Front Yard Landscaping Miami

Upgrade Your Curb Appeal with the Help of Our Best Landscape Designers!

Front Yard Landscaping Miami

A good first impression can make a world of difference when you’re selling your home. By upgrading your curb appeal, you have a chance to influence how potential buyers feel about your home before they even step inside.

While it’s important to balance the money you spend on improvements with a realistic idea of what you can recoup, many improvements to your landscaping can cost little, compared to the benefits of increased home value and a faster sale.

Front Yard Landscaping Miami should be colorful and attractive. But a garden that reads “high-maintenance” can scare people away, so it’s important to keep landscaping neat and uncluttered. Below is a list of some simple ways to improve your curb appeal when selling your home. Also, here is a list of 7 unique approaches to front yard landscaping.

Get a fresh perspective
Before you can choose which projects to start with, it helps to see your landscape with fresh eyes and a broad, overall view. We get so used to our landscaping that it can be hard to pinpoint what others might see. There are two simple tricks to seeing your landscape with a new viewpoint. With both of these techniques, the goal is to forget what you think you know about your landscape and to instead see what is actually there.

The first is an old artist’s trick. Stand back from your landscape, far enough away that you can see all of it at once. Then squint your eyes until they blur, and try to clear your mind.

There may be areas that, when viewed with blurred eyes, appear dark and overgrown. Some areas might feel messy because there are too many small plantings, statues, or pots. Or, you may have an area that is bright and clean, but a little too bare. All of these insights can give you a general idea of which projects to tackle first.

The second technique you can use to see your landscape with fresh eyes is to take some black and white photographs of your landscaping. Taking color away can make a familiar space seem new, so you can see it with objective eyes. Nowadays, most digital cameras have a black and white setting, so this is easy to do even if you’re not a techno-whiz.

Define the borders and add mulch
Clean edges fool the eye into seeing the entire landscape as neat and well-maintained. If lawn has crept into your garden beds and created an uneven line, then defining the border can improve the look of the whole landscape.

Start by laying out a garden hose, or using spray chalk to outline the new border. Don’t make the beginner’s mistake of creating a wavy, “drunken snake” of a line; instead go for broad, sweeping curves that are in scale with the size of your home. Then, use a mattock or pulaski to chip away at the grass until you have a clean, attractive line.

Once you’ve established a neat border, a layer of wood chip mulch adds a refined look. Not only does it help keep weeds down during the selling process, but the bright color is attractive, smooths out an uneven soil surface, and generally gives the landscaping a professional finish.

Prune overwhelming shrubs
While pruning can be tough to tackle if you don’t know what you’re doing, there are a few simple pruning techniques that can make a fast difference.

Just remember that you don’t want to prune anything severely if you can help it, or attack anything with the hedging shears unless the plant is quite clearly meant to be a hedge. That kind of pruning makes it obvious that the maintenance got out of control, which is not the signal you want to send to potential buyers!

Instead, focus on subtler ways of pruning. One technique that makes shrubs look neat with little effort is to “skirt” them. Skirting is when you prune around the base of a shrub, removing any branches that are within 6 inches of the ground. This gives a more open appearance, and works wonders on Rhododendrons and other shrubs that can look moundy and overwhelming when sprawling on the ground

Another good pruning task is to gently prune any plant that is touching the house. Plants that lean on the house can cause chipped paint as well as mold and ant infestations. If your buyer has a home inspection done, it’s a problem that will be noted in the report. Pruning plants 8 inches to 1 foot away from the house will give the landscaping a more open appearance, as well as give you room to power wash the house or touch up paint as needed.

The only shrubs that should be pruned heavily are those that are flopping over a walkway, blocking the view from the street to the front door, or keeping light from streaming into a window. Even then, it’s better to thin plants gracefully or consider even removing them, rather than going in for The Big Chop.

Add color with paint and pots
If a focal area isn’t drawing the eye as it should (think front door, patio and seating areas), a bold shot of color can be just what’s needed. While the obvious solution is to use container plantings, there are a few important points to remember.

First, less is more. Choose just one or two larger pots that have a distinctive color or shape, rather than lots of small pots that can feel cluttered.

Next, go for a simple one- or two-color planting scheme that highlights what is special about your home, like the color of the stone, trim, or surrounding shrubs. This keeps the focus on your home, rather than on the individual plantings.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of paint. If your patio furniture looks tired and worn, it will be hard for potential buyers to envision themselves sitting there. Freshly stained or painted patio furniture can draw the eye and help buyers imagine the great times they’ll have in their new landscape. Choose a color that picks up on some element in the landscaping, and add a few cushions to set the scene.

Ask for help
Most landscape designers offer a one-time consultation service. If you’re having trouble deciding what to focus on, even a short meeting with a professional can help you pinpoint the tasks that will bring the greatest return.

As you can see from these projects, even a small investment in the landscape goes a long way towards increasing your curb appeal and making it more likely that buyers will fall in love with your home.

 Call us at (305) 662-7045
Landscape Design Miami

Design Your Landscape to Perfection! Check out These Tips

Landscape Design Miami

When landscaping a yard, walkways often get overlooked. We concern ourselves with pools, patios, and plant selections, but then we neglect to consider how to connect the different spaces in our yard. By ignoring paths, a garden can become disjointed because of the lack of thought put into the transitions and connections.

Not only do walkways guide people throughout your yard, they can also be used to create a mood or atmosphere. You’ll want to start by determining if you are trying to create a formal or informal feeling. Then you’ll need to make a number of important decisions regarding shape, dimensions and materials, which can range from simple gravel to decorative stamped concrete. Other factors to consider include your budget, the desired traffic flow, the amount of foot traffic your walkway will receive, and safety.

Get these tips

In this section, you’ll find tips from landscaping professionals on:

  • The differences between formal garden paths (characterized by straight lines and right angles) and informal pathways (typically curved and meandering), along with advice on where each style works best.
  • Recommended walkway widths for different traffic flow patterns and frequency of use.
  • Selecting materials for a front yard walkway, considering such factors as curb appeal, your home’s exterior architecture, and safety.
  • Determining the best placement for backyard walkways to create destination zones and a natural traffic flow from one area to another.
  • Using a combination of walkways, patios and planting beds as an alternative to a backyard lawn.
  • Landscape Design Miami tricks for varying the width of a path at certain points in the garden to indicate that the visitor has arrived at a destination, such as a shady bench under a tree.
  • The characteristics and applications for the most popular walkway materials (gravel, brick pavers, flagstone and concrete), along with design ideas for each.
  • Choosing among the many decorative options available for concrete walkways, including adding color by staining or integral pigments, imparting pattern and texture through stamping or saw cutting, exposing the aggregate, and adding decorative borders.
  • Using outdoor path lighting for both safety and wayfinding, including advice on path lighting mistakes to avoid.
  • How to choose among the options and styles available for path lighting, including lanterns, lamps, posts, recessed fixtures, and solar lighting.
  • Using pathway edging to create a manicured look, to keep gravel or other loose paving materials in place, and to keep plants and mulch off walkways.
  • How to emphasize a path’s shape with plantings, such as using formal boxed hedges as a border along a straight-edged walkway.

Don’t ignore the important roles pathways can play in your home’s overall landscape. Be sure to consult with a landscape designer for advice on choosing the best materials and specifications.

SOURCE: http://www.landscapingnetwork.com/walkways/

Lawn Sprinklers Miami

Install Lawn Sprinklers Outside Your Home for Better Lawn Maintenance!

Lawn Sprinklers Miami

Most homeowners take a well-designed and properly functioning sprinkler system for granted. Since sprinklers are all but invisible, until they turn on, it is easy to forget about how important they are to keeping your landscape looking its best. On-the-other-hand, if you’ve lived even a short time without automated sprinklers, you’re likely well aware of their value. Hand watering can be tiring and inefficient for the inexperienced eye.

A professionally installed sprinkler system will provide water for your lawn or plants on a schedule. There are two types of watering systems, overhead sprinklers and drip irrigation. Traditional sprinklers are widely used for lawns, while drip lines work well for garden beds. If you are especially concerned with water usage a drip system is a good option.

Before deciding on the type of irrigation system to have installed on your property you should think about what you will need to water. Watering needs are different for lawns than they are for shrubs or trees. If you have existing landscaping, sprinklers can be installed to support what is already there. If you are planning on installing new plants it is helpful to know the location of certain plant types so that your sprinkler installer can get the right heads or emitters in the proper place.

If your home has an existing sprinkler system it is important to make sure it is maintained and that water waste is kept to a minimum. The biggest signs of water waste are wet pavements and run-off. If you notice these problems on your property it is likely that the design of your sprinkler system is not appropriate for the size or shape of your lawn. The solution may be as simple as adjusting the position of a sprinkler head, but a professional can come evaluate your system and help you be more efficient with your use of water.

Having sprinklers installed is not something you should be overwhelmed by, there are many knowledgeable pros who can help you figure out the best system for your needs. Your sprinklers will be up and running in just a few days. All you’ll have to do is make sure the timer is set right and keep an eye out for any signs of problems.

Having underground sprinklers installed requires that trenches be dug. This may disturb your existing landscaping, so make sure you are clear with the installer about any plants you don’t want disturbed. A drip system is installed above ground so it is an easier process with minimal disturbance. If possible, most landscape contractors recommend installing sprinkler lines prior to any other construction work or planting. This way you don’t have to deal with running water lines under pavement or messing up a freshly planted lawn.

Sprinkler systems are a very convenient way to keep the plants in your yard healthy. They can range from simple to high-tech or be designed to conserve water. Use the resources here to better understand sprinkler system options, design and maintenance.

 Call us at (305) 662-7045
Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

How Important Is Low Voltage Lighting for the Appearance of Your Home? Find out Here!

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting is an afterthought for most homeowners, but professional landscapers consider it one of the most important elements in the landscape. “We use lighting for three purposes,” says TJ Wilcoxson of Alexon Design Group in Gilbert, AZ. “To create atmosphere, provide safety by repelling burglars or vandals, and to light the way on paths, patios, and other places we spend time in the landscape.” Here, professional landscape contractors share their tips on using landscape lighting effectively.

Up until 2010, the majority of landscape contractors were using halogen lights, which provide a warm glow and great quality of light. Yet with the recent advances in LED lighting, most contractors have converted their operations to energy-efficient LEDs. Solar lights, by contrast, aren’t currently recommended by professionals.

Halogen lighting

Pros:
“Halogen lighting has a warm, amber glow that makes everything look good,” says Wilcoxson. Gerry DuBreuil of Belknap Landscape Company, Inc. of Gilford, NH agrees. “Until recently, we were primarily using halogen and incandescent lighting because of the light quality.”

Cons:
Unfortunately, halogen lighting costs more to run than LED. “Choosing LEDs over halogen will save you 60-70% of your energy costs each month,” says Wilcoxson. Halogen lights also require more maintenance. As Matt Barton of Coppercreek Landscaping, Inc. in Mead, WA points out, “Halogen bulbs need replacing every 8-12 months, depending on how long the system runs each day. Compare that to LEDs which have a 10-year bulb life, and LEDs look like a set-it-and-forget-it solution.” Halogen lights can also run hot, which means lights must be placed carefully so plants are not brushed up against the fixture or bulb.

When having low-voltage landscape lighting installed you may hear your contractor use these terms:

  • Low Voltage Transformer: A transformer converts line voltage power from a dangerous 120 volts down to 12 volts.
  • Direct burial cable: Low voltage cable can be direct burial cable meaning it does not require placement in a conduit when set underground.. The longer the run the heavier your cable should be. Line loss occurs more readily in smaller cables. Plan your system with 12-2 twisted pair wiring for typical runs and 10-2 or even 8-2 for runs over 100 feet.
  • Line loss: Low Voltage electrical systems are very susceptible to “line loss”, the voltage drop caused by resistance in wire during transmission of electrical power over distance.
  • Watts: A watt is a measurement of total electrical power. Volts x amps = watts
  • Cable Load: Cable load defines how many watts can be on any one cable. Plan for 100 watts on 12-2, 150 watts on 10-2 and up to 200 watts on 8-2.
 LED lighting

Pros:
Most professionals use LEDs almost exclusively now. “Our clientele are asking for LEDs more and more,” says DuBreuil. The obvious benefits are those of cost and maintenance savings over time. LED bulbs generally have a 10-year warranty so you rarely need to replace them, and the monthly cost to run is much less than halogen. “They’re eco-friendly,” says DuBreuil.

But there are other benefits, too. “LED bulbs have a very crisp light that really brings out the features of a home or landscape,” says DuBreuil. LED bulbs are available in warm white, white, and cool white tones. “The cool white has a bluish tone most people dislike,” DuBreuil continues. “I generally use warm white bulbs.”

Barton points out that because of the energy efficiency, LEDs can be easier for your landscaper to install. “You can use more lights on a run, or even use a smaller transformer which saves money. It takes a lot less wiring and labor time to install LEDs compared to halogen.”

LED bulbs also stay cool, which means you can nestle a plant next to your LED fixture without worrying about burning the foliage.

Cons:
Most of the cons of LED lighting are in the past. “LEDs have come leaps and bounds in the last couple of years in terms of quality of light and fixtures,” says DuBreuil. While the LED bulbs of the past were a cold bluish-white, now the bulbs are available in warmer tones that feel more welcoming in the landscape. In addition, manufacturers have begun offering well-designed, professional-grade fixtures that last well in the landscape.

The price of bulbs is another consideration. “LED bulbs can run $30-40 each,” says Wilcoxson, “while halogen bulbs are only about $6.” Yet the ease of installing LEDs means that the higher cost often balances out in labor savings.

Placement in the landscapeIn a new landscape, once you have a written landscaping plan it’s easy for a professional to recommend some high-impact locations for lighting. Some of the best locations will be specific to your particular landscape, but there are a few common places that work well when lit.

  • Pathways and steps – “We call this traverse lighting because it helps you get from one place to another,” says Wilcoxson.
  • Decks and patios – Similarly, patio lighting is called “converse”. “This type of lighting allows you to enjoy conversation and company,” Wilcoxson says. “When you chat with friends, you want to be able to see them.”
  • Home and architecture – Barton suggests lighting your front entry, pillars and stone veneer.
  • Water features – “There are underwater lights available that highlight the rippling water in a simple, classic way,” says Barton.
  • Driveway – Few lights are needed on the driveway, since we all have headlights. The best tactic for lighting a driveway is to light the landscape alongside.
  • Trees – Uplighting into trees creates bold shadows in the landscape, while downlighting from the top of a tree mimics the romantic effect of moonlight.
  • Patio covers and pergolas – “A chandelier light fixture overhead feels inviting and creates ambience,” says Barton.

Budget-friendly lightingWhile landscape lighting is one of the first things to get thrown out when the budget is tight, landscapers urge you to reconsider. “Here in Arizona, we don’t sit outside in the afternoon. It’s just too hot,” says Wilcoxson. “But as soon as the sun goes down, you can have barbecues, night-time parties, or just sit quietly outside enjoying the landscape. Good lighting lets you actually use your landscape.” If the budget doesn’t allow for a full lighting installation, you can either break the project into two stages, or just choose a few key locations to light.

Barton suggests that if you can’t afford lighting right now, “at least pre-wire it so if you install it later, your landscaper won’t have to dig up your sod and beautiful landscape.” When your landscape is all dug up and in the construction phase, it takes very little effort to run wiring throughout the landscape. Once you lay sod and your shrubs have filled in, digging up the landscape to add wire takes a lot more time and money. “I would 100% encourage people to pre-wire; it saves so much money for them in the end,” says Barton.

If you’d like to install lighting right now but need to keep it minimal, there are a few areas to consider first.

  • Pathways and patios – “The functional areas always come first,” says Barton. This lets you actually spend time in your landscape after dark.
  • Architectural features – DuBreuil suggests putting the focus on your home. “Pillars, stone and veneer make beautiful shadows and cast indirect light into the landscape,” he says.
  • Focal areas – Every landscape will have its own unique features. Old twisting trees, waterfalls, or spiky plants are all dramatic candidates for lighting.

 

SOURCE: http://www.landscapingnetwork.com/landscape-lighting/low-voltage.html

Need Some Fresh Backyard Patio Ideas? Check Them out Here!

Backyard Design Company

Most people think of a patio as simply a place to spend time outdoors. However, there are a wide variety of uses for a patio. Patios can be used for dining, cooking, socializing, relaxing, playing and more. The style of your patio will change depending on the activities you want it to accommodate.

The four most popular patio styles are dining patios, living room patios, bistro patios and sundeck patios. Each of these patio styles serves a different purpose. You can incorporate one, or all of them into your yard, depending on how much space you have available.

Backyard Design Company An outdoor dining patio will provide you with a space to enjoy a (fresh) meal al fresco. Sisson Landscapes in Great Falls, VA.
Backyard Design Company
This patio was designed to accommodate four chase lounges for comfortable sunning. Milieu Design in Wheeling, IL.

Outdoor Dining Patio
Outdoor dining patios are a must for people who enjoy dining al fresco. There’s nothing better than enjoying a meal on your patio with friends and family. An outdoor dining patio must be large enough for a dining table and chairs. Generally speaking, you’ll need a space at least 12 feet by 12 feet. A dining patio should be placed adjacent to an outdoor kitchen or near the backdoor of your home to make carrying food to the table as easy as possible.

Living Room Patio
Outdoor living rooms are incredibly popular. Adding an outdoor living area to your backyard will give you a space to relaxing with friends and family. This style of patio often features a fireplace or fire pit with deep-seating patio furniture and a shade structure. An outdoor living room should be at least 16 feet by 18 feet. Don’t forget to include extra space for people to walk around the furniture.

Bistro Patio
If you are looking for design ideas for a small garden, a bistro patio may be your answer. A bistro patio is the perfect size to accommodate a small table and two chairs. Adding this type of patio will give you the perfect outdoor breakfast spot. A wall fountain can be used to add a focal point to a bistro patio without taking up too much space. For a bistro patio you’ll need at least 6 feet by 6 feet of space.

Sundeck Patio
Sundeck patios are usually located near a swimming pool, or on a vista point. A sundeck patio is designed to be a place where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. Outdoor chaise lounges with comfortable cushions are the furniture of choice for a sundeck. A typical chaise lounge measures 2 feet by 6 feet, so keep this in mind when deciding on the size of your patio.

Call us at (305) 662-7045

SOURCE: http://www.landscapingnetwork.com/patios/styles.html