healthy green grass and cloudy blue sky

What Is the Right Amount of Water for Your Olathe Landscape?

healthy green grass and cloudy blue sky

Remember the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? In the story, a family of bears goes for a walk when their breakfast porridge is too hot to eat. While they’re away, a girl named Goldilocks goes into their house, sees the food, and decides to eat. She tries the first chair, which is too big and too hard and the porridge is too hot. She tries the second chair, which is too soft, and the porridge at that place setting was too cold. Finally, she tries the third chair, which was just right for her. The porridge was just the right temperature, too, so she ate it all.

That’s not the entire story, of course, but it’s one that might come to mind when you think of watering your Olathe landscape, especially in the thick of summer. How much water is too much? How much is not enough? And how do you get it “just right?”

Read on to learn more about how you can determine the right amount of water for your Johnson County lawn and landscape.

The General Rule Might Apply

Generally speaking, Olathe landscapes and lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. This can come from rainfall or watering. And, of course, this is a very broad stroke of a guideline. Factors including type of grass, soil type, regional conditions, and lawn age can make a difference and change the ideal amount of water for your particular landscape.

Another oft-followed rule of thumb is to water to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, which is the desired depth of healthy, thriving roots.

Johnson County Lawn and Landscape Watering Needs

Kansas City’s predominately heavy, clay soil means that water can be absorbed at only .2 inches per hour. Of course, no one can control the weather or how much rainfall we receive each week or month. But when deciding how often—and for how long—to water your lawn and landscape to supplement natural rainfall, it’s important to remember that overwatering soil that can’t readily soak it all in can not only result in run-off, but also in wasted money.

Know Your Flow Rate

Master gardeners at the Johnson County Extension Office advise determining the flow rate of your sprinkler/irrigation system. This page describes an easy way to measure how much water your sprinklers deliver per time period.

Once you know the flow rate of your system, you can determine how long you should run your sprinklers to supplement whatever rainfall has been received in a given week. To measure and keep tabs on whether or not your lawn is being watered effectively, try the screwdriver test: press a 6-inch screwdriver into the soil. If it goes in easily, your lawn is hydrated. If you have to fight to get in all the way, it’s time to water.

Your Olathe Landscape Might be Different

The information shared here is general, meaning it’s a guideline for most lawns and landscapes in the Johnson County area. But what if the type of grass you’ve planted requires more or less moisture? What if your hardscaping is unique or if you have a water feature that makes your yard more humid than your neighbor’s yard?

Working with a landscape architect can help you determine even the routine measures taken to keep your lawn and landscape healthy and beautiful, like watering enough, but not too much. We’re ready and eager to help you create and maintain the lawn and landscape of your dreams. Contact us to learn more.

choosing the right flowers for your olathe landscape

Picking the Right Flowers for Your Home Landscape

choosing the right flowers for your olathe landscape

Choosing the right flowers for your home landscape design entails more than just choosing your favorite flowers.

Aesthetics is only one element of planning the perfect flower garden. You also have to consider growing conditions, space considerations, the characteristics of each plant, your ability to maintain the growth year to year, and much more.

To learn a bit about how to choose the best flowers for your home landscape, keep reading. You might also want to read this post about annuals, biennials, and perennials to help you decide which flowers will work best for you.

Assess Your Space

Once you have an idea of how often you want to plant, take an honest assessment of your space. How much sun does it get? Plants can thrive in all conditions—from full-shade to full-sun—but only if you plant the right plants in the right place.

To properly assess which plants will thrive in your space, you need to know how many hours of direct sunlight the space receives every day. Then, choose flowers that will love that spot and the sun it gets.

Like most landscapes, your space likely has spots with varying amounts of sun exposure. And that’s a good thing! The most interesting landscapes are often those with variety: both shade and sun plants, different heights and colors.

Size Matters

The best landscapers in Olathe will tell you that scale matters. That doesn’t mean you have to plant only small flowers in a small space or large flowers in a sprawling landscape. But it does mean that considering how large a flower plant will grow is an important part of planning the perfect-for-you landscape.

Another thing to speak to your landscape expert about is plant spread. Some flowers will grow more than others and overtake a space. Think about sunflowers and how tall they can grow; if you plant only sunflowers and marigolds, the space might not look as nice as you’d hoped. You need something more proportionate, or additional flowers to fill that middle space.

Get Help

Knowing when and what to plant for a gorgeous landscape can be a fun DIY project, for sure. But working with a knowledgeable expert can help expedite the creation of a garden, flower bed, lawn, or landscape.  If you’re ready to work together to create the landscape you’ve always wanted, contact us to learn more.

choosing the right annuals and perennials for your olathe garden

Olathe Flowers: the Difference Between Annuals and Perennials and Choosing the Right Ones

choosing the right annuals and perennials for your olathe garden

Start with Basics

It’s ok if choosing flowers for your landscape is overwhelming. There are so many choices, a rainbow of colors, and considerations that reach beyond picking what you think is pretty—like budget, the amount of time you have to tend your landscape, the composition of your soil, and what grows well in your climate.

So let’s start with the basics. First, flowers are typically organized in one of three categories at the nursery: annuals, biennials, and perennials. Here’s the difference: annuals live for one season only. Biennials live for two years. And perennials come back year after year.

Knowing this can help you decide which flowers best fit your current goals and lifestyle. For instance, if you’re planning to move soon or want to experiment with flower type and placement, annuals or biennials might be a good choice. Or, if you have settled into your dream home and know exactly how you want your landscape to look, perennials will continue to flower every year.

Remember that annuals will flower in one season, but biennials won’t. Instead, a biennial grows and stems, but doesn’t bloom. This means the flowering doesn’t happen until year two. Choosing these means you have to have patience, but the results are so often breathtaking: think of a field of poppies or Black-Eyed Susans!

Should I Plant Annuals or Perennials?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question other than to say that rarely does one have to choose one over the other. There are so many considerations when it comes to choosing the right flowers for your Olathe landscape, only one of which is how often you want to replant those plants.

If you’re looking solely at how long plants will last, think about this: planting annuals has to be done more often (every year) than choosing perennials. If you’ll be in your home for more than a year or two, and you’re most concerned with not planting every year, then planting perennials might be your best option.

However, choosing annuals means you can vary your plants year to year. This means the overall look of your landscape can change more often. Weighing these considerations: the time that must be invested vs. the ability to change how your landscape looks can help you determine which plan to implement.

Why Pick Just One Flower Type?

If you aren’t steadfastly set on either planting only once (as might be the case with perennials) or being able to completely change your garden every year (as might be the case with annuals), your best option might be to plant a combination of annuals, biennials, and perennials.

Employ the Olathe Flower and Landscape Experts

No one knows what grows best in Olathe gardens like local landscape experts. Curious about which flowers grow well in the Johnson County area? Give us a call; we’d love to talk to you about your landscaping projects.

3 Areas Where Retaining Walls Add Value and Look Great

Retaining walls offer countless benefits. They can be a gorgeous aesthetic element that shows your home design and landscaping personality. More than that, though, they’re functional. Retaining walls help prevent run-off, guard against erosion, and can protect your home’s foundation.

But there are three places in particular that retaining walls can be especially beneficial. Those places are at your driveway and/or stairway, around your flower beds, and when either placed next to, or used as, fencing.

Retaining Wall Around Your Driveway or Stairway

One of the most important things a retaining wall can do for your landscape is provide additional support for architectural and functional features. This is especially true when it comes to your driveway and/or the stairway to your home. It’s all about the slope of your land, here: a retaining wall and help correct less than ideal slopes. This means that a retaining wall at your driveway and/or stairway is less likely to shift. An added bonus is that a retaining wall here can be both attractive and an added safety feature.

Retaining Walls and Flower Beds

Retaining walls are one of the best ways to create the lawn of your dreams. By building retaining walls, you can turn a blank space into an array of raised beds full of color, texture, and height. All of these elements are pleasing to the eye and make the best use of every bit of available space.

Retaining walls that create flower beds don’t just provide an instant home for your favorite flowers and plants. These retaining walls also help do what all other retaining walls do: they help prevent excessive run-off, help control soil erosion, correct slopes, and protect the foundation of your home.

Retaining Walls and Fencing

Let’s face it: replacing a fence isn’t an inexpensive endeavor. Why not consider a retaining wall instead? Doing so means you can maximize not just your budget, but the design potential of your space. This doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision: by working with a professional landscaping company, you can choose to use a retaining wall as a fence, install a fence on top of a retaining wall, or add a fence and/or guardrails around the retaining wall.

No matter where you want to install a retaining wall, there are serious concerns to keep in mind. Knowing the slope of your land and how the water drains is vital. So is having a clear understanding of what your city or town’s regulations are when it comes to building or installing new features.

As an Olathe landscape company that works throughout the Johnson County and greater Kansas City area, we know those requirements and can work with you to find the best option for your space. Reach out when you’re ready to learn more.

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.

 

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.

 

Finishing Before Fall: Seasonal Olathe Landscaping Ideas

Here in Olathe, we’ve had a pretty mild summer. Most grass stayed green and the heat was easily beat. We’ve been lucky. As fall rolls in, the prep and prepare work shouldn’t be too dubious this year. Still, there a few Olathe landscaping ideas to look at before the first freeze of the year.

At Huston Contracting, we know Olathe landscaping like the back of our hand. So, we wanted to detail a few things you should finish up before fall. 

Finishing Before Fall: Seasonal Olathe Landscaping Ideas

By getting these things done before it starts freezing, you’ll set your yard up for an ideal spring. Let’s dive in and look at a few seasonal Olathe landscape ideas:

  • Olathe Outdoor Kitchens

By installing your Olathe outdoor kitchen before it gets too cold, you’ll get to have a few grill outs and get togethers with the warmth. This is ideal because you’ll get a feel for the space and have all winter to think how you’ll use the space when it heats up, again.

  • Plant Some Trees

By planting trees in the early fall, you have one huge advantage over other times of the year: the soil is already warm. With warm soil, the trees roots grow faster and dig deeper. You get better overall root growth, which leads to a healthier tree. If you can plant a few trees before the first freeze, they’ll be prepped and prepared to bloom next spring.

  • New Patio Furniture

This one is a bit basic, but hear us out. As Olathe landscapers, we know that patio furniture can be costly. However, if you buy as the summer season winds down, you’ll find prices are significantly lower than before. In fact, many stores offer up to 75% to get rid of inventory before winter rolls in.

  • Olathe Retaining Wall Installation

Fall is a great time to hire a professional contractor to install an Olathe retaining wall. The soil is warm and the ground is ripe for moving. Fall is a great time to install a retaining wall.

  • Clean Up

If you only handle one fall landscaping item, cleaning up your yard should be it. Prune your plants and bushes. Focus on keeping everything tidy. Rake up leaves. This will make your spring landscape that much prettier when the time comes.

Olathe Landscaping Professionals For You

If you’re in the Olathe area and looking for landscaping services this fall, we hope you’ll reach out. At Huston Contracting, we offer a wide range of services sure to fit every one of your Olathe landscaping needs.

7 Fantastic Olathe Landscaping Ideas For Everybody

Landscaping ideas matter. It doesn’t matter what season it is. You want your Olathe landscape to look great whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter. Maybe we want to keep up with the neighbors. Or maybe you take pride in showcasing your stunning home in the best way you can.

No matter why your Olathe landscaping matters to you, we all know it’s important. As such, we wanted to throw together a quick list of simple ways to improve your landscape all year long. Sure, some ideas work better during different times of the year, but we’re going to keep things basic.

  • Front-Facing Flowers

One of the best ways to ensure your home is inviting and welcoming is to greet guests with flowers. A number of annuals and perennials look good nearly all year long. You can also add some flower pots inside your entryway when things get too cold.

  • Utilize Planters and Baskets

One unique way to make your landscape “pop” is to add planters and baskets. These tools ensure your garden grows in height. You bring the plants up to eye-level and create a stunning visual appeal.

  • Outdoor Kitchens Galore

You can grill a thick, juicy steak in your outdoor kitchen in the heart of winter. You just need an amazing outdoor kitchen to cook it in. Luckily, once you have the kitchen created, your landscape will look amazing all year.

  • Retaining Wall WOW

While certain plants and wildlife won’t grow during the winter months, your retaining wall can look ideal all year around. A well-made retaining wall adds a unique layering element to your yard that stands out year around.

  • Create a Surprise Area

One of the coolest ways to create a unique landscape is to add a surprise. This means you build a fun walkway to a “hidden” area, an oasis in your backyard. For some this is a hidden patio or gazebo, but others use the walkway idea to end up at a small pond. Where your path goes is up to you.

  • Timely Trimming

Make no mistake about it – a little timely trimming here and there can ensure your landscaping looks amazing all the time. Keep your trees and bushes in order, especially in the warmer months when evergreens grow like wildfire.

  • Mix and Match

One popular landscaping tip that’s become popular lately is mixing stone with wood. The combination adds an alluring rustic appeal while still staying modern. Try creating a stone path walkway with wood structures along the side for an impressive landscape.

Olathe Landscaping For YOU

If you have any landscaping you need done before the freezing winter months, get in touch. The pros at Huston Contracting are here to help prepare your home for the winter. We look forward to working with you.