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We love these tips and insights for creating your own outdoor oasis from Carson Arthur, Landscape Expert and Host of HGTV’s ‘Critical Listing.’ Here are some of the highlights from the interview by Michelle Marko of the Vancouver Sun.

Q ~ What are the principles of landscape design that translate universally for those of us in the West?
A ~ “The desire is to have outdoor spaces that are low-maintenance extensions of the home. The entire property is being planned to have cohesiveness. While front yards make the first impression, it’s the backyard that continues to see the biggest financial investment.

Q ~ On what products should homeowners splurge?
A ~ “Don’t spare the wallet when creating usable space. We know that decks and patios are hot in demand because they extend our living spaces outdoors. Never worry about going too big with a patio. Using containers to add plants, outdoor rugs to areas and even screens to separate, will allow the home owner to make a large space fell manageable.

Q ~ What are the top three things everyone should do for their garden?
A ~ “Shade, Veggies and Colour”

1. “Shade: I can’t stress enough the importance adding shade to backyards. With more patios and fewer trees being installed, we are creating a phenomenon called ‘urban heat islands’ where the temperature is several degrees warmer than what is should be. This occurs because the heat is being absorbed and held by all of the various stone and asphalt spaces we are creating.

2. Veggies: Whether in the ground or in containers.

3. Colour: Don’t rely just on flowers to create colour in your yards. Planters, pillows and even outdoor rugs are great ways to add character. Do it in the accessories…then you can always change your mind in a few months.”