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...

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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...

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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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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...

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Guide to Water Features – What’s the Best Option for Your Space?

5/18/2018

The addition of water features to your outdoor spaces can increase the beauty of your outdoor landscaping design and add a welcoming atmosphere for your guests. The harmonious sounds of water singing as it flows along has a great way of relaxing people. We love the ambiance that water features create in an outdoor space. Sitting outdoors listening to a water feature helps you relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. Read our recommendations below to get inspired and find the best water feature for your landscape! Reflection Pools and Ponds to Promote Relaxation Are you looking to create a natural-looking, relaxing atmosphere? Still water ponds or reflection pools can offer a perfect place for deep thoughts and intimate conversations. These areas are easy to incorporate into any type of home or business landscape. You can make these pools of water ground-level to mimic natural water ponds, or with stone or brick foundations in yards lacking a natural water spring. Furthermore, these reflection pools or still water ponds look sensational surrounded by lush plant life that can draw in local birds, colorful butterflies and other nearby wildlife. Waterfalls that Create Outdoor Ambiance If you have naturally hilly or inclined areas of your backyard, you may want to consider transforming a portion of your outdoor property into a sparkling waterfall. Traditionally, waterfalls offer a striking visual focal point while creating an outdoor ambiance that’s almost bewitching. A skilled and talented landscape expert can make use of natural property high places to add downward flowing cascades of gushing water. This looks terrific with any style of landscape design. You can enjoy these larger water projects from farther distances as well. This is perfect when viewed from indoor picture windows and upper level balconies. It’s a great way to differentiate your landscape from the “average” and make your neighbors envious! Magnificent Rock Garden Water Ideas If you don’t have the necessary room for a large waterfall, you can still get some of the same inspirational effect by trickling water through a rock garden. These can run gracefully over and through a colorful back or side yard rock garden. Having staggered levels of natural rocks and artistically planted colorful bursts of flowers enhances the feeling of being immersed in a cool, shady forest retreat....

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