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Landscape Contractors & Design


By: ILLUMINATION FL | Created 03/18/2020

Your South Florida oasis starts here! Landscape lighting adds so much to the experience of outdoor living. Winter is coming to an end. It’s time to get started on those home improvement projects. Spring and Summer are times for celebrating with friends. So we want to get started on your South Florida oasis soon. Getting together for pool parties and sophisticated tropical cocktail gatherings is just on the horizon.

This series of articles is aimed at helping you through the development of a true tropical South Florida oasis. This is the setting for a wonderful Florida social experience right in your own back yard! At Illumination FL we specialize in the design, installation and maintenance of landscape lighting systems. However, this series is focused on sharing with you how we work together with all sorts of craftsmen and designers. Together, we deliver a truly enchanting experience for our friends and neighbors.

Landscape Lighting-Lake Worth-Illumination FL
Landscape Lighting-Lake Worth-Illumination FL

Inspiring Landscape

In this installment, we are going to focus on the process of planning a truly inspiring landscape. Many times, we have some idea of what we want to do with our homes and property. Perhaps we start a scrapbook and pull ideas from various print magazines like Home & Décor Ideas or Florida Design Magazine. Something to help visualize the inspiring landscape you are going for. If you are a little bit more technologically inclined, websites like Pinterest can be a great way to save and reflect on design ideas for your outdoor living space. The idea is to invest some time thinking about what you want your lifestyle to look like. How are you going to invest in your outdoor spaces to manifest that lifestyle? When it’s completed, it will be a truly inspiring landscape for you, along with your friends and family to enjoy.

Boca Raton - LED Landscape Lighting
Boca Raton – LED Landscape Lighting

Design Components

Now it’s time to consider the design components of your oasis. There are a lot of truly inspiring works to be considered. Bringing in various textures will compliment your home’s architecture. Custom water features will deliver the soothing sound of a mountain stream or tropical waterfall. Design Components like firepits and outdoor kitchens will deliver practical and visual excitement and purpose. Hardscapes like those designed and installed by Hardscape.com of Boca Raton and exotic granite from our friend May-ling Santeliz at PrimeStones in West Palm Beach offer amazing natural beauty.

Of course, the installation and maintenance of a quality pool is a must have in Florida. A skilled landscape architect will bring in layers of tropical foliage and varieties of palms to really drive home the Caribbean feel. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the variety of design components, don’t be. This is going to be fun and exciting and when its complete you are going to enjoy years of Florida outdoor living! Of course, you will want to make sure that the ambiance of the scene is well experienced with great landscape lighting. That is where Illumination FL shines…bringing love, light and life to your evenings

Delray Beach-Landscape Lighting-Illumination FL-Drone
Delray Beach-Landscape Lighting-Illumination FL-Drone

Bringing It Together

It’s time to start bringing it together. So, once you have brainstormed, meditated and reflected you will likely have a scrapbook bulging at the seams. Think through the most important aspects of how you hope to enjoy your outdoor living. From the pool to the garden lighting, it is all going to come together.

Now, is a good time to talk with those who will be involved. A family meeting if you please, and designate an overall budget. Once you have an idea about how much you want to invest in your home improvement you will feel far more comfortable when it comes time to make actual purchase decisions. From your scrapbook, you will want to prioritize the projects and begin meeting with contractors, landscape architects and landscape lighting designers. As you are working on bringing it together, hiring a good team of contractors is important.

Read online reviews from other folks in your area that have worked with the various members of the team you will be putting together. Make sure that the companies you interview are licensed and insured. Do not hesitate to ask the questions that are important to you and if you don’t understand something, simply request clarification.

Now you’re bringing it together! You will have bids on the various projects, but when it comes to home improvement, the lowest price is rarely the alternative that you will want to go with. You need to think in terms of value. Consider the experience of the contractors, the quality and durability of materials and components that they use, the types of warranties that will be in place, the estimated costs of maintenance and then make wise choices regarding your new outdoor oasis.

To be continued…

By: XTREME OUTDOOR SOLUTION | Created 10/31/2018

Retaining walls are usually thought of as utilitarian and for merely holding back soil. But you can use them to create beautiful outdoor living spaces and incorporate multi-use spaces.

 

Make a Creative Design

Retaining walls don't have to be perfectly straight. Add a curve to dress up a boring straight wall and to add a little more texture to your landscape. You can use a garden hose or large rope to set the layout of the curve, then use a shovel to cut through the soil to follow the curve.

 

Size Does Matter

Smaller retaining walls, such as those less than four feet, can be easily planned and created without worrying too much about structure. Larger walls above that height may need an engineer's touch. Also be sure to check with local codes before starting one more than four feet tall.

 

Think Terracing

From a lower grade, you'll need to gradually step up the retaining wall to reach a greater slope. Do this in increments and plan for a slight offset for each course change.

 

Manufactured Blocks and Stones Are Easier

Besides offering a consistent look, manufactured blocks and stones for retaining walls offer structural integrity and an even base with which to work. There is little guesswork in installing, plus you'll have less work to do making sure each course is level. Be sure to color match and space out uneven colored stones and blocks for a better look.

 

Create A Solid Base

Dig out your base several inches below grade and tamp/compact it to level. Add any filler, such as gravel, before adding your first stones or blocks. Remember, the base sets the tone for the entire wall, so spend a lot of time in preparing this key component.

 

Plan For Drainage

A retaining wall that has a slope dropping to it will need additional drainage at the base. Add gravel and a fabric-covered drainage pipe at the base. The fabric will help prevent clogging of the pipe; a key feature as you will not want to dig out the pipe later to unclog it.

 

Keep It Level

For each course of stones and blocks, be sure to check for level. This will help maintain a sturdy and balanced wall, plus you'll keep an even and consistent look.

 

Backfill Adds Support

Backfilling as you go adds support in success layers, so as you add a new course of blocks or stones, backfill to match this level. Be sure to tamp in/compact the soil as well, so you don't have as much settling later.

 

Add Finishing Touches to the Top

Add cap blocks to the top row of a block or stone retaining wall. You can add a layer of masonry adhesive to hold them in place, then back fill. Or you can backfill as you go, then add the cap. Either way, it provides a nice finished look, much like edging added to a paver patio.

 

Building a retaining wall can be a big investment of time and money. Before you get started, learn these key tips to make sure your project is a success.

 

A retaining wall doesn't need to be boring!!!! With the selection of styles, colors textures available, you can find the perfect wall to enhance your landscaping design, creating curve or straight walls, terraces, stairs, planters and pillars.

By: ANDERSON LANDSCAPING INC | Created 10/30/2018

As nice as it is to have a lawn with beautiful green grass, the job of maintaining such a landscape can be difficult and require a considerable amount of work.

It is important to take the proper steps to ensure the grass you’re dedicating so much of your time to is healthy and full of potential.

Watering

One of the most important parts of growing a green lawn is making sure your grass has adequate water. However, your grass doesn’t require as much water as some might think.

Obviously as spring turns into summer, the weather will get hotter and grass will need more water to thrive. But even then, the rate of watering your lawn shouldn’t be too dramatic.

Weeding

One thing everyone with a lawn has in common is a healthy disdain for native weeds. But if you haven’t initiated a pre-emergence weed plan yet, you may have to get comfortable with a few unwelcome weeds growing in your yard.

The key to preventing weeds is to stop them before they start growing. It may be too late to stop a lot of the weed growth this summer, but it’s never too late to look ahead to future seasons.

Don’t cut too short

Cutting your grass down so far as to expose soil will allow weeds and pests to flourish in your yard and make it very difficult for your grass to recover.

Try to mow when it’s dry

This isn’t always possible, especially if you hit a patch of bad weather where it rains every day for a week, but it is preferable to mow when it’s dry outside to help prevent your grass clippings from clumping, which can lead to uneven cuts and potentially killing your grass if large clumps are not picked up after you mow. Wet grass also increases your risk of slipping while mowing, which can be extremely dangerous with a push mower.

Mix up your pattern

If you always mow in the same pattern, you will begin to create noticeable ruts with your mower and compact the soil in a manner which will make it harder for your grass to grow. Additionally, you will develop a grain in the grass which only goes in one direction, causing the grass to lean rather than stand up straight.

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