Alberta has just a few precious months, May until October, when lolling around outside in the warm haze of spring or summer is everyone’s idea of a great time. The days are long, the sun is hot, and it feels like the snow and cold of late fall is a long way off.

But it isn’t. In Canada generally and the west in particular, we have to make the most of our warmer months. One way to do that is by making your home’s outdoor spaces fabulous, inviting, and welcoming for all kinds of occasions.

If you’re considering spending your renovation budget on your property this year, all we can say is: wonderful! If the past 18 months taught us anything, it’s that making the most of every square inch of space we have is the key to family harmony. Making your property gorgeous and life affirming is not as expensive or difficult as you may imagine. Here are some ideas for landscaping for life – 365 days a year!

Choose shrubs and trees with year-round appeal. A garden that blooms in May and then shrivels and wilts is not the kind that makes the most of your property. Choose trees, shrubs and bushes that look great all year; Jack pines, for example, look wonderful covered in a fresh dump of glistening Alberta snow. The goal is having plants that change and bloom throughout the year, and come in lush and green each spring. That means plenty of perennials all around the backyard, and lots of seasonal blooms in pots once you can start gardening in May. Shrubs make great borders to divide your space visually from the street or sidewalk.

Make a water source a focal point. Nothing is more calming than having your morning coffee on the patio while watching water pour from a fountain, or watching birds fly in and out for their early bath! Never put too many in one area – three is the absolute maximum even in a big backyard.

Have a berm designed on a corner. Many landscape designers favor these “small islands” of greenery at the corner of the lawn or on a sloping hill, because they break up the monotony of lots of grass. Usually oval or circular in shape, within their edges is a small tree, plants, and lots of mulch. This is a great way to create a focal point on your front lawn.

Build a path to link green spaces and the patio. If your backyard is big enough, laying stones between different areas looks wonderful and ties every spot together. A path between a fountain and a bench which leads to a patio with lots of seating can look rustic or formal, depending on your style and choice of furnishings. Landscaping should be in keeping with the style of your house, and if you are uncertain, consult a landscape designer or architect like the ones at Kay2 Contracting to help bring your outdoor space alive.

If we have learned anything from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that our homes provide us with so much more than shelter. They provide solace and comfort in difficult days, and making the most of every square inch of it – inside and out — is the best way to cope with those times. Besides, landscaped backyards are beautiful! There is nothing better than taking your late afternoon glass of wine out to the patio and relaxing for a few hours, right? We think so, too!