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

How To Transform the Front of Your Home from Blah to Amazing

Remodel Your Front Entry To Transform Your Home

It’s where you welcome family and friends and connect with the neighborhood. A RYCO front entrance and walkway creates an inviting transition into your home and connects all the elements of your landscape.

Complement your home

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The exterior of your home should set the stage for design, textures and colors that you choose. Consider the architectural features of your home and other elements of your landscape for a cohesive look and feel. Use coordinating colors for paver walks or an accent color that matches with the home. Using accent colors can also help the entry pop from the road or as visitors approach the front door.

Learn More (http://unilock.com/project-ideas/front-entrances-walkways/)

Porch Overlays

eden veneer

Natural Stone – Eden Veneer

Natural Stone and Porcelain Landscape Tile are ideal for concrete overlay applications. Add pillars and accents with Unilock pavers and walls for a complete and elegant look. It can really make your front door and entry way stand out from the crowd when you add an additional landscape element. Use similar products as the facade of the home or something to complement the siding or color scheme.

Click to learn more about Natural Stone (http://unilock.com/products/standard-products/?region=2) and Porcelain Landscape Tile (http://unilock.com/products/porcelain/?region=2) from Unilock.

Adding Curb Appeal

walkways_entry
It’s no secret. Realtors will tell you that homes with great entrances sell faster and for more money. Dean Tubekis with Coldwell Banker in Barrington says, “Curb appeal affects (resale value) tremendously. Far beyond what you would think. It’s all how you feel when you pull up (to the home.)” Consider adding unique elements like contrasting borders and textures. Add planter boxes for green space and additional seating. A few special details or pops of color can go a long way. Details in the walk using alternate colors or different materials can bring a special touch to your front walk. Pops of summer color or planter boxes can really help the eye move towards the special features that you strive to highlight

Learn More (http://unilock.com/project-ideas/front-entrances-walkways/)

Elements of Design

front-yard-curb-appeal_stone-steps
Scale. Proportion. Function. These are the elements of a great front entrance design. Remember, a front walkway should never be less than 4 feet in width at any point. The walkway should extend to the driveway to allow easy access from a parked car. See More Designs (http://photos.unilock.com/residential/project/entrances/)

Celebrating the Fourth of July

We just love celebrating the Fourth of July in our South Barrington community. Our holiday is full of family, friends and fun. Our family was featured in South Barrington Life a couple years ago to show how we celebrate the holiday. Click on the photos to see the article. Hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday!
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How do you celebrate?

Fothergilla – Beaver Creek – A Great Four Season Shrub

Dwarf Fothergilla ‘Beaver Creek’ or Fothergilla ‘Beaver Creek’

Fothergilla 'Beaver Creek'

Fothergilla ‘Beaver Creek’

Dwarf fothergilla are great plants for the Chicagoland landscape. They look great and add interest for all four seasons.

Fothergilla have creamy white bottle brush type flowers in mid-spring (April-May). They have a strong honey scent that can be enjoyed when planted by walks and entrances. Beaver Creek variety grows to about 3-4′ high and wide. They prefer well drained soil and grow best in full sun-part shade. Leaves in the summer are a medium green color and the plant has a nice rounded, yet open branching structure. Dwarf Fothergilla puts on a spectacular show in the fall with leaves changing to purple, orange, scarlet and yellow. They are a great plant to add color throughout the year.

To include this plant in your next landscape design, give us a call at 815.459.7926.
 

Pink Drift Rose – Low Maintenance Flowering Rose

Rosa ‘Meijocos’ or Rosa Drift – Pink

Pink Drift Rose

Drift Roses are a dwarf spreading rose with a floriferous nature. They bloom continuously from June through September and maintain attractive glossy foliage. Drift Roses are a cross between standard groundcover roses and miniature roses. They are cold hardy and disease resistant, which makes them an ideal choice for a variety of situations.

The size of the Drift Rose depends slightly on the color chosen. Peach, Popcorn-Yellow, and Sweet-Light Pink, are all 12-18” high and 18-24” wide. While Apricot, Coral, Pink and Red are 18-24” high and 24-36” wide. Drift Roses require full sun, at least 4-6 hours of direct sun, and well-drained soil with good air circulation. Avoid planting them in low wet areas. Drift Roses also appreciate a well-prepared bed that is enriched with generous amounts of organic matter, such as compost.

Prune your Drift Roses in early spring after the worst of winter is over but before new growth begins. Cut them back hard, down to 4-inches from the ground. Deadheading during the growing season promotes re-blooming. Drift roses should be fertilized each spring with a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer, following label directions. Another application in late summer would help plants bloom better into the fall, especially in new beds where nutrients may be lacking.

To include this plant in your next landscape design, give us a call at 815.459.7926.
 

Landscape Designer – Ben Ubben

We are mixing it up here at RYCO Design Group/RYCO Landscaping.  With the expansion of RYCO Landscaping, we have hired a few new versatile players that will help round out our team.  Each month we would like to focus on one new member and highlight their experience and strengths that they will bring to you.
 
This month, meet one of our sales and design staff, Ben Ubben.
 
Ben Ubben landscape design and sales
 
Name: Ben Ubben
 
Position and description of responsibilities at RYCO Landscaping: : Landscape Design and Sales my role is to work with the client help fulfill their landscape wants and needs. Communication and creativity are the key to having a successful project whether it is simple or complex.
 
Education: Bachlors in Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois
 
Experience: Started working in greenhouse and lawn maintenance in highschool. Began working in the landscape design/build industry right out of college in 1994 and have been enjoying it ever since.
 
Favorite part of your job: I enjoy being creative and using my skills to create a design or solving a problem.
Using design skills to help people with there projects and creating relationships which often become friendships.

 
To get started on your landscape project or to meet with Ben to chat, call us at 815.459.7926.

Landscape Designer and Expert Listener – Jenny Ubben

We are mixing it up here at RYCO Design Group/RYCO Landscaping.  With the expansion of RYCO Landscaping, we have hired a few new versatile players that will help round out our team.  Each month we would like to focus on one new member and highlight their experience and strengths that they will bring to you.
 
This month, meet one of our new design staff, Jenny Ubben.
 
Jenny Ubben Landscape Designer

Name: Jenny Ubben
 
Position and description of responsibilities at RYCO Landscaping: Landscape design and a dab of marketing. I help formulate and solidify a client’s vision. A design is like a puzzle. You gather all of the pieces; likes, dislikes, feelings, dreams, budget and site conditions, and create a space that surpasses the client’s expectation
 
Education: BS in landscape architecture – University of Wisconsin, Madison
 
Experience:I have been in the landscape industry for 19 years, but I’m only 30 so I don’t know how that happened. Municipal, commercial and residential work.
 
Favorite part of your job: I enjoy discovering new design possibilities, solving the design puzzle and the journey that has taken me there. The journey involves: listening, data gathering, researching, listening, creating, analyzing, listening, collaborating, contemplating, listening, problem solving, and evolving. This is the process for every design. Knowing that I have done my best to help create an enjoyable experience for someone else is extremely satisfying.
 
To get started on your landscape project or to meet with one of our talented landscape professionals, call us at 815.459.7926.