outdoor kitchens and patios

Outdoor Kitchens and Patios – That Time of Year

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After the long, never-ending winter months we endured this year across the east coast, sunshine brings everyone outdoors. This is the time of year homeowners are looking to optimize the use of their outdoor space. Whether this means enjoying their outdoor kitchens and patios or creating new ones, the summer months were made to be spent outside.

Outdoor kitchens and patios provide a lifestyle enhancement. These spaces are extensions on indoor living and create new rooms to be enjoyed. Patios create a transition from the inside of the home, to the outdoor living space. Depending on the size of the property and the homeowner’s budget, the spaces will vary. But everything can be customized and created to suit the individual needs. Outdoor kitchens and patios provide the outdoor living lifestyle that so many homeowners are looking to enjoy this time of year.

Creating Outdoor Kitchens and Patios Best For Your Home

Creating outdoor kitchens is a growing trend throughout the region. Outdoor kitchens today are easily customizable to fit into any space or any style. This addition to any backyard creates an ideal outdoor living space that friends and family can enjoy. It is the ultimate entertainment space, perfect for hosting parties or intimate dinners.  Stainless steel appliances are a popular addition to create a sleek and modern look outdoors, as well as including bar space, trash space, shelving and counter-tops. Every kitchen is designed to best suit each individual needs and provide the ideal outdoor living space for functionality.

When designing outdoor kitchens and patios it is important to reflect on your lifestyle. When renovating or creating a new outdoor space, look at the area in the same way as you would your home’s interior. Consider your space as an addition to your indoor living. Determine its purpose. Do you want a cozy warm space for gathering, hosting friends and family with a new dining area and outdoor kitchen, as a space strictly for visual and aesthetic pleasure, or to create some privacy? Will it be used year-round, with a fireplace for colder months; an installed fan, pergola, or overhead covering to provide relief from the heat; or no covering at all to enjoy the sunshine? The outdoor kitchens and patios designs process is an elaborate one.

There are many variables considered while designing the ideal outdoor living environment for your home. Everything starts with the space provided, and working with the existing landscape and architecture of the time. There are proper permits needed for outdoor kitchen patio plans and many times towns will have certain regulations and allotments that need to be taken care of from the beginning. Once that is squared away, it is time to start thinking about what should be included to create the ideal outdoor living space. The details are what make each and every space custom. Whether you are looking for bar space, counter space, a pizza oven, beer tabs, bar stools, larger grill, or shelving units. From modern marble designs to rustic brick, creating the perfect outdoor kitchens and patios for your home and lifestyle can be done.

If you are interested in learning more or would like a complimentary consultation for outside kitchens and patios at your home, our designers are here to help. Get the most out of this season by creating the outdoor kitchen and patio you have been dreaming about.

pool gardening

Pool Gardening and Proper Planning

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As the saying goes, April showers bring May Flowers. Even with the cooler temperatures and rainy days, the start of the spring season brings hope. Bulbs are popping up to bring color to landscapes, the temperatures are rising, soil is warmer, the days are longer. Over the next few weeks, homeowners will be refreshing their outdoor spaces, and opening up their swimming pools to prepare for the summer months. It is the time of year pool gardening begins, cultivating landscapes and creating poolside gardening spaces. It is the season where everything comes back to life.

For homeowners who are creating poolscapes, or gardens by their swimming pools, it can seem overwhelming knowing where to begin. When it comes to swimming pool gardening, there are many elements to consider. You want to make sure your money is being invested correctly. Choosing specimens that can survive the summer months is important. Working with a designer can help create a landscape that ties the pool and home and patio together.

Pool Gardening Check List

  • Debris
    • Make sure the plants and trees surrounding your swimming pool will not cause debris to fall into the water. This will make the pool look dirty and create the need for constant skimming.
  • Wildlife
    • Consider the wildlife in your area. Deer are attracted to many flowers and will be at risk near water.
    • Also avoid flowering material that attract bees, to make sure the poolside gardening does not cause injury to swimmers.
  • Colors
    • Choosing plant material and flowers in a color scheme that complements the pool. Depending on the color plaster, color of patio space and color of home, the poolside gardening should help tie it all together.
  • Style
    • Pick a theme to plan around, neutral materials for an elegant pool, or vibrant Tropicals for a Caribeean feel, depending on the overall aesthetic to the property.
    • Pool gardening materials are what bring the backyard space to life. It becomes an eye catching backdrop that is admired in the summer months.
  • Upkeep
    • Keep in mind the material you choose, will all need proper care. Depending on your level of gardening involvement, choose materials you are comfortable caring for.
    • Low maintenance landscape options are available, and will work well poolside during the hot months.
  • Irrigation
    • Installing a water irrigation service is a worthy investment to properly water your gardens. Especially in the hot and dry weeks over the summertime, irrigation systems take care of the soil and materials for you.

Working with a horticulturist is helpful. Hiring a professional is a great way in the end to save money. Using their knowledge and careful selection for materials, will end up ensuring your investment. Proper care to swimming pool gardening is the key to a long lasting and successful space. You want this space to thrive and grow year after year. Putting the time and money in at the beginning, will make sure it pays off over time. It becomes rewarding to see your garden return every year stronger and fuller, bringing color and beauty after these long winter months.

Interested in creating a new poolside gardening space, or looking for assistance in pool gardening for your home? We are here to help. Contact us today, we are here this spring season to help you create your pool gardening oasis.

spring backyard

Spring Backyard – Advice and Inspiration for Homeowners

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Whether it may feel like it or not, March 1st is awakening your spring backyard back to life.  As outside temperatures are slowly rising, the soil temperature is increasing, plants become active, days become longer and the first of the minor bulbs start to bloom. You may have even noticed some bulbs blooming with the snow still on the ground. March is the kickoff month; it is exciting to watch the transition of Mother Nature, as the beautiful first signs of spring start to finally appear.

As the month of March progresses, you will notice some of the first plants and bulbs begin to bloom. Witch Hazel, Snowdrops, Crocus and early Daffodils will start showing up early on in the month. Given the change of time from daylights savings, we begin to have longer days and more hours of sunlight, which help assist in the blooming process and help us to gradually make our transition out of the winter.

A common mistake many homeowners make is waiting for the warmer months to begin to want to make any changes to their spring backyard. March is the time to create your game plan for the season and begin backyard spring cleanup. Setting up your gardens, pruning and cutting back trees, laying down fertilizer and splitting early perennials should all be items that are taken care of early on. Use March to get ahead of the season, so when the warm beautiful days arrive, you will be able to enjoy your yard to its fullest. Consult with a landscape professional for a plan that would work best for you and your home this spring season.

Things to Do for Your Spring Backyard

As you stop by your local hardware and garden centers signs of spring backyard cleaning will soon be showing.  A great way to add an early spring backyard revamp is with early season perennials, annuals and forced bulbs.  Arranging them into planters carefully selected and placed in key focal areas of your garden are a great way to get an early start on the season and add interest to areas currently still stuck in winter mode.

While springtime is often associated with removing the clutter that has accumulated within your home, one should take advantage of the end of the dormant season and get outside as well.  Save the inside for a rainy day! Rake out the thatch from your lawn, redefine those bed edges, and clean up the broken winter damage from plants.  The early spring is the time to start pruning all of your ornamentals, shade trees and woody plants. Winter often causes damage to your yard and now is the time to start accessing the damage and instituting a plan for what needs to be done. Take the time to properly spring backyard cleanup. It is also a fantastic time to split perennials. With a little extra labor, one plant can be split into four, helping to make your landscape lusher and healthier.

Plants and trees right now do not require much water. With the cool evenings and abundant ground moisture, little additional water is necessary, making it an ideal time for planting, fertilizing and over-seeding those bare patches on your lawn. Now is the time to kick start your plants. You do not want to miss the window of opportunity that early spring moisture provides to help your yard to benefit in the months to come. For further assistance or a complimentary consultation, feel free to contact us. We want to help bring your backyard to its fullest potential.

custom garden services nj

Custom Garden Services and Maintenance Division

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Maintain and Enhance Your Property With Custom Garden Services

While Scenic Landscaping offers traditional lawn maintenance and lawn care services for our design/build clients, we also provide what we call, Custom Garden and Enhancement Services.

Custom Garden Services or CGS is a specialized department at Scenic that uniquely cares for your gardens, ensuring that they grow to their full potential. Much more than merely weeding beds our CGS department focuses on custom garden services such as maintaining the health and proper care of your plantings – monthly, seasonally or all year long.  CGS services include, selective pruning and proper fertilization of bulbs, perennials, shrubs, grasses, evergreens and ornamental trees.

Enhancement Services at Scenic Landscaping encompasses everything from bed mulching to the addition of seasonal color (annuals) as well as, fall and winter holiday displays.  Our Enhancement Team can also install smaller planting installations for clients who want to add to an existing landscape or create new planting beds.

Having an outdoor event this summer?   Possibly a high school or college graduation, Sweet 16, birthday party, or wedding anniversary?  Maybe you’re the family that has the annual Labor Day or Memorial Day party at your home.  If so, Scenics Enhancement Department can work with you to beautify your property for those special occasions.

Our Enhancement team provides garden design and maintenance packages and is also available to help you choose garden containers or other landscape elements for your front entry, rear patio, swimming pool, or any hardscape area that needs a seasonal display. Ultimately, we want you to think of our CGS and Enhancement department as your own personal “exterior designer” that can add beauty and detail to your garden.

We look forward to working with you to both maintain and enhance your gardens, now and into the future. To set up an appointment to review your goals and needs please call our office at 973-616-9600 or 201-783-2844.

landscaping principles

Landscaping Principles

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When creating a new landscape design, the levels of creativity are endless. Whether a large scale job or a small one, all projects reflect the same landscaping principles. It helps to have a general understanding of the fundamentals. In creating your own landscape design, or working with a professional, you will find the same general rules of thumb apply.

General Overview of Landscaping Principles Used Today

  • Unity
    • Unity is achieved by using consistency and repetition in the landscape design. By repeating plant materials, hardscape materials or flowers throughout a property, unity is given to the space.
    • A cohesive overall design is given by using similar textures, colors and materials throughout the design.
  • Simplicity
    • Art principles, as well as landscaping principles, state the same thing. Simplicity for beginners. Do not over-complicate or overcrowd the space, making the design busy and diluted.
    • Start small and add more as you go on and the landscape matures.
  • Balance
    • A landscape design should create a sense of equality.
    • Symmetrical or asymmetrical balance, depending on the design
    • Contrast and harmony can be created within gardens, to lines in the property, to walkways, to the use of plant materials.

From unity, simplicity and balance, there are other key elements included in landscaping principles that are used in design. The use of color is another deciding factor with guidelines to follow. Most homeowners gravitate to the idea of adding color to their property, all year round. Depth in landscape is created by the use of color, as well as interest in gardens and planting beds. Patterns of colors should be repeated, as well as a palate for the overall design.

A landscape design should follow a natural transition throughout the property. There should not be any sudden changes in the landscape, or plantings that look out of place or unnatural. Walkways and stairways should be designed with purpose, and create a natural walking flow throughout the gardens and property.

Proportion is a crucial element to consider in landscape design. Plant materials in gardens should be chosen that are in proportion to one another, and not have some that stick out unintentionally. Statues, fountains and furniture as well should all be purchased and placed in proportion to the space it will be occupying

Having a general understanding of landscaping principles and how to apply them to design is a great way to start any new renovation. Working with a landscape designer or a landscape architect, is a great way to become involved and educated on landscaping principles. Having hands on interaction and access to knowledge, will help to ensure a successful design and installation. Choose color templates you enjoy, your style whether modern and simple, or natural and rustic, as well as the purpose of your outdoor space. The landscape design in time will all come together in harmony, creating an outdoor space that will continue to grow and thrive every year.

If you are interested in working with a landscape designer or architect over the winter season, to start developing a new landscape design for your home, we are here year round to help. This is the best time of year to engage with professionals to map out your plans for the new year. To learn more about landscaping principles, or to start planning a new outdoor space, feel free to contact us today.


landscaping in winter

Landscaping in Winter

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The winter solstice arrives next week, and with it brings many changes landscaping in winter. The solstice marks the first official day of winter, which brings colder days and soil temperatures begin to drop. The good news is the days begin to get longer now. Everything happens on a bell curve, the soil temperatures will drop, but will begin to rise again, bringing to first early sign of spring to the winter landscaping around us.

Landscaping in Winter: What to Expect

As the temperature on the bell curve comes back up,and soil warms up, that is our first sign of spring. Even if you can’t see it, bulbs are starting to get forced out of ground. Bulbs all winter are spent underground, developing and maturing throughout the winter. This is necessary so that come springtime, they can push their out of the ground. The shade trees, such as maple trees start to show their first spring appearances with tiny blooms. This is always a good sign of winter on its way out.

Landscaping in winter is the time of year to refresh and clean and prepare. This is always a good time of year as we get closer to spring to focus on hardwood pruning, and cutting back growth on your trees and plant material. Eliminate damage to existing plants and trees by removing snow and ice buildup throughout the winter storms.

Bulbs need to be in before winter, so they will come back by spring. Witch hazel starts blooming in mid February. In the latter part of winter cornus moss start to bloom, native shrub called mock orange start to bloom before March. The red flowers on maple trees are little signals that spring is coming, as the days are starting to get longer.

Winter Garden Ideas, Winter Planter Gardens for Color and Interest.

Winter time while cold and dreary, does not mean your landscape needs to be. Mother Nature takes it toll on the East Coast, but there are ways to add interest to your property with winter landscaping. Winter garden plants can be used in planters throughout the property. This is a common and easy way to add color during the colder months. The winter garden plants that are often used are holly, birch limbs, southern magnolia leaves, cypress, pine cones, and red berries. These will all survive the harsh temperatures and frost and snow. These custom displays and holiday displays are a fun way to add color and landscape to your home.

Start planning early vegetable gardens during winter as well. Vegetable gardens will be planted in late March right after winter passes. This is a good time of year to take advantage of pruning old perrennials, getting fertilizing done, and organizing the early plants that will get in towards spring. It is important to consider frost tolerant plants and vegetables, since early spring can still bring frost.

Scenic Landscaping offers a Custom Garden Enhancement Services and Maintenance Divisions. This division offers routine winter care and custom decor additions to your home. An example of landscaping in winter services we can provide:

Winter Landscaping Services {Periodic checks December thru March}

  • This includes: General cleaning of gardens and grounds, selective winter pruning of, shrubs, evergreens and ornamentals as species dictate and tolerate.  Snow and ice damage monitoring to relieve weight and stress of snow and ice covered plantings.

We also provide an extensive catalog of urns, planters, and fountains to match your home and garden. These are easy additions to enhance the natural landscape all year long. Our award winnings crews are highly trained and dedicated to their craft. Please feel free to reach out to us to learn how we can help your property during the winter, to ensure the very best come springtime.