Hardscapes are the solid, built surfaces in an outdoor space like patios, pathways, fire pits, pool surrounds, decorative walls, even outdoor kitchens and living rooms. A hardscape can add immediate value in both the aesthetic and/or function of your home and also by increasing the actual property value of your home.
A few things to consider when your thinking of adding a hardscape to your property:
Take your landscape into account. You might want to hire a professional to help you with this step. While it seems simple to decide whether you want a patio here or a pathway there, factors like how much turf you’d like to keep (or add), what focal points you might like, where the sun rises and sets, whether and where you have a septic tank or other underground lines, traffic patterns and day-to-day functionality for your family should be considered.
Preserve greenery. Grass, plants, flowers and other vegetation provide a nice contrast to the stark, solid surface of a hardscape. Consider a stone wall with tall flowers or trees behind it, or a patio that abuts a grassy area. An area of turf provides a pleasant playing area for children and pets and also can be a cool relief on hot days.
Understand water and drainage patterns. Nothing can be more damaging to a hardscape than drainage problems. Especially in Massachusetts and other areas in the northeast where snow and ice can leave an impact, you must plan how drainage will be affected when you add your hardscape to your property. Even if you don't think there are any water drainage issues, it’s prudent to level out any surfaces where you might put a hardscape or have the grade as a decline away from your house.
Choose materials that work for you. Your home has a style that you’ll want to extend in your hardscape. You also have your own sense of style that you’ll want to incorporate. Consider these styles when looking at stones, bricks, pavers and other materials. Don’t feel limited to one color or one texture. Having a variety of two to three colors and textures tends to provide most homeowners with an overall look and feel they enjoy. The size of your property and the hardscape your considering should influence how many different materials you choose as well.
Hire help. Even if you typically do your own landscaping and gardening, it’s a good idea to call in the experts for a hardscape project. Professional landscape designers can offer suggestions for a hardscape design that works with your current property landscape, provide advice on appropriate materials, and help identify any issues that could cause trouble. They typically have the complete knowledge of the many steps involved in hardscape installation. When you're hiring a pro, ask for references and to see examples of their hardscape work.
Check out our photos to see some of the hardscape design and installation Gardenin’ Angels has done throughout the South Shore! Give us a call for a free estimate 774-284-1171.
This summer we're had some wacky weather with temperatures in the 60’s as well as the 80’s! It's typical for New England to have some drastic weather changes, but it's never easy for caring for a lawns and gardens.
In addition to the wild fluctuation in temperatures, we’ve also weeks with little rain followed by periods of excessive rain. Even with attentive care, many homeowners are having a difficult time keeping their lawns lush. If your turf isn’t quite where you want it to be at this time of year, don’t worry. Most of the lawns we have seen at Gardenin’ Angels are having difficulty adjusting after such inconsistent weather, but they will thrive. Hopefully, more moderate and consistent weather is in store for New England and our lawns will flourish. Here are a few tips to help your grass get there:
We've been asked about native plants and invasive plants by some of our customers and we've found the following article to be a helpful explanation. It's written by Judy Eisenburg from the Ecological Landscape Alliance.
Differences between Native & Invasive Plants
Native plants are plants that were already growing in North America before European colonies settled here. Many of these native woody plants such as Sugar Maples, Gray Birch, Serviceberry, and native herbaceous plants such as Lowbush Blueberry, Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), New England Aster, Solomon’s Seal, Foam Flower, Maidenhair Fern and Bearberry still grow today in New England. They have adapted to our climate’s heat, drought, excessive rain, cold, and snow and require minimal labor, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Native plants have an interactive relationship with indigenous animals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, insects and many other organisms, and provide them with food and habitat. For further information on native plants, check out New England Wild Flower Society.
Some of New England’s woody and herbaceous ‘invasive’ plants were originally brought here from Europe for use as food crops when the Europeans first settled here. Non–native invasive plants were and still are imported from all over the world for food crops and for aesthetic horticultural reasons. These invasive alien plants do not provide proper nourishment for wildlife. They spread rapidly, develop self-sustaining populations, upset natures balance, and are displacing the native plants and the organisms depending on them. If you look in your own garden, or walk down the street, you may see invasive plants such as Norway Maples, Oriental Bittersweet, European Swallowwort, Japanese Knotweed, and Bishops Goutweed. For further information on invasive plants, go to the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England.
Interested in going native in your garden? Check out the 15 Top Native Plants of the Northeast!
The spring daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths were beautiful, but the've all faded now. Plan your summer garden landscape and start planting those bulbs that will bloom in July and August. There are many options for summer beauties that require little maintenance and can be easily incorporated into your existing garden beds. Planting these spring bulbs for summer blooms will give you a full, fragrant, and colorful garden all summer long.
When and how to plant spring bulbs
Summer-blooming bulbs are most often planted in the spring, as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
While planting spring bulbs is fairly simply, but there are some guidelines you should follow when planting.
Some of our favorite summer-blooming bulbs:
Oriental lilies: The large, fragrant blooms of Oriental lilies are total show-stoppers in the garden. With scores of varieties available, there’s a broad range of colors and heights to choose from. Space Oriental lily bulbs about a foot apart, and be sure to stake the stems as they grow; their blossoms are heavy, and they’ll need the extra support.
Dahlias: Dahlias are colorful spiky flowers which generally bloom from midsummer all the way to the first frost, when many other plants are past their best. While technically, these are tubers rather then bulbs, they work the same way as a bulb does. Just be sure to plant them with the "eyes" facing up. Dahlias come in a rainbow of colors and even range in size, from 2" to the giant 10" “dinnerplate” variety. Most grow 4 to 5 feet tall.
Crocosmia: Reaching about three feet in height, the sword-like foliage is bright green. In mid-summer, stalks of arching flowers extend above the leaves. Common flower colors are red, orange, and yellow, depending on the variety. Crocosmia prefers full sun, and hummingbirds are frequently found dining on its nectar.
Asiatic Lilies: Asiatic lilies differ greatly from their Oriental cousins mentioned above. They are earlier blooming, fragrance-free, and brighter colored. Their flowers aren’t typically as large as Oriental lilies and their stems are sturdier, so they don’t require extra support.
Chinese ground orchids (Bletilla): If you’re looking for a summer-blooming bulb that prefers the shade, the Chinese ground orchid is for you. Though it officially grows from a bulbous rhizome, this plant is generally categorized as a summer-blooming bulb. The Chinese ground orchid reaches eighteen inches in height. The distinctive, Cattleya-like flowers come in white, purple, or lavender, and over time, the plants will spread and create a nice colony.
Gladioulus: Glads are perennial favorites for their beautiful, showy flowers. Its flowers grow on tall spikes and are often found in cutting gardens or in the back along the border (because they are tall). Gladioli have many different colored flowers, and grow between 2 to 6 feet in height, so it's best to support them with stakes. The plant is also great for cut flowers.
A lawn without weeds is a dream some homeowners fantasize about. In all honesty, it is close to impossible to avoid weed growth 100%. But by cultivating a lush, healthy lawn you may help prevent giving weeds an inch to take root. When lawns are thin, weeds invade.
Use a pre-emergent herbicide to halt weed seed germination of annual weeds, like crabgrass, annual bluegrass or henbit. Follow package directions carefully, some are better applied after rain, while others need watering in for best results. Post-emergent herbicides that kill weeds via leaf contact require wet foliage so the herbicide adheres to weed leaves.
To get rid of weeds and avoid reproducing, hand pulling is a sure-way to remove them. Pull out weeds by hand, being sure to get the entire root of each weed. This is often easier when soil is wet, so plant to weed after rain, or consider running a sprinkler first if there's no rain in the forecast. Weeding by hand can be back-breaking work, but there are special tools that might make the work easier. Fish tail weeding tools can be inexpensive and helpful. When pulling weeds with a tap-root, like dandelions, you want to get as much of the root as possible. Pull 2 inches or more of root to ensure it won’t re-sprout. Having the soil moist will help in loosening those deep roots.
When targeting a smaller amount of individual weeds, a handheld spray herbicide can work well too. If you have quite a few weeds in a particular area, you can use a pressurized sprayer to accomplish the larger area with less work. Be sure toIt’s keep a separate, clearly-labeled sprayer just for herbicide. To avoid damaging your healthy plants and shrubs, never spray herbicide on a windy day, as the herbicide can drift. If you accidentally get herbicide on desirable plants, wash its leaves right away, or clip the affected parts immediately and wash the plant thoroughly with water.
While there is no guarantee you'll have a permanently weed-free lawn, the best way to avoid weeds is to maintain the healthiest turf you can. Fertilize and water your lawn as needed, mow grass at the proper height, aerate and dethatch when necessary, add a layer of compost annually to help amend and nourish soil. Healthy, lush grass is your best bet to keep weeds at bay.
Give us a call at Gardenin' Angels if you need help controlling your weeds or have other lawn or garden concerns:
If you've landed on this blog, you can see that we've updated our website. We are extremely excited about the new look, feel, and functionality of our site.
We're proud of our work, which is why we've used lots of images to showcase our landscape, hardscape and gardening expertise in this site re-design. We'd love for you to look around and get an idea of the quality and variety of our work and maybe even get some inspiration on what your outdoor space could look like.
We've also added "call us" buttons to the site so that you can call us with just a tap of the button if you're using a mobile device. Feel free to call us anytime if you're interested in a free estimate, or talking about how we can help bring your outdoor dream to life. We also have a contact form if you prefer to fill out some information and send it to us electronically. Look around and let us know what you think of our site and our work. Be sure to check out our blog regularly for tips and advice on gardening, landscaping, lawn maintenance, hardscape ideas and inspiration.
When the Boston Flower and Garden Show is held, it's officially spring! The exposition is held from Wednesday, March 22 - Sunday, March 26 and features huge gardens and exhibits, competitions, lectures and demonstrations and hands-on workshops. It's a fun way to get a taste of spring when we still have snow melting on the ground.
It may be worth the trip, to give you some inspiration for your garden this year. We love to get motivated by natural beauty...even when it's indoors! Ticket information is available at the Boston Flower and Garden Show website.
We are starting to feel some cold weather in Massachusetts. And to think, it's going to get much colder in the coming months! While frigid temps, heavy snow and ice that are typical of New England winters will cause some damage to our plants, it is possible to minimize damage. Here are a few of our suggestions:
This fall has been so good to us so far. The leaves are just stunning and the temperatures have been pretty mild. We highly recommend that if you like getting your hands in the soil, you take advantage of this time to get outside and plant bulbs for spring and summer blooms next year.
If you're looking at your property and feeling overwhelmed by the leaves and debris that seem to carpet the ground, consider hiring the pros for a fall cleanup. A professional landscaper typically has a crew of professional landscapers and high-quality, commercial equipment to get the job done quickly and hassle-free.
Fall cleanups include removal of all brush and debris, trimming of trees and shrubs, leaf blowing and removal, lawn mowing and edging, weeding, thatch removal, watering of plants/trees, and garden bed clean-out. Even though there are still leaves to fall from the trees, we recommend you call to schedule a fall cleanup, as we book up fast. Get your preferred fall cleanup date by calling us at 774-284-1171.
If you're an avid gardener, you can use this checklist to help ensure you get through all the fall gardening tasks to give you a gorgeous garden next spring.
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Rodrigo Dos Anjos