Enhancements is a term in the industry that describes projects that will cultivate your scenery or increase the curb appeal of your home. There are many categories of enhancement projects, which we break down for you here. Enhancement projects can combine aspects from all categories.
Hardscapes are the parts of your landscape that use pavers, wall block, and wood. Paver projects would include patios and walkways. Retaining walls, seating walls, stairs, and steppers, are all projects that require wall blocks. Wood can be used in some retaining systems, stairs, decks, and sheds. Outdoor living spaces and outdoor kitchens also fall under the category of hardscapes.
Softscapes are the parts of your landscape that use plant material, including ground cover, trees, shrubs, sod, etc. The types of projects typically found in this category are sod installation, flower beds, and tree installation.
Renovations describe existing areas of your landscape that have gotten a little out of hand. Maybe a flower bed has plant material you would like to maintain, but has been taken over by weeds and vines. Maybe you would like an extension to an existing bed. You could simply need some plant replacements. A turf renovation can include installing sod, using aeration and seed, and applying a chemical treatment. Rejuvenational, or renovational, pruning applies to plant material or bushes that have grown too large. Many people choose pruning instead of plant replacements for monetary reasons, sentimental reasons, or simply because there is nothing wrong with the material, with the exception of its size.
Erosion Control: Drainage and Hydroseeding
There are a few items in this category, because they are frequently implemented together. However, you will also see hydroseeding in the grading and topping section. Drainage is the movement of water from one location to another. For example, a drainage system could collect water from your gutter downspouts, and move the water away from the foundation to a better location of the yard, such as a wooded area or driveway. Drainage can involve pump basins, dry wells, boxes, grates, underlying catchment systems, cisterns, pipes and grading. Drainage systems can prevent foundation damage from sitting water, water collection in the crawl space area of your home, standing water that becomes stagnant, AC drip lines causing soft muddy ground, constant moisture causing turf and or plants to die out, and erosion. Erosion can be treated with grading, plantings, erosion matting, and hydroseeding. In some cases you may need stones, and in rare cases, bulkheads. Hydroseeding is the process of spraying grass seed onto the ground in areas of erosion or large grading areas. Hydroseeding uses seed, water, and a material typically made from recycled paper that has been coated in fertilizer. This mixture sticks very well, helps hold seed to the ground, and provides the right environment for seed germination. The mix stays moist and contains slow release fertilizer to assist in the germination and faster establishment of the seed. Some locations may be to complicated to reach for sod, but a hose can make it there. It may just be more cost effective to hydroseed than sod. You tend to see this done on the hill sides of roads and highways, it usually looks blue green in color after it has been applied.
Grading and Topping
Grading is the proper leveling of soil to a pitch that allows water to slowly run off or disperse so that is can be absorbed into the ground. Regardless of the degree of the pitch, the grade should be smooth upon completion, not lumpy or have dips or humps. Grading can be done for new lots or existing lots that have lost the grade over time. When grading, we may not be able to use your existing soil for the finish grade, because it may be clay and unable to create the desired finish. This is where topping can come into play, which is typically a topsoil. Topping can also be used before a sod install, and in some cases before seeding takes places in order to provide a healthier soil base for growth.
Water features is the part of landscaping that uses water for aesthetics. Water features can be ponds, fountains, and waterfalls. Some may even include fish. Water features can range from large to small, and use a multitude of materials. Natural stone and liners are very popular. If you have an old fountain you are looking to re-habilitate, we can tell you if that’s an option. Water features are a great way to add aesthetics to your scenery, and the sound of moving water can be very peaceful. They also make nice additions to the sides of pools and to hardscapes.
Low voltage outdoor lighting is a nice addition to any landscape. Some clients simply use it for added security. Others up light trees and light up walkways and patios. Lighting can also be added to your water features. Lighting is a strategic way to accent various parts of your landscape at night. If you’re having an event, and would like your guests to take a certain route, you can direct foot traffic with the proper use of a lighting system. There are a variety of lighting packages that range from standard fixtures and lights to color changing systems on demand.
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