Autumn is the Time to Plan Your Hardscape

This summer went by so quick, we’re already looking forward to next year! Do you want to sit in your own beautiful backyard, entertaining friends around a fire or outdoor kitchen? Now is the time to plan your backyard design. We find that most people like to start working on their landscaping in the spring or summer, but here are some reasons why autumn is the time to begin working on your backyard.

Autumn is the Time to Plan Your Hardscape

Light Your Yard

Lighting is often overlooked or done as an afterthought, but the right lighting can make a world of difference in the atmosphere of your backyard. You can choose from a wide variety of options such as color and placement. The #1 tip is to not try and figure it out in the daylight. You won’t get a true idea of the look with the sun shining overhead. Waiting until dark in the summertime can push you deep into the evening hours. During the Fall, the sun sets earlier, giving you more time to see what works best for your situation.

After the sun sets, experiment with different colors, types of bulbs, placement, and other options. This will give you a better idea of how your property will look before you commit to something.

Plant Your Flowers

Most people look forward to planting in the Spring, but if you remember this last Spring, that can sometimes backfire on you. Long winters, heavy rains, and other factors can make it difficult to plant your flowers early enough to appreciate them in the summertime.

If you plant your flowers in the Autumn, your flowers will be ready to bloom next Spring. Think of the daffodils and tulips that delight us after the dreary grey of winter. Also, you won’t have to worry about the blistering heat of Summer wilting your hard work. Give us a call if you have any questions about Fall planting guidelines and tips. We’d love to help!

Brickwork is Easier in the Fall

If you’ve ever done any masonry work, you know it can be a tough job and doing it in the sweltering heat of July can make it even more taxing. In the cooler weather of Autumn, the job can be less strenuous and difficult. In addition, leveling the soil in the work area is easier to do in the Fall. The ground is easier to manipulate as it doesn’t dry out as quickly as it does under the Summer sun. You can take your time to set down a good foundation for your brickwork and make sure it will be around for years. Even if you don’t finish it before winter weather strikes, you will have a good portion of it done and you can finish it up in the Spring.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Beautifying your property should be a fun and exciting project, so take advantage of all the ways to make it easier. By beginning your hardscaping project in the Fall you can make the job smoother with fewer hassles. Take the opportunity in the next few months to set up your lights, plant your flowers, and lay your bricks. Contact us anytime to have us give you a hand in making your landscaping project a success this Fall so you can enjoy it next Summer!

Winterizing your Yard: Get Ready This Fall

10 Tips to Get Ready for Winter

Winterizing your Landscaping in the Quad CitiesAs the summer winds up, we need to start thinking about getting our yards and gardens ready for the cold months. Doing a little prep work now will help you have a great looking yard next Spring. Here are some tips from the experts at Outdoor Innovations on winterizing your property.

Feed the Lawn

Your grass has taken a beating this summer with withering heat and drenching rains. In the fall months, you should fertilize your lawn with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen during the start of September. Before the ground freezes (around the end of October, usually), you should do a second wave with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. This will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive through the winter. To have a more exact schedule of feeding times, you should get a soil test. This test will tell you about nutrient levels, soil pH, and other important information.

Another easy way to feed your lawn is to mow over the fallen leaves. Leave a fine mulch on top of the lawn, but don’t bury the grass in leaves. This could starve the lawn from sun and moisture during the winter.

Keep Watering

Although you’ll want to put your hose away before the temperatures drop below freezing, you still need to keep watering. In most cases, lawns should get about an inch of water every two to three weeks. Keep the ground moist, but not soaking. Overwatering a lawn can promote mold growth as winter approaches.

Cover Your Garden

Before winter comes, tuck your garden in for a nap. If you have the resources, you can plant a nitrogen-rich cover crop such as clover. This plant can be turned over the following spring, so it’s a relatively easy way to protect your garden. Another option is to cover the beds with burlap to keep weeds from taking over the area.

Put the Pruners Away

You typically don’t want to prune before winter, as pruning encourages growth and you don’t want tender shoots exposed to the winter weather. If you’re uncertain whether a plant can be pruned, give us a call and we’ll give you some advice. If a limb is dead, it is ok to trim that off. Pests will use the deadwood to hibernate, so don’t give them a hiding place.

Fix Damaged Areas

This Spring and Summer were unusual and really took a toll on many lawns around the area. If a lawn is severely damaged to the point that it needs to be reseeded, you may want to wait until Spring. If you can’t wait, many experts recommend using a grass that germinates quickly, like perennial ryegrass. You can help the seeds take root by applying a quarter-inch of soil or compost.

Put Down Some Mulch

Now is a good time to put down some fresh mulch. We recommend you place the mulch around your trees in the shape of a tire. This will prevent critters from making their homes in the mulch.

Call an Expert for Winterizing Tips

There are a lot of things you can do yourself, but if you want to make sure your lawn and landscaping is ready for the winter, give the professionals at Outdoor Innovations a call. We’ll be happy to help you get winterizing and help get everything just right before Old Man Winter comes knocking.

 

What Types of Plants Do Well in Wet Weather?

Spring was very rough in terms of rainfall this year. Many records have been broken this year for rain, but that does not mean your yard can’t look great this summer! Whether it is your business or your home, your yard has plenty of options this year. You just have to look for flowers, bushes, and trees that do well in wet or even flooded soil. Believe it or not, they exist! We can help you choose plants that will work well in wet weather, just give us a call and we will make a plan for landscaping. Otherwise, we have a list of plants they may work for your yard, especially if you have seen a lot of water or flooding this spring.

Plants for Yards that are Occasionally Wet

If your yard is occasionally wet but dries within a few days, you do not want plants that rely heavily on water. Here are a few good flowers, bushes, and trees that may work for your yard:

  • wet weatherCardinal flower
  • Rose mallow
  • Summersweet
  • Hibiscus
  • European cranberrybush
  • Inkberry
  • Sweetspire
  • Sweet and swamp azaleas
  • White spruce
  • Black gum

Plants that can Handle Submersion

Flowers:

  • wet weatherBlue flag
  • Cattail
  • Japanese water iris
  • Marsh marigold
  • Water iris
  • Yellow flag
  • Flowering rush

Bushes:

  • Buttonbush
  • Red osier dogwood
  • Tartarian dogwood
  • Winterberry

Trees:

  • wet weatherAtlantic white cedar
  • Black ash
  • Green ash
  • Pear
  • Pin oak
  • River birch
  • Red maple
  • Sweetbay magnolia

And these aren’t comprehensive lists, just a few suggestions and ideas! Don’t think that just because your yard is too wet or too dry that you can’t have a beautiful yard. You can! You just have to find the things that work for you. As always, we are here to help. Landscaping, maintenance, and more; we will help you make your lawn beautiful all year round. Contact us to get started.

Use Your Landscaping to Help with Flooding

We are getting hit with a lot of rain this time of year. For many of us, our basements are also getting hit with a lot of water. Whether you’re looking at damp corners or a full-on flooded basement, there are a few things that you can be doing with your landscaping to help minimize flooding. Let’s take a look at the options available to you that might just save your basement this spring.

hardscapingPermeable Pavers or Gravel Driveways

When you think about a concrete driveway, it makes sense how it can contribute to flooding. Water has nowhere to permeate, and it ends up running down it like a slide. If your home happens to be at the receiving end of this, you’ll probably end up with water seeping into your foundation. One way to combat this is with permeable pavers or gravel. These can be used in a driveway setting, and they will slowly filter the water into the soil. This prevents oversaturated soil which can lead to a wet basement but can also really hurt your landscaping. Plus, they are a great alternative to a more traditional concrete driveway if you’re looking to change things up.

Collect Water

Many times, overflowing gutters, or gutters with downspouts too close to the home, are a cause for wet basements. Instead of letting rain from your downspout run into the soil and down your foundation, a first step would be to keep your downspout at least five feet away from the edge of your home’s foundation. However, another interesting and environmentally friendly way to protect your foundation is with rain collection. You can use this water for landscaping and gardening after the rain has stopped, and it saves you money on your water bill too. Plus, it keeps water away from your home.

landscapingSwales

Swales are natural or man-made depressions in the landscaping of your yard, and they can be used to direct water away from your home. They can also be a beautiful landscaping feature. You can plant rain gardens, which slowly filter water through their leaves, or line the swale bottom with gravel. Plus, planting items with deep roots along the swale will help with any erosion. As rain or any build-up of water runs through, it will be slowly filtered into the soil or directed away from your home. Make sure that you are directing water only to places allowed, like dry wells.

Need Help with Yard Drainage?

Call Outdoor Innovations today to help prevent flooding around your property. We are happy to work with you to create the perfect drainage solution for your unique yard. We have the knowledge, experience, and passion to design and install the best solution for you. Call us today for more information on our services or to schedule an appointment.

Happiness Is Just Outside Your Back Door

hardscapingHappiness is one of the most researched and studied topics in the world. Even though what makes each of us happy may be different. There is a common thread that at least for most people has an undeniable effect on our happiness. What is it? Nature, being outdoors, exposed to the sights, sounds, smells, and feels of the outdoors has a profound effect on our physical and mental health.

Spend Time Outdoors and Reduce Stress

Spending time outdoors can reduce many forms of stress, inflammation, fatigue, anxiety and even improve focus, and lead to a longer life. Take some time outdoors in your beautiful garden, on your new patio, or even beside your pool and relax. Enjoy nature, and enjoy your time with family and friends. Sometimes all it takes is an afternoon away from it all to see what’s important.

outdoor fire pitPut Away Your Devices, and Get Outside

So instead of just looking out the window at your backyard, put away your devices, unplug, grab a book, your favorite beverage, and soak up nature. Be it alone, with family or friends it’s always there any time of the day or night. There are cookouts, lounging, swimming, gatherings, lawn activities, and more to do in your very own backyard. Whether you’re inviting friends over to enjoy the time with you, or you’re alone or with family, nature has a way of relaxing and rejuvenating us. And if your back yard doesn’t look so relaxing or just needs a fresh new look give us a call we can help.

Contact Outdoor Innovations Today!

Outdoor Innovations is your #1 landscaping specialist in the Quad Cities area. We can work on any size project from a backyard patio to a full-scale landscaping design project. Contact us today for more information, and get started on getting back outside to nature.

Plan Your Landscape Design Now for Spring

Once the winter season rolls around, most people put landscaping out of their minds. The ground is frozen, covered in snow, and there aren’t any plants alive. However, in reality, it’s the perfect time to think about your landscaping for the spring season. Whether you’re looking to retain your current design and get your scheduling in early, or you’re looking to spice up your yard, winter is a great time to start planning your landscape design and getting in contact with your landscape company. What should you know before calling?

budget landscape designBudget, Budget, Budget

The first thing that you should always consider before you call about landscaping is what your budget is. It doesn’t matter if you have a small budget or a huge budget, what matters is that you know how much you’d like to spend on your landscape design project. You might be thinking: I don’t know how much things cost, how can I say how much I want to spend? That’s where Outdoor Innovations comes in. When you give us an idea of your budget, and we ask you a few questions about what you’re looking for within the design, we can give you suggestions of different items that might work best for this design. If one is too expensive, there are alternatives that you might like just as much. This is why it’s important to know the overall budget instead of basing it on the price of each product.

How Do You Intend to Use Your Yard?

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for your yard, or even a budget, one of the first questions to ask is how you plan to use your yard. Will you host parties? Is the back patio just for you and your spouse? Do you have children? Pets? Do you like to barbecue or have campfires? All of these questions lead you to features that might make sense for your yard. Just considering the basics of your family and your lifestyle will help you create the basic idea that you want for your landscape design. Once you have that picked out, we can help you work on style, materials, and more. If you don’t know what you’re looking for at all, we can also help! Just give us a call and we’re happy to guide you through some questions.

computer generated design process imageThe Process

Lastly, you should know the process at Outdoor Innovations. At Outdoor Innovations, we offer free estimates. After you schedule an appointment, Ken comes out to your house for a site consultation. He also measures the design if that’s needed. He asks you a few questions about what you’re interested in and gets an idea of your budget. He then goes back to the office and draws up a proposal and works on the design. The design can either be in 2D or 3D, just depending on the scale of the job and if that’s necessary. When the design and proposal are complete, Ken will meet again with you at either your home or our office to approve.

Looking for Ideas for Spring? Call Outdoor Innovations!

Outdoor Innovations is happy to work with you to design the landscape of your dreams this winter (or any time). Contact us for more information about our process, and to make the most of this cold winter season. Don’t wait until March or April when every landscaping company is in high demand! Get your plans in early for the coming spring!

Get Your Landscaping Ready for Winter

The weather is getting colder, and that means that plants and your landscaping are starting to die. How can you ease the transition from fall to winter and winter to spring? Consider these few tips that will get your landscaping prepared and ready for winter.

ready for winterGive Your Plants Nutrients

Your plants need vital nutrients to stay happy and healthy, and your soil needs the same. If you have a compost pile, you’re a step ahead of the game. If you’ve been keeping up with your composting, you can use what is ready to fertilize. This is extremely helpful to make sure that the soil is ready for spring. Check the next tip to avoid erosion! Once this is out of the way, you can add more to get your next piece of the composting puzzle ready. This will be insulated against the cold.

Ease the Transition from Fall to Winter

Just as you start to put on thick sweaters and wool socks as the fall changes into winter, you must think about your plants! Many landscaping items are delicate and need help with the bitter frost and cold. One way to do this is by covering the beds with mulch. Mulch is great for keeping in and regulating heat, and it is great for erosion that comes with the spring. Mulching your beds gets you one step ahead of the game for the spring, and it leaves you with nutrient-rich soil and happy plants. However, if you have plants that need to be taken inside, make sure to do so! Not all plants can survive the winter cold.

ready for winterOut with the Old

Weeding may seem like a spring and summer activity, but it is a fall activity as well. Before you decide to close up shop on your garden or landscaping, it’s important to get as many weeds and dead plants and flowers out of your beds as possible. Toss all of these in the trash, as they will cause problems on any natural space of land you place them on. As for dead plants, dispose of these immediately. Dead plants can harbor insect eggs and disease which will affect all of your other plants. Don’t take the chance, just toss it. All of this preparation should help your landscaping be ready for winter.

If You Need Help with Landscaping, Call Outdoor Innovations!

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to do before winter, give Outdoor Innovations a call! We will guide you on how to best take care of your landscaping, and make sure that you’re ready for fall to winter and winter to spring. Contact us today for more information and advice.

Landscape Pavers are a Versatile Addition to Your Property

When you look out at your yard, does it look nice but seem to be missing that professional touch? Do you want your driveway to give your home curb appeal and stand out from the rest of the homes on the block? How about giving your patio or sidewalk an upgrade? Landscape pavers are the perfect option to add that professional touch to your property, and they’re versatile enough that they can be used in many different areas.

Uses of Landscape Pavers

One of the ways that you can use landscape pavers is to create a pathway from one area to another. This could be from the garage to the driveway, from the patio to the garden, or from any other area that you can think of. These pathways are small additions to the property that look great and provide guests a clear way of getting from one place to another without trampling the freshly planted flowers or leaving wet grass to turn to mud. They are also an economical option for making your home beautiful.

If what you’re looking for is more curb appeal, a driveway of landscape pavers is a great option for you. You can have them arranged in a specific design or choose a pre-made design which will look great as well. You can choose contrasting colors or complementing ones, and your driveway will help your home stick out (in a good way!) from the other homes on your street. It’s also a great investment because if a home buyer is trying to choose between two very similar homes and yours has a wonderfully maintained driveway, chances are that your house will be chosen over the other. Not only are they a great investment, but they can be a great outlet for your creativity. We can help you create the custom paved driveway of your dreams.

hardscaping

A midway point between these options is a patio or sidewalk incorporating landscape pavers. A patio with landscape pavers is a beautiful option that will be sure to be a great entertaining space. Your guests will compliment you on your beautiful patio, and they will get to enjoy not sitting in the grass or having to be inside. You can also add other features to a patio with landscape pavers like built-in fire or water features. A nice fire pit with built-in seating around it would be amazing for summer nights when all you want to do is relax and be with friends. Your home could be the new hang out spot! A patio space is a great outdoor entertaining area, and you can not only use it for fun with friends but you can also count it as an investment into beautifying your home. Many people would love an outdoor entertainment area, and yours is just that more beautiful with landscape pavers.

hardscaping

What is the Process of Installing Landscape Pavers?

First, we will remove all grass and other landscaping from the area that you’re interested in using landscape pavers on, and then get the ground ready for the pavers to be placed and make sure that no weeds come through. This involves making room for them, making sure weeds are not able to come through, and then making sure that the soil is compacted and sturdy so that there is no sinking or settling over time. After that, crushed gravel is added and smoothed out and leveled for an even sturdier base, along with a layer of builder’s sand. We will then install the pavers, and afterward spread a layer of sand and clean it all up. Your landscape pavers are now installed! For different jobs, this process can differ slightly depending on what kind of landscaping we need to remove or how level the ground is that you would like it to be placed on. However, in general, this is the process that we will use to install landscape pavers on your property.

Interested in doing it yourself? Try D.I.Y. Pro! We supply the tools and materials, you do the install!

How to Get Started

Get started today by getting in contact with Outdoor Innovations. We can help you custom design your landscape pavers to fit with your ideas and your budget. Treat yourself to a wonderful outdoor entertainment area, a beautiful driveway with curb appeal, or a sidewalk with pizzazz while also making an investment in your home. Summer is the perfect time to start, and you know your friends will enjoy your new addition! Call us today and we can help you get started.

Spring Garden Design Ideas

It’s finally spring, even if it does feel like the weather has skipped directly into summer on certain days. However, warmer weather means more time spent in the sunshine and outdoors. If your garden design, or lack thereof, is becoming an eyesore, we’d love to give you some design inspiration and ideas.

Meditative Places

The big trend in 2018 is mindfulness, and why not bring that concept to your garden design as well? If anything, the garden and lawn should be one of the most peaceful places on your property, where you can get away from the stress of the day and home life. One way to incorporate mindfulness and meditative thought into your design is to install a water feature. Outdoor Innovations has lots of options for water features, and we’re happy to work with you to find an option that fits your vision and your space. It might be tempting to go for a grand water feature, but a smaller and more compact feature may look better with the rest of your yard. This can be surrounded by pavers and a path leading up to it, or we can install custom boulders beside the water feature to sit and reflect.

water feature

Green Living

It might seem like a garden is something that you need to know a lot about to maintain, but a garden can be whatever you want it to be. We will work with you to figure out what plants work best with your lifestyle and vision, and we can give you tips and tricks on how to keep your plants and flowers looking beautiful. One option for this is to go with a “green” option that requires less water, but also requires less maintenance on your part. This would be something like an ornamental grass. This is great for privacy and for a beautiful way to liven up your property.

Another option is a butterfly bush. This is a low water plant that will attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other insects and is deer-resistant. This would be great if you have a property, especially rural, where you encounter a lot of deer wandering on to your land. As it’s low water, it’s lower maintenance and better in water conservation than one that requires watering every day or so. It’s also beautiful and would look great in most garden design.

landscaping

Vegetable Gardens

The typical picture of a vegetable garden isn’t that attractive, but it can be with the right garden design. Putting your vegetable garden in a raised platform on display in your property can be a wonderful way to display your greens and vegetables. Vegetable gardens are also a good way to get your kids involved in cooking and being outdoors. It’s also a great conversation piece for parties, and you can even serve the food you’ve grown yourself to your guests! This is popular in 2018 because people are looking for more sustainable options, and they want to know where their food is coming from. Outdoor Innovations is open to working with you on designing a space that is functional and beautiful for a vegetable garden.

Garden design doesn’t need to be difficult, and we hope this little bit of inspiration has motivated you to get working on your garden. If you know what you want to do, you can try DIY Pro. If you’re not sure how exactly to plan it all out, give us a call today and we will get you started and work out a plan for your garden.  

Take the Plunge: Pool Landscaping

This tax refund season, treat yourself to a little something extra for you, your family, and your friends: a pool. A pool and pool landscaping can be a great investment for your home. It gives you an outdoor entertainment area, a fun place for the kids to hang out, and a great place for cookouts and parties for the whole family.

Outdoor Living Area

It doesn’t have to be a hassle or an eyesore.

At Outdoor Innovations, our poolscaping experts will use your input to design a great surround for your pool. We have a computerized landscape design program which we use to generate a 3D model of what your project will look like. The model is a great way to assure that your vision comes to life the way that you want it to, and it helps to be able to visualize what we’re talking about.

After we have the model, we can begin work on your poolscape. We are experienced landscaping, hardscaping, and poolscaping experts. Our crew is courteous and always cleans up any messes left behind from our work. We want your pool looking amazing so that you can host amazing parties with your friends and family. You can count on us to leave you with a great looking finished product and no clean up for you.

poolscaping

You can add your own flare.

Pool landscaping doesn’t have to mean a drab gray cement surround and a deck. It can mean whatever you want it to mean! There are many ways to make the poolscape project your own, and one of these could include a shade structure and outdoor kitchen, to keep everyone cool and fed. Or maybe your vision is to have a casual hangout spot for those cool summer nights? A fire pit, seat walls, and outdoor furniture could be the best option for you. These are only a few examples, but there are so many ways to make pool landscaping your own, and you can check out more on our poolscape page.

hardscaping, poolscapiingSummer Memories are Irreplaceable!

If you’ve been thinking about a pool for years now, it’s time to take the plunge. Why not create memorable summers for your kids and a relaxing area for the family? An area to have fun with friends and enjoy the beautiful summer season? If this sounds like something you’re interested in, give Outdoor Innovations a call today and we can get started on making it a reality!