Did You Have a COVID Garden? What to Do Next

Did You Have a COVID Garden?

One of the results of the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 was the rise of home and backyard gardens. Most often supplemental gardens (those used not as sole sources of food, but as supplemental supplies) and often container based rather than in-ground, these COVID gardens gave people something productive to do.

But, as COVID fatigue set in—and as temperatures plummeted during winter—the shine that these gardens once had might be a bit scuffed. If you built a garden last year and want to change things up a bit for the upcoming season, here are a few ideas to make the most of your space.

New Year, New Gardens

If you planted a garden last year by purchasing or building container gardens, you likely remember how those crops fared. Did your tomatoes grow tall and leggy but produce few fruits? Did your watermelons fizzle? Make notes about each crop you planted.  Pay attention to placement in your garden, your watering habits, and the results.

Chances are, you can rotate your crops this year to better leverage your space. If your containers are portable, consider place where you’ll get optimal sunlight; if you cannot move your containers, take some time to determine where sunlight falls in your space and for how long, then follow the guidelines set out for each crop. For example, tomatoes have different sunlight needs than green beans.

Consider Adding New Elements

If you know what you’re planting, whether that’s vegetables or flowers or a combination of both, and you have the space, you can consider adding other elements to your garden. Some communities reimburse homeowners for environmentally friendly garden elements, like rain barrels or butterfly gardens. You could also add a hardscape, like a patio, or a water or fire element.

Combine Garden and Outdoor Living Concepts

One outdoor trend, according to Veranda, is the return of the cutting garden. Another is a more seamless integration of outdoor and indoor spaces. You can breathe new life into your outdoor space by considering these trends. For instance, use a currently barren corner to plant zinnias or sunflowers—and then use those cuttings to decorate both your patio tables and in your indoor bouquets.

Another option is to expand your garden and add seating elements. This can be as easy as adding a bench so you can sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor, or by building an umbrellaed dining area complete with countertops and an outdoor oven.

Do you have big plans for your outdoor space? We’d love to hear about them. Share on our Facebook or shoot us an email.

 

2021 Outdoor Living Trends

The new year is traditionally a time to take stock of what we value most in life. For some, that means making resolutions to be healthier or to spend more time with family. For others, it means setting financial or professional goals.

This year, as we move from the unique year that was 2020 and into 2021, we have a chance to reflect on having spent more time at home and with family. And as the seasons turn from winter snow to spring sun, we can plan for the improvements we might make to our homes and outdoor living spaces to better accommodate our current reality of staying close to home.

To that end, let’s take a look at what design and industry experts are naming top outdoor living space trends for 2021.

Year-Round Outdoor Living Spaces

Like some of Kansas City’s most popular outdoor dining spots, our own outdoor spaces can go from summer-only to (almost) year-round with the addition of elements that help temper the elements. Think heating elements to warm up on cold or cooler nights, like portable heaters or built-in fireplaces, as well as additional areas of shade to make being out in the sun less harsh. Retractable shades and umbrellas are perfect options, especially when paired with fans to help circulate the air.

Lighting Makes a Difference

Because so many people are entertaining more in their outdoor spaces, the lighting in those spaces has become more important than ever. Whether your space needs to illuminate a border or path (or driveway) or you want to spotlight your favorite trees or foliage, a custom plan to place just the right lighting in just the right spots can turn your outdoor living space from ho-hum to brilliant.

Extending Your Living Space

You’re likely familiar with the idea of extending your living space by making your outdoor space look and feel more like the rooms inside your home. But because we’ve been spending so much more time inside, people are thinking more about making the outside not only more livable, but more beautiful. Think about it—our gardens, front lawns, and back yards have been our view for the past year and will likely continue to be this year. Why not make it a view you love?

Maximizing your view can be as simple as rethinking your gardens; but it can also be an elaborate project, like adding a water element or finally building that retaining wall. Regardless of how simple or how involved your project might be, we’d be honored to help you make your outdoor living space the perfect space for you. Visit us on Facebook or reach out to learn more.

 

Olathe commercial snow removal company

How Proper Snow Removal Can Save You Money

Olathe commercial snow removal company

How Proper Snow Removal Can Save You Money

It’s officially winter in Kansas and that means snow… and the removal of snow. Even though the amount of snow that Olathe and surrounding areas in Johnson County get can vary, two things are constant: there will be snow at some point, and someone will have to shovel it.

If you’re a DIYer at home, there are great tips here to help you clear snow from your space in a safe way. If you’re a business owner, though, how you deal with the white stuff is different. Instead of shoving a driveway, you may need to plow a parking lot. In that case, choosing the right snow removal service can save you cash, not to mention a lot of sweat. Keep reading to learn how.

It’s All About Value of Snow Removal

Red Adair famously said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Red was a smart man. He was an oil well firefighter who turned that knowledge into a business. His advice, to hire a professional, is one of his most famous quotes, and for good reason. Professionals get the job done right the first time, which saves you money. Why? Because even if you pay a little bit more upfront, you don’t have to pay repeatedly to get the job done correctly. Or worse, to have mistakes that shouldn’t have happened in the first place fixed.

Like any other service, it’s possible to find providers that charge far less than any other provider. While that might seem like a good deal, it’s often true that providers who rely on price alone tend to offer services not quite on par with those who charge more. This isn’t to say that you should overpay! But knowing what a service fairly costs and choosing a provider that falls into that range means you’re hiring someone who values the work they do for you.

It’s All About Know-How

There are right and wrong ways to remove snow. Hiring a company that specializes in snow removal saves money for several reasons. First, because we do this professionally, we know how to do it properly. And that means working efficiently. Second, because we do this year after year, we know what you need. We know that you use your front lot, for example, but never the back lot. So we know what’s important to you and work only on that. All of these factors save you money.

It’s All About Trust

There’s a cost to worrying about whether or not the company you call can get the job done, or if they’ll do it correctly. It might not be a financial cost, though it could translate to that in various ways. But it also pays to consider the value of peace of mind.

Knowing the people behind the plow means knowing that when you call, the job will be completed and done correctly. You can hang up assured that there’s nothing more you have to do—which means you can work on your business or spend time with your family.

There are other ways working with the right snow removal company saves you money, and we’re here and would love to talk to you about those advantages. Give us a call to learn more…before the snow hits!

More Bang for Your Buck: Getting the Best Snow Removal Deal

Snow. It’s a school kids’ daydream, an artist’s muse, and an important element of more than one Christmas song. But for business owners, snow removal can range from a minor inconvenience to an expensive business liability.

While a business owner cannot control the weather—or whether or not it snows—there are things you can do to minimize the impact snow has on your business. Specifically, there are things you can do to minimize the cost of snow removal. Read on to learn more.

Plan Early

Like so many other elements of running a business, one of the major ways you can get the best price on snow removal in Johnson County, Kansas, is to plan ahead. If you don’t yet have a trusted snow removal contractor to service your business, give us a call (or reach out to trusted friends for referrals).

Planning early and hiring a snow removal professional in Olathe before it snows gives you more leverage when negotiating the terms of that company’s service. It also gives you the time to make decisions without needing to immediately make a decision. There’s nothing worse than having to pay more than the going rate because everyone else is booked and your parking lot is full of snow!

Know What Matters Most

Knowing your priorities when it comes to snow removal can help save money in the long run. Give careful consideration to how big a space you need cleared to accommodate customers and their vehicles. Think about the most often used paths into and out of your business and docks. Ensure the right traffic patterns are clear, but consider leaving little used areas alone. Leaving some snow to melt on its own, provided that snow doesn’t present a physical hazard or impede foot traffic, can save money.

Know Your Snow Removal Professional

Like any other business decision, you want to know in advance who you’re working with. And working with a reputable, trusted, insured company can save you money. Why? Let’s break it down.

Trust matters for so many reasons, one of which is manpower. If you hire someone you don’t trust, you might have to have an employee there for backup and that employee (or employees) needs to be paid. There’s also an important element of peace of mind—you want to know that the job is being done right the first time.

Making sure that whichever company you work with carries proper insurance is a must. If there’s an accident on your property, you want to be sure you’re not left in the precarious position of being financially responsible for damages. Of course, this is something you should always speak with your accountant and/or legal counsel about.

There are other ways to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your snow removal needs, and we’re here and eager to help when you’re ready. Give us a call to learn more…before you have a pile of snow that needs to be moved!

Why Working with a Professional for Snow Removal is Good for the Environment

It’s early November now and the afternoon temperatures feel close to perfect. But before we know it, we’ll be dealing with colder temperatures and—sooner rather than later—we’ll have to start thinking about snow removal. In fact, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts that the Kansas City area will be colder and snowier than in years past.

What does this mean for you? If you have a business that depends on foot traffic or people being able to navigate your parking lot, it means you’ll need snow removal services. It’s something we do well—and something we’d like to help you learn more about. Keep reading to learn why contracting with a professional snow removal company can be environmentally friendly.

Grab Your Shovel!

It makes sense that the most environmentally friendly method of snow removal is by shoveling. Other perks of shoveling are cost (shovels and brooms are inexpensive) and exercise (is there a better workout?).

But there are also drawbacks and limitations. If you have a large area to clear, if the snowfall is significant, if you’re short manpower, or if you have health conditions that prevent you from exerting yourself, shoveling won’t be an option for you.

Add Snow Removal Equipment

If you have a small area to clear or the snowfall is manageable, you might be able to manage the chore by using a snowblower. If you’re concerned about the environmental impacts of using such equipment, you want to pay attention to the power source.

Gas powered equipment has a bigger carbon footprint than equipment powered by electricity or batteries, so it makes sense to opt for equipment powered by the latter. That doesn’t always mean, though, that those options are affordable or easily available.

But, like shoveling, snow blowing is often not a viable option for businesses. It might be that you have too many other tasks to do in the running of your business to make time for removing all that snow; or it might be that you don’t have the staff or know-how necessary to get it done well.

If that’s the case, contracting with a professional snow removal agency can be both an environmentally friendly option and it can help you save money and time in the long run.

Snow Removal Experts: We Get the Job Done

How can a professional snow removal company help save you money and time and protect the environment?

One way is by having the right equipment. Snow removal companies in the Kansas City area have industrial size snowplows and trucks; this means less time powering equipment, which means less of a carbon footprint.

We also know which products are safest to use. For example, some chemicals in deicing products can adversely affect your landscaping and road surfaces. By using the correct products, a snow removal company can efficiently remove snow without harming your landscaping, your parking lot, or our community’s roadways.

There are countless other reasons to trust a professional with your snow removal needs, and we’re here and eager to help when you’re ready. Give us a call to learn more…before the snow starts to fall!

Dropping Temperatures Ahead: Should You Add a Natural or Gas Outdoor Fireplace?

You feel the chill in the air lately, don’t you? Mornings and evenings here in the Kansas City area are definitely starting to feel like Fall. And here in the Midwest, we know that when the leaves start to turn and sweaters become part of our everyday wardrobe, winter—and freezing temperatures—can’t be far behind.

But before we think too much about what’s to come, let’s think about the coziness of this season. As the temps start to dip, we can spend more time comfortably outdoors. We can fire up the bonfire or grill dinner without sweating through our shirts. And we can settle in on the deck for a drink as we enjoy the company of family.

If your idea of a perfect outdoor space includes a outdoor fireplace, keep reading! You’ll learn a bit more about the difference between natural and gas fireplaces and things you should consider before taking the plunge.

What Is a Natural Outdoor Fireplace?

A natural fireplace is one that burns natural material—i.e., wood—for fuel. Constructed from a wide variety of materials including metal, stone, and brick, a natural fireplace can be an interesting way to add a fire element to your landscape.

Like other fire features, natural fireplaces require safety precautions. An obvious precaution is to ensure that the fireplace is not near trees or hanging limbs, or overhead electrical wires. Another precaution is to use the right fuel to stoke the fire, meaning wood meant specifically for burning. Never use trash, plastic, or other materials. Also, work closely with your landscape architect to ensure that embers from the fire move up, rather than out.

What Is a Gas Outdoor Fireplace?

A gas fireplace is one that relies on gas as fuel. Think of this as the difference between a charcoal grill and a propane grill–a gas fireplace is like the latter. It’s similar to a natural fireplace in that it can be made from any number of materials. But unlike a natural fireplace, you have additional safety considerations unique to gas. Making sure there’s proper clearance between gas lines and structures is one. Ensuring proper ventilation is another.

Outdoor Fireplace Safety Considerations

No matter your choice of fuel source, there are things you must consider before building any outdoor fireplace. Location is one: a fireplace needs to be built an appropriate distance from other outdoor structures, like your home and garage. It also needs to be placed in a way that keeps the area around it safe. For example, if you have many trees, this might affect where you put an outdoor fireplace.

It’s also important to check with your town or city to make sure local ordinances allow the building of outdoor fireplaces. If they do, there might be additional parameters that you’ll have to be aware of before you start building. The same is true of homeowners associations. It’s best to make sure you comply with all applicable rules right from the start.

The Advantages of an Outdoor Fireplace

A 2018 survey conducted by Houzz found that 51% of homeowners spent more time outdoors after completing improvement projects. It also found that the addition of outdoor heating sources like fire pits and fireplaces encouraged people to entertain outdoors year-round.

Studies like this confirm what we already know: \when we create an outdoor space that makes us happy, we’ll do two things. We will spend more time outdoors, and we’ll invite others to join us. Adding an outdoor fireplace to your space might be the perfect way to ensure that even when the weather turns colder, you can still enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends.

No matter what type of outdoor fireplace you think will work best for you, it’s always a good idea to discuss your plans, budget, and timeline with an experienced landscaper. We’re here and eager to help when you’re ready.

Extend the Seasonal Use of Your Outdoor Living Space by Adding an Outdoor Fireplace

outdoor fireplace olathe

Extend the Seasonal Use of Your Outdoor Living Space by Adding an Outdoor Fireplace

It’s happening: the mornings are a bit cooler. Evenings, too. As our Olathe temperatures drop below the sweltering point of high summer, it becomes easier to think about the seasons to come.

But those seasons also bring colder temperatures, which means less time spent outdoors. Sure, autumn can be cozy during the day; but when night falls and the sun is no longer warming our outdoor spaces, even fall nights can be uncomfortably chilly.

One way to keep using your outdoor space, even when colder temperatures set in, is by adding an outdoor fireplace.

Types of Outdoor Fireplaces

To say that outdoor fireplaces come in different shapes and sizes is to say that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a simple coffee drink. There is no “typical” outdoor fireplace. An outdoor fireplace can be a simple fire pit or fire bowl; a fire table or fire column; a chiminea or a pizza oven. It could also be a simple patio heater or an elaborate fire and water feature.

The point is this: no matter your budget, your design aesthetic, or how often you might use an outdoor fireplace, there is one that fits your needs.

What to Consider When Deciding on an Outdoor Fireplace

Like other landscape decisions, installing an outdoor fireplace requires thought and planning. How often you’ll use it is a good place to start. Also consider what you’ll use it for: do you simply want a spot to gather with friends and family? If so, a fire pit that can be used whenever the temperature warrants might be the perfect choice. You can even toast a marshmallow or two or make s’mores over the flame of a fire bowl.

But if you want to cook outdoors, you’ll need something better suited to that purpose. Or, if you want a show-stopping, breathtaking, architectural attraction as part of your landscape design, you’ll need more than a simple fire pit.

Of course, the more elaborate the fireplace, the more you’ll need to budget. And remember to think of the space you have available, too; some spaces will only accommodate a small fireplace while others can handle something larger.

The Advantages of Outdoor Fireplaces

It’s easy to see how cozy an outdoor fireplace can make your space. By adding a fire element to your outdoor landscape, you can extend the length of time you’re happy while outdoors. Because you can add warmth to a colder evening, you might venture outside more often in the cooler autumn and even winter months.

Other advantages might not be so immediately apparent, but they’re nonetheless important. You’ll not only be creating an ambiance that makes entertaining more fun, but you can also increase the value of your home.

Regardless of which outdoor fireplace is best for you, we’re adept at helping homeowners create outdoor spaces they enjoy year-round. Give us a call and let us show you how beautiful your outdoor space can be.

The Difference Between Stamped Concrete and Stained Concrete

stamped concrete olathe

Have you ever taken a good look at the foundation of your outdoor living space? The ground under your feet on your patio or deck isn’t just your lawn—it’s a foundation built of material like wood, stone, or concrete.

Concrete foundations offer particular advantages. They can last longer than wood and they withstand weather well. And, because concrete is poured, it can be designed in a way that enhances the overall aesthetic of your space.

But concrete isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision. It can be colored (stained) or stamped to create a look you love. Keep reading to learn a few of the differences between stained and stamped concrete.

What Is Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete is concrete that is poured and patterned to create an entirely different look. Stamping concrete allows you to emulate the look of brick, stone, slate, tile—and countless other options. It’s common to stamp concrete for patios, decks, sidewalks, and driveways.

The process of stamping concrete is akin to using a cookie cutter to make shaped cookies in that the concrete is stamped in a way that markings are left in/on the concrete so that as it dries, the markings and indentations become permanent. This is how a landscaping company can turn a smooth slab of concrete into a surface that looks like brick, for example; rather than creating the surface brick by brick, one pour is stamped to look like brick.

What Is Stained Concrete?

Stained concrete is concrete that has been tinted to another color. Think of it as wood stain but for concrete—it can be opaque or translucent, shiny or matte, monotone or ombre. Staining concrete can turn a space from industrial-looking to sleek or homey, depending on the colors and finishes selected.

The Advantages of Stamped Concrete

Adding stamped concrete to your outdoor space increases your design options. No longer are you limited to a plain foundation slab; now you can build something that looks like natural stone but has the durability of concrete.

One advantage of opting for stamped concrete is budget. Because stamped concrete can last longer and is easier to maintain than natural elements, it requires less money as it ages. And, unlike wood, it doesn’t need to be replaced as often. Another advantage is maintenance. Stamped concrete can require less upkeep than stone or other natural elements.

The Advantages of Stained Concrete

More and more people are opting for stained concrete because it can combine the best of both worlds: economical durability and creative license. The colors concrete can be stained are limitless, which means design options are plentiful. And, depending on how much work and detail you want your space to have, a stained concrete foundation can be a work of art in and of itself.

No matter which option you find most interesting, it’s always a good idea to discuss your plans, budget, and timeline with an experienced landscaper. We’re here and eager to help when you’re ready.

Michael Copeland, longtime mayor of Olathe, dies at 58

 
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Mayor Mike Copeland this morning. Not only did the Olathe community lose a true leader, but the Huston family lost a wonderful friend.
 
Mike had a passion to see Olathe grow, and he humbly led our community through some of its greatest seasons. First and foremost, however, came his family. From the Huston family and on behalf of Huston Contracting, sincere condolences are with the Copelands during this time. To Mike’s wife, Maria, and their three children, we are lifting you up in prayer and are heartbroken for your loss.
 
Thank you, Mayor Copeland for your leadership and years of service to this community. You will be truly missed.
 
– Douglas M. Huston, President
 

Full Article: https://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/michael-copeland-long-time-mayor-of-olathe-dies

irrigation systems Olathe landscapes

How the Right Irrigation Design Protects Your Landscape Investment During Hot and Dry Seasons

irrigation systems Olathe landscapes

Summer in Olathe and surrounding Johnson County is hot and often dry. These conditions can wreak havoc on landscaping. From dehydrated lawns to dying plants and damaged trees, summer weather conditions can ruin the landscape you’ve worked so hard on—and invested money in.

Why Smart Irrigation Matters

Watering your lawn simply to keep it alive might seem an easy task. But determining how much water your landscape needs is more math equation than intuition: you need to know how much water your soil can absorb at a given time, how much flow your irrigation system produces, how much water is absorbed by the atmosphere, and how much it will rain.

Those are a lot of variables to worry about every week. But it’s necessary to be consistent; a lack of water results in dehydrated lawns, dead grass, and wilting or dead gardens. This isn’t just an aesthetic issue; it’s also monetary. The same is true of watering too much. The grass might be green in that case, but it won’t be healthy. Excessive watering can also lead to soil erosion, pest problems, and even foundation issues.

Why Automation Saves You Money

Installing an automatic irrigation or sprinkler system might seem like an unnecessary luxury, but it isn’t. Installing a system that makes it easier to keep your lawn and landscape properly hydrate can save money in the long run because it preserves the landscape you’ve worked so hard to create.

It can also save you time. Instead of hooking up hoses and moving sprinklers and standing at your flower bed, you could be working or spending time with family or even traveling—all while maintaining your lawn, trees, shrubs, and landscaping.

Irrigation Systems are Environmentally Friendly

Irrigation systems allow you to customize how much—and when—you water your lawn and landscape. This means you can use technology to ensure that you’re not only protecting your investment, but also the environment.

Excessive watering can lead to run-off and soil erosion. It can also waste water, which is a precious and sometimes scarce resource. By installing a newer, more precise system, you can beautifully and easily maintain your lawn and landscape and help protect our environment.

Ready to explore the idea of installing a custom irrigation system? If so, we’d love to share our expertise with you. Contact us to learn more.