4 Outdoor Lighting Trends for 2016

By Uncategorized
Outdoor Lighting in Iowa City and cedar Rapids

As the fall approaches, we are shifting gears at Richmond’s Landscaping. The days will soon start to get shorter and the weather will cool, so it is important to think ahead to how you would like to be spending your time this fall. Do you have a nice fire pit out in your backyard you can’t wait to sit around? Or a new outdoor kitchen you want to host some friends at? If you plan on enjoying Iowa’s beautiful fall weather outside, then you may want to think about adding outdoor lighting this year.  The fall is when outdoor lighting is most beneficial as the days are short and it adds safety to your outdoor spaces. So when you are looking to add lighting to your outdoor space, it is crucial to know the trends and what is new in the outdoor lighting world! Here are the top 4 trends of 2016:


Sustainability continues to be important in the landscaping industry, which is why LEDs are on the top of the list for 2016.  LEDs last longer than the traditional incandescent bulb, and they also use less energy which is good for everyone. According to the US Department of Energy, Residential LEDs use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.

Hidden Safety and Security

Landscape lighting is helpful in providing safety and visibility in your yard, but it doesn’t need to be visible during the day. Hiding lighting and blending it into the landscaping is on our trend list as it continues to be a popular demand. Keeping your yard beautiful day and night while enhancing the safety and security!

Here are some popular places to add landscape lighting:

  •       On stairs
  •       Staggered along walkways
  •       In plant beds to uplight your home
  •       Inside columns
  •       Under sitting wall

Enhanced Entertainment

​Lighting can be used around sitting walls, patios, pergolas with TVs, fire features, water features, outdoor kitchen and any other area where you want to relax and entertain.
Properly installed lights will enhance and complete the space by highlighting structures and creating a cozy, inviting ambience. Lighting can really set the mood for a relaxing, fun night outside.

Easy to Control

The digital world is everywhere and why not in your yard. Lights that are easily controlled and timed is important for usability and energy efficiency. Some are even going so far as to be controlled through phones and tablets. Digital enhancements continue to bring more to the lighting capabilities and will be a mainstay in the future.

5 Ways to Cool Down your Patio this Summer

By Uncategorized

1. An Umbrella

The easiest way to create shade in your backyard is to add patio umbrellas. If you’re looking to cover your outdoor table, seating area, or pool lounge chairs, patio umbrellas will do just the trick. Decorative patio umbrellas come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials, so make sure you choose the right one for your backyard to stay shaded all summer long.

2. Curtains

Draw the shades in your outdoor entertaining area by adding curtains to your patio or deck structures. If you’re tight on budget and looking for a quick way to gain some sun protection, you can DIY these outdoor curtains with a couple canvas tarps and grommet kits.

3. Pergola

A pergola defines space, creates privacy, and most importantly provides shade. A pergola is a freestanding garden feature that forms a shaded walkway or sitting area with four posts or pillars that support a roof-like structure on top. You canhire a professional to construct a pergola for you, or DIY your own if you’re willing to tackle a more complex project.

4. Shade Sail

Another simple way to shade your outdoor living area is with a shade sail. Similar to a ship’s sail, a shade sail acts as a partial canopy to cover your favorite reading chair or even your pool. If you don’t want to permanently install a shade sail to your outdoor space, you can DIY your own at a fraction of the cost by choosing a fabric and hanging it above your desired place.

5. Pavilion

The best way to create a permanently shaded area in your backyard is to build a pavilion. This large freestanding structure typically lives a short distance from the main residence and is used as a more luxurious outdoor living area. You can add a kitchen, fireplace, or entertainment center to your backyard pavilion, while being protected from the hot sun.


Credits: Mady Dahlstrom, Content Editor for Porch.com

Huffington Post



What can Hardscaping do for you?

By Uncategorized

Additional outdoor living space.

The most obvious benefit is adding living space to your home. A patio can serve as an extension to your living area and provide a great place to spend time with the family cooking and dining.

Correct a grade.

Retaining walls, stairs and hardscaping in general can help correct the slope of your yard and add beauty to it while being functional.

Did someone say barbecue?

Speaking of cooking, adding hardscaping to your yard can enhance the barbecue and cooking area and provide a peaceful place to have a small dinner or a large party.

Safety and Direction.

Positioning your hardscaping provides a clear path for your guests and your family to move about the yard with purpose and direction. This also adds an element of safety especially when paired with outdoor lighting.

Create Shade.

A pergola or arbor provides a welcome respite on a hot sunny day and adds a comfortable sense of enclosure.

Define an area.

Walkways, patios and stairs can add significance to a space as well as lead the way through the yard.

Create privacy.

Adding Pergolas and lattice to your space can create privacy or the feeling of a backyard getaway.

Add playspace.

Having an area to spend time can add a playspace when needed. Patios can serve as home to play equipment or just a place to build backyard forts.

Add texture and color.

Stone pavers have dual purpose in adding color and texture to your yard and give you the opportunity to add your style and touch to the space!

Add interesting lines and design.

Adding sidewalks and pathways to your space can create interesting lines and shapes that make your yard stand out from the rest.

The Benefits of a Retaining Wall and Why to Add Stairs

By Uncategorized
Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Landscape and Hardscape Contractor Retaining wall with stairs

This time of year is very popular for us to get calls about building retaining walls and for that reason we wanted to talk about the benefits of a retaining wall and why we think adding steps to a retaining wall is a perfect addition to your yard.

Stop Erosion

One of the main reasons we suggest installing a retaining wall is to prevent erosion from happening in any steep areas or areas that tend to lose dirt easily. Retaining walls fight against the land’s movement and stop the dirt from washing away and creating potential problems in your yard.

More Greenery 

It seems backwards to assume adding stone to your yard would create more gardening areas, but intact a homeowner who’s yard is very hilly or sloped may find much of their yard unusable. Adding tiered retaining walls can create more space for gardening, playing and outdoor living areas. So while you may be adding a lot of stone, you are getting more green space in return.

The Focal Point of your Yard

Adding hardscaping to your yard will add beauty and functionality to your space. A wall can be an opportunity to define a focal point and highlight a certain area of the yard. With a little Landscaping and Gardening, your retaining wall might even be the most beautiful feature of your outdoor area. One thing we highly recommend when adding a retaining wall is to add stairs into it. Here are a few reasons we think retaining wall stairs will take your yard to the next level

  • Steps are a place that people like to trim off of the wall design.
  • Steps add function to a wall while looking beautiful
  • Steps add structural strength to a wall when tied into the side walls of the steps.
  • Makes a wall look more inviting especially when low voltage lights are added to them.

Retaining walls and landscape walls are very functional and beautiful, making them a very appealing option for any yard. If you are interested in a retaining wall or project in your yard, please contact us today or call our office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Light up your Summer

By Uncategorized

Are you ready for summer!? It is almost here and if you have kept up on our posts, you would know that this year is the summer of light at Richmond’s Landscaping. Outdoor Light that is! If you are looking to get the ball rolling on your outdoor lighting, here are just a couple things to think about when planning where and how much light to add to your space:

1. Hazards

Look around your yard at night and find the places that could pose potential hazards for your family or your guests. Lighting up things like sidewalks, paths and steps adds a sense of security and makes your guest feel at home in your yard.

2. Eats and Seats

Figure out the places that you would like to have outdoor seating and also where you would set up an outdoor dining area when entertaining in your outdoor living space. These are the places that you will spend the most time relaxing, so it is very important to light this area up so you are able to enjoy it at anytime of day.

3. Favorites

Look around your yard and think about your favorite areas. Is it a water feature, a piece of art, maybe where your kids like to play. Keep these spots in mind for lighting as you want to draw attention to the features in your yard, as well as have plenty of light in your favorite spots!

If you would like help planning your outdoor lighting, please give us a call today to talk about how we can help create your dream yard!

Sod vs. Seeding

By Uncategorized
Richmond's Landscaping Cedar Rapids, North Liberty, Iowa City Seeding and Sodding Grass

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we thought we would go GREEN, Richmond’s Landscaping style. Outside you can see the green grass starting to poke through the ground signaling that spring is upon us. So it may be on your mind to get going on some of those patches that need grass or even a whole yard. So to help you get green for St. Paddy’s Day, here is our segment on Sod vs Seeding:




  • More options of species are available when seeding.
  • Seeding is initially less work.
  • Lower initial cost than sodding.


  • Planting time is crucial to the success of seeding
  • Takes a longer time to establish.
  • Once the seed germinated it will require fertilizer, top seeding, and possibly herbicide to kill the unwanted weeds.
  • Initial watering is important and time consuming.



  • It feels as you have a Lawn immediately instead of having to wait
  • You can walk on it sooner after planting.
  • Dust, mud and erosion quickly disappear
  • Planting and growing season is longer and less important
  • Essentially weed-free.


  • Higher cost
  • Choice of species is more limited.
  • Not produced in shaded environment.
  • Large volume of water needed initially.
  • Installation plays a large part in the success of the sod.
  • Speed of rooting varies with season. Spring and fall are optimal.

6 Simple Ways to Get Your Patio Ready for Spring

By Uncategorized

Are you getting excited for warm weather and patio parties? Well, so are we! It is coming soon so we are here with a few simple solutions for turning your outdoor area into this summer’s hot spot. Whether your outdoor living area is big or small, in the country or the city, there are a few things you can do to get it ready so you can enjoy the outdoors this spring. Here are 6 simple ways to dress up your outdoor living area and be ready to call your friends for deck party on the first warm day of the year!

1. Lighting

Whether it is custom lighting or landscape lighting from Richmonds, or just a string of lights hanging above your deck, lighting makes a big impact and sets the mood for your outdoor living area!

2. Seating

Selecting the right seating for your space is key to making your patio or deck functional. For big spaces, farmhouse tables and outdoor sectionals are a great way to gather friends and family. If your space is small, use smaller, more functional furniture with bright colored pillows to add vibrance to your small outdoor hideaway.

3. Bar Area

Everyone loves to have a drink on the patio. Whether you like lemonade or beer, cooling off in the hot summer is a must. Make sure it is ready for guests though as all your neighbors will be stopping by to enjoy your patio, maybe even uninvited!

4. Pergola

Pergolas can really define your outdoor living space and act as more of an extension of your home design. It makes for a great seating area and provides much needed shade and privacy.

 5. Area Rugs

Bringing the feel of the inside out makes for a cozier patio. Rugs are a very inexpensive way to add color and class to your outdoor area and a good reason to kick your shoes off on a summer night.

 6. Fountain

Water features are a great way to bring a relaxing and natural feel to your deck or patio area. The sounds are soothing and lend to the ambiance of your outdoor living. Not to mention some nice colors or planned landscaping with it can really take your outdoor landscape design to the next level.





5 Reasons to add outdoor lighting

By Uncategorized

When spending time outdoors with family and friends, it is important to illuminate your outdoor living areas for many reasons. Whether you are enjoying a little rest and relaxation on the patio, or out in the yard with the kids, light is important to use your space to it’s full potential. Outdoor lighting can also serve many purposes from decor to safety, so take a look at what made our top five list of reasons to install outdoor lighting:

1. Saftey

When spending time outdoors, safety is number one on our list. Lighting up walkways, stairs and patios ensures that people can navigate your spaces safely. It also makes people feel more welcome into a space when it is lit and welcoming. Here is a list of important areas to light: patio, deck, garden, pool area, outdoor seating, steps, sidewalks, driveways, garages and entryways. The more lighting you have installed, the safer your home will be!

2. Security

Adding lighting to your home gives of the feeling of security and a well-maintaned space. When a home is well cared for, it discourages trespassing and theft. Installing lights with motion detectors help when you are out in the yard to feel safe, as well as deterring criminals from coming to your property.

3. Curb Appeal

Adding lighting to your home makes it seem warm and inviting. It also presents to neighbors and family a well-cared property. Adding lighting will add an appealing look and add value to your home.

4. Decor

Lighting and highlighting specific areas of your home and outdoor living area makes for prime opportunity to use decorative lighting. Lighting can set the mood of your space and highlight your gardening or tree line areas. You can also add things like lantern lighting and candle light to really add ambience.

 5. Function

Adding lighting to your outdoor area allows for you to use the space long after dark. Adding lighting invites people to stay long after the sun is down and the kids can play longer in the yard. Adding that ambience adds extra space to your home in the summer months to spend with family and friends.


How much does a retaining wall cost?

By Uncategorized

Here at Richmond’s Landscape construction, we are pros at retaining walls. In fact it is one of the most popular services we are asked to provide estimates for. One of the first questions potential customers want to know when they call our company is : How much does a retaining wall cost? This is a difficult question to answer, especially when it comes to rebuilding a damaged wall, so to help our customers gain a better understanding, we will address some of the reasons a retaining wall can be more or less expensive than planned.


If you are looking to build a new retaining wall, with so many options available, price ranges can vary drastically. Similar to any other home renovation , there are upgrades and variables that need to be considered when getting started. Here are a few of the most common things:

  • Height of Wall- this is a pretty obvious factor into considering cost of a retaining wall. The higher the wall, the more stone that is used as well as labor in building the wall. However, while it may seem a great place to cut costs, in some cases the height of the wall is determined by the land and what the wall is being built for. In addition to this, the height of the wall will also determine the type of block you will be able to choose from. There are limitations on some of the retaining wall blocks as to how high you can stack them.  Example. Kings Wall retaining wall block are only engineered to be a max of 4′ high including the block buried.
  • Type of block chosen-  This is pretty much one of the only things that the customer can completely control.  You have the choice of how expensive of stone you would like to purchase so this is the most effective way for you to cut costs!
  • Type of Soil-  Just like we take this into consideration when we price out a paver project, this is taken into consideration for a wall project.  We especially single out heavy clay soils because of their high water holding capacity.
  • Access-  How easy is it for our machines and guys to get to the project site?  Is it right off of the front driveway, or is it around the side of the house, squeeze through the shrubs, crouch beneath the low hanging branches. The harder a project is to access, the more hours in labor and machinery it can take to get the project completed.
  • Site Dump-  Can we leave the material that we dig out (which can get quite extensive at times) on your property, or do we have to haul it away and pay to dump it somewhere off site?


It would seem that rebuilding a wall would be very inexpensive in comparison to a new wall, but again there are many factors to consider as old walls can come with their own set of problems.

  • Clean Up – Rebuilding a retaining wall can be a very messy job. To insure that the blocks can be laid flat, each block must be cleaned of all debris and dirt before it is ready to be reapplied.
  • Back Fill- If the previous job had any backfill, our crew needs to remove all backfill from the job which can take a lot of work and costs to dump it off site.
  • Bad Builders- If the retaining wall has fallen, there is a good chance that the previous builder did not construct the wall properly. Whether it was not set up to handle the water correctly, not enough gravel or depth, or the blocks were installed incorrectly, our crews many times need to correct big mistakes before we can go about rebuilding the retaining wall.
  • Water Failure-  Most walls fail due to water problems. This means that we come in to correct the problem by using the grading, gravel, drain pipes ect to correct the issues and insure the wall will not have water issues again.
  • More Material- In most cases, our crew will need to add more blocks to the retaining wall to make sure it is strong enough to not fall over again. This again adds costs in materials and labor.

These are just a few of the things that go in to the cost of building or rebuilding a retaining wall. Because we believe in a job done right, there are sometimes more costs involved to make sure that you are provided with the best possible drainage and strength for your retaining wall. However, we stand by our work and always remind our customers that it is much more expensive to have to rebuild it after a poor installation.

Patio Design Tips for your backyard retreat!

By Uncategorized

The weather is already starting to cool down here in Iowa, so the time for fire pit parties and tailgating is here! Hopefully you were able to get your backyard patio and fire features from Richmond’s landscape designed and set up, but if not, there is still time to get working on it so that next year you won’t be stuck with your old boring patio!

We will start the process by coming to your place and finding the best fit for your yard and budget. Then we will show you a design of what the space will look like with our state of the art 3D design software. From there we will bring your backyard to life with all the custom features you are looking for! But the process doesn’t even stop there. We have all kinds of tips on how to make your patio take shape even after the pavers are all laid. Here are just a few more tips on how to design your space when all the hard work is done and you are ready to invite over the neighbors:


Outdoor patio with fire features from Richmond's Landscape of cedar rapids, iowa

Take Time to pick out your Table

When choosing indoor dining furniture, we often base our choices on the size of the room. In the expanse of outdoors, consider how many guests you will generally entertain. You can then plan the dining area to accommodate your guests, rather than the other way around. Also take into consideration how much of the patio space you would like to be for entertaining and fill it with seating, but always leave room to get around your table when everyone is gathering.

Light it up

Don’t let the sun go down on your party without providing adequate lighting. For the obvious safety reasons, but also for the ambience and a more intimate setting.

Cover it with Fabric

Weather hanging as draping, or cover the chairs and tables, fabric adds a design element that makes your porch or patio feel polished. It is also a great opportunity to add pattern and color to an otherwise neutral area.

Make it a private affair

Use of greenery, fencing and patio placement can add a private feel that makes your space feel cozy and secluded. This gives your guests the feeling of a getaway and they may not ever want to leave!