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The Yard is Your Kingdom. Rule it.

Fire Pit

A warm feature from Ambiance Gardens

If a man’s home is his castle, then the yard should be his kingdom. Every king and his queen want a beautiful kingdom. Planting a few trees and shrubs and rolling out some soft green sod is nice, but you shouldn’t just plant things and hope for the best. Creating a kingdom takes some planning and work; and having an end result of a beautiful yard is worth the investment.

Front and backyards are the extension of the home’s interior and often tell whether the homeowner is detail oriented, spontaneous or avant-garde. Some people loathe yard work and believe anything will do. This person will mow the grass only when necessary, keep the weeds at bay with any convenient herbicide, and maybe plant a tree or two for shade.

While it’s certainly acceptable to keep a yard the way an owner sees fit (within the guidelines set by a homeowners’ association), yards designed by a professional landscaper have shown to increase the curb-appeal and value of a home when it comes time to sell.

“People want to see nice landscaping and a nice front door. The neater and more complete a house looks on the outside, the more likely a potential buyer will want to take a look inside,” says Cathy Michel, a real-estate agent at Pennington Line Real Estate in Greenwood, Indiana.

“If designed and implemented properly, professional landscaping can increase a value of a home five to 25 percent or more depending on how it’s implemented and the quality of the work,” adds Pat Cooley, a landscape designer with Primary Grounds in Greenwood. As Mom always said, “Neatness counts.”

Before Primary Ground Started

Before Primary Grounds started their work

However, when the weather turns warm, and after being cooped up inside all winter, humans, like animals roused from hibernation, venture outdoors to rejuvenate the senses. The sights, scents and even sounds of nature awakening from winter signal the beginning of new life. Snow melts and water begins to flow. Grass turns from dormant yellow to vibrant and green. Winter-bare trees put out new leaves and flower buds. However, sometimes Mother Nature needs a little help to keep from getting out of control. A professional landscaper, like a barber or hairstylist for hair, will give the yard a neat, clean look that turns heads.

Primary Grounds won the 2012 Green Excellence Award from the Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association for a residential project in the Eagle Trace neighborhood. “The owners called us in the fall of 2009,” recalls Cooley. “It was a fairly complex design as the backyard had a wood deck with a deep slopping downhill and a steep stairway that was unsafe for their small children,” Cooley said.

“In the spring of 2010, we worked with the owners over a period of several weeks,” Cooley continues. “We made the yard functional and usable with an enlarged deck and a livable patio. We made an entertainment space for large family functions, demolished a large concrete basketball court that wasn’t being used and created a play area for the children. It became a more functional and safe space for the whole family.” The entire project was completed in six weeks.

“The design and materials used in any landscaping project is entirely up to the property owner,” says Cooley. “Usually, the property owner gives the company a budget and perhaps an idea of what he or she wants and we have computer software that can show the homeowner what the finished project will look like even before work begins,” explains Cooley. “A typical residential project can take anywhere from one day to a month, depending upon what the homeowner wants, and of course, the weather.”

New Safer Deck from Primary Grounds

New Safer Deck from Primary Grounds

In addition to a myriad of landscaping products and services that keeps the company busy three seasons out of the year, Primary Grounds offers snow plowing and removal, and salting services. “We were lucky this past winter was so mild,” Cooley said. “We were able to service some clients’ trees and shrubs with dormant pruning.”

Primary Grounds began as a lawn mowing and minor landscaping business in the spring of 1989 by the current owner, Scott Rau, according to the company web site, www.primarygrounds.com. The part-time business that was started to help subsidize a college education soon grew into a full-time job. Over the past 22 years, Rau has transformed the company from a small lawn-care business to a full service lawn-care and landscape company that offers a wide range of commercial and residential services. Primary Grounds is a family-owned business that prides itself in operating on one simple principle: Provide each customer with high-quality personalized service. As a result, they have gained a reputation as one of Indianapolis’s premier residential and commercial landscape companies.

Another element of a professionally designed landscape – and one that adds texture, color and even sound to a yard – is known as hardscape. Just as the name implies, hardscape is anything hard: brick borders, stone benches, walkways, rocks, boulders, and water features such as koi ponds, waterfalls and bubbling boulders. Second to location, location, location in the real-estate agent’s mantra is curb appeal. “It seems like in recent years, hardscapes did not figure into the value of a home,” says Darren Wittry, president and CEO of Ambiance Gardens inGreenwood. “But outdoor living spaces add a lot of value to the home and its marketability. First impressions are everything.”

While not every property needs or has room for a koi pond, an addition of a stone border or bedding around trees and shrubs adds that neat and clean factor to a yard. “There’s no better way to give your house punch and create that anchored look than by defining your beds and creating focal points,” states Whittry in the Ambiance Gardens web site www.feeltheambiance.com. “The contrasting colors of the border stone and the mulch or crushed stone within the bed make for a more striking and eye-catching display.”

Homeowners who plan to use their yards for nighttime entertaining must not overlook the obvious: lighting. A professional landscape designer can help select and place lighting that is functional, not over-powering and avoids the “runway” effect.

Pondless Waterfall

Ambiance Gardens installed this Pondless Waterfall

When a homeowner is considering hiring a professional landscaping company for his or her yard, it’s always a good idea to see some prior work done by the company.AmbianceGardenshas completed several local projects of note. “We built an outdoor showroom with two large waterfalls, three large bubbling boulders, stone benches, stone pathways and stone walls for McCarty Mulch on SR 37 in Greenwood,” says Wittry. “We also installed a flagstone patio for the butterfly garden at the Greenwood Library, and installed a bubbling boulder and stone benches outside the chapel atRoncalliHigh SchoolinIndianapolis.

What the king wants, the king gets. Reign on.

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