Monthly Archives: May 2016

5 Hardscape Materials You Should Know

5 hardscape materials you should knowHardscaping is more than lining a flower bed in pavers, or pouring out a driveway with concrete. Homeowners have more choices than ever before, and for those who prefer to mow less, hardscaping can help cut down frequent lawn maintenance time.

The following materials are commonly used in hardscaping projects. They can be used for patios, driveways, fences, built-in seating, pathways, and even outdoor rooms. Wherever they are used, they are sure to draw rave reviews.

Common Hardscape Materials

Brick

Formal or informal, new or recycled, brick is hugely popular for outdoor projects, and has been for centuries. But, that doesn’t mean the style has stayed the same. Landscape designers are working with brick in new and interesting ways, creating patterns in paths, walls, and other structures.

Gravel

Pinterest pinners are in love with winding pathways. Get the right look with the proper gravel. Gravel is simple to use, and inexpensive. It’s easy to make your path fit your vision, but it’s also easy to kick gravel into the surrounding grass and flowerbeds. Keep a rake handy to catch any stray pieces of rock.

Concrete

Concrete has moved far beyond basic, ho-hum slabs. Today’s concrete has character. It can be stained, stamped, and textured for use in driveways, paths, or patio projects. These new styles not only look great, but they cut down on concrete’s slip-factor. Get creative with embedded elements, like sea glass or pebbles. Concrete is anything, but boring.

Stone

This hardscape material is popular for a reason. Stone is durable, and available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Think beyond patios and courtyards. Stone can be used to naturally accent, and enhance your garden design. It helps prevent erosion, and can also add some texture.

Wood

Fences and decking benefit from the warm look of wood. Turn fences horizontally for visual interest, or go with a classic picket fence to match your home. Choose from different colors, and grains to fit your style. Wood may be used for an assortment of landscaping touches, like seating, plant or flower bed borders, and other structures (like a trellis, pergola, or gazebo). Wood will need maintenance to keep it in shape.

A Touch of Class

Now that you know what the major hardscape materials are, isn’t it time you add them to your landscape design? Update your yard with ease by giving Blue Tree Landscaping a call. Blue Tree is a one-stop-shop for everything lawn, garden, and pool. From design, to planning and maintenance, Blue Tree professionals can get your yard in shape.

4 Ways to Keep Your Lawn and Pet Happy

4 ways to keep your lawn and pet happyAward-winning roses? Prize-winning plants? Whatever your yard has, you’ll want to keep destructive pooches out of the way! Here are a few pet friendly landscaping tips that can help:

 

Good Dog, Great Yard

Set a Barrier

A physical barrier is a useful way to distance your pets from delicate plants, or other recent additions. Hardscaping elements, like fencing, walls, or edging can help discourage your pet, while still looking attractive in the process. You may also turn to non-toxic plants, like thick hedges or shrubs, to make shortcuts impossible. Set down pathways where your pet tends to roam to avoid further damage.

Fruits of Your Labor

Do you have a pet that won’t stay away from the garden? While low fencing is always an option, there are other possibilities. Use hedges or shrubs to create a natural border. You can keep birds and pets away from the fruits and vegetables with bird netting. For a truly pesky pet, consider spraying bitter apple or orange on your plants to help discourage any tastings.

Doggone Diggers

Dogs dig for multiple reasons: to de-stress, relieve boredom, or even bury their valuables. To make sure this habit doesn’t harm your garden, include a dense, narrow planting near the fenceline. Do frequent checks to make sure your pet hasn’t started up again. For dogs that need to be able to dig, set aside a portion of the yard for a sandbox or gravel pit. Reward your dog for digging in this area, and keep it consistent. This way, you can avoid having a bunch of holes in your lawn!

Keeping it Green

Help reduce the number of brown spots in your yard by setting aside a bathroom area. Train your pooch to use specific portions of the yard. Add in fencing to conveniently hide the area, or try a patch of gravel. It can easily be hosed off, and is a favorite material for many dogs. Include a “marking spot” for male dogs to discourage any unwanted watering on your plants.

Crafting a Pet Friendly Yard

These tips will help keep your pets healthy and happy, while ensuring your lawn stays in top shape. For a yard that truly wows, call Blue Tree Landscaping, the one-stop-shop for everything yard, garden, and pool.

 

From design, to planning and maintenance, no job is too big or too small. Call the professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping today to learn more.

How to Create a Successful Hardscape for Your Yard

How to create a successful hardscape for your yardHardscaping can provide the powerful visual appeal your yard is missing. But, before beginning a project, decide where you’ll be putting any hardscaping elements. Unlike plants or flowers, your hardscape won’t be easy to relocate if you change your mind. Take these tips to heart so you can avoid any costly mistakes!

How to Create Stunning Hardscape Design

The Big Picture

When thinking about your yard, consider it as a whole. Having a plan in place will help you not only tackle different pieces of your landscape in an affordable manner, but it will also keep you from adding a patio where you should really be putting a fire pit.

More Material

Brick? Stone? Whatever material you are working with, always purchase more than you think you’ll need. Not only will you come out ahead if your numbers need adjusting, but you may just come up with new, clever ways to use the leftovers in your hardscape design.

Water Matters

Hardscaping elements, like walls and patios, can affect how, and where your water flows. For some areas, this can become a serious problem, fast. Work water runoff into your plan, so you can capture some of that water before it reaches the drainage pipes.

Defining Style

While it is fairly easy to save every landscape design ever pinned on Pinterest, the pros know that it’s better to stick with one particular style. Make a short list of a few words that describe the ideal style for your yard, and stick with them. If you prefer sleek and modern, then resist the urge to throw in jarring elements that don’t line up. Pick two or three hardscape materials, choosing textures that complement each other, and work them in.

Prep Work

The most tedious part of any project is typically the work no one will ever see. Before installing a fence or following through with your patio design, it’s important to check for any building specifications. It’s the one part of the project that too many people skip, only to find that an improperly compacted area may result in their patio cracking after just a few years.

Showstopping Hardscape

Hardscaping is both a complicated, and rewarding part of redesigning a home landscape. Get it done right from the start with Blue Tree Landscaping.

From planning to design to maintenance (and pools), Blue Tree is a one-stop-shop for landscape design. Call today, and finally finish the hardscape project of your dreams.

 

Summer Landscaping Dont’s: What Not to Do to Your Yard This Summer

Summer MaintenanceBirds are singing, the pool is almost ready to open, and you’ve been busy cleaning up the yard. But, before you add in new plants or drag out the mower again, you might want to take a look at these common summer landscaping mistakes:

Common Summer Landscape Flops

Cutting Too Low

Mowing is a time-suck, but cutting your grass too short to buy yourself time isn’t a good idea. Bare spots are quickly revealed, making it easy for weeds, insects, and even diseases to move into your lawn. With more sun exposure, your lawn will require more TLC, as it needs more water to keep up with the summer heat.

Lackluster Roses

Roses are a popular flower for a reason. If your roses keep missing the mark, it’s time to take a closer look. Are you pruning after the first frost? Did you plant them in an area that matches each breed’s required amount of sun? Do they have room to grow? If not, it could be time for a re-plant.

Mulch Mounds

We’ve mentioned mulch volcanoes before, but this still bears repeating. While it may seem like everyone is placing large mounds of mulch around their plants, this doesn’t mean they’re making the right choice. No tree needs a foot-tall mound of mulch. Keep it flat and balanced so you can prevent weeds without any unnecessary waste.

Unwelcome Guests

Invasive plants can quickly take over your yard and garden, edging out native plants, and even destroying food sources for the local wildlife. Bamboo is one example of a plant that’s better left out of your landscape. You can add other invasive plant species, like English Ivy, Garlic Mustard, Japanese Honeysuckle, and Oriental Bittersweet to the list of plants to avoid.

Haphazard Design

You may have noticed a few areas here and there that could use a little perking up. Before digging in the dirt, make a plan as to where you want to place new plants. Keep shorter plants front and center, and taller plants toward the back. Figure out what plant fits where, and draw it all out. Don’t forget to add labels. This way, if something doesn’t “take,” you can easily experiment with a different plant next year.

Summer Landscape, Redefined

When mowing, weeding, planting, and planning threaten to take over your weekend, it’s time to send in the professionals. Call Blue Tree Landscaping today. As the one-stop-shop for everything lawn, garden, and pool, Blue Tree can take your project head on, from planning to design and maintenance.

How to Prep Your Pool for the Summer

How to Prep your pool for summerSummer will be here before you know it, which means pool season approaches! Make sure your pool is ready to greet friends and family before that first Philly heat wave hits. These tips will have your pool up and running in a splash:

Get Your Pool Ready for Summer

Plan Ahead

Opening the pool takes time and patience. Start early, before the summer heat hits. Remember that it will take about a week for the water to clear up, supposing there aren’t any problems. The filter will require daily cleaning. No one should dive in until the pool floor can be easily seen. Until then, keep the pool covered to avoid additional cleaning. When it’s ready, grab a pool vacuum to remove any leaves or debris.

Chemical Open

Turn it all on. Empty out baskets, and look for leaks and cracks. It’s much easier to fix any small leaks now than to close everything down for full pool repairs later. Keep the pool cover on so you don’t have to deal with leaves and bugs falling in, making potential cracks more difficult to see.

Just Add Water

Chances are your pool water level is low after the long winter. Be sure to add more. Also remember to unclog the filter before you turn it on. Different filters have different needs. If you have a DE filter, you will most likely need to take it apart to clean it. If you have a sand filter, just set it for backwash, and it will do the rest. Don’t forget to put it back on the normal setting afterwards.

Test the Waters

Before you hop in, you need to know what’s in the water. Get the pool water tested to see where the chlorine and mineral levels fall, as well as the pH and alkalinity. It’s important to know for many reasons. Pool water that lacks calcium can actually strip it from grout and vinyl.

Swim More, Work Less

After your pool is ready to roll, there is still work to be done. Do a daily chemical check, get the pool tested about once a month, and vacuum at least once a week. Feels like too much? Call in the experts.

 

Blue Tree Landscaping can give you more than just a beautiful yard. Blue Tree is the one-stop shop for everything lawn, from planning to design and maintenance, even for pools.

Call the professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping today, and get your pool in shape the easy way.

 

How Outdoor Landscaping Can Add Value to Your Home

How Outdoor Landscaping Can Add Value to Your HomeExperts agree that landscaping not only adds instant curb appeal to your home, but also increases the value of your property by a whopping 20%. If your home’s outdoor landscape is typically more of an afterthought, consider making a change. Whipping your yard into shape now can help you achieve maximum benefits later.

How Outdoor Landscaping Adds Value

The Outdoor Advantage

By adding outdoor rooms, you can merge the functionality of the indoors with the natural beauty of the outdoors, significantly doubling your living space in the process. Use like materials to help capture that home feeling. Hardscaping elements can help establish an easy flow, and increase the value of your home to future buyers.

Shady Spaces

If you aren’t planning to sell your home in the near future, planting a shade tree now will help you reap the benefits in more ways than one later on. Not only can a perfectly placed tree add that special something to your yard, but it can also reduce your cooling costs by 40%.

Native Plants

Which plants and flowers are indigenous to the Philly area? Consider these plant types first. The general rule is that plants that are particular to the area will require less maintenance, and be better able to resist the weather conditions and local pests of the Philly region. Furthermore, these plants will add value to your home without draining your budget or requiring constant care.

Shed a Little Light

Lighting will not only provide future home buyers with a feeling of security and safety, but when lights are placed just right, it will also create a welcoming ambience. Highlight the key features of your yard and garden with well-placed lighting structures. Install light fixtures that shine right to your front door. Potential buyers won’t be able to resist.

Good Fences, Great Neighbors

Sturdy, well-maintained fences can increase your property value. Skip the chain link fence and do something a little different. Opt for a fence that’s different from the rest of the homes on your block, while still being tasteful. It will make even a small yard seem more spacious, while providing some needed privacy.

Form and Function

Backyard construction projects are a great way to begin adding value to your home. If these projects seem too overwhelming, turn to the experienced professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

 

Blue Tree Landscaping is your one-stop-shop for everything lawn, from planning to design to maintenance. Call Blue Tree Landscaping and add value to your home today!