The Five Best Landscape Features for Georgian Bay
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If you ask ten landscapers for their “top five” landscape features, you’ll get ten different answers. That’s because good landscaping isn’t really about the features — it’s about listening to people and creating outdoor spaces that evoke emotions and help connect people with nature… and each other.

At Hutten & Co., many of our clients have made Grey or Bruce county their home (or home away from home) because they love the rugged, natural beauty surrounding Georgian Bay. For this reason we focus our efforts on naturalized landscape design so we can bring the same look and feel to their landscapes.

The features and materials we recommend bring all the design elements together and blend seamlessly into the existing landscape — so you can’t tell where nature ends and landscaping begins. Here are the top five features we feel would benefit every natural landscape. Enjoy! 

1. Large slab flagstone patios

A lot of the properties we work on are quite large, with expansive water views, grand vistas and mature trees. When building a patio, it’s important to consider scale — the large slabs we use are appropriate to the setting and look they naturally belong.

This is even more evident when landscaping along the escarpment where there are large outcroppings of rock. The large slabs we use are appropriate to the setting and look like they naturally belong.

These large slabs of stone can be quite challenging to work with — they’re extremely heavy so we’ve invested in specialized equipment to install them. We also have people on our team with a talent to lay them in such a way that they blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment. 

2. Accent rockery

When building retaining walls or sourcing accent pieces in natural stone, we prefer to work with limestone or weathered boulders rather than quarried rock. We have a “top secret” source that harvests these rocks and boulders from farmer’s fields, where they’ve been sitting for ages. They’re a pain in the neck for the farmers, but worth their weight in gold to us!

The thing that sets these boulders apart from typical quarry rock is their unique character. They’re craggy, covered in moss and some even have little ferns growing out from their crevices. In many cases we can actually install little plants in the holes to make it look extra special. 

We hand-select each boulder we use in a landscape so we get the exact look we’re going for. And because it’s already weathered, it looks like it was put there by Mother Nature herself.  

It can be a lot of work to get these boulders from the fields and fence rows, but the results are worth it!

3. Outdoor structures

At Hutten & Co., focusing on nature and creating natural settings is at the core of what we do. And for that reason we favour simple, sturdy timber construction when building outdoor structures — whether you’re looking for a pergola to accent your space, an arbor to serve as an entrance or some other outdoor structure.

The structures we create may be less whimsical than those made with more engineered materials, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t artistic, creative and aesthetically pleasing. The simple beauty of nature can be seen in the burrs, imperfections and weathering of rough sawn timber, and is the perfect complement to the rugged environment.

4. Garden plantings

Plantings are a critical part of every landscaping project. With new construction, it’s pretty common for developers to simply clear the land to give people a wide open view — but at Hutten, we believe filtered views are more natural, interesting and exciting! 

If your goal is to create a yard that feels inviting and natural — like many of our clients — you don’t need a garden full of vibrant colours. Nature tends to have a simpler colour palette, with cool and relaxing hues of soft greens and bright whites. 

A well-curated landscape is like a beautiful painting. A skilled designer layers plantings according to height, texture and bloom time, creating a garden that has depth of view and blends back into the natural setting. Although you can pop in some annuals for seasonal colour, our garden designs focus primarily on perennials, trees and shrubs. 

Plantings are also a good way to soften hardscapes and create a “window” to highlight a favourite feature — like a beautiful urn or an amazing view.

5. Outdoor kitchens

Having a kitchen in your backyard allows you to use a beautiful space in a practical way — instead of just being outside you can actually live outside!

Having a place where you can prepare, cook and share meals outdoors, surrounded by nature, fosters a sense of community and togetherness that is unsurpassed… and for some reason food just tastes better when it’s fresh off the grill. 

Here at Hutten we highly recommend and install kitchens by Urban Bonfire — they’re well-crafted, high-quality and look right at home in natural settings. We also build custom outdoor kitchens using natural stone if you’re looking for a different aesthetic.

We build features to create experiences

There are many features you can add to your property besides the five mentioned in this post — like landscape lighting, pools and spas or fire features —but the important thing to remember is that it’s not about the feature per se… it’s about creating a space that connects you with nature and beckons you outside. 

When people decide to add a firepit to their yard, for example, what they’re really after is the warmth and crackle of the fire and the whole campfire experience… and spending time outside with the people they love.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out some of our featured projects. You’ll be able to see how we put these projects together, going from design to construction, right through to the finished results!

We’re always here to help you get the most out of your landscape, so feel free to reach out to us and book a meeting — together we can come up with the features that will enhance your life and keep you outside longer.

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