How To: Create The Ultimate Backyard For Your Family & Friends

5/3/2016

The outdoors provide an ideal setting to expand the living space. It also provides homeowners with an amazing space in which they can entertain family and friends. Below are some guidelines that can be used to create the ultimate backyard for your loved ones: Ideal Lighting. A properly-lit backyard will make the space usable at all hours of the day. There are lighting solutions that can be installed to create different moods. Additionally, lights can be specifically placed in the yard to provide function and highlight special elements of the landscaping design. Effortless Indoor/Outdoor Access. Creating an effortless way to get into the backyard from inside the house will provide a feeling that the outdoors is a natural extension of the living space. For example, sliding glass doors can be installed to open onto patios that lead into the outdoor space. This ultimately makes the backyard easier to enjoy and it also encourages more frequent usage of the space. Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Space. Any backyard can benefit from an outdoor kitchen and a place to eat. The ‘kitchen’ could be a simple barbecue area, a complete, elaborate outdoor kitchen with all the bells and whistles or anything in between. The amenities you choose will be only limited by your personal preferences and your budget. Having a designated area to eat with your loved ones is a great way to enjoy the beauty of your outdoor space. Relaxation Spots. Designating a relaxation area in the backyard is a great way to pass time whether alone or with one or more loved ones. This area can be used to kick back and enjoy your favorite book, music or the surrounding beauty provided by nature. If the view from your backyard is particularly spectacular, relaxing and enjoying the sights is a great way to unwind from a hectic day. Placing your relaxation spot near a water feature could further enhance the outdoors of your home. Landscaping and Creating Gardens. The inclusion of certain landscaping details like garden areas in the backyard is a great way to add color and texture to the yard. Garden beds can also be set up to grow vegetables that add to the overall ambiance of the space. The backyard can also be splendidly transformed with the addition of trees, shrubs and...

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Springtime Tips For Your Outdoor Patio

4/4/2016

As the days lengthen and get warmer, homeowners begin turning their thoughts to their outdoor living spaces. Those areas can take a beating during winter, necessitating a springtime cleanup in order to get the space ready for summer entertaining. Now is the time to assess what needs to be done, while the weather is warm enough, but well before you’ll use your patio daily. By following these tips now, you’ll ensure that your patio will be bright and inviting for the coming season. Trim Dead Branches and Sweep. Prune broken or dead branches from bushes and trees near your patio and sweep away leaves prior to washing the area to make the job easier. Whisk Away Dirt and Grime. Winter winds can bring mud, leaves and other debris onto your patio. Chances are your furniture, if left outside, also is looking dingy. One of the first things that patio lovers should do is thoroughly clean the patio surface with a hose and broom. Mix dish washing soap with warm water in bucket and then spray furniture with a hose. Scrub chairs and sofa with a nylon scrub brush and then thoroughly rinse. Let the furniture dry off in the grass. You may need to wipe water that gets trapped in metal supports. Select a sunny day for your work to speed drying time. If the patio surface or furniture is particularly grimy, consider using a power washer. Assess Lighting. If you have permanent outdoor lighting, check to see that all fixtures are working. Like greenery, some may not have survived the winter. Spring is a good time to replace old bulbs with more efficient LED fixtures or even replace them with solar Tiki torches that will add a bit of fun to your outdoor festivities. If you use overhead light strands, make sure that all bulbs are working. Planters. Wooden planters fall apart after several years. Discard questionable ones and check for cracks in ceramic containers. Replace as appropriate. Food and Beverage. Light your grill to ensure that it is working properly and clean the grates before the year’s first barbecue. Consider adding an outdoor beverage center than can double as storage to make entertaining more...

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Tree Removal Safety Tips For Spring

3/14/2016

The warmer weather of spring usually brings homeowners outside to perform exterior spring cleaning. Spring time is an excellent season to remove dead growth from perennials, bush and trees. The harsh months of winter, however, can necessitate complete tree removal of dying or diseased trees or when trees have become partially uprooted because of floods. Removing a tree is dangerous work, especially if the tree in question is large. Power Equipment. One of the most important safety tips to remember in tree removal is to exercise caution around the tools used to remove dead and dying trees, including chainsaws, wood chippers and even manual tools such as axes. Always exercise caution around these tools with their sharp edges. Anyone removing trees should wear proper safety equipment, including a helmet and face shield or safety goggles to guard against falling or flying debris. Heavy gloves and protective clothing made of Kevlar that covers the extremities are also essential to help avoid or reduce injuries. Workers should even consider wearing ear protection to avoid damage to the inner ear that can occur after repeated exposure to chainsaws. Falls. One of the biggest hazards to tree removal is climbing up on ladders, particularly for very large trees. Upper extremities must be lopped off first. Weak limbs at as bad support systems leading to falls. Always make sure that the limbs chosen can support the required weight. Electrical Lines. Another hazard involving tall trees are electrical lines. When removing high tree branches that are near electrical wires. Electrocution is a very real possibility when the proper steps are not taken. In addition, never let spectators into the immediate area as you never know what will happen. Felling the Tree. Another huge hazard occurs when the tree in question is finally brought done. Trees, especially those that are large, often do not fall the way that even seasoned professionals think will happen. Always be ware of where tree trunks may fall as they will not always fall where you think. Make sure that no one is in the immediate area so no mishaps will occur. The best course of action is to let professionals do the job. Contact Ohio Valley Group for safe and efficient tree...

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2016 Landscape Trends

2/15/2016

2016 Landscape Trends

With a new year comes new trends, and landscape is no exception. Check out our list of the biggest landscape trends for 2016. Landscape for Health: Scientific studies have consistently proven that trees, flowers, plants, birds and nature overall, increase health and wellness for self, society and the planet. Plants are clean air filters, oxygen machines and wellness prescriptions. Trees absorb 1/5 of carbon emissions, reduce electricity consumption and increase mental health. Pops of Color: This year, trending color palettes- ranging from vintage and muted rustic to teal and pink- show off personality in plants, flowers and outdoor products. Pops of exploding color like pink and teal give a fun, fresh and vibrant feel. Pink and teal [or turquoise] complement each other wonderfully. Conversely, rustic and natural color palettes create a vintage, homey feel. Light pastels and faded denim evoke feelings of comfort and give a re-imagined contemporary look. Outside Entertainment: In 2016, the party is moving outside! “Garden-tainment” is the new buzzword for 2016. Think outdoor televisions and music systems; outdoor lighting to keep the party going outdoor living, cooking and entertainment areas. Compact and Low-Maintenance Plants: No-fuss cacti and succulents are ideal for consumers who seek attractive, low-maintenance plants. Tiny and easy to grow succulents in bold containers are ideal. Bed-Head Gardens: Purposefully un-styled outdoor spaces intentionally designed by working within the natural landscape creates an effortless but beautiful landscape with an “anything goes” attitude. Create “bed-head” meadows and natural habitats by using native plants to increase diversity, balance and ecosystems. Native plants require less water and fertilizer because they are well adapted to the local climate. Create an “Agri-Hood”: Edibles incorporated into the landscape provide not only beauty but health, farm-to-table food. Take this trend to the next level with custom chicken-coops and bee-keepers. LED’s Rule the Landscape: Enhancing outdoor spaces with lighting is increasingly popular and the use of color-changing lighting is becoming more common place. LED products offer better architectural integrations and concealment, offer less maintenance due to their longer rated...

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Visit The Great Big Home + Garden Show!

2/4/2016

Even though certain parts of the country are in the midst of snow and cold temperatures, spring is just a short time away. To get into the spirit, you may consider visiting The Great Big Home + Garden Show,  presented by 84 Lumber. You can learn how to make improvements to your home’s interior and exterior so that it is ready when warm weather hits. Show Exhibits- This year, over 600 exhibitors will be under one roof. To get a few landscaping and gardening ideas, there will be 19 feature showcases. Guests can explore various “celebration” themed gardens and learn how to create the perfect atmosphere for any holiday or special occasion. If you are looking to plan your dream home, many custom builders will be available to discuss some ideas. For example, Blossom Homes is just one business that can offer unique inspiration to create a one-of-a-kind house. Guest Speakers and Celebrities- It is always fun to meet celebrities. At this year’s show, visitors will delight at learning tips from some of the most well-known television personalities who deal with home improvement issues. Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak, from HGTV’s “Two Chicks and a Hammer,” will be explaining how they transform rundown homes into stunning remodels. Also, Jason Cameron, from DIY Network’s “Man Caves,” will be sharing his advice on how to gut a home and revamp its backyard. If food is your passion, Stafanie Paganni will be on-hand for a special cooking presentation. She is recognized from Food Network’s second season of “Sweet Genius.” Other Features- Besides the speakers, garden showcases, and cooking demos, guests will have a chance to win numerous contests and promotions. Thanks to American Family Insurance, you could win a prize worth over $15,000. Also, you have the opportunity to win a smart home security system, a television, outdoor fire pit, and many other fabulous prizes. The Great Big Home + Garden Show kicks off at Cleveland’s IX Center on February 5, 2016 and wraps up on February 14, 2016. Admission is $15 at the door, or tickets can be purchased online for $12. Children and seniors receive a discount. To get some helpful home ideas, including landscaping and gardening tips, visit all the exhibits so that you are ready to spring into...

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