All About Home and Garden Month

4/25/2019

The Ohio Valley Group is dedicated to supporting you in creating the landscape of your dreams. It seems Spring is here (the coat of yellow pollen is a sure sign), and the plants are ready to grow! Are you ready for yard work? Do you have what you need? Is your yard the yard you’ve always wanted? Where can you improve? Let’s get our hands dirty and come up with some exciting projects this month! How Can You Improve The Space? A cool way to go about this is to walk through your yard and take photos of areas that you dislike or find boring. Start asking yourself, “what makes these areas boring?”. After you find some answers, the next question is “What can I do to make them awesome?”. These questions will start your creative juices flowing so that you can easily find better solutions. Start to look online for some inspiration from other people and see what they did. This is a brilliant way to get closer to your vision of the yard you want. You now have photos of the areas you like less, so be sure to use those for reference and start picturing cool new ways to innovate the landscape. Oh, and remember to have fun! What Yard Projects Are There? Sometimes people don’t know where to start when landscaping or even what constitutes landscaping! This can feel overwhelming, but have faith, it doesn’t have to be so complicated so let’s go over some simple landscaping ideas you can do now! Flower bed border- This is a super simple idea that adds a lot of life to your existing flower bed. Simply start putting a stone of your choice around your flower bed, and Voilà, you now have a flower bed that looks 10x more appealing. This also saves a lot of money, and you might even be able to start this today! Hiding your AC unit- This takes a little more work but all you need is some wood and nails, and start hammering your planks together to create a box around your AC unit. Leave some cracks and plenty of space between the wood and the AC so that it doesn’t affect its function. Garden hose home- Similar to the AC unit, build your hose...

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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...

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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...

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Landscaping Ideas for Smaller Yards

4/18/2018

In most parts of the country, Spring is either here, or just around the corner. It is the perfect time to start thinking about sprucing up your yard. Spring is the time for planting flowers, buying birdbaths, and creating a space for outdoor living. You don’t have to have a huge yard, though, to have a beautiful one. Today, we will be taking a look at some of the different types of landscaping you can do even in smaller yards, that will give you that beautiful backyard oasis you have always wanted. Gardens When people think about beautifying their backyard (or front yard) the first things that come to mind are beautiful flowers. Whether you have a green thumb or just wish you did, gardening is the best way to start landscaping. Gardening can be a bit difficult, though, for houses or business with a smaller yard. You want the flowers, sure, but where can you put them? One way to pack in more flowers is to split them up. Feel free to choose between one large garden or several smaller flower beds around the yard. You can have some tulips along the foundation of the house, and a patch of marigolds surrounding the birdbath. Alternatively, you could create moveable gardens, by planting seeds or adult plants in planters. You can buy these at any hardware store, and place them anywhere you want in your yard. Walkways Another great way to dress up a small yard is to add a walkway. These paths can lead from the house to the street or lead visitors through the beautiful garden you created. These paths can be made of stone, brick, or other sturdy materials, and can be quickly put in by landscaping experts or even someone with extensive DIY skills. A beautiful walkway has the capability of making a yard look less like just a green space, and more like a sophisticated, well-kept place to commune with nature.  Patios A patio is an excellent addition to any backyard. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, patios can give you, your family, and your guests a place to sit and enjoy the outdoors. Landscapers can create patios in nearly any shape or size imaginable, which will assure you that it...

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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. 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...

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