Posts Tagged ‘nj landscaping’

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 Landscape Designer – Shelter & Privacy Landscaping

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

NJ Landscape Designer – Shelter & Privacy Landscaping

Shelter and Privacy Landscaping Design Ideas from Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools and Landscaping of Mahwah, NJ

If you think about it, what does every room in your house have in common? Walls and a ceiling, unless of course you have your own observatory, but we can put that notion aside for now. The ceiling, the walls, and the roof provide privacy and shelter for you and your family. One of the most popular trends in the landscape design industry is to create the luxury outdoor room. Shouldn’t these comfortable outdoor rooms offer privacy and shelter found within the house? The best outdoor living spaces feature masonry and landscaping ideas that shield you from nearby neighbors, looming houses, the sweltering sun, and dismal weather conditions.


Do you live in a neighborhood where all the houses are close together? Are you famous? Do you have paparazzi following you around everywhere you go? The privacy of your home can be improved through landscaping and masonry. First you can consider plant life. Mature trees, shrubs, or bamboo can be used for screening purposes. Evergreens are a nice option for year-round privacy from nearby neighbors. Strategically placed trees will offer privacy at a lower cost than masonry walls and structures. Masonry structures, such as fireplaces, walls decorated with fabrics, architectural elements, televisions, or even waterfalls, can offer privacy in unique and beautiful ways.


Shelter, or a ceiling, is another useful component of the luxury outdoor living space. If you provide a roof to the outdoor room, you allow yourself the possibility of enjoying the landscape design rain or shine. On nice days, the structures will shield from the sun as much as they shield from the rain. Shade will help you to relax and take it easy, providing the perfect place to take a load off and gaze upon the surroundings of the backyard landscape. In terms of actual structures, you may choose pergolas, pergolas with retractable awnings, pavilions, custom awnings, and oversized umbrellas. A patio can also be placed under a raised deck area. The deck could utilize a dry-below system, which prevents rain from dripping through any cracks in the decking. These are all very nice and versatile options with different styles. Personal preference and where you are with construction will help you choose the best option for your project.

I hope you can consult with your landscape architecture firm about these two great outdoor living ideas. Privacy, depending upon your home, preference, and celebrity status, could be a priority for you. Shelter can give you a nice balance between outdoor living and protection from the natural elements like sunshine and rain. Rain or shine, you will have a comfortable chance to get outside and reap the benefits of a well thought-out landscape design. The luxury of outdoor rooms might then be completely indistinguishable from the comfort of indoor living inside the home.

NJ Pool and Landscaping Design: Making the Right Investment

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

NJ Pool and Landscaping Design: Making the Right Investment

Swimming pools and landscaping are often appreciated for the ways in which they increase the overall quality of life around the house. Countless articles and blogs address ways to make the yard more visually appealing. Others detail features that may provide more convenience, entertainment, and fun in the backyard design. Did you know there is another important advantage you may have overlooked? In this blog, we will take a look at how inground pools and landscaping play a role in the actual value of your home. The investment of a new pool and landscape design can pay off in very real ways.

Pool Investments

Studies have shown that inground pools can increase the property value of a home. Years ago, realtors used to express concern about a home’s resale value if you had a pool. Today, the outdoor living feature serves to bolster home values by anywhere from 8 to 15 percent. The primary function of pool designs is to please the present homeowner, but the idea of pleasing a future homeowner can pay off too. Some real estate concerns about homes with pools include safety, efficiency, and durability. Homeowners can worry about the safety of their young kids, how much goes into maintaining and running the pool, as well as the strength and durability of the pool structure itself.

A wise inground pool investment will address all of these concerns and make the home with a pool look even more appealing. Features such as auto-covers and fencing will ease your safety concerns and the concerns of future buyers. Efficient pumps and heaters, such as variable speed pumps and electric heat pumps, make the pool much more cost-effective. Finally, the wisest investments for a new pool are upgraded, durable finishes. Long-lasting plasters and glass tile will most likely prevent you from having to refinish the swimming pool, making it a solid investment. The investment saves you a considerable amount of money and keeps a potential homebuyer comfortable about the pool structure.

Landscape Values

According to reports, landscaping can add up to 20% of your home’s property value. Landscape architecture and a quality landscape design not only increase the property value but also add to the visual appeal of the home, making it more buyer-friendly if the home is on the market. The American Society of Landscape Architects quantifies this suggestion by recommending that homeowners spend ten percent of the home’s value on landscaping. Also, the sooner you invest in your landscape the better; a more mature landscape has a greater value than a newer one.

Some landscape design investment advice involves planning and making wise choices when it comes to materials. To go back to sizing, if you invest early in the landscape design, you can choose small trees and plants for a cheaper price. These plantings will mature and grow into the space; when it comes time to sell the home, the plantings will have had a significant increase in value. For masonry materials, we suggest you stray away from pavers for a patio material if you want a long-lasting investment. Pavers go out of style quicker than other potential patio materials. Materials such as natural stone will provide a nice return on your investment through durability and timeless style. Ten to twenty years from now, if you decide to move, potential buyers will not visit the home and look unfavorably upon the patio because of an outdated style or rundown material. Another landscaping option that will set your home apart from your neighbors and draw more interest/value on the market is landscape lighting. Landscape lighting increases the curb appeal tenfold and will certainly prove to be a nice selling point for the 24-hour outdoor living space.

In many ways, the investment into your landscape design and landscape architecture is an investment into your home. Combined with the value of increased enjoyment and aesthetic enhancement, inground pools and landscaping add real value to the home by the numbers. Consider the maximum value increases of a 15% pool and 20% landscape. You can make a real impact on your life, your home, and your next home with the right investments into your outdoor living space. For more information about planning a landscape design, visit our Luxuryscape website or read about our Landscape Architecture services on our home page. As always, please call or email with any questions.

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



NJ Landscape Architects – Avoid Free Landscaping Plans at “All Costs”!

Friday, March 11th, 2011

NJ Landscape Architects – Avoid Free Landscaping Plans at “All Costs”!


Starting a great landscaping project with limited funds?  Here are five hardscape and planting suggestions that are GUARANTEED to save you THOUSANDS.

1.     Always start with a landscape plan (blueprint) prepared by a licensed landscape architect. This will ensure a balanced design and will allow you to phase the work as budgets permit.

2.     Pick materials and plants that will work within your budget. You can cut the cost of a project in half with the right choices in material. For instance, if natural stone isn’t in your budget, try pavers and save about 50%.  Larger trees and shrubs cost significantly more than smaller ones. Reduce the size and save 20 – 50%.

3.     Start the construction process by focusing on your main areas of concern, your focal point, and your most valuable asset. In general, focus on the areas you’re going to enjoy the most.

4.      When phasing a project, always look ahead to future portions of the project. Be sure to include any infrastructure components like conduit or irrigation lines early in the process so you don’t have to disturb your completed areas. An experienced landscape architect will help prevent you from doing things twice!

5.     At the start of every landscaping or swimming pool project, the best investment is a great set of plans prepared by a licensed landscape architect. A well thought-out set of plans takes a considerable amount of time to prepare, but they will help avoid hidden costs and minimize overruns in your custom landscape or swimming pool project. Don’t waste time with anyone offering you free landscaping or swimming pool plans. It’s a gimmick used to trap you into a situation where you never know the true value or cost of your project. Pay for the plans, and you will own the exclusive rights to them. Once they are in your hands, you can get an apples to apples comparison through a bidding process.

Please remember only a Licensed Landscape Architect can offer landscape architecture services. Anyone offering landscape architecture services must post their landscape architect’s name and license number issued by the state in which they practice. If any firm is advertising landscape architecture services and fails to post the proper credentials, please contact your state’s Board of Architects or your state’s Attorney General.

Cipriano – New Jersey Custom Swimming Pools and Landscaping Company Wins 12 Awards at the 2010 New Jersey Landscape Contractor Association Awards Dinner

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

12/13/2010, The NJLCA Awards at the Brownstone in Passaic County, NJ, our swimming pools, landscapes, outdoor kitchens, hardscapes, water features and nightscapes, combined to win 12 awards across five different categories. We earned 6 awards for swimming pools and water features alone, sweeping the entire swimming pools category for Excellence, Distinction, and Merit. In addition, our Master stone mason were excited to hear that two awards were achieved for hardscape and patio projects. Another two awards were also earned for swimming pool and landscape night lighting. Lastly, we took home two awards for complete residential landscaping design and build.
I would like to congratulate our experienced design team and talented staff on another job well done this year. This showing last night at the NJLCA Awards is only the tip of the iceberg. Our hard work and pursuit of greatness has truly paid off over the past few of years, earning our team 49 awards since 2006. From Licensed Landscape Architect Bill Moore, to hydraulics and horticulture expert Keith Steinhoff, to head Master Stone Mason Marlo Bernal, our talented staff continues to outdo themselves and amaze everyone else along the way in award-winning style. Congratulations, guys, and thank you!

Mahwah Township Approves New Rain Garden Design Submitted by Our Landscape Architecture Office For Residential Landscaping & Swimming Pool Storm Water Management, The First Such Approval in Bergen County!

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Today, more municipalities are adopting a zero run of policy for residential development to reduce the potential for downhill flooding from over development and help to replenish the watershed.  We at Cipriano Landscape Design understand the need to help improve the quality of water before it enters the ground and, subsequently, the watershed.

Bill Moore Certified New Jersey Landscape Architect and head of our landscape architecture department and I have created a unique rain garden design which meets municipal storm water containment specifications and provide a natural interaction between soil, vegetation and water in order to reduce pollutants such as gas, oil, bacteria-pet waste, road salt, litter, pesticides and fertilizer before entering the ground.

Development and impervious areas reduce the natural capacity of soil and vegetation to absorb rainfall, and Traditional storm water collection for residential properties incorporates 1,000-gallon concrete seepage pits. All impervious areas such as roof, driveway, patios and swimming pools are added up and then, depending on the municipal standards, are contained with the prescribed seepage pits. Seepage pit are design to reduce flooding and erosion but do little to control the quality of water that re-enters the watershed. Improving the quality of water which enters the watershed has major environmental benefits.

A rain garden is a specially landscaped shallow depression that captures and filters polluted storm-water runoff.  It provides storage of the bio-filtered storm water until it permeates the ground and enters the water supply. Plants with deep infiltrating root systems are specifically used in a rain garden design because they must tolerate harsh environments — drought to flooding conditions.  The organic or mulch layer protects the soil from eroding and provides an environment for microorganisms which degrade pollutants.

When designing the unique rain garden system currently being installed in a Mahwah, New Jersey landscape design, Bill Moore, NJ Certified Landscape Architect and I worked closely with the municipal engineer and the project engineer to formulate comprehensive approach. Up hill Runoff from the Ramapo Mountain and pool patio runoff will be piped into certified rain gardens and recharge the watershed with clean bio-filtered water. This sustainable solution also cost 10 to 15 percent less than the traditional seepage pit system which makes it attractive to homebuilders, site work companies, landscape contractors and homeowners.

Adopting sustainable solutions for today’s environmental issues will result in a shift in attitude that can pass health and wellness along to future generations.  Throughout the Spring months, we will be submitting rain garden designs submitted to Allendale, Englewood, Saddle River, Franklin Lakes and Kinnelon as part of ongoing projects. These designs will be available free of charge to all in Summer 2009.

Cipriano Landscape Design’s Landscape Architecture Department Offers a 3D Virtual Tour of Custom Swimming Pool and Landscaping Projects

Friday, March 6th, 2009

The 3D virtual tour is the perfect solution for understanding swimming pool and landscape blueprints, “it truly feels as though you are walking through your finished landscape” says Peter Elfers a Cipriano client. Award winning New Jersey Certified Landscape Architect Bill Moore is able to transform his unique landscaping ideas and professional Auto CAD landscape plans into a scaled 3D model.

See the finishes and details in 3D for all of the structures we build including swimming pools, outdoor kitchens and grills, pergolas, fountains, natural stone patios, waterfalls, steps and walls along with a full plant library which will show garden layering as it will be in the real setting.  Transitional walkways, steps and elevation changes are shown in real time 3D so you can truly understand the spatial relationship of each structure. With the after dark feature you will understand the different night lighting effects, a great way to eliminate hot and cold spots in the landscape and get the most functional landscape lighting package.

With the 3D virtual tour you will see how spaces accommodate furniture, foot traffic and accessibility or if the pool or patio is too large or too small. In seconds you can see how adding or subtracting area affects a space, ensuring your finished project is exactly what you want. Bill reminds homeowners that we fix free plans and to ensure the safety of your family please utilized a licensed landscape architect and certified swimming pool professionals when embarking on difficult  projects.

The New Jersey Landscape Architecture Division of Cipriano Landscape Design Offers a New Outdoor Home Staging Service to Help New Jersey Residents Combat the Housing Market Decline.

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Due to the severe decline in the housing market, residents in the tri-state area are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their homes.  To combat this challenge, we announced today the launching of a new outdoor home staging service to help residents improve their “curb appeal” and sell their homes faster.

Home staging is a technique traditionally done indoors that prepares a residence for sale and makes it more appealing to potential buyers. However, fixing up the outdoors and improving curb appeal is a vital aspect of selling the home.  According to Smart Money, if you spend five percent of the value of your home on landscaping, and do it wisely, you might get 150 percent of more of your money back. Additionally, in a recent Gallup research project, home buyers revealed that they believe a professionally tuned outdoors will add nearly 15 percent to a home’s selling price. I always stress the view from the street is the first and most important impression on all potential buyers and professionally tuned outdoors will help grab buyers attention from the get-go. This is why outdoor staging is just as important as the traditional indoor service.

To improve curb appeal, I recommend taking simple steps like pressure-washing porches, decks and siding and removing old woodpiles, dilapidated sheds and any outdoor clutter. Also, have the lawn professionally mowed with all leaves and debris picked up. I also suggest fixing up the pathway to the front door, sprucing up the gardens with color and installing a few hanging plants along the front porch.  Repairing or updating an older swimming pool or patio can provide return on investment.   Having a person feel like they can move right in makes all the difference.

For clients with a larger budget, I recommend improving the gardens with distinctive features and a variety of plants. Try creating a natural and comfortable outdoor setting by installing a combination of trees, natural stones and shrubs, also showcasing a unique statue, fountain or urn full of color will help your property stand out from the rest.

Last but certainly not least, I recommend installing professional outdoor lighting.  Most buyers go shopping after work when it may be dark out.  If they can’t see the favorable characteristics of your home, they might pass right by.
The outdoor home staging service we offer ranges from a home visit with do-it-yourself suggestions, the sale or rental of garden elements and outdoor furniture to a complete NJ pool landscaping makeover. For more information, call the Ramsey office @201-785-0800.