Will Late Frost Kill My Spring Landscaping? 3/16/2018

As soon as Spring is here, plant-lovers can hardly wait to tend to their flowers or plant new ones. Ohioans are familiar with mild Spring weather with temperatures ranging from the 50s to the low 60s. However, a few times during spring these ideal temperatures are subject to seasonal disorder, and frost ensues. For plant-lovers looking forward to seeing their spring landscaping in bloom, this is frightening news. Necessary measures are needed to ensure your plants aren’t caught off-guard when Ohio weather brings late spring frost.

Will Late Spring Frost Kill Spring Blooms?

It is possible for plants to become damaged or even killed as a result of spring frost. These factors depend on the type of plants, time period of frost, age and the varying levels of frost, which range from mild to severe.

spring flowers

When frost occurs in fall or winter, plants have a higher chance of survival because they have become acclimated to colder temperatures. However, in the case of late spring frost, plants that have already gotten used to the warmer weather are thrown a curveball when they are hit with frost.

A light frost may cause minimal damage while a severe frost may kill plants. Young, vulnerable plants are much more susceptible to a light freeze, which occurs when temperatures are 29 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while mature plants may only suffer from short-term effects.

Temperatures from 25 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit constitute a moderate freeze and can damage even some plants that are resilient. Lastly, a severe freeze occurs when temperatures dip below 24 degrees and can cause the most damage to all types of plants. Freezing is even more dangerous when the soil has a high moisture content.

When plants are hit with frost, varying types of damage can occur. Leaves may have discoloration and holes, and sometimes buds may die. You may also notice signs of dieback, the process of a plant beginning to die in one area like the roots. Death spreads from one area to others. However, sometimes a plant can recover from dieback, depending on length and type of frost and its ability to bounce back.

Which Flowers Are the Most Resilient to Frost?

To reduce the chances of your flowers undergoing trauma due to spring frost, you can choose to plant flowers that have better resistance to cold weather. Perennial plants are popular when it comes to landscaping as they are resilient. These flowers don’t die during the winter; they have roots that become dormant in the winter and then begin to regrow in spring. They’re also easy to care for.

Below are some of the hardiest perennial flowers for Ohio weather:

  • Daylily: This flowering plant is named accordingly since when it blooms, it’s only for a day. However, the daylily produces an abundance of scapes, so it still has enough blooms to last from late spring until fall. These perennials are super hardy, and after winter they reemerge to continue the one-day blooming process. Opt for the Lady Scarlet or Stella de Oro for even longer blooming time.
  • Peony: This aromatic beauty will bring a bright and colorful presence to your landscape. They come in rose, white, purple, yellow, red, coral and pink and have vibrant green leaves.
  • Penstemon: This one comes in a variety of colors and can be found in deciduous or evergreen varieties. The penstemon produces long tube-like flowers that attract hummingbirds.
  • Ajuga: This small evergreen perennial shows its rich burgundy foliage year-round. It’s one of the hardiest flowers you could plant. Also known as bugleweed, the ajuga plant only needs a half day or sun and doesn’t need to be cut back due to its small stature.
  • Echinacea Purpurea: Also known as coneflower, this flower is native to the midwest. Commonly known as a natural cold remedy, this herbaceous plant can add purple delight to your garden. Even more, they attract butterflies, tolerate drought and resist deer.

How Can I Protect Flowers From Damage?

If you have flowers that are not perennials or certain perennials, especially sprouts and younger plants, that need protection, you can use the following tips to protect them from frost:

  • If it’s feasible, bring plants indoors.
  • Water before the frost to prevent desiccation. The water will also act as a barrier from the frost.
  • Cover plants with old sheets, plastic, tarps or blankets. Be sure to hang your choice of cover over stakes or some other frame so that the material is not touching the plants.
  • You can also use warming lights to add just enough heat to prevent them from frost damage.

Final Thoughts

Spring landscaping can be easier and yield healthier plants when you carefully consider how they will fair during cold weather. Certain types of perennials (not limited to those listed above)are hardier than others. Non-perennials should receive the most care since they are more vulnerable to frost damage. By following the above tips, you are on your way to an aesthetically pleasing garden come frost or sun.

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How Can I Use the Vision Planner to Start My Landscaping Project? 3/12/2018

Most homeowners know that their property could use a little sprucing up, but the job can seem so complex that you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry, The Ohio Valley Group can help! We are a landscaping company that specializes in designing and executing landscaping for residential and commercial properties.

What is the Vision Planner?

We know how hard it can be to put landscaping ideas into words, so we came up with the convenient Vision Planner that provides us with the information we need to help you. The Vision Planner is essentially an online form with questions that help you think about what you want to do with your space. Most of the questions are open-ended, enabling you to type in exactly what you want. There are also a few multiple-choice questions when the range of possible answers is finite, such as whether or not you currently have an irrigation system. 

vision planner

The Vision Planner also asks for your contact information, so we can discuss anything the questions didn’t address.

How Will You Use Your Landscape?

Next up is a series of questions that basically amount to “How will you use it?” If you regularly entertain a large number of people at once, we need to take that into consideration when making design choices. Likewise, any special events you have coming up may dictate what you want to be done and when you need it completed.

What are the Important Features for Your Landscape?

After that, the Vision Planner asks questions intended to help us determine important features. For example, what areas would you like us to focus on? Does your property have any special maintenance needs we should know about? These questions help us visualize your property and see what would work best for it from a design perspective.

Then, we ask questions pertaining to your likes and dislikes. We need to know if you love a particular color or material so that we can include it in your final design. We also need to know if you dislike any specific colors and materials so that we know to avoid them. The Vision Planner also inquires about your tastes in plants, including whether or not you are interested in the gardening on your own to maintain certain species.

What is Your Budget for Your Landscaping Project?

Finally, the Vision Planner addresses a few business things. For instance, we need to know your budget and how you came up with it. This helps us determine what we can do for you without exceeding your financial means. We also ask if you have any master plans, floor layouts, experience working with designers, and pictures of designs or features you like to get to know you and your property a little bit better.

It may seem like a lot of work, but most of our clients have fun filling out the Vision Planner. It helps them visualize what they want while opening their minds to new possibilities. Once you submit the form, we will contact you to discuss the design and determine how to move forward.

The Vision Planner helps us learn about your needs, desires, and personal style before we touch your property. We are committed to exceeding your expectations, and the Vision Planner is a great way to start off strong!


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Landscaping CRM Software: One of the Tools We Use to Delight Customers 1/31/2018

There are many elements that go into making a company great. This includes responsiveness, customer engagement, provision of accurate timelines, and other aspects of excellent customer service.

It’s often the inner workings of a business that determine how they respond and interact with their customers. In other words, if a company has good systems in place, it allows them to be better for their customers, and to get more done in an efficient way.

landscaping CRM software

But how do you know if they do?

We know that it’s not exactly easy to understand what’s going on behind the scenes at any given company. You want to feel confident that the landscape company you’ve chosen has systems in place. You also want to know that they are using these tools in order to keep you in the loop. But you’re not exactly sure how to know if they’re doing just that.

That’s why we’re peeling back the curtain and giving you a peek at the gears of our company. We’re giving you a look at some of the tools we have implemented to make us run better—and in turn to provide you with better customer service.

At The Ohio Valley Group, we’re always looking for ways that we can improve our operations in order to provide the best possible customer service. Here are a few ways we do just that.

Using Landscaping CRM Software for Better Customer Service

An essential tool in our toolbox is landscaping CRM software. We have implemented a comprehensive software system that helps us to run the business. This is a tool that you don’t see, but that makes a big difference in how our daily operations run. You may have heard of CRM software, or “customer relationship management” software, which covers a vast range of applications and is designed to help manage customer data, among other functions.

So, why exactly does any of that matter to you?

Well, landscaping CRM software helps us in many ways that directly impact you. Let’s look at a few of them.

Tracking Jobs

CRM for landscapers helps us stay on top of jobs, ensuring that everything remains on track and the job gets done on time. It also helps us ensure that we always have necessary materials in stock so that we never run out of a needed material in the midst of a job.

By keeping such a close tab on jobs, we are also able to answer any questions that our customers might have, in real time. If you call the office and inquire about something on your job, we can look up your information immediately and know exactly where things stand.

Future Service Suggestions

Landscaping CRM software also helps us to provide a comprehensive summary of the work you’ve had done and to suggest services that you may not have had done but might want in the future. We’re able to keep close track of our customers’ needs so that we can do a better job serving you. If you mention a service you might be interested in later, we can make a note of it and check back with you in the future. Your wants and needs are never forgotten as we are closely managing them in our database at all times. This is more efficient than the company that scratches a few notes down and forgets about them.

An Accurate Timeline

Landscaping CRM software also helps us to provide clients with an accurate timeline. That’s because we can tell you exactly how long it will be until we can get to your job. There’s nothing worse than being told “we’ll start in two weeks” when it’s really more like “two months.” But some companies truly do not have a good sense of their timeline because they aren’t using software to plan out and track their jobs. That’s something that we are completely on top of.

Continually Improving for You

Though you may not be able to see exactly what’s going on behind the scenes of a company, strong systems show through when customer service is at its best. That’s exactly what we aim for.

These examples are just a few ways that our company is using behind the scenes tools to better serve customers like you. As a company, we believe that it is our duty to continually find ways that we can improve our business to better meet your needs. Technology has been one such solution. CRM for landscapers has helped us to streamline our business and to become more responsive to customer needs. The more in touch we can be with our clients, the better we feel we can serve them.

At the end of the day, that’s really what we’re all about—top-notch customer service. We’ll continue to find ways we can offer it by improving existing systems and striving to be better.

The choice is yours. You could choose a company that doesn’t have good systems in place, and pay the price with a lack of customer service. Your project could grind to a halt because materials were not accurately accounted for. The company could also forget specific requests that you had about your landscape or future services that you might require since they aren’t keeping close tabs on their accounts.

You’ll likely find it’s simply not worth the risk. Choosing a company with a landscaping CRM software will benefit you with the excellent customer service that you receive.

Find out how we can over-deliver on our promises! Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you achieve and maintain a beautiful property!

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New Trends in Landscape Design in 2018 1/12/2018

The landscape design trends for 2018 are all set to emphasize the notion of using gardens to provide homeowners with remarkable pleasure.  This includes growing foods, providing wildlife with a place of refuge, or creating a place to relax and share meals with family and friends. outdoor dining

The New Outdoor Dining

For quite a while, outdoor dining rooms have been conveniently positioned right off the house and close to the kitchen. However, more contemporary dining spaces are often pushed out further into the garden. Although the distance between the new dining space and the kitchen will be farther apart, it is well worth the extra steps.  

The convenience of designing an outdoor dining space right off the kitchen is undeniable.  However, creating a modern, all-inclusive destination inside the landscape will immerse individuals in the ambiance of their surroundings.  This provides a more lavish experience and guests will get to take in more of your beautiful garden.

Below are 3 tips for creating the ultimate destination for outdoor dining:

  • Use special lighting, flooring, and furniture to transform your dining area into a spectacular sanctuary
  • For a lush feeling, surround your outdoor dining space with container and in-ground plants
  • Include a nearby pool, fire pit or other spaces in the landscaping design for pre-dinner and post-dinner entertainment

Making the Most of Your Small Garden

Landscape design specialists love to create function and visual appeal even out of the smallest gardens.  By no means are small gardens a modern phenomenon but remarkable advances have been made in how these spaces are designed.  Recent design trends lend credence to the “less is more” concept.

It is important for everything in a small garden to have numerous uses.  For example, a concrete fire feature would create a bold element running through the space.  It can serve as curb edging for the deck.  Additionally, it can be a planter and collect downspouts of water from the house.  It can provide seating and, of course, it transforms into a fire feature when necessary.

Restoring the Natural Habitat

It is common knowledge in the landscaping industry that the population of bees and butterflies are dwindling.  However, not as many know that frogs, birds, and turtles are also experiencing lost habitats.  Much of the declining habitat has become sprawling suburbs and expanding cities.  These spaces were designed for aesthetics and convenience, without giving much thought to local wildlife.

There is every reason to create beautiful, convenient landscapes that satisfy the requirements of many wildlife creatures.  As such, many homeowners are redesigning their gardens and changing their plant selections to provide better support for local wildlife.  Below are some wonderful ways to create a home habitat:

  • Stop or restrict the use of insecticides
  • Grow both berry-bearing and seed-producing plants
  • Consider replacing your lawn or at least a portion of it

These are just some of the landscape design trends that can be used to add pleasure to your life this year. Contact us or use our Vision Planner to start your new year landscape design project today.

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Tips for Upping Winter Curb Appeal 12/15/2017

It may seem difficult to keep your yard looking great when plants die and damp snow creates mud puddles. But, it is still possible to do some upkeep during the winter season. If you pride yourself on having impeccable landscaping throughout all four seasons of the year, these guidelines will help upkeep your winter curb appeal.

Spruce Up with a Fresh Coat of Paint

Trees are typically bare during the cold months of winter, so the fall and winter seasons provide a clearer view of your property than during the spring and summer. This could more readily reveal chipped or faded paint. As such, giving the exterior of your home a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in significantly enhancing your winter curb appeal.

While painting is possible in the winter, make sure the temperature is above 35° and you choose the correct type of paint.

Manage Snow and Ice

It is essential to ensure that both guests and household members can make it to the front door without encountering any mishaps or suffering any injury.  Slips can be prevented by laying down salt and shoveling regularly to manage ice and snow and clear the walkways, driveway, and stairs of leaves and other debris. This also makes your home and yard look nice and well-kept.

Keep the Lawn Tidy

Even though the grass may have lost its vibrant color, the lawn can still be kept looking neat. Periodically raking and getting rid of leaves and other debris will ensure the lawn is much more aesthetically appealing.

Clean the Gutters

During the fall, rain gutters are usually subjected to the accumulation of leaves. Therefore, it is important to clean out the gutters so they do not detract from the appeal of your property. This is a great opportunity to show that you are on top of exterior home maintenance.  Additionally, cleaning out the gutters will also ensure they function optimally.

Winter Decorations

Whether it is a strategically placed inflatable Santa Claus, elaborate nativity scene, or subtle wintry decorations, you can bring out the beauty of your landscape with some festive decor.  You could also hang a simple wreath on the front door, string small lights around the shrubbery, or neatly stack a pile of firewood against a wall.

Outdoor Lighting

Daylight becomes shorter and shorter during the long, cold months of winter.  Because of this, having suitable outdoor lighting will ensure your home is safer and more visually appealing. Consider using a series of path lights or luminaries to light up the way to the front door. You could also flank the door with decorative and functional lanterns or sconces.

Add Visual Appeal with Seasonal Plants

Evergreen trees are available year-round and are available in more than just shades of green. You can use the Dwarf Blue Spruce and Dwarf Gold Thread Cypress to bring bursts of blue and yellow to the landscape. Pansies, witch hazel, and other cold-resistant plants can also do a great deal to liven up any drab landscape.

These guidelines will help you to ensure your curb appeal does not become frozen in the blistering cold of the winter season. If you have any questions or want a professional for the job, contact us today.

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Cleveland Wedding Venue: Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens 11/21/2017

The process of planning your big day can be stressful. We understand this and want to help make every detail perfect—including the venue. Ideal lighting, eye-catching decor, splendid landscape, and mouthwatering food. At Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens, the goal is to provide you with an experience that will dazzle your friends and family and bring your wedding dreams to life. We have meticulously designed and landscaped the venues to ensure your wedding is perfect and will be a memorable experience for all the years to come.

Cleveland Wedding Venue

The Possibilities Are Endless

Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens entreats you to say “I do” in the captivating backdrop of blossoming roses and lush, green vegetation. The many comforts of our self-contained venues are without limit. You and your guests will be surrounded by our stunning landscapes, gardens, and fine architectural expressions. Also, we offer a full bar, delicious food selections by Hungry Bee Catering, flexible alternatives for small functions, and a groomsmen lounge and bridal suite. Ask about our exceptional seasonal discounts!

The Backdrop

When it comes to taking pictures, you’ll be absolutely spoiled by choice. One of our venues is set with the wonderful backdrop of a rustic oak woodland through which a perennial stream flows unhindered. And, that is only one example—each of our venues offers a unique experience. The creative craftsmanship and “out of this world” landscape designs leave little to the imagination. We have 5 tranquil featured gardens:

  1. The Topiary Garden
  2. The Great Lawn
  3. The Main Terrace
  4. The Bocce Court Garden
  5. The Farm Gardens Collection

Schedule a Tour Today!

We invite you to visit us and tour our facilities. Scheduling a tour is simple— just contact us via phone at 440-543-7777 or complete the inquiry form on our website. Upon arrival, you will be received by one of our dedicated professionals who will then take you on a full site tour. For us, this is a welcome opportunity for us to get an understanding of how you envision your wedding day.

Please be aware that Sapphire Creek is currently under construction, but will be completed next month (December 2017)! You also have the ability to take a virtual tour here.

Pricing and Booking

Pricing is dependent upon on the venue you choose, the number of people who will be in attendance, and the time of the year. That being said, it is important to book a venue early so you can secure the one you want and begin working out a budget.

Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens is the perfect place to begin the rest of your lives as a married couple. Visit us in Chagrin Falls, OH to start planning your big day.

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Fall Projects to Get Your House Ready For Spring 10/12/2017

Your garden has worked hard over the past two seasons and the time is coming to put it to rest. Making the necessary preparation will give it what is required to enjoy a refreshing rest this winter and come back robust and resilient during the spring. Below are some fall projects for spring to help with the preparation:

Weed Control

Identifying and eradicating weeds should be an important part of your landscaping efforts this fall as it will save you a lot of time when spring comes around. Now is a great time for the application of herbicides to broad-leaf weeds. This is particularly true for dandelions and other perennials. The cold weather of winter does not kill these weeds once fall ends. During springtime next year, they will be back. Eradicating them now will make your experience better next year.


You can plant trees and shrubs during the fall. Fall is also the ideal time to plant spring bulbs if you want to enjoy the splendor they will add to your spring landscaping.


There is a common misconception that trees will get all their required irrigation during the long, cold winter months of winter via snowfall. However, there are areas in which soil freezes during the winter. Any water left in that soil becomes ice and is no longer available to plants. Even on a warm day when the snow melts, it may not get down to the roots of the trees. This creates an ‘icy desert’ that could subject your evergreen trees and other parts of the landscaping to winter damage.

For the porch and patio, you can extend their use into the fall and beyond by adding a fire table or fire pit. The décor can also be enhanced with accessories in the seasonal colors of the seasons.

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How to Decorate Your Front Porch for Fall 9/22/2017

OH Valley Fall Porch DecorationsA front porch is a perfect place for fall decorations. With a little creativity and some seasonal items, you can create a beautiful display to enhance your home’s curb appeal. Here are some tips on how to decorate exterior areas in the fall:


Use the Seasonal Harvest

The fall harvest brings a bounty of pumpkins, gourds, and the last of the fresh corn for the year. Tie up colorful dried out corn cobs and large corn stalks to the railings or posts of the porch. Bales of straw can be added to create varying heights and platforms for other decor items. A pile of pumpkins on top of a bale of hay is the perfect way to show off the fall harvest. With natural elements, you can easily display the rich colors and various textures of the season.

Add Colorful Flowers

Mums are the ideal fall flower, so take advantage of their short blooming season. Place mums of different colors in pots on the stairs or at the sides of the doorway. They add a bright pop of color, and come in colorful shades of yellow, orange, and even purple.

Don’t Forget the Lighting

Highlight your beautiful porch display with lighting. Add rustic lanterns to give off a glow. In the evenings, turn on the porch light to attract eyes to your decor. Add candles to the front windows to enhance the charming, rustic look of fall farmhouse. Even modern style homes can have a cozy, country feeling with the right fall decor features.

Fall decor is one of the best ways to add rich colors and textures to your home’s front porch. Take advantage of the bounty of pumpkins, gourds, and colorful mums by creating a charming display for the autumn season. You can easily transition the decor for Halloween and throughout the month of November.

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How to Maintain Landscaping During Hot Days and Cold Nights 8/15/2017

Keeping landscaping great during weather changesTemperature fluctuations can be hard on plants. Hot days followed by cold nights can cause injury to trees that have thin, smooth barks. In addition, fluctuation in temperature could trigger flowering in certain plants and impact how long the flowers last. Fluctuations in temperature and increased moisture level caused by cold nights could also impact the taste of certain fruits and vegetables. As such, it is important to find ways to maintain landscaping during hot days and cold nights.

Below are some tips that can be used to maintain your landscape:

• Select plants that are compatible to the climate and growing conditions of your location. Typically, native plants are well-adapted to the local conditions and can withstand the rigors of temperature fluctuations. In addition, you should choose trees with strong wood or structure to lessen the impact that fluctuation can have on them.
• It is important to keep plants healthy. This is especially because healthy plants have a greater capacity to handle different types of stress.
• Perennials should be mulched and young trees wrapped to safeguard them against the fluctuating temperatures.
• Make sure that an even moisture level is maintained. Water and mulch as required and improve the soil to assist with the retention of moisture.
• If you are located in an area with extremely windy conditions, planting a windbreak might be something you want to think about.
These are some of the methods that can be used in maintaining landscaping during hot days and cold nights. Of course, you have the option of hiring a landscaping professional to help in minimizing the effects of temperature fluctuations.

Remember that regardless of how well-executed your plan is, Mother Nature is still in charge. However, it is important to be aware of weather conditions and do your best to safeguard your landscape.

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The Importance of Irrigation Planning 7/18/2017

The Importance Of Irrigation Planning Ohio Valley Group July 2017One of the most important aspects of landscape design for homeowners to consider is irrigation planning. From choosing the right equipment and sprinklers to setting the amount of water, proper irrigation is essential. If you’re taking the time to do beautiful landscaping on your property, you need to make sure that it’s well watered.

Sprinkler location

The placement of sprinklers has to be carefully considered. Some areas will require more moisture than others, but all plants will need water to thrive. This is especially true during the hot summer months. It’s also important that areas of the lawn don’t receive too much water. Over-watering can turn your lawn and garden into a mud pit. Proper placement of the irrigation system will ensure that landscaping receives the right amount of moisture each day.

Professional installation

Once the placement of the sprinklers is decided upon, they must be professionally installed. This will ensure they function correctly. Irrigation specialists will know where and how to place the piping and sprinklers for your property to look healthy and attractive all year.

Quality equipment

The quality of the irrigation equipment that you install and use is almost as important as the placement. Each landscaping project requires specific types of pipes and sprinklers. An expert design-build team will know which types are ideal for your property and your specific needs. Don’t trust cheap, low quality equipment to function properly. You can maintain the look of your landscaping for years to come with high quality sprinklers.

An experienced and knowledgeable design-build firm will be able to come up with the irrigation plan that’s ideal for your property. You’ve invested in the landscaping to beautify your home, so be sure to invest in the proper irrigation system. Maintain the look of your lawn and gardens throughout the seasons with the right equipment placed in the right areas. Ohio Valley Group can help.

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