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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Proper lighting is essential for any home. It is important to maintain balance between personality and the functionality of the room when it comes to lighting the living room. One can transform the entire atmosphere of their living room within the proper use of lighting. One should remember that lighting not only has aesthetic and mood enhancing values, but play an important functional role in illuminating important task areas in the living room.