2017 Project Highlights

Every week we bring our clients a blog post with some information on designs and project ideas, but today we would like to spend some time thanking our customers for their business and recapping on some of our projects form this year. Let’s dive into some highlights!

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On this project we have been working with our clients to create a new shoreline for the property. Creating a well designed shoreline can be essential for waterfront properties and adding stones, pavers, and other natural materials will always make a it pop.

photoshoot fire pit design

Earlier this summer we were able to participate in a co op photo shoot with Unilock on one of our 2016 designs. In this design the client’s patio and fire pit were completely redone and they could not be happier!

abby resort

One more project to touch on for this post is the work we completed at The Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. We were able to help them create a visually appealing water scene at their property – guests have been loving the new feature!

We hope you enjoyed checking out some of the projects RYCO has been able to work on recently – we have so much more to show you coming soon.

Outdoor Living: Fall 2017

Year after year, Chicago-land has a fantastic outdoor living season in the fall. For months, families can enjoy time on their patios, decks, hot tubs, and around fire pits right outside their home. RYCO is here to help you figure out what a well-designed outdoor living setting can have with these 3 essentials:

RYCO Grill Design
1. Outdoor Cooking – Autumn can get chilly near Lake Michigan, but that does not mean that it’s time to pack up for the winter yet! Our first essential for your living space is a place to grill while you can! Our design team, The RYCO Design Group, is well seasoned in putting these settings together. One of the most important aspects is, of course, the grill. This piece ties any and every patio project together – a focal point for parties and dinners.

Lounge and Patio
2. Casual Seating – A place to sit and gather with your visitors needs to be properly thought out and placed. Make sure that the pieces you use for your patio are chosen with a keen eye, these staples compliment the materials and colors that your patio or deck are made out of. In this design the tans and browns on the couch match very will with the shades of the pavers and yard as a back drop. Be sure to note all the colors involved in your landscape when choosing your new layout.

Fire Pit Design
3. Fire Pit – One of the most noticed aspects of any yard is a fire pit. These quintessential patio crowns truly act as centerpieces for outdoor living environments. This design is one of our Unilock product highlighted designs that was completed last season. Be sure that your fire pit is ready for the colder months – it will be well worth it!

With so many things to do in order to get ready for fall – be sure to make your outdoor living environment one of your most important to-do’s. If you have a project that needs to be done before the winter hits be sure to call the office, RYCO is here to help!

August is Here! Start the Fall Season Transition

Many of us do not want to think about summer leaving the Chicago-land area for another 8 months or so, but the truth is that September is coming – and quick! Our experts at RYCO have a few informational tips for you to expedite the fall transition process and get ready for the coming cold months.

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Fothergilla ‘Beaver Creek’

1. Prepare a compost pile for the next planting season: For many of you gardeners out there, creating your own compost pile can be a great fall project. The utilization of your own compost pile next spring can bring forth great benefits for your yard.

2. Add mulch: Autumn is not the time to pack everything up and start hibernating until next spring! Once September hits, we will still have at least 3 months without snow on the ground!

3. Late summer fire pit construction: If you want to get a fire pit done before fall is officially here – you still can! The design and construction process can still happen – allowing you to utilize and enjoy a fire pit in your yard for the entire fall and winter seasons!

4. Outdoor lighting and visuals: During the colder months, proper lighting can play a big part in helping your home’s important features get seen. There is still time to get a project like this underway and completed. Nothing looks better in the winter than a properly lit front yard.

5. Prepare the ground for next spring’s plants: Once things begin to get very cold and snow is getting closer and closer – having someone go in and prepare your garden, flower beds, and other planting areas should be a priority. Over the growing season things can get a little out of control, and a lot out of control sometimes! Making sure things are all tidied up for next spring can be a great help – and anything dug out of those areas can be added to your winter compost pile!

What Can You Do About All of This Flooding?

The Chicago-land area has been underwater for over a week now and the rain just seems to keep on coming! So many people have had to deal with flooding in their homes and places of business. One of the most common ways a person can waste their hard earned cash is by maintaining a faulty drainage system. An important lesson for any property owner or manager to learn is that “Water is your enemy.”

If you are one of those people who has been dealing with drainage stress this week you need to get it fixed. The money wasted on repairs and replacements from water damage heavily affects people all over the country – annually. Take a look at this piece from waterdamagedefense.com

This is a great info graph from https://www.waterdamagedefense.com/pages/water-damage-by-the-numbers

Unilock & RYCO – A Well-Done Duo!

Later this month RYCO will be working with one of our top materials provider – Unilock, on a project photo shoot! We take incredible care when planning out our customers’ projects, and when Unilock can provide materials for us to use, we do it. When it comes down to anything made with pavers – specifically, this company provides the stuff that takes our designs to the next level. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the products that they have on their site: Unilock’s Products

This photo is taken directly from their site! Listen to the description that Unilock uses for their AVANTE ASHLAR™ pavers:

“Avante Ashlar, another innovative introduction by Unilock, features a unique ashlar design with a random appearance.

Each Avante Ashlar stone unit incorporates several random shapes with varying textures into one module, giving you a unique natural stone appearance. The exclusive “L” shaped design promotes installation accuracy and lock-up integrity.”

Firebowl (behind lounge chairs), not currently lit

Firebowl (behind lounge chairs), not currently lit

This picture is some of our work in the past, but our next stuff is going to blow you away. We’ll be back with updates next week and even some behind the scenes content for everyone!

Landscaping and Design Raise Property Values!

“Curbside/Curb Appeal,” is a very common phrase that people hear all of the time. Research tells us that things as simple as adding a few trees can raise the value of your property up to 9%. When it comes to the perceived value of a home or place of business, the outside appearances and landscaping weigh heavily.
RYCO entrance trees
But it’s not all about trees and shrubs, doing some major additions onto your home like adding a deck or patio can show recoups of over 100%. So many people neglect the outside appearance of their properties, and the truth of the statistics tell us that these investments pay off. Putting in the time now to get it done creates that design you always imagined while raising the property value for the future.
RYCO Patio Project Pool
Take some time this summer and look into projects that you would like done to your place. If you’re looking for inspiration go check out our projects and idea books on Houzz. We are always uploading more work for you to look into and read up on!

Adding Fire to Your Outdoor Living Space

Not only does a fire feature add warmth and light to your patio during the evenings, it creates a focal point in your design and is the perfect place to gather with friends and family! There are lots of materials and styles to choose from to fit your landscape.

Firepit – A firepit is a great place to gather for late night gatherings, s’more making or just a cosy spot to enjoy alone. They can be gas starters, wood burning, or gas burning. They can be custom made out of different stone, bricks, concrete, or even metal. They can tie into your backyard patio space nicely using the same materials as walls or designed to complement the house.

Stone firepit on the water with stone patio and outcropping seating

Stone firepit on the water with stone patio and outcropping seating


Brick and natural stone firepit with seatwalls, columns and custom cedar accents

Brick and natural stone firepit with seatwalls, columns and custom cedar accents

Fire Bowl – This is a modern fire feature that can be turned on with the flick of a switch. I can be completely custom in it’s shape, size, color etc. This is a great option when you want something quick and easy without much maintenance. It can be used in conjunction with water as well. The options are unlimited!

Firebowl (behind lounge chairs), not currently lit

Firebowl (behind lounge chairs), not currently lit


Firebowl next to pool

Firebowl next to pool


Fireplace – The outdoor fireplace is a wonderful symbol of relaxation. Just picture yourself under the stars with your feet up on a nice cozy chair, listening to the crackle of the fireplace. They can have gas starters and be gas or wood burning. They can be 2 sided to be able to enjoy from two outdoor living spaces. They also can be completely customized to complement the home or existing landscape elements. They are a great addition to the backyard and can create a fantastic focal point from the home or the back yard.

pergola and fireplace

Fireplace and sitting area under a custom pergola


Fireplace tucked into hill with natural stone and brick.

Fireplace tucked into hill with natural stone and brick.


Brick fireplace with wood boxes for storage

Brick fireplace with wood boxes for storage


Fire features included into your landscape can extend your outdoor living time outside both into the evening hours and into the cooler seasons. They range in pricing, so whatever your budget might be, a fire feature can fit into life. Let us show you how a fire feature can transform you yard!

Plan Your Spring Garden Now!

Spring display of color

Spring display of color

Fall is the perfect time to plan next year’s garden. Not only is it a great time to plan for patios, new gardens and outdoor living areas, but it’s the perfect time to ensure a great color display in the spring. A great way to add early spring color is to plant bulbs in your garden beds in the fall. There are several different types, shapes and sizes of bulbs including tulips, daffodil, crocus and hyacinth. You can add so much color to the early-mid spring garden with bulbs and some even bloom before the snow is melted. Plan now and benefit from it when you’re tired of the dreary winter landscape in early spring.

Most bulbs can be planted throughout fall until the ground freezes. They need to over-winter in the ground before they make their big display in the spring. To plant them, pick a sunny, well-drained area and plant your bulbs three times as deep as the height of the bulb. If the soil is heavy clay, mix in finely shredded wood chips or composted leaf mold. When planting a large bulb bed, dig out all the soil first, arrange the bulbs (usually three to five per square foot) and then backfill with soil. Sprinkle a granular fertilizer (5-10-5) on top, water the bed well and apply a few inches of lightweight mulch. Mulch will stall the soil from freezing early and allow bulbs to develop a strong root system during the fall. Bulbs always look best when planted in large drifts.

Everyone loves spring color

Everyone loves spring color

If you live in or near a wooded area, it may be necessary to protect your newly planted bulbs from critters storing food for winter. Squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and voles can wreak havoc on bulb beds. These animals prefer crocus and tulip bulbs, but will often dig and discard others. To discourage wildlife from digging and eating bulbs, place chicken wire over the planting area. Wire can be laid an inch or two below the soil surface or laid across the planting bed. Use large gauge wire for larger sized bulbs and smaller gauge wire for smaller bulbs.
You won’t be sorry you planned ahead for a color display in the spring.

Safety Training in Landscaping

We recently had training for all of our grounds crews. We find it so important for the crews to be able to use the equipment efficiently, correctly and safely to make sure we are giving you the service you deserve in a timely manner. We had 48 employees trained on various skills and equipment that we use on site for maintenance and construction projects. New and existing staff were trained on several machines including: propane mowers, string trimmers, backpack blowers, hand held blowers, chainsaw, mini excavator, skidsteer, cut saw and more. They were also trained on safety equipment to wear and use during equipment use. We had representatives from Halloran Power Equipment, Inc., Ariens Company, Patten CAT, Arlington Power Equipment, STIHL USA and Market Financial Group. What a great way to spend a morning learning and making sure our crews all have up to date information and safely skills. Thanks to all the staff and representatives from various vendors that spent their time helping our staff.

Safety Training 08-19-16 LITH 3 Safety Training 08-19-16 LITH

Save Money and Stay Safe this Winter

Did you realize the first potential snow storm is only 99 days away? (Anyone want to make a wager?) Is your facility ready to take on the snow, ice and freezing temperatures? What if I told you, we could save you money, ensure your clients and employees were safer than ever before during a snow or ice event and you can stay ahead of Mother Nature’s winter weather? We’ve got you covered!

A highly-efficient and cost-effective solution, salt brine can be applied as an anti-icing agent up to 3 days in advance of an impending storm and will be ready to perform when the snow hits. That means we are always one step ahead of the slick and dangerous ice. It stays in place and will activate when the storm arrives to keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement. It can be applied in temps as low as of 15°F(pavement temperature) and will continue to melt to 5°F(pavement temperature). Brine disrupts the bonding of hard ice to the road, resulting in a pavement that is slushy rather than hard packed. This increases the friction and allows for a tighter connection between the road and tires. It allows the roads to be safer during and after a snow or ice event. It allows the pavement to remain free of snow and ice down to 5 degrees (pavement temperature)and is so much more efficient than rock salt.

Using salt brine and other liquids as an ice prevention and management solution also minimizes the environmental impact and eliminates wasteful over-salting practices. Unlike rock salt, liquid doesn’t bounce or blow off the road, it stays where it’s sprayed and immediately begins treatment, stopping ice before it’s formed.

Ready to save some money in your budget, ensure safe winter conditions on your site and not have to worry about any of it? We’ve got a full fleet of trucks ready for the winter. Make sure you’re ready for winter too.

Truck applying liquid brine

Truck applying liquid brine

Sprayer applying liquid brine

Sprayer applying liquid brine