Archives for Residential Landscaping

Pros and Cons of DIY Landscaping

There are small and simple jobs of landscaping that people are able to handle themselves with no problem such as mulching or planting a tree, shrub or flowers. However, for more extensive projects, unless an individual has skill or experience in that area, a DIY project can quickly go awry. There are pros and cons to a DIY project, that includes the following.

Budget

A DIY project is always going to be less expensive than hiring a professional and individuals often have the assistance of spouses, children or friends to help save on costs. A professional landscaping company is more costly, but they always have the manpower required for the job to complete it quickly and efficiently.

Exercise

Landscaping is good exercise, gets people out in the fresh air, and working with plants is therapeutic. A potential drawback, however, is if an individual has asthma, allergies or some other type of respiratory difficult.

Age

Older individuals may feel up to doing their own work, but health concerns, stamina and physical strength can be an obstacle.

Tools and Equipment

Depending on the project, specialized tools or equipment may be required that the average person doesn’t have. Many types of equipment can be rented, but individuals may also be faced with a learning curve in their operation. Landscapers have the tools and equipment needed.

Knowledge

The average individual doesn’t have the knowledge required to determine if a plant is invasive or will thrive in any specific location. Landscapers are knowledgeable about different plants, their unique needs, the best location for a specific plant, and its ongoing care.

Time

It’s always going to take more time to complete a DIY project than when hiring a professional. What individuals estimate as a few hours project can easily require multiple weekends to finish. Combined with that is the time investment required for maintenance and upkeep. A professional landscaping company makes short work of the entire process, from installation and maintenance to removal if necessary.

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

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lawn care

Caring for your Lawn in the Dry Season

Most people are surprised to learn that South Florida has a dry season. The entire state is typically characterized as a tropical environment 365 days a year. October through May marks the official dry season and in January, the state can receive as little as 1.5 inches of rainfall.

A lawn is more than just the green space that surrounds homes and businesses. It’s an eco-friendly way to reduce erosion and glare, buffer sound, cool the environment, and filter contaminates. A lush lawn provides curb appeal and increases home values. However, the road to a healthy lawn is dependent upon proper care throughout the year, especially during the dry season.

Fertilizing

Different types of grass have specific care requirements. The most common turf grass in South Florida is St. Augustine grass. The final fertilizer application should be timed for early fall in South Florida. The amount of fertilizer will depend on if the lawn is established or newly created, the type of soil, pH levels, and overall health.

Mowing

Many homeowners keep their lawns too short. The average lawn should be maintained at a height of about three inches. Lower grass heights open the door to insect pests such as nematodes and doesn’t let the grass root as securely.

Short lawns are less resistant to drought. Only 1/3 of the grass height should be removed at one time. To keep a lawn at three inches, mow when it’s about 4-4.5 inches tall. Be sure to keep lawn mower blades sharp so they cut cleanly rather than tearing the grass. Let grass clipping dry before removing them.

Irrigation

During the dry season, irrigation is called for when the grass doesn’t easily recover. It begins to have a blue-green appearance, or it starts to wilt. About ¾ of an inch is usually sufficient during the dry season when turf grass isn’t growing as vigorously and should be applied on an as-needed basis.

Weeds and Insects

Controlling weeds and insects is a year-round task. There are different types of weed killers that can be applied, but it’s essential that homeowners know the difference. There are weed killers for actively growing weeds and herbicides for pre-emerging weeds.

The same is true for insect control. Applying insecticides can actually make a lawn more susceptible to damage and disease. It’s always best to consult with a lawn care professional with the knowledge, training and experience to provide expert guidance.

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

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fertilizer

Fertilization Keeps Plants Healthy

Fertilizer is an essential ingredient for green lawns, healthy vegetables and burgeoning blooms. It’s particularly important if the soil is less than optimal. Fertilizer provides edible and decorative plantings with a steady supply of the nutrients needed for strong growth. The first order of business is understanding what the labeling on fertilizer means.

Fertilizer bags will have three numbers listed in bold, for instance 12-12-12. The first number is the amount of nitrogen the fertilizer contains, the second is phosphorous, and the third is potassium. The fertilizer will also contain smaller amounts of other nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are the three major ingredients with which gardeners should be concerned.

Nitrogen is used for strong leaf growth and healthy green color. Phosphorus provides the nutrients required for plants to sustain faster growth, fight disease, form strong roots, and produce fruits, flowers and seeds. Potassium helps in fighting disease, producing strong stems, and faster, sustained growth. The nutrients are released over time.

If an organic-based fertilizer is selected, the bag will show an N-P-K ratio and the numbers will be smaller. They’re as potent as traditional, synthetic fertilizers, but the numbers in organic fertilizer represents the nutrients that are immediately available to plants once the compound has been applied. It also contains components that are released over time.

Applying a fertilizer high in nitrogen stimulates leaf growth. If applied to flowering plants, it will encourage growth rather than flowers or fruits. However, a fertilizer high in nitrogen is a good idea for lettuce, spinach and other leafy, green vegetables in food gardens.

Phosphorus promotes root growth and encourages fruit and flower production. It’s valuable in vegetable gardens for edible root crops such as onions and carrots, along with cucumbers and tomatoes for good yields. It also provides new plantings with a boost for root formation. Potassium levels are necessary for producing vigorous, sturdy and hearty plants.

Individuals need to choose their fertilizer carefully to match the effects they want to achieve – growth, fruit or flowers. Applying the wrong fertilizer mix, or applying it at the incorrect time of the year, will damage plants or a lawn and it may require the services of a professional landscaper to correct.

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

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Designing your Summer Landscape

Now is the time to begin planning your summer landscape that will turn heads – and it does require planning. It’s important to understand what you want to accomplish. Some want a place to entertain, while others are just seeking a place to relax from a hard day. Still others are contemplating changes to make their property more attractive to buyers.

Whether you’re going to install new plantings or create an entirely new area, begin with what you like about your current landscape, plan around it, and try to envision what it would look like with the proposed alterations. You may discover that you’re already half way to realizing your dreamscape. If you lack inspiration, ideas are as close as an Internet search.

There are so many things that you can do with a modern landscape and it pays to plan early since landscapers are typically booked months in advance. A landscape professional can also help you with ideas and show you options that you may not know even exist. Planning early also gives you additional time to research options and their cost.

One of the reasons for early planning is that landscapes are dynamic creations with a life of their own. Color themes change, plants die back and new blossoms take their place. Trees may suffer damage from storms and need to be removed. You’ll also need to consider the size of trees and bushes when they’re mature, and how long the landscape renovation project will take to complete.

Hard features in your landscape run the gamut from swimming pools, fountains and fish ponds to patios, decks and outdoor kitchens. You can even host movie nights outdoors with modern systems encompassing video, Internet and streaming services through wireless connections. Installing those types of additions will require more time and be more expensive.

It doesn’t matter whether you just want to make a few changes to accommodate specific needs or want an entire redesign, start thinking about the changes you want to make to the landscape before summer arrives. You may find that with the options and opportunities available, you may arrive at a completely different plan than what you first envisioned.

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

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Residential Landscaping Companies Near Me

Basics of Maintaining your new Landscape

When the work is done, a newly installed landscape is a wonder to behold. Maintaining that beautiful environment isn’t as easy. It will take effort and work on your part, along with an understanding of the plants in your care. If you travel frequently or don’t have the time to devote to the task, your best solution is to hire a professional landscaping company.

Lawns

A manicured lawn requires regular mowing, but be sure not to remove more than one-third of the height of the grass. Cutting too frequently or too short stresses the grass and makes it more susceptible to drought, heat, sunburn, insects and weeds. Always make sure lawn mower blades are sharp so they cut cleanly.

Weeds

A weed is a nutrient thief, often deceptively disguised as a flowering plant. Weeds rob the soil of nutrients that desirable plants need to thrive and they find their way into your landscape through multiple means. Remove weed blossoms so more don’t sprout and eliminate the entire plant if it’s possible to do so without causing too much disturbance to lawn or flower beds.

Fertilizer

Different plants have their own unique fertilizer needs. Native plants will require less fertilizer as they’ve evolved to local soil and climate conditions. Non-native plants may need certain combinations of nutrients to keep them healthy. Established plants will have different needs than those that are newly planted.

Pruning and Deadheading

Trees and bushes are pruned to remove damaged branches and stimulate growth. Pruning during the dormant season is essential before new spring growth appears. Trees and shrubs that are actively growing require more water and over-pruning deprive them of their natural ability to shade themselves against the sun. For flowers, deadheading may be required to keep them looking attractive and prevent them from propagating themselves throughout the garden.

Water

Moisture is essential, even in South Florida’s humid climate, and all plants don’t have the same water requirements. Too much or too little moisture is equally damaging. If you’re watering by hand or with sprinklers attached to the garden hose, be sure to water late at night or before dawn to minimize evaporation.

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

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Starting a Backyard Compost

Composting is still a popular endeavor and has a variety of benefits. It enriches the soil and reduces the need to apply chemical fertilizers. It also has benefits for the overall environment. Composting reduces the amount of yard and food waste in landfills where they decompose and emit the greenhouse gas methane.

Starting a backyard compost “pile” doesn’t mean leaving all those food scraps and grass clippings in the backyard to become a smelly eyesore. Self-contained, premade containers are available on the market in varying sizes. A properly managed compost pile won’t attract rodents or insect pests. Successful composting requires three ingredients in the right amounts.

Those ingredients are characterized as greens, browns and water. Green materials are those that include items such as vegetable and fruit waste, coffee grounds and grass clippings. The browns are composed of dead leaves, twigs and branches. Moisture is also required for the proper breakdown of the components. Organic materials should be layered, but a composting receptacle that allows for easy turning and mixing of the materials is an easy and convenient alternative.

There are a great many materials that can be composted. They include coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, nutshells, and fruit and vegetable wastes. Also on the list of compostable items are hay, straw, leaves, sawdust, grass clippings and houseplants. Cardboard can also be added, along with pet hair and fireplace ashes.

There are some limitations that should never be added to a compost pile, such as scraps from meat or fish, charcoal ash, dairy products, or pet waste. Black walnut shells release substances that can be harmful to other plants, so omit them.

Compost piles should be located in a dry, shady spot and materials moistened as they’re added. Depending upon the mix of composting materials, individuals can have dark, rich compost ready to use in as little as two weeks, with the average being about two years. For those that lack outdoor space, small mini-units can be purchased for indoor composting that will produce ready-to-use organic material in 2-5 weeks.

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

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How your HOA can Ruin your Landscape Plan

If you’re like most homeowners, you dream of creating a landscape that provides the privacy and beauty you crave. You may want to erect a fence, plant flowers, install a mini orchard, or raise a garden. All of your landscaping dreams can easily be ruined if you live in a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA).

An HOA closely regulates every aspect of landscaping from the types of plantings you can have to the materials, style and height of your fencing. You won’t even get a break during the holidays – HOA rules extend to the way you can decorate, when your holiday lights can be on, and the noise level if you synch your lights to music.

Fencing

One of the goals of HOAs is the uninterrupted view of expansive lawns. Fences interfere with that. You can be required to alter the fence or take it down and be subject to fines. Those rules can also deprive your children of a safe place to play unimpeded. If your landscaping plans include a pool, that restrictive fence rule will come into play since pools are required to have a fence around them.

Plantings

One area in which HOAs excel is in regulating plantings. They have regulations about the length of your grass, hedge trimming, where plants can be located on the property, and even the species of plants that you can place in your yard. The organizations also have instructions about the type of lawn grass you can have, the annuals you plant, and perennials usually won’t be tolerated.

A fruit tree or even two may not raise eyebrows as long as they conform to height requirements, but trying to cultivate even a small garden or herb patch won’t be appreciated. You may even encounter specific guidelines on the color of flowers you can plant.

If you favor drooping tree species, you’re going to be disappointed. HOAs typically have canopy rules that require the bottom branches of trees to remain at least 8 ft. above the ground. Many people are letting dandelions grow as a food source for bees and butterflies – a definite no-no for an HOA. Dandelions and native plants are often considered weeds and you’ll have to eradicate them.

Know The Rules

For some, HOAs provide an ideal environment where conformity is the keyword. If you have visions of pools, fences, or specific trees, bushes and flowers – an HOA can ruin all your landscaping plans. Read the HOA rules thoroughly before you buy since they can vary widely from place to place. It will save trouble and regret later on.

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

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residential landscaping boca raton florida

Why your Landscaping Should not Touch your House

Creating a beautiful environment can be accomplished through a professional landscaping company, but many people prefer a do-it-yourself approach. There are numerous articles about the importance of planting bushes close to homes to discourage would-be intruders or creating flower beds against homes to improve curb appeal. However, plantings of any type should never touch your home and there are very good reasons for that.

Rodents and Insects

Bushes leaning against the home and flower beds that touch are an open invitation to rodents and a myriad of insects from ants and termites to spiders and mosquitoes. Close plantings also attract wildlife that feed on those pests.

Mold

Bushes and flower beds create a somewhat shaded and moist environment in which multiple types of mold will flourish. Mold spores travel into the home no matter how careful you are and most of the time it’s not a problem. Elevated levels are a health consideration for those with allergies and respiratory conditions, along with those undergoing cancer treatments or who have a comprised immune system.

Siding and Exteriors

When plantings brush or rub against structure exteriors, it increases the wear and tear on those areas. Over time, the areas of contact appear older and are more susceptible to damage from storms. One planting that’s especially detrimental to homes is ivy. As it clings and climbs, it can break through paint, push through and penetrate siding, and crumble brick. It creates an environment where mold can grow and pockets where insect pests can nest.

Fire Hazard

In areas prone to forest fires, plantings that are very close to homes and buildings present a fire hazard. Even if you don’t live in a fire-prone area, if a fire occurs at your home, plantings against your house and other structures make it easier for flames to spread to surrounding homes.

Appearance

The goal of landscaping is to create a beautiful environment around your home and property. Plantings that are too close to structures or leaning against them detract from curb appeal and gives the perception of a home that’s not cared for or well-maintained.

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

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Ways to Protect Plants in a Florida Cold Snap

It doesn’t happen often, but it does occur – a spell of unseasonably cold weather that can damage plants. There’s typically one cold snap in Florida each year and climate change has made weather conditions much less predictable. Even if temperatures don’t reach the freezing mark, winds can make it feel colder and plants can suffer.

Below freezing temperatures aren’t beyond the realm of possibility. In 1899, Tallahassee saw temperatures of 2 degrees below zero. Miami National Airport recorded 30 degrees in Dec. 1989 and again in Jan. 1985. Fortunately, there are measures that can be employed to lessen the potential for damage.

Location Matters

South and east sides of buildings hold heat longer than other locations, which means there will be more heat radiated back to plants. A fence on the north side of a property provides a level of protection against cold and winds. Flowers planted under and next to cold-hearty bushes or shrubs helps shield them from the cold.

Preventative Care

Plants within landscapes that have been well cared for are better equipped to survive a cold period. That includes fertilizing at the right time, regular watering, weed control, and managing insect pests and rodents.

Mulching

Applying mulch helps preserve moisture for healthier plants, can discourage insects, and provides an insulating layer. If the forecast calls for below-normal temperatures, it can be helpful to water mulch early in the morning ahead of the front. The mulch will absorb the moisture, be warmed by the sun, and aid in protecting roots.

Cover them Up

Covering a plant is an effective way to protect it from cold temperatures. There are a number of materials available that are inexpensive, lightweight, and reusable. Whenever possible, don’t place heavy materials on plants that will compress foliage or bend branches. Don’t wrap them too tightly, make sure the cover reaches the ground, anchor the bottom to prevent it from blowing off. When the temperature warms, remove the coverings. Avoid plastic as it doesn’t allow plants to breathe. 

Plan the Landscape

The best protection against times of cold weather is a well-planned landscape that employs features that protect plants, along with plantings that are able to withstand the occasional cold snap.

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

Protecting your Landscape from Pests

There are dozens of pests that can arrive in your landscape uninvited. Insects are the No. 1 problem that individuals experience. The first order of business if you observe a problem is hire a professional. There are also beneficial insects that live in your landscape and a professional has the experience and knowledge to tell the difference.

Don’t immediately assume that complete and total annihilation is the only option for dealing with pests. There are measures that every property owner can employ to aid in making the landscape less attractive to insect pests.

Pest-Repelling Plants

Some plants are repulsive to certain types of insects. They’re attractive and add character to the landscape. Pest-repelling plants can be used in companion plantings to discourage bugs within the landscape. In addition to some herbs and flowers such as chrysanthemums, don’t overlook carnivorous plants that feed on insects.

Maintaining Distance

Bushes, vines, trees and even flower beds established near structures are an invitation to insects that can enter homes and commercial properties. It’s a good idea to maintain a distance of about six feet between buildings and plants. When mature, trees shouldn’t overhang structures. Keep trees pruned and inspect them regularly to prevent infestations before they occur. Dense plantings are also an invitation to mice and rats.

Clean up Debris

Leaving leaf piles, decaying wood, grass clippings, and mulch are all capable of calling insects to homes. If you don’t have a bagger on the mower, be sure and rake up grass clippings. Keep debris cleaned up.

Avoid Wood

Using wood chips are often viewed as an eco-friendly way to mulch or reduce mowing areas, and decrease the time spent on landscape maintenance. However, a great many insects, not to mention mice and rats, find wood chips and woodpiles a safe haven. Synthetic alternatives or pebbles offer a highly attractive option that won’t invite pests.

Professional Services

There are definitely times when professional services should be sought. The experts can address any current infestations and make the landscape less attractive to insects and rodents. They have a variety of methods that can be employed to keep your landscape healthy, which will significantly reduce the potential for pests to take up residence.

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