In a year when many people have more than their usual share of free time and/or time at home, an outdoor space offers a productive way to occupy leisure hours and enjoy nature. Fall’s cooler temps are conducive to DIY projects and professional overhauls ranging from planting to pools.

“Timing is everything on a lot of projects, especially projects that have long lead times like building [outdoor structures] and putting in pools,” said landscape architect Brad Casey, owner of Vista Landscaping, a full-service landscaping business. “If you put a pool in during late fall or winter, you will be ready when summer comes.”

For those who wish to seize the season for sprucing, Casey recommends starting with the basics: weeding, fertilizing, pruning before winter, mulching and putting in fall plants for color and variety. Fall is a good time for a visual refresh, but he says it’s also about forward thinking; that is, prepping your outdoor areas to withstand cold weather.

He adds that fall’s temperate climate is good for growing herbs, vegetables and root crops. For those with a minimum of ground to work with, he suggests raised planters – also a good solution when there are pets.

For more ambitious endeavors, he advises planning properly and working with a professional.

“Everybody is busy and everybody wants low maintenance,” said Casey. “But there is no such thing as no maintenance.”

Proper planning includes such things as budgeting for an irrigation system and professional upkeep. With his finger on what’s trending in outdoor design, Casey says family and pet-friendly artificial turf; clean straight lines in gardens and pools, light colors in hardscape materials like travertine, bigger units of pavers and stone, and an overall emphasis on less-is-more are all in demand.

“It’s satisfying to design something, build it, see the completion and see the homeowner happy,” said Casey.


Q U I C K  T I P S

Fall is a great time to plant. It allows hardy plants to establish a good root system, so they’ll be well on their way when spring comes.

Most things stocked at nurseries are seasonally appropriate, but read labels or ask about hardiness, sun and shade requirements, and watering needs.

Keep up with watering. Fall is cooler but can also be dry.

A B O U T  T H E  D E S I G N E R

Brad Casey’s love of landscaping began with mowing lawns as a boy to earn extra money and was honed at LSU’s top ranked School of Landscape Architecture. In 2002, he started Vista Landscaping, which handles landscaping, pool design and construction, patios, exterior hardscaping, arbors, driveways and more. “We do so much more than landscaping,” he said. “Just about anything outside your house.”