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Blog > Things to Consider When Designing an Outdoor Living Area

Things to Consider When Designing an Outdoor Living Area

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Having an outdoor living area is becoming increasingly popular. Being outdoors helps decrease people's anxiety levels and improves mental health, and these spaces also give people more living area and a better space for entertaining while potentially increasing the value of the home. To get the most benefits, however, the outdoor living area has to be designed well.


Consider the Intended Use


Before beginning to design an outdoor living area, a homeowner needs to decide exactly what they hope to do in that area once it's completed. Is it an area meant for entertaining others, a relaxing retreat for the whole family, or a play area for the kids? A relaxing place to read or nap requires a different setup than an area meant to feed and entertain 20 of your closest friends and family.


Consider the Property's Features


No matter how much you might dream of a large patio surrounded by citrus trees, if you live in an area that gets cold in the winter and you have a hilly backyard, this isn't realistic. Think about what's already working with the landscape and what needs to be changed. If you're not sure what's possible or what would be the best plan for the space, consult a professional like those at A Greener Season Landscaping for help.


Plan for Comfort and Convenience


The plan for your home's outdoor living space needs to take into consideration the comfort of the people who will use the space as well as convenience. This means having some type of wall or tall greenery to provide privacy and some type of covering to protect people from the sun and perhaps other elements as well. This could be done through the use of awnings, pergolas, or even umbrellas. To add to the convenience, make sure there are easy paths to get from the inside of the house to the outdoor living area as well as to other parts of the yard. Adding outdoor access to utilities, such as water and power, will increase the convenience of the outdoor living area and make it less likely people will need to go inside. Include lighting and perhaps a heat source to increase the time that the room will be usable throughout the year.


Think About the Views


An outdoor living area should be attractive when viewed from inside the house, and the view while sitting in this area should be beautiful as well. Try to use materials that go nicely with the materials used in the home and the colors of the plants and materials in the rest of the landscaping.


Think Long Term


Even if you can't afford to create the outdoor living area of your dreams right away, have a plan and keep the end point in mind while you work toward the ideal space in stages. If you start with putting in a patio, make sure to include any utility hookups that will be needed in the future at the same time so you won't have to dig up the landscaping again later to do this. It's best to get these lines in place near the start of the project, including any water or electrical lines needed for an outdoor kitchen or water feature that will be added in the future.


Think About Maintenance Needs


Another thing that people need to consider in the planning stages is how much time and effort they can and will spend handling maintenance. It's possible to plan outdoor living areas that need very little maintenance, but it may require making some compromises to your idea of the ideal space. Using plants native to the area, using hardscaping to minimize the areas that need mowing, and using the proper materials can all make a difference on the amount of maintenance that will be necessary.

Blog > Bring Your Landscape To Life With A Little Love And Attention

Bring Your Landscape To Life With A Little Love And Attention

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Bring your yard and garden to life and create a focal feature for your property with the help of a professional landscaping company. Creating a captivating and cultivated landscape doesn't have to require a lot of work or maintenance; simply talk with the experts about the best options for your property, climate, and preferences.


Some unique and alluring features for your landscaping include:


Fountains


If you want to take visitors' breath away, install a beautiful water fountain; these are found widely in electric, solar-powered, and battery-operated styles, and the gentle water and trickling sound can transform your yard into a serene and peaceful sanctuary. Furthermore, these provide a perfect water-source for visiting birds or wildlife, if you have an interest in sitting by the pond to watch nature.


Water Features


If a fountain isn't your thing, consider a different water feature such as a pond or a waterfall. A pond is a fantastic feature that will provide hours of joy as you sit and watch the water as you relax after work, or to brighten your day when you watch the sun rise above the water each morning. Depending on your property's demographics, it may be possible to insert a prefabricated liner which makes this a swift and simple landscaping task.


Lighting


Your home's exterior lighting does far more than provide a calming illumination over the features of your yard and property; it also provides a sense of security and safety for anyone living there. Consider talking with your landscaper about motion-sensor lights outside your home to deter trespassers, as well as solar lighting along any paths or walkways to prevent falls. Some homeowners may find that investing in security lighting outside has a favorable impact on their homeowners' insurance rates, too.


Hardscapes


Hardscaping is an excellent idea for those homeowners who don't want to spend every free weekend taking care of their yard or garden. The options include paved spaces, patios, stonework, and other non-living features that will enhance the overall appearance of your property. Some other hardscaping options are out-buildings, pergolas, and labyrinths.


The Lawn


When your lawn and grass look shabby, the rest of your landscaping appear unkempt, too. Despite the many reasons why it makes sense to maintain a lawn, sometimes life can get in the way and put property-owners behind schedule. If you have a hectic schedule, line-up lawn care to ensure your yard is pristine, improving your property's overall curb appeal.


Some things to have done routinely include:


Mowing. At least twice a month during peak-season, to keep your yard looking lush and green.

Trimming. Make sure to augment your mowed lawn with trimming around the edges, structures, and features to make your property look its best and curb weed-growth.

Pruning. Sagging branches can break-free during windy weather and pose a potential hazard for anyone who lives nearby. Do your part by keeping trees pruned on and around your property.

Fertilizing. Make sure that your lawn has the nutrients needed to come-in green and full with fertilizer treatments periodically. Sodding. Trying to grow grass quick? Talk to your landscaper about laying sod for a thick lawn in a hurry.


Retaining Walls


A retaining wall lining the driveway or evening out your property's terrain can be the finishing detail that your landscaping is currently missing. This gives the space a polished and manicured look that others will notice, while also increasing convenience and accessibility to your entire exterior space.


Are you missing an opportunity to enhance and improve the overall looks of your home? Talk to A Greener Season Landscaping about a design plan and maintenance schedule that will keep your home or business exteriors looking alluring and well-kempt. Ask about options for unique features that will also add to the utility and function of your property, including retaining walls and paving.

Blog > A Guide to Designing a Rustic Landscape In Your Yard

A Guide to Designing a Rustic Landscape In Your Yard

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Finding the right landscaping to reflect the beautiful Idaho mountains and countryside is key to creating the best look for your rural home. It's the first thing that your guests will see and one of the aspects of your property that you'll spend the most time enjoying.

So, how can you choose the right rustic landscape design? Here are 4 keys to the perfect result.

Think About Use

The right yard layout begins and ends with how you want to use the space. The best way to plan the layout is with two steps: a list and a sketch.

First, write a list of the things you enjoy most about your outdoor space. Your list may include things like a particular view, a permanent deck or patio, and a garden. These are elements you can build upon. They should form a "skeleton" to begin your design.

Then, add a list of the things you want to be able to do in the yard after you're done building it. Do you want to enjoy evenings around the fire with friends? Or are you more of a solitary soul who enjoys walking along pathways in the woods? What are your favorite views, and how do they reflect your priorities? Do you want to encourage wildlife or keep it at a distance?

Identifying your personal goals and personal style will help you create a space that you'll get more use out of and find more enjoyment in.

Keep Things Loose

Mountain landscapes generally reflect nature at its wildest. This means that you probably want to skip the manicured lawn and leave the hedge trimmers in the shed. Crisp, clean lines are anomalous in nature, so they should be as few and far between as possible in your yard.

When you do trim bushes, trees and plants, do so by hand so that the shape embraces the randomness of nature. In addition, lawns, garden beds and pathways should include curves and a gently undulating look.

Along these lines, don't fight the occasional intrusion of nature as well. If some wildflowers (such as English daisies) pop up in the grass, enjoy them rather than mowing them down too soon. Let moss grow in some areas and encourage birds and bumblebees to enjoy the yard too.

Lead Guests Through

Once your key elements are in place and you know how you want to use the space, begin designing ways to move your guests through the space. Walkways should be wide and well-lit near the house so as to invite people to wander around outdoors. They should provide easy access to the main destinations in the yard -- things like a fire pit, entertainment lounge or your favorite viewpoint.

Farther away from the home, you may want to narrow the paths and use a softer flooring material. This effect can encourage walkers to slow down and enjoy the features of your yard. Throw in a spot to stop and sit for a while, too.

Go Native

When choosing plants and shrubbery for your mountain yard, look to the native elements around you for inspiration. Native, local plants generally require less care and water because they thrive in the climate already. This can be vitally important at higher altitudes. If you need help identifying local plants to use, work with a local landscape service .

By using flora native to your area of Idaho or the Northwest-often such beautiful and easy plants as columbine, cinquefoil or hyssop-you'll give the yard a bit of personality. It also helps you create an organic palette that's unique to your area and less generic.

However you combine these basic starting points, you're sure to end up with a mountain yard that you'll love to call home.
Blog > 3 Steps to Choosing the Flowers, Trees,and Other Plants That Will Thrive in Your Yard

3 Steps to Choosing the Flowers, Trees,and Other Plants That Will Thrive in Your Yard

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There are several steps to choosing which plants are likely to thrive in a yard and which likely won't, and these steps cannot be skipped when you desire beautiful landscaping that will thrive for many years.

While the landscaping experts at A Greener Season Landscaping will be happy to help you determine which plants you love will thrive in your yard, read on to learn the steps involved in deciding which plants will likely thrive in a yard when cared for properly and which may not.

1. Determining the USDA Hardiness Zone You Live In

The first step to deciding which plants are likely to thrive in your yard is determining what gardening zone you live in. The most popular gardening zone map is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which divides the nation into 13 zones based on their average high and low temperatures, average annual rainfall and other aspects of the local climates.

To determine what your local hardiness zone is, visit the USDA website and type in your local zip code. The website will then inform you of your zone, which will consist of a number and a letter. For example, if you live in Twin Falls, ID and your local zip code is 88301, your hardiness zone is 7a.

You can then perform a web search or scroll through gardening catalogs to find plants that have been known to thrive in your zone.

2. Figuring Out How Much Sunlight Each Area of Your Yard Gets

While finding out what hardiness zone you live in can help you narrow down your landscaping options, it is important to know that not every plant that can thrive in your zone will thrive in your yard. There are many other factors to take into consideration when planning your landscaping, and an important one is the average amount of sunlight each area of your yard receives on a daily basis.

When checking the sunlight requirement of a plant, you will find one of the following phrases: full sun, partial sun, partial shade or shade. A plant that requires full sun typically needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, although some perform better with even more. One that requires partial sun will thrive with about 4 to 5 hours of sun exposure each day.

Plants that require partial shade require about 2 to 4 hours of sunlight each day, and plants that require shade thrive when exposed to less than one hour of sunlight each day.

There are many ways home gardeners determine how much sun a specific area of their yard they would like to plant in gets each day. Some simply set aside a full day, from dusk until dawn, to check the sunlight conditions in each area of their yards hour by hour. However, professional landscape designers have advanced techniques they use to determine how much sunlight each area of a yard is likely to receive each day.

3. Ensuring Soil Conditions Will Help Plants Thrive

One factor that many new gardeners forget to take into account when planting is the soil condition a specific plant is most likely to thrive in. The composition of the soil and the soil pH may both need to be altered to ensure a favorite flower or bush will perform well.

There are five main types of soil: loamy, sandy peaty, clay and saline soil. Once you determine what type of soil you have in an area of your yard, adding additional sand, silt, or clay to it can adjust its composition to what is ideal for your plant.

Most plants perform relatively well in soil that has a pH level of about 6-7. However, tailoring the soil pH to the level a specific plant loves can help ensure it thrives. For example, blue hydrangeas thrive in soil that has a pH level of 4-5. If the soil you would like to plant them in is more basic or acidic, then a natural pH-adjuster, such as pulverized lime or ground sulfur, can be used to bring it to the ideal pH level.

If you want beautiful landscaping that will thrive for many years with proper care, then reach out to A Greener Season Landscaping to discuss your landscaping desires.

 
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