Fourth of July 2015 decor ideas!

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We know you love to show off your patio and outdoor living space from Richmond’s Landscaping and what better time to do so than the Fourth of July! So we have found a few outdoor decor ideas to add to you already amazing outdoor kitchens, fire pits and paver patios!!

Secret garden night lights
Place garden stake lights or a small battery-operated camping lantern under tablecloths.

To hide an electrical cord, part the grass, tuck in the cord, and stake it with a U-shaped piece of wire. If you’re using electric lights, keep fabric 2 feet from the bulb.

For extra shine, you can create a table covering from brightly colored ― and inexpensive  taffeta. Use fusing tape to secure panels together and tuck unhemmed edges underneath.

 

Lawn stars

This Fourth of July, let a few lawn stars brighten up your celebration. They’re ideal alongside a walkway or next to your picnic table.1. Use a craft knife and a metal ruler to cut a star-shaped stencil out of a large piece of chipboard or cardboard.

2. Mist the patch of grass with a spray bottle of water.

3. Place the stencil on the grass and, using a sifter or large strainer, sprinkle a very small amount of white flour into the stencil.

4. Carefully remove the stencil and dispose of the excess flour. For a longer-lasting star that can be walked on, use spray or marking chalk. To find suppliers, search the Web using the key words “spray chalk.”

Make star luminarias
White bags and vellum stars make festive outdoor lanterns.Use a star stencil and colored vellum to make red and blue stars. Glue them to white paper bags. For beautiful (and safe) illumination, use a small tap light instead of a candle.
Hanging lights
Give hanging lights a festive kick with blue tea candles, then suspend them by replacing their hanging chains with red and white ribbon. It’s your own, updated version of stars and stripes.

Design ideas from Sunset.com

Happy May Day, let’s get your patio ready!

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Getting your Patio ready for Spring!

Just as you would regularly vacuum the floor and dust your furniture inside your house, you should keep your patio clean so it’s ready at a moments notice to entertain. Start in early spring with a complete cleaning.

Remove all the furniture, the grill, container plants and accessories. Give the patio a good sweeping and washing. Wash cushions and furniture frames with mild soap and clean water. Let cushions dry completely before replacing them on the furniture to prevent mildew from growing.

 

  • Use auto polish on metal frames to make them shine.
  • Use a glass cleaner on glass tabletops and don’t forget to clean the glass on the windows of your outdoor lanterns so the light shines through.
  • Use a degreaser on grill grates and the outside of stainless steel grills.
  • Open your umbrella and wash the fabric with mild soap and water and use a household oil on any moving parts to keep them working well.

 

Remove and discard any old potting soil from planters and clean the insides of pots with a bleach and water solution to kill any insects or bacteria that may have over wintered in the pots. Fill with fresh potting soil and put in new plants.

Spring is the perfect time to get moving on your patio maintenance and enlisted help to do it may end up being festive. When the weather starts to warm, it’s a good idea to make a list of all things you need to do get your patio ready. Make it fun and get your children, spouse, friends and family involved, and reward them with a nice kick-off party or barbecue to celebrate all their hard work.

Spring has Sprung

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It’s time to take a look at your grilling season ahead. Do you have any special events coming up this year?  Weddings, Graduations, Birthdays, or just that neighborhood barbeque? Now is the time get some ideas and talk with a designer from Richmond’s Landscape Construction to put them all together. If it is outdoor kitchen, grill or fire pit, they all make a great addition to any back yard.

At Richmond’s Landscaping, we help clients in and around the Cedar Rapids area bring their vision for the picture-perfect landscape design to life, complete with the hardscapes they love best. Taking into account your vision for style and functionality, as well as the scope of your existing landscaping, we can help you install and design your dream outdoor living area. So as the grass turns green and the trees leaf out don’t let another grilling season pass you by, get planning now.

6 Reasons to hire a Landscape Designer

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Knowledge and Time
Sometimes, landscaping can be a bit overwhelming. Not only is it a lot of work, but you have a busy schedule and finding time to get to it can be a chore. You see your landscape everyday, you know you don’t love it, but you don’t know where to start to make it better. That is where a landscape designer comes in. We can look at all the problem areas in your space and come up with a plan that addresses them as a whole, not just a band-aid that covers them up for awhile. We can help to create a plan that not only fixes most landscape problems but enhances your space to be functional and beautiful. We take the time to discuss with you your goals, likes, dislikes, and concerns for your landscape.

Materials:
There is an abundance of styles, colors, and specific applications one needs to understand when choosing hardscape materials. A landscape designer can help in this process. We can choose materials that will specifically work in any given scenario they would be needed. A designer can also choose colors and combinations of materials that will work well together and have a more unified, pleasing look. Plant material can also be a challenge for most homeowners. There are so many plants to choose from and each has specific light, soil, and water requirements. Not to mention each plant has its own growth pattern to take into account. We can assess your landscape and effectively determine which plants would be best suited for your landscape needs. Landscape designers also have the knowledge to combine plant material and hardscapes to create a beautiful more natural looking landscape.

Planning:
Planning is the most crucial stage of any landscape project. There are often many different elements and factors that come into play when creating a new landscape. If your project is a small entry way enhancement or a large pond installation, designers can help facilitate all the planning effectively. It starts with precise measurements of the space and determining which materials will produce the look and feel the client desires. It then moves into planning materials, plants, calculating material needs, ordering, and installing. Not to mention that we have expert installers that help make the design a reality in an efficient amount of time, allowing homeowners to enjoy there new space sooner. A good plan helps the customer know exactly what they are getting and exactly what they are paying for.

Budgets and estimates:
Many homeowners can feel overwhelmed with the size and scope of landscape projects especially financially. Typically a homeowner will have a set budget in mind for a specific landscape project. If a proper plan is not in place too often that budget is exceeded. A landscape designer discusses all aspects of the landscape project with the homeowner. They discuss goals, materials, layout, unique features such as fountains, and budget. A designer can help accomplish your landscape goals and devise a plan that fits into your budget. An estimate is generated from that plan and it allows everyone to see what exactly is being done, where it is being done, and how much it costs.

Installation:
I know many homeowners that tried to tackle a landscape project over a nice summer weekend and realized by Saturday afternoon that the job is too big for 1 or 2 people. Landscaping is hard work physically and mentally. Without the correct knowledge of how certain elements work you can get yourself into trouble fast. We have expert installation crews with years of experience in landscape installation. They can easily come in to a space and finish a project in a timely manner taking care to do the job correctly. Hardscapes take a lot of skill and precision to install so that they last over time, especially in an Iowa climate where we have freeze/thaw to contend with. Landscape designers work directly with the installation crew to make sure that all of the elements from the design plan are carried out. The designer is available throughout the entire process to answer questions from the homeowner and installation crew to avoid costly errors and second guessing.

Aftercare:
After the landscape project is completed questions can still remain. A landscape designer will walk you through all the elements of your new space and discuss any issues relating to maintenance, special functions, and plant care. Landscapes grow and change over time, your designer will be there to answer any questions you may have in the future about your project.

 

Richmond’s Landscaping Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Why do I need an Outdoor Design?

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If you’re thinking about sprucing up your patio or landscape now, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Houzz, 18 percent of U.S. homeowners plan a patio or landscape addition or replacement in the next two years! So your excited for spring to arrive but you aren’t sure what the first step is? Well here at Richmond’s Landscaping, we are here to tell you that a good design of your space is essential in making that first step to the outdoor living space of your dreams!

 Why do I need an Outdoor Design? 
Everything needs a design or some kind of plan to be effectively achieved. You want your space to have a good flow, to be beautiful and to be efficient in helping you enjoy the outdoors. In order to accomplish this, you need to plan how you will use the space. Do you want to host big parties,? Do you want a quiet oasis, maybe a better play area for the kids? You must first know the functionality of the space so that you can design the space to work as you want. For example, you don’t want your fire pit too close to your cooking area, or to have a lack of greenery in a space meant for relaxation and nature. There are a lot that goes in to making your outdoor space effective. Hiring a professional designer to draw up plans can help you with this and save you time and money in the long run. At Richmond’s Landscaping of Cedar Rapids, IA, we can help you plan your space to be what you want and save you money by having a set plan and budget. In most cases, one change order to a large project will be more costly than having a design made, so it is money well spent to plan and see your space before any work starts.
This is where Richmond’s Landscaping comes in, we work on designs all winter to plan for the spring. With us you not only get to plan your outdoor space, but you get the quality craftsmanship and attention to detail when the project gets going. Our design process is just the start of showing you how we don’t cut corners and always leave with a job done right that will last for years to come. Contact us today if you are ready to get designing your outdoor living space today!

Plan an Outdoor Living Space

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One of the most cost effective means of increasing total usable “living” space in a home is through the addition of an outdoor living space. Without having to build walls, install windows, or extend roofs, the addition of an outdoor living space becomes an affordable way to add “square footage” to your home.

In fact, with modern technology and a few creative additions, that outdoor living space easily becomes an extension of your home where you can watch a Sunday football game or host a party.

However, the creation of an outdoor living space should not be left to the inexperienced as there are multiple issues that must be addressed before you even think about starting. Here is just a short list of items you should consider and why building an outdoor living space should be left to a professional:

The Elements

If your planned area of use is exposed to the wind or to the full heat of the sun, how exactly will you create a comfortable and usable space that can shelter you, your family, and your guests from these elements?

What about those irregular rainstorms? How is your outdoor living space set up to handle drainage in the event that you are hit with a rainstorm?

The Utilities

We cannot stress enough the importance of planning your utility usage well ahead of time; this is also the critical time to consider any future additions you may want to add later. For example, what if you are building an outdoor space now with the intent of adding a BBQ island at a later date? Then you should take the time to plan out its location and run utility lines and pipes to the area now.

What if you are building an outdoor living space for entertainment purposes? Then water features, wet bars, mini refrigerators, lighting, electrical outlets, and TV / Entertainment stations become a priority and need to be planned out.

The Measurements

Failure to measure properly can lead to a mountain of problems and aggravation in the future. Even a 1/16th of an inch mistake can cause problems. In fact, an improper measurement can result in having to change plans mid­-design which is expensive, time consuming, and not easily done.

The Element of Scale

Outdoor living spaces do not have windows, walls, or doors which facilitate the determination of scale. This often results in homeowners, or the less experienced, misjudging the size of the usable area and the appropriate size of the living space.

Unfortunately, this issue normally does not become realized until after the deck has been built or the pavers have been installed. The end result is a space that is overcrowded, has poor traffic flow and is uncomfortable.

The Element of Lighting

Without a professional designer and builder leading the way, many homeowners, or, the less experienced forget about the details. One such detail is the element of lighting. Accent and mood lighting can make all the difference in the world between a space that is warm and inviting, and will garner use, or one that is cold and uncomfortable.

Don’t compromise or settle for anything less than perfection when it comes to your outdoor living space. Ultimately you want a space that is beautiful and usable. We can create a space that takes advantage of the outdoors and incorporates it into the existing flow of your home. We feel that outdoor living spaces should be an extension of your home and should flow seamlessly from the interior to the exterior while matching the style and personality of your existing home.

 

sources: Lovette Construction

Preparing your yard for Fall

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Readying your yard for autumn can be just as challenging and labor intensive. However, if you start early and create a checklist you will likely have everything done in time for Christmas (I’m kidding). In all seriousness, creating a master plan will go a long way in helping you accomplish the following tasks:

Fall Pruning

Fall’s cool weather provides the ideal climate to get outside and prune those woody plants. However, don’t get overzealous—experts say you should avoid pruning spring flowering shrubs in the fall so you don’t remove flower buds set earlier in the year. If you don’t think you need to prune… think again. Pruning is beneficial for several reasons:

· To remove dead or damaged branches.

· To reshape overgrown plants.

· To rejuvenate old branches.

· To remove diseased branches.

· To improve the plant’s overall appearance and health.

Here are some pruning tips that have served me well over the years:

· Never try to cut more wood than your clippers are designed to cut.

· Use a small saw to remove medium sized or larger branches.

· Use hand clippers to cut small stems and twigs.

· Never cut a branch flush with the main stem.

· Never leave a stud, which can provide an opening for wood decay.

Bring Those Plants In!

Our local weather forecasts have been peppered with warnings to “bring those plants in.” The time to bring them in is when the night temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Before bringing plants in it is a good idea to inspect them. Make sure you’re not brining in insects or eggs. If you are concerned about doing so you could spray your plants with a 1% horticultural oil solution.

Fall Planting

In my opinion, one of the most important yard projects a homeowner should tackle each fall is planting perennials. If you’ve got existing perennials, you can separate them into smaller plants. By doing so you give your plants a better chance to grow. If you have done this before you know perennials prosper in less crowded conditions and insects and disease problems will be minimized. Another tip: add compost to the soil while you’re replanting for extra growing power in the spring.

Get Rid of Weeds

This is an ongoing project that needs attention year round, but experts say in the fall it is especially important. If you apply an herbicide to weeds, it will be carried to the roots and help to control them. The reason: plants move carbohydrates from their leaves to the roots in cooler weather.

Landscape Lighting and nightscaping

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Since many of us are working hard and putting in long hours on the job, we often don’t get a chance to see our homes until after dark. Soft lighting in a dark outdoor environment is nothing short of magic. It provides a warm, inviting ambiance that beckons us outdoors. It creates mood, romance, and drama. It adds interest and intrigue to any setting. A growing number of homeowners are capturing this magic in their gardens through “nightscaping,” one of the hottest trends in outdoor home improvement today.

Lighting can be one of the most important aspects of landscape and hardscape design, yet it is often overlooked or underdone. Proper outdoor lighting design allows you to highlight focal points and hide eyesores. It can also be used to enhance safety and security, to accent special trees or plantings, and to create a festive atmosphere for outdoor entertaining.

Landscape lights also serve a number of needs, from letting you walk safely down a flagstone path at night, to giving you a place to spend time with your family after school and work. Outdoor lights even deter burglars and reduce crime. Yet for homeowners, choosing which areas to light can be a challenge. Here at Richmond’s Landscape Construction we have professionals that can give you expert tips for lighting different areas of the landscape.

Richmond’s knows that landscape lighting is more than just shining some direct light at a walkway or up a tree. Not only are there techniques and methods for creating ambiance with lights, but some sometimes we even prefer to accent the architecture of the home rather than the trees or walkways or patio areas. Home lighting gives you the chance to highlight architectural features like pillars or columns, or enjoy the shadow play of lights on the craggy surface of stone veneer. Your home is beautiful and we want to help you show off all of it’s features.

If you are looking to do some lighting to your home, please contact us so we can give you suggestions on what type of lighting may work best for your home. We also sell lighting sets and will be offering discounts all fall!

Where to install Outdoor Lighting

Patio Lighting
Pathway and Step Lights
Deck Lighting
Backyard Lighting
Patio Cover Lighting
Driveway Lights
Pond Lights and Lighting
Lighting Ideas for Swimming Pools

Fireplaces and Fire Pit Planning

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Fall is coming soon so we here at Richmond’s Landscaping of Cedar Rapids thought we would dive a little deeper into some things to consider for when adding an outdoor fireplace to your landscape. A Fire Pit or a fireplace gives your property a whole new dimension and can really change the feel of your yard. Your entertaining options broaden, you gain a new living space without having to increase your square footage, and you increase the value and character of your home. These are some great benefits, but before you jump, evaluate these four design considerations to make sure an outdoor fireplace is right for you.

1. Location. Every piece of property is different, so it’s impossible to say there’s a “just right” place for a fireplace in your yard. However, you may find that an outdoor fireplace takes advantage of cumbersome areas or that it gives your landscaping much-needed definition.

If you’re interested in developing a fireplace area, carefully think about your current landscaping and how each area of your property is used. For ease of use, most people prefer to build a fireplace fairly close to their kitchen doors so they don’t have to carry food and supplies too far. Also, consider privacy. Your fireplace will become a place to entertain, so you probably don’t want it to be openly visible to all of your neighbors. In addition, a fireplace makes an interesting landscaping focal point. What area of your yard could use some emphasis and interest? Of course, you’ll have to take local codes into consideration, and these codes may determine areas that are off limits for your outdoor fireplace.

2. Type. When deciding which type of fireplace to build, think about what you like to do. If you love pizza, a custom-built outdoor pizza oven may be perfect. If you like to sit around and chat with friends while you roast marshmallows, a grill-grate or pass-through fireplace may work best. If you don’t want to deal with ordering and storing cords of wood, a gas fireplace will give you the luxury of a crackling fire without the maintenance and mess of wood.

Depending on your budget and your available space, fireplaces can be pre-built or custom-made. They can also be dedicated to just one type of activity, such as a pizza oven, or they can be designed to fulfill several different needs. The best way to figure out what outdoor fireplace would be best for you is to sit down with one of our consultants and discuss your property, lifestyle, and needs.

3. Budget. Outdoor fireplaces come in all prices depending on a variety of factors such as materials, size, special features, and existing structures. Will you be in your home long enough to enjoy the investment of an outdoor fireplace?

4. Seating Area. People only like to stand around a fireplace for so long. To really enjoy your fireplace you’ll need an integrated seating area.

When you design your seating area, don’t just try to copy something you’ve seen in a magazine. Think about how you’ll use your fireplace. How many people will use the fireplace on a regular basis? Will you be eating there? Would benches work better than chairs? Do you need to provide shelter above the seating area? Could your fireplace seating do double duty with other architectural features of your yard (such as a swimming pool or garden area)? Seating can act as boundaries, separating the yard into different functioning areas.

If you are interested in learning more about what might work for your backyard, please contact us today and our an outdoor living specialist from Richmond’s Landscaping can meet with you and help you decide what works best for your space.