What is Resort Style Living?

Well, have you have heard of “stay-cations?

Smart people have been investing in their property and finding ways to have the same experience they would at a fancy resort right in their own backyard.  

About 18 months ago we saw a trend where customers came back—somewhere around 2-3 years after we had done a huge detailed landscape design for them, and were now ready to take the leap.  Those investment dollars could have gone to a new beach condo, or a camper or RV.

They told me, “we decided not to do the beach thing”, or “we can travel on our points whenever we want the beach or skiing”, and ” its wasn’t going to be worth the maintenance and service headaches having an RV”. At the end of all that time, the common theme was to have more of that resort style at home.  Family is the most important element.  Being able to entertain at home saves time, there is not traffic, there are no calls from an HOA that there is an emergency, no HOA fees, no TSA delays, no parking fees, no maintenance headaches.  And if you already travel 3-4 days a week all you want to do is get back home.  Let us make it easy and enjoyable.

Here is a survey that shows the popularity of items being invested in that turn backyards into resorts.  Are any of these on your list?  Do you notice them when you go away on vacation?  Why not have them at home?

ASLA reveals top 10 trends in Landscape Architecture for 2017

ASLA reveals top 10 trends in Landscape Architecture for 2017

I recently attended the Techo-Bloc Contractor Showcase when it rolled into Annapolis.  WOW!  3 semi’s of materials and a rocking presentation by “Paver Pete” and friends.  A single day wasn’t enough to get my head around all the cool combinations we now have available.    We studied every element of what you’ll see next.  We did workshops on using better tools, being safer, underground structures like drainage and permeability, and best practices for installers.

Take a look at these shots from a build completed by Techo-Bloc just last year.

Techo-Bloc Borealis Seating, Raffinata Fire Pit

Techo-Bloc Borealis Seating, Raffinata Fire Pit, Lighting and water falls

Outdoor sound systems

Coastal Source Sound

Coastal Outdoor Sound and Lighting

And Lighting on the same wire as the Sound System

Grill, Pizza Oven, Root Beer Keg over a wood plank look called Borealis

Grill, Pizza Oven, Root Beer Keg over a wood plank floor look called Borealis

Resort Style Living

What does it cost to visit this resort? Nothing, it’s right outside your back door!

Resort Style Living

An Investment in Resort Style Living–It seems to be catching on!

It all starts with a phone call.  Tell me you want a resort style back yard and I’ll bring in the Landscape Architect who will get all the details right so it fits your needs, works in the space provided, and has that WOW factor I just experienced.  Then we’ll bring the best technicians and craftsmen to grade, create drainage, stabilize and install the finest paver materials available.  This can be yours!  Your call means we’ll start NOW!

Can you still entertain outdoors in January?

We had an epic year out by the grill. Tried a few new recipes and had good friends over many times. It was really memorable. Did it come to a halt because the weather changed? No way!

Outdoor living has become a big part of how we enjoy our precious free time and there is no better place to do that than in your own backyard. All the comforts of home are still within reach, yet you can feel a world away. Best Tip: Your phone can recharge in a drawer for a while so you don’t hear it go off.

Once you have the living space set up the way you want, it seems your best friends want to stay longer and come more often; telling stories and making plans that keep the party going. Something like a deep seating resin wicker furniture set to hang out in or a fire pit for a gathering place make it that much easier to entertain.outdoor living, outdoor kitchen, outdoor entertaining, night life outdoors

BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE…So what do we do now that it’s getting colder? The ladies want to stay inside. Some say that’s ok, but we know you spent inordinate amounts of money to get her to like you, and she looks better than your buddies anytime of year. What if we could heat the outside seating area or under a screen porch setting economically and extend that summer party atmosphere?

prone outdoor heater, pyramidal heater, stay warm outdoors

Propan fired pyramidal outdoor heater

Have you seen the pyramid heaters at restaurants that are being provided near outdoor seating, especially at restaurants. Very popular in places like Disney World where you wouldn’t think about getting a chill but a chill could ruin the enjoyment of the patrons. Those places are packed every night.

I looked into some heating options because I’m not ready to give up being outdoors with friends and family. Basically it comes down to gas or electric and stand alone or ceiling mounted.

If you have natural gas at the house we can take a look at having the meter upgraded by BGE to flow more gas volume and having the meter changed doesn’t cost anything (although there is a waiting period). Propane works as well but isn’t as safe and the tanks are ugly. We can have our plumber route new lines and we can permanently mount a couple gas heaters if, for example, you have a screen room to warm up. On a deck, there are ways to mount cantilevered heaters on walls or off a small pergola and of course there are several portable types that run off 20# bottles like the top hat style or the pyramid (shown above). We did a man cave, ok converted garage, with portables and I know for a fact they have a standing room crowd for the football games on Sunday and no one is cold at all.

Electric Outdoor Heaters are also available if you don’t like the idea of using gas. This
makes for a clean installation and again there are stand alone models and ceiling mounts.

The most important thing to look for in an outdoor heater is how far it reaches.

  • Does it’s radiant heating footprint spread evenly or just melt the people closest to it?
  • Can it be adjusted easily?
  • Is there a remote or an app for that?
  • One of the things we do is evaluate the necessity for a single or multiple units.

The newest and most efficient heaters use tungsten elements and actually project fairly evenly out as far as 16-20 feet. One brand we really like is Bromic Heating. We love these for their beautiful design esthetics, ease of use and variety of mounting features. You can’t go wrong with a Bromic Heater. Here is a link to their brochure:  http://bromicheating.com/en-us/.  We are lucky enough to have a distributor right here in Millersville, MD where we can take you to see these in person.

Baby, Let’s stay outside a little longer…The first consultation is FREE.

What this weather means for your plants and lawn in 2017

From what we’ve seen so far, winter isn’t going to amount to much. Snowfall will be light and brief, but lots of icing and warmer days in between. Here’s a snow prediction map put out by SIMA (Snow & Ice Management Association). NOAA predicts Atlantic flows which usually bend north of us following I-95 like we’ve seen so far this season.

And that looks like the story for this year.  Small storms with mostly ice and minimal accumulations.  We still think 1 or 2 storms will come up the coast parking 4-6″ of snow on us but no big blizzards this year.

SO WHAT’S THAT MEAN FOR YOUR PLANTS?

From the plants perspective, hibernation is being constantly interrupted.  Not good.  Plants are on an accelerated cycle of growth which will leave them vulnerable to freeze.  They are being tricked into growth mode by the weather.  Right now we are seeing bulbs popping up all over the place.

bulbs, winter bloomers, weather in mid atlantic 2017

What are these bulbs thinking?

Oh, and that fuzzy thing in the front…WEED!  Prepare to see a lot of them in 2017.

Weed seeds were dropped in the Fall and they usually attack in spring, but they’re out already.  Weeds will reseed again and be completely off cycle by spring, so expect a bumper crop of WEEDS!  Treating gardens with a Pre-emergent like Snapshot will provide blanket coverage of mulched beds, but you might have to pick/spray to eliminate the early risers and clean up before you apply pre-emergent .

Pre-M for lawns is a must in 2017.  

  • Application of Pre-M timing will be late March and again in May.
  • Two applications will be necessary to catch the various weeds because they have different, and now interrupted cycles.
  • Broadleaf weeds will be everywhere in the lawns this year.  Expect dandelions and crabgrass to grow like you planted it on purpose.
  • During the season, additional spray treatments to control most other weeds will be highly recommended, so be prepared to do extra in 2017.
  • A solid fertilization and weed control plan will keep things mostly under control.

 

dandylion, weed controls,

Common Dandelion

BOXWOOD BLIGHT

At the end of last season, many growers and homeowners were experiencing sudden declines in their staple foundation plants.  Namely, boxwoods. The fungus that causes box blight is known as Cylindrocladium buxicola.  the sticky fungal pathogens can be transferred by rain and overhead watering, pruning tools, pets, peoples clothing, etc.

boxwood blight, blight, fungicide

Blight noted by circular spots with brown to purple outer ring

Some of our favorites like the Wintergem and Wintergreen’s will be either unavailable or require so much care that they will not be priced well.  We are told that Korean Boxwoods somehow seem to have not been affected by the blight.  Still, substitutes are available.

Blight can spread to neighboring plants and damage occurs very quickly.  The plant will be streaked with brown stems as leaves die back.  Plants do not recover from blight.  Fungicides will help control, but will not eliminate the blight.  Fungicides can mask the problem as spores have adapted and may return requiring frequent plant inspection, especially right after a rain.  Often the offended plant must be removed and destroyed.  A word of caution:  Dumping the plant in your woods or compost pile will allow the spores to continue to thrive.

This goofy weather will be causing very unusual issues, so keep an eye on everything and consult your landscaper often.  Timing will not be typical so reaction times need to be quick.

WHAT ELSE  COULD GO WRONG BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER?

Well, the summer should be hot for all the beach goers!

Irrigation systems will need to monitored to avoid overwatering and causing fungus and disease in the heat and humidity.  3 days a week for about an inch of water is enough for an established fescue lawn.  Low volume drip is recommended for planting beds.  Newer models of

Mowing should be done at a full 3.5″ height.  Lower cutting looks neater but exposes the crown of the plant and makes it more susceptible to disease.

If you aren’t sure about your soil, a sample sent to the lab will evaluate all the nutrients and let you know what’s missing.  This can affect the balance of fertilization needed and is an important step in any lawn care program.  Typically soil tests cost about $65.

If you get all that under control, Have a Crab Feast!

blue crab, carbcakes,

Eat some Crabs!

Ready for Something New?

Let us know what you didn’t get  from your holiday wish list and we will plan now for a Spring Installation

Fill out the request form below so we can help Design and Build your new:

Patio, Outdoor Kitchen,  New Grill or Pizza Oven?

New Outdoor Deep Seating Furniture?

Fire Pit with Sitting area and seating wall?

New 3D Design for the whole yard (only $399)

Yard maintenance program for 2015?

Fertilization, weed control, tree and shrub pest control programs?

Irrigation Services and Updating Landscape Lighting to LEDs?poolside outdoor-lighting

AMJ Is your one stop place for most everything outdoor.  If we don’t do it in-house, we will recommend the best people we know.

Ask AMJ first:  Call 410.437.3027

Grilling Tacos

Watermelon Pork Tacos in Lettuce Shells – recipe from the Food Network Magazine and Guy Fieri

Food Network Logo

Ingredients

For the pork:

2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds), silver skin trimmed, cut into 1-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

1 tablespoon seeded and minced serrano chile

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Lettuce Wrap Grilled Tacos

For the salsa:

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 cup small (about 1/4 inch)watermelon cubes

1/4 English cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

4 large, sturdy romaine-heart leaves, cut into 4-inch lengths (to resemble taco shells)

Directions

Combine all the pork ingredients in a resealable plastic bag and marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, for the salsa, whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Gently fold in the watermelon, cucumber and avocado. Refrigerate until chilled.

Preheat a grill to medium heat. Remove the pork from the marinade, pat dry and grill for 2 minutes on one side. Turn and grill 1 more minute; remove from the heat and let rest 3 minutes before cutting into 1/2-inch pieces.

Fill the lettuce “shells” with pork, top with salsa and devour!

Putting your TAX dollars to work

Now is the time to plan where your tax dollars will do you the most good.flagstone patio, outdoor living, night lighting

Investing in your home is always a smart move, and we have some cool new products this season.

Is it going to be some new patio furniture, a better grill, a smoker, a fire pit?

Do you want to replace an old walkway? Replant the gardens? Add LED lighting or Irrigation?

What about the relaxing sound of a water feature?Basalt column water feature

Prepay NOW for annual lawn maintenance and we will give you an extra 5% off.  The government isn’t going to give you a break like that!

CAll 410.438.3027 today for a FREE Consultation!

Seeing what you might be missing with 3D Landscape Designs

You have to ask yourself….How do you know someone’s ideas will work?

What if it doesn’t feel right?

How do I know I am going to like it a year from now?

Will it be more expensive to make changes during construction if I change my mind once I see it?

AMJ LANDSCAPING, Inc. has the solution–3D Designs

We’ve tried everything from photo albums and colored hand drawings, to building mock ups, even touring existing projects with customers and we never quite got the vision perfected…Until Now.

Last year, AMJ LANDSCAPING, Inc developed 3D Designs

3D Landscape Design, pavers, patios, pergola, custom cedar millwork, plant plan,

3D Perspective of a great Landscape Design

AMJ is using the latest software to:
-Recreate your exact house to scale
Windows, colors, shape and size
-Add in Landscaping,: pavers, pools, pergolas, plants, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, water features, irrigation and lights, furniture, umbrellas and even people
-Provide a full “helicopter view” video tour
-Provide multiple still shots of the completed project
-Provide a detailed plant list

93% of people who tried it last year decided to proceed with their project

Why?

Because it realistically portrays the results you can expect and you can feel the dimensions and start to know that the design will be functional in the way you want.

Its all about bringing the dreams out and 3D Design lets that happen.

Call 410.437.3027 for a free first visit to discuss your dream landscape project.

Check out some examples on our website: www.amjlandscaping.com There is a video on the bottom of the homepage and other examples of completed projects in our gallery. You can also see more 3D designs on our You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/AMJLandscaping