Tag Archives: Fire Pit

Maryland Landscaping Tips: Outdoor Lighting

In the early spring, late fall, and late night summer evenings you want to spend your time in your outdoor living space.  Fortunately, there is Outdoor Lighting that can extend the fun and relaxation time you want to enjoy with your family and friends.  But, do you have Outdoor Lighting or does your Outdoor Lighting need to be upgraded with colors, high intensity LED’s, and a low voltage regulated systems.  Swan Creek Landscaping, the leader in outdoor living spaces, has some tips for you that will help ensure you are getting the most out of your Outdoor Lighting.

What do I need to do to get the most out of my Outdoor Lighting? IMG_3595
Creating unique Outdoor Lighting systems, or as some call it “lightscaping”, takes some special skills and can be a little trickier than just placing some lights around.  Because of the nature of the new lighting systems you can have a lot of flexibility and a lot more leeway to experiment with what lights work best for you and your landscape.  Swan Creek suggest a few things be taken into consideration:
• Lighting your walkways for safety and beauty.  Invest a little time and energy into lighting your walkways to bring out the beauty of the spaces, while ensuring everyone can clearly navigate their way into your house.  Done right, you can highlight the beauty of your landscape design and your curb appeal.
• Layering lights can change the look of your landscape.  The use of layered lighting can bring out the beauty of the architectural design of your house, landscape and outdoor living space.  The use of several different types of lights will highlight many different elements of your landscape.  The use of LED lights, multiple colors, and spot lights with some directed up and some directed down and some at angles can change the entire appearance of your house and landscape.  Thus, enhancing the beauty of your entire property and really making it pop.
• If a little is good, a lot is better, is not really true for outdoor lighting.  You do not want to turn you yard into a “landing zone” for helicopters.  The lighting will need to be balanced across the yard, IMG_3826through the trees, up the walkways, and around the patio and house that will create a unique field of light that highlights your total living property.

Following these few tips can make a giant difference when creating your beautiful “nightscape” that will allow you to enjoy more hours in your Maryland outdoor living space.  And, you will not be spending a fortune because they will be energy efficient low-voltage LED lights that will last for years to come.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. prides itself in providing uniquely designed lighting systems for our Cecil and Harford County clients’. From design, thru construction, till the dark of night turns on the lighting system, we provide distinctive outdoor living spaces that we can also maintain year round, including your yard maintenance, mowing, plantings, landscape, patios and gardens.  Pick-up the phone and call us to learn more about how we can change the look of your property with a lighting system that will change your life…for the good!

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

Summer Watering Practices – Plants, Flowers, and Bushes

You have invested in a new Landscape that you helped design and the last thing you need is to have your plants wilt and die.  We trust that your landscaper has taken into account your soil type, the hours your plants are in the sun-light, shading issues from the house and other plants, and has provided a selection of seasonal plants that will give you year round pleasure.

Swan Creek takes great pride in providing our client’s with eye pleasing year round landscapes along with a watering program to keep them healthy that is custom designed to your particular landscape.

Summer Watering Practices – Keeping your plants safely watered is just a little bit tricky when considering all of the events you have to take into consideration around the state of Maryland.

The Weather Issue? – Key to watering your plants is to check daily the weather forecast, the related rain fall predictions, daytime and nighttime temperatures and to make sure that the forecast happened as predicted.  Watering the night before a heavy rain might cause an over watering condition which can be as bad as under watering.  Temperatures also play a key role in your watering program.  If the temperatures are in the 70’s watering once a week might be fine.  If the temperatures are in the 80’s watering twice a week might be best.  And, if the temperatures are in the 90’s you might want to be watering every other day.  If there is any questions about the need to water it is always best to check the ground around the plants neck and foliage area for moisture content.  If dry – water! If wet – wait a while!  Another tip: pay attention to the long-range forecast and make note of upcoming weather conditions on your calendar or I-Phone.

The How Much Issue? – Most gardening experts, and Swan Creek Landscaping, suggest that for plants to be healthy and growing they need to have the soil moist down about 1/2”. As with other watering issues check around the plants with your fingers…do they need water?

The When Issue? – The best time to water your plants and your yard is in the early to mid-morning hours.  This allows the plants to “quench their thirst” during the peak temperatures of the day and also allows the plants to breath which will discourage humid soil round the plants that could cause mold and mildew issues from too much watering.

The Application Issue? – Do not open up the spray nozzle and beat your plants to death with too much pressure and way too much water.  Be kind and gentle with the watering by softly and evenly spreading the water around the base of the plant. Try to avoid watering down the leaves of the plants which could cause the plants to take on a disease or mold.  Having a long-handled sprinkler nozzle that you can reach into and around the base of the plant is best.  The use of a watering system, trickle system or soaker hoses really can be the best investment you make for keeping your landscape, plants, flowers and lawn in beautiful shape.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. helps homeowners and businesses in Cecil and Harford Counties with all of their Landscape needs, including watering tips to keep you landscape looking great.  From design, to construction, to maintaining your property year round, we will provide you with a landscaping experience that will exceed your expectations.  When considering your landscape, hardscape (patios, walkways, driveways, pool decks and outdoor living spaces) or lawn maintenance needs, please give us a call for a free consultation on how we can turn your visions and our experience into an outdoor living experience you and your family will enjoy and appreciate.

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

Privacy landscaping can make you and your neighbors happy!!!

Some time you just want to be by yourself or you just don’t want to hear your next door neighbor on their cell phone.  You just want to relax with some quite time with no interference or you really want to sit out in the warm sun without the neighbor’s basketball bouncing through the patio and over-top of the grill.  The answer just might be a phone call way and just around the corner.

Garden PictureLandscaping Your Yard for Privacy

Designing a landscaping that creates a soft, quite, natural, privacy barrier can change the whole dynamics and enjoyment of your outdoor living space.  There are many ways to address privacy barriers other than building an eight foot tall fence.

Softscapes – One of the best ways to landscape for privacy is the addition of trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers designed in such a way that the line-of-sight is deterred and the normal day to day sounds of our neighbors and local traffic are muffled.  Layering the plants allows for the larger plants to be designed on the outside of your yard creating a taller barrier and providing a place to nestle in the lower bushier plants to the inside for more subtle noises.

cole patio firepitHardscapes – Designing decks and patios for privacy is another way to soften the neighborhood noises and allow for more privacy.  The addition of Pergola and Trellises will not be able to hide the entire yard, but it will allow for private areas for your and your guest.

Decorative Walls – One of the best ways to add privacy is to use Decorative Walls.  They can be used around the slops of the yard to create new living spaces or gardens.  You can also add an attractive addition to your patio or pool area that could include decorative fencing on the top edge for maximum privacy.

Water Features – This is a unique way to design a new outdoor living space that is peaceful and relaxing, but it will also mask the noises of the neighborhood.  The addition of a fountain or waterfall will also muffle the sounds from the air conditioner, street traffic and conversations from your neighbors.  There is just something about the sound of a water feature that is relaxing and soothing to the ear.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. prides itself in providing privacy landscape options for our Cecil and Harford County clients’.  Our Design Group will create a unique outdoor living space that will meet your privacy needs, while providing a unique outdoor living space.  In addition, our Service Group performs yard maintenance, mowing, plantings, landscaping, patios, pruning and gardening on a contract basis.  Pick-up the phone and call us to learn how Swan Creek can change the look of your property with privacy solutions that will enhance the appearance of your home and value.

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

Tips on Watering your Maryland lawn green during the “dog days” of summer….

Maryland is blessed with a great climate that allows our residents to be outdoors three quarters of the year.  But, keeping your landscape and specifically your lawn green during the hot days of August can be a challenge.  But Swan Creek has some ideas, suggestions and tips.

Dog PictureThe very best solution is to have an irrigation system which can be the greatest way to keep a Maryland lawn nourished and cooled off. Your yard needs water on a regular bases and the best way to get it is with some type of Sprinkling System (in-ground or above ground). It is the best defense against the “dog days” of summer that can bring brown spots and can even kill parts of your yard.  It also allows the yard to soak up needed water and nutrients while allowing the excess water to be evaporate by the sun.

Watering Tips:
• Best time to water you lawn is between 4:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. in the morning
• Do not water in the hottest part of the day…the water will evaporate before being absorbed
• Do not saturate your lawn with water…this can cause a breeding ground for mold and disease
• Avoid watering by hand…it is inconsistent and will not spread evenly around the yard
• Most lawns require about 1” to 2” inches of water per week depending on soil and grass type
• Avoid watering by hand with a hose and spray nozzle because of the inconsistency in spraying
• Use of an inexpensive sprinkler supplied by a water hose and placed around the yard can also be most effective. Make sure you take note of time in each area so as not to over water
• Keep your mowing height at 3” or greater. Tall grass can best absorb the water, while helping to eliminate stress on the plants
• Buy a good mulching bade for your mower and stop bagging you clippings. The blade will cut the grass into finer pieces and allow it to drop back into the lawn for added food and nutrients
• Keep your fertilizer in the bag during the hot months unless you have a sprinkler system. You can quickly burn out the yard if applied at the wrong time. Consult your nursery
• Planting shade Tree Picturetrees around your property might also give your lawn some relieve from the heat and can even offer shaded areas for your outdoor living spaces

Remember, with all lawn care Mother Nature is always in charge. But, seed companies are constantly coming out with new grasses and some recent introductions to the market are slow growing grasses, grasses that need a minimum amount of water, and grasses you do not even need to be mowed.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. provides lawn, grass and watering tips to our Cecil and Harford County clients’.  Our Maintenance Group will inspect your yard to determine your watering needs and then make recommendations for proper care of your entire yard and landscape.  In addition, our Maintenance Service Group performs 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 yard maintenance that will enhance the appearance of your home along with the value.

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

Vacation time is coming up so prepare your lawn for your few days off!

Most everyone takes a little time off to go to the beach, amusement park, or to visit grandma.  Your yard is not so lucky, it cannot take any time off, but if you prepare it before you departure you won’t have any surprises when you come home.

For short periods away your lawn will take care of itself. Just make sure you:
Tractor Mowing• Mow the day before you leave so the growth will not be that great upon your return
• Water – If you have a Watering System make sure it continues to water while you’re gone
• Water – No Watering System make sure you give it a good drink the day before you leave
• Mow the first thing upon your return and get back on a normal mowing schedule

For longer periods away your lawn will have to be prepared for your absence.  Just make sure you:
Mowing Grass• Mow your yard a notch lower than normal to allow enough time for little more growth
• Water – If you have a Watering System make sure it is set to work while you’re gone
• Water – No Watering System make sure you deep water to  ensure some moisture is present
• When you return raise the mower level 2 notches to limit the amount you cut off…most professionals say you should not remove more than one-third of the growth at any one time

When you are going to be gone for long periods of time you may want to have your landscaper come in and keep the grounds looking good.  Having your landscaper, a neighbor or a family member come around at different times on a regular basis every day to offer some type of security so drive-byes do not think the house is empty.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. provides lawn care services for our Cecil and Harford County clients’. Our Maintenance Group performs yard maintenance of all types including: mowing, plantings, pruning, landscaping, and spring/fall clean-ups on a contract basis. In addition to our maintenance service 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 living spaces.  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

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

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

Unique Patios come in all sizes and shapes to meet your needs….

The item that Landscaping Contractors are most called to design, build, and maintain are Patios. Why patios? Well for several reasons:
1. They are usually the first upgrade made to a new home
2. They can be created in all sizes and shapes to change your existing home appearance
3. They can be the first and most important start to an expandable outdoor living space
4. They can change the appearance of your yard design quickly
5. They are extremely customizable utilizing the homeowners needs, wants and desires

How do you customize the design of your patio into a unique space that enhances the appearance of your home, yard and outdoor living space?IMG_0186

The first step would be to contact your Landscaping Contractor to guide you through the process. Swan Creek Landscaping is the leading expert for designing patios that are unique and have the long-lasting appearance you want.

What is the right way to plan a custom designed patio?
There is no real right or wrong way to design a patio. Everything goes and yes, there is a chance you can make a mistake. The good news is that the right landscape contractor will notice a problem, point it out and offer solutions and related alternatives. Your current landscape may present some restrictions that will need to be considered before you develop a creative design. Ask these questions:Cole patio firepit pavers techobloc
1. What is the topography of the yard? Do you have hills and slopes? This being the case, the size of your patio may be somewhat restricted. The cost associated with leveling the yard and smoothing things out can be expensive and time consuming, requiring equipment and labor hours.
2. Check to see if there are any restriction, ordinances, or homeowners’ association regulations that must be considered before you start. Sometimes the size of the patio, its features (fire pits, pizza ovens, etc.), electrical regulations, and plumbing codes may need city, county or homeowners’ association approvals before proceeding. Or, you can call on Swan Creek Landscaping who will take care of the bureaucracy for you.
3. What features do you want to incorporate into your patio? Make sure you have your wish list of needs and wants. Talk with the family members, neighbors, and friends about the features they have and what they would suggest.

IMG_0219Designing your Stunning Outdoor Patio
The centerpiece of your backyard will be your Patio. The design options are endless. But if you want something really outside of the box, you need to call Swan Creek Landscaping. Some of the most popular features include:
• Tiers Spaces that can be used for multi-use levels
• Attractive outdoor lighting and fencing accents
• Updating of the landscape with mulch, new plantings and flower pots
• Fire Pits and Wall Seating that are naturally unified into the patio
• Outdoor Kitchens that include Pizza Ovens, Beverage Coolers, and Barbeque Centers

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. prides itself in providing unique Patios for our Cecil and Harford County clients. From design, to construction, until the dark of night turns on the lighting system, we provide uniquely designed outdoor spaces that we can also maintain year round, including your yard, plantings, and landscape. Pick-up the phone and call us to learn more.
Phone: 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com