Is it time to add a retaining wall to your property?

The hills, slopes and sharp grades around Cecil and Harford Counties can create some, if not many, challenges for creating and maintaining a beautiful landscape.  You can have rainwater runoff that can create erosion problems, there can be safe walking issues around the slippery slopes in your yard and then there’s the mowing and maintenance issues on the side hills and slopes.  The answer for many is to install a retaining wall(s).

Bull Dog PictureThe benefits for adding retaining walls around your Maryland property are numerous and include:
• Safety Issues: Drainage and walking issues will be eliminated by  leveling the playing field
• Home Value: Walls change the appearance, beauty, and curb appeal of your landscape
• Lower Maintenance: Wall systems will last for years with little or no maintenance
• Unique Gardens: By terracing you can create pleasing landscape and garden areas
• Seating Areas: Through unique designs you can create seating and resting places
• Flat Areas: Building a wall can create a small or large flat area for guest parking or a play area

What type of wall options are available?  Landscaping companies offer many different material options for retaining walls that include: Wood, Railroad Ties, Concrete Blocks, Limestone, Flagstone, Brick, Travertine, Poured Concrete, Field Stone and many others.

Please Take Note: Retaining Wall installation is not a simple DIY project.  Poor construction of walls can be dangerous and expensive. We do recommend that you use a qualified construction or landscape company that has the engineering, design and construction talents that will ensure the quality and safety of your wall(s) and who use materials that match the needs of your property and project.

Swan Creek Landscaping generally recommends only a couple of material choices for Retaining Walls for a whole lot of reason that include: pre-construction preparation, construction cost, ease of installation, manufacturers engineering expertise, long-term maintenance, appearance, and project cost.

IMG_0219We too use Limestone, Flagstone, Brick and Field Stone, and some other pre-qualified products.  But, Techo-Bloc Landscape Products are our products of choice and a look onto their website will quickly show you why.  They are the foremost manufacture of concrete pavers, slabs and wall materials with multiple product lines, sizes, shapes and colors that will meet the approval of the most discriminating client.  Key to our choosing them is their engineering expertise that is offered on every project we do to ensure our client’s receive the very best Retaining Walls, Driveways, Patios and Walkways available in the industry today.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. prides itself in providing uniquely designed and engineered Retaining Walls for our Cecil and Harford County clients’.  From design, thru construction, we provide distinctive outdoor living spaces that we can also maintain year round.  Services include your yard maintenance, mowing, plantings, landscaping, patios and gardens.  Pick-up the phone and call us to learn more about how we can change the look of your property with Retaining Walls that will change the appearance of your home and change your ability to safely use your outdoor living spaces.

Phone – 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

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Your beautiful landscape can come alive at night by adding lighting….

Why not have your landscape and outdoor living space come a live at night?  Thus, expanding the usable time you spend enjoying your Maryland summers.  Then consider using landscape lighting features.  But first you need to develop a “lighting plan” prior to buying the fixtures and jumping into the installation process.  Key questions that needs answers include:
•   Where do you want your lights
•   Do you want them focused on key landscape features
•   What type of fixtures do you want
•   What type of fixtures do you need
•   Do you want up lighting
•   Do you want down lighting
•   Are you paths properly lit
•   What is the extent of you lighting needs
•   What type of budget do you have
•   Do you want the project completed in stages
•   Areas where you can install lighting include:
o   Decks, Porches, Play Areas
o   Patios, Paths, Pool Decks
o   Trees, Buildings, Yards
o   Walkways, Driveways, Entrances
o   And many more depending on personal needs!

IMG_3595As you might expect each area requires slightly different lights. Porches or deck lights are likely to be tall, sort of like lamp post, in order to give a fuller area of light.  On the other side, lights for paths and driveways will be much shorter and close to the ground.  Lighting for your landscape and trees is another entirely different type of lighting system.

Up-lighting vs. Down-lighting                                                                               Up-lighting and Down-lighting are the way to go if you really want your landscaping features to stand out.
• Up-lighting is located on ground facing upward to shine on key landscape elements
• Down-lighting is usually mounted high up in the trees or on the sides of buildings that shine down

IMG_3826When you combine the two, you can turn your yard into the talk of the town.  Not only does this create an attractive landscape, but can change dramatically the security of your home.  Intruders do not focus on homes that are will lit that could contain security cameras.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. can integrate high quality, low-voltage landscape lighting systems smoothly with the rest of your yard’s landscape design, highlighting key elements for our Cecil and Harford County clients’.  From design, thru construction, till the dark of night turns on your lighting system, we provide uniquely designed outdoor lighting.  We can also maintain your entire property year round, including your yard maintenance, mowing, plantings, and landscape.  Pick-up the phone and call us to learn more about how we can unique lighting systems that will add beauty and security to your entire property.

Phone – 410.378.8668 ~ ~ Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

Critical Summer Lawn Maintenance

Keeping the yard looking great all summer long is the wish of most. Maryland summers brings with it the hot sun, high temperatures, dry periods, and sometimes high winds.  Occasionally getting the lawn ready to address the maintenance needs of summer can be overwhelming.  Swan Creek and help to eliminate your stresses with the regular Lawn Maintenance Care Program that takes care of all of your lawn issues.

IMG_3664Fighting the Weeds – Weeds need to be addressed early-on with some hard hitting efforts.  Weeds tend to move into your garden and yard when stressed is brought on from drought, heat or mowing to close.  The first thing weeds do is steal away moisture and nutrients from the healthy plants and grasses.
•   Gardens: You can control the weeds in your garden by spraying a non-selective weed killer which you can find at your Lawn & Garden Center or local Nursery – read the directions and make sure you follow them for best results.  Do not spray everything…protect the plants you like and are healthy.  Next spread down about 3” inches of mulch to keep the weeds under control.
•   Lawns: You can control the weeds in your lawn by making sure you are mowing at the right height.  Mowing the lawn high crowds out the weeds.  Also spot treat weeds as soon as you see them with a product labeled to address your specific type of weed(s).  Contact your Lawn & Garden Center.

Dog PictureWatering and Feeding – If you want a healthy garden and a green, heathy lawn you will have to make sure you are watering on a regular basis and feeding you plants and grasses in a timely manner.
•   Gardens: With garden plants you need to reach down and touch the soil to see if it has good moisture.  If not you need to water. But remember too much water can also be a problem. Do not wait until you see the leaves drooping…that is when they are begging for water.  If they do start to wilt make sure you “dead-head” the blooms of your flowering plants to keep them blooming longer.
•   Lawns: Your lawn will also need to be watered and fed.  This is key to a healthy Landscape. In drought conditions make sure you raise the height of your mower to create a longer grass stem.  You need to be feeding your lawn before the dry and hot months arrive.  If you are watering your lawn regularly you need to feed your lawn about every 6 to 8 weeks.  There are many companies with good lawn products. One that comes to mind is Scotts Green MAX Lawn Food which is a time released product.  If you are not watering your lawn and you start to see your lawn stressing, drying out, and creating brown spots, stop feed your lawn until it cools down and the rains come back.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. has provided our Cecil and Harford County clients’ with recommendations on all types of lawn care, maintenance, and mowing needs over the past 10 years.  In addition to our lawn and property Maintenance Care Services Swan Creek also performs Landscape and Hardscape services that include: Gardens, General Landscaping and Hardscapes – including retaining walls, walkways, driveways, pool decks, patios and outdoor kitchens and living spaces…both large and small.  Please call us to learn how Swan Creek can change the look of your property with Landscaping Programs that will enhance the appearance of your home along with the value.

Phone – 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

Water Feature Maintenance Requires Constant Attention to Detail

Marylander’s like water features incorporated into their landscapes. They are attractive and the water sounds soften the outside noise of traffic, neighbors and kids.   They are fun and relaxing but come at a price…maintenance!  So, before you invest in a great water fall, a creeping brook, a new water fountain, or a tranquil fish pond you should consider the maintenance and related time factor.

Bull Dog Picture1. Safety Maintenance: Water features are like any other body of fresh water i.e. your hot tube, swimming pool, and kitchen fish aquarium it requires cleaning.  The maintenance will also require replacing filers, adding chemicals, general clean-up with the required tools and chemicals.  You should also consider having the right equipment including: waterproof to-the elbows gloves, to-the-knee rubber boots, and/or chest high insulated wading boots to keep you warm and dry.

2. Algae will be an issue: Your water feature is going to have algae, which you will have to address.  If your water feature is in a shaded area it might have less algae than those that are in direct sunlight, but you will have algae.  If you have included fish in your water feature you will need to buy Fish-Friendly Algaecide to put in the water.  But, make sure you are buying the right products.  Some Fish-Friendly Algaecide is harmful to your water plants, so you have to make the right choice.  You will also have to have a pH test kit to use in keeping the water at the correct pH level.  Your Nursery or Garden Center will have pH Test Kits and they can also help direct you in proper maintenance of your water feature.

3. Organic Materials will be an issue: One on going job for your Water Feature will be the removal of organic matter that falls into, is blown into and/or is thrown into the water…i.e. twigs, sticks, rocks, pollen, balls, bugs, plastic bags, snakes, leaves, food products and paper goods.  More than likely this will be an ongoing daily task. Keeping your water feature clean will help eliminate flies, stink bugs, mosquitoes and other insects.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. has installed many Water Features for our Cecil and Harford County clients’ over the past 10 years. We also have provided other Hardscape Service including: retaining walls, walkways, driveways, pool decks, patios and outdoor living spaces…both large and small.  In addition our Lawn and Property Maintenance Services provides yard maintenance of all types including: mowing, plantings, pruning, landscaping, and spring/fall clean-ups on a contract basis.  Please call us to learn how Swan Creek can change the look of your property with Landscaping Programs that will enhance the appearance of your home along with the value.

Phone – 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com