Steps For Effective Landscape Planning

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

Formulating a Plan

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

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

Studying the Property

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

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

Creating Purpose

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

Plants and Materials

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

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

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

Bringing It Together

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

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

Climate and Terrain

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

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

Sun-Shade Patterns

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

Night Gardens

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

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

Lighting

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

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

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

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

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

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What a Real Landscaping Career Looks Like

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

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

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

Different Types of Landscaping:

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

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

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

The Day-To-Day of a Landscaping Career

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

Duties of a landscape architect include:

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

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

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

How to Find a Credible Landscaper

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

Consult the Landscape Architects and Contractors Board

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

Read Online Reviews

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

Get Referrals From Friends And Neighbors

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

Form a Landscapers’ List

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

What Makes a Landscape Company Credible/Successful?

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

What You Don’t Know About This Profession

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Ways to Make Landscaping Pop at Night

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

Take the Whole Property into Consideration

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

The Differences between Down, Up and Cross Lighting

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

Accent, Task, and Overall

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

Security

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

Use Different Color Lighting

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

Creating a Night Garden

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

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

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

Define the Purpose

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

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

 

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Landscape Water Features

Landscape water features give you a natural sanctuary providing a respite from the stresses of the day right inside your own backyard. There is a richness and diversity that water features produce as both people and nature respond to the refreshing and soothing qualities of moving water.

Whether it is a water fountain nestled among your flowers, a pool waterfall with underwater lighting as a focal point, a pond stocked with exotic fish, a stone waterfall, or spillways that feed into a meandering stream, we have ideas and tips for creating, planning and installing water features that cater to your specific desires.

 

Water has a Healing Effect

Landscape Water Features

Why install a water feature? Well, listening to the sounds of flowing or trickling water, studies have shown, ranks among the same beneficial effects we glean from sleep or massage for their restorative, stress-relieving powers. Water features help relax mind, body and spirit. There are all manners of stone and pool waterfalls, stream designs, koi ponds, fountains and more from which to select your own personal landscape water features.

 

Our Recommendations

The options for backyard water features in Ohio are endless whether you are dealing with limited space or have a large spread of land. We specialize in scaling landscaping projects to add beautiful tranquility to your outdoor living space. Not sure what type of water feature you are looking for to enhance your lawn and garden? Here is our comparison of a few common types to give you a better understanding of will work for you in your garden:

Pools

For one of the most classic water features, it is hard to beat the allure of a pool. This will take a substantial initial investment, but will be a great source of entertainment and beauty for years to come. You can even spice them up with fountains or waterfalls for a natural, relaxing feature. 

Pros:

  • Great source of entertainment for all ages
  • Flexibility – the pool can be whatever size/shape/style you need it to be
  • Increases the value of your home
  • Able to be heated to use for longer time period during the year
  • Great way to exercise

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep the water clean and free of the accumulation of sticks, dirt, algae, etc.
  • Initial excavation may require substantial digging and investment
  • Not able to use all throughout the year
  • May increase your insurance costs

 

Container Ponds

If your available space is limited, a container pond is an impermanent and convenient alternative to an in-ground pool. You can convert just about any container into a container pond from glazed pots to a half-cut wine barrel to concrete bowls, all of which can be of any size. Whether the diameter is the same from top to bottom or the bowl is tapered, they typically have a wide opening, but even a 3-foot diameter allows enough space inside to add fish, aquatic grass, water lilies or other suitable plants for the perfect aesthetic touch. You can use a convenient plant support ring, which is a simple wire rack with openings that hold the plants in their containers just beneath the water’s surface. Now you are dealing with the equivalent of a fish tank to which you can add pumps and filters to keep the water clean and circulating.

Pros:

Landscape Water Features

  • No need for digging or excavation
  • Excellent choice for small spaces
  • Container ponds are available as kits
  • An inexpensive way to “get your feet wet” in the world of landscaping water features. Start with something small and graduate to bigger projects

Cons:

  • You may need to seal your container to prevent leakage
  • The deeper the container, the more difficult it can be to keep clean
  • You need to be cautious of the drowning risk posed when small children present

 

Wall Fountain

Wall fountains provide another alternative when space is an issue. These vertical water features offer the unexpected treat of a water aesthetic within the confines of compact spaces. They typically have a basin to catch and circulate the water with some wall fountains spilling directly into a container pond. Wall fountains use a pump requiring tubing or pipes that are invisibly set behind the fountain.

Pros:

  • Prime for small spaces
  • Can be uniquely designed and installed
  • Available as easy-to-assemble kits that are simple plug-in units
  • Different sizes and shapes available

Cons:

  • Fountain flow is not adjustable without an adjustable valve
  • Cost comparison between a kit and designing your own wall fountain is negligible
  • Can increase humidity in the air

 

Streams

For your larger property, man-made streams present a way to incorporate natural pools and waterfalls while offering a feature that may sidle up to a walkway, providing a tranquil path for all who traverse the landscape.

Pros:

  • Lends to a more natural, informal design
  • Adapts well to existing water features or to expand upon what you may already have in place
  • Conducive to decorative plants, grasses and river rocks for a natural aesthetic

Cons:

  • Streams require a pump system and plumbing to route the flow of water from the pond or pool destination back to the start of the stream
  • Longer streams just look better, which can involve a significant amount of digging
  • The initial build can be costly
  • Requires significant maintenance for the size and organic matter that can accumulate

 

Whatever landscape water features that you select, you should always install a pump to keep the water circulating. This helps detract still-water insects such as mosquitoes and wasps. If you do add fish and plants, make sure your pumps, filters and cleaners are up to the task. Anytime you install an outdoor landscape water feature that includes fish, expect to see other interested creatures appear on the scene such as frogs, raccoons and herons.

The pleasurable effects of landscape water features enhance the overall experience of your garden, whether enjoying a backyard party, a barbecue get-together or simply a private break all by yourself. You can make your yard a sanctuary, and the investment not only offers a calming presence at home, but it contributes to your property value as well.

If you are interested in learning more about custom landscape water features or how to winterize your existing features, our expert team of creative landscaping professionals can provide insight and in-depth knowledge of the many types of feature designs as well as the local Ohio terrain and trends. Contact us today to discuss your dream landscape and how we can bring your plans to fruition!

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Pet-Friendly Landscaping

How to Create a Pet-Friendly Yard

 

You love your pets and even consider them as members of your family! But, unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to maintain a perfect yard with pets roaming around it.

Across central Ohio, you can see countless yards that have all of the familiar signs: big holes in the ground, dead spots in the grass, dog poop everywhere and flowers that have been trampled on. These yards have all of the bare essentials to be a beautiful space, but the owners have seemingly let their animals take them over.

The following are some ideas you may consider if you are looking to create a pet-friendly landscape.

 

Consider Hardscaping

 

Hardscaping may be something you want to consider if you have a puppy who likes to get his paws dirty. This will create a barrier between your dog and your garden. By designing your yard with hardscaping, you will be able to remove some or all of the spaces where your dog can dig. Whether it is stone structures, retaining walls, or paved paths, Hidden Creek can help you design and install these features to protect your space.

 

Pick up the Poo

 

This isn’t so much a design idea as it is a simple suggestion. Many yards and lawns are ruined because there has been so much pet waste accumulated in them over the years. You would be surprised how many families and children don’t like to enjoy their yards simply for this reason. And, guests don’t feel comfortable walking through your yard and enjoying the space unless it’s clean.

You may want to consider regularly cleaning up after your pet in your yard. It will make your yard both more enjoyable and healthier for everyone. Make “pooper scooper the yard” a weekly chore for you or your kids, and protect your beautiful yard!

 

Keep your Herb Garden Safe

Pet-Friendly Landscape

Many homeowners like to grow little herb gardens in their yards. This is a great way to provide your own additions to healthy meals to enhance the flavor.

Unfortunately, though, dogs and cats also seem to love herb gardens. Our little friends like to chew on and eat soft and small plants. Avoid this by creating a barrier around your herb garden. You could consider protecting your herb garden with chicken wire, a stone wall or another hardscaping feature.

 

Steer Clear of Poisonous Plants

 

A well-designed garden will usually feature a number of different plant species. When planning your garden, though, you need to keep your animals in mind when choosing plant species. There are some commonly-used landscape plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats when consumed.

Some of these common species include lilies, azaleas, and tulips. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruetly to Animals (ASPCA) has an extensive list of these plants which you may consult. Take care when choosing plants for your yard, and make sure your landscape professional is aware of this concern.

 

Pick a Hearty Grass Species

 

A beautiful, lush, green lawn is what most homeowners desire. However, dogs can be problematic when considering your lawn maintenance. As mentioned before, dogs can frequently burrow into lawns, which causes damage. Pet waste can also cause dead and yellowing spots in the grass. It can be difficult to balance the needs of your lawn and the needs of your pet.

Despite all of these concerns, if you still want a green lawn, then consider carefully which species of grass you choose. Some species of grass are heartier, and they can take the beating of a dog’s usage a little better. For a species recommendation, schedule a consultation with one of our landscape professionals.

 

Fence in your Dog Yard

Pet-Friendly Landscape

Oftentimes, the best solution to having animals and a beautiful landscape is allocating one part of your yard for them and another part for more intricate gardening or entertaining space. This separation can often best be done with fencing.

One solution would be to have a smaller backyard area where you allow your dogs and cats to roam that’s fenced in, and a separate space for entertaining and gardening. Or, if you don’t have that much space in your backyard, you can have a fenced in area in the back and then place more beautiful and delicate plants that could potentially be harmed by animals in your front yard.

 

Place Delicate Plants Away from your Pets

 

Features like flower beds, herb gardens, and succulent plants need to be placed away from where your pets go. As these features tend to be more easily harmed, they should be positioned in an area that will not be frequented by your animals. As mentioned before, this could be accomplished with fencing, or with a water feature or hardscaping.

In areas where your animals will be, you can place sturdier plants and landscaping features. In these spaces, hardscaping or ground covers would be great options, as well as larger shrubs or small trees.

 

Time your Irrigation Appropriately

 

In many cases, irrigation is necessary to maintain a beautiful garden. Plants have different moisture requirements to grow and be healthy. Irrigation allows you to control and create the ideal environment to keep your garden beautiful.

However, many times irrigation systems are set on timers, which can actually be problematic if you have pets. Don’t set your irrigation to run immediately before or during the times your pet will be in that area of the yard. When soil and lawns are wet, they can be more easily damaged by your animals. Not to mention, this could set you up to have muddy paw prints tracked into your home!

Creating a pet-friendly landscape is definitely doable, but does require some extra planning beforehand. Usage by your pet is simply another factor to be taken into account during the landscape design process. Make sure to communicate this need to your landscaping professional when creating your ideal design.

Have questions? Contact Hidden Creek Landscaping and together we can build a yard that is great for you and your furry friends!

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What Are the Best Trees for Ohio Landscaping?

The unpredictability of midwest weather can cause a lot of frustration.  One minute it is sunny, and it could be storming the next. There can be snow in the springtime and warm winter days. However, when the weather messes with your landscape, it can be discouraging. After all, homeowners usually put a lot of time, effort and money into the landscaping to ensure that it is always looking splendid.

To stop this frustrating dilemma from affecting your landscape, here is a list of trees, flowers, and shrubbery that will survive year-round in Ohio:

Best Trees for Ohio Landscaping

Red Oak Tree

The sturdy and heavy Red Oak wood has a reddish-orange color that adds vibrant color to the landscape and is an excellent source of shade.

Japanese Tree Lilac

The Japanese Tree Lilac is perfect for those who are looking for an exceptional accent plant with beautiful and fragrant spring blooms.  A big part of the popularity of this tree is that it is low-maintenance and resistant to diseases. Also, it prefers moist, well-drained soil, thrives in direct sunlight and requires very little pruning.  Among the most favorite selections of the tree are Summer Snow and Ivory Silk.

Witch Hazel Tree

This tree is a remarkable option for broad and open areas in your landscape.  The tree favors partial shade or direct sunlight and soil that is moist and well-drained.  Its orange and yellow foliage creates a spectacular display during the fall months. Even when there is snow on the ground, the Witch Hazel tree will flower.  The spicy fragrance and twisting branches of the tree are particularly unique and form a part of its grand appeal. crabapple tree

Crabapple Tree

Easy to grow and stunningly beautiful, crab apple trees produce incredible flower shows during the spring.  It is necessary for these trees to be planted in well-drained loamy soil because fruit trees will not flourish in wet soils. Crabapple trees require good air circulation and full sun exposure to ensure the leaves stay dry.  It is essential to keep these leaves dry because wet leaves on fruit trees tend to cause diseases. When the apples fall, disease resistant varieties will not create a mess.

American Hornbeam Tree

American Hornbeam trees are a fantastic option for naturalized or woody landscapes.  This magnificent tree thrives in shade or partial sunlight and favors soil that is wet and well drained. The American Hornbeam is native to the northeast and produces outstanding red and yellow foliage during the months of fall.

Pagoda Dogwood Tree

The Pagoda Dogwood tree is a well sought after the native of the Midwest and hails, more specifically, from the state of Minnesota.  This tree favors full sun exposure or partial shade and thrives well in these conditions. The foliage of this tree is a beautiful purple that shows out during the fall.  It produces a pleasing aroma and creamy white blossoms during the spring. The Pagoda Dogwood tree can be significantly affected by city pollution, and as such, your Pagoda Dogwood should not be planted near to the roadside. Argentina and Venus are popular types of the Pagoda Dogwood tree, and its unique horizontal branching is one of its most remarkable features.

Japanese Maple Tree

This spectacular tree produces beautiful spring and fall colors.  During the fall, its textured foliage changes to a hue that ranges from deep red to purple.  White and pink blooms show up in the spring and last into the months of summer. To maintain its form, it requires pruning, or it will reduce into a shrub.  It favors minimal sunlight and light shade and thrives best in average, well-drained soil. While this tree is typically hardy in Ohio, it is best to check with a local nursery to determine the variety that will thrive best in your region. Japanese maple tree

Asimina Triloba (Pawpaw)

This deciduous, conical tree grows between 12 and 20 feet tall.  It has tropical-looking leaves that turn yellow in autumn and become as big as 12 inches.  Dark-brown, velvety flower buds produce upside-down, maroon flowers as big as 2 inches across that bud for approximately six weeks early in the springtime. The Asimina Triloba produces the largest native edible fruit in America, and its flavor is similar to both banana and mango. Once established, this tree can tolerate full sun exposure, and young trees favor filtered sun. 

Stewartia Pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia)

This deciduous, slow-growing tree is shaped like a pyramid and extends between 20 and 30 feet in height and 8 and 25 feet in width.  It can be single trunk or multi-stem, prefers partial shade, favors well-drained soil and has no tolerance for drought. In July, its cup-shaped, white flowers emerge, and its fall foliage has incredible shades of burgundy and reddish-orange. It reddish-brown bark provides interest and fantastic winter color.  It can be used near the patio or as a specimen plant in the yard.

Best Shrubs for Ohio Landscaping

Buxus “Winter Gem” 

This trouble-free, dependable evergreen is not a deer favorite.  It is most effective when used to create a hedge, and it produces glossy, medium-textured foliage.  The leaves will hold their color even throughout long and brutal winters. This shrub’s growth becomes a refreshing light green color in the Spring.  It can be used to bring evergreen structure to the landscape, which is mainly essential during the winter when there is very little green left.  It is a low-maintenance plant as it only requires pruning once or twice a year.

Clethra Alnifolia (Summersweet)

This native shrub is delightfully fragrant, attracts beautiful butterflies and blooms in mid to late summer. The elegant foliage and form of taller varieties make them great accents for anyt landscape.  They typically reach between 5 and 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Shorter cultivars like the ‘Hummingbird’ work well for repetition and massing, staying approximately 2½ to 3 feet tall.

If you need more information about types of plants for Ohio landscaping or need help with a design, contact us!

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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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Spring Landscaping Tips After Winter

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

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

Major Clean Up

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

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

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

Flowerbed Preparation

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

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

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

Begin Planting

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

Control Weeds

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

Control Pests

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

Plant Care

  • Pruning

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

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

  • Mulching

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

spring flower care

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

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

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

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Will Landscaping Increase My Home Value?

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

Replacing or Adding Some Design Basics

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

Some landscape design basics may include:

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

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

Building or Renovating a Patio or Deck

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

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

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

Constructing or Remodeling an Outdoor Kitchen

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

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

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

Adding a Rainwater Recycling System

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

Lighting Up Your Outdoor Living Space

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

Making Lawn Care a Priority

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

  • Raking

Remove debris like leaves on a regular basis.

  • Aerating

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

  • Fertilizing

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

  • Watering

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

  • Mowing

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

  • Edging

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

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

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

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

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

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Elements to Consider When Planning Your Landscape Project

Beyond improving the aesthetic appeal of your yard, a proper landscaping design can help propagate local ecosystems, prevent soil erosion and flooding, as well as demarcate areas depending on your family needs or upcoming events. A well-executed landscaping project can add value to your home and provide you with a luxurious escape in your own backyard!

In order to achieve these benefits, you will need to put several elements into consideration. These elements are your city’s zoning and permit laws, your budget, and how you will use your new space.

Research Zoning and Permits

elements to consider when designing a landscapeThe first thing to consider is your city’s zoning and permit requirements and laws. Of course, it helps to work with a landscaping company that is familiar with these regulations, but you should familiarize yourself with before planning the project to determine what is possible.

The City of Columbus says, “The Zoning Code regulates the type of activity that may occur within specific geographic areas of the city.” You should check this code to figure out what you are allowed to build or change and where the zone of your property lies. This also includes finding out where your property line begins and ends, so you don’t go building into your neighbor’s yard.

You should also check your city’s permit regulations to make sure you have the proper paperwork needed for certain projects. This is determined by where you live and the type of project you are planning. For example, the City of Columbus requires a special permit if you hope to build a deck that exceeds a certain size. Permits also differ between commercial and residential properties.

In addition, make sure you are extra careful to check the regulations if you live in a historic area like German Village. These areas adhere to strict guidelines in order to preserve the historical value of the area. The German Village Guidelines say, “Whenever you consider making changes in your building site, carefully weigh whether these changes would follow established historic patterns.” It goes on to explain the types of fencing materials villagers would have used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These are the requirements for fencing materials today.

Keep all of these zoning and permit standards in mind when researching and planning your own landscaping project. Remember to check for specific regulations unique to your city, town, or village.

Create a Budget

Budget is, of course, important to consider when you are planning a landscaping project. Make sure you set aside money for this project prior to planning it and keep this number in mind when fleshing out the details. It’s easy to get ahead of your budget when you’re looking at all of the beautiful and unique features available to you. Be sure to be selective and choose your must-haves before considering smaller details. It may also be a good idea to set aside supplemental funds for additional features you can’t live without.

How Will You Use Your Landscape?

A good way to determine what features you need is to think about how you will use your landscape. Are you known for your dinner parties? Do you have a birthday or graduation celebration to plan? Does your family have kids or pets? Looking at these factors will help you decide how much seating or open space you’ll need.

For example, outdoor cooking and dining are becoming a huge landscaping trend. If you have any upcoming parties and you’d like to entertain outside, a new kitchen and patio would be an excellent idea. If you do have kids, you can plan on putting in a pool for the summer. Think about what you will use your new landscape for most frequently and base critical features off of that.

Focus on Design

Color

Last, but certainly not least, spend some time deciding on the design features of your landscaping project.

Color is one of the most important elements of landscape design because it adds dimension and interest to a landscape, which brings it to life. More specifically, you can use color to draw attention to a focal point, provide seasonal variety, create a mood, and blend your outdoors colors with the colors of your house.

To introduce color into your landscape design, you can use planters, walls, paving, garden décor pieces and fences. At this point, it is important to note different colors typically create different effects. For instance, similar colors create harmony, whereas different colors create contrast. Additionally, warm colors such as yellow, orange and red create a different effect than cool colors such as purple, green, and blue. On the same note, you can combine warm and cool colors to create stunning effects. When designing your landscape, ensure you extend the presence of color across all seasons.

landscape color and textureTexture

A landscape’s texture includes the surface characteristic of an object, meaning it is both a tactile and visual element. In general, you can describe the texture of an object as either coarse, medium or fine. Plants, wood, bricks, stones, and other landscaping materials all possess different textural attributes. You can use these elements to enrich the visual quality of your landscape design. When using texture, consider how your landscape will appear from multiple vantage points. A landscaping professional can, of course, help you with decisions like these.

If you don’t know where to start for inspiration, you can also check out existing projects on sites like Houzz. Create an account and save your favorite photos to give your landscapers an idea of what you want to accomplish.

When it comes to creating a new landscape for your home, there are many factors to consider. The professionals at Hidden Creek would be happy to discuss these elements with you and decide on the best features. Contact us today or fill out our Dream Builder to get started on your landscaping journey with Hidden Creek.

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