As the days lengthen and get warmer, homeowners begin turning their thoughts to their outdoor living spaces. Those areas can take a beating during winter, necessitating a springtime cleanup in order to get the space ready for summer entertaining. Now is the time to assess what needs to be done, while the weather is warm enough, but well before you’ll use your patio daily. By following these tips now, you’ll ensure that your patio will be bright and inviting for the coming season.
Trim Dead Branches and Sweep. Prune broken or dead branches from bushes and trees near your patio and sweep away leaves prior to washing the area to make the job easier.
Whisk Away Dirt and Grime. Winter winds can bring mud, leaves and other debris onto your patio. Chances are your furniture, if left outside, also is looking dingy. One of the first things that patio lovers should do is thoroughly clean the patio surface with a hose and broom. Mix dish washing soap with warm water in bucket and then spray furniture with a hose. Scrub chairs and sofa with a nylon scrub brush and then thoroughly rinse. Let the furniture dry off in the grass. You may need to wipe water that gets trapped in metal supports. Select a sunny day for your work to speed drying time. If the patio surface or furniture is particularly grimy, consider using a power washer.
Assess Lighting. If you have permanent outdoor lighting, check to see that all fixtures are working. Like greenery, some may not have survived the winter. Spring is a good time to replace old bulbs with more efficient LED fixtures or even replace them with solar Tiki torches that will add a bit of fun to your outdoor festivities. If you use overhead light strands, make sure that all bulbs are working.
Planters. Wooden planters fall apart after several years. Discard questionable ones and check for cracks in ceramic containers. Replace as appropriate.
Food and Beverage. Light your grill to ensure that it is working properly and clean the grates before the year’s first barbecue. Consider adding an outdoor beverage center than can double as storage to make entertaining more enjoyable.
The warmer weather of spring usually brings homeowners outside to perform exterior spring cleaning. Spring time is an excellent season to remove dead growth from perennials, bush and trees. The harsh months of winter, however, can necessitate complete tree removal of dying or diseased trees or when trees have become partially uprooted because of floods. Removing a tree is dangerous work, especially if the tree in question is large.
One of the most important safety tips to remember in tree removal is to exercise caution around the tools used to remove dead and dying trees, including chainsaws, wood chippers and even manual tools such as axes. Always exercise caution around these tools with their sharp edges.
Anyone removing trees should wear proper safety equipment, including a helmet and face shield or safety goggles to guard against falling or flying debris. Heavy gloves and protective clothing made of Kevlar that covers the extremities are also essential to help avoid or reduce injuries. Workers should even consider wearing ear protection to avoid damage to the inner ear that can occur after repeated exposure to chainsaws.
One of the biggest hazards to tree removal is climbing up on ladders, particularly for very large trees. Upper extremities must be lopped off first. Weak limbs at as bad support systems leading to falls. Always make sure that the limbs chosen can support the required weight.
Another hazard involving tall trees are electrical lines. When removing high tree branches that are near electrical wires. Electrocution is a very real possibility when the proper steps are not taken. In addition, never let spectators into the immediate area as you never know what will happen.
Felling the Tree.
Another huge hazard occurs when the tree in question is finally brought done. Trees, especially those that are large, often do not fall the way that even seasoned professionals think will happen. Always be ware of where tree trunks may fall as they will not always fall where you think. Make sure that no one is in the immediate area so no mishaps will occur.
The best course of action is to let professionals do the job. Contact Ohio Valley Group for safe and efficient tree removal.
With a new year comes new trends, and landscape is no exception. Check out our list of the biggest landscape trends for 2016.
Landscape for Health: Scientific studies have consistently proven that trees, flowers, plants, birds and nature overall, increase health and wellness for self, society and the planet. Plants are clean air filters, oxygen machines and wellness prescriptions. Trees absorb 1/5 of carbon emissions, reduce electricity consumption and increase mental health.
Pops of Color: This year, trending color palettes- ranging from vintage and muted rustic to teal and pink- show off personality in plants, flowers and outdoor products. Pops of exploding color like pink and teal give a fun, fresh and vibrant feel. Pink and teal [or turquoise] complement each other wonderfully. Conversely, rustic and natural color palettes create a vintage, homey feel. Light pastels and faded denim evoke feelings of comfort and give a re-imagined contemporary look.
Outside Entertainment: In 2016, the party is moving outside! “Garden-tainment” is the new buzzword for 2016. Think outdoor televisions and music systems; outdoor lighting to keep the party going outdoor living, cooking and entertainment areas.
Compact and Low-Maintenance Plants: No-fuss cacti and succulents are ideal for consumers who seek attractive, low-maintenance plants. Tiny and easy to grow succulents in bold containers are ideal.
Bed-Head Gardens: Purposefully un-styled outdoor spaces intentionally designed by working within the natural landscape creates an effortless but beautiful landscape with an “anything goes” attitude. Create “bed-head” meadows and natural habitats by using native plants to increase diversity, balance and ecosystems. Native plants require less water and fertilizer because they are well adapted to the local climate.
Create an “Agri-Hood”: Edibles incorporated into the landscape provide not only beauty but health, farm-to-table food. Take this trend to the next level with custom chicken-coops and bee-keepers.
LED’s Rule the Landscape: Enhancing outdoor spaces with lighting is increasingly popular and the use of color-changing lighting is becoming more common place. LED products offer better architectural integrations and concealment, offer less maintenance due to their longer rated life.
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.
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.
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
Are 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.
When 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
When 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.