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Receive the latest landscaping tips, trends, and before & afters from the experts at Yardzen!

modern space with a retro-inspired chiminea
Family sits around an outdoor fireplace in white chairs. They are surrounded by gravel hardscaping and lush California native plants.

At Yardzen, we believe that outdoor living at home can happen year-round–if you plan for it! Whether you live in a particularly hot or cold climate, our expert design team has solutions for helping you enjoy time outside through all of the seasons. From planning tips to our favorite functional features, here are our top tips for designing your year-round yard.

Landscape contractor showing a 2D illustrative landscape design to a client

Plan Accordingly

When designing your yard with Yardzen (explore design packages), you’ll work closely with your design team to create a plan that accounts for sun, shade, and wind patterns, ensuring that you are comfortable outside throughout the seasons. For example, if you have a place in your yard that gets particularly wet and windy during the winter, your designer and horticulturist can suggest plants and structures, like a pergola, that will help protect you from the elements. The same goes for temperature extremes, which can be mitigated by the thoughtful placement of the functional features and furniture in your yard.

Backyard in New Jersey with fire pit and evergreens

Smart Planting

Every Yardzen design team includes a horticulturist who will ensure that your planting plan achieves your outdoor living objectives. For many, that includes plants that protect against the elements. For example, trees for shade, ground cover for cooling, and hedges for protecting against the wind.

Modern backyard with black pergola off back of home shading a fire pit seating area

Pergolas & Shade Sails

Pergolas and shade sails are a great way to protect from the elements throughout the seasons. Many pergolas come with an option to create a sun- and rain-proof roof with cantilevered canopies. We especially like the waterproof wing top from Toja and shade canopies from Azek (Yardzen designs feature products from both brands).

Large family roasting smores around a stainless steel firepit

Fire Pits & Fireplaces

Fire pits and fireplaces are the most requested features in Yardzen yards, and for good reason. They visually and functionally transition the yard from day to night and summer to winter, keeping everyone comfortable when the temperatures dips. A couple of our favorite fire pits include this Lulu & Georgia Fire Bowl, Solo Stove, and Terrain Chiminea.

Galanter & Jones heated outdoor furniture
Image via Galanter & Jones

All-Seasons Furniture

At Yardzen, we’re strong proponents of investing in durable and sustainable furniture that withstands the elements. All of our partners build their furniture with performance fabric and long-lasting materials that make them easy and comfortable to use throughout the year– many years over. A couple of our long-lasting favorites include, Neighbor’s Recycled Plastic Adirondack, Outer’s Aluminum Sofa with protective OuterShell, and Galanter & Jones electric-heated outdoor benches and chairs.

Modern outdoor kitchen in a backyard against a modern black house exterior

Year-Round Interest

Adding an outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, or grill is a great way to encourage family and guests to gather outside even when temperatures cool.

Plunge Pools

The small size of a plunge pool makes it more affordable and energy efficient to heat and cool depending on the season. Many of our clients opt for prefabricated plunge pools, like Soake Pools, which double as a hot tub and cold pool. This Yardzen family (yard pictured above) uses solar to heat and cool their plunge pool throughout the year.

Light Up Your Yard

Light is a crucial yet often overlooked element for transitioning your yard from summer to winter and day to night. A simple lighting plan (included in all Yardzen design packages) can cozy up any outdoor living space. Discover our top lighting recommendations in our Guide to Landscaping Lighting.

Family, including mother, father, son and daughter sitting on an outdoor couch beneath a reimagined car port
A pergola with hanging lights over a dining set

Get Creative

Reimagine covered outdoor spaces into your new family hangout. For Yardzen’s cofounders, Adam and Allison Messner, they transformed an unused carport into their outdoor living room (above) Same goes for covered porches and walkways!

Backyard fire pit in winter with black house exterior
A winter evening in a Yardzen yard

Embrace the Elements

This is sometimes easier said than done, but there is always a way to find magic and comfort in your outdoor living space. Just be sure to dress accordingly!

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