residential landscaping boca raton

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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Gardening with Kids

Florida is a fortunate place to live for gardeners. Unlike colder climates where gardening depends on the whims of the weather and seasons, people in Florida can garden even during the winter. It’s also an ideal time to introduce kids to the joys of gardening and growing their own food.

Make a Plan

Decide what you want to plant, preferably vegetables that kids actually enjoy eating. Plants will need to be located in an area in which they receive at least six hours of light each day. Since watering will be part of the gardening process, make sure the garden is near a ready source of water that doesn’t have to be carried a significant distance.

You can use raised beds or create an in-ground bed. For success, pay attention to optimal planting dates as there is variation depending upon which part of the state you live. You can purchase seedlings for some plants, while some seeds can be planted directly in the ground – a task that’s easy for even young children.

Winter Vegetables

There’s an abundance of cold-weather vegetables that can be cultivated in Florida. They include carrots, radishes and cabbage to arugula, Swiss chard, and multiple types of lettuce. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kohlrabi are other good choices.

You may be surprised to learn that it’s possible to grow garlic, onions, celery, beans, and English peas during the winter months. You and your child can also cultivate multiple types of herbs. An additional benefit of gardening in the winter is that there will be fewer insect pests to worry about.

Learning Opportunities

There’s nothing quite like the wonder on a child’s face when they harvest the first produce to eat that they’ve grown themselves. Planting a variety of vegetables gives children the opportunity to observe the growing habits of different plant types. Peas and beans also provide an opportunity for your child to learn about vertical gardening.

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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Keeping Roses in Florida

Many Florida residents long for the sight and scent of roses in their garden. Getting roses to grow in Florida can be done, but it’s not an easy undertaking. The very weather conditions that people seek to enjoy can actively conspire against growing them.

Sun

Roses need to be planted in full sun where they’ll receive 6-8 hours of sun each day. However, the afternoon sun in Florida can be too hot for the plants. An ideal location is a place where they’ll receive the majority of their light requirements from morning sun and a limited amount of afternoon sun.

Feeding

Roses are deep and heavy feeders. Their roots can easily extend 15 inches or more down into the soil. They also don’t like to be planted near the roots of other plants, though they don’t seem to mind growing near the roots of other roses.

Soil

The soil should be well-drained – roses don’t like wet feet. The plants like loamy soils and black dirt rich in organic matter. Those conditions can be difficult to accommodate in the garden without amendments to the soil or the assistance of a landscaper. It’s led many people to grow them in containers.

Water

A drip or soaker hose system is best for roses. It enables water to be placed at ground level near the root system where it’s needed. The humid climate can lead to powdery mildew and leaf spot if they’re watered from above.

Type

The type of rose is also important. Most people envision tea roses, but gardeners can also choose from miniatures, floribundas, grandifloras, polyanthas, shrub types and climbers, along with tree roses that have been grafted and trained to grow into tree form. Some withstand the Florida climate better than others.

Insect Pests

Roses are subject to damage by the same types of insect pests as other plants. They’re especially attractive to Japanese beetles and nematodes. A new pest and an emerging threat introduced from Asia, Africa, and Oceania is the chilli thrip. The insect isn’t fussy about what it consumes and typically damages buds and leaves. It’s best to call a landscape professional if an infestation occurs.

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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The Best Shade Trees for South Florida Yards

Shade trees beautify properties, help keep environments cool, and clean the air while providing oxygen. Their limbs and branches also provide shelter and nesting spaces for a variety of wild bird species and help save on cooling costs. Each tree species has its own growth and space requirements of which individuals should be aware before planting. The following are some of the best shade trees for South Florida yards, in no particular order.

Bald Cypress

This is a good tree for low spots as it likes a lot of water, though it will tolerate a mild drought. It’s a unique conifer with needles that turn a rusty red color and fall in the autumn. It grows about 50 ft. high, with a canopy diameter of about half that size. It has far reaching roots and should be planted at least 15 feet away from buildings and walkways.

Florida Maple

The Florida Maple grows to 40 ft. in height and leaves turn a bright reddish-bronze in the fall. They’re fairly fast growing and good for medium sized yards. The tree will tolerate some flooding and will grow in full sun or partial shade. As it matures, the roots tend to breach the ground surface. Mulching around the tree will minimize mowing problems.

Live Oak

This is a tree that can live for centuries. It’s very resilient and can act as a windbreak against winds. It’s deeply rooted and can tolerate some flooding. The trees can grow 65 ft. high have large canopies and far reaching branches making them a good choice for large landscapes. The disadvantage to the tree is that the blooms can be messy in the spring. It does produce acorns that squirrels like and will require trimming when young.

Mahogany

Known primarily for the value of its wood, the leaf texture can add interest to the landscape. It’s an evergreen, but will drop its leaves for a short time each year. It’s on Florida’s endangered species list and planting one will aid in maintaining the species. They’re drought and salt tolerant, but do have aggressive roots. The tree shouldn’t be planted closer than a minimum of 20 feet from structures and no closer than 6 ft. from walkways and curbs. Mahogany can live up to 350 years, grow up to 60 ft. tall, and have a 50-ft. canopy spread.

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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Unique Landscapes: Bamboo

The bamboo plant is one of the most often overlooked options for the landscape. Its appearance enables individuals to create unique environments. Bamboo has advantages and drawbacks. For individuals that are attempting a DIY project, it’s critical to understand the growth habits of the two types of bamboo and what the planting will be designed to accomplish.

Bamboo is a fast grower and can gain 2-3 feet in height each day, attaining its full height in four years. Some varieties throw out underground runners and spend more of their energy growing outward rather than upward. Running bamboo seldom stays where it’s planted and can be extremely invasive.  Clumping bamboos typically only grow a few inches in width each year.

Individuals need to be aware that even clumping bamboo is capable of damaging foundations, driveways, walkways, fountains, pools, and similar items over time. There are also plants that resemble bamboo in appearance and gardeners should make sure that they actually have bamboo and not an invasive plant that they’ll regret planting.

The growth habit of clumping bamboo makes it appropriate for use as privacy screens and sound barriers. Bamboo is often used against chain link to hide the fence from view. Bamboo provides a pleasingly contrasting texture and color to the landscape, along with an exotic feel.

The plant is a member of the grass family and the canes will get larger in diameter each year. With clumping bamboo, it’s easy to create a graceful oasis in any corner of the yard. Bamboo isn’t always a uniform green hue, either. There are species featuring stem banding in shades of blue, black, purple, brown, pink and yellow.

It’s a good idea to consult with a landscaping professional who is knowledgeable about the various types of bamboo and the growth habits of each. While most bamboo prefers a sunny location, there are also species that grow best in shaded areas. No matter what color is preferred, bamboo is sure to add interest within any landscape.

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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Beautiful Palm Trees

A number of palm tree species grow in Florida and they’re highly prized. There are actually 2,500 different species of palm trees from around the world, all of which will grow and flourish in the state’s tropical environment. While all of them aren’t cultivated, there’s a palm species to please practically anyone.

Palms vary widely. There are those known as “mini” palms, such as the Pygmy Date Palm that typically grows from 6-12 feet in height and the Arikury Palm that grows to 6 ft. tall. The Areca Palm remains small and is popular as a houseplant in cold climates. The most commonly grown palms in Florida range in size from the modest 15-foot height of the Christmas Palm to the stately 80-ft. height of the Coconut Palm and Royal Palm.

Some grow very slowly and make great specimen trees, while others are quick growing and require a significant amount of room. There are palms that are ideal for around the pool and those that are best grown in a formal garden setting. The long, weeping fronds of the Piccabeen Palm enables it to tolerate high winds and there’s also the Sabal Palm, the state tree of Florida.

Aside from choosing the right size palm tree for the available space, another concern will be fronds and fruit that can cause injuries to people and pets or damage to property when they fall. Those that shed dead fronds on their own are called self-cleaning palms. It’s essential that professionals be called to remove fronds and fruits from these trees.

Palm trees have varying types of foliage depending on the species that can range from bright green outstretched fronds to beautiful silver-green fans. Some grow as majestic single trunked trees, but others are multi-stemmed varieties. The appearance of the trunks also has considerable variation. Some palm trunks are relatively smooth or resemble bottles, while others have trunks covered in spines.

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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Signs of a Stressed Lawn

A beautiful, healthy lawn is an invitation to play. However, lawns can become stressed for any number of reasons. Many individuals try to address the situation on their own, but doing so can exacerbate the problem. It’s best to consult with a professional that has the knowledge and experience to diagnose the underlying cause and treat it accordingly.

A stressed lawn can take many forms and the same symptoms can be the result of different causes. Heat, over or under watering, drought, weeds, insects, the need for aeration, and even excessive foot traffic can cause a lawn to brown, weaken, and look unkempt. Improper fertilization and mowing practices can actually harm a lawn.

Brown or Bare Spots

Depending on the cause and the stage of stress the lawn is under, the tips on grass blades may begin to turn brown. Similarly, spots within the lawn that turn brown or become bare may be a sign of stress from an insect infestation.

Color Change

Grass will often turn colors when stressed. It may turn a darker shade of green or take on a gray hue.

Curling and Wilting

Grass that’s stressed will typically curl, try to fold in half long ways, or wilt to save itself from whatever is challenging its ability to survive.

Grass Doesn’t Spring Back

The footprint test is easy to conduct and is a sure indication of a stressed lawn. Footprints that remain visible long after someone has walked on the grass is a sure sign of stress. Even the popular and hardy St. Augustine grass can suffer stress from multiple causes.

Weeds

When homeowners begin to notice weeds popping up in their formerly great looking lawn, it’s a sure sign that the lawn isn’t getting what it needs for lush growth that will aid in drowning out the weeds.

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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Pre-Hurricane Yard Prep

The average hurricane season produces a dozen named storms, with an average of six becoming hurricanes. Of that number, about three become major hurricanes. Years may pass between the worst of the storms, but preparing for the worst is a necessity for Florida residents.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the probability of the dangerous storms each year, but an exceptionally active season and early tropical storms can always form. South Florida residents should be performing their annual pre-hurricane yard prep no matter what the prediction. Broken glass, toys, and tree limbs can become deadly projectiles in hurricane winds.

Garages and Outbuildings – Everyone works to secure their home, but they also need to ensure that garages, sheds, and other outbuildings are securely locked, anchored, and protected.

Gutters and Shingles – Gutters and downspouts need to be clean to facilitate drainage. It’s also essential to ensure that tiles/shingles, gutters and downspouts are securely attached to homes and outbuildings.

Irrigation Systems – Always turn irrigation off in advance of a hurricane. The potential for a broken pipe exists and if that happens, it will simply add to flooding problems.

Lawn Items – Secure lawn furniture, toys, tools, and decorations in a garage or storage building. Anything that can’t be moved should be securely tied down.

Plantings – Shoring up bushes and other plantings will help them weather the storm. Don’t hesitate to call in a professional landscaper for assistance. Whenever possible, remove trellises on which vines are growing or at least secure them to the ground. Individuals should harvest any produce from their fruit trees or vegetable gardens if they don’t want to lose it in the hurricane.

Potted Plants – Don’t leave potted plants outside. Bring them in the house, or at the very least place them in the garage or an outbuilding.

Storm Drains – Make sure they’re free of debris to aid in drainage once the storm arrives.

Trees and Coconuts – All trees should be inspected by a professional for dead or damaged limbs early in the season. They should be trimmed or removed accordingly. Stake young or newly planted trees to provide support during the storm. Palms don’t need trimming, but coconuts should be removed prior to a hurricane.

Windows – Board up windows in the home, garage, sheds, and other buildings to minimize breaking glass.

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 Florida Weeds and how to Target Them

The warm, lush Florida climate is an ideal environment for multiple types of unwelcome weeds. Once they get a toe-hold, they can quickly spread and permeate lawns, vegetable gardens, and flower beds. The most painstaking way to target weeds is by removing the plants that individuals want to save and targeting the weeds by removing the roots.

That solution can be used for small infestations, but for larger areas like lawns, it’s just not feasible. The best overall solution is to hire a lawn service that has experience with the weeds that homeowners want to eradicate. Commercially available preparations are also available. The following are just some of the common weeds that individuals may find invading their outdoor spaces.

Broadleaf Plantain

It has a long tap root similar to that of dandelions, making it resistant to stress, herbicides, and eradication. The large leaves are deeply veined, rounded, and have wavy edges. Various commercially prepared herbicides are available that are designed to kill the root system.

Bull Thistle

Bull thistle is a biennial that begins with large, fleshy, coarsely-toothed leaves that appear spiny. If left unchecked, the second year they produce flower stalks with highly fertile, rosy to purple blossoms, ready to spread their seeds far and wide. Dig it out, making sure to get all the roots and cut off any seed heads that may form. Use a commercial herbicide to aid in controlling it.

Spurge

Emanating from a central tap root, the stems fan out in all directions to form a dense mat. It has milky sap, produces thousands of seeds, and can mature in a single week when conditions are right. The tap root makes it difficult to eradicate. Commercial herbicide preparations can be applied.

Quackgrass

Aggressive rhizomes are the hallmark of quackgrass. The bud sheathes appear hairy and resembles ryegrass. It’s a perennial, will quickly take over any area, and is extremely difficult to control. Commercially prepared quackgrass treatments are available and it’s a good idea to dig up any plants after they’ve been killed.

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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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

Read more