Archadeck of Columbus discusses the importance of site conditioning for your softscape design

In this 2nd installment in our 3-part series on softscapes, Archadeck of Columbus discusses site conditioning for your softscape design plan.

Columbus OH front of home hardscape designs
Lovely hardscape and softscape addition in Columbus, OH.

In this 2nd installment in our 3-part series on softscapes, Archadeck of Columbus discusses site conditions for your softscape design plan.

There is an art and a science to installing a successful softscape design. This is driven by a host of factors which include a vast knowledge of the way plant material reacts within a border or bed, the growth characteristics of the plant, and the type of conditions best suited for an individual plant. Many less than professional contractors will just “throw” a plant in the ground not looking beyond the moment of installation. These practices forgo any site considerations to give the plant(s) their best start in order to thrive.

Archadeck of Columbus does not approach softscape design this way. We create a master plan with each of our clients that provides a detailed image and specifications of your softscaping plan. Our design team always takes into consideration what colors the homeowner prefers, or if you dislike a particular color when planning your softscape.

Pink hydrangea
Hydrangeas work well in Northern facing beds and borders, and come in many colors.

Factoring site conditions into your softscape design plan

1) Sun/shade orientation – When examining your individual site conditions, we first consider the orientation of your house and where the plantings will be located. For example, if the orientation of your site in on the North side of your home, it will receive a large amount of shade. For this site configuration we would choose shade loving plants to fill your border or bed, such as Euonymus, hydrangea and hostas,  just to name a few.

The same rules apply (but in reverse) when planning for a softscape that will receive a great deal of sun. For a sunny border we would choose sun-loving plants that are more drought tolerant than those required for shade plants. The soil within a sunny border or bed will dry out quicker because of sun exposure and evaporation, whereas a shady border will retain moisture and vital nutrients in the soil longer. This is also important to keep in mind when considering maintenance requirements of your softscape.

Here are some other sun/shade conditions.

  • Light Shade—A few hours of direct sun
  • Medium Shade—little direct sunlight – Reflected sunlight comprises bulk of available light
  • Deep Shade—No direct sunlight – In very deep shade, it is often beneficial to include hardscaping, structures, water features, containers, and or sculpture for enhancement.
Lilac bushes are a great choice for Ohio landscapes because they thrive in alkaline soil.
Lilac bushes are a great choice for Ohio landscapes because they thrive in alkaline soil.

2) Soil conditions – Much of Ohio lies on a limestone bed. This makes most of our soil here in the Columbus region very alkaline. The area that encompasses central Ohio works well with plant selections that are suitable for alkaline environments. A few specimens that perform well in alkaline soils include Lilac bushes and lilies, but the list goes on and on.

3) Outside interference – Any time we examine site conditions, we always factor in the amount of wildlife that may visit your property. The urban deer population has become a really big issue her in our area, and can decimate an entire border in one visit! We take all these factors into consideration when planning your softscape by adding deer deterring specimens to your design. We also consider the welcomed 4-legged friends that visit your site. We make sure your pet has a direct path that leads from the door to the area they use most often. We will do the same for the 2-legged friends that will be frequenting your proposed area around your softscape, perhaps we will even add stepping-stones through your border or bed for easier access to their favorite backyard retreat!

Do deer like to visit your backyard? Certain plants will deter deer when added to your softscape.
Do deer like to visit your backyard? We know which plants will deter deer when added to your softscape.

4) The highs and lows – Grade is an important consideration when preparing your site for a softscape installation. Archadeck of Columbus can use the grade of your site to gain the most benefit. We can create beds on a flatter surface and use hardscapes, such as retaining walls, to solve grade issues at your site. We also readily use spreading, ground covers on sloped areas for erosion control.

5) Site preparation and plant layout – When preparing your site for installation, we ask that you consider your privacy needs. Would you prefer a screening that delivers partial privacy or full privacy? We can provide either through the plant material itself, or through structural amendments or adding hardscapes — the choice is yours~

Unilock EnduraColor Il Campo
Hardscape paths integrated into a border or bed will alleviate plant damage by foot traffic, and they look beautiful!

What we use as resources for planning and design:

  • We instill the expertise and knowledge of a great nursery in Norton OH, called Dayton Nursery and Garden Center. They have a plethora of helpful  information on their website. Their easy to use directory allows you to look up information many different ways and even add commentary. This valuable resource is even targeted to the central Ohio region specifically.
  • Another great resource we utilize is a computer program called “Horticopia“. It has everything you need to know about every plant imaginable, including pictures and specifications!

Archadeck of Columbus realizes that knowledgeable and thoughtful plant selection, soil criteria and site conditioning are key factors in creating a functional and attractive softscape. We can help you plan and design the outdoor oasis you have always imagined, including the lush landscape that comes along with it! (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Please visit our extensive hardscape photo gallery on our website, including our patios and covered patio photo galleries, for more backyard ideas!

Archadeck of Columbus softscapes deliver the “total package” for outdoor living bliss

Archadeck of Columbus realizes that knowledgeable and thoughtful plant selection, and soil criteria are key factors to creating a functional and attractive softscape to enhance your outdoor living space.

Columbus OH front of home hardscape designs
Lovely hardscape and softscape addition in Columbus, OH.

In outdoor living design, homeowners are often seeking a look that includes a total package.This total package includes not only a functional and aesthetically appealing outdoor structure, or combination of structures, it also includes Softscaping. Softscapes are the element of a landscape that comprise live horticultural elements. These can include flowers, plants, shrubs and trees. This area of expertise is not limited to only landscapers. We at Archadeck offer softscaping in addition to our list of services created to fulfill your dream of an outdoor oasis.

TimberTech XLM Harvest Bronze deck with TimberTech Radiance Rail Columbus
Notice how shrubs, trees and plants can convey the “total effect” in an outdoor living space.

Keep in mind there is more to softscaping than just throwing a bunch of plants into the ground and making them look good the first month or so – much more. It takes knowledge of how the plant reacts in certain soil conditions and knowledge of each plant’s behavior, size and characteristics. This will help create a softscape that will look great now and also 5 years down the road. Many times, landscapers tend to overload a planting area or bed in order to make it look full and completed in the moment. This leads to a bed that is disproportionate and overgrown in a short period of time. Plants that should have been  placed in the back because of eventual height are often used in the front, and plants that are low-growing are often used in the back, just to make it look great right now. This scenario causes the homeowner to spend more money 5 years down the road to make it the way it should have been in the first place. Archadeck of Columbus takes your site conditions, budget and individual plant characteristics into consideration before designing your softscape. We are able to address all of the questions crucial to the success of your softscape area, which include:

Hydrangeas Like acidic soil and shade
Hydrangea thrive in acidic soil and grow best in partial shade.

Landscape design

  • Space – How much space will each plant need to properly grow?
  • Blooming Periods of plants – Which plants bloom during what intervals? Early spring, summer, or fall?
  • Width and height specifications – How tall will this bush get? How wide will this flower get? This is very important
  • Deciduous or Evergreen – Do you want shrubs that stay green and retain their foliage all year? Will a plant that loses it’s leaves during the winter bother you?
Do deer like to visit your backyard? Certain plants will deter deer when added to your softscape.
Do deer like to visit your backyard? We know which plants will deter deer when added to your softscape

Site Conditions – Certain plants will perform differently in each of these conditions. We can assist you in determining which plant materials are best for your individual location.

  • Soil type – Is you soil loamy? Sandy? Red clay? There is a wide array of various plants that perform best in your type of soil.
  • Draining and moisture content of the soil – Does your soil drain well, or does it retain moisture? This is important when choosing planting material.
  • Sun and shade orientation – How much morning sun vs. afternoon sun, if any,  does your site location receive?
  • Maintenance requirements of plants– Just like outdoor structures, there are high-maintenance and low-maintenance plants. How much time are you willing to spend maintaining and caring for your new plants?
  • Animals that will frequent area of softscape – Is your site in close proximity to an area that deer frequent? Or close to the spot where the family dog likes to “visit” each day?

Other key considerations include your budget and time. Decide ahead of time what your budget is and how much time you want to spend outside caring for your plants. To many homeowners this is a labor of love. To others, a lower-maintenance area is more their style. Also, do you want a finished project with landscaping or how much work do you want to invest into the area to have a finished project? Since late March – early May is optimal time for planting, this is the period that is best to install landscaping (foundation) plants. Later we can come back and sculpt out the planting beds and then return in the fall. We make it a point to discuss which plants can be woven together in the landscape to provide hints of color during every season. This ensures a space that is ever-evolving and a constant focal point of beauty season to season. Our softscape designs include the use of year-round color.  In preparing the space for planting, we work diligently on the soil area adding quality topsoil and finishing it off with mulch to prevent grass and weed growth.

Softscapes by Archadeck of Columbus
Softscapes by Archadeck of Columbus.

Adding softscapes brings so many benefits to your outdoor living space. They provide shade to cool your outdoor living room, and buffer out noise. Plantings can also act as the “paint” on the walls of your outdoor room by providing many colors and textures through your plant selections. Certain perennials can also add a  fragrant addition to your space, or offer color and contrast that is not limited to seasonal changes. The possibilities are endless.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Archadeck of Columbus realizes that knowledgeable and thoughtful plant selection, and soil criteria are key factors  to creating a functional and attractive softscape. We can help you plan and design the outdoor oasis you have always imagined, including the lush landscape that comes along with it! (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Bring your deck or outdoor structure design full circle with landscaping

Archadeck of Columbus is now offering landscaping to compliment your beautiful Archadeck backyard as part of our mix of variable sources. Now you can have your cake and eat it too!

archadeck_columbus_paver_patio_architectural_rendering
This paver patio architectural rendering includes the landscape plan as well.

One way to put the icing on an a great outdoor design is through beautiful landscaping. Perennials, annuals, and foundation shrubs can make or break the entire feeling you are trying to convey in your backyard. An appealing outdoor structure such as a deck, patio, porch or even hardscape pathways looks lost without appropriate surrounding landscaping. For example, you finally install that new breathtaking hardscape patio descending from your deck with a wonderful view of your entire backyard.Look around at the turf. Do you want to see dirt, weeds, or  just mulch? Or would you rather enjoy your new outdoor oasis surrounded by color and the luscious greens of plants? I am certain most homeowners would choose the latter without a doubt. For this very reason Archadeck of Columbus has entered into helping homeowners finish off their deck or outdoor structure by offering landscaping preparation and installation.

One benefit of having us do the landscaping is that there’s a degree of excavation that occurs while your outdoor structure is under construction. Since the soil surrounding your outdoor project is generally loosened, it becomes the perfect time to add landscaping. We can use the  soil, add amendments such as compost or additional soil if needed. We can also assist in installing the plants you have chosen as well as finishing it off with a spade edge and spreading the mulching material of your choice.

curved hardscape retaining wall Columbus OH
This custom hardscape wall in Columbus, OH comes to life with gorgeous landscaping.

Some things you will need to consider if you are planning on adding your landscaping at the time of your outdoor structure addition is the traffic flow of your addition as it will relate to the width, height and spread of the specimens you choose to plant. You will also need to consider the amount of the sun your area receives each day  in relation to your project, this will help you determine which plant material will work best in the area. Maintenance of your plantings is another key factor in helping you make the decision of choosing a perennial or annual border. Perennials require less maintenance in most settings because they don’t require re-planting each season like annuals do. A good idea in landscaping is to use perennials as your foundation border and add in splashes of annual flowers for color each season. Such as Pansies in the autumn months, and geraniums in the summer. This will add variety to your landscape and the change in mood you can portray in  the view from your outdoor structure season to season.

Columbus porch with landscaping plan by Archadeck of Columbus
This porch plan has the landscaping already mapped out, another one of our variables in service we now offer our clients.
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Contact Archadeck of Columbus to find out more about creating an outdoor oasis in your backyard with all the trimmings. We can discuss combining your landscaping around your project along with your free consultation, contact us today. Call for a free consultation: (740) 879 – 3730 westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Our combination structure projects run as smooth as silk, down to last board and bloom

Archadeck of Columbus talks about our combination outdoor living design and our theory on how we ensure each project is done right, even down to the landscaping.

Open porch with outdoor fireplace
This outdoor space combines an open porch with an outdoor fireplace, it also houses an indoor kitchen and spa at the other end of the porch.

Designing the perfect outdoor space for you and staying on top of outdoor living and design trends is our business. We are seeing an increase in the number of combination projects Columbus area homeowners are seeking such as deck/patio combination or a screen porch/deck/patio combination. Clients who build combination projects want to create an outdoor space that fits all their needs, and allows the effortless flow from one structure into another to offer maximum enjoyment in their backyards.

In good building management of combination structures, the projects need to be built in a certain order for everything to run smoothly. We schedule everything in order, in house, so there won’t be installers at the same place at the same time falling over each other. This also means that there are no big delays in finishing one facet of the design and starting another. This enables us to finish the job the way it needs to be done. No delays due to bad planning is an element our customers really appreciate and value because multi-living outdoor structures mean that their outdoor living area is not just one part, but many working together as one. This is part of what makes us a truly outdoor living company.

Open porch with spa and kitchen
This image shows the other end of this combination structure.

When building multi-component backyard living areas, many companies outsource the whole project or parts of the project which can cause delays, multiple crews working at one time, or other scheduling and project management nightmares. That simply isn’t the case when you are working with us. We do it all “in house”, right down to your landscaping. This ensures your entire project is staged accordingly and the finished project will leave you astounded and transform your entire back yard starting with the decking boards right down to the flower blooms.

Quality is our top priority when making your outdoor oasis come to life. When you have the project management, the quality materials, the expert installers and expert designs all coming from the same source the projects run more smoothly and the designs are better integrated. Our multi-part projects are built seamlessly as one continuous flow of work.

Columbus cedar pergola and hardscape duo
Columbus cedar pergola and hardscape duo
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

To learn more about our outdoor combination designs, including the landscaping that helps bring it all to life, contact Archadeck of Columbus today. Call for a free consultation: (740) 879 – 3730 westcolumbus@archadeck.net

See more multi-faceted outdoor combination structures by visiting our many photo galleries, located on our website. There are so many wonderful and functional combinations it will be hard for you to choose!

Archadeck Enhances Services with Landscape Design and Installation

Archadeck Welcomes Rob Mitchell!!

Archadeck of Columbus is constantly striving to improve our business, as well as diversify the type of projects we offer.

Through the years we have worked with several quality landscape companies to assist us with hardscapes, such as paver patios, seating walls, outdoor fireplaces and firepits.  Starting in 2011, we are taking the information we have learned over the years and will be providing those hardscape services right here at Archadeck!

We would like to introduce Rob Mitchell, our Outdoor Living Design Consultant.  Rob has a 16 year background in landscape/hardscape design and installation.  Archadeck of Columbus has had the pleasure of working with Rob on numerous projects over the last 10 years.  Impressed with his attention to detail, ability to listen to client’s needs, customer service skills and knowledge, his services are just what we need to assist us in our continued growth.

Rob has been involved in the design, installation and management of projects such as paver patios, retaining walls, seating walls, firepits, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, natural stone patios, natural stone retaining walls, boulder accents, masonry applications, low voltage outdoor lighting, bed formations and plant installations.  His product knowledge and vast experience will be a tremendous benefit to our clients.

We would like to welcome Rob to our team and urge you to consider Archadeck of Columbus for “All Your Outdoor Living Needs”.

Archadeck of Columbus

 

Synthetic Deck with Hot Tub and Paver Patio

(740) 879-3730

Web:  www.columbus.archadeck.com

Email:  westcolumbus@archadeck.net