5 Things To Remember When Mowing Your Lawn

A seemingly simple task, how you mow your lawn can make a critical difference in the overall look and health of your lawn. Believe it or not, there are certain techniques and practices that you should follow to make sure that you are properly taking care of your property. After all, first impressions are most important, and how your lawn looks to visitors and potential buyers is the first look they’ll have when visiting or appraising your home.

While there is a lot to think about, we’re here to help! The expert landscape designers and maintenance specialists here at Hidden Creek Landscaping know exactly how to create the lawn perfect for your needs, and how to keep it in the most pristine shape possible. Learn more about how we can help maintain your investment.

There are several things you should keep front of mind when taking care of your lawn. We’ll discuss our top five recommendations below.

1. Maintaining the proper mowing height helps to prevent disease.

We often take for granted the health of our grass, cutting it too short or letting it go too long. Setting your mower deck at the appropriate height is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to mowing your lawn. Set it too low, and you run the risk of creating bald spots on slight rises and dips, too long, and you run the risk of encouraging weed growth and exposing your lawn to pests and disease. Mowing your lawn at the right height helps to keep your lawn from yellowing and stress-related diseases.

In general, you’ll want to never cut more than 1/3 of the blade of grass at any one time. During heavy growing seasons like spring, this could mean that you’ll need to mow your lawn twice a week to keep it at the proper height of 3-4”. Creating a perfect lawn requires a lot of work and patience!

2. Keep your blade nice and sharp!

We’ve all picked up a pair of scissors at some point that was too dull. Remember how they tore the paper you were trying to cut, leaving the edges jagged and the pages torn? The same thing could be happening to your grass if your mower blade isn’t kept nice and sharp! Dull tools can ruin any project, whether its arts and crafts, or creating a picture-perfect lawn.

Dull mower blades will rip and tear your blades of grass, leading to yellowed tips and stressed turf. This in turn could lead to disease, even killing off large sections of your lawn. We recommend that you sharpen your blades every 8-10 cuttings to keep them sharp and safe for your lawn.

3. Keep the right frequency.

Tied closely to the need for mowing at the appropriate height, keeping watch over your grass during the growing season is critical in maintaining lawn health. Experts recommend that you grow your grass to between 3-4” to keep it at its healthiest. Since you never want to cut off more than 1/3 of the blade, this could mean that you are mowing twice a week during the spring, but only every other week or even less during the winter.

4. Change is a good thing!

It’s very easy to get stuck in the same routine when mowing your lawn. Starting in the same place every time, following the same pattern as you go. While seeing a freshly mowed lawn with its straight lines can be appealing, it can have a negative effect on your lawn. The patterns you see are caused by the “uptake” force as the mower moves over the grass. On the reverse, it also forces the grass to “lay” down in a given direction. This causes the sun to hit the blades of grass in different ways, which could create permanent stripes on your lawn.

You want your grass to enjoy the sunshine on all sides! To achieve this you’ll want to mix up your mowing pattern, allowing the grass to lay in different directions each time. Plus it could be fun to come up with new patterns to show off your healthy lawn!

5. Let it dry!

Last but most importantly, never ever mow your lawn when it’s wet! The clippings can stick together, become tangled, and clump in your mower’s catcher. They also get stuck on the remaining blades, preventing the healthy grass from getting their needed sunshine. Mowing a wet lawn is also very hard on the soil. The heavy mower on wet earth can lead to soil compaction, which leads to thinning, unhealthy grass. Pay attention to the weather and you’ll make your job that much easier in the long run!

Let us help!

Keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful is a lot to think about! The good news is that we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn how Hidden Creek Landscaping can make your life easier.

We’ll work hard on your lawn so you don’t have to!

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How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?

Everyone loves to see their lawn well-manicured and in stunning shape. A great lawn sets the stage for your home or business and gives your property the perfect backdrop for picturesque landscaping. It gives you the outdoor space you need to entertain or relax, a place for the kids to play on a summer day, or for you to relax in the shade.

According to some research, lawn quality is one of the first impressions a buyer will comment on when previewing a property to purchase, so a well-kept lawn is proven to increase property values.

Creating and maintaining a lush, healthy lawn requires adhering to a regular schedule of maintenance and using the proper techniques to help combat weeds, bald patches, and discoloration.

How often you should mow and other maintenance tasks you should undertake depends on the nature of your property and the vision you have for your outdoor space. Give us a call at Hidden Creek Landscaping for a free consultation. We’d love to help you plan, create, and maintain a beautiful lawn.

How do climate and season affect lawn maintenance?

Climate and season are two of the most critical factors to consider when it comes to your lawn maintenance schedule. The rate of growth of your grass depends on season and temperature, so if it’s warmer, you’ll need to mow the lawn more frequently, while during colder times your grass is more dormant, so slower to grow.

This means that you’ll want to adjust your mowing schedule to reflect the time of year. As you move into fall and temperatures start to drop, you can ease off of more frequent mowing. Then, when the grass stops growing over winter you can take a break, until growth picks back up in the spring and you need to get back out there on a more frequent schedule!

Does lawn height play a role?

Your desired lawn height is what to pay attention to when getting started for the season. If you cut the grass too short, it can lead to diminished root ability to absorb water and nutrients. This ultimately leads to discolored, unhealthy grass. On the flip side, allowing grass to grow too long leaves your lawn looking ragged and messy, also allowing weeds to grow.

In general, the target for cutting your grass is when it reaches 3-4 inches in height. This range is considered the optimal point at which cutting the grass doesn’t harm its growth, while maintaining an appealing appearance.

What is the 1/3 rule?

The 1/3 rule is the golden measure when it comes to cutting overgrown grass. If your lawn becomes overgrown, it is always tempting to go all in, cutting it down to size at once. This is an absolutely terrible idea! Cutting more than 1/3 off the top of the grass can shock it and cause severe discoloration. You are basically robbing the grass of essential nutrients, causing it to become malnourished and unhealthy.

It also causes the lower, remaining parts of the grass to become weather-beaten, particularly if the big cut is the first of the season. Tall grass provides shelter from direct sunlight for the base, so suddenly exposing the lower parts of the blade of grass essentially causes it to become sunburned.

Also, once you’ve started your regular seasonal cycle of lawn maintenance, you can leave the grass clippings in place on the grass. The clippings act as fertilizer, providing essential nutrients like nitrogen. Cutting too much off the grass causes excess clippings that lay on top of and suffocate your lawn. The resulting clumping is not only unappealing, it will kill your grass in patches. Removing no more than 1/3 at any time is the only way to prevent this terrible result!

The short answer is that if your grass is significantly overgrown, you’ll need to cut the grass more often, removing only 1/3 at a time until you reach the height that you prefer.

So, how often should I mow?

There are a couple of other factors that come into consideration when determining how often you need to mow. The amount of sunlight could encourage slower or faster growth, and the type of grass you have also plays a significant factor. You’ll also need to adjust your schedule if the season is particularly rainy or dry. More water means that the grass will grow more quickly and require more frequent mowing, while drier days means you don’t need to get out there as often.

The good news is that we are here to help! Our commitment is to help you grow and maintain a happy and healthy yard. We’ll work directly with you to not only design a perfect yard, but to help you keep it in tip-top shape. Learn more about the design and maintenance services we provide. Let us take the guesswork out of how best to keep your space well-manicured and looking good.

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Benefits of Working With a Designer for Your Custom Landscape Project

The warmer months are upon us and you’ve got big plans for an outdoor project. Whether you’re thinking of a major renovation or simply want to create an outdoor living space for relaxing and entertaining, the expertise of a landscape designer can make things go more smoothly.

For more than two decades, the landscape designers with Hidden Creek Landscape in Columbus, Ohio have been producing inspirational and innovative landscape design concepts for customers throughout our region. In fact, we have a 97.5 percent retention rate among customers who choose the experience and knowledge of Hidden Creek Landscape.

Why Should I Hire a Landscape Designer?

Even the most ambitious do-it-yourselfer should consider the many benefits of leveraging the skills and expertise of a professional landscape designer.

  • You can stand out from the crowd with a custom design.

    Here at Hidden Creek Landscaping, we understand your property is just as unique as you. That’s why we love the opportunities to design and create landscapes that are one-of-a-kind.

    Because of our training and experience, we’ve got lots of ideas about what will work and what won’t. We’ll listen to your ideas, and develop and implement a design as close to what you have in mind as possible. If we see ways that your original idea can be improved, we’ll share our thoughts with you and tweak the plan as needed.

  • A landscape designer can save you time and money.

    One of the biggest advantages of working with a professional landscape designer is that you’re able to clearly understand the big picture. We know the costs of materials, and will be able to help you stay within your budget. This way, you’re in a much better position to decide whether you want to do the entire project at once or phase it in gradually.

    Because of their experience, landscape designers are in a better position to anticipate potential obstacles. With their help and guidance, you’ll be able to work around any potential trouble spots with more ease and effectiveness. Based on our experience, we realize that just about every project has the possibility of being improved while being built.

  • You’ll be able to see how your project will look before work is started.

    As part of our project analysis, we’ll put together a conceptual design using our 3-D technologies. In essence, this gives you and us a bird’s eye view of your project. We can then adjust your plan on the fly long before any physical work is done. This step essentially sets the stage for the work to begin.

  • You’re able to see how your entire landscape is impacted by your project.

    Whether you realize it or not, your property is its own ecosystem. Each change you make to it has an impact. Your professional landscape designer will have the knowledge and understanding to look at your project and analyze its effect — even down to the microscopic level.

  • Your project is manageable.

    It’s tempting and easy to get focused on one idea and just run with it. What happens, though, if what you had in mind simply isn’t feasible? Your landscape designer will be able to guide you towards the most effective ways to turn your ideas into a reality.

    Additionally, your landscape designer will help implement a plan that is as easy to maintain as possible long after the implementation part is done.

  • Working with contractors is easier.

    If your project requires a work crew, the chances are good that your landscape designer has established relationships with licensed contractors in your area. It’s also good for your landscape designer to serve as a liaison of sorts with the installation crew.

How Much Input Will I Have?

We know there are some landscape designers who prefer to use a certain style with which they’re comfortable. Here at Hidden Creek Landscaping, though, our sole focus is to bring your own personal ideas and design to life. We’re collaborators with you in every sense of the term.

While we may share examples of our previous work to complement your plan as needed, your vision is what we use to guide us. Our input is strictly to either enhance your existing ideas or draw your attention to any potential problems that we anticipate.

During our consultation, we’ll ask how you want the space to be used; your preferences on plants and materials; and other environmental factors.

We then take all that information and develop a plan of action that is based upon your initial ideas.

Getting started with the landscape designers with Hidden Creek Landscaping is quick and easy. Just complete the online Dream Builder form with your ideas. We’ll discuss your plans and get back in touch with you quickly.

You can also reach us by calling 614-777-4254 or get in touch via email.

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Why Choose Hidden Creek as Your Custom Landscaping Company in Columbus, Ohio

About half of the country’s home and business owners regularly use the services of a professional landscape service provider. From adding a pool, deck, patio, or walkway, to installing a new landscape design and scheduling regular lawn maintenance, it pays to have a provider you can trust completely with your property.

You should know that Hidden Creek Landscaping is locally owned and has a 97.5 percent client retention rate. That means that when it comes to designing and maintaining lawns and other outdoor living areas in Central Ohio, we have the expertise and customer service you expect and deserve.

Why Should I Hire a Professional Landscaping Service?

When done right, there’s a lot more to landscaping than mowing the lawn and trimming hedges. Hidden Creek Landscaping was founded in 1998 by two men who were studying Landscape Architecture at The Ohio State University. It’s that love of and fascination for landscaping that shaped our business and positioned Hidden Creek Landscaping to develop and nurture the landscapes of property owners in Central Ohio.

Because each person’s lawn is as different as their own personalities, we pride ourselves on offering custom solutions for unique landscaping challenges. While you most likely have your own reasons for wanting to hire a professional landscaping service, here are some of the most common reasons our customers have given us.

  • We can save you time. Whether you need an entirely new landscape design, are thinking about a water or fire feature, or simply want to make sure your lawn gets the care and attention it needs, time is among the most obvious benefits of hiring a professional landscaping service. We have the knowledge and the resources at our fingertips to give your lawn all it needs to not only grow — but to thrive.
  • We have the expertise to help you make the right decisions about plants, trees, and grass. We’re very familiar with what types of grass and native plants do best in Central Ohio, and those that do not. For example, not every grass variety will be able to withstand the harshness of Ohio winters. We know which ones work best, and how to keep yours looking its best year ‘round.
  • We can show you how your yard will look before the work is done. With our 3-D technologies, we’ll illustrate what your landscape design will look like with a virtual flyover simulation. With this ability, we’re able to anticipate potential obstacles on the fly and find creative ways to work around them long before any dirt is tilled.
  • We help you stay on budget. If you choose to go the “do it yourself” route, expenses can quickly get out of control. By leveraging our expertise, we’re able to quote you a price and our professional team members will do all they can to make sure you don’t pay a cent more.

How Do I Get Started With Hidden Creek Landscaping?

All of our projects, quotes, and consultations begin with the Dream Builder form, which you can complete and submit online.

There, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe what type of project you have in mind
  • Tell us the purpose of the project (more family entertaining space, regular lawn maintenance, landscape design, etc.) so that we can get a better understanding of the size and complexity of the job
  • Tell us your timetable for having the work done
  • Outline a budget
  • What types of materials you want us to use or avoid

We’ll even work from plans that have been drawn up by another company.

Once you submit the form, our team of landscape architects and designers will discuss your project and reach out to you about plans for implementing your ideas.

How Do I Select the Right Landscape Provider for My Lawn?

It’s well worth your effort to ask the right questions when making your selection for a landscaping provider.

Your first step should be to select a few candidates based upon recommendations from friends and neighbors. Then, take the time to ask them the following questions.

  1. Are you bonded and insured? This is vital to make sure you’re protected legally if there’s a mishap on your property. Hidden Creek Landscaping is insured and bonded.
  2. Will you guarantee your work? You need a professional landscape provider that will stand behind their work, as we do here at Hidden Creek.
  3. How long have you provided professional landscaping services? This is important because you need someone who has established and demonstrated a reputation for doing things the right way. Hidden Creek Landscaping has served the Central Ohio region for more than 20 years. During that time, we’ve become the landscape providers of choice in our area.
  4. Is your team professionally trained? You should want a provider who is constantly at the forefront of landscape technologies and approaches. Here at Hidden Creek Landscaping, our team members are continually being trained in the absolute latest in landscape know-how and equipment.

For more information about how Hidden Creek Landscaping can help you, call 614-777-4254 or get in touch via email.

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When Should I Plant Grass Seed in My Yard?

Few things beat the feeling of cool grass underneath our bare feet. When it comes to starting a lawn from scratch, though, the best time to plant grass seeds in Ohio is late summer to early fall – mid-August to early October.

In this issue, the landscaping experts with Hidden Creek Landscaping will talk more about the process of planting grass seed, how to select the right type and how long it will take for your grass seeds to grow.

Why Should I Wait Until Late Summer to Plant My Grass Seeds?

It’s best to wait until mid-August at the earliest because of seed germination – when the seed begins to grow.

Late summer provides the ideal time for grass seed germination as the warm soil and the autumn rains combine to create the perfect environment for it. 

By waiting until late summer, you’re far more likely to enjoy a grass lawn that’s thicker, dense and strong. 

How Long Will It Take for My Grass Seeds to Grow?

While it depends on the variety of grass seed you plant, the germination period usually takes anywhere between 5-30 days.

Keep in mind that all grass seeds will need some sun in order to grow. If your soil is too cold, it could take longer for your grass seeds to germinate.

Which Type of Grass Seed Should I Plant?

Before deciding on which type of lawn you want, consider the differences between cool-season and warm-season grasses.

While warm-season grasses will flourish in the warmer months of spring and summer when the temperatures are between 80-95, a cool-season grass will thrive more in when the temps hover between 65 and 75 degrees. 

Keep that information and the realization of Ohio winters in mind when you’re making your grass seed selection.

Here’s a sample of some of the more popular grass seeds planted in Ohio.

  • Kentucky Bluegrass. If you’re wanting a lawn that has a smooth and fine-textured appearance, this one is probably for you. Used in more than two-thirds of Ohio lawns, Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool-season grass that’s versatile, resistant to high traffic and disease. While it grows best in direct sunlight, your Kentucky Bluegrass should take 1-3 months to establish itself.

To keep your Kentucky Bluegrass looking its best, you should keep it trimmed to about 2 ½ inches.

  • Fine Fescues. Another sturdy cool-season grass, Fine Fescues has a more narrow-leafed grass with a touch of red. The germination process is usually a bit faster than with Kentucky Bluegrass, and it blends well when mixed with other grasses. Also, Fine Fescues are more tolerant of shade, and require very little maintenance.

Your Fine Fescues grass should be kept at a height of about 3 inches. This species doesn’t require as much water like most others – but you should water it enough to prevent any drought.

  • Bermuda Grass. With fine-bladed leaves, this warm-season species is an aggressive type of grass. Because of that, it’s a popular choice for both homeowners and commercial business owners. Resistant to high traffic, heat, and drought, Bermuda Grass provides you with a lush and hardy lawn. The only downside to Bermuda Grass is that it doesn’t do well in cold temperatures, so keep the Ohio winters in mind when making your selection.

If you go with Bermuda Grass, you should keep it trimmed at about 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches.

  • Perennial Ryegrass. Another cool-season choice, Perennial Ryegrass does very well here in Ohio. This species of grass can easily handle heavy traffic and cold weather, which is why it’s a popular selection for sports and play lawn settings. 

You’ll need to keep your Perennial Ryegrass trimmed to 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches.

How Should I Care for My Grass?

In addition to the mowing instructions listed with each species above, t

here are some proactive steps you can take throughout the year to keep your lawn looking its best.

This includes:

  • Applying fertilizer at the recommended timeframes for your species of grass
  • Thatching at least twice per year to make sure your grass is receiving the nutrients it needs at the root level
  • Never “sheering” your lawn or cutting it too close (if you do, you’re eliminating your grass’s ability to protect itself from the beating sun and its capability of retaining moisture).

An especially effective way to maintain the health of your lawn is to set up a regular lawn maintenance program. Here at Hidden Creek Landscaping, we can set you up with a schedule to take care of:

  • Complete landscaping maintenance
  • Spring and Fall cleanups
  • Planter rotations
  • Fertilization schedules
  • Seasonal displays

The Bottom Line

For more answers to your questions about growing grass seeds in Ohio, get in touch with us here at Hidden Creek Landscaping. We’ll listen to what you need and match you with the grass seed that works best for you. You can also give us a call at (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email

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The Best Flowers to Plant in Ohio 

The ideal time for planting flowers in Ohio is from late May to mid-October. So, if you’re ready to add a splash of color to your landscaping and a sweet aroma to the air, we’re about to enter the proverbial calendar year sweet spot for planting flowers in the Buckeye State.

In this blog, the flower planting experts with Ohio Hidden Creek Landscaping will talk about the best flowers to plant in Ohio and give you pro tips for how to get started and what you’ll need.

What Flowers Should I Plant in Ohio?

Flower fragrance and appearance vary from species to species, so if you’ve got specific preferences, we’ll, of course, be happy to talk with you about the flowers that will suit your individual needs.

Here, though, is a brief listing of beautiful easy-to-plant flowers that do very well here in Ohio.

  1. Coneflowers. With coneflowers, flower-gardening doesn’t get much easier. Available in a host of colors (pink, purple, red, white), coneflowers look like daisies with a raised center. Butterflies and bees are wildly attracted to them and gorge on their nectar, so you’ll certainly be doing your part to keep the ecosystem going by planning coneflowers.
  2. Daylilies. If you want color, this is your plant. Each bloom of a daylily lasts for only about a day, but the blooming season lasts throughout the summer. If you’re concerned about the soil in your yard, a daylily would probably work well for you – it can thrive practically anywhere.
  3. Russian sage. A member of the mint family, Russian sage has flowers with thin lavender shades. Because it can grow to lengths of five feet or more, it goes well with other tall flowers and shrubs. A good amount of sun and well-drained soil are all a Russian sage need in order to thrive.
  4. Blanket flower. Featuring fiery red-orange blooms that will last deep into the fall, blanket flowers are native to the plains area of Ohio. They, too, merely need a lot of sun in order to really take off. Because their blooms will stretch into late fall, their colors will coincide perfectly with the change in seasons.
  5. Peony. Known for their sweet scent and large double-blooms, peonies are what you’re looking for if petal abundance is your thing. They, too, are sun lovers and need well-drained soil. As they grow, you’ll notice shoots and leaves, but the can’t-miss show is when the flowers begin to bloom in late spring.
  6. Virginia bluebells. You may know these flowers for another name – Virginia cowslip. These flowers are fun to watch. They’ll start off in the spring with a vibrant pink bud that transform into a blue bell-shaped flower. Its pointy leaves will keep their bluish-green shade throughout the growing season.

Make sure you follow the panting directions for any flower you select. If you have questions, just give us a call here at Hidden Creek Landscaping (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email

What Steps Do I Need to Take Before Planting Flowers?

Location is everything when it comes to success with planting flowers. Keep in mind you don’t need a lot of space for flowers. A small window box or a raised garden bed can be just as effective as a large plot of land.

The key thing to keep in mind is that the more sun your flowers get, the more blooms you’ll see. 

  • Tools you’ll need. To get your plants into the ground easily, nothing beats a trowel. A hoe is a good idea for weed removal. It’s also a good idea to get a watering can with a nozzle and a set of hand pruners.
  • Look for soil with good drainage. The ideal drainage rate is two inches per hour. Here’s a quick DIY solution for testing the drainage of your soil.
    • Dig a hole, fill it with water and let it sit overnight.
    • The next day, refill the hole with water. Then, measure it by laying a stick across the top and using a tape measure to measure the vertical distance between the stick and the water.
    • Measure the drainage every hour
  • Remove any weeds from the area. Weeds allowed to grow in the same area will literally rob your flowers of the nutrients, water, and energy they need to survive.
  • Arrange your flowers. Whether you start with a packet of seeds or seedlings, give a bit of forethought as to which will grow taller and more vibrant. Plant the one that will grow taller in the back. 

The Key Takeaway

If you’re ready to plant flowers, this is the ideal time to do it. The Ohio soil and climate is more than enough to provide you with beautiful blooms and healthy flowers throughout the season.

For ideas about flower gardens and varieties, get in touch with Hidden Creek Landscaping by visiting our online Dream Builder site. 

You can also reach us by calling (614) 779-0846 or via email

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How Do You Remove Mold from an Outdoor Fountain?

stone fountainWith the gentle, relaxing sound of cascading water, your outdoor water feature provides you with a natural sanctuary from the everyday stresses of the world. There’s no denying the fact that most living creatures have a natural response to the sounds and look of moving water.

 

Now that we’re in the warmer months and temperatures are beginning to rise, the threat of mold growing inside and on your outdoor water fountain is very real. 

 

That’s because mold naturally grows faster and easier in areas that are constantly moist and warm. Since outdoor water fountains typically get more than their fair share of direct sunlight, it’s often the perfect breeding ground for mold and algae. 

 

If that happens, the sense of awe you experienced when the fountain was first installed could be replaced with a feeling of disgust.

 

How can mold grow on an outdoor fountain?


It’s true that mold and algae will grow faster in water that’s standing still. However, both can still grow in the bowl, base, and filtration system of your fountain. If left untreated, the algae and mold can literally take over your fountain and turn it into a big, slimy, and smelly mess.

 

What’s the difference between mold and algae?


While the two terms are often thought to mean the same thing, they are entirely different. 

 

Algae is a naturally growing plant that appears “mossy.” While it looks repellent, algae will not eat away at your fountain or cause you harm.

 

Mold, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. If you or your guests ingest the water from your mold-infected fountain, you could experience a host of health problems, from an irritated throat and eyes, to asthma attacks and breathing problems.

 

How can I clean and maintain my outdoor water fountain?


There are several relatively easy ways to maintain your outdoor water fountain. The key is to make it part of your regular home maintenance schedule.

 

To clean your fountain of mold, you can mix together a mold-busting concoction made from several everyday items. This is not as difficult as you may think. 

 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • One large sponge
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • A scrub brush, similar to what you would use on metal pots and pans
  • Bleach
  • A small container
  • A large bucket
  • A hose

 

Step 1: In the small container, mix warm water with a couple of drops of the dishwashing detergent. You should see suds gather in the water.

 

Step 2: Dip the scrub brush into the cleaning solution you just made, and scrub away all visible signs of the mold. Then, rinse the entire fountain with the hose.

 

Step 3: Pour a gallon of water into the large bucket with one (1) cup of bleach. Put on your rubber gloves and goggles, and add the sponge to the water-bleach mixture.

 

Step 4: After the sponge has been saturated, wipe down the whole water fountain structure. Then, let the bleach solution stay on the fountain for five (5) minutes so that all the remaining mold spores can be killed. 

 

Step 5: Use the hose to rinse the fountain. Take your time with this step to ensure that all of the bleach solution is removed. 

 

Step 6: Fill your fountain with fresh or even distilled water to work on the filtration system. Distilled water can be especially helpful as the impurities have already been removed. 

 

How often should I clean my outdoor fountain?


This procedure should be repeated at least once every six (6) months to make sure mold and algae don’t gain a foothold on your fountain. 

 

Does the installation impact the health of the fountain?


It sure does. Because the base of the fountain must have a tight seal, it’s recommended you hire a professional to do the job. One tiny, little crevice is more than enough room to let mold spores and algae in.

 

Today, most fountains are made with a sealant. However, this sealant tends to wear off over the course of time. If you have a stone fountain, you’ll probably need to replace the sealant once every 2-3 years. In most cases, a sealant rated for outdoor use will do the trick. Simply use a brush to apply the sealant over the entire fountain.

 

The key to doing this is to apply a thin layer with wide back-and-forth movements.

 

To learn more about water fountains and other water features, our team of creative landscaping professionals at Hidden Creek Landscaping are here to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. 

 

If you’d like for us to go ahead and begin gathering information about your needs, check out our online Dream Builder page.

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What Are the Benefits of a Saltwater Pool?

Pool stepsIf you’re looking to add a bit of fun and luxury to your home, a swimming pool can easily fit the bill. Beyond the obvious need for taking a cool dip as the temperatures steadily creep up, a swimming pool provides you with a host of benefits. 

From adding real value to your home, instilling a sense of calm, and giving you instant access to one of the best forms of physical exercise, hardly anything else comes close to touching the positive impact made by a pool.

While you have a variety of choices in terms of the physical layout of your pool, let’s talk about what goes into the pool. In other words, do you want a saltwater pool or a chlorinated pool? 

 

What are the advantages of a saltwater pool?


Many people immediately associate a saltwater pool with swimming in the ocean. However, saltwater pools have about a tenth of the salinity as water in the ocean. There really is no comparison between the two. 

 

Another commonly held misconception is that there’s no chlorine in a saltwater pool. Actually, your saltwater pool will make its own chlorine through electrolysis. The amount of chlorine is significantly lower than a traditional chlorinated pool because it’s produced at a slower, steadier pace.

 

Here are some of the benefits associated with saltwater pools:

 

  • They’re low maintenance. One of the most popular sayings among owners of chlorinated pools is they are the last person who gets to enjoy it because of all the maintenance. Owning a saltwater pool is a completely different experience altogether. While you’ll need to keep an eye on the chlorine levels, most saltwater pools can go weeks at a time without maintenance.

 

  • Saltwater doesn’t irritate your skin or eyes. Since the chlorine levels in saltwater pools are significantly lower, you and your guests will experience far fewer irritations. For example, with a saltwater pool, there’ll be no more itchy skin and red eyes. In fact, the sensation from saltwater pools is similar to that of water softeners; your skin will feel silky and smooth, not abrasive, as it would after a dip in a chlorinated pool.

 

  • In the long run, you’ll save money. While the saltwater generator can make the installation costs seem a bit higher, a saltwater pool is actually far more cost-effective since you’ll be using fewer pool chemicals each week.

 

What are the disadvantages of a saltwater pool?


As with just about everything in life, there are some disadvantages to installing a saltwater pool.

 

  • The initial investment is larger. Again, this is mainly because of the need for the saltwater generator. While this preliminary requirement can lead to a bit of “sticker shock,” the money you’re saving by not having weekly chemical purchases makes up for it.
  • Experienced technicians are required when problems arise. Because they are more complex than a chlorinated pool, it’s best to have an experienced technician look after even minor issues.
  • You may be limited with accessories. Because salt can damage certain surfaces, a saltwater pool may limit your choices in terms of underwater lighting, pool lining, etc.

 

What are the advantages of a chlorinated pool?


A chlorinated pool is definitely an investment worthy of your consideration. It’s an easy and affordable way to enjoy the warmer months.

 

  • They’re initially less expensive to install. Because there’s no need for a saltwater generator, the initial costs of a chlorinated pool are usually significantly less than a saltwater version.

 

  • It’s easier to find technical help. Since chlorinated pools are so well understood, you should have very little difficulty in finding a qualified professional to correct any issues.

 

  • A chlorinated pool can be less corrosive. With a chlorinated pool, you should be able to add just about any pool accessory you want. This includes having far more selection with underwater lighting and pool lining materials. 

What are the disadvantages of a chlorinated pool?

Yes, there are some cons to owning a chlorinated pool. Here are a few:

 

  • Your money can literally disappear in the air. While you’ll save on the initial investment, the savings will be eaten away by weekly chemical purchases. With a chlorinated pool, you’ll most likely be required to test and adjust your pool’s chemical balance throughout the week, and definitely after every storm. Without the addition of a chlorine stabilizer, all of your expensive chemicals will simply evaporate. 
  • You’ll likely notice a strong odor. You know the smell of chlorine when it’s in the air. That smell is actually the result of the chlorine interacting with bacteria to produce chloramine. It also leads to itchy skin and eye irritation. 
  • You need to become accustomed to handling chlorine and other chemicals. We’re not saying you need a science degree to own a chlorinated swimming pool, but you need to realize the required chemicals are hazardous to store and handle. 

As you can see, if you’re in the market for a swimming pool, you’ve certainly got options. If you’d like more information about saltwater and chlorinated pools, we’d be happy to speak with you.

Visit our online Dream Builder page so that we can begin gathering information for you. 

You can also contact us at your earliest convenience. 

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Deck vs. Patio Paver?

deckThe decision for the right design for your outdoor living space can be a tricky one. Two worthy opponents vying for your attention are decks and patios. 

Both are good choices, but which will work best for you? How will either hold up in the often-harsh Ohio winters?

In this article, we’ll give you a deep dive into decks and paver patios so you’ll be armed with the right information to make the best decision for you.

What are the basic differences between a deck and a paver patio?

Let’s start first with patios. Level with the ground, a paver patio often serves as a connection between your yard and your living area. You can spruce it up by adding shrubbery, flower beds birdbaths, water or fire features, etc. 

Decks, though, are elevated from the ground. While they can be freestanding, most decks are attached to homes or other structures. Because of their height, some safety features may be necessary – like a railing or built-in bench. 

What are decks and paver patios made from?

Most decks are made of wood. While it gives your deck a more natural look, wood can also be difficult to maintain over the long run. Other materials that can make your deck more durable include aluminum, composites (resin and wood) and polymer (plastic).

Paver patios are typically made of stone, brick, tile or concrete. Especially attractive features of pavers include the wide variety of available colors and the ability to lay the individual tiles in striking patterns.  

patio paverWhich is easier to install?

If you’re wanting to extend your living area from a second floor or want it to serve as a balcony, decking is your obvious choice because it’s elevated. Likewise, if ground-level outdoor living is your jam, a paver patio is the right choice.

As for the installation process itself, most decks are installed in the following stages. Keep in mind that your deck can be customized to your specific needs, so the steps may vary.

  • We’ll first make sure there are no underground services (water and power lines) running across the deck area.
  • The outline of your deck is made with string.
  • Any necessary removal of sod is made.
  • Support posts are installed and held in place with cement, and beams and joists are installed.
  • Decking boards are nailed in place.
  • Finally, features including stairs, railing and staining are added. 

As for paver patios, the installation process includes:

  • Removing sod and plants from the designated area down to the level of undisturbed soil
  • Compacting the soil to avoid settling
  • Installing a treated fabric that will prevent freezing and thawing of the deep soil
  • Spreading a six-inch layer of gravel and sand that serves as the setting bed
  • Laying the pavers and sealing the final product. 

Which is easier to maintain?

Depending upon the material you select, your deck can take a real beating during the winter months. Wooden decks are highly vulnerable to the continual freezing and thawing of water we see during our Ohio winters. You’ll also need to regularly power-wash, stain and seal your wood deck.

As for paver patios, the necessary maintenance is not nearly as intense. Since pavers are extremely durable, all that’s really needed is sealing – and even though that’s recommended to deal with our cold winter months, it’s not entirely necessary.

What are the pros and cons of a deck?

Here’s where we get to the meat of the matter. As for decks, the pros include:

  • Decks are a better option for uneven terrain.
  • They’re customizable to your individual style and tastes.
  • Decks provide an immediate boost to your resale value if you’re looking to quickly sell your home.

Cons for decks include:

  • The costs of installing a deck are often higher than a paver patio.
  • They often have a shorter lifespan because of vulnerability to harsh weather, rot and termites.
  • More maintenance is required than with a paver patio.
  • There are weight restrictions, which can be a problem during heavy snows and added features like a hot tub or an outdoor kitchen.

What are the pros and cons of a paver patio?

The advantages of choosing a paver patio include:

  • Maintenance is substantially less than a deck.
  • More privacy is available through a paver patio because it is low to the ground.
  • They have a far longer lifespan – roughly 25 years or more of use is common.

Among the con sides of paver patios are:

  • They are not a good choice for uneven terrain.
  • They are vulnerable to cracking – although this is easily fixed by replacing the individually damaged tiles.
  • Pave tiles can be stained by mildew, mud and other natural occurrences. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there’s plenty to like about paver patios and decks. We understand that choosing one over the other can be difficult. Our decades of experience, though, can be invaluable in guiding you towards the right choice. 

For ideas of how we can help, check out our online photo gallery of recent projects. 

Then, give us a call at (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email

 

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Pergola vs. Sunshade?

pergolaIt may not feel like it, but by the end of March spring will have sprung – even for those of us here in the Buckeye State. With late-March and April highs projected to be in the mid-to-upper 60s, things will seem downright balmy.

With the arrival of the sunnier and warmer days of spring comes thoughts of outdoor living and entertaining. A vital part to enjoying your yard during the spring and summer months is providing yourself and your guests with shelter from the sun.  

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth and informative look at two of the most popular options for relief from the vertical rays: pergolas and sunshades.

What is a pergola?

While it can be connected to your house or freestanding, a pergola is an open structure with no walls, but is supported by several posts. Typically square or rectangular in shape, its roof is partially open with a lattice or trellis design that provides you and your guests with a bit of cover. This design makes it easy for air to circulate and for some sunlight to pass through.

The main purpose of a pergola is to establish the perimeters of an outdoor living area. 

How large are pergolas?

While some pergolas are large enough to provide shade for crowds of 30 or more, others can be intimate enough for just two. 

In other words, your pergola will be built to your specific needs.  

What are pergolas made of?

You have a variety of choices for your pergola materials. Popular choices include wood, steel, aluminum, and metal.

How long should my pergola last?

It depends on two things: the material you select and whether or not it’s properly maintained.

For a wood pergola, you should expect to enjoy 10 years or more from your investment. Metal, steel and aluminum pergolas will last even longer.

The trick is to avoid the DIY pergola kits you see in the big box stores. While their prices are appealing, you’ll be fortunate to get more than two years of use out of their products. 

patio paverWhat are the pros and cons of a pergola?

As with just about anything in life, there are pros and cons to installing a pergola.

Among the pros for a pergola are:

  • It will not obstruct the view from inside your home.
  • The necessity of relatively few materials
  • The versatility to add curtains or grow vines along the posts for privacy and decorative tastes and styles
  • Materials can be stained or painted to reflect the appearance of your home.

The cons sometimes associated with a pergola include:

  • Fading of the materials over time
  • The possibility of termites if your pergola is made of wood and proper treatments aren’t made

What is a sunshade?

Often referred to as shade sails, sunshades are another highly effective way to give you and your guests a bit of shade. Sunshades are typically made of specially treated fabric that’s mounted to steel posts and tightened to avoid flapping in high winds. 

How large are sunshades?

While they can be custom-made for your specific needs, sunshades are readily available in sizes as small as 10-feet to over 25-feet. You may need more than one sunshade to cover your outdoor living area.

Are sunshades waterproof?

Not entirely. While a light rain will roll off from the edges of your sunshade, a heavy downpour will likely result in some rainwater passing through.

Can I leave my sunshade up all year?

It’s not recommended. Most sunshades are not capable of supporting heavy snowfalls during the winter months or withstanding hurricane-force winds. 

How long should my sunshade last?

Much of the answer to that question depends on the installation of the sunshade. For example, while it’s not unusual to enjoy as much as 10 years of outdoor living with your sunshade, improper installation can cause it to become loose or even sag – which in turn leads to faster deterioration. 

What are the pros and cons of a sunshade?

While sunshades do provide great ventilation and are relatively easy to install, there are a few negatives to keep in mind.

Among the cons for a sunshade are:

  • They’re not built to withstand heavy weather
  • They present a legitimate fire hazard
  • Your investment can be damaged by birds, large branches and other obstacles. 

The Bottom Line

The decision to go with a pergola or sun shade is obviously your choice. We’re fans of both options, but can help you understand the pros and cons of each as they relate to your situation. That way, you don’t have any buyer’s remorse down the road. 

To find out more about how we can help you, and to get the ball rolling, visit our online Dream Builder page so that we have an idea of what you’ve got in mind. 

You can also give us a call at (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email

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