Finding The Right Landscaping Company
Hiring a good landscaper will make completing your landscape a much simpler process. If you create goals and properly layout your plans for your landscaping you will be able to get specific pricing. Here are some tips on how to hire a landscaper the right way.
1. What do you really want or need?
Some landscapes are beautiful as they are, but the owners sometimes just want to add new appeal to their homes so they opt to have a landscape job done. Be sure that you have already identified what you want in the landscape design. This should be in your preparatory plan before you even speak to a professional contractor. Once you have your plans you can present them to the contractor to see if everything will work and is possible. The blog on paramountlawns.com is a great place to start for your landscaping ideas.
2. Set a firm budget.
Next you should prepare your budget. Will your dream garden be feasible? Is it practical or do you need to make some adjustments or compromises? The best thing is that you know what you want and you are able to identify alternatives if your budget fails to accommodate your vision. With the plans and budget in place things tend to be easier when negotiating with the contractor. The landscaper will ensure that this project will meet your budget and assure that it will look closely to what you are expecting. Be sure to get accurate measurements so that materials do not accidentally go over budget. Some contractors like to give you the best price in the estimate, but find out later that they can't provide all the material at the quote given. Which brings us to the next step, get references!
3. Get references.
Know the landscape companies that you are contacting and negotiate with them. Gauge their level of experience and the quality work by asking for photos or tours of their previous projects. You should also ask for references and their professional affiliations. Make sure the company is a legitimate company and that everything is written down. Without written proof of the agreed upon services it is difficult to prove if you are not happy in the end.
It all boils down to good planning and documentation. If you have a solid plan and ask the right questions you will end up with an exceptional landscape. In the Sacramento California valley, Paramount Properties is the premiere landscaping company. Visit the website for more information and for services.
Hillside Landscaping Proper Watering
Sloped and hillside lawns and landscapes tend to develop dry dead spots during the hot part of the season. This is primarily due to water run off before it has a chance to saturate into the soil. Deep saturation is a key to a healthy lawns and plants. Deep watering helps establish deeper roots that can handle Summer heat stress.
Water that runs off or just barely breaks the surface, obviously does the lawn or landscape very little good. So how do you give landscaping and lawn on a slope better saturation?
Split your water cycle duration into two or three short cycles. If your water cycle is 30 minutes, you might split the cycle into three 10 minute cycles. So on watering days, you'll run the system for the specified amount of time, let it soak for a few hours, then repeat this for the number of times needed.
To determine the exact amount of time needed, turn on the lawn sprinkler and watch for how long it takes for runoff to begin. This is the maximum of how long each cycle should be.
Don't just split your cycles into different days. You need deep saturation for healthier plants. Plants and lawns like infrequent deep waterings much more than frequent shallow waterings.
Landscaping and specimen plants on a hillside will also benefit from better saturation. Plants should be planted in larger holes filled with good soil that absorbs water easily. Also, dams and water wells should be built on the downhill side of the plant. This will help give the water time to soak straight down to the root zone before it runs off.
Make A Good First Impression Landscape Your Driveway
Is your driveway landscaped? It should be.
This includes the driveway itself, as well as the design elements on both sides. All sorts of materials from softscape options to hardscape are available to make your driveway attractive.
Make A Good Entrance
As the entrance to your home, the driveway should not be neglected. It can either be a scar on the other landscaping around the home or it can add depth to the entire look of your home. You don't need to spend a lot of money on it either. You can be creative and choose attractive features, and have a very low cost landscape that is welcoming.
Make sure that you take everything into account before choosing your elements. For example, if you are looking for minimal work, do not plant a flower bush at the end of your driveway where the plants can be ruined by those in your neighborhood. Instead, use an attractive fence or a rock garden.
Another important aspect is the footpath to the home. Do not use any design elements that will be in the way of the normal foot traffic. You don't want to visitors going out of their way, or worse, trampling your plants to reach your door.
You have many options - common ones include walls and fences, which can add distinction and accent your driveway. A small fence can add character and color to the landscape. Use hanging baskets or lanterns on the fence for more charm.
A large rock can be especially interesting, particularly when it has multiple colors. You can plant grasses and small flowers in the cracks of stones to create even more decorative looks.
On a limited budget, just landscaping along the sides of the driveway is an excellent option. It will cost little, yet add lots of beauty to your landscape design.
As for softscape options appropriate to driveway areas, many things will work, such as a flower bed or groundcover along the driveway. This will create a border that is interesting and separates the lawn from the actual driveway.
Ornamental trees and shrubs can do the same thing along the edge of the driveway. Shrubs can be cut to become topiary, which will add even more design elements to the look of the driveway landscape.
Another thing to consider is the curved driveway. If your driveway has a curve in it, a great idea is to add a focal point - something to make a statement. For example, you can have a beautiful tree, a flower bed, or a rock garden there. Whatever it is it should be beautiful because the curve will focus attention at that point of your driveway. You can use water gardens, a wishing well, as well as many other types of elements to enhance this area and have it look amazing.
Doing these landscaping operations can completely transform the entrance to your home. In a simple, affordable way, you can add character and depth to your landscape design around your driveway.
Unifying And Separating Landscaping Planting Beds
There are thousands of plant combinations, companion plantings, and color combinations that will work well in landscaping and garden planting schemes.
And form a beginner or do it yourselfer standpoint, simplicity and repitition in planting is a good starting point that can be added to later. I usually say to pick a color scheme of two or three colors and repeat it throughout the garden.
For more curious, experimental, or advanced home landscapers there may be a feel for planting in masses or even random, assorted, and wildflower and ornamental grass beds.
In any instance, there's always a chance that even the best of planting intentions can disrupt harmony, balance, and unity in the garden instead of creating it.
Periodically adding a neutral colored plant throughout your landscape can help unify planting beds that differ in color, texture, and even height.
Silver or gray plants such as Lambs Ears, Artemesia, Dusty Miller, Santolina, Sage, Horehound, and others are considered neutral colored.
Using white flowers as a neutral also works very well. Anything white is a natural focal point and especially in the garden. In a mass of green foliage, orange flowers, mixed flowers, etc., white always draws our eyes to it. Using it throughout the garden will create a sense of unity.
Use white sparingly. Too much of it tends to feel cluttered.
Unifying a garden that's out of sorts is really quite simple. As well as moving and matching existing elements, try adding a neutral color plant to the different planting areas.
Separating or "buffering" beds from each other can be as simple as adding a neutral or group of neutrals between colors or beds.
Landscape Design Well Balanced Home Landscaping
Balance is a principle of all art forms, design, and even landscape design. It implies a sense of equality. And while there may be just a little more to it, this is how I explain it to make it easier for first timers and do it yourselfers to understand.
A garden, landscape, or any form of equal proportions would naturally feel and look balanced. However, most gardens and landscapes are not exact or symmetrical in shape and form. They're asymmetrical and abstract in form and are often without any natural balance of their own. So landscaping often relies on other elements to create balance and harmony through unity.
Many times, a lack of balance is directly related to a lack of repetition. Repeating alike elements such as plants or rocks throughout the landscape will help unify different areas to each other. As little as one repeated matching plant group, color, piece of decor, or hardscape can accomplish this.
A lack of balance is also created by placing too many or all non matching elements throughout a landscape design. This can sometimes seem cluttered and unkept when it grows in. In the beginning of your design, plan for less, place just a few matching plant groups throughout the garden, and keep decor matching and to a minimum. You can add more later.
So many of the questions that I receive about landscape design deal with the shape of a design . Shape is unique to each design and will ultimately follow all necessary paths and your visions. However, any shape or form can be filled with elements and still be either dull, void, loud, cluttered, and unbalanced. Balance isn't necessarily dependant on shape. It can be but generally it's not. So don't get too hung up on trying to even things out entirely by shape.
Landscape design is an art form and so it deals with "all" the same principles that other art forms use. Repetition, unity, and balance are all principles of art that go hand in hand with each other.
Architects use repetition in design by making doors, windows, fixtures, trims, etc. the same sizes, shapes, and styles. Imagine how your home would feel if every door, door frame, window, and fixture were of different sizes, shapes, colors, and types. It would be uncomfortable and chaotic.
And so it's the same with landscape design.
In order to create balance, appeal, and even comfort in a landscape that is lacking, we need to create some form of consistent repetition. As little as one matching element placed on opposites can create a sense of unity and consistency.
It's easiest and most often created in the softscape (plants, ornaments, lawn, decor, etc.). However, it should be considered in the hardscape (walks, driveways, necessities, fences, walls, raised beds, boundaries, etc.) of your drawn design plan.
Promote Your Lawn S Health
You don't have to use chemicals to have a beautiful lawn. In fact, your lawn will be much healthier if you ban the use of chemicals. In addition, chemicals can poison soil and contaminate water. Use the following tips to get your lawn off drugs.
How To Reduce Pollution Using A Robotic Lawn Mower
Even if you are not an environmentalist, the price of gas will definitely make you a conservationist. Gas prices continue to climb. Personally, going to the gas station with my little red gas can is not a trip of leisure, it has always been a chore.
It is common knowledge that gas powered lawn mowers are serious environmental polluters. It is estimated that 1 hour of lawn mower use equals driving an SUV 100 miles. I have read that lawnmowers contribute up to 5% of the nation's pollution. Even more alarming comparisons and statistics can be found on the internet.
Fertilizers and weed killers are contaminating our rivers and streams. Herbicides that run off yards in Minnesota affect the Mississippi Delta just as much as those used in Arkansas. We worry about terrorists attacking our water supply as we cumulatively lay down the spring and fall weed-and-feed.
Even as more cities are putting on water restrictions, lawn sprinkler companies are hard pressed to keep up with demand. During the driest times one only has to drive a few blocks in the early morning to get a free car wash. Even in a pouring rain sprinklers systems are going full tilt.
So what can we do to keep our yards looking nice without doing harm to the environment? Robotic lawn mowers are one answer.
Robotic lawn mowers can mow on a schedule and return to the charging base by them selves all season long without human intervention. This has two benefits, the most obvious is more time to do other things. The second is the less time people spend doing yard work the less money they are going to spend on their yards. Translation: fewer herbicides and pesticides equals less underground water contaminates.
By allowing the grass to get too high and then cutting it too low causes thatch. Thatch is that long dead cut grass that smothers the roots and prevents the morning dew from reaching the tender roots on top, it also acts like a blanket in the hot sun. By allowing the robotic lawnmowers to cut frequently only the very tips of the grass are cut. Since the clippings are very small they break down very rapidly and become a natural fertilizer. This means the need for less water and less application fertilizer, yet a much lusher and greener yard.
Robotic lawn mowers run on batteries, they burn no gas or oil. It is estimated that it costs only $7.00 a year in electricity to mow all season long. That is quite a savings!
Due to higher quality components robotic lawn mowers built today have a life expectancy of about 10 years, the same as a quality riding lawn mower.
In summary, robotic lawn mowers emit no pollution, are fully autonomous, and will dramatically reduce the need for watering and fertilizers while making your yard even more green and beautiful. Save the planet and save the sweat.
5 Must Know Tips For A Better Looking Landscape
There is no doubt that when landscaping one wants to save money, as well as have an attractive property. Not only can landscaping help you beautify your home, but it can also provide a source of satisfying exercise in the fresh air. When you take care of your yard on your own, it is possible to save money and to improve your physical conditioning. But if the landscape turns out to look bad, then that is so much time and money wasted. However, it is possible to ensure a better-looking landscape by following a few tips that can help you take better care of your yard.
Know your soil type. Some plants thrive in soil with more acidity, and others prefer a little more alkali. Additionally, sandy soil and clay soil, as well as the presence of a loamy soil, can make a difference in what types of plants will thrive in a landscape. You should have your soil evaluated in order to determine what types of vegetation should be planted on your property. When you purchase plants that will succeed in the soil conditions present in your yard, then you make a wiser money decision, and you end up with a more attractive landscape. If there are plants that you would like to use in your soil, but the soil is not quite ideal, it is possible to improve the soil to proper conditions. You need only add mulch or peat, or to add crushed limestone or clamshells, depending upon what you hope to accomplish. As long as there is not a great difference in what you have and what you hope to achieve, it is possible to make soil adjustments to be more accommodating.
Understand how much space each of the plants need. There are some plants that require more room for their root systems than others. If you choose one plant that tends to grow everywhere, and you do not have adequate space, you will find that your other plants may be crowded out or that they may choke and die. Also, make sure you understand the spacing requirements for between plants. Many shrubs and small trees need to be planted at least three to four feet apart to have enough room to grow.
Use native plants in your landscape design. One of the most effective things you can do to ensure a good-looking yard is to make use of native plants. Find out what plants grow best in your area, and what plants are indigenous to the region. This way you will already be ahead, in that you know that the plants you choose are adapted to the climate. You will not have to struggle against natural inclinations to keep your landscape looking beautiful. If you due use non-native plants, assure yourself that they come from a place that shares a climate similar to the one in which you live.
Plan your landscape around different blooming times. Different plants bloom at various times throughout the year. If all of the plants in your landscape are at their most attractive all at the same time, then your yard will look beautiful for a few weeks each year, but quite possible ugly the rest of the year. One way to help avoid this is to choose attractive bushes and shrubs that look good green, but also have some sort flower. However, it is a good idea to stagger plants among each other. Plant tulips and crocus among later-blooming plants so that in early spring the bulbs bloom, and then when those flowers' time is up, the next plants will be in bloom. In this way the cycle of your landscape is in keeping with the seasons, and looks attractive all year round.
Use wood chips around shrubs, bushes and trees. Wood chips can help the ground around shrubs, bushes, and trees look more attractive. Not only do the chips cover the ground (often looking better than dirt), but they also help keep in moisture, repel weeds, and provide natural food as they break down. Likewise, attractive groundcover like chicks and hens placed around trees and shrubs can make the area more interesting and pleasing to the eye.
Wipe Out Those Winter Garden Woes
Do you look at your garden at this time of the year and wish it were more alive? Well, as those of us who have their homes on the market have found out - there are ways to make your front yard look attractive even in the dead of winter!
One thing you don't want is murky green garden paths. Regularly power- hose your paths and decks so that the slimy green mold can't take hold! Also check for it at the base of your fences and house. If you live in a mild winter area, then you may need to keep cutting the lawn, but lift the mower slightly so that the grass is not cut so short in the winter..
If you are showing your home you will probably want to leave your potted plants in their ceramic containers on show. If this is the case, keep an eye on the weather forecasts and pop some bubble wrap over them if the weather is going to freeze.
One non-gardening way to pretty up a front yard while the plants hibernate, is to invest a few dollars in some inexpensive path lighting. The push-in mushroom lamps look quite effective when turned on, and will give your front yard some definition.
Hopefully, you have already invested in a supply of evergreens, if not, now is the time for you to examine your yard and decide where new trees should be placed. Remember to always include some of the blue fir, and there are bronze, yellow, silver and variegated evergreens to choose from. Many of us forget the brightness of berry evergreens like holly and rowan trees. (Sometimes referred to as mountain ash or Pyrus Americana)
Winter flowers are scarce and are all the more appreciated because of it. Among the choice is pink viburnam as well as winter honeysuckle and winter jasmine - all have blooms (and the last two smell delightful). Bedding plants such as winter pansies and winter heather also add color.
Apart from attractive tree bark, there is also a modern day fad for decorative cabbages in cream and purple, and these are a hardy decoration in the yard.
If you feel you can't wait for your garden to wake up and come alive, then be sure to add some of the early bulbs into your planting plan. If your house is on the market, you can tell your prospective buyers that the new owner will be moving into a view of spring bulbs.
If you are not planning a move yet, then snow drops, daffodils and crocuses all come out in bloom very early and can be your reminder that spring is just around the corner!
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