Staying Outdoors While at Home

Although the COVID-19 lock down is being lifted, in the future we will all be spending a lot more time at home. While this has its benefits, it can also become a source of stress and tension for a family. Creating a landscaped yard enables everyone to spend time outdoors without leaving the security of the home.

COVID-19 forced us all to spend far more time at home than we ever did before. The lock down restrictions are now slowly being eased and going out and resuming some semblance of “normal” life can be anticipated. However, the “new normal” and the way we will live will be different from what it was in pre-pandemic times. How things will pan out remains to be seen, but one thing all the experts agree on is that we will be spending much more time at home.

Being stuck indoors for long periods can be very stressful, especially if it looks like the walls will be a major part of your life in the future. This is where the phrase “climbing the walls” came from. There is a way out – literally. The solution is to spend more time outdoors without actually leaving the house. Taking a chair and placing it in the back yard will not work. The family needs an open area that is calm, soothing, relaxing and appealing so that spending time there will not be just to escape the confines of the house but to actually enjoy the ambience of the place. Creating a beautiful garden/yard is not a luxury. It is an investment in the well-being of the family while increasing the home’s curb appeal and adding to its value. Here are a few ideas for you to think about.

Landscaping Concepts to Think About

  • Put in an arbour or a pergola. Small landscapes benefit from this because it creates a focal point which adds depth to the vista.
  • Break up the open area into smaller spaces using shrubs, trees, plants, etc. This will make the landscape appear larger.
  • Create a small cozy space for those who want a little alone time. It will be a place where they can read, listen to music or just unwind.
  • Use retaining walls to create multiple levels. This will not only add to the appeal of the landscape but it will also give it more depth.
  • Use lighting to give the landscape a different look and feel after sunset.
  • Add more color and variety to the landscape by going vertical. This means using plants and shrubs that are slim and tall so that more can be planted in a limited area without making it look overcrowded.
  • But also make sure that you do not get carried away with these and other concepts you come across. Adding features to a landscape increases its beauty and appeal, but if overdone, it can create the impression of messiness and clutter.
  • Think about maintenance. A beautiful landscape needs to be kept that way. Think about how much time you will be able to devote to caring for it and what your budget will be.

A landscaping professional will be able to create a landscape which will give you the peace, tranquillity and freedom that you need at home. In addition, you will be free from maintenance worries and will be able to enjoy your beautiful landscape in peace.

Why Should You Hire an Expert When Installing Interlocking Stones?

When it comes to laying stones, you probably think it is a natural process. When driving by a neighborhood, you see the stunning landscape created from paved walkways, you probably look at the gorgeous stones and think of how beautiful they may appear in your outdoor space. While using stones is a great idea, installing them on your own is not. Laying them requires several types of tools, which are specific to art. Only a professional landscaper has the proper knowledge and tools to ensure the job is done well.

The Process
Laying down interlocking stones is a very demanding task. Apart from the right knowledge, you also require precise attention to detail and proper planning.

Here is what the project entails:
1. Mapping out the area and planning accordingly and searching for things that may create hurdles in your plan. These may include protruded roots or a water body. 
2. Some areas may have to be demolished. This will create debris that will have to be removed appropriately.
3. It is essential to prepare the ground itself. The field requires to be examined for flexibility to make sure the stones stay in one place.
4. Cutting stones precisely so that they fit into the positions.
5. Rigorous and meticulous planning will ensure the stones remain secure, they are cut evenly, and that they can withstand being reshaped.
6. If the right kind of stone is not purchased, cutting them can make them split apart. Stone cutting is done through professional tools. In case you do not have the equipment, it will have to be purchased or rented, and that does not come cheap.
7. You will require tools for preparing the grounds. You will need different bonding agents and the right know-how of how these components are used to ensure that the stones are interlocking tightly.

The professional advantage:
When you hire an expert, they will ensure that your landscape keeps looking the way it is intended.

They ensure:
1. Every single stone is laid properly
2. The debris is hauled correctly away
3. Proper tools are utilized for the job to ensure flawless work, and
4. An expert will have the working knowledge and experience to ensure the job meets longevity, specific standards, and inspires beauty to not just your house, but also your neighborhood.


Creating a Tranquil Landscape

The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragedy, experience and learning opportunity all rolled into one, something we will never forget. Among the lessons that it has taught us is the importance of finding peace, comfort, and tranquillity at home. Home is not limited to the built-up structure – it includes the open areas around it, the yard and the garden. Creating a landscape where you are relaxed and can unwind adds a huge amount of value to the home. Being able to de-stress and relax in the open brings balance and energy to your life. Creating the perfect landscape is a matter of personal taste. However, a landscaping professional will be able to present you with ideas and concepts that you might not be aware of to increase the pleasure that the open spaces can bring you. These are a few popular ideas to consider:

Create a Private Area: 
A small section of the yard can be made into a secluded area surrounded by plants and shrubs where anyone in the family can spend time alone to unwind and let go of stress and tension.

Comfortable Seating: 
Outdoor furniture needs to be weatherproof and easy to clean. That does not mean that it has to be ugly or uncomfortable. Outdoors seating is available in all kinds of styles, designs, and materials. Creating a comfortable seating area where a group of people can sit and chill out gives a place for the family to gather or for friends to be entertained. It is important to ensure that the seating fits in with the plants and shrubs of the yards to form a harmonious whole.

Add a Water Feature
Having a pond or small waterfall can enhance a garden’s appearance. The sound of running water is relaxing and watching the flow of the water helps the mind unburden itself of negative thoughts and focus on the positive. In addition, a pond may have colorful fish or plants in it and adding a well-designed waterfall will add a level of sophistication to the area.

Install Lighting
A yard is not meant for daytime usage alone. It is a great place to spend a quiet evening with family and friends. The plants and shrubs form the soul of the landscape but using the right lighting at night can transform the space and either give a new look to the yard or create a completely new ambience.

Think About a Gazebo
Gazebos serve two purposes. First, they add another feature to the yard which serves as a counterpoint to the foliage. A gazebo also provides shade and protection from the elements if the weather is not ideal for spending time outside.

Have a Storage Space
Depending on what the yard is used for, there may be all kinds of odds and ends that are used only occasionally. Having these lying around at other times can be unsightly and give the yard a cluttered and untidy look and feel. A storage area, built into the landscape design so that it blends into it, will keep things neat and tidy.

The way a landscape can be created and the aura it projects is limited only by the preferences of the homeowner and the design skills of the landscape professional.


The Essentials of Landscape Maintenance

Creating a beautiful landscape is not easy. It requires a high degree of aesthetic sensibility, artistic talent, detailed knowledge of horticulture, local climatic and soil conditions and the ability to translate a concept into reality. It is the right combination of all these that make a great landscape designer and creator. What is often overlooked in the excitement of creating the perfect landscape is the matter of maintaining it. In the long run, the quality of maintenance is as important as the quality of the initial creation.

Landscapes Need Care
When a landscape is designed and created, the amount and type of maintenance that it will require to continue to look its best is part of the planning process. A landscaping professional will consult with the client about future maintenance needs and incorporate this into the finished landscape.
A typical maintenance program will include:

  • A general clean-up at regular intervals. The frequency and type of cleaning will depend on the type of landscape and environmental factors.
  • Lawn mowing at fixed intervals
  • Flower bed weeding
  • Tidying up the edges of flower beds
  • Seasonal garden bed planting
  • Tree and shrub trimming
  • Fertilizing 
  • New plantings as may be required
  • Maintenance of the irrigation system
  • Snow removal
  • Cleaning and maintenance of pavers, lighting fixtures and so on

Some activities may not be required, and others may be added, depending on the specific requirement of each case. Contingencies such as what to do during drought conditions are not generally part of a maintenance agreement, but if such a situation should arise, a landscape expert will be able to do what is required to protect the garden.

Professional Care Is Essential
Investing in a beautiful garden is always a good idea. It adds to the beauty of the house and the enjoyment that the occupants derive from living in the home. It is also an expression of the personality of the family that lives in the home. The addition to the curb appeal and value of the home should not be forgotten. However, if maintenance is not up to the mark, the overall image of the home will suffer, as will the happiness of the occupants and the curb appeal.

Spending money to create a great garden but not planning on its maintenance is a recipe for disaster. It is easy to think that the care and upkeep is something the homeowner can do himself, but it requires far more expert knowledge, experience and equipment than people realize. What often happens is that homeowners try to do their own landscape maintenance and it is only after they find that the work is beyond them, that they call in a professional. By that time, more damage would have occurred and the cost of repairs before starting regular maintenance will push up costs.

A good professional landscape specialist will discuss maintenance needs as part of the client briefing so that a plan and budget for maintenance can be created. The professional will work with the client to tailor the maintenance according to the client’s needs so that the client is happy, and the landscape continues to look its best.


Comparing and Choosing Driveway Installers

A fact all property owners must remember is that there are thousands of driveway installers out there. However, you have to find an experienced and qualified contractor when you decide to install walkways, driveways or patio pavers. All such projects tend to add value to the property and choosing the best contractor is very important in making sure the project lasts longer.

Be a smart consumer and include these suggestions when searching for a quality driveway installer:

Numerous Quotes

Make sure you get a minimum of three quotes. You may like a certain contractor and may not feel the need to research, but you must definitely try out more. Additional quotes can assist you in comparing price, warranty and scope; also make sure you check out his previous projects.

Let other contractors be aware that you are seeking quotes. Create a deadline and grade all the providers based on their professionalism, initial meeting, price, etc.

Reputation Matters

While nothing can compare to testimonials and word of mouth, it is important to have proper knowledge. Your first stop can be the website of the contractor. You can find a lot of information about the company, the areas they have worked on and you can read their testimonials. Quality contractors can also educate you regarding paver installation. After that, perform a web search for more reviews under the company’s name on Yelp, Google, Yellow Pages and the like. Read them carefully.

Verifying whether the company is part of a trade community is important. Apart from this, always ask to see completed projects. In case a contractor has a portfolio online, you can go through their work.

You Must Always Take Your Experience into Consideration 

Your experience begins with the estimators and the sales group. Are they professional in providing information? The installation team must include a manager-preferably the owner of the company -who is approachable because this individual will be the one you go to during the project. Make sure the leader or manager’s name is included when signing the contract. A professional contractor will ask you several questions till they completely understand your needs and they will then work hard at designing a paver driveway as per your requirements.

Some questions can assist you in gauging the contractor’s experience. Discuss the kind of controls related to traffic the providers will implement (particularly important for urban and suburban properties). Do the providers know the laws of the area related to machinery and trucks? If the contractor cannot answer these questions honestly and with confidence, move on.

Read everything very carefully to make sure that you get exactly what the contractor outlined at the time of the sales pitch. Being diligent can save you from hiring the wrong company, relieve you of stress and save money. Negotiate all terms of payment. Experience, trust and accountability must be the ultimate factors when deciding on a contractor. If you do all of this, you are likely to sign up with the right provider.


Brick Pavers: Their Role in Transforming Homes

Brick pavers can give homes a feeling of opulence. They offer a very traditional and unique look that goes well with modern architecture. They can drastically transform the outer look of a house giving it an extremely rustic and natural look. Pools, driveways, stone walkways, and patios can be fitted with brick pavers. They are available in various colors and shades to suit individual taste.

Here are a few advantages of brick pavers:
1. They are readily available in stores. The reason why they are apt for pathways and driveways is because of their high durability. They have the ability to withstand extremely high foot traffic without breaking or getting damaged

2. They fit well with the soil. The soil under any form of surface is likely to move. Brick pavers are known to be a lot more adjusting in comparison to concrete as they offer room for the surface within to move without creating cracks. The process of repairing pavers is also hassle-free. If you wish to replace your paver, then you can do so easily by calling a landscaping expert. If you wish to do it on your own then all you have to do is get rid of that specific brick and swap it with a new one.

3. They are slip-resistant thanks to their texture and surface. Therefore, they make a great option for areas like pools and ponds. Being slip-resistant, they are great for houses with small children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

4. Brick pavers are environment-friendly as they are made of clay. There is absolutely no likelihood of bricks losing color. The sun’s rays or other such elements have little effect on them. The entire flooring is able to maintain the same hue and does not fade. Moreover, since they have a natural color, they survive extreme weather conditions.

5. It is easy to maintain brick pavers. All one has to do is scrub them with water and mild detergent. They don’t lose their shine easily. Hence, they are best for ancestral homes. Moreover, they are also aesthetically pleasing when added to gardens and backyards. They offer an elegance that makes any house look graceful.

If you are searching for brick pavers in California, then make sure you get in touch with a landscaping expert with the right experience. They should specialize in all stages of travertine, brick paving and design in conjunction with superior installation and quality. It is very important that the provider you choose is well reputed and has the required skill and expertise to handle all kinds of jobs. The best way to find out about the reputation of the provider is by researching online. The world wide web has thousands of landscaping forums that can help you choose the right company. Just look through customer reviews and testimonials as well as comments for better judgement.

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The Benefits of Pavers

There are several benefits of using pavers; listed below are some of the reasons why these pavers are such a preferred choice.

Patio Pavers

These pavers offer a great way to add to the beauty of your home. They can be made in a variety of materials and colors and their removal and installation is quite easy too.Apart from patios, pavers can also be utilized as borders along:

  1. Driveways
  2. Sidewalks
  3. Decks of pools
  4. Fountains

Pavers that are the most popular among landscapers are those made of brick, utilized for enhancing the look of driveways and sidewalks. These pavers are also extremely easy to clean as they merely require some soap, water and a scrub brush. Moreover, these pavers are available in numerous designs. Some of the options include w-shaped, fan-shaped, x-shaped, keyhole designs and rectangular designs as well. One of the most common pavers are rectangular brick pavers. Hence, if you are confused as to what you should pick, you will not go wrong with the rectangular design. Choose from colors like brown, buff, green or red.

Concrete Pavers

Pavers that are made of concrete tend to go well with brick, flagstone and concrete patios or walkways. In case you reside in a region where the temperature can drop to zero, concrete pavers make a great option. They do well in extreme temperatures. Make sure you choose pavers in ochre, bisque, pink, sand or white. Pavers come in x-shape, keyhole, y-shape, hexagon, pentagon and fan designs.

Long-lasting Pavers

Pavers can also be created using blue stone, sandstone, limestone and granite. These pavers are normally very expensive and are usually utilized for sidewalks, patios and around fountains or pools. You can select pavers created out of such materials in a range of geometric designs. Select from rectangular, hexagonal, square or octagonal designs. They are durable and can last for decades.

Eco-Friendly Pavers

Another interesting option for pavers is a turf paver. Such hollow pavers are normally installed with the help of a grid system with a recycled plastic or concrete foundation. At the time of installation of the grid, topsoil or gravel is added inside. These pavers boost grass growth creating a very strong pavement. Such eco-friendly pavers reduce soil erosion and make an excellent “green” alternative.

Pavers can certainly be used in a variety of settings for enhancing the features or the landscape of your property. Check out your decorating and paving options by searching for pavers online. Pavers add to the beauty of your landscape making them a must for the outside. However, it is important to involve a landscaping expert to get the work done instead of trying anything on your own.

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Valuable Tips for Creating Beautiful Garden Landscapes

We all want a beautiful garden. Therefore, it is important that when you buy new plants for your space, you must make sure that they match with the landscape and add beauty. There are many aspects you should be aware of to get the best out of your investment.

While some gardens look completely haphazard, some are known to have an organized look. The main reason behind a haphazard garden is the failure of the designer in planning the garden properly. Here are a few tips that can help you create a beautiful garden.

Plan Properly
The garden landscape should be planned in such a way that it looks attractive and at the same time has the flexibility to change in the future. It is best to plant the plants in a manner that allows space for change in case a stump grinder or a mower need to enter for a building project or for your patio or porch. If you do not plan this in time, then you may be forced to remove the plants so that you have space for using such equipment.

Think of Creating a Focal Point
The garden’s focal point should be created in such a manner that it attracts visitors and family members and engages attention. While it should be distinctive, it must not look out-of-place. For instance, you can keep a beautiful garden bench and use it as the focal point. Refrain from using anything that is not connected to the garden. An oak tree or a body of water can be a good focal point too and can give a new dimension to the garden landscape.

Check the Curves
While it is a great idea to create curved flower beds or pathways in a garden, you should take care not to overdo them. Keep the space simple to make sure its geometric design stands out. If shapes are used too often, they may become common and nobody will notice them.

Highlight the House
The design you choose for the garden should always match with your house. In case your house does not have any architectural design, then soften the edges with a garden. However, make sure you do not overdo matching your house with the outer landscape. It should be done in a way that your house is not hidden by the trees in the garden. The right form of landscaping is one that highlights the architectural features of the house as well.

Choose Plants According to Locations
Whenever you choose a plant for a specific spot within the garden, think of the growth rate and the final size of the plant. If your selection is not based on such considerations, then you may end up making mistakes that will cost you in the future. You may have to spend a lot of money in making adjustments.
Most of all, make sure your space is comfortable and free of pests. To avoid any mistakes during your landscaping project it is best to hire a landscaping expert.

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Common Tree Problems You Must Look out for

Trees are prone to several diseases and problems when seasons change. Insects tend to become active and it is important to remain vigilant. Not letting the problems develop and being proactive is a good strategy for ensuring the good health of trees. Below are some of the things that you must look out for:

1. Compacted Soil: In most yards, trees grow in soils that are compacted. The ongoing foot traffic along with construction projects and lawnmowers leads to soil compaction. Moreover, compaction of soil happens at the time the house is constructed, leading to crushed roots, stressed soil and limited root growth. Reduce stress and compaction by loosening the soil.

2. Tree Leaves Turning Brown: Brown leaves maybe a sign of trouble during some seasons as they point towards something alarming.  In case the leaves of your tree are browning from their veins when the budding period starts, you can assume that the tree is suffering from a fungal disease. One of the most common is anthracnose, as it is known to boom in wet weather. One of the best ways of saving the tree is by resorting to expert treatment.

3. Natural and Mechanical Damage: Animals and lawn equipment can easily damage the trees. Rabbits and deer are the most destructive on your trees and shrubs. Moreover, as most people utilize string trimmers and lawnmowers, they can hurt tree trunks accidentally. When injured by such equipment or even by animals, such injuries tend to harm trees.

4. There Is a Sticky Material on the Tree Leaves: Sap is specifically appetizing for aphids, as it contains carbohydrates. As soon as they make their home on the tree, they start leaving sticky residue, also popularly known as honeydew. The substance attracts mold and fungi and tends to curl the leaves. With so many different kinds of aphids, you will have to choose a treatment accordingly. Get in touch with experts on what the best methods are for dealing with the problem of aphids.

5. Insects That Are Scaly: It is also important to protect the flora from scaly insects. A lot like aphids, scaly insects leave identical marks and are known to be a lot more destructive, although really small. They can be found in clumps, creating colored spots over the barks, leaves, and needles. Using the right insecticide plays an important role in getting rid of this problem.

6. Falling and Chewed Leaves: In case you notice that the leaves of the trees are missing on several branches and are shedding prematurely, it is possible that the cause could be caterpillars. Some of the most common trees that are victims are oak, maple, elm, hickory, apple, beech and ash trees. In case you see such damage, you may have to use an insecticide. During autumn, can try caterpillar prevention with the help of insecticidal tree band.

These are a few tree problems that one should be cautious about. It is important to detect the problems early as you will be able to control them more effectively. Also, make sure you speak to a landscaping expert for more advice. 

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Choosing a Picnic Table for Your Patio

Also called barbecue tables, picnic tables are normally placed in the garden, patio or deck. Such tables add to the joy of outdoor entertainment and living. For example, a picnic table would be really useful when having guests over for an outdoor barbeque.

The Various Types of Tables Available:

The Round Tables:

The most popular and trusted picnic tables are the round tables which have been popular among masses for several years. They can be regarded as the lowest-priced picnic tables that exist today.

The biggest advantage of a round picnic table is people can easily sit around it. Everyone faces each other and hence it becomes easy to talk. However, apart from the traditional round tables, there is a huge collection of tables available in the market which goes well with modern furnishings as well.

Octagon and Hexagon:

The modern tables are known as the octagon and hexagon picnic tables. They are named after their shapes. The advantages of such tables are that-

  • They help in creating a very sociable environment
  • The octagon picnic tables are extremely large and can accommodate more than 16 people.

Choosing a Picnic Table That Is Right:

Individual Needs

How can one find a perfect table? Firstly, it is very important to consider exactly what one needs.

Remember, it is important to know how the table will be used. The answer to this will have an imminent impact on the choices one makes pertaining to the picnic table and the type one buys. This will also affect the number of picnic tables bought in the end.

Table Size

Size is an important factor when it comes to buying a picnic table. It is a deliberation which must be made when one is about to buy a table. For instance, should the family be a big one, or extremely sociable, it is wise to buy a large picnic table. However, if not a large one, then buying a couple will also help.

Table Design

The design of the table is another factor which must be contemplated. Picnic tables come in a variety of shapes and styles. In fact, they are even available in a wide range of colors and are built out of different materials like oak, wood, cedar and what not. It is not that hard to find picnic tables as there are a variety of styles available. There are certain standard tables as well which come in one piece only.

Table Cost and Budget

Cost is a very important factor which will have to be considered when one buys a table. Once the buyer begins pricing the picnic tables, he or she will see that the rates widely vary. Even if the buyer is on a limited budget, there are picnic tables that will fit into their price range. This will involve some price comparison and a bit of research, but it is not impossible to find a well-priced affordable table. The best way to go about it is to surf the internet. You can also seek the advice of a landscaping expert for the same.

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