WHAT IS HARDSCAPE?

Many people focus mostly on the interiors of their homes; they forget the first impression of a home starts from the outdoors. Hardscape is every other part of your home’s design that is not a plant. It includes the walkways, the walls, ornaments, patios, outdoor fireplaces, water elements, and fences. Thus, hardscaping involves designing these features to make your yard look gorgeous. Ideally, you should finish first with your hardscaping plans before you introduce flowers and gardens.

Here Are A Few Hardscaping Ideas You Can Use To Decorate Your Yard:

Stone Decorated Walkway

You can spruce up the boring path to your house and around your garden with a stone decorated walkway. You can use natural stones, bricks, or a mix of both in different beautiful colors or the more traditional monotone colors.

Outdoor Backyard Dining

If you have a large family that is always playing hosts to family or thanksgiving dinners, then an outdoor backyard dining is an excellent choice for hardscaping. Given that there is more space outdoors, you can have a dining area that serves a larger number of people while enjoying a refreshing scenery.

Create a Natural Waterfall

The reason a lot of people like the beach and the pool is because the sound of water has a calming effect on their minds. You can create a natural waterfall in your outdoor space to recreate that natural calm you feel at the beach.

Decorative Outdoor Staircases and Walls

If you have a deck above your home, you can make the walk up a memorable one every time someone uses it by creatively decorating your stairs. You can also turn boring walls into beautiful backgrounds for pictures for the gram. For the walls, you can use decorative stones, tiles, or even colorful, artsy graffiti.

Unique Outdoor Fireplace

You can have a unique fireplace outdoors to cater to your needs of a family or friendly gathering on cold evenings. This place will replicate the warmth and coziness of indoor space. You can learn how to build a firepit here.

These Hardscaping designs, just like gardening, can transform the outdoor look of your home and increase your curb appeal. You can find even more tips for Hardscaping in the Pacific Northwest here, or contact us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscape to help you to create stunning Hardscaping designs that will increase your home value.

 

Neighborhood beautification, hiding underground powerline and telecommunication boxes with giant ornamental grasses in the neighborhood

Many of the landscaping ideas you see around town typically involve trees, flowers, and shrubs of all shapes, colors, and sizes. However, while these are a great addition to gardens, there are other plants that you can use for landscaping. For instance, grasses can add a unique element to gardens, which trees and shrubs cannot provide. If this is something you will like to try, here are some great ways you can landscape with grasses.

1.     Soft Landscape

Planting grasses along the edges of hard waterways, pathways, and decks can make them appear softer. However, to achieve this look, you have to choose a grass that can adequately hold its form. This landscaping idea is great for larger areas, and they provide a mounding effect that arc over the edge of hard landscaping.

2.    Colorful Chaos

Another way to landscape with grasses is by planting different groups of colorful grasses together. Not many plants can top the beautiful display that comes with colorful grasses like the Japanese blood grass, purple fountain grass, and Indigenous Melinis nerviglumis. For best results, grasses should be positioned in a way that allows the sunshine through the leaves.

3.    Emboldened Sculptures

Grasses can also be used in other ways apart from the regular landscaping ideas you are used to. They can be used to accentuate garden sculptures in very interesting ways. One of such ways is to pair long grasses with bold garden sculptures like the stalking eagle. Fine-leafed grasses like the Aristida junciformis can be used to soften and frame garden sculptures.

There are many ways to landscape with grasses, and these are only a few of them. Try them out today or experiment using resources at your disposal, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the results! You can Contact Levys Lawn & Landscape today to get any of these ideas and more professionally done for you.

Luxury backyard fire pit

In the past, most backyards were decorated using different deck designs. These days, however, we have moved on from wooden decks to interesting ideas such as flower beds, outdoor kitchens, ponds, and fire pits. Fire pits are becoming a popular landscaping choice due to the soothing ambiance they offer, as well as the warmth a fire pit provides during the cold months. If you would like to build a fire pit in your backyard in the Pacific Northwest, here is a step-by-step guide that can help.

  • Step #1

The first step to building a fire pit in your backyards is to pick a spot in it and dig a hole. Depending on how wide you want the pit to be, the hole can be anywhere between 1.5 – 3” deep and 5 – 10” wide. When digging, ensure that the bottom is as flat as possible.

  • Step #2

Next, line the freshly dug hole using firebricks. The firebricks should be enough to make a complete circle of your desired fire pit. The circle formed should be lined by standing the firebricks on end and placing them next to each other.

  • Step #3

Using concrete, clay, cob or fire-resistant materials, solidify the ring. You can do this by using any of these materials to join the bricks together, into a solid ring. Whatever material you use for this should be allowed to dry before proceeding.

  • Step #4

Fill up space outside the circle with debris, so that the ground is leveled with the edge of the brick. Next, fill the center of the pit with river rocks, and your fire pit is ready for use. If you like, you can add a decorative edge to it for more beautification.

If you’ve thought about having a fire pit in your backyard but never seen it through, now you can! With these few easy tips, you can beautify your backyard with a fire pit, and enjoy some warmth sitting out. If you need help building your fire pit or landscaping your backyard, you can Contact Us at Levy’s Lawns & Landscape today!

Although the outdoor space of your home is technically just an extension of your home, you can make it a stunning get-away with beautiful and fun hardscape ideas that enhance your landscaping design. Here’s a list of how you can make terrific changes in your outdoor space to make it a cool relaxation spot and improve your curb appeal.

1. Engage Your Creative Genius

To make your outdoor area look and feel like a getaway space, you must engage your imagination and creativity. You can draw inspiration from luxury resorts and fanciful places you have visited or seen pictures of, in creating your desired design. Also, you can create a combination of different cultural hardscape styles, creating a unique design for your property.

2. Consider the Elements

While creating your outdoor spaces, consider the elements and how they are likely to affect the beauty of your outdoor area. Notably, you should take into consideration, where the sun rises and sets and then, fix structures in places that maximize the beauties of these elements.

3. Blend into the Natural Surrounding

Leverage on your already existing natural surrounding and create designs that align with it, to give your property a seamless blend. For instance, if you already have natural stone boulders, you can blend it with concrete stepping pads, or you can hardscape around your waterfall.

4. Personalize Your Outdoor Space

Everybody loves to play, have fun and relax. Your backyard is an excellent place to set up structures that enhance relaxation and fun. For instance, in addition to your regular outdoor pool and patio, you can incorporate a favorite play structure in the mix.

5. Highlight with Hardscape

You can use beautiful hardscapes to highlight different sections of your properties, as well as to create boundaries in different areas of the house. This will help provide a great view while serving the intended function of the hardscape.

6. Use Materials That Fit

Consider the style of your home before setting out to get materials for your hardscaping. For instance, if you have a traditional home, you can use brick for the hardscape, and if you have a more contemporary home, you can consider granite. The thing is, the style of your outdoor should be in agreement with the style of your home.

7. Switch Up On Colors

While it is typical to have the greys and browns outdoors, colors are also beautiful for hardscaping. You can let the outdoor areas around your pool or garden be colorful with an array of colors, by accessorizing with tiles, chairs or flowers.

8. Stay Classy

Use simple and classic materials to create a fantastic look of your backyard. You can use a combination of brick and concrete to achieve a classy style that does not outright says traditional or contemporary style.

9. Less Is More

While you may typically want to get as many details on your outdoor, often, less is more. A standard outdoor space can have just a few solid features and be appreciated more. Thus, having less will not necessarily take away from the beauty of your outdoor space.

10. Regulate Temperature

With a simple fireplace set up, you and your family are sure to enjoy the warmth on cold days, and with installing the more tradition ceiling fans, you also get to have some cool on sweltering days.

There you have it; hardscaping ideas that can enhance your outdoor landscape. However, while you can do some of it yourself, you’ll need the help of an expert to implement some of the ideas. Levy’s Lawns & Landscaping is an expert company that can help you transform your outdoor area into a stunning relaxation space. Contact us or call us at (360) 876-6567 for a free assessment of your outdoor space today!

wedding decor, wedding landscaping levys lawns and landscaping

Any bride or groom will tell you—finding the perfect spot for your nuptials can be a challenge. Rather than search the universe for the best place, why not transform your yard?

Here at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping, we can help you create the wedding setting of your dreams. Here are a few ideas:

  • Turn a ho-hum concrete wall into a stunning structure with patterned stones. The overall effect will wow you.
  • Transform those blocky wooden steps and faded wood deck into smooth stone and tile stairs, leading to a stone-tiled deck. Stone and tile lasts for years and doesn’t discolor.
  • Create an outdoor BBQ/cooking area against the side of the deck. Add a cedar awning over the area to protect from weather. Your guests can gather and mingle around the BBQ, sipping their favorite libations.
  • Build a walkway throughout the yard using slate stones. Imagine a stone pathway winding through your yard. Or, a trail of pavers. For a very low maintenance yard we recommend a hardscape.  This can consist of flat stone or paver pathways or patios, rock gardens, fire pits, and a combination of raised garden beds or wood structures such as arbors and pergola’s within the hardscape.  Let us design a jaw dropping landscape that will impress your guests and take no time at all to maintain.
  • A fountain or waterfall can provide an elegant backdrop for wedding pictures. Nothing wows your guests like a gorgeous water feature, pond or water garden that is the central theme of your landscape.  Waterfalls and water gardens provide a lovely aesthetic, as well as a rippling water sound that blocks out all manner of unwanted noise created by traffic or noisy neighbors.
  • Build a privacy screen. We can take a highly visible space and turn it into a private oasis by utilizing various kinds of walls and barriers from Stone, wood, trees, plants, and shrubs.  This is particularly important when in a tight neighborhood where many houses can see each other’s backyard.  By the time we finish with your yard you’ll feel like you have your own private island.  As trees and shrubs grow they provide further shade barriers and privacy screen fencing.

Give us a call if you’d like to discuss ideas for creating the perfect backdrop for your or your son’s or daughter’s weddings. Todd Levenseller, the owner of Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping, LLC has been landscaping and designing for over 30 years. Todd has a truly artistic eye for a beautiful landscape and garden design and you will not be disappointed in his design work. With enough planning, you can have a wonderful area to host the event, leaving you with lasting memories and a yard to cherish.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest or other areas popular with deer, you know what a nuisance they can be. Let’s face it—you can fence them out, put up scare tactics and plant food they dislike. But when times are tough or they simply feel like munching the roses on your porch, they’ll find a way.

Last month we gave you a good list of a deer’s least favorite plants to have in your garden. But what if you don’t want to plant only deer resistant plants? Here’s a list of ways you can deter deer—as long as you realize that nothing is ever foolproof, except for hardscaping (which we at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping excel at doing!):

  • Deer dislike certain odors, including mothballs, decaying fish-heads, blood meal, garlic, fabric softener, processed sewage, repellent plants. If you can stomach the smells yourself, try putting any of those odor repellants in and around your plants.
  • Deer get jumpy around loud noises, like the small aircraft that “come in hot” over local runways to scare them away before they loop around to land at a safe speed. Don’t have an airplane to chase away the deer? Try floodlights, noisemakers, fluttering flags, loud radios, whistles, firecrackers, electric wires, hidden fishing lines, sprinklers, or dogs. You might end up having a neighbor problem, however.
  • There are sprays to deter deer, including rotten-egg and water, soap spray, hot-pepper spray and many commercial sprays including Deer-Off, Deer-Stopper or Deer-Out. Repeated applications are necessary, however.
  • Electronic devices, like the Havahart Deer Repellant Stakes, said to “mildly shock the animal,” or ultrasonic deer devices, may keep the deer away.
  • The most effective way to keep deer out of your yard is to install fences. Your fence should be at least 8’ tall, extend partly underground and not have gaps bigger than 6×6 inches for the deer to squeeze through or crawl under.  A determined deer can clear an 8’ fence, however. Try planting thorny hedges inside the fence, or, build a couple of 5’ fences 3’ apart, to serve as obstacles.

If you need help with fences or want to try hardscaping, give us a call!

edible gardening

Ever try an edible landscape? Edible gardening is a great way to provide ornamental, decorative color in your yard, as well as integrating food-based plants throughout. While the design principles are the same as with any garden, you’ll substitute lavender, lettuces, herbs, blueberries, vegetables and fruit trees for some of the shrubs, landcover or flowers you’d normally plant. The result of your carefully designed and planted edible garden can mean owning a beautiful yard with added health benefits—food from garden to table!

The first thing to do when planning your edible garden is determine the sun exposure. No sense planning sun-loving tomatoes or peppers in the most shaded part of your garden. Almost all fruits and vegetables prefer the sun. Some can tolerate partial-shade.

If you have an area that gets less than six hours of sunlight each day, consider planting evergreen huckleberries or alpine strawberries in these areas. Or, you might try herbs, lettuce, chives, kale, Bok Choi, spinach, or Swiss chard. These leafy or root-based plants can tolerate two to four hours of sun.

Peas, potatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, basil, and strawberries prefer at least six hours sun.

For areas with all day sun, melons, tomato, squash, pepper, eggplant, cucumbers, corn, and beans will thrive.

Choose a well-trafficked area of your garden for integrating edible plants. You’re more likely to take good care of an area outside the window, or one you walk past on a regular basis.

Once your area has been selected, have fun with the planting. Integrate your edible plants with other edibles, or with ornamentals. Try a border of lettuces, spinaches or other salad greens interspersed with dwarf nasturtiums. Colorful peppers provide a bold contrast when combined with marigolds or the cardinal flower. In shady areas, plant alpine strawberries near fuschias. Try arranging your dwarf fruit trees in patterns, in and amongst a border of culinary herbs. Or, line your driveway with lavender plants.

We hope you love your new edible garden!

Pro tip: Let Levy’s Lawns and Landscapes build a hardscape patio, surrounded by raised beds. Relax on the patio with friends and family, while being surrounded by flowers, fragrant herbs and vegetables.

We’ve all experienced that sinking moment of despair when we step outside to admire our beautifully landscaped yard and healthy, abundant lawn…only to see it transformed into hills and valleys plowed by our underground neighbors, gophers and moles. It can happen in a blink of an eye. One moment, your lawn is at it’s pristine finest…the next day its been bulldozed from below.

First things first—what NOT to do to rid yourself of these little varmints:

  • Get them to chew gum. A popular urban myth suggests adding chewing gum or soft candy to the gopher hole. Supposedly, when the gopher consumes the human treat, his intestines may gum up or cramp. Then, he’ll either die or vacate the premises. Does it work? Experts say no, and we don’t recommend it.
  • Explosives. Those who like to blow things up might try pouring gasoline down a gopher hole, then, igniting it. This can be dangerous, to say the least. Besides causing injury to you or your loved ones, lighting up a gopher trail with gasoline can destroy your lawn. The grass will usually die above the burn zone, highlighting the gopher’s elaborate system of trails. As they used to say on Mythbusters, “Please, do NOT try this at home.”
  • Stick a hose down the tunnel and drown the little buggers. Not recommended. A gopher’s burrow is an elaborate system. There are food caches, nurseries, and other burrows, usually positioned higher than the tunnels. When the water runs down the tunnel, the gopher may pack up the family, heading for a higher burrow to wait out the storm. Or, if you get lucky, they might flee. This leaves you with the option of bashing them over the head with a shovel and then finding a good disposal method. Are you really prepared for gopher bashing?

So what can you do that works?

  • Some swear by a device called a Burrow Blaster or Gopher Blaster. These explosive devices are among the most popular methods for the complete removal of gophers. Using a mixture of oxygen and propane, this technique causes pulmonary hemorrhage in gophers and kills them. While some call this method inhumane, the shock wavecreated by the explosion is swift and deadly. The rodent won’t know what hit it. Your yard might not know what it it, as well. Any dry grasses or plants in the yard could catch on fire. And, as with the gasoline method, extreme care must be taken when using a Gopher Blaster. If your yard is on the small size, you’ll probably want to employ other methods.

    Gopher Blasters can be expensive, however. Starting at about $1300, the kill rate can be as low as 30-40%, and as high as 95-98%.

  • Gas them out. Some have tried the carbon monoxide method. Simply connect a pipe from your engine exhaust and position it in a gopher hole. Tamp the pipe down with soil. Make sure there are no other holes visible. Known as the Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Control (PERC), it supposedly takes three minutes of exhaust fumes to fumigate the rodents.
  • Poison is an extremely effective and popular method for controlling gophers. Use extreme caution, however, if you have kids or pets. Zinc phosphide and strychnine are two popular poisons used to eliminate gophers. Simply make a hole in a tunnel, using a broom stick or rod. Pour your poison bait into the hole. Gophers will discover this new burrow and eat the baits. Or, you can mix the poison with 4 quarts of vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, beets or parsnips. Add 1/8 oz. strychnine, and 1/80 oz. saccharine to the washed, dried and chopped into 1 in pieces vegetables. Pour the bait into the tunnels. Good-bye, gophers.
  • Gophers despise strong scents. Place fish scraps or dryer sheets down the tunnels and watch your gophers seek new yards, leaving yours alone.
  • Place gopher traps (usually found at farm supply stores) in the tunnels or passageways of an active gopher mound. Dig a hole and put the trap diagonally into the tunnel. Completely cover the trap with black plastic sheet or burlap so that no light reaches into the hole. As soon as they’re trapped, transport them to a distant location far away from your home or property.

If you want to eliminate the problem of gophers altogether, you might consider hardscaping your yard. At Levys Lawns and Landscaping, we excel at hardscape design. Give us a call at (360) 265-5231.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re blessed to have abundant rainfall, even throughout the summer at times. However, we still need to water our yards. Summer days might begin with a sprinkle but the long days and lingering light can ultimately result in a dried out yard and parched plants. Learning how to “water smart” is the key to a healthy garden in areas like Tacoma, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor and Bainbridge Island, each possessing their own unique microclimate.

Watering smart doesn’t mean only utilizing plants that need little to no water. While hardscaping can prove an attractive option, you might prefer plants in your yard. If this is the case, you, the smart Northwest gardener, needs to make use of good watering principles and practices. Here are a few tips:

  • The biggest water hog in the Northwest and beyond, is usually the lawn. By replacing a segment of your lawn with a hardscape, pavers, or ground cover, you’ve already taken a big step toward water savings. If a lawn is a must in your yard, try planting Perennial Ryegrass or Fescue. Both of these grasses require much less water than Bentgrass or Bluegrass.
  • Mow your lawn to the proper height. Setting the mower to a 3” – 4” cut will keep the soil cooler. Additionally, a longer lawn in the Pacific Northwest creates a cushy platform on which to walk or recline on picnic days.
  • After mowing, leave the grass clippings in place. Clippings break down quickly and replace nutrients in the soil. Mow often so you don’t shock the grass by removing too much of the grass blade at once. Additionally, if you only mow once in a while, the clumps of clippings can smother your lawn.
  • Our summer climate generally remains in the 70s or 80s. At these temps, your lawn will need about an inch of water per week. Try staggering your watering to a half inch two to three times a week. Or, try waiting until the lawn becomes dull green in color or begins to wilt.
  • An Eco-lawn can provide a pleasing solution to a grass lawn. Eco-lawns consist of a mixture of grasses, clovers, and flowering plants, such as, English Daisies, Roman Chamomile, Sweet Allysum and Yarrow. They look pretty and use far less water than a grass lawn. Seed mixtures can be found at most nurseries as well as online. Make sure and choose a seed mix for our region, such as the Northern Ecology Mix for the Puget Sound area, which includes colonial bent grass; strawberry and Dutch white clover (Trifolium species); the flowering perennials English daisy (Bellis perennis), Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium); and an annual, baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii).
  • Clover also works as an easy-care alternative to grass lawns. Clover is a nitrogen fixer and provides nutrients for the other plants, which means less fertilizer application.
  • Try interspersing a hardscape into your yard. Again, by reducing the amount of lawn in your garden, you effectively reduce the amount of water you need. We’ve got some great ideas for hardscapes. Take a look at this article to get your creative juices flowing.
  • Feed your lawn and garden at regular intervals. A healthy lawn stands a better chance at crowding out weeds. It also helps the lawn deal with the stresses of heat and drought.
  • Lastly, if you can stand it, let your lawn go in the summer. Mother Nature generally provides enough rain to produce a healthy lawn. In the summer, you can let your lawn go dormant. Grasses are amazingly resilient and can last up to two months if left alone.  When the rains return, your lawn will bounce back and return to its green lushness.

By employing any or all of these techniques, you’ll no doubt find your water bill dropping significantly.

If you need help with any aspects of your yard, give us a call at (360) 265-5231. We can design a water reducing hardscape or paver patio, plant a new lawn or install a sprinkler system.

hardscaped yards in the pacific northwest

Let’s face it—here in the Pacific Northwest, we have an abundance of rain. The rain leaves us with green forests, abundant plant life and, from spring to fall, a swiftly growing lawn.

If you’d like to put away the mower for good, you might consider lawn free landscaping. If done right, this type of landscaping can provide you with less maintenance, as well as a lot more texture, color and visual appeal. And, it can save you money—gone are the water costs for keeping your lawn green and lush. You can say good-bye to having to fertilize the ground surrounding your house. No more back-breaking weekends spent mowing or dumping lawn trimmings, or having to pay to have your lawn maintained by someone else. Instead, you get to relax and enjoy your yard instead of being a slave to it.

Here are a few ideas for lawn free landscaping ideas in the Pacific Northwest, including Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo and Belfair:

  • Go native! There is an abundance of native plants in our region, perfect for maintenance free landscaping. Plants already adapted to their native environment generally require less hand-watering, far less fuss, and will blend nicely with cultivated plant species. Choose from small to medium sized trees like dogwood (which look splendid when covered with spring flowers), or taller trees like the Bitter Cherry tree or Shore pine. Red flowering currant, Tall Oregon grape, and Salal are excellent mid-height plants (less than 10’). Add low growing flowering plants like Trilliumand Cinquefoil, Beach strawberry, ferns and camas to complete the array. To find out more about native plants for our region, please visit the King County website.
  • Create a soothing Zen garden. A winding walkway made of pavers, lined with Japanese maples and dogwoods, and a rock garden peppered with succulents or native grasses, sedge or rushes can create an easy-to-care-for, tranquil oasis. Or, consider placement of Zen-friendly statues, like the laughing Buddha or a tranquil Buddha in meditation. Also, a wind chime or two can turn your yard into a soothing musical oasis.
  • Many yards in the Pacific Northwest are set on slopes. A mix of boulders and flowering shrubs and flowers will both help prevent erosion and add striking curb appeal. Or, create a terraced effect with rust edged steel and pavers. Add some grasses, like Red Tussock, Feather Grass or Variegated Purple Moor. Mix in a Sword Fern or two. You might want some trailing vines, like Virginia Creeper or Trumpet Vine. Avoid ivy as it’s quite invasive.
  • Plant native flowers on either side of a gravel or stone pathway, creating a calming walkway. Dahlias and Shasta Daisies provide height, while Solomon’s Seal, Primrose and Wild Ginger grow lower. The Cardinal Flower yields bright spikes of color in late summer, and appeal to hummingbirds as well.
  • Replace your lawn with a fountain, babbling stream or other water feature. Add lighting to really give a romantic or dramatic effect.
  • Consider an entire hardscaped yard. There’s no reason there has to be plants in your yard. Try an artful sculpture garden. Or, a mix of stone, granite and various kinds of gravel. Surround the hardscape with small shrubs or trees and you’ve got a wow backyard.

If you still need ideas, give us a call at (360) 265-5231. We’ve got great ways to make your yard easy to care for and the experience to back it.