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Archives for Landscape Design

Popular Hardscape Materials

The term hardscape refers to the hard elements within a landscape that don’t change as time goes on, unlike trees, bushes, flowers, vines, and lawn grass. There are several types of hardscape materials from which to choose encompassing wood and faux wood; rocks, gravel, and stones; and concrete, bricks, and pavers.

Hardscapes are non-living items in the environment that includes statuary and water features, driveways and pathways, patios and decks, fireplaces and firepits, and walls, steps, and fences. The following are the most popular hardscape materials, in no particular order.

Wood

The use of wood in the landscape is perhaps one of the most popular options of all time. Available in a multitude of natural colors, it’s used for fencing, decks, and pergolas. Composite decking or “faux wood,” is equally popular since it provides the appearance of wood, but lasts longer.

Concrete

Whether it’s a birdbath or a driveway, most homes have at least one concrete item as part of the landscape. Concrete is popular for its durability, versatility, and longevity. It can be used to create walls, courtyards, patios and walkways. Concrete can be polished or stamped to create unique patterns and textures. It’s also popular for creating water features.

Stone

Loose stone comes in different sizes and colors that can be used in and around flower beds, as walkways, and around pool areas. It’s a fairly inexpensive option for sprucing up around the yard. An alternative is natural stone that can be cut into specific shapes for steps, patios, and walkways. Pavers also fall into this category and it’s easy to replace if one happens to sustain damage.

Asphalt

An increasingly popular material is asphalt for driveways and even walkways due to its durability and longevity. It’s the same material used to pave roads. It can last for 30 years, its dark color aids in camouflaging stains, and it’s typically much less expensive to install than concrete.

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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Heat Tolerant Perennials

Perennial plants offer the advantage of coming back every year without the need to plant anew each spring. In South Florida, gardeners have the very real concern of locating plants that can also withstand the high heat that summer brings. There are actually a number of heat tolerant flowering perennials that provide brightly colored blossoms and food for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

  • Monarda, also known as bee balm, attracts honey bees and butterflies, is deer and rabbit resistant, and blooms July-Aug. The foliage also emits a minty scent. Seek cultivars that are mildew-resistant.
  • Coneflower features a variety of colors, is deer-resistant, and grows 1-3 ft. tall. It provides three months of bloom from June-Aug. and can be used as a cut flower.
  • Coreopsis is a low-maintenance perennial that will even grow in soil that’s rocky or sandy in nature. It’s sometimes called tick seed due to the appearance of the seed capsules. They’re deer-resistant and butterflies flock to them.
  • Gaillardia, also known as blanket flower, is native to Florida and features a wealth of red and gold blooms. It can bloom year-round, and is also salt tolerant for locations near the ocean.
  • Pentas are native to Africa, producing clumps of flowers in a wide range of colors. They’re attractive to butterflies and available in low-growing and taller varieties.
  • Phlox is heat tolerant, mildew resistant, has showy blossoms, and makes an excellent cut flower for indoor use.

It should be noted that many flowers considered annuals in northern climates will easily self-seed in Florida and come back year after year. Morning glories are one such climber and they’re available in day and night blooming varieties. The low-growing portulaca, also known as moss rose, is another species that will readily reseed itself and generate many years of blossoms from the original sowing.

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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Planting a Low Maintenance Hedge

Hedges are wonderful as living privacy screens, to reduce noise, and as wind barriers. They also provide habitats for a variety of wildlife. As beautiful and useful as they are, a hedge can require a significant amount of time, money, and effort to keep it in peak condition. However, there are low-maintenance options that shouldn’t be overlooked.

A low-maintenance hedge doesn’t mean a wildly growing and unruly tangle. Individuals can choose from a wide variety of plantings that don’t require constant trimming, shaping, and manicuring to keep them looking beautiful. The trick is to select slow-growing hedge plants. They won’t mature as quickly, but they make up for it in ease of care.

The plantings will also depend on the type of hedge that’s desired. A hedge isn’t limited to the traditional, manicured boxwood or privet shrubs pictured in magazines and on TV. They can also be comprised of palms, evergreens, and deciduous plantings. The following are just some of the options available.

  • Arborvitae is a tree with a conical and stately growth habit, making them a popular choice for windbreaks and privacy screens. They’re best used on large properties.
  • Azaleas are spring bloomers, offer autumn color, and are available in evergreen and deciduous varieties.
  • Forsythia produces yellow blossoms in spring and a dense hedge during the rest of the year.
  • Several types of holly are native to South Florida and new cultivars are available. Female plants produce red berries that are toxic to people and pets.
  • Lilacs offer fragrant barriers throughout the year – except in winter when they drop their leaves. They attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Rose of Sharon also drops its leaves in winter, while putting on a showy display of blossoms during the autumn.
  • Yews are salt-tolerant, evergreen, and produce visually attractive red berries that are toxic.

There’s a hedge plant to accommodate any need and offers the advantage of being low-maintenance. Some provide greenery year-round, while others drop their leaves for a short time. Still, other types provide a much needed habitat for birds and food for pollinators.

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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Mixing Color and Greenery in Plant Beds

When choosing plants for their beds, most individuals focus on the color of the flowers the plants will bear. Little thought is typically expended on the green portion of the plants, but it’s equally important and affects the appearance of the bed. Plants aren’t uniformly a single shade of green and that opens up vast horizons for the landscape.

Greenery in the home garden is much more than just the green color of the plants that support blooms. Homeowners can utilize a combination of flower color and greenery to make a shady corner of the yard appear brighter. Choose plants with brightly colored blossoms and those that have foliage in lighter shades of green.

Blossom colors and plants with different shades of green foliage can be repeated in plant beds for a more formal appearance. For those that are planning plant beds to surround areas of relaxation or near a reflection pool, consider using softer colors in both blossoms and greenery to enhance the ambiance.

A bed featuring flowers of all one color, for instance, pink or white, can benefit from non-flowering plants randomly interspersed or planted by design to create a dramatic effect and additional interest. Multi-colored foliage plants are an excellent way to remain true to a color scheme.

Ornamental grasses offer one of the easiest means of mixing greenery in an outdoor plant bed. There are dozens of hues and variegated varieties with vertical stripes or bands of alternating color. Not all greenery is actually green – grasses also come in shades of red and yellow. Some grass types also have small blooms, while others have plumes.

With so many options from which to choose, the most difficult decision will be what to use in creating a plant bed of complimentary greenery and color. Greenery encompasses the plants that support blooms, decorative grasses, and predominantly foliage plants such as caladiums, hosta, and sedum – all of which are great additions.

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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Landscaping a Small Yard

Landscaping a small yard can present an extreme challenge, especially if homeowners are looking for ways to make it appear larger. Many homeowners deprive themselves of plantings and other features in the mistaken belief that keeping the environment open makes it appear larger. Also, remember that fences narrow the perception of the space.

The single most important step is pre-planning. Homeowners need to define the predominate use of the space – a private retreat or an area for entertaining. Some may choose to create an edible garden. No matter what the primary usage, it’s important to plan the layout for maximum effect.

A good start is by removing unnecessary objects such as trash cans that take up space and contribute to a cluttered and undesirable appearance. The goal is to create a destination space in which people want to spend time. That can involve adding a small fire pit, compact yet comfortable seating, or a grill. A small patio set can be more effective in small settings than oversized furnishings.

When selecting trees for a small yard, it’s essential to choose trees that grow up rather than out. Some trees have a more compact and columnar growth habit, such as evergreens and dwarf varieties. They provide important shade and ambiance without the spread of oaks and maples, for example. Consider the strategic use of shrubs for a lush appearance that uses less space than a tree.

Perhaps one of the best ways to make small yards appear larger is through vertical plantings. That can include the use of hanging baskets or vines. Flower pots and pouches can be mounted to walls and fences. With a little creativity and a strong infrastructure, 2-3 pots can even be strung together on chains. Individuals can also create a dedicated “wall” of wire netting to increase the available space in their backyard.

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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Why Add Edging and Borders?

Edging is one of the most useful tools in a gardener’s arsenal. Edging comes in many forms, from plastic, steel and aluminum to wood, brick, concrete and stone. They all have one thing in common – they form a border to separate one area from another. Edging delineates the lines between flower beds, lawns, driveways, shrubs, and trees from surrounding areas. Landscape edging provides a wealth of benefits.

Adds Value

The crisp lines created by edging provide a manicured appearance that adds value to properties. It also increases curb appeal for those that are trying to sell their homes.

Inexpensive Update

Adding edging is one of the less expensive ways to update the appearance of any landscape. It’s also a project that individuals can perform themselves.

Keeps Materials in Place

Gravel, rock and even seashells have become popular for creating walkways and stylized areas within the landscape. Many landscapes also contain mulch. All of those materials have the potential to shift and move into lawn spaces without a barrier to keep them in place. Edging provides an effective impediment that prevents materials from migrating away from where they’re placed.

Less Work

Edging creates a border between areas where grass is wanted and where it’s not. Installing edging means less work to keep grass from growing over and into driveways and areas such as patios. Time spent trimming and edging is significantly reduced, while making mowing easier.

Weeds and Roots

Creating a border has two advantages. The first is that it prevents grass roots from growing into flowerbeds and gardens. The second is that, while it won’t eliminate every weed from growing, it will aid in substantially reducing the number of potential weeds that will take root and will also prevent flower roots from crossing over into the lawn.

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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5 Palm Trees for a South Florida Landscape

There are dozens of palm tree species and one to suit every need. They have a diverse array of shapes and heights, enabling them to fit in any landscape. Palms also have a range of leaf colors to add interest.

Palms run the gamut from sun-loving to shade, with varieties that can be grown in containers around the pool to those that can soar to heights of 98 ft. Some are even able to tolerate temperatures slightly below freezing and are drought-hardy, while others prefer significant amounts of water.

Coconut Palms

Tall and stately, after the age of 6-10 years they begin to produce edible coconuts. The fruits should be removed to prevent them from falling and injuring people, pets, and causing damage to fences, buildings, and vehicles. Coconut palms can live up to 80 years, can grow 98 ft. tall, prefer full sun, and need well-drained soil.

European Fan Palm

A palm that grows 8-15 ft. tall, it has a spread of 6-10 ft. and its hardy nature has made it a favorite in South Florida. It’s equally at home at poolside, as an accent piece in the landscape, and can even be grown in containers. Fronds range from light green to sliver and the palm produces small clusters of yellow flowers with insignificant fruits. The palm grows in clumps rather than single trunks and it’s able to withstand temperatures of up to minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Montgomery Palm

An ideal tree for planting near pools, it has stiff fronds of feathery emerald green that form a fan shape. It’s a jaunty looking palm with a somewhat furry/fuzzy appearance that’s able to fit in small spaces with an average height of 25-35 ft. It’s equally at home in residential and commercial settings. They require full sun, plenty of moisture, and require little maintenance.

Red Sealing Wax Palms

The stems of these palms are the color of red sealing wax. They produce feathery green leaves and prefer locations that are shady and receive significant amounts of water. Highly ornamental, they’re slow growing, have the potential to reach 50 ft. in height, and have fronds that can grow five ft. long. They produce fruits that ripen to a bluish-black color, can grow in shady areas, and are resistant to major diseases and pests.

Pygmy Date Palm

This is an excellent palm for multiple environments where a smaller tree is desired. It grows 6-10 ft. in height with fronds of up to 6 ft. in length. It produces small, yellow flowers followed by tiny dates that are purple. It can be planted in containers, within landscapes, and around pools. It does require significant moisture and can need occasional pruning to remove foliage that’s old or has sustained damage from pests or disease.

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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Landscape on a Budget

There are a variety of ways to add interest to residential landscapes that are inexpensive. Most people automatically think of plants in regard to landscapes, but landscaping also encompasses pathways, fountains, ponds, statuary, and even mulching can make a significant change in the appearance and care of landscapes. With a little imagination, anyone can create innovative, one-of-a-kind solutions on a budget.

Firepit

A firepit is a great place to gather with family and friends to spend leisure time. Consider purchasing concrete retaining wall blocks or cinder blocks to create a DIY firepit. Even rocks can be used to build a homemade firepit. The materials can be fashioned into any shape or height to accommodate individual space requirements. It doesn’t have to be big to be effective.

Lighting

LED string lights emit more illumination than traditional bulbs so individuals can use fewer of them and they’re much cheaper to operate. One advantage is that they can be strung horizontally, vertically, placed in trees, and around flower beds. Rope lighting is another low-cost option.

Mulching

Adding mulch around plants, bushes and trees will give landscapes an updated appearance, aid in reducing weed growth, and save money on watering costs. Mulch is available in multiple forms encompassing wood and cocoa chips, stone, specially processed rubber, and lava rock.

Planters

A planter can add warmth and provide a focal point. Inexpensive planters of wood, plastic and pottery can be found at yard sales and second hand stores. Ordinary items such as rubber tires and almost any type of jars or bottles can be painted and repurposed into a planter. Even old wooden pallets and ladders can be transformed into tiered, vertical planters rather than horizontal options.

Seating

A wide variety of gently used furniture can be found at yard sales and thrift shops for outdoor seating. Sealants can be used to waterproof wood and similar materials. Waterproof cushions can be added for additional comfort.

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

Landscaping for Dry Areas

Gardening and landscaping in dry areas can present special challenges. Traditional plantings can be cultivated, but it will be extremely expensive to fight the climate and require a considerable investment of time. The best solution is to compromise with Mother Nature to arrive at some spectacular results. Low-water gardens and landscapes have rapidly gained in popularity across the nation.

They require less maintenance and offer considerable savings in water costs. Even in humid conditions that prevail in Florida, many individuals discover that they have areas within their landscape that are drier than others. For those that don’t have irrigation systems, there are solutions that can save money and transform dry areas into an oasis. The following are just a few ideas for landscaping in dry areas.

Artificial Grass

Lawns require a lot of water and maintenance. By installing artificial grass, individuals won’t be using water to maintain the lawn and there’s no fertilizing or mowing necessary.

Container Gardening

For dry areas of the landscape, don’t overlook the opportunities available in container gardening. It’s easier to care for plants in containers, they require less maintenance, and water requirements are lower.

Ornamental Grass

There are dozens of ornamental grasses available in multiple heights that are ideal for dry areas. They add interest and can be helpful in areas where soil erosion is a concern.

Pick Perennials

For individuals that can’t do without some colorful blossoms, perennials require little care and can produce spectacular flowers. Many varieties are drought-resistant or drought-tolerant, making them ideal for dry areas.

Rock, Stone and Pavers

Consider creating pathways with pavers, mulching with stone, or creating rock pathways for a look that’s contemporary, requires no water, and is low-maintenance. It will also aid in reducing the size of the lawn that has to be mowed, watered, and fertilized.

Succulents

Plants classified as succulents run the gamut from low-level cacti to upright flowering species. They require little water, are low-maintenance, and come in a multitude of shapes, colors and textures. Succulents can produce lush foliage in multiple shades of green and can be an excellent choice for coastal areas.

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

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

Read more