The Best Plants for The Perfect Landscape

The Best Plants for The Perfect Landscape

Planning to landscape your property, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’ll talk about plants and how to choose the right ones.

When we think of landscaping, one of the first things that come to mind is a beautiful picture of lush green lawns with a paradise of plants and trees. And, for good reason. While plants (or softscapes, as we like to call them) are just one aspect of landscaping, plants are what make a house a home.

For this reason alone, it is important to be wise and careful in selecting the plants that you want to end up on your property. Not only will this greatly affect how your landscape will look and feel like, the type of plants you go with will also influence what you can get out of your landscape, and how much maintenance you have to put into it over time.

Think of it this way- different plants grow better in different climates and soil conditions, some plants bloom once and die, some bloom once a season, and some bloom all year round. Some plants are green, some purple, some stand up straight, some follow the sun, some crawl all around trees and walls.

 To guide you in selecting the right plants for your landscape, read on below to know more about the different types of plants:

 

Trees

 While trees take years to grow and mature, the long wait is worth it. Trees are stately, beautiful, often fruit bearing, and give the idea that your property is well taken care of. But, this wait time alone is something you need to consider. Are you willing to exert effort in growing a tree over several years?

Moreover, since trees are big, deeply rooted plants, it is important to carefully plan where to plant them, as these are hard to move even just an inch to the right. The main rule is to keep them away from your house and other structures.

There are many kinds of trees to choose from, such as flowering trees, evergreens, dwarf trees, fall foliage trees, and fast growing shade trees.

 

Shrubs

There are a variety of beautiful garden shrubs that can be categorized according to the type and purpose. Some of them are flowering, evergreen, fast growing, and fall colored shrubs. The most popular shrubs in many locations across the globe are roses- they are beautiful and come with a lovely scent.

The same with trees, shrubs should not be planted too close to your house or any other structure like patios and decks. If you want garden shrubs to be adjacent to these structures, plan carefully on which ones are not intrusive and require minimal maintenance.

 

Vines

A landscape that resembles a slice of paradise is not complete without vines. These are easy to grow, versatile, and vibrant.

However, many types of vines are invasive species, and even the ones that are not have the tendency to grow quickly and aggressively, so, unless you want to end up with a thickly vined, forest looking backyard, you will need to spend a good amount of time on regular maintenance.

 

Ground covers

Most ground covers are not flowering plants, or if they are, they do so rarely. That said, there are many options of beautiful foliage plants to serve as amazing ground covers, which are also less expensive and more low maintenance than their flowering counterparts.

Regardless of what ground cover you settle with, the most important thing is that it serves in function in, well, covering the ground, and protecting it from erosion.

 

Perennials

Nothing beautifies a backyard more than vibrant, lovely blooms, and with that, perennials may be your lowest maintenance option. You plant them once, put in a bit of effort every so often, and they just keep on blooming year after year.

When selecting perennials, you can take your pick from tall, short, and long blooming varieties. From there, go crazy with all the colors, scents, and fantastic looking blooms.

 

Annuals

Annuals are some of the most beautiful plants, but like humans, they live a beautiful life once, and then die. If you are an avid gardener or a stay at home with a lot of time in his hands, feel free to play around with planting annuals on a regular basis.

These are the best plants for bedding, decorations, and adding much needed bursts of color to your otherwise green and brown facade.

The Benefits of Landscaping with Retaining Walls

The Benefits of Landscaping with Retaining Walls

If you’re reading this, then you most probably think that it’s time to upgrade the look of your property with some crafty landscaping solutions and enhance the curb appeal of your home.

Well, here’s the thing- there are many different ways to go about with your landscaping project, and a dozen different options to choose from when it comes to hardscapes elements. So, making the decision as to what you want your backyard to look like can be quite a tough one.

Some hardscapes work better than others, depending on a lot of factors, such as the climate and topography of your area, as well as the size and shape of your property, not to mention what uses and purposes you want to get from your yard.

Here is one hardscape that works anywhere, is highly versatile, functional, and great looking- retaining walls!

In this article, we’ll guide you through the many different benefits of having a retaining wall in your backyard as an essential part of your landscape, how it can beautify and transform your yard, and just really make your life better.

 

Retaining walls protect your soil and your property

The main purpose of a retaining wall is to prevent erosion, which is extremely beneficial for locations with sloping lands, uneven terrains, and areas that get a lot of rainfall and precipitation.

Now, there are different types of retaining walls to suit various purposes, from 1 foot garden walls, to industrial walls for mountain slopes. We won’t go into detail as to the different types of retaining walls and how each one works, but we’ll just say that some work with gravity and some against.

If you are having issues with steep slopes that might erode at any moment, or experience a bit of flooding every rainy season, a strategically placed retaining wall can be a lifesaver. Otherwise, it can still work wonders in keeping soil together, especially if you are planning on some garden beds.

 

Retaining walls increase your yard’s usability

Because of a retaining wall’s primary function, it also effectively transforms an otherwise unusable sloping soil into a flat surface both above and below the wall, which you can use for a variety of purposes.

Depending on the type of wall, its shape, size, building material, and structural integrity, there are a number of uses that you can get out of your retaining wall. It can be as big and heavy as a swimming pool or a constantly used driveway, a comfortable area for some lounging decks or barbecues, or a nice little garden bed.

Keep in mind, however, that your wall’s usability depends on how it’s built, and purposes beyond a garden bed, for example, will require working with an expert contractor to build the wall safely.

 

Retaining walls give you some much needed privacy

Aside from effectively partitioning your land into usable sections of flat soil, retaining walls really just function as any other wall, meaning, it works great in providing some form of privacy on an otherwise open area.

This is like hitting not two but three birds with one stone, especially if your property is among clusters of other houses, or if your backyard basically extends to a vast open land.

You can install a high wall along your backyard or property line, and a lower one right by the street to serve as a form of fence for your front lawn.

 

Retaining Walls beautify your yard

This is probably what you have been waiting to hear- after all, who doesn’t dream of a pretty looking yard to spend warm Summers and crisp evenings in, not to mention be the envy of your neighbors and friends alike.

Here’s the good news- aside from being highly functional hardscapes, retaining walls are also highly decorative. Since there are many different types of retaining walls, and a vast options of building materials to construct the walls with, these hardscapes can be very versatile in appearance.

From streamlined concrete, to colored pavers, stained woods, rustic bricks, natural stones, and other primary building materials, to decorative glasses, plants, vines, and so on, there is no limit to the look and feel of your retaining wall.

The Benefits of a Beautiful Backyard Garden

The Benefits of a Beautiful Backyard Garden

One of the best ways to utilize your lawn space is by starting your very own backyard garden. You can take your pick from a flower, herb, or fruit and vegetable garden- or better yet, a beautiful combination of all three.

Home gardens are very easy to manage, and you can start one even if you are a complete amateur who have no prior gardening experience. It’s fun and easy, and the process is just as rewarding as the destination.

Regardless of which type of garden you plant in your backyard, the benefits are many and undeniable. Here are some of the top benefits of a beautiful backyard garden:

 

It’s a source of fresh, organic food

When you have a garden that constantly rewards you with fresh, healthy fruits, vegetables, herbs, or even edible flowers, life really can’t get any better than that. Fresh food that comes from your own garden tastes so much better, especially knowing all the effort you put into it.

Plus, since you are the one doing all the work, you know exactly what you are feeding your plants, and in turn, yourself. You get to choose which, if any, fertilizers, pest control solutions, soil enrichment, water, and other stuff to feed your plants.

And, think about it- they say healthy living can be expensive. Well, that’s definitely not the case when your food is coming from your own backyard. Depending on the size of your garden, the type of plants you have, and the amount of care you put into each one, you can have a steady supply of fresh produce all year round.

So, really, you’re getting the healthiest food possible without having to empty out your wallet. It’s a win-win!

 

It engages the mind and body

Maintaining a garden is great physical and mental exercise. The things you have to do, like digging and preparing the soil, weeding, seeding, pruning, harvesting, and so on, not only keeps you physically active, but also exposes you to nature and fresh air, all while coming with a tangible reward, a.k.a fresh, organic food.

Aside from working out those muscles, gardening also has a lot of incredible benefits to your mental health. The entire gardening process can keep you more focused and enhance your attention to detail, it can test your patience in trial and error and waiting for the fruit of your efforts, it’s highly entertaining, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, especially once you harvest the product of your labor.

Having said all those things, gardening sure is a fun and relaxing way to spend quality time with your family, or if that’s just not their thing, then do gardening to de-stress and enjoy a little peace of mind from the quiet alone time. Nothing compares to working with nature while enjoying the fresh air and the peaceful silence.

 

It keeps your backyard beautiful and protected

Given, there are many different ways that you can make use of your backyard space. Build a treehouse, turn it into a driveway, dig a pool build a patio, and so on. But, nothing is quite as pretty and as beneficial to your land as planting a garden.

When you plant a garden in your backyard, you are protecting the soil from erosion, which can be extremely important especially if you live on a sloping land or a location that sees constantly changing weather and heavy rainfall.

Not only that, depending on the plants you have and the amount of space they take up on your lawn, they can actually have the capacity to limit bush and weed growth, and can even keep away certain pests, insects, and wildlife. Nature can be generous like that.

Finally, of course, there is simply no denying that having a home garden simply makes everything look more beautiful and vibrant. Those luscious greens, coupled with the many different shades of red, purple, yellow, orange, and so on, are not only pleasing the eyes, but give your property that much coveted curb appeal.

The decision to start a garden is somewhat easy. It’s the process of actually taking care of it that can be hard. But, when you are committed to what you’re doing, and you know exactly how you are benefiting from it, you’ll be able to keep a strong resolve to keep up the good work, and the plants you give your love and attention to will reward you in so many ways.

Rocking Your Landscape: The Best Rocks for Landscaping

Rocking Your Landscape: The Best Rocks for Landscaping

There are a million different things that go on during a landscaping project, whether it’s for a small residential backyard, or a large commercial establishment. From plants, to patios, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in all the details.

Not to scare you off of an already daunting task, but here’s one more thing that you need to consider for a beautiful, seamless, and functional landscape- rocks. Yes, rocks. The kinds of rock you incorporate in your landscape affect the style, functionality, and appeal of your backyard.

There’s no need to worry, however. We are here to guide you on choosing the best and most suitable rocks for your landscaping needs. Here are the different types of landscaping rocks, and how each one works for you:

 

Types of landscaping rocks

 

Large stones

When we say large stones, these are rocks with a diameter ranging from a couple of inches to a foot long. These rocks are both decorative and functional- they draw the eyes in, which makes them strong focal points, especially when placed among plants and water features. Large stones can also create natural barriers for the edge of your lawn, driveway, or garden.

 

River rock

These ones range from about an inch to six inches in diameter, and are round in shape. River rocks make for a great looking dry river bed that can serve as a garden path, or as mulch for heat loving plants and shrubs. They can also be utilized as loose drains, or as simple decorative elements around your backyard.

 

Gravel

There are two types of gravel that you can use for landscaping- crushed gravel and pea gravel. Both are roughly an eighth to a fourth of an inch in diameter. Crushed gravel is roughly edged perfect for driveways and drains, while pea gravel resembles small and smooth pebbles, which is best for decorative purposes, natural pathways, and mulch. Plus, these also come in many different shades of white and brown.

 

Lava rock

If you want something more interesting, vibrant, and unusual, lava rock may be the perfect answer, especially if you have a dessert type landscape to fit the bill. This type of rock comes in bright red, is rough to the touch, and is perfect for driveways, easements, and around cacti and succulents. Plus, it works wonders in managing temperatures for dry climates.

 

Flagstones

This one is quite different from the rest, as these rocks are mostly flat surfaced with wide faces. With these properties in mind, flagstones make for the best landscaping rocks to use for hardscapes, such as pathways, steps, patios, and retaining walls. When installed over a bed of sand, these rocks are stable, and offer good drainage.

 

Decomposed granite

Down to our smallest option for landscaping rocks, we have decomposed granite, which is quite like sand in terms of texture, but is more reddish brown in appearance. It creates for that “fall all year round” look, while being just the right touch of rustic. It’s also a nice and affordable option for creating garden paths and ground covers, and looks fantastic around trees.

 

Tips to remember

The color, shape, and size of the rocks you use will affect the overall look of your landscape, as well as how functional it can be.

Sleeker colors make for a modern and elegant landscape, while bolder and more vibrant colors create a charming rustic appeal. Rough edged rocks, while natural looking, are not suitable for walking paths or near kids’ playgrounds.

In terms of size, bigger rocks are more attention grabbing and serve as decorative pieces on their own, while smaller rocks work better as replacement for mulch in serving as a natural weed barrier. Combining different sizes and rock types make for a natural looking landscape, not to mention a more stable and compact one when you are making pathways and retaining walls.

Choosing the best types of rock for your landscaping needs doesn’t have to be a difficult task. As long as you know your budget range, the style you are going for, and what purposes you want the rocks to serve, you are well on your way to picking out the best rocks for your backyard.

How to Add Value to Your Home With Hardscapes

How to Add Value to Your Home With Hardscapes

Any landscaping project will not be complete without the addition of a few beautiful yet functional fixtures such as decks and patios. While grass, plants, flower beds, and trees certainly beautify a home and add a touch of nature to a field of concrete structures, hardscapes are what make your outdoor space more useful. 

In this article, we’ll talk about what hardscapes are, how to choose the right ones for your property, and how these can add value to your real estate.

 

What are hardscapes?

Essentially, hardscapes are the more permanent features of your outdoor areas, since these are commonly made with concrete, brick, stone, wood, and metal. These structures are not just decorative, but functional, too, and therefore a practical and worthy investment for any homeowner.

Hardscapes are a critical aspect of landscape design, which really dispels the notion that landscaping only has to do with plants and flower placements. These structures define and organize areas of your outdoors into usable sections, creating different zones for different purposes.

Some examples of hardscapes are patios, decks, pools, fountains, retaining walls, fences, arbors and gazebos, pathways and driveways, steps, and pergolas.

 

Choosing the right hardscapes

Any kind of hardscape element can be quite costly, time consuming, and labor intensive to build, which is why it’s best to carefully plan what structure you need most and would work best on your property, before diving into your landscaping project.

When deciding what hardscape to install on your property, take a few things into consideration:

  • How do you want to utilize and enhance your outdoor areas?
  • What is the climate and topography of your location?
  • How much budget can you allocate on the project?
  • How much time or money can you realistically spend on maintenance and upkeep?

 For example, there is no use for a driveway if you don’t own a car and garage, and a small backyard may not be able to fit a patio. While a fountain can definitely make your lawn look more stately, the constant running water and sheer amount of maintenance required can be off putting and make a heavy dent on your finances.

On the other hand, a sloping land and an area subject to harsh climates can benefit from a retaining wall, a nice outdoor fire pit can be a nice way to enjoy the evenings with family and friends, and some fences can give you added privacy.

 

How hardscapes add value to property

If you have a discerning eye, it can be quite easy to tell if a hardscape element is value adding, practical, and actually useful, rather than a waste of money to display lavishness and status. Given that, these things are what you should be looking for (as a buyer) or aiming towards (as a homeowner).

Outdoor lighting should not only set the mood and create an inviting atmosphere, but actually illuminate an area adequately so that it’s safe to stay outdoors in the evening

  • Driveways and walkways should not be bumpy and cluttered, but instead are wide enough and are well lit
  • Patios, decks, and other open outdoor areas should be big enough to accommodate a few individuals, and are best for locations that see a lot of sunlight and not as much rain
  • Outdoor fire pits and swimming pools are not practical in locations that see a lot of snow and long, cold winters when it’s too cold to stay outside
  • Ponds and fountains are not as suitable in warmer climates where it can be a breeding ground for insects, nor for high altitude locations which have low water pressure
  • Fences, if decorative, should look breathable rather than suffocating or imposing, or, if for privacy and safety, should actually do what it’s designed for
  • Retaining walls should not only be decorative, but be placed in strategic areas, such as sloping lands and erosion prone soils

Having said these things, there are many ways that hardscapes add value to your piece of real estate, and not just for a monetary return on investment if ever you want to sell your home. Hardscape elements enhance your curb appeal, make your outdoor areas more usable, and provides added safety and privacy.