Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Making sure your Landscape is a good investment

To give your home a sense of place, value and some curb appeal thrown in you need to professionally landscape your outdoor space. This is a sure fire way to a quick resale and adds a very good first impression, which gives you a 20% edge over rival home sellers in the real estate market.

The American Society of Landscape Architects otherwise known as ASLA suggests that homeowners invest about 10% of their residential property’s value in landscaping. Landscape architecture and design goes way beyond just planting trees, shrubs or flowering plants and includes hardscaping and softscaping features like fences, pathways, landscape lighting, fountains, decks, walkways, patios and the like. A landscape designer can work with to create a practical and functional outdoor space that meets your needs and your lifestyle. Most homeowners take help from a professional landscaping company to undertake landscaping projects for their outdoors. If you would like to make sure that your project is a good investment, follow these steps mentioned below:
  • Hire a Professional - When you hire a landscape contractor, you need to make sure they are experts in their field of work. These professional are well versed in horticulture, botany, engineering and landscape design. They will be able to give you a detailed plan customized to your needs and budget plan and that you can follow easily. They are experts in installation of soils, property grading and irrigation. If you’re looking for some basic advice or planning to install design and structural elements for your garden or yard, always look to a professional. This is a major investment that you will be undertaking like all building projects, so it’s important to the proper guidance from a professional before beginning any kind of work.
  • Assess and Plan your Landscape – Property assessment is the first step that needs to be taken before any kind of landscape renovation. A professional arborist can help differentiate between plants that need a bit of care and attention and those that need to be replaced. A landscape designer will recommend foliage that is suitable for your lifestyle, environment and region. They will always look at key areas of enhancement that will create a focal point for your outdoor space. An above-grade deck, on-grade patio, complementary plantings in the front yard, a front walk and exterior landscape lighting are all attractive to the mind’s eye. Landscape lighting is one feature that goes beyond security to showcase the outdoor natural environment after dusk tree lights, up-lights and down-lights.
  • Follow Landscaping trends – The hottest trend that is making its way into landscape design particularly in warm temperature climatic conditions is the terrace extension or otherwise called outdoor room. There are a lot of family rooms with an outdoor terrace that facilitates a marriage between the outdoor space with interior d├ęcor. To help both the outdoor and indoor spaces amalgamate one to the other, building materials are used to complement them. Homeowners are investing more in the rear of their residential property as the interest in property enhancement and landscaping is an extension of the boom in home remodeling and improvement.
  • Beware of Landscaping pitfalls – The biggest mistake homeowners tend to make is a slow progressive approach to landscaping. Many begin a project without a concrete plan and the result which is sad to say a real mess of installations and plantings that will give the property a disorganized look and feel. A professional landscape design will provide a polished look that will enhance the beauty of the outdoors and add to its value. Only a landscaping company will create a prepared plan that will lead the homeowner to a beautiful makeover of their outdoor property while mirroring their wishes and remaining within a stipulated budget.
  • Keep it Green – Landscape maintenance is a vital feature to protect your investment and keep your property looking its very best throughout the year. You have to be truly honest to yourself if you know that you don’t have the time or the inclination to maintain your outdoor space. This is where a landscaping company comes in to help you devise a schedule and plan for upkeep and maintenance. You also need to discuss plant and yard maintenance with your landscape company, who will suggest low-maintenance foliage and vegetation if backyard puttering and gardening are not your favorite things.
By following these simple steps, you can be assured that your landscape will turn out to be a good investment. Also remember that everything doesn’t have to happen at one period of time and you can consider a yearly plan that has different plantings maturing and adding to the landscape’s features each year. This method will help you remain within your budget, cost-wise and time-wise while still progressing toward a complete, systematic landscape renovation.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

After-winter care tips – Landscape Maintenance

The harsh winter weather could have ravaged your beautiful green yard which you had lovingly and diligently maintained last summer. But don’t lose heart just yet! There are always solutions to undertake yard maintenance after the cold season. Don’t expect a lush green lawn at first. You should work with Mother Nature in aiming for a healthy and beautiful looking landscape in the days to come. Some of the steps that can be taken for after-winter care are listed below:
  • Cleaning - Winter can really cause problems for your landscaping so make sure that items like logs and tree branches aren’t left on the lawn during winter. Bacteria will breed on them and can completely kill off the lawn during that period. To bring back life and vitality to your outdoor space, you need to do some “cleaning” of your yard or garden with a leaf rake. Add a thin layer of good quality lawn soil without compost before reseeding the area as it may be too heavy or waterproof the surface area of the lawn. If you don’t take these steps before planting, then you can be sure that the weeds will. The newly added soil can be levelled with a rake.
  • Fertilization - Fertilization is a very important feature of landscaping which many homeowners neglect. Before the onset of the autumn season, you should take time to fertilize your garden or yard. This allows the landscape to absorb the vitamins and nutrients and also help the grass withstand harsh elements throughout the year. Fertilizers keep the landscape strong and healthy until the weather warms up during spring. For those who possess a green thumb and fancy a little DIY project, then all you need is some garden equipment and a little time to get the job done.
  • Aeration – You can prepare your garden for the best performance and landscape growth all through the year by aerating your grass before winter chills. This process allows the grass to breathe and will help in creating a strong, luscious looking lawn by the spring season as it absorbs a lot of vital nutrients needed for proper growth. You can employ the services of a landscaping contractor to undertake manual aerating strategies for optimum guaranteed results and also to get the best out of your garden or yard.
  • Mowing regularly - It's always better to be early than to be late. Mowing the lawn regularly is necessary during spring as grass tends to grow quickly. The newly grown grass pushes the old desiccated tissue to the top surface, where the sharp blades will trim it off cleanly making room for new, healthy grass. The mower height should be set accordingly to make sure that you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade. When temperatures start heating up during summer, you should consider raising the mower height to 3 inches so as to reduce stress on your lawn. To help speed up the return of nutrients into the lawn soil, consider leaving clippings on your lawn rather than bagging them
  • Managing Pests - Milder winter temperatures allow a lot of insects to survive the cold season and early onset of spring can generate a longer growing season for various types of insects. The best approach to keep insects at bay is to contact a certified arborist who will recommend a safe and effective solution by evaluating your property thoroughly.
  • Preventing diseases – Prevention is better than cure and this phrase applies to protecting your landscape as well. When buds begin to swell and break open, various types of diseases like cedar-apple rust, dogwood anthracnose, leaf spot /apple scab diseases and diplodia tip blight can gain an early advantage. If these diseases are prevented ahead of time, there are ways to lessen damage to your flowering plants, shrubs and trees during early spring.
By following these simple garden maintenance tips for your landscape, you can be ensured that your lawn looks green, strong and beautiful when the weather begins to warm up again.