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How to Take Your Yard to the Next Level 3/14/2019

Often, your yard will be the first impression people will have of your home. As for your own personal comfort, a beautiful, professionally landscaped yard can go a long way. A professionally cultivated yard could lead to peace of mind, increase privacy, and more.

Further, a beautiful yard could add value to your home. Potential home buyers may be willing to pay more for a home witha professionally landscaped yard. So not only will you get to enjoy the personal benefits of a landscaped yard, you may enjoy financial benefits as well.

So how can you take your yard to the next level? Let’s take a look at some common questions our future customers often ask us.

How Do I Ensure That I will Like the Changes?

We never rush clients into projects. When it comes to landscaping, the planning phase is very important. First, we’ll work closely with you during the design process, ensuring that your tastes and preferences are front and center.

If you visit our visual planning page, you’ll find an extensive form that we use to hone in on your needs, budget, use cases, and more. However, the visual planning form is just the start of the planning phase.

We also have a huge portfolio of already completed projects. We’re proud of our work and would love to show you what we’ve already done. You may be inspired by some of our past projects.

How Can We Make Our Yard More Family Friendly?

For children, yards are often worlds of make-believe and adventure. With the right yard, you probably won’t have to pester your children to spend time outdoors, either. Instead, you might struggle to get them to come inside.

We can install playground equipment, jungle gyms, swings, and the like. We can also make your yard safer, say removing thorn bushes or eliminated standing water. There are many ways to landscape your yard into a more family-friendly environment.

Is It Possible to Increase Privacy?

Absolutely. Many of our clients contact us for precisely this reason. Even if you love your neighbors, a bit of extra privacy could put you at ease and allow you to more fully live your life. If increasing privacy is one of your goals, just let us know.

One way to increase privacy is to plant shrubs and trees in strategic locations. It’s vital to put the plants in exactly the right spot and to ensure that the plants in question will grow into an effective barrier. Privacy is one of the many areas where professional insights can make all the difference.

Can Landscaping Be Used to Reduce Standing Water?

Standing water can create a number of problems. If water isn’t being drained quickly enough, your yard could flood. This could cause damage to your property and create hazards. Even if your yard doesn’t flood, standing water will allow mosquitoes and other pests to breed.

Fortunately, when we landscape your yard, we can improve irrigation and reduce or eliminate standing water. We can regrade surfaces, for example, or install subsurface drainage systems.

Can You Improve My Yard’s Seasonal Color?

Yes! One of our most popular services is seasonal color coordination. Different trees and plants react differently to changing seasons. Our landscaping professionals can work with you to coordinate the colors your yard will exhibit in both the spring and autumn. Color coordination can certainly help you take your yard to the next level.

My Yard is Small. Will Landscaping Make a Difference?

Often, smaller yards are the yards in most need of professional landscaping. Every square inch has to be put to good use. Fortunately,  there are a lot of great ways to improve small yards.

For example, you could build a bench around the trunk of a large tree, giving you a place to sit. Or you can use shrubs to add privacy even if your neighbors are just a few feet away.

My Plants Are Dying. Can Anything Be Done?

Various conditions could be causing your plants to die off. Fortunately, we can work with you to identify the underlying cause. We can then help you mitigate the problem. Often, plants are dying due to a lack of proper water or sunlight. We can help you understand how much water or sunlight your foliage needs.  

Isn’t My Yard Good Enough As Is?

Maybe. If you have had your yard professionally landscaped then your yard might be good enough as is. However, even a well-landscaped yard can benefit from a trim and proper upkeep.

Further, there’s almost always room for improvement. If your yard has never been landscaped or hasn’t been worked on for a few years, the Ohio Valley Group may be able to greatly improve it. And even beautiful yards can be made more beautiful.

Will Landscaping Hurt the Environment?

If it’s done poorly, landscaping could hurt the environment. However, we can work with you to mitigate any risks. We have plenty of experience in creating ecologically friendly spaces. If you enjoy watching birds or want to reduce your impact on the environment, we can help you design wonderful eco-spaces.

So What’s the First Step For Improving My Yard?

Get in touch with the Ohio Valley Group! You can fill out our visual planner form, send us an email, or give us a call. We’d be happy to talk with you about how you can take your yard to the next level.

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Turn Your Pinterest Board into a Reality 2/12/2019

With billions of pinned home décor photos and ideas available, Pinterest can be a great place to start planning your home renovation. Pinterest features everything from ideas on how to landscape your backyard, to what living room rug to choose, to which mailbox will best match your bright red door.

Pinterest can provide inspiration to anyone who wants to redecorate their home or update their landscaping. However, it’s often easy to get trapped in a Pinterest “rabbit hole” chasing ideas and forgetting to actually put them into action.
At Ohio Valley Group, we want to help you be confident and prepared while planning your dream home. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed – take these steps to make a plan and turn your Pinterest Board into a reality.

What is Pinterest?

For those who are unfamiliar with the platform, Pinterest is a website that hosts billions of photos and documents that a user can “pin” and save to their personal board. Simply type in a phrase, such as, “stylish kitchen decorations” and countless photos will instantly appear featuring savvy cabinets and sleek countertop decorations.

Over the years Pinterest has become a popular platform for people who want to scoop up fun and interesting arts, crafts, baking and – of course – landscaping and home décor ideas.

With billions of “pinned” photos to choose from, Pinterest can be a great place to find inspiration – but it can also become a source of stress and anxiety. That’s why it is so important to have a plan in place.

Where Should I Begin?

First, start by getting organized. Make a kitchen folder, a living room folder, a yard folder, a pool folder, a garden folder, etc. Having all of your different photos and inspirations neatly organized into separate folders will make things less stressful and easier to sort through.

Having everything organized will also allow you to take a step back and look at the big picture. Instead of finding a door that you like and having to sort through a jumble of photos for thirty minutes to find a matching mailbox, simply hop from one folder to another to compare ideas and take notes.

Another way to stay organized is by sticking to a particular theme or style. There are dozens to choose from, such as “rustic,” “country,” “modern,” “Bohemian,” “Boho,” and many more. Sticking to one style will diminish some of your stress when trying to match designs, themes and color palates.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to get creative! With so many ideas to choose from, it’s easier than ever to find a style to match your family’s needs and your personality at the same time. Throw some interesting and unique designs into your folders – you never know what you might end up with.

There’s So Much to Choose from – How Do I Pick?

After hours of searching, comparing photos and chasing designs through that Pinterest rabbit hole we warned you about, you may feel a little bit overwhelmed. With so much content, how can you possibly choose?

One good way to narrow down your list is by visiting your friends and family members. What do you like about their home and yard? What do you love? What do you secretly hate?

Looking at pictures on a computer screen and seeing them in action are completely different things. You may love a color palate in a Pinterest photo but hate it in real life. On the other hand, you may find that you like one particular style a lot more in person than you did when scrolling through your app.

If you can’t find any real-life examples of what you are looking for, the next best thing would be to get professional advice. Professional landscapers and home designers will be able to direct you on what styles and colors will best fit your home, family and personal preferences. Show them your Pinterest board and they may be able to put together amazing combinations you wouldn’t otherwise have imagined.

I Have My List – Am I Ready?

Unfortunately, not everything will fit in your yard or will be a good match for your home. Once you have a good idea of what you want to include when remodeling, go back through your notes and decide what to move forward with and what to leave behind. Would you rather have a gazebo and a porch swing? Or a swimming pool and new deck? Now is the time to make the hard decisions.

This is also a good time to finalize your budget. Before going to a landscaper or home decorator, have a detailed budget in place. This is arguably one of the most important steps in creating your dream home. Having a budget will give the professionals you are working with a good idea of what they should recommend and how to move forward so you can get the most out of your money. Figure out how much you can reasonably spend and add about 15% extra to cover any unexpected expenses.

Everything Is Ready, What Do I Do Now?

This is it! You have your Pinterest inspirations neatly organized, you’ve set a budget, you’ve gotten ideas from friends and family members and now you are ready to move forward with making your dream home a reality.

Now that you have your plan in place take some time to fill out our online Vision Planner. When answering the questions be as detailed as you can. This will let us see exactly what your goals, ideas, and inspirations are so we can begin designing a plan to fit your family’s needs. Together, we can work to create the home of your dreams!

To learn more about our services and who we are, please visit us online or call (440) 543-0500.

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Start Your New Yard With Our Vision Planner 1/18/2019

Most people look at the new year as a fresh start. It is a time to commit to bettering themselves and their lifestyles and to spearhead projects that they’ve been putting off. At Ohio Valley Group, we think that one of the best ways to kick off the new year is to start planning your projects for 2019. It is never too early to start making your dreams a reality. Here’s how you can start crafting your dream yard, beginning with our very own vision planner.

What is a vision planner?

First things first, what is a vision planner? A vision planner is a tool that we have on our website, you can find it at www.ohiovalleygroup.com/vision-planner. We created the vision planner to better understand your wants, needs, and goals for any project that we take on. We are passionate about making your goals a reality, and the vision planner tool helps us to better understand just how to do that.

How does the vision planner work?

The vision planner starts with the basics; your contact info and location so that we can get in touch with you and see where your project will be. Next, you will answer a series of questions. For instance, how do you typically entertain, and how many people does this usually include? What hobbies do you and your family enjoy? Are there special circumstances about your property that we should be aware of?

All of these questions help us to not only understand the technical aspect of your renovation project but also what the feel and atmosphere of your space should be. The more we know about your family’s likes and dislikes, as well as any parameters that your project may have, the better off we will be to help make your design plan. We will also ask you specific questions such as your time frame for your project, any features that you are interested in adding, and specific colors or materials that you want to include or avoid. The more specific you can be with your answers, the better we will be able to exactly match your vision.

What is included in the vision planner?

What does the vision planner cover, you ask? Well, in a word, everything. The vision planner runs through every aspect of your yard and possible remodel. It asks about general design preferences, what foliage you want to incorporate, lighting and irrigation requirements, and more. We will also discuss your budget and the inspiration behind your remodeling project. The more thorough your answers are, the better. However, if there is something you do not know or don’t feel comfortable sharing with us, feel free to leave it blank and we can explain it further or discuss it at a later time.

Why is the Vision Planner important?

As a company, we take each project that we work on very seriously. From start to finish, we work hand in hand with you to make sure that every detail is done to your liking. No two landscaping projects are the same, and the better we can get to know you and your expectations, the better we will be able to plan a project that you fall head over heels for. The vision planner opens the lines of communication and helps us to see the project from your perspective.

What happens after I fill out the Vision Planner?

After you successfully complete the Vision Planner, we will look at your answers and carefully start brainstorming a plan that we think will work well for you. We will then reach out to you, and give you our initial thoughts. Together, we will work collaboratively to decide what the final product should look like, and to kick off the project. We will establish a comprehensive budget and timeline for the project so that there are no surprises.

If you are looking to create the space of your dreams in 2019, the Vision Planner is a great place to start. To learn more or fill one out, visit us online. The sooner we understand your vision, the sooner the experts at Ohio Valley Group can start working to make it a reality. What are you waiting for? Fill out your vision planner today!

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Planning Your Yard for the New Year 12/21/2018

You’ve probably heard the saying “new year, new you”, but have you thought about the saying “new year, new yard”? The new year is a great time to take on new projects and to better yourself and space around you. Here are some steps for planning your new yard:

Gather Some Ideas

The first step to planning your new yard is to get a good idea of what you want for your space. You can do this by looking around for inspiration. Start with your friends and family; has anyone you know done any lawn makeovers recently? Was there anything specific that you liked or wanted to include in your space? You can also go online to look for inspiration. Look at websites, like Pinterest, and galleries of landscaping companies to pick ideas that you want to include in your space. It is a good idea to keep a compilation of your thoughts and photos or links to things that you may want to add. The more organized you are with this part of the process, the better off you will be when it comes to executing your landscaping.

Evaluate Your Wants and Needs

There are certain things that need to be included in your landscape- space for pets and children to play, adequate lighting, safe walkways, etc. There are also things that you want to be included in your space such as pools, water features, and gazebos. Write a list of all of your needs and a list of all of your reasonable wants, and start planning on what you can reasonably fit into your space. It is important to be practical and to understand that not everything will fit into your yard. You will need to prioritize what you think will most benefit you, your yard, and your family. Once you have a concrete list of what you do and do not want to be included, you can start planning.

Look into Local Landscapers

Once you have an idea of what you want for your yard and the different aspects that you want to include, it is time to look for a good landscaper. To do this, it is important to ask around for recommendations and to read online reviews. Reviews are a great way to get honest feedback and first-hand experiences about what people were happy and unhappy with in regards to their landscaping experience. Make sure to look for photos of past projects and to seek out workers with good reputations and beautiful work. The better the company you work with, the better overall experience you will have with creating a new yard for the new year.

Build a Timeline

Now that you have your ideas, your wants, your needs, and a trusted landscaper to work with, it is time to create a realistic timeline. Some landscaping projects are going to take longer than others. For instance, a pool installation will take much more time than adding some new foliage. Plan your timeline accordingly. If you want to enjoy your brand new patio for the summertime, make sure that you are making the plans to build it in the early months of spring. Having a timeline established will ensure that you get the absolute most out of your backyard remodel.

Fill Out Our Vision Planner

When you know what you want and when you want it, the next step is to fill out our Vision Planner. Your Vision Planner will help us to understand the details of your project and will help us get an idea of the total price of your remodel. The vision planner tool is thorough and effective and will help us to get on the same page as you so that we can begin your landscape transformation. You can fill out the Vision Planner here.

The new year is a time of new beginnings, and your yard should be no exception. 2019 is the year to get the landscape of your dreams, and we are here to help make that happen. If you are interested in learning more or have any questions about our services, please do not hesitate to call us at (440) 543-0500.

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How to Decorate Your Landscape for the Holidays 11/9/2018

The holidays are coming up fast, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about holiday decorations. Many people focus solely on decorating within the home and completely forget sprucing up their yards for the season. Here are some fun and easy ways to decorate your landscape for the holidays:

Lights, Lights, Lights

One of the most prominent decorations for the holidays is extra lights. This can take on a wide variety of forms. Add Christmas lights to your trees, bushes, deck, and around your home. Put some extra lighting fixtures in the front walkway to account for the days ending early and less natural light that comes with the time change. You can get lights in the shape of icicles for winter and different color lights for each different holidays. Start with orange and yellow for Thanksgiving and swap them out for green and red as Christmas gets closer. Adding additional lighting will not only make your home pop and add to your overall curb appeal, but it will also create a welcoming environment for your guests.

Wreaths and Planters

Festive wreaths are a tell-tale sign that the holidays are here. You can buy wreaths for basically any occasion or even better, make them yourself. Add leaves and pinecones for Thanksgiving and swap them out for plastic berries, ribbons, and candles for Christmas. You can even make a New Year’s wreath by adding silver and gold. Additionally, invest in holiday planters to hang around your deck. These can give a nice little “pop” of color, which can be very refreshing as all of the vegetation around starts to wither away for winter. Do some research on which planter plants do best in cold climates.

Add a Scarecrow

While you realistically don’t need a functioning scarecrow to scare birds away from your crops, a decorative scarecrow can be a fun addition to your landscape. Scarecrows can range from creepy for Halloween to friendly for Thanksgiving. Pick out a happy looking one that won’t scare away the neighborhood kids and drive a stake into the ground to prop him up against. Your scarecrow will be a fun addition to your yard for many Thanksgivings to come.

Pick Out Some Pumpkins

One of the absolute easiest ways to decorate your deck and landscape for Thanksgiving is to make a display with pumpkins and gourds. These can be different shapes, sizes, and colors and can be arranged in different displays to give your yard a pop of fall. After Thanksgiving, you can swap these out for more Christmas-like decorations. You can also hang things like dried corn and add hay around your area to add to the fall feel. You can buy these additions anywhere, and won’t break the bank while purchasing them. Additionally, when they’re no longer in season you can carve them out and cook the pumpkin seeds as a fun and healthy snack for the entire family.

Wagon Display

One fun decorating idea that screams “Autumn” is a wagon display. Buy a simple wagon and fill it with things like pumpkins, straw, and hay. The wagon itself will give your yard a farm feel and what you fill it with will add to the ambiance of fall. This is a great opportunity to incorporate oranges, yellows, reds, and other bright colors into your decor. This rustic, DIY project is incredibly easy and can be reused again and again each and every year.

Add Some Seating

Another fun fall idea is to add a rustic bench to your yard. While mostly used for decoration, these can have a festive feel and can tie your yard together. Additionally, consider adding a porch swing or rocking chair for when you are outside enjoying the cool weather on your porch. Having more seating options will encourage both you and your family members to spend time outside and enjoy your space.

Get a Little Cheesy

As Christmas gets closer, consider maybe adding some cheesy blow-up or light decorations for the holiday. By adding Santa, some elves, and a reindeer or two, your yard will feel like a little slice of the North Pole. You can find yard decorations at most home-improvement stores that will make your yard absolutely pop with holiday spirit.

The holidays are the perfect time to throw up some decorations, and your yard is the first place you should start! Your friends, family, and neighbors will be excited to come over once they see the fun additions you’ve put in your landscape for the season.

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What Is Hardscaping? 10/5/2018

For many people, buying a home is a huge life milestone. Owning a space to make your own for years or even generations is something that many people spend years working towards. That being said, maintaining a home can be a huge undertaking. There is a lot of time and money involved in home maintenance, especially when it comes to your backyard.

When it comes to maintaining your backyard, you have to focus on two key things: hardscaping and softscaping. Softscaping refers to the living elements of your space; the trees, grass, and flowers in your space. Any maintenance involving plants or horticulture in your area can be categorized as softscaping.

What is Hardscaping?

Hardscaping, on the other hand, is the design of the hard parts around the outside of your home. This can include rocks, cement, mulch, wood, metal, the lay of the land that is man-made to stand the tests of time. Sidewalks, driveways, fencing, walls, and outdoor lighting are all parts of your hardscape.

When you add features such as a patio, deck, pool or fire pit to your home, you are hardscaping. Statues, pergolas, terraces, outdoor stairs, and outdoor kitchens are also included in hardscaping. Hardscaping adds value and visual to your home and acts as a foundation for your landscape.

What Are The Benefits of Hardscaping?

Hardscaping comes with a wide variety of benefits. First and foremost, it acts as somewhat of an anchor to keep your softscaping in place. Hardscaping can be strategically placed to counteract the effects of erosion and elements such as wind and rain to keep your plants safe, steady, and in place.

Hardscaping can also act as a deterrent for pests and can be built to keep animals away from any of your greenery. The materials used in hardscaping are carefully selected. For instance, if you want your space to soak up as much water as possible, you will hardscape with features made of non-porous material that will avoid taking any water from your plants.

Utilizing hardscaping techniques may also give you better use of your space. You can create walkways, gazebos, porches, and patios to better enjoy your backyard. Hardscaping can help the overall organization and cohesiveness of your area.

Another benefit of hardscaping is the time it will save you in the long run. Hardscaping will help preserve your area when done efficiently. This essentially means the time you need to spend maintaining your yard will be cut down sufficiently.

When it comes to your home, hardscaping is a great way to increase its overall value and curb appeal. A well manicured and maintained outdoor space is a huge selling point for buyers and will make your home look better from a bystanders perspective. Curb appeal is often a huge attraction for potential buyers, so if you are looking to sell your house, hardscaping is a great place to start.

How do I Hardscape Effectively?

To get the best use out of hardscaping, there must be a method to your madness. What do you want from your space? For instance, do you have trouble walking around certain areas in your yard? If so, putting in a walking path may be beneficial. Have you noticed that your plants are not holding up well in inclement weather? Fashion a barrier for them out of bricks or rocks.

Hardscaping does not have to be completely practical, either. It can also be used to bolster the visual appeal of your backyard. You can add a pop of color, a trendy rock garden, a fountain, or a gorgeous sitting area to make your space more attractive and welcoming.

It is important to look at the big picture of your hard before you choose elements for hardscaping. Create a plan mapping out all your wants and needs for your space and the materials you will need for each of these elements. Make sure that everything flows together and has a beautiful and balanced overall look. Consider the color scheme as well as how your new installations will look with the greenery you already have.

Effective hardscaping can pay off greatly in the long run, so don’t skip out on the planning part of the process.

Consulting an Expert

Because of the complicated nature of hardscaping, it may be wise to call an expert for help planning and executing the plan for your space. Installing concrete, walkways, and outdoor structures can be complicated. If you are looking to add hardscaping features to your lawn, and want help making the best decisions possible, contact Ohio Valley Group today.

We can take your backyard vision and make it a reality. Our team of landscapers will work with you to make sure that all of your wants and needs for your outdoor space are met as efficiently as possible.

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Preparing Your Landscape for Winter 9/6/2018

The transition from summer to winter can be a tough one. The days are shorter, the air is colder, and you’ll probably be spending a lot of time indoors. Unfortunately, not only are you affected by the seasons changing, so is your landscaping. You need to start taking steps now to prepare for the new season. Here are our top landscaping tips for the changing seasons.

First Things First: Focus On Your Lawn

Your lawn is the largest part of your landscape, meaning that it requires the most care and attention. As with most trees, shrubs and other plants, your grass won’t actually grow during the winter. Because of this, many people tend to ignore their lawns until spring. After all, there’s not much you can do for your lawn once the grass starts to die, right? Wrong. Late summer to early fall is actually the most important time for taking care of your lawn. This includes taking important measures to ensure your grass is as healthy and full as it can be once spring returns.

One of the absolute best things you can do to improve the overall look and health of your lawn is to have it aerated once a year, and the best time to aerate is in fall while the grass is still green. Aeration provides a number of benefits that will both improve its health and ensure it is able to better fare the cold winter months.

Aerating involves removing small plugs of lawn and soil or poking holes deep into the lawn, which makes it easier for water and nutrients to penetrate deep into the roots. The process also helps to break up compacted soil that will otherwise seriously impact the overall quality of your lawn. It’s best to perform aeration in tandem with fertilization since it ensures that the fertilizer can much more easily reach the roots.

If your lawn has any bare spots, fall is also the ideal time for spreading grass seed. This way, all of those seeds should germinate as soon as the warm spring weather hits to ensure your lawn looks fuller and healthier before next summer. Still, seeding in any bare spots won’t just improve the look of your lawn, but it can also help to make your grass less prone to disease.

Use Mulch to Protect Sensitive Roots

Freezing cold temperatures can quickly destroy more sensitive plants, and even your more hardy trees and shrubs could be at risk of damage should the temperature remain too cold for too long. In this sense, one of the best things you can do is lay down a layer of mulch on all of your garden beds and around your trees and shrubs. This mulch basically acts as a layer of insulation that works to protect a plant’s roots from freezing. Cold air is also much drier. This means it can quickly suck the moisture away from your plants, which is another thing the mulch should help to prevent.

Keep Up with the Leaves

In truth, you should really continue to water and mow your lawn throughout the entire growing season, which can be as late as October or November depending on the year. Nonetheless, many people begin to ignore their lawn care more and more once the leaves begin to drop. Of course, this is primarily because the lawn is constantly covered in leaves. The problem is that all those leaves prevent adequate sunlight from reaching your grass. This can make it less resistant to disease and overall less healthy. Still, you can put all of those leaves to good use by mulching them.

Virtually no one likes having to rake leaves, which is one reason why mulching is obviously better. However, the bigger reason is that, instead of causing problems for your grass, mulching all those leaves ensures they will both provide beneficial nutrients to your lawn and also help shield it from the harsh winter cold.

Trees and Shrubs

Fall is the best time to prune and trim some of your trees and shrubs. Removing dead growth and cutting some limbs back before the dormant season can provide major benefits next spring. With proper care, you will see healthier, more vigorous growth. Nonetheless, some species do better when pruned during the summer. Also, certain species are much more prone to diseases and fungal infections if pruned during the wrong time of the year. Pruning and trimming can also be dangerous—especially when working on tall trees or with heavier branches. It is usually best to let professionals who have the proper equipment handle this.

Don’t Forget to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

Your sprinkler system offers lots of benefits for your yard. Unfortunately, you’ll be left with the choice of paying a huge repair bill or going back to watering by hand if you fail to have your sprinkler system properly winterized. If you do not winterize your system, burst pipes are inevitable.

Winter is coming, and it’s important to get your yard ready for the new season. If you have any questions or would like help winterizing your landscape, don’t hesitate to contact the Ohio Valley Group!

 

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What are Ecoscapes? 8/9/2018

Gardening is a popular pastime for many homeowners. This outdoor activity allows you to connect with nature and beautify your home. Gardening is also an easy way to do your part to help the environment.

In recent years, sustainability has continued to be an influential factor in ornamental landscaping. Most homeowners are now looking for ways to create environmentally friendly landscapes.

This new method of gardening incorporates drought and disease resistant plants that need fewer chemical sprays. This shift has made gardening easier and less time-consuming. It has also resulted in more natural-looking and sustainable landscapes. This new approach is called “ecoscaping.”

What are Ecoscapes?

Ecoscapes integrate the disciplines of landscape architecture with environmental science to create nature-friendly, sustainable designs. This innovation combines healthy soil with perennial and native plants, shrubs, high-yielding vegetables, and fruit trees to create water-efficient and aesthetically pleasing landscapes. Ecoscapes also aims to take existing areas and structures (cities, backyards, campuses among others) and add greenery and ecological balance.

Ecoscaping takes a holistic approach towards sustainable land use. Whether your goal is to save money, water, or time, ecoscaping gives you many options to choose from. It also helps to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your yard.

The Process

Ecological balance and nature conservation are the core fundamentals of ecoscapes. Since ecoscaping promotes wildlife habitat and biodiversity, you need to apply a variety of techniques to transform your space to be eco-friendly. You can choose to ecoscape your yard gradually over time or all at once.

The process involves taking the best solutions available to improve the look of your home while making a positive impact on the surrounding environment. Focus on the following strategies:

  • Use natural products rather than artificial decorations.
  • Add trees that require less use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. For visual appeal, select plants that flourish in different seasons. Try to group plants by light and water needs for ease of maintenance. Also, protect your new plants from wind, heat, and weeds.
  • Create trellises and decks that best fit with the land. Add soil barriers that keep ground soil intact so as to reduce erosion, runoff, and leaching.
  • Utilize hardscaping. Use neutral pavers and detail tiles to construct paths to explore, beautiful place for patios to rest on, and driveways for spacious parking.
  • Invest in a self-contained water reservoir or a rainwater harvesting system. Save water that comes naturally into your garden. This water can be used to fill ponds and fountains, water plants, wash cars or any other task that doesn’t require treated water.

Ecoscaping involves selecting species that serve both ecological and aesthetic functions, as well as using natural products instead of artificial decorations. It boosts productivity while lessening the undesirable impact on the environment.

Overall Benefits of Ecoscapes

  1. Less Water Usage

Ecoscapes promotes economical water use. When compared to traditional landscaping, ecoscaping can save you at least 50% in water use.

  1. Improve Productivity

Ecoscapes improve the productivity of your garden because they attract a number of pollinators that frequent your backyard. When you make the right plant choice, birds and insects such as ground beetles and ladybugs will return the favor by pollinating your fruits and vegetables. The plant you choose should also provide enough shelter to these insects to thrive.

So, which fruits and vegetables can benefit the most from ecological landscaping?

  • cantaloupes
  • watermelons
  • pumpkins
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • hot peppers

While some of the above fruits and vegetable can depend entirely on self-pollination, you will have better yield when these crops are surrounded by insects.

  1. Wide Variety of Plant Selection

Your new eco-friendly backyard doesn’t have to depend entirely on desert plants. The climate and growing conditions in North America can support new varieties of conventional landscape plants that do not require any chemical support to survive, so they can fit modern ecoscapes.

Apart from traditional landscape plants, there are also easy-care plants that can add interest and color to your ecoscaping project. These include most varieties of lantana, daylilies, as well as some juniper varieties.

  1. Easy to Maintain

It is easier to maintain ecoscapes than conventional landscaping because it requires less mowing, weeding, and watering.

There are many indirect benefits of ecoscaping for both your home and the environment. Green walls and roofs act as filter pollutants and reduce water runoff. As such, they can increase the lifespan of your roofing system.

Sustainable and eco-friendly landscapes such as ecoscapes can improve your outdoor experience. If you are interested in learning more about ecoscaping, give us a call today. Together, we can make your backyard both beautiful and eco-friendly!

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Porches and Patios 7/6/2018

Summer is here and you know what that means. The weather is warm and you can finally relax a bit. This is also the perfect time to consider adding a renovation to your home to even better enjoy the season. A porch or patio can be the perfect way to entertain your guests and enjoy time with your family outside. Both porches and patios add great charm and value to your home, but which one is better for you?

The Porch

The addition of porches to houses dates back all the way to the ancient Romans and Greeks. Generally, a porch has a roof and sometimes have two or more sides. A porch opens to the outdoors. They can be attached anywhere on the home; the front, side, or back.

The Patio

Alternatively, there is the patio. Patios are similar to porches. They have also been used in the southern United States and other parts of the country for many decades and offer an area of the house to help you enjoy the outdoors. Patios are not necessarily attached to the house and they may or may not have a roof. Patios offer an outdoor area to entertain where you can enjoy the weather without being too detached from the house.

The Benefits of Porches

Adding a porch to your home can benefit you greatly. A porch adds extra space to the house without directly expanding it. Most porches are big enough to accommodate extra furniture; sofas, tables, etc. They can also serve as a mudroom of sorts. Let your kids’ sports equipment and outside toys air out on the porch instead of bringing them into the house. Another benefit of porches is that they add a line of defense against burglars and crime. Most criminals are deterred by light and well-lit areas. By keeping your porch lit and secure, you can reduce your risk of a home invasion. Adding screens and bug lights to your porch can give you as well as your friends and family the chance to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about pesky flies and mosquitos. Because of the covered nature of the porch, it also allows you to enjoy the summer warmth in rain and shine.

The Benefits of Patios

One of the best parts of adding a patio to your home is the space it provides for entertainment. There’s nothing better than a backyard BBQ or just dinner with the family on your outdoor patio space. Patios make entertaining fun and easy. Because they are such a popular addition, they are often sought out by home buyers, and can overall greatly improve the value of your home. When creating a patio, you have many options. Patios can easily be designed to be aesthetically beautiful and pleasing to the eye, which will bump up your curb appeal. Generally speaking, patios are simple and cheap additions. The investment to add a patio to your home can pay off greatly in the long run as it boosts your overall home value.

Minor Drawbacks

It is important to keep in mind that each structure also brings their own set of drawbacks. One factor is the price; a patio can be a much more expensive investment than a porch which is something you may want to consider when choosing between the two. It should be noted that this varies from home to home, and you should request an estimate on both before choosing one. In regards to maintenance, a patio may require more of your time and attention as it is exposed to the elements. 

Choosing an Addition

Both porches and patios can make excellent additions to your home space. Choosing which one is best for you will depend on a multitude of factors. Are you using this space to entertain many guests? Or just for you and your family? Do you want to be able to sit in direct sunlight? Or is coverage from the elements more important to you? Your porch or patio should complete the vision you have for your home. If you have questions or would like to learn more about these additions, contact Ohio Valley Group Today. Together, we can figure out what home addition would be right for you!

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What are Home Irrigation Systems? 6/8/2018

Irrigation systems are artificial methods of watering plants. Changes in weather conditions globally have led to severe water shortages that have forced farmers to regulate or control the amount of water given to their crops. Controlled water consumption ensures that the plants get the required nourishment leading to a healthy and speedy growth despite water shortages. It also prevents waste because watering only happens when it is necessary. There are many different types of irrigation systems such as drip, sprinkler, manual, center pivot and sub-irrigation.

The method you choose should depend on plant types and their water requirements. It may also depend on the personal preferences, budget, and desired results. Irrigation systems are not just for farmers but also for homeowners who would like to maintain the beauty and ambiance of their landscape. Odds are that in your yard you may have a variety of plants including flowers, trees, and shrubs. These will require regular watering and care, especially in the hot upcoming summer.

Before choosing the type of irrigation for your landscape, you should first talk to a professional landscaper. Note that every climate zone requires different accommodations. It is also important to factor in the type of soil in your yard. Some soil types keep and absorb water better than others. If your garden has a sandy soil, you may need to water more often while a clay soil will require moisture less frequently. It is also important to consider water availability in your area.

What is the importance of irrigation systems?

Irrigation ensures plants get enough water when natural resources are scarce and allows plants to thrive despite lack of rainfall. Here are a couple reasons to consider adopting an irrigation system for your yard.

Irrigation Improves Productivity

Because of their consistency in water, crops growing in irrigated lands tend to thrive better and produce more than those that rely on rainfall alone. It’s possible to enjoy a green and beautiful landscape all year round and not worry about changes in plant health caused by water shortages.  

Relying on rainfall is unpredictable-you can never be sure how often your plants will get the hydration they need. Subsequently, if it rains too often your plants can suffer as well.

Some soil types cannot handle too much water but require low quantities at regular intervals. Controlled water supply ensures you take care of the soil and plant needs leading to predictable and positive. Without adequate rainfall, seeds may not germinate on time. Irrigation can eliminate these uncertainties and give your plants the precise sustenance that they require.

Irrigation is also more efficient for your water bill. Hosing down your garden can easily lead to overwatering, which neither benefits your plants or your wallet. The precision of irrigation will help you to ensure that water is not wasted.

It Promotes Variety and Conserves Soil Minerals

You can plant both perennial and seasonal crops together with irrigation systems. The system can be tailored to fit each different plants needs, making life possible for all types of foliage. Having a variety of plants in your garden can give it a more lively and overall appealing look. Irrigation gives you more freedom to custom-design the yard of your dreams.  

Without the water supply, plant roots cannot absorb minerals in the soil. However, with too much water added to the environment, nutrients leak out and can no longer sustain the plants. Overwatering can also lead to diseases, mold, and plant rot in your garden. Irrigation is the perfect way to ensure that your plant’s needs are getting met without the risks that come with overwatering. By measuring the ideal water levels for each plant, you’re ensuring a healthy and nutrient-filled environment for them to grow and thrive.

A Healthier Environment

Because of the nature of irrigation-giving each plant their needed water supply directly to their roots instead of mass sprinkling the entire area, it will be harder for weeds to germinate and grow in the area. This will promote the overall health of all your plants and save you hours in the dirt uprooting the pesky things.

Other than beautifying the lawn, irrigation can help you grow your own produce. Foods grown with irrigation tend to be overall healthier and bigger because their exact needs are being met. Growing food at home eliminates toxins and pesticides that are often added by farmers with mass crops. Growing fruits and veggies at home with your irrigation system can be a fun and healthy way to save money and the product will be nothing less than delicious.

Irrigation puts you in control

Irrigation is the perfect fix for your busy schedule. Your automatic irrigation system enables you to water the plants as you wish, ensuring your garden gets the love and care it needs even when you’re out and about. Irrigation timers allow you to pre-schedule your plants watering sessions, making it possible to accommodate to all of their needs without impeding on your day-to-day. If you want to have a healthy garden all year around, irrigation could be the option for you.

The benefits of irrigation systems are numerous and could help transform your yard into the garden of your dreams. If you are interested in an irrigation system or want to learn more, contact the Ohio Valley Group. Together, we can create the perfect yard that’s just right for you!

 

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