Outdoor Fireplace vs. Fire Pit: Which is Best for You?   

In Kansas City and the surrounding area, the warmth and dancing light that a fire pit or fireplace gives your backyard are very welcome throughout the year, and especially during seasonal transitions when weather patterns are unpredictable and evening temperatures continue to dip below what’s comfortable.

Both an outdoor fire pit and fireplace can provide exactly what you need: illumination, heat, ambiance, and an interactive experience that can enhance your outdoor entertainment.

In fact, there’s nothing like sitting by a fire.

As you debate outdoor fire pits vs. fireplaces, you may notice that while both add the appeal of fire to your yard, they are different structures that provide different experiences.

Let’s talk about the differences between the two choices in front of you to help make your decision of whether to opt for a fire pit or outdoor fireplace easier.

Which Is Better: Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit?   

Maybe your idea of backyard enjoyment is an elegant evening chatting with friends or roasting marshmallows for s’mores with the kids? If so, a backyard fire feature can give you what you need and provide enjoyment for everyone.

But how you plan to use your fire feature, and the type of experience you seek are major factors that will help you as you make your decision on whether a fire pit vs. fireplace is right for you.

To help narrow your options, consider these key points.

The Magic of An Outdoor Fireplace  

An outdoor fireplace offers the ultimate ambiance, acting as a key focal point in your landscape design. In fact, they can even act as a barrier or privacy screen.

When it comes to fire pit vs. fireplace, a fireplace is an elegant solution, providing a sense of separation or creating a true outdoor room. It can be a great addition to an outdoor living space or a pavilion, meaning it can be usable even in rainy weather.

Another important point: You sit in front of an outdoor fireplace. And the smoke of this architectural statement travels up and out of a chimney.  

Because of their grandness and need for additional materials, fireplaces will typically cost more than fire pits. Pre-fabricated fireplaces can range between $10,000 and $20,000. Pre-fabricated structures with custom veneer can cost between $10,000 and $40,000. Custom fireplaces can start and $20,000 and go up from there. The higher end ranges of the prices can include added fire boxes, mantles, stone hearths, or custom details. Total cost is also dependent on size, materials, and heat source.

The Warmth and Ambiance of An Outdoor Fire Pit  

If you are looking for an interactive experience with your backyard fire feature, then you might want to opt for a fire pit in your Kansas City backyard.

Fire pits are an outdoor element you and your guests circle around. And they can more easily fit into design concepts as well. Customizable, fire pits can be made of boulders, wall-stone, stone-veneered, cast-iron, or custom concrete. A fire pit will usually include seating on all sides.

Fire pits don’t have chimneys to direct smoke up, so landscape professionals will use their expertise to place them where winds won’t blow the smoke toward important areas of your patio.

Thinking about the cost of fire pits vs. fireplaces, fire pits tend to cost less. Prices can range from $200 to $1,500 for a portable outdoor fire pit, $3,000 to $8,000 for a built-in block fire pit kit, and $8,000 to $13,000 for a custom fire pit, depending on the size, materials used, and whether you choose gas or wood burning.

While installing wood-burning fire pits is usually cheaper than installing gas-burning fireplaces, wood-burning fire pits do tend to need more maintenance, such as cleaning out debris, but you also gain the option to cook s’mores or hotdogs over an open flame. In the end, you have to weigh which option is personally more important for you.

Choosing Your Options: Wood-Burning Vs. Gas Burning   

Whether your idea of backyard enjoyment is s’mores and hotdogs with your family or an elegant evening with close friends, you can suit most of your needs with an outdoor fire pit vs. fireplace.  

While fire pits and fireplaces can come in all shapes, sizes, and styles to suit your home architecture, landscape design, and personal style and activity preferences, they are typically distinguished by two types of fueling options: gas burning and wood burning. So, as you’re deciding between fire pit and fireplace, you also have to decide between wood-burning vs. gas-burning.

Let’s look at wood-burning and gas-burning fire feature differences, so you can make the ideal choice for your outdoor living space.

Gas-Burning Fire Feature  

A gas-burning fire pit vs. fireplace is certainly the more popular option in the Kansas City area. And we hear from our customers that they prefer gas-burning fire features for two reasons: cleanliness and convenience.

With gas, you don’t have to chop wood and you don’t need lighter fluid or matches.  You just turn on the gas valve and hit a button and you’re rewarded with instant flames. What’s more is that you don’t have to spend time continuing to feed wood to your fire either.

And, after you’re done enjoying your fire, there is no mess to clean up — no debris, soot, or ash.

Usually a quality landscape professional will bring a licensed professional to the job to connect your fire feature to a gas line and make sure it’s done correctly. You want professional installation that is done with safety in mind and that eliminates problems like gas leaks.

Gas-burning fire features do tend to cost more than wood-burning ones. A gas fireplace, for instance, can range between $2,000 to $7,000 more than wood-burning options.

Wood-Burning Fire Feature   

Sure, nothing compares to the crackling and old-fashioned, smoky aroma of a traditional wood-burning fire feature.

One of the biggest benefits of a wood-burning fire pit vs. fireplace is the ability to cook over the flames. Roasting marshmallows is half the fun of getting an outdoor fire going. Can you really ever have enough s’mores?

With a wood-burning fire feature, it might take you longer to start the fire. The process includes chopping wood or buying pre-cut wood, storing wood, and then building and feeding the fire.

Wood-burning options also mean you have embers to worry about, as well as regular cleanup. This involves removing ash and debris.

Wood-burning fire features also tend to be cheaper to install than gas-burning ones.

Other Fire Pit Vs. Fireplace Considerations  

When you’re working with your landscape designer to decide between an outdoor fire pit vs. fireplace, there are a few other things you should think about to help you make the best choice for you.

  • Wind direction. You always want to think about wind direction when choosing a fire feature. Direct winds can cause flame inconsistencies, blowing embers in undesirable directions. Make sure you discuss this with your landscape professional so you’re happy with the final location.
  • Flame clearance. You want to make sure your fire feature meets local codes, meaning it has clearance from structures and above. Kansas City suburbs typically dictate that a fire feature must be 25 feet from your home.
  • Convenience. You also want to think about your daily lifestyle. If you plan to have regular fires, will you want to be hauling wood and cleaning ashes that often where the enjoyment of traditional wood-burning smells and sounds will be worthwhile? If that’s not your thing, a gas-burning fire feature might be more convenient for your lifestyle.

Choose the Best Outdoor Fire Pit vs. Fireplace For Your Kansas City Backyard  

Now that you know all of the pros and cons of an outdoor fire pit vs. fireplace, all you have left to do is decide which one you want for your Kansas City backyard.

Then you can get ready to enjoy the flames.

We know the two fire feature options can seem very comparable; they are both great additions to any Kansas City landscape. In fact, you may still be torn even after reviewing their key differences. That’s why High Prairie Landscape Group is here.

We can help you make a final decision, showing you some real-life examples we’ve created in other local backyards. We can also ask you some key questions about your preferred activities and daily habits, so you can see which option you might use more than another — the one that truly fits your personal lifestyle.

Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with an outdoor fire feature? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love and your neighbors will envy.

A Unique Peaceful Backyard Idea: Use Hygge For a Tranquil Patio & Landscape  

Your backyard is meant to be a key source of enjoyment for you and your family. It’s meant to be your refuge. It’s meant to be your escape when you want to relax, unwind, chill, and even have some fun.

But your backyard can’t do all of these things for you if it’s a place you want to get away from versus get into.

Everyone deserves a place to leave the hustle and bustle of the long day behind.

But everyone’s perfect idea of relaxation is different. That’s where a hygge makeover can help.

Hygge, at its core, is a way to design a space that incorporates your preferences and all of your senses to create a peaceful atmosphere that suits you, and you alone.

Let’s learn how hygge can help you reach this level of a tranquil backyard.

What Is a Hygge Patio?  

You might see hygge in stories online recently as part of indoor and outdoor design, and that’s because it’s been experiencing a surge in popularity.

Hygge, pronounced “HOO-guh,” is actually a Danish term that embodies “coziness and comfortable conviviality.” It’s a way of finding pleasure and warmth through simple, soothing things in your atmosphere.

What’s more, a hygge patio encourages interaction with family and friends – actual human connection that people crave today.  

Steps to a Peaceful Backyard  

First of all, what makes a peaceful environment to you might be something completely different to someone else.

Peace is subjective and unique to each individual and family. And this is why hygge can help you get the best tranquil backyard for you.

How Can Hygge Help You Create a Peaceful Backyard?  

By embracing all of the simple comforts, hygge can use positive sensory elements to give you the most tranquil backyard.

To do this, the hygge concept determines the experiences that promote connection and relaxation through the experience-driven lifestyle. This means your landscape designer will work to identify what peace and relaxation mean to you and your unique family. He or she will design your space with an end experience or intention as the goal. This means the interview process up front will be more extensive to narrow down your ideal escape environment so those elements can be incorporated into your new peaceful backyard.

By determining how your family prefers to relax and connect, your landscape designer can use hygge principles to create intentionally designed and constructed spaces that foster those exact experiences.

Why does this work? Because an environment designed to curate customized human connection removes points of frustration and replaces them with the positive points that come from having a fulfilling Kansas City outdoor space.

What Elements of Hygge Help Create a Tranquil Backyard?   

There are multiple steps one goes through to create a hygge patio, and they are quite different from creating a more traditional patio.

  1. Think about how you like to relax. Whether you enjoy reading, doing al fresco, entertaining, watching games, swimming, soaking in the hottub, playing with your pet, hanging out with your kids, performing yoga outdoors, or enjoying a fireplace, you dictate what entertainment types you want to include.
  2. Add relaxation features to your space. Once you determine your relaxation spaces, you add features that amplify stress-free experiences. These include water features, fire features, fragrant plants, natural elements like wood or stone, warm colors, and soft textures.
  3. Accessorize for comfort. Add elements to encourage coziness like comfy furniture, cushions, pillows, blankets, outdoor candles, tiny fountains, vases for fresh flowers, landscaping lighting, and outdoor speakers.
  4. Plan experiences in your hygge patio. Once your hygge space is in place, you enhance interaction by bringing people together, sharing good food and good times, such as dinner around the patio table, board games near the fireplace, or listening to music while enjoying the spa.

These same steps can be used to focus on a tranquil backyard. Ask yourself these questions to figure out what elements make the most sense for you:

  • What sounds can help you be more tranquil or limit stressful sounds like traffic, such as water features, chimes, or speakers?
  • What fragrances help you relax?
  • What colors help you destress?
  • What frustrations in your yard cause you tension, such as a lack of privacy, drainage issues, or noisy neighbors and how can we fix or mask those to provide more relaxation?
  • What do you want to see in your backyard that would immediately create positive feelings?

What Are Examples of Peaceful Backyards Created Using Hygge Principles?   

A hygge patio usually means building spaces to foster connection outdoors.

To amplify connection, you need gathering spaces. And you can have multiple types of spaces for different ways to interact. Maybe you’d like to gather around a fire pit for light and warmth. Or maybe you’d love a water feature to listen to the soothing sounds of trickling water. Warm, soft colors and cozy furnishings can help encourage that chill atmosphere, as can fragrant blooms and an outdoor sound system playing soothing music.

Having trouble figuring out how hygge can help you get that peaceful backyard you long for?

Here are some examples of hygge at work creating those more stress-relieving, tranquil spaces.

  • Overworked, overstressed parents who need a place to decompress with their favorite book found enjoyment with a reading nook in their garden. To get their space, they used the hygge experience of coziness through comfortable lounge furniture, shade, and fragrant plants tucked into a private pocket to achieve a feeling of escape.
  • A family addicted to their phone screens invested in a fire pit area with a new plan to meet around it every Wednesday night to roast s’mores and to each share three things going well in their lives. During this time, they leave their phones in a basket inside.
  • A family who loves to entertain never had a chance to host outdoor parties because they didn’t have the space and were embarrassed of their old patio. They invested in an area designed with all of their favorite ways to entertain, including grilling, craft cocktails at a bar with fresh herbs nearby, a patio table for playing cards out of the wind and rain, and a fireplace to spend chilly fall evenings.

How to Create a Relaxing Hygge Patio   

Maybe you like to host friends and family in your Kansas City landscape, and you’re seeking a space you can be proud to invite people to for summer get-togethers, some real world connection, and garden parties.

Maybe you’d like a cozy courtyard to welcome and visit with guests to your home, and you want an intimate space to deliver style and comfort.

Maybe you’re tired of your aging backyard, and you long for a private pool and a cozy space to enjoy the sun and play with your grandkids.

High Prairie Landscape Group can get you a more tranquil backyard with our passionate team of experts who are experienced and trained in using hygge principles to maximize relaxation and peace.

We go through the elements of hygge detailed above after a thorough interview and continued check-ins to ensure you achieve the space that meets all of your stress-relieving needs.

Try Hygge to Get a More Peaceful Backyard?   

We’re all surrounded by stressors in our lives. Late nights at work. Getting teens to take a phone break and get their homework done. The regular news feed. Family feuds. Not getting enough sleep.

Cheering ourselves up and motivating ourselves each day takes some work. A more peaceful backyard can certainly help take that stress down a notch and revive us, keeping us going on to each next day with a more positive, refreshed attitude.

And nothing can bring stress down like nature. It’s an antidote for stress, lowering blood pressure, easing your nervous system, enhancing your immune system function, boosting self-esteem, reducing anxiety, and even amplifying your mood.

Using hygge to build a place that brings you this instant ease and refreshing feeling right in your backyard can do wonders for your psyche, helping you destress and connect with your family and friends in more meaningful, solid ways. There’s no better way to increase your well-being and optimism.

If you’re interested in a hygge patio to make your Kansas City backyard more of a place you want to go to versus run away from, let High Prairie Landscape Group help. We can share some backyard experiences with you that were transformed using hygge so you can see how these families have had their lives transformed and improved with experienced-driven, comfortable escapes.

A peaceful, more relaxing oasis can do wonders for your soul.

Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with the hygge landscape design concept? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love and your neighbors will envy.

Outdoor Kitchen Installation: Prices, Ideas, & Tips

Many of us spend more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house.

You eat your meals there, first of all – at least three a day. And it’s usually the gathering place for family check-ins, get-together, and regroups. You might prep meals together, pack lunches for the next day together, wash the dishes together. The kitchen is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week space.

But sometimes your kitchen might feel a bit stuffy, especially in the summer when turning on the stove can bring too much heat – even with the air conditioning on. Don’t you wish you had a space to go outdoors? Grilled food tastes so much better anyway. A freshly seared, meaty burger with grill marks is so much juicier than anything you can create indoors. And you can breathe the crisp, clean air and your family can spread out without being trapped in the confines of indoor walls.

No wonder outdoor kitchens are increasing in popularity. Approximately 60 percent of homeowners are planning to add outdoor kitchens, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, and outdoor kitchens were put at the top of the Better Homes & Gardens outdoor living trends list.

Maybe you have a solo grill on your patio, but you’ve been dreaming of a fuller outdoor kitchen space with some bells and whistles. Maybe you want something with cabinets or a sink so you don’t have to constantly move indoor utensils and dishes outside. Or maybe you want enough space to create gourmet meals while enjoying sunshine, smelling fragrant blooms, and listening to the birds sing.

We don’t blame you. Dining al fresco can be addictive.

As you dream up your space, you might be asking yourself, “How much does it cost to install an outdoor kitchen?”

To assist you in your custom outdoor kitchen vision, try these tactics for tips, ideas, and prices of various options so you can make a well-informed decision.

Outdoor Kitchen Trends   

Today, people are amping up their outdoor kitchens in creative ways, and this can determine outdoor kitchen costs.

People are seeking larger kitchens to ensure they can have room for entertaining. Gathering on the patio is a regular occurrence, and you want to make sure you can fit all of your family and friends.

Those installing outdoor kitchens today are also looking for appliances that can provide maximum enjoyment. This includes ice machines for cooling drinks, wine chillers for keeping vino at the right temperature, as well as slow cooker plug-ins, outdoor griddles, and pizza ovens for creating unique gourmet meals.

Next to outdoor kitchens, many people are also installing herb and vegetable gardens to elevate the freshness of the ingredients for their feasts.

Even the materials being used to build outdoor kitchens today are changing. Natural stone is making a big comeback.

The look blends in with most homes and also looks earthy and natural, with long-lasting appeal.

Important Questions to Consider When Planning An Outdoor Kitchen  

To find the outdoor kitchen that truly fits your needs, you have to ask yourself some key questions. This way, you’ll build up outdoor kitchen ideas that best fit your needs, and have a better idea of your outdoor kitchen costs.

Cooking & Beverages  

The cost to build an outdoor kitchen can also be determined by how you like to cook.

Consider what type of cooking you like to do. What are the preferred methods of cooking you use and what appliance brands suit your needs best?

Do you require a slow cooker or ice machine? This can add some electrical needs to your project.

And where will you be serving food most often – at a bar or at a patio table? This can dictate the overall design of your outdoor kitchen.

The same questions need to be asked about the type of beverages you and your guests will enjoy most – everything from beer to cocktails to wine to juice, water, and soda.

Entertaining  

Another big outdoor kitchen costs determinator is your outdoor entertainment plans.

Ask yourself these key questions:

  • How many people will use the space on a regular basis?
  • What types of gatherings will you hold?
  • What time of day will you use the space most often?
  • Do you require shelter from the weather, which includes wind, sun, and rain?
  • What activities do you envision your family and friends doing to relax in your space and how many of these relate specifically to your outdoor kitchen? Games/cards/trivia? Watching sporting events? Reading quietly? Gathering around a bar to chat? Gathering around a fire? Dinner at an intimate table? Yard games? Swimming or soaking in spa? Listening to music or meditating?

Outdoor Kitchen Costs & Design Tips   

As you can imagine, the overall design of your space will also dictate the costs to build an outdoor kitchen.

There are quite a few considerations you can’t ignore when looking at the design of the space and how everything will be connected to offer the best outdoor dining and entertainment options.

Proximity To Your Home  

Do you want to have easy access from your outdoor kitchen to your house, kitchen, or garage?

Eliminating steps in navigating food, beverages, and serving ware back and forth can not only make the entertainment smoother, but it can also save you time, giving you a chance to mingle and enjoy your guests.

Bar Height & Counter Space  

When you are factoring the cost of installing an outdoor kitchen, you also have to consider seating for you and your guests.

To draw people to your cooking area, bars are a great option so you can cook and entertain.

You want to choose counter height bars that are 30- to 32-inches high over an elevated bar height that is 36- to 40-inches high. Surveys show that people prefer counter height bar seating to full bar height seating because it’s easier to adjust their bar stools and reach the ground with their feet. Building to bar height can split your design into two heights and reduce your functionality.

When you design an outdoor kitchen counter at a singular counter height, your space is maximized. You can also spread out food and beverages across the entire space and play cards or games at the same time, making it more usable.

Also, the most common regret we hear from folks who have put in outdoor kitchens is that they didn’t invest in enough functional counter space. More is always better here.

Appliance Placement, Utilities Plan & Lighting  

Another important consideration that comes into play when factoring outdoor kitchen costs is appliances and utilities needs.

Ask yourself what you’ll need to fully enjoy the space. You may need water if you want an ice machine. You’ll require electrical if you have a plug-in appliance or lighting. And you’ll need a gas connection for some grills and fire features.

As far as location goes, you’ll want hot appliances to be located away from seating and drinking areas for maximum comfort. And you should also consider the predominant wind direction in your backyard when choosing your grill location.

General lighting in the outdoor kitchen area is also a key feature to add, particularly if you think you’ll be cooking in evenings. Great features to add are task lighting for grills or beverage areas and accent lighting to highlight design accents or features.

What is the Cost to Build An Outdoor Kitchen?  

Determining the best outdoor kitchen for you will depend on your budget and how you want to address all of these design considerations and entertainment needs above.

There are typically four categories of outdoor kitchens with different price ranges. These should give you some guidance in the cost to build an outdoor kitchen based on your needs.

Prefabricated Outdoor Kitchen  

With a prefabricated outdoor kitchen, you can get tremendous value, ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.

Save on your outdoor kitchen costs here by choosing simple appliances in a linear shaped bar. A stucco model can also save you some money.

If you want to customize this type of kitchen, upgrade to stone veneer, choose better appliances, and add some outdoor lighting.

Simple Outdoor Kitchen – Veneered  

If you’re looking for a simpler option, a simple kitchen can range from $10,000 to $20,000.

To cut down on outdoor kitchen costs, choose a smaller grill and include only must-have accessories. Upgrading counters and finishes, or adding a tiered bar or L-shaped bar tend to add up toward the higher end of the price range.

Large Outdoor Kitchen  

Large outdoor kitchens are key for those who really like to cook and entertain outdoors.

The cost to install outdoor kitchens like this range anywhere from $25,000 to $65,000. Kitchens that are priced toward that higher end have upgraded counters and finishes, L-shaped bars, a tiered bar, and the addition of a beer or rootbeer tap.

Luxury Outdoor Kitchen  

For true gourmets, a luxury outdoor kitchen can fill the bill for roughly $55,000 and up.

In this case, outdoor kitchen costs escalate with the addition of a TV, sound system, multi-bar, heaters, and other luxury items.

Pizza Ovens  

Other options that add to the cost to install outdoor kitchens are popular extras like pizza ovens.

Prefabricated pizza ovens range from $4,000 to $13,000, while Mugnaini Italian Pizza Ovens with stone veneer will range from $15,000 to $25,000.

Ready to Polish Your Outside Gourmet Skills?   

Whether you’re looking for a small outdoor kitchen that is perfect for your smaller family or you want a grand space suitable for making pizzas and grilling steaks and playing music – rain or shine, it’s important to factor in your needs to truly determine your outdoor kitchen costs.

There are so many options available with this type of outdoor addition. We know it can be confusing. We hope this information helps break down some of the options for you.

But we know just looking through these options might even make your head spin. Let High Prairie’s experts help. We can simplify the process for you by discussing your needs and looking at your space. This can give you some options you may not have considered and make the whole process simpler and more exciting when you know you’re getting exactly what you need to satisfy your outdoor cooking and entertaining needs.

Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with an outdoor kitchen? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love and your neighbors will envy.

7 Questions to Ask When Planning Your Landscape Lighting Design  

Your Kansas City landscape is your oasis. After long days, you escape there to take deep breaths and enjoy the scenery and the sounds of birds chirping. You might even want to eat dinner out there after grilling your favorite foods in your outdoor kitchen. Al fresco dining surrounded by nature is the most relaxing way to have dinner.

But, depending on the season, seeing what you’re doing at the end of the night can become challenging when the sun starts to set.

The solution: a landscape lighting plan. This simple addition to your home landscape can do wonders for extending the life of your outdoor spaces, as well as your curb appeal.

As you consider adding illumination to your evenings outside, you might be wondering how to find a landscape lighting professional that can give you the look you want and also do the job right. You’re dealing with electricity, after all, so making a smart choice is important.

We’re here to offer some guidance on the types of things you should be inquiring about when it comes to landscape lighting in Kansas City.

The Top 7 Questions to Ask About Landscape Lighting Design   

You might think you should focus on specific fixtures or finishes when you’re creating a landscape lighting plan.

But this approach can be very singularly minded for a project that adds this much dimension to your home landscape in Kansas City.

Here are the main questions you should consider asking before you set up a meeting with a landscape lighting designer to ensure you’re well-informed on how the job gets done and that you’re getting exactly what you need from this landscape addition.

1. What Are the Key Elements of Your Lighting Design Strategy?   

You want to know you’re getting a quality landscape lighting design. And you want a landscape lighting plan that is customized to your specific needs.

Your landscape salesperson must be able to answer this question to show they have a design strategy, which will result in a higher quality end result.

For instance, at High Prairie, your lighting designs focus on three key areas:

  • Function for the best safety and security that landscape lighting can offer.
  • Artistic value to help identify unique areas of your home and landscape architecture and find ways to bring them to life in the evenings. To do this, we talk to you to determine your unique tastes and priorities so we can translate them into your lighting design.
  • Opportunity to identify areas of your property that can help maximize your beauty and enjoyment of the outdoors. This includes seeking opportunities for highlighting beautiful focal points so you can enjoy your garden from the indoors at any time of year. After all, you spend way too much time indoors to not enjoy your garden views from there as well.  

2. Do You Offer Customized Designs or Lighting Package Kits for Landscape Lighting?    

If you want to understand how the landscape business you’re interviewing perceives landscape lighting design and its customization potential, ask this question.

Any contractor can purchase pro-grade landscape lighting and plug them in or place a light at each corner of the house and add three pathway lights and call it a day. These “cookie-cutter” kits don’t require any expertise to install. While they technically function, they lack the artistic value that you’re looking for when you hire a professional.

A landscape business that offers customized designs will have invested in more in-depth training for their lighting specialists and will provide more value by assessing your unique property and personal tastes. Missed opportunities in landscape lighting design can not only waste your money, but they can also give you a lackluster end result.

3. What Kind of Training Do Your Lighting Specialists Have?  

Discovering the training level of the professionals you’re hiring for outdoor lighting means you can gauge their level of expertise and ability to provide reliable quality.

Years of experience alone doesn’t showcase quality or expertise. The only way to gain this is through high-level, proper training and education.  

4. Will the People Working on My Property Have a Clear Background Check?  

While this question isn’t about landscape lighting design specifically, it is important when you’re concerned about the safety and security at your home. It can also help you understand the values of the business you’re considering hiring.

A business that doesn’t do background checks is prioritizing their financial gain over your security. We believe businesses have a responsibility to determine  the safety and trustworthiness of any person we’re bringing to your property. That’s why we do background checks on every employee, declining anyone who we think might be a risk to our clients or staff members.

5. Tell Me About the Lighting Fixtures You Recommend.  

There are different quality levels of landscape lighting design products out there. Even in the professional-grade category, there is a range of durability and longevity available.

Since not all lights are created equal, your contractor should be able to explain their offerings and why they use them, so you have clear expectations on the products that will be installed on your property.

6. Will I Be Able To Add On To Or Change The System If Revisions Are Needed In The Future?   

Once you start with lighting, it’s common for people to find opportunities to highlight additional areas. So, planning for flexibility is important in the long-term.

This question can also reveal to you whether the company you hire for landscape lighting design is truly providing customized design services.

Approximately 80 to 90 percent of those who install a landscape lighting kit instead of a customized design end up changing or adding to their systems over time. This means their options for adding to the system or changing it are limited and they’ll likely have to purchase a whole new system, spending more money. If they invested in possible expansion initially, they can add on to their lighting without a lot of hassle or extra expense.

7. How Are Your Lighting Systems Maintained?  

Designing landscape lighting and then installing the components is just the beginning.

With weather changes and the nature of outdoors, you want to have help if your landscape lighting system needs maintenance or if you need to change things over time.

Genuine landscape lighting specialists don’t disappear after installation. Knowing the essentials of landscape lighting maintenance and how often it’s needed can help you keep your system delighting you with light longer.

Choosing the Best Landscape Lighting Plan For You  

Landscape lighting can be an amazing addition to your Kansas City home landscape, extending your enjoyable time outdoors and bringing some ambiance and glow to your space.

A landscape lighting plan done right can transform your landscape from day to night with ease, giving it new life and a new look. But to do this, it must be done professionally with attention given to your unique home architecture and landscape features.

For best results, you want to work with a seasoned professional. After all, landscape lighting is one of those projects that can give you the greatest return on your investment: additional hours of enjoyment outdoors and a major curb appeal boost. If it’s done incorrectly, you’ll lose all these amazing perks.

As you’re exploring landscape lighting companies in Kansas City, we hope these questions help you narrow your choices. While you’re searching, we’d love it if you’d consider High Prairie as well. We have experts on our team who design and install high-end landscape lighting that can give your yard just the right amount of illumination, as well as safety and security, you need.

Then all you have left to do is bask in the glow, knowing your landscape lighting plan is customized to your space and designed to meet all of your needs.

Ready to see how High Prairie Landscape Group can enhance your backyard entertainment areas with landscape lighting design?  We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver an elevated outdoor experience. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can create a solution that works best for you.

All About Hygge Gardens and How to Create Them

You long for a backyard that instantly melts away stress and brings you peace and contentment after long, hard days full of responsibility, work, deadlines, and anxiety.

It’s the dream to have a place located right outside your backdoor where you can go to unwind. Why should you have to spend thousands of dollars and go on vacation for a few days to find some stress-relief when you can just walk outside your own home? After all, stress doesn’t just happen once or twice a year.

Enter hygge. This is a new concept where your landscape is created based on an atmosphere rather than specific elements or areas that serve one purpose. And the main goal is to give you this instant cozy, comfortable feeling from your space through multiple sensory angles and through its overall design concept. Let’s talk about the differences between hygge garden ideas and conventional garden plans and how you can get that hygge feeling in your own Kansas City landscape.

6 Differences Between Hygge Garden Design And Conventional Garden Design  

If you want your garden to ooze relaxation and coziness, embracing you after long days, then you may want to opt for a hygge garden.

Pronounced “hoo-gah,” hygge is a Danish term defining a space as having ambiance and warmth. It’s the essence you feel when you’re in an inviting space, enjoying time and making memories with family and friends. A hygge space typically does this by using materials and plants that provide the absolute perfect mix of relaxation for you, as well as using all of the sensory elements to create a peaceful place.

While you might look at a hygge space and a conventionally designed landscape and think the two are similar, they actually have quite a few differences.

Here are the key ways you can tell whether a landscape is designed conventionally or using hygge principals so you can gain a better understanding of the attributes that distinguish a hygge garden from the rest.

1. Atmosphere is a Priority  

Where the atmosphere is concerned, you’ll find some subtle differences between hygge gardens and conventional gardens.

A conventional garden is designed to be a functional and visually appealing space simultaneously. This way you can enjoy the look of your landscape while it also serves your entertainment or relaxation purposes. A conventional landscape can accent your home’s unique architecture or your personal style as well.

A hygge garden, on the other hand, is all about creating an atmosphere and experience in your landscape. The design process from the start is taken from an experience-forward approach.

The design is created with comfort, coziness, and the specific goal of connecting people as top priorities. It can still be visually appealing and accent your home architecture as well.  

2. Design Elements Involve All of the Senses  

There are many design elements that are part of a home landscape space.

A conventional landscape design will include all types of spaces, but usually form into one to two multi-use spaces. These places don’t always include sounds or fragrance. They may also not always include entertainment or dining/cooking spaces. Accents in conventional landscapes can be broad or specific, depending on the client’s tastes and styles.

In a hygge garden, sounds, fragrances, ambiance, and experience drive the landscape design planning.

Sounds will include those that amplify relaxation, such as water flowing, fire crackling, and sound systems that can play soothing music. The goal is to soften unattractive nearby noises like traffic.

Fragrance is brought into the space to encourage further chill time. Think flowers, herbs, and outdoor diffusers.

And ambiance is always a part of a hygge landscape through fire features and landscape lighting.

As far as experience is concerned, a hygge landscape will include places to prepare, serve, grow, and enjoy excellent food. They will also include entertainment places to connect with others whether it’s over games or s’mores. Spaces are strategically designed to maximize connection.

A hygge landscape will even consider current and future pets.

3. Plants Are Chosen For Their Ability to Evoke Emotion, Memory, and Aid Relaxation  

In a conventional landscape, plants are chosen based on a client’s style, the landscape’s environmental conditions, and desired maintenance level the client wants. Plant palettes can be very diverse in these landscapes.

But in a hygge garden, plants are chosen based on fond memories, such as a lilac bush that is similar to one that grew on your grandparents’ farm or plants with soft textures and fragrances. Plants are chosen to help create that calming environment full of privacy and intimacy.

4. Hardscapes Are Calming in Neutral Tones  

Hardscapes in conventional landscapes based on your personal taste and your existing architecture. They can be manmade or natural with colors chosen based on your preferences, which can be bold or earthy.

When hardscapes are part of a hygge garden design, they are chosen for their ability to bring natural, calming elements to your space. This means they are typically stone and wood with neutral colors, and your patio furniture will have soft, comfortable fabrics.

5. Client Preparation is Based on Experience and Personal History  

Even the client preparation for a hygge garden design differs from that of a conventional landscape design.

With a conventional design, you’re after a nice space with a simplified process and end result. The investment can vary widely because at the low end you can have a very simple space for one intended use; you don’t need to maximize your space for multiple experiences.

With a hygge-inspired space, you’re actually creating an atmosphere and experience for anyone enjoying your space. This usually means you have to have a more in-depth conversation and design process with your landscape designer to discuss intended uses and opportunities to create better experiences.

The landscape is meant to have layers of experiences weaved in for intentional coziness using fragrance, sound, ambiance, food, and entertainment. This means hygge spaces a large investment because they have all of the sensory elements to consider in creating this relaxation.

6. Hygge Gardens Are Not About ‘Things’  

A conventional landscape may have a pool and a patio, and those are elements you want to include in your space – single purpose spaces for your favorite backyard activities.

But this design process is based on “things.”

A hygge garden design, on the other hand, will prioritize atmosphere and experience over just “things.” It’s about creating spaces you can spend time together enjoying. As Meik Wiking says in “The Little Book of Hygge, “It’s about being with people we love. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”

Interested in Hygge Garden Design for Your Kansas City Home?   

Stress is everywhere. We’re surrounded by it. And nature has been proven to be an amazing soothing mechanism for anxiety relief.

A hygge garden design could be just what you need to turn your backyard into the sort of space that can bring those stress levels in check on a regular basis and give you a place to connect. Personal connection – not virtual connection – is something people are craving today as well, so having these outdoor entertainment and dining spaces can bring family and friends together for making these in person memories.

A conventional landscape design is certainly something that can transform your yard, but a hygge-inspired space can take it up to that next level. If you want to surround yourself with a sensory experience that truly transports you to another place just by walking into it and taking a deep breath, smelling the sweet floral scents and hearing the trickling of a waterfall or the crackling of a fire and sinking into a comfortable chair, then a hygge garden could be for you.

If you still can’t imagine what a hygge landscape could do for your garden or you can’t quite envision how the process works, don’t fret. Give High Prairie Landscape Group’s experts a call. We are big fans of the hygge movement and love what it can do for Kansas City landscapes. We’d be happy to show you examples and find out how you relax, learning about ways hygge could create a unique and personalized stress-relieving space for you.

Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with the hygge garden design concept? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love because it melts your stress away daily.

Adding a Patio Shade Structure to Your Landscape – Ideas & Costs  

Spending time outside during Kansas City summers is ideal. It’s even better when you can spend more time in nature, without rain or darkness stopping you.

Enter patio shade structures. There are so many options to enhance your outdoor living time.

These are creative architectural elements that can add height, aesthetics, and a unique functionality to your home landscape. Relaxing under them, playing games with friends, enjoying shade, dining with family – it’s all possible under these structures.

Backyard patio shade ideas can be endless. Let’s look at the multiple options available for these spaces, their differences and unique attributes, and how they can enhance your patio.

Why Add a Patio Shade Structure?   

You invest quite a bit in your backyard patio, and you don’t want to miss a minute enjoying it.

Patio shade structures, such as pergolas or screened rooms, give you a comfortable environment to enjoy a multitude of seasons and weather patterns, all while still getting the fresh air you crave. They make your outdoor square footage more usable, and are much easier to add than building another room onto your home.

People add them for many reasons. First, they want to increase the time they can comfortably spend outside with their family. Second, they want to increase their usable space where they can be protected from the elements. And, third, they don’t want Mother Nature’s mood swings in Kansas City to stop them from enjoying their patio in various weather extremes. Whether it’s very hot, very cold, very wet, or very dry, a patio shade structure can make being outdoors more comfortable and cozy.

Patio Shade Structure Locations  

To determine the best location for your patio shade structure, landscape designers use two tactics: keeping it close to home or creating a destination to discover.

With a design that keeps your patio structure close to your home, you have the luxury of stepping right out of your back door and onto your outdoor living space – no matter what the weather conditions. It could be raining and you can still enjoy your outside oasis.

The only challenge would be that your design might be limited by your existing architecture. This means it might require structural work to ensure it attaches to your home properly.

For a landscape that adds a patio shade structure as a destination, you can achieve your goal of a comfortable space in a new area of your yard that may have been unusable in the past. This allows you to have the feeling of a getaway in your own backyard. Your landscape designer can create the pergola or structure as a key focal point to improve your vista or even screen unsightly views from your backyard.

The con here is that the area is located further from your home, so transporting food and drinks can be less convenient than having it attached or nearer to your home.

Different Types Of Patio Shade Structures   

Patio shade structures come in more shapes and sizes than you can imagine.

Not sure which landscape structure is best for you? Let’s review their main attributes and differences so you can get a feeling for what might suit your landscape and lifestyle best.

Pergolas  

A pergola typically has an open roof with layered beams overhead. This roofing grid of beams and rafters is supported by columns.

Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to your home, depending on the location of your patio. They can match almost any garde design since they can be made from wood, aluminum, or PVC. However, wood and aluminum are more long-lasting and able to withstand Kansas City’s freeze-and-thaw environment.

Pergolas can be designed to offer varying levels of shade. They can be left open, include more beams, or the open roof area can be covered to more completely shelter those beneath it from the weather. Landscape designers can even install climbing plants for a classic look and natural shade or embrace a more modern look by keeping the structure clean.

Screened Rooms  

Screened rooms are another patio shade option. Your landscape designer can create them with wood, stone, aluminum, or even a combination of materials.

Your designer can match them to any architectural style, giving you insect-free relaxation outdoors. This means no mosquitoes!

Like pergolas, screened rooms can also be freestanding or attached to your home. What’s more is the screens can be permanent or retractable.

Hybrid Patio Shade Structures  

Can’t decide between a pergola or a screened room? Why not mix the best of both worlds? You can combine the comforting features of a bug-free, water-tight screened room with the ability to let sunlight and air in with a hybrid patio shade structure tailored specifically to your home and patio.

A hybrid patio shade structure is an automated louvered pergola that opens and closes with the push of a button. The outdoor water-tight pergola comes from Renson, and High Prairie’s landscape designers and installers specialize in adding them to Kansas City properties.

These features can include some optional custom additions, such as:

  • Glass walls
  • Sliding panels
  • Automated retractable screens
  • Integrated lighting
  • Heating
  • Sound
  • Fans

Another perk of a hybrid pergola is that it can match any garden style since it can be made with wood or aluminum and include laser-cut design elements, glass, or privacy panels

Hybrid pergolas do require access to electricity and often require an electrician for installation. The expert you hire to install this feature should be able to manage obtaining the electrician and permitting required for the job.  

What Do Patio Shade Structures Cost?  

There is quite a wide range of investment levels when it comes to pergolas, screened rooms, and hybrid shade structures.  

Your total cost can be impacted by the size of your structure, the material it’s made of, the design and features involved, any necessary foundations or footings necessary, and permit requirements.

Pergolas, which rarely require permits, can range from $18,000  to $45,000-plus for custom structures.

The investment for a screened room depends on the foundation needed. These types of structures usually need additional supports and require permits. Your investment can be between $45,000 and $200,000.

Hybrid pergolas are very customizable, so the price range is wide: between $25,000 to $120,000-plus. Permit requirements will vary by city.

To maximize your budget, make sure you work with a designer who understands your outdoor living needs. Thai is because your patio shade structure should and will be part of a larger design that must be properly integrated into the space. Since there are so many ways to achieve a comfortable outdoor space, make sure to think long-term, inquiring about maintenance expectations and patio shade structure longevity.

Remember to budget for permits and foundations when you’re thinking about setting aside dollars for your structure.

Ready to Add Some Shade to Your Landscape?

Whether you’re looking for a pergola to sit under and enjoy the scent of spring flowers or a screened porch to relax in while watching the kids splash in the pool, or a hybrid mix of the two of them to get the best of both worlds, a patio shade structure can change your backyard experience forever.

Since these design ideas are endless, you might read through these trends and still wonder which one would best fit your lifestyle, space, and budget.

Let High Prairie Landscape Group help. We have a lot of experience installing these structures in many different Kansas City custom landscapes and can review your priorities and present you with an array of ideas that can bring your vision to life.

Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with a patio shade structure? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love and your neighbors will envy.

DIY Landscape Lighting vs. Hiring a Pro in Kansas City: How to Choose  

Enjoying your Kansas City backyard is a treat.

Whether you’re dining on your patio, grilling in your gourmet outdoor kitchen, taking a dip in your pool, or finding peace and quiet in your private retreat, your backyard has become more than just a space. It’s an experience you look forward to after long hard days of work or after carpooling the kids to their various activities.

Though summer days are longer than winter ones, sometimes that sunset still strikes sooner than you’d like. No one wants the sun to set on their good times or relaxing moments. And when the sun does go down and that weather cools, you want to be able to enjoy that time outdoors.  

Enter landscape lighting. A little extra illumination can do wonders for extending your usable hours outside and adding a little extra ambiance and shine to your evening entertaining.

As you’re exploring your options for lighting up your yard, you might come across DIY landscape lighting ideas. Pinterest and YouTube certainly make the idea of setting up a few solar lights seem easy and affordable. But you’re probably also seeing proposals for hiring a professional landscape lighting company, and are wondering about the cost and quality differences. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of these two options.

Pros & Cons of DIY Landscape Lighting Vs. Hiring a Pro  

When you imagine the perfect outdoor lighting in your Kansas City landscape, you’re envisioning your outdoor kitchen, patio, pathways, and pool to slowly come to life as the sun disappears behind the horizon line.

The picture in your mind is a sparkling and brilliant one that offers just the right amount of light to bring some drama and elegance to your yard.

What you certainly don’t dream of are lights that work for a month and then fade or fizzle out on you, making the cost, time, and effort worthless as a result.

Fixture Quality Gives Lighting Long-term Life  

First, let’s talk about landscape lighting fixture quality differences.

Hardware stores have such a large variety of cheap options that seem pretty attractive at the outset, which can make DIY landscape lighting seem like an attractive option. Solar lights, for instance, sound like a great idea, but there are drawbacks to some of these choices. With solar lighting, you need lots of direct sunlight for the fixtures to work effectively. If you have some lights placed in shade or near a shrub or perennial that limits its light, it will bring a dimmer – or possibly nonexistent – shine. And then during the winter months, those lights may be completely off due to an overall lack of sunlight.

So while these options seem great from the start, you’ll be spending more on ongoing upkeep or replacement costs. You might find yourself constantly tweaking with fixtures to try and get them working again. What fun is that?

With professional landscape lighting, you get commercial-grade, high-quality products that last longer. They become options that are installed and then do their jobs without you having to worry much about them at all. Your initial investment stretches further. Instead of tinkering with fixtures or saving more money for repairs, you can focus on your entertainment or relaxation plans and just enjoy the light.

Design Knowledge Makes Landscape Lighting Gleam  

Landscape lighting isn’t something you can just stick in the ground and turn on and expect amazing illumination results.

To get the best lighting that provides layers of interest and depth, as well as security takes a lot of design knowledge.

Considering DIY landscape lighting vs. hiring a pro, we come across quite a few design mistakes that tend to happen through the DIY route. Overlighting is a big one, where the installer thought more lights would be better than just a few properly placed and angled ones. Another big one is poor aiming where lights are blinding neighbors or those inside the home. The runway effect is another one we see along pathways where the lighting path resembles that of an airplane landing strip versus that of a well-illuminated walkway.

Another big design mistake that tends to come up that impacts security and safety is the creation of bright and dark spots, otherwise known as “hot” and “cold” spots. There’s a balance that results in a quality lighting design that integrates all of the necessary features into one cohesive system.

A professional landscape lighting design focuses on adequate brightness and balance of light, as well as incorporating a mix of different types of fixtures based on the area so that the proper amount of light glamorizes and harmonizes each space. Another important aspect of a professional design is that the actual fixtures aren’t always the thing you’re looking at; rather, your eye focuses on the light. And that’s the ultimate goal. When you’re walking up your deck stairs, you want to see where your feet are going and not be staring at a fixture or blinded by the light it emits while you’re moving.

Electrical Knowledge Ensures Long-Term Landscape Lighting Success  

Wiring is a crucial part of a working and reliable landscape lighting system. When you purchase a DIY landscape lighting box of lights, does the lighting look limited or do the wires look short?

Wiring properly and precisely is a key part of outdoor lighting. What’s more is that the further away your light fixtures are from your transformer, the less likely they will have the necessary voltage to work well. That’s what leads to dim or burned out bulbs. Having a knowledge of electrical work is a key part of getting a well-done lighting job. And this is especially important outdoors where you have the added impacts that can come from temperature shifts, varying levels of humidity, and potential animal damage.

That’s where DIY landscape lighting can get into trouble. Professional landscape lighting puts a trained professional in charge of the performance and reliability of your landscape lighting system. This means higher quality wiring to adequately give life to your lighting schemes so you can achieve warmth and brightness that is customized to your personal preference. The end result also comes with better warranties, so you’re ensured a high-quality, long-lasting system.

Cost Differences Between DIY and Professional Landscaping Lighting  

A big benefit of DIY landscape lighting is certainly the cost. These systems can range anywhere from $200 to $4,000. But these lights aren’t known to last, so that low initial investment might need to be doubled or tripled in a short amount of time to continue replacing the lights to get the look you’re after.

With professional landscape lighting, you’re getting much longer life and better light output for that initial cost. A professional-grade system can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000 with larger estates ranging over $20,000 to light. A professional-platinum level lighting system, which is a higher-end brand of light fixtures that are hurricane and car proof will be highly reliable and have the greatest light output, and these will range between $10,000 to $25,000 for a full system. Larger estates will start at $30,000 to light.

DIY Landscaping Lighting Vs. Hiring a Pro: What’s Your Choice?   

As you review the considerations between DIY landscape lighting vs. hiring a pro, we hope this information helps you make some decisions. Remember to look at all of the elements involved, including lighting fixture quality, design knowledge, electrical expertise, and cost, as well as system reliability and longevity, when you’re making your choice.

Unless you have electrical experience on outdoor systems; have spent the time educating yourself on landscape lighting design, systems, and fixtures; learn lighting effects; and are ready to maintain your lights after installation, then you might be better off choosing the professional landscape lighting option.

Otherwise, with DIY landscape lighting, you might end up spending more time, energy, and money trying to get a look that may not be possible with home improvement store products, especially one that works well after one season.

Still confused at what all of your options are for professional landscape lighting in Kansas City? Let High Prairie Landscape Group’s experts help. We design and install high-end, custom landscape lighting projects all the time, and can share our expertise and knowledge with you. We can walk through your yard and talk about how you can get the right amount of impact, pizzazz, safety, security and aesthetics that make your landscape shine as much at night as it does during the day.

Ready to see how High Prairie Landscape Group can enhance your entire landscape and home estate with professional landscape lighting?  We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver an elevated outdoor experience. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can create a solution that works best for you.

How to Hygge Your Outdoor Space: Creating a Hygge Backyard

You want a cozy backyard where your family and friends will feel welcome. You want to walk outside and be able to instantly enjoy your space. You want your Kansas City landscape to fit your personal style and make you feel at home.

That’s not too much to ask for, right?

What you need is the hygge treatment. What’s the hygge treatment? We’re glad you asked. What started as an indoor trend, hygge is reaching exterior spaces, too. And it creates a feeling, an atmosphere, or an essence, if you will, in your backyard environment that evokes coziness and comfort. And who doesn’t need more of those two things today?

Let’s explore what hygge is and how to hygge your outdoor space so you can benefit from these same feelings in your environment.

Kansas City Landscape

What’s Hygge?

  • A Danish concept for creating a comforting, relaxing environment.
  • Hygge includes the environment, experience, and people.
  • For a hygge experience, spaces and activities are planned for maximizing the coziness. This includes indulgent food and your favorite people to share the hygge experience with.

How to Hygge Your Outdoor Space  

The Danish term, “hygge,” has actually gone quite viral the past couple of years, and there’s no better time for it.

After the mental and emotional toll of the pandemic, people crave human connection. In fact, they are intentionally creating environments and experiences that bring loved ones together. It’s about connecting as human beings in a welcoming environment as an antidote to the chaotic, stress-ridden world.

If you’re looking for a safe, comforting environment in which to relax and reconnect, look no further. The hygge backyard is for you.

What Is Hygge?   

Hygge, which is actually pronounced “HOO-guh,” is a concept that embraces the feeling of coziness and contentment in your outdoor space. And this element is evoked by using simple comforts so you feel embraced by uplifting elements that tickle all of your senses.  

Eating a meal outside in a comfortable space together on cozy patio furniture while listening to soft music. Toasting marshmallows around a fireplace, wrapped in comfy blankets and having an intimate conversation with friends. Enjoying game night at your outdoor dining table with tasty snacks.   

These are all examples of enjoying hygge outdoors.

How is a Hygge Backyard Created?  

When a landscape designer is looking at your backyard through a hygge lens, he or she is designing your space with the end experience or intention in mind.

So you can expect a more thorough interview in the beginning with your landscape designer as you narrow down your ideal environments, so those concepts can be intentionally used to create ideal nooks for you to enjoy.

What Are Some Common Elements of a Hygge Backyard?   

A hygge backyard will typically involve creating comfortable spaces built for connection in the fresh air.

This means there will be areas for gathering, as well as specified areas for different types of interactions. It might include fire to gather around for light and warmth. And you might find water to promote relaxation. You’ll see soft, warm colors and comfortable furnishings. You’ll also enjoy fragrant flowers and outdoor audio for relaxing music.

What Are Some Examples of Hygge Outdoors?  

In the front yard, a hygge outdoor space could be one where a welcoming, intimate courtyard greets guests with lush plants and a soft fragrance from nearby flowers. A well-placed bench serves as a resting spot, and the tranquil sounds of a water feature soften the street noises.

In the backyard, a hygge concept might involve zoned gathering spaces for various interaction purposes. Maybe there’s a nook for book reading near a small fountain, a gathering area centered around a fire feature to roast s’mores and tell stories, and an outdoor kitchen and craft cocktail bar stocked for enjoying good food and drink near an herb garden where the homeowner can get fresh herbs for cocktails and gourmet dishes. Additionally, a flower garden could provide fresh cut bouquets for adding additional color and scent, and a lounge may be in one corner for playing games and watching sporting events.

How Does a Hygge Outdoor Space Differ From a Regular Outdoor Space?  

While a traditional landscape design might embrace aesthetics and function in its design, a hygge backyard has additional intentions.

In addition to aesthetics and function, the hygge space will create opportunities for relaxation, intimacy, and connection. This added layer of intention creates better overall designs.

How to Create the Ultimate Hygge Outdoor Space  

High Prairie Landscape Group has become passionate about creating and caring for hygge outdoor spaces. This is because yards designed using the hygge concept help people find peace, comfort, and connection at home. To create the ideal hygge environment, High Prairie’s landscape design experts go through a series of steps.

Think About Your Ideal Relaxation Preferences  

The first step in obtaining a hygge outdoor space is understanding your preferred places to relax.

What types of comforting spaces are ideal for your family? Do you enjoy a reading nook, a dining spot, an entertainment zone with a bar, an area for watching a sporting event, a spa or hot tub relaxation space, an intimate conversation nook, a yoga platform, a fire feature-centered place, an area for your favorite pet or pets? None of these types of spaces are off the table.

If there are ways you enjoy relaxing outdoors, this is the time to bring them up as potentials for including them as key parts of your landscape.

Incorporate Relaxation Features Into Your Ideal Stress-Relieving Spaces  

Once you identify your ideal anxiety-easing nooks, we then will incorporate additional and appropriate relaxation features into these hygge outdoor spaces. Some examples include:

  • Small or large water features bring soothing sounds, engaging your senses and easing your worries.
  • Fire features like fire pits or fireplaces bring an elegant ambiance and a warmth and flickering light, amplifying engaging spaces meant for connection.
  • Fragrant plants or enhancements bring your nose to the scene, encouraging relaxation through soft scents or intoxicating blends meant to entice you to take deep breaths and stay awhile.
  • Natural elements like wood or stone evoke earthy elements from nature that are soothing at their core, wrapping the entire space in Mother Nature’s embrace.
  • Warm, natural colors and soft plant and stone textures are used in the landscape since they are proven to reduce anxiety.

Accessorize With Comfort in Mind  

The next step in designing your space is adding special touches that continue creating this hygge backyard that oozes comfort and coziness.

These elements include:

  • Comfortable furniture; nothing stiff or stale
  • Cushions, pillows, and blankets for amplifying comfort, as well as a place to store them when they aren’t being used
  • Outdoor candles and luminaries
  • Tiny fountains for additional sensory immersion
  • Vases or pots for holding fresh flowers
  • Landscape lighting using layering effects and soft hues
  • Outdoor speakers that blend into nature but provide soft music that can aid in relaxation

Plan Your Hygge Backyard Experience  

Finally, the last step is to enjoy your hygge environment by bringing together good people and good food.

Plan to prepare and serve comfort foods that you and your family and friends can embrace, in addition to refreshing and comforting drinks.

Also, make sure to prioritize connection. Plan to have moments that can encourage this, such as s’mores making after dinner around the fire, watching the game together at the outdoor bar, wine tasting in an intimate nook, or games at the patio table.  

Ready to Begin Your Hygge Journey?  

The world can be a stressful place. From workplace deadlines and pressures to home responsibilities to anxiety that comes from watching the news or turning on electronics, we’re surrounded. And it can be a struggle to constantly pick ourselves up each day and remain mentally positive.

Creating a place where you can instantly conquer stress, reconnect with people you love, and remember there are simple things in life worth taking the time to enjoy can do quite a bit to battle anxiety and reduce worries and headaches.

A hygge outdoor space can aid in amplifying your well-being and positive energy. It can be your daily escape – your backyard antidote to life’s daily stressors.

If you’re intrigued by the hygge concept and wonder how you can make your Kansas City landscape more cozy and inviting, let High Prairie Landscape Group help. We can share our experience with hygge so you gain a better understanding of its benefits and talk about ways it can come to life in your space.

We’d love to give you a more peaceful, relaxing oasis that can bring you years of joy and contentment in nature.

Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with the hygge landscape design concept? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love and your neighbors will envy.

6 Amazing Landscape Lighting Ideas For Your Patio and Backyard

When the weather warms up, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine in your Kansas City backyard.

It’s amazing to walk around and see the landscape coming to life in spring and embrace the heat of summer after a long, cold winter. In fact, when the days get super hot, you begin to enjoy staying outdoors in the evening hours as the sun starts to dip.

This is what makes nighttime the best time to entertain. You gather with friends and family members and chit-chat, play games, have snacks, and tell jokes. These are the nights memories are made. You grill dinner in your outdoor kitchen. Take late night dips in your pool. You sit around your patio listening to the soothing sounds of a nearby water feature or the flickering light of a fire feature.

Even though summer days are nice and long, sometimes when you’re enjoying time together they never feel long enough.

When you don’t want the party to end, backyard lighting can do wonders for illuminating your space and adding extra ambiance to the scene. Not sure what to do with lighting in your landscape? Let’s review some backyard lighting ideas to inspire you.

The Many Benefits of Landscape Lighting

Backyard lighting can do so much for your landscape. In fact, you might not even realize all of the perks.

Naturally, lighting extends your enjoyment outside. This enables you to use your space longer. This one is a no-brainer.

But landscape lighting also sets a mood – an ambiance that is unique. Landscape lighting isn’t full of glaring spotlights like a parking lot; it’s made up of soft, warm lights designed to enhance your space with touches of illumination in just the right places. You can enjoy your garden from a whole different angle and viewpoint. Lighting adds a glimmer and glitz, and a sparkle and shine to those starry nights on your patio.

This additional light also brings added security to your property. There are no more pitch black corners strangers can lurk in.

Another benefit is how much you’ll end up enjoying your backyard lighting from indoors. The views out of your windows are just as magical as the views when you’re actually out there. Instead of staring at an empty black rectangle out your window, you can see your garden illuminated with a warm glow.

Lighting also elevates your overall curb appeal. When people drive past your home in the evening hours, they see the lit up architecture and entryway, as well as glowing landscape elements and pathways leading to the backyard. Your home is perceived as worth more with enhanced value when it gleams at night.

6 Backyard Lighting Ideas That Add Impact to Your Patio

When you consider landscape lighting options, many times you’ll notice a cookie-cutter package of path lights and some uplighting for your home. This is a standard package that many people offer or you might even try to do yourself.

And while this idea is fine and can get you some light, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to truly great backyard lighting ideas.

Try these amazing ideas for lighting up your patio and backyard retreat.

Backyard Lighting Idea #1: Fire Torches

A whimsical fire pit garden can also be adorned with fire torches reminiscent of tiki torches.

This often-overlooked backyard lighting idea can be a great choice for easy setup wherever you need them, depending on your prime entertainment area.

Tiki torches can add a tall, elegant presentation to your outdoor enjoyment.

Backyard Lighting Idea #2: Pendant Lights

Switch up your backyard lighting by adding hanging lights over your space for a magical, mystical touch.

Pendant lights can hang in a row to evenly distribute light over your patio. They can also hang from tree branches, transforming a dark, boring area into one perfect for barbecues, get-togethers, or garden parties.

You can even have pendant lights hanging down from a pavilion.

With pendant lights, a professional installation can make all the difference because you don’t want lights that hang too low and get in the way of your guests, and you don’t want lights that are put up too high and won’t illuminate your area properly.

And depending on your personal style, pendant lights can also add a design element to your backyard. You can choose square, round, or lantern-like light shapes hanging from cords, rods, or chains.

These subtle, hanging lights around a patio are part of an easy and elegant solution to create beautiful, natural downlighting.

Backyard Lighting Idea #3: Hardscape Lighting

Installing lights into stones, retaining wall pavers, or deck steps can be hidden illumination that does so much for your backyard lighting scheme.

Installed flush with the hardscape material, these lights shine an inconspicuous beam on the entire surface, enhancing safety and eliminating trip hazards, as well as boosting overall ambiance.

These lights can also create a visible boundary on the deck or patio area to highlight its shape and your primary entertainment space.

These tucked-away lights can be especially helpful installed on steps to make them easy to navigate during day and night. As subtle lights, they are a great solution for gracefully lighting your step treads and risers, retaining and seat walls, and accent columns.

Backyard Lighting Idea #4: Pathway Lighting

Path lighting is a critical part of backyard lighting because it helps guide you, your family members, and your visitors from one place to another place in your Kansas City garden. This could be movement from the outdoor kitchen to the patio, transporting food around, for instance. Or this could be guiding folks from the patio to the pool area, making taking a dip and then drying off convenient.

When lighting paths, it’s vital that you don’t have a runway effect in your landscape. You want a consistent stream of illumination that comes from staggered lights placed inconspicuously on both sides of your path. This ensures balanced light where no one is blinded, but everyone can simply see what’s going on.

Backyard Lighting Idea #5: Highlight Garden Features

You might have some really great trees with twisting branches, a decorative water feature or fountain, a cool retaining wall, or a unique sculpture.

During the day, these architectural or landscape features are some of your favorite elements in your backyard. But once the sun dips below the horizon, they disappear from sight.

Landscape lighting enables you to see them again in a whole new light (pun intended). They can also create great attention grabbers or focal points in your space, which can make amazing conversation starters.

Backyard Lighting Idea #6: Moon Lighting

No one wants to spotlight a space with harsh light that shines in people’s faces or creates glare and weird shadows.

Moonlighting, however, is a way to create that overhead light that gently shines down and is reminiscent of the soft glow the moon provides in your outdoor space on a clear night.

With this backyard lighting strategy, you place lights high in trees or structures to cast light down that mimics the gentle silvery essence from the moon. Moonlighting enhances your property’s natural beauty without blinding you or irritating your neighbors.

Ready to Bring Light to Your Favorite Backyard Spaces?

You’ve done your best to make your Kansas City backyard look first-rate. You don’t want your investment to disappear come nightfall.

We hope these backyard lighting ideas enable you to eliminate that darkness and put your favorite backyard landscape elements on display.

When you look at all of the unique ideas you can find by conducting a Google search, you will likely find endless photos of amazing and intricate landscape lighting designs. In fact, the many ideas you find – from fixtures to designs to wiring and where to place lights – can feel overwhelming. Don’t fret. Let High Prairie Landscape Group Take that worry off of your plate. We are experts at installing high-end landscape lighting in Kansas City area homes and can give your backyard just the right amount of glamor and glow that fits into your unique yard and budget.

Ready to see how High Prairie Landscape Group can enhance your backyard entertainment areas with landscape lighting? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver an elevated outdoor experience. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can create a solution that works best for you.

Is It Time To Upgrade Your Irrigation System? Repair vs. Replace

Notice how you have some things that you use regularly that run fine for a while, and then start to break down over time?

Like your car, for instance. There are regular maintenance needs like oil changes and tire rotations, but then things begin to escalate over the years. You need new brakes. Or maybe you have to repair and polish up dents. When bigger things emerge like transmission issues, you start to wonder if repairing your current vehicle is worth it or whether replacing it with a newer model is the more cost-effective approach.An irrigation system is similar. You may fix sprinkler heads occasionally after going through some regular maintenance, and you may even add zones or change things up as your landscape changes. But at some point, you might find you’re asking yourself, “Which is better in this case: a sprinkler system repair or replacement?”

Like many of your appliances in your home – think dishwasher or refrigerator – advancements are being made where newer products on the market are running far more efficiently than your older model. But how long should your older model last until it’s no longer serving you best or until it’s costing you more money than it’s worth to keep?

Let’s review the different factors involved in irrigation system repairs and upgrades so you can gain a better understanding of your options.

How Do You Know if It’s Time to Upgrade Your Irrigation System?

A lot of things can influence how long your irrigation system lasts.

Some experts say the life of the irrigation system you have depends on how well you’ve maintained it over the years. Some systems that are meticulously maintained can work well for quite a long time – think 10 or 20 years.

But just because your irrigation system is performing doesn’t mean it won’t require replacements along the way. You’ll likely replace a sprinkler head or two each season or require some adjustments.

The fact is sprinkler system repair or replacement is dependent on a multitude of factors. Ask yourself these pertinent questions to determine your answer.

Has Your Landscape Changed Significantly?

Your landscape is certainly a part of the equation when it comes to deciding whether to repair or replace an irrigation system.

That small tree you planted 10 years ago, for instance, is likely quite a bit larger today. The same goes for your shrubs and perennials. And, in some cases, maybe you moved some plants around or added a landscape bed where you once had a lawn. As such, your current irrigation system may not be covering an area adequately or may be hitting certain things too aggressively, while completely neglecting other spots.

In this case, repairing your system by moving or adding heads or zones can fix the problem. But if you made some significant landscape changes – maybe you added an entire patio and landscaping around it, for instance – an irrigation expert can help you determine whether he or she can adjust your existing irrigation system or whether you’re better off with a new system to better meet your watering needs.

Are You Wasting Water?

Today’s irrigation systems and irrigation system components use much less water than those built 10 to 20 years ago. In fact, older irrigation systems can lose 50% of their water to wind, evaporation, and runoff. In addition to that, sprinkler systems on older systems are designed to overlap, creating pockets of wasted water.

That means upgrading your irrigation system with a newer, more water-wise system will certainly cut your water consumption and, in addition, your water bill.

Newer technology can factor in soil moisture and rainfall to avoid watering when it’s unnecessary, as well as be monitored remotely so quick changes can be made.

And the newest option – digital sprinkler systems – use digital technology to ensure sprinkler heads evenly distribute water to the precise shape of your lawn and beds, going around areas that don’t need water like sidewalks or hardscapes. This eliminates overlap or water waste to areas that don’t require water.

Are You Using Outdated or Inconvenient Equipment?

Upgrading an irrigation system’s parts can certainly help you avoid having to spend the money on a new irrigation system. But sometimes the costs can be very similar, depending on how outdated your equipment is.

Installing a brand new irrigation system can run you anywhere between $7,000 and $100,000, depending on the size of your yard, the materials used, and the controller. It’s a wide range, but there are a lot of complexities to consider.

But the purpose of an irrigation system is full coverage of your different landscape areas in the correct way, using personalized water requirements and avoiding overlap, overspray, and poor scheduling or lack of modern technology. Why are these important? Because you can save so much water, In fact, 80,000 gallons of water can be wasted in a typical home’s water use. That adds up to $1,200 or more a year. Using smarter technology can reduce your water use.

Kansas City homeowners who opt for a professionally designed and installed irrigation system can typically get a 10% to 30% reduction in water usage during June, July, and August due to sprinkler system efficiency. That’s a lot of money back in your wallet for you to use on your next summer trip or home improvement project.

Controllers, for instance, have advanced considerably. Smarter controllers use data about sun, shade, soil type, plant type, and weather to improve irrigation accuracy. They can also be run from a phone or smart home system, making them easier to operate.

High Prairie irrigation experts prefer Hydrawise smart controllers because they have the best capabilities for remote control and weather-based programming.

And since your landscape doesn’t require the same watering schedule from spring to summer to fall, you should also be able to change it. Kansas City lawns need less water in spring and fall than mid-summer. Newer, digital irrigation systems can allow for these adjustments.

Are You Making Irrigation Repairs Too Frequently?

Another question to ask yourself when deciding whether to repair or replace an irrigation system is how often you’re fixing different things on your system. Do you see leaks in multiple spots every year? Are you making repeated repairs in a single season? Are your water bills going up?

In fact, if your annual irrigation system repair budget is 50% of a new system, you’d be better off replacing it if your finances allow.

An older, traditional irrigation system can have 40-plus sprinkler heads, 1,500 feet of pipe, 5 valves, and 10 wires that can continually need repaired or replaced. That can get expensive, as well as annoying.

Digital sprinkler systems require 80% fewer parts on a similar property size because they are only made up of 5 digital sprinkler heads, 250 feet of pipe, zero values, and 2 wires. They also require less labor and digging to install – from 40 hours of installation time for a traditional system to less than 16 hours with a digital system.

Should I Repair or Replace My Irrigation System?

What are the workhorses of the loveliest Kansas City home landscapes? Irrigation systems.

But like any mechanism you use, irrigation systems require routine maintenance and care. In addition to regular adjustments and spring startups and winter shutdowns, you may be wondering how you can accurately assess your sprinkler system repair or replacement situation.

You want to keep your landscape green and growing, maintaining a vibrant and lush garden.

From swapping individual parts to installing a completely new irrigation system, it’s important to know how your irrigation is performing and what options you have for reducing your water use and saving water in Kansas City. And an irrigation system that saves water and works as efficiently as possible can not only boost your greenery and save you time and money, but it can also boost your property value with a healthy looking landscape and a cutting edge outdoor appliance.

But it can be confusing. If your current system isn’t effective or you’re losing valuable plant material because it’s not watering them properly, you can likely justify the cost of a new irrigation system. But how do you know?

We get it. Irrigation systems can be complicated. If you’re scratching your head as you’re looking at your sprinkler system, you’re likely not alone. It’s not an easy system to assess.

Let High Prairie Landscape Group’s irrigation experts help. We can take a look at your irrigation system and give you an assessment of how your repairs are stacking up and what an upgrade could do for your property.

Then all you have left to do is sit back with a glass of iced tea and watch your landscape prosper under just the right amount of supplemental water. You can rest assured you’re not wasting this precious resource and that your water bills won’t surprise you, and – best of all – your landscape is thriving.

Ready to learn why High Prairie Landscape Group could be your choice for professional irrigation in Kansas City? We’d love to learn more about you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a custom plan that meets the watering needs of your outdoor living space.