olathe retaining wall installation

Everything You Need to Know About Retaining Walls

What, exactly, is a retaining wall—and what do you need to know about Olathe retaining wall installation? Simply put, a retaining wall is a free-standing barrier. This barrier prevents dirt and sediment from succumbing to the forces of gravity. That means a retaining wall can keep dirt where it is needed instead of letting it wash away—and that’s important for homeowners.

Talk of retaining walls typically includes words like “slope” and “gravity” and “gradation.” And those words are important, to be sure. But retaining walls are about more than just dirt, and they’re one of the elements of landscape design that can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Why Might I Need a Retaining Wall?

The best Olathe landscape architects will tell you that reasons abound for building a retaining wall. It might be a logistical decision if there are issues of slope or runoff. Making sure your home’s foundation is protected is one of the most important considerations you’ll make as a homeowner, and foundations can be threatened by sliding hills, washout, and erosion. It might also be a design decision. For example, if you want a tiered garden to make the best use of a small space, a retaining wall might be a great option. It also might work for you if you’re looking for a way to add extra seating options.

A retaining wall can, in fact, be a multi-tasking element of your landscape design. It can provide practical, necessary protection to your home and landscape. I can also add a beautiful, unique design element to your yard. Even better, it can help create a unique focal point that expresses your personality and design tastes. The best way to ensure that you achieve each goal is to consult with a professional. Take that time to ask questions and to learn all you can about why a retaining wall might work for you.

There’s More than One Olathe Retaining Wall Option

A retaining wall should first be practical, for certain. There are too many issues to worry about if done shoddily, so be sure to consult with a professional. But that doesn’t mean it can’t look great, too. As you think of options, remember that you have choices.  You can opt for concrete, brick, stone, even wood. Remember to weigh the pros and cons of each option; for example, wood might better suit your design and personal taste, but likely won’t last as long as stone or concrete.

Knowledge is Power

Truth is, every yard is different and there’s no way to adequately tell you everything you need to know about retaining walls unless we actually have a conversation. But there is one important thing we can say to everyone: don’t go it alone. While we could give you a checklist of things to be aware of, there are technical issues that matter. This is especially true of the behind-the-scenes technicalities of properly constructed retaining walls. Remember that a proper retaining wall needs proper drainage, sturdy construction, and careful planning. Working together with a dedicated Olathe landscaping company can help you find just the right solution.  So reach out to ask questions, or to see examples of projects we’ve completed.

 

planning your yard's best year

Plan Your Yard’s Best Year

What does it take to be an exceptional Olathe landscaping company? That’s a big question that boils down to a few things, most of which hinge on this: we want your yard to be the best yard it can be, and we want you to be happy with the service and products we offer.

In our last post, we talked about things to consider when hiring the best Olathe landscaper possible. And in that post we also mentioned a variety of things to consider that apply to the planning of a successful yard and garden. A few of those things include dreaming up what you want your space to look like, how much you want to spend, and how much help you want to have as you turn your plans into reality.

Digging a Little Deeper

All of those things are important, but we barely skimmed the surface in the last post. So it’s time to examine your dreams a little more in depth. To do this, you have to consider your yards of years past. What were you happy with? What did you dislike and want to change or eliminate? Even if you’re not the list-making type, jotting these thoughts down in a place that you can easily access will help you as you plan. It will also help you better articulate your thoughts to your Olathe landscape architect.

Think, too, about the work it took to make those yards of years past possible. Did you spend more time working on your lawn than you did enjoying it? Did you enjoy that time spent working? Or would you have rather spent it with family or friends—or traveling, going to the movies, or learning something new?

You’ve read it in countless business books, but it bears repeating: your time is money. Considering how much time you invest in your lawn is an important part of planning for future years. Weigh the pros and cons carefully.

Take a Walk…or Go Surfing

Sometimes it takes seeing something to realize its potential. These cold winter months are the perfect time to spend a weekend afternoon at a home and garden show. Or you could search Pinterest for gorgeous lawn and landscaping ideas, or flip through a seed catalog. Who knows—you might realize you know exactly what you want, or you might find something you never knew you couldn’t live without!

Expand Your Reach

We’re here to help you make your lawn the best it can be and we’d love to talk to you about the lawn and landscape you want to create in this new year. As you’re surfing online, take a minute to read a few testimonials and if you’re ready, reach out and take the first step to making your dream lawn a dream come true!

tips for hiring the best olathe landscape architect

Tips for Hiring the Best Landscape Architect

We’re mid-way into the first month of the new year—time to think about the resolutions you made! If you’re a homeowner, chances are at least one of your resolutions is about your home. Maybe you’d like to  make it more comfortable, more aesthetically pleasing, more cost-effective, or more “you.”

It might seem counterintuitive to think about outdoor and yard and lawn goals in the dead of winter, but the opposite is actually true. Taking time now to plan for the year and giving yourself ample time to research, talk with professionals, and hire the perfect expert for the job will ensure that when the weather thaws, your lawn and gardens will be ready to bloom.

So the question at hand is this: are there tips for hiring the best possible landscape architect? And the answer to that question is a resounding yes!

Start by Dreaming and Scheming

It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to hire the right person for a job when you don’t know what that job is. This month is the perfect time to really think about what you want from your lawn and gardens. Do you want to keep things as simple as possible? Repeat what you did last year? Change things up and plant something new? Think not only about how you want your lawn and garden to look, but also what it might take to achieve those goals. Think about your budget, and how much you are comfortable and/or willing to invest in professional help. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the coming year, think about curb appeal and be sure to consult a real estate expert to discuss which investments garner the best returns.

Talk to Your Neighbors

And your coworkers and your friends, especially those who maintain outdoor spaces that you admire. Ask what they wished they’d known about retaining walls before they had one installed or pepper them with questions about how and why they use their outdoor kitchen. Ask, too, for referrals—and make sure to check out each referral for references, both public and private. The most reputable businesses have fans eager to sing their praises!

Interview the Experts

Every business model is different, but ours is built on a foundation of trust, communication, and quality. We always work with our clients to meet their budget and their needs, and we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service and products. Why? These are the qualities we look for in others, so we embody them ourselves—and we’ve been in business for 50 years now. So don’t be shy–reach out to ask us questions. We enjoy being a resource to our clients and because we’re always learning something new, we’re always sharing new and exciting information.

Landscaping in Olathe with Native Plants

Do you think that Spring is the only time to plant native grasses and flowers? If so, you’re not alone—that’s a common misconception. But Olathe landscapers will tell you it’s simply not true. With a little bit of planning and preparation once the calendar flips to Fall, you can start establishing warm season grasses and native wildflowers before it’s time to decorate your Christmas tree.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold Season Seeding

In fact, with native grasses in particular, dormant season seeding (Fall, in this case) imitates natural reseeding.  Once frost sets in, things change a bit: frost seeding (which is the spreading of seed over frozen soil after the first killing frost) results in some natural stratification—which means that the seed and seed coat change enough to enhance germination. There’s also good seed-to-soil contact because of the moisture frost brings.

Patience is Still a Virtue

Even though this can all be done successfully in the Fall and Winter, most germination probably won’t occur until Spring; the exception to this might be some cool season species. This is when working closely with an Olathe or Johnson County landscaping company can be especially beneficial; not only can Olathe landscape architects help you understand which plants are native to the area, but they can also help you determine when and where to plant for the best results. Curious who you’ll work with if you choose us? Learn a bit about us here.

It’s Not All Good News

There are disadvantages to seeding during dormant seasons. Seed loss is possible, usually due to decay and consumption by wildlife. Weeds can also be an issue—in fact, the best time to start preventing weeds is when the weather is cooler, before the weeds germinate and start to take root. Smart tip: take the time to mulch well. Not only will doing so hinder weed growth, but it will help the soil retain moisture and provide protection for seeds and soil.

Curious and want to know more about native Kansas plants? The best thing to do is to talk to an Olathe landscape architect or Olathe landscaper. Another great resource is the Kansas Native Plant Society.

Other Important Cool and Cold Weather Landscaping Tips

What else should you be doing to make the most of these cool Fall days? Prune and trim perennial plants, shrubs, and hedges. Pruning trees can be a monster of a job—and sometimes it’s best left to a professional landscaper. Not sure if you should try it on your own or bring in an Olathe landscaping company? Ask us!

Once you’ve trimmed, make sure to remove clippings, branches, fall leaves, and other debris from your lawn. Why? Anything that covers your grass impedes sunlight, and when the sun’s rays can’t reach your grass, growth can be slowed or even stopped. This all leads to a lawn that looks more lackluster than lush—and might even leave dead or spotty patches in your yard.

Speaking of Mulch…

Mulch looks good, no doubt. But it also serves as a blanket of sorts for the soil and the roots below—and happy roots mean happy plants! Different areas require different mulch strategies; you want beds to have 1-2 inches of mulch, but you don’t want to cover the trunks of shrubs or trees. Once severely cold weather is imminent, tender and early-flowering plants will need extra protection. Consider staking around the plants and covering them with burlap to keep them as protected as possible.

 

 

 

 

Winterizing Your Olathe Outdoor Kitchen Space

If the colder temperatures crept up and surprised you this past week or so, don’t despair! Instead, use it as a reminder that it’s time to take care of your Olathe outdoor kitchen spaces so they’re all safe once winter really hits and ready to enjoy once Spring comes again.

This is particularly true of outdoor kitchen spaces. If you want to be ready to grill burgers once the weather is more temperate, it’s imperative that you take care of your space and equipment now: make sure it’s cleaned, that water sources are turned off, and that each element is winterized. Keep reading for tips on each.

Olathe Outdoor Kitchen

Water and Winter Pipes Don’t Mix

Have an outdoor sink, refrigerator, or ice maker? Make sure to shut off the water supply to each (if you’re in the planning stages of designing your outdoor kitchen space, consider an indoor shutoff), drain each line, and either unplug or turn off circuit breakers that power these pieces of equipment. Letting water sit in pipes in freezing temperatures can cause pipes to crack or burst. Drain valves should remain open.

When you clean your refrigerator and ice maker, start by removing all contents, trays, and bins. Clean and then carefully wipe the interior to remove all traces of moisture—and don’t cover these appliances. Your intentions might be good, but moisture can build up and cause damage.

Remember to remove sink faucets and store them inside.

Not sure how to properly winterize your outdoor pipes for the winter? We’re here to help! Just give us a call or send a question.

Mind Your Surfaces

If you have stone countertops, be diligent about sealing the surfaces before winter hits to prevent stains, chips, and cracks. Remember that freezing moisture isn’t your friend and can wreak havoc on your Olathe outdoor kitchen.

If you have an outdoor grill, be sure to secure its cover securely. Same is true with sinks. Covers that fit well and are secured help prevent debris from accumulating and settling in drains and pipes; they also help extend the life of your equipment.

Plan Ahead

We know how cold temperatures can plunge in Olathe and the Johnson County area! Make like a grizzly and let your outdoor space hibernate. Moving things around can cause breakage—just think about how brittle everything gets when ice heads our way. The chance of damaging equipment is just too high, so once you have everything in place, leave it be until next Spring.

Have other equipment in your Olathe outdoor kitchen and want to be sure your space is protected well before the elements hit? Curious what an Olathe landscaper can do to improve your outdoor space? We’re here to help and love customizing our solutions to each client’s wishes. Call us at 913-782-1333.

Fall Landscaping Tips for Olathe Lawns and Landscapes

Temperatures are starting to dip ever so slightly here in the Kansas City metro area, which means our thoughts turn to everything warm and cozy: sweaters and blankets, apple cider and pumpkin lattes, just to name a few. Just as this is the perfect time to switch out Spring and Summer décor for Fall colors and accessories in your home, it’s also the prime time to turn your attention to your landscaping areas, such as your lawn and outdoor living areas.

Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean it’s time to stay indoors! Take advantage of this time to not only bring some new color to your lawn and garden, but also to plan for the upcoming Winter weather. But first, here’s the trick to bringing all of the following tips together: sit down with a calendar and plan when, what, and how you’ll plant, tend, and maintain your landscaping as the weather grows colder.

Landscapers Share Tips for Fabulous Fall Lawns

How can you take advantage of this cooler weather to make your landscaping shine? Prune and mulch your perennials to be sure they’re as well insulated as possible before colder weather hits. Spend a sunny but cool morning planting bulbs, then make a schedule to feed and water what you’ve planted so each can spend the Winter growing and preparing to burst through thawed ground once Spring hits. Take special care with trees—studies show that trees planted in the Fall are more successful and the cooler weather means less watering and maintenance for you. The little bit of patience you’ll need now will be well rewarded once Spring comes again.

Here in Johnson County, it’s also wise to get a jump on weed control now, rather than waiting until Spring or Summer. Why? K-State Research and Extension Center explains that broadleaf weeds (think dandelions, henbit, and chickweed) germinate in September and October, then overwinter as small plants. You have to look closely to see them—they’re no bigger than a quarter. Taking care of those weeds now means the Spring and Summer proliferation that so often overtakes even the most methodically attended lawns can be stemmed before it starts. Be sure to choose your control method wisely; granular and liquid chemicals both work, but each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Olathe Landscaping Company Huston Contracting is Here to Help

Fall Landscaping Tips for Olathe Lawns and Landscapes

And this is why having a schedule matters: if you plant grass seed in the cooler Fall months, you shouldn’t treat your lawn with herbicide until those seedlings have been mowed two-three times. Taking a few minutes to think about coming weather conditions and how you’d like your landscaping to look once the snow melts.

Want to know more about prepping your lawn for cold weather? Have questions about what an Olathe landscaping company can do for you now and through the year? We welcome questions and would love to hear what you think. Send us a question or give us a call—we’re here to help!

How to Improve Curb Appeal with Olathe Landscaping

For many a Olathe landscaper, increasing curb appeal is the number one thing on their mind. You might be in a similar position.

Sure, you enjoy the landscaping process and down a refreshing lemonade while admiring your work in the evenings, but let’s be real here.

Landscaping increases property value. You’re not sweating away in the hot summer heat just for giggles. No way, Jose. You’re doing it because curb appeal equals extra value for your home.

If that sounds like you, then keep on reading, y’all. In this article, we’ll detail exactly how to improve your curb appeal over the next few years. We’ll show you how to take your Olathe landscaping to the next level.

How to Improve Curb Appeal with Olathe Landscaping

But enough with all the fluff and introductions, let’s dig in and take a look at how to improve your home’s curb appeal with unique Olathe landscaping projects.

Let’s go:

Spring and Fall Cleanup

It’s baffling how many homeowners don’t do a deep clean once the weather changes. At Huston Contracting, we started offering this service professionally – as many homes were in need of dire cleanup come new seasons.

By properly cleaning your landscape, you’ll find curb appeal just pops. Sure, we like to keep things tidy throughout the year, but every now and then – you’ve gotta go the extra mile. That’s what spring and fall cleanup is for.

Add Natural Stone

One simple way to add an elegant, crisp look to your landscaping is through natural stone. And of course, a few stones here and there can add massive value to your curb appeal.

As Olathe landscapers, we’ve found creating natural stone pathways to certain areas around your home is an inexpensive way to make your lawn and landscaping look so much better.

Always Be Mowing and Mulching

Keep the basics covered. Your lawn should always look sharp. Mow that bad boy once or twice a week. Never too short. Heck, sometimes having a professional do it is a great idea.Then make sure you keep your mulch fresh. Fresh mulch adds a pop to your landscaping that faded browns will never be able to. Plus, it only takes an hour or two to add some mulch to your landscaping.

Tree Installation

Sometimes your yard is just missing something. Maybe your front landscaping just doesn’t have anything extra. Your lawn looks lovely and your home is in pristine condition. But there’s nothing that says, “Put me on a postcard” – when people drive by. There’s no automatic seller.

In these types of situations, you can add an adult tree in the perfect area. In doing so, you create a focal point of your front yard landscaping and often, send curb appeal skyrocketing in one simple installation.

Make Your Olathe Landscaping Count

If you’re ready to increase curb appeal, then you need to make your Olathe landscaping effort count. You need to make a memorable impression. You might need to work with a professional landscape design team.

If that’s so, get in touch with our team at Huston Contracting.

How to Create a Private Backyard Oasis On Your Property

Steve and Suzy are great people, but you don’t want them meddling in your business all day and night. Especially when you’re looking to relax and unwind in your backyard on a refreshing summer eve.

That’s exactly why we’re here. To show you how to create a private backyard oasis on your property. An oasis that your neighbors won’t be able to watch you from. An oasis where you’ll truly be able to unwind and relax through the day and night.

If that’s of interest to ya, well, keep on reading.

Creating a Private Backyard Oasis On Your Property

So, how do we create the privacy you’ve always dreamed about in your backyard? How do we keep prying neighbor eyes out of sight? That’s simple.

Well, it can be complex. It really depends how you want to do things. This is your oasis, after all.

But enough with my fluff, let’s dive in and look at a few ways to add privacy to your backyard:

Tall Tree Install

This one is common sense. The easiest way to add privacy is to install mature trees around your backyard.

These trees can block the vision of your neighbors and keep things a little more private around your backyard.

For a first move, this is one of the easiest ways to increase the privacy of your backyard. At Huston Contracting, we can help you find and install the tallest trees money can buy. And we certainly recommend this in some situations.

However, this isn’t an end-all, be-all solution. Other times, you may be better off working with other landscaping solutions to add privacy.

High Fences

A high fence is a key to privacy in the backyard. Without a fence, your backyard may feel open and inviting to any and all of your neighbors. Even before installing trees, make sure your fencing is up to par.

By installing the highest fence your homeowner’s association will allow, you’ll find privacy all around you. The only issue will be spying neighbor eyes from above.

Covered Porches

To further your privacy, covered porches can add barriers from the neighbors. These cover and/or screened-in porches will ensures eyes from above cannot see what’s going on in your backyard.

This is ideal while enjoying a cold one as the stars come out, but not enjoyable if you’re looking to get some sun while enjoying the backyard.

Outdoor Kitchens

Many don’t know this, but you can build your outdoor kitchen with privacy in mind. As the kitchen is usually tall, the grilling areas and more can all create natural barriers to nosy neighbors.

Many of our Olathe landscaping clients have asked us to build extravagant and tall outdoor kitchens with the idea of adding privacy to the outdoor spaces. And of course, we happily obliged.

Create the Backyard of Your Dreams – A Private One!

These are just a few ideas. While the team here at Huston Contracting believe in being friendly with the neighbors, we understand there’s times when we all need a little privacy to truly enjoy our outdoor spaces.

In those times, just get in touch to learn more about your Olathe landscaping options.

Why Investing in Your Olathe Landscaping Just Makes Sense

Investing is a tricky word these days. You’ve got the stock market. You’ve got your home. Maybe you even have some Bitcoin. These are all things people consider investments. Many consider the items listed above to be solid ones, too.

But your landscaping? Most don’t consider landscaping an investment. Some do, but most don’t. For most, landscaping is about planting a few flowers and mowing the grass.

If you’re reading this, you may have different thoughts. You may believe investing in your landscaping is worthwhile. Maybe you find it’s a great way to increase the value of your home.

Why Investing in Your Olathe Landscaping Just Makes Sense

That idea couldn’t be truer. Seriously, investing in landscaping can add huge value to your home. Most people don’t realize it, but landscaping is one of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home.

For example, some have suggested that proper maintenance and upkeep of your landscaping could lead to a 6-13% increase in the value of your home.

Think about those numbers:

You have a home that’s roughly valued around $400,000 right now. You invest a little bit of money each year on landscaping projects and upkeep. When you go to sell the home, you get a 13% increase in value due to your landscaping. Now your home is worth $452,000!

That’s a pretty huge increase in value if you ask me, especially when all you had to do was add a few landscaping projects here and there.

Now, how do you see this increase? Well, here’s a few ideas for the Olathe homeowner looking to add value through landscaping:

  • Monthly Maintenance: Just take care of your lawn. Mow it weekly. Have professionals fertilize the grass quarterly. Install an irrigation system to ensure your landscaping gets ideal amounts of water all year. That’s about it.
  • Outdoor Environments: One of the most valuable ways to increase your home’s value through landscaping is with things like outdoor kitchens, fire pits, porches and more. The addition of these items can send your home’s value skyrocketing.
  • Water Features: Some buyers love water features, others not so much. Ideally, you use small water features to add value. We’ve had great success adding natural creek beds to landscaping lately, as it’s a hot ticket item for new homeowners.

Build Your Olathe Landscape, Add Value to Your Home

By investing in your landscaping, you’re investing in your home. You’re investing in selling your property for a higher value. Plus, you get to enjoy stunning landscaping while you live in your home. A true win-win.

If you need help doing just that, get in touch. The experts here at Huston Contracting, Inc. We love to help Olathe residents build the yard of their dreams – while building their future, too.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Landscaping Projects

It’s summer. The heat has rolled into town. You may or may not be thinking about Olathe landscaping projects right now. But, if you are, we wanted to give you some quick tips and tricks to ensure you make the most out of them.

See, landscaping isn’t easy. In fact, it can be downright tough. For that reason and many more, it’s worthwhile to make the most out of your Olathe landscaping projects. No reason to sweat outside for hours on end and not see stunning results. Or spend a ton of money and not be thrilled.

Make the Most Out of Your Landscaping Projects

Let’s dive in and look at a few ways to get the most out of your efforts in Olathe:

  • Think Long Haul

When getting the most out of a project is on your mind, you shouldn’t be thinking seasonal. It should be long-term. I’m talking yearly.

Think outdoor kitchens, retaining walls, flower beds, and evergreen plants. You can get a great bang for your buck by building your landscape around long-term structures built to last years – not months.

  • Plant Perennials

We all love flowers. They bring beauty to an Olathe landscape in a way no other plants can. But you don’t want to replant them each and every year. You want them to continue blooming year after year.

If that’s you, then you’ll want to plant perennials all around your landscape. They take the same time to plant and prosper year one, but after that you’ll have flowers for years on end.

  • Pay Attention to HVAC

Your HVAC units can hinder your landscaping and hurt your plants. Luckily, this is an easy fix that’ll ensure you get great results from any landscaping in Olathe.

If you’re doing it yourself, make sure to keep any and all landscaping at least 2-3 feet away from your HVAC units. This will ensure the plants don’t bother the unit – and vice versa. A professional Olathe landscaper will do this automatically.

  • Build a Berm

One underutilized landscaping trick is building a berm. If you have a boring area around your landscaping that needs a little sprucing up, then add a berm. The berm will give your home that “golf course” look you’ve always dreamed of.

  • Plan and Prepare

When working with professional landscapers, we love it when you’re as specific as possible. Then we can get you an estimate and scope down to the dollar. This helps eliminate any issue moving forward.

We want to work with you for years on end. This means getting the job done right and on budget – our main goals. So, the more details you give us – the easier it is to stay on budget for you.

Olathe Landscaping Projects Made Easy

If you’re looking to get any Olathe landscaping projects done this year, please reach out. Our team at Huston Contracting is here to make your projects last a lifetime!