Research shows walking benefits both the body and the mind, and the Northwest Indiana region is full of parks, trails and nature preserves that highlight the beauty and diverse landscape of the area. Throughout the summer in Home and Garden, the Times will highlight some of the best places to walk and enjoy the unique topography this region has to offer.
With summer comes garden walks - a perfect opportunity to capture ideas for your own home's landscape, with the added health benefit of walking.
With seven gardens to tour, visitors will have a variety of landscape designs to explore on this year's Lowell Garden Walk.
From a country home surrounded by roses and antiques to a lakefront property that showcases a water feature and stream, each home offers its own take on the perfect garden.
"One home belongs to an artist and you can see the artistic touch," said Terry Smutniak, chairman of the garden club's walk. "Plus, she will have her art displayed on easels throughout the yard."
The walk will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Gardens on the Prairie, a nursery that is also one of the stops on the tour, will offer a luncheon as well.
"The Lowell Garden Walk has become very popular with the public, as we strive to have very nice gardens that the public will love to see and that gives them ideas to go home and try," Smutniak said.
Tickets are $10. Ticket holders are automatically entered in a chance to win a prize after completing all seven stops.
Tickets are available at Gardens on the Prairie, 3242 W. 169th Ave., Lowell; Leo's Feed and Garden Center, 13406 Wicker Ave., Cedar Lake; The Artful Garden, 611 N. Indiana Ave., Crown Point; and Martin Landscape, 9961 W. 109th Ave., Cedar Lake.
For more information, call (219) 696-8282 or go to lowellgardenclub.com.
The Porter County Master Gardeners will hold its annual garden walk from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, showcasing six private gardens and one community garden.
"Each is unique and a great source of ideas, so we encourage people to bring a camera and a notebook," said Maureen Phillips, chair of the publicity and promotion committee for the organization.
Each of this year's featured gardens are located in or around Valparaiso.
One home in particular features a large rain garden on the east side of the property to deal with severe run off during heavy rains.
"A rain garden helps to hold water in place, combating erosion, flooding and water pollution," she said.
Another stop - a first for the organization's annual walk - features an eco-friendly home that makes its own power. The home features a deck off the solarium with a feed-in tariff meter.
"That is where the homeowners meter extra energy they sell back to the electric grid from the solar panels atop the garage," Phillips said. "The home's total energy needs are also supplemented with a geo-thermal energy system installed on the property."
Tickets are $6 in advance or $8 the day of the walk. Children younger than 12 are free. Those who purchase tickets on the day of the walk should begin the walk between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Hayes Leonard School, 653 Hayes Leonard Road, Valparaiso.
Tickets may be purchased in advance at several locations, including the Porter County Extension Office, 155 Indiana Ave., Suite 301, Valparaiso. More locations can be found at pcgarden.info.
The Munster Garden Club also will showcase its beautiful gardens with a garden walk that features eight homes.
The walk will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $10 and are available at Dixon's Florist, 919 Ridge Road, Munster; Water's Edge Aquascaping, 18418 Wentworth Ave., Lansing; and Dean's Landscaping Center, 238 Kennedy Ave., Schererville.
Despite not occurring last year, the Crown Point Garden Club's garden walk will return this year from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Seven gardens are featured on the tour. Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 on the day of the walk. Children younger than 12 are free.
Tickets are available at Alsip Nursery, 10255 Wicker Ave., St. John; Artful Gardens, 611 N. Indiana Ave., Crown Point; Hubinger Landscaping, 210 E. 113th Ave., Crown Point; Leo's Feed and Garden Center, 13406 Wicker Ave., Cedar Lake; and Martin Landscaping, 9961 W. 109th Ave., Cedar Lake.