Spring and Summer Native Plants for Your Olathe Landscape

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.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Plants

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.

Native Plants Bring the Birds to Your Yard

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.

Native Plants Help the Planet

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.

 

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.

Retaining wall considerations

Do I Need a Retaining Wall?

First things first: what is a retaining wall? Simply put, a retaining wall is a barrier that holds in place earth that would otherwise erode or collapse. Retaining walls can be small DIY projects or larger-scale and professionally constructed. Retaining walls can be constructed from a range of materials and can vary in size, shape, and design.

Why Would I Want a Retaining Wall?

There are two main reasons to consider a retaining wall. First, because it’s physically necessary to correct a slope, prevent erosion, or otherwise level the earth in your yard. These retaining walls serve a functional purpose. In residential settings, retaining walls are necessary when there might be an abrupt separation of ground elevation. Reasons a retaining wall can be necessary include sunken patios, walkout basements, and other hardscapes. Aesthetics are the second consideration. Retaining walls can create tiered gardens or flowerbeds, which add visual interest to otherwise ordinary spaces.

Best of Both Worlds

Of course, landscape and hardscape elements can be both practical and beautiful. This is certainly the case with retaining walls, and is an important reason to work with a landscape architect when considering the installation of a retaining wall.

An expert landscape artist with retaining wall experience can help determine construction specifics as well as design aesthetics—meaning experienced landscapers will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various materials, placement, and size.

Details Matter

Remember that there are specific considerations in determining if you need a retaining wall, some of which you might not know until you consult with an expert. Among those considerations: the slope of the earth at the location and the current drainage situation at the location in question, type of soil, and weather conditions (such as freezing).

As is the case with so many projects, building a retaining wall can be a DIY project for some, but working with an expert familiar with retaining walls and  your geographical area ensures that the retaining wall built will be not only attractive, but will also function as intended.

Ask the Right Questions

Knowing whether or not you need a retaining wall is more involved than just knowing you’re ready to build, and working with a professional landscape and construction company can help ensure all considerations: practical and financial, logistical and aesthetic, are fully researched and planned before construction begins.

Curious about retaining walls and your options? Contact us to learn more.

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.

Landscaping Without the Lawn! 4 Fun Ways to Spruce Things Up

Your Olathe landscaping is so much more than some grass and a few shrubs. In fact, the greenery is only one part of an amazing landscape. There’s just so much to it once you really dive in.

At Huston Contracting, we get questions all the time about how to make landscaping improvements with bad weather, what changes to make in the winter, and so much more. 

4 Fun Ways to Spruce Things Up – Without the Lawn!

So, we put our landscaping minds together and came up with a short list of ways to improve your landscaping that have absolutely nothing to do with your lawn. Here are four of our favorites:

  • Outdoor Kitchens

One of the best ways to make the most of your landscape? Add an outdoor kitchen to your home. Outdoor kitchens have been all the rage as of late. Why? Because they look absolutely fantastic when done properly and they’re functional.

With a full-scale outdoor kitchen, you’ll be able to cook, clean, and eat meals outdoors while entertaining guests. That’s a huge value to any home and landscape. If you’re looking to make a big landscape change in 2018, an outdoor kitchen might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

  • Water Features

We may be biased here at Huston Contracting, but we’re huge fans of water features. There’s not much that can completely change the face of your landscape without working with green spaces. Water features are one of the few elements that can do that and so much more.

Koi ponds, pondless waterfalls, and natural creek beds are all stunning ways to alter your Olathe landscape without touching the lawn. While these aren’t quick fixes and require professional help, there’s no doubt your landscape will be upgraded once complete.

  • Outdoor Fireplaces

One of the best ways to make your outdoor spaces a place to gather and spend time with family and friends? Add an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. There’s just something about fire that brings people together.

Whether wood burning or gas, your new outdoor fireplace will change your whole landscape. While fire pits look fantastic as a standalone piece, many add outdoor fireplaces to their outdoor kitchen for added benefit.

  • Concrete Structures

Sometimes you need to add some concrete to your landscape. It could be to create a patio or a sitting area. Maybe you want to create a walkway from your outdoor kitchen to your koi pond. It all depends on your needs.

No matter how you utilize it, concrete is another great way to change your landscape without much worry about the lawn.

Your Landscaping Without the Lawn Experts

If you’re looking to make Olathe landscaping improvements before the grass turns green, get in touch with Huston Contracting. Here at Huston, our professionals specialize in creating your dream landscape – no matter what that may be!

8 Innovative Ideas and Tips For Your Olathe Landscape

As spring has sprung, it’s time get outdoors and start a little landscaping here in Olathe, KS. There’s no better time than April, May, and early June to spruce up the grounds around your home.

Innovative Ideas and Tips For Your Olathe Landscape

If you’re ready to upgrade your Olathe landscaping this year, you’ll need a few ideas. While you won’t need to be an expert green thumb, these tips are sure to help you avoid some mistakes.

Here are a few ideas for your Olathe landscape:

  • A Front Yard Fence

One of the favorite Olathe landscaping trends this year is adding a front yard fence. While certain homeowners’ associations won’t allow it, this small change can look stunning. With a variety of designs to choose from, you can add this bit of traditional landscaping styling to your home this spring.

  • Water Feature Mania

One of the easiest ways to add value to your Olathe landscape is through a water feature. You don’t need a full-fledged pond to make your water feature pop. Just adding a little waterfall or fountain can change your whole landscape. Many water features are self-contained these days and easy to manage.

  • Outdoor Kitchen Installation

Why not add an innovative piece to your landscape that’s also useful? Olathe outdoor kitchens are very popular these days. You can add a full-fledged outdoor kitchen or just build some preparation space around your grill.

  • Consider Your Furry Friends

Dogs and gardening don’t always go hand-in-hand. In fact, they rarely do. Still, you don’t want your furry friend digging up your garden. One easy way to keep your dog out of the garden is to build them a dog-friendly area, like a sandbox. Then bury treats, toys, and bones in the sand for your furry friend to dig up.

  • Retaining Wall Wonders

One of the harder, but stunning ways to add value to your landscape is through an Olathe retaining wall installation. Retaining walls can change the whole look of your landscape.

  • Flowers For Days

Make sure you keep a lot of flowers around your landscape this spring. One of our favorite ways to add flowers is to keep them by the front door. You should always have flowers to greet guests in the springtime.

  • Dress the Driveway

Adding plants and landscaping features around your driveway will give your home a professional, resort-style look to it that’s hard to compete with. You’ll be the talk of the town once your dress up your driveway with an array of flowers and plants.

  • Hide the Ugly

If anything on your property isn’t stunning, like a shed or outdoor workspace, consider hiding the space with an array of plants and flowers. A beautiful display of plants or flowers can turn an eyesore into a stunning sight quickly.

What is Olathe Landscaping?

You already know what consists of an Olathe landscaping by definition. Landscaping is making or maintaining improvements to a property’s grounds in practical or aesthetically pleasing ways.

Anything and everything on your property that is not part of the home itself is part of the landscape. To break things down even further, anything you can see outside your window that is part of your property is also part of your home’s landscaping.

Different Landscaping Features

As an Olathe landscaper, you know that your grounds can have numerous features. No two landscapes are the same. It’s impossible. No two lawns grow at quite the same speed. But there’s more to it than that.

Each home offers a landscape that has a number of different features. Here are just a few of the features you’ll find in Olathe landscapes:

  • Lawns
  • Shrubs
  • Planting beds
  • Flowering trees
  • Fences
  • Walkways
  • Foundation plants
  • Water gardens

…And so much more!

With such an array of different features, it should come as no surprise that every ground and landscape is completely different. While humans control nature to create a stunning landscape, nature can only be controlled so much. That’s the beauty of Olathe landscaping.

Avoiding Olathe Landscape Mistakes

With landscaping being such an individual endeavor, there’s no way to do it wrong. Your yard is who you are. Your Olathe landscape is a part of your personality.

However, there are a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid. For example:

  • Only Considering Your Tastes

If you plan to live in a home forever, then you should only worry about your personal landscaping tastes. Get crazy with it. Do whatever you feel like. However, most of us live in homes that we will one-day list on the market. If that’s the position you’re in, then don’t forget to consider potential buyers and place curb appeal at the top of your list.

  • Don’t Remove Trees

While you may find that big tree in the middle of your landscape to be an eyesore, you don’t want to remove it. If you do, you’ll be hindering curb appeal and resale value significantly. Mature trees help sell houses. You should think twice before you ever cut one down on your property.

  • Don’t Always Do It Yourself

As Olathe landscapers, we see it all too often. You take on a big project, like an Olathe retaining wall installation, only to realize that your skill set isn’t exactly there yet. Then we get a call asking for help. While we are certainly happy to oblige, we try to warn people of the perils of doing too much yourself.

Ideal Olathe Landscapers For You

If you’re thrilled that spring has sprung and ready to get a grip on your Olathe landscaping, get in touch. Here at Huston Contracting, we’re here to help your lawn look its best. No matter what your landscaping needs are, we guarantee honest and dependable work.