Monthly Archives: April 2015

Extra Features for Your Pool

Add Ambiance and Enjoyment to Your PoolSo you’ve decided to build an in ground pool in your backyard, and you’ve got the size, shape, and depth figured out. But what features will you add? Waterfalls, jacuzzis, and water slides all make excellent additions to in ground pools, simultaneously increasing ambiance and entertainment value. Continue reading for more tips and information.

Waterfalls

Installing a waterfall in your pool generates a rhythmic and soothing sound effect that adds tranquility to your yard. If you’re going for a natural look, consider installing multiple levels of patio or stone for water to flow down, creating a resemblance to waterfalls in the wilderness. A more contemporary look, with a straighter and well-defined water flow, is also common among owners of in ground pools. If this is your style, try incorporating multiple raised sections in your pool so that water can pour neatly from one to the other.

Jacuzzis

When designing your pool, think about incorporating space for a hot tub. Many families choose to install both an in ground pool and a connecting jacuzzi simultaneously. In this case, a jacuzzi is aesthetically part of your pool, often separated by a wall that keeps them apart when the hot tub is on. Jacuzzis can also sit a step above your pool, with a waterfall flowing down into it.

You’ll want to take into account size and other factors when planning your hot tub. The number of people who will be using the jacuzzi at one time is important, as, obviously, if you have a bigger family who will all want to relax in the hot tub at the same time, it will need to be larger to accommodate everyone. It’s also important to consider safety; if you’ll have small children around your pool area frequently, a locking cover is key. Additionally, if you’re using your jacuzzi for hydrotherapy, make sure it has the ideal number of jets with high enough pressure.

Water slides

Water slides are a particularly exciting pool feature for the young ones in your family, whether they’re kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews. If you choose to add a slide to your pool, think about location. You don’t want the slide to obstruct any common walking paths in your backyard, and you’ll also probably want to position it so that you can watch kids from the patio. A huge variety of different sizes and shapes are available, so you’ll find something that fits perfectly with your backyard.

 

Contact Blue Tree Landscaping for help thoroughly planning your pool and its features. We’ll handle everything from design, to installation, to creating the perfect pool environment with detailed landscaping.

Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

OutdoorKitchenSummer is the season for lively barbecues and outdoor grilling, but for a host it means splitting your time between the kitchen and the grill. As a convenient alternative to the hassle, many homeowners are turning to outdoor kitchens as a one-stop station for all their culinary needs. However, planning for one can prove an overwhelming task, considering the numerous provisions and design options to choose from. To get you started, here are some essential guidelines to bring you up to speed and give you a sense of what the project entails.

Determining the right layout for your yard

Layout is more than just an aesthetic consideration: it’s also prudent to bear in mind the features of the space you’re working with. Smaller yards are better served with a straight line kitchen model. Similar to kitchenettes, these are installed against a wall and make the most efficient use of limited space. On the other hand, for more spacious grounds, the kitchen island and the u-shape kitchen are popular choices. Both possess a wide array of amenities including a sink, refrigerator, and a dishwasher.

Whichever design you choose, you’ll want to be sensible when you’re determining placement. Proximity to the house is great, but be careful not to obstruct the view from your window. Also consider factors such as wind direction to avoid blowing smoke into your house, and when possible, construct your workspace beneath the cool shade of trees. If that isn’t an option, you might want to incorporate a pergola or canopy into your design.

For those who are building around an existing patio or deck, take into account the weight of your appliances and invest in any necessary renovations. If you prefer your kitchen to be situated near your pool or hot tub, steer clear of tile and marble flooring, as both are slippery surfaces when wet.

Tailoring design toward a clear purpose

Whether you’re catering to large gatherings or simply improving upon your own lifestyle, there are a variety of design alternatives to serve the needs of any preference or occasion. Before settling on a layout, think about your priorities and plan accordingly. If you’re inclined to isolate yourself while you work, a good overall design concept might include a living room or lounge area for your friends to mingle in the meanwhile. On the other hand, if you enjoy socializing while you cook, there are kitchen options that offer bar-style counter space with stools for your guests to keep you company.

Make informed decisions

Remember, it’s imperative to seek professional consultation before finalizing any plans or getting started. You’ll need to consider the hazard of combustible material as well as the most practical placement and installation of your gas, water, and electric supply. And, with an outdoor structure, you’ll want to plan around inclement weather and seasonal change. Prepare yourself for Pennsylvania’s cold winters by choosing durable materials like stainless steel and ceramic, while steering clear of tile countertops that are prone to freezing.

Fun additional touches

While many of your decisions will inevitably fall to the dictates of utility, exposure to the elements, and practicality, there are indeed several ways to tweak your space for that added touch of ambiance. Some minor atmospheric accents might include decorative objects and light fixtures, but for a more transformative effect, consider cultivating a garden, elaborating on the design of your deck or patio space, or even adding a small, tranquil pond. Ultimately, you want to create an environment that is more than just functional, but one that is pleasurable and ambient as well.

An outdoor kitchen can certainly prove a worthwhile investment, but as with any investment, your vision should be informed by practical necessity. When you’re ready to begin, Blue Tree Landscaping is happy to guide you through every stage of the process: from planning, to design, to construction, to deliver you the most stylish, yet affordable and sensible, solution.

Back to the Patio: A Spring To-Do List

backtothepatioThe snow clears away, the sun comes out, and… springtime reveals the damage. Winter conditions often cause unwanted stains and cracks in your patio, along with weed growth in its surrounding areas. At Blue Tree Landscaping, we want you to enjoy your patio at the first possible opportunity. Here are some tips and tricks that will ensure you refresh your patio with plenty of time left to enjoy it.

Stain removal

When it comes to a concrete patio, the first thing you might notice after you sweep away the debris is a colorful assortment of stains. Some can be removed with a hose and some soap, leaving the spot brighter than before. However, green and black mold stains often require diluted bleach. A brown stain indicates mineral deposits that have leached out of your untreated surface. A simple solution of vinegar usually does the trick here.

In extreme cases, muriatic acid is required. However, consulting a professional for such stains is recommended. It may be that a weaker acid, such as phosphoric acid, is more appropriate when dealing with stained masonry. Either way, handling acids requires a greater degree of preparation and caution.

Plants: wanted and not-so-wanted

Plants are working for you and against you when spring arrives. At the edges of the patio, encroaching weeds make it unclear where your patio begins and ends. But a well-placed potted flower near the wicker chair might be exactly the kind of color and life your patio needs. In the end, it’s all about having a deliberately planned patio. Sharpening the borders of the patio, perhaps with a planted garden rather than a wild one, can make all the difference. Deciding which plants make it onto the patio also plays an important role.

Your new best friend: polymeric sand

Polymeric sand is an industry standard material used to realign pavers. Cracks and gaps form in your tiles and bricks after years of use. Polymeric sand, when properly used, can help roll back the years. It’s necessary to first clear out any weeds or debris and provide ample time for any residual moisture (from your last power wash or rainfall) to dry out. Under these conditions, you can begin sweeping the sand into the joints of the patio tile. Once the joints are filled, you want to saturate the sand with water (a measured pace with a shower nozzle is recommended) and let the mixture settle in. Protecting the patio for the next day or two from additional water exposure (which can flush out the sand before it fully settles) is absolutely necessary.

 

If at any point in the process of revamping your patio you need the help of a professional, give Blue Tree a call. There’s no need to let a relaxing spring day pass without a lounge on your beautiful patio.

What to Consider When Planning Your Pool

Pool PlanningThe cold has finally subsided, and before you know it you’ll be dreaming of jumping into your own pool after a long day in 80 degree weather. Now is the perfect time to start planning an inground pool that you and your family can enjoy for years to come. Here are a few things to consider before starting the construction phase.

What will you use your pool for?

If you’re building a pool for your kids to swim in, you’ll want to incorporate certain features that you otherwise may not. For example, safety-related items such as fencing, gates, and sometimes alarms will be important (and also may be required by your town zoning board), so make sure you build room for these into your design plan. Slides and waterfalls also offer extra entertainment for kids. If you’d like to use your pool for physical therapy, consider adding an adjustable current or even an underwater treadmill. Water offers a stress-free environment for all kinds of exercise, whether you’re recovering from an injury or just looking to move around. If you want to swim laps, make sure your pool is long enough from end-to-end.

What is your space like?

Most towns have restrictions on how close to your property line pools can be placed, so check with your zoning board before planning out the size or shape of your pool. If you have a smaller yard, you may need to limit your pool’s size or shape it so that it fits within your town’s regulations, and, if you prefer, still leaves room for you to use your yard for other activities. Additionally, you’ll want to think about where you’d like your pool to be in relation to other outdoor recreational areas. Do you want to connect your pool area with your patio and (if you have one) outdoor kitchen, or would you rather keep them separate

How will you landscape around your pool?

A variety of beautiful plants and shrubs around your pool will add a peaceful feeling to your yard. You’ll need to think carefully when planning what to plant around your pool area, however. Placing trees and shrubs too close to the pool will result in an excess of fallen leaves and debris in the water. Similarly, plants with falling berries or fruits should be far enough away so that your pool area doesn’t become stained with different colors. All plants by your pool should also be pest-free, so that dangerous chemicals don’t leak into the water.

 

If you’ve got some ideas for a pool, or simply want suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact Blue Tree Landscaping. We’ll guide you through the entire process of planning, design, and construction, and will landscape the area surrounding your pool to make your yard into a colorful oasis.

April is the Perfect Time to Plant

April - Perfect Time to PlantWith the beginning of April comes warmer air, sunnier days, and melting snow. It marks the very beginning of springtime and is the perfect window to plant new trees and shrubs. April is known to be a rainy month, which may not be ideal weather for most, but it’s perfect conditions for Blue Tree Landscaping to prepare your lawn for a rich, full, and green Philadelphia summer.

Why you should start now

It’s important to keep your lawn and garden as lively and healthy as possible. An early start means more time for your trees, shrubs, and flowers to bloom and look full throughout the summer. Because of the rain, the ground will be soft enough to easily turn the soil in order to plant bulbs, baby trees, and transplant potted plants. The warming weather makes it easier for the plants to quickly take root and grow strong, as the ground is no longer frozen. And don’t worry about the cold: on average, the last date for frost is in April, so your plants will not be too harmed by the weather. Although frost and cold are still concerns this month, trees and shrubs planted at this time will not be harmed.

What to plant

Different kinds of plants thrive at different times during the spring and summer, so not everything will be quite ready for planting in April. April is the perfect month to prune evergreens, plant annuals like snapdragons and marigolds, and plant dahlias and lilies toward the end of the month. It’s also a good time to tend to your lawn by seeding and sodding the grass after this long, tough winter. If you’re not sure what you need to do to your lawn, or what would look the best, just leave it to us. We can discuss the best options depending on your space, soil, and sun exposure.

How we can help

Blue Tree Landscaping can expertly plant your trees, shrubs, flowers, and other vegetation. If you don’t have a green thumb or the time to devote to planting, it doesn’t have to reflect on your yard or your garden. As talented landscapers, we can revive your lawn for spring and design a view you’d look forward to seeing every day. Our landscapers based in the Philadelphia area know what you need this spring to make a true impression that lasts through the entire summer.