With summer comes hot, sticky days; and for Olathe landscaping, it could mean trouble. Most sources say temperatures in the Kansas City metro area hover in the 90-degree range. If that makes us sweat, imagine what it does to our lawns! If not properly cared for, lawns can suffer in the summer. Grass can wilt and even burn if the temperatures rise and care isn’t adjusted to beat the heat.
The good news is that there are ways to help keep your Olathe landscaping and lawn healthy and beautiful all summer long—and one of those tactics means you get a break from being outside!
Just like your body needs more water when the temperatures rise, your lawn requires additional moisture to stay healthy. Believe it or not, there’s science behind how often you should water your lawn. Factors that matter include the type of soil in your lawn, the slope of your property, and the type of grass you’ve planted.
Kansas City’s dirt is clay-packed and absorbs water at a rate of no more than two-tenths of an inch per hour. Slope matters here too: a flat area can take less water than an area that is sloped.
There are different schools on summer watering. You can learn about the soak and cycle method, which is what the K-State Research and Extension Office recommends. Or you can call us, and we’ll help you devise a customized plan to keep your summer lawn lush.
That’s right—stay inside and drink something cool, and don’t worry about mowing as often as you do in the Spring. When you do mow, make sure to mow no lower than 3 inches. Doing so alleviates some of the stress lawns experience due to dryness and heat.
Of course, exactly how often a lawn should be mowed will depend on too many variables to account for here. A general rule of thumb, though, is to mow less often than during cooler months. We can help you understand when to cut your grass and when to let it grow. Just ask!
There are countless scientific advances that benefit our lawns and landscapes, especially when temperatures are a concern. In summer months, it’s best to opt for seeds and fertilizers that are optimized to work best with less water.
Doing so doesn’t just make your space prettier, it also conserves water during the summer, which is vital to the community as a whole—and it sure helps with those water bills!
Curious which water-efficient seeds and fertilizers are right for your lawn? We’re here to help.
Sure, there are reasons to DIY your lawn and landscape this summer. But if you look a little deeper, you might realize that hiring landscapers will save you time, money, and frustration.
It’s a romantic notion that taking the time to work on your yard yourself will save you wheelbarrows of cash, but think about the real economics of this scenario for a second—and then do the math.
The truth is, your time is valuable. Even if you don’t have to take time off of work to get everything done, whatever time you spend tending to your yard takes away time you could be spending doing other things. Some of those things might make you more money. Some of those things might bring you more joy—and if there’s anything we all know for sure, it’s that we cannot put a price on time. There’s no substitute for time spent laughing and making memories with family and friends.
Have you walked into a home improvement store lately and looked at the rows and rows of lawn care products on the shelves? Do you know which ones will work for your lawn? Consulting with professional landscapers to take care of your outdoor space isn’t that different from consulting a pharmacist when you need medication. Chemicals and products interact in ways only trained professionals know. It’s vital to the health and look of your lawn to use the best, most appropriate products. Doing so saves you money. It also ensures that your yard will be gorgeous and healthy, even if you haven’t studied the intricacies of grasses, plants, and landscaping.
Believe it or not, there’s a method to what we do. There are right times to plant, to cut, to mulch….you get the idea. There are also right ways to tend a tree, manicure a lawn, or edge a border wall. And those times and procedures vary from yard to yard, depending on a set of circumstances that are unique to your space. So learning exactly what you need to do and when those things need to be done can be a full-time job.
Sure, you could spend time searching online, watching videos, asking for help from your handy friend at work, or checking out a stack of books at the library to learn how to maintain your yard the right way. Or you could call us and let us do what we do best, so you can have the best looking lawn possible with zero hassle.
Admit it: there are some yards you drive by and have to slow down to look at because they’re just so beautiful. Chances are, those eye-catching designs were done by a professional that the homeowner trusted to design and maintain the right way. We can do the same for you!
When you think of your ideal outdoor kitchen space, which features first come to mind? Comfort, to be sure. Ease of use, aesthetically pleasing, super simple to take care of might be other attributes that we all want in our outdoor cooking space. We think three of the most important elements are the grill, countertops and seating space, and a fire pit.
We want it all when it comes to the grill, don’t we? The best grills are those that get the job done and look good doing it—but both of those requirements mean different things to different people.
Think about the bells and whistles when it comes to outdoor grill options: different temperature zones so you can whip up a steak and a batch of hot dogs; an option to slow cook side dishes like beans; and maybe even a rotisserie option for birds that are better than the big box store’s.
All of this translates to a few key components: the size of your cooking surface, how powerful the grill itself is, and how easy it is to use overall. And let’s not kid ourselves: money is an important factor here, too. Want a rotisserie? That ups your budget. Happy to keep things simple? A grill with a burner or two as its only perks will save you cash.
The surfaces in your outdoor cooking space need just as much attention as those inside your home. Maybe even more so, since the elements can be brutal to outdoor countertops and seating areas.
For this reason, durability should be at the top of your list when selecting both. Think stone, concrete, or tile. You can still make it your own—and even jazz it up with personalized touches—but these details are best when worked out with a professional. We can tell you how the design and material you want will react to temperature fluctuations that come with the seasons.
When you think about seating, think about location: do you want to cozy up close to the grill and other cooking surfaces, or do you want to be a bit removed? Are you someone who loves to crawl onto a barstool and eat with others, or do you like the intimacy of a table? How often will you invite guests—and how many seats will you need to accommodate a typical party?
There’s nothing better than gathering around a fire once the sun goes down—and if you look, you’ll see that there are fire pits that fit every budget and every design aesthetic. It’s best, though, to think before you jump.
Consulting with a professional is important, as is checking local ordinances to make sure fire pits are allowed in your area and checking with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered. Peace of mind and safety always have to come first.
Once you’ve taken care of those logistics, think about function first: how big do you want the fire pit to be? What materials will look gorgeous in your space? Do you want seating right around your fire pit and if so, for how many people?
All of these questions—and more—are things professional landscape architects discuss with clients before and during the process of working together. If you’re curious about working with an Olathe landscaper to make your outdoor kitchen dreams a reality, give us a call.
P.S. Ready to fire up your grill and have people over? Check out a few of these recipes for great meal ideas.
Spring is the perfect time to reassess your flower beds—and working with a landscape architect designer can help you make the most of your space, no matter the size.
Your designer will likely ask you lots of questions before planning. They’ll ask about the light—do your beds fall in full or partial sun, or shade? How much moisture do your beds get (depending on where your beds are in relation to downspouts and runoff, the answer might be different than for the rest of your space)? They’ll ask about which flowers or plants have done well in the past and which ones struggled. They’ll also ask what you’d most like to see in those beds, with details like which colors you love: do you want a monochromatic look, a wildflower look, or a curated look with carefully coordinated shades of various colors?
Start with paper and pencil: draw a rough replica in the shape of your available beds, then indicate which flowers you’d like to plant where. Consider size (good rule: tallest in the back, mid-size in the center, shorter plants in the front if the bed will be viewed head-on. If you’ll be looking at your completed bed from multiple angles, start in the center and think in circles: tallest plants in the bullseye, mid-size in the next ring, shortest plants in the most outer ring).
If you’re going it alone, be sure to read the instructions on seed packets and/or pot stickers and follow those directions when it comes to planting depth and space, feeding, and watering guidelines. You can also check your local extension office for seasonal and planting information.
Better yet, reach out to a landscape architect designer to make the most of your unique space. Working with a pro makes the process easier and opens a world of knowledge that comes only with time and experience.
April showers bring…. summer grilling? OK, that’s not quite how the saying goes, but one of the best things about the weather turning warmer is that we can double our kitchen space by adding an outdoor kitchen area. If you love gathering family and friends in your outdoor space to enjoy food, fun, and warm weather, then it’s smart to prep your outdoor space now.
It might seem nice now to hang out in your yard, but in just a few short weeks it will be hot here again in Johnson County. Those intense summer rays aren’t just uncomfortable; they can also cause sunburns and make us want to head inside. When you’re planning your outdoor living space, be sure to include ample shade, whether that’s a custom-built outdoor kitchen, a patio shade, or umbrellas secured in strategic places.
You can also add shade with the right landscaping. Talk to your landscape architect about shrubs, trees, and other installations that can create cool havens on hot summer days.
No, you don’t have to know exactly what you’ll serve every time you dine outdoors! But it’s a good idea to know what you like to cook—and what your guests like to eat! Why? Because having the right tools for the job is important, and when it comes to your outdoor kitchen that usually means a grill—or more than one, depending on your plans. Working with a pro can help you make the most of your layout and will ensure that the space isn’t just beautiful, but also efficient.
You can’t have a hot summer BBQ without cold drinks, and you can’t have cold drinks without a refrigerator and/or an ice maker! You can have both in your outdoor kitchen, which means family and friends will spend more time with you outside than they will trudging into your kitchen for a quick sip of something cold.
Ready to make your outdoor living space the best it can be? Get in touch and ask us. We’d love to help you create an outdoor kitchen that’s perfect for you!
Spring means the beginning of watering lawns and landscape. That also means it’s time to worry about runoff. What is runoff? The technical definition is: the flow of water that occurs when excess storm water, meltwater, or other sources flows over the Earth’s surface. Running water is powerful—it has carved canyons and moved boulders. You might not worry about issues of this scale, but it’s a fair question to ask what runoff might do to your landscape.
The short answer to that question is erosion. Spring runoff can lead to erosion on your property. This isn’t just an issue of being an eyesore. Erosion can affect your home’s foundation. Installing a retaining wall can help prevent soil erosion. By doing so, you can help protect your landscape and your property.
It can be a bit technical, but the slope of your landscape dictates what kind of retaining wall you need. It’s something best left to experts, though there are resources to consult if you want to learn more, like this guide from the National Resources Conservation Service. Is it possible to DIY your retaining wall? Sure it is, though in our opinion it’s best to consult an expert. If you decide to go solo, be sure to do your homework and to consider every option carefully.
Simply put, a retaining wall holds soil in place. When designed properly, retaining walls also ensure that excess water drains in ways that don’t erode the soil. Think of these channels almost like water slides at a big amusement park: with the right structure and construction, you can change the direction of drainage in your space, making sure that runoff water goes where you want it to go.
There are several options to consider: full retaining walls, partial walls, and raised terraces with plantings, just to name a few. Construction can vary too, depending on design need and aesthetic preference. Concrete, brick, and wood are all options. The best way to decide is to discuss the variety of options with a company that specializes in retaining walls in your area. We do just that.
We’re not the only ones ready for Spring, are we? It’s not just the warmer temperatures that make us so happy this time of year; it’s also the riot of color that comes from fields of Spring blooms. If you’re looking for insights on how to encourage rapid Spring blooms in your own backyard, read on.
First things first: you can’t have a glorious bloom of new growth if your yard and gardens are full of debris and dead remnants of seasons past. Take the time to clear away old growth—remove any remaining leaves, random branches, and anything else that’s settled in over winter’s colder months to make way for new growth. If you do so early enough, Spring’s new buds have a clear space in which to bloom, and you’ll be able to see the shoots break ground!
Don’t forget about your trees and shrubs, either. This is the perfect time to trim and prune—but to do that, you have to be sure your tools are in optimal shape, too. Take the time necessary to scrub blades and metal tools with soap and water. Wooden handles can be revived with an application of mineral spirits. Looking for nifty storage options to keep your tools handy and in their best shape? There are tons of options here.
It all starts with healthy soil, and ours needs some attention now that it’s Spring. Turn it over (use a pitchfork to break it up, pull soil from beneath to the top, and turn the current top layer under. Add compost (either your own) or commercially prepared fertilizer. Compost adds vital, necessary nutrients to the soil, but be wary: it takes at least a couple of weeks after adding compost for soil to be ready for new plants. If you prefer commercially prepared fertilizer, remember that different fertilizers are best in various seasons. Learn about fertilizers best used in Spring here.
It’s a bit too soon to plant everything outdoors—temperatures will still dip, which is dangerous for tender roots and shoots. But it’s the perfect time to start many plants indoors. Starting from seeds and nurturing the plants indoors mean you have a private set of seedlings ready when the you know the weather will stay warm. And take advantage of this time, too, to build new beds and raised garden structures, if that suits your space. This prep work now will make it possible to enjoy what often seems like a too-short Spring window of perfect weather—and perfect landscaping conditions.
Want help with your Spring plans? Looking to make your space the one you’ve always dreamed of? If so, reach out and talk to us!
It’s officially Spring in Kansas: the snow is gone (fingers crossed!), April’s showers have begun in March, and lawns are being uncovered again. Does yours look ready for the new season? Don’t stress if your answer is a resounding “no!” There’s time to prep before warm weather turns too hot.
Start with the most obvious tasks: clean up any debris that’s settled since you last tended your lawn. Raking helps remove grass and other growth that didn’t survive the last few cold and snowy months. Raking can also help loosen clumps that might harbor mold and prevent new growth. Pro tip: rake when the soil isn’t muddy, so you don’t loosen healthy growth.
It’s also time to think about aerating, but how often aerating should be done depends on the type of grass in your yard. Aerating promotes healthy roots, which are essential for a gorgeous, green lawn. Learn more about when and how to aerate here, or work with us to determine the best schedule.
It might seem counterintuitive, but experts recommend not overwatering in the spring. Why? The experts at the Kansas State Extension office say that there’s enough moisture to sustain your lawn. Additionally, withholding water will toughen up your lawn for the hotter temperatures sure to hit in June and July. Expert tip: successful watering depends on reaching your lawn’s roots, not the surface, so think deep and infrequent when it comes to irrigating.
The same is true of fertilizing; in fact, the Kansas State Extension office says to forgo fertilizing entirely. Why? It all comes down to harming the ecosystem with leached chemicals. Sound complicated? It can be, but we’re adept at knowing just the right balance. Call us to create a plan that’s perfect for your lawn.
Once you’ve cleaned up your lawn and set a firm foundation for warmer summer months, let your imagination run: do you want an outdoor kitchen, a new retaining wall, a gorgeous hedge of vivid flowers, a tree for shade? With a little hard work and help, you could have the backyard you’ve always wanted!
It’s almost here: Daylight Savings Time has given us more light-filled hours and the calendar says that soon it will be Spring. While it might not be quite time to toss your scarves and gloves for flip-flops and bathing suits, it is the perfect time to get your outdoor kitchen ready for Spring fun.
If you took the time to prepare your Olathe outdoor kitchen space for winter weather, you likely covered most surfaces to insulate and to keep snow and debris from accumulating on surfaces, clogging drains, and staining finishes. So when the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to strip the heavy winter coverings from your space and start from a clean slate.
Think Before You Do
Just like Spring cleaning, getting your outdoor kitchen ready for warm-weather parties, BBQs, and quiet family nights takes a little elbow grease. You’ll need to scrub away any debris, clean surfaces, and freshen the space so it’s ready to use.
Before you do—or while you’re cleaning, if you like to multi-task—take some time to think about how you want to use the space. If you’re planning many parties with neighbors, family, and friends, you might want to consider additional seating or storage. Or you might upgrade your grill, add another cooking surface, or shop for new cookware.
Work in Stages
Sadly, It’s true: it’s still cold enough outside that temperatures will dip below freezing. So you might not be hooking up your water source again, but you could be thinking ahead and breaking your summer-kitchen plan into easy steps. This is the perfect time to decide how you want to refresh or upgrade your space. Have you dreamed of a stone fire pit? How about a pergola? The best part of planning is the ability to make the space truly your own—and that’s what we love to do.
Do you have questions about how to transform your outdoor space from ho-hum to WOW? We’d love to help you, so reach out to start the conversation.
Be honest…have you spent more than a little bit of our snowy winter thinking about the glorious garden you want to grow come Spring? How about new ideas for your lawn? Or maybe you’re daydreaming a way to incorporate a few new WOW! elements this year?
Some of us might still be chipping ice from our sidewalks, but now is actually a great time to think about your warm weather landscaping plans. And even if you didn’t find the time or inclination to plant last Fall, planning for Spring and Summer is still an achievable goal. This is especially true if you want to include native Kansas plants in your Olathe landscape design.
You’ve heard the saying “bloom where you’re planted,” right? Thing is, not all plants bloom equally. But native plants have an advantage because they’re uniquely suited to the soil and conditions in our area.
By definition, native plants are those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. They’re part of the ecosystem and play an integral role in providing food for insects and small animals. Studies actually show that without native plants, some species of insects and animals might cease to exist.
Another bonus: birdwatching! Planting native plants can actually draw birds to your yard—and you can choose different plants to attract the bird(s) of your choice! Use the handy tool here—just enter your zip code and scroll through which native Kansas plants attract the bird (or birds) you’re hoping to attract.
Not only are native plants naturally beautiful, but they are ecological workhorses, too. When a plant is native to an area, it requires less intervention to flourish: you water less and use less fertilizer. You also have more time to just sit back and enjoy being in your outdoor space, because native plants require less maintenance.
Curious about which native plants to include in your space? Get in touch and ask us. We’d love to help you create a lawn and landscape tailored just for you.