Attracting Butterflies and Birds to Your Landscape

The best, most successful lawns and landscapes are the result of a partnership between you and your landscape professionals. Why? Because from the planning stage to the maintenance stage, working together to create, plant, and maintain an outdoor space you love will be a combination of one-time events (like building a waterfall centerpiece in a backyard garden, for example) and daily habits (like watering your flower beds at the right times, so they continue to thrive).

There’s a third party that plays a vital role in the health and vitality of your outdoor space, as well: nature itself. This is especially true if you want your lawn and garden to be filled with butterflies and birds. Read on to learn why.

Why Attract Butterflies and Birds to your Landscape?

Butterflies and birds aren’t just beautiful and fun to observe. Both can fulfill a vital role in keeping your outdoor space healthy. They do this by feeding on the nectar of various flowers and plants. When they feed, they also help pollinate, which helps flowers and even some vegetable gardens thrive.

Hummingbirds and bees, especially, are crucial to the pollination of various plants and flowers. By providing a space that’s safe for them to land and feed, you’re ensuring that pollination will continue to happen—and that your outdoor space, by extension, will continue to grow.

The Perfect Pollination Spaces

Birds and butterflies need flowers and plants that provide nectar. In the Kansas City and Johnson County area, native nectar plants include rose verbena, columbines, bee balms, milkweeds, clovers, and Indigo Bush.

These plants need lots of sunlight to bloom and survive, so be sure to plan a space that gets full sun from mid-morning to afternoon. A sunny spot is also important for butterflies, because butterflies are cold-blooded and require the sun’s heat to survive.

Make Your Landscape a Home for the Caterpillars

While butterflies are beautiful, their life span is surprisingly short. In fact the average life span of an adult butterfly is two weeks or less. This means that if you want to truly make your outdoor space—or a portion of it—home to butterflies, you must also make it a home to the baby version of butterflies: caterpillars.

In a perfect world, an adult butterfly will lay her eggs on a host plant—and that plant isn’t a flower. In fact, the only food for Monarch butterflies is Milkweed. Black Swallowtails feed on members of the carrot family (think Queen Anne’s Lace, fennel, parsley, and Golden Alexanders).

Want to learn more about creating an outdoor space that perfectly suits you and your family? We’re ready and eager  to work with you—so get in touch today!

Environmentally Friendly Landscaping Practices

Do you ever wonder if you’re doing the right things to be environmentally friendly as you create your perfect outdoor space? It can be confusing to know which products and practices actually help, rather than harm, the environment. Working with a landscaping architect is a great first step if this is one of your goals. We can help you understand what steps are necessary to make your space as environmentally friendly as possible while still achieving your goals. Projects like building a retaining wall to help stop soil erosion or creating a rain garden make the most of native grasses can just as much of a benefit to the community at large as it can be to your outdoor space.

But it can be difficult to sift through the myriad products on the shelves—and without a degree in chemistry or horticulture, much of it can sound like word soup. This post aims to provide some basic starting information and remember: we’re always here to help, no matter what project you have in mind.

Easy Landscaping Steps to Help the Environment

One of the easiest things you can do if your goal is to benefit the environment is to leave grass clippings on your lawn after you mow. Why? Because clippings are basically green debris, which is another way of saying that it’s nature’s fertilizer. Grass clippings contain nitrogen—one of the main ingredients in chemical fertilizer. By leaving clippings on the ground rather than bagging and disposing of them, you let nature work in its own way to nourish your soil.

You can also choose to compost clippings rather than dispose of them. This is true of most lawn and garden debris. If you don’t compost at home, most communities provide where residents can bring lawn waste to be turned into either mulch or compost. In Olathe, for instance, there is a compost facility drop-off location. Just load up your bags of lawn waste and drop it off at the designated location. The city then turns that waste into either compost or mulch, both of which residents can pick up for free.

Keep Your Landscaping Native

Another easy way to be environmentally friendly is to choose native plants and grasses for your gardens. Native plants and grasses are simply those that flourish in our particular climate and soil conditions, which means they need less chemical help than non-native plants to flourish.

Native plants and grasses are important to rain gardens and to nurturing a home for birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. Learn more about native plants and grasses and how they benefit rain gardens (and how rain gardens can be part of your outdoor space) here.

Re-think Your Irrigation Systems

If you haven’t evaluated your irrigation systems for some time, you might be surprised at how options have evolved to be better for the environment and for your budget. Newer system options can decrease the amount of water used. It can also ensure that water is being used in the right spots and at the right time. A consultation with your local landscape architect can tell you if your system could benefit from an upgrade or a redesign.

Want to learn more? Reach out or visit us on Facebook!

Spring 2021 Lawn and Landscape Checklist

While Spring doesn’t officially happen until March 20th, the days here in Olathe and surrounding areas are starting to feel like the season is already here. And you know what that means: it’s time to pay attention to your lawn and landscape! This is true if you want to make big changes as the weather gets warmer, but it’s also true if you just want to revive your space. No matter your plans for the coming year, doing these few things in Spring will ensure a beautiful lawn and landscape.

Take a Good Look Around

You don’t know what you can do until you know what you’re working with. Once the temperatures start to warm, you can start inspecting your lawn and landscape. Pay particular attention to shrubs and trees. Look for broken branches and overgrowth, and prune if necessary.

This is also an ideal time to assess the possibilities your space has to offer. Look around: do you have a sunny spot that might be good for a flower bed? Or a partially sunny corner that might be a great home for an herb garden? Take a little time to think about what you want in your space. Maybe a birdbath and bird feeder, or a butterfly garden, or even a new gazebo or outdoor kitchen. The first step is assessing your space and seeing where there’s potential to grow.

Get Your Tools In Order

If you stored your tools properly before the cold temperatures set it, this step might be as simple as unpacking everything. But if you let hoses sit out during our freezing temperatures or if you let your tools sit outside, where they were subject to moisture and rust, then you might have to take inventory. While some tools can be cleaned and used again, others might need to be replaced.

Prep Your Soil

Do you know the Ph of your soil? Have you determined the right fertilizer and how often it should be applied? How about nutrient profiles—do you know what your soil needs and how to supply it?

It’s absolutely fine if you answer those questions by saying no. Spring is the perfect time to assess all of this information. Connect with your local extension office (many offer free soil testing) or visit your favorite lawn and garden store. Once you know how to best nourish your soil—and which plants will grow best in the soil you have—you can plan the lawn and landscape of your dreams.

Spring Clean Your Yard

Spring cleaning isn’t just for kitchens! Take this time to rake leaves and other debris, clean up refuse that got trapped under snow, and clean up the edges around your lawn, trees, and flower beds.

Want help turning your Johnson County landscape from boring to gorgeous? We’d love to talk to you. Shoot us an email or call—or visit our Facebook page to see various projects.

Perfect outdoor spaces for sunny summer days

Keep Out the Sun with a Covered or Screened-In Porch, Deck

Perfect outdoor spaces for sunny summer days

Summer in Olathe and surrounding Johnson County can be brutal without a screened-in porch to proved shade coverage. While we all want to spend time outside, we also want to stay safe—and we all know that too much of a good thing can be harmful. That’s especially true when it comes to being in the summer sun!

One way to still enjoy the outdoors, even in summer’s intense heat, is to build a screened-in porch, deck, or patio. Read on to learn more about the advantages of each.

Why You Might Want a Screened-In Porch

Adding a screened-in porch offers countless advantages. It can keep you free from pesky bugs by keeping insects out. It can extend your living space without forcing you out into your backyard. It can multi-task: at times, it can be a space to entertain or to be with younger kids but it can also be a respite when you crave quiet and time to yourself.

In addition to those lifestyle advantages, adding a screened-in porch can increase the resale value of your home.

Why a Deck is a Good Landscaping Investment

Adding a deck to your property offers many of the same advantages of a screened-in porch. A deck will extend your living space and give you more room to entertain or to spend time with family (or alone).

A deck, however, is typically open to the sun. This might make you wonder why we’d include it in a blog post about keeping out of the sun! The answer to that is simple: opting for a deck rather than a screened-in porch means you have more options. You can add furniture with an umbrella to shield you from the sun when necessary. But you can also opt for umbrella-less furniture in Spring and Fall, when you want more of an open space and unobstructed sky views and fresh air.

Why a Patio Might Be the Perfect Addition to Your Backyard

A patio differs from a deck in that while a deck is attached to your home, a patio is free-standing. Most patios are a short walk from an entrance to your home; but because a patio isn’t attached to another structure, it starts as a blank canvas.

This means you have options: use natural stone or slate for the patio for a natural look. Or opt for wood for a more rustic feel. Add a pergola for visual interest or a mini outdoor kitchen for easy snack and drink access. Like a deck, a patio affords flexibility for furnishings and it’s easy to adapt to the seasons.

No matter which option you choose, you can spend more time outdoors, even when the summer temperatures rise. Things to consider when planning an enclosed porch, a deck, or a patio include the current circumstances of your space, how much room you have, your budget, and your personal preferences.

Ready to explore the idea of adding a sun-free outdoor space to your home? If so, we’d love to share our expertise with you. Contact us to learn more.

Outdoor kitchens in Olathe and Johnson County Kansas

Build Your Outdoor Kitchen Just in Time For Grilling Season

Outdoor kitchens in Olathe and Johnson County Kansas

Thinking About an Outdoor Kitchen? Start Here!

Just like any other lawn or landscaping project, planning must be part of your process. Before you can estimate how long it might take to build your perfect outdoor kitchen space, you have to decide on the details. For example: what kind of stone do you want to use? What elements do you want to include? Do you want a sink and a pizza oven, a bar, a grill, lots of seating?

When you think through how you’ll most often use the space, you’ll be able to determine the answers to these and other important questions—and these answers will help your landscaping professional help you determine how long the space will take to build and how much it will cost. Part of these considerations include the other professionals necessary to complete the project. For instance, you might need an electrician or a plumber to work with your landscaper.

If you’re curious about general guidelines, they’re hard to determine because every space is different. But, building an outdoor kitchen typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. If there is existing concrete, the time can be shorter, even perhaps 3 to 4 weeks.

Once you’ve worked out those details, you can sit back and relax as your landscaping company builds your space—and once built, you can reap long-lasting benefits.

The Practical Benefits of moving your Kitchen Outside

An outdoor kitchen can add significant living space to your home. Think about it: with an kitchen outside, when the weather is right you can cook, relax, chat, and entertain in your outdoor space. An outdoor kitchen adapts easily. It’s just as lovely for a small family dinner as it is for a larger celebration.

The Financial Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen

When you cook and bake inside on hot days, your air conditioning system has to work harder. And that can translate into bigger monthly bills. Using your outdoor kitchen to cook can help save on those costs.

Adding one can also increase the resale value of your home. If you plan well and install an outdoor kitchen with quality materials that is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, you can expect significant returns on your investment. How much? That depends on too many variables to give a hard and fast number, but estimates range from 55% to 100%.

The Convenience Factor of an Outdoor Kitchen

Having an outdoor kitchen opens up so many options for busy families. Want a delicious dinner in a beautiful space but don’t want to wait in line at a restaurant? Use your stainless-steel grill and invite the neighbors! Want to cook fish or deep fry a turkey, but don’t like the lingering smells in your kitchen? Use the kitchen that’s outside! Want to host a party for your kids and their friends? Fire up the pizza oven!

The truth is, when you work with a landscaping professional who understands not just what you want your space to look like but how you hope to use it, you can custom create the kitchen of your dreams. We’d be honored to work with you on making that dream a reality

retaining wall retainer wall olathe kansas

3 Key Benefits of Adding or Building Retaining Walls

retaining wall retainer wall olathe kansas

Thinking of investing in retaining walls as part of your landscape design? There are great reasons to do so. Read on to learn more.

Key Benefit #1: Adding Retaining Walls Boosts Your Home Value

When a retaining wall is planned and built properly it can increase the resale value of your home. This is especially true when the retaining wall both complements the aesthetic of your landscape and is built to best suit the slope and conditions of your yard.

Part of this equation is curb appeal. Some of the functional reasons for installing a retaining wall (like preventing soil erosion) create eyesores. Building a retaining wall can be both functional (i.e. it solves or alleviates the problem at hand) and beautiful. Working with a local landscape professional can add further value because when built correctly, retaining walls last a long time and require little maintenance.

Key Benefit #2: Adding a Retaining Wall Protects Your Land

One of the main functions of a retaining wall is to prevent soil erosion. Erosion is what happens when soil is washed away. This most often happens because of a combination of factors including the slope of your land, stormwater, and runoff patterns.

Installing a retaining wall provides a barrier and can stop soil erosion. It can also stem the flow of runoff water to places that might be detrimental, such as your home’s foundation. By stopping and diverting excess water in this way, you can better preserve your land while helping it look beautiful, too.

Key Benefit #3: Adding a Retaining Wall Is (Almost) Maintenance Free

Unlike planting a variety of perennials and annuals to add color and interest to your landscape, installing a retaining wall requires very little maintenance once the project is complete. Effort needed to maintain your retaining wall will likely vary depending on which material you choose. For example, wood likely won’t last as long as stone.

Another point to consider when determining necessary maintenance is size. Ongoing care can be different for a smaller, garden-size wall than for a larger, lot-sized wall. Other considerations include the grade or slope of your land, soil type, climate, and how much rainfall is typical in your area.

Bonus Benefit: Adding a Retaining Wall Can Be a Gorgeous Design Feature

Think about it: a retaining wall can add visual impact to a space that few other elements can. This is because of size, of course, but also because a well-planned, well-built wall will suit your design style. When you use a retaining wall as a decorative element, you can leverage its inherent elements to add different nuances to your space. Think of the height, color, and texture, a retaining wall can add to your landscape. This is especially true of tiered walls that allow for additional planting opportunities.

Ready to explore the idea of building a retaining wall (or walls) on your property? If so, we’d love to share our expertise with you. 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.

How to De-Winterize Your Home Landscape and Prep for Spring

Goodbye winter, hello sun!

Spring spruce-ups aren’t just for kitchen cabinets and family rooms! Daylight Savings Time has given us back a bit more daylight and the temperatures will start to tick upward. This means it’s time to start thinking about how to de-winterize your home landscape and prepare for the upcoming warmer weather. And what you do now is particularly important to creating a home landscape that you’ll love all year. Keep reading for easy steps to take to prep your yard for spring.

Undo What You’ve Done

Did you winterize water lines or outdoor kitchens before freezing temperatures hit? If so, it’s time to reverse those actions. Turn the water back on and flush hoses and lines. Make sure lines are clear, and check for any maintenance issues. Be sure to pay special attention to your irrigation system so you’re ready to properly water plants once the time is right.

Out With the Old

The best landscapers in Olathe will tell you that the difference between a typical lawn and a landscape that wows is part planning, part hard work, part timing. Now’s the time to think about what you want your space to look like and to speak to your lawn and landscaping experts.

The first step is to clean up what winter left behind. Are there dead branches and debris? Plants that need to be pruned and/or relocated, because they’ve outgrown their current space? As you clear what’s no longer healthy and/or attractive, think about replacement options.

Plan Ahead

You might not be thinking about weeds just yet, but now is the time to get a head start on weed control. The best way to control weeds is to prevent them, and landscape experts know when and how to prevent weeds in your lawn and garden.

Now is also the time to think about a schedule: do you know when to plant, when to fertilize, when to aerate? You can search online to find tips, but the best way is to trust the experts. We know Johnson County and can help you create the lawn and landscape you’ve always wanted.

Getting Your Lawn to Turn Green Before Your Neighbor!

Yellow might be the perfect color for your favorite flower bed, but it’s not what you want to see in your lawn! Spring means green—St. Patrick’s Day, sure, but also lush, green grass. Read on for tips to turn your lawn into a space that makes your neighbors green with envy!

Aerate!

Aerating is the act of making small holes in the surface of your lawn. This allows water, nutrients, and air to soak deeper into the soil. This, in turn, nourishes roots—and healthy roots lead to healthy lawns! It’s best practice to always aerate before fertilizing.

Fertilize, Seed, and Water

Do you know the right fertilizer to use for your specific soil and grass? Have you had your soil tested? The K-State Extension Office says that soil testing provides accurate information about the chemical makeup of your lawn, which will help you understand which fertilizer will best suit your needs.

After you’ve aerated and fertilized, it’s time to put down seed. Not all grass seed is created equally, but we can help you determine what works best for your budget, your desired aesthetic, and our climate and soil conditions. If you decide to DIY your planting, remember that a general rule is that grass seed has the best chance of sprouting if laid in cooler weather. So you want to think early spring rather than just before summer.

Let the Sun Shine!

It’s true that this one is out of our control, but there’s no doubt about it: seeds need sun to sprout and grass needs sun to grow. What’s also true is that taking the necessary steps above (aerate, fertilize, plant, water) means that when the sun does shine, your lawn will be ready to grow!

Ready to make your lawn the greenest it’s ever been? So are we! Check out some of our work, visit us on Facebook, or shoot us a message. We’d love to help you plan and then create the lawn and landscape you’ve always wanted.

Three Ways Professional Landscaping Brings Value to Your Fall Landscaping Projects

Can you feel it? Yes, the air is still hot here in KC, but there’s a tinge of Fall in all these high temperatures. Maybe it’s the back-to-school shopping or the Halloween and pumpkin displays already popping up at local stores. Or maybe it’s because Starbucks is bringing back the much-discussed pumpkin latte earlier than ever this year. Whatever it is, there’s no escaping that Summer is waning and Fall is ready to return to Kansas City.

Before that happens, give some thought to what you can do now and as the temperatures start to chill out to bring the most value to your landscape and your home. In fact, think about how much value the right professional landscaping can add to your home!

Professional Landscaping Increases Home Values

Let’s talk about curb appeal. It’s a buzzword for real estate pros and it’s important for every homeowner to understand. Simply put, curb appeal is how appealing your property is to the average viewer. Think about when you take a walk or a drive: you look at neighborhoods, don’t you? And you look at the houses in those neighborhoods. You can’t see inside, but you can tell something about the property from the curb and what you see makes an impression.

That first impression—that curb appeal—can mean more money in your pocket when it comes time to sell, if planned and executed right.

How Professional Landscaping Can Make You Money

How much value can positive curb appeal put in your pocket? This article says well-landscaped homes sell for 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent more than non-landscaped homes. If your home is worth $300,000, that means quality landscaping can add between $16,500 and $38,100 to the value of your home.

Let’s be clear, though: simply cutting your grass or planting a few flowers won’t make for stunning curb appeal. It takes planning, vision, and commitment to turn a hum-drum lawn to an oh-wow display—and all of that takes time and professional help.

Expert Help Means Added Value

Most buyers want stunning curb appeal. They want sophisticated layouts and mature trees and plants. It’s been proven that large, deciduous, evergreen and annual, colorful plants increase a home’s resale value. Working with a professional landscaping company can not only save you time; it can also ensure that your space is planned in the best possible way.

Now is the perfect time to reassess your landscaping plan with an eye to curb appeal and resale value, and we have great ideas to bring Fall flair to your lawn and garden. Reach out to learn more!