Outdoor Living Tips In 2016 1/10/2016

Outdoor Living Tips In 2016

When you decide to add, increase or refurbish your outdoor living space, as many homeowners do in a new year, the first consideration is not just how well the area will look, but how it will function. As with any important project, you will want to start with a plan. Write down everything you would like to enjoy yourself and make available to friends and family. Walk around the property and try to envision the way it should look and feel once it is completed. Do not worry at this point if it can be done, because your plans and ideas will change as you get more involved. The following outdoor living tips will help you with your decisions.
Consider Landscaping:

Proper landscaping would be the first part of the project. Deciding on the number and placement of walkways, as well as seating areas will depend on the space you have available.

Selecting plants and flowers that are compatible wth the general area is another important element. The placement of trees or shrubs make a difference in allowing shade or sun at certain times of the day in the sitting areas.

Stone and Brick:

The walkways do not have to be elaborate inlaid brick or special stone, but should be well thought out to reduce maintenance, as well as fit into your budget. Placing inexpensive material on walking areas will avoid the need for mowing or trimming grass.

Flowers are a great way to make an outdoor area come alive with color and gives a very inviting and welcoming feel to the property.

Check fences, sheds and other outbuildings for repairs or paint, as a fresh coat of paint makes quite a difference in appearance.

If you have a porch, you will want to continue your outdoor plans by choosing quality outdoor furniture and plants that make a delightful area and extend your outdoor living in the new year. Make it as compatible as possible with your indoor space and the general look and feel of your home.

Professional Help:

Once you have an idea of what you would like to accomplish, contact a professional landscaping company for advice. Their experts have the ability to bring your dreams to life

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How To: Use Your Outdoor Space For Holiday Entertaining 12/22/2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 11.19.24 AMAre you planning on organizing parties and gatherings for your friends, relatives, and office colleagues in this holiday season? Read ahead for some interesting tips that will help you incorporate your home’s outdoor space in your party plans.

Create a Landscaped Outdoor Space: Landscaping can transform an ordinary backyard into a cool and classy extension of your stylishly-designed home. A well-maintained landscaped garden will provide that much-needed natural look and feel to your modern home.

Moving your divan outdoors or placing a few chairs around a small bonfire will create a warm and roomy ambience. Add a few trees or simply install a natural pergola or pavilion to give your guests a glimpse of the joys of outdoor living.

Transform the Mood with Stylish Outdoor Décor: A cartoon-themed décor with colored ribbons, balloons, and other accessories will be a great way to organize your child’s birthday party during the holidays. Planning on inviting your colleagues? Muted lighting and wooden furniture will create a classy and sophisticated feel where your guests can relax and have a great time. For your traditional holiday season party for the entire family, you can simply spread a few rugs and throw in numerous soft pillows and cushions that relaxed and homely feel under the clear skies.

Unleash your Imagination: Holidays present the perfect opportunity for you to let your imagination run riot. If you want to give your guests something really interesting to talk about, then you can opt for pond-less waterfall or a rustic bubbler in your patio. The mesmerizing sight of a waterfall coming out of thin air will definitely pique the curiosity of your guests and liven up your party.

Cater to the Senses: Transform a small backyard into an aromatic garden by combining flowers and herbs with scented candles sprinkled throughout the outdoor space. Catering to the senses will distract attention from the fact that you don’t have a lot of outdoor living space. The lights and scents will help you incorporate the outdoor space into your party even if you don’t plan on seating your guests outdoors.

From creating ecospaces with the help of professional landscaping firms to decorating the outdoors on your own—explore all available options to create a memorable experience for your guests during the holidays.

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The Importance of Snow & Ice Management 11/18/2015

res-snow-mang-2When you own or manage a property, commercial snow and ice management is essential during the winter months. The Ohio Valley Group has the equipment and expertise to do the job correctly, each and every time.

Safety. Winter weather conditions can cause safety issues. You do not want your customers or employees to slip and fall on icy sidewalks. Driveways and parking lots can be hazardous if snow and ice are allowed to accumulate. Our snow plow and other removal equipment can clear dangerous ice and snow from around your business. Everyone who drives or walks in the area will be safe.

Convenience. Unexpected weather conditions occur frequently in this area. It can be difficult to get in and out of the building, and in and out of the parking lot. You need a snow removal service that can do the job on short notice. You do not have to close your office when a storm occurs unexpectedly. Our 24 hour service means convenience for everyone in the workplace.

Tips For A Safe Work Environment. Snow and ice management is a job for the experts. It is not a do-it-yourself project. First, business owners do not have the right equipment to do the job properly and effectively. Second, snow and ice removal can result in an accident if you are not trained and experienced. Your own safety is a concern, and you do not want to risk ruining expensive equipment because you do not know how to use it correctly.

It is easier, safer, and smarter to hire us for snow and ice management. Whether winter conditions occur before your business is open in the morning, during the day when employees or customers are indoors, or after everyone has left for the evening, we can provide the service you need.

Winter does not have to mean slip and fall accidents, dangerous parking areas, or inconvenience for everyone at your workplace. We can remove ice and snow at any time of the day or night. You can have confidence knowing your property is safe, because we are available whenever you need us.

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Falling In Love With Your Fall Landscaping 9/3/2015

10626338_915615208467553_1829174627068323120_oThe autumn brings some much needed changes to the weather, as well as to landscaping. It’s an important time of the year to prepare the lawn and garden for the next growing season. Here are some helpful fall landscaping tips to help homeowners fall in love with their property this autumn:

Yard Clean Up. The changing colors of the leaves are pleasant to look at, but soon enough, they end up coloring the lawn and garden, as well. While it may not sound like an enjoyable task, it is necessary to do a yard clean up in the fall. Take the time to rake up leaves, small branches, and other debris that may have settled in flower beds and across the lawn. They can either be bagged up, or left by the curb for pickup, depending on the community’s procedures.

Add Color. Plant some fall perennials for bursts of rich, bright colors in flower beds and along walkways. Just because the spring and summer are over doesn’t mean that the flower beds should be left alone. Some of the best options are Mums, Hostas, Inulas, and ferns, to name a few. These plants will add beauty and enhance curb appeal.

Remove Dying Plants. Take the time to remove any dead or dying plants. When left as they are, they take away from the curb appeal, so it’s best to just get them out of the ground. Remove any annuals that have died off, and cut back perennials and grasses that have died. Just don’t prune any plants in the fall, as pruning encourages growth, and plants should remain dormant for the duration of the cold season. Aim to tidy up flower beds and give them a cleaned up look. This will also make it easier to get started next spring.

The fall is an important time to tend to landscaping. By following these simple tips, you’ll fall in love with the look of your property in every season. Take the time to prepare for the winter, and ensure that your home has a well maintained appearance throughout the winter months.

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Benefits of Tree Pruning 8/6/2015

Why is it good to prune your trees? Many different benefits make this popular landscaping service a worthy investment:

It looks good.

This first reason to trim your trees is simply that you can form your trees and make them grow in ways that are visibly pleasing. The difference between a messy landscape and a clean, beautiful one could be simply the structure of the trees.

It’s safe.

Controlling the structure of the trees reduces any unbalanced growth that may cause them to fall easily in heavy weather. Trimming and pruning while trees are still young can prevent any hazards that are costly to fix.

It’s good for the trees.

Even though it sounds like a painful process for the trees to go through, in the long run, the trees actually turn out healthier and cleaner. Pruning prevents decay and fungi, and the cleared-out spaces allow more fresh air to flow through the leaves.

When’s the best time to prune?

While it may come as a surprising fact to many, the best time to have your trees pruned is during winter. The frozen ground allows for greater access for large machinery that may otherwise sink in soft ground; the lack of foliage allows for greater visibility to see and address problem spots; and since the tree is dormant, the wounds will heal before the growing season in spring. Another perk to pruning in winter is that insects, which could cause infection in the newly exposed areas, are inactive.

Big trees vs. small trees.

Smaller trees actually handle pruning better than a large tree would. A tree’s live cells only exist a few inches under the bark so a small tree is made up of mostly live cells, allowing it to adapt and regrow faster. When dealing with larger trees, don’t cut a branch more than 6 inches wide. Otherwise rot and infection could set in. Hiring a professional to do the job would be the safest way to ensure that your trees are pruned correctly and without any harm done to the tree.

Pruning your trees can greatly benefit your property—its beauty, its safety, and its health.


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11133987_1076471915715214_7666254604008273390_oThe sweet smell of freshly cut grass is summer.   That particular smell – over and above the intoxicating scents of blooming crabapple and lilacs—brings on an immediate sense of peace and well-being.

I generally believed this effect was because the smell conjured up childhood memories of playing outside. Most of us can recall the universal parental rule to “play outside until the street lights come on”. There were no structured activities and we were left to the standard games of “kick the can” or “ghosts in the graveyard” or some other game imagined up.

My belief is probably scientifically incorrect. Australian researchers have discovered that the chemical that is released when grass is cut makes people feel relaxed and happy. In fact, these researchers claim that this chemical can prevent the mental decline often associated with aging. The Times of India similarly reported that the chemistry in a pleasing odor, such as freshly cut grass, can alter gene expression in the brain and reduce aggression, calm the nerves and sharpen the mind.

On all fronts, imagined and scientific, the smell of freshly cut grass is good for you. Unfortunately, this is not so true for the grass. The same odor that calms our nerves and relaxes us is actually a distress call from the grass itself. The calming odor we enjoy so much is actually a chemical defense called green leaf volatiles [GLVs] that the grass emits in an attempt to save itself from the injury you have just inflicted upon it.

As the French writer, Alexandre Dumas stated, “there is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state to another, nothing more.” So the next time you inhale a deep breathe of freshly cut grass and enjoy the flashback to childhood memories and the rush of well-being that floods you, give silent thanks to the grass.



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Is Your Lawn Happy? 6/4/2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 1.15.17 PMWhen I think of lawns, I think of bare feet, slip-n-slides and four leaf clovers.  I think of lawn chairs, cold lemonade, small children and puppies. I think about hammocks gently rocking in the wind and the click-click of a sprinkler. The scent of freshly cut grass is intoxicating and is the essence of summer.

This year’s erratic weather combining the fourth wettest June on record followed by a heat wave with tropical-like humidity, has been brutal on lawns [as well as shrubs and trees].  The weather this season is causing many lawns to look like a teenager with acne–breaking out with random brown patches [which are actually a fungal growth].  Some lawns appear zombie-like, suffering from slime mold.  Slime mold can also be found in landscape beds [where it looks like a yellow blob of dog vomit].  Dollar spot sounds like a good deal until you realize it is actually a fungal disease that makes your lawn look like a green shirt covered in bleach stains.  Red thread sounds pretty until your lawn looks like a Christmas ornament.

However, all is not lost.  There is time to repair the damage – and still enjoy your lawn.  In fact, August is a great time to address the problems that are now evident in lawns, trees and shrubs.  

Many times, lawn repair is all that is necessary to remedy any of the lawn issues. When disease has run rampant, however, re-seeding a lawn is likely the best remedy.  The best time for re-seeding is generally August through October.  

Another secret weapon to achieving a healthy lawn is aerification.  Aerification is a method of loosening up compacted soil by removing plugs of soil, allowing water penetration and the exchange of air in the soil with fresh air and water.  It also helps break up thatch and improves the uptake and utilization of fertilizer applications.

Trees and shrubs are also under tremendous stress from this year’s weather conditions.  You may have noticed some yellowing of the leaves and excessive leaf drop. This is caused by excessive moisture in the soil. One of the most effective methods to rejuvenate stressed trees and shrubs is vertical mulching.  Vertical mulching opens up poor soils to get air and fertilizer to the roots.  It also drains away salts and gets rid of toxic gases.  It also allows for more effective fertilization.  


Keep your lawn happy and enjoy the memories you make this summer.


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