Tag Archives: hardscaping

Get Your Backyard Ready for A Fire Pit

Is your backyard lacking some extra detail? While decorations and major renovations may do the trick, there are other, functional additions that can be considered for a lackluster space, especially with winter approaching. A fire pit is a viable option for not only entertaining but adding a special touch to the décor. Here’s how to prepare for one:

Decide on the Pit Itself

For those that desire removable options, there are temporary fire pits available to place on any fitting surface in the backyard. This allows you to take it inside for the summer months in order to reserve it for next season’s use! But be warned: while this option is more cost-effective, it allows for more damages to be sustained by it.

In-ground fire pits are costlier but can look like an organic feature to the existing space. Go for a matching exterior, such as the tile work or cement it sits on, or aim for a more rustic tone, such as wood or wrought iron.

Clear the Space Around It

The risk of owning a fire pit is low, but bits of debris and ash can fly out of the main chamber and touch the surrounding areas, causing them to sustain damage. There’s always the risk of fire to account for, too! Make sure the trees and plants close by are not too dry, and clear out any dead leaves or delicate goods, such as placemats and tablecloths.

Figure Out What to Burn

Wood isn’t the only thing that can contribute to a stellar fire pit. Contemporary surfaces such as sand or broken glass are trendy and lower-maintenance than traditional wood. Burning scrap planks is always a classic, though; this can be purchased from outdoor supply shops, or even gathered from nature itself.

Do A Grate Job

An open fire pit will provide spectacular detail to any setting, but for safety’s sake, invest in a protective grate for the pit’s opening. Unpredictable weather changes can cause the ash to rise, and if any of those fragments are hot enough, they can damage clothes, plants, and skin, which is especially painful. Choose a semi-permanent one that attaches to the surrounding edges of the pit, or choose a grated cover that can be removed entirely.

Call Blue Tree

We can help install the fire pit of your dreams! Here at Blue Tree Landscaping, our team of experts will be present from start to finish in your project. Call us to get a quote on your next favorite backyard staple today!

How to Replace an In Ground Pool

For some folks, a pool is not the ideal backyard staple. The upkeep can be a hassle, and too costly at that, and removing it can open the doors to several other backyard options. Explore other options for a backyard that can easily cover a filled in, in-ground pool!

Pool Demolition

The most common route of replacing a pool is filling it in with other materials. Start by draining the water or, if possible, relocating it to a different source to recycle it. Then find additional materials to fill it with. Dirt, rubble, and cement are the normal means of filling in a pool. Make sure any systems associated with it, such as pumps and solar panels, are disassembled or off completely.

There are several methods of filling a pool, and consulting a technician on the proper techniques for doing so can have several benefits. Professional advice can determine the pool’s capacity to be filled, as well as any additional services that need to be performed. As always, obtain permission or services from city officials before performing any steps in the process.

Sport Court

The foundation for a multi-sport court is prime after filling in a pool; the surface area is wide enough so that it will be safe and sturdy. Enjoy tennis, basketball, badminton, and more on synthetic tile or other court materials. This is a wonderful, year-round entertainment option for kids and parents alike!

A Patio

If the foundation is laid with care, then it can take the weight of a wood or cement nation with trimmings to match. Make sure that the backyard surface is flat enough to establish a solid surface for tables, chairs, pool tables, or entertainment sets that will enhance the new space. Whether it be an extension of an existing nation or a new one, check the surface for any give before proceeding.

Grass

For those looking for a more simple terrain, grass or artificial sod is an aesthetic option that leaves room for flexibility in future projects. Keep in mind the time of installation though; weather can affect the success of setting soil, and pets can tear up the installments to the point of replacing it sooner than needed. A new lawn has so many perks, and it will help the yard stay cool in the hot summer months.

Contact Blue Tree

Start a new foundation with Blue Tree! Our expert services can revitalize your backyard to create a space that looks completely different from any previous ones. Contact us for a quote or advice on the best path to take to get the backyard you need, and want!

Protect Your Feet from Hot Outdoor Surfaces

We all have reasons to celebrate the coming of summer, but dancing across the scorching ground is not a comfortable way to do so. The sun beats down and cooks the ground, heating tiles, and cement to unbearable temperatures. While throwing on shoes fixes that issue, there are other useful measures to shield the ground from the sun:

Install an Overhang

This can be as intricate or simple as you like. Permanent fixtures will provide shade and protection for every season, which includes snow, rain, wind, and general debris that can harm the ground underfoot. For a yard that is naturally more protected from the elements, there are more temporary installments that will do the job. Retractable, tent-like coverings are a viable, interchangeable option that will provide stylish shade. This opens up more avenues for entertaining, decorating, and lighting your yard in a myriad of ways, so use the new addition as a creative outlet as well as means of protection.

Use Proper Accessories

Some areas are too small to warrant an entire overhang or installable shade apparatus. There is a freedom that comes with mobile accessories for a yard. Cover your yard with large umbrellas or shaded furniture, such as free-standing chairs and swings with built-in shade. The shade will shift with the sun’s position, cooling the ground and the inhabitants close by. In addition to overhead shade, standing fans are a worthy investment, for both indoor and outdoor use. This is another affordable route: put your summer materials into storage for the colder months and use them for years to come.

Change Materials

Most backyard walkways are wooden or made of tile or cement that cook in the sun. The other method to take in renovating your surface is to remove it completely. If the ground is simply not working, replace it with grass, sod, or surfaces that are not heat-retaining. It can provide a unique aesthetic to the yard, and if it offers a low maintenance upkeep, it can actually save money in the long run. Any surface that requires minimal watering or grooming can be a positive addition to the yard, so consider alternative options to traditional underfoot.

Contact Blue Tree

Let the experts help you keep cool in the summer heat! Blue Tree Landscaping has a team of hardscaping professionals that specialize in patio installations and upgrades for any home. We have decades of experience to offer, and ideas and tactics to install the best surfaces underfoot. Contact us to get a quote today!

Make Your Yard Look Bigger with These Design Hacks

It’s heating up out there! Rising temperatures means more folks will be spending time outside and enjoying their yards, both back and front. However, last year’s decorations or overgrown details might have those spaces feeling a little cramped. Clear the way for a beautiful summer with a few design hacks to make your yard look bigger:

Perform necessary maintenance

This is the first step to achieving more space. Weeding, power-washing, and sweeping away winter’s debris will brighten up the yard and provide it with the TLC it needs to thrive. Inspect any outdoor furniture or cooking apparatuses as well, to see if professional cleaning or painting needs to be done.

Scale down decorations

Are there large plants or ornaments cluttering the yard? It might be time to replace them with smaller features. Investing in more petite decorations, such as mirrors and delicate tapestries, will give a more minimalist look to the space and open up the yard. Avoid large hanging pieces, such as light fixtures that dominate an overhang or vertical plants, as they can take over the airspace and make it difficult to get around.

Build up, not out

This will not only create floor space, but it will frame the higher corners of the yard and create the illusion of more room. Try getting one tall plant instead of three shorter ones, for instance, or light fixtures with taller stands. Select furniture, such as bar seating or patio pieces, can be replaced with more compact options to add elbow room to the yard as well.

Use hardscaping methods

If the situation requires it, there are methods to expansion that can require actual construction or renovation. If a fence exists, knocking it down to rebuild it outwards is one option. Current retaining walls or odd corners can be smoothed out as well — if one has the means to take the existing space and create more, it leaves more room to customize the yard and make it look even bigger! Remember to obtain permission from neighbors and city officials before making any major changes that might affect the layout or the property or ones around it.

Contact Blue Tree

Let’s expand together! Blue Tree Landscaping has a team of experts that will advise and assist in renovating your backyard to create more of the space you desire. Whether it’s pushing a fence out a few feet or hanging a new feature, let us guide you on the best route to doing so. Contact us for a quote today!

Upgrade Your Pool for Summer Entertaining

The summer solstice, which marks both the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, is coming up on June 21st. Around this time, schools are out, people are taking vacations, and many folks are hoping to enjoy a nice dip in the pool! If your pool’s amenities are outdated or need fixing up, there are a few ways to do this in time for more festivities.

Clean the Grout

If the pool’s surrounding surface has tiles, the dirt buildup in the cracks can be unsightly. Scraping it out works, but this can be a huge hassle. A power washer will get rid of dirt and buildup, without having to replace any cement or artificial stone that surrounds your pool area. The power washer can be used for the rest of your surfaces as well, such as wood patios, resilient fences, and walls that need cleaning.

Inspect the Pool

Most pools have plaster or Pebble Tec surfaces coating the interior. With winter weather and the wear-and-tear of extended use over the years, these surfaces might be starting to show deterioration. You many want to refinish any surfaces that are chipped or stained before they are put to use. Often, a harsher surface begins to peek out from under the smooth plaster, and fixing this is a safety and liability issue that you should try to take care of early.

Perform Some Touch-Ups

After a harsh winter, the landscaping around your pool might need replenishing. Plant fresh flowers and vegetation to give a lively vibe to any space, and paint over any faded decorations or surfaces that could use a new coat. Check out couch and chair cushions as well: sunlight can cause fading of colors and patterns, and it might be time to replace anything that looks lighter or loses its texture.

Decorate

One of the easiest and most attainable means for improvement, decorating your pool area is a personal and fun process. It can be as simple as changing out plants or color schemes, or can encompass projects that are larger in scale. Consider swapping out decorative tile work, large furniture, and lounge pieces to stay current with styles and give your whole backyard the makeover it deserves.

Contact Blue Tree

Let the experts join you in your renovations! Blue Tree Landscaping is proud to offer hardscaping and decorative services for backyards of any size. Call today for a quote or advice on getting started. Summer won’t last forever, but with a few tweaks, any backyard can be revamped for months and years to come.

The Best Hardscaping Options For Your Patio

There are several ways to take care of your feet, and choosing a suitable surface in your home is one helpful way of doing so. However, outdoor spaces should also be taken into account for viable surfaces underfoot. Consider installing an aesthetically pleasing, cozy surface that will allow your patio to be comfortable and stylish!

Choosing a Surface

There are so many possibilities of customization for your backyard. Choose from the standard surfaces that include brick, tile, cement, paving stone, or a creative combination of these. Keep in mind that a patio needs upkeep like the rest of the yard; it is also wise to choose a patio based on your ability to maintain it. Consider weather and company when picking a surface, because durability is a top priority for a quality patio!

Cater To Everyone

Take the dimensions of your space into account, to pick a surface that won’t overwhelm the future patio’s potential.

If the house is full of kids, pets, and toys, having a slippery tile deck might not be the best option. Instead, consider a more malleable surface that will provide grip underfoot, such as wood with a durable finish or coarse tile. If a pool is nearby, go with a surface that won’t get slippery when wet, and be wary of any heat-retaining materials for those that like to go barefoot in warmer weather. Brick is a viable choice, and its durability in harsher weather will stand the test of time as well.

On the other hand, a paved patio walkway and tile are perfect for less active inhabitants, or those that simply want to enjoy lounging in their outdoor space. Look into a more decorative surface that will complement a walkway or poolside, such as more delicate wood or hard material.

Consider Other Design Components

One of the perks of installing a premium patio surface is how it can be matched with surrounding details. Match a specialized patio paver with details that feature similar colors to the ground surface, like seat cushions or accessories. Choose plants that complement intricate tile work, or contrast it with lawn ornaments or furniture that make a statement. This is a fun means of self-expression, so enjoy this part of customizing your patio’s supporting roles!

Contact Blue Tree

Choose your next patio surface from certified, dependable options. Blue Tree Landscaping can outfit any hardscaping surface with a variety of options, and will provide dependable installation surfaces as well. Get a quote for your next home improvement project by contacting Blue Tree today!

Unique Patio Design Ideas

045Unique Patio Design Ideas

If you are considering installing a new patio, you might be surprised to learn that you can have more than a basic rectangular concrete slab. From a variety of textures and shapes to design accents, read on for timely tips to perk up any lackluster patio.

Think Beyond the Concrete

If you are in need of a new patio, it’s time for an update. Follow the latest trends by installing a patio that is curved or crafted with different hardscape materials. Brick, wood chips, flagstone, and even gravel are all integrated into appealing designs.

Sweet Little Nook

Your patio should be more than just a place you sometimes use to entertain. It can become a valuable and much-loved part of your outdoor space — if you give it the attention it deserves. Use your best landscaping know-how to create a garden oasis. Add in potted plants, a water feature, and comfortable seating.

Match Your Style

If your home is elegant and grand, you should have a patio to match. If you have a theme in your landscape, that theme should carry over into your patio. Add in the hardscape elements you are using elsewhere in your yard to complement the space. Use the same types of plants that you’ve used in flower beds around the patio. Get creative with it: install hanging baskets or potted plants.

Bring the Inside Out

Part of any successful landscape design includes sunny and shady spots. Consider adding in an umbrella or pergola. Add accessories that look great with a bit of weathering and fabrics that resist color fading due to the sun. Treat your patio like any other room in your home. Make it personal with whimsical touches like fun candle holders that can withstand the elements and even mirrors for walls that are exterior yet protected. Add an outdoor clock or wall art — anything goes as long as it’s weather-friendly and fits the style of the rest of your yard.

Light it Up

Lighting is an essential, yet overlooked, part of your unique patio design plan. The right lighting can help boost your landscape’s appeal while extending the use of your patio. Brighten it up. Day or night, you can enjoy your patio for longer when you use proper lighting.

Patio with Pizzazz

For a seamless patio design, leave it to the professionals. Call Blue Tree Landscaping, the one-stop-shop for everything landscaping (including pools), for a patio that reflects your style, your budget, and your life.

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.

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.

 

Landscaping Ideas for Small Yards

small yardsHaving a small yard doesn’t mean you have to limit your landscape design. With a little creativity, you can utilize both hardscaping and softscaping elements to create a welcoming space.

 

Make Outdoor Rooms

When you’re feeling cramped inside your Philly home, look to your yard as an opportunity for growth. View the outdoors as a series of rooms. Along with places for dining and relaxation, you can add a garden or even a shed office that will more than double the space you have inside by adding functional rooms outside.

Follow the Rules of Perspective

Design your landscape using the rules of perspective– the premise that parallel lines meet toward the center at a single vanishing point– so that certain objects and plants will appear smaller than others. By following these guidelines, your yard will feel more spacious than ever before. Introduce dwarf plants and conifers for pizazz that won’t overwhelm your yard.

Set Up Diagonal Paths

You may already know that winding paths can add visual interest to your outdoor space, but for a small yard, these paths are even more important. For tighter spaces, it is best to use diagonal lines. Your yard will look and feel larger as a result.

Mix It Up

Add some interest to a small, rectangular lot by adding different textures and patterns. Use walls, fences, raised flower beds, and other vertical plantings, in combination with raised decks and potted flowers, to break up the space.

Keep it Simple

Some yards, and lifestyles, benefit from a minimal approach. Rather than cluttering your lawn with more chairs than you’ll likely ever need, consider a space-saving bench that doubles as storage. Just be sure to set space aside so you can add chairs whenever necessary.

Let the Garden Grow

A small yard doesn’t have to forego a garden. Forget about the orderly garden rows, and go for vertical or raised planting beds. Take a cue from the Victorian-era, and mix fruits and vegetables into these planting beds as well. Add in hardscaping elements for a finished look.

Small Yard Savers

When a small yard still feels like it’s missing something special, turn to Blue Tree Landscaping, the one-stop-shop for everything lawn and garden. From design to planning and maintenance, stick with the professionals to get the job done right.

Contact Blue Tree Landscaping today to make even the smallest yard spectacular.