Serving the Naperville Community
Applying mulch to your Wheaton, IL, landscaping can reap a world of benefits for your plantings. Mulched gardens are more efficient in their use of water, they retain nutrients better, and they are less susceptible to weeds and disease. However, navigating around the types of mulch available can be confusing, so knowing the benefits of different types of mulch is essential to maximize the gains for your landscaping.
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Wood Chips or Shredded Leaves
Shredded bark, leaves, and wood chips are great mulch options that not only provides all the benefits from mulching but also look great aesthetically. A contractor can source the leaves from your garden, as well as clippings around the yard. Shredded wood and bark from your yard can be used to create a top layer that gives your bed a rustic, natural look. This form of mulch can typically last between one and three years.
Grass clippings are some of the easiest ways to mulch your lawn and garden. For your lawn, you can just leave the clippings after mowing, as they are the perfect size to act as mulch. Bagged clippings tend to be better suited for flower beds, gardens, and shrubs. Grass also decomposes quickly and is considered a faster source of nutrients than most other forms of mulch.
Compost is not only a great source of nutrients but also a great mulch for your yard. Waste from your yard can be used to create a compost pile, or you can get compost sourced from animal and plant waste easily from your landscaping contractor. The ideal type of compost for mulching depends on the type of plants, their nutrient requirements, and their current condition, so it’s best to consult a landscaper. Compost typically doesn’t inhibit weed growth, so it might be prudent to combine it with another type of mulch to help avoid weeds.
Straw or Hay
Straw or hay is not only a great mulch for your vegetable gardens but is also great to look at. It typically breaks down slower than grass and provides nutrients well into the winter after application. However, it is important to source straw from a reliable contractor, as some straw can contain seeds, which may promote the growth of weeds in your yard.
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Gravel or River Stones
Gravel and river stones are the first of two non-organic mulches we discuss in this guide. Gravel and river stones provide a much neater look for your garden while offering some unconventional benefits you don’t see from other types of mulch. Stones tend to retain heat better and help keep the soil warm during the night, especially if you use darker colored stones as mulch. Moreover, these forms of mulch don’t need to be reapplied although they do require raking and readjustment. They should typically be applied on top of an organic mulch layer to keep your plants well stocked with nutrients.
Plastic covers are one of the more popular forms of inorganic mulch. Large sheets of black plastic help keep the soil warm by retaining heat from the sun. The covering also helps reduce evaporation, creating a microclimate beneath the soil that is prime for plant growth. Plastic is generally ideal for garden and flower beds but should be avoided for shrubs as it can inhibit their growth in the long-term.
If you are thinking of upgrading your Naperville, IL, yard’s softscaping to something more attuned to your personal taste, custom planter boxes might be just the right solution for you. Custom plant boxes offer a range of practical and aesthetic advantages that make them a must have for any landscape design.
Multitude of Designs
As a custom product, the design options in custom planter boxes are unlimited. This especially comes in handy if your yard’s design strongly conforms to a particular design style. For most modern yards, custom planters with a sleek profile and smooth surfaces are essential and hard to find in off-the-shelf offerings. Likewise, for more traditional homes, finding curved and more ornate planters that are more suited to natural landscape designs is generally quite challenging.
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In addition to the shape and design of the planters, the customization options extend to the choice of materials, textures, and colors. You can have custom planters created that utilize the same pavers as the rest of your hardscaping, helping them meld in beautifully into your landscape design. Similarly, you can integrate custom materials such as metal and glass to help your planters meld in well with more modern landscapes.
Integrate Softscaping More Easily
Custom planters make it remarkably easy to achieve the perfect balance of softscaping and hardscaping. This comes down the huge flexibility they offer, easily introducing lust green plant life into areas of your yard where in-ground flower beds and shrubs aren’t feasible. Since they can be molded into shape to fit into any part of your landscape design, they allow you to integrate greenery around masonry to create a good balance. They can also be easily mounted on walls, windowsills, and even hung from structures within your landscape, to introduce plants in areas where it would be impossible to have in-ground plants. They can also be used to break up overly long stretches of masonry, such as long retaining walls, by installing custom planters to separate them into sections.
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Durability and Practicality
Custom planters, especially those made of concrete, metal, and wall stones, tend to be much more durable than off-the-shelf wood and plastic planter boxes. Concrete planters made of poured concrete are particularly strong, albeit heavy, and provide great insulation for the soil. The concrete is also a great candidate for adding custom artwork, inlays, and engravings to make them all the more special. Custom wood planters made of rot-resistant timber are quite durable and also tend to complement existing woodwork, trellises, fences, and patio furniture well.
Planters also make it much easier to maintain your softscaping. As opposed to in-ground plantings, there is no soil compaction and the associated plant damage when you use custom planter boxes. The soil also warms up more easily giving the plants a longer growing season. Moreover, you have complete control over the type of soil that you can use for growing your plants and apply nutrients and fertilizers more strategically with minimal wastage. The result is healthier plants that require less weeding and maintenance in the long term.
Integrating a brick patio well suited to your Wheaton, IL, home’s modern backyard requires a lot of careful consideration when it comes to choosing materials and making design decisions. Here are the important details you’ll want to consider when designing your modern patio.
Choosing the Right Colors
Choosing the right colors for your patio pavers is the first step to making sure your patio integrates well into your home’s design. Modern patios generally favor subdued hues, predominantly in the gray to white spectrum. More importantly, the colors should match the exterior of your home to help keep the entire design consolidated. You can always add a touch of drama and contrasting colors by choosing more vivid pavers for borders and accents to help your patio stand out.
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Paver Texture and Design
Choosing the right paver design and texture is as vitally important as choosing the right color. Modern landscape design is characterized by smooth surface finishes and textures, clean edges, and sharp, straight lines. You probably want to choose a paver that ticks all these boxes and stay away from more traditional paver designs. Complement your modern pavers with an equally clean and minimalist laying pattern that helps set a modern tone for the entire patio’s design.
With the important hardscaping considerations out of the way, it’s time to choose the right patio furnishings. For seating, choose minimalist patio furniture that has a clean design and feature predominantly straight lines with minimal curves in the construction. The colors should ideally comply with the same rules as the patio pavers, but you can choose more vivid colors if you feel your patio could use some brightening up. Stick with more modern construction materials such as metal and glass to complete the look.
No landscape design is complete without some greenery, and this holds for modern patios as well. Choose rectangular planters and pots and neat plants without too many irregularities. If you have flowerbeds and hedges surrounding the patio and the walkways leading to it, make sure they are well maintained with straight, consistent edges and well-ordered plants.
Fire and Water Features
Every patio needs a focal point, and that’s a fitting role for a fire pit or water feature. For modern patios, a square or rectangular fire pit balances the rustic appeal of a traditional fire pit while still complying with the modern design language. If you want something more modern, a fire table with a glass surface or marble surface is also an option. For water features, you’ll want to stay away from traditional water fountains and ponds, and instead choose a minimalist water feature such as a modern waterfall with a clean and consistent water flow and good lighting.
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Designing a proper lighting plan is the last step for a modern patio and is not only important from a design perspective but also to ensure the safety and security of your backyard. As a general rule, choose subtle lighting that is well-placed and unobtrusive. Recessed lighting works wonderfully in modern patios as it is inconspicuous and understated. For sconces and path lights, choose minimalist holders in subtle colors to comply with the overall landscape design.