What's growing on?

Take down a wall..

The Beauty of Outdoor Living. My wife and I watch countless hours of home improvement shows. During every show it seems someone is knocking down a wall to create a larger kitchen, bedroom, living room etc. I would suggest knocking down another wall, the one to the outside! Think about taking down a wall that would let your home’s inside spill out. By creating outdoor living space, you will be in what is absolutely the hottest trend we are seeing from homeowners right now in the landscape industry.  What is an outdoor living space? Think of it as your little slice of heaven. Imagine a peaceful area where you can sit, relax and unwind after a long day. Maybe a place to entertain friends and family with a cookout in your new outdoor kitchen. The kids laughing as they splash in your pool area or the crackling sound of a fire in your new fire pit on one of our crisp North Carolina autumn evenings. The beauty of it is that it can be whatever you want it to be, as simple or detailed as your imagination and budget will allow. There are many components that can be utilized to create your space. Here is a small list of the most common: 

Patios • Decks • Outdoor Kitchens • TV’S and Stereos • Low Voltage Lighting • Sitting Walls • Pools • Hot Tubs • Plants • Pergolas • Ponds • Pondless waterfalls • Fire Pits • Chimneys • Outdoor Furniture 

 There are many different building materials, patterns and techniques you can use to create your new space.  First, start with a reputable and qualified design / build landscape firm. Set a budget and share that with the company in your meeting.  It makes the design process go much smoother and faster as you will have no time wasted on a project design that is out of the budget. A good plan will create a natural flow from the inside out and compliment the style and color of your home. Ask for references and visit projects they completed. Please keep in mind that most reputable companies are in demand and can’t start on it today, as they typically have a backlog of work. If a company can do it next week, there may be a reason. Many homeowners are enjoying the benefits that a well-designed outdoor living space can create and are also seeing increased property values from a professionally installed project.  Ready to get started?  Follow these simple suggestions and you will be curled up in your new space in no time. You’ll be glad you did!!  

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Posted 1 week ago

The North Carolina Fall...

Football, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. Yes, It’s almost here. Nothing can be finer than relaxing with friends and family this time of year in your own backyard. Especially when you have a covered kitchen complete with granite counter tops and room to entertain.We just started a new project I think you will really like and I wanted to share some of the progress with you. When it’s done soon, I will share the finished product.

Posted 45 weeks ago

Dog days of summer……..

With the extreme heat we had this summer, our cool season fescue lawns have taken a pretty good beating. A lot of us have lost a good amount of turf and are seeing significant amount of die out and thinning. To combat this and replenish your turf for next growing season we do a process generally referred to as lawn aeration and over-seeding. While there are several different methods of aeration, they for the most part accomplish the same things. Lawn aeration helps relieve soil compaction, allows water, air and nutrients to infiltrate the root zone and disturbs the soil to provide a place for the new seed to germinate. (Seed tossed onto undisturbed/unprepared soil germinates poorly at best) This along with proper fertilization, mowing and weed control should make a big difference in look and overall health of your lawn.

So, with all of that being said, the best times for aeration and over-seeding lawns is NOW!

We are always here to help with your questions and would love to talk with you about your specific needs. Just give us a call and ask for Tim!

Posted 56 weeks ago

A bright idea

Have you seen a home with outdoor lighting and wondered what it might look like on your home?This type of home lighting is not only a security feature but it’s functional. We installed this accent lighting recently in Burlington using Vista lighting products. From start to finish it was completed in only one day. The customer told us they were looking for something that would accent their landscape at night and look good too. This was done on the front of their home and illuminates with a programmable timer in the evenings. As you can see, it really makes the home stand out. The customer was very pleased and complimentary on the look and installation. If you’re thinking about a lighting idea for your home, give us a call and let’s take a look.

Posted 61 weeks ago

What’s wrong with my lawn?

I met with a homeowner last week about the condition of her lawn. She and her husband had been trying to do their own lawn care applications for several years and just were not getting the results they were looking for. She asked me what they were doing wrong and if other home owners make these same mistakes?  I assured her they did, and it dawned on me maybe I should share this experience with others. So I created a short video and decided I would follow that up with this blog. I hope it is informative for you and if you have more questions shoot me an e-mail. The top issues we see are:

1. Mowing too low - We can improve the quality of our fescue turf simply by raising our mowing height and ensuring our blades are sharp. Fescue turf performs well mown 3 to 3.5 inches tall. Mowing this high promotes a deeper root system. (Read improved drought tolerance) You also need to mow often enough that you are not removing more than 1/3 of the plant at any given time. Mowing too close and not often enough stresses the plant by removing the food producing leaves. The plant has to grow new leaves before it can grow roots and store food. After mowing too low for several years you will find more weeds, disease, insects and typically weaker stands of grass.

Dull Blades- Dull blades rip and tear the grass resulting in a ragged blade tip, giving the lawn a brownish tint after mowing. (Unattractive) The ragged cut doesn’t heal as quickly, stresses the plant and opens it up to potential disease attack. Using sharp blades improves the cut quality, disease resistance and overall appearance of the final product.

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Also studies have shown you can increase the fuel efficiency of your mower 20 to 25 percent by using sharp blades. The recommendation for homeowners is to sharpen blades 2 to 3 times per mowing season.

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2. Soil P.H. – The absolute best starting point as you embark on your lawncare journey is to take a soil sample. The soil sample contains a lot of good information but the part usually most beneficial is the soil P.H. reading it provides. Optimum range to grow fescue is 6.0 to 6.2. As the P.H rises above or drops below that optimum range, the nutrients in the soil become increasingly more and more unavailable to the plant. (Read that you can fertilize and not see results.)

3.No Commitment to a lawncare program – A common misconception is that you can do a few treatments and your lawn should be great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. It generally takes 2 to 3 years of consistent treatment to really turn a neglected lawn around. Ongoing treatments are then necessary to keep it really healthy and thriving.

4.Treatments out of sequence- One of the most unfortunate things I see is consumers who spend money on lawncare products and use it in a manner that works against what they are trying to accomplish. For example, I’ve seen people decide to re- seed in the spring and also put down a pre-emergent to control crabgrass. The pre-emergent will keep the crabgrass from coming up, unfortunately it will also keep the desired grass from coming up. I once heard someone say “lawncare is not rocket science, but doing the right things at the right time.” I could not agree more. There are definitely limited windows of opportunity to do lawn care activities to obtain the desired results. If you miss that window of opportunity or do things out of sequence, the chances for success are greatly diminished or not even possible.

5. Not seeking professional help- In the absence of available time, equipment, or knowledge sometimes the best bet is to call “The Man”. Most reputable lawn care companies have the knowhow, time, equipment, proper licensing and staff to deliver correct, timely applications to your lawn.                  I hope this has been informative. As always, we are happy to help. For more information, just give me a call. 336-516-2271 or Tim@livinglandscapes.net

Tim Walker

Posted 77 weeks ago

Spring is coming!

The trees are waking up and about to burst with waves of color!
Cherry trees with their beautiful metallic bark and white or pink flowers. We will soon be getting in Yoshino and Kwanzan, as well as both white and pink weepers!
Dogwoods; our state flower. How could you resist these native beauties? Bloom colors range from white to deep pinks that are almost red! Dogwoods are naturally understory trees, thus they prefer some protection from the hot midday sun.
Redbuds, another awesome native tree! Look for the Rising Sun Redbud with its orange to lime leaves in the spring!
One lesser known flowering tree is the Styrax, or the Japanese Snowbell. This one has delicate little white bell flowers that hang down gracefully from the stem. Styrax is a mid-size tree, great for smaller yards! The flowers will develop into berries that attract plenty of birds also! Add some pop to your yard this spring with a flowering tree! Call Michelle at the Living Landscapes shop for more details! 336-227-5769

Posted 80 weeks ago

Now at the nursery....

We love using great local products at the nursery. One of those is “ Daddy Pete’s" Plant Pleaser. We are proud to be offering more of this locally produced product that has been made right here in Stony Point, N.C. since 1988. They have a good variety and quality, and we think you will agree. We just received a supply of *Composted Cow Manure *Pete’s Hardwood Mulch *Pete’s Pine Bark Mulch *Pete’s Soil Enhancer *Pete’s Potting Mix * and Pete’s Professional Landscape Mix. We think if you try it this year, you will like it too! Come by the nursery and ask Michelle about all of the benefits of using it on your lawn.

Posted 80 weeks ago

and after....

Here is the after picture of that same overgrown Holly that our customer wanted to cut back hard. These shrubs were approximately 12’-15’ tall when we started and currently stand at about 6 ½ feet tall. A lot of shrubs will tolerate this heavy pruning as long as it’s done at the proper time and February and March is that time. You can actually see the house now! We will come back this summer to show you how the shrub responds and flourishes. If you have overgrown shrubbery that needs attention, or if you have questions about hard pruning, give us a call.

Posted 83 weeks ago

A little off the top please....

Some of your home’s growth getting hard to handle? We understand. Sometimes it just gets too big to do it yourself. The good news is there is something you can do before those shrubs or bushes take over your yard or business. This is the best time for proper pruning and other things that will make a big difference later this year. Here is one example of a bush gone awry. Check out the after pictures soon…

Posted 83 weeks ago

And after...

So this is the finished product!This patio and seat wall was constructed using New Line pavers and wall block. We incorporated a circle kit into the pattern. The pavers were a classic cobble four piece mix and we used Monticello Wall block for the seating wall. Really nice patio that took a small unusable green space and turned into a really nice outdoor living area. A really nice area and just what they were looking for. Remember, If you dream it, we can build it!

Posted 84 weeks ago