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How to Choose a Landscape Designer

One of the most important steps any homeowner can make before engaging the services of a landscape designer is to know what they want. There’s a big difference between a landscape facelift and a complete makeover. Knowing what they want before hiring a landscape designer will help him/her create the desired features. Provide as much information to the designer as possible about available space, soil types, and existing plantings.

Research is Imperative

Having a solid idea of the available budget toward realizing a dream landscape is essential. Once individuals have a ballpark figure of how much they have to spend, add an additional one-third of that amount to the final cost.

Research is equally important about the designer. Narrow the search to a top three and don’t be afraid to ask for references from former customers. The designer should be licensed, bonded, insured, and have professional affiliations, education, and experience.

Style

Understanding the style of the proposed landscape is a critical concern. It will be governed by elements ranging from how the space will be used, how often, and the style of the surrounding architecture. Engage a design expert that specializes in the preferred style.

Collaborative Effort

It’s important that the project be a collaborative effort between the homeowner and the design expert. The landscape expert can offer creative suggestions about features, materials, plantings, and alternatives for space considerations. He/she should encourage questions and explain why each element is appropriate.

Understand the Process

A landscape designer should be able to explain in detail how long the process will take and provide a written estimate. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a landscape facelift or a complete makeover, understanding the process and the time required will make the wait easier as individuals watch their new outdoor space take shape.

Significant Investment

Making changes to the landscape is a major undertaking and represents a significant financial investment. Individuals shouldn’t sign a contract or commit to any work unless they’re completely satisfied with the design. Those that prefer environmentally-friendly solutions should search for a landscape designer that specializes in green practices.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Adding Potted Plants Around the Pool

Any pool area can benefit from plants, but placing them in pots is much preferable to planting them in the ground. Depending on the species, they may have far-reaching roots that can damage the pool and the surrounding hardscape. Plants are beautiful and desirable, but they also have the potential to drop pollen, leaves, and blossoms into the pool and clog filters.

Potted plants require less water, time and maintenance, while providing all the benefits of a lush pool environment. Depending on the selected species, they can provide color, texture, privacy, and shade. Some of the best potted plants for around the pool include the following that are able to withstand full sun and being splashed with pool water.

Flowering Plants

For individuals that enjoy blossoms, there are annuals and perennials that can be placed in pots around the pool. The disadvantage is that they produce vegetative debris that can find its way into the water and filters if they’re planted too closely to the pool. They can be used sparingly in containers to add a splash of dramatic color.

Palms and Cycads

Small species of palms can be the perfect accompaniment to the pool environment, such as Mediterranean Fan Palm, that can produce fronds up to six feet long. Palms and cycads have the advantage of slow growth. The sago palm is a form of cycad, a hold-over from the dinosaur age that enjoys rocky and sandy soils. Palms and cycads typically grow from 3-5 feet, but some are capable of reaching heights of 10 feet, so choose carefully. Smaller species of cycads are bushier and more closely related to pines.

Succulents

There are dozens of succulent species that can survive on less water than other types of plants, love the sun, are easy to grow, and require little maintenance. They encompass more than just cacti and can have lush foliage. Be careful when planting cacti and don’t place them too near the pool to avoid injuries to people and pets.

Yucca

Yuccas love full sun and are low-maintenance. They also have the distinction of being the primary source of food for the yucca moth. In turn, the moths are the only pollinators of the yucca. Pool owners will be doing the stately plants a favor and providing essential sustenance and cover for the delicate white moths.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Residential Landscaping company Boca Raton

Ways to Increase Curb Appeal

Homeowners see their house every day and it’s easy to become accustomed to viewing exterior flaws that potential buyers would find objectionable. There’s only one opportunity to make a first impression and that’s also true of homes. Individuals don’t have to spend a fortune to increase the curb appeal of their domicile and there are easy ways to make a house more attractive to buyers.

Camouflage

Exposed trash cans, electrical boxes, generators and central air units are unsightly. Electrical boxes can be painted to match the siding on the home, while other features can be hidden with a stylish fence or panel.

Doors

Painting the front door will brighten the appearance and make it stand out from others. Be sure to match the color to the rest of the home. A new and distinctive door knob completes the picture and owners can choose from traditional or digital locks. Remove cobwebs and debris from around entryways. Consider a welcoming wreath on the front door.

Greenery

Some cheerful flowering plants along walkways and by doorways offer an inviting image. Be sure to clip or trim any hedges or bushes, paying particular attention to those that may obstruct views. Keep the lawn groomed and edgings neatly trimmed.

Gutters

It’s easy to overlook gutters, but don’t forget to give them a thorough cleaning to remove debris. Scrubbing the outside will restore them to a near new appearance.

House Numbers

The numbers on the home need to be clear and obvious. Try a trendy style that matches the architecture of the home, but something that grabs attention.

Lighting

Adding some attractive motion sensor lighting will enhance appeal and safety. LED bulbs are especially desirable as they emit more light than traditional bulbs and they’re more economical to operate.

Mailbox

Installing a new, stylish mailbox is a small change that can make a major difference in perception, whether it’s a free-standing model or attached to the house.

Outdoor Furnishings

Too little outdoor furniture gives the impression that no one wants to spend time there, while too much creates a cluttered look. Make sure that existing furniture is clean and in good condition – if not, remove it.

Power Washing

Schedule a power wash for the exterior of the home, or rent one as a DIY project, to remove built up dirt, grime and algae.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Small Flowering Trees South Florida Edition

Small trees are an often overlooked option in the landscape of homes and businesses. They’re an ideal solution for smaller properties and their vibrant and unusual flowers provide visual interest. Many are salt-tolerant and can be used to create a screen, while others provide shade and remain compact enough to preserve a specific view. Some of the best flowering trees for Florida encompass the following, in no particular order.

Plumeria

The plant’s scientific name is Plumeria, but it’s also known as Frangipani. Its ugly duckling appearance in the winter is misleading. Blooms of red, white, yellow, pink and multi-colors transform it into a tropical showcase as it flowers profusely from spring to autumn. The blossoms are fragrant, used to make leis in Hawaii, and in lotions, candles and perfumes. It can grow up to 20 ft., is drought and salt tolerant, and is both a succulent and deciduous.

Japonica

There are several different types of the japonica species. The most petite is the Desert Cassia. It grows fairly quickly to a height of 10 ft., flowers in the spring and autumn, is salt tolerant, and attracts butterflies. The tree is also known as “scrambled egg tree” and “golden shower tree” due to its prolific yellow blossoms. Its cousin, Cassia surattensis, grows from 12-15 ft. in height and tolerates salt.

Jatropha

The compact/dwarf version will amaze with blooms every day of the year. It has small red flowers, can be grown as a bush, or trained as a single-trunk tree. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. It’s one of the smallest of the species, but quickly grows to about eight ft., and is drought tolerant.

Red Cluster Bottlebrush

This is a showy specimen featuring bright red flowers. Homeowners can cultivate it as a single or multi-trunk tree or a bush. Excellent for small yards and as an accent plant, the flower spikes resemble a bottlebrush and appear periodically throughout the year. It’s highly attractive to honey bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. A weeping version is also available and both are moderately tolerant to salt and can grow up to 25 ft. high.

Pick a Favorite

No matter what size yard or the preferred blossom color, there’s a small tree to accommodate any need in Florida. The temperate climate and mild winters allow dozens of small flowering trees to thrive, providing interest, beauty, and nectar for wildlife.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Common DIY Landscape Mistakes

Many homeowners prefer to take matters into their own hands when it comes to landscaping their property. While some projects can turn out fine, those that are contemplating intricate, complex and complicated designs should consult with a landscape design professional. They can provide valuable assistance in choosing the right plants and decorative elements for the space and ensure gas grills and patio fireplaces are installed properly.

Budgeting – Landscaping projects cost an average of 30 percent more than anticipated. Before anyone can create an accurate budget, they need to know what materials are needed, the quantity, and their cost.

Existing Landscape Problems – Areas with poor drainage to those that are erosion-prone need to be addressed and fixed before any landscaping projects can proceed.

Functional Design – A new design element can make environments more attractive, but they must also be functional and accommodate the way a family actually uses their leisure and entertainment space. Any element should make a smooth transition into the rest of the environment and not interrupt existing usages.

Irrigation – Plants need the appropriate amount of water at the right times. One of the most neglected facets of landscaping is an irrigation system that is capable of delivering the correct amount of moisture to different types of plants in multiple areas.

Lighting – Exterior lighting helps keep people and pets safe in the dark. It also deters trespassers and can be used to accent a specific feature. Don’t forget to install adequate lighting options.

Overcrowding – In an effort to work in everything that homeowners want, the yard can quickly become overcrowded. The effect is a cluttered appearance that isn’t conducive to peacefulness or entertainment. It also won’t leave enough room for plantings to grow well. The same overcrowding occurs when too many ornamental items are installed.

Patio Too Small – Most people don’t realize how much space a patio requires. After pools, plants and other features are added, there often isn’t enough space for a patio or it won’t be large enough to accommodate more than a couple of chairs. Patios shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Too Much Yard – One of the top mistakes homeowners make is trying to combine too many features into a yard that’s too small to contain it all. The problem is compounded if the end result requires more care and upkeep than the homeowner has time to perform.

Wildlife – Homeowners will have to consider if they want to attract wildlife into their yard or repel it. The landscape design and plants selected have the ability to accomplish either goal. Remember that wildlife encompasses everything from rodents and raccoons to birds, bees and butterflies.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Best Time of Year to Add Sod

There’s no reason to spread grass seed, add fertilizer, and water in the hope of sprouting a new lawn when adding sod is so much easier and provides a lush carpet of ready-made grass. The best time to lay sod in Florida is typically April through July. Those times allow the grass to settle and grow for an entire season before cooler weather arrives.

Sod is grass that’s already been planted and grown in soil. The grass roots are very dense and helps hold the sod together while it’s manipulated, cut, and laid down in its ultimate destination. It’s most commonly available in rolls that have been precut into one long slab and are rolled out into the desired area, but precut squares that are laid down individually are also offered by some landscapers for spot jobs.

Sod is an excellent solution for anyone that wants to enjoy their lawn immediately rather than enduring the time it takes for a seeded lawn to grow. The time sod is added will also depend on the type of grass desired. Some types prefer certain conditions to get the best start when it’s first planted, while others can be planted almost any time. St. Augustine grass, for example, should be laid when nighttime temperatures are between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The sod will require light yet frequent watering for the first two to three weeks after it’s laid to help it set and begin growing in its new environment. Fertilizer shouldn’t be applied until at least 60 days have passed and a sodded lawn shouldn’t be mowed for at least three to four weeks.

Laying sod in the early spring or autumn won’t provide the grass with the temperatures required for vigorous growth. Roots go dormant and growth stops when soil temperatures are 55 degrees or less. Planted at the right time and with proper care, individuals can enjoy an instant lawn that will grow even thicker and lusher as the year progresses.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Weed Control Options

No one wants weeds in their lawn, flowerbeds, drives or walkways. There are multiple ways to control the unwelcome visitors ranging from preventative to chemical and many are complementary. There’s no single method that works best in all conditions or environments and some are harmful to people, pets and plants. It’s best to get professional assistance to determine the best options for each individual situation.

Biological

These consist of bacteria, fungi, insects, and microscopic nematodes to control and destroy weeds. They’re effective, but can have unwanted and unintended effects if not utilized properly. They should only be employed by a professional.

Chemical

Weed-killing chemicals are available in multiple forms and they’re effective. They’re also harmful to kids, pets, and the people applying them. There’s a time and place for chemical options and a landscape professional should be consulted.

Edging

The physical barrier is a simple solution that’s also cost effective. It prevents weed roots from breaching the barrier and entering flower beds or overgrowing driveways and walkways.

Groundcover

A groundcover is great for areas that are difficult to reach with a mower and its dense growth helps choke out weeds. Groundcovers are available in varying heights, many of which are adorned with colorful blooms that attract bees and butterflies.

Landscape Fabric

This is the foundation of weed control before plants are installed in the ground. A layer of landscape fabric – with or without a layer of mulch – aids in preventing weeds from sprouting in the first place.

Mulch

An application of mulch helps prevent weed growth, keeps soil cooler, and aids in moisture retention.

Organic

These methods include everything from vinegar or salt water solutions, the application of specific minerals, rock salt, and even boiling water to kill weeds. The drawbacks are that they can affect desirable plants, erode and stain brick and concrete surfaces, and create areas where plants won’t grow at all for long periods.

Sunlight Deprivation

Every plant needs light to live, even weeds. Depriving them of the sun’s rays will eventually kill them. People used newspapers covered in mulch in the past to block the sun. A similar technique using modern materials will work just as well and is primarily used for flower beds.

Tilling

Whether you’re using a rototiller or a trowel, both methods break up and soil disrupt the root growth of weeds. It’s more time intensive, but it’s effective over time and also helps aerate the soil.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Best Edibles for Your Backyard

A backyard garden isn’t just for people that want to eat healthier. People across the nation are adding small herb gardens, kitchen gardens, and miniature orchards to their outdoor living space for fun and profit. Florida’s climate enables homeowners to cultivate an extremely wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

The temperate weather conditions even allow backyard gardeners to diversify. ‘Warm weather’ crops are planted during the warmest part of the year. After harvesting, the weather provides desirable conditions for crops that prefer cooler temperatures to flourish.

Warm weather and a long growing season are ideal conditions for almost any type of fruit or vegetable that South Florida residents want to cultivate. Edibles encompassing beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, along with cucumbers, squash, asparagus and any type of salad greens are favorites for the dinner table. Onions, cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower can also be grown.

Florida is home to one of the best environments for growing citrus fruits ranging from oranges and lemons to limes, grapefruit, and nectarines. Figs, mangoes, avocados, peaches, and plums are also good selections. Homeowners can easily add blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, to their repertoire. Apples and cherries can be added to backyards, even if there’s not a lot of room. Many common fruit tree varieties are available in the form of dwarf and columnar trees.

The South Florida climate also enables individuals to grow out of the ordinary options such as certain types of coffee beans and bananas. For more adventurous gardeners and those that like to experiment with rare varieties they can try breadfruit, loquats, and tropical types of persimmons, in addition to jackfruit, mamey sapote, canistel, and atemoya.

South Florida is home to one of the most conducive climates for growing fruits, vegetables, and even nuts. It’s easy to start a backyard garden with the most highly-sought and healthy options available. In many instances, the plants yield much more than a family can use and they’re utilizing their excess to add some cash to their wallet by selling it at farm markets.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Colorful Shrubs

Shrubs don’t have to have exotic blossoms to be landscape standouts. There are many shrubs that have extremely colorful foliage that provide interest in unique ways. Many combine spectacular floral displays with unusually-colored leaves that put on their own show at various times of the year. For those that crave colorful shrubs, the following are some suggestions in no particular order.

Dart’s Gold™ Ninebark

Foliage is yellow gold in spring, turns lime green, and then transitions to golden yellow with a hint of bronze in the autumn. It has small white flowers in clusters that produce small red fruits. The bush grows 4-5 feet high and wide.

Goshiki™ Variegated False Holly

The evergreen features white, cream, yellow, pink and orange hues on each leaf, adding interest during slower winter months. It’s drought tolerant, deer resistant, and grows 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

Nightglow™ Diervilla

Emergent burgundy foliage gives way to leaves that approach black in color during summer and then turns red in the autumn before the bush sheds its leaves. It also has tubular, bright yellow flowers and reaches 2-3 feet in height and width.

Purple Hebe

White flowers emerge and rise above the burgundy/plum spotted foliage in late summer. Leaves fade to green as they age. It grows 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Rainbow Fizz™ Spirea

Foliage begins as a copper red color in the spring, transitioning to shades of yellow, gold and orange all at the same time in summer’s heat. It has fuzzy pink blooms throughout the summer and foliage turns copper again with autumn. It grows 3-4 feet in width and height.

Wine & Roses™ Weigela

The combination of rosy pink flowers against dark purple foliage provides a show stopping vision. Spring foliage is so dark it almost appears black. The award-winning shrub requires little maintenance, is deer resistant, and grows 4-5 feet wide and high.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Herbs that Grow Well in South Florida

Few things are as tasty and satisfying as cooking with homegrown herbs. There are dozens of culinary herbs from which to choose and with South Florida’s climate, nothing is off the table. While it’s possible to grow some of the more exotic herbs and spices, there are 10 basic herbs that no kitchen garden should be without and they grow extremely well in Florida.

  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Lemon balm
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

You can buy plants from a nursery – it’s easier and you won’t have to wait for them to sprout, but herbs are fairly easy to start from seed. Spring and summer are the best times to begin a kitchen garden. If you want new plants for the following season, let the herbs flower and go to seed. Many self-sow easily.

The 10 basic herbs are an ideal place to start before graduating to more difficult herbs to grow. Begin by growing what you like and what you’ll use most often. If you buy seedlings, be sure you know what you’re getting. There are many different types of mint and thyme, for example. It’s important to make distinctions.

You’ll also want to know the growth habits of the herbs you plant. Mint and oregano can be aggressive in the garden and overpower their neighbors. Some herbs are best grown in pots to keep them contained, but it will mean they’ll need to be watered more often and have excellent drainage.

Harvesting your herbs can be tricky. You don’t want to pick them too often or not enough, but they will need to be pinched to encourage growth. Doing so will ensure the plants remain more compact and produce a greater yield.

Having success with one type of herb is a heady experience and you’ll be tempted to add several more. Don’t do it. Each herb has its own particular needs and it’s best to introduce one more at a time to the kitchen garden.

RCH Landscaping is a full service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install, and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians have an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

Read more