Winter Water Feature Maintenance: Fountains and Fishless Ponds

January 28th, 2015

Water features can give your landscape a sense of natural whimsy, and offer an excellent place to relax and read or observe nature. Of course, your water feature requires regular maintenance during the spring, summer, and fall to keep its serene beauty. This is especially true, for the month of winter, when improper care of your water feature can cause it serious damage. That’s why Rhine Landscaping has prepared this helpful guide to inform those who have water features, and those considering installing them, on the proper over winter maintenance of your water features.winter-pond-cleaning

Plant Care First

First remove any plants you might have. Tropical plants will have to be potted in buckets of water inside to keep warm over the winter. Hardy plants can be kept in the water feature if you keep it filled, but should be potted at the deepest spot in the pond. If the plants do not survive, repot in the spring.

Pump Maintenance

After removing plants you can unplug your pump and drain your fountain, waterfall, or pond. When you remove the pump from the pond clean the exterior and interior of the pump thoroughly you a hand towel. Store the pump in a bucket of warm water indoors to keep the seals from drying and the pump from freezing.

The Pond Itself

Next you can drain your water feature with an external pump. After draining, the pond, clean the bottom using a wet vacuum, or by hand, making sure to get all the debris.  If you have algae build up you can apply Green Clean, a contact algaecide, which is activated by water. Make sure to follow the directions printed on the bottle.

If you have a fountain keep it drained for the full winter season, ponds set into the ground should be refilled.  If water is kept in fountains, the expansion from freezing can damage them. If ponds are not refilled the uneven freezing can cause them to be misshapen. If you’re keeping plants in the pond, consider getting a floating de-icer to keep near the plants. If you’re keeping a waterfall running, check daily to make sure an ice dam does not form and cause the water to spill over.

Have a Question about Water Feature Maintenance or Interested in Water Feature installation?

If you have had a water feature installed by Rhine Landscaping and have a questions about its maintenance, or are interested in installing one call us at (410)-442-2445 and one of our experienced professionals will assist you with the information you need.

Rhine Landscaping has been serving the Maryland area with landscaping, hardscaping, and swimming pool design and installation for years. If you’re interested in a having a beautiful water feature, call us at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Bad Smelling Plants to Avoid

January 26th, 2015

RagweedThe phrase bad smelling plants can seem like a bit of an oxymoron. However, they do exist and when you’re thinking about landscaping, especially with spring coming soon, you may want to think about what will appeal to you both visually and when it comes to your more delicate senses, such as your sense of smell. Fortunately, we have pulled together a list of some of the worst offenders that we tend to come across in this area, and you can decide whether the plant is right for you.

  1. Crown Imperial:  These orange blossoms make a strong statement in any garden, but they also are known for having a slightly skunk-like scent. While they are sturdy plants for those of us in mid-Atlantic and Northern climates, you have to decide whether their beauty outweighs their scent. One selling point is that they often ward off garden pests with their scent – so it can be a win-win!
  2.  Yellow Alyssum: These yellow perennials are known for blooming in late spring and sprucing up stone walls or making for wonderful ground cover, but unlike their white counterparts, also have a notorious scent that is far less pleasant.
  3. Candytuft: These white blossoms tend to bloom in mid-spring to late-spring. Like the yellow alyssum, they make for wonderful ground cover – and like the yellow alyssum, they’re not the best smelling plant out there. While their scent might be a little less noticeable, if you stick your face into it, you might discover they’re not as much to your liking.
  4. Bradford Pear Trees: these trees are not only unappealing to your olfactory senses, but they also are brittle, making them prone to snapping. For areas where the slightest breeze may blow, the Bradford pear tree may not be the best option for your landscaping.
  5. Hawthorn Trees: While these trees are full of berries and can make a lovely addition to your garden, they also have the unfortunate experience of being unpleasant to smell and poisonous dogs.
  6. Mountain Ash Tree: The mountain ash tree is pretty low maintenance, can withstand all four seasons, and is known for its beautiful fall foliage as well as its berries. What it’s not as well known for? Its pungent smell.
  7. Trillium: This bad smelling plant fares best in woodland gardens, as it is found in the wild more often than a nursery. The trillium plant is a lover of shade, which means its scent might be far less offensive than those that crave the sun and are closer to your home.
  8. Butterfly bush: Named for their ability to attract butterflies, the butterfly bush has the poor misfortune of being both a bad smelling plant and an invasive species.

All of these plants can be found in the Mid-Atlantic region and can be considered in your landscaping plans. If you’d like to learn more about bad smelling plants, as well as some of the more favorable options, give us a call today at 410-442-2445.

Landscaping Tips for 2015

January 16th, 2015

2015 is a new year, a time for change. While many people make New Year’s resolutions for themselves each year, it’s also worth thinking about your yard a little. Is there anything you’d like to change? Things you could have done differently in 2014? Well now’s the time to do better! That’s why Rhine Landscaping is here with some helpful landscaping tips for getting the most out of your yard in the coming year.

landscaping

Build a Patio

While it might seem intimidating, having a patio built as part of your Maryland landscape might be easier than you though. Brick and flagstone patios don’t have to be hard to build, especially if you hire the right help to aid you in the process. You can even stagger the work to save money, doing a bit every few months as you can afford. Patios make great additions to beautiful yards, adding tons of useable space and offering a lovely transition from the indoors to the out.

Install a Water Feature

While they’re not incredibly practical, water features are undoubtedly beautiful, bringing the soothing sound and appearance of rushing water to your landscape, transforming it into a private oasis. There are even more options when it comes to water features than ever before, ranging from ornate and elaborate structures, or simple, yet aesthetically pleasing models that still come with the same sense of natural calm.

Have Tree Limbing Done

While some landscaping work can be done DIY style, there are a few projects where hiring a professional is an absolute must. If you have trees on your Maryland landscape and any of them lie remotely close to things you’d rather not have crushed, hire a landscaping service to take care of any potentially lethal limbs before they fall, rather than after. Hiring a professional will ensure that the job is done right and that your trees will stay healthy, while losing extra limbs that could pose a risk to you and your loved ones.

Call Rhine Landscaping Today!

Call Rhine Landscaping. We’re an experienced landscaping company that’s served Maryland for years. We know the ins and outs of landscaping and have the techniques and expertise at our disposal to make sure it’s done right and done affordably. If you’re interested in a having an effortlessly beautiful lawn, call us at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Planning Your Pool in Winter

January 7th, 2015

During the cold, harsh Baltimore winter, chances are that the last thing anyone is thinking about is taking a dip in a swimming pool. It’s far more likely that you’d be preoccupied with staying indoors and keeping warm. Despite this natural inclination away from the aquatic, winter may actually be one of the best times to start contemplating a pool installation. While this might seem absurd, Rhine Landscaping is here with a few reasons why Baltimore homeowners should start thinking about a pool this winter.

Pool Planning

Greater Contractor Availability

The busiest time of the year for Baltimore Pool Contractors is over the summer. It’s hot, the city can be crowded, and the humidity just makes things worse. Therefore, it’s natural that during this time Baltimore homeowner’s minds turn towards swimming pools. If you don’t preempt the rush you may be stuck with a slower construction process, as your swimming pool contractors will have many obligations. Starting the planning process during the winter guarantees that you’ll be able to take the plunge into cool, blue waters as soon as hot weather hits.

More Affordable Installation

Because Baltimore pool installation contractors aren’t as busy during the cold winter weather, there’s a significant likelihood that you can secure a deal for a substantially lower price than if you were trying to start during the spring or summer. It’s not at all unusual for Baltimore pool contractors to extend seasonal discounts, which can make winter the perfect time for pool planning if you want to save a little extra.

Get Permits Fast

The factor most often responsible for pool installation delays is waiting to be issued one of the many permits required to complete the process. When Baltimore Pool installation is in high demand like it is over the summer, construction can be delayed by weeks. Since the requests for permits typically fall off during the winter, they arrive much faster. In the event that delays do arrive, by starting early you’ve guaranteed yourself a substantial buffer period, which will help ensure that come hell or high water, your pool will be ready for summer.

Want to Start Planning Your Perfect Pool?

Call Rhine Landscaping! We’re experienced and dedicated swimming pool installation professionals located in Baltimore and servicing the city and the greater Maryland area. Our pool designs are experienced at incorporating water features such as waterfalls, hot tubs and waterslides into our pools. We believe in in the craftsmanship of our work  and our landscape designers always listen to the clients’ needs, look at the overall architecture of your home, existing hardscape elements and landscaping, proper drainage systems and the surrounding environment when creating a design.

To learn more about winter swimming pool installation and to get started designing your own Baltimore pool, contact Rhine Landscaping at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Why You Should Consider Installing an Outdoor Kitchen

December 31st, 2014

Most families love entertaining and showing off a beautiful house to neighbors. In the summer, grilling outside is always tasty and delightful. When the chillier days hit, toasting marshmallows is a family favorite. What better way to be able to grill out year-round than installing an outdoor kitchen?

Outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen adds space and ease to cooking.

If you are having a dinner party, you may want to cook more than one item at a time. Having a kitchen outside as well as indoors is a good way to do so. It also allows for more counter space for chopping, slicing and dicing. Most outdoor kitchens include appliances you would normally find inside, so trips back and forth are not necessary. Outdoor kitchens generally include seating areas, so you will feel like you are on a patio at a restaurant.

A kitchen outdoors with a grill keeps dishes fresh and healthy.

Grilling is much more satisfying than baking and healthier than frying. Using a grill in an outdoor kitchen allows for yummy grilled meals year-round. Seafood can be cooked in an outdoor kitchen without the smell permeating the home hours later. That means those Baltimore crabs can be steamed up, pronto! Another bonus is food keeps moisture and flavors that baking would take out.  A final benefit to cooking outside is the elimination of the heat factor that is normally present inside the home when the oven or stove is on.

Installing an outdoor kitchen adds value to your home.

You will be getting a pretty penny for your home if you install an outdoor kitchen. It is high on the list of “wants” in the current Baltimore housing market along with pools and sunrooms or decks. Most items in an outdoor kitchen such as the refrigerator or grill are made with stainless steel which can withstand weather. The kitchen will be built tough and high quality items will last. In Baltimore’s cold weather, heaters can be put up so that guests can relax and take in the ambience of your backyard.

Rhine Landscaping can make your outdoor kitchen beautiful.

There are many design tips that we could give you for an outdoor kitchen, but these are some of the basics. Rhine Landscaping has been serving the Maryland area with landscaping, hardscaping, and swimming pool design and installation for years. To learn more about outdoor kitchens and get started designing yours, contact Rhine Landscaping at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Common Landscaping Mistakes in Baltimore

December 18th, 2014

There’s quite a number of landscaping tutorials to be found online, a large percentage of which offer conflicting opinions or misinformation. Doubtlessly, your most assured recipe for success is hiring a professional who knows what’s what when it comes to lawn care. But if you insist on DIY there’s a definite list of mistakes you should avoid when landscaping your Baltimore lawn and Rhine landscaping is here with what, when, and why you shouldn’t make them.Landscaping Mistake

Don’t Plant Overly Aggressive Ground Cover

Ground cover describes a plant or plants that keep low to the ground and fill in gaps in a landscape that might fall prey to invasive weeds. While ground cover needs to have a certain level of aggressiveness to spread quickly and completely, if you choose the wrong plant you may end up with more than you bargained for. Overly aggressive ground cover often ends up with you being forced to fight it just as you would a common wee. A landscaping professional familiar with Baltimore will be able to locate a ground cover that is right for your yard.

Don’t Install Plants Around a Foundation If They will Outgrow It

Planting around a foundation is a standard and easy method of landscaping yards. Even those with no formal landscape training can draft a symmetrical and appealing plan. A critical mistake man Baltimore homeowners make when undertaking this process is planting fast-growing plants, trees, and shrubs that will eventually grow too big for their foundation, necessitating frequent pruning. Make sure to know a plant’s expected adult size prior to planting. Of course, a qualified landscaping company can easily find the right plants for a foundation that will look beautiful and stay exactly where they should.

Don’t Purchase Mulch Without Research

All mulches are not created equal, despite amateur landscaper’s tendency to simply purchase the cheapest or best advertised mulch they can find in their local garden center. Mulches are often vastly different from one another and the wrong choice can turn your Baltimore yard from Eden into a veritable wasteland. Make sure the mulch you buy works for the plants in your yard.

Want to Easily Prevent Landscaping Mishaps and Mistakes?

Call Rhine Landscaping. We’re an experienced landscaping company that’s served Maryland for years. We know the ins and outs of landscaping and have the techniques and expertise at our disposal to make sure it’s done right and done affordably. If you’re interested in a having an effortlessly beautiful lawn, call us at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Surprising Facts About Poinsettia Plants

December 8th, 2014

We’re all familiar with poinsettia flowers. These bright red, iconic, Christmas plants are a staple of many American households. However, there’s a surprising amount of misinformation surrounding them, and few interesting facts that aren’t generally known. Rhine landscaping, your year-round plant and landscaping experts, is here with a few things your may not know about poinsettias.

Poinsettia

Botanical Name

There’s a lot of confusion as to whether “poinsettia” is the plant’s proper, botanical name, so let us set the record straight: It isn’t. Plant taxonomy officially lists Christmas poinsettias as Euphorbia pulcherrima, which translates to “the most beautiful Euphorbia.” While “poinsettia” looks like a scientific name, it is in fact a reference to the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett. Poinsett introduced the species to North America on a return trip from Mexico in 1828.

What Are Poinsettia’s Actual Flowers?

What most people refer to as the flowers of a poinsettia plant are not flowers at all! These bright red, petal-like leaves are actually called “bracts.” While poinsettias do have flowers, they’re actually the small, green-yellow buds at the center of the bracts, hardly a noteworthy feature in comparison to the brilliant red of the bracts.

Are Poinsettias Poisonous or Harmful?

As many people have had pointed out to them at some point, poinsettia plants are not fatally poisonous if ingested (a myth that was quite widespread for a time). However, this has given rise to new myth: That poinsettia plants are completely harmless. The fact is, poinsettia plants can be very dangerous and not from being eaten (although eating them is certainly not recommended). This is because the milky sap that poinsettias ooze can cause dermatitis in those prone to skin rashes, with the consequences being extremely severe in some cases. If you have latex allergies, or other issues with sensitive skin, you may want to give poinsettia plants a pass this Christmas.

How is Poinsettia Pronounced?

Thanks to Ambassador Poinsett’s difficult to pronounce name, numerous mispronunciations and misspellings of the plant exist. Many spell the name “poinsetta,” for example (dropping the last “i”), while others add an extra “t.”

The word is also routinely mispronounced with many people inserting a “T” after the “N,” pronouncing it “point-SET-uh.” Dictionaries offer two acceptable pronunciations: “Poin-SET-ee-uh” and “poin-SET-uh.”

Rhine Landscaping is Here For The Holidays

Whether it’s poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, or any other conceivable plant, Rhine Landscaping has the knowledge and industry experience to offer you the very best in home and commercial landscaping year-round. If you’re interested in turning your dead yard into a winter wonderland, or employing a service to maintain an established landscape, call us at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Maryland Landscaping Tips: Landscaping in Winter

December 2nd, 2014

Winter LandscapingLandscaping closes its doors during winter, right? Everything dies during the coldest season, so there’s no point in landscaping my Maryland yard then, correct? Wrong! While many homeowners think of the winter as a bleak, lifeless period for their lawn it can actually be one of the most beautiful seasons, if given proper care. Rhine Landscaping, your Maryland landscape professionals, is here with some useful tips for making sure your lawn looks stunning in even the coldest weather.

Think About Bark

While most deciduous trees do lose their leaves during the winter, that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful. When choosing trees to plant in your Maryland yard, think about how they’ll look leafless. Ornamental trees, like dogwoods or birch trees, which have very visually distinctive bark will provide your landscape with much-needed texture and color.

Evergreen

Evergreens are a staple of winter landscaping for a reason: They add unwavering color and texture to any landscape. Despite the name, evergreens can come in a wide variety of colors including yellow, blue, and almost everything in between. Evergreens are also a great way to make economical landscaping design. They look great in the winter and can provide lovely focal points during the entire year.

Berries-A-Plenty

When designing a landscape for your Maryland home with winter in mind, select trees and shrubs that bear winter fruit. They’ll provide welcome bursts of color during the colder months and will attract highly desirable birds. Crabapples and holly bushes will hold their fruit through the colder months and look quite beautiful against a snowy backdrop.

Think About Hardscaping

Winter is an ideal time to take a look at your yard, minus a lot of the spring and summer trimmings, and figure out what’s missing. Sometimes the best solution is one that doesn’t involve plant life at all. Think about adding a new patio, walkway, or fire pit to give your Maryland yard the focal point it’s been missing, or add little touches with benches and trellises.

Rhine Landscaping Knows How to Handle Winter

At Rhine Landscaping, our dedicated Maryland-based teams of expert landscape architects, designers, hardscaping professionals, and gardeners, know how to make the most of the coldest season. We have the knowledge and resources to make sure your yard looks beautiful during the winter, and year round. We’ll do the job right, and on a budget that you can afford.

Maintenance Tips for Your Maryland Paver Patio

November 24th, 2014

paver patioIf you’ve spent the money and time having an exquisite paver patio installed on your Maryland property, then you definitely won’t want it to degrade over time. While paver patios are relatively simple to take care of, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance to ensure yours stays looking just as pristine as the day it was installed years down the line. Rhine landscaping, your Maryland paver patio installer, is here with a few vital tips for caring for your patio.

Keep ‘Em Clean

Regularly sweeping, rinsing, and mopping your Maryland paver patio is critical to keeping it looking its best. You can easily banish the majority of surface dirt with a simple spray from a garden hose, and can use a power washer should you run into more resistant debris. If you spot stain or mark on your paver patio quickly use soap and a bristle brush to scrub it out, otherwise it may set in permanently. If you’re having trouble removing a stain you may use paint thinner instead of soap, but apply sparingly.

Take Down Weeds

Weeds: The bane of any Maryland homeowner’s existence. Left to their own sinister devices these pesky plants can swiftly turn a pristine paver patio into a hotbed of chaotic messiness. Take ‘em down before they can get a foothold in your yard or patio by using a solution of white vinegar and water to wash your paver patio regularly. Make sure to take your paver patio for a walk  too, as consistent foot traffic helps kill budding weeds.

Seal Away

Another important part of shielding your Maryland paver patio is sealing it. Applying sealent protects your paver patio from moisture and the elements by creating an invisible, water, oil, and UV repellent coating. Sealing your patio will keep it looking brand new for years to come. If you’re not sure if your patio has already been sealed, dribble some water on it. If the water beads up and isn’t absorbed into the patio it’s sealed. Make sure to re-seal your paver patio every 2-4 years for maximum longevity.

Need Help With Paver Patio Maintenance?

Call Rhine Landscaping. We’re an experienced hardscaping company that’s served Maryland for years. We know the ins and outs of paver patio maintenance and have the techniques and expertise at our disposal to make sure it’s done right and done affordably. We also install brand new patios and have done jobs ranging from simple walkways and patios to very elaborate terraced multi level patio systems. If you’re interested in a having an effortlessly beautiful paver patio, call us at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Common Landscaping Mistakes in Maryland

November 18th, 2014

landscaping With so many online guides to landscaping, it’s no wonder that people often find themselves confused, or committing errors. It’s hard to know if your source is reputable, and often advice that works for one person’s yard may not work for another’s.  Rather than offer specific advice that may not work for you,  Rhine Landscaping is here with a guide on what NOT to do when it comes to landscaping. So put down the pruning shears and potting soil and listen up. You just might be surprised.

Don’t Install Plants That Will Outgrow Their Foundation

Foundation planting is a first step towards personal landscaping that’s often recommended by Maryland landscaping publications and websites as an excellent start for beginners. This can often send excited homeowners into a tizzy, quickly purchasing and planting to fill this space. What they don’t often plan for is that plants grow, often substantially and that filling your foundation immediately will result in plants shooting out all over the place, necessitating frequent pruning. Do yourself a favor and plant sparsely at first, with full knowledge of your plant’s maximum size.

Don’t Prune Too Quickly

You’ve got a long line of perfectly manicured shrubs surrounding your property. Suddenly your eye catches an errant branch timidly jutting out from formation. You hand slides coolly down to your leather holster. It’s pruning time. But hold that itchy trigger finger Tex! It’s great to take pride in keeping a well-manicured Maryland lawn but pruning too quickly and too often can permanently damage plants. Do the research to find out when the best time to prune your shrubs is, and stick to that schedule.

Want To Cut Down on Landscaping Mistakes by 100%?

Call Rhine Landscaping. We’re an experienced landscaping company that’s served Maryland for years. We know the ins and outs of landscaping and have the techniques and expertise at our disposal to make sure it’s done right and done affordably. If you’re interested in a having an effortlessly beautiful lawn, call us at (410)-442-2445 or fill out our online contact form today!

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