With warm weather beckoning you outside and cooler nights calling for family and friends to gather, summer may just be the absolute best time of year to enjoy your landscape. Make the most of the season by creating a landscape design fit for summertime fun and relaxation. Here are 5 of our favorite summer landscape design ideas:


Xeriscaping is a landscaping method designed for water conservation in hot, sunny areas. By decreasing the amount of lawn, using native plants, mulching beds, and installing an efficient irrigation system, you can be an active participant in water-wise gardening.

“Xeros” is Greek for “dry”, so xeriscape literally translates to “dry landscape”. Gardening in hot, dry situations is most successful when compatible plant choices and cultural practices are engaged. For example, consider decreasing the lawn in your yard and think of all the water you won’t consume this summer! Lawns can easily be replaced by drought-tolerant plants, including those native to the Pacific Northwest. Plants that are indigenous to an area are already acclimated to the extremes that weather can bring, making native plants a smart gardening choice.

example of xeriscaping in landscape design

Lawn-Free Landscapes

Beautiful landscape design has long been associated with luscious green grass, full flowers, and abounding trees. However, more and more property owners have been leaving the traditional behind to add a simpler, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly look—a lawn-free design. This modern landscape trend is centered around creating a beautifully structured design using many different substrates, excluding grass. The use of different textures creates a scene of architectural or flowing shapes, bringing the fundamental elements of nature to your yard.

lawn-free landscape with patio and fireplace

Edible Gardens

Beyond saving you a trip to the grocery store every now and then, growing your own food is a great way to eat more fruits and vegetables and understand which chemicals and fertilizers come into contact with your food (if any). It also saves you money and it’s better for the environment.

The key to developing an edible garden space for the first time is to install structured raised beds and fill them with a purchased planting mix. Because our climate is generally cool, even into the summer, raised beds allow soil to dry out and warm up long before in-ground soil does. A few of the vegetables you can grow in the summer include tomatoes, beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, squash, and so many other crops!

Family in summer garden

Water Features

Summer may be a wonderful time to be in your landscape, but it can also get hot (if this year’s heatwave has shown us anything). Adding a water feature to your landscape design can help cool things down a bit, whether it’s a pool, a koi pond, or just a nice small little feature. Some benefits of adding a water feature to your landscape include covering unwanted noise with a soothing sound, cooling abilities, and of course aesthetic appeal.

koi pond water feature

Trees for Shade

When temperatures remain in the 80s and 90s, trees provide critical shade and somewhere to rest out of the sun. Everyone instinctively knows that the coolest place in your garden is under the largest tree, but the cooling benefits of trees go beyond simply blocking the sun’s rays.

Neighborhoods and landscapes where trees are planted are measurably cooler than areas without trees—so much so, that temperature maps are extremely accurate predictors of canopy cover in cities, and vice versa. When it comes to the cost of cooling your home in the summer and even heating it in winter, the presence of trees can help reduce your utility bill and expenses.

Trees, whether evergreen or deciduous, help anchor the landscape. It might seem counterintuitive, but by bringing large plants into a small space, you can actually make it feel bigger. And in a larger space, the presence of height and structure helps the eye rest, allowing you to better appreciate the entire space. We are about to experience firsthand how well trees help us measure the passing of time. Autumn is right around the corner, which means brilliant displays of reds and yellows, and leaves crunching underfoot (until the weekly maintenance crews arrive).

trees in the landscape

Looking to spruce up your landscape for next summer? We’re here to help! Contact us today to get a free landscaping quote.

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