Make a Splash! Benefits of Having an Inground Pool

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

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

Pools Promote Family Time

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

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

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

Pools Increase Home Value

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

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

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

Pools Promote Fitness

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

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

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

Pools Build Community

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

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

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

Pools Are Relaxing

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

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

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

Green spaces are known to:

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

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

Pools Provide Aquatic Therapy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Best Time to Fertilize Landscapes, Lawns, & Gardens

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

What’s a gardener to do?

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

Ready to fertilize?

Not so fast.

First, let’s go over a few basics:

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

Now, let’s get started.

Best Time to Fertilize: Lawns

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Established Trees & Landscapes

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Fruit Trees

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Vegetables

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Annuals

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Container Plants

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

Best Time to Fertilize: Seedlings

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

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

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5 Best Grass Species for Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

1. Tall Fescue

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

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

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

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

2. Fine Fescue

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

  • Creeping Red Fescue
  • Chewings Fescue
  • Hard Fescue

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

Fine Fescue: Basic Care

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

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

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

3. Perennial Rye

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

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

Perennial Rye: Basic Care

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

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

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

4. Kentucky Bluegrass

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

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

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

4. Kentucky Bluegrass: Basic Care

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

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

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

5. Bentgrass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7 Ways to Make Your Grass Greener

There is nothing better than looking out the window of your home and seeing a lush lawn with bright and healthy green grass. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert gardener to have the best-looking lawn on the block!

Stately home with lush and green lawnThe truth is that all you need is the proper mover and some pro tips that will help you make your grass greener. Regular maintenance is always the key. One of our expert landscapers can guide you through the steps needed to make sure your lawn is always in top-notch shape.

What are some things I can do to make my grass greener?

First and foremost, know that a perfect, green lawn takes dedication, consistency, and a ton of work. You’ll need to make sure the grass is mowed at the right height, properly fertilized, and water to exact specifications.

The right plan will help you know how to spray, fertilize, and properly cut your grass. Below are some great ways to get started on the right track.

1. Use composite waste to create a greener lawn

Composite waste is simply the biodegradable kitchen scraps you probably just throw in the trash. Put it to better use! Process it and add it to the soil to act as a fertilizer, encouraging healthy growth of your grass.

You can add the composite all over your yard for an even look, or as patches to take care of specific areas. Make sure that you water your lawn thoroughly after putting down the composite.

2. Treat your soil right!

Understanding the makeup of your soil will ensure that you give it the right nutrients to get the right you want. One example of a soil treatment that is highly effective is cornmeal. Not only is cornmeal a natural herbicide, but it also provides needed fertilizer and controls pests.

Another great treatment is Mycorrhizal fungi, which helps the roots of your grass attach properly to the ground and attract the right organic nutrients straight into the root.

3. Give your grass the right cut

One of the easiest mistakes to make when it comes to lawn care is incorrectly cutting your grass. Learning how to properly mow is critical in making your grass greener. A trim lawn that is kept at a steady height is key to giving your lawn the perfect look.

Proper trimming creates healthy growth and roots. The right way to cut is dependent on the kind of grass you have since different types have different optimal heights. Knowing what you’re working with is the first step to take in making your plan.

4. Recycling works!

Everyone knows that recycling is a good thing, but have you ever heard of grass-cycling? It turns out that one of the best fertilizers for grass is the grass itself. By leaving the clippings in the grass they feed the roots.

Not only does it help improve the soil ph levels and textures, but it also provides essential nutrients for the healthy growth of grass. It will both benefit your lawn and save you time that would be spent cleaning it up.

5. Keep the watering regular

It’s commonsense that grass needs the appropriate amount of water to thrive, but to make it truly shine you’ll want to make sure that it is watered regularly. But not too much! By having a smaller, regular watering cycle, you allow the water to more thoroughly seep into the soil instead of running off.

When you over-water, you fill the lawn with water, causing the good nutrients to run away and drive off helpers like worms, who work hard behind the scenes to keep your grass healthy!

6. Give it some air. Aeration, that is!

A healthy lawn loves free air circulation. When the soil is compacted, it creates a firm obstacle to fertilizer and proper water absorption. Depending on the type of soil and age of the lawn, it may need to be manually opened up.

An aerating machine or handheld tool does the job perfectly, opening up small holes that allow insects and air to pass through. Annual aeration is a great way to keep your grass healthy year after year.

7. Treat your lawn right!

Weeds not only make your lawn look unsightly, but they also make it unhealthy! You’ll want to put a weed control system in place so that the grass isn’t competing with weeds for water and nutrients.

A good feed and weed system gets rid of the unwanted plants while providing the fertilizer to make your grass look great.

What’s the best way to get started making my grass greener?

The best way to start is to consult with the pros! Give us a call at Hidden Creek Landscaping to see how our lawn maintenance specialists can get you on the right track to a better-looking lawn.

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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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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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Spring Landscaping Tips After Winter

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

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

Major Clean Up

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

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

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

Flowerbed Preparation

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

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

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

Begin Planting

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

Control Weeds

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

Control Pests

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

Plant Care

  • Pruning

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

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

  • Mulching

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

spring flower care

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

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

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

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Will Landscaping Increase My Home Value?

Landscaping can increase the visual appeal of your home. It can also increase your home value. Below are some examples of how this can be accomplished.

Replacing or Adding Some Design Basics

A number of individuals overhaul their closets every few years.  The process typically involves revamping their wardrobe by replacing worn-out basics with some new pieces.  The same concept can be applied to your yard with exceptional results.  Giving your landscape a basic makeover can provide the space with a classic, value-boosting foundation on which you can build a work of art.

Some landscape design basics may include:

  • A deciduous tree approximately 15 feet tall
  • Some flowering shrubs
  • A walkway made of winding flagstone
  • Two or more 6 feet by 2 feet stone planters
  • Quality mulch

Essentially, making a few small changes has the capacity to do a lot more than merely making your home more visually appealing. When correctly executed, this type of outdoor renovation project will boost the value of your home.

Building or Renovating a Patio or Deck

A patio or deck installment or upgrade can dramatically transform an empty, unattractive backyard into a tremendous outdoor feature. Any of these structures can provide the ideal spot to entertain, relax, and revel in outdoor living at its finest.

The patios and decks that will get the biggest return on investment are those that appear to have been installed since the house was constructed. However, this is not an indication that it should look old or worn out. Instead, it is widely recommended that homeowners add or upgrade a patio or deck in proportion to the structure and property on which the home sits.

The majority of home buyers appreciate being able to use the convenience of their own backyard to escape from the burdens of everyday life, even if only for a while. If you have a limited budget that will not allow you to invest in an elaborate outdoor kitchen, for example, adding a patio or deck is a straightforward upgrade that can boost your home value. 

Constructing or Remodeling an Outdoor Kitchen

The outdoor kitchen is a structure that many landscaping dreams are made of. With a kitchen on the outside, entertaining friends and family will be a breeze. For many home buyers, this added luxury is becoming more and more desirable. Outdoor kitchens can create a fascinating ambiance that enriches your experience in the outdoors.   

renovate patioConstructing or remodeling an outdoor kitchen can be a remarkable idea. For homeowners who live in regions that experience a long winter season, opting for an outdoor kitchen in place of a swimming pool would be a wise choice.  With a waterproof awning or pavilion, you will have the option of using your outdoor kitchen year-round.  

By adding one of these popular outdoor rooms to your home, you could see an average return on investment of between 100 and 200 percent. However, this largely depends on the climate.  Warmer areas and structures built with durable materials typically see a higher return on investment.   

Adding a Rainwater Recycling System

The cost of water is constantly on the rise; therefore, efforts to conserve water have become an important issue in the minds of frugal and environmentally-conscious homeowners. While lush, green lawns have a certain appeal, a number of homeowners have expressed a need to have homes that will not consistently take money from their pockets. In addition to solar panels, a rainwater recycling system can help to create a more sustainable home and reduce your dependence on utility suppliers. This will go a far way in increasing your home value.

Lighting Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Proper lighting will help you to highlight all the improvements that have been made to the functional and aesthetic value of your property, even after the sun sets. Adding strategically placed lighting to your property will boost its function, visual appeal and overall value of the property.

Making Lawn Care a Priority

You can make improvements to your landscaping without much complication. Keeping your lawn looking its best is a great method for improving the curb appeal of your home. This does not mean you need to constantly sit and watch for weeds to pop up. This only requires:

  • Raking

Remove debris like leaves on a regular basis.

  • Aerating

Pierce the lawn to allow nutrients and air to better access the roots of the grass. This assists roots in growing more deeply; creating a strong, lush and healthy lawn.

  • Fertilizing

During the growing season, your lawn should be fed required nutrients every 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Watering

You should water the lawn deeply and infrequently; this encourages greater growth.

  • Mowing

Regularly cut your grass but ensure it is not too short.  Shade cast by taller grass assists in preventing weed development.

  • Edging

Left to its natural progression, grass will find its way into driveways, garden beds and sidewalks; this causes an untidy appearance. For a clean, manicured appearance, trim away the excess at the edge of the turf. curb appeal

It is not necessarily expensive to take care of your lawn, but it does require an investment of your effort and time. If you would rather not invest your energy and time on lawn care, other options are available. You can hire a landscaping company to keep your lawn looking its best.

If your budget does not allow for major home improvement, a number of low-cost options exist for enhancing the exterior of your home to boost its value. Landscaping projects like adding mature plants, planting flowers at the entrance of your home, re-sodding your lawn, sealing your driveway and trimming and weeding all cost under $1000 (often considerably less). The National Association of Landscape Professionals states that “a homeowner can expect a 215% return on investment” for landscaping projects like these.

If executed properly, The Washington Post says experts estimate that landscaping can cause “an increase in value on your home from 5 percent to 20 percent.”

Contact us for more tips, or to discuss how we can help add value to your home through landscaping.

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