Posts Tagged ‘NJ landscaping ideas’

How to Improve Your NJ Landscaping with Climbing Vines

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

How to Improve Your NJ Landscaping with Climbing Vines

Would you like to soften an architectural element or enjoy a shaded area under a canopy of foliage? How do you make the most of a confining space? Landscaping with climbing vines may be the perfect solution.

Do you have a stone structure that is overwhelming? Would you like the comfort of natural shading added to an overhead structure? Looking to do more with a tight courtyard space? These are several situations where climbing vines may be the solution.

For me, one of the more attractive aspects of a beautiful landscape has to be the use of climbing vines. Have you ever seen a picturesque landscape that looks like something out of a fairytale? Maybe it’s the aged, natural look, but the vines carry a great amount of mystique and adorn scenic architecture with unmistakable style. In this blog, we will take a brief look at how climbing vines can complement and complete your outdoor living space with striking beauty reminiscent of age-old castles. At the same time, I will suggest a few ways in which climbing vines can provide a useful solution for your landscape architecture and outdoor living needs.

How do we use climbing vines in the outdoor living space? We use the climbing vines to add vertical dimension and soften masculine architecture or structures around the landscape. Oftentimes we try to soften and tie architecture, masonry walls, fences, pergolas, and other structures into the surrounding landscape. With a vine climbing up and around the structure, you can accomplish this integration quite literally. Where a stone wall, pergola, or lamppost lacks in style, color, and texture, you can make up for it with a few climbing vines that bloom seasonally with the rest of your perennials. Complementing these vertical structures with beautiful climbing vines becomes especially valuable when you’re short on space.

In terms of varieties to use in your landscape design, I generally suggest climbers such as climbing hydrangea, wisteria, climbing English ivy, morning glory and climbing rose. Another common option is clematis. As I mentioned before, you can use all of these to complement your landscape architecture or home architecture. Some landscaping ideas might include climbing roses on a lamppost, climbing hydrangea on masonry walls, or clematis on the yard’s perimeter piers and fencing.

The advantages of climbing vines incorporated in the outdoor living space lie mainly in style, but there are practical benefits as well. In fact, climbers can bring some sustainability and comfort to the outdoor living area and your home. On a pergola, climbers can provide some added shade from the hot summer sun. On the home, the climbing vines can act as a last line of defense from the sun, cutting back just a little on your air conditioning bill during summer. It is also said that evergreen climbers offer one last windbreak during winter in order to keep cooling to a minimum and cut down on your heating bill.

If you would like to know more about how to use climbing vines to complement and complete your outdoor living space, feel free to contact us.

NJ Landscaping and Pool Designs for Small Backyards

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Have you ever wondered whether you can transform your small backyard landscape into a fully functional outdoor living space? Have you spent any amount of time trying to figure out if a swimming pool could fit in your small backyard? This year, our team completed two NJ pool and landscape design projects in small backyards. The Ridgewood landscape design and Upper Saddle River pool and spa design reveal the great potential of landscape and pool designs in small yards. Let’s take a brief look at the challenges presented by these two yards and the solutions we found to overcome them.

Before we began, the small Ridgewood backyard featured a design that lacked functionality. The upper pool area was surrounded by an awkwardly shaped, outdated brick patio with a grill stuck in the corner. To get to the lower patio, there was an enormous staircase that used up a lot of usable space in the small backyard. The lower patio area was also outdated, and it was too small to really provide any comfortable outdoor living amenities.

How did we solve these various issues with the existing landscape? We replaced the large staircase with smaller steps and a natural stone veneer wall; the wall uses much less area than the staircase and created much more room for a comfortable outdoor living space. Instead of leaving the two small patios, the new design produced one larger, more functional space with a dining patio, bar, outdoor kitchen, and hot tub. These various features provide small, comfortable gathering places in the now larger outdoor living area. All of the amenities were visually integrated into the new landscape design using the upgraded natural stone materials. The natural stone veneer wall even wraps around the portable hot tub for a seamless look.

The Upper Saddle River yard faced similar problems as well as some other challenges due to the magnitude of the project. First of all, the old yard had a small, ancient patio that really didn’t meet the luxurious wishes of the homeowner. On top of that, most of the yard was cutoff by some unnecessary tree and shrub plantings. When you’re short on space, cutting the yard in half with large plantings is not usually the way to go. With a clean slate, the challenge of the small backyard was to include all the amenities the homeowner wanted while maintaining an uncluttered, comfortable setting. The new design also faced strict property setbacks.

The new landscape and pool design includes a perimeter overflow pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, fireplace, and multiple patio areas. How did we fit these features into the small backyard? We took advantage of every inch of usable space. In fact, the luxury pool design avoided side and rear yard setbacks with only half-an-inch to spare. The unique modern design used multiple patio areas, walls, and water features to give the small yard such strong appeal. The yard features four distinct areas: the kitchen, pool, living room, and spa. The clean organization matches the sleek modern style of the design. Also included in the design was glass fencing; the glass fence accommodated the homeowner’s safety concerns for his children and maintained the clean, open look of the small, modern backyard. Where the project lacks in size and grandeur, it excels with details and finishes. Natural stone, artistic stamped concrete, glass tile, water features, fire features, and fiber optic lighting add excitement and elegance to the scene.

With brilliant designs from our NJ landscape architecture team and quality workmanship from all of our staff, these two small backyards rose to the top of their class at the NJLCA awards this year. The Ridgewood, NJ landscape renovation earned an award of merit in the residential category, while the Upper Saddle River, NJ swimming pool and landscape design earned the highest award of excellence in the residential project. The award of excellence for the Upper Saddle River pool was dubbed “the big kahuna” by the emcee of the award show. This year’s two awards bring our NJLCA award total to a whopping 25 awards since 2007! Congratulations, again, to the entire Cipriano team. Keep up the good work!

NJ Landscaping Trees – Fall Tree Planting Can Be Risky

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Landscaping Trees Mahwah NJ

NJ landscaping trees provide everything from pure natural beauty to screening, shading, and windbreaks. They stand tall among the landscape and platform themselves as beautiful borders and distinguished centerpieces. That sounds nice, but when should these trees be dug and planted? For people who live in growing zones 5 thru 8, October, November and early December is a good time to plant your trees. The mild fall weather puts less stress on the trees. Also, roots are active during winter months and store nutrients for the next season. But don’t get too carried away with the idea of a Fall planting project just yet. In this blog, I will give you a brief explanation as to why certain trees can be risky to plant in the Fall. By taking these facts into account, you can weigh the risk of a Fall planting for yourself. In addition, these guidelines will help explain why knowledgeable landscape design companies and/or nurseries may refuse to plant a certain tree in your landscape during the Fall months.


Fall dig hazard trees tend to fail for a couple of different reasons. There are roughly about four troublesome types of trees:

Trees with thin bark and lots of small branches: Betula (all) – Birch

Trees with thick roots that regenerate slowly: Nyssa sylvatica -Tupelo, Black Gum, Sour Gum

Trees that harden late in Fall: Crataegus (all) – Hawthorn and Pyrus (all) – Pear

Broadleaf evergreens: Leyland Cypress and Ilex opaca Greenleaf – American Holly.


Trees that are more likely to survive a Fall planting in your landscape are those with shallow, fibrous root systems.

Examples of trees that are not a fall dig hazard:

Aesculus Hippocastanum – Horse chestnut

Amelanchier Leavis – Serviceberry

Fraxinus Americana- White Ash

Hamamelis Virciniana- American Witch hazel

Picea Abies- Norway Spruce

Pinus Stobus- White Pine

Tsuga Canadensis- Hemlock

Here’s a general list of trees that should not be dug during the Fall, known as Fall Dig Hazards. If  you plan on planting trees on your property this Fall or plan on having a landscaper do it for you, do a bit of research. If the tree is on the fall dig hazard list, I would suggest you verify  that the trees were dug this past spring and not this fall.

Abies concolor – Concolor Fir

Acer rubrum – Red Maple
Acer japonica – Full Moon Maple
Acer saccharinum – Silver Maple
Acer freemanii – Freeman Maple
Betula (all) – Birch
Carpinus (all) – American Hornbeam, Ironwood
Cedrus Deodara – Blue Atlas Cedar
Celtis (all) – Hackberry
Cercis – Redbud
Cornus – Dogwood
Crataegus (all) – Hawthorn
Cupressocyparis leylandii – Leyland Cypress ***
Fagus (all) – Beech
Ilex x Fosterii – Foster Holly***
Ilex Nellie Stevens – Nellie Stevens Holly***
Ilex opaca Greenleaf – American Holly ***
Juniper virginiana – Easter Red Cedar
Liquidambar – Sweetgum
Liriodendron – Tulip Tree
Malus (move as late as possible) – Crabapple
Nyssa sylvatica -Tupelo, Black Gum, Sour Gum
Oystrya virginiana – Ironwood, Hophornbeam
Pinus nigra – Austrian Pine
Platanus (all) – Planetree
Pyrus (all) – Pear
Quercus (all) – Oak
Taxodium – Baldcypress
Taxus b. Repandens – English Yew

Tilia tomentosa (other Tilia ok) – Silver Linden
Zelkova (all)

*** Not recommended for fall planting