You might feel like you’ve stepped into a Pintrest board if you’ve ever seen a project completed by Elaborate Landscapes. Owned by James Cox, this Axton-based landscape company takes homeowners’ creative ideas and turns them into the yard of their dreams.
From fire pits to open-air kitchens to koi ponds, Cox specializes in a little bit of everything when it comes to the great outdoors. However, some of the most recent trends he’s noticed over the past year involve something called hardscapes.
A hardscape refers to a mix between man-made features used in landscape architecture, such as paths and walls, contrasted with vegetation. A newer trend to hit the area, it’s the most recent feature everyone in the Martinsville region has to have.
“As far as hardscape trends, they are ever-changing. Landscape trends are ever-changing,” Cox said. “Things go in and out of style, as far as types of materials used on those jobs.”
More than ever, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic ransacking the country, Cox noted that people are showing more and more interest in creating home retreats.
Instead of soaking up the sun on a Bahamas’ cruise, people with well maintained yards need only take a few steps before entering their own personal paradise.
“I think that outdoor living is becoming more and more popular as people decide they would rather stay at home instead of go on vacation,” Cox said. “Especially in today’s world, fire pits, water features, patios, just the look and all that – people want to have a little outdoor vacation area that they can use.”
While there are certainly some yard projects people can complete on their own, adding a popular water feature requires more know-how than grabbing a shovel and a garden hose. Other projects also deserve the knowledge of a trained professional.
Planting a bed of flowers might not seem like rocket science, but Cox noted that even that can take an unexpected turn over several years’ time if the plants are not properly spaced to begin with.
Then there are the technical aspects of landscaping, like properly installing irrigation systems.
However, not every yard project takes years of experience to do well. For those who aren’t quite ready to put a down payment on their backyard retreat, but want to spruce up their yard, Cox expressed that simple maintenance can go a long way when boosting curb appeal.
“I think mulching. I think neatness. Keeping the yard picked up, leaves out of it, grass mowed. I think something like that,” Cox said. “I think good maintenance is pretty much essential to keeping a property at its best.”
Adding to the outdoors also has benefits for people who don’t plan to stay in their current home for an extended length of time.
For those looking to buy or sell a house, Cox said a good looking yard could make all the difference.
“I think it differentiates in our area. There’s so many houses for sale here, especially in Martinsville. It differentiates your house from the others options that the buyer would have,” Cox said. “If you go down any street, really, in the city of Martinsville, you’re going to see for sale sings. What really differentiates so many that’s for sale in that area?”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article contained incorrect information about a named source. That information has been removed.