If you’ve just bought a new house, and have look out your back window. Is your plot simply a pile of dirt ready for planting? Or if it’s already seeded or laid with sod, does your land still look more like a fairway than a lawn? Though there’s nothing wrong with green grass, there’s more to landscape design than occasional upkeep. In fact, the options you have with landscape and stone architecture are limitless. There is such a wide variety of vegetation and decoration, however, that the options can be intimidating. In fact, many people throw in the towel before they even begin. We’re not all born with green thumbs, and some of us don’t even know what’s available. This is when a landscape professional is extremely beneficial. With a professional landscape architect on your side to help plan, coordinate, and implement original landscape designs to specifically fit your needs, you’ll be well on your way to the property of your dreams.
Patios for Living
If you are retired, travel frequently, or simply don’t enjoy working on your landscaping and yard work, a small, low-maintenance patio is a good solution for a front or backyard Patio Design.
Our landscape designers are experts at landscape design, schooled in both the practical aspects of landscaping, as well as adding an artistic touch to your outdoor spaces. Besides that, they are also well-trained at meeting the challenges of landscape problems, and in transforming tough-to-work-with properties into beautiful landscapes to behold. Here’s a short list of some common landscape problems, and ways our landscape designers suggest you overcome them.
Working with Small Yards
Our landscape designers are quick to point out that you need to combine vigorous landscaping with space conscious design when working with small yards. Curves and tiered levels, for example, are excellent additions to a small yard because they add more depth and points of interest without swallowing up your valuable space. Still, you do want think ahead with your landscape designer as you choose which type of plants to use. Plant small trees instead of large ones and hide the fence with flowering vines instead of big shrubs.
Avoid High Maintenance Landscapes
Our landscape designers are always quick to encourage all homeowners to avoid high maintenance landscapes. The reason is simple: high maintenance usually ends up in homeowner neglect. Instead, our designers suggest planting species native to your area (or similar climates), and planting one that don’t require a lot of pampering. With the large variety of low maintenance plants available to homeowners today, you can have a yard that requires almost no upkeep, but that looks great all the same. Besides being easy to maintain, low maintenance yards are also usually low water ones. In this time of environmental concern, designing a landscape that conserves resources, rather than wasting them, is always a plus.
Refurbish Rather than Replace Your Yard
Landscape designers always recommend that you re-use, and take advantage of, as much of your existing yard as possible, even when undertaking a large landscaping renovation. Our skilled designers generally help homeowners decide which plants to leave in place, which to transplant, and which ones are best removed altogether. Any designer will tell you that thinking “refurbish” rather than “replace” means saving money, time, and learning to appreciate the landscaping resources you have ready at your disposal.
Landscaping Solutions for Busy Streets and Intersections
No landscape problem offers more challenges than the high traffic and noise of a busy street or intersection. Landscape designers do have natural solutions, however. A buffer of fast-growing, dense shrubbery can make a world of difference for your home or work place when it comes to providing privacy and a sound barrier, while the soothing sound of a fountain or waterfall provides soothing, natural sounds to compete with the din of the city. Other designer ideas: create small, enclosed gardens where you can go to forget your surroundings, and think about installing uplighting beneath trees and shrubbery to provide extra privacy at night.
Landscape Designers Are Worth Every Penny
The landscape solutions offered here are just a taste of what a good landscape designer can provide you as you design landscaping for your property. Whether you’re looking for a total landscape and stone renovation, or just want to “refurbish” your yard a little bit, the expertise a professional designer brings to the table is always well worth the money you spend to hire them.
Installing a fence involves more than digging postholes and nailing boards together. In addition to updating the appearance of your home, good fence design is a great way to add value and security to your property. Installing a fence is no small project, however, so you’ll want to take into consideration the many factors of fence design before you get started.
Installing a Fence You’ll Enjoy
One of the toughest parts of installing a fence for your home is choosing the right fence design to meet your needs and match your landscaping. Take some time to look at the variety of fence designs in your neighborhood to get ideas. Home improvement magazines and online images can also help give you a wide-angle lens for your residential fencing options. Whether you want a privacy, picket, or boundary fence, there are many attractive options to choose from. Consider what you want your fence for: Privacy fences are great for creating a space of your own in the backyard, but they can also shut you off from your neighbors, making them less than ideal solutions for front yards or open housing developments. Chain link is by far the most economical when it comes to fence designs, but you won’t be winning any awards for looks. And if security is your primary concern, wrought iron or steel fencing tells passersby that you’d prefer they keep their distance.
Get to Know Materials
The other important thing to consider with fence designs is the wealth of materials available for you to choose from. Privacy fences are king these days, and your best bet is to go with cedar. It has a beautiful, natural, look to it, and the oils in the wood naturally repel insect infestation and rot. For a maintenance-free, and attractive, fencing solution, look into aluminum or vinyl fencing. It can be made to look like just about any material, even natural wood grain, though your color choices are going to be limited. White is pretty much all you’ve got to choose from. And for security fences, wrought iron and steel take the cake. Make sure you’re getting high end materials here, though, since rust and other deterioration can take their toll if you try to cut corners by buying cut rate materials.
Educate Yourself on Laws and Regulations
Many towns and cities have zoning laws that apply to fencing, so you’ll want to do some research before you set your plans. If you have a homeowners association to answer to, your neighborhood may have a covenant code concerning fence heights and materials that you’ll have to abide by as well. Check with your local code enforcement office and neighborhood association about the types of fences allowed in your area, and be sure to get prior approval before you start.
It’s also critical that you have your property lines surveyed, if your fence is anywhere near the boundary of your property. Even old survey documents may not be sufficient, unless you know and trust the person who conducted the survey. Surveying is a necessary step, no matter what terms you may be on with your next-door neighbor. There are no guarantees that, should your neighbor sell his or her home, the next neighbor will be so understanding. If it turns out your fence is on your neighbor’s property, even by inches, he or she will likely have every legal standing to force you to tear down the fence and at your own expense.
Talk to a Fencing Contractor for the Best Fence Designs
Talking to one of these professionals can be the best decision you make for your new fence. They know city regulations inside and out when it comes to installing a fence, and will have a wealth of ideas when it comes to fence design, as well. Also, keep in mind that this is no small project. You’ll be digging postholes, mixing concrete, making sure your fence is level, and dealing with landscaping challenges and obstacles.
Moreover, you can’t trust online guides for fence building, as local conditions can have a dramatic effect on the installation process. Soil consistency and wind exposure are just two of the regional factors that can alter fence installation, even the design of the fence. What is likely to take you several full weekends to accomplish with the help of some generous friends, will take a fencing contractor with an experienced crew a matter of days to install. Add to that the costs of supplies and tools that you’ll have to rent or buy if you do it on your own, and it can easily end up rivaling the cost of hiring a professional in the end.
If you have a large backyard, or even a small one, installing a swimming pool will not only increase the value of the home value, but it also lends uan added dimension to the ways you can entertain guests and your own family.
The main reason a family chooses one hotel over another is the pool. People love to be near water and children love to swim. Swimming pools are a great way to relax without having to leave your home. Your children have a playground right outside that will allow them to stay active, not to mention swimming is a great low-impact exercise that can repair your sore muscles when it’s too hot to do much else.
Swimming Pool Shapes
In the past, home pools were square or kidney-shaped. Sometimes a homeowner could get a larger square or larger kidney, but typically the shape options were arresting. Today, no matter how big your yard is or what shape you have designated for the pool, there are pools that can comfortably fit any shape yard. Be sure to consider the space that will be used by the hot tub and home sauna when thinking about the size and shape of your next pool idea.
Swimming Pool Decking
Another great design feature of the modern pool is the variety of decking options. Here, decking doesn’t refer to a wood or composite deck (although it could if that’s your preference), but rather the material immediately surrounding your pool. There is more available than just concrete. There are brick pavers, limestone, flagstone materials that won’t get hot to the touch, to name a few.
Your homes backyard decking can stretch into a large patio that trails over to a gazebo or offers a nook for breakfast and outdoor dining. Many have installed brick hearths to warm themselves during the colder months, stationary outdoor grills, even brick ovens.
Some homeowners choose to save money by only using a requisite amount of decking, and just use their yard as a good launch pad to the pool. While this is a smart option for the budget-conscious homeowner, extending the decking is a great way to get creative and add outdoor living and entertaining space for guests.
Of course the decking doesn’t have to stretch from the pool to the house, although it does cut down on the amount of grass you have to mow every week, but extending the decking is a nice, logical way to have continuity from the back door to the pool.
Swimming Pool Coping
Coping is a smart way to add texture to your pool design. Pools have a lip about one foot deep that is the same material as the pool shell. Now, if you want the decking material to be continuous up to the edge of the pool, you definitely can. However, if you want to tie in other materials or just have a visual edge to the pool, using a different coping material can be a stylish choice for your pool.
You’ve seen it on the street. You’ve seen it applied to the highways. You’ve seen it on the playground and tennis courts. But why has asphalt paving become such a popular alternative to concrete? The main reason is due to its durability and flexibility during seasons. It can withstand abuse from the weather and punishment from heavy objects over and over time. Yet it still has the ability to move, shift, and adjust as it constantly adapts to the outdoor elements.
Asphalt paving is made from stone aggregate: tiny rocks, fine sand, and asphalt cement (which transforms into a liquid when hot, gluing it all together). When the mixture is laid, it pours out as a thick tar, which is why the final result is usually black in color (hence it’s sometimes referred to as blacktop). However, this chemical construction also makes it extremely flexible, in all sorts of ways, making it perfect for asphalt driveways, walkways, patios and other commercial purposes.
- Elastic:Since it’s basically cooked liquid, it can expand and contract with all weathers, making it less prone to frost heaves and snow. Also, it is less likely to crack or lift, except maybe in extreme winter areas where the ground freezes well below the surface.
- Durable:Due to its resilience, it’ll withstand heavy weights, such as vehicle traffic.
- Absorption:Its dark surface may absorb additional heat in the summer, but this heat-absorption also melts snow quicker in the winter.
- Decorative:It doesn’t have to be black: it can be stamped like concrete to imitate brick, pavers, or cobblestone in any color. And it can form different designs or mosaics.
- Cheap:The price is very flexible compared to concrete: the material is less expensive and it’s quicker to install, reducing much of the labor costs.
Preparing for Asphalt Paving
The hardest part about installing an asphalt driveway is site preparation. You’ll definitely need a our team of specialists since it takes special machinery, heavy equipment, and training. When hiring, make sure to specify any special requirements the contractors need to know about, like the size of the project, the steepness of the grading, or any unique forms we will need to work around (wheelchair ramps, curbs, stairs, etc.). If properly installed, it could last up to 30 years.
First, it can be added over existing asphalt, but if you want to replace concrete, the first step will be removing any preexisting paving.
Next, we strip vegetation, excavate the area to a required depth, and compact the soil.
Then, we add a gravel base (about 8 inches) because it’s less expensive, but if you want a really strong foundation, you could even have an asphalt base (using larger, sturdier stones in this mixture) to create an impenetrable groundwork.
Finally, our team will apply two inches of hot liquid paving and let it dry for a couple of days.
Asphalt paving is not impenetrable, so it will need occasional resealing or re-layering. Like all concrete, asphalt driveways crack, get damaged by UV rays, and sustain oil spills. So, you’ll need to seal it like any other surface in order to avoid fading and to protect it from the elements (it’ll help preserve it as well, possibly doubling its lifespan). But after the initial installation, wait about 6 months before sealing it in order to allow for proper curing. Afterwards, it should be done about every 5 years. Down the road, it may need to be re-layered due to wear and tear, so keep an eye on it. But it’s a chore to reseal and re-layer, so definitely have our team brought in for these specialized job
Our recommendations are, you shouldn’t let it go but maintenance is pretty easy. When cleaning, simply use dish soap, warm water, and some scrubbing: chemical detergent could damage the material and top surfaces. As you scrub, if you see the surface crumble, damage has already taken place. So immediately call our teams specialist to access the problems and we will get rid of any tough stains.