Retaining walls aren’t always the most glamorous element of landscaping to talk about. They’re not often pretty, like flower beds or gorgeous trees, and they can be valued more for what they do than for how the look.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make your retaining wall pull double duty. With inspired vision, a bit of creativity, and the help of a professional landscaper, you can turn your retaining wall into a feature that not only works hard, but also lends a unique design aesthetic to your home.
Retaining walls are often installed along driveways or walkways. This makes them the perfect place to also install lighting. Rather than thinking of these two things as opposing projects, why not talk with your landscape designer about how to integrate both elements together?
Adding lights to your retaining wall can improve the safety of your home by providing necessary light to make pathways visible. They can also be security features—we all know that a well-landscaped, well-lit yard is a deterrent to criminals. But adding lighting to a retaining wall can also be a design element.
Think about it: different lights evoke different looks. Inside your home, you might prefer brighter light in the bathroom than you do in the bedroom. You might like overhead light in the garage but prefer cabinet-mounted spotlights in your kitchen. There are logistical concerns to lighting, to be sure, but lighting can also be an interesting design element.
When you think about your outdoor space, think about how you use it. If your retaining wall is in your backyard, for example, and you love to entertain, consider adding lights that set the mood but don’t flood guests with glare. If you need a retaining wall built in your front yard, think about installing lighting that marks a pathway or guides you safely into the garage.
The hardest part of using lighting to enhance a retaining wall is choosing which option you like best. There are so many! The good news is that by working with a professional landscaping company that understands how you use your space and how you want it to look, you have help narrowing down the options to find the best one for you.
Ready to turn your space into one you love? Reach out. We’d love to talk with you.
With summer comes hot, sticky days; and for Olathe landscaping, it could mean trouble. Most sources say temperatures in the Kansas City metro area hover in the 90-degree range. If that makes us sweat, imagine what it does to our lawns! If not properly cared for, lawns can suffer in the summer. Grass can wilt and even burn if the temperatures rise and care isn’t adjusted to beat the heat.
The good news is that there are ways to help keep your Olathe landscaping and lawn healthy and beautiful all summer long—and one of those tactics means you get a break from being outside!
Just like your body needs more water when the temperatures rise, your lawn requires additional moisture to stay healthy. Believe it or not, there’s science behind how often you should water your lawn. Factors that matter include the type of soil in your lawn, the slope of your property, and the type of grass you’ve planted.
Kansas City’s dirt is clay-packed and absorbs water at a rate of no more than two-tenths of an inch per hour. Slope matters here too: a flat area can take less water than an area that is sloped.
There are different schools on summer watering. You can learn about the soak and cycle method, which is what the K-State Research and Extension Office recommends. Or you can call us, and we’ll help you devise a customized plan to keep your summer lawn lush.
That’s right—stay inside and drink something cool, and don’t worry about mowing as often as you do in the Spring. When you do mow, make sure to mow no lower than 3 inches. Doing so alleviates some of the stress lawns experience due to dryness and heat.
Of course, exactly how often a lawn should be mowed will depend on too many variables to account for here. A general rule of thumb, though, is to mow less often than during cooler months. We can help you understand when to cut your grass and when to let it grow. Just ask!
There are countless scientific advances that benefit our lawns and landscapes, especially when temperatures are a concern. In summer months, it’s best to opt for seeds and fertilizers that are optimized to work best with less water.
Doing so doesn’t just make your space prettier, it also conserves water during the summer, which is vital to the community as a whole—and it sure helps with those water bills!
Curious which water-efficient seeds and fertilizers are right for your lawn? We’re here to help.
Spring means the beginning of watering lawns and landscape. That also means it’s time to worry about runoff. What is runoff? The technical definition is: the flow of water that occurs when excess storm water, meltwater, or other sources flows over the Earth’s surface. Running water is powerful—it has carved canyons and moved boulders. You might not worry about issues of this scale, but it’s a fair question to ask what runoff might do to your landscape.
The short answer to that question is erosion. Spring runoff can lead to erosion on your property. This isn’t just an issue of being an eyesore. Erosion can affect your home’s foundation. Installing a retaining wall can help prevent soil erosion. By doing so, you can help protect your landscape and your property.
It can be a bit technical, but the slope of your landscape dictates what kind of retaining wall you need. It’s something best left to experts, though there are resources to consult if you want to learn more, like this guide from the National Resources Conservation Service. Is it possible to DIY your retaining wall? Sure it is, though in our opinion it’s best to consult an expert. If you decide to go solo, be sure to do your homework and to consider every option carefully.
Simply put, a retaining wall holds soil in place. When designed properly, retaining walls also ensure that excess water drains in ways that don’t erode the soil. Think of these channels almost like water slides at a big amusement park: with the right structure and construction, you can change the direction of drainage in your space, making sure that runoff water goes where you want it to go.
There are several options to consider: full retaining walls, partial walls, and raised terraces with plantings, just to name a few. Construction can vary too, depending on design need and aesthetic preference. Concrete, brick, and wood are all options. The best way to decide is to discuss the variety of options with a company that specializes in retaining walls in your area. We do just that.
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!
Do you think that Spring is the only time to plant native grasses and flowers? If so, you’re not alone—that’s a common misconception. But Olathe landscapers will tell you it’s simply not true. With a little bit of planning and preparation once the calendar flips to Fall, you can start establishing warm season grasses and native wildflowers before it’s time to decorate your Christmas tree.
In fact, with native grasses in particular, dormant season seeding (Fall, in this case) imitates natural reseeding. Once frost sets in, things change a bit: frost seeding (which is the spreading of seed over frozen soil after the first killing frost) results in some natural stratification—which means that the seed and seed coat change enough to enhance germination. There’s also good seed-to-soil contact because of the moisture frost brings.
Even though this can all be done successfully in the Fall and Winter, most germination probably won’t occur until Spring; the exception to this might be some cool season species. This is when working closely with an Olathe or Johnson County landscaping company can be especially beneficial; not only can Olathe landscape architects help you understand which plants are native to the area, but they can also help you determine when and where to plant for the best results. Curious who you’ll work with if you choose us? Learn a bit about us here.
There are disadvantages to seeding during dormant seasons. Seed loss is possible, usually due to decay and consumption by wildlife. Weeds can also be an issue—in fact, the best time to start preventing weeds is when the weather is cooler, before the weeds germinate and start to take root. Smart tip: take the time to mulch well. Not only will doing so hinder weed growth, but it will help the soil retain moisture and provide protection for seeds and soil.
Curious and want to know more about native Kansas plants? The best thing to do is to talk to an Olathe landscape architect or Olathe landscaper. Another great resource is the Kansas Native Plant Society.
What else should you be doing to make the most of these cool Fall days? Prune and trim perennial plants, shrubs, and hedges. Pruning trees can be a monster of a job—and sometimes it’s best left to a professional landscaper. Not sure if you should try it on your own or bring in an Olathe landscaping company? Ask us!
Once you’ve trimmed, make sure to remove clippings, branches, fall leaves, and other debris from your lawn. Why? Anything that covers your grass impedes sunlight, and when the sun’s rays can’t reach your grass, growth can be slowed or even stopped. This all leads to a lawn that looks more lackluster than lush—and might even leave dead or spotty patches in your yard.
Speaking of Mulch…
Mulch looks good, no doubt. But it also serves as a blanket of sorts for the soil and the roots below—and happy roots mean happy plants! Different areas require different mulch strategies; you want beds to have 1-2 inches of mulch, but you don’t want to cover the trunks of shrubs or trees. Once severely cold weather is imminent, tender and early-flowering plants will need extra protection. Consider staking around the plants and covering them with burlap to keep them as protected as possible.
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.
Temperatures are starting to dip ever so slightly here in the Kansas City metro area, which means our thoughts turn to everything warm and cozy: sweaters and blankets, apple cider and pumpkin lattes, just to name a few. Just as this is the perfect time to switch out Spring and Summer décor for Fall colors and accessories in your home, it’s also the prime time to turn your attention to your landscaping areas, such as your lawn and outdoor living areas.
Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean it’s time to stay indoors! Take advantage of this time to not only bring some new color to your lawn and garden, but also to plan for the upcoming Winter weather. But first, here’s the trick to bringing all of the following tips together: sit down with a calendar and plan when, what, and how you’ll plant, tend, and maintain your landscaping as the weather grows colder.
How can you take advantage of this cooler weather to make your landscaping shine? Prune and mulch your perennials to be sure they’re as well insulated as possible before colder weather hits. Spend a sunny but cool morning planting bulbs, then make a schedule to feed and water what you’ve planted so each can spend the Winter growing and preparing to burst through thawed ground once Spring hits. Take special care with trees—studies show that trees planted in the Fall are more successful and the cooler weather means less watering and maintenance for you. The little bit of patience you’ll need now will be well rewarded once Spring comes again.
Here in Johnson County, it’s also wise to get a jump on weed control now, rather than waiting until Spring or Summer. Why? K-State Research and Extension Center explains that broadleaf weeds (think dandelions, henbit, and chickweed) germinate in September and October, then overwinter as small plants. You have to look closely to see them—they’re no bigger than a quarter. Taking care of those weeds now means the Spring and Summer proliferation that so often overtakes even the most methodically attended lawns can be stemmed before it starts. Be sure to choose your control method wisely; granular and liquid chemicals both work, but each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
And this is why having a schedule matters: if you plant grass seed in the cooler Fall months, you shouldn’t treat your lawn with herbicide until those seedlings have been mowed two-three times. Taking a few minutes to think about coming weather conditions and how you’d like your landscaping to look once the snow melts.
Want to know more about prepping your lawn for cold weather? Have questions about what an Olathe landscaping company can do for you now and through the year? We welcome questions and would love to hear what you think. Send us a question or give us a call—we’re here to help!
For many a Olathe landscaper, increasing curb appeal is the number one thing on their mind. You might be in a similar position.
Sure, you enjoy the landscaping process and down a refreshing lemonade while admiring your work in the evenings, but let’s be real here.
Landscaping increases property value. You’re not sweating away in the hot summer heat just for giggles. No way, Jose. You’re doing it because curb appeal equals extra value for your home.
If that sounds like you, then keep on reading, y’all. In this article, we’ll detail exactly how to improve your curb appeal over the next few years. We’ll show you how to take your Olathe landscaping to the next level.
But enough with all the fluff and introductions, let’s dig in and take a look at how to improve your home’s curb appeal with unique Olathe landscaping projects.
Spring and Fall Cleanup
It’s baffling how many homeowners don’t do a deep clean once the weather changes. At Huston Contracting, we started offering this service professionally – as many homes were in need of dire cleanup come new seasons.
By properly cleaning your landscape, you’ll find curb appeal just pops. Sure, we like to keep things tidy throughout the year, but every now and then – you’ve gotta go the extra mile. That’s what spring and fall cleanup is for.
Add Natural Stone
One simple way to add an elegant, crisp look to your landscaping is through natural stone. And of course, a few stones here and there can add massive value to your curb appeal.
As Olathe landscapers, we’ve found creating natural stone pathways to certain areas around your home is an inexpensive way to make your lawn and landscaping look so much better.
Always Be Mowing and Mulching
Keep the basics covered. Your lawn should always look sharp. Mow that bad boy once or twice a week. Never too short. Heck, sometimes having a professional do it is a great idea.Then make sure you keep your mulch fresh. Fresh mulch adds a pop to your landscaping that faded browns will never be able to. Plus, it only takes an hour or two to add some mulch to your landscaping.
Sometimes your yard is just missing something. Maybe your front landscaping just doesn’t have anything extra. Your lawn looks lovely and your home is in pristine condition. But there’s nothing that says, “Put me on a postcard” – when people drive by. There’s no automatic seller.
In these types of situations, you can add an adult tree in the perfect area. In doing so, you create a focal point of your front yard landscaping and often, send curb appeal skyrocketing in one simple installation.
If you’re ready to increase curb appeal, then you need to make your Olathe landscaping effort count. You need to make a memorable impression. You might need to work with a professional landscape design team.
If that’s so, get in touch with our team at Huston Contracting.
Steve and Suzy are great people, but you don’t want them meddling in your business all day and night. Especially when you’re looking to relax and unwind in your backyard on a refreshing summer eve.
That’s exactly why we’re here. To show you how to create a private backyard oasis on your property. An oasis that your neighbors won’t be able to watch you from. An oasis where you’ll truly be able to unwind and relax through the day and night.
If that’s of interest to ya, well, keep on reading.
So, how do we create the privacy you’ve always dreamed about in your backyard? How do we keep prying neighbor eyes out of sight? That’s simple.
Well, it can be complex. It really depends how you want to do things. This is your oasis, after all.
But enough with my fluff, let’s dive in and look at a few ways to add privacy to your backyard:
Tall Tree Install
This one is common sense. The easiest way to add privacy is to install mature trees around your backyard.
These trees can block the vision of your neighbors and keep things a little more private around your backyard.
For a first move, this is one of the easiest ways to increase the privacy of your backyard. At Huston Contracting, we can help you find and install the tallest trees money can buy. And we certainly recommend this in some situations.
However, this isn’t an end-all, be-all solution. Other times, you may be better off working with other landscaping solutions to add privacy.
A high fence is a key to privacy in the backyard. Without a fence, your backyard may feel open and inviting to any and all of your neighbors. Even before installing trees, make sure your fencing is up to par.
By installing the highest fence your homeowner’s association will allow, you’ll find privacy all around you. The only issue will be spying neighbor eyes from above.
To further your privacy, covered porches can add barriers from the neighbors. These cover and/or screened-in porches will ensures eyes from above cannot see what’s going on in your backyard.
This is ideal while enjoying a cold one as the stars come out, but not enjoyable if you’re looking to get some sun while enjoying the backyard.
Many don’t know this, but you can build your outdoor kitchen with privacy in mind. As the kitchen is usually tall, the grilling areas and more can all create natural barriers to nosy neighbors.
Many of our Olathe landscaping clients have asked us to build extravagant and tall outdoor kitchens with the idea of adding privacy to the outdoor spaces. And of course, we happily obliged.
These are just a few ideas. While the team here at Huston Contracting believe in being friendly with the neighbors, we understand there’s times when we all need a little privacy to truly enjoy our outdoor spaces.
In those times, just get in touch to learn more about your Olathe landscaping options.
Investing is a tricky word these days. You’ve got the stock market. You’ve got your home. Maybe you even have some Bitcoin. These are all things people consider investments. Many consider the items listed above to be solid ones, too.
But your landscaping? Most don’t consider landscaping an investment. Some do, but most don’t. For most, landscaping is about planting a few flowers and mowing the grass.
If you’re reading this, you may have different thoughts. You may believe investing in your landscaping is worthwhile. Maybe you find it’s a great way to increase the value of your home.
That idea couldn’t be truer. Seriously, investing in landscaping can add huge value to your home. Most people don’t realize it, but landscaping is one of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home.
For example, some have suggested that proper maintenance and upkeep of your landscaping could lead to a 6-13% increase in the value of your home.
Think about those numbers:
You have a home that’s roughly valued around $400,000 right now. You invest a little bit of money each year on landscaping projects and upkeep. When you go to sell the home, you get a 13% increase in value due to your landscaping. Now your home is worth $452,000!
That’s a pretty huge increase in value if you ask me, especially when all you had to do was add a few landscaping projects here and there.
Now, how do you see this increase? Well, here’s a few ideas for the Olathe homeowner looking to add value through landscaping:
By investing in your landscaping, you’re investing in your home. You’re investing in selling your property for a higher value. Plus, you get to enjoy stunning landscaping while you live in your home. A true win-win.
If you need help doing just that, get in touch. The experts here at Huston Contracting, Inc. We love to help Olathe residents build the yard of their dreams – while building their future, too.