Outdoor Living Trends

With 2016 halfway done, some outdoor living trends are emerging that aim to increase the enjoyment of your pool and patio area with some of the hottest outdoor living trends this year, from xeriscaping to outdoor rooms.

Outdoor rooms: With the average American home getting smaller due to diminishing budgets, fewer large lots available or a desire for more comfortable and close-knit living, the trend is to downsize interior living spaces while maximizing outdoor areas. Outdoor kitchens, living rooms and entertainment rooms help homeowners achieve this, incorporating kitchens with sinks and prep areas, wet bars, soft lounges, fire pits, custom stonework, and flat-screen TVs.

Xeriscaping: With water conservation on the brain, the concept of xeriscaping is to include fewer grassy areas (that don’t need watering), strategic plant placement (using shade to cut down on the need for watering) and the use of native plants like alpine violet and brown-eyed Susan rather than non-natives. You can also achieve xeriscaping through the use of grading and soil contouring to bring all available moisture to where you need it most, such as a rain garden.

LED lighting: LED lights are not only more energy efficient, they increase visibility and thus safety around your pool at night. They are available in a wide spectrum of colors and styles to illuminate not only the area around your pool but within it too. You can spend more time outside at night all while adding a fun element to your outdoor escape.

Knife-edge pools: Many of you may be familiar with infinity edge pools, which have one side built slightly lower than the others to allow water to fall over the side, resulting in a floating appearance on the horizon. Knife-edge pools are similar but even more luxurious, allowing water to flow over on all four sides rather than just one side for a smooth, mirror-like surface. It’s also called a perimeter edge pool, where the water flows into a groove directly along the edge for a streamlined, flat and precise appearance.

Water features: With more and more sleek pools like knife-edge pools making their way onto the NJ scene, unique waterfalls and fountains are being constructed to complement them. Custom water features give you a cooling benefit plus you can relax nearby listening to the gentle sound of running water. Choose a stand-alone feature or have one built right into the landscape of your pool for a natural experience.

Top Ways for Working With a Landscaping Company

There is something wonderful about a yard that is creatively and beautifully landscaped. Unfortunately, for many people achieving that picture perfect yard is only something about which to dream. After all, that perfect yard takes a great deal of work and time and many just don’t have those items in bulk. However, there is an alternative – you can hire a professional landscaping company to not only help you create the yard of your dreams, but to continue the maintenance so that you can make the most of the time you have to enjoy your yard.

But what should you anticipate when working with a landscaping company? If you have never talked to a professional landscaping team, then chances are, you have a few questions. For instance: Should you already have a plan or will they create one for you? How long will the project take? And, what types of plants will be needed?

These are great questions – so here are the responses to those and others.

· Should you already have a plan or will they create one for you? This is entirely your call. You may opt to approach a landscaping company with a design in place or they can come to your home and through a series of question combined with the layout of your yard.

· How long will the project take? This will depend on the scope of your work and the landscaper’s schedule. However, keep in mind that most landscapers have more than one job going on at a time and they may have to rotate where they are working on a given day.

· What types of plants will be needed? Again, this will depend on your region, how much time – if any- you want to invest in upkeep and the landscape design.

· What should I expect in regards to payment? Ideally, you should have a written contract of what the job will entail along with a payment schedule. Be sure that everything is according to your plan and needs before signing a contract.

· Can I look at the materials/plants being used for the job before they are in put in place? Any reputable landscaping company will allow this. If the company you are talking to is not agreeable to this, find another company.

Tips To Increase Curb Appeal

The curb appeal of a home or business is one of the most important things. When homeowners increase the curb appeal of their home, they instantly increase the value of the property while giving neighbors a better impression.

Curb appeal is even more important for commercial buildings, where an impression can decide whether a client comes in to make a buy, or takes their money elsewhere. With how important curb appeal is, it’s important to understand exactly how to make a home or business more appealing to the average person.

The Lawn

Customers and neighbors will notice quite a few things at once when they firs gaze upon a place, and one of those things is the lawn. A well-manicured lawn tells people who a home is taken care of and a business is professional. Hiring a landscaping professional to complete this job on a weekly basis is a popular option. For owners that would prefer to save money, simply mowing the grass and weed eating around the edges of the property will do the trick.

The Exterior

When the outside of the building has chipped, peeling paint or broken siding, it can easily deter potential customers and give neighbors a negative impression. Instead, exterior painting can make homes look nice instead of unkempt, and can make businesses seem professional and give potential clients the impression that products are high quality. Depending on how large the building is, exterior painting can be quite the task to take on. Professional exterior painting companies can typically get the job done quicker at an affordable cost.

Flowers and Fountains

Flowers and fountains are not a necessity, but they do increase curb appeal. Hiring a landscaping company can save people from having to do the back-breaking work themselves, and the result will be gorgeous. Plant flowers around the perimeter of buildings, and a nice fountain or arrangements of flowers in circular areas for a traditional look. Different colored flowers in the shape of a circle, a rustic barrel tipped over to give the illusion of flowers spilling out and different types of grass, such as striped grass, are all popular options that will help make a residential or commercial building more aesthetically appealing than ever before.

Fix Concrete

Cracked and uneven concrete not only makes a home more of an eyesore and a business less appealing, it also poses a hazard to neighbors and customers. Children may trip over small cracks, and uneven areas may not be seen clearly in winter weather, causing people to slip and fall. This will not only irritate people and turn away business, it can result in a lawsuit that will wind up costing owners more money than it would take to simply repair the concrete. Many companies that specialize in exterior work, such as painting, are also able to complete minor concrete repairs.

Curb appeal can make or break a business. It can help customers find a business they are looking for when customer service representative describes it as “the white building with the pink and yellow flowers out front”, put clients at ease (making them more likely to spend money) and can simply make a business more well-known for being beautiful (instead of being well-known for the mail man who fell and broke his leg on the uneven sidewalk.)

Residential units can benefit just as much from owning a home that appears beautiful on the outside and inside. When neighbors see a home that is beautiful on the outside, or a home owner that is trying to make it beautiful, they are more likely to stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood. Pretty things put people at ease and are inviting, while things that are not aesthetically appealing tend to have the opposite effect.

Colossus Painting provides a wide array of services to help beautify the community, one building at a time. Interior services consist of stucco work, waterproofing, staining, varnishing and sealing concrete floors. Exterior services offered include painting, pressure cleaning, concrete restoration and more. Green services are also available. With over 15 years of experience, this leading business in the San Diego area brings a superior amount of knowledge and experience to every project, whether it is the small task of helping decorate one living room wall or an entire home. Services for residential units, commercial building and government buildings are available at affordable prices.

Tips For Maintenance Your Flower Garden

Although a lawn would be a welcome addition to any property, having flowering pants on or on certain parts of it would make your outdoor space more attractive. With a flower garden, your property will have more color that would make it more appealing not just to the occupants but to guests and passersby as well.

A lot of property owners though do not want to start a flower garden since this feature will require a lot of time, hard work, and money. However, all these issues can be avoided if you create and keep a low-maintenance flower garden.

If you’re interested to start and cultivate a low-maintenance flower garden, below are some useful tips you should bear in mind:

Before planting any flowers, make sure you prepare your soil well. For any plants to grow and thrive in a garden, proper and sufficient soil preparation is required. You can do this by applying compost and peat moss on the beds. Although you can administer plant food after the planting is done, the best way is to improve the soil beforehand so you don’t have to continuously work on fertilizing your flower beds, especially during summer.

Plant perennials instead of annuals. To have plants with blooming flowers every year without having to cultivate new ones is to simply choose flowers that will do that for you. These flowers, of course, pertain to the perennial ones. Although annuals are sometimes more attractive, you will have to buy and plant them year in and year out. And this will cost you not only money but time as well. As such, starting a perennial flower garden is the answer to an eventual low-cost, low-maintenance yet more colorful outdoor space.

Consider the maximum size and sun requirements of the plants. Gardening experts recommend placing tall plants in the back and the small ones in the front. By doing so, you ensure that all plants get the right amount of sun they need. However, you need to factor in the width of the garden and determine if the area gets more sun or shade.

Buy plants when they are in bloom. Lastly, if you’re new to gardening, you may have a hard time imagining how a certain plant would like if you cultivate this in your garden, especially if you are buying potted ones which doesn’t have any flowers yet. The easy fix would be to look at your flowerbeds and identify a particular area that needs some color. After which, buy something in bloom now for that so that you can immediately tell what it will look like and if it will work for your garden.

Did You Have A Plan To Make a Landscape Lighting ?

As a landscape lighting contractor it always amazes me when I walk up to $500,000 homes and they have hardware store landscape lighting installed. Of course they are calling me there because their lights don’t work properly, and the contractor that installed them won’t stand behind his warranty.

The main problem with hardware store lights, are the alligator clips that make the electrical connection. These are bad ideas, because they always fail after a year or two. The problem is that they allow moisture to corrode the alligator teeth, and eventually corrode the cable. In this situation I would cut out the alligator clips strip the cable and make waterproof connections using silicone filled wire caps. This is the only reliable way to connect outdoor lighting.

But still there is the problem with the cheap fixtures themselves. Hardware store lights are the low end of the lighting manufactures lines. They are built cheaply and sold at a low price. That is why there are so many houses using them. The cost to install landscape lighting like this is usually $100 a light. These lights come with a 1 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year.

In comparison to high quality solid fixtures which would cost about $200 a light installed correctly. These lights come with a 5 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year. The fixture will last more like 15 years.

One step better is Kichler potted LED lights which cost 300.00 a light installed but come with a 15 year warranty on the light fixture and the bulb inside. They are expected to last about 30 years.

So let’s add up the dollars over time.

Hardware Store Light / High Quality Light / High Quality Light / Kichler Potted Light
Halogen Bulb / Halogen Bulb / LED Bulb / LED Bulb
Installed correctly / $100 / $200 / $240 / $300
5 years bulbs / $30 / $30 / $40 / $0
5 years labor / $300 / $250 / $50 / $0
New fixture needed / $60 / $0 / $0 / $0
10 year bulbs / $30 / $30 / $40 / $0
10 years labor / $300 / $250 / $50 / $0
New fixture needed / $60 / $0 / $0 / $0
15 year bulbs / $30 / $250 / $40 / $0
15 years labor / $300 / $30 / $40 / $0
New fixture needed / $60 / $120 / $120 / $0
Total / $1,270 / $1,160 / $620 / $300

So the least expensive landscape lighting system to install is the most expensive to maintain over time, and the most expensive to install is the least expensive to maintain over time. This study doesn’t put a dollar amount on the headaches and times that your landscape lighting was not working correctly and waiting for service. Halogen Light bulbs go out randomly, not all at once. But, the costs listed were assuming that all halogen bulbs were changed 1 time per year. LED bulbs were changed 1 time every 5 years and the Kichler light never had to be changed.

The study also shows that LED bulbs cost more to install but save a lot of money in service. LED bulbs are guaranteed to last 5 years in comparison to halogen bulbs 1 year, and LED bulbs use 4 to 5 times less electricity tan halogen bulbs do. I switched my house from halogen to LED and went from using 466 watts to 66 watts, saving about $12 dollars a month on my electric bill.

How To Make Your Backyard Home Beautiful

A great and beautiful backyard is something many homeowners are striving for so that they can show it off to their family and friends. Nowadays there are hundreds of landscaping ideas for your backyard and many of very good, however finding the right one for your home can take some time and research. In this article we will go over how to make a plan that will work for you and take your home to the next level.

The one thing we need to know when planning a good backyard landscaping idea is to use evergreen trees. Many people think that an evergreen tree is just a Christmas tree, however, there are many different types and styles of evergreens that can make your property look great and do not require much maintenance. When you add evergreen trees and shrubs to your backyard it will give it a much more homey feel and make it more inviting to all those who visit your home. You also need to know that evergreen needles are acidic so you need to choose wisely what you will be planting around them. It is also a good idea to get an online guide to help you make the best decision in this matter.

Many homeowners need a backyard landscaping plan that will work them and depending on where they live, also will look good year around. Depending on what part of the country that you live in deciduous trees may not be the best type of tree for you since they do not look beautiful all year long. Many homeowners will choose to plant evergreens since they will look good all year long from spring through winter and you can tier your evergreens by putting a tree in the center and surrounding it with smaller evergreen bushes. It is important to find landscaping ideas for your backyard that your guests will find interesting through out the year. You may also want to consider using potted plants that you can move around so that you can mix and match depending on the time of year.

You should also consider using hardscape which incorporates walls, rocks and fences which will make your property look spectacular all year long. Many homeowners also incorporate climbing plants such as ivy on the walls to make it more appealing. Also when considering landscaping ideas for you backyard do not forget to include flowers and other plants such as prairie grasses as they will enhance your yard and make it more diversified.

This Is Type Of Paving Tiles for Your Swimming Pool Areas

A swimming pool is what gives your home the cherry on top effect. You could make your swimming pool area elegant, classic or modern whichever option suits your desires. The question is how do you get those ideas onto the ground?

When deciding on which tiles to use for your backyard, you should consider whether you want to go for the modern and elegant look or the classic and older look.

Modern tiles are often geometric and symmetrical or the style has been exaggerated with asymmetrical tiles (different size triangles).

Travertine is a good example of how different shapes can be used to keep the backyard up to date around the pool. The tile comes in many different colours and is able to withstand weather change. The material is also able to absorb water allowing you to walk comfortably without slipping.

Limestone tiles have become common with home improvement and renovations. Not only does the paving tile neaten up the area around the pool but it can also resist different climate changes. Because it has a light appearance, it fits the modern profile.

Modern themes often work for any style house. The modern flair is flexible for most uses whether you have a geometric fountain in the front or a garden full of trees surrounding the pool.

The classic pools have more of a rough layout. Although rough, the area still looks good with its different sized stones and paving tiles. You will often find this look at water resorts for the cave concepts.

Flagstone has a natural appearance with its many shapes and natural colours. The paving tile is slip resistant and can be exposed to any temperatures. For this reason the flagstone tiles can be used for a long period of time.

Slate, which is similar to flagstone, is older and heavier than most tiles. Due to the materials it is composed of, it can be cut into any shape and is very easy to install around the pool. The material also comes in different colours to match the idea you have in mind.

Many classier tiles are made from the same materials as slate and flagstone. This would be the ultimate material to use for the exact picture you have in mind for the older and natural look.

Remember This If You Are Looking For Lawn Care Experts

It can be really nice to have your own lawn at home. There are a lot of things that you can do if you have a lawn. However, many homeowners are still hesitant to have their own lawn as they are aware of its high maintenance. Many home experts say that in order to have that well-maintained lawn, you have to spend more time and money.

It’s no surprise why having a lawn was a sign of a high social status back then. You had to rely on manual tools and invest in backbreaking work to take care of it, maintain attractive landscaping, and keep the grass healthy and well-manicured, thus, only households who can pay for a big team of workers on a regular basis can afford to have lawns in their property.

This is actually no longer the case these days as maintaining a lawn has become a more practical and manageable option for a wider range of households. Homeowners and property managers have more access to friendly, affordable, expert lawn care solutions and services. If you have no time and interest for the task and have limited knowledge and capability to conduct proper lawn maintenance, there are lawn care experts who offer expert lawn care services.

Choosing experts in lawn care and landscaping can be a bit tricky with so many firms offering the same services. And so, to know if a lawn care company will deliver, you have to know some factors to consider.

First, look for a guarantee for their work. When a lawn care company offers a 100% no-risk guarantee, you know they’ll do their best to get the job done properly. Insurance policies and worker compensation also give you peace of mind from knowing your property is protected just in case of unexpected incidents.

Secondly, check for great feedback from previous customers. While doing your search, ask for suggestions from your contacts and other people who have experienced the service first-hand. Also, look up independent review sites to check the business’s ratings. The existence of a proven, solid system separates the reputable pros from the fly-by-night contractors.

How To Threat Your Trees Through Winter Season

Winter is a time for rest for our trees and shrubs, but there are things we can do to keep them warm and protected throughout the cold weather so they are in optimal condition come spring.

Some examples of cold damage to trees and shrubs are sun scald, dieback, frost heaving and root injury. Sun scald happens when the bark on a tree heats up on chilly winter days when the sun is hitting it, which prompts bark tissue to grow, but then suddenly die once the sun goes down and the colder temperatures return. There are several species of tree where this is more common, but it also is more prevalent in younger trees because as trees age, their bark becomes harder which makes them more protected from the problem.

There is a solution to sun scald and that is simply to wrap the trunk of the tree with a tree wrap, use a plastic guard around the tree or just wrap the trunk in a light coloured material. Any of these solutions deflect the sunlight and protect the tree. It is recommended that newly planted trees be wrapped for their first two winters and thin barked trees for at least their first five.

We think that evergreens are hardy enough to withstand anything Mother Nature can throw their way, but they too can be damaged by the cold. The big thing with evergreens is they dry out when they lose water. If there are sunny winter days or a lot of wind in a winter, this can happen a lot faster. A simple solution is to ensure those evergreens are watered well in the fall so that they can retain some of that water and alleviate the problem of drying out. Also making a screen around them to ward off the wind or wrapping them in burlap can help. Snow is also a great insulator, so you can shovel some of it around the base of your evergreens to keep them warm and happy through the winter months.

Lastly, make sure there are no cracks in the soil around your trees and shrubs and that the root zone is covered with at least 6″ of mulch–you can also use pine needles and bark for a mulch if you need to, just keep the bottoms of those trees protected and insulated. Come spring you’ll be happy you took the time to winterize your trees!

Why You Need Garden Care Service And Horticulture

The exterior is the first thing that greets everyone, so it is important to keep the house clean and attractive, including using proper lawn and garden care service. If the garden, the flower beds is left unattended for a long time they can quickly develop into a messy green ground with overgrown grasses. Therefore, it is important to give proper shape to plants and sculptures to transform the look and function of a garden and add value to the property. By taking the advice of a garden landscaping expert, one can create the perfect outdoor space. Gardens are also maintained to preserve its authentic value.

The garden is the most vital part of the house as it is the place for playing, sitting at ease in the winter season or having the morning or evening cup of tea with family and friends. But many times patchy green grounds with dead plants may make the surroundings uncomfortable to dwell with. This can all be caused due to inferior soil quality, improper watering, entrance of unwanted exotic shrubs and poor seed case in relation to sunlight quantities. A quick way to solve the problem is time to time staking, watering them. Professional services include free delivery in the areas served by them, which makes it easier for the people to hire them for a great lawn and garden.

A beautiful yard with a great garden looks great, but with well maintained ornamental plants. All this is not easy as it requires technical skill and a lot of expertise. The various gardening services like seedling, aeration, application of pesticides for weed and insect control enables to have a gorgeous view of the landscape and increase the value of the home in the eyes of the passersby. Additionally, technically knowledgeable persons in the field of horticulture helps to provide tips as to what works and what doesn’t for better lawn and garden care.

Another way of improving the garden’s quality is by getting quality mulch. Almost all types of organic matter like hay, straw, leaves, straw dust, paper, bark or grass clippings, used as mulch materials serve all the requirements of an effective garden care. Mulching also helps in retaining the soil moisture, temperature, prevents it from eroding, reduces the growth of unwanted weeds. The natural mulches have a more earthly look on them and are best applied in the spring.

When looking at the lawn that surround the garden one must consider other factors like local weather conditions, the amount of sunlight received and the soil type. Since lawn and garden care is very regional the majority of the garden care service offers a professional approach to meet the goals and needs of the local people. Apart from that, they include an expert team of supervisors who prepare a checklist of work to be done, suggestions if any, and the difficulties faced by the customers. In addition, several landscaping companies across the world offer garden care services for free thus satisfying the customers to the utmost. They also provide some security measures and time to time recommendations for improving the site garden beds, lawn and grass areas, with the use of mechanized tools within the estimated budget of the clients. They are gentle, polite and patient and offer hassle free services with no obligation due to which people rely on them for fuller satisfaction.