Many service firms provide landscaping services for office parks, restaurants, retail establishments, and residential complexes. Generally, it is cost-effective to hire a professional firm rather than to employ workers to plant and/or maintain vegetation.
Most companies recognize the benefits of green plants to both their workers and their customers: Plants make a building look well cared for and more inviting. Even big-box stores with only a large parking lot include trees or other plants in the medians.
And outdoor malls usually feature hanging baskets and large plant containers on the streets and sidewalks. Studies have shown that green plants improve the shopping environment, tend to make customers linger, and encourage more purchases. And arriving at an attractive green environment in the morning can certainly improve your employee’s attitude.
When new buildings or complexes are planned, the developer or architect selects a landscaper and provides a budget for plants, but all too often that budget is diminished by unforeseen needs and the finished product is less than satisfactory.
Once the building is turned over to the manager or owner they try to remedy this deficiency as soon as possible. Turning to a commercial service firm is often the obvious choice.
The basic decisions to be made out the outset include budget and the desired look. Some choices can be made immediately: fully grown trees and plants, or small starter specimens; perennials that can reliably come back every year, or more colourful annuals that will need to be pulled out and replaced every spring; cultivars that require constant maintenance (trimming, deadheading, etc.), or those that are totally attention-free; and potted shrubs and small trees or only those planted in the ground.
If you desire a constantly changing seasonal display, choose a landscape firm with ready access to greenhouse plants that can be replaced easily.
Landscaping services are quite varied. They can include:
- site clearance and preparation
- custom plantings
- lawn installation and maintenance
- irrigation and watering systems
- trimming and pruning
- general seasonal plant cleanup
- lighting and other fixtures
- design and installation of water features
- garden art
- herbicide spraying
- insect and pest control
- tree maintenance
- mulching and placement of weed control fabric
- winter shrub protection
Most landscape firms provide web sites with a portfolio of projects, which considerably aids in the selection of appropriate service. (Many firms also have uploaded YouTube videos.) Before you select a firm to ask questions about the staff that will be supplying services specifically for your locations.
Ask about the qualifications and training of both planners and maintenance people, and how they plan to accomplish the upkeep your facility will require. If they are providing the plants, do they guarantee replacement for any that fail to thrive?
Green walls, or vertical gardens, are a relatively new innovation, but one that is gaining in popularity. Generally, these are constructed by erecting some type of plant support to a building façade and have been employed in small settings like a pub garden, and large ones on a high-rise building. Most living wall installations are based on some type of modular hydroponic system.
Mature plants installed have an instant impact, and even with little maintenance, the right ones will look really good for a number of years. They provide interesting and attractive texture, a haven for much-needed bees, and a clean air filter.
Careful selection of a landscaping service will provide an attractive look for your facility. You can have seasonal color, a welcoming look, and a place that invites customers to linger with a bit of planning.
Landscaping plant selection basics
Before you start landscaping your front or backyard it is important to understand the basics of plant selection. Even though it is crucial to understand what colors work well together and are complimentary of each other as well as good design techniques, there are other things to know.
Although it will require research, plant selection is quite simple once you know the guidelines to follow and what to take into consideration. These guidelines are divided into primary considerations and secondary considerations.
Primary considerations are the most important and will ultimately determine the look of your garden and yard. The first thing you need to know is the height and width of the mature plant as well as how it will occupy the space. You do not want to put a small plant such as a marigold behind a tall full one like a daylily.
The next thing you may want to consider is the texture of the plants, this will determine whether it will provide shade to the area around it or not. Another thing to look at is the seasonal changes and colors of the plant, determine if it will work with the rest of your yard year-round.
Once you have selected the plants based on the primary considerations you will want to go through the secondary considerations to ensure they will be successful in your yard. The secondary considerations take a look at the ability those specific plants will have to grow in your climate and soil type. It is extremely important to make sure that the desired plants are right for your area or you will be very disappointed with the outcome.
As long as you follow these simple guidelines you should be satisfied with the plant selection in your yard. While many think that plants are only there to a look, they have many other purposes and if used properly can be very beneficial.
Certain plants are used for erosion control, dividers, shading and noise control; so you see, plants aren’t just there for cosmetic reasons; plants are useful in other ways. Just keep in mind that if you go into it blindly, you will not be successful and find yourself having to redo certain areas.
A perennial is defined as a plant that grows back year after year for more than two years. While some perennials will only grow back for a period of a few years, there are some that will come back for thousands of years. This is done through vegetative reproduction; such as tubing or bulbs rather than seeds. Also, perennials are found in a wide range of plants such as vegetables, trees, shrubs, and flowers.
Usually, a perennial shrub will be strong and survive the winter while a perennial flower such as a daylily will die in the fall and then grow in the spring. This quality makes them well-liked among all gardeners; both beginner and avid gardeners regularly choose perennials over annuals. Perennials offer many advantages over annuals as they typically low maintenance overall.
Beginners will usually opt to use perennials simply because they require less work year after year and there are many types of perennials that are low maintenance care on a regular basis. Specifically, daylilies are a favorite with beginners. Daylilies come in a variety of colors, shapes, and forms; which make them beautiful in any garden and since they are so easy, almost anyone can grow them.
The avid gardener prefers perennials because they are able to provide care and nurturing year after year. This makes the perennial a part of their family and they are able to see their hard work for many years.
Daylilies are also a favorite for the expert green thumb because they are considered to be a hybrid plant and can be manipulated to grow how you want and in the colors you prefer. However, hybridization can be quite difficult and that is why it is usually only done by gardeners specializing in daylilies.
As you can see, while it may be for different reasons, perennials are a favorite for anyone with a floor bed or doing landscaping of either their front or backyard. It is obvious why many are choosing perennials over annuals.
Ground Cover Plants
Ground cover plants are typically used to cover bare ground or help compliment ornamental plants. Ground covering plants have many characteristics that are unique to this variation of plants. Almost all are low growing, meaning that they don’t grow any taller than 2’ tall and they will spread on their own with no assistance.
Also, ground covering plants often have the ability to grow in soil types that normally would not allow other plants to survive. However, while many believe that ground cover plants require low to no maintenance, there are many types that do require a fair bit of care and attention.
So just like with other types of plants, it is important to research each specific one and understand the care required as well as the growth patterns.
Before selecting the ground cover plants for your landscaping project there are a few things you will want to take into consideration. You will want to ensure that there is a balance between the ground cover plants and other plants as well as between the area it occupies.
This is so that they don’t end up being the main focal point of the yard; ground covering plants are intended to complement your yard or fill space between flowers. A perfect example of this is daylilies; gardeners will use smaller daylily plants to fill the space below the taller daylilies.
Another thing to be cautious of is the location that you are planting them. You will want to avoid high traffic areas as ground cover plants usually won’t survive this. Even though they are considered to be a hardier type of plant, they will still be damaged if used as a walkway. So only use them in areas that are free of traffic or have very minimal amounts.
Also, try to use organic materials in your soil. This will improve the growth and appearance of the ground covering plant as well as enhance the overall appearance of your yard. So just keep these factors in mind and you will definitely find success with your landscaping project.
Front yard landscape design ideas
Once you understand the basics of landscape design, it is good to get some ideas on what you can do to provide easy access that is beautiful to look at. Creating a welcoming atmosphere is simpler than many thinks and can be done by doing only a few basic things. Here are a few things to get you started:
Plant trees, flowers or shrubs along your sidewalk going up to your front door. This can even be done along the driveway.
If you have a fairly large front yard, you may want to consider adding a bed of some kind in the bigger open area. Make sure it is in a shape that is complementary to the shape your whole yard.
Don`t be afraid to use perennials such as daylilies, because you are worried they will require too much. Many perennials are very required very minimal care and daylilies especially, are very easy to grow and are very pretty in any yard.
Find yard ornaments that go with the overall theme of the house, but nothing too overpowering and that it is a good size in proportion to the size of the house. You do not want to add anything that takes away from the look of your house, only things that enhance the appeal.
An arbor is a nice addition to the entranceway of your back yard or front yard. If you have a fence around your back yard, make sure the arbor is made of the same color like that, however, if there is no fence, just shrubs or bushes, have the color match the color of your house.
Maybe try having rock gardens around any trees or along the pathways. It is easier to care for than flower or plant beds. Plus, there are so many different colors and shapes available now that they too can add a splash of color.
Although these ideas won`t work for every front yard, they are a good starting point. Ultimately it is recommended that you draw out your design first and look through as many pictures as possible. Don`t go into the landscape design step without knowing what you are doing and being sure. It can be quite costly and time-consuming to correct.
Front yard landscape design basics
When landscaping your yard, the functionality behind the design will differ between the back yard and front yard. Typically the back yard is designed to accommodate your entertainment and relaxation requirements. While the front yard is for ease of access to house and backyard as well as offers curb appeal to your property. Knowing the do`s and don`ts is the first step in achieving your landscape design goal.
When designing your front yard you should always start with the driveway and walkways, because this is generally the most used access route to the home. Everything else should be designed around these things and compliment them and the house. Try to avoid have walkways that are too narrow or too many steps. You want access to your home to be easy and free of obstacles.
Cosmetically, a front yard is meant to complement a house, not overwhelm it. You can achieve this by keeping things to scale when it comes to decorative pieces, usually, stick to pieces that are no more than half the height of the house.
There is nothing worse than a statue that hides the whole front of a beautifully designed home. As well, when looking at the front of a house, the focal point is generally the front doors and corners, so you may want to give a little extra detail there, either a plant of some kind or other decoration. However, you need to still maintain balance and proportion.
You will also want to keep the same style as the house. If you have a more modern, linear home; use forms of shrubs to maintain the linear effect in the yard. However, if your home is more traditional, you may want to stick with classics such as vines or daylilies. When choosing flowers, you will want to stick with colors that compliment the colors of your house but don`t blend in either. It is important for the decorations to be seen but not an eyesore either.
These aspects should give you a good understanding of what it takes to have a properly designed front yard. Now you are ready to start actually designing the layout and seeing what specifically works best for your yard.
Tropical landscaping can be very rewarding for both the homeowner who is responsible for it as well as anyone who gets the chance to see it. However, it can be very difficult and takes a lot of care and attention. When planning for tropical landscaping there are three main aspects to consider; the hardscape, the softscape, and the decor.
The first thing you will need to start with is the hardscape. This is referred to the permanent features of the yard and will take a little more work to achieve.
As everyone is aware, tropical environments consist of bodies of water, so you will want to either have a swimming pool or another type such as a fish pond. If either of these is not an option, a fountain or waterfall can also create the same feel.
For the walkways, you could construct twisted pathways from either white sand or rounded stone pebbles. If building a deck is an option or some sort of a hut, use either bamboo or wood that has the same appearance to it.
Once the hardscape is planned, you will want to look at the soft scape. This is generally the plants that are used for tropical landscaping. You will want to use plants that have large leaves in different shades of green.
If you already have large trees in your back yard you can add some hanging plants to the thicker branches to give the appearance of a jungle. You should also include clusters of vibrantly colored flowers that appear to grow wildly.
Now that you have created a tropical atmosphere environmentally, you will want to make sure that the furniture and any decorative pieces follow the same theme. Look for tribal status and pieces that can be placed around your deck or patio. You can also use bamboo mats for in seating areas under chairs and tables.
After these key areas are covered, your yard will not just be beautiful to admire, but it will give visitors a calming and relaxing feeling. It will definitely prove to be effective both aesthetically and functionally.
Landscaping rocks can be used to create a number of things for your yard and enhance the appeal of your home year-round. While using landscaping rocks over plants can be very low maintenance, in the end, they generally are harder to work with initially, so it is sometimes better to hire a professional rather than try to do it yourself.
This is especially true when building retaining walls or making things that require complete waterproofing. Landscaping rocks can be used for a variety of projects such as; patios made of stone, stone walkways and paths, waterfalls, rock gardens, dry-stacked stone walls, garden or fish ponds and mortared retaining walls.
When choosing to use landscaping rocks there are some things to keep in mind to ensure you achieve the result you anticipated, because unlike working with plants that can be changed if you don`t like them, landscaping racks are generally permanent once used. Only certain things involving landscaping rocks can be changed easily, so make sure it is what you want before actually doing it.
Here are a few tips to working with landscaping rocks:
You need to make sure that the surface you will place them on is packed down as much as possible. If it is a larger area you may want to consider renting a machine to do this instead of manually doing it. You don`t want the soil to be loose or you may have to redo the project in the near future.
If choosing to have a rock garden, don`t add it as an afterthought. They are meant to be a main focal point of any yard and should be large in comparison to other aspects with bold colors.
Keep the variation of rocks and stones used the same, just use different sizes. This will give the project a more natural look.
Generally, landscaping rocks are best suited for areas that are sloped, rather than flat surfaces, but can be used in a variety of areas.
Using landscaping rocks either solely or in conjunction with various plants can definitely add to the beauty of your home and property, but should be seriously thought out before actually putting in place. Once you get to that point you are ready to start working with landscaping rocks.
Landscape lighting is no longer just functional, it is used to add beauty to your yard and home as well. This makes it important to know the options available and what each one can be used for. This will hopefully provide you with a better idea of what your options for different areas of your yard when it comes to landscape lighting.
To keep your walkways lit up and safe from hidden dangers there are a couple of different styles of landscape lighting to choose from. You can go with ground lighting that is either set right into the ground encased in a can like a fixture or have stakes at the end to stick into the ground.
Typically ground lighting is not very bright and just gives off a romantic glow. The other type of lighting for walkways is a lamp post style and come in a variety of styles and finishes. This style is brighter and will give people a better sense of security.
Another area would normally require landscape lighting is gathering areas or entertainment spots. This will give added hours of enjoyment to outdoor activities and even ones normally done indoors like playing cards or reading. Outdoors in larger areas, hanging lights typically work best for a few reasons.
They cover more space and can either be strung up on wire or hung from trees and posts. As well they give off a great deal of light the amount of area being covered. If you have a covered area to light you can choose track lighting that will allow you to position the individual lights in different directions to light specific areas.
For water features, landscape lighting is very important. It gives that added enhancement to something that is already beautiful. Depending on the type of water feature will determine the type of lighting and the amount of lighting to use.
If it is a fountain you might want to just put a spotlight below and behind it to give off a silhouette. Ponds should use a variety of lights to illuminate it. They should include both lights around the edge as well as under the water.
An outdoor waterfall should use spotlights either in front of it or behind it and should be placed in a way to give add a shimmering effect to the water.
Ultimately, no matter where you choose to use landscape lighting as long as you don’t overdo it, it will give many added enhancements to your home and yard. Just make sure to choose the right types of lights and place them appropriately, this will ensure success with landscape lighting!
Front yard landscape design lighting
Landscape lighting used to be simple and there weren`t very many options in types of fixtures. Basically, homeowners would use a few can fixtures to line the pathways and possibly a couple of small spotlights on the trees. Now landscape lighting is being used to as a way to help enhance the mood and appeal of a home at night.
Homeowners realized that after spending so much time and money for their homes to be beautiful to those passing by during the day, they also want it to be seen when it is dark. It allows certain elements to be properly showcased the way you intended for them to be. Lighting is no longer just for a safe walk up to the door.
Before purchasing your outdoor lighting, consider the main focus of the front yard as well as where the pathways are. This will help you to select the right kinds of lighting and colors of lights as well as ensure they are properly placed to be the most effective.
Also, think about choosing solar-powered lights over electricity-powered for any ground effect lights. Solar-powered will not only be easy on the environment and save money, but it will also eliminate any underground wiring that may be required.
Key features to possibly add lighting to:
Add a splash of light to the side of the house or a textured fence with a focused beam in a similar color or just clear.
Position lights behind and below trees and statues to add a silhouetted effect.
If you have a basketball hoop in your driveway you may want to use bright overhead lights to provide added playing hours for those that use it.
Lights with low voltage can be placed under handrails and steps to give added safety when using the walkways and entrances in the dark.
Using high beam lights that are on motion detectors will help detour burglars looking for an easy target. These can be positioned to light up your whole property as soon as there is movement within a certain range.
While lighting can definitely be functional and aesthetic, it can be totally pointless if you don`t know what you are doing when it comes to placement. So it is imperative to know what you are doing before starting and keep in mind that you want to see the light the source gives off, not the actual source.
Also, remember that less is generally more when it comes to landscape design and especially in the area of lighting. Good luck with selecting the lighting for your next landscape project!