Backyard Landscape Designs Creating More Living Space | Washington DC
According to the Zillow Home Value Index, the average price of a home in Washington, DC runs upwards of $400,000. Each year those prices continue to rise.
What does this mean for people living in the Washington, DC area? If they want to experience the joys of home ownership, they are going to have to dig deep into their pockets to finance their living spaces.
Are you one of those who do a lot of living in your home but still come up short when it comes to having enough space to do all of your living? If so, one solution is to consider how you can create more living space by expanding some of the living you do into the outdoors.
That's right. Urban living spaces often have more space outdoors that homeowners can incorporate into their homes, provided they think outside the box and utilize space that might work well. If only they could figure out the “how-to”!
Wise is the city dweller who incorporates backyard landscape design ideas so that the outside living space becomes an extension of home living spaces.
With the help of an experienced lawn and patio team, you can come up with ways of taking existing outside space and turning it into an additional living area. Carefully placed plants, shrubbery, outdoor furniture and even custom-built carpentry can turn outdoor areas, either cozy and small or roomy and large, into an outdoor landscape design you'll be proud to show to family and friends.
Is reading or relaxation your thing? Add a small water feature, a hammock and a wooden privacy wall or vine-covered latticework just outside your back door.
Do you need more space to entertain? How about a custom-designed patio or gazebo complete with a comfortable sofa, table and chairs near your outdoor fireplace or grill?
The right plantings, flowers and other shrubbery can take your outdoor living spaces to an entirely new dimension. So, too, can your choices of exterior lighting add atmosphere, mood and perhaps a bit of magic to your evenings spent at home.
When winter weather transforms your sidewalk and driveway into a dangerous skating rink, how do you melt the ice and snow without destroying your lawn and ornamental plants?
The key is to choose an environmentally safer deicer, use it in moderation and according to instructions, and to apply it before it begins to sleet or snow.
All chemical deicers essentially work in the same manner, by lowering the freezing point of water. The most common ice melter is sodium chloride (NaCl), otherwise known as good old-fashioned rock salt. Its popularity can be attributed to its low price and wide availability. However, since salt water still freezes at 0°F (or -18°C), it is of little help when the temperature falls below this point. Rock salt can also be destructive: it can corrode your car and your concrete walkway, and it can damage or kill your lawn and ornamental plants.
A better bet is to use one of the alternative, safer salts on the market. These include Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2), and Potassium Chloride (KCl). In general, these salts are more effective in reducing the freezing point of water to a lower temperature than rock salt, thus making them more effective in colder weather. Moreover, they tend to be less corrosive to metals and concrete, and are safer for lawns and ground-covers. Be sure to carefully look at the manufacturer's label for the listing of chemicals.
A newer, salt-free melting agent is calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), which is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid (the main compound of vinegar). This material has little impact on plants and animals, and is a good alternative for environmentally-sensitive areas. Pelleted fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate are sometimes also used for melting snow and ice, but these tend to damage concrete more than the salts. For locations where chemical deicers are not appropriate, sand, kitty litter, or gravel can provide some traction, but they will not melt ice or snow.
Whatever product you choose, be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and do not over-apply. Too many people erroneously believe that if 8 ounces is good, then 16 ounces must be better. Improper use of any chemical deicer may cause plant injury, which appears as drying, stunting, dieback, or "burning" of the foliage.
Want to have a great looking, low maintenance yard, while simultaneously supporting the Chesapeake Bay watershed?
Bayscaping is a method to landscape a commercial or residential property that provides habitat for local and migratory animals, improves water quality, and reduces the need for chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Bayscaping is valuable to the homeowner because it offers greater visual interest than lawn, reduces time and expense of maintaining a lawn, and addresses problem areas.
The principles of bayscaping includes the reduction of watering, chemical use, water runoff, and maintenance. It emphasizes the use of plants that are native to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Native plants are adapted to our soil, temperature, and rainfall conditions. After initial installation, native plants are virtually maintenance free. When a bayscape is designed properly, it can be aesthetically pleasing, drought resistant, and low maintenance.
If you are interested in a drought resistant and low maintenance landscape, please contact one of Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.'s professionally trained landscape designers to guide you through the design process.
How to Choose a Landscape Contractor by Jamie Newell
A landscape company that has a design staff is the best way to approach any landscape project. If you need something small like drainage and grading or a larger project such as an outdoor entertainment area, it is always a good idea to talk to a designer first. By consulting with an experienced designer, you will have the advantage of seeing the big picture. This will ensure that the completed task will fit nicely with the rest of your garden.
A design/build company will provide strong communication between the designer who made the arrangements and the workers who will install the project. If something unforeseen should arise, the designer can make on site changes to the project without delaying the job. There is nothing more frustrating than having two different companies blaming each other for something that was overlooked.
The first challenge is to find a good designer with a solid company to back them up. You might start by asking a friend or neighbor with a nice garden whom they would recommend. After you have chosen a well established company, it would be wise to see examples of their work and check their references. Stay away from a salesperson that is high pressure or doesn't spend time exploring different options with you. Choose someone who listens to your needs, asks the right questions, and understands the problem. Look for a designer that can communicate their ideas well.
The next step depends on the nature of the project. If it's a small or simple job a well written proposal is important to be sure everything discussed is included. If the job is large or complicated have a design prepared. A professional drawing may add cost but it can save a lot of headaches down the road. Whether you get a full scale rendering or a quick sketch, make sure the plan solves the problem and will look nice from season to season.
Once you have a qualified designer backed up by a reputable company with a good design, make sure the proposal is broken down in a way that you can see how much each task will cost. This will help you decide how to move forward in a budget conscious way and get the most for your investment. Be sure the agreement spells out a timetable for completion, payment schedule, specific walTanties, and the right to cancel.
Landscaping is a great investment for your property. When you decide to renovate your garden, make sure you choose the right company. Make sure the company is licensed, in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, and has good references. Before the project begins, have a good plan and a clearly written contract. Make sure the designer will be on the job to supervise the installation team. Be thorough before the job starts and you will end up with a garden that will grow nicely and stand up to the test of time.
Landscape Brighteners In lieu of summer's blazing color, many gardeners brace themselves for a winter of gray and brown, if not flat-out white. No matter if your winter is just a little chilly or bone-freezing cold, try these tips to brighten your landscape:
Install trees and shrubs that have beautiful exfoliating bark, vibrant berries, or bright evergreen foliage.
Install winter annuals or evergreens in containers near doors or windows, so you can enjoy them from indoors.
Not Your Average Pansy Every fall and spring all you see are the usual pansies in annual beds and containers. When the temperature drops and precipitation is in the forecast, those pansies look terrible and can develop gray mold. The pansy's cousin, the viola, is stronger and hardier, but has small blooms. Horticulturists have introduced the panola as a cross between the two. The panola has larger blossoms, better performance during inclement weather, and longer lasting blooms. The panola should be your new fall color standard!