Backyard Tailgates: Outdoor Kitchens and Bars

Stone backyardIn recent years, backyard spaces have been transformed. Instead of big lawns and little patios of decades ago, homeowners are drawn to properties with functional, usable outdoor spaces. Homeowners are installing outdoor kitchens and bars, filling their green space with beautiful gathering spaces where family and friends come together to eat, drink and be merry.

Why An Outdoor Living Space?

There are many reasons to install an outdoor living space in your home. Whether you’re planning to sell your home in a few years or you hope to live in your house for the next several decades, you can enjoy the many benefits of an outdoor living area.

  • Property value. Homebuyers love outdoor living spaces, and will pay extra for nice features like an outdoor kitchen, bar, dining room or living room.
  • Entertainment. Do you love hosting parties or inviting guests to your home? If you’re the king of the outdoor barbecue, then you’re almost certainly going to love having an outdoor kitchen or bar, where guests and family members alike can spend time lounging, watching you cook, and enjoying time together.
  • Functionality. With an outdoor kitchen and bar, you can have as many guests as you want without making a mess in your house.

How to Make Your Outdoor Kitchen or Bar Standout

Once you’ve made the decision to install a living space in your yard, it’s important to choose a design that is functional as well as attractive. Below are some suggestions for making the most of your exterior upgrade.

Install Lighting

Outdoor lighting is important after the sun goes down. To facilitate parties that go on into the night, install exterior lighting that is warm, cheerful and strategically positioned.

Garden lighting that’s low to the ground will prevent accidents like trips and falls, while strings of cafe lights or Chinese lanterns can make the space feel festive. Your contractor can help you choose a variety of lighting options to make your outdoor space feel comfortable and safe for your guests.

Provide Shelter

We get regular rain here in Ohio! You’ll get a lot more mileage out of your outdoor kitchen or bar if you can provide shelter over your outdoor living space. Some homeowners do this by placing their outdoor bar or kitchen under a deck that provides shelter from wind and rain.

Other homeowners shelter their space by positioning it under an overhang attached to their house. Even if your outdoor living space is positioned in the middle of your yard, you can still provide a shelter separate from your house. Work with your contractor to build a roof over your outdoor living space that will provide shade, shelter, a place to hang a ceiling fan on hot days, and a place to position your outdoor heaters on cooler days.

Landscape the Area

Landscaping creates a beautiful frame for your outdoor living space. Work with a landscaping contractor with a style and sensibility that matches your own, and with an understanding of the best landscaping flowers, shrubs and trees for an Ohio property.

With proper landscaping positioned around your outdoor kitchen or bar, you can create an environment that is both natural and comforting. Tropical plants make your outdoor space feel exotic, while easy to maintain perennials provide a great return on investment with annual blooms and beauty.

Plan Ahead

Work closely with other members of your family to decide what your goals are for your outdoor space. Before meeting with a contractor to discuss your exterior upgrade, have a plan in place for what you’d like to accomplish with your home improvement.

Think about your use of the space year-round, including the size of the parties you hope to have, whether you plan to use the space in the summer only or throughout the year, and what kind of activities you’d like to do in that space.

Maybe you hope to cook and serve drinks to friends – or maybe you only really want a place where you can prepare food. Knowing ahead of time what you hope to do with your living space can help ensure you’ll accomplish what you hope to accomplish.

Hire the Right Contractor

Hiring the right contractor is so important for a big home improvement like the construction of an outdoor kitchen. Hire a contractor who has experience performing hardscaping and landscaping installation.

The contractor should be able to discuss similar projects they’ve worked on, and should be able to show you pictures of their previous projects, so you can see for yourself how they work and the quality they produce. Some more tips:

  • Check references. Talk to homeowners who have worked with that landscape contractor to finish similar projects.
  • Interview multiple contractors. Meeting with multiple contractors can help you decide which qualities are most important in a contractor, which makes the decision-making process easier.
  • Read the contract. Read the contract thoroughly to ensure that you’re comfortable with the details of your agreement with your contractor. Pay close attention to the payment schedule, scope of work and time frame.
  • Meet in person. Never work with a landscape contractor that would work with you sight-unseen.

Contact Hidden Creek Landscaping

Are you hoping to install an outdoor bar or kitchen on your property? Hidden Creek Landscaping can help you with the planning, design and installation of this home improvement project. With over 20 years in the landscaping business, we know what Ohio homeowners expect from their landscaping and hardscaping projects. Call today to make an appointment for your free consultation to discuss your plans for your outdoor space.

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Pergola vs. Sunshade?

pergolaIt may not feel like it, but by the end of March spring will have sprung – even for those of us here in the Buckeye State. With late-March and April highs projected to be in the mid-to-upper 60s, things will seem downright balmy.

With the arrival of the sunnier and warmer days of spring comes thoughts of outdoor living and entertaining. A vital part to enjoying your yard during the spring and summer months is providing yourself and your guests with shelter from the sun.  

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth and informative look at two of the most popular options for relief from the vertical rays: pergolas and sunshades.

What is a pergola?

While it can be connected to your house or freestanding, a pergola is an open structure with no walls, but is supported by several posts. Typically square or rectangular in shape, its roof is partially open with a lattice or trellis design that provides you and your guests with a bit of cover. This design makes it easy for air to circulate and for some sunlight to pass through.

The main purpose of a pergola is to establish the perimeters of an outdoor living area. 

How large are pergolas?

While some pergolas are large enough to provide shade for crowds of 30 or more, others can be intimate enough for just two. 

In other words, your pergola will be built to your specific needs.  

What are pergolas made of?

You have a variety of choices for your pergola materials. Popular choices include wood, steel, aluminum, and metal.

How long should my pergola last?

It depends on two things: the material you select and whether or not it’s properly maintained.

For a wood pergola, you should expect to enjoy 10 years or more from your investment. Metal, steel and aluminum pergolas will last even longer.

The trick is to avoid the DIY pergola kits you see in the big box stores. While their prices are appealing, you’ll be fortunate to get more than two years of use out of their products. 

patio paverWhat are the pros and cons of a pergola?

As with just about anything in life, there are pros and cons to installing a pergola.

Among the pros for a pergola are:

  • It will not obstruct the view from inside your home.
  • The necessity of relatively few materials
  • The versatility to add curtains or grow vines along the posts for privacy and decorative tastes and styles
  • Materials can be stained or painted to reflect the appearance of your home.

The cons sometimes associated with a pergola include:

  • Fading of the materials over time
  • The possibility of termites if your pergola is made of wood and proper treatments aren’t made

What is a sunshade?

Often referred to as shade sails, sunshades are another highly effective way to give you and your guests a bit of shade. Sunshades are typically made of specially treated fabric that’s mounted to steel posts and tightened to avoid flapping in high winds. 

How large are sunshades?

While they can be custom-made for your specific needs, sunshades are readily available in sizes as small as 10-feet to over 25-feet. You may need more than one sunshade to cover your outdoor living area.

Are sunshades waterproof?

Not entirely. While a light rain will roll off from the edges of your sunshade, a heavy downpour will likely result in some rainwater passing through.

Can I leave my sunshade up all year?

It’s not recommended. Most sunshades are not capable of supporting heavy snowfalls during the winter months or withstanding hurricane-force winds. 

How long should my sunshade last?

Much of the answer to that question depends on the installation of the sunshade. For example, while it’s not unusual to enjoy as much as 10 years of outdoor living with your sunshade, improper installation can cause it to become loose or even sag – which in turn leads to faster deterioration. 

What are the pros and cons of a sunshade?

While sunshades do provide great ventilation and are relatively easy to install, there are a few negatives to keep in mind.

Among the cons for a sunshade are:

  • They’re not built to withstand heavy weather
  • They present a legitimate fire hazard
  • Your investment can be damaged by birds, large branches and other obstacles. 

The Bottom Line

The decision to go with a pergola or sun shade is obviously your choice. We’re fans of both options, but can help you understand the pros and cons of each as they relate to your situation. That way, you don’t have any buyer’s remorse down the road. 

To find out more about how we can help you, and to get the ball rolling, visit our online Dream Builder page so that we have an idea of what you’ve got in mind. 

You can also give us a call at (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email

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Can You Lay Pavers in Cold Weather?

paversFew people associate winter weather with doing landscaping projects. To be honest though, that’s often the best time for finding bargains. Because many remodeling and home-focused businesses often experience a slowdown in business during the winter months, shorter waits for installation are also the norm.

That’s certainly the case with pavers. 

Available in a wide variety of shapes and colors, pavers are an especially effective way to create an environment specific to your tastes and style. However, should you have pavers installed during cold weather?

We’ll talk about it in this article.

Can Pavers Be Installed During The Winter?

As long as the ground is not frozen, we should be able to install your pavers. Another factor to keep in mind is the amount of moisture in the ground. Because pavers require a stable sub-base to keep them anchored and secured, the ground needs to be firm enough to hold the sub-base.

How Does Winter Weather Affect Pavers?

The constant cycle of freezing and thawing water during the winter months can take a toll on even the sturdiest of hardscape features, including pavers.

The ground underneath your pavers will expand during the freeze-thaw cycles, then contract during warmer temperatures. Although natural and unavoidable, the continually expanding and contracting of the ground can actually lead to your pavers shifting out of place.

While this is happening beneath the surface, the condition will often express itself through “frost heave” – an actual swelling of the soil that pushed upwards and breaches the surface. Beyond looking unappealing, frost heave can structurally damage the integrity of the surrounding pavement and even the foundation of your home.

How Can I Prevent the Shifting of Pavers?

Several preventative steps can prevent your pavers from shifting.

The main thing is to insist upon a proper installation process. Because accuracy and professionalism are vitally important to the installation of pavers, it’s definitely not a DIY project. At a minimum, there should be a gravel base and a layer of bedding sand at the proper depths beneath your pavers. 

Because it’s important for water to be routed away from pavers, there should be a slope leading away from the center of the foundation.

Afterwards, the soil needs to be compacted properly so that there’s no settling once the project is complete.

paversWhat Can I Do to Protect My Pavers During The Winter?

Many have found that an especially attractive feature of pavers is the fact that you only have to replace individual tiles as they are damaged, rather than replacing the entire surface.

Here are a couple of proactive steps you can take to make sure your pavers last for years of enjoyment.

  • Seal your pavers. A protective layer shields your pavers from the harshness of winter. This layer prevents scrapes, chips, and erosion normally associated with the cold months. Sealers for pavers can be either topical or penetrating. We recommend the penetrating sealer because it’s actually absorbed by the paver and gives you the most amount of protection.
  • Don’t salt your pavers. It’s typical to salt our driveways during freezing conditions, but that’s not recommended on your pavers. Interestingly, when it meets rainwater, the salt can seep into the pavers and freeze. The resulting expanding can then lead to the winter heave effect we talked about earlier. 

What Other Landscaping Services Does Hidden Creek Offer During Winter Months?

Hidden Creek Landscaping is a full-service landscape provider. As such, we’re proud to offer a variety of landscaping services throughout the year – including the often-severe Ohio winters. 

  • Yard aeration: This process is vital to the health of your lawn. By breaking up the soil and dirt, oxygen and water are allowed easier passageways. 
  • Winter fertilization: Because your lawn uses up most of its required nutrients during the spring and summer months, it needs a bit of help during the winter. With fertilization, you reverse any damage that may have been done to the root system just beneath the surface. The payoff for this step comes during the warmer months when your landscape is able to experience a full bloom. 
  • Winterizing your sprinkler system: Often overlooked by homeowners, making sure your sprinkler system is ready for the winter can prevent damage to the pipe seals and valves. 

If you have a redesign or remodeling project in mind, we can certainly help with that as well – even in winter. We’ll make the time to listen to your ideas and get to work on a solution. 

To give us an idea of what you have in mind, complete our Dream Builder form to get the ball rolling. For design inspiration, look at our online design center for examples of our work with previous and current clients. 

To find out more, call Hidden Creek Landscaping at (614) 779-0846. You can also reach us via email

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Patio Building Materials to Withstand Cold

patio materialsFrom snowstorms generated by Lake Erie to the moderate cold of the central lowlands, winter weather in Ohio can be like living in different regions, depending on where you live. Here in our neck of the woods, the winter months are typically marked by freezing temperatures and gusting winds.

If you’ve been blessed with a patio or are thinking of having one installed, it’s vital that you select materials that can withstand what Mother Nature can throw your way. 

Here, we’ll talk about patio building materials that are best equipped to withstand Ohio winters so that you can enjoy outdoor living year-round.

Do You Want a Deck or a Patio?

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re quite different.

Often attached to a house, a patio is very versatile. The designs are varied and the materials are as well. For example, good materials for patios include concrete, stone pavers, tile and brick.

Decks, on the other hand, are usually made from wood or utilize a wood composite. While they too are often attached to a house or other structure, it’s also not unusual for a deck to be freestanding to take advantage of certain views.

What Patio Materials Are Best for Cold Climates?

Again, you have quite a few choices for materials for your patio. Knowing which one will do a better job of withstanding the elements while needing the least amount of maintenance can save you a lot of money and headache. 

Cement: Say goodbye to the days when concrete patios were simply gray slabs. With advancements in coloring methods and stamping techniques, a concrete patio can be formed into practically any shape and hue.

While concrete can withstand a lot of things, it doesn’t always perform as well in extremely cold conditions. One of the main reasons is that concrete is porous – meaning it has small holes through which air and water may pass. That’s not a good thing when water lays on top of it and freezes. The added stress to the surface can easily lead cracks and other structural damage. 

Concrete sealing can be an effective preventative action. The sealing coats the surface and repels water – all while strengthening the bonds within the concrete. 

Pavers: Available in brick, concrete, stone and other materials, many homeowners prefer using pavers to add a touch of elegance and texture to their patios.

Unlike cement, pavers are individual tiles installed in the pattern you wish. This essentially lets you expand your personal and architectural tastes outside of your home.  

patio materialsThe advantage to this approach is that if you do notice bits of a tile falling away from the effects of the continuing freeze-thaw cycle, you merely have to replace the affected tiles rather than the whole patio.

Slate, travertine (made from limestone), porcelain and terracotta pavers are especially effective at withstanding frigid weather. 

Brick: We humans have been using brick for our homes and shelters for thousands of years. Like other materials, there have been tremendous advancements in brick to produce various combinations of shapes, colors and textures.

While brick has proven to be effective in standing up against just about a weather onslaught, freezing temps and water are often too much. As water is absorbed into the brick and then freezes, it can shatter its internal structure.

As for maintenance, brick is relatively easy to keep up. Regular cleaning, and spot checks for damage caused by water and freezing should keep you in good shape. As with concrete, sealing your brick patio can be especially effective against the cold elements. 

How Do I Decide Which Patio Material is Best For Me?

We understand it’s a lot of information to take in and process. That’s why we sit down to talk with you one-on-one about your patio needs and wishes. Our process is one that’s entirely collaborative. 

Getting started on your new patio is easy. Simply complete our Dream Builder form to get the ball rolling. 

Here’s how our process works.

  • During our initial consultation, we’ll discuss budget and design options. 
  • Then, we present our schematics and have a preliminary budget review to discuss materials and amenities. 
  • Together we review the final plan to lock down the details, so that everyone is on the same page. 
  • We’ll then schedule a visit to your home to assess any potential obstacles and talk about them with you before proceeding to the completion.
  • Once your patio project is complete, you will have a walk-through to make sure everything has been done to your satisfaction. 

As for the design of your patio, we invite you to check out our online design center for examples of work we’ve completed for previous and current clients. 

Our mission is to design and install the patio of your dreams, while making sure it can withstand the harsh Ohio winters.

To find out more, call Hidden Creek Landscaping at (614) 779-0846. You can also reach us via email.

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Summer Outdoor Patio Events

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

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

Patio Ideas for the Summer

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

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

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

Decorating Ideas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summertime Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Ways to Make Landscaping Pop at Night

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

Take the Whole Property into Consideration

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

The Differences between Down, Up and Cross Lighting

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

Accent, Task, and Overall

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

Security

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

Use Different Color Lighting

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

Creating a Night Garden

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

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

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

Define the Purpose

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

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

 

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3 Landscape Design Trends for 2018

Taking advantage of the latest landscape design trends will help you enjoy your home more and boost your property value. This is why landscape designers and property builders explore the evolution of trends and ideas in landscaping. Here are the landscape design trends we’ve seen grow and ones we predict to be popular in 2018.

Trend 1: Outdoor Living & Dining, Fire Pits & More

We like to treat your backyard as another room and added living space. This trend will continue to grow this year as more people are interested in spending more time outdoors. We strive to create livable outdoor spaces that will add to the function and enjoyment of your home.

Outdoor Dining and Kitchens

We believe kitchens and outdoor dining will be more popular this year. Spaces dedicated to outdoor dining and entertainment are great for people who have upcoming special events or often throw parties. Having a kitchen as well just adds to the convenience and overall atmosphere.

Firepits

In connection to this, fire pits are also going to grow in popularity. Fire pits allow people to stay outdoors longer when it gets dark and even in colder temperatures. Apart from adding ambiance and keeping the atmosphere warm, the pits also double up nicely as a sort of table. In the mornings and afternoons, you and family can gather around it for coffee and conversation.

Outdoor living, of course, is not about dining only. Many are also interested in sunken lounges, outdoor showers, daybeds, as well as comfortable outdoor furniture.

Trend 2: Masonry, Textured Paving, and More

Masonry and stonework patios and walkways are predicted to undergo changes in 2018. 

patio

Now there are a variety of exciting stones including granite, limestone, porphyry. These can be turned into unique cobbles and flagging to break up larger spaces into smaller, textured paving. These stones are also becoming increasingly available in different shapes, sizes, and finishes. This will give landscapers more freedom to introduce exciting ideas in cobblestones such as mixing rounded shapes with linear lines. In short, expect asymmetry to be the leading trend in place of the polygonal paving of the yesteryears.

When it comes to flooring, wood-effect tiles have risen in popularity in the last couple of years. We predict this trend to continue now with the introduction of sophisticated wood-effect porcelain tiles. These are heat, scratch, and stain-resistant, hard-wearing and we may expect an increased use of them in both cladding and flooring.

Copper is another material that is making a comeback this year. Since the color of copper gradually weathers to a beautiful looking bluish-green patina, this serves to provide a wonderful sense of contrast with the surrounding wood, stone, and the gravel. More generally, the trend is moving to a naturally weathered patina away from the shiny stainless steel of the last years, so all the more reason why copper is going to get popular.

Trend 3: Small Gardens and Unique Plants

The garden trend in 2018 seems to be moving to smaller gardens that are integrated with the outdoor living space. In other words, the gardens and living spaces will come closer and often mix into each other instead of being separate areas of our outdoor space. So, expect a lot of plants inside and around your outdoor kitchen. Also, we expect pergolas with integrated heating, drainage, and lighting will grow in popularity.

Interesting Plants

As to the plants themselves, the opinions seem to be a little varied. Some believe that cacti and other succulents will hold their ground. We can mix these with a variety of other unique plants. For example, dwarf fan palms or dwarf palmettos may be preferred along with the big ‘Rex’ with its two feet palmate leaves to lend an exotic charm to the garden. However, this can be toned down by mixing some country-style plantings to soften the hard edges.

small garden

Others contend that shrubs and woodland plants will steal the trend this year. The woodland style with its mix of tufted grasses, anemones, mosses, and ferns may become popular following the installation of a similar style at the NEO Bankside at London. However, according to some other garden experts, we may be moving away from grasses, palms and naturalistic perennials towards a variety of unique and exotic shrubs.

Ecological Gardens

Another big trend in 2018 can be the ecological gardens. As interest in locally grown food continues to increase, we predict that greenhouses with a variety of edible plants may see a big comeback. These gardens may include some unique plants too, but for the most part, they will include locally-sourced materials and plants native to the area.

If any of these trends sound appealing to you or sparked your own ideas, contact us today! Contact us to discuss your dream landscape and put plans into action to make it happen.

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4 Tips to Get Your Backyard Ready for Summer Parties

Backyard PartyThe hot days and nights of summer are the perfect times to throw outdoor parties. However, it is necessary to get your patio in top condition. Here are five tips that will help.

1. Lighting is Essential

When you want to entertain on your patio in the evening, lighting is essential. There are simple types of lights to install that will add wonderful ambiance and utility to the space. String lighting, spotlights or solar lanterns will offer a touch of class and elegance.

2. Think Green

Greenery is a great addition around any patio. If you do not like the idea of large bushes and trees that need to be maintained, it may be a smarter idea to scatter small planter boxes around your yard. Small containers can be filled with colorful flowers that enhance the space. A good tip is to fill planters with a lightweight soil mixture. This encourages good drainage so that you maintain healthy plants.

3. Consider a Sheltered Space

In Ohio, the weather is unpredictable. Summer is known for sunshine and heat along with rain and humidity. If you are hosting an afternoon barbecue or similar event, your guests may want to have a place that is away from the warmth. You may wish to consider installing an awning or pergola over part of your patio. This could come in handy when an unexpected rainstorm pops up as well.

4. Outside Drink Station

No outdoor party is complete without a bar. It keeps people from constantly running inside of the house for drinks. The ideal bar will include a refrigerator to keep things cool and store ice, also containing a shelf to hold glasses will keep things compact and organized.

If you want to get your patio and backyard ready for summer, meet with the our experts to plan your perfect outdoor space.

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Simple Ways To Refresh Your Patio

Simple Ways To Refresh Your Patio Hidden Creek Landscaping July 2017A backyard patio can be the perfect place for summer entertaining. It’s a great spot to relax, entertain, and just enjoy the outdoors right at home. Here are some simple ideas for homeowners to spruce up the patio this summer:

Power wash & paint

Don’t underestimate the power of a good cleaning. Use a power washer to scrub your patio and remove built up dirt. You may be perfectly pleased with the refreshed look or you may decide to take it a step further and give the patio a whole new look. You can paint a concrete patio to give it style. Choose a neutral color or go for something bold. Painting can give a great fresh look to your outdoor living space.

Add landscaping

Beautify the area surrounding the patio with landscaping. Consider adding attractive elements like flowers, shrubs, a rock garden, and even a fountain next to the patio. Use potted plants to add lush greenery and vibrant flowers. Even if you’re working with a small space, simple changes to your landscaping design can instantly enhance the entire area.

Functional furnishings

An empty, bare patio certainly isn’t very inviting. Make it comfortable and stylish with high quality outdoor furnishings. An outdoor sofa or sectional are ideal for creating a relaxing place to sit and unwind. Add a dining table to enjoy meals outside and to host get-togethers with friends and family. Don’t crowd the entire patio with furniture, but be selective about which items you want. Transform the space into a cozy spot to spend time.

Refresh your patio with just a few of these simple changes. Clean it, paint it, add landscaping, and set up some comfortable furniture. You’ll quickly create an outdoor living space that you’ll love and use throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons. For help with this, contact Hidden Creek Landscaping today.

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Backyard Parties Make For A Lot of Summer Fun

lawnmower-384589_1920When beautiful summer evenings are upon you, it is the perfect time to consider hosting backyard parties! Who doesn’t like the chance to entertain family and friends on a warm summer night? A complete backyard party includes a cookout, lights, music and other entertainment. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect summer party!

Backyard parties are a nice change from being constricted inside during the winter. They are often less formal and more welcoming to children, as the outdoors acts as a natural playground. Outdoor winter parties are possible, if your landscaping allows for a fireplace or other heating arrangements.

When planning your backyard party, you need to first understand your space. Your guest list should not be overwhelming for the amount of room available. It is ideal to choose a night when clear skies are predicted. If rain might make an appearance, it is a good choice to rent a tent or marquee in one corner of your backyard just in case. Even if it doesn’t rain, this is another great shelter area from the hot sun!

Plan your parties carefully and see that you make proper arrangements for food and drinks. Carefully situate your bar and buffet tables so they are easy for guests to access, yet out of harm’s way. Keep an eye on the bar and buffet, even when you are socializing with your guests. This way you can ensure everything is fully stocked and guests don’t have to find their way around your kitchen!

It is imperative to assess your backyard and landscaping ahead of time to make sure that there is a proper place for people to sit, even if it is temporary seating. Once your guests have eaten, a variety of games, for both adults and children alike, help your guests stay entertained as well. Make sure you have these set up beforehand on the lawn or easily accessible so you don’t have to leave the middle of a conversation to set up a cornhole game.

If you are wanting to capitalize on the summer theme, a barbeque and pool really emphasize the sunny ambiance. The daylight lasts longest in the summer, ensuring fun well into the night. Last but not least, enjoy yourself!

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