What Are The 10 Steps To Preparing A Garden?

Summer is when the backyard sees the most use. Not only will the family spend a lot of time outdoors, but it is also a great place for entertaining. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that a small yard is not good for entertaining. This is so wrong. Sure, the number of people that can be comfortably accommodated may be less in a small yard, but the quality of the party does not have to be compromised. Creating a stunning place to relax, entertain or to just chill out is not hard.

10 Simple Steps to get your garden ready for summer

  • Clean up your garden furniture. A lick of paint or a little polish and elbow grease can go a long way towards making the seating and table(s) inviting. Don’t forget to clean the cushions –you may not realize how dirty they became in winter until you see the difference cleaning makes.
  • If you have even a small deck, scattering cushions and including a small rug can add greatly to the comfort that it offers.
  • If you plan to entertain during the day, awnings, garden umbrellas and pergolas all make nice shady spots to spend time in when the sun is out. A trellis with climbing vines can cast a lot of shade.
  • If the evenings are cool, why not think about a small fire pit. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and it will add another dimension to the evening.
  • Lighting is important for evening entertainment. The key is to find the right balance between illumination that adds to the ambience and garish brightness that ruins the mood.

Also Read: Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas

  • If it suits your style, think about glow-in-the-dark paint to decorate a wall or fence. This could enhance the appeal of the garden and also become a conversation point for your guests.
  • It’s an obvious thing to do, but in the rush of getting the yard ready for guests a lot of people forget about the importance of mowing the grass, pruning the shrubs and tidying up the flower beds. Remember that these form the foundation of garden appeal.
  • Night scented flowers like honeysuckle, phlox or jasmine will add a wonderful fragrance to the evening.
  • Create an herb wall near the barbecue. This will add to the aromas in the air and make the herbs easily accessible for cooking.
  • Clean up the barbecue and bar. These are not just functional areas, but places where guests tend to congregate. If they are stained and tired-looking, the overall appeal of the yard will be reduced.

Get Expert Help

To have a yard and landscape you can be really proud of, which will be admired and talked about long after the party is over, use garden landscaping services to make your yard a place of beauty. The expert knowledge and artistic skills of a professional landscaper will transform your yard from a nice place to a truly beautiful one. All you need to do to get started is to search for a “gardener near me” check out the qualifications, experience and services and give the job to the one whom you are comfortable with.

Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Having a beautifully landscaped backyard adds immensely to the enjoyment and happiness of the people residing in the house. Not all homes have large backyards and many homeowners make the mistake of presuming that their small backyard cannot be landscaped or that nothing much can be done in the limited space available. This is not true. With a little imagination and professional landscaping, even a small backyard can become a relaxing outdoor oasis in which to unwind; it can be used either to entertain friends or for the family to just hang out. Try and plan your landscape – it’s a fun thing to do and it will get your creative juices flowing. Once you have a concept in mind, contact a professional landscaping company that will work with you to turn your ideas into reality and give you your perfect small backyard.

Gardener mowing the lawn. Landscape design. Green grass background

Gardener mowing the lawn. Landscape design. Gardening

Landscaping Guidelines for Small Yards
  • Go vertical. When flat area is limited, build vertical tiered or vertical garden beds that hang off walls.
  • Find multiple purposes for the space available. By combining uses, you can save a lot of space. For example, a privacy fence can also be the mounting for vertical garden beds. A small patio can also have a fire pit that is covered to give more floor area when not in use.
  • Move the deck. A deck doesn’t have to be attached to the house. It can be located in a corner and that will create the illusion of the yard being larger than it really is.
  • Use built-in seating. You need some place to sit in the yard, but chairs take up a lot of space, especially lounge chairs. Built-in chairs will save a lot of space and people will not be constantly bumping into them. Built-in furniture can be elegant as well as comfortable and easy to use.
  • A slope can make a yard appear smaller than it is and a sloping space is not easy to use. However, if it is made into terraced garden beds, you can have your flowers and greenery there, and leave other spaces for other uses.
  • Remove the ground monotony. A yard that has the same ground cover all over can look smaller than it is. Mixing up the cover by way of pavers, turf, rocks and so on will add the variety that will visually open up the area.
  • Use outdoor lighting to remove shadows and make the yard an inviting open place to spend time in after dark.
  • Think of a compact entertainment area. Even a small flat seating area with a few comfortable chairs, a tiny bar/barbeque/fire pit or even an outdoor TV will add another dimension to your small yard and make it feel larger.
  • Install French doors for access to the backyard. The large glass area will integrate the indoor and outdoor spaces and make the yard appear larger than it is.
Also Read: How to Organize a Backyard Wedding? Expert Design Makes All the Difference Talk to a landscaping professional about what can be done for your small backyard. He will integrate your ideas into a total yard design and with your approval will create the great small backyard that you never knew you could have.

Create a Backyard Oasis of Peace

Your home may be your castle, but that does not mean that it is not a place full of noise, movement and, at times, stress. You love your home and wouldn’t change it for the world, but there are occasions when you feel the need for more peace and tranquility than what you find in the house. The way to find what you are looking for is to create a backyard getaway. An oasis of peace and calm can enhance your home immensely and make your castle your palace.

Backyard Landscaping

Here are a few ideas on how you can do it.

  • Add color to your patio or deck. Decide on a color scheme or pattern and then get outdoor pillows to suit either your existing furniture or the new pieces you plan to buy. Go in for UV-resistant, quick-drying fabrics. You could even go in for an outdoor rug, if that’s your style.
  • Create a lounging spot. Outdoor chairs and couches are fine when you want to chill out with others. But there are times when you want solitude and for that there is nothing like a hammock. If possible, find a spot for it that is a little away from the patio/deck so that you are undisturbed by the surrounding sounds.
  • Choose the right plants. Some plants and shrubs are known to promote relaxation. Their combination of colors, sizes and scents all come together to create an atmosphere of relaxation. The more of these you have around your backyard oasis, the better.
  • Add lighting for the night. Your backyard oasis is not only for daytime use. When the weather is right, it can be a great place to chill out after dark with a glass of wine or a favorite snack – either alone or with company. Add well-designed lighting that is not harsh and instead adds a warm glow to the area. This will add another dimension to your oasis.
  • Ensure there are shady spots. No matter how much you love the sun, there are times when you will want to cool off in the shade. Make sure that you have the shady spots you need to unwind in. Consider linking the patio and the shady spots with a flagstone walkway.
  • Think about food and drink. Unwinding and hunger often go hand in hand. If possible, think about a small outdoor kitchen attached to the deck and/or a small but well-equipped bar area.
  • Ensure your privacy. Fences and garden walls are great, but often they are not enough to shield you from the eyes of neighbors. Use pergolas, lattices and landscape features to block off prying eyes.
  • Are you the hot tub type? If so, adding a hot tub or spa will give you a truly luxurious backyard island of peace and quiet where you can really unwind.

Also Read: What Are Some Good Landscaping Ideas for Small Yards?

There is a lot more that you could do to create your perfect backyard spa. Great backyard landscaping can add so much to your home. To be sure of doing it properly and getting the best results, give the project to a landscaping professional. He will have ideas and design concepts that the average homeowner will not know. 

Landscaping and Lawn Maintenance – What’s the Difference?    

The terms “landscaping” and “lawn maintenance” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different activities. The fact that the best landscaping services often do both does not mean that they are the same thing.


Landscaping, in its most basic form, refers to the change and improvement in a property to make it either more attractive or appealing or to enhance its practical applications. This applies to all the external areas of the property that a house is built on. All of your open area is available for landscaping. To put it another way, if you sit inside your house and look out the window to your yard and you see a change that has been made that improves its look or usability that is landscaping that has been done. There is also landscaping that cannot be seen but is a part of the visible features. This applies to such things as irrigation systems, underground drainage and plumbing for fountains and water features, etc.

Many homeowners make the mistake of presuming that landscaping requires only artistic sensibility and skill. This is only partly true. While the conceptualization of a landscape design requires artistic and design talent, the implementation demands knowledge of horticulture, soil and climatic conditions, electrical work (for lighting, etc.), plumbing and more. Landscaping includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Planting flowerbeds, shrubs, trees, etc.
  • Lawns
  • Flowering trees
  • Foundation plantings
  • Walkways
  • Driveways
  • Fountains
  • Lighting

Lawn Maintenance

Once a landscape is in place, it will need to be maintained. This involves several different, but also connected activities. Some of them are:

  • Mowing: Grass must be regularly mowed to not just keep the lawn looking fresh and usable but also for the health of the grass. An unkempt lawn is an invitation to weeds and other insects to make it their home.
  • Weed Control: Weeds are a perennial problem. Not only do they detract from the look of the lawn in particular and the landscape as a whole, but they also suck nutrients from the soil and deny the plants you want to grow access to the nutrition they need.
  • Fertilization: In most cases, the soil will not contain all the nutrients that the grass and plants that form the landscape need to grow. To ensure that the plants grow to look their best and remain strong, fertilizer will have to be used.
  • Fungicide: Regular controlled use of fungicide will keep the lawn healthy and free of disease.
  • Pest Control: Grubs, ticks and other pests will damage the shrubbery and lawn. Pest control will keep them away.
  • Plant Health: Plants can become diseased for many reasons and it takes an expert in horticulture to be able to spot problems and treat them before they become worse and spread through the garden.

Also Read: Different Types of Landscaping Services

Using lawn installation companies, or preferably, a landscaping service, will ensure that the open area around the house looks its best and gives you the maximum pleasure in terms of appearance and usability. The best landscaping companies will also offer maintenance services to ensure that the landscapes they create continue to look their best in the future.

Lawn Installation – Which Grass Is Right for You?

Installing a lawn may seem to be a pretty straightforward exercise. You put the seeds in the ground, water the soil regularly, and that’s it. Sadly, as many homeowners have found out, it’s not that simple. You need to know a lot to get the kind of lawn that is a pleasure to see and a great place to spend quality outdoor time in. The first step is to know which type of lawn is right for you. Sod installation will give you a quick result in a usable lawn; seeding and hydroseeding are cost-effective options that enable you to choose the exact type of grass you want; artificial turf is a maintenance-free choice.

Professional Landscaping Company


This is one of the most popular choices among homeowners today. It can be quickly rolled out to produce almost immediate results. The root system is tight, so only a few weeds can thrive. The downside is the sod can be more prone to disease than a seeded lawn and the installation is costly and must be expertly done to produce a clean and even look.


Hand seeding is the traditional option for homeowners with the DIY urge. The benefits of this are that the type of grass can be chosen to suit the soil and climatic conditions, the expected traffic, and the lawn’s use. The disadvantages are that hand seeding is a long and physically demanding job and creating the ideal growth conditions for grass also creates the right one for weeds to thrive.


Hydroseeding is a quick way to seed a large area quickly and reasonably economically. To do this, you will need to hire a professional landscaper or you will have to rent a hydroseeder to do the job yourself (if you are sure that you know how to operate the equipment). A word of caution – it is not as easy as it seems and small errors can ruin the appearance of the lawn.

Also Read: Tips on How to Choose Your Sod Installation Company

Artificial Turf

Because it is artificial, once the turf has been laid, that is it. There is nothing else to do except keep the surface free of leaves and wash it down with water. However, it is not the same as real, natural grass. It will never have a look, feel, and the scent of natural grass and because it tends to heat up under sunlight, it may not be right for daytime use or for families with pets.

While artificial turf does have its advantages, it can never replace the look and feel of natural grass. Having a lush green lawn does not have to be a long and tiresome process that involves ongoing maintenance. A professional landscaping company will know which type of grass is most suitable for your soil and climatic conditions and will be able to create the perfect lawn for you and your home. Once the lawn is in place, the company will do the majority of the maintenance for you so that all you have to worry about are the ways by which you can enjoy the wonderful garden that you now have. A search for “lawn installation near me” will provide details of the companies that will be able to do the job for you. Choose one that is professional and has the track record and testimonials to prove that it will meet, if not exceed, your expectations.

The Basic of Sod Installation

A thick, healthy lawn is a great addition to the exterior of a home. It could be a stand-alone feature – an open green space to spend time in or it could be the foundation of an elaborate landscape. One of the most popular ways to quickly get the lawn you want is to use sod grass rolls. The concept of sod installation seems simple enough – roll it out and the lawn is there. The truth is that it’s not that simple. There is a lot you need to know and do to get a lawn that adds to the appeal of your home. That’s why DIY efforts are never likely to produce the right results and professional landscaping is always the best way to get the lawn of your dreams.

Sod Installation

Here are a few of the basics of sod installation you need to know.

  • Prepare the Soil: This will involve loosening the soil, spreading compost and if needed, adding sand to the soil to improve drainage. Some fertilizer may also be required.
  • Level the Surface: Use a rake or other tool to break down any lumps in the soil and fill in any depressions. Ensure that the final leveling leaves the soil an inch below any paved surface like a driveway, walkway, etc.
  • Start Straight: The first row must always be laid along a straight edge or surface. This could be along a fence, a patio or even along the wall of the house. This will allow proper alignment of subsequent rolls. Use the longest straight edge (such as a fence) as the starting point.
  • Avoid Footprints: Keep off the sod as it is being laid and if stepping on it is unavoidable, rake out any footprints that may be visible. Pat downs the new sod to push out any air pockets trapped below.
  • Align the Rolls: When laying subsequent rolls, make sure that they are all properly aligned. Make sure the butt sections fit tightly against each other without any overlapping.
  • Cut Where Needed: Use a knife to trim edges if needed and to cut holes for a sprinkler system, if there is one.
  • Stay off the New Sod: No weight should be placed on the new sod for a week. This will allow the rolls to settle and will prevent depressions and dips on the surface.
  • Water Every Day: Water the sod every day for the first week. After that cut it back to alternate days and then bring it down to twice a week by the end of the third week. Increase as required in hot weather.
  • The First Mowing: Cut the grass when it reaches 3 inches. Use a lightweight walk behind mower instead of the heavier ride-on type for the first few trims.
  • Fertilize: After 4 weeks, feed the grass some fertilizer to make up for the nutrients that were washed away during the initial heavy watering schedule.

Also Read: Tips on How to Choose Your Sod Installation Company

There are still more factors to keep in mind like the best season for laying sod, where to buy it, and so on. Laying sod is not as easy as rolling out a new carpet. To get the best results, consult a landscaping professional who will be able to not just tell you what needs to be done but will also do an expert installation for you. Just go online and search for “sod installation near me.”

What Type of Landscaping Increases Home Value?

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), not only does great curb appeal equal money in the bank at closing, 276% of the cost of upkeep is recovered at the time of sale. This is serious money. Landscaping services not only make your home a beautiful place to live, but it also increases its value. The right way to get the look you want and to ensure that the investment pays off is to consult a landscaping specialist.

Landscaping does not mean that you can plant flowers and shrubs all over the yard and expect that to bring in thousands of dollars when you sell. It doesn’t work that way! A prospective buyer will look at the overall appeal of the landscape, its maintenance and the effort that will be required to keep it looking its best and how much that maintenance will cost.

Landscaping Basics for Value Addition

The basics of using curb appeal to add to your home’s market value are given below.

  • Cut and edge your grass. A neat lawn indicates a neat and careful homeowner. Remember that overcutting the grass or doing it too often can lead to ugly brown patches appearing.
  • Trim the shrubs. This is not as easy as it sounds – what looks neat and clean when you are close to it could appear to be ragged and uneven from a distance.
  • Apply fresh mulch at regular intervals. This will keep the soil moist and make the foliage look fresher.
  • Flowers always add to a garden’s beauty. However, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. The look of your garden must appeal to you but it should not turn off others. With a reasonable variety of flowering plants that do not clash and are of the right size, you should be safe.
  • Add features like fountains, koi ponds, walkways, lighting and so on to make the garden something special.
  • An effective irrigation system will make life easier for you and will also be appreciated by a potential buyer.

These are just a few basic ideas. There is a lot more that can be done to add to your home’s appeal and value.

Also Read: What to expect from creative landscaping experts?

Do It Right

The American Society of Landscape Architects says that investing 10% of your home’s value in landscaping could increase its value by 15%. That may seem excessive to many so it need not be a thumb rule. What is undeniable is that an appealing landscape adds to market value. Whether you are planning to sell your house or just want to increase its beauty for your family’s pleasure and enjoyment, spending your money wisely is the key to making the kind of investments that will pay off. That means having an expert to not only tell you what to do, but to implement the plan. A professional landscaping company is where your investment in adding to your home’s value should start.

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.


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 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 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?


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.