Full-Service Landscape Design
8 Pineview Ave, Berlin, NJ 08009
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01 Jun 2021
Shade Structures

Great Ways to Incorporate Shade Structures

As summer approaches and the sun continually gets higher in the sky day by day, patio spaces will begin to heat up and bake. Higher temps can make for an uncomfortable experience at any outdoor party or BBQ. There is no need to sweat it, though, because there are many ways to include shade elements within your space to beat the heat. Shade sails, pergolas, or even pavilion-style roof structures can all be custom-designed to fit your needs.

Shade sails first became popular at resort destinations and hotels but made their way into residential landscapes more and more every year. The design concept is based on having at least 3-4 fixed anchor points either on a home’s façade or posts. These connections are usually a galvanized or stainless steel eye anchor bolts. The sail itself is made from decorative, UV resistant, tensioned fabric available in an array of vibrant colors. Multiple sails can be combined and layered to create an architectural parabolic focal point. There are numerous online manufacturers that will design complete kits that even the novice handyman would install.

Pergolas are another way to achieve filtered shade and be constructed from wood, vinyl, composite, or aluminum materials. Three essential elements compose a pergola- vertical posts/columns, support cross-beams/rafters, and ornate purlins. These structures not only provide shade but can be home for flowering woody vines such as wisteria, honeysuckle, trumpet vine, to name a few. Retractable canopy systems are also available for individuals who want the look of a pergola with the option to have complete shade. Sunbrella fabrics are used on sliding tracks mounted between the rafters and can either be operated manually or remotely. These pergolas are the best solutions to appease both the sun worshipper and shade lover alike.

Open-air, pavilion-style, solid roof structures are the ultimate way to create an outdoor shaded room that can be utilized in any weather. As with a pergola, pavilions have vertical posts/columns and can be tied into a home façade or built freestanding. The framed solid roof allows for the incorporation of recessed lighting, fans, audio-visual, not to mention a force field from those burning UV rays. Shade is not the only way these roof structures can provide refuge from the sun. Misters can even be integrated into the soffit overhang to offer added relief. Many construction codes and township setback requirements apply to these, so some pre-design research is recommended.

Your yard can provide sanctuary from the sun with more architectural ways than just the typical patio umbrella. On the next bright day, sit in your space and evaluate sun patterns throughout the day. Make a wish list of your needs for how you would like to increase the use of the area and decide which solution works best.

Stay cool this summer!

 

01 May 2021
Brighten Up Your Everyday Landscape

How Can You Brighten Up Your Everyday Landscape?

Undoubtedly the number one requested item by homeowners looking to renovate their existing landscape is…. COLOR.  A way to brighten things up a bit and introduce life back into a generally stagnant landscape.  Specific color combinations can evoke feelings of warmth (red/orange), relaxation (blue/purple), or tranquility (pink, yellow).  So it’s important to carefully consider the perception you wish to convey with the use of color. It’s relatively inexpensive to achieve a color palette worthy of being framed in a museum with a wide array of annuals, perennials, and container gardens.
 

Annuals

An annual planting performs its entire life cycle in one growing season.  In our region, this season is typically March until November, depending on the specific variety. They also have to be planted every year and removed at the end of their cycle. Although annuals have an added maintenance aspect, they will provide the “best bloom for your buck.”
 
A single flat of annual flowers goes a long way and can provide continuous color from last spring frost to the first frost of the fall.  But don’t stop at one flat; plant multiple in large masses to create that WOW factor which will be the envy of the entire neighborhood.  Annual plantings are the perfect way to change up the look of your landscape from season to season.
 

Perennials

Perennials are the right fit for those with a not-so-green thumb or the time to replant annuals year to year.  In contrast to annuals, perennials will re-emerge each spring and flourish until winter. At this time, the top portion of the plant will die back, leaving the roots to start the whole process all over again come the following spring.  As with annuals, perennials will have bloom cycles concentrated in the spring, summer, or fall seasons. They have a larger growth habit than annuals that should be considered for their location and spread and increase overall size as the years’ progress.
 
Perennial design should be done so in a fashion as to create an ever-evolving showcase of blooms throughout the seasons.  They can provide specific colors, textures, and even fragrances not found in annual arrangements.
 

Container Gardens

Sometimes when space is limited, decorative container gardens can achieve the look you desire. The days of ordinary terracotta pots are long gone, and bold colors and designs are available in ceramic, stone, and composite. These planting vessels are a great way to add accents of color to your outdoor entertainment space. Cobalt blues, chartreuse greens, and crimson reds may seem a bit loud for the timider gardener but can provide that little extra pop of needed color. Annual plantings are typically reserved for these container gardens and can be removed at the end of the season.
 
An easy way to create added interest is to include plantings of complimenting colors but contrasting textures. The use of grasses/sedges, flowering plants, and trailing vines will create your own mini landscape. Edibles are also a great addition not only for their nutritional value but also for the aesthetics of the flower/fruit they produce. Nothing better than freshly picked herbs and vegetables while dining al fresco on a midsummer night.
 
These three options will quickly increase the overall enjoyment of your space while not breaking the bank. A well-thought-out planting color scheme can increase your property value, be therapeutic, and create a space everyone will admire.  And, this entire process is meant to be dynamic and ever-evolving, so if something doesn’t work at first, don’t give up; just try again.

If you’d rather hire a professional, or if you want more ideas on how to brighten up your yard, give our award-winning team a call today at 856-753-1944.

29 Mar 2021
container gardening

Mental Landscape: Surviving Stay at Home

As the country, even the world, finds itself within the confines of “Home,” the population is trying to find ways to cope with social distancing.  Outdoor living, landscaping, and gardening have all proved to be invaluable assets to get us through these unprecedented times.

Governing bodies throughout the country have deemed landscape companies as essential businesses allowing them to proceed with operations throughout the entire pandemic. Lawns can still be manicured, fertilization/insecticide applications applied, and so can the planting of flowers, shrubs, and trees. There’s something important about still being about to connect with nature and appreciate it in all its beauty that reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, decreases stress, and strengthens one’s sense of well-being. The fact that this has been recognized by the “powers that be” will enable all of us to get through this and keep our sanity.

Health and Wellness

Outdoor living can help you achieve the balance of physical and mental well-being. The implementation of outdoor spaces can create areas of calm contemplation to reduce overall stress leaving you in a more comfortable state of mind. The use of plant material that appeals to the five senses and soothing audio all add to this healing experience. Active family social interaction within these environments creates another dimension to the overall mental wellness. The same healing gardens seen in health care institutions can be recreated on a residential scale and lead you to embrace absolute Zen.

On a smaller scale, container gardens can become a project providing individuals, and even families, a chance to interact and promote increased physical activity while stuck at home. Sometimes when space is limited, you can still accomplish much with the use of decorative container gardens. The days of terracotta pots are long gone, and bold colors and designs are available in ceramic, stone, and composite. These planting vessels are a great way to add accents of color to your outdoor entertainment space.  Cobalt blues, chartreuse greens, and crimson reds may seem a bit loud for the timider gardener but can provide that little extra pop of needed color. Annual plantings are typically reserved for these container gardens and are removed at the end of the season. An easy way to create added interest is to include plantings of complimenting colors but contrasting textures. The use of grasses/sedges along with flowering plants and trailing vines will create your own personal mini landscape. Edibles are also a great addition not only for their nutritional value but also for the aesthetics of the flower/fruit they produce. Nothing’s better than freshly picked herbs, vegetables while dining al fresco on a mid-summer’s night with friends (hopefully) by the time we get to that point.

Connecting with others is the name of the game in keeping a healthy outlook on life. Even if the substitute for “others” is Mother Nature, let being outside and tending to your garden be your best remedy to ensuring mental well-being on a day-to-day basis. Most importantly, let your family be the other. Keep calm and garden on.

If you would like more information about container gardening or how to transform your property into a beautiful and functional space, give our award-winning team a call today at 856-753-1944.