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Mixing Hardscapes and Plants

When most people think about landscaping their properties, they’re focused on the plants with little to no consideration for hardscapes. The features are essentially manmade aspects that can add to the enjoyment of outdoor spaces and make the environment more attractive. One of the most important questions to answer before beginning any landscape project is whether the finished project will reflect a formal or informal look.

Hardscapes can encompass a wide range of items such as walkways, fountains, statuary, and retaining walls, along with decks and patios, swimming pools, outdoor lighting, gazebos and more. Hardscapes also consist of stone, gravel, pavers, concrete and wood. They add interest to the landscape and in larger environments are generally intended to provide a traffic pattern for traversing the landscape. That doesn’t mean that smaller landscapes should be bereft of hardscape features.

People don’t like to step on living plants and hardscapes should be created that recognize that. Pavers, concrete and gravel can create flowerbeds that are completely unique and unconventional. Small stones and crushed rock are effective mulches. Plants work to soften the impact of hardscapes and greenery can be chosen with leaves or blossoms that emulate the shape of hardscapes.

For landscapes that are already highlighted with gravel, boulders or crushed stone, that “natural” look can be complemented by planting small trees or low-growing junipers. Consider tucking a flowering plant here and there among the hardscape to create a burst of color that continues the naturalistic theme.

It’s important to note that stones, crushed rocks, and other types of mulches can change the pH of the soil. It’s a consideration that will need to be taken into account when choosing plantings. Planning a combination of plants and hardscapes is a task that’s best suited to a professional landscaper. The professionals are cognizant of soils types, plant species, and can design a landscape that’s beautiful, functional, and complements architectural styles.

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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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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When to Add Fresh Soil to Plant Beds

There will come a time when individuals will need to add fresh soil to their plant beds. Every plant bed can benefit from the addition of fresh soil, particularly in the form of compost. A mixture of 10 percent potting soil, 30 percent compost and 60 percent topsoil can be purchased and is equally beneficial. The exception to that mix is plants such as succulents that require specialized soil mediums.

One way to identify if it’s time to amend the soil in beds is to observe the condition of the previous year’s plants. If they were underperforming in regard to blooms, appeared weak, or had roots showing its time to add some soil. It’s a good idea to add fresh soil every couple of years.

A certain amount of soil will be displaced, such as when plants are removed at the end of their productive season, and will need to be replaced. Soil will also be compacted through rain, watering and other factors.

The nutrients in soil become depleted over time and simply adding fertilizer won’t work forever. Whether individuals are raising their plants in raised beds or directly in the ground, the addition of new soil provides a fresh infusion of nutrients and enriches the soil for lusher growth, better blooms, and a greater yield for vegetable plants.

The best time to incorporate fresh soil in an empty bed is during the spring before any plants are placed in the ground or in the autumn in preparation for the following planting season. For those that have existing beds of perennials, the plants can be dug up and the fresh dirt worked into the soil before quickly interring the plants again. The plants will require a period of adjustment as they reset their roots.

Conversely, soil can be amended in stages. Each time a new plant goes in the ground, add a handful of new soil or compost to the hole that’s been prepared. If plants have already been placed in the ground, a top dressing can be applied by spreading the new soil over the top of existing dirt, being careful not to “bury” the plants or cover their leaves.

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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Fragrant Plants for your South Florida Yard

People design their yards for a variety of purposes. Some are eco-friendly for water efficiency and others are planted to attract birds, butterflies, and honey bees. One of the most popular trends is the fragrant garden, planted to celebrate the many plants with pleasing scents.

Living in South Florida, you’re fortunate in that you have options not readily available to other locations within the nation that include trees, vines, and bushes. The following are some of the more fragrant plants you may want to plant in your yard.

Banana Shrub

Foodies will love this bush with flowers that smell like ripe bananas. It can grow large, but it’s easy to keep trimmed and within bounds. It’s very hardy and has one-inch flowers that resemble magnolia blossoms edged with crimson.

Gardenia

These are best situated in smaller beds, but they also thrive as a container plant where they can be treated to the nutrient-rich soil they crave. The large white blossoms are famous for their use in perfumes.

Jasmine

Angel wing and star jasmine have delicate white blossoms that attract bees. The former can be trained to climb, be grown in a hanging basket, or as a container plant. The latter is a vine that’s prized for its aromatic star-shaped blooms.

Magnolia

The tree is known for its enormous white blossoms that can be as large as a saucer when fully open. Highly fragrant, both evergreen and deciduous varieties are available. Magnolia fossils have been found dating to 100 million years ago.

YLang Ylang Tree

If you have plenty of room and want a shade tree that will emit the scent of Chanel No. 5, this is the tree for you. It’s the basis for the perfume and can grow up to 50 ft. in height. The aroma is said to be an aphrodisiac.

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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Tips for an Allergy-Friendly Yard

The wide array of beautiful blossoms that many people enjoy is often denied those with allergies. It’s just not bedding plants that increase the symptoms of allergies. Even trees that may have no obvious discernable blooms emit pollen and can trigger an allergic reaction. No one has to be content with a plant-free yard or settle for adorning their yard with statuary.

It’s important to understand that even though individuals may take every precaution to protect themselves, pollen is borne on the wind and the plants that a neighbor has six houses down can still affect them. It’s a good idea to consult with a landscape professional to discover plantings that produce the least amount of pollen.

If at all possible, have an allergy test performed. It will provide answers about the substances to which someone is most susceptible. Using information obtained by the test, individuals will know what not to plant in their yard. To minimize allergies, try the following tips.

  • Begin an allergy medication regimen about two weeks before pollen season starts.
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning to help filter out pollen.
  • Wear a NIOSH approved mask, but if one isn’t available, any mouth/nose covering is better than none. Glasses, gloves and long sleeves can minimize contact with pollen.
  • Immediately change clothes, wash what was worn outside when coming in from outdoors, and shower and wash hair.
  • Have a friend mow if grass produces an allergic response or use a lawn service.
  • Garden on windless days, early in the morning, or after a rain.

There are numerous flowers, bushes, trees, vines, and grasses that are known to produce less pollen than others or that typically don’t stimulate an allergic response as easily. Included in that list are snapdragons, zinnias, impatiens, clematis and begonias. Pears, plums, and Chinese palms are good tree choices for those with allergies.

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

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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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

Read more