APRIL 2021 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 57
A LANDSCAPE OF THE MOMENT
BY ARLENE GROSS
Spring is here! With Covid-19 not quite
in the rearview mirror, you’ll be spending
lots of time at home and a sprucedup
landscape will work wonders to
rejuvenate your spirit.
As we begin to welcome friends and
family into our homes, a relaxed yet
safely distanced al fresco setting is the
perfect place for entertaining.
This spring you’ll want to maximize
your space, which can best be achieved
outdoors, where you can push out the
boundaries, advises Ken Muellers,
senior landscape designer for Hicks
Nurseries in Westbury.
A FLEXIBLE DESIGN
These days, a flexible outdoor design
A patio can have both an intimate bistro
table for two and sprawling conversation
areas for people to spread out as
needed, with spillover seating on the
“If you have flat lawn area, there’s no
reason the party can’t extend onto the
lawn area,” Muellers says.
Portable potted plants, which can follow
the sun as it shifts through the seasons,
are another great way to achieve a flexible
“If you need more space, you can take
them off the deck and put them somewhere
else in the yard,” Muellers says.
“If you want it to look beautiful, put
them close to the house where you can
ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION
In many established landscapes, patios
and decks have been penned in by
shrubs that cut people off from their
yards and limit their space.
“Sometimes removing hedges or pruning
hedges to open up views and open
up pathways and space can be an asset,”
Overgrown yews and Japanese holly
(Ilex crenata), for example, can benefit
from an extreme spring pruning.
Adding steppingstones such as bluestone
can complement the main patio
and create a more informal setting.
“You gain more space without detracting
from your existing patio or deck,”
Muellers says. “That’s the key: how
to add on without it looking like an
EXTENDING THE SEASON
A firepit – gas powered or wood burning
– has dual functions, serving both
as a focal point and heat source for the
“It also works well to extending the
gathering into the evening a little
better,” says Muellers. “You have the
warmth; you have the light from the
firepit, so that can be a nice element in
To stretch out the season, concentrate
on a progression of bloom, with plants
flowering early in the season, throughout
the summer, and well into the fall.
“That’s done with multiple layers, from
the canopy of the trees, flowering trees,
flowering shrubs, perennials, and then
supplementing that with annuals and
even tropical plants in the summer
months to give that extra pop of color,”
As you spend more time outdoors, you’ll
desire more privacy from neighbors
who also will be hanging out in their
“Evergreens are a great way to get that
privacy between homes,” Muellers says.
For smaller properties that can’t easily
accommodate a 20-foot wide spruce or
pine border, try plants that stay more
in scale with your property, like skip
laurels and emerald green arborvitae,
both of which grow tall and narrow
and work better in tight spaces, notes
To keep noise levels down from other
properties, add a water feature to help
dampen the sound.
“You kind of counter it by creating your
own white noise,” Muellers says.
Courtesy Hicks Nurseries
and seating to
around the firepit
patio and enlarges the