5 Best Grass Species for Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

1. Tall Fescue

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

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

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

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

2. Fine Fescue

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

  • Creeping Red Fescue
  • Chewings Fescue
  • Hard Fescue

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

Fine Fescue: Basic Care

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

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

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

3. Perennial Rye

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

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

Perennial Rye: Basic Care

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

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

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

4. Kentucky Bluegrass

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

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

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

4. Kentucky Bluegrass: Basic Care

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

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

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

5. Bentgrass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Irrigation Maintenance

If you’ve gone through the expense and effort of installing an irrigation system in your yard, it only makes sense to keep it in proper working order! By taking proper care of your irrigation system you’ll save money on your water bills and make sure that it is performing properly and as expected.

Beautiful green landscape with hills and verdant treesTo get the best return on your investment in an irrigation system, you’ll want to create a maintenance plan that keeps your system operating optimally.

Hidden Creek Landscaping irrigation experts are on hand to help you create a maintenance program that not only keeps your yard looking great but also makes the best use of your irrigation system.

What are some best practices when it comes to irrigation maintenance?

The first step in establishing a maintenance program for your irrigation system is to determine the watering schedule that is best for your yard in different seasons. The needs of your lawn and landscape are different in the spring than in the middle of July.

Seasonal adjustments

When the seasons change and temperatures drop in the fall, watering needs likely change again. Likewise, a shady part of your lawn has different needs than the sunny side. By adjusting for different seasons and in different zones, you’ll optimize your system to best meet the needs of your landscaping.

Why waste water with leaks and misdirection?

Changes in the schedule as the seasons change present a perfect opportunity to make sure that your system hasn’t developed issues. You could be wasting significant amounts of money if there are:

  • leaks
  • broken lines
  • misdirected sprinkler lines

If one part of your lawn is covered in puddles and another is completely dry, you have a sure sign that there is leakage or another problem. A quick inspection can tell you where the issue is and allow you to make the necessary repairs.

What are some routine maintenance items I should perform?

There are some key and easy routine maintenance tasks you can perform regularly to make sure that your irrigation system is running in peak condition. A monthly inspection could reveal damaged or clogged sprinkler heads that, left unchecked, could cause significant damage or waste down the road.

Water your flowers, not your asphalt!

Making sure that there is no sprinkler run-off will keep you from watering your driveway instead of your flower beds. Adjusting your sprinkler heads as plants and your lawn grows will make sure that the system is doing what it was meant to do – irrigating your landscaping.

Reducing sprinkler run-off saves you money by preventing water waste but also helps to prevent sending pollutants into the storm drain system. The same is true when it comes to blocked or obstructed lawn sprinklers. Your car doesn’t need to be watered, but your lawn does. Readjust the heads regularly to make sure they are watering the right thing.

Pressure problems

If the pressure is too high, you could be creating high pressure misting. This occurs when the water turns into tiny droplets in the air that can be carried by the wind away from the spot that it’s intended to be watering. Installing a pressure device will help you regulate water pressure and prevent this common problem.

Only water when necessary

Likewise, installing a rain/freeze sensor will save you both water and money. There is no need to water your landscaping if it’s already raining, and watering when the temperature drops below freezing could cause damage to your plants. By installing a rain/freeze sensor you can optimize your system to prevent these occurrences.

Take advantage of the terrain

Finally, make sure that your irrigation system is set to take advantage of the features of your yard. If your sprinkler is set on a slope or you have clay soils, change your irrigation system to cycle and soak.

It takes water much longer to seep deep into the soil if it is on a slope or the soil is heavy clay. The general rule of thumb in these cases is to have your system set to 7-minute intervals to make sure that water has time to get to the right places before running off. Cycling on and off in this manner makes sure that your lawn is getting the proper amount of moisture.

I’m interested in installing or optimizing my irrigation system, what should I do?

Make the best call you’ll make all year! The Central Ohio weather patterns can be difficult to predict, but the irrigation management pros at Hidden Creek Landscaping know exactly how to install them in the right way to function perfectly in our climate.

We specialize in automated irrigation systems that are designed to enhance your landscaping and lawn that could be struggling in the Ohio weather. By using an automated system, you’ll save both time and water, saving you money and allowing you to make better use of your yard.

Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your irrigation maintenance and installation needs!

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Residential Landscape Ideas

Maybe you’ve spent the cooler months surfing for residential landscape ideas, maybe you know how you want to use your outdoor space, but don’t know how to get started. Maybe you know exactly how you want it to look, and just need to fill in the details.

No matter where you are in your quest for the ultimate backyard space, chances are good you’ve looked out the window and can imagine all the possibilities. The winter months are a great time to start turning your vision into a reality, the perfect time to create a master landscaping plan and design that will fulfill your vision and meet your goals.

We’re here to help! The design experts at Hidden Creek Landscaping know exactly how to take your vision and turn it into a reality.

What are some ideas and trends that can help guide my design ideas?

The best thing to do when thinking through your residential landscape design is to start by writing down a list of all the different ways you’d like to use your yard. For instance, are you looking more for personal relaxation, or a space to entertain? Do you need to include areas for the kids to play, or perhaps take into consideration the needs of your pets?

The ways you want to use your yard will drive the residential landscape ideas that you should consider. We’ll get into some of the trends in residential landscaping below.

Create the perfect outdoor entertainment space
Maybe you already have a great outdoor gathering or seating area, but want to expand your patio or include an outdoor kitchen. Expanding your outdoor entertaining footprint so that you can accommodate more friends, family, and guests is always a great idea.

You can create new patio spaces by connecting different parts of your yard to the main walkway, giving your guests different areas and conversation spaces. When blended in with your home’s architecture and surroundings, discrete patio areas can create a seamless outdoor entertaining space.

Add a pool or spa
One of the best parts of going on vacation is enjoying the pool or spa at your destination. Why not bring that experience to your backyard!? Enjoy a vacation-like experience without having to get on a plane.

No need to go big with the kind of massive pool and spa complex you’d see at a resort. Small pools fit perfectly in small backyards, and when part of a comprehensive landscape design, can leave plenty of room for outdoor entertainment. A current trend is to thoughtfully integrate the spa and pool into the environment in your backyard, creating a seamless look as if it has always been there.

Finish your outdoor room with a pergola
Pergolas are a great way to complete the feel of your outdoor space by giving it the perfect structure and finishing touch. Pergolas make a strong statement as an architectural feature and help define the living spaces in your landscape design.

Depending on the design, pergolas can also provide some protection from the elements, extending the amount of time you can spend outdoors. Plus, pergolas are very good at creating a sense of intimacy and comfort that will make you feel like your outdoor space is an extension of your living room.

Extend your time outdoors with enhanced landscape lighting
You may have some of the more typical landscape lighting already in place, maybe lighting your walkways, entrances, or driveway. A great landscape design will think bigger, and landscape lighting technology has come a long way to the rescue.

New fixtures that feature color-changing lights allow you to create scenes that celebrate holidays, events, or even the big game. New architectural accent lighting systems are perfect for providing definition and dimension to your home at night, highlighting structure and texture. Giving your trees discrete uplighting can make them glow and serve as illuminated focal points at night.

Landscape lighting not only provides enhanced visibility, but also enhances play, entertainment, and cooking spaces, maximizing the amount of time you can enjoy your yard.

Create a space that makes the best use of your property
Not every yard is the same, so it’s important to create a design that takes the best advantage of your property’s features. If you have a great view, design a yard that complements it. A pool with a view, or a spa that is set in a private garden setting. A patio seating area that is built perfectly into a hillside.

By taking advantage of your property’s best features, you can create a backyard oasis that seems like it has been part of the landscape forever!

How do I get started building the perfect residential landscape?

Give us a call at Hidden Creek Landscaping! Our design experts are the best in the region when it comes to working with homeowners to build the perfect residential landscape that suits their needs and fits their budget.

We look forward to helping you create your perfect backyard!

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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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Steps For Effective Landscape Planning

The success of any landscaping project depends on design and preparation. Thoughtful and professional planning of your landscaping will help you to create your dream backyard.

Formulating a Plan

A landscape design is first sketched on graph paper or drawn up with a CAD software program. Without the assistance of an experienced professional, creating a landscape-design plan can be somewhat intimidating for homeowners.

First, a scaled map is created to show where the property boundaries are in relation to the home. It is critical for the dimensions and placement of structures to be precisely represented to create an accurate depiction.

Studying the Property

When creating a landscape design, the entire property must be looked at as one cohesive unit. A landscape designer will know how to factor in everything from the trees and shrubs to the walkways and lighting.

You need to account for all parts of the home and yard, including patios, decks, gazebos, and pools. Design your walkways to be both aesthetically pleasing as well as safe to walk on during both day and night time. Once you have an accurate illustration of your yard, other characteristics of your property, you can add in types of vegetation and natural areas to the plan.

Creating Purpose

Once you have a thorough understanding of what you have to work with on your property you can start to think about what landscaping design features you want to incorporate. A properly landscaped yard should have something for the whole family. This may include adding flower, herb or vegetable gardens and areas for entertaining or relaxing, a play area for the kids, a pet-exercise area or spaces for hobbies and equipment repair.

Plants and Materials

Once you have a general idea of how you want your yard to be laid out you will need to choose the right plants and materials for your space. Choosing plants that are native to specific growing zones will allow them to survive and flourish while minimizing maintenance.

You will need to decide on the types of trees, shrubs, and flowers as well as materials for patios, decks and walkways, privacy screens and noise barriers. In some places, plants can also serve as structures. For example, a row or two of some type of evergreen shrub, hedge or bush can act as both a noise barrier and privacy screen.

Hiring a landscape designer will help you make these decisions and avoid common mistakes. For example, one common mistake many people make while landscaping is placing plants or trees to close together. This constricts plant growth.  

Bringing It Together

After you have determined the primary uses for your yard you can begin the process of organizing and laying out the design on paper. The house, garages, outbuilding and any other relevant structural details should be added to your design first. 

Any areas of your yard that are in public view should be given special consideration, including setting up sheltered areas for storing refuse, lawn maintenance equipment, and other miscellaneous outdoor supplies. Finally, add driveways, walkways, and entrances for patios and other main areas. Each of these basic, but important, features plays a vital role in creating an attractive and functional landscape design.

Climate and Terrain

Rainfall, wind, topography and temperature variations in the area should all be considered while you design your property. Consult a professional landscape for specific recommendations. 

Because soil heavily impacts vegetation, it is important to have a professional soil test done to determine what plants are best suited for your soil type. Topography, including slopes and variations in elevation, will affect the drainage of your property and should be factored into your decision as well. 

Sun-Shade Patterns

Daily sun and shade patterns on your property can help you map out where to plant trees in your yard. Additionally, the angles of your house, garages, sheds and other outdoor structures can help to highlight or downplay qualities of your home and yard.

Night Gardens

A night garden is a great way to add both romance and mystery to your yard. The proper selection of plants is crucial to create the perfect night garden. When in doubt, choose low-maintenance species that thrive in the moonlight. 

Plants that release scent during the night, called “noctiflora,” are some of the best choices for night gardens. Light-colored flowers and foliage that show up well in the dark are also great choices.

Lighting

A garden’s layout can have a big impact on how the light falls on and illuminates the plants. If natural lighting can’t be used for some reason, you can achieve the desired effect with landscaping lights. 

The three main types of landscape lighting include downward, upward and cross lighting.

Downward lighting adds a feeling of class and is a fashionable choice for casting light from above. Upward lighting works well for illuminating the sides of structures, such as walls and pillars, from the ground, adding depth to an otherwise boring scene. Cross lighting is designed to cast light a specific point from both sides, above and/or below.

Multi-colored lighting will allow you to express yourself, mix things up and make the landscape features truly pop at night. A well-lit multicolored path can also be a stunning feature for a night garden.

When you decide to landscape your backyard, it is important to craft a meticulous landscaping plan. If you would like to redesign your backyard, call the experts at Hidden Creek Landscaping. Together, we can create a backyard that’s perfect for you and your whole family.

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What a Real Landscaping Career Looks Like

Would you like to pursue a career in landscaping? A landscaper is an expert who designs attractive and functional gardens, public parks, residential areas, playgrounds, public spaces and college campuses. These professionals plan locations of walkways, roads, buildings, trees, flowers, and shrubs to enhance these environments. A landscaper designs these areas to be efficient and visually pleasing. 

To become a professional landscaper, you will need training at a recognized institution. A master’s or bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture is a good place to start. Ideally look for programs that offer specialized bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture.  Courses typically include site design, landscape ecology, urban and regional planning, landscape design & construction as well as surveying. Additional coursework may also include geology, plant & soil science, landscape architecture history, general management and professional practice.

A landscaper’s main objective is to boost the natural beauty of any space. The expert may also plan restoration of natural spaces like wetlands, mined areas, and streams. They can also design home projects which can make your living area more appealing. 

Different Types of Landscaping:

This field provides several opportunities which vary depending on your education level. Some common jobs include:

Landscape design-All beautiful public areas were envisioned by a landscape architect. This expert must study, analyze, plan and create the landscape. A master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and license are all required for this field. 

Landscape creation-Those who like working with their hands to change bland scenery into an outstanding setting should explore landscape creation. This field’s main objective is to produce a landscape architects’ plan. Landscapers plant vegetation like sod, bushes, and trees. They install upgrades like sprinkler systems, fountains, and lighting on your property. A high school diploma and short training are required for this job.

The Day-To-Day of a Landscaping Career

A landscaper has a variety of duties and responsibilities depending on the task at hand. 

Duties of a landscape architect include:

  • Seeking new work via marketing activities and presentations
  • Inspecting the progress of landscape projects
  • Picking appropriate landscape materials
  • Preparing graphic presentations using computer software
  • Preparing site specifications, policies, and cost estimates
  • Meeting with engineers, clients, and building architects to confirm project requirements
  • Coordinating arrangement of proposed and existing land structures and features

Landscape workers, on the other hand, have activities such as:

  • Garden maintenance
  • Seeding and sodding lawns
  • Maintaining landscapes of private businesses and clients
  • Ensuring the soil is kept in excellent condition

How to Find a Credible Landscaper

There are various quick ways of tracking down an experienced and talented landscaper. 

Consult the Landscape Architects and Contractors Board

Many states have regulatory agencies tasked with overseeing the bonding, licensing and certification of landscapers. These experts can only obtain licenses after passing vigorous tests including additional training and courses usually offered annually. The best landscaper needs to be active in community organizations or industry groups.

Read Online Reviews

Sites like Yelp and Angie’s list are suitable places for finding reviews posted by customers who have worked with different landscapers or contractors. You can easily learn a lot by scanning the customer reviews, A credible and established landscaper or landscaping company also needs to have a website.

Get Referrals From Friends And Neighbors

If you see a home or an office with an attractive outdoor design, knock on their door and ask more about the expert who maintains their backyard or garden. Also, consider asking homebuilders, friends, and architects among other professionals for referrals. You may also ask some local nurseries about their favorite landscaper clients.

Form a Landscapers’ List

After narrowing down your search to fewer candidates, request them for a bid. They should also indicate names of their current clients and the past project references. You can follow up to check if the professional came on time, their budget and how well they do their duties if they still work for that client. Finally, ensure the landscaper meets all local and state certifications or licensing requirements for different specialty areas in the profession.

What Makes a Landscape Company Credible/Successful?

A credible and successful company should be recognized locally if not nationally. They should have some years of experience and enough landscapers to help them meet their clients’ needs. Their quotes should also be reasonable and tailored to offer quality services. By providing quality services, it’ll be easy to retain consumers and be successful.

What You Don’t Know About This Profession

Landscaping is not an easy career field and requires a large variety of skills such as: 

Communication skills – landscapers are required to share their ideas both in writing and orally with customers, workers, and fellow landscapers. Effective communication helps ensure everything is completed as per the client’s needs.

Analytical skills – It is important to understand design contents in this field. They must have an understanding of the interactions between buildings and the surrounding environment.

Creativity  – Landscapers need to be creative to design unique and beautiful designs.

If you are looking to remodel, trust the experts at Hidden Creek as your landscaping experts. Our team of trusted professionals will work with you to build the perfect yard for you and your family. Give us a call today!

 

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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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