Outdoor features that can increase the value of your home

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

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

Deck or Patio

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

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

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

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

Beautiful Trees

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

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

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

Beautiful Landscaping

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

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

Outdoor Dining, Kitchen and Living Area

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

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

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

In-Ground Sprinkler System

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

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

Outdoor Lighting

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

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

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

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

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Help your Business Grow: How Landscaping Attracts Customers

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

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

Landscaping Boosts Curb Appeal

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

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

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

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

Good Landscaping Can Instill Confidence

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

Landscaping Affects Staffing

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

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

What You Can Do to Improve Your Business Landscaping

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

Know Your Landscaping Goals

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

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

Hire a Good Commercial Landscaper

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

Some tips when searching for a good commercial landscaper:

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

Commit To Maintaining Your Landscaping

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

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

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

Contact Hidden Creek Landscaping Inc

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

 

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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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The Best Time to Fertilize Landscapes, Lawns, & Gardens

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

What’s a gardener to do?

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

Ready to fertilize?

Not so fast.

First, let’s go over a few basics:

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

Now, let’s get started.

Best Time to Fertilize: Lawns

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Established Trees & Landscapes

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Fruit Trees

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Vegetables

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Annuals

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Container Plants

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Seedlings

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

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

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5 Best Grass Species for Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

1. Tall Fescue

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

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

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

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

2. Fine Fescue

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

  • Creeping Red Fescue
  • Chewings Fescue
  • Hard Fescue

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

Fine Fescue: Basic Care

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

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

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

3. Perennial Rye

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

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

Perennial Rye: Basic Care

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

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

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

4. Kentucky Bluegrass

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

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

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

4. Kentucky Bluegrass: Basic Care

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

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

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

5. Bentgrass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Keep Weeds Out of Your Garden

One of the questions we hear the most from gardeners is “how do I keep weeds out of my garden?” No one likes pulling weeds and would rather spend their time enjoying their garden rather than maintaining it!

Colorful garden with brick pathThere are some simple steps you can take to minimize the impact of weeds, take care of them safely if they show up, but most importantly to keep them out in the first place. Not every yard is the same, though, so a consultation with a gardening expert from Hidden Creek Landscaping would be a good place to start.

What are some good ways to take care of weeds in my garden?

A quick surf of the internet will return many tips and many pieces of advice on how to best control weeds in your garden. But which are the right ones, the ones that will do the job right? We’ll examine a few here.

Are homemade weed killer sprays effective?

Recipes for homemade weed killers abound on the internet. Many begin with a vinegar base and then add in all kinds of things like lemon juice, dishwashing detergent, borax, salt, bleach, and so on. They may market themselves as natural or organic, often as an alternative to chemical solutions.

Unfortunately, like most folk remedies, they aren’t a sure bet. While they may kill off some weeds by making them wither and turn brown, they don’t get rid of the weeds for good. More likely than not, they’ll be back in a week or two.

It’s also important to remember that the health of your soil is paramount to great gardening, and saturating it with salt and vinegar may not be the best idea

How about commercial weed killers? Are they safe?

There are many commercial weed killers out there that heavily market their effectiveness. Many gardeners shy away from them because of fear that they may contaminate the soil. However, they can be effective if used properly.

It’s often best to consider them a last resort for weeds that can’t be dug out or for invasive species. It’s critical that you follow all directions and not overuse them, since adding any chemical to your soil will change the balance.

Ok, so how do I prevent weeds in my garden in the first place?

This is the real question that should be asked! If you can succeed at preventing weeds in the first place, you are well on the way to avoiding the question of whether or not to use herbicides as weed control.

The problem most gardeners face is that all the work they do to properly prepare their soil means that the great work they’ve done to help their flowers flourish works just as well on weeds. A good step is to mitigate the ways weed seeds get into your garden to start with.

Does mulch matter?

One of the easiest ways to prevent weeds from getting into your garden is by using good, shredded wood mulch. Shredded mulch has greater density than wood chips, so do a better job of keeping the weeds out of your soil.

Placing a thick layer of mulch around your plants also reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the weed seeds in the soil. One good tip along the same lines is to put down a thick layer of newspapers around the plants that you then put the mulch on top of.

What about landscape fabric?

While landscape fabric has its uses, weed prevention in the garden isn’t one of them. While it keeps down any existing weeds that you place it on top of, it creates a clean palette for new weeds up above.

The dirt, debris, and leaves that accumulate on top of the fabric are just what new weeds are looking for. Plus, the roots of the weeds will grow down into the fabric, making them more difficult to remove. In general, landscape fabric is best used to mitigate weeds along paths and walkways, but are poor preventers of weeds in the long run.

Are there any good tricks to keep weeds out of vegetable gardens?

A good trick to keep weeds out of your vegetable gardens is to use grass and leaf clippings to keep them in check. They perform a similar function as mulch by keeping sunlight away from seeds in the soil. It’s also a great way to get rid of your yard waste!

Grass and leaf clippings provide much-needed nutrients to the soil. Using landscape edging around your garden beds will help keep grass and weeds from infiltrating the vegetable garden.

How do I know what the best strategies are for my garden?

We are here to help! Give us a call at Hidden Creek Landscaping for some expert advice. We’ve been helping homeowners keep their weeds at bay for years, and are considered one of the region’s top residential landscaping companies. We’d love to help you make your garden the best on the block!

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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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When Should I Plant Grass Seed in My Yard?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which Type of Grass Seed Should I Plant?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Should I Care for My Grass?

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

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

This includes:

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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The Best Flowers to Plant in Ohio 

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

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

What Flowers Should I Plant in Ohio?

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

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

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

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

What Steps Do I Need to Take Before Planting Flowers?

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

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

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

The Key Takeaway

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

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

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

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Making Your Yard Festive for the Holidays

The holiday season is here, have you done your decorating yet? While many people will deck their halls and make the insides of their homes a winter wonderland, the yard and landscape are often overlooked. Don’t skimp out on your curb appeal- follow these tips to make your yard festive and welcoming for the holiday season:

Touch Up Your Walk Way

You want your guests to feel welcomed and excited to enter your home. To help with this effect, consider redoing your walkway. With the increasingly shorter days, a little extra lighting will keep everyone safe, especially as things get increasingly icy with the cold weather. Additionally, if the stones or bricks that you currently have lining your path are dingy, old, and worn down, it may be time for a makeover. You can take a seasonal approach to this project by lining your space with lights shaped like elves or candy cane or focus on fixtures that you can display throughout the whole year. Regardless, both you and your guests will be thankful for the extra lighting

Add Planters

Another way to add life to your space in the cold is by investing in holidays planters. This beautiful burst of color will help to make your yard and deck beautiful and vibrant. You can buy planters with evergreen and birch to last throughout the holiday. Spruce up your planters with pinecones, ribbons, and ornaments to give them a night holiday feel. Planters are an elegant way to add some decoration to your home for the season.

String Some Lights

The same old Christmas lights can seem a tad boring, but with a little creativity, you can add a fun new twist. You can line your house and porch with strings of lights but have also you considered draping them throughout the trees and other foliage? Instead of traditional white lights, invest in other colors to add some flare. You can also get icicle-like hanging strands that can give your front porch a great wintery theme. Add some lights to unusual places, like light posts and mailboxes, to add some shimmer. The more lights, the merrier.

Add Some Foliage

While many of your plants will suffer in the winter months, maybe it’s time to rethink your landscaping scheme. Wintergreen boxwood, coneflowers, blue spruces, and catmints are just some of the many plants that can survive and thrive in the winter. Adding new foliage will help to give a feeling of life to your yard that may otherwise be looking a little barren in the season. If you are confused or unsure of what plants will do well during the season in your space, give us a call. We can help you make a landscaping plan to meet your needs and to help your yard stay vibrant the whole winter long.

Revamp Your Deck

If you don’t have a porch or deck, now may be the perfect time to consider adding one. With the weather getting colder and colder, you will want a space where you can enjoy being outdoors, even for a little. A furbished deck or patio is the perfect spot to sit outside and entertain company. You can add a firepit or heat lamps for warmth and decorate your space to entertain. In addition to keeping you happy and cozy, these additions will also help with your curb appeal and the overall value of your home. If you already have a deck or porch but just aren’t crazy about their look, feel, or layout, use this time to do a quick remodel. You’ll be so excited to have them when the weather gets warm again.

No matter how you decide to decorate for the holidays, don’t skip out on your landscape! And, as always, if you need any help, call the experts at Hidden Creek Landscaping. We will help you get your space ready for the holidays and the new year!  

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