Spring Landscaping in Omaha, NE
Now that spring has arrived, getting outside and enjoying the weather is on the agenda for most of us. It’s also the time where the green is coming back, soon to be followed by colorful flowers and the revival of beautiful landscapes throughout the city along with the revival of outdoor living and entertaining spaces. Whether you’re simply interested in maintaining your landscaping or have new ideas you want to incorporate this year, now is the time to get started!
First thing’s first – from a grounds maintenance perspective it’s important to clear out everything that’s settled into your lawn over the winter months, particularly leaves that may have matted down, preventing new growth. Then you’ll be on to other maintenance, lawn care, planting, landscaping projects, installation of new features, or whatever is included in your vision for this year.
“To get started, the best thing that you can do is to take a site inventory of your residence or commercial property,” advises Marcus Hellwege, owner of Great Plains Landscaping & Design (greatplainslandscapes.com). “You’ll want to do a thorough assessment of drainage, eroding concrete, and if water is getting into the house, along with pinpointing special areas in the yard where you’ll want to create interest, relax or entertain. A spring clean-up is also a must, including trimming dead growth back, shaping shrubs, trimming trees and cleaning up planting beds. Applying mulch to help stop weeds is important in the springtime too.
Among the most common questions I’m asked are ‘Can I have plants with easy maintenance?’ and ‘Can I have a nice texture, color and seasonal color in the planting design?’ The vast majority of people do not have a lot of time to invest in the upkeep of their property so they want a yard that is easy for them to clean up, mulch or river rock but that still has great curb appeal. Furthermore, the most overlooked problem in people’s yards is a landscape design with plants, trees, grasses and shrubs that didn’t properly account for a 20 year period. If plants or trees are too close together, when they mature disease or die off starts to happen and they ultimately will have to be removed. Similarly if trees are or certain shrubs are planted too close to the house it can cause significant damage to the property.
The biggest thing as far as advice I’d offer is invest in a landscape design from a landscape architect or landscape designer, as an overall plan of a residence or commercial property is key. A landscape architect or designer will inventory your yard and ask questions about what you want done to the property. From this information, the landscape designer will draw a plan in phases: planting beds, plants, drainage problems, retaining walls, patios, walkways, water features and beautifying your property. For those that just want to take care of their property, sometimes it is good to have a landscape design or plan to help guide clean up, care and do-it-yourself jobs. A landscape professional will have plenty of ideas to offer from past experiences and knowledge to help you with your yard.
Great Plains Landscaping specializes in outdoor living spaces, drainage problems and solutions, retaining walls, flagstone, landscape curbing, low maintenance landscape design, ponds, pondless waterfalls, arbors, trellis, decks, fences, outdoor lighting, irrigation, lawn repair, tree trimming, holiday lighting and epoxy flooring (lava flow and garage floor coatings). We can help you with any project, large or small.”
As far as trends in landscaping, he adds, “Water drainage and surface water collection to prevent stormwater runoff into city sewers has become much more popular in recent years. Locally and nationally there has been a push for rain gardens and water collection for reuse (irrigation and reusable water for toilet or washing applications in the household). We have been installing a lot of EZ flow drainage (French Drain), dry creek beds, underground drain tile, and rain gardens. We also install dirt along the foundation to prevent water from flowing into the house. For those who are unfamiliar with rain gardens, these are areas where water is directed to a dug out water collection area. This collection area is tilled in with compost and plants soak in the water through there deep root systems, allowing the water to soak into the ground and not into the sewer. All of these applications can be used for commercial and residential projects.”
Another very popular trend for landscaping is outdoor lighting, particularly within the last several years. Similar to outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, lighting systems have been transformed from the do-it-yourself plastic fixtures whose bulbs burn out what seemed like weekly to attractive LED units with bulbs that will last fifteen to twenty years with a properly designed system. Whether it’s uplighting on trees and landscapes to highlighting design features of your home or providing the perfect task lighting for your outdoor entertaining area, Natural Nightscapes has you covered.
“At Natural Nightscapes we see lighting as a multi-functional way to bring beauty, drama, and added security to your landscape,” explains Travis Lerdahl, Chief Designer and owner of Natural Nightscapes (www.naturalnightscapes.com). “Like a painter with their canvas, we want each installation to be unique and profoundly satisfying. From the no-cost consultation to the design and all the way to the annual check-ups, Natural Nightscapes will be there the whole way.
While outdoor lighting in general is considered to be a newer trend, color changing outdoor lighting certainly the latest and greatest upgrade in our industry. Being able to enhance the plant material by applying added color helps dramatize the scene. Many others like the option of setting the holiday moods by changing the fixtures to a red/blue scheme for the 4th of July, or an orange/purple for Halloween, etc. The best part is one can do all of this through their smartphone or tablet within a couple of minutes.
Above all, design and quality is everything in the outdoor lighting world. Every beautiful outdoor lighting project starts with a design, and the design starts with an understanding of the client. The initial consultation is our time to talk about the style, characteristics of the property, and overall expectations. Upon discovery, the landscape and architectural lighting design begins.
Being a relatively new specialty, most new clients know they like outdoor lighting, but really do not know where to start the budget. Our recommendation is that if you’re going to spend 2-20 thousand dollars for landscape/architectural lighting, start with a meeting with a professional lighting designer. A professional lighting designer should not be biased on product selection and will take the time to understand you and your property.
As a key example if a client is on the fence about lighting and are unsure of the potential, we also offer a free demo in which we will generally focus on one area of the property. We’ve found that setting up a few temporary fixtures for several nights really goes a long way in helping our clients to decide which direction they want to go.”
Finally, if you’re doing any major landscaping projects this spring there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, make sure that you know exactly where your property lines lie. It really isn’t uncommon for errors to happen in this area, which can be costly and time consuming to correct. “One should not implement a landscaping project near property lines without knowing exactly where those borders are first,” advises Toni Montana of Land Survey Inc. “The effort, time and money spent on planning and installation can easily go down the drain without taking the initial time to have a professional boundary survey done. Unfortunately I’ve seen far too many property owners skipping this process and getting burned in the long run. By having a professional boundary survey of your property done, it will be on file and any future disputes will be nullified. You’ll then be able to proceed with your project and enjoy the fruits of your labor for the rest of the year and on into the future without any complications that would arise from accidentally crossing past where your property lines lie.”
Secondly, if you’ll require special tools or equipment for projects you are accomplishing on your own, keep Honeyman Rent-All in mind as a resource. They truly have everything you could possible need to complete your project without having to invest an arm and a leg to buy something that won’t get regular use, particularly with respect to large equipment. In addition to their extensive inventory, Honeyman Rent-All even has trained staff on-hand six days a week to assist customers in selecting the right tool to complete their jobs successfully.
Indeed, the beginning of spring is a great time to have a professional come out and assess your property before you move forward with planning and executing your vision. Also, keep in mind that consistency is incredibly important to the health of your lawn, plants and shrubs. You’ll want to set up a schedule for lawn treatments as opposed to just ‘one and done’; this will ensure that your grass is thicker, healthier and easier to care for with less weeds and problems over the course of the spring and summer. Combined with proper watering and mowing practices, you’ll be set up for success. It’s important to have a good irrigation professional along with your grounds maintenance/lawn care/landscaping team to ensure you’ve covered all of the bases, especially to alert you as to the elements you might have missed. This is an industry where there’s many advances from year to year, so it’s common for people to be unaware of many products and services that could make a huge difference in the success of their landscaping endeavors.
As far as the weather goes, now is definitely the time to get going on spring clean-up, maintenance and landscaping! So this month and beyond, no matter what you have planned for your landscape, make sure to utilize the knowledge and expertise that our local experts have to offer and you’ll stay on the right track.