Category: Hardscape

Want a New Patio? Consider the Options

If you’re considering a new patio, walkway or outdoor living area, there are several decisions to make. The size, shape and function of the space all play a role in the final result, and one of the biggest decisions to make involves the material itself. Natural stone, brick, pavers and concrete are all potential options, but each surface has pros and cons to consider.

Natural Stone

Bluestone, granite, limestone and slate can all be used to create gorgeous, durable outdoor spaces. The organic hues in natural stone create a timeless feel, and it’s possible to make a space appear larger or cozier by using larger or smaller stones. Natural stone is often irregularly shaped, which adds a unique look but requires more installation time and expense.

Brick and Concrete Pavers

There was a time not long ago when nearly all “paver patios” looked very similar. Thankfully, the options for paver materials today provide a myriad of options in terms of color, shape, size and texture. While traditional brick pavers are well suited to some properties, the variety of concrete pavers and their relative ease of installation make them a compelling option.

Porcelain Tile

Most of us think of porcelain tile as an indoor material for bathrooms and kitchens, but more and more homeowners are looking to tile as a paving option to visually connect indoor and outdoor spaces. The strength, durability and variety of porcelain are hard to beat. However, they do tend to cost more than concrete pavers and tend to be brittle, which makes working with them somewhat more involved. They also tend to be installed in a way that discourages water draining through the patio surface, which should be a consideration depending on your planned installation.

Stamped Concrete

Concrete has come a long way in recent years. There are options for stamped and colored finishes that give a more interesting look than the flat grey concrete you might be imagining. That said, concrete has several drawbacks, including installation challenges, especially when the paved area is just one element of a larger landscape project. Poured concrete will almost certainly crack over time, and it’s difficult to repair a single section, unlike a concrete paver that can be replaced if needed.

If you are looking for new patio ideas, let us know. We can help match you with a material that fits your visual aesthetic and budget.

Summer Landscapes Start Now!

Summer Landscapes Start Now!

Some people really enjoy the winter, and more power to them, but for a lot of us, the dark days of winter are, well…pretty dark. In the depths of winter, it’s always a relief to look ahead to warmer, brighter days in spring and summer. Do your summertime dreams involve spending time outside, entertaining on your patio with friends or family? If so, now is the time to get the process started.

Paver Patios

A new patio will transform the form and function of your property. Designed with your specific goals in mind, low-maintenance paver patios can be installed to match the look of your home and constructed with a wide variety of materials.

Outdoor Kitchens

If you enjoy grilling, some form of an outdoor kitchen makes a lot of sense. By dedicating space to cooking and building a patio design around that function, your completed landscape will look and feel much more cohesive. From simple grill installations to fully equipped outdoor kitchens, if you love to entertain, outdoor kitchens make life easier for you and your guests.

Pergolas and Outdoor Rooms

We may be missing the sun right now, but in the dog days of summer, it’s nice to find some shade. Pergolas and shade structures keep the air cool, and larger outdoor rooms can be constructed with overhead fans, lights and mounted televisions for total comfort.

Landscape Lighting

Don’t let the darkness chase you inside. Low-voltage lighting systems add functionality to your property by extending the evening while they add safety by illuminating pathways and steps.

Planning Ahead for 2024 Landscape Projects

As the year winds down and the holiday season approaches, landscape improvements may not be the first thing on your mind. Creating a landscape plan for next year is a key way to maximize your landscaping efforts, and there’s no time like the present to start thinking about new projects.

Professional planning ensures that all the elements in your landscape work together both visually and practically.

New patios and outdoor living spaces, planting bed installation, turf area development, and tree installation or removal are all sizable improvements that benefit greatly from deliberate planning. When timed correctly, new improvements will complement existing landscape elements.

In addition to avoiding a disruption to your property, long-range planning also allows you to schedule new additions and services at times of the year that maximize their viability and usefulness. By starting the conversation now, we can advise you on which tasks are best to handle during the fall and winter and which should be scheduled for warmer weather next year. An extended plan also allows you to schedule new projects in a way that fits your budget.

For maintenance and landscape upgrades, a long-range plan allows you to maximize the return on your investment while limiting disruption to your property.

Even if your immediate plans only include a few modest improvements, a comprehensive plan will help you get the biggest long-term bang for your buck. With a solid plan of attack, you can set priorities and formulate manageable timelines so that your landscape comes together evenly over time.

Dealing with Problem Slopes in the Landscape

Dealing with Problem Slopes in the Landscape

Is your property on a grade? No matter how good it looks, a steep, sloping yard isn’t very functional. If a steep yard has kept you from installing that planting bed, patio or children’s play area you’ve always wanted, a retaining wall may be the answer. Retaining walls hold back soil that might otherwise slide down a hill, and they can create safe, level areas for a variety of uses.

A retaining wall can help you reclaim lost space. Terracing a slope with retaining walls can create level areas that are not only perfect for planting beds but also much easier to maintain.

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.

Depending on the height and slope you’re contending with, additional reinforcement and/or engineering work may be needed. Careful design is very important, especially if your retaining wall will be supporting major structures on your property.

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

When properly designed, retaining walls can add graceful architectural elements to your landscape while improving its overall usefulness. As with any landscaping project, careful planning to ensure that the finished product meets your specific needs is very important. Properly designed and installed, a retaining wall can significantly improve your landscape’s functionality.

Natural Screens for Protection and Privacy

Today’s backyards have truly become outdoor living rooms, perfect places for entertaining, family fun and everyday activities. However, outdoor living often means we need a little more privacy or protection from the elements. Trees, shrubs or vines can provide a natural solution. Natural screens can be less expensive than fences or walls. They can add texture, color and fragrance as well as privacy. Plants can also help control noise, keep dirt and debris from your yard, and protect you and your lawn from too much wind or sun.

When planting for privacy, most people want screens to reach above average eye level or at least six feet.

Natural screens can:

  • Separate the street or neighbors from areas where you entertain or relax.
    Privacy landscaping is an effective, natural way to increase the privacy of your yard and maximize your enjoyment of the outdoors.
  • Hide work and storage areas.
  • Divide parts of your lawn, like garden and play areas, and guide foot traffic.

Here are a few options:

  • For maximum privacy, a solid hedge of shrubs works well. Evergreens provide year-round screening and can be informal or formal, depending on how you trim them.
  • Vines on trellises are quick-growing and inexpensive. They work especially well in narrow spaces.
  • Even single trees or shrubs, carefully placed in a line of view, can solve privacy problems.
  • Plants can channel air for a soft, relaxing breeze or create the right amount of shade for that late-afternoon barbecue.

Shrubs, trees and vines can also help you control the climate of your yard for more enjoyable entertaining year-round. In fact, the air temperature in the shade of a tree can be 10-15 degrees lower than in an unshaded area.

Welcome the World with a Perfect Entry

Welcome the World with a Perfect Entry

The ideal entryway landscape directs and leads friends and family to your door in a way that makes them feel truly welcomed. Additionally, entryway landscaping increases your home’s curb appeal in a way that will add to your enjoyment and the value of your property.

Landscaping can add 15% to the value of your home.

Your home’s front door should be its natural focal point. The walkway directs visitors physically to your door, and plantings lead the eye there. First, make sure your front walk is wide enough to accommodate two people walking side by side and that its surface is safe. Walkway materials can complement any architectural style or preference.

Subtle and attractive landscape lighting can be added to welcome evening visitors and to provide an after-dark display.

Large front lawns can use a big specimen tree near the street or driveway to attract the eye first. An ornamental tree’s canopy over a front walkway can be inviting, and a low hedge or fence can present a feeling of cozy enclosure. There’s a lot involved in choosing plants that will not grow to overwhelm an entrance but will stand the test of time. We can help you choose plants that won’t outgrow their spaces, create litter on walkways or look bad during winter.

Looking Ahead to Summer Entertaining!

It’s time to think about your plans for outdoor summer entertaining. Getting ready for long, enjoyable evenings with family, neighbors and friends starts by accessing your outdoor living areas. If you are looking to expand your entertaining spaces, now is the best time to start the conversation with our landscape design team.

We can help with many aspects of your landscape, and here are a few ideas to consider.

Paver Patios

Is your outdoor living and entertaining space big enough to comfortably fit everything you like to do? Do you favor small gatherings, or do you want to be the place where everyone wants to hang out? Thinking through all the things you enjoy doing on your patio or deck can help you begin to imagine how it could be improved or possibly expanded.

Outdoor Kitchens

If you love the process of cooking outdoors or cooking for others, expand your living space outdoors! From simple to elaborate, there are options to meet every taste and budget.

Outdoor Fireplaces
and Fire Pits

Fireplaces create a natural focal point for every backyard landscape. Outdoor fireplaces and smaller outdoor fire pits are the perfect party features for socializing long after the sun goes down. Let us help you find the right fire feature for your space and keep the party going year-round.

Landscape Lighting

Great for both the front and back yards, landscape lighting is useful for more than just aesthetics. Landscape lighting ensures better safety and allows you to continue your fun long into the night. It is especially important to consider good lighting on paths from the front to the back yard, so guests can clearly see where they’re stepping.

Professional Lawn Care

A lush, green lawn is part of the summertime experience. Professional lawn care from Hively Landscape is a safe and sustainable service that will keep your lawn green and growing all season long, so you can enjoy your yard instead of working in it!

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.

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.