What Are the Common Driveway Paving Options? Do You Have the Right One for Your Home?

Interlocking Pavers

Your driveway is the first thing you see as you turn your car into your home and the last thing you see in the mirror as you drive away. It is also the first thing visitors see and its appearance will have a major impact on the impression your home creates on them. Using the right paving material is important not just because of the look you want to create but also in terms of being durable and budget-friendly.

Concrete

This is among the most common paving materials. It is popular because it is tough and durable and requires little or no maintenance. On the downside, it is quite expensive and for many people, is not the most attractive material. Concrete is also not environmentally friendly as it blocks the essential passage of rainwater into the ground and instead causes it to flow into drains and sewers.

Paver Installation Near Me San Jose

Asphalt

Asphalt is a combination of rock, sand and cement and is another common driveway material. If installed correctly, it can give a smooth, clean look to the driveway. Since it is flexible, it is less prone to weather or stress-related cracking. It is also cheaper than concrete. However, asphalt can become very hot in summer and will need to be resealed every few years. It is the least environmentally friendly option.

Gravel

Gravel is a cost-effective paving option. If properly compacted it creates a stable surface but depending on the amount of traffic it carries, it usually has to be regraded every few years. In coldclimates with winter snow, clearing the driveway can be difficult because the gravel tends to stick to the snow being removed. Comprising of crushed stones and rocks, this is an environmentally friendly option that also allows rainwater to sink into the soil.

Also Read: Why Should You Hire an Expert When Installing Interlocking Stones?

Brick

This is a common paving material that is known for its durability and easy installation. However, bricks start to show dirt and wear after a few months and need to be pressure washed to remove the stains. After the washing, the surface has to be resealed. This is a hassle and can be expensive. Bricks are environmentally friendly and if properly laid, rainwater runoff will not be a problem.

Paving Stones

Paving stones can last for a century and the variety of shapes, colors and styles available makes interlocking pavers the best choice for driveways. Made of granite and other tough stones, they can add immensely to the curb appeal of a home. They are impervious to rain, snow and heat damage and cleaning paving stones is easy. Being natural stones taken from quarries, these are very environmentally friendly. Knowing which material to use for a driveway requires expert knowledge of the materials, climate and soil conditions. The person best qualified to give you the best advice and also carry out expert installation is a landscaping professional. Search for paver installation near me to get started on installing the right driveway for your home.

What Are Some Good Landscaping Ideas for Small Yards?

A common misconception among people with small yards is that there is very little scope for landscaping and that anything they do will make the space seem crowded and so even smaller. They think keeping it bare and open will give it a bigger feel. The reality is that it will not. The key to landscaping a small yard is to add appeal and utility without making it feel small and cramped. This can be achieved by defining different spaces – the totality of the different spaces will give the yard a larger feel.

best landscaping near me

Not sure how to go about it? Here are a few ideas to think about.

  • Turn the yard into a destination by putting in a small patio, grilling area, fire pit, fountain or anything that gives the yard a sense of being out in the open while adding another feature to the home.
  • Think about defining different spaces – a dining area, a play space or a small entertaining lounge. Use plants, shrubs, pathways, pavers, lighting and so on to create different spaces. Keep the separators as simple as possible so that while the different spaces are defined, they flow into one another to create an open feel. Many flagstone walkway idea scan be used for creating the separation.
  • With neighbors close by, a fence around the yard may seem to make sense – it gives you some privacy. However, not having a fence will make the area seem larger. Whether this is viable or not depends on what your neighbors are like and how much privacy you need.
  • If you want trees in the yard, go in for those that grow tall and narrow and not squat and broad. This will minimize the amount of space the trees eat up.
  • Creating different levels will really open up the yard. A terraced yard will look much larger than it actually is because the vertical separation will add to the horizontal feeling of openness. The different levels will also be great for defining the division of spaces and uses in the yard.
  • When it comes to outdoor furniture, think slim. Large and bulky chairs and tables will eat up a lot of space. Small furniture will make the yard appear larger, especially if it has a see-through design or uses glass which increases the line of sight, thus making the yard appear larger.
  • Where possible, use curves when laying out flower beds and walkways. The curves will add depth to the space making it appear larger.

Also Read: Using Reclaimed Wood in your Yard

Balancing the look of a landscape, the usability of the yard and the limited space available is the key to creating a great landscape in a small yard. The ideal way to get this done is to consult a professional landscaper who will have the artistic sensibilities and professional expertise to maximize the use of the available space and give you a landscaped yard that you can be proud of and enjoy being in. One quick way of getting this done is to search for the “best landscaping near me.”

Is Flagstone Good for a Walkway?

When it comes to walkways, the popular options are concrete, tiles or stone. Concrete has its advantages – it is flat, smooth, durable and, if done properly, neat, clean and well proportioned. It is the last part that many homeowners dislike. Being neat, clean and well proportioned can often end up looking sterile, characterless and manufactured (not a good thing when it comes to adding value to a landscape). Tiled walkways remind many homeowners of their bathrooms and kitchens which is not the look they want for their gardens. That is why so many people look for flagstone walkway ideas to add aesthetic appeal to their gardens. While flagstones are a great option, there are pros and cons that you need to consider before making a decision on your walkway.

Flagstone Walkway Ideas

The Pros

  • Flagstones are durable and with proper maintenance, they should last for centuries – probably longer than the house itself. The only possible cause of damage is a massive, extremely heavy impact that is strong enough to shatter stone. If a stone does break or gets damaged, only the damaged stone needs to be replaced. There is no need to touch the rest of the walkway.
  • Flagstones are not affected by temperature, rain, snow, hail or by anything else nature throws at them. They do not expand or contract with temperature changes and do not crack or chip.
  • There are no maintenance hassles. Sweeping the surface and hosing it down once in a while with plain water is all you need to do to maintain the walkway. In case a spill has resulted in serious staining of the flagstones, a little detergent and water is all that is required to remove it. If any mold develops, a little bleach will remove it.
  • You can be creative with the design. There is no set pattern or style for installing flagstones. The stones can be cut into any shape and installed in any order, sequence or pattern that appeals to the owner. As long as the stones are cut properly, there are no nooks or crannies that have to be filled or worried about.

Also Read: How to Pick the Right Landscape Maintenance Service

The Cons

  • Flagstones are very heavy. Installing them is hard work and pulling a muscle or getting a hand jammed between or under a stone is something you have to watch out for.
  • While they are not affected by temperature, flagstones can become very hot in summer if exposed to direct sunlight for a long time.
  • The soil on which the walkway is to be laid must be solid and firm or the weight of the flagstones could cause them to shift. For example, laying flagstones on sand can be a problem.

From the above, it is clear that flagstones are a good choice for walkways. The utility and appearance of the walkway will depend to a great extent on how it is designed and put in place. Because the walkway is an integral part of the landscape, it is a good idea to have it done by a professional landscaper. All you need to do is search for “best landscaping near me” and tell the expert what you want.

Top Reasons Your Lawn Needs an Irrigation System

A lawn irrigation system may seem like a luxury for the average homeowner – unless he has a really big lawn. The reality, however, is that putting in a landscape irrigation system offers a host of benefits, and the cost, when all the advantages are factored in, is much less than most people think.

The Benefits

  • Money-Saving: An irrigation system is calibrated to use and supply a specific amount of water that will depend on the soil, plant types, climatic conditions, etc. Because of this, there is no wastage of water, and the overall usage is less compared to manual watering. This means that your water bills come down.
  • Adds Value to Your Home: Whether or not you have plans of selling your home, maintaining its value is important. Curb appeal is a factor that has a huge impact on property values, and a lush green lawn has an immediate positive impact. The lower water bills are another useful selling point that adds to the home’s value. A lush green lawn has a cooling effect during the hot weather, and this will help to reduce the air conditioning load, so energy consumption also comes down.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Because the usage of water is so well controlled and water wastage is eliminated, a lawn irrigation system is extremely environmentally friendly. Additionally, a healthy lawn will absorb greenhouse gases and release pure oxygen, making the air around your house healthier. The strong root system of a healthy lawn will bind the soil and reduce erosion.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: Your home is the center of your life, and how it looks and appeals impacts how comfortable you feel in it. A well-irrigated landscape adds beauty to the overall ambiance of the house and makes it a more peaceful place to live in.
  • Convenience: Even for homeowners who love gardening, watering the lawn can be a tedious, repetitive chore. With landscape irrigation, the water is done automatically, so all you need to do is enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
  • Automatic Operation: When the family goes on vacation, the house can be locked up, but what happens to the lawn that will need to be watered regularly? An irrigation system can be programmed to run automatically so that when you return home, you are greeted by a green garden, not a dead one.

Also Read: Maintaining a Garden with Landscape Irrigation

There are other benefits too, depending on the type and size of the landscape to be irrigated. A landscaping professional will be able to give you all the information you need.

Buying a lawn irrigation system is not like buying a shirt – pick the one you like, pay for it, and go home. The system needs to be suitable for the area to be irrigated, the types of plants, shrubs, and foliage that need to be watered, and several other factors. Making the wrong choice could mean that some, if not all, of the benefits given here are lost. The best way to get the landscape irrigation system that is right for your home is to consult a professional landscape service that will be able to evaluate your irrigation needs, offer you systems that will work best, give you the inputs you need to make the right decisions, and install it for you.

Discover the Importance of Gardens for your Family

More than 80% of Americans live and work in completely urban surroundings with little or no access to nature. Most, if not all, enjoy the comforts of urban life and would not willingly give it up. However, a great deal of research says that spending our lives surrounded by concrete and electronics takes a mental and physical toll on us. The fact that a vacation out in the country makes such a refreshing change is proof of this. While this kind of change is good, a once-in-a-year escape from the city is not enough. Regular contact with nature is what keeps the mind and body active, fresh, and agile. It improves our overall health and well-being. In this context, the importance of a beautifully landscaped garden is obvious.

How It Happens

A home landscape provides a place to escape from the concrete, noise, activities, traffic, and communications demands that take up so much of your time, energy, and by extension, your life. A garden is an area that encloses nature and life while excluding the forces that detract from it. The sight of plants, trees, and shrubs is restful for the eyes; the scents and aromas that are in the air are relaxing for the mind – this is the principle behind aromatherapy.  You may not believe in aroma and other new-age therapies, but spending time in the garden will refresh you – that is something that no one can deny.

Practical Applications

In case the aesthetic benefits of spending time in a landscaped environment do not appeal, there are practical reasons why a home landscape is so valuable.

An inviting garden is:

  • A safe place for children to play
  • A refreshing break from the daily routine
  • A great place to entertain
  • If urgent work is at hand, the garden is a great place to get the creative juices flowing without any distractions

Whether it is the allure of the beauty of a landscaped garden that attracts you or its practical applications, the fact is that once a landscape has been created and you start spending time outdoors, even if it is just for a few minutes a day, the freshness and energy that are felt will enhance the quality of life of everyone who enters it.

Also Read: Getting Your Garden Ready for Summer

Creating a beautiful and inviting garden is not easy, even for those blessed with green thumbs. Once a landscape has been created, it needs to be cared for to retain its beauty. The stress of trying to create the best possible outdoor area for your home and then the pressure of maintaining it reduces the pleasure and sense of well-being that comes from spending time in it. To be sure of having the best possible landscape and keeping it that way, the only option is to use a professional landscape service. A landscaping expert will be able to incorporate your tastes into the best possible landscape design, and once it is in place, maintain it so that it is always a place to spend time in nature so you can unwind and escape the pressures of daily life.

What Is Landscape Renovation?

Gardens are living organisms, and like all living things, they age. Just as human beings dress and groom themselves to look good, gardens too need to be designed and groomed to look their best. That is what we call landscaping. Landscapes need to maintain their appearance just as people do. At times, people want a makeover just for the freshness and feeling of rejuvenation, inside and out, that it gives them. The same applies to landscapes – even with the best of care, there often comes a time when a new look is needed to rejuvenate the home – a rejuvenation that impacts not just the exterior but the indoors also. That is renovation landscaping.

Renovation Makes a Difference

Just like home renovation, there is no cookie-cutter approach to a landscape renovation. It is a process, and no two projects are alike. A landscape must reflect the personality of the family that inhabits the home. The scope of the renovation can range from bringing the landscape back to what it originally was to updating its look to creating or adding new features, plants, colors, and garden structures.

Landscape renovation gives a home a new look outside and a fresh aura inside. A refreshed landscape:

  • uplifts the spirits of the occupants
  • makes the outside a more enjoyable place to spend time.
  • Brings back entertainment options by making the outside a viable venue.
  • Adds to the curb appeal of the house. Even if the property is not being sold, the increased value that will be seen by everyone is a matter of pride.

The Renovation Process

The renovation process will depend on the existing landscape and the ideas that the homeowner has about the changes and/or upgrades that are wanted. A professional landscape designer will be able to produce a plan that will allow the owner to know what the new garden will look like so he can be confident about the end result. In general, the renovation will include:

  • Fixing grading and drainage issues that have developed over time.
  • Repairing, changing or installing new hardscapes like walkways, patios, fountains, etc.
  • Replacing or rejuvenating plants, trees, and foliage that are showing the effects of age.
  • Design and style modifications to reflect the new tastes of the homeowners.
  • Providing spaces for entertaining and open-air activities.
  • Ensuring that the renovated landscape bends seamlessly into the overall appearance of the home.

Also Read: How to Pick the Right Landscape Maintenance Service

Get the Best Results

Home renovation experts will tell you never to cut corners on the various projects you are doing – a substandard result in one area will reflect on the quality of the renovation as a whole. The same is true of garden renovation. One misstep in the design, choice of plants, ignoring the importance of patio landscaping, and so on can ruin what would have been a beautiful outdoor space. Landscape renovation is a complex job and is best done by an expert landscape service that will be able to create the renovated garden you want and need.

  • What is landscape renovation?
  • How it makes a difference.
  • How to get the best results.

Getting Your Garden Ready for Summer

Summer is around the corner, and it is time to enjoy the sunshine and cool evening out in the open; start getting your garden ready. It is not difficult, and it gives you a chance to get started on all the landscaping plans you made during the winter. Remember, even with COVID 19 vaccinations and other precautions, the home is still the safest place to be and if you want to entertain, the garden is the place to do it.

  • Tidy Things Up: It normal to tidy up a house (or even a man cave!) before guests arrive. So why not do the same for the garden? Neatly edged flowerbeds, trimmed shrubs, the absence of leaves and twigs lying around all go into creating the impression of a garden that has been cared for.
  • Clean Up the Lawn: Remove any weeds that may have found their way into the grass. Check the lawnmower to ensure the blades are sharp, and the grass will be cut neatly. Do not trim the grass too short so that the next mowing will be due later. A mowing height of 2 to 3 inches will allow the grass to develop stronger roots and make the lawn more drought-resistant.
  • Add Color: The first impression that a person gets about a garden is from the colors that the eye beholds. The brighter and more different the colors, the more the optical senses are excited, and this, in turn, leads to the beginning of the “Wow” factor. Besides refreshing the flower beds, think about hanging baskets around the patio or other places where people will be spending time.
  • Fragrance: It is easy to overlook the importance of fragrance in landscaping. Scent may not make the same kind of immediate impact as sight, but it can be as influential in affecting the perception of beauty and creating a higher level of peace and comfort. Aromatherapy is not pseudoscience. Research proves that it plays an important role in our appreciation of the world around us.
  • Create a Fresh, Interesting Landscape: The landscape is a way to show your personal style to the world. Besides the foliage, you can use statues, large urns, benches, driftwood, retaining walls, walkways, lighting, water features, and much more to create an outdoor world that is your own.
  • Do Not Forget The Patio: This is the multi-function area of the garden. It is where you can chill out, exercise, entertain, barbeque, or just do nothing. Patio landscaping is not easy – the patio must be functional while still adding to the beauty of the overall landscape.

Also Read: 5 Common Patio Landscape Mistake to Avoid

You can do a lot to build the perfect open-air environment this summer. However, keep in mind that the best results require more than just your green thumb. Knowledge of soil and climatic conditions, irrigation needs, artistic sensibilities, maintenance needs, and experience in landscaping all come together to provide the platform for a great garden. It is for this reason that the best landscapes, the ones where people love to spend time out in the open, are those that are created by a professional landscaping service.

Integrate Your New Patio into the Landscape

Sooner or later, a homeowner with a reasonably sized backyard thinks about putting in a deck or patio. It’s a great option for entertaining, exercising or just chilling out. As long as it is integrated into the overall landscape, it will be a valuable addition to a home.

Deck vs Patio

Decks are made of wood, are attached to the house, raised above ground level and require guard rails to stop people from falling off the edge, even if it is only a foot. Patios are usually made from concrete, can be at ground level or raised, and attached to the house or freestanding. Patios are typically longer lasting and more versatile in terms of utility and are often the preferred option.

How to Plan a Patio

  • Permits: Firstly, you need to do is to apply for the permits required to build one. Cities have different rules for patios, so be sure that you are abiding by all the mandated procedures and methods to avoid paying hefty fines or having to demolish the structure.
  • Maintenance: Think of the maintenance issues. A well-made patio will last for a very long time. Unlike a wooden structure, it will not be affected by weather and will not require resealing every few years. When there is water to wash it once in a while and the leaves are swept off it, there is no need of any other thing.
  • Size: This is often a difficult decision. It should be large enough for the use you have in mind. If it is going to be a party place, it needs to be large. However, the patio should not outgrow the garden and ruin the appeal of the foliage, flowers and shrubs. Finding the right balance between the concrete and the greenery requires the kind of expert knowledge and sensibility that a professional landscaping service will have.
  • Features: The patio should have the features that will make it suitable for how you plan to use it. You could have lights, provision for music, a fire pit, a wet bar and so on.
  • Material: While concrete is a popular choice for patios, there are other options you can think of. It is important that the patio looks like an integral part of the house and not an afterthought. Among the materials you could consider are bricks, gravel, flagstones and pavers.

Also Read: The Benefits of Pavers

Patio Landscaping

A patio is a hybrid – part structure and part of the yard. It needs to fit into both worlds, and doing this is more than just designing it to look good. It must become a part of the open space, and that means it must both be a functional area and also add to the beauty and appeal of the yard. A DIY patio, one made by a handyman or even one done by a construction/remodeling professional must incorporate the inputs of a landscaping expert that will ensure that the patio landscaping e is functional and fits into the surroundings seamlessly.

How to Pick the Right Landscape Maintenance Service

Creating a beautifully landscaped garden or yard can change the look of your home and increase its curb appeal and market value. Making a great landscape requires the kind of expertise and experience that only a professional landscaping company will possess. People often try their hand at DIY landscaping to save money, but the results are never going to be as good as a professional job. Professionals also know how to stretch a budget and maximize the return on every dollar spent on landscaping. The other area where homeowners often slip up is landscape maintenance.

A beautiful and professionally created landscape needs to be maintained to keep it looking its best. Homeowners rarely, if ever, have the specialized skills required for landscape maintenance. Watching a lovely yard deteriorate because the maintenance is unable to keep it at its best is not just sad, it also creates a depressing atmosphere that affects everyone living in the home. That is why landscape maintenance is as important as landscape design and creation.

Landscape Maintenance – Finding the Right Service


The ideal course of action is to have a landscape designed, executed and maintained by the same professional landscape service. However, if that is not possible or if you have a landscaped yard and are searching for a landscaping company to maintain it, here is what you need to look for:


Check testimonials from other clients to see how focused the company is on providing quality service and maintaining standards.
• Check on the qualifications and experience of the company and its staff. Do not hesitate to ask questions to get the information you want.
• Avoid companies that try to confuse you with jargon – they usually have something to hide. Go for the company that gives clear and direct answers to your questions.
• Check on the scope of the available services. Are they what you need? Can they be tailored to meet your specific requirements?
• Will the company do other work you may require such as patio landscaping or installing pavers?
• Check on the cost. Ask for a detailed breakup on any work that seems to be too expensive. A good landscape service will do this willingly. While cost is an important consideration, remember that compromising on landscape maintenance is compromising on the upkeep of your home and repairing a badly maintained garden is more expensive than paying a reasonable amount for proper maintenance.

Professional landscaping companies are generally eager to take up maintenance work. According to the National Association of Landscaping Professionals over 33% of them say that this is the fastest-growing area of service. Picking the right landscape service to maintain your yard is not something you should compromise on. Pick the best landscaping company in your area and enjoy your home without any maintenance hassles.

Different Types of Landscaping Services

The increased amount of time that most people spent in their houses in 2020 made them more aware of both the comforts of the home and its limitations. One of the biggest problems was the feeling of being cooped up indoors. The yard offered a welcome change but it was rarely enough to counter the negative impact of the lockdown. Even though the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines means that the end of the pandemic is in sight, the importance of having a yard to spend time in remains. Landscaping plays a key role in making the yard inviting and relaxing. A top-quality landscape that truly offers the benefits of being outdoors requires professional landscaping.

If you area rookie, here is a basic summary of what a professional landscape service must offer you.

  • Design: A great landscape combines beauty and functionality. A qualified and experienced landscaper will be able to understand your sensibilities, the kind of landscape you want, your budget and how your yard will be used. With all this in mind, he will create designs for you and work with you to give you the perfect landscape.
  • Creation: Once you have decided on a design you like, the landscaping company will bring the design to life for you.

However, this is not the end of it. A yard, with all its flowers, plants, shrubs and foliage is a living organism. This means it needs to be cared for to keep it looking its best. This care and maintenance involves:

  • Bed Maintenance and Detailing: Your flower beds need to be weeded, trimmed, pruned and cleaned regularly. Done properly, they will remain a thing of beauty. If neglected, they will become an eyesore.
  • Pruning and Hedging: Plants grow at different rates and need pruning at different times. Many also have specific times of the year when they need to be pruned to remain healthy. If this is not done, the yard will look unkempt and the plants will become sick and straggly.
  • Seasonal Clean-up: With the change in seasons, the yard will need to be deep cleaned to remove any accumulated dirt and debris that could damage the plants.
  • Soil Supplements: The turf cannot be ignored. It needs supplements to keep it healthy and to make it fertile for the plants. Special treatment may be required to ensure that no fungal growth damages the plants.
  • Pest Control: Healthy plants attract all kinds of pests and if they are not dealt with, they will kill the plant. The type of pest control is important – it needs to get rid of the pests without damaging the plants.
  • Irrigation: Depending on the soil, the climatic conditions and the types of plants in the yard, irrigation may be required. Only a professional landscaping service will be able to design and put in place an irrigation system that will be effective.
  • Walkways and Patios: These can add character to a landscape. Paver installation, if not done correctly, will be ugly, uneven and awkward to walk on. Patio landscaping is a special talent because it must blend the deck with the landscape while making it a place for the outdoor activities the family enjoys.
  • Lighting: A beautiful yard is for both, the day and the night. With the right landscape lighting, it can become a place to spend time in after sunset, either to relax or to entertain.

Using a professional landscaper is the right way to create and maintain a yard in which the whole family will love to spend time.