More and more people are enjoying outdoor living by choosing landscape designers to create functional spaces with multiple purposes, such as relaxation and entertainment. As a homeowner, selecting a landscape designer is a big decision. The right designer will have the knowledge, skills and experience to create beautiful, enjoyable spaces that increase your property value.
At Ohio Valley Group, we know choosing the right landscaping designer typically involves some amount of research. This is an essential part of the process, as it can help in saving you both time and money. Below are some tips on the traits to consider when selecting a landscape designer:
Knowledge and Experience
Spending time reviewing the portfolios of contractors you’re considering will give you an idea about their skills and abilities. Many landscapers have websites that showcase their creations. You also have the option of directly consulting with the designers and reviewing their portfolios. Learn about their reputation and how long they have been in business. The landscape design process is complex and relevant experience is required to successfully complete a project.
Follow-up/Maintenance Service Options
Choose a landscaping designer whose portfolio goes beyond the basics is necessary. Services like landscape lighting and overall maintenance are often requested. Not all landscaping professionals provide the same services, therefore, you should consider the availability of short-term or long-term maintenance contracts.
Local Climate Considerations
Weather conditions play a major role in landscaping design. As such, your chosen designer should have in-depth knowledge of your local climate. This includes being educated on local plants, trees, shrubs and flowers. He or she should also be aware of rain fall, snow fall and the intensity of sunlight.
Do not speed through the process of hiring a landscape designer, wasting time and money. The success of your yard renovation is dependent upon your selection. Get in touch with our design-build experts to explore your options.
As the weather starts to warm up, the conditions are ideal for getting started on lawn maintenance and spring landscaping. To ensure that your property looks great in the months ahead, you’ll need to prepare your grass, gardens and patios as soon as the final frost is over. Here are a few reasons why now is the best time to begin your spring projects:
Favorable conditions. The cool days of early spring are perfect for prepping your property and planning out your big projects. While rain showers may keep you from starting anything too ambitious, you can still design your landscaping and hardscaping plans and purchase materials. Get the tools that you’ll need, start seeds for a vegetable garden, and get your hose hooked up outside. Once the long, hot days of summer set in, you’ll have missed the chance to enjoy the more pleasant weather conditions that spring offers.
Getting acclimated. Planting in the spring after the last cold front of winter gives your plants the opportunity to acclimate to the environment. Once you get them in the ground, it will take some time and care to help them thrive. Follow the care guidelines closely, as each plant has it’s own requirements in terms of water and sunlight needed.
Plenty of options. Local nurseries and hardware stores with garden centers will start to get seasonal plants in stock. It’s the perfect time to browse the options that are best suited for your region. Take a trip to the nursery to get a better idea of what you’d like to plant in your garden this year.
If you’re interested in a complete landscape makeover, contact The Ohio Valley Group to get a free estimate.
Spring is the perfect season to start preparing your property for a beautiful landscape design. With some thought and consideration for what you want and the space that you have to work with, you can come up with an ideal plan. Here are some landscaping tips that homeowners can use in the design and planning process:
Plan ahead. Before you go shopping for plants, mulch, and garden decor, create a plan. Take measurements so you know exactly how much space you have to work with. Think about the placement for the various plants that you buy. Select the best spots for shrubs, bushes, and flowers, and don’t forget to take the shade and sunlit areas into consideration. Different plants will have different requirements for the amount of sunlight and shade that they need in order to grow and thrive.
Add color. When choosing plants, make sure that you add vibrant colors to really make your property pop. Each season brings different conditions for various flowers, so try to plant a variety of types. Plant flowers along the front of your house to greet guests with cheerful annuals and perennials.
Create focal points. Make a few areas that will serve as focal points from different angles and views. It should be something that’s visually appealing and draws the eye in, such a colorful flowering shrub, a tree, or even a decorative feature like a lawn ornament or statue. Other features to consider for focal points include a fountain, birdbath, or even a walkway lined with attractive plants.
Opt for low maintenance. Since you probably won’t want to spend all of your free time outdoors tending to your landscaping, opt for a low maintenance design. Don’t use too many different types of plants, and choose types that are easy to trim and maintain. With a beautiful and simple design, you’ll be able to enjoy the look of your property all year long.
The winter season can be accompanied by heavy snowfall and high winds. This could cause branches to snap from the weight of snow or ice. Even more dangerously, big trees could be brought down causing immense danger to lives and properties. As such, there are safety measures that should be exercised before and after winter storms to maximize safety. Below are some safety tips for tree removal:
Remove Hazardous Limbs and Dead Wood Before a Winter Storm. Trees are typically considered hazardous based on the compliance code of each state. When deemed unsafe, they should be removed as they could cause injuries or property damage. Keeping your property safe should be an ongoing project. This can be done by scheduling property maintenance with a professional company that specializes in tree services. Not only will this enhance the health of the trees, it will boost the safety and value of your property.
Use Professional Services. Tree removal is an extremely dangerous job. Therefore, homeowners should always use the services of professionals to eliminate the risk of becoming seriously injured or worse. Tree removal experts take out many trees and stumps all through the year. They use various precautions and safety measures to safeguard themselves against becoming injured from falling limbs and other dangers. However, even with their training and level of expertise, some of these professionals still become injured when carrying out their jobs.
Tool Safety is Essential. Tree removal tools like wood chippers and chainsaws can be dangerous, if used incorrectly. In a split second, the smallest distraction could cause an ax or chainsaw to inflict severe damage. Therefore, it is best to leave the task of removing trees and stumps to the professionals with the right clothing and expertise.
Following these winter safety tips could go a far way in keeping your loved ones and property safe.
If landscaping winter projects are on your to-do list, keep in mind that they can be dangerous if they aren’t done properly. It’s important to take precautions and stay safe while working outside. Here are some smart safety tips to keep in mind:
Wear protective gear. Personal protective gear is a must when cutting wood in any season, but in the winter it’s especially necessary due to the cold. Be sure to wear gloves, a hat under a helmet, hearing protection, and safety goggles to cover your eyes. A warm jacket and chaps will keep your body safer from the elements and the risks of using a chainsaw and cutting wood.
Check the conditions. In the winter, the ground is likely to be frozen and it could be slippery in some areas. When cutting wood with a chainsaw, you want to be sure that you have solid footing and aren’t on a slippery surface. Proper footwear with good traction is a must. If you can avoid it, don’t work outside when it’s very windy, snowing, or when there’s freezing rain coming down. Ideally, you want to be outside when there’s little to no wind and the conditions are calm.
Store equipment properly. If you’re going to be cutting wood with a chainsaw, make sure that it’s been properly stored. The sprocket cover should be clean and free from moisture. Try to keep the fuel tank dry, and remove any snow surrounding it before getting started. The throttle trigger should also be free of snow. You want your equipment to be as dry as possible in order to ensure that it functions properly and safely.
Hire professionals. The very best way to ensure your safety is by hiring professionals to take care of all of your wood cutting and winter landscaping needs. The Ohio Valley Group has extensive experience and the right skills to carry out the job properly and safely. Save yourself the time and the trouble, and simply call in the professionals. You’ll stay safe, and they will too, because they have the right equipment and skills to do so.
As the temperature begins to change, our trees start to glow with beautiful autumn colors. Having a few trees in your landscape can provide a natural, colorful backdrop for outdoor entertainment. Here are some tips you can implement to host the perfect fall get-together with friends and family in your outdoor living space.
Before you pick a date for your next outdoor party, make sure that your yard and surrounding garden beds are neat and well-maintained. Clear each area of errant leaves. If you don’t want to throw the leaves away, pile them in a corner of your yard for your children to enjoy! And when you have guests over, their children can enjoy it as well.
A fire pit is an ideal addition to any outdoor entertainer’s toolkit. This feature can make a world of difference when the temperatures begin to drop. It provides your patio with a cozy feel and allows you to bring the indoors outside. Add a bag of marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers to give your guests a treat to enjoy while they spend time on your patio.
An outdoor grill and kitchen will only enhance your entertainment capabilities alongside the fall beauty. Outdoor kitchens are perfect for both warm and cool temperature entertainment. They also double your kitchen space if you are making a lot of food for guests! Include plenty of seating and surface space for food and drinks to make your area more functional and inviting.
Healthy grass can be maintained all throughout the year; however, it will require some amount of effort. The best way to maintain a healthy lawn is to work from the bottom up. Below are some landscaping tips you can you to achieve healthy grass year round:
Establish a Substantial Soil Foundation. Grass thrives well in soil that contain a neutral pH. It is also important that the soil has the right amounts of potassium salts, phosphorus and nitrogen for the region. If the soil is not right, there will be problems throughout the year. Additionally, you will be wasting money on soil amendments like fertilizers that will not work properly. This is because the soil is too alkaline or too acidic.
Less is More. Start your lawn care in February or April, depending on where you live; in southern parts of the United States, February is ideal for starting lawn care. During these times, the temperature of the soil supports weed growth but the unwanted plants is yet to get a foothold. Begin a six-week schedule for applying lawn chemical. This should start with a fertilizer containing a pre-emergent herbicide. You can move on to using a straight fertilizer with a high content of nitrogen. Spot-spray on separate, selective weed as required.
Invigorate Your Lawn. Correct mowing and edging are also great methods of maintaining healthy grass year round. An extremely dense lawn might require spring dethatching. This enables the soil to breathe and allows nitrogen exchange, which is a good place to get your lawn started. Buy or rent a power rake to avoid breaking your back with a manual rake.
Clean up is very important. Blow or sweep away excess fertilizer from driveways and walkways on the grass. This will prevent the chemical from being washed into public waterways.
It is important to show your lawn some love in the fall. This will significantly impact how it performs during the spring and summer of next year. Falling in love with your lawn care is a great way of ensuring that you do not neglect your yard as the leaves fall and the temperature gets cooler. Below are some lawn care tips that can be used to prepare for a beautiful yard next year:
Water. Incorporating constant irrigation into your lawn care routine this fall is essential. During the cooler months, ensure your lawn gets a minimum of one inch of water each week. Even if the lawn has gone dormant, this is vital because if it gets too dry, it could become damaged. When applied early in the mornings, deep and infrequent watering treatments will supply the best results.
Fertilize. The winter season can be an extremely stressful period for your lawn. Ensure that it is fed a wholesome helping of nutrients in the fall. This will help it to become more resistant to damaging frosts and frigid temperatures. Applying a slow-release mixture will assist in strengthening the root system of your lawn, making it more resilient to the brutality of the winter weather.
Aerate. A core aeration treatment before winter will literally provide your lawn with a breather. Aeration removes soil cores and punches holes in the turf. This decreases soil compaction and allows the lawn to breathe more freely. More importantly, it enables the root system to gain more access to moisture, oxygen and vital nutrients. This helps the lawn to become greener, lusher, denser and more resistant to weeds.
These tips are great to incorporate into your lawn care routine this fall. Showing your landscape love during this period will guarantee great results when spring rolls back around.