Here at Enhancescape, we’re big fans of landscape water features. We’ve worked with clients all over the country to install everything from fountains, to waterfalls and ponds and have seen how they can transform a hum-drum landscape into an oasis.
Dallas Water Feature, Waterfall
There are so many different ways to use water to enhance your landscape, with options for every landscaping style and budget:
- In a more formal setting, fountains can be added to create drama and elegance as a focal point for your landscape. Fountains are closed systems that recirculate water with an electric pump, so they can be used anywhere, including places such as Dallas or Atlanta, where there are seasonal watering restrictions. Manufactured fountains are available in a range of styles (including rising jets and downward falls) and materials (masonry, rock, slate, and marble are but a few) and costs vary widely.
- Waterfalls make a beautiful addition to a terraced backyard or as part of your pool setting or a garden wall. When designing a waterfall, be sure to consider property slopes and architecture, connecting ponds or pools, and water flow. A common mistake is to build a tall waterfall – while dramatic, large waterfalls may seem out of place among your existing landscape, whereas smaller designs give you the sounds and visual pleasure you want while providing better balance and harmony with your existing landscape design. Manufactured landscape waterfalls can be specifically designed to fit your property in just about any material
- Ponds do a great job of attracting wildlife and injecting a note of tranquility into your garden, but must be located in well-drained areas that get at least six hours of sunlight daily (to ensure that aquatic plants thrive). And remember, aquatic plants should cover at least half of your pond’s surface in order to control the buildup of algae. A good variety to begin with includes Water Lillies, Duckweed, and Anacharis.
Water features can be constructed using either natural or architectural materials. Natural stone will blend beautifully into the surrounding landscape, while materials such as concrete block or pavestone can be used to ensure that your water feature is seamlessly integrated with your patio.
Regardless of how you design your water feature, it will bring sound and movement to your landscape, adding new dimensions to your plants, trees and lawn and creating a tranquil environment in which to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Retaining wall, Atlanta retaining wall
Throughout most of the country, the month of August is one of the hottest times of the year. Whether you live in the dry heat of Dallas or the humid Atlanta suburbs, August is generally a time for relaxing and enjoying the last lazy days of summer.
In the garden, August seems to fall in the lull between the explosive growth of Spring and early Summer, and the cleanup and Winter prep that occurs in the Fall. As such, many homeowners look at the month of August as an opportunity to take a break from yard work and gardening. But while the list of gardening tasks for August is indeed shorter than in many other months, there are still ongoing tasks to perform in the garden:
- Water: Vegetable gardens, most flowering plants, and the lawn all need about one inch of water every week to keep them green and looking nice. Be sure to water thoroughly and deeply. When possible, water in the morning or early afternoon so the soil has a chance to warm up before the cooler evening hours set in. Deep watering will induce the plant’s roots to grow deeper, where they are less likely to dry out, thereby anchoring the plant into the ground better.
- Deadhead: Pick off the old dead flowers on your annuals, as well as the spent flowers on perennial plants. A little time spent on grooming the plants will make a big difference in the overall appearance of your landscape. By removing spent flowers, plants will not go into the seed producing stage and should continue to flower longer into the season.
- Prune: Summer blooming shrubs should be pruned for shape after they have finished flowering. Remove any dead or diseased branches.
- Weed: Weeds in the garden are harmful because they rob your plants of water and nutrients, harbor insects and diseases, and, on occasion grow tall enough to shade your flowers and plants. Weed control is important in August, because with warmer weather and increased watering, weed seeds will germinate and grow faster, and mature to the point of producing more seeds. Keep the weeds pulled, before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed for the next several years.
A little preventive work in the month of August will save you lots of time and hard work later this Fall and into next year. And you’ll have a beautiful, well-tended landscape to gaze upon as you lounge in your hammock or dine al fresco on your patio!
“As strongly as I feel about the power and value of art, I do not agree with those who treat it as something ethereal, something to be venerated in seclusion … Art should inhabit the places we inhabit.” – James Van Sweden
Many landscape architects view gardens as works of art. A well-designed landscape, just like a beautiful work of art, makes use of all the tools and elements (light, temperature, water, stone, steel, and organic and geological forms) available to bring to life a designer’s vision in a way that is polished and integrated. And just like all the other elements used to create a landscape, art must be fully integrated into the landscape design so that it becomes a part of the surroundings. Just look at how beautifully the sculpture below compliments this Atlanta-area garden!
Atlanta Landscape Design
When planning a landscape that will include art, consider the following:
- Seasonal variations: Place artwork where it will look its best throughout changing seasons. Depending upon where you live, seasonal variations will affect foliage, flowers, shade, and light, and these can all have an impact on how your art is viewed in your garden.
- Materials: Art will look its best when it appears to have emerged from the garden itself, so do consider the materials, textures, and colors that predominate in your landscape when deciding whether to add a piece of art.
- Location: The way a piece of art is placed within your landscape can change the way the entire garden looks. Well-placed art can make long spaces appear shorter, divert attention from less desirable views, or highlight important features such as seating areas, pathways, or water features.
Any artwork that is to be displayed outdoors should be constructed of materials that are weather tolerant, and should be securely anchored to prevent theft. When properly placed, the right piece of art will increase your – and your visitors’ – enjoyment of your garden for years to come!
Atlanta Retaining Wall
Spring in the South is truly a sight to behold. Incredible smells and colorful sights will convince you that southern cities like Atlanta are perfect places to develop your landscaping skills. The unique weather patterns of Atlanta hold a variety of benefits that make landscaping a real pleasure. Mild summers, springs, and falls, mixed with short winters, give your landscaping ideas a chance to flourish throughout the year.
There are many landscaping options that will make a dramatic difference in your property’s look and value. But creating an attractive garden means more than coordinating colors and selecting eye-catching varieties of plants. Aesthetics don’t mean much if the plants you select aren’t appropriate for Atlanta’s southern climate.
Atlanta lies in Zone 8 of the USDA Hardiness Zone map. This map, available online, shows low-temperature extremes by Zone and will help you to choose plants best adapted to your Zone and plant them at the right time to increase your chance of success. The average coldest winter temperatures in Zone 8 range from 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that winters are mild enough to support a wide range of gardening and landscaping options.
Some of our favorite landscaping projects for Atlanta-area homeowners include:
- Vegetable Gardens: In Atlanta, a favorite landscaping project is growing a sumptuous garden for fresh fruits and vegetables all year round.
- Flower Beds: Flowers do very well in the optimum environment of Atlanta, making them another popular landscaping idea.
- Tree Lines: The Atlanta pines are legendary. They compliment any landscaping plan.
Knowing just a little bit about Atlanta’s climate will enable you create a landscape that is beautiful and easy-to-maintain.
In recent years, homeowners have spent an increasing portion of their budgets enhancing their outdoor living spaces and the hottest items to fill these spaces were outdoor cooking units. Outdoor fireplaces are the latest trend. Anyone can have an outside fireplace, and prices and styles run the gamut from basic to extravagant.
Outdoor stone fireplaces are a great way to add elegance and style to the outdoor space of a home. Crafted with attractive stones, an outdoor stone fireplace makes a perfect gathering place on frosty nights. Stone is the most preferable material for constructing an outdoor fireplace, as it is long-lasting and non-combustible. Top quality marble, sandstone, natural stone, cast coral stone, stucco, and granite can all be used for building an outdoor stone fireplace and can be designed to suit any outdoor setting, from contemporary to classic. Just look out how the fireplace we designed and installed for an Atlanta-area homeowner creates a warm and inviting gathering place in this lovely backyard!
Atlanta Patios and Firepit
Some of the things to consider when adding an outdoor fireplace to your landscape include:
- Design: Outdoor fireplaces are built just like indoor fireplaces except that you don’t need a damper, you need to use hydraulic-setting, non-water soluble refractory mortar and usually the clearance-to-combustibles and other code issues are easier to follow. Typically, all outdoor fireplace designs feature a mantel shelf, an over-mantel, a fire box, a filler panel, crown, header, a plinth base and a leg.
- Placement: Outdoor fireplaces may smoke in a breeze, so the fireplace should be sheltered from the wind and located away from your home and any flammable items such as wooden decks, pergolas, or overhanging plants or trees.
- Fuel: The choice of fuels for your outdoor fireplace includes charcoal, wood, and gas. If you already have gas lines installed around your home, you can have a professional connect your gas unit to the existing gas lines. You can also look into a propane-powered unit, if you prefer to use gas but do not have gas lines available.
Outdoor fireplaces are a relatively new phenomenon, and regulations governing them vary from state to state and town to town, so its best to get advice from a licensed and insured contractor who is experienced in the installation of outdoor fireplaces in your area.
Atlanta Patios and Retaining Wall
Sloped yards create a wealth of problems for homeowners for a number of reasons. When covered with grass, mowing is a challenge as well as dangerous. If a garden exists on the slope, keeping mulch and nutrients in the soil becomes another challenge. Despite these challenges, there are a number of easy landscaping projects you can undertake that will help solve the problems presented by sloping yards.
- Plants: Adding plants to a hillside is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to beautify your yard while cutting back on erosion. You can purchase a variety of “erosion-friendly” plants at a local nursery or home improvement store. Such plants include ground covers, shrubs and perennials.
- Boulders and Rocks: Scatter boulders and large rocks along the hillside, especially between gaps in the plants. Firmly secure the rocks in the ground, as they too can run-off and cause damage in the event of a rain storm.
- Retaining Walls: If you are dealing with a very steep hill, hardscaping will generally put an end to the problem of erosion. Retaining walls are built into the slope to level the overall garden and bring the lowest levels up to grade. Installing a retaining wall requires using some kind of stone, brick or landscaping block to create a sturdy wall to hold the soil. Many retaining walls are mortared into place with concrete for added stability. By leveling the grade, your choices of plantings become much larger since water availability and drainage issues are no longer a problem.
- Terraces: With the help of a contractor, you can create terraces using retaining walls that break up the hill into flat, manageable layers. Terraces involve the installation of multiple retaining walls at varying levels. These lovely additions to a home offer a stunning garden environment to house your most treasured plants. Terraces are built with the same materials as retaining walls and resemble wide steps up the slope of a hill.
Just take a look at the terraced retaining walls we designed and installed for an Atlanta-area homeowner. The brick walls are a beautiful and functional way of managing the sloping backyard, and the built-in drainage system eliminates any erosion problems. The result – an attractive backdrop for showcasing the homeowner’s plants and a larger patio for entertaining and enjoying the outdoors.
Simple projects like the addition of plants and boulders can easily be undertaken on a small budget and on a do-it-yourself basis. The design and installation of retaining walls and terraces is a more complex process and, unless you are an expert, should be completed with the help of an experienced landscaping contractor. In either case, your landscape will be more visually pleasing and erosion problems will be minimized!