This Project consisted of a 1,200 square foot, natural tan flagstone haven. Included are a variety of entertainment, dining and relaxation areas anchored by a large outdoor kitchen. The pavilion is accented with a gas fireplace, LED lighting, an outdoor TV and sound system. The Outdoor Kitchen included a 30” grill with two side burners, sink, a beer kegerator, custom cabinets, marble counter top, and pergola. A natural stone walkway and natural stone steps connects the upper kitchen area with the covered entertainment area. Also included in the project was sodding and seeding of all disturbed areas as well as surrounding landscaping included mulch beds and plants.
Fire is Hot
Far from trendy, a recent discovery of a fire pit in Tel Aviv, Israel cave suggests that humans have been gathering around fires as far back as 300,000 years ago. What is hot now is installing a pre-fabricated outdoor fire pit or fireplace kit.
These kits come in styles and sizes that accommodate any landscape and can be finished with a cast veneer stone of your choice; making each one a custom piece that matches your home’s style and décor. They can easily transform a dark and unused corner of your yard into a warm and inviting centerpiece. From a formal hearth and mantle model, to a more rustic camp fire pit, history tells us these are sure to be a favorite gathering spot for family and friends.
Installed seating refers to incorporating a seat or ledge into a permanent wall structure. Homeowners with larger families, or who those who frequently entertain, are now incorporating seating into their patio designs. By adding seating into a retaining wall, or by adding a seat height ledge into a dividing wall, you can really expand your seating capacity.
Add pillows or cushions in a moment’s notice to accommodate extra guests. The new outdoor fabrics have come a long way since the 1960’s. High-end textile designers and manufactures are promoting chic collections in vibrant patterns in easy-care fabrics. These new softer fabrics are virtually indistinguishable from their indoor counterparts and are perfect for adding texture and color while cozying up hard lines.
By integrating a feature such as a fire pit, fountain or bar, these easily become a garden destination spot all on their own.
Health conscientious and eco-friendly dwellers all over the country have taken to incorporating edible plants into their garden landscaping designs. Homeowners concerned with food safety can now grow their own organic produce with sustainable gardening. Good choices for beginners are tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, squash and spinach.
When considering adding edible plants into your plan, think first about sunlight and time. If your available space spends a good part of the day in the shade, and you’re busy with other commitments, then it may not be wise to begin with vegetables.
Not ready for the commitment? Try adding herbs into the mix. Basil, sage thyme and rosemary are amongst the easiest to grow and can be added to larger plant groupings as well as container gardens. A window box arrangement with mint is perfect for a summertime drinks and helps to contain the mint, which can easily overtake a garden bed. Even if you don’t typically add fresh herbs to you cooking, smaller “lower” herbs make great ground cover and are both beautiful as well as fragrant.
So whether you are in the process of planning a new outdoor living space, or revamping an existing one, considering adding a new element or feature into the mix. While some trends come and go, these are some that have stood the test of time and are sure to be enjoyed for years to come.
Looking forward until winter’s over so you can start enjoying spending time outside? Why wait? Start planning your new landscape design now! Start early, and you’ll have plenty of time to put careful thought into your design, get it properly installed, and have it ready to enjoy by the time flowers start to bloom.
An even better reason to think about landscaping now is because your yard has to stand up through the rigors of all four seasons. (As we’ve seen so far this winter, that can include some very cold weather!) Thinking about your yard in terms of the most challenging climate can help create a landscape design you’ll enjoy all year long.
Here are some steps to help you get started.
If grilling is one of your favorite outdoor activities, consider creating a built-in grill on your patio or in your yard that allows you to be a chef out in the fresh air.
Grills can make a house party easier by getting everyone outside. Your family and friends will feel more relaxed, because they can really kick back on lounge chairs and let the kids go crazy on the lawn or in the pool, and everyone can enjoy the aroma of delectable dishes sizzling over the fire. Could this be the year for a built-in grill?
We designed and worked with Howard J. Supnik Landscape Architect to create an outdoor room feel that included an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, sitting walls, natural stone patio, hot tub, wood box, lighting and planting. We also installed landscaping around the home and removed an existing front concrete walk way to install a natural stone walk and steps leading to the front door. We also installed landscaping at the driveway to create a more inviting feel for guests. This included a large deciduous tree, cedar shaker style light post and entry way path lighting. We also lit the front of the house. We also built an entrance way at the back of the home with natural stone and installed landscape path lighting for safety in that area.
This Landscaping renovation in Lancaster, PA consisted of a 15′ Pondless waterfall and stream as well as a Limestone Boulder retaining wall around the outside of the pool with a river gravel stone mulch border. There were multiple limestone retaining walls involved in this project. Also included were landscaping, planting, steel edging, river gravel stone mulch, accent boulders, and a waterfall incorporated into the pool.
This project consisted of a flagstone patio, multiple boulder retaining walls, under drain system, stone steps, and seeding. This was the first phase of a multiple phase project. Future phases will include a complete outdoor kitchen area, outdoor living and lounge area, pergola, pondless waterfall, and landscaping. We will keep you up to date with this project through it’s progression.
check out more on this project here: http://www.hometalk.com/2430695/flagstone-patio-and-outdoor-living-space-phase-1
or here: https://www.houzz.com/projects/358923
TLC for rain barrels
A few quick maintenance tasks as the seasons change will help your rain barrel weather the winter. via (lancasteronline.com)
By MARY BETH SCHWEIGERT Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Rain barrels are low-tech and low-maintenance. That simplicity is a huge part of their appeal.
When attached to a home’s downspout, the barrels catch and divert rainwater from storm drains, sewers and the foundation, while capturing it for garden irrigation and other uses.
LIVE Green director Fritz Schroeder says homeowners can take simple steps to care for their barrels, so they work better and last longer.
The most important maintenance task is to empty your rain barrel when a big storm is predicted, he says.
“It’s better to release that water and capture the coming rainstorm,” he says. “If the barrel is full at the time, the benefit of the rainstorm is lost.”
LIVE Green, a program of the Lancaster County Conservancy, has repurposed and distributed nearly 500 food-grade rain barrels county-wide.
Schroeder recommends disconnecting your rain barrel from the downspout during the frigid months of December, January and February. Drain the barrel and store it upside-down, so ice won’t form inside.
(Homeowners may need to take other winterization steps, depending on their barrel’s design.)
When spring is on the horizon, take a few minutes to prepare your barrel for the warm-weather deluge.
“At the start of the season is a good time to inspect the barrel, make sure there’s no major debris at the bottom … and clean it out,” Schroeder says.
Turn the barrel upside-down and shake it out. Water flow from a hose directed toward the bottom of the barrel should be enough to loosen any remaining debris, he says.
Adrian Kapp, owner of C.E. Pontz Sons Inc., 2355 New Holland Pike, says homeowners also can use a wet/dry vac to remove any debris that has accumulated over the winter.
Kapp, who repurposes the water for his fish pond and children’s playtime, warns against using chemicals to attack moss buildup or other barrel-cleaning tasks.
“I don’t recommend using soaps,” he says. “Maybe just scrub (the barrel) by hand with a sponge to keep the walls clean.”
Before reconnecting the barrel to the downspout, clear all intakes and outtakes. Then head for the roof.
“(Spring) is the perfect time … to make sure gutters are clean and you’re getting a fresh start,” Schroeder says.
Gutters catch most debris before it reaches the barrel, he says. Make sure to clean them regularly.
Check your rain barrel frequently to make sure all openings are clear and flowing freely.
Nora Motter Stark, rainwater systems consultant with Rainkeeper, Columbia, says filters also can keep out undesirable “additions.”
Rainkeeper’s barrels and other, larger systems come with stainless steel filters that catch any debris bigger than a grain of sand, she says.
“It is critical to prefilter the rain coming from the downspout … before it goes into the barrel to significantly minimize the organic matter that enters the barrel,” Stark says.
Homeowners also can keep debris and bugs out of the barrel by covering the intake hole with a plastic grate or skimmer basket topped with a nylon stocking or fine mesh screen, Schroeder says.
During the summer, empty the barrel every seven to 10 days to fight mosquitoes, he says. Adding a tablespoon of vegetable oil to your barrel also can help prevent breeding.
When it comes to algae inside your barrel, light is the enemy.
“Algae needs sunlight, like other plants,” Stark says. “If you can prevent any sunlight from entering your barrel, you will prevent algae from growing inside.”
Sun-fighting strategies could include purchasing a thicker or dark-colored barrel and positioning your barrel in the shade.
Basic rain barrels may not be all that aesthetically pleasing. Some barrels come with a depression in the lid that can be filled with aquatic plants or perennials, Kapp says.
“It’s a really neat way to hide a rain barrel,” he says.
When heavy storms hit, Schroeder recommends breaking out the umbrella and checking to make sure your barrel is working properly.
That way, you won’t waste a single precious drop.
More on Rain Barrels: http://www.aquascapeinc.com/training/rain-barrel
Even more on Rain Barrels: http://www.lancasterconservancy.org/urban-greening/rain-barrels-3/