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Landscaping with Natural Rock

Rocks are a natural hardscape that you can use for a variety of landscape solutions from decor to paths and retaining walls.

From small stones to large boulders, the central Texas area is full of rock. If you live west of I-35, especially in the Leander or Lago Vista areas, chances are good there’s a lot of rock on your property.

Here are 5 ways to take advantage of the rock you already have, or how to incorporate natural rocks into your landscape for a more native design.


1. Use large boulders and rocks to make a change in elevation more fluid or to break up a larger space.

Best of Texas Landscapes - Austin, Tx Landscaping, Sprinkler Systems, and more
Natural rock retaining wall designed by Best of Texas Landscapes.
Natural rock landscaping designed by Best of Texas Landscapes.

2. River rocks are ideal for creating drain beds for water runoff while adding to your home’s curb appeal.


3. Use a mixture of rocks and flower beds to spice up your look with added texture and height variances.

Flower beds and retaining walls designed by Best of Texas Landscapes.
Landscape Design
Flower beds and borders designed by Best of Texas Landscapes.

4.  Use a combination of rocks to create a harmonious xeriscape for an easy maintenance solution.

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Paths and walkways of gravel and stone designed by Best of Texas Landscapes.
natural stone walkway with gravel and rock and plant accents
Paths and walkways of gravel and stone designed by Best of Texas Landscapes.

5. Use large flat rocks to create a gorgeous staircase or walkway.

Stone Pathway in Grass
Paths and walkways of gravel and stone designed by Best of Texas Landscapes.

From large rural spaces to smaller urban areas, natural rock hardscapes are a popular look that can be used for functional and decorative solutions.

What can we design for you? Contact us here to get a complimentary consultation.

Luxury Landscapes of Georgetown, Texas

Header image of backyard landscape design

Made for Rest and Relaxation

Georgetown, Texas is nestled in the Texas Hill Country alongside the San Gabriel River and Lake Georgetown. It also happens to be one of Austin’s fastest growing suburbs.

While Georgetown’s thriving retirement communities, like Sun City, have influenced its recent growth, it is attracting more up and coming neighborhoods and golf communities like Cimarron Hills.

Even with all the amenities of living in the city nearby, there are plenty of places to slow down and enjoy the scenery. You can stroll the grounds of the Town Square Historic District or Southwestern University—Texas’ oldest university. Take a dip in the Blue Hole or explore the 27-mile Good Water Trail around Lake Georgetown.

image of one street of the Town Historic Square in Georgetown, TX
Photo: Texashillcountry.com

Creeks and streams are common, stemming from the north and south forks of the San Gabriel River. Combined with the temperate climate of central Texas, homeowners enjoy lush landscapes almost year-round.

It’s no wonder outdoor living spaces made for comfort and relaxation are trending commodities in the area.

What does an outdoor living space made for R&R look like?

#1 Make it maintenance light.

If you’re designing a front or backyard to relax in, you probably don’t want to be constantly reminded of all the weed-eating that hasn’t been done, or watering that one patch of grass that just won’t take.

  • Tell your landscape designer you need something that’s easy to maintain. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to skimp on looks. Try incorporating indigenous plants, hardscapes and other outdoor elements like water features.
  • Choose a sprinkler system that makes it easy to set it and forget it! Modern systems (like our Rain Bird and Hunter products) can give you full control of water usage so you can water more in sunny areas and less in shaded ones.

#2 Weather proof it.

Make sure your outdoor space can be enjoyed no matter the weather! Aside from the random storm and the rare freeze warning, this will ensure you can enjoy your investment nearly every day.

  • Build a shade to create cover from the sun and rain. You probably don’t want to sit in the rain, but wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a cool spring shower, rocking under the protection of a canopy or awning.
  • Stay cozy by the fire. While a shade will protect you from the harsh summer sun, including a firepit or outdoor fireplace will help you stay comfortable outside through our coldest months.
Covered rock patio with fire pit

#3 Build a patio and walkway.

Have you ever noticed a tendency to only stay on the porch or hard surfaces of your yard? It’s a common inclination as we seek level land for balance and prefer ground that doesn’t leave our shoes a muddy mess.

  • Permanent ground cover could be in the form of a patio or porch, using cement, rock or wood. This is the best area to consider when planning your outdoor seating needs and furniture options.
  • More transient surfaces like large stones, pavers and pebbles or gravel can be used for paths and walkways to combine complementing elements and add more appeal to your overall design.
natural stone walkway with gravel and rock and plant accents

#4 Light up the night!

The perfect combination of outdoor lighting, accent and/or security lights can help create the ideal ambiance you’ll need to go from blah to bliss.

  • To truly make your outdoor space an extension of your home, shed some light on the subject! Enjoy more engaging conversation, and light to read or play games by.
  • Create eye-catching focal points with security and accent lighting to feel more at ease and aesthetically pleased!

At this point, you might be thinking, that all sounds great, but also like a lot of work…and I want to relax! Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. One of the great benefits of hiring a design-build firm for your outdoor renovation is that we handle it all.

Our team of proven professionals is the easy-button solution to creating your new landscape and a yard you’ll love. We design it, build it, and install it – from foliage to masonry to sprinkler systems! Learn more about the advantages of hiring a design-build landscape firm here.

Are you a new or soon-to-be homeowner in the Georgetown area? Here are a few links you might find useful!

Landscape Design-Build services in Georgetown, Texas by Best of Texas Landscapes

Modern v. Contemporary Landscape Style Guide

Do the words ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ mean the same thing to you stylistically? If so, you’re not alone. But the distinction is important enough to understand before you begin conversations with your landscape designer.

If you’re using the word modern to describe your particular design aesthetic, when what you really mean is contemporary, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment down the road. To help you avoid that hurdle, we’ve put together a little guide to explain the difference.

Modern

Modern design saw its height in the early to mid-twentieth century, and laid the foundation for mid-century modernism in the styles of the 1950’s and 60’s. Both are rooted in the same objectives, and follow a similar formula.

STYLE

Modern spaces tend to stay within the confines of a strict rule of balance and minimal décor. Mid-century modern designs have a way of making a statement without a lot of fuss.

SHAPE

Stark lines and geometric patterns are other defining characteristics of modern design. Symmetry (another state of balance) is a basic factor we use to assess beauty in another, and could be a reason you may gravitate toward this style. Or perhaps it was an effect of our newfound appreciation for manufacturing, as nature does not often supply such straight lines.

COLOR

While less is more, there is a more generous use of color, especially regarding interior designs. Bright, warm accent colors are welcome and often used for creating a fun, more lively space.

Contemporary

Unlike modern design, contemporary styles don’t stem from a specific period and are ever-changing. Contemporary design has borrowed ideas from Modernism, but the blended styles of contemporary design have come from all over to create a new aesthetic all its own.

STYLE

Akin to modern design, contemporary design seeks balance as well, but in harmony more than symmetry. It’s a bit more unified, but overall is stylish and deliberate. Sustainability has also become very popular.

SHAPE

Natural elements are often an aspect of contemporary styles, making space for more curves. However, geometric patterns are also common features of contemporary design.

COLOR

Contemporary spaces be more monochromatic, but with a bold starkness. While they can land all across the color wheel, think black and white, or variants of gray.  However, not to be constrained by the rigid structure of modern designs, we are trending toward more bold use of color.

Similarly, each style is typically meant for a more simple, uncluttered space. Less is more. Both styles are calming with a focus on materials and color. When you think modern, think straight lines and manufactured products of the 60’s, with vibrant, warm tones. For contemporary, most recently, designs are incorporating more natural elements, and we’re seeing a return to cooler tones like blues, purples, and greens.

If you’re unsure about your specific style preference, make sure you have this conversation with your landscape designer before you begin construction. Working with a company that provides an all-in-one solution (like Best of Texas Landscapes) will also help you know your design will translate from the designer’s page to your backyard.

Curious to find out more about your style preference? Start here with a style quiz by HGTV.

Designing a Landscape for Your Lifestyle

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Do you use your outdoor space to serve your lifestyle?

Having unused or underutilized space is just as bad outside of your house as it is inside. For many, an outdoor space is nothing more than a few square feet of cement. However, for most of our neighbors here in Central Texas, yards are the rule, not the exception. And for those with yards, the possibilities are endless. New designs are trending every day! A landscape design can be both beautiful and functional. Put your family’s mark on your property by creating an environment that better serves your lifestyle, like a

  • Tea Garden
  • Outdoor Yoga Space
  • Meditation Garden
  • Pet-Friendly Landscape
  • Child’s Play Zone
  • Outdoor Dining Area
  • Recreational Area

Add Value to Your Life

We often focus on the things that would add value to our property in terms of your monetary investment. But what could you add that would add value to your life?

  1. For more ideas on what kind of space would serve you best, take a look at sites like Pinterest or HGTV for some inspiration or view more images of our landscape designs here.
  2. Take note of which design ideas appeal to you most. What elements do you see that you’d like to incorporate?
  3. Try to view your outdoor space as an outdoor room. Is it a place where you’ll go to relax and reset? Then it will need to have features that you find relaxing.
  4. Contact your local design-build landscape professionals. They know what’s trending and can help you choose materials and plants that will fit your property and complement a more functional design for your outdoor lifestyle.

Functional & Decorative Outdoor Elements

Many outdoor elements can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Is it a patio or a place where you’ll practice yoga? Choosing the right element will enhance your experience and perception of your space.

STONE & MASONRY

Forgo the boring cement sidewalk for something uniquely you with a rock patio, path, or bench.

WATER FEATURES

Water elements, such as trickling fountains or fish ponds, can be a wonderful way to add a calming ambiance to a meditation or tea garden.

PRIVACY SCREENS

Small garden building like pergolas, canopies, or tree-lines can create a more private space within a larger landscape. Adding structures, both living and inanimate, can beautify and increase functionality at once.

LIGHTING

Your local design-build landscape professional will have the lowdown on accent lighting versus security lighting. Keep in mind your greatest source of lighting…the sun! Make sure to consider the position of the sun during the times of day you will most likely want to use your space. Using natural or constructed shades and canopies can help you make better use of an underutilized space.

Plant for Your Style

Use your senses to help you decide which plants will be most pleasing to you. Do you love to touch things? Look for plants with a lovely texture, such as the velvety lamb’s ears. If you’re someone who loves visual stimulation, you might prefer brightly colored flowers. Or, if you’re someone who loves fragrances, choose a range of scented plants that bloom at different times of the year. Some night-flowering plants are very fragrant and especially beautiful under moonlight. Even plant forms can inspire you. When choosing plants look at the shapes, patterns, lines, and colors to best complement your outdoor goals.

Don’t forget your living landscape will require attention over time. Be sure to select plants and a landscape design that fits your personality and your design style. Some plants need a lot of time and attention. If that’s not your thing, find an alternative that thrives in your area with little maintenance. If eco-friendly options are very important to you, you may want to consider indigenous plants that also require less water.

Whether you want to spruce up the area around your pool, add an outdoor kitchen or create the perfect backyard retreat, no matter the size of your space, there’s a solution for you. Many people find they don’t need more space or a different place, they just need to optimize the space they have to better serve their lifestyle. How much dead space is on your property? Dead space on your property is only costing you, not serving you. How could you make use of that space and let it better serve you? If you’re ready to create an outdoor space that your family can use and enjoy doing the things they love, contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Best of Texas Landscapes - Your local design-build landscape professional

OUTDOOR COOKING AT ITS BEST!

Poolside Cabana

Outdoor kitchens are a great way to add a dynamic, friendly atmosphere to your space. Equip your backyard for entertaining and feeding friends and family!  These types of elements are always a hit with visitors and homeowners love the flexibility of indoor/outdoor living. In addition, homeowners see an incredible return on their investment (especially in the Austin area) when it comes time to sell.  A new case study reported by Quicken Loans shows area homeowners today can expect an ROI, or return on investment, of 100% to 200%. Not a bad investment in your property.

When planning an outdoor kitchen, you’ll need to think about how many people you intend to accommodate, your entertaining needs, and your budget. At this point we recommend reaching out to a professional landscape designer to go over options for your next steps—determining the best location for your kitchen, the size requirements, design layout, countertop placement, materials (granite, concrete, aluminum, etc.) and then finally, the appliances you’ll need.

Speaking with a trusted professional about your needs, your wants and your budget will get you off on the right track and will ensure your area turns out exactly how you envisioned it.

Adding an outdoor kitchen sees an average ROI of 100 to 200 percent!

Outdoor kitchens, once offering little more than a grill to fire up the burgers, have evolved into increasingly sophisticated and multi-featured spaces perfect for luxury entertaining.  While outdoor entertaining has always been one of Central Texas’ favored casual pastimes, today’s outdoor kitchens offer so much more than just fresh air, sunshine and the delicious aroma of burgers cooking on the grill.

The simple grill has been replaced with elaborate, multi-functional cooking appliances – including hybrid grills that cook with wood, charcoal or gas – plus warming drawers, griddles, pizza ovens and more. Often, the space may be rounded out with fire pits, bars and beverage centers, upscale cabinets and countertops, lighting, tile designs to rival the fanciest indoor backsplash murals, plus dishwashers, wine units and entertainment centers that include everything from big screen TVs to audio equipment.

These spaces aren’t just used during summertime; many Central Texans use them year-round to expand their kitchen space and enjoy an extended array of cooking and entertaining options.

Outdoor Kitchen designs are also completely customizable when it comes to size and location. Whether you envision a sprawling, scenic paradise or want a smaller functional space, today’s outdoor living features have homeowners re-envisioning what it means to enjoy cooking and dining in the great outdoors. Likewise, today’s designers are taking up the challenge of creating sophisticated spaces for a variety of budgets that are perfect for entertaining, escaping or just being one with nature.

The overall goal for any outdoor kitchen is to create a highly functional space that makes outdoor cooking and entertaining effortless and enjoyable.  Not only do outdoor kitchens have one of the highest ROI’s for home renovations, most homeowners in the Austin area are able to use their outdoor space year-round.  Not sure where to start or where your budget should be? Try contacting your local landscape design-build professional for a good start.

Outdoor Kitchen Builders Best of Texas Landscapes