Top Plants to Plant in The Fall

Stone circleSpring isn’t the only time of year for planting! Some flowers, trees and shrubs do best when they’re planted in fall. Knowing what needs to be planted in fall can help you make your landscaping plans for the coming year.

Turfgrass

Turfgrass is best installed on your lawn in the early to middle fall, just as the weather is starting to get cool for the winter. You can install turf at other times of the year, but if it’s very hot or dry, your grass will need special attention in order to thrive. Working with a landscape contractor to get the job done can help ensure that your grass will thrive.

There are two ways to install turf: scattering seeds or laying sod. Seeds take longer and the results can be spotty, depending on how religiously you water and care for your grass until the turf is established. Sod is a fully ready option that can quickly transform your yard and be ready in time for your next backyard barbecue.

You’ll need to avoid walking on your grass for a certain length after it’s installed, so talk to your landscape contractor to get the best advice for ensuring your grass establishes properly.

Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs are planted in the ground in mid to early fall and are left there to overwinter. The cold period before the bulb is planted is an important part of the growing process.

If you miss the opportunity to plant your bulbs in fall, you may have to buy pre-planted, sprouted bulbs the following spring. Alternatively, you can also plant something else and wait to plant bulbs until next year.

If you work with a landscaper to do your planting, be sure to bring up the spring bulbs toward the end of the summer to work a time into your schedule when you can make this happen.

Trees

Trees, like turf grass, do well when established in fall. The cool weather allows tree roots to grow until winter weather causes the tree to go dormant. The most challenging time of year for your tree is summer, so planting in fall gives your tree just a little more time until the harsh weather of summer sets in.

Trees need a lot of supplemental watering in the weeks following planting, especially if the tree is larger when it goes in the ground. Work closely with your landscape contractor to get your tree planted and established before it goes dormant for the winter.

Cool-Season Vegetables

Although most vegetables need to be planted in the spring in order to spend the summer growing and producing, some vegetables are best grown in the cooler season. Cool-season vegetables are usually planted late in the growing season and spent the fall or even winter in the garden bed, growing slowly.

There’s an art to planting and cultivating cool-season vegetables. Some gardeners cover their vegetables with clear plastic to protect them from the harshest temperatures.

Some gardeners actually build a greenhouse in their backyard for growing winter vegetables. The greenhouse captures light from the sun to create a warmer temperature inside than the vegetables are exposed to outside. Talk to your landscape contractor to get a greenhouse built on your property.

Evergreens

Evergreens, including evergreen shrubs and trees, are best planted in fall for the same reasons that deciduous trees are planted in fall. If you’re interested in planting evergreen shrubs as a privacy screen, your landscape contractor can help you decide which evergreens will provide the most privacy and will grow the fastest, for best results.

Peonies

Peonies are typically sold in the fall because it’s the best time to plant them. This flowering shrub-like plant produces shaggy blossoms that make beautiful additions to your summer bouquets. It’s well-known that peonies attract ants, which help keep the plant free of other insects that could do damage.

Peonies spread slowly over time, sending out shoots that can grow your line of peonies over many years. This relatively low-maintenance, traditional midwest plant is an excellent alternative to roses, which require far more pruning and care in order to look their best.

Lavender

Lavender is a low-maintenance shrub that needs little water to produce beautiful, fragrant flower spears that attract bees and other beneficial insects. Lavender shrubs can grow quite large if not properly pruned.

Plant lavender at the end of the summer when the weather is just starting to cool. Planting lavender in late summer gives your lavender plenty of time to become established before the freezing weather hits. This plant needs about 10 weeks of good weather for growing before winter sets in.

Once established, lavender is a perfect shrub for a gardener who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on watering and who also doesn’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining fussy plants.

Contact Your Landscape Contractor

Fall is a good time to plant certain types of shrubs, flowers, trees and grasses. Working with a landscape contractor takes the mystery out of maintaining a beautiful yard.

To find out more about maintaining a beautiful property and thriving landscape plants, contact Hidden Creek Landscaping. With over 20 years in the business, we can help make your home the envy of the neighborhood.

 

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Outdoor features that can increase the value of your home

The right outdoor features can increase the value of your home in lots of ways: by boosting curb appeal, attracting buyers when you’re trying to sell, and by making your house a more functional and satisfying place to live. You can make your home more valuable this summer by adding those outdoor features to your property. great patio

Below, we’ve listed some high-impact, high-value changes that can make all the difference when you’re trying to sell your house – or when you’re just trying to enjoy your investment to the greatest extent possible.

Deck or Patio

Homebuyers LOVE new decks, and that’s why installing a new deck is one of the highest ROI home improvement projects. If a deck is not for you, a patio is a durable alternative that can last for decades and create lots of usable space in your backyard.

To get the most value out of your deck or patio installation, use quality materials. Decks made from wood need to be refinished regularly or they can start to deteriorate – that’s why most homeowners use composite decking instead. Composite decking is long-lasting and low-maintenance, which makes it the decking material of choice.

If you’re building a patio, pavers are higher quality than concrete slabs and can be easily repaired if a paver cracks. Talk to your contractor about choosing the right materials for your deck or patio.

Work with a skilled contractor to landscape around your deck or patio to make the space attractive and relaxing. Your landscaping contractor can install privacy plants to provide shade, can position potted plants on your deck or patio to add some green space, or may choose to plant shrubs and trees around the deck and patio to make the space feel natural.

Beautiful Trees

Beautiful trees can add a lot of value to your property – especially as they become tall, mature, and attractive. It’s important to pick the right trees when landscaping your property. Before planting, know some basic information to ensure that the trees you’ve chosen are going to serve the function you would like them to serve.

  • Does the tree shed leaves, seeds or flowers at any time throughout the year?
  • How tall will the tree get?
  • How fast does the tree grow?
  • Does the tree have aggressive roots or special watering needs that will require regular care?

If you know your goals for your new tree, talk to a landscape contractor who can help you decide which trees are going to meet those goals. Your landscape contractor can also help you choose the best location to plant a tree, based on your landscaping and the position of your house on your property, and so on.

Beautiful Landscaping

Beautiful landscaping adds value to your home in ways that you can’t even calculate. Landscaping boosts curb appeal for sure, but also affects the character of your home. This means you’ll want to choose your landscaping wisely.

A good landscaping contractor can help you design landscaping that really pops and draws attention to your house. Some landscaping is cheerful and inviting, and makes your house look welcoming. Some landscaping is high-end, artful, graceful and sophisticated. Still, other landscaping is low-maintenance, simple and beautiful. What kind of landscaping do you want for your home? Talk to your landscape contractor to make a decision.

Outdoor Dining, Kitchen and Living Area

Installation of outdoor dining and living areas is one of the most popular home improvements of the last year. Outdoor dining and living areas give you a place to spend time enjoying the presence of family and friends, entertaining, and a place to relax on a Friday night… without going anywhere except your own backyard.

This is the type of outdoor landscaping feature that you’ll definitely want to install with help from a landscaping/hardscaping contractor. Outdoor dining, kitchen and living areas require electricity, plumbing and gas hookups so you can cook, stay warm and power your electronic devices.

It’s important for those features to be installed by a pro, so make sure that you find the right professional to do the job. Look at their portfolio to see their previous work, and read the contract thoroughly before signing. If possible, get bids from several contractors before choosing the right one for you.

In-Ground Sprinkler System

An in-ground sprinkler system is a helpful feature that can play a big role in the maintenance of your landscaping. In-ground sprinkler systems are more than just convenient: they can help keep your plants and trees healthy, and your grass green throughout the summer.

If you don’t have an in-ground sprinkler system, you’re going to want one soon. Work with a landscaping contractor to install your in-ground sprinkler system strategically, to ensure that all areas of your yard are covered.

Outdoor Lighting

Like a good in-ground sprinkler system, outdoor lighting serves a solid utilitarian function. At the same time, it’s also a very attractive feature that can help make your lawn and outdoor spaces far more beautiful when the sun goes down.

Like the in-ground sprinkler, outdoor lighting is best installed by a professional who understands how to make your outdoor lighting useful as well as attractive. There’s a real art to outdoor lighting. It needs to be installed along pathways and in parts of the yard where it’s most useful. It also needs to be installed in ways that complement your landscape. This is why it’s best to work with a pro.

Want to Get the Most Out Of Your Yard? Contact Hidden Creek Landscaping

Make your yard beautiful! To get started, contact Hidden Creek Landscaping. Call today to make an appointment.

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Help your Business Grow: How Landscaping Attracts Customers

Consumers are always gauging businesses based on how they look and how they’re maintained. Customers pay attention to details like how clean the commercial property is, how professionally their staff behaves, and more. Consumers also pay attention to business landscaping. Good landscaping is a subtle signifier to consumers that a business is thriving, well-maintained, and consumer-friendly.

If you’re a business owner who would like to help your business grow, then you should be maintaining business landscaping. Knowing why landscaping is important and what you can do to improve your business landscaping can help you take your business to the next level.

Landscaping Boosts Curb Appeal

The best professional landscaping should be designed to show off your property and accentuate the positive attributes of your surrounding environment. This boosts curb appeal, which can improve your property’s value while also making your business a place that consumers will want to look at.

Maybe your business sits in a wide-open space with few trees and other features in the area. To show off this space, your landscaper may choose to install pathways, lights, and clusters of shrubs and flowers that flow from one side of your lot to the next, leaving open green spaces in between.

Alternatively, perhaps your business is positioned near a creek. Your landscaper may choose to surround the area near your creek with water-loving flowers and trees that thrive in wet conditions and create a cool, shady spot where visitors can enjoy the babbling water.

This kind of curb appeal can attract customers to your business and boost your sales.

Good Landscaping Can Instill Confidence

Customers judge your business before they ever set foot on the property. Good landscaping shows that your business is well-maintained, and that can instill confidence in your business practices and the quality of your services or products.

Landscaping Affects Staffing

Landscaping can affect staff and employees just as much as consumers. Employees want to work for businesses that are attractive. As a business owner, you can recruit and retain good employees by taking care of your building and investing in your business.

  • Landscaping can create outdoor spaces where staff can spend time on lunches and staff picnics.
  • Landscaping can also instill a sense of pride in your employees, which can affect employee retention.
  • Landscaping affects employee mood and disposition throughout the day. A beautiful landscape out the windows can help employees feel good throughout the day.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Business Landscaping

There are many things you can do to improve your business landscaping. If you’re new to working on and maintaining your commercial landscaping, here’s what we recommend.

Know Your Landscaping Goals

Before hiring a landscaper, devise your landscaping goals. Do you want to install pathways, so employees and customers can safely walk on your property? Should your space look beautiful at night, or during the day only? Is easy-to-maintain landscaping important?

As a business owner, you may have other managers to discuss these issues with. Come to a meeting of the minds before meeting with a professional landscaper about your landscaping goals.

Hire a Good Commercial Landscaper

Once you’ve determined your landscaping goals, it’s time to hire a good commercial landscaper. Finding a good landscaper is a multi-step process. It takes time, but it’s worth it – especially when you’re planning to invest in a landscape that will last years and improve the value of your business.

Some tips when searching for a good commercial landscaper:

  • Vet multiple professionals. Meeting with multiple landscapers can help you get a good idea of the kind of professional you’re looking for and what’s a fair price for the services you’re seeking.
  • Check references. Check references for any contractor before signing a contract.
  • Read the contract. Read the contract thoroughly and ask questions that you have about the details of the contract.
  • Come to the discussion prepared with a list of questions. The more prepared you are for that initial consultation with a landscaping contractor, the more productive your conversation will be.

Commit To Maintaining Your Landscaping

Nearly all landscaping requires some kind of maintenance in order to look its best. Know in advance how much time or money will you be able to commit toward the commercial maintenance of your landscaping.

This is something your contractor will need to know during the initial consultation, as it will affect the ultimate design. If you’re planning to maintain the landscaping on your own, consult with other managers to find out how much time your maintenance staff has to dedicate to the maintenance of your landscaping.

If you’re planning to pay for the maintenance of your landscaping, tell your contractor in advance your monthly budget for this kind of maintenance, as this too will affect what your contractor adds to your design.

Contact Hidden Creek Landscaping Inc

Hidden Creek Landscaping installs beautiful landscaping for Ohio homes and businesses. Call today to make an appointment to discuss your landscaping needs for your Ohio business. We’ll help you improve the value of your business and boost your business’s curb appeal with stunning, low-maintenance landscaping that provides year-round beauty.

 

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Benefits of Using Hidden Creek’s Architectural Design Experts

At Hidden Creek, we only work with the most skilled professionals, including our architectural design experts. Everyone at Hidden Creek has professionalism and experience that can help you with your home improvement project, whether that’s designing an outdoor kitchen or installing the deck of your dreams.

We’re proud of our architectural design team that can help you make your home upgrades a success. Every one of our architects can help bring your project from start to completion, including beautiful architectural details and stunning design choices. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of working with Hidden Creek’s team of architectural design experts.

Your Projects Will Look Better

First and foremost, the greatest benefit of working with the architectural design team at Hidden Creek Landscaping is the beauty of our finished projects. Our team is made up of experts who know how to create a breathtaking exterior design that considers the natural features in your landscape.

Our experts have an eye for design that others don’t. At Hidden Creek, we specifically employ architectural design experts who meet our standards for landscape and exterior design. Each one of our team has been carefully vetted for their artistic and design abilities.

You can see for yourself what we’re talking about. Take a look at our portfolio to get a sense of how our architects work to make your property the shining star of your neighborhood.

You’ll Improve Your Home’s Value

Working with professionals improves your home’s value. If you’re planning to sell your home sometime soon or in the near future, performing a home improvement that can make your home more beautiful and more functional can make your home more appealing to buyers. Depending on the project that you undertake, you may also be able to sell your home for more money.

Which projects have the highest value?

If you’re planning to sell your home sometime soon and would like to boost your home’s value, talk to your architectural design expert to get an opinion about what could be done to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Architectural Design Experts Make Designs that Are Practical And Beautiful

Hidden Creek architects are known for creating designs that are a stunning combination of beautiful and functional. Landscaping isn’t just about looks, it’s also about making your landscaping work for you. Our architectural experts know how to make your outside spaces a place where you want to spend time, and where others will want to spend time with you.

Our design experts will start their work with you by asking questions about your project and your goals. Only after these initial consultations will your architect be able to put together a design that you’ll love to look at and love to use. Our experts approach design problems in ways that are creative. You’ll find that your Hidden Creek expert will devise designs that you never thought of – designs that make unique use of your space.

Our Experts Combine Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Indoor spaces recreated outdoors are a popular trend right now. Our architectural design experts are highly experienced in creating outdoor kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, and more – all in your backyard.

Not every architectural design expert knows how to do this as expertly as the professionals with Hidden Creek. We know what these skills mean to homeowners, and we only work with professionals who can deliver what today’s homeowners are seeking.

You can see this for yourself with a glance at our online portfolio, where you can browse pictures of outdoor kitchens, beautiful decks, and more. We’re serious about offering what homeowners want for themselves and their properties.

Ready to Get Started With Your Design? Call Today

The experts at Hidden Creek are here to make your home improvement project a success. We provide landscaping, hardscaping, and more for your Ohio home. Whether you’re seeking a simple but elegant landscaping installation, or you’d like to create an all-new living space in your backyard, our architectural design experts can help.

Get started with your project today. Call for an initial consultation to discuss your project goals and what you hope to accomplish with your outdoor remodel. Once you’ve signed a contract and understand our process, our architects will draft plans and designs for you to approve.

We’ve streamlined the process to make it easy for you. You’ll be able to provide feedback directly to our designers, who will work with you to create the outdoor space that you want. It’s easy and professional. You’ll love the end results. To find out more about how you can get started working with Hidden Creek Landscaping, call us today.

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Outdoor Features That Can Increase The Value Of Your Home

Outdoor ActivitiesWhen it comes to the value of your home, outdoor space can affect the value almost as much as (if not more so) indoor space. It’s the outdoor space that visitors see first when they arrive at your house. It’s the outdoor space where you spend your time entertaining and playing.

Whether you’re trying to sell your home soon, or simply seeking a way to improve your quality of life, there are many things you can do to your outdoor space that will add to its value.

At Hidden Creek, we can help improve your home’s landscaping and hardscaping to help you achieve your home improvement goals. We provide design and outdoor construction services to beautify residential homes in and around Hilliard Ohio. Read on to learn about the many home improvements and upgrades that can make all the difference.

Hardscape and Masonry

Hardscaping creates structure in your front yard and back. Hardscaping can take many forms, including patios, decks, pathways, and more. Before installing beautiful landscaping, first, install hardscaping. It’s best to work with an experienced hardscape designer to get this work done.

Deck or Patio

Decks and patios provide a place to lounge, play, and visit with friends and family. Decks are elevated for a slight view, while patios sit fully on the ground. Covered patios provide more all-weather outdoor entertaining options, while decks have a particular aesthetic beauty that appeals to many homeowners. Which one is right for you? Have your hardscaping contractor create a design based on your preferences.

Water Features and Fire Features

Water features are serene and provide pleasing sounds as well as beauty. They’re an excellent addition to any garden, eating space or stone patio. They can attract birds, and help create an ambiance that most people enjoy when they’re lounging outside.

Fire features, meanwhile, provide a gathering space where people can spend time warming their hands and bodies. On a dark night, they’re a sight to behold, creating an intimate atmosphere where people can spend time enjoying one another’s company. Fire features can take many forms including a fire pit, fireplace, and more.

When you’re trying to decide between a water feature and a fire feature, ask yourself: do you want to stare into the flame or listen to the sound of a babbling brook? You decide.

Pathways

Pathways have utility as well as beauty. They add a dynamic quality to any front- or backyard, by leading the eye and body around the space. Pathways can also prevent an impromptu path from being beaten into the ground in common areas where you and your family members walk.

Pathways can be made from stone or mulch. Work with your landscaping and hardscaping designer to pick a pathway material that’s best for you.

Retaining Wall

Retaining walls can create holding places for soil, which can then become garden beds. Retaining walls also add structure to backyards and can flatten sloped ground, creating more usable space. They need to be installed by an experienced contractor with the skills to ensure proper construction, as an improperly built retaining wall may fail.

Landscaping

Landscaping consists of the living plants that grow up around your hardscaping. Once the hardscaping is in place, landscaping can be installed. Your landscaper can make recommendations for types of plants that can be potted on your property based on the amount of light, quality of the soil, and more.

Garden Beds

Garden beds can be used to grow shrubs, flowers, or even vegetables. It takes ongoing maintenance throughout the growing season to keep your flowers and shrubs in good condition, especially as they’re becoming established. Perennial plants that are already established need far less care. Talk to your landscaper about installing perennial plants if this is important to you.

For best results with your garden beds, fertilize regularly throughout the growing season, and water your plants according to their preferences. It helps to keep flowers and shrubs with like watering preferences together.

Another way to keep your flower beds looking their best is to mulch the surrounding ground. This gives the soil a uniform appearance and also helps contain moisture and cool the roots, to promote healthy plant growth.

Work with your landscaper to choose flowers with colors that coordinate with your hardscaping, house and surroundings. Some properties benefit from multi-colored flowers while other properties do best with a limited palette.

Potted Plants

Potted plants can brighten spaces like decks and patios that might otherwise be devoid of landscaping. Potted plants require a regular watering schedule, as the soil in potted plants can dry out quickly. Mulching can help keep the roots cool and can help prevent water from evaporating from the soil.

Your landscaper can suggest the best plants for pots on your property. These plants should be well-suited to a pot and should also be coordinated with the colors in the surrounding environment.

Ready to Upgrade Your Hardscaping or Landscaping? Contact Hidden Creek

At Hidden Creek, we provide the best quality landscaping and hardscaping for homeowners in and around Hilliard, Ohio. What you do to your property matters, and how you keep your yard can make a big impact on your home’s value. Work with the best!

To find out more about how we can help improve the value of your home, call us today to make an appointment for a consultation.

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The Best Perennial Plants For Ohio Weather

The weather is warming. The threat of frost will soon be behind us. Here in Ohio, we’re all preparing for a beautiful growing season. Whether you’re preparing your own garden beds for planting or you’re working with a professional, it’s important to pick the right plants for your property. Ohio is a state with four beautiful seasons, including very hot summers and very cold winters. Our USDA growing zones are 5a and 5b, depending on your location. This means it takes the right type of perennials to grow on your property. The plants you choose must tolerate very cold winters indeed.

Given all that, you might be surprised to find out there are actually many choices available to you. Ohio’s natural beauty shows through in its flora and fauna. Below are some of the best perennials that you can plant in your Ohio landscaping.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

The cardinal flower is known for its shocking red spikes with trumpet-shaped blossoms. The long, slender flowers are difficult for many insects to navigate, so it’s the hummingbirds that ultimately help fertilize these plants. That means you can attract many hummingbirds with these gorgeous, three- to four-foot tall perennials.

They’re moderately deer resistant, will thrive in full sun to partial shade, with morning sun and afternoon shade being best. Cardinal plants also require only a moderate amount of watering. Because cardinal plants are native to Ohio, they require little supplemental watering once established, though you’ll get the best results by watering them regularly throughout the growing season.

Gayfeather, or Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Bearing funny, shaggy flowers poised on tall spikes, gayfeather is one of the most noticeable plants to appear in the garden. It attracts bees, moths, butterflies and hummingbirds for an ongoing show throughout the summer. Plant this flower in full sun and maintain an average amount of moisture in the soil around the flower. gayfeathers are prominent, growing between two and five feet tall in good conditions.

If your soil is poor (and your landscaper will be able to let you know if this is the case), the gayfeather is a good plant for you, as it is moderately tolerant of poor soil as well as Ohio’s heat and humidity. This is an excellent plant to place in pots near your front door, assuming your front door is regularly exposed to bright sun. You’ll certainly attract attention to your home with these beautiful plants!

Black-Eyed Susan

Everyone loves black-eyed Susans. This easy to grow perennial flowers appear in gardens around the country, but they’re native to Ohio, which makes them perfectly well suited for garden beds throughout the state. You can find this flower growing in the wild throughout forests, fields, along interstates and roadsides, and in prairie land.

Black-eyed Susans prefer full sun and moderately dry soil. They’re quite deer resistant, and grow to be an average of two to three feet tall. They produce blooms throughout the summer, though dead-heading will help. This is a good plant if you’re not always consistent with your watering. Black-eyed Susans are also an excellent candidate for poor soil. Do not plant Black-eyed Susans if you have clay-like or poorly drained soil.

Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)

Blue flag Irises are striking in their beauty. Despite their name, their coloring falls on the line between blue and violet, with some flowers appearing much more violet than true blue. These hardy plants are able to survive in most home gardens without much care. You can find blue flags in wet meadows, along streams, and near swamps. …which is all to say that blue flag prefers moist soil. If your soil doesn’t drain well or is clay-like, this could be a good flower to plant on your property.

Blue flag prefers partial shade to shade and grows to be two or three feet in height. You can plant this flower to attract bees, hummingbirds, birds and butterflies.

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

There are few plants more lovely than columbine. With delicate two-colored blossoms and dark green foliage, columbines are one of the loveliest flowers in the forest. These flowers prefer shade to partial shade and average to dry soil. Once they’re established, they can multiply quickly. They’re also deer resistant. Columbine usually grows no larger than two and a half feet tall and can attract hummingbirds.

These flowers are so delicate that many homeowners choose to plant them in the company of other flowers for variety and coverage. Columbine is a spring blooming plant that doesn’t produce blossoms until its second year, if started from seed.

Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Obedient plant produces tubular flowers from spears that look similar to snapdragons. They attract hummingbirds and bees and grow best in full sun and average to moist soil. They’re about three or four feet tall and resistant to deer. Once established, Obedient plants spread quickly.

Why are they called obedient plants? Because when you push on the flowers, they will temporarily remain in place as if on a hinge. The flowers will eventually return to their original position. Obedient plants are also called false dragonhead, because of their resemblance to dragonhead flowers.

Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

If you like wild peas, then you’ll love wild lupine. This fragrant flower thrives in full- to partial sun, and in average to dry soil. Wild lupine attracts beneficial pollinators like hummingbirds and birds. Standing at just one to two feet tall, it’s modest in stature but makes a big impression in the garden.

Ready to Plant Your Garden? Contact Hidden Creek to Get Started

You don’t have to have a green thumb or all the time in the world to enjoy a beautiful garden in Ohio. Hidden Creek can help you get started with your Ohio landscape. To get started with your landscaping project this summer, call us today to make an appointment and discuss your needs.

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Fun Family Activities for Your Outdoor Space

Outdoor living spaces are great for summer barbecues, backyard football and slip-n-slides, but many other creative ways exist to enjoy your lawn and landscape.

From yard games to outdoor kitchen features to relaxing landscape additions, these activities are an ideal way to get the whole family to spend some quality time together outside.

Lawn Games
Lawn games are an excellent way to entertain family and friends, and you have many creative options for small patio games or large lawn activities.

Supersized Games
Some of the most popular outdoor games are giant versions of indoor games. And why not? These games are classics for a reason.
Lawn Dominoes

These fun, larger-than-life domino tiles are fun for kids and adults alike. You can purchase lawn domino sets, or make your own from 2-by-6-inch wood and some paint.

Lawn Dominoes
These fun, larger-than-life domino tiles are fun for kids and adults alike. You can purchase lawn domino sets, or make your own from 2-by-6-inch wood and some paint.

Lawn Dice
Like most lawn games, these dice are giant versions of their indoor counterparts. Lawn dice can be used in a myriad of games, but the most common is Yahtzee. Buy a set or make your own, and have fun with this laid-back lawn/patio game.

Lawn Jenga
Yes, this is just a giant Jenga set. But who doesn’t love building a toppling tower while standing on a ladder? Buy giant Jenga sets or make your own from two-by-fours, and be prepared for hours of gravity-defying fun.

Lawn Checkers/Chess
These supersized strategy games can be played on a patterned carpet, a wooden board or a patterned section built into a deck or patio. Use one of the many options in materials to make your oversized chess and checker pieces, but for a tried-and-true DIYer, this is a fun weekend project.

Lawn Connect-4
Yes, even this classic battle of the minds is available in giant form. This game is perfect for patio play, and the larger size makes it a perfect team game. This game is available in plastic or wood.


Traditional Lawn Games

These family favorites have passed the test of time, and each provides hours of outdoor fun for families and friends.


Cornhole

This outdoor game is basically an adult version of a bean-bag toss. The best thing about this game is that you can move the boards closer together or further apart, depending on the age of the players.

Horseshoes
Horseshoes is an easy game to add to your outdoor entertainment collection, and it could even become a permanent backyard fixture. You can pack and store portable games or create a horseshoe pit with sand, rebar and real horseshoes.

How ever you decide to play, this game is a winner with kids and adults alike.

Darts
Play one of the two outdoor versions of this game: lawn darts or traditional darts. In lawn darts, you have to toss an object onto a target to make points. Traditional darts is a more relaxed game that can be played on the deck or patio, and it’s a more mature form of entertainment.

Badminton/Volleyball
Both of these sports require a net and a fair amount of youthful energy. Badminton is a relaxed racquet game that involves passing a small birdie back and forth over the net. Volleyball is an intense game that can incorporate more players, and it requires a larger playing area. Either way, these two games help active kids burn off some energy.

Putt-Putt Golf
Portable putt-putt golf is available, but this game could become a permanent fixture in your backyard. Whether you want to install a small putting green or an entire 18-hole mini golf course, all you need is some Astroturf, a lot of wood, several tools, a fair amount of woodworking experience, and an imagination (yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it).

Outdoor Living Features
Outdoor activities aren’t limited to games. Incorporate cooking, eating and relaxing into your outdoor space to expand your living area and enjoy time outside with loved ones.

Fire Pit
What outdoor living space is complete without a fire pit? You can incorporate a fire pit into a deck or patio or create an entire outdoor space around a chimney. Create a welcoming outdoor space with benches or hanging chairs, so you can relax by the fire with loved ones.

Outdoor Kitchen
An outdoor kitchen can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be, as long as you have a way to grill a decent hot dog.

Purchase pre-made kitchen units, or create your own area with outdoor appliances. Outdoor kitchens are complex, so contact a local landscape designer if you want to install or upgrade your outdoor cooking space.

Mini Bar
What living space is complete without a mini bar? This is a perfect addition to an outdoor kitchen or near the fire pit for adult hangouts. You can also incorporate your herb garden into the outdoor kitchen/bar area for fresh seasoning and drink flavorings.

Hot Tub
Yes, a hot tub is a common outdoor feature, but for good reason. Hot tubs are an excellent way to relax and enjoy your outdoor space, especially after a long day of lawn games and grilling.
A hot tub should be installed by a professional, but don’t pass up the opportunity to dress it up with landscape features. A landscape designer can create an outdoor oasis for your hot tub to create the perfect relaxation area.

Swings
No, not playsets (although that’s also a great outdoor activity). We’re talking about hanging chairs and porch swings. Spruce up your outdoor space with hanging chairs or swings instead of benches or stools. Hang them from a sturdy pergola covered in a blooming vine. Hanging seating is an elegant way to create a relaxing outdoor space that easily integrates into the landscape.

Part of enjoying your landscape is finding ways to interact with your outdoor space. Outdoor games and living features help incorporate your lawn and landscape into your everyday life.

Contact us for more information about creating the perfect outdoor living space.

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Make a Splash! Benefits of Having an Inground Pool

One of the most luxurious and versatile ways to enjoy your landscape is to install an inground pool. Pools provide an excellent way for the whole family to enjoy the outdoors, and they add an elegant element to your outdoor space.

Are you considering installing an inground pool? Contact your local landscape designer to incorporate your pool into your existing landscape design.

Pools Promote Family Time

One of the most popular reasons to install a pool is to create a family-friendly outdoor environment.

Pools can be designed to accommodate a wide range of age groups. Shallow pool areas provide a refreshing spot for babies and toddlers, while a traditional swimming pool is best for older children and adults.

Incorporate a hot tub into your swimming pool for a relaxing seating area or spruce up the pool area with underwater LED lighting. The options to upgrade your swimming area are endless, which allow you to tailor your pool design to specific audiences.

Pools Increase Home Value

According to HGTV, a pool can increase your home’s value by five to eight percent, depending on the location.

They also found that not having a pool in a neighborhood where pools are common may decrease the value of your home.

The determining factor for improving your home’s value was a well-maintained, aesthetic pool area. Attractive pool tiles, walkways and a landscaped backdrop all improve the overall value of your home.

Pools Promote Fitness

According to the CDC, water-based exercises are an excellent way to improve your physical health without putting too much strain on your joints.

This is especially good news for people suffering from diseases causing joint pain. Water-based exercises may help alleviate some symptoms and provide a way to improve overall health in a low-impact environment.

Swimming is an obvious water-based workout, but the options don’t end there. Water aerobics and resistance training may help build muscle and improve flexibility, giving your body a total workout.

Pools Build Community

Pools attract parties, which is good news for extroverts and socialites. Nothing brings people together in the heat of summer like a cool, refreshing swim.

Whether you’re entertaining families, children’s sports teams, church groups or a few adult friends, a pool is an excellent hangout spot.

Create an entertainment area in your backyard by incorporating the pool into other outdoor living spaces. Patios, outdoor kitchens, water features and other outdoor improvements can create a welcoming environment in your yard for any social gathering.

Pools Are Relaxing

Of course, if you would rather use your yard as a private oasis, a pool can be a secluded, relaxing hideaway.

Going for a swim can help reduce stress, as well as provide a great workout. Lounging in or near the pool can help calm your mind as you take a break from devices and the hustle and bustle of society.

A well-landscaped pool area can reduce stress by providing an aesthetic green space.

Green spaces are known to:

  • Restore mental energy
  • Inspire learning and creativity
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Improve emotional and social health
  • Reduce symptoms of ADD
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Improve symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improve sleep habits
  • Improve immune system

A pool can help encourage outdoor time and add another layer of relaxation and stress relief in addition to the many health benefits of spending time in a green space.

Pools Provide Aquatic Therapy

In addition to promoting relaxation and physical activity, pools can provide a source of physical therapy for some people suffering from disabilities.

The water pressure on a person’s body has been found to be especially calming to people who are diagnosed with autism. Research shows the even pressure from being underwater has the same calming effect as a weighted blanket and can help autistic people reduce stress and focus on other activities.

Water therapy is also a great way for people with degenerative disorders to get physical activity without putting strain on joints or bones. It’s also a relaxing experience that can help relieve stress and improve mental health.

Of course, aquatic therapy is also beneficial for people suffering from injuries that make traditional exercises painful or dangerous. Recovering from torn ligaments, broken bones, or other traumatic injuries can be easier in a pool where the exercises are low-impact and there is a much lower risk of getting re-injured.

If you wish to install a pool for aquatic therapy, contact your doctor about the best design for your need, and work with a trained professional for workout routines.

Pools provide a refreshing hangout spot, and they can take your entertainment game to the next level. They also help improve physical and mental health, as well as improve the value of your home.

For more information on installing a pool, contact us today.

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The Best Time to Fertilize Landscapes, Lawns, & Gardens

Fertilizing is an important part of lawn and landscape maintenance, but applying fertilizer at the wrong time can do more damage to a plant than leaving it alone.

What’s a gardener to do?

When to fertilize depends on your climate, soil, plant, and variety. In general, established plants should be fertilized in the spring and/or fall, while seedlings, annuals, and container plants may need consistent applications throughout the growing season.

Ready to fertilize?

Not so fast.

First, let’s go over a few basics:

  • Annual compost applications are sufficient for most established plants.
  • Slow-release fertilizers promote healthy, sustainable growth, while quick-release fertilizers can burn roots.
  • Under-fertilizing is always better than over-fertilizing.
  • Fertilizer is not medicine for sick plants; check for pests, diseases, drought stress, overwatering, and other problems before you use fertilizer.
  • Our recommendations are for general-purpose fertilizers. Nutrient-specific amendments, like chelated iron, can be applied whenever you have a confirmed deficiency.
  • Nutrient imbalance can be caused by soils that are too acidic or alkaline for the plant. Do a pH test to make sure your plants are able to use the existing nutrients in the soil.

Now, let’s get started.

Best Time to Fertilize: Lawns

Turfgrasses are split into two major categories: cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.
Cool-season grasses grow more in the spring and fall, and may go dormant during hot, dry summers.
Warm-season grasses break dormancy later, and grow more during the summer.
Fertilize cool-season grasses late in the summer to early fall. This gives the lawn nutrients to recover from summer stress, as well as helping the roots prepare to store energy for the winter.
Fertilize warm-season grasses once in the spring after the first few mowing sessions, and again six to eight weeks before the first frost in the fall. This gives the lawn a boost when it breaks dormancy, and helps the roots prepare for winter dormancy.
For more tips on maintaining a lush, green lawn, see 7 Ways to Make Your Grass Greener.

Best Time to Fertilize: Established Trees & Landscapes

Newly-transplanted and established trees rarely need fertilizer. Most trees will have sufficient fertilizer from lawn applications, and the extensive root systems allow trees to access nutrients deep below the surface.
Newly-transplanted trees and shrubs should not be fertilized, because nitrogen will force them to grow new leaves when it should be focused on repairing the root system. Instead, add a few handfuls of compost into the ground when you transplant.
Established trees and shrubs should only be fertilized in early spring when soil tests indicate a deficiency. Annual compost applications are more beneficial to the plant and will help maintain adequate nutrient levels.

Best Time to Fertilize: Fruit Trees

Fruit trees have a burst of new branches, leaves, and flowers in the spring, followed by weeks or months of fruit development.
The ideal time to fertilize fruit trees is in early to mid-spring before bud break. This gives trees a burst of energy for green growth and blooming.
Keep in mind, established fruit trees may not need fertilizer.

Best Time to Fertilize: Vegetables

Most vegetables are annuals, so you don’t have to time your fertilizer applications to coincide with dormancy.
Instead, vegetables should be fertilized according to their overall health, with more or less time between applications depending on the soil quality.
Fertilize vegetables in sandy soil at the beginning of the season and every 3-4 weeks throughout the growing season if the plants begin to lose color or vigor. If plants are lush and green, avoid fertilizing or you may burn the roots.
Fertilize vegetables in clay soil at the beginning of the season and every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season if the plants begin to lose color or vigor. Clay soils may also cause root rot, so make sure you are irrigating correctly before you try to correct growth problems with fertilizer.

Best Time to Fertilize: Annuals

Annuals are meant to bring a temporary pop of color to an established landscape or flower bed.
Fertilize annuals at the beginning of the season before planting, and every 6-8 weeks during the growing season as needed. Annuals are meant to be showy and colorful, so it’s important to fertilize if the plants begin to show signs of nitrogen deficiency, like yellow (chlorotic) leaves.

Best Time to Fertilize: Container Plants

Container plants are permanently restricted to a planter, container, or pot. These plants are watered more frequently than in-ground plants, which leaches nutrients out of the potting mix.
Fertilize container plants every 2-8 weeks, depending on the species and time of year. Flowering and fruiting plants will need consistent fertilization to support blooms and fruit set, while vegetative plants may be able to go 3-4 months without fertilization.
Even plants with a slow-release fertilizer in the soil mix will eventually require fertilization. Research your plant’s nutrient requirements and fertilize accordingly.

Best Time to Fertilize: Seedlings

Seedlings are in temporary containers while they grow large enough for transplant. In order to prevent damping off and other pathogens that attack seedlings, most seed-starting mixes are sterile, which means they have no nutritional value for the plants.
Fertilize seedlings once they have one set of true leaves. This is when the plant has used up the nutrients from the endosperm within the seed, and when the roots will start looking for nutrients in the soil. Seedlings grow very quickly, so it is important to start fertilizing as soon as the first pair of seedling leaves emerge in order to keep up with this growth.

For truly stunning landscapes, you need a reliable irrigation schedule, mowing schedule, and maintenance schedule. Hidden Creek Landscaping INC. provides professional landscape services for commercial and residential areas. Contact us today for more information.

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5 Best Grass Species for Ohio

A well-manicured lawn is the fundamental building block of curb appeal. High-quality lawns create a clean backdrop for colorful landscapes and lawn décor (and it may even increase the value of your home).

There are many factors that go into creating a lush, green lawn, but the first step is picking a grass species that thrives in the cooler climates of Ohio.

Ohio is evenly split between USDA zones 5 and 6, which makes it the ideal environment for cool-season grasses. Cool-season grasses have a bunching growth habit and have active growth periods during the spring and fall. The best grass species for Ohio are:

  • Tall Fescue
  • Fine Fescue
  • Perennial Rye
  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Bentgrass

So, which one is best for your lawn?
Let’s find out.

1. Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is a coarse, dense turf grass with long blades.
This species is tolerant of poor soil, poor drainage, drought, and light shade.
Tall Fescue: Basic Care

Tall fescue is a durable turf grass, but it still requires consistent maintenance:

  • Durability: Moderate-High
  • Mowing Height: 3.5”-4”
  • Irrigation Needs: 1”-1.25” per week
  • Fertilizer Needs: 3-5lbs of nitrogen per 1,000sq’
  • Common Pests/Diseases: billbug, fall armyworm, white grubs

Plant tall fescue in late summer through early fall so the roots have time to establish before winter.

2. Fine Fescue

Fine fescues are divided into three lawn-quality turf grasses:

  • Creeping Red Fescue
  • Chewings Fescue
  • Hard Fescue

These grasses are usually blended with tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass to form a shade-tolerant, cool-season turf mix.

Fine Fescue: Basic Care

Fine fescues have a soft texture and deep green color. They are the most shade-tolerant cool-season grasses, and they require less water and fertilizer than almost any other cool-season turf species.

  • Durability: Moderate-High
  • Mowing Height: 1”-3”
  • Irrigation Needs: .5”-1” per week
  • Fertilizer Needs: 3-5lbs of nitrogen per 1,000sq’
  • Common Pests/Diseases: billbug, fall armyworm, white grubs

Plant fine fescue in late summer through early fall so the roots have time to establish before winter.

3. Perennial Rye

Perennial rye germinates faster than other cool-season grasses, but it is slow to spread. The most common use for perennial rye is as part of a blend with more vigorous species, like Kentucky bluegrass.

Recent advances with perennial rye have made it more tolerant of drought and foot traffic. Perennial rye is more tolerant of alkaline soils than fescues or bluegrass, which makes it a popular choice for homeowners with high pH soils.

Perennial Rye: Basic Care

Perennial rye is generally part of a cool-season blend, but it can also be used as a stand-alone turf, although it can be high-maintenance and may go dormant without proper care.

  • Durability: Moderate-High
  • Mowing Height: 1.5”-2.5”
  • Irrigation Needs: 1.25”-1.5” per week
  • Fertilizer Needs: 2-4lbs of nitrogen per 1,000sq’
  • Common Pests/Diseases: thrips, grubs, sod webworms, brown patch, dollar spot

Plant perennial rye in early spring or early fall. Fall is best so the roots can become established before winter.

4. Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most popular turf grasses in Ohio.

Kentucky bluegrass has a deep blue-green color and a soft, sturdy texture. Although Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass, it has a warm-season growth habit. Rhizomes spread underground to create a thick sod that fills in quickly and holds up to heavy foot traffic.

This grass is often mixed with perennial rye and fescue to give the turf more durability. However, Kentucky bluegrass is only slightly shade tolerant, and it takes three times longer to germinate than perennial rye. The roots are more shallow than other turf species, so it is more sensitive to drought and fertilizer deficiencies.

4. Kentucky Bluegrass: Basic Care

Kentucky bluegrass can be a high-maintenance turf, but the deep emerald color and soft carpet texture are worth the extra water.

  • Durability: Moderate-High
  • Mowing Height: 2.5”-3”
  • Irrigation Needs: 1.25”-2.5” per week
  • Fertilizer Needs: 3-6lbs of nitrogen per 1,000sq’
  • Common Pests/Diseases: grubs

Plant Kentucky bluegrass in early fall so the roots have time to establish before winter.

5. Bentgrass

Bentgrass is a specialty turf grass that is mostly used on golf courses.
This grass is an extremely low-growing, mat-forming turf that requires consistent maintenance. This discourages most homeowners from attempting to use it in their lawns. However, it creates a manicured, luxurious image, which makes it an attractive option in some areas.

For a more lawn-friendly bentgrass, try varieties bred for residential purposes. They are a little taller and require less maintenance.

Note: Bentgrass can become invasive in lawns and is a common weed in lawns with a fescue/bluegrass blend. Do not use bentgrass as a blend with other grasses.
Bentgrass: Basic Care

Bentgrass is the most high-maintenance grass on our list, but if you love lawn care, this may be the turf for you.

  • Durability: High
  • Mowing Height: .5”-.75”
  • Irrigation Needs: 1.25”-2” per week
  • Fertilizer Needs: 2-5lbs of nitrogen per 1,000sq’
  • Common Pests/Diseases: sod webworms, grubs, cutworms, dollar spot, brown patch

Plant bentgrass in early fall so the roots have time to establish before winter.

Want a show-stopping lawn, but not sure where to start? We offer year-round lawn and landscape maintenance. Contact us today for more information.

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