3 Reasons Hardscapes Are Trending in Today’s Landscaping Design

3 Reasons Hardscapes Are Trending in Today’s Landscaping Design

Hardscapes are a low maintenance way of achieving a beautiful landscaping design without the up-keep! Keep reading to find out why we are in love with hardscapes!


Photo: Thompson Custom Homes

If you are looking to undergo a total renovation to your landscaping design this year, have you considered just what a hardscape could do to totally change the look of your lawn and garden? Just browse the Internet and you will see that hardscapes are trending in 2018. There are some lovely examples of Architectural Landscape Design with the inclusion of hardscapes you can get ideas from.

No, you don’t need to live in Minnesota to employ ideas from that site, but if you do, that may be one company you could consult with if you live in or around Minneapolis and are looking for someone to take your project from design to completion. Nevertheless, here are three reasons hardscapes are trending this year.

1. Little-to-No Maintenance

Many homeowners find that they simply don’t have the time to keep up with lawn care as it should be. While working long hours and having many family responsibilities, it’s hard to find time more than once a month to get out there long enough to mow the lawn. Forget about planting and caring for decorative flowers, shrubs, and other plants because there wouldn’t be time for that. Therefore, the most common reasons why so many homeowners are leaning towards hardscapes is the minimal care they require.

Photo: K&D Landscape Management

2. Outdoor Living Space at Its Finest

Hardscapes can be used for anything from a peaceful place to rest after a long day at work to the backdrop for an outdoor kitchen. Whether covered or open to the blue sky above you, you will begin to discover multiple ways in which a hardscape area of the lawn can serve as extra space outside the home. These are especially useful if you often entertain outdoors in the summer. Enjoy friends and the fresh outdoors without adding mess and clutter to your home.


Photo: Van Puette Lanscape

3. Well Suited for Small Lawns

Even homes in suburbia are often situated on small postage stamp-sized lots. When this is the case, hardscapes come in handy. With a natural stone floor, a fire pit for warmth and beauty, and a chair or two to rest in, you can appreciate nature even more when you know you need to do nothing more than hose it off a few times to keep it fresh and clean. Why buy a lawn mower when your backyard is hardscaped? Don’t forget, you can add potted plants for a bit of color if you so desire.

Along with those leading reasons why hardscapes are trending, you will find homeowners saying that it is also easier to keep their homes clean because dirt and mud aren’t getting traipsed into the house after a heavy rain. On the flip side, hardscapes can help to keep dust down during dry months when there has been little rain. With a few potted plants, you can enjoy the same natural beauty as you would in a traditional softscaped garden and some of those plants can even be used for vegetables and herbs.

Hardscapes are a major trend in landscaping that is growing by the day. Now you know why

Solar Energy Was Big In 2017

Solar Energy Was Big In 2017

Find out why solar panels are one of the best ways to save energy and what’s new for the future of solar energy.


Photo: Grady o Grady Construction and Developement Inc.

One of the great goals of today’s civilization is to achieve energy independence from fossil fuels. Many strides have been made in this aim, both in transportation and in energy production so far. Renewable sources of energy like solar and wind energy are being harnessed and countries around the world have successfully operated solely or largely on the energy produced by those sources of energy, including the latest report from Scotland.

However, those news all come from large industrial-scale complexes and national energy corporations. If you as an individual want to take part in the energy revolution, there are companies such as http://actionsolar.net/ which offer home sized solar solutions. You can not only reduce your electricity bill by a significant margin, you can also help save the planet, and the tax rebates you will be entitled to are just an added benefit.

So, what is the state of solar energy in the world?


Photo: Eric A Chase Architecture

Solar Is Still Far From Dominant

Despite everything we hear about the great strides that solar energy is making in the world, it still only contributes 0.7% of the world’s energy needs. That is not to say that the solar power is not viable, but the amount of energy the world consumes each year is a staggering 22,000 terawatt/hours of energy.

Even though it may seem like the attempt to make solar energy more prevalent isn’t particularly successful, the growth rate of solar energy speaks to the contrary.

This year alone, almost a 100 GW of new solar capacities have been added to the world’s electricity production. This number doesn’t mean much until you learn that the total solar capacity of the world is now at around 400 GW, meaning that solar has increased by 25% this year alone.


Photo: Chiemgauer Holzhaus

Projections for the Future

It is tricky to speculate about the future of solar energy, but if the growth continues at this rate, as early as 2030 we can expect to see solar energy as the primary source of electricity. Even if the progress slows down as it was projected to, it is expected that the amount of energy produced by solar energy is going to double every two to three years.

Even today, solar energy plants have exceeded the capacity of nuclear power plants. However, solar energy has a disadvantage because it only works during the day and its capacity is reduced during the cloudy days. That means that the realistic output of nuclear power plants is still higher than solar, but with the growth of solar energy, that is slowly changing.


Photo: Montana Rockworks Inc.

Who’s Leading the Pack?

Contrary to the engrained belief, China is the leader in the installation of solar power facilities. In fact, out of the 100 GW of new solar panels, almost 53 GW were installed in China alone. The USA’s 12 GW is dwarfed in comparison. One of the most recent participants in this energy revolution is Turkey with almost 2 GW. It may sound insignificant at first, but once you realize that this puts Turkey in the leading position in Europe, that tells a lot.

What Do Individual Solar Panels Mean

In the great scheme of changing the landscape of energy production, installing individual solar panels isn’t going to change much. However, there are many advantages on the individual level which you can exploit.

The first and foremost advantage is the reduction of the cost of electricity. During the peak hours, you can even produce more energy than you can spend, so you can actually feed the energy into the grid and get paid to do so. Most parts of the USA provide some incentives and tax rebates to people who install solar panels, and California is no exception. You can learn more about the advantages of installing solar panels in California from Action Solar.

5 Reasons the Modern Home Needs Air Filters

5 Reasons the Modern Home Needs Air Filters

Improve your home’s air quality with an air filter. Here’s how!


Photo: Christina Karras

A home can be pristine and the eptimony of what it means to be a modern home, but low air quality will ruin that. Residents and visitors alike will have issues with a home that they can barely breath in. Air filters are made and placed in your ventilation system in order to raise a homes air quality and keep a home home smelling fresh and clean. Your home needs air filters for simple, but important, reasons.

New Air Filters Keep Air Quality Up

When a ventilation system pumps in air from the outside the air goes through the filtration process. Air filters trap in the dirt and debris traveling with the air and that causes the filter to become dirtier over time. Dirty filters affect airflow and affect indoor air quality, and even cause fluctuations in home temperatures. Air quality is necessary to comfort but filters also help keep a home safe.

A Home With Clean Air is Safer

The problems and air filter traps are able to do more than just dirty up a home or ventilation system. Higher quality filters are able to block out allergens like pet dander or pollen that act as possible triggers for problems like asthma. Certain filters are also able to block out issues like bacteria or even viruses in a home. You can breathe easy as air filters keep a home smelling fresh and even lowering costs.


Photo: Significant Homes LLC

Home Bills Are Lowered With Clean Filters

Dirty filters actually cause a home’s ventilation system to need more energy in order to function. The air flow will have difficulty going through the blocked filters and the energy compensation will help push the air through. The home suffers from the delay as the cost of energy spikes upwards and temperatures in rooms become different. The raised energy usage raises bills and a homes environmental impact all at once.

Air Filters Help Keep a Home Green

Modern home owners are becoming more and more aware of the way that they are impacting the environment. Homeowners are staking steps to prevent wasting power and resources alike. The energy a home uses plays a large part in the impact it has on the environment. A dirty filter causing a spike in energy usage becomes a problem all around.


Photo: Elizabeth Lawson Design

Air Filter Providers Offer Affordable Products and Services

Air filters are not difficult to acquire or use, one of the few issues with them is their need for periodic changing. A home needs the filters but you do not need the stress of having to remember to replace them every few months. Filter King offers affordable filters at bargain prices. You can purchase the subscription option where new filters are delivered to your home monthly, and install them as soon as they arrive.

How Important is Your Lawn’s Look When Trying to Sell Your House

How Important is Your Lawn’s Look When Trying to Sell Your House

Are you trying to sell your home? Sprucing up your lawn for a quick sale is not that hard as you may think. Keep reading for our easy tips!


Photo: Solara Custom Doors and Lighting

So you’re trying to sell your home. Two words: deep breath. This can be a stressful undertaking but there are things you can do to sell your home easily. First and foremost, you obviously need to make sure your house is in shape to sell it. Unless you know it’s going to be a knock-down, it’s well worth your while to do some home improvement projects, particularly to your bathrooms and kitchens (which can raise the resale value). However, what many might not consider to their detriment is the curb appeal (or lack thereof) of their home. If you’ve watched HGTV, you likely know that this is the overall aesthetics of your home as potential buyers pull up to the curb. How is the paint looking? How are the shutters holding up? Are there any trees that need to come down? There are many factors that make up curb appeal, and one of those is your lawn. How important is the look of your lawn when trying to sell your home? We explore that below.

How Important is a Great Lawn?

In sum, it’s pretty darn important. The lawn is likely the first thing potential buyers will notice when pulling up to the curb—hence the relevance. However, there are exceptions. If you live in California, for instance, those looking to buy a house are less likely to be as consumed by this, as brown or at least less-than-perfectly-green lawns have become the norm due to their near-permanent drought situation. In other areas of the U.S., you want your lawn to be as green and well-manicured as possible.

Photo: Via Houzz

If you don’t have time to tend to it yourself during the sale process, outsource this to someone who will. We often talk about our love of lands like Ireland and Iceland for their lush and green countryside, so the last thing we want when trying to sell our homes is for prospects to see dead and dry landscaping. If you do live in an area that’s prone to droughts, you might think about replacing the grass with turf or even drought-resistant plans like succulents and rocks. A lot of people in California are going with the latter option, and you wouldn’t believe how polished this can look when done right. And the huge extra bonus is that there would be no more mowing the lawn!

Other Lawn Essentials

There is a lot more to making your lawn presentable than having green grass. You need to make sure your hedges are trimmed, particularly the ones that adorn walkways up to the home. You only get that once chance for the first impression. Trim your rose bushes and trees, rake the leaves, pull weeds from your well-designed garden, and simply make everything look well-tended to. You might even consider taking a photo and/or having an outside eye come over to look. Either of these tactics would ensure that you’re not missing something due to the fact that you’re walking by these things every day.


Photo: Bosenberg and Company Landscape Architects

Don’t Forget the Bells and Whistles

We all know real estate agents have their tricks. They take photos of the home in just the right light and at just the right angle. They stage the home or sometimes even have professional stagers come and do it for them. They’ll have scented candles going or even bake cookies so that the smell is inviting. So if your real estate agent is taking these great pains to make your home look as appealing as possible, you should, too.

Just as you would with a fresh coat of paint inside and tweaking bathrooms and kitchens, you’ll want to add things like pops of color to the outside of your home. Consider putting in bushes that flower and/or potted plants. Hang them from trellises and have them greet your prospects on the front porch. If you anticipate having some visits at night, highlight the best parts of your lawn and landscaping with spotlights. Any of these added touches will surely make a huge impression on potential buyers, even if it’s on a subliminal level.

So just how important is the look of your lawn when trying to sell your home? We’ll say it again—very much so! But don’t let the thought overwhelm you. You don’t have to do a complete overhaul, but you should consider some of the aforementioned tactics in cleaning up your lawn and landscaping. Once you do that, your home will surely fly off the market.

Landscaping Tips for the Ultimate in Curb Appeal

Landscaping Tips for the Ultimate in Curb Appeal

Increase your home’s curb appeal and value with some of these easy and budget friendly ideas!


Photo: Gray Malin

You don’t need to list your home for sale to want it to look as appealing on the outside as it does on the inside but, unfortunately, too many homeowners wait until they are ready to sell to focus much on curb appeal. Wouldn’t you like to drive up to a stunning front lawn and garden when you come home after a long, hard day at work? It might not take much to get your landscaping up to par, and with a little extra effort, you can have the most stunning home on the block. Check out these landscaping tips for the ultimate in curb appeal.

Take Control of Those Hard to Manage Weeds

Have you ever wondered why the ‘hardscape trend’ has taken hold of yards all over the nation? Although they are lovely additions to landscape designs, they also serve a few functional purposes. Hardscapes, where there is no grass growing, can mean that you have less to mow every week during the spring and summer months.


Photo: Via Pinterest

Also, hardscapes can stop those ugly weeds from marring a perfectly lush lawn. They can also be used as a kids’ play area so that your little people have a mud-free area to romp in without fear of traipsing in mud after its rained or you’ve watered your lawn. Choose an interlocking paver ground covering and you have it all! No more weeds, no more mud, no more mowing, and a beautifully seamless addition to your lawn.

Decorative Lighting for Form and Function

Many homeowners choose the lighting on their property for safety and security. They want to be reassured that no one will take a nasty fall during the nighttime hours, but they also want to see if anyone who shouldn’t be there isn’t out there. Why not take advantage of the amazingly decorative outdoor lighting which has come into vogue in recent years? Use ambient lighting to showcase some of your prized plants, add solar lights to line walkways while lighting up that birdbath with rotating colors at night.


Photo: Studio McGee

Tip: Lighting up your landscaping and home will make a huge difference to your home’s overall curb appeal. Not only will it make your home look twice it’s size come night time, it will also make your home a lot more safer!

You don’t need to use those hideous spotlights either! Some homes have taken to antique light posts which resemble gas lanterns of days gone by to add a bit of character to their grounds. Others have stayed contemporary but have set all their spotlights on a motion sensor. In other words, play around a bit with your lighting so that it doesn’t look like some kind of government facility, even if you need that lighting for security. There are ways to make even the strongest of spotlights less offensive to the neighbors.

If you want to totally remake the look of your landscape, you can always hire a landscaping design house to draw up the diagram. Simply tell them which elements you’d like to eliminate, which elements you want to include, and then have a rough idea of where you envision major changes. With the latest in 3D CAD software, you can even get a visual representation of what the finished product will be. Make a few modifications here and there, and before you know it, you certainly will enjoy driving up to your home any hour of the day.