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Another magical transformation by ABC Landscaping

Posted in: ABC Landscaping News, on

We wanted to share with you some photos and a video featuring one of our latest projects. We started with a sloped patch of rough terrain.  Over the course of the project it was transformed into a beautiful oasis with a fire pit, pizza oven and a beautiful running stream that looks like it has always been there! Our clients were so delighted that they put together this slideshow showing before and after.

We are happy and grateful for the opportunity to work on this fun project!

“Dean is a master at water feature designs…”

Posted in: ABC Landscaping News, on

A water feature can transform a backyard into a lovely retreat. As spring and planting season are gradually approaching many homeowners are looking at updating or re-doing their yards, we thought to share with you one of our reviews from the work performed in 2014.

“ABC Landscaping/Dean Couture owner, and his team transformed our front, back and side yard, into a beautiful, outdoor living oasis.

“After reviewing ABC Landscaping website, we contacted Dean Couture/ ABC Landscaping owner, to set up an appointment to meet. He was very prompt in contacting us back.  Dean created a design plan that was creative, functional and met all of our requests, plus some! The proper paper work/blueprint was provided and submitted to our HOA landscaping review board for approval.

“From start to finish, Dean and his team, worked diligently, with great knowledge, professionalism and experience.We appreciated that there was always a full team on site (7 plus guys) and all the necessary equipment to deliver and move dirt, boulders, large trees, etc. They were able to finish our project (large in scope) within 8 days. We were always informed of each step of the process and any concern we had was addressed right away. The layout suggestions, selections of trees/plants, and the design plan, far exceeded any vision we had.

“Dean is a master at water feature designs. We did not even have a water feature on our original wish list but after seeing some of his past projects and his suggestions, we are so thrilled that we added one.  

“ABC landscaping transformed our backyard into a peaceful retreat. We would strongly recommend calling ABC Landscaping if you have ANY landscaping needs.

See more of our landscaping work and water features >>

If you are considering doing work on your yard – whether it is upgrading landscaping with new and additional trees, or adding a beautiful water feature or a patio – give us a call for a free consultation and estimate!

We’ll be happy to help you transform your yard into Colorado sanctuary!

15 Most Common Landscaping Mistakes

Posted in: Landscaping Advice, on

Landscaping projects are an intricate blend of design, craftsmanship, and engineering. Without the proper skill and experience, there are many things that can go wrong or simply get neglected.

Even some professional landscapers lack the experience and training to properly plan for every element of a landscape project so it’s important that you know what to look for as your project progresses.

Here are 15 of the most common landscaping mistakes:

1. Creating Unusable Space

If your landscaping project only involves pretty plants and fountains, chances are you haven’t really considered how you best plan to spend time in your outdoor space.

Chances are, you want your outdoor property to look beautiful because you plan on being outside at some point. Don’t waste this beautiful part of your home by carving out landscaping projects that prevent you from enjoying the space in the ways you enjoy. If you are a big cook, consider adding a beautiful outdoor kitchen or pizza oven into your back yard. Maybe you’re an entertainer? How about adding an engaging pergola with some seating for guests when they come to visit.

Don’t neglect functionality when starting your design project!

pizza-oven-outdoor-landscaping


2. Planting in the Wrong Part of the Lawn

Do you know what kind of sunlight those flowers need? Will those bushes will thrive more on the east or west side of your lawn? You need to design your landscape with plant needs in mind or the beautiful design you see initially will start to fade as the plants do, too.


3. Planting Too Deep

If your landscape project includes a tree, you could easily kill it with too much soil. Although you might not think so, planting too deeply can actually “choke” a tree or cause its roots to rot. The best way to avoid this is to only plant trees up to the root ball – that’s the area where the “tentacles” come out. If you can’t identify the root ball, another best-practice is to only dig as deep as the pot or container that the plant came in.


4. Cutting Grass Too Short

Lawn-Mowing

Even though you might think shorter grass will look cleaner, accidentally scalping your lawn can have serious consequences. Bare patches in lawns invite insects and disease, which are hard and costly to get rid of afterwards.

You’ll also want to make sure you leave your grass a little longer in the summers to create shade for the soil and prevent water from evaporating so quickly.


5. Ignoring the View From Inside

We’ve seen many landscaping projects that look BEAUTIFUL from the curb, but lack the same wow-factor or design when viewed from inside your home. Your landscaping project shouldn’t only be about impressing future home buyers – this is your home, make sure you love how your yard looks from a vantage point you’ll see every day!

If you’re working with a landscaper, request photos of their work from multiple angles — a good landscaper should love their end product from any vantage point and wont be afraid to share multiple photos from different perspectives. If your landscaper is only showing you curb-view photos, this could be a big red flag that they’re hiding some messy craftsmanship.


6. Ignoring the View From the Curb

Although you don’t want to ONLY consider your curb appeal, you shouldn’t ignore it either! Great curb appeal can increase the overall value of your home by up to 30% – that’s a $90,000 gain on a $300,000 home. If you’re hiring a landscaper or trying to do design a project yourself, make sure you spend a good amount of time on the front of the house.

The backyard may be where you spend most of your time, but the front of the house will give you big returns when you put your property back on the market.


7. Bad Fertilizer

As we’ve talked about before, a lot of conventional fertilizers have harmful chemicals that can be damaging to plants or your surrounding ecosystem. But even with a good fertilizer, you can harm your lawn by fertilizing too often or not enough. In general, it’s a good practice to fertilize twice a year (once in Spring and once in Fall), but every lawn and plant is different.

When you do fertilize, make sure you don’t do it in bright sunlight and always water the soil after adding the fertilizer.


8. Picking the Wrong Plants for Your Climate

A lot of home gardeners might see a beautiful plant on Pinterest and try to incorporate it into their landscaping without reading up on the ideal climate for it. If you’re not familiar with the local plants for your area, working with a local expert landscaper can save you hours and hours of research or replanting efforts.

Even in dry climates like Colorado Springs, there are a huge variety of plants that will thrive in your lawn.


9. Ignoring Wildlife

deer

Maybe a plant will work well with your climate, but that doesn’t mean it’s resistant to the local wildlife you have in your area. Here in Colorado Springs, for example, we see a lot of landscaping projects that neglect to factor in the grazing habits of wild deer in the area. We like to use plants that are durable and can withstand the occasional deer nibble so that our clients can enjoy their yards even when the wildlife does, too!


10. Poor Pruning

Pruning is a great way to prepare your yard for seasonal changes, but if done improperly, it can have very negative effects. We recommend that clients prune their plants in the Fall or Spring, depending on the type of plants in their yards. Be sure to pick up a good pruning manual if you’re unfamiliar with the process.

gardening

11. Inconsistent Color Scheme

A good landscaper can make your entire property look consistent and cohesive. Conversely, amateur landscapers frequently get carried away with micro-theming different areas or going color crazy with every obscure plant they can get their hands on!

Make sure you have a solid color story planned out for your property and keep all zones in the same color family. This will create a more consistent look overall and increase that overall curb appeal we talked about earlier.


12. Boring Color Scheme

The other big mistake we see frequently is an inexperienced landscaper playing things too safe, resulting in a monochromatic, boring color scheme. While you want to keep things consistent and cohesive, you want to do this with a wide variety of plants and layouts for maximum impact.


13. Too Much Decoration

Your landscaping shouldn’t look like an expensive trip to the sculpture warehouse. Not only will too much lawn ornamentation detract from the other landscaping work around it, but it reduces the impact of the pieces themselves. If you’re going to add lawn decor into your landscaping project, less is more.


14. Underestimating Cost

If done right, your landscaping project will be expensive – regardless of whether you do it yourself or hire a landscape contractor. You’ll want to appropriately budget for this investment in your property ahead of time so you aren’t tempted to cut corners to save costs.

Remember, you could see a return on your investment of 30% of your total property value, so make sure you’re budgeting enough to maximize that return.

Many landscaping projects can be done in zone phases, so talk to some local landscape architects to come up with a plan that’s right for you and your wallet over time.


15. Forgetting Lighting Until the End

lighting

What good is a beautiful landscape design if it becomes invisible at night? Unfortunately, we see many great landscaping projects that don’t consider lighting until it’s too late to integrate it properly. The best landscape architects will plan lighting design alongside your landscaping to ensure that the work you have done is properly lit at night as well.

If you plan on adding lighting yourself, just make sure you talk to an electrician about safe best practices for adding lighting to your outdoor space. This may impact how you choose to lay out some of your planting beds, so make sure you have these conversations early on.

Being mindful of some of these common landscape design mistakes can save you lots of time and money over the course of your project. Of course, if all of this sounds too overwhelming, ABC Landscaping is just a phone call away! We’d love to help make your landscaping project easy and mistake-free.

5 Custom Outdoor Kitchen Designs That Inspire

Posted in: Landscaping Advice, on

An outdoor kitchen is more than just a useful entertaining piece, it also adds a real WOW factor to your house and brings your landscaping together. Here are five gorgeous outdoor kitchen designs that we hope inspire your own design plans:

1. Mountain Outdoor Bar

Outdoor-Bar-Mountains

Source: hgtv

We love this outdoor bar that incorporates a custom wood bar and a simple grilling station with under-counter storage. The custom local Xeriscaping and water features add to this little at-home getaway and make it perfect for entertaining.

Designer: unlisted


2. Shore-side Kitchen

Beach-Outdoor-Kitchen

Source: huffingtonpost

This gorgeous beach-front Malibu home takes advantage of its great views with a sandy-white outdoor kitchen and fireplace.

Designer: unlisted


3. Moroccan-Inspired

Moroccan-Outdoor-Kitchen

Source: hgtv

Bright turquoise tiling and architectural accents give this outdoor kitchen such a Moroccan feel that stepping outside feels like a trip to another country. The stainless steel appliances add a touch of luxury to the rustic design.

Designer: Bang for Your Buck


4. Pizza Perfect

pizza-oven-outdoor-landscaping

Outdoor-kitchen-pizza-oven

What could be better than gathering around a Colorado Springs outdoor kitchen with some good friends and home made pizza? We designed this space with home entertainment in mind. The custom fireplace allows for groups to mingle outdoors even in the colder months.

Designer: ABCLandscaping


5. Egyptian Desert

Egyptian-Inspired-Outdoor-Kitchen

Source: hgtv

Even tiny yards can achieve big WOW factor with an outdoor kitchen. The Egyptian papyrus that surrounds the outdoor eating space and water features enhances the earthy color palette, inspired by the TV designer’s trips to Egypt.

Designer: Jamie Durie

For more outdoor kitchen design ideas, be sure to check out our portfolio or contact us for a free custom quote!

6 Best Plants For Your Colorado Xeriscape

Posted in: Landscaping Advice, on

Due to the dry climate in Colorado, Xeriscapes are a popular low-maintenance landscaping solution for homeowners who want to deliver that “wow” factor year round.

When picking out the plants for your Xeriscape, it’s important that you not only choose drought-resistant plants, but also plants that are native to your region to ensure long-term stability.

Here are a few plants we love to use in Colorado Xeriscapes:


1. Poppy Mallow

For beautiful magenta blooms in fall, spring, and summer, the resilient poppy mallow is a colorful addition to a Xeriscape. The poppy mallow’s deep roots store water through even the toughest droughts and make it the perfect plant for a Colorado landscape.

Colorado-Landscaping-Poppy-Mallow


2. Apache Plume

Native to the southwest, this deciduous shrub has been a favorite of Colorado landscape designers for years. The Apache Plume’s beautiful white blooms are succeeded by feathery rose-colored seed heads, which persist long into winter.

Xeriscape-Apache-Plume


3. Kentucky coffee tree

For those who want a low-maintenance tree in their Xeriscape, a Kentucky coffee tree can be a very cool addition. With no serious pests or diseases, the coffee tree can grow 50 – 90 feet and has a high tolerance for heat and drought.


4. Agastache (Hummingbird Mint)

The Hummingbird Mint comes in many colors ranging from purple to orange, blooming from late summer to mid-fall. Because of their tubular flowers, Hummingbirds love these plants and many scientists believe that the plant even co-evolved with hummingbirds to be their pollinators!

Hummingbird Mint


5. Festuca Boulder Blue

An intensely blue nearly evergreen grass that can handle intense heat, the Boulder Blue has the added advantage of being rather deer resistant, too. It’s easy to care for and makes great Xeriscape groundcover.

Festuca-Boulder-Blue-Colorado-Native-Plant

Image via Garden Coach Pictures


6. Fernbush

A favorite of Colorado Xeriscapers, the white roselike blooms of the Fernbush attract butterflies and bees to the garden between June and August. An extremely low water-usage plant, the fernbush is also very deer-tolerant and its leaves have been used by Native Americans to make teas for upset stomachs.

For more ideas on Colorado Xeriscapes, check out our portfolio or contact us to get a free estimate on a custom Xeriscape for your home.

Is Your Fertilizer Poisoning Your Yard?

Posted in: Landscaping Advice, on

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your fertilizer? If you’re buying conventional fertilizer, it can contain lots of synthetic chemicals:

Ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium chloride and more.

Big box stores will tell you this kind of fertilizer is perfectly “safe” for produce and gardens, but the chemicals can still be risky for plants and even the environment outside of your landscaping!

Risks of Conventional Fertilizer

After watering or rain, the toxins in conventional fertilizers can get into underground waters which spread throughout your ecosystem, impacting local fish and fowl.

Synthetic fertilizers’ high acid content also decreases your soil’s production of naturally-occurring microorganisms, which break down matter into plant nutrients for your garden or crop. Soil that cannot produce these microorganisms risks its ability to retain water, distribute nutrients, and becomes very susceptible to disease.

In fact, synthetic fertilizers can do so much damage to the natural makeup of your soil that simply switching back to a “Green” fertilizer is not often enough – in some cases, the entire soil beds must be replaced to encourage a re-growth of natural bacteria.

A Greener Fertilizer

For the healthiest and most natural soil for your plants, look for a fertilizer that is OMRI certified, like Jobes Organic Fertilizer that you can find in Colorado Springs. The OMRI certification let you know that the fertilizer is 100% natural with no chemicals or carcinogens.

OMRI-listed-logo-rgb

For added security, check the ingredients list again. You should see things like cottonseed meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, and manure – but no chemicals.

After getting a new landscaping solution from ABCLandscaping or any other vendor, make sure you take care of your plants with chemical-free fertilizers to increase the vibrancy of your garden as well as the health of your overall environment.