Category: Outdoor Patios

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.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Everyone at Hively would like to wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday and while our staff will be home with family, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare your landscape for a safe winter and successful spring.

Prepare for Hibernation

Even if you continue to enjoy your outdoor living spaces and fire features as the weather gets colder, now is a great time to begin covering your outdoor furniture, or if you have the space, move it into a covered storage area. Continue reading

landscaped pool

Landscaping Around a Pool

Pool season is in full swing! If you are a confident do-it-yourselfer who would like to do some refreshing of the area around your pool, we have some tips to help you do it right.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when landscaping around your pool, as it comes with very different requirements than elsewhere in your landscape.  The main goals of landscaping around a pool typically include:

  • Minimizing debris in the pool
  • Providing privacy
  • Eliminating thorns, spines, spikes and bees
  • No invasive roots
  • Planning for low maintenance

Continue reading

fenced in and landscaped backyard. includes flowers, flower pots, stone steps, paver patio, and outdoor furniture

Container Gardening Tips

Container gardening isn’t just for the urban landscape, or those of us with attention deficit issues.  Containers and planters are a great way to add POP to your landscape and create visual focal points that might be hard to achieve with traditional landscape techniques.  Planters can also be used to rotate seasonal flowers and decorations, even in the cold winter months.

Don’t be fooled, however, while container gardening can be easier than traditional landscaping, it does not guarantee success. Follow our tips for the best results.

Choosing the Right Planters

When it comes to selecting containers, the sheer volume of available styles and sizes can be overwhelming. However, there are some basic qualities you should look for in every container or planter you choose.

Look for containers that allow ample drainage and are made from non-porous materials. This will help you with keeping your plants watered, but not flooded.

The best containers will be flat-sided or wider at the top. If you are planning on planting annuals, you will want a container that is at least 8 inches deep. Grasses and shrubs will need more room, between 16 and 24 inches deep. If you are looking to add a variety of plants within one container, be sure that it is at least 12 inches wide.

Prepping Your Container

Before filling your planters with soil, be sure to add some stones to the bottom, particularly over the drainage holes. This will help maintain moisture.

We recommend bagged potting soil for flowering annuals. This will help prevent disease, while keeping your planter lightweight. Be sure to select a potting soil that contains a slow-release fertilizer to help your plants to stay healthy longer.

Choosing Your Plants

When selecting plant material, be sure to choose plants that are still fairly small. Smaller plants are easier to install and larger, more mature plants may be root bound in the original container, which will cause them to lose moisture more quickly.  Properly planted and fertilized material will quickly fill in and make your container(s) look great!

Use bold colors, or variations of the same color, to design eye-catching displays. Do not be afraid to mix textures. The best arrangements use a variety of heights within the same planter. For example, choose tall plants like sedge grasses for the center or back of the planter, add medium height plants like begonias to the middle, and hanging or trailing plants such ipomoea around the outer edges of the planter. This will add visual interest to your container garden.

If you plan on adding a variety of plants to one container, choose plants that will grow harmoniously together, meaning that they match as far as watering and sunlight needs.

Maintaining Your Container Garden

If you plan on switching out plants based on season, consider using smaller pots within larger containers. This will make removing and replacing plants easier- when the season changes simply lift out the old and drop in the new!

Be sure to water your potted plants often and to place them where they will receive appropriate sunlight.

For flowering plants, be sure to trim off any dead blossoms to make room for new flowers.

Need Inspiration?

If you are looking for a professional design for your porch, patio or landscape with a container garden, talk to Hively. Our specialists will select the right plants, planters and accessories for your home, and we can maintain your plants, ensuring that they stay beautiful all season long.