Consider the French Drain

February 24th, 2015

soil solarizationWhen you buy a home you are making a very large investment. So, to protect the future of your home, waterproofing options are available to you. Why not invest in a French drain? They’re simple, cost effective, and can be installed quickly.

What is a French drain?

A French drain is a system that will help to keep your basement and the sides of your home from sustaining water damage. Specifically, a French drain utilizes either a downhill slope or a sump pump to keep water from collecting in your basement or in the ground around your home. A trench is dug into your yard and is then lined with gravel and, most likely, covered with sand. This allows for the water to trickle into the little drain system and prevents it from forming a puddle. A pipe is often placed to help streamline the excess water. With a French drain you can also move water from your home and send it to your garden, but only if your garden is on a lower elevation. Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Maintenance for Hardscaping

February 18th, 2015

Winter Maintenance for Hardscaping“Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail,” is an proverb from Montenegro that certainly proves true this year. But just because the air is cold, and the wind bites, don’t let your winter maintenance for hardscaping fall behind. Winter maintenance for your hardscaping is important to increase the longevity of your hardscaping, and keep it beautiful year round.

Keep Your Hardscaping Clear

On the morning after a good snow take a picture of the pristine snow on your patio and hardscaping, because as pretty as it is you don’t want to leave it that way.Keeping your hardscaping clear of debris, snow, and ice during the winter is important for more then just safety reasons. Debris, like leaves and dirt, can stain your hardscaping if left on the surface and is damp over the winter. By keeping your hardscaping clear of debris you save yourself the trouble of having to do more serious cleaning in the spring.

Snow and ice are important to clear from your hardscaping because the cycle of freezing and thawing in Maryland’s temperate winter can cause damage to hardscaping. When snow or ice thaw the water seeps into cracks, holes, and pores of your hardscaping. When temperatures get below freezing again the water freezes and expands. The expanding can cause cracks and chips to form. With repeated freezing and thawing cracks and pores are expanded, as with each thaw more water can fill the space before freezing.

When you clear your hardscaping of snow and ice, it’s important that you don’t use a metal shovel. A metal shovel blade can chip or scratch your hardscaping surface. Use a plastic or rubber edged blade instead. Also, you should be careful of the de-icing chemicals you use on ice. Salt and other chemicals can react with concrete and certain types of stone. Make sure you consult with you consult the landscaping professional who installed your hardscaping to find out what’s safe to use on your hardscaping.

Repair, Replace, and Seal

Winter is an ideal time to repair, replace and seal your hardscaping. Finding the cracks in your pavers and between your pavers, and filling them with sandlock can prevent ice and snow from causing your pavers more damage. If a paver is already damaged beyond repair, then replacing it can help prevent damage to your other pavers. Finally, sealing your hardscaping at the regularly recommended intervals helps prevents moisture from penetrating your hardscaping and damaging in the winter. Sealing is a must for keeping you hardscaping strong and looking good.

Need Help with Winter Maintenance for Hardscaping

Call Rhine Landscaping. We’re an experienced hardscaping company that’s served Maryland for years. We know the ins and outs of winter maintenance for hardscaping 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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The Benefits of Winter Pruning

February 11th, 2015

winter pruningWinter pruning is an important part of the annual care and maintenance of trees. Winter is the best time to do tree pruning for several reasons. It’s easier on you and the tree to prune during the winter. It allows you to easily identify and remove dangerous limbs that could prove a risk to your family and property. Finally, and most importantly, pruning during the winter is best for the trees health.

Easiest Time to Do the Work

The first benefit of winter pruning is that winter is the easiest time of the year to do the pruning work. Without leaves, the limbs you intend to prune are easier to access and to see. Don’t underestimate the benefits a clear line of sight gives you when pruning a tree. In the dense foliage of spring, summer, and fall it can be easy to lose sight of the limb you’re intending to cut, and cut the wrong one. You can also more easily identify damaged or disease limbs in the winter.

Remove Dangerous Limbs

With the tree’s clear of leaves, it becomes much easier to identify limbs that can be a potential danger to your family and property.  If you find hanging, broken, or diseased limbs remove them, as both are a risk to both the tree’s health and anyone who spends time beneath the tree. Sometimes a perfectly healthy limb may pose a risk as well, if it’s grown too far out snow and ice in the winter can put too much weight on it and snap it. An overly large limb may also act to imbalance a tree and put it at greater risk of falling during a heavy wind storm. You should also trim limbs that have grown out over your home, as they can prove to be a serious risk to your roof.

Improves Tree Health

The main reason that it’s best to prune during the winter is because it’s better for the trees health.  With the tree dormant the damage to it is minimal. The tree’s energy is largely stored in its roots as opposed to during the active seasons where the energy is flowing throughout the entire tree. When warm weather returns in the spring the pruning will serve to invigorate the tree. This is because the energy that was supposed to go to all of the trees limbs is now being concentrated on the limbs that need it, rather then the ones you cut. The limbs you didn’t cut will experience abundant growth and will be fuller and stronger.

Want your Trees Pruned this Winter?

Call Rhine Landscaping. We’re an experienced landscaping company that’s served Maryland for years. We know the ins and outs of landscaping and tree pruning. We 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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Winter Water Feature Maintenance Part 2: Ponds with Fish

February 4th, 2015

Preparing Pond for WinterRhine Landscaping brings you the conclusion to our two part series on winter maintenance for your water features, winter maintenance for water features containing fish.

In Advance of Winter

The preparation for winter starts in the fall.  As the weather gets colder you should stop fertilizing your plants, and start feeding your fish less. The plants and fish will both take this as a sign of the coming change of season, and they will both start using less nutrients and storing what they do get in their bodies for later use, and excess nutrients could cause algae blooms or chemical changes within the water.  You should also switch your fish to a low protein food when temperatures reach between 50-60 °F.  When temperatures are low enough the fish will stop coming to the surface to feed, and you should stop feeding them. The metabolism of goldfish and koi slows considerably in cold temperatures and they will be able to survive through the winter without feeding.

Cleaning the Pond

If it’s your first winter with the pond, or you do regular cleaning and maintenance then you might not need to clean. However, if your pond needs cleaning, you will have to move your fish into buckets, filled with your current pond water. Drain the pond as you would a pond without fish, and do the necessary cleaning. Remember to make sure the chemicals you use are safe for your fish and plants. Once the cleaning is done you can refill the pond and add the amount of chlorine remover recommended on the product label for your size pond. Do not add the chlorine remover all at once; instead add small doses in fifteen to twenty minute intervals. Check the chemical compositions of the water as you normally would and compare it to that of the water that the fish are currently, to ensure that it’s within the tolerable range for your fish.

Returning your Fish to the Pond

After you’ve finished cleaning, refilled the pond, and made sure the chemical balance is right, it is time to reintroduce the fish. To reintroduce the fish take the buckets with the fish float them in the pond water. This allows the fish to gradually acclimate to the change in temperature. Next mix some of the new pond water with the buckets contents, do this three or four times over the course of a couple hours to let the fish adjust. When done, you can remove the bucket and let the fish swim free.
Continuous Maintenance
Even though you’re not feeding your fish, and algae is not growing your pond still need regular care. Continue to check the chemical levels as you normally would, In addition, because the fish need air during the winter, you should consider a re-circulating pump, floating de-icer, or both to make sure the fish get the oxygen they need.  A re-circulating pump makes bubbles, that oxygenate the water and agitates it slightly so that it is harder for ice to form.  A floating de-icer has an internal thermostat that will turn on and heat the water if it gets to cold.  If you do decide to get a de-icer and the re-circulating pump, place them away from each other, as the flow of water caused by the re-circulating pump will cause the de-icer to be more active then it needs to be.

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

If you’ve 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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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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