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Fun on the Fourth: Party on the Patio

How do you like to celebrate Independence Day? Perhaps a traditional daytime barbeque on your Ashburn patio for your friends, neighbors and family? Or relaxing in the evening and viewing the fireworks from lounge chairs on your patio in Fairfax with the soothing sound of your water feature in the background? However you like to spend it, Independence Day is a day traditionally spent socializing at least a little outdoors, and usually at home or at the homes of friends and neighbors.

So, what can be done to make the event go well? Of course good company and a relaxed host are the basis. Add good food, a bit of music and some fireworks and you've got your July 4th party. In addition, you can make your yard that little bit more attractive with good landscaping. Neatly cut grass and a mix of planes and plantings is a good start for that. A patio edged with lawn offers a stable platform for seating, an edging of shade planst provides some natural cooling, and some seats facing outward provide a relaxing view of your yard.

Water features add a touch of luxury to a landscape design. Both the sight and the sound of them sooth us and provides something for your guests to look at and comment on as they begin to get to know each other. Once the party gets going, people will barely notice what's underfoot, but they will appreciate the smooth surface of a flagstone patio and the first arrivals will notice how good it looks as they arrive. A flagstone patio is something that is attractive in itself and looks good whether it's empty or full of people, and with or without furniture, urns and planters, and all year round.

If you can get some fragrant plants around your patio -- either in pots and planters or growing in the ground, that adds a hint of luxury to the air. If you don't already have fragrant plants in your ground, ask your landscape designer to provide some.