Outdoor Features That Can Increase The Value Of Your Home

Outdoor ActivitiesWhen it comes to the value of your home, outdoor space can affect the value almost as much as (if not more so) indoor space. It’s the outdoor space that visitors see first when they arrive at your house. It’s the outdoor space where you spend your time entertaining and playing.

Whether you’re trying to sell your home soon, or simply seeking a way to improve your quality of life, there are many things you can do to your outdoor space that will add to its value.

At Hidden Creek, we can help improve your home’s landscaping and hardscaping to help you achieve your home improvement goals. We provide design and outdoor construction services to beautify residential homes in and around Hilliard Ohio. Read on to learn about the many home improvements and upgrades that can make all the difference.

Hardscape and Masonry

Hardscaping creates structure in your front yard and back. Hardscaping can take many forms, including patios, decks, pathways, and more. Before installing beautiful landscaping, first, install hardscaping. It’s best to work with an experienced hardscape designer to get this work done.

Deck or Patio

Decks and patios provide a place to lounge, play, and visit with friends and family. Decks are elevated for a slight view, while patios sit fully on the ground. Covered patios provide more all-weather outdoor entertaining options, while decks have a particular aesthetic beauty that appeals to many homeowners. Which one is right for you? Have your hardscaping contractor create a design based on your preferences.

Water Features and Fire Features

Water features are serene and provide pleasing sounds as well as beauty. They’re an excellent addition to any garden, eating space or stone patio. They can attract birds, and help create an ambiance that most people enjoy when they’re lounging outside.

Fire features, meanwhile, provide a gathering space where people can spend time warming their hands and bodies. On a dark night, they’re a sight to behold, creating an intimate atmosphere where people can spend time enjoying one another’s company. Fire features can take many forms including a fire pit, fireplace, and more.

When you’re trying to decide between a water feature and a fire feature, ask yourself: do you want to stare into the flame or listen to the sound of a babbling brook? You decide.

Pathways

Pathways have utility as well as beauty. They add a dynamic quality to any front- or backyard, by leading the eye and body around the space. Pathways can also prevent an impromptu path from being beaten into the ground in common areas where you and your family members walk.

Pathways can be made from stone or mulch. Work with your landscaping and hardscaping designer to pick a pathway material that’s best for you.

Retaining Wall

Retaining walls can create holding places for soil, which can then become garden beds. Retaining walls also add structure to backyards and can flatten sloped ground, creating more usable space. They need to be installed by an experienced contractor with the skills to ensure proper construction, as an improperly built retaining wall may fail.

Landscaping

Landscaping consists of the living plants that grow up around your hardscaping. Once the hardscaping is in place, landscaping can be installed. Your landscaper can make recommendations for types of plants that can be potted on your property based on the amount of light, quality of the soil, and more.

Garden Beds

Garden beds can be used to grow shrubs, flowers, or even vegetables. It takes ongoing maintenance throughout the growing season to keep your flowers and shrubs in good condition, especially as they’re becoming established. Perennial plants that are already established need far less care. Talk to your landscaper about installing perennial plants if this is important to you.

For best results with your garden beds, fertilize regularly throughout the growing season, and water your plants according to their preferences. It helps to keep flowers and shrubs with like watering preferences together.

Another way to keep your flower beds looking their best is to mulch the surrounding ground. This gives the soil a uniform appearance and also helps contain moisture and cool the roots, to promote healthy plant growth.

Work with your landscaper to choose flowers with colors that coordinate with your hardscaping, house and surroundings. Some properties benefit from multi-colored flowers while other properties do best with a limited palette.

Potted Plants

Potted plants can brighten spaces like decks and patios that might otherwise be devoid of landscaping. Potted plants require a regular watering schedule, as the soil in potted plants can dry out quickly. Mulching can help keep the roots cool and can help prevent water from evaporating from the soil.

Your landscaper can suggest the best plants for pots on your property. These plants should be well-suited to a pot and should also be coordinated with the colors in the surrounding environment.

Ready to Upgrade Your Hardscaping or Landscaping? Contact Hidden Creek

At Hidden Creek, we provide the best quality landscaping and hardscaping for homeowners in and around Hilliard, Ohio. What you do to your property matters, and how you keep your yard can make a big impact on your home’s value. Work with the best!

To find out more about how we can help improve the value of your home, call us today to make an appointment for a consultation.

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The Best Perennial Plants For Ohio Weather

The weather is warming. The threat of frost will soon be behind us. Here in Ohio, we’re all preparing for a beautiful growing season. Whether you’re preparing your own garden beds for planting or you’re working with a professional, it’s important to pick the right plants for your property. Ohio is a state with four beautiful seasons, including very hot summers and very cold winters. Our USDA growing zones are 5a and 5b, depending on your location. This means it takes the right type of perennials to grow on your property. The plants you choose must tolerate very cold winters indeed.

Given all that, you might be surprised to find out there are actually many choices available to you. Ohio’s natural beauty shows through in its flora and fauna. Below are some of the best perennials that you can plant in your Ohio landscaping.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

The cardinal flower is known for its shocking red spikes with trumpet-shaped blossoms. The long, slender flowers are difficult for many insects to navigate, so it’s the hummingbirds that ultimately help fertilize these plants. That means you can attract many hummingbirds with these gorgeous, three- to four-foot tall perennials.

They’re moderately deer resistant, will thrive in full sun to partial shade, with morning sun and afternoon shade being best. Cardinal plants also require only a moderate amount of watering. Because cardinal plants are native to Ohio, they require little supplemental watering once established, though you’ll get the best results by watering them regularly throughout the growing season.

Gayfeather, or Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Bearing funny, shaggy flowers poised on tall spikes, gayfeather is one of the most noticeable plants to appear in the garden. It attracts bees, moths, butterflies and hummingbirds for an ongoing show throughout the summer. Plant this flower in full sun and maintain an average amount of moisture in the soil around the flower. gayfeathers are prominent, growing between two and five feet tall in good conditions.

If your soil is poor (and your landscaper will be able to let you know if this is the case), the gayfeather is a good plant for you, as it is moderately tolerant of poor soil as well as Ohio’s heat and humidity. This is an excellent plant to place in pots near your front door, assuming your front door is regularly exposed to bright sun. You’ll certainly attract attention to your home with these beautiful plants!

Black-Eyed Susan

Everyone loves black-eyed Susans. This easy to grow perennial flowers appear in gardens around the country, but they’re native to Ohio, which makes them perfectly well suited for garden beds throughout the state. You can find this flower growing in the wild throughout forests, fields, along interstates and roadsides, and in prairie land.

Black-eyed Susans prefer full sun and moderately dry soil. They’re quite deer resistant, and grow to be an average of two to three feet tall. They produce blooms throughout the summer, though dead-heading will help. This is a good plant if you’re not always consistent with your watering. Black-eyed Susans are also an excellent candidate for poor soil. Do not plant Black-eyed Susans if you have clay-like or poorly drained soil.

Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)

Blue flag Irises are striking in their beauty. Despite their name, their coloring falls on the line between blue and violet, with some flowers appearing much more violet than true blue. These hardy plants are able to survive in most home gardens without much care. You can find blue flags in wet meadows, along streams, and near swamps. …which is all to say that blue flag prefers moist soil. If your soil doesn’t drain well or is clay-like, this could be a good flower to plant on your property.

Blue flag prefers partial shade to shade and grows to be two or three feet in height. You can plant this flower to attract bees, hummingbirds, birds and butterflies.

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

There are few plants more lovely than columbine. With delicate two-colored blossoms and dark green foliage, columbines are one of the loveliest flowers in the forest. These flowers prefer shade to partial shade and average to dry soil. Once they’re established, they can multiply quickly. They’re also deer resistant. Columbine usually grows no larger than two and a half feet tall and can attract hummingbirds.

These flowers are so delicate that many homeowners choose to plant them in the company of other flowers for variety and coverage. Columbine is a spring blooming plant that doesn’t produce blossoms until its second year, if started from seed.

Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Obedient plant produces tubular flowers from spears that look similar to snapdragons. They attract hummingbirds and bees and grow best in full sun and average to moist soil. They’re about three or four feet tall and resistant to deer. Once established, Obedient plants spread quickly.

Why are they called obedient plants? Because when you push on the flowers, they will temporarily remain in place as if on a hinge. The flowers will eventually return to their original position. Obedient plants are also called false dragonhead, because of their resemblance to dragonhead flowers.

Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

If you like wild peas, then you’ll love wild lupine. This fragrant flower thrives in full- to partial sun, and in average to dry soil. Wild lupine attracts beneficial pollinators like hummingbirds and birds. Standing at just one to two feet tall, it’s modest in stature but makes a big impression in the garden.

Ready to Plant Your Garden? Contact Hidden Creek to Get Started

You don’t have to have a green thumb or all the time in the world to enjoy a beautiful garden in Ohio. Hidden Creek can help you get started with your Ohio landscape. To get started with your landscaping project this summer, call us today to make an appointment and discuss your needs.

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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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