Spring is almost…. well… somewhere around the corner. And before long, your time will be filled with backyard barbeques and late summer nights outdoors with family and friends. For many homeowners, a new or renovated patio is at the top of their wish list and winter is the perfect time to plan if you want to use your new hardscape this season.
A patio is often the hub of a home’s outdoor environment. The shape and size of your patio may be limited by a few factors such as the style of your home, where you would like it on your property, and your budget. Here are a few things you may want to consider when you’re dreaming about your new patio:
How do you think you will use the space? Will you be dining with family or entertaining a crowd – maybe a little of both? Knowing this will help you prioritize features. An area for a dining table and a second area for comfortable seating would accomplish both things. The addition of a fire pit or fireplace would create a focal point for relaxed gatherings. Make a list of everything that you want in your new or renovated patio starting with the ‘must-have’ features and prioritize all the other elements including the very extravagant. Even if they don’t make it in the initial build, it’s nice to have a plan for where you might add these features as time goes on. And don’t overlook the old adage, ‘location, location, location.’ It may make sense right outside the back door if dining is the main focus. But if chilling out by a fire is what you’re thinking, then perhaps in a quiet out of the way corner of your property. Keep in mind that permits are often required, so be sure to ask about this when you meet with your landscape contractor.
Which materials catch your eye? Bluestone is one of the most popular materials used for patios in our area. It is strong and versatile and holds up well in our climate. Pavers, once very limited in size, shape and color, have come a long way and really allow the designer to personalize the patio to match the surrounding landscape. Permeable concrete pavers are similar to traditional concrete pavers. Permeable pavers are individual concrete pieces that fit together in a pattern. The difference between permeable pavers and traditional pavers is that the spaces between each paver, known as the joints, are designed to allow water to flow through them. The base that the paver system is built on is made up of layers of clean crushed stone that varies in size and depth, depending on the site and volume of water. These pavers are well suited for patios and walkways. They come in a wide variety of colors, patterns & textures. The benefit of using permeable pavers is that because they allow water to percolate through them they do not count against your impervious surface total, which can be highly regulated, especially on lakefront properties here in the lakes region of New Hampshire. In fact, utilizing a permeable paver system can actually reduce the overall impervious percentage on your site.
What is your budget? There are many things to consider in a budget. Material costs vary enormously. In general, natural stone is more expensive. Bricks and concrete pavers can be less expensive, depending on how complex the design or material options you choose. The addition of walls, walkways, steps and outdoor kitchens can dramatically increase the cost of the project.
What’s your timeline? Any well-thought out project takes time. There are several phases that must be planned and coordinated. From demolition to material reuse to maintenance down the road, there are many facets to address in the overall hardscape plan.
Spend some time on design websites such as Pinterest or Houzz. There are lots of great garden magazines as well. The possibilities are endless and you are sure to see something that will inspire you.
The Miracle Farms design-build process makes every customer a part of the team. When dreaming of your backyard patio design you are limited only by your imagination. Together, with the help of our talented team, we will create the perfect outdoor living space for your family to enjoy all season long while also boosting the value of your home.
So don’t wait – there’s no time like the present to give us a call and start planning your patio project.
We want to tell you again how much we like the recent landscaping you did on our waterfront property. Your crew changed a mediocre back yard to one of exquisite beauty as well as being functional. It’s absolutely beautiful and beyond our expectations.
Your men (Marcelino and Louis) did a fantastic job . We were impressed with their professionalism and their work ethic. Please extend to them our sincere thanks.
If you and your company ever need a reference please feel free to ask us.
We would highly recommend you .
Again thank you for making our home just that much more beautiful.
P.S. Horst also agrees, your guys did a fantastic job!
Carol and Horst G.
The first question to ask yourself is, “Do I build raised beds, or plant directly in the ground? Depending on where you live, soil conditions, sunlight, cost and time involved, your answers may vary. Let’s take a look at some of these factors to help you decide.
1. If the soil where you were hoping to plant is hard-packed, sandy, or rocky then there would be an advantage to building a raised bed and filling it with a healthy mix of topsoil and compost. Of course the cost of materials and the construction time may be enough to make you dig a little harder and amend the soil in the ground.
raised bed in early spring
2. The raised height can help to keep pets out of your garden and by putting a layer of wire mesh in the bottom, you will likely deter burrowing critters trying to come in from below. Again, this adds cost to your project.
3. The fresh soil that you would start with should by nature be cleaner and more free of weeds and a raised bed requires no edging to keep grass out. Because of the height, raised beds are generally a bit easier to weed and maintain.
4. Once you commit to raised beds you can get creative with the design and layout. Check out this article on HOUZZ that details lots of options for materials to use when constructing your raised beds.
5. Time and Cost are a disadvantage. Planning, building and maintaining season after season takes time and financial investment. Even naturally rot-resistant woods such as red cedar and cypress will eventually need replacing and can be difficult to find. Although today’s pressure treated lumber is no longer made with arsenic, many people still prefer to use untreated wood.
6. Soil temperatures in raised beds will warm sooner than soil in the ground so planting can begin a bit earlier. It is also easier to cover raised beds should you fear an early or late season frost.
There is certainly a lot to consider when making this choice. If you know you want raised beds, but don’t have the time or energy to construct them, call Miracle Farms Landscape Contractors and we will help you get the job done. 603-253-9292
raised beds early spring
Happy 4th of July from The Lakes Region!
Looking for some last minute ways to spice up your Fourth of July garden party? Here are a couple of quick and easy tricks to do just that!
Decorative Lawn Stars:
- Find a flat piece of cardboard and cut out a star to the perfect size.
- Pick up some red, white & blue spray paint.
- Take your star stencil out to the yard and go crazy spraying stars on the grass and create your own milky way! (The grass grows out and it will be gone in a couple of lawn cuts.)
Handkerchief Pillow Cases:
- Go to your local Dollar store and buy 2 red, white or blue, handkerchiefs and some festive colored ribbon.
- Take a pillow that is about an inch smaller than the handkerchief all the way around.
- Place one handkerchief on the bottom of the pillow and a different color on the top
- Tie the corners with your colored ribbon and you are finished!
- Take 10 of your recycled fruit and vegetable tin cans and remove the paper label
- Use your left over spray paint from the lawn stars to paint the cans in festive patterns and wait for them to dry
- Set them up in a stacked pyramid, grab an old softball or baseball and bowl your first strike!
Just a few warm spring days are enough to make me dream of spending hours in the yard this summer. This is a great time to think about some of the landscape projects you might want to do this coming season. If you’re anything like me you have a list as long as your arm of things you would like to improve or add to your landscape. The hardest part is deciding where to begin. Now is the time to think about your outdoor space and how you use it. Identify areas that get a lot of use and those that do not. Evaluate the environmental conditions of different areas, particularly sun exposure. What do you value the most about your property – the waterfront? a commanding view? the stream that runs through the back? These are all important things to consider as you decide on your landscape improvement plan.
Hardscapes such as stonewalls and patios can make dramatic changes to your landscape and provide areas for family and friends to relax and enjoy your outdoor space. Smaller projects like a simple walkway or a fire pit add function and enjoyment as well. Landscape plantings are a great way to enhance elements that already exist in your yard. Plants can soften and define a stonewall or walkway.
walkway with planting
You should consider a few decorative touches once you decide on your project. New patio furniture, a lovely collection of planted containers, a small fountain and perhaps some landscape lighting to add your own personal touch. With some thoughtful planning ahead, you can really improve the function and appeal of your outdoor environment.
We all know first impressions are huge and your landscaping is an extremely important piece of the curb appeal you want your home to have if you are thinking of selling. A properly planned landscape can help your home stand out from others on the market and can also give you a decent return on your investment.
The following statistics from RealEstate.com help make the case for a little landscaping:
- Raises the property value as much as 12%.
- Increases your resale value 14%.
- Spending as little as 5% of your home’s value on landscaping may get an ROI (return on investment) of as much as 150%.
- Decreases the amount of time your home is on the market – sometimes by as much as six weeks.
Don’t jump into a major landscape renovation in order to flip your house quickly, but rather think about a long term plan for your property that you will enjoy over time and one that will add value to your home when and if you decide to sell. Consider not only plants, but also other elements like outside lighting, walls, patios, walkways, fire pits, water features and fencing
Great landscaping is a smart investment.
Of course we would tell you that landscaping is a good investment, but we believe a well designed outdoor space offers enjoyment for your family and a solid monetary return as well. Winter is a great time to daydream about your home here in the Lakes Region and come up with a list of things you would like to change or add to your landscape environment. Hiring an experienced team of professionals to help you plan, install and maintain your Lakes Region landscape is definitely a worthwhile investment.