Fired Up for Fall!

People have been gathering around fires for thousands of years, and there’s no wonder why. Outdoor fires allow you to comfortably enjoy crisp fall weather with friends and family.

Enjoy these months with outdoor fires that your friends and family will appreciate.

There are countless options to bring the ancient allure of fire to your backyard. One initial design question to consider: Do you picture a circular fire with seating encircling the feature or more of an outdoor hearth that acts as a border of your living space?

If you like to grill, you’re familiar with the choice of gas versus charcoal, and a similar question presents itself when considering outdoor fire features. Gas-powered fire features eliminate the need for firewood as well as woodsmoke and ash cleanup. These sleek fire elements produce flames that dance upon a bed of lava rock or colorful glass beads. These can be activated at the push of a button and are ideal for close-quartered sitting areas. On the other hand, if you love building and tending a fire, nothing beats the ambiance of a wood fire.

Fire provides a focal point of warmth and light that is incredibly inviting.

Cooler temperatures need not drive you indoors for the season. Whether you prefer the simplicity of gas fixtures or the beauty of a traditional wood fire, a fire feature is a welcome addition to your landscape.

Let Us Help You Get Ready for Fall

Fall weather can be a wild card. Days go from mild and sunny to cold and gray literally overnight. Once the weather turns, the notion of yard work becomes less attractive. In spite of that, it pays to give your yard a thorough fall cleanup before winter sets in.

Leaf Removal

Typically, the biggest cleanup task at this time of year is leaf removal. Thick blankets of leaves left to lie can damage grass by blocking needed sunlight, thus weakening the turf’s viability. If left on the ground through the winter, fallen leaves can also render your lawn more susceptible to winter damage. Hively offers leaf removal as part of our fall cleanup service.

Fall leaves with rake

Fall Bed Cleanup

Cutting back perennials and removing dead or dying branches from trees and shrubs will help prepare both for go-time in the spring. Plant beds are also notorious for collecting dead leaves, debris, and trash during the fall. These messes only get worse over the course of the winter. By the time the warm, wet spring rolls around, you’ll find yourself with mucky beds full of slime. In addition to being unsightly, unkempt plant beds are also breeding grounds for pests and fungus.

Plan Now for Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Colorful blooms from bulbs will be a sight for sore eyes after another gray winter. Spring-flowering bulbs of all kinds are a major contributor to year-round color in any landscape. It’s important to remember that different bulbs have different blooming times. Bulbs look great in massive plantings of single types or in beds that combine many varieties. As a general rule, bulbs provide the best display when planted in groups of 15 or more.

Fall Is For Planting, Fall is for Planning

Living landscaping such as shrubs and trees is a big investment in your home. When handled wisely, these landscape elements can mature into prominent aspects of your property that can be enjoyed for years and even decades. If your landscape needs some reworking or a complete redo, fall is a great time.

When you plan new landscape additions, proper timing goes a long way. Planting in the fall gives new trees and shrubs the best chance for long-term health and vitality. New plants are put in a tough situation when planted at the height of summer. The mild weather of fall spares new plantings the intense, dry heat of summer.

The cooler temperatures of autumn allow new root systems to develop and establish themselves in advance of winter. New plantings will go into winter dormancy equipped for a vibrant spring emergence. Next year, when the weather warms, your new trees and shrubs will green up and bloom in spectacular fashion.

Are you ready to finally add the patio or outdoor kitchen you’ve been wishing for? Make next year’s outdoor season complete by having it put in now. You’ll be able to enjoy it from the first warm days. Whatever your landscape needs, we’re ready to help. Living landscaping can shape your property for years to come. While spring planting may seem like the most logical timing, fall planting is actually better. If your landscape could use some improvements, don’t hesitate.

Luxury Outdoor Living

There are plenty of long summer days and nights ahead of us, and next year seems a long ways off. We’ve learned, though, that nature works in long cycles, and that when planning truly great landscapes, we should as well.

The term “hardscaping” refers to landscaping features that are permanently established and typically nonliving. Patios, water elements, fire pits and outdoor shelters all fall into this category. Hardscaping additions can transform an underused area of your property into an inviting living space which allows your family and friends to fully enjoy the warmer months.

The key to getting the most out of your hardscaping is proper planning. The first step in effective planning is to decide what you want from your new space. You may want a quiet retreat, a place to host large gatherings, or an area that can be a little of both.

Start Now

Getting ahead on new projects is more important now than ever. You have no doubt heard about supply chain disruptions which have affected product inventories worldwide. These disruptions have influenced the cost of building materials as well as the timing necessary to complete new construction. Because of this unusual situation, even the most thorough plans will likely take longer than you would expect.

Landscape and hardscape projects require many moving parts working together properly. The process of designing a plan, procuring the necessary materials and scheduling the labor already takes a considerable amount of time. Over the past year or so, this process has become lengthier and more complicated. If you’re considering new projects for 2023, now is the time to lay out the specifics. Patience and planning go hand in hand. If you have thoughts about new additions, give us a call, and we will set the process in motion.

Water in the Landscape

Water is what makes life on Earth possible. In our landscapes, water not only keeps our plants green and growing, but it also provides us with sound and motion in the form of landscape water features.

Make a Splash This Year

Whether they’re used as focal points or simple accents, water features are a great way to add interest, beauty and tranquility to your landscape. Ornamental pools can embellish your garden with a wide variety of fish, foliage and flowers, while the sounds of moving water from a fountain or waterfall can help create a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

Your water feature can be simple or complex, depending on your needs and interests. From a simple reflecting pool to multi-tiered waterfalls, the choices are vast. Homeowners are sometimes concerned about the maintenance required for a water feature, and they’re surprised to find out how easy water features are to manage, especially compared to the ambience they provide.

If you’re interested in integrating a water feature into your landscape, our designers are ready to help make your ideas a reality.

Watering Wisely With Automatic Irrigation

If you don’t have an automatic irrigation system on your property, now is a great time to have one installed. Water conservation is more important than ever, and these systems can save a lot when compared to traditional hoses and sprinklers.

Automatic irrigation systems are able to calculate how much, when and where watering is needed, so you can be sure that your lawn, trees and shrubs will always get the right amounts of water at the right times. Plus, extra features like rain shut-off devices, moisture sensors and automatic controllers help to avoid watering waste.

If your property could benefit from automatic irrigation, or if you are concerned that your existing irrigation system isn’t operating efficiently, please contact us today.

 

Annual and Perennial Floral Displays

If you have ever been to a garden center, you have no doubt heard about annual plants and perennial plants. So what really is the difference between “annual” and “perennial” plants? It’s all in the life cycle.

As the name suggests, an annual is a plant that lives for just one season. Whether you plant from seed or purchase seedlings to plant, an annual will sprout, flower, seed, and then die, all in the same year. Popular annuals include zinnias, marigolds and impatiens.

In contrast, perennials can live for three or more growing seasons. They are generally more drought-resistant than annuals, and can be planted from bulb or seed. Roses, peonies, mums, and daylilies are common perennials.

You may have a spot in your flower bed where a perennial displays wonderful color in spring. Once the spring flowers fade, however, something may be needed to fill the gap with color. That’s the job of an annual. By combining the dependability of perennials with the season-long color of annuals, you can create a garden that’s a showcase from spring through fall.

Shape Your Landscape With Retaining Walls

Does your property include a lot of elevation? A retaining wall can help you make the most of available space. Would you like to see that steep hill being used for something other than sled riding? Terracing it with retaining walls can create level areas that are not only perfect for planting beds but also much easier to maintain.

Retaining walls can be built in a wide variety of sizes with various materials, including natural or cut stone, treated timbers, poured concrete, and pre-cast blocks in assorted colors and textures.

For maximum strength and durability, pre-cast blocks are likely to be your best bet. They’re engineered to interlock with each other as they’re laid, and most have a built-in “setback” to give the finished wall a slightly slanted angle for added stability.

Remember that careful engineering and design are very important, especially if your retaining wall will be supporting major structures on your property. Be sure to consider all of the construction materials available, and choose a design that blends in well with your property while addressing the uses you have planned for the area.

When properly designed, retaining walls can add graceful architectural elements to your landscape while improving its overall usefulness. You may be surprised to learn just how functional your landscape can become!

Thirsty Plants Help Dry It Up

Drainage issues are a common landscape problem during times of heavy rain. Some drainage issues require some type of working drainage system. In many cases, however, drainage can be addressed with the help of living landscaping.

All plants need water. Some plants require a lot of it. If you have an area that suffers from poor drainage, extra-thirsty plants can help the situation. If an existing plant bed experiences standing water, try planting hostas, elephant ears, or cannas. Certain varieties of dogwoods or holly bushes will also do well in wet conditions.

If you have a turf area that is always a swampy mess, you may want to consider replacing the turf with a water garden. A water garden typically includes plants that prefer super-soaked soil and rocks that collect and direct runoff while limiting exposed mud.

While we’d like to call our own shots when it comes to landscape design, sometimes geography and Mother Nature make our best-laid plans difficult to achieve. If drainage is an issue in your landscape, it may be time to introduce landscapes that love it wet.

Caring for Trees & Shrubs

The trees in your landscape are some of your most important outdoor investments. Full-grown trees add both beauty and value to your property that grow each year. With the right care, most trees improve with age and will last for generations.

Here are a few tips for keeping your trees and shrubs in tip-top shape:

• Water – We often forget that even mature trees need regular watering. This is especially true for young trees or during long periods of stress.

• Fertilize – Trees in the forests fertilize themselves with decomposing leaves and materials, but in our landscapes, they need help. Slow-release fertilizers made for trees add nutrients back into the soil without damaging the roots of the plants.

• Prune – Shaping trees when they are young not only makes them look better but also keeps them healthy as they grow and prevents problems later. Equally important is removing dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches as they appear. A program of annual inspection for needed pruning will help assure good looks and better health.

• Protect against insects and disease – Regular inspection for insects and disease can catch damage before it begins.

With the proper care and protection, your trees can provide beauty and value to your property for many years to come.

Winter Is Time For Hardscape Planning

As fall weather turns to winter, it’s easy to think that you have plenty of time to plan your spring landscape and outdoor living projects. In reality, the clock is ticking! With supply chain and labor challenges showing no signs of letting up, most reputable contractors are scheduling work months in advance and Hively is no different. The time to plan your spring and summer 2022 landscape projects is now. With careful planning, your backyard can become a personal vacation destination.   

The term “hardscaping” refers to landscaping features that are permanently established and typically nonliving. Patios, water elements, fire pits and outdoor structures all fall into this category. Hardscaping additions can transform an underused area of your property into an comfortable living space which allows your family and friends to fully enjoy the landscape.

The key to getting the most out of your hardscaping is comprehensive planning. The first step in effective planning is to decide what you want from your new space. You may want a quiet retreat, a place to host large gatherings, or an area that can be a little of both.

stone staircase leading up a sloped flowerbed into a wooded area

Whatever your specific vision is for new hardscaping, now is the time to set your project in motion. If you begin planning and building now, your new outdoor living space will be ready for you to enjoy once spring arrives. While the season just past is still fresh in your mind, look forward to the next steps that will take your backyard to a whole new level.