The use of French drains dates back to the mid 1800's and are frequently used effectively and efficiently today! And they sound sophisticated!
A French drain is a system that moves surface and ground water underground to an area of the property that is not adversly effected by standing water, such as a culvert, drain channel, or road side drainage. The system can consist of poly or PVC pipe, rock, drains or a combo of all of them.
More commonly, the french drain that most people speak of, is a pit dug at the low side of the drainage area. The pit consists of a variety of sizes of rock: large at the bottom and smaller at the top. As water enters the pit, it is dispersed over a wider area underground.
These can be confusing as there are so many options, so check with us with any questions. We can even offer more tips!
Polyethylene, or poly pipe, is used for everything from small irrigation pipe to roadside culverts because of it's flexibility and durability. And it's super fun to say, poly pipe!!!
For drainage purposes, we suggest 3" or 4" diameter. The poly pipe comes in slotted or solid options. The slotted option has small slits along the pipe to capture water, and with a slight downward pitch, moves the water away from the problem area. We highly recommend the slotted version with a sock, which keeps dirt, gravel, and sediment out of the pipe. We also suggest surrounding the pipe, once it's in the ground, with gravel to keep debris out of the pipe, prior to covering it with dirt and sod.
The solid poly pipe (see, isn't that fun to say?!!) acts as the PVC pipe we discussed earlier, but with greater flexibility and costs less. Woohoo! Who doesn't like to save money?! Poly fittings are available to meet the needs of whatever your fun project is!
And, as always, give us a call
if you need some assistance
or have any questions!
When considering your landscape design, one of the first issues to lock down is drainage. But how do you do that? We'll cover some options in the next few posts and articles so you're not feeling lost!
Will the new landscape block the flow of water (from sprinklers, rain, melting snow) from your downspouts and force it back to the foundation? Do you need to add dirt at the foundation for surface water run-off?
Here's one option: burms! We love adding burms to our landscape designs. What is a burm you ask? It's simply a rounded mound of dirt. Yep, dirt! It's higher in the center, tapered down to its perimeter. Generally built on a flat area, for esthetics, but also for directing the flow of water! Want to learn more? Okay!
Quite often, we are brought into a project because our customer's neighbor's surface water is flooding our client's yard, landscape, or worse yet, their basement. Ugh right? Right! A properly designed and installed berm at the property line can direct the water to a drainage channel that moves the water faster and with no threat to their property.
The berm can be covered in grass, mulch, rock, plants or trees! And, of course, any combination.
If you have any issues like this, just give us a call! We're here to help you figure out where a berm should go to redirect the flow of water so you can stop cussing out your neighbors!
Here's one design
option for a berm!
Not every landscape is suitable for a waterfall. Dang. But, there are many water feature options that take up no more square feet than a medium size shrub! Yay!
Even if space isn't an issue, consider the artistic elegance of a fountain! Seriously! Today's technology has given us the option of a very strong poly, water storage area that can be buried in the ground, or placed level on top of the ground. Then use rock, pavers, or small retaining wall block to hide the base! Ta-da!!!
Most garden centers will have statues, urns, or boulders to place on the base. Piping and a pump is then used to push water through the fountain for it to cascade over the sculpture and back into the base. Cool huh?!
We love the sound of trickling water so much, we installed a bubbling urn just off of our patio! The simple sound of cascading water has a way of erasing the stress of the day. Ahhhhhhh.
Interested in learning more about these features? Just give us a call, we'd be happy to discuss your options!
We offer outdoor water
features in the "our store" tab!
Is there any question why we're drawn to water?
For nine months we lived in water. We can't survive without it. The many sounds it crates, the movement, the light it captures. This is why a water feature in your landscape is relaxing and adds a sense and feeling of being home in comfort. And, for us, it adds the memory of one of our favorite places to visit, the Virgin Islands, and anywhere we've traveled on or near water!
The open-pond waterfall has always been a popular feature in a landscape. Whether, a poly plastic free formed that takes up just a few square feet of your landscape, or a large waterfall that is the focal point of your property!
The open-pond feature allows you to add fish, water plants such as the beautiful blooming water-lily, a small bubbler, or water fountains.
It is definately one of our favorites because it let's your imagination go wild during the design and construction phases!
Is there anything more romantic than the flickering light of a candle? Or better yet, several candles?!
We absolutely love the candles and various flames that enhance our summer evenings on the patio! Whether they be candles, tiki torches, citronella candles (to keep away those spring and summer pests!), or fire gel, they just make the evening more special and cozy. And we have them all!
We especially enjoy the tall iron sculptures that hold a can of fire gel. Not familiar with fire gel? Well, it's like a slow burning gasoline. It's very thick with no wick, you just pop off the lid and light! A small can will burn for approximately 2 hours.
If you're interested in learning more about these sculptures that hold fire gel, give us a shout!
Our last post focused on up lighting. In this article, let's add some path and down lighting to your landscape!
Path lighting is slightly different as it serves two purposes. First, of course, is the beauty and enhancement of your landscape once the sun goes down. But it's primary purpose is safety!
You don't want your guests walking a dark, unlit path where a fall is a strong possibility. (Or maybe it depends on your guests! LoL!). When placing path lights, we like alternating the lights on each side of the walkway. Unless necessary, a path with fewer lights is our choice! You just want enough light to see where you're going!
Again, you want to start with a few lights, experiment at night, and add more if necessary!
Here's an example of
There are times when moving surface water for drainage can be done above ground very effectively and esthetically as well! How cool!
A dry river stream is just that; it's dry. Then why would you need or want this? Well, it's dry until you need it to drain an area after a rain! Ohhhhhh!
Of course, you can simply create a straight channel, the depth and width you need to move the water. Or, you can make it look like a meandering stream by widening it in some areas, and creating long curves in the layout. This would give it double duty! We love double duty landscaping options!
Once the digging is done, add weed barrier fabric, river rock and for a great look, add cobbles and small boulders, to complete the look!
We also love to add some live plants along the dry river stream to give it some depth and texture and it adds some life!
Have questions if a dry river stream is the right option for your drainage issues? Simply give us a call, we're here to help!
Polyvinyl chloride, most commonly referred to as PVC, is used throughout the residential and commercial construction industry. It supplies water to sinks, etc and removes our waste from the same.
So why are talking about it? Great question! Because it's also used to quickly move water from our gutters, almost eliminating the threat to basements and foundations. We've all cussed at those downspout extensions on our house that dump the water on our driveways and sidewalks that ends up freezing in the winter months. Or the ones that are flat on the end because we can't avoid stepping on them or get chewed up by our string trimmers! Not to mention the hassle of removing them to mow and then replacing them. Or forgetting to replace them before a downpour! Ohhhhhh the problems!!!
So what's the solution? So glad you asked! Bury them! Yep, you heard us right! Bury them! But how? There are many PVC fittings available that allow great flexibility in the direction you need the water to drain. Once the pipe is a safe distance from the house, it can exit the ground to a rock area or a pop up emitter.
Some of these installations can
be tricky. But the good news is,
we are highly experienced with
the installation of these, so
just give us a call!
If you're looking for a simple, Saturday afternoon project AND a water feature is on your wish list, look no further and consider a bubbler! Cool!
Using a poly, water storage base, a pump, some decorative rock and, of course, a little exercise, a bubbler water feature is a perfect project! Woohoo!
A bubbler water feature is set completely in the ground. Depending on what size feature you are wanting, you may or may not need to put a pond liner below it. It would extend up the sides of the hole you dug and across the surrounding area a couple of feet. Sound confusing? It's not! But if you're nervous about taking on this task, just give us a call, we're all about helping the DIY'er!
Rocks cover the storage base and a bubbler attachment attaches to the pump that simply bubbles the water above the surface. Usually a few inches to a foot or more.
It's safe, easy to maintain and
very simple to install!
Take a look at this one! We
can help you pick out the
perfect boulder for your
The pondless water feature has become extremely popular due to its need for less maintenance and better safety.
Like an open-pond, a reservoir or water storage area is dug at the bottom of the feature, but slightly deeper and has sheer walls, instead of creating plant shelves like the open-pond. Specially designed plastic crates are set in the reservoir that can carry the weight of heavy flagstone and boulders.
Along with the plastic crates, is a pump vault that houses, of course, the pump. Once all this is in place, you now have a flat top to add flagstone, cobbles, small boulders, etc. The only water you will see is in the waterfall. The water falls through the cobbles, rock, and flagstone where the pump pushes it back to the top of the falls!
This is a beautiful addition to any backyard, as it can be as large as your landscape will allow for it's proportion, or as small as you want for the look and the sound!
We've never really been big on solar lighting, until we found inexpensive, color changing, wall mounted solar lights!
We hung them on the inside of our privacy fence at the back of our property, and we must admit, they are fantastic! Although, they don't give off a lot of lumens (brightness), they are LED and beautiful!
We've also found inexpensive solar path lights that are fairly fragile when hit by a lawnmower, duh! But they serve a function, which is lighting a flagstone path to our recreation and garden area in our yard!
There are SO many styles and types of solar lights, even super fun ones too! Check out the"our store" tab to take a peek at the solar lights we offer!
Like a string of Christmas lights, rope lighting can add the same effect, but with more durability because the string of lights is placed inside a clear, flexible plastic tube.
We had s short drop off, less than an inch, from our driveway to our paver patio. It was a trip hazard, especially at night. We installed a length of white rope lighting all along the edge. And now, at night, we have this beautiful glow, that not only warns us or our guests of that small step, but adds the perfect amount of amiance to the patio.
Rope lighting is dim and is more for accent. It also looks awesome lining your borders, walkways, decks or even around trunks of your trees!
Linear lighting or LED tape lights are much smaller in their profile and are better suited for task lighting under the lip of a shelf, for example, at your outdoor kitchen.
Both are easy to install and both turn your outdoors into a living space regardless of the time of day!
The beauty of a well-maintained landscape is often breath-taking. The colors, the textures, how the various plants move in the breeze! In many cases, it is picture perfect!
But, all that is lost once the sun goes down. Well....with the proper lighting, that same landscape can take on an entirely new breath-taking look!
Low voltage, outdoor lighting is very simple to install. It's relatively safe and a great DIY project! In this article, let's focus on up lighting. Since DIY outdoor lighting systems are very affordable, it's easy to overdo the lighting!
We suggest you focus your up lighting on a few areas of the landscape. You're not wanting pilots mistaking your yard as a runway! A single accent shrub or a couple of trees is a good place to start. For a really dramatic look, space evenly placed up lights on a solid privacy fence!
Start with a few lights and you can always add more! But have fun, be safe, sit back, relax and enjoy!
Now, if you want the ULTIMATE backyard experience in both comfort and sound, we can combine the two in a fire AND water feature! Yes please!
Imagine enjoying a relaxing early spring evening on your patio with a few friends! Maybe a few adult beverages, some great conversation, a lot of laughs and the sounds of trickling water falling into a shallow pool! In the middle of that pool, a warming, flickering flame!
The options are endless, from a simple bubbling boulder with a gas flame through in, to an elaborate multi-level waterfall with several flames along the water's path.
Now that's the ultimate in backyard luxury!
Fireplaces provide that family room atmosphere many of us try to copy outdoors!
Fireplaces can be purchased as a completed unit or designed and built as a custom, block by block system. And outdoor fireplace can be a bit pricey, but we guarantee, your return on investment is much greater when you go to sell your home. Many of our realtor friends back us up on that!
Your options, like fire pits, are wood buring, gas, both propane and natural, or there are several outdoor gas inserts that you can build your fireplace around!
Whichever way you go, you will never regret having a fire feature to sit with family and friends around!!
The traditional bonfire and campfire have been transformed into a must have in many backyards across America! The new fire pits that burn wood can be as simple or as elaborate as your imagination! And budget of course!
The basic fire pit can be constructed of small border or retaining wall block and can be any diameter or size you need or want! They are generally round, 5 - 6' outside diameter and approx 20" in height.
They can be dug into the ground and lined with block for a true fire pit look, or built above ground. We like securing our fire pit block with concrete adhesive and we highly suggest a steel fire pit ring.
Just as a reminder, check your local open-fire codes for size, distance from structures and health concerns!
Check this one out!
We are often asked to design and install a screen within a landscape project to provide provacy to a patio, hot tub or swimming pool. Or just for privacy in general! Most of the time it's a wooden screen divided into the number of panels necessary for the privacy.
These screens can be lattice panels connected together with lumber and supported with wood posts, or custom designed to enhance the landscape look! Either way, they should be designed and placed for maximum privacy!
Our favorites are the screens that become living walls, supporting a beautiful english ivy or a full blooming clematis!
Whatever your desire or needs are, we are here to help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams!
A gazebo can best be described as an elaborate shelter. Gazebos date back to the 18th century where they were used as pavilions and band stands, often in a public park or large private setting.
Typically gazebos are octagonal with roofs, open sides and a solid floor. Of course, the size of the gazebo is dictated by its use.
In a home backyard setting, you may only need space for a bench and a couple of comfortable chairs. While others may be quite large allowing room for a band or dancing!
The design options are endless and very often can be purchased as kits for the DIY'er!
If you would like more information, feel free to reach out to us, it's what we do!
Check out this option for
Pergolas, gazebos, and arbors are all structures that are often used to describe a garden feature, and quite frequently, used incorrectly. There are very distinctive differences.
In this post, let's start with pergolas.
A pergola is an outdoor garden feature that forms a walkway, passageway, or sitting area. Our discussion will focus on wooden pergolas. We describe the pergola as an open structure. They consist of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross beams and a sturdy open lattice. Generally a pergola has no sides and no solid roof. Its intent is to provide shade to a path or a seating area.
Though they can be constructed of metal, fiberglass or a composite material. We feel the most luxurious look is wood. Better yet, large, even oversized beams and columns!
Luxury Landscape would be more than happy to design one for you or put your design into a finished product!
Check out this pergola!
Many homeowners are looking for that patio that sets them apart from their neighbors, and something unique!
They want that natural look, similar to what you see in natural flagstone. With its irregular shape and textured surface.
Manufacturers of concrete pavers are always wanting to stay current wth the trends of designers and the wants and wishes of their customers!
There are several such concrete pavers on the market that will give you that look. Many times we will add a square or rectangular paver in a contrasting color as a border for a very dramatic and elegant look. Other times, we will let the irregular shaped edge bleed into the abutting turf!
Whichever look you prefer, we guarantee you will get many favorable comments from your guests!
Not sure what you want, call us, we'll help you decide!
We have designed and constructed dozens of projects around our customer's purchase of a free-standing, portable fire pit!
Many of these fire pits are set at the center of a paver patio we've installed. Many others have had us build sitting walls with columns around a free-standing fire pit. Whether they are sitting walls or short free-standing retaining walls, they provide an enclosure and more intimate setting to the area!
One neat characteristic of a free-standing fire pit, is that in can be easily moved around your space to meet your wants and needs of your guests, depending on what type of entertaining you are doing!
We have a free-standing fire pit that we love as it is moveable and gives us that campfire feel when we want to burn real wood. Although, we have not seen this fire pit since we loaned it to our brother a couple of years ago! Must mean he loves it as much as we do! I should call him right now!
Nearly everyone loves the ambiance and relaxed feel while sitting around a fire on an early spring or fall evening! But the hassle of storing and maintaining dry firewood, the worry of attracting insects and rodents, and the fear of where the embers will fly is often too much for most homeowners.
A gas fired pit gives you and option and peace of mind, knowing you have instant on and off fire, no smoke, and no clean up!
A gas fired pit can be contructed like the wood burners, but with more options in size, shape and look. We built a rectangular gas fire pit wtih an "S" shaped burner which is nestled under an aquamarine colored fire glass chips. It's stunning!
Whichever gas option you choose, propane (bottle or direct), or natural, we highly recommend involving a plumber early on in the discussion. Most cities have local codes and we always suggest safety over saving a few bucks!
Check this gas fired pit out below!
Let's talk some arbors! By definition, an arbor is a wooden or metal garden structure on which vines or branches can grow.
An arbor can be incorporated in a fence gate providing a very visual location of an opening into a backyard or garden area. These structures can be of any size you dream them to be! They can include a small bench or planter box, adding a little design feature. They're often made of lattice allowing plants a better opportunity to cling to the arbor.
They are sold as completed structures or DIY kits at most big box retailers and garden centers.
We personally prefer the custom made arbors, where you determine the design. Or we can help you with the design depending on your landscape space. Cematis, ivy vines, and wisteria are commonly grown on arbor, but the arbor can also be left bare, showing off your design and talent!
A trellis is a garden structure usually made from an open weave of wooden slats, bamboo, or metal. They can be as simple as a wooden panel framed by lumber and supported in the ground with posts or they can be extremely ornate with intricate design elements!
Though they can be an accent piece in the garden, their main purpose is to support a vine stock, such as a grapevine, clematis, ivy or climbing roses. Some of these plants will cling to the trellis naturally, while others will need to be trained to grow vertically.
Here's a tip: If you need to train your vine, use old nylons (or panty hose) that are cut in long narrow strips, and tie the vine to the trellis. They are soft, flexible, and usually invisible. (Unless they are red or all sequined out!!!)
Here's a couple different trellises.
No one will argue that a perfectly laid natural flagstone patio is a thing of beauty. Natural flagstone has a color and texture that can't be duplicated.
Natural flagstone can be found at most landscape supply stores and rarely at the big box home improvement store.
Natural flagstone is available in a variety of sizes, all natural. No straight edges and very little consistency in thickness. You take what the supplier has in stock and when you get home, lay it all out in the yard or on the drive and begin setting the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle!
Gaps between the pieces are expected and, quite frankly, a must for that traditional, 'old-world' look. The gaps can be filled wth a cement mortar mix or a polymeric sand that will set when water is applied to it. The polymeric sand will have a rubber consistency to it which allows it to freeze and thaw in cold climates without cracking.
Natural flagstone also makes an awesome stepping stone walkway!
Call us, we're here to help!
The hottest look in paver patios hit the market a few years ago and has grown in popularity every year since!
We're talking large scale pavers, like cobblestone on steroids!!!
These pavers are meant to look like huge ceramic or slate tiles, seen only in exclusive high end homes and resorts. Like cobblestones, they are available in three to four sizes, wth the largest measuring 16" x 24". In most cases, two people are needed to safely place them!
They are available from several manufacturers and come in a few elegant, natural colors. We have our patio completed in the gray pavers as shown below and we love it!
If this is your first paver project, we'd highly recommend you consult with a professional before starting! Luxury Landscape needs to be your first call!!
It wasn't that long ago that our only options for a backyard patio were concrete or natural flagstone, which was pretty pricey!
Today you have hundreds of options to choose from!
We'll start with cobblestone pavers. For this discussion, we'll talk about the manufactured concrete product. These range in size from 3" x 6" to 12" x 12", with several sizes in between. They are generally used together for the true cobblestone look.
They come in a variety of colors and are used to create unique designs or accent borders to your patio!
A cobblestone patio can be a do-it-yourself project, though we recommend you start wth a small walkway or landing for practice, as there are several little tricks you'll learn along the way, or you can simply call us!
Using concrete as an edging will fall into two categories, manufactured and poured.
Walk through the landscape showroom of any home improvement store and you'll find a dozen or more options for edging. Edgers that are shaped to look like natural stone and edgers with a decorative design. Small border wall block is often used as edgers. These edgers vary in size, shape, and color.
Poured concrete entered the market a dozen years ago as an edging option. Still to this day, it's mostly done by concrete or specialty contractors, but we've seen equipment rental stores offering the same equipment. Again, design, color, and shape options are available!
Take a look at these different options!
The most affordable patio surface is concrete.
Nearly every home has one. If it's an older home, your concrete patio, if original, can be cracked, discolored or even settled and no longer level.
Even if it's still in good shape, you may wish it were larger, to better enjoy your backyard with family and friends. Or maybe you just want to dress it up some!
Luxury Landscape is your solution! In most cases, we can change the look of concrete with stain or even paver overlays. We can also offer to beautify your outdoor space with beautiful planters filled wth annuals and/or perennials. You'd also be amazed at what a colorful outdoor area rug will do! Sometimes even adding decrotive fencing around portions of the patio makes it feel more homey!
Whatever your dreams, we'll make them our passion!
Take a peek at this photo of an original concrete patio and what a few additions do!
We should start this post with a hint!.....
When you're installing edging, either the previously discussed poly edging or steel edging, proper installation is the key to a long lasting edging. Ready for the hint? Bury the edging so that no more than one inch is left above the dirt line, not the top of the grass! 1" above the DIRT!
Steel edging is gennerally 4" in height and comes in 8' lengths. It can easily be spliced wtih steel connecting spikes and is anchored wtih steel spikes, some of which are included wtih an 8' length. Corner pieces are available with most brands for a clean look.
We must tell you though, that cutting steel edging is not easy without the use of an angle grinder with a quality cutting blade.
An example of steel edging is below!
Want more info? Feel free to contact us!
Poly or plastic edging is by far the most popular edging due to its availability, cost and ease of install. And like most products, there are differences in quality!
First of all, we recommend flat strip poly edging. This heavier duty edging will come in 20' lengths, flat, and not rolled in a small box, as you'll find in big box stores. Believe us, you'll thank us for this advice!
The heavy duty poly edging is usually 5" in height with a good sturdy roll top. It will have a lip at the bottom to allow a steel stake to be driven through. That will help hold the edging in the ground. Stakes and connectors are included with the purchase of the edging, in most cases!
For more installation tips, reach out to us, we're here to help!
Check out this photo of a finished poly edging look!
Let's get into a little detail of the various edging options!
Let's start with a natural edge, but first, why is edging important?
1) It defines your landscape for your finished, almost manicured look!
2) It holds back your ground cover, such as rock and mulch.
Natural edging is simply a trench dug by hand or with a machine. The trench should be apporx 5" deep and cut straight down on the turf side. If using a machine, it will make this straight cut, but also cut a 45 degree angle towards the landscape for your ground cover material to fall into.
Please keep in mind, that in order to maintain this finished look, you will need to re-cut the edge annually, depending on your grass variety!