Archives for Landscape Design

5 Low Maintenance Trees in Florida

Dozens of trees grow well in the South Florida landscape, but some require a considerable amount of maintenance and produce nuts or fruit that can be messy and sticky. The following are 5 low-maintenance trees for the Florida landscape that provide beauty and shade.

Dogwood

The dogwood tree is well-known for its spring blossoms. Highly adaptable, multiple types are available and some have variegated foliage. The Asian Kousa dogwood has a slightly different appearance than the traditional dogwood and has the advantage of being resistant to anthracnose. Kousa dogwood bloom colors are available in white, light pink and deep pink. The trees are undemanding trees, highly ornamental, and the only real “mess” they create is when they shed their leaves in the autumn.

Eastern Redbud

The tree provides a striking display of white or dark pink blooms in the spring. It’s actually a close relative of peanuts, tamarind and other types of legumes. Highly attractive to bees, birds and butterflies, it grows from 20 to 30 ft. and can be single or multi-stemmed. Breeding programs have produced varieties with leaves of yellow, lime green, purplish-red, bronze and burgundy. They’re resistant to drought once established and light pruning is all that’s needed.

Fern Pine Tree

The fern pine isn’t really a pine and is best reserved for large areas. It can grow 50 to 65 ft. tall with a trunk of 2 to 3 ft. in diameter if left alone. Professionals know how to prune it to a modest 20 to 30 ft. and it can also be espaliered. It’s a native of Eastern Africa with long, narrow leaves that can be 4 inches long when the tree is mature. Blooms are inconspicuous and the berry-like fruits are fleshy and contain a single seed. A moderately fast grower, it can live up to 150 years.

Sweetbay Magnolia

Unlike the Southern Magnolia, Sweetbay Magnolia won’t litter the lawn with spent bloom petals or seed pods. It will shed a few leaves throughout the season and it’s resistant to a variety of insect pests and diseases. The tree has highly fragrant white blooms and the glossy leaves have a frosted appearance on the underside. The seeds provide a food source for a wide variety of birds.

Shady Lady Black Olive

Desirable for shade and beauty, it can have an awkward appearance when young that’s remedied with light pruning. It features yellowish-beige flowers in the spring that many say gives the tree the appearance of being frosted with brown sugar. It’s salt-tolerant and can grow to 30 ft. The Shady Lady variety is the newest and most improved cultivar of the species, but it’s not actually related to olive trees and doesn’t produce olives.

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 has 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

What is a Landscape Design Drawing?

Planning a new landscape is fun and exciting, but without a landscape design drawing serious problems can arise. A landscape design drawing is essentially a floor plan of how the property appears. It shows where man-made and natural elements are located, and it’s properly scaled for distance and size.

Without a design drawing, there’s no way of knowing if planned features will actually fit into the landscape, if trees will be too close to structures, or if they’ll interfere with utility infrastructures. A design drawing also enables people to make accurate estimates about the cost of their intended project.

Do-it-yourself fans can purchase software programs to help in the process. The software ranges from simple to extremely complex. However, not all programs provide the needed tools to accurately plan a project.

The landscape design drawing begins with creating an outline of the project area. It may include an entire yard or just a portion of it. Each pertinent facet of the project area should be included from outbuildings and fences to rocks, power poles and other features that won’t be moved. The idea is to create a visual representation of the project area.

Add existing elements slowly and ensure that their size is accurately represented within the plan. Once the design drawing has those features, the new elements for the landscape can be added. That includes trees, flowers, shrubs or hardscapes such as fountains, ponds, patios and walkways.

Bear in mind that wanting a particular tree or plant and being able to have it in the landscape can be two very different things. Professional designers work with plant experts that are knowledgeable about the growth habits of an extensive variety of species. The mature version of a tree or bush may not fit into the allotted space. Installing it would be a waste of money. A professional landscaping company can advise individuals about their choices and suggest alternatives when needed.

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 has 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
types of grass

How Many Types of Grass are There?

There are 10 commonly used types of grass for lawns, but only 4 are predominantly used in South Florida landscapes. The warm and humid climate is great for warmth-loving grasses. For the cooler and transitional months, many residents sow a mix of grasses to ensure a green lawn throughout the year.

St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is considered the easiest to grow in South Florida and is widely favored. It grows quickly and intensely dislikes cold, making it an ideal choice for the warm Florida climate. It can tolerate shade and does best when kept cut to a height of 2 to 4 inches in height. It does go dormant during winter months, which is why other types are usually planted with St. Augustine grass. It doesn’t tolerate heavy foot traffic well.

Zoysia Grass

The grass is equally happy in sun and shade, and it’s a relatively slow growing variety. It can be kept at a height of 1 to 1½ inches without impeding growth. It’s resistant to disease and weed growth, doesn’t require much fertilizer or water, and is low maintenance.

Buffalo Grass

For a carpet of blue-green colored lawn, buffalo grass is the solution. It actually flourishes in high temperatures and tends to remain green year-round. It thrives when kept at a height of 1½ to 3 inches, doesn’t like overwatering, and does best with light to medium foot traffic.

Bermuda Grass

Popular for golf courses and athletic fields, Bermuda grass doesn’t mind being manicured to a height of 1 to 1 ½ inches. The grass is able to handle heavy foot traffic and withstands heat and direct sun. It’s well-suited to a variety of different soil types. A creeping grower, it will enter flower beds and gardens if restraint measures aren’t taken.

Other Options

Bahiagrass is resilient, thrives in sandy soils, has deep roots enabling it to survive drought conditions, and can survive without an irrigation system. It prefers full sun and has a coarse texture. Keep it at 2 to 4 inches. The grass is low maintenance and won’t fail under foot traffic. It’s becoming increasingly popular for lawns, even though it was originally used for pasture land.

Centipede grass is also an option since it likes acidic and sandy soils. Keep it at 1½ to 3 inches high. It usually doesn’t require fertilizer, is low maintenance, and grows relatively slowly. It may go dormant during drought conditions and doesn’t care for a lot of foot traffic.

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 has 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

Drought Resistant Plants in Florida

Homeowners and businesses have a myriad of plants from which to choose that provide blooms and beauty throughout the season. Florida is known as a warm and humid state, but what people may not know is that weather records going back to 1900 indicate that at least one severe drought has occurred in Florida during every decade.

Residents of South Florida have flowers, bushes, ferns and trees that are able to tolerate dry conditions and even a drought without withering and dying. The following are some drought resistant plants from which to choose.

African Iris

Exotic looking white flowers emerge in the spring with distinct purple and yellow markings. It’s a low maintenance plant, the blooms last for only a day but it’s a profuse bloomer.

Beach Sunflower

Known as beach sunflower and dune sunflower, it can be found growing wild in coastal regions and can easily be adapted for inland plantings. A summer bloomer, the daisy-like yellow flowers may appear year-round in South Florida. It attracts pollinators that includes bees, butterflies and moths, while birds eat the seeds.

Beautyberry

The shrub produces lavender blossoms followed by clusters of purple berries in the autumn and winter. The seeds and berries are a food source for a variety of bird species, provides cover for birds, and the foliage is a favorite of deer.

Blanket Flower

A native to the state, it features red and gold flowers that attracts butterflies. It’s an annual that also readily reseeds itself.

Fern Leaf Lavender

Silvery foliage produces purple flowers that attract butterflies. The blooms and foliage are fragrant.

Firebush

The bright red tube-shaped flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. The plant provides cover for birds and the seeds are a source of food for multiple types of songbirds.

Locust Berry

The Florida native features flowers of white, pink and red all on the same plant and it attracts butterflies. It can be grown as a small shrub or tree, birds eat the seeds, and it provides cover for multiple avian species. It’s a threatened species in the wild.

Reed-Stemmed Orchid

Also known as crucifix orchid and rainbow orchid, it’s easy to grow and the blossoms attract hummingbirds. The most common color is red-orange, but is also available in white and hues of pink, purple and yellow.

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 has 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
butterfly

6 Plants to Create a Butterfly Garden

A butterfly garden is a visual feast for the human eye and serves an important conservation function. Approximately 1/3 of Florida’s butterfly species are endangered or have become extremely rare and are on the verge of extinction. Planting a butterfly garden provides an essential food source for declining, imperiled and rare species, along with more robust species. Milkweed is a good example. It’s the only food that monarch caterpillars eat.

Butterflies are pollinators just like honey bees. They’re typically not viewed as seriously as bees since honey bees are more involved in the growing of fruits and vegetables, yet they perform the same function and are beautiful to behold. They prefer flowers and bushes that provide a place to land as they walk across blossoms gathering pollen.

Lantana

Available in hues of red, orange, yellow, white and pink, they’re drought resistant annuals. They have a long bloom season, providing food throughout the summer and nectar for migratory species.

Sunflowers

The friendly flowers are available in colors encompassing yellow, red orange, chocolate, cream and bicolors. Some remain a modest 12 in. in height, while giant varieties can attain heights of up to 16 ft. tall.

Pentas

The hotter the weather, the better pentas perform. They’re available in pink, purple, red, lavender and white. They reach heights of 12 to 24 inches, depending on the variety, and attract multiple types of butterflies.

Marigolds

The humble marigold is rich in nectar, easy to grow, and offered in solid and bicolored varieties. They’re an irresistible magnet for butterflies. They’re offered in dwarf to standard heights for any place in the landscape.

Zinnias

The blooms are a favorite of butterflies and available in a rainbow of colors. They’re available in dwarf varieties that flourish in flower boxes, to those that grow up to 4 ft. tall for planting straight into the garden.

Petunia

Available in a multitude of colors, butterflies, moths and bees just can’t resist them. Fragrant varieties are available and they’re offered in single and double flowered varieties. They do equally well planted in containers or directly in the ground, growing 8 to 36 inches in height, depending on the variety.

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 has 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
bamboo

The Beauty of Bamboo

The quickest growing plant on the planet, bamboo is capable of growing 3 ft. in just 24 hours under optimal conditions. Studies have shown that bamboo absorbs more carbon dioxide than other plants and releases 30 percent more oxygen. Bamboo reaches maturity after 3 to 5 years, depending on the species – and there are numerous species from which to choose that thrive in South Florida’s climate.

Privacy

One of the most popular uses of bamboo is as a living hedge. Green and graceful, it’s an excellent privacy barrier. Stay away from Golden bamboo – it’s been declared an invasive species. All types of bamboo have a dense root system and shouldn’t be planted near retaining walls, foundations, sidewalks, driveways or fences.

The clumping type of bamboo is non-invasive and can be used to create an accent planting, small grove or a hedge. Clumping bamboo growth habits is similar to that of bushes. It spreads by sending out short runner roots of 6 to 18 inches.

Running bamboo spreads much quicker by sending out long horizontal roots. Some species will send out runners mere inches from the mother plant, while others produce runners of up to 10 feet. It can easily become invasive if not contained. The good news is that with the assistance of a professional landscaper, it’s possible to contain running bamboo.

Smaller Species

Bamboo is available in dwarf species that remain under 15 to 20 ft. in height. Larger varieties can grow from 30-50 ft. tall. The plants provide cover for avian species to rest and hide from predators. Clumping bamboo does best in the tropical-like climate in South Florida.

“Lucky bamboo” plants are popular houseplants that are often offered in supermarkets and similar venues. A native of Africa, it’s not considered a true bamboo, but rather a succulent, and is toxic to dogs and cats. This type of bamboo won’t give you a hedge or screen, but it can make an appealing gift for family and friends.

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 has 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
vine

Pros and Cons of Adding Vines Near Your House

Flowering vines add beauty and visual interest to homes, can create eco-friendly privacy, and provide nectar for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. There are dozens of species from which to choose, have a myriad of bloom colors, and some are extremely fragrant. However, not all vines are suitable for planting near a home. Many shouldn’t be planted within 10 feet of a home or other structures and are best positioned to climb a fence or arbor.

Pros

Vines add beauty, character and distinction to homes. Depending on the species, vines can provide privacy, shade, or even edible fruits. They offer living camouflage for unsightly objects such as retaining walls and can transform a flat wall into a three-dimensional visage. Some species of vines, such as clematis, remain diminutive in height, create an oasis of fragrance, and are attractive to pollinators.

Honeysuckle is a popular choice for homeowners, partly due to its sweet scent. It grows fairly slow in comparison to other vines and is easy to keep within bounds. Jasmine is also easy to control and can grow from 10 to 15 feet in height.

Cons

Some vines can attain 20 ft. or more in height without extensive trimming to control their growth habits. There are a number of vines that are aggressive growers, always reaching ever upward. They won’t be happy until they’ve covered the entire house. Some vines will destroy brickwork, take down siding, damage shingles, and pull gutters down, depending on how they anchor themselves for climbing.

Wisteria is an example. Beautiful and sweet-smelling, it’s a rampant grower. It has the power to grow through walls and into homes and can even take down trees. English ivy is a popular vining choice, but the plants also harbor mosquitoes that can spread disease. An additional concern for aggressive vines is that they have no qualms about growing along electric lines and over the delivery systems of other essential services.

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 has 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
poinsettia

Best Place to Plant Poinsettias in Florida

The beauty of poinsettias is present during the Christmas season and in South Florida, it’s possible to plant the potted flowers in the outdoor garden. They can be a little tricky to grow, but with the right care, they can live to bloom on through many seasons.

Planting Poinsettias

One of the primary requirements for poinsettias to thrive and bloom is dark nights. They need total darkness during the autumn months. Even a little artificial light reaching them at night can delay bloom time or prevent the plant from flowering at all.

Keep holiday poinsettias in a bright, sunny location until time to plant in the spring and keep them watered. Optimal growth occurs when a poinsettia is planted in moist, fertile, well-drained soil.

Lighting

Gardeners will need to choose a place in the garden where the plant will receive full sun for most of the day, though slightly filtered shade during the hottest part of the day is acceptable. Individuals will need to pinch back the poinsettia several times throughout the summer to nurture a robust plant with numerous flower heads. Stop pinching about mid-Aug.

It’s important to keep in mind that poinsettias are large plants and will need sufficient room to grow and spread. In their native environment, poinsettias can grow into large bushes/scraggly trees, and attain heights and widths of 10 to 15 ft. Pinching back helps limit growth.

Native to Southern Mexico, the flowers have played a role in religious ceremonies for centuries. The first clippings arrived in the U.S. in 1828 thanks to Dr. Joel Poinsett, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, who sent them to his home in South Carolina. His breeding program resulted in plants with a longer bloom time.

A Mexican legend about the plant says a little girl had nothing but weeds to bring Jesus on Christmas day. When she walked into a church, the plant burst into the beautiful red plant associated with Christmas. The plant is known in Mexico as Flores de Noche Buena, meaning flowers of the holy night.

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 has 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

Transform Your Yard by Adding Rock

If you’re looking to change or update your yard, but don’t know where to begin, consider the versatility of rock. The use of rock in the landscape isn’t a new concept and is referred to as hardscaping by landscaping professionals. Using rock in your yard can take many forms from gravel to large rocks and encompasses a myriad of opportunities to be creative.

Flowerbeds

Gravel in your flowerbed makes a striking contrast to the surrounding greenery and acts as a form of mulch. Using rocks is an excellent choice for areas where drainage is a problem and one of the most attractive attributes is that stone requires no maintenance.

The material is available in multiple sizes and colors, prevents weed growth, and keeps soil from washing away. If you don’t have in-the-ground flowerbeds, you can create attractive freestanding flowerboxes constructed of stone.

Rock Beds

To eliminate the work involved in beds for live plants, consider a rock bed. They can be used in the same way as a flowerbed to create interest and beauty. Combine rocks with contrasting pottery or statuary to create the semblance of a Greek stone garden.

Pathways

Rocks, stone and gravel are an easy way to create pathways and walkways. Rock can also be combined with pavers in a variety of styles. They’re equally applicable for designing unique, one-of-a-kind mosaics or “rivers” made of stone. Rocks can be utilized to create patios that will be the envy of all your neighbors. Stone pathways help keep people off grassy areas and keeps visitor’s shoes clean for less dirt in the house.

Firepits

A firepit of lava rock or fire-rated brick is an excellent way to dress up your yard. It provides warmth if the weather turns chilly and creates a focal point for festivities with family and friends.

Pond Barrier

An increasing number of people are adding ponds to their yards for relaxation and interest. Even the smallest of ponds can be ringed with stones and combined with small plantings for a fairytale look. The rocks also serve to camouflage the pond liner.

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 has 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
vibrant garden

Bringing Your Garden Back to Life

If your plantings aren’t meeting the vision you have for your garden, there are multiple ways to revitalize it and bring the garden back to vibrant life. Each garden is different and may call for a combination of methods. Much will depend on what you want to accomplish, how much work you want to invest in the process, and your budget.

Take Stock

Make a list of existing plants and anything you do or don’t like about them. They may be invasive, not suitable for the soil or climate, and require extensive tending that you may not have the time to perform. A plant may have overgrown its space and you may even discover that a pretty plant you chose is actually toxic to people and pets.

Thinning and Trimming

There’s no way around it – some of those plants will need to be thinned and trimmed to aid in eliminating clutter. That can encompass hiring a professional service to safely remove trees that are diseased, dying or interfering with the growth of other plantings. Trimming and thinning are excellent ways to promote new growth and blooming on poorly performing vines and bushes.

Transplant or Remove

You may want to transplant some plants to a new location if their sun, shade or moisture requirements aren’t being met. Another solution for plants you really want to keep but have outgrown their space, is to simply remove part of them. Don’t forget the value of leaving spaces for highly colorful annuals. Don’t despair over plants that must be completely removed – it’s an inevitable part of the process.

Soil and Mulch

Soil loses nutrients as plants use them. Be sure to check pH levels and amend the soil or fertilize as needed. Without proper nutrients, no garden will thrive and flourish. Mulch is also a critical ingredient. It preserves moisture and aids in minimizing weeds. If you have little time for the upkeep of a garden but want the benefits, choose plants that require little maintenance and grow well in the South Florida climate.

Hard Features

You may also want to plan for some hard features in your garden such as accent lighting, fountains, waterfalls, birdbaths, and pathways. It will all depend on the size of the garden and your budget, but even without hard features, you can bring your garden to life and make it the envy of your neighborhood.

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 has 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