Outdoor Features That Can Increase The Value Of Your Home

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

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

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

Hardscape and Masonry

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

Deck or Patio

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

Water Features and Fire Features

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

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

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

Pathways

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

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

Retaining Wall

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

Landscaping

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

Garden Beds

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

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

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

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

Potted Plants

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

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

Ready to Upgrade Your Hardscaping or Landscaping? Contact Hidden Creek

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

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

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The Best Perennial Plants For Ohio Weather

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

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

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

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

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

Gayfeather, or Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

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

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

Black-Eyed Susan

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

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

Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)

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

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

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

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

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

Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)

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

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

Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

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

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

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

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What Are The Best Plants for Ohio Winter?

Weather in Ohio is quite unpredictable and winters often seem severe to plant-loving landscape and garden enthusiasts.  The gray skies, biting winds, and snowfall make it difficult to see the grounds-eye view of the landscape. This typically makes it hard to imagine having a beautiful yard during these cold-weather months.  However, if you would like to ensure a superb landscape all year long, there are options. Below are some of the best plants for Ohio’s winter:

American Beech

With the American Beech’s pointy buds, you will still be able to see leftovers of last year’s beechnuts, which can be found all throughout all of Ohio. The tapering surface roots and smooth, steel-gray bark make these trees easily recognized and wonderful to see, even from a distance. Even when highlighted against a bleak winter sky, these trees are remarkable to behold. In addition, American beeches have “marcescent” leaves, which means that the leaves from the previous season remain on the plant until spring (this is also the case for several types of oak trees).  These remaining leaves serve as the spectacular sylvan and golden foliar reminders of the past season.

Evergreens

Austrian Pine: The Austrian Pine is one of the most common evergreen tree species in Ohio. This type of conifer is covered in full, dark green branches covered in pine needles. It also has unique, black and white bark with a checkered or striped texture. It can grow to be extremely large at an average of 60 feet tall by 40 feet wide. This tree grows well in moist, clay-heavy soil which is very common across all of Ohio. evergreen tree in winter

Blue Spruce (Colorado Spruce): This is one of the most common types of evergreen trees grown in Ohio and the United States. This tree is typically known for its blue or blue-silver color and has several different growth habits such as dwarf, weeping, broad, columnar, and pyramidal. Blue Spruces can usually grow to be 50 feet tall by 25 feet wide around the bottom.

Yew: A yew bush or tree is a type of conifer which grows red seeds berry-like seeds instead of cones. Aside from the berries, the yew has small needles which are dark green and grey-green. Because the yew is an evergreen, it retains this color throughout the year.

Scotch Pine: The Scotch Pine is also known as the Scots Pine because it originated in Scotland. This tree has a crooked or twisted trunk that can split into different branches that shoot in different directions. This gives each Scotch Pine a unique look. These trees may extend to 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide if mature and given sufficient room to grow. The tree’s shape begins as a classic pyramid, but becomes twisted when growing and being exposed to high winds. This is a great option to add a unique touch to a winter landscape.

Christmas Rose

These beautiful, cold-loving flowers are nicknamed Christmas Rose due to their unlikely habit of blooming outside in early winter. With the right conditions, these flowers can brighten your landscape and your porch well into the New Year. They also stay through early spring. Planting this perennial (which means they multiply and continue growing for at least three years) in the spring will garner the best results throughout the seasons.

Snowdrop Flowers

Snowdrop flowers are named so for their white drop-shaped blooms which point downward. These flowers grow from bulbs and are perennial as well. Snowdrops are not only named for their white color, but because they are known to bloom as early as February and don’t wait for the snow to melt before sprouting out of the ground. While these flowers might not be out all winter, they are hearty enough to survive cold temperatures and bloom before the season’s end.

Winterberrywinterberry in winter

Winterberry is a shrub which loses its leaves in the fall and leaves only the red or gold berries. These bright remains provide a beautiful contrast against white snow. Winterberry is also a type of holly which can be used to decorate the home during the winter season. The berries stay for multiple weeks or months into the winter season. In the spring, the shrub will also blossom with tiny white flowers that will turn into berries again once the leaves fall.

Witch Hazel

Fragrant in summer, these resilient plants put out clusters of spidery yellow and red blooms that blaze like flashes of sunlight in the heart of winter. Depending on the temperatures during the winter months, the ribbon-like petals of these flowers will crinkle up and expand afterwards. Witch Hazel is a sizeable shrub and as such, the ideal spot in a garden or landscape will offer a lot of room for growth. While called a shrub, this plant can potentially grow as high as 15 feet tall and almost as wide. Witch hazel should be planted in the fall for best results throughout the year.

Cold weather is not an automatic indication that your landscape will look dull and lifeless. You can plant some of these resilient plants to brighten your Ohio winter. Contact us to discuss these and further options for your winter landscape.

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How Does Winter Weather Affect Landscaping?

While winter weather can be beautiful to look at, it can have an ugly impact on your landscaping. Cold weather brings dry air, snow, and frost which can leave your plants and lawn looking run-down by the time the spring season finally arrives. Here’s a closer look at the effects of winter on landscaping:

Wind Damage
Wind can cause damage in any season, and in the winter, it can also be accompanied by snow. Blowing snow drifts can cause snow to pile up on some areas of the lawn, while other spots may see less accumulation. This can cause some areas to see worse damage than others. Winds can also lead to downed branches from trees and shrubs. Even if the plant is well-established, this damage can still kill it. To prevent this, pruning before the winter is important. During the season, you may also consider shaking the snow off or gently removing it with a broom.

Dry Air
Winter can bring plenty of moisture in the form of frost, snow, and ice, but the cold air that sticks around for months is dry and lacking in moisture. Just like our lips and skin dry out after exposure to the cold, plants will too. The dry air, especially when combined with the wind, can cause plants of all kinds to dry out. Evergreen trees are especially vulnerable to damage from the dry air. One way to reduce the negative effects is by pruning and fertilizing plants before the cold air sets in.

Heavy, Wet Snow
Snow can lead to several different problems for plants and lawns. One issue is snow mold growth, which occurs when snow that has accumulated on turf starts to melt. The mold growth leads to patches of brown and pink which kills the grass. In the spring, the grass may need to be raked and reseeded if the damage is too severe. Prevention is the key, and can be handled by properly aerating and fertilizing the lawn beforehand.

winter weather affects landscaping

Heavy snowfall can also damage plants and trees. As snow piles up on branches, it can cause the branches to sag and snap under the weight. Again, proper pruning of trees, shrubs, and other small plants is essential in the weeks before the cold and wet weather settles in. By keeping these plants pruned, it will be easier to prevent limb breakage.

Professional Care
One of the best ways to keep your lawn and gardens in great shape is by working with a professional landscaper. They have the right equipment, knowledge, and skills to maintain the look and quality of your landscaping throughout the year. Proper prevention can help reduce the damage that cold winter weather can do to your property.

When it comes to keeping your landscaping looking its best throughout the year, proper preventative measures and quality care-taking measures are key. By taking steps to protect your lawn and garden, you’ll be able to ensure that the cold weather doesn’t do severe damage to your landscaping during the winter months.

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How to Protect Your Plants from Frost in Early Spring

It finally looks like warmer temperatures are moving into Ohio and we hope they are here to stay! In case there are still some cold nights ahead, we wanted to offer some suggestions on how to protect your outdoor plants from the frost.

Choose a Warm Location

Avoid planting tender plant species in open, exposed areas or in low spots where cold air settles. Try instead planting them near a south or west-facing wall, which absorbs heat during the day and radiates it at night.

Use Mulch

Mulch holds heat and moisture in the soil and can help protect your plant’s roots from cold temperatures.

Cover Your Plants

If a cold night is in the forecast, throw an old tarp or blanket over your tender plants to protect them from frost. You will want to prop the cover up a bit so it doesn’t crush or damage your plants. Then remove it during the day so your plants get light and air.

As you are planning your spring and summer landscaping projects, remember to plan for maintenance too – watering, mulching, fertilizing and replacing dead plants. Choose plants that fit your maintenance schedule or consider hiring a professional landscaping company (hey, that’s us!) to help take care of your yard.

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