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Mary Brannan in Fincastle, VA on Houzz
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Drip Irrigation FAQ

For the past few weeks, Roanoke Landscapes has been busy turning on irrigation systems for our clients. This dry, hot weather makes irrigation systems especially appealing. Automated watering systems are smart, reliable, and efficient in climates where rain is sporadic or scarce. They make the difficult task of keeping lawns and gardens well hydrated into something that is almost mindless: push a button, select a watering schedule, and suddenly all your watering is done for you. Simple, right?

In fact, every year irrigation systems are getting more advanced, efficient, and easier to operate. Irrigation as an agricultural concept has been around for some 5000 years, meaning there has been ample time for invention and progress within the irrigation industry. As irrigation professionals, we always try to keep up with the latest trends, gadgets, and water-conservation methods. Our clients often come to us with questions about the best tried-and-true irrigation methods, and something they’ve been particularly curious about lately is drip irrigation.

Drip Irrigation

Photo by Joby Elliott.

What is Drip Irrigation?

Drip irrigation is a method of watering in which water is carried directly to the soil by emitters which are located at ground level. Unlike a traditional sprinkler system, which rains water down on grass and plants, a drip irrigation systems wets only the roots of the plant. Thus, drip irrigation is a more targeted approach to watering that uses less water than a traditional irrigation system.

Is a Drip Irrigation System More Expensive than a Traditional System?

 Typically, the cost of a professionally installed drip irrigation system is similar to the cost of a professionally installed sprinkler system. Irrigation system installation can be complicated—installers must watch out for utility lines, meet permitting and inspection standards, and prevent ground water pollution. For this reason, you should always consult a professional about installing an irrigation system. Though an irrigation system install may set you back a few thousand dollars, drip irrigation can save you a considerable amount of money on your monthly watering bill, making it ultimately less expensive than traditional irrigation.

What are Some Advantages of Drip Irrigation?

 The most prominent advantage of drip irrigation is efficiency—water is used precisely where it needs to be and goes directly to plant roots, ensuring very little of it is wasted. Additionally, drip irrigation is less likely to leach nutrients and fertilizer out of ground soil and is less erosive generally than traditional irrigation. Water distribution is consistently uniform with drip irrigation, and drip systems can typically operate on less pressure than other systems, reducing energy costs.

What are Some Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation?

Some landscapers suggest that drip irrigation systems are more likely to produce clogs than traditional systems. Clogs are expensive to repair and can permanently damage irrigation tubing. Further, some fertilizers and herbicides perform better when activated with sprinkler irrigation systems, and the lack of leaching around plant bases may result in sediment build up.

Should I Get a Drip Irrigation System?

 At Roanoke Landscapes, we typically install systems with both drip and sprinkler components. We like to customize systems so they reflect our clients’ specific needs: sprinkler heads for larger areas that don’t require pinpoint precision, and drips for precise and targeted watering. That way, our clients always get the best of both worlds—and they’re able to save a little bit of money on their monthly watering bill. If you’re interested in drip irrigation, ask an irrigation professional to give you an estimate on what an installation might cost. The benefits could end up far outweighing the cost.

April Gardening Checklist

Another month, another long list of chores to accomplish in the yard and garden! On the bright side, spring has officially sprung here in southwest Virginia. The trees are blooming, the grass is growing, and all of this warm weather is bringing us respite from the sedentary, indoor lives we led over the winter. Yes, it’s time to get back outside again, and what could be a better excuse to spend time outdoors than the amount of work it’s going to take to get your landscape in tiptop shape for the spring? Fear not, these chores can actually be a lot of fun—just remember to wear sunscreen!

spring garden

Photo by Mathias Heinel.

Garden Clean Up

Did winter do a number on your yard? Now is the time to clean up the mess and prep your land for a new season. Remove dead plants, rake up debris and winter mulch, and dress beds with a healthy layer of compost.

Plant Cool Weather Plants

Cool weather still lingers during April. Potatoes, peas, carrots, leafy greens, turnips, and beets are ready for planting. Cool weather flowers like forget-me-nots, foxglove, and pansies can also be planted during April. If you’re worried about the weather turning sour again, cover your beds with mulch to protect plants from temperature fluctuations. Warmer weather plants, like tomatoes, can be started indoors under a heat lamp. Corn, green beans, and other heat loving plants should wait until the ground temperature has reached 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Treatments

You may have already spotted some weeds sprouting up in your yard or garden. Now is the perfect time to prevent their proliferation by applying pre-emergent herbicides or organic weed controllers.

Prune and Fertilize

Finish pruning trees and shrubs and begin fertilizing rose bushes. If you use a slow release fertilizer, plan on adding it to your soil every six weeks or so until august. Some fertilizers recommend more frequent dosing. Check packaging to make sure.

Watch for Pests

Many garden pests are beginning to wake from their slumber. Inspect shrubs, trees, and plants for telltale signs: dead and fading grass patches, soft and spongey areas of the yard, and damaged leaves. If you notice a pest problem, spray a precautionary pesticide or use organic methods of pest control to eradicate it before it gets out of control. Remember, ticks are also very prevalent during the spring. After you finish working in your yard for the day, inspect yourself and your pets for ticks.

Organic Forms of Weed Controller

Our customers, and the customers of many other landscaping companies, are increasingly curious about organic forms of weed control. Traditional herbicides like Round-Up concern them; they worry that pets, children, and the environment may be at risk from harmful chemical toxins. They want newer, cleaner solutions, and most landscaping companies are now happy to oblige. Generally, organic herbicides don’t work quite as well as traditional herbicides, but they are much cleaner and safer. For many homeowners, a perfectly pristine lawn isn’t worth the potentially deleterious effects of chemical toxins, so taking the leap to organics is well worth it. For now, the choice is entirely up to the homeowner, but, in the future, more state governments (California has already labeled Round-Up as a carcinogen) may begin enacting laws that prohibit the use of certain chemical herbicides, so, if you’ve never considered using organics, now is the perfect time to start.

Chemical Herbicides

Recent studies have linked the use of chemical herbicides with diseases like Parkinson’s and various kinds of cancer. Over forty distinct plant diseases have also been linked to chemical herbicides, and glyphosate—a chemical commonly found in traditional herbicides—is known to cause sickness in amphibians and fish. Considering this, many homeowners and governing bodies have become concerned about the possible side effects of chemical herbicides. For this reason, organic methods of weed control are on the rise.

Forms of Organic Weed Control

 Mulching

 Most gardeners know how essential mulch is to cultivating healthy plants. A layer of mulch can smother weed growth, protect young plants from the elements, and inhibit new weed species from germinating. Mulch can be made at home from grass clippings, dead leaves, wood chips, compost, or straw. This is more of a preventative tactic than an herbicide, but diligent gardeners who remember to mulch their beds will certainly see a decrease in the proliferation of weeds.

Corn Gluten

Corn gluten is another preventative tactic that can stop weed seeds from germinating. It should not be used on already grown weeds, however, since it only works as a preventative measure. It should be sprinkled on lawns and beds after garden plants have already sprouted.

Ground Covers

 Some organic gardeners use a tactic called “crowding” to prevent the growth of weeds. Most weeds need ample space to flourish, so these gardeners eliminate weed growth by eliminating space. For instance, ground covers and perennials can be planted in ornamental beds so that they grow up next to existing plants. When using this method, gardeners should be fastidious in measuring out plots, so as not to crowd wanted plants.

Burning Weeds

 Weeds can also be burned away using boiling water or a small flame. Flame wands can be bought from most hardware stores and are great for targeting weeds that come up between cracks in pavement or stone. Pouring boiling water over weed sprouts works similarly well.

Vodka and Dish Soap

 Cheap vodka and dish soap is a foul concoction—especially to weeds. By mixing equal parts water and vodka with a few drops of dish soap, you can create your own homemade herbicide. This mixture dries weeds out once they’ve already sprouted, and it works best in good sunlight. Vinegar, salt, water, and a few drops dish soap has a similar effect.

Hand Pulling

 A tried and true method, hand pulling will never cease to effectively wipe out weeds. However, for many gardeners, this tactic is simply too time consuming and labor intensive. If you can, you may choose to hire someone to pull weeds for you. Most landscaping companies would be happy to help.

Getting Fit in the Garden

The start of spring and the return of warm weather has many people kick-starting their exercise routines. The elliptical machines at the gym—heavily neglected during the winter months—are now in heavy use; greenways and bike lanes are crowded with people eager to get back in shape before the dreaded “swimsuit season”; and, after a couple months of hibernation, our yards and gardens are getting some much needed TLC. Luckily, for those whose spring goals involve getting fit and having a beautiful lawn and landscape, gardening and exercise often go hand in hand. In fact, hard-working gardeners may find themselves accomplishing a surprising number of fitness goals while they care for their plants. Here’s how:

Getting Fit in the Garden

Photo by Fit Approach on Flickr.

The Health Benefits of Gardening

Gardening has long been known to improve mental health by giving gardeners a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Growing your own produce is therapeutic and relaxing, but it also has numerous health benefits. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening is a moderate intensity level physical activity that, when done for at least 2.5 hours every week, can reduce the risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, depression, stroke, cancer, and other ailments.

Gardening is a full-body workout that utilizes muscles in the arms, legs, and back. By incorporating bending, squatting, digging, pulling, and lifting into your gardening routine, you are stretching and exercising all the main muscles in your body. This creates a more holistic, comprehensive workout. An hour of gardening can burn just as many calories as an hour in the gym, depending on how strenuous your gardening routine is. For a more serious workout, concentrate on more intense activities like pruning, weed pulling, shoveling, aerating, and mowing.

Gardening can also help relieve stress and boost mood. Stress causes heart attacks, headaches, nausea, and can worsen other kinds of disease. Though all types of exercise have been proven to reduce stress, gardening is thought to be especially effective because it gives a sense of accomplishment and value to gardeners. Gardening doesn’t exactly feel like exercise, and that’s precisely what makes it so good for you.

For those who grow produce gardens, the health benefits of gardening extend out of the dirt and into the kitchen. Home grown food is nutritious, free of harmful chemicals and pesticides, and it usually tastes much better than the produce they sell at the store. Plus, after you finish picking your yields, you’ll have an excuse to eat fresh veggies for weeks to come. Nobody wants to waste good food they worked hard to grow, even if that means opting for green beans over ice cream. Whether we like it or not, gardening forces us to think more consciously about what we’re putting in our bodies and how it stands to benefit us. It is, in and of itself, an exercise in health. If you haven’t incorporated it into your workout routine yet, you might want to give it a try.

Enhancing Natural Soil

Fertile Soil

Photo by Raul Hernandez Gonzales.

Now that spring has officially sprung, many gardeners are thinking about how they can have a productive and green growing season. As all planters know, the health of plants largely depends upon the health of soil. Fertile, rich soil gives plants the shelter and nutrients they need to thrive during a temperamental and often unpredictable time of the year. If you have yet to give your soil some TLC, now is the time. Maintaining soil health is a commitment, and techniques to enhance natural soil should be used congruently for the best results. Start with these simple techniques and, from there, you can customize your routine based on how well it works in your garden. The best fit is always a custom one!

Reduce Soil Compaction

In my yard, soil compaction is a reoccurring issue. Several dogs, a handful of people, and the occasional neighborhood critter are treading through our lawn on a daily basis. After a while, the soil starts to get hard and packed down, making it inhospitable to new growth. Soil compaction can be alleviated through lawn aeration, which you can do yourself at home. To prevent severe compaction, stay off of soil that is wet and consider using raised beds for planting.

Add Natural Nutrients

Though chemical fertilizers can do a great job of rejuvenating nutrient-starved lawns, they should only be used a few time of year. For year-long plant health, you should have some way of getting nutrients like nitrogen to your plants naturally. Using compost and other decomposing organic material such as dead leaves or cow manure will provide your soil with all the nutrients it needs without inundating it with chemicals. Manure may not be the best smelling thing in the world, but nothing beats it when it comes to bolstering soil health!

Prevent Erosion

 Erosion strips soil of its richest, most fertile top layer. Often caused by strong wind, rain, and other inclement weather, heavily eroded lawns are notoriously impossible to transform without investing in an entire lawn renovation. It’s best to prevent against erosion before it becomes a problem. Raised beds, retaining walls, and sloped yards that include rain water drains and runoff catchers all help prevent against damaging erosion.

Keep Soil Covered

 For now, the weather is still unpredictable. Temperatures fluctuates from balmy to freezing within the span of a few days (or even a few hours). These extreme changes can have a deleterious impact soil health, especially over a long period of time. Thus, every season gardeners should be covering their soil with some kind of living vegetation, like straw, mulch, or leaves. Whether it’s extremely hot or extremely cold, a soil cover will keep ground temps consistent and help plants thrive regardless of weather related whims.

Creating Habitats for Beneficial Bugs

Lady Bug

Photo by Mike Deal.

According to climatologists, a warm winter could mean an increase in annoying pests like mosquitoes come spring. With that in mind, now is a great time to start building up habitats for beneficial insects: the ones that are going to help combat pest and disease outbreaks. Eliminating all garden bugs is an impossibility, but it is feasible to choose what kind of insects and animals call your garden home. Creating the right kind of habitat will ensure that your yard is welcoming to creatures that your plants and shrubs need and hostile to harmful threats. Keep these tips in mind:

Do Your Research

The vast majority of insects are not pests, although some gardeners have trouble telling the difference. Before you reach for your pesticide applicator, do your research and make sure you’re not harming a bug that’s ultimately helpful. Bugs like ladybugs, honey bees, wasps, ground beetles, spiders, and mantis’ all perform necessary functions in a garden ecosystems. Stinkbugs, aphids, ticks, and termites, however, can cause irreparable damage.

Go Easy on Pesticides

Pesticides are easy to use and marvelously effective. In fact, they’re almost too effective. Chemical pesticides have been shown to kill just as many beneficial insects as pest insects. Not to mention, toxins in chemical fertilizer can also harm plants or leech into ground water. Check out this blog post to find out how you can kill common pests without resorting to chemical fertilizers.

Plant the Right Kinds of Food

Beneficial insects need plants to eat. Luckily, insects like colorful, sweet-smelling plants. For gardeners, that means planting lots and lots of flowers and blooming shrubs. A large variety of blooms will attract a large variety of insects, so consider mixing it up. You may also want to plant flowers that bloom during different seasons, so that insects can feed off your garden all year long. You could plant pansy and dianthus in the spring, and garden mums and goldenrod in the fall, for example. Many insects also love feeding on fresh herbs so, when you’re growing a batch of basil or rosemary for your kitchen, keep some extra to provide food for beneficial bugs. Remember—native insects are especially fond of native plants, so be sure to include a lot of native blooms in your landscaping plan.

Of course, insects also need water. A birdbath or a small fountain may encourage insects to build a home out of your landscape, but, be warned, still water can also attract mosquitos and become a breeding ground for disease. If you’re going to keep a water feature, be sure to keep it clean.

Build a Sheltering Landscape

Including a wide variety of different habitats within your landscape will allow different kinds of beneficial insects to find shelter there. Trees and shrubs make great hiding places for moths, butterflies, and beetles. For some insects, a compost pile or mound of mulch is ideal. Generally, having plants of varying heights and types will ensure that most any kind of insect can find a home in your garden.

Quick Facts on Clover

Although clover is technically a weed, it also has various agricultural, health, and lawn and garden benefits. In honor of Roanoke’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebration this weekend, we’d like to talk a bit about how you can use clover in your daily life (yes, even the three-leafed ones).

Clovers

Photo by Falon Yates.

Clovers are a type of forage legume found in temperate climates throughout the world, and especially in the northern hemisphere. Common varieties of clover include red clover, white clover, crimson clover, and arrowhead clover. Throughout history, all kinds of clovers have been utilized for their agricultural benefits. Clovers, particularly the shamrock clover, are traditionally associated with Ireland and Saint Patrick’s Day festivities across the world. Four-leaf clovers, which are much rarer than the common three-leaf clover, are considered good luck when found.

Clover as a Cover Crop

Clovers, particularly crimson clovers, are often used as a cover crop in lawns and gardens. Often, clover is grown in combination with ryegrass or other winter legumes to provide coverage for delicate soil. Clover makes a superb cover crop because it has a high nitrogen content and deep roots, which help with erosion control and soil’s moisture holding capacity. Clover also suppresses more aggressive weeds and attracts beneficial predator insects that kill off pests. For these reasons, many gardeners have chosen to incorporate clover into their gardening plan.

Clover and Ecosystems

In the wild, clovers provide food for a variety of different birds, insects, and animals like deer and rabbits. Additionally, clover furnishes pollen and nectar for honeybees. Crimson clover, white clover, and red clover are known for their nitrogen fixation capabilities. Clovers obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it onto nodules in their roots, through which they then slowly release the nitrogen into the soil, acting as a kind of fertilizer. Thus, clovers are thought to promote stronger soil.

Clover and Health

Clovers are also thought to possess a number of health benefits when ingested. Throughout history, clovers have been used as blood purifiers, anti-asthmatics, immunity boosters, diuretics, treatments for eczema and psoriasis, and hormone balancers. Teas, herbal medicines, and lotions are often made with clover as a palliative ingredient.

Four Leaf Clovers

Four leaf clovers are a rare variation of the common three leaf clover. Traditionally, four leaf clovers are supposed to bring good luck to whoever manages to find one. Each leaf is thought to symbolize something different: the first leaf represents faith, the second represents hope, the third represents love, and the fourth represents luck. Anyone that can find a clover with all four leaves is therefore blessed with faith, hope, love, and luck!

Raising Backyard Chickens

Chickens

Photo by Lindsay Holmwood.

At my house, we have a pet problem. Every few months, my roommates and I experience the unshakable temptation to add another critter to our wild urban homestead. It started quite innocently—with just a couple dogs and a couple cats (amateur level stuff)—and grew radically from there. Now we have two ducks, two tanks of fish, and—most recently—four baby chickens.

Seeing as we live in the middle of the city, we’ve had to keep our little farm pretty contained. We have less than half an acre of land, hardly any grass, and we’re within a stone’s throw from a major urban road. Thus, we’ve made some special arrangements: the ducks take up about half of our backyard; on one side, they’re kept in by a barrier made out of wire and bamboo shoots; on the other side, they’re protected by a large privacy fence that was built long before we moved in. We’ve also built them a makeshift “pond” (plastic Walmart kiddie pool) and coop made out of junk wood and hay bales. They don’t seem to mind—they’re quite happy in their zany abode, laying eggs and quacking around all the live long day. Generally, they don’t give us any trouble, though they occasionally enjoy chasing after the dogs.

Chickens may prove to be more of a challenge, especially since there’s four of them. On the plus side, we’ve heard they’re much quieter than ducks and they lay more eggs, too. But we’re not quite sure how well they’ll adjust to city living. Our neighbors up the street keep chickens, so we know that it is indeed possible but—as always—we’re quick to do our research.

Raising Backyard Chickens: A Beginners Guide

Raising chickens in urban environments has become an increasingly popular practice. Most families chose to keep chickens because of their egg production. Fresh eggs are, fair and square, far superior to grocery store produce. Additionally, raising chickens is fairly cheap. Chicken coops are generally easy to construct, chicken feed is inexpensive, and chickens themselves don’t seem to be too picky about their environment. In some ways, they are the perfect urban pet!

Getting Started

To raise chickens, you need some kind of covered shelter (the aforementioned coop made out of junk wood and hay bales would suffice) and a steady supply of fresh water and food. Instructions for building DIY coops are easy to find online. Food is even easier—chickens are omnivores, meaning they eat grains, fruit, vegetables, and simple protein like insects. You can buy generic chicken feed from a farm supply store, although many people supplement their chickens’ diets with other kind of organic material, like chopped veggies, crickets, or fruit scraps.

Before you begin constructing a shelter and figuring out feed, you’ll want to make a firm decision about the kind of chicken you want. There are hundreds of different varieties, and some are better suited for urban living than others. Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, and Ameraucana chickens are all common backyard breeds due to their larger than average size and excellent egg production. For extra tiny spaces, a smaller breed (such as a Bantham) might work best.

Chicken Maintenance

Chickens are pretty low maintenance, but they still require regular care. Young chicks must be looked after carefully and kept inside under a heat lamp until they are big enough to move outside. Some chicken breeds may require special care even when they reach adulthood, so be sure to do your research.

The hardest (or most frustrating) part of chicken maintenance is probably the amount of waste they produce. Chicken coops get disgusting fast, and, without regular cleanings, they can become a hotspot for rats and other kinds of pests. Chicken bedding should be replaced weekly. Bedding made of straw and pine does a good job of absorbing chicken manure, and stirring it every few days helps reduce odor. Additionally, adding diatomaceous earth to your coop can further curb that awful “chicken poop” smell.

It’s important to remember that keeping farm animals is a dirty job. If you want a perfectly clean, sterile yard, you probably shouldn’t raise chickens. But, for those that do, the payoff is usually far worth the effort it takes to keep them. So, as my roommates and I often say, why not? Urban farming might just be your next big adventure

Early Spring Landscaping Tips

Spring Gardening

Photo by Stevesworldofphotos on Flickr.

The beginning of spring is one of the busiest times of year for landscapers and gardeners. In Southwest Virginia (and much of The United States in general), the weather has been unseasonably warm, causing plants to bloom much earlier than expected. At Roanoke Landscapes, we’ve been rushing to prepare yards for the start of spring: readying irrigation system to be turned on, mowing and pruning, and fertilizing thawed ground. Here are our tips on what *you* can do to get your yard in tip-top shape before the season change. The sooner you start, the better prepared you’ll be!

Thoroughly Prune Evergreens

Does your landscape include evergreen shrubs and trees? You’ll want to start pruning those now before the weather shifts. Cut slowly but steadily, shaping and controlling size.

Plant Early Spring Crops

Mustard greens, turnips, green beans, corn, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and other early spring crops can be planted now. You can also set out transplants of tomatoes and peppers, but be prepared to cover in case of a late frost.

Prepare to Prune Spring-Flowering Shrubs

Some of your spring-flowering shrubs and trees may already be blooming. In that case, you can go ahead and prune them. For late bloomers, wait to prune into the plant has flowered completely. If any of your plants are winter damaged, go ahead and remove any dead or diseased growth.

Fill Bird Feeders

Thousands of bird species are migrating back from their winter habitats! Setting up bird houses and bird feeders will give them a place to R&R while they make the long flight back.

Mulch and Fertilizer

Help your plants wake up from their winter hibernation by cleaning out beds, fertilizing soil, and spreading a fresh layer of mulch.

Plan for Planting

Early March is the perfect time to plan for this year’s new plantings. Visit nurseries and shop for summer or fall-flowering perennials. Try something new this year—cut through the drab of your gardening routine by incorporating more bright colors and interesting textures.

Clean and Mow Your Lawn

Over the winter, your lawn might have accumulated various kinds of debris like dead branches or leaves. Now is a good time to thoroughly clean your yard, removing any clutter that may be harboring diseases and pests. Once your lawn is clean, you can start your mowing routine. In early spring, cut at 3” or higher to prevent brown spots from forming.

If you need help with any of your spring gardening or landscaping chores, be sure to call a landscaping professional as soon as possible. We get booked quickly this time of year!

The Perks of Outdoor Living

Firepit

Photo by Jon Collier.

Your living space is your sanctuary—a place for peace, leisure, and tranquility far removed from the stress of professional and social obligations. You’ve probably set up your living room, kitchen, and bedroom exactly how you want them to be: the right fabrics, the perfect lighting, and all the amenities needed to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Most likely, you use and enjoy these spaces nearly every day. However, your yard and landscape may be getting less use, especially during the winter months. It’s time to stop neglecting your outside space; making an investment in your property means you should be using and enjoying all of it. Sprucing up your landscape by installing some Outdoor Living features—such as an outdoor fireplace, an outdoor kitchen, a patio, or a deck—is a simple way to get more out of your property: more space, more fun, more leisure, and more relaxation.

Built to Entertain

Outdoor living spaces are built for leisure. Kicking back and relaxing in your backyard is tough if you only have a plot of grass and a couple of rusted lawn chairs! Patios, decks, and other hardscapes are designed to give you more space for the activities you enjoy, and landscapers are more than willing to work with you so you can get exactly what you want. Do you love cookouts? A patio with a built in bar, grill, outdoor oven, and mini fridge makes entertaining friends easy as can be. Are you a big bonfire fan? A simple fire pit install brings the bonfire to you. Installing a few heat lamps and some outdoor lighting opens up your space for use all year long, and for much cheaper than it would cost to build an extension on your house.

Perfect for Families

Outdoor living spaces encourage families to spend more time outside together. Whether that time is spent preparing fresh meals in an outdoor kitchen, sitting around a fire together, or playing games out on the patio, opening up your outdoor space opens up your options. A great yard should never go to waste, especially as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer. Adding some fun features to your landscape will encourage your family to use it more.

Low Maintenance

Hardscapes are surprisingly easy to maintain, and adding a patio or deck to your landscape may actually save you time on mowing, trimming, and weed-pulling. Hardscapes are built to last with durable, weather-resistant material. They need only be cleaned a couple times a year and, when constructed properly, they can take a beating without even the slightest hint of ware. This is great for kids, pets, and parties—all three of which typically cause trouble for manicured lawns. Plus, you’ll never have to mow concrete!

A Property Value Boost

Because outdoor living spaces increase the amount of usable space a property has, they are a great investment. Long lasting and consistently popular, an outdoor entertainment area will easily boost your property’s value and make your home more attractive to potential buyers. If you want your outdoor living space to truly be an investment, invest in high-quality materials and builders who won’t cut corners in order to give you a cheaper product. You are essentially investing in another room for your home, so you want to put just as much care into your outdoor living space as you do your kitchen, bedroom, or living room.

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