends is one of life's best simple pleasures. There's something about it that encourages us to kick back and unwind. While grills still reign supreme in outdoor cooking plans, seasoned cooks are now bringing it all outside. Landscapes are fit with modular kitchen kits that can be custom ordered to fit your particular lifestyle needs. Indoor appliances such as sinks, refrigerators and bars are now being duplicated outdoors. For those who entertain frequently, wine coolers, warming drawers and pizza ovens are now making the scene.

Gather Round the Fire

Not only to keep you warm in the fall and winter months when you venture outdoors, a cozy fire pit or outdoor fireplace provides a rustic gathering spot amidst your gardens. Kits are fully customizable in size and shape and homeowners can choose stone veneers such as ledgestone, river rock and brick. Gazebo drapes, (patio curtains) offer privacy and shade and help to insulate the space around your fire on breezy evenings. These can be hung using hooks, rods or even Velcro for easy on/off installation.

Mood Lighting

To get the most out of your new outdoor entertainment space and enjoy your landscape into the night hours, outdoor lighting is both mood enhancing as well as functional. This finishing touch can really wow your party goers. Hurricane lamps or tiki lights along a path offer safety and draw guests into the space.  Adding string lights overhead invoke a Mediterranean courtyard while "washing" a wall in light or up-lighting trees adds interest and drama.  Try adding unexpected standing lamp fixtures to really bring the cozy feeling of the inside out.

So, don't forget to spring forward in the wee hours of Sunday morning and get your extra hour of sun. However you choose to take advantage of the extra time, you'll be sure to feel energized and invigorated after the extreme winter we've had this year.