The Top 5 Considerations in Hiring a Landscape Designer

By: admin | Posted on: Oct/03/2016

If you’re looking to work with a professional landscape designer for a major overhaul of your home or yard, there are some key considerations to discuss in advance before agreeing to a plan. Here are the top five details to settle before work begins.


1. Lifestyle

Take an honest look at your lifestyle now and for at least the near future. Are you just beginning your family, or have the kids grown and gone and you’re now thinking about downsizing? Consider how much you like to use the space to entertain and how you will use the space year-round. Lastly and most importantly, be honest about the amount of maintenance you’re willing to do. Once you have this picture clearly in mind, be sure you list this out and communicate these goals to your landscape designer.


2. Think Green

As organic gardening becomes more popular and even necessary, your designer should be knowledgeable and able to guide you on options for your lawn, including even false turf if you’re a grass lover or have pets. Also be sure you think about possible water saving features as many parts of the country have long-term issues around this problem.


3. Go Native

Your landscaper should be able to give you good advice on working with native flowers, shrubs and trees. Keep in mind the long-terms needs for soil regeneration and an organic focus on managing pests using integrated methods. A great many plant selections can complement each other toward those goals.


4. Hardscape

The landscape design should always begin first with the hardscape installation, as this is how your yard connects to your home. Be sure you talk through with your designer all of the walls, ponds, patios or decks in detail. Be sure you have good flow throughout the whole yard area with paths, and ample accommodation for proper water drainage and any retaining walls. Lastly, be sure you can envision your personality in the yard with room to accent it with outdoor furniture, fountains and other accents to give it character that’s meaningful for you.

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5. Investment

Your budget needs to be realistic with your end goals. Again, think not just about the immediate work that needs to be done. What other maintenance costs will there be? In choosing your plants, water features, ponds or other elements, think about how will things look five or ten years from now. Before any work begins, your designer should provide you with a written estimate. Be sure this includes all specific details of the work to be done and reasonable time-lines for completion. 

 

Hiring the right landscape designer is a big decision. Making sure that all of the above clearly agreed to will insure you have a successful landscaping project that improves the value of your properly and gives you and your family a place to enjoy for years to come. Posted by Jean Widner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a spectacular fall garden with mums

By: admin | Posted on: Sep/27/2016

 

Fall Garden Style

 

The autumn season marks the wonderful change in foliage colors! It also often marks the loss of your beautiful spring and summertime flowers. This should not discourage you from adding exciting color to your garden setting. In fact, your fall garden can explode with beautiful colors, and the most popular fall flower is the chrysanthemum, often called the “mum”. These plants are relatively low maintenance, drought resistant, disease and pest resistant and easy to grow!

 
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Mums are the perfect way to decorate your garden setting for the autumn season. To add the most interest to your garden, it’s best to purchase a variety of colors and sizes. Consider placing them in decorative pots and urns out in your yard, on your porches and patios, they can even be used indoors!

 

The best part about mums is they can be wintered through and return the following year, making them a cost effective plant. Just be sure to lay down mulch to protect it against freezing winter temperatures. Once the frosts have turned it a blackened color, you can cut the mum back to within one inch of the soil level. , To protect your plant from the harsh winter temperatures, mulch the area at a level of 3-4 inches deep.

 

Spring and Summer Care

 

The plants should begin to reemerge in the following spring, at this time remove any old stems. Begin feeding the plant with fertilizer once a month until August. Pinch off the plants in early spring, as this will encourage the plant to bush out. When the plant reaches 4-6 inches, remove 1-2 inches of the new growth back. After this, once the plant has grown another 3-5 inches, you can pinch it back again, by 1-2 inches. Pinching should cease in mid-July. This tedious task will be greatly rewarding in the fall when your mums are a stunning bush with robust beautiful flowers. Every two years in the spring, divide your mums to keep them healthy.

 

Mums add wonderful flair to your fall décor. When paired with pumpkins and scarecrows, your garden will be the envy, and possibly copied, by all your neighbors! Mums are a hardy plant, that is perfect for adding color during the fall season! Posted by Jean Widner.

The Best Ways to Use Garden Statuary

By: admin | Posted on: Sep/18/2016

Add character and a personal touch to your outdoor living spaces with garden statuary. You can use them as a design focal point to draw the eye, or help create a specific atmosphere. To help give your area the feel you desire, consider the following ideas in selecting your items.


s-288-pd-168__23630-1380830290-1280-12801. Less is More

If you’re looking for one specific focal point to function as a piece of art in the garden, give it drama by landscaping the area around it. If the item warrants it, consider using a pedestal to visually raise up a smaller piece. To use the landscape around it, plant shrubs or flowers in a circular or other formal arrangement in the yard, making sure no taller plantings block the view.


2. Pick a Theme

If you are looking to create a personal space to reflect an interest, such as a Zen-style Asian collection, then there are many styles to choose from. Religious themes are abundant, as well as angels and other items to reflect upon. Other ideas can be to create a gnome village with our selection of gnomes, gnome homes, and gnome features. Grouping these garden statuary items together will create an interesting or humorous focal point for all who view it.


s_359_s_357_s_358_s_s361__52505-1380830883-1280-12803. Color Grouping

If you’re looking to collect a number of different items together, then keep the area from looking dis-jointed by choosing statuary that is all from the same company and colors. This will keep your statuary cohesive and not distracting, allowing your eye to rest easily on each piece in the garden but able to still view the area as a whole.


4. Againg Your Statuary

Many concrete and cast stone statues come in different colors or patinas to help give them an aged look in the garden. However, if that isn’t enough or you have an existing piece you wish to create this effect with, here’s how:


Create a moss appearance by mixing together one part clay, one part fresh chopped up moss, one part diluted fish emulsion, and three parts water. This solution can then be painted onto the statues. The moss will stay here, and begin to grow, as the fish emulsion will feed the moss.


5. Personalized or Memorials

Creating a space to honor a loved one can be very rewarding. Think of plants or trees to incorporate that were meaningful to that person, or help you remember them fondly. There are options to create a personally engraved bench or plaque as a memorial. Garden statuary can be selected for a favorite lost pet. Analyze the overall balance of any and all items used in one area to keep it peaceful and restful.

 

Enjoy the beauty a statuary focal point or scene will bring to your garden setting. These exciting ideas can help give you the garden look that you have been hoping for. Posted by Jean Widner.

Birdbaths Give You Birds All Year Long

By: admin | Posted on: Sep/13/2016

Water is the key element to attracting birds into your landscape

Water will draw birds into your yard for bathing and drinking. Birds rely on a dependable water source to survive. Birdbaths are a decorative way to draw in wild birds, creating an ornamental feature for your setting at the same time. A birdbath, in conjunction with bird feeder and homes, is the perfect way to attract birds!

 

The best birdbaths to choose are small and shallow baths that actually mimic naturally forming “bird baths”, like puddles. These are the best type because they are not too deep, as some cast stone birdbaths can be. Also, glazed birdbaths are a concern, as they are often too slippery. Look for a bath that is easy to clean and will not break easily. Make sure it has a gentle slope and is shallow so birds can wade into the water and bathe safely.

 

b-128__98494-1377610086-1280-1280Birds prefer baths that are at ground level

However, this also creates safety issues for our feathered friends. If a birds feathers get too wet they cannot fly off if danger approaches. The biggest risk to ground level bird baths is cats. If there are cats that ravel around in your neighborhood, you may want to consider placing the bath in place near bushes or trees so the birds can easily escape to safety. They should also be placed in the shade, as direct sunlight can cause the water to warm and grow stale. It may even be a good idea to set some small stones or gravel in the bath to provide for more secure footing. This creates a place to stand that is not directly in the water.

 

Birdbaths do not need to be put away in the winter

In fact, birds need the reliable water source all year long! You can consider including a heating element to your fountain, but ice will not deter the birds from drinking. Birds are able to garner water from ice, icicles, and even snow. In the winter, consider placing large rocks in the basin, or long sticks over the bath to prevent the birds from bathing in freezing temperatures, allowing them to only drink.

 

Many birdbaths come with temperature controlled settings. Or you can consider and immersion heater for your existing birdbath. Just be sure to never add antifreeze to your birdbath, as this is poisonous, and can kill the birds. If they bath in this substance it can cause matting of there wings, not allowing them to fly, causing hypothermia and death as well.

 

For the winter months, do not keep the bath totally full. However, fill the birdbath often, especially in the summer, as the heat can cause evaporation. It is also a good idea to change the water frequently; this keeps it fresh and clean, and curbs the growth of algae in the bath. It will also keep mosquitoes from laying their larvae in the baths. If any of these substances do begin to grow, the bath will need emptied and thoroughly cleaned with running water and a stiff brush. Changing the water daily will also keep the bath free of bird dropping or dirty feathers that result from the birds.

 

Birdbaths are a great way to draw in the local wildlife and with a little extra care and maintenance can be used all year long. This will keep the birds in your setting, because they have a constant supply of water! Posted by Jean Widner.

 

How to choose the right fountain

By: admin | Posted on: Sep/05/2016

When looking for a fountain for your patio, learning about what types of fountains are best for your space, will help set you on the path to find your perfect outdoor water feature! Here are the top five things to consider in making your choice.


ft-17__09070-1377630953-1280-12801. Fountain Design

First look at your overall landscape and consider why you want a water feature. Ask yourself these questions: Is it meant to be the centerpiece of the design or an accent? What is the space used for? If you like to entertain, consider the flow of your space and what it will be like when others are gathered. Noise level should also be factored in. If you are looking to use the sound of water to add ambience or drown out other unpleasant sounds such as traffic, for example, then you’ll want to choose a fountain style that accomplishes those goals.


2. Weight

The next thing you should consider that many people overlook is the weight of the fountain. Your patio may not be able to handle the weight of a heavy cast stone or concrete fountain. You may then need to consider fiberglass fountains, which are much lighter in weight. It is important to remember that wood patios hold less weight then concrete patios.   To calculate the weight per square foot, use this format: measure the base, in inches, divided by the inches per foot and multiple by two. This will give you the area of the base. You can then use the total weight of the fountain; divide it by the base in inches of the fountain to determine what the weight per square foot is. Determining the fountain you have chosen can be supported properly by your patio or deck in an essential step before ordering.


3. Overall size and shape

Once you determine which weight is correct for your patio, you should next look at the overall size. Depending on your landscape, you may determine that you want it to be the focal point; if so, you’ll want a much larger water feature. If you are unsure, you should review the dimensions of the fountain, both the height and overall shape. Choosing fountains with basins may not be an optimal choice if you have a small area. For example, a tall, tiered fountain over four feet in height may create the wrong optical appearance for a small backyard. Or, if you have a wall or corner area, consider using this space. There are many styles of wall-fountains which are designed to be set against, or hung, on a wall.


ft-119__52888-1377630950-1280-12804. Focal point

Consider thin, tiered fountains if the style will be a centerpiece of the design. These fountains will create tiers of cascading water that will be very appealing to the eye and ear. If you have a small area for your fountain, pot-style fountains, which are round and smaller in size, would be a smart decision. If you are just looking for an accent piece, you may find the terrace sized fountains such as Campania Internationals mini-series fountains can add an element of water flowing while keeping the size in check.


5. Splash

The last thing you should consider is the splash of the fountain. All fountains will splash outside of their barrier, to some degree. If the water is landing on a surrounding area such as a patio, then the walking surface may become slippery. If you desire minimal splash, you should consider urn fountains which bubble and cascade down the sides of a fountain, versus multi-tiered fountains, which will have a higher level of splash. Adding flow restrictors onto fountain tubing will help cut down on the water that will flow to the top of the pump. Remember though to also keep in mind your original goals. The amount of sound your fountain makes is determined in part by the amount of splash one has.

 

Once you’ve determined what will work best for your home, lifestyle and needs, adding a fountain or water feature on your patio or deck can be a wonderful choice . Posted by Jean Widner.

 

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