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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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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Summer Outdoor Patio Events

Patios are the perfect summertime hang out spot. With the warmer weather and longer days, it’s a great time to get ready for patio gatherings and events.

Your outdoor space is an extension of your home, so it should be comfortable and cozy. You want to be sure that it is spacious enough to entertain guests. Most of all, your patio should meet all of your family’s needs and fit in with your personal style.

Patio Ideas for the Summer

If you are looking for ways to spend more time outside, consider renovating and refurbishing your outdoor space. Before you get started, think about your desired style and theme. The style can be casual, modern, traditional, colorful, rustic, simple, or any combination of the above. A few possible decorating themes are seaside, tropical, floral, or old world charm.

Whether you are redecorating or building it from scratch, be sure to plan ahead and think about how to best use your space. Consider how much seating you need, where the entry point will be, and how to make it accessible. Think about the primary uses of your patio, such as whether it will it be for lounging, dining, or entertaining.

There are many ways to add structure to your patio. To make it cooler and more private, you can build a pergola or a privacy wall or fence. A pergola, a type of gazebo made from cross beams and lattice supported by tall pillars, is a perfect way to protect you from the glare of the sun and can serve as a good place to hang lights, plants, and decorations. Umbrellas can also be used to keep you cool on hot summer days.

Decorating Ideas

Once you have a basic plan in mind, you can begin to think about the design details and colors. For summertime, consider using bold colors like teal, red, orange, and yellow. A colorful design will keep your space fun and vibrant. If you are looking for something more relaxing you might stick with natural materials such as wood, stones, and bricks.

As you select your furniture, look for items that are comfortable, waterproof, and sun resistant. Durable and weatherproof, outdoor furniture can be left out and enjoyed for months. The fabrics won’t fade in the sun. They feel soft and comfortable and are filled with quick dry foam so you don’t have to worry about bringing them in when it rains. There are many beautiful pieces of outdoor furniture available in just about any color and style.

Lighting is an important consideration if you plan to use your space at night. String lights, lanterns, bistro lighting, a metal chandelier, torches, candles, outdoor fireplaces, and fire pits are some clever ways to incorporate lighting in your outdoor living space.

To make your outdoor space into a beautiful garden getaway, include plants, flowers, and landscaping. You can incorporate water by adding a fishpond, a mini waterfall, a sunken spa, or a pool. To make it into a relaxing paradise, include a hammock, lounge chairs, loveseats, a wrap around deck, a rock wall, or stone arches.

If you plan to entertain a lot,  you will want to incorporate a few additional items, such as extra seating, countertops, tables, outdoor appliances, and a bar. Bringing out linens, table runners, and benches will make your guests feel comfortable and at home.

Finally, add some finishing touches to make it feel cozy, such as colorful outdoor area rugs, pillows, cushions, and decorations. Have fun and be creative with the décor. Keep it casual and relaxing or add some exciting patterns and bold colors. And don’t forget to install an outdoor sound system so you can listen to music.

Summertime Events

Once your space is ready to go, there are many summertime events you can plan. Use it in the mornings for your morning coffee and breakfast. Use it for meetings with friends or colleagues, for family barbecues, picnics, and small get-togethers.

Have some friends over for outdoor cocktails and serve fun refreshments such as fruit punch, wine chilled on ice, and a charcuterie board. For a larger gathering, consider having people over a fourth of July backyard barbecue, drinks, and desserts, or a sit-down meal.

It’s possible to use it for even larger celebrations, such as graduation parties, engagement parties, or outdoor weddings if you have enough space. To keep things simple, prepare food in advance and set up a self-serve and bar and small seating areas. This will help make your guests feel comfortable and relaxed. Get creative with themes and centerpieces and decorate the surroundings with plants and flowers.

Kids love to be outside, so patios are excellent places for kids’ birthday parties. Include a burger bar, and for dessert try a s’mores bar or make your own ice cream sundae station. Decorate the trees with lights, set up water balloons, a bubble station, a tree swing, and some games to play. They are guaranteed to have a blast.

Consider something out of the box like a potluck dinner or barbecue, an outdoor movie night with popcorn, a theme party, or an impromptu game night. Most of all, have fun and be creative. The possibilities are practically endless.

Remember, summer is short so make the most of it. Using your patio is a great way to spend more time outside enjoying the sunshine before the cold of winter returns. To help add to the ambiance of your outdoor space, call 614-777-4254. Most of all, have fun and be creative today. Together, we can build your dream backyard!

 

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Ways to Make Landscaping Pop at Night

How can you make your landscaping stand out while you’re hosting night-time gatherings this summer? The installation of landscape lighting accents some of the most important features and can help to create your perfect yard. Follow these design tips and tricks to get the most out of your landscaping on these upcoming summer nights.

Take the Whole Property into Consideration

The entire property should be seen as a cohesive unit, and you have to consider all the landscaping components to achieve the best results. Everything from the bushes to the trees and flowers must be considered. Also, you should look at the paths that guests will walk along. This will create a pleasing environment as well ensure safety as they walk at night. Another thing to consider is your home’s architecture and any other features such as decks, patios, and gazebos to get the best idea of how you should follow through.

The Differences between Down, Up and Cross Lighting

You have three different types of landscaping lighting. First, there’s what is referred to as down lighting which literally means the light is pointed downward. Downward lighting has become a popular choice for lighting on trees and architecture. This style of lighting brings a certain feel of class with it. Next, you have uplighting, which is where the light is angled upward. This is a popular addition for buildings-you can place the lighting on the ground to focus them upward, which adds depth to an otherwise boring wall or pillar. Finally, you have cross lighting. This lights a focal point from all sides, and it achieves a unique look that can play well with specific styles and features.

Accent, Task, and Overall

Along with lighting options, other considerations must be made. For example, overall lighting does exactly as it says. It lights up the whole space, which is good for those gathering areas with your guests. You also have task lighting, which gets used for specific intentions and purposes. For example, you might use it as a way to illuminate a walkway. Finally, you have accent lighting. This lighting comes with the specific purpose of accenting certain areas of the yard during the night time. Ultimately, it depends on your design goals for the property.

Security

Landscape design might also take security into consideration for the night design. For example, you might install lighting above the garage door or close to the back door to make it more difficult for people to sneak onto the property. Much of this lighting will be motion activated, and it has the potential to scare away unwanted burglars. At the least, this lighting serves the purpose of alerting you inside of the home. Additional lighting can also protect from the risks of tripping or falling at night. For example, pool areas, pathways and steep drop-offs could all have hidden obstacles in the night that could be dangerous. The addition of a few simple lighting elements can make your home overall much safer.

Use Different Color Lighting

Changing the color of the lighting elements you choose is a good way to mix things up and spruce up your home. In fact, to make your yard pop at night, you might employ blue lighting, purple lighting, and even red lighting as a way to switch up the landscape and give it a refreshing look. You might even design an awesome night garden with a well-lit path. These fun and different uses of light will allow you to express yourself through your home design and really make it your own.

Creating a Night Garden

Ever wished you could add some mystery and romance to the landscape? Night gardens tend to solve all these problems. You might use the following low-maintenance plants that still achieve the perfect effect under the moonlight:

  • Meadow rue
  • Lamb’s ear
  • Star jasmine
  • Brachycome
  • Flowering tobacco

Plants that bloom or release fragrances during the night time can be called “noctiflora,” and it will spice up almost any occasion. Light flowers and foliage will show up the best in a night garden. While having the moonlight hit the garden just right can light it up, it isn’t always required. You might even add your own lighting to the location with torches, candles or even regular landscape lights. It depends on the mood you want to achieve, which is what you should always consider most.

Define the Purpose

Before you ever decide to invest in landscape lighting for night time, you should ask yourself what you want to achieve through the illumination of the backyard. Maybe you want the mood to have a soft and romantic feel, or maybe for security reason, you want to illuminate your garden. You might also choose this method because you want to highlight the best features in the yard. For example, maybe you have this elegant water fountain or this Japanese Koi fish pond, which is one of the popular trends of the industry today. You might, for example, illuminate the bridge walk that span over the pond, or you could illuminate the pond waters so that your guests can watch the fish even at night. It all depends on what you want overall for your home.

These are some of the ways that you can build a brilliant space at night on your property. When choosing a company, you want to pick one that has an established reputation for quality. For all of your garden questions, concerns, or needs, don’t forget to contact the experts at Hidden Creek. Together, we can work together to create the dream landscaping that you’re envisioning.

 

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Landscape Water Features

Landscape water features give you a natural sanctuary providing a respite from the stresses of the day right inside your own backyard. There is a richness and diversity that water features produce as both people and nature respond to the refreshing and soothing qualities of moving water.

Whether it is a water fountain nestled among your flowers, a pool waterfall with underwater lighting as a focal point, a pond stocked with exotic fish, a stone waterfall, or spillways that feed into a meandering stream, we have ideas and tips for creating, planning and installing water features that cater to your specific desires.

 

Water has a Healing Effect

Landscape Water Features

Why install a water feature? Well, listening to the sounds of flowing or trickling water, studies have shown, ranks among the same beneficial effects we glean from sleep or massage for their restorative, stress-relieving powers. Water features help relax mind, body and spirit. There are all manners of stone and pool waterfalls, stream designs, koi ponds, fountains and more from which to select your own personal landscape water features.

 

Our Recommendations

The options for backyard water features in Ohio are endless whether you are dealing with limited space or have a large spread of land. We specialize in scaling landscaping projects to add beautiful tranquility to your outdoor living space. Not sure what type of water feature you are looking for to enhance your lawn and garden? Here is our comparison of a few common types to give you a better understanding of will work for you in your garden:

Pools

For one of the most classic water features, it is hard to beat the allure of a pool. This will take a substantial initial investment, but will be a great source of entertainment and beauty for years to come. You can even spice them up with fountains or waterfalls for a natural, relaxing feature. 

Pros:

  • Great source of entertainment for all ages
  • Flexibility – the pool can be whatever size/shape/style you need it to be
  • Increases the value of your home
  • Able to be heated to use for longer time period during the year
  • Great way to exercise

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep the water clean and free of the accumulation of sticks, dirt, algae, etc.
  • Initial excavation may require substantial digging and investment
  • Not able to use all throughout the year
  • May increase your insurance costs

 

Container Ponds

If your available space is limited, a container pond is an impermanent and convenient alternative to an in-ground pool. You can convert just about any container into a container pond from glazed pots to a half-cut wine barrel to concrete bowls, all of which can be of any size. Whether the diameter is the same from top to bottom or the bowl is tapered, they typically have a wide opening, but even a 3-foot diameter allows enough space inside to add fish, aquatic grass, water lilies or other suitable plants for the perfect aesthetic touch. You can use a convenient plant support ring, which is a simple wire rack with openings that hold the plants in their containers just beneath the water’s surface. Now you are dealing with the equivalent of a fish tank to which you can add pumps and filters to keep the water clean and circulating.

Pros:

Landscape Water Features

  • No need for digging or excavation
  • Excellent choice for small spaces
  • Container ponds are available as kits
  • An inexpensive way to “get your feet wet” in the world of landscaping water features. Start with something small and graduate to bigger projects

Cons:

  • You may need to seal your container to prevent leakage
  • The deeper the container, the more difficult it can be to keep clean
  • You need to be cautious of the drowning risk posed when small children present

 

Wall Fountain

Wall fountains provide another alternative when space is an issue. These vertical water features offer the unexpected treat of a water aesthetic within the confines of compact spaces. They typically have a basin to catch and circulate the water with some wall fountains spilling directly into a container pond. Wall fountains use a pump requiring tubing or pipes that are invisibly set behind the fountain.

Pros:

  • Prime for small spaces
  • Can be uniquely designed and installed
  • Available as easy-to-assemble kits that are simple plug-in units
  • Different sizes and shapes available

Cons:

  • Fountain flow is not adjustable without an adjustable valve
  • Cost comparison between a kit and designing your own wall fountain is negligible
  • Can increase humidity in the air

 

Streams

For your larger property, man-made streams present a way to incorporate natural pools and waterfalls while offering a feature that may sidle up to a walkway, providing a tranquil path for all who traverse the landscape.

Pros:

  • Lends to a more natural, informal design
  • Adapts well to existing water features or to expand upon what you may already have in place
  • Conducive to decorative plants, grasses and river rocks for a natural aesthetic

Cons:

  • Streams require a pump system and plumbing to route the flow of water from the pond or pool destination back to the start of the stream
  • Longer streams just look better, which can involve a significant amount of digging
  • The initial build can be costly
  • Requires significant maintenance for the size and organic matter that can accumulate

 

Whatever landscape water features that you select, you should always install a pump to keep the water circulating. This helps detract still-water insects such as mosquitoes and wasps. If you do add fish and plants, make sure your pumps, filters and cleaners are up to the task. Anytime you install an outdoor landscape water feature that includes fish, expect to see other interested creatures appear on the scene such as frogs, raccoons and herons.

The pleasurable effects of landscape water features enhance the overall experience of your garden, whether enjoying a backyard party, a barbecue get-together or simply a private break all by yourself. You can make your yard a sanctuary, and the investment not only offers a calming presence at home, but it contributes to your property value as well.

If you are interested in learning more about custom landscape water features or how to winterize your existing features, our expert team of creative landscaping professionals can provide insight and in-depth knowledge of the many types of feature designs as well as the local Ohio terrain and trends. Contact us today to discuss your dream landscape and how we can bring your plans to fruition!

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Pet-Friendly Landscaping

How to Create a Pet-Friendly Yard

 

You love your pets and even consider them as members of your family! But, unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to maintain a perfect yard with pets roaming around it.

Across central Ohio, you can see countless yards that have all of the familiar signs: big holes in the ground, dead spots in the grass, dog poop everywhere and flowers that have been trampled on. These yards have all of the bare essentials to be a beautiful space, but the owners have seemingly let their animals take them over.

The following are some ideas you may consider if you are looking to create a pet-friendly landscape.

 

Consider Hardscaping

 

Hardscaping may be something you want to consider if you have a puppy who likes to get his paws dirty. This will create a barrier between your dog and your garden. By designing your yard with hardscaping, you will be able to remove some or all of the spaces where your dog can dig. Whether it is stone structures, retaining walls, or paved paths, Hidden Creek can help you design and install these features to protect your space.

 

Pick up the Poo

 

This isn’t so much a design idea as it is a simple suggestion. Many yards and lawns are ruined because there has been so much pet waste accumulated in them over the years. You would be surprised how many families and children don’t like to enjoy their yards simply for this reason. And, guests don’t feel comfortable walking through your yard and enjoying the space unless it’s clean.

You may want to consider regularly cleaning up after your pet in your yard. It will make your yard both more enjoyable and healthier for everyone. Make “pooper scooper the yard” a weekly chore for you or your kids, and protect your beautiful yard!

 

Keep your Herb Garden Safe

Pet-Friendly Landscape

Many homeowners like to grow little herb gardens in their yards. This is a great way to provide your own additions to healthy meals to enhance the flavor.

Unfortunately, though, dogs and cats also seem to love herb gardens. Our little friends like to chew on and eat soft and small plants. Avoid this by creating a barrier around your herb garden. You could consider protecting your herb garden with chicken wire, a stone wall or another hardscaping feature.

 

Steer Clear of Poisonous Plants

 

A well-designed garden will usually feature a number of different plant species. When planning your garden, though, you need to keep your animals in mind when choosing plant species. There are some commonly-used landscape plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats when consumed.

Some of these common species include lilies, azaleas, and tulips. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruetly to Animals (ASPCA) has an extensive list of these plants which you may consult. Take care when choosing plants for your yard, and make sure your landscape professional is aware of this concern.

 

Pick a Hearty Grass Species

 

A beautiful, lush, green lawn is what most homeowners desire. However, dogs can be problematic when considering your lawn maintenance. As mentioned before, dogs can frequently burrow into lawns, which causes damage. Pet waste can also cause dead and yellowing spots in the grass. It can be difficult to balance the needs of your lawn and the needs of your pet.

Despite all of these concerns, if you still want a green lawn, then consider carefully which species of grass you choose. Some species of grass are heartier, and they can take the beating of a dog’s usage a little better. For a species recommendation, schedule a consultation with one of our landscape professionals.

 

Fence in your Dog Yard

Pet-Friendly Landscape

Oftentimes, the best solution to having animals and a beautiful landscape is allocating one part of your yard for them and another part for more intricate gardening or entertaining space. This separation can often best be done with fencing.

One solution would be to have a smaller backyard area where you allow your dogs and cats to roam that’s fenced in, and a separate space for entertaining and gardening. Or, if you don’t have that much space in your backyard, you can have a fenced in area in the back and then place more beautiful and delicate plants that could potentially be harmed by animals in your front yard.

 

Place Delicate Plants Away from your Pets

 

Features like flower beds, herb gardens, and succulent plants need to be placed away from where your pets go. As these features tend to be more easily harmed, they should be positioned in an area that will not be frequented by your animals. As mentioned before, this could be accomplished with fencing, or with a water feature or hardscaping.

In areas where your animals will be, you can place sturdier plants and landscaping features. In these spaces, hardscaping or ground covers would be great options, as well as larger shrubs or small trees.

 

Time your Irrigation Appropriately

 

In many cases, irrigation is necessary to maintain a beautiful garden. Plants have different moisture requirements to grow and be healthy. Irrigation allows you to control and create the ideal environment to keep your garden beautiful.

However, many times irrigation systems are set on timers, which can actually be problematic if you have pets. Don’t set your irrigation to run immediately before or during the times your pet will be in that area of the yard. When soil and lawns are wet, they can be more easily damaged by your animals. Not to mention, this could set you up to have muddy paw prints tracked into your home!

Creating a pet-friendly landscape is definitely doable, but does require some extra planning beforehand. Usage by your pet is simply another factor to be taken into account during the landscape design process. Make sure to communicate this need to your landscaping professional when creating your ideal design.

Have questions? Contact Hidden Creek Landscaping and together we can build a yard that is great for you and your furry friends!

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What Are the Best Trees for Ohio Landscaping?

The unpredictability of midwest weather can cause a lot of frustration.  One minute it is sunny, and it could be storming the next. There can be snow in the springtime and warm winter days. However, when the weather messes with your landscape, it can be discouraging. After all, homeowners usually put a lot of time, effort and money into the landscaping to ensure that it is always looking splendid.

To stop this frustrating dilemma from affecting your landscape, here is a list of trees, flowers, and shrubbery that will survive year-round in Ohio:

Best Trees for Ohio Landscaping

Red Oak Tree

The sturdy and heavy Red Oak wood has a reddish-orange color that adds vibrant color to the landscape and is an excellent source of shade.

Japanese Tree Lilac

The Japanese Tree Lilac is perfect for those who are looking for an exceptional accent plant with beautiful and fragrant spring blooms.  A big part of the popularity of this tree is that it is low-maintenance and resistant to diseases. Also, it prefers moist, well-drained soil, thrives in direct sunlight and requires very little pruning.  Among the most favorite selections of the tree are Summer Snow and Ivory Silk.

Witch Hazel Tree

This tree is a remarkable option for broad and open areas in your landscape.  The tree favors partial shade or direct sunlight and soil that is moist and well-drained.  Its orange and yellow foliage creates a spectacular display during the fall months. Even when there is snow on the ground, the Witch Hazel tree will flower.  The spicy fragrance and twisting branches of the tree are particularly unique and form a part of its grand appeal. crabapple tree

Crabapple Tree

Easy to grow and stunningly beautiful, crab apple trees produce incredible flower shows during the spring.  It is necessary for these trees to be planted in well-drained loamy soil because fruit trees will not flourish in wet soils. Crabapple trees require good air circulation and full sun exposure to ensure the leaves stay dry.  It is essential to keep these leaves dry because wet leaves on fruit trees tend to cause diseases. When the apples fall, disease resistant varieties will not create a mess.

American Hornbeam Tree

American Hornbeam trees are a fantastic option for naturalized or woody landscapes.  This magnificent tree thrives in shade or partial sunlight and favors soil that is wet and well drained. The American Hornbeam is native to the northeast and produces outstanding red and yellow foliage during the months of fall.

Pagoda Dogwood Tree

The Pagoda Dogwood tree is a well sought after the native of the Midwest and hails, more specifically, from the state of Minnesota.  This tree favors full sun exposure or partial shade and thrives well in these conditions. The foliage of this tree is a beautiful purple that shows out during the fall.  It produces a pleasing aroma and creamy white blossoms during the spring. The Pagoda Dogwood tree can be significantly affected by city pollution, and as such, your Pagoda Dogwood should not be planted near to the roadside. Argentina and Venus are popular types of the Pagoda Dogwood tree, and its unique horizontal branching is one of its most remarkable features.

Japanese Maple Tree

This spectacular tree produces beautiful spring and fall colors.  During the fall, its textured foliage changes to a hue that ranges from deep red to purple.  White and pink blooms show up in the spring and last into the months of summer. To maintain its form, it requires pruning, or it will reduce into a shrub.  It favors minimal sunlight and light shade and thrives best in average, well-drained soil. While this tree is typically hardy in Ohio, it is best to check with a local nursery to determine the variety that will thrive best in your region. Japanese maple tree

Asimina Triloba (Pawpaw)

This deciduous, conical tree grows between 12 and 20 feet tall.  It has tropical-looking leaves that turn yellow in autumn and become as big as 12 inches.  Dark-brown, velvety flower buds produce upside-down, maroon flowers as big as 2 inches across that bud for approximately six weeks early in the springtime. The Asimina Triloba produces the largest native edible fruit in America, and its flavor is similar to both banana and mango. Once established, this tree can tolerate full sun exposure, and young trees favor filtered sun. 

Stewartia Pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia)

This deciduous, slow-growing tree is shaped like a pyramid and extends between 20 and 30 feet in height and 8 and 25 feet in width.  It can be single trunk or multi-stem, prefers partial shade, favors well-drained soil and has no tolerance for drought. In July, its cup-shaped, white flowers emerge, and its fall foliage has incredible shades of burgundy and reddish-orange. It reddish-brown bark provides interest and fantastic winter color.  It can be used near the patio or as a specimen plant in the yard.

Best Shrubs for Ohio Landscaping

Buxus “Winter Gem” 

This trouble-free, dependable evergreen is not a deer favorite.  It is most effective when used to create a hedge, and it produces glossy, medium-textured foliage.  The leaves will hold their color even throughout long and brutal winters. This shrub’s growth becomes a refreshing light green color in the Spring.  It can be used to bring evergreen structure to the landscape, which is mainly essential during the winter when there is very little green left.  It is a low-maintenance plant as it only requires pruning once or twice a year.

Clethra Alnifolia (Summersweet)

This native shrub is delightfully fragrant, attracts beautiful butterflies and blooms in mid to late summer. The elegant foliage and form of taller varieties make them great accents for anyt landscape.  They typically reach between 5 and 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Shorter cultivars like the ‘Hummingbird’ work well for repetition and massing, staying approximately 2½ to 3 feet tall.

If you need more information about types of plants for Ohio landscaping or need help with a design, contact us!

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Spring Landscaping Tips After Winter

After the long months of winter, a number of homeowners recognize the need to perform spring landscaping tasks in their yards. This freshens up the lawn and other parts of the landscape that are in need of extra attention at this particular time of the year. Doing so gets the yard prepared for the growing season. A yard clean up checklist for spring can be separated into 6 categories of related tasks:

  • Major Clean Up
  • Flowerbed Preparation
  • Begin Planting
  • Control Weeds
  • Control Pests
  • Plant Care

Major Clean Up

This aspect of preparing the yard for spring landscaping will require a rake, gloves, and perhaps a few other small tools. Picking up after the snow melts can be quite a messy, yet necessary task. Therefore, you should roll up your sleeves, put on your gloves, and get to work. You can also ask a landscape maintenance specialist for help.spring landscaping preparation

Leaves that have blown around, trees, and perennials can remain in place and mulched over.  If they are in modest quantities, there is no need to remove them. However, there are often matted leaves all over the yard after the winter has passed, so we recommend you do remove most of those.

The cleaning process requires you to remove debris. This includes clearing away dead leaves, grass, pinecones, and whatever other unwanted rubble that may be on the lawn.

Flowerbed Preparation

For flowerbeds that performed optimally the prior year, the best thing to do is put additional compost around the plants for fertilization. Also, you should remove any weeds that have sprouted in the beds. This will prevent them from spreading and growing more as the season goes on.

You have a few options when it comes to opening up new planting beds. They include breaking new ground using a tiller and transforming lawn space into planting beds. There is also the option of building raised beds. You could consider soil solarization in areas that are particularly rough.

If you have broken ground to open up a new planting bed, there is no doubt weeds will find it fast. Therefore, in many situations, it’s a good idea to lay a landscape fabric on top of the ground. This should be followed by adding a layer of mulch.

Begin Planting

Early spring is ideal for the installation of trees and shrubs and the planting of perennial flower borders. However, this is only true if the perennials are hardy.  For tender perennials, annuals, and seed, you should await the passing of the last frost date for your region.

Control Weeds

Sometimes it is much easier to battle weeds prior to their emergence, instead of waiting for them to rear their heads. While landscape fabric can be used to eradicate weeds in flower beds, pre-emergent herbicides may be helpful for your lawn, especially to control crabgrass.  

Control Pests

Precautionary measures can be taken to deal with garden pests. Many gardens require the protection of deer fencing or rabbit-proof fences. In regions where deer could pose a problem and fencing is not an option, installing deer-resistant plants is a wise idea. You could also look into growing rabbit-proof flowers if this is relevant to your situation.

Plant Care

  • Pruning

Trees and shrubs can frequently benefit from spring cleaning as well. The period between the end of winter and early spring is ideal for pruning shrubs that will flower in late June and last through much of the fall.  For example, during this time you can prune shrubs like butterfly bush, abelia, beautyberry, clethra, caryopteris, smooth hydrangea, rose-of-Sharon and panicle hydrangea. It is also prime time to prune crape myrtle, St. Johnswort, vitex and summer-blooming spirea. Spring-blooming shrubs like rhododendron, azalea, lilac, weigela, viburnum, and forsythia should be pruned right after they start to flower.

There is no doubt that dead branches should always be removed.  However, the need to prune off live branches is typically determined by personal taste or one’s need to give the tree or shrub a more visually appealing shape.  The ideal time to prune shrubs to give them a desirable shape differs from shrub to shrub. 

  • Mulching

Any deep coating of mulch that may have been covering your perennials throughout the winter should be monitored to determine when they should be pulled away.  This is necessary for the perennials to emerge unhindered. There is no exact date for when the mulch protection should be removed from your perennials; this has to be played by ear.  

spring flower care

The exact time to remove this mulch will differ based on where you live. However, if a deep layer of mulch has been applied, it will ultimately have to be scraped away from the ground immediately under the perennials to prevent smothering.

A comprehensive spring clean up readies your lawn and other parts of the landscaping for the spring and summer seasons. However, so much more can be achieved through spring cleaning. In many cases, this will save you from frustrations as the season progresses.

Contact us for more tips and to discuss how we can help you clean up after winter and create a beautiful landscape for spring.

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