There is nothing as enticing for visitors as a well-landscaped yard. Beckon visitors to your yard with well-defined areas, scenic views, a variety of colors and pleasant fragrances. Your home and garden will make everyone’s must-see list when you experiment with ideas like these.
Arbors and Pergolas
Arbors and pergolas are easy to erect but make a strong visual statement. They are available in lots of different materials, including vinyl, wood, and iron. One of the best ways to use an arbor or pergola is to position it just before an entrance gate. A well-dressed arbor acts almost like a magnet for visitors who yearn to walk beneath it. Train Sweet William vines or similar to grow up and over the arbor from both sides. One gardener’s tip that will help you is to use faux vines until your real vines are mature enough to fill in the arbor. Then you can simply remove the fake vines. You’ll be left with a fragrant greeting for visitors to your enchanted garden.
Don’t settle for drab, standard gates. You can get beautiful, decorative wrought iron and sculpted wood gates that will last a lifetime and more. Gates like these may come with unique hinges, latches and other features that capture the eye and imagination of those who use them. Wrought iron gates, in particular, are pleasant to use because the opening and closing movement is smooth and solid. Usually there is scrolling decoration in the construction that emulates the shape and design of flora.
Define Your Area with Fencing
Once your visitor has passed under the arbor or pergola and through the gate, let them see that they are in a special place that is different than the rest of the property. You can do this with clearly defined fencing. Attractive fencing makes visitors feel protected and cozy within your garden area. You can adorn the border of the fencing with any number of flowers, plants or decorative garden items, such as lights, birdhouses, and more. The fencing and gate also helps to protect the work that you put into your landscaping, keeping stray animals or wandering children away from your special place.
Scenes and Vistas
Reward your visitors with beauty at every turn. Invest in several unique trees or flowering shrubs that can act as conversation pieces or centerpieces for sitting areas and picnics. Plan your flowering garden so that something is in bloom at all times. Plant a variety of perennials and annuals so that your garden never looks the same year after year. Consider adding berry bushes or a few vegetable plants in your garden, so visitors can come away with something special to enjoy later. Add stone benches, small tables and bird baths to give them impression of a living area full of activity.
Call L & C Fence & Gate at 214-823-3623. Let our experts help your beckon your garden visitors with flair.
Green living enthusiasts will be the first to tell you that being green in the outdoors is just as important as being green on the inside. Our planet wouldn’t be as healthy without plenty of flora to create oxygen for us to breathe. So even in drought conditions, it doesn’t make sense to do away with green plants altogether. Instead of replacing your parched dry lawn with gravel, consider these options for drought-tolerant plants that will enhance the beauty of your outdoor space no matter how little water is available.
Agave succulents are native to Mexico, and do well in climates like Texas. It’s a perennial, so you only have to plant it once. Agave are not cacti plants, but they are very much like them. The flowers come out once, and then die. If you are particularly motivated, you might like to know that some of the world’s best tequila is made from the agave plant. But that’s a whole new blog post.
Hens and Chicks
The official name for this succulent is Sempervivum, but you likely know it by its vernacular, Hens and Chicks. Hens and chicks can grow in just about any size container, so if you’re into container gardening, this succulent is a good choice. But it also grows extremely well in gravely, sandy conditions, so it’s perfect for regions like Dallas, where mandatory bans on water use can come about in less than 24 hours. There are over 3,000 varieties of hens and chicks and many of them produce very vibrant, colorful flowers. These can be a showy addition to any garden.
Forsythia is not only drought-tolerant, but cold tolerant. In cooler months, it simply goes into dormancy. When spring finally arrives, it flower erupt from its seemingly barren branches into a showy, yellow display of flowers that lasts for weeks. The rest of the time, its abundant green leaves provide plenty of privacy, making it perfect for planting near fences and along property borders. One of the best features of forsythia is that it requires little more than a quick trimming after the blossoms have fallen
Arbors Broaden Your Options
When you add arbors to your garden landscape, your growing options increase. Arbors that are abundant with climbing vines add shade where it’s needed most. Areas with shade will naturally need less water than areas that are subject to hours of the sun’s heat. You can often grow plants under an arbor that you wouldn’t normally be able to in hot, dry climates.
No matter how you decide to plant your garden, you will do well to keep water restrictions in mind. That way, you’ll never be disappointed if and when your town imposes a mandatory water restriction.
Contact L & C Fence & Gate today and let our experts help you choose landscaping elements that will help you have a beautiful yard even in drought conditions. You can reach us at 214-823-3623 or use the contact form on our site.
Homeowners insurance protects you financially if your property is damaged or someone has an accident while visiting you. Raising your deductible, installing a home alarm system and using the same company for home and auto coverage lower your insurance costs. A fence might reduce your homeowners insurance premium, too.
Reduce Vandalism and Burglary Risk
Build a sturdy fence around your property, and vandals or burglars are less likely to enter your home. Your insurance costs could go down because of this security measure.
Protect Your Pool or Hot Tub
Because they’re a safety hazard, fence in your pool or hot tub. The best fences meet pool codes for your municipality and:
- ● Must be at least four feet high
- ● Include less than a 2” gap between the ground and the bottom of the fence
- ● Cannot be climbed from the outside and
- ● Feature a self-closing gate and child-safe latch.
- ● Use Sturdy Materials and Proper Installation
You can choose from dozens of fencing materials, including wood, vinyl and chain link. If the fence isn’t made from sturdy materials and properly installed, however, it won’t withstand intruders and other potential property damages. Since it’s ineffective, the fence won’t be eligible for any insurance discounts.
Document Your Fence
Once you install your fence, take pictures of it. Your insurance company might want to see proof that you have a reliable fence in place before they lower your premium.
You will need to invest money to install a perimeter fence. However, you’ll easily make up that expense as you prevent accidents, protect your property and save on your homeowners insurance premiums.
Call L & C Fence & Gate and let our experts help you choose the fence or gate that you need. You can reach us at 214-823-3623 or use the contact form on our site.
If you are a fan of The Walking Dead, or if you have been following zombies for many more years, you may ponder the need to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. This may mean gathering tools and possible weapons, deciding who will be part of your zombie defense squad and collecting canned food and bottled water “just in case.” However, there is another important step you should take to save your family from the outbreak—zombie proofing your yard.
The Fence is Key
You want to keep those zombies far from your home, so anything you can do to do this is important. While you may consider some traps or alarms for the yard, the key is a fence. Just like protecting your yard from dogs, or rabbits, a fence can be designed specifically to protect your family from zombies.
A good zombie proof fence is tall and durable. Choosing a high-quality fence construction company is important. You do not want a second rate fence to be the only thing that stands between you and a zombie herd. Make sure your gate is sturdy as well. You want something that will be easy for you and your family to get in and out, but one that is zombie proof—perhaps with a latch or that has the ability to install a lock.
The best thing about zombie proof fences is that they are ideal for “real life” too. After all, a zombie proof fence is sure to keep neighborhood kids out of your swimming pool or keep rabbits out of the garden. When you’re getting ready to build a new fence for your home, perhaps you should think about making it zombie proof. By doing this, you’ll have a fence that can stand up to nearly anything!
Allow the experts at L & C Fence & Gate help you choose the fence or gate that you need in this zombie apocalypse scenario. You can reach us at 214-823-3623 or use the contact form on our site.
Benefits of Privacy Fencing and Automated Gate-Controlled Entry
One effective way to protect a home and add value to the property in the process is by installing a fence around the property and adding an automatic gate to keep unwanted visitors from coming on your property, while allowing the people inside to control entry through the gate. A fence around your property will give you privacy, something Texas homeowners need and want as part of their outdoor living experience. When you install an automated gate, the added security not only benefits you and your family; it also increases the value of your home and surrounding property.
Deciding What You Need
If you want to use an automated gate to add to your home’s security, you have many alternatives from which to choose. The automatic gate can be an extension of a privacy gate, or one that merely blocks off entry to your property, or just to your house. In today’s technology-driven world, people are looking for ways to transform their homes into smart homes that are easily controlled from every electronic device they own – no matter where they are.
Many homeowners choose to use wireless keypads or telephone systems. With each of these technologies, a person must contact the homeowner via the telephone system or intercom to ask entry or get the keypad code. If homeowners have a whole house security system, it may be possible to remotely program the gate so that it is tied into the entire household security system.
Regardless of the type of technology you choose, and the cost of installing and maintaining it, the goal is keep intruders out and control who enters your property, or the area you choose to surround with an automated gate.
Automated Gate-Entry to Safety-Proof Swimming Pool Accessibility
Homeowners who install an automated gate as part of a fence surrounding a swimming pool, may add a level of security to their pool area with potentially life-saving benefits. Whether the gate has a keypad that only gives entry to people who know the code, or is hooked to a telephone system where people must ask to enter the pool area, this automation may effectively prevent children from entering the pool area without adult supervision.
When it comes to your home’s security, think of the safety of your family. Look at all the materials and options available to you, and allow the experts at L & C Fence & Gate help you choose the automated gate that is as attractive as it is functional. You don’t have to sacrifice looks to increase your home’s security.
Advantages of a Deck
Decks are relatively inexpensive compared to whole room additions, and deck sizes, shapes and materials are easy to customize. Whether you want to create an outdoor entertaining space, complete with built-in seating, or a small area where you can set up your own Texas-style barbecue station, all of this is possible with a deck.
If you have to walk down stairs to enter your backyard, why not take advantage of the elevation to create a living space from which the stairs extend? If your yard or garden area is largely shaded, a deck may allow you to capture some sun so you can grow things to increase the appeal of your outdoor living area. A deck is an excellent place on which to place containers for growing everything from native flowers to vegetables, miniature fruit trees and other interesting plant life.
The materials from which decks are made are easy to care for and need very little maintenance. Railings can increase the privacy of your deck, give you areas on which to place window boxes and offer protection for your children, so you don’t have to worry about whether they will fall. Stone or concrete patios are much more susceptible to damage from weather, and the cost of repairing and maintaining them is considerably higher than it would be for a deck.
You may not be considering selling your home at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that when you make improvements to your home, you shouldn’t consider the value that those improvements add to your home and property. Since outdoor living is so much a part of Texas life, by adding a deck, you are making your home that much more appealing to potential buyers, whether now or years from now.
Why an Arbor?
An arbor or pergola is an excellent way to extend growing space, especially if your property doesn’t have a lot of outdoor space. You can also use it as an umbrella or canopy under which you can put an outdoor living space, eating area, or small sitting area that is shaded from the intense Texas sun and heat. If you have a very sunny outdoor area that extends right off your house, an arbor is a useful and attractive way to shade your house, while also adding visual appeal to your home and to the overall look of your outdoor space.
Fast-growing vines easily attach themselves to arbors, creating a living umbrella that is as attractive as it is functional. If you choose to grow vines that produce colorful nectar-rich flowers, you’ll enjoy your property even more because of the beautiful hummingbirds and butterflies that will be drawn to your arbor. If your arbor is close enough to your home to offer protection from the sun during the hottest part of the day, you may also lower your cooling costs, making the investment of an arbor even more worthwhile.
Whether you add an arbor or a deck to your property, your family will enjoy the added outdoor space, while you increase the overall value of your property, adding to the equity you get from home ownership.
Watch nearly any family movie from the 1940s and at some point, you’re going to see at least one house with a white picket-type fence surrounding it. Watch enough of those movies and you’ll see that, while these fences – at least those in the front yards – may be similar in height and “first glance” appearance, they’re actually very different, using different styles to give each house a unique character.
In fact, fencing has been used for years to enhance homes and define yards – both front and back – and to give that “coming home” feeling. But recently, for many, many years, it seemed that just about the only fence you’d ever see was the so-called stockade style fence – you know the style: Lots of skinny panels in a row, each sporting a pointed peak at the top. As a fence, the stockade served its purpose – it divided spaces and defined yards. But from a stylistic point of view, it didn’t have a whole lot to offer – especially when everyone on the block had one in their yard.
Today, homeowners are breaking free of “stockade syndrome,” choosing fences that use styles, materials, finishes and other design elements and embellishments that not only help make a design and style statement but can also add significant value to your property. If you’re considering a fence for your home, here are a few ideas to help ensure the fence style you choose enhances your home’s style, making it look more welcoming and more attractive:
Gothic: Gothic fencing provides a more traditional “picket look,” with each picket featuring a top edge that that resembles a fleur de lis. Gothic designs are available in wood and vinyl materials, and both materials offer lots of finish options, including solid colors and stains. Gothic styles are available in a variety of heights so you can match front and backyard styles if you choose.
Full or partial lattice: Depending upon the amount of lattice used, this style can be used for contemporary and traditional homes and works well with craftsman-style bungalows as well. Lattice also helps break up the appearance of long expanses of fencing, tricking the eye into “seeing” a larger space.
Iron: Especially popular during the 18th and 19th centuries, iron fencing has experienced a big revival in recent years, especially among those with larger homes seeking to create an “estate” appearance. Paired with a matching gate and depending upon the design, an iron fence makes a bold statement for both contemporary and traditional homes. Because iron fences provide little privacy, they are often used in combination with other fence types to enclose back yards or other private areas.
Horizontal plank: Think about it: Most fencing uses vertical pickets. Turning that tradition on its side makes this fence a popular choice for owners of modern homes as well as ranch-style homes.
Of course, when it comes to selecting a fence, style is only one part of the equation. Today’s fences are available in lots of materials and finishes, which means you can truly personalize your outdoor space. Traditionally, wood has been the most popular choice among consumers for a couple of big reasons: First, wood tends to be less costly than many other materials, and second, it accepts a wide range of finishes, including stains and paints. As a result, depending on the finish you select, wooden fencing can be used to enhance a variety of home styles, from rustic country styles to cottage and Victorian homes.
While wood is amenable to lots of different finishes, it also requires upkeep to maintain its fresh appearance. Unless you like a really natural, rustic appearance, that can mean scraping, sanding and priming to keep it looking its best. Even rustic, natural fencing needs some occasional treatment to keep the wood in good condition and help it last for years and years. That’s why vinyl fencing options have become so popular in recent years. And while early versions of vinyl fencing looked, well, plastic, today’s manufacturing techniques have come a long way to provide realistic-looking fencing that can’t be told apart from its wood counterparts unless you get really, really close – and sometimes, not even then. Even iron fences come in a variety of styles, colors and other finish options.
Finally, no matter what type of fencing you choose, to get the best possible look and ensure its longevity, it’s a good idea to abandon your notions of “do-it-yourself” installation. Putting up a fence may look pretty straightforward – dig some holes, drop in some posts and screw on the horizontal sections, right? – but actually, it’s not nearly that simple. Proper installation requires adequate anchoring of vertical and horizontal supports in addition to precise leveling across often long expanses of ground in order to make sure the fence looks good and performs as it should. Professional installers understand the investment you’ve made, and they have the experience and skills necessary to make sure the fence you choose gives you years and years of enjoyment and also helps boost your property’s overall value.
Every fence contractor in Dallas knows that ants swarm in spring. Even worse this year, there is a foreign ant invasion spreading throughout the southeast, replacing local ant populations. These “crazy ants” build colonies 100 times bigger than regular ants, outside and inside houses, in traditional ant locations and in protected areas, like walls and sometimes electronic equipment. Property owners have found them in basements and crawl spaces, air conditioners and computers, and outside in leaf piles and pool pumps. The crazy ant does not respond to regular ant poisons and has no local predators, although it does compete with fire ants.
Texas A&M has identified these ants as Nylanderia fulva, from the area around the border of Brazil and Argentina, according to PLOS ONE online. The Texan invasion apparently started in the ports of Houston, carried there in cargo from South America or Florida, where it is known as the Caribbean crazy ant. It can now be found throughout the southeastern United States.
Crazy ants are about the size of fire ants, but a lighter brown and dull, due to the hair on their stomachs. Rather than marching in straight lines, they run scattered every which way, taking over the living spaces and food sources of local ants, driving them out. They also eat ladybugs and bees. Inside electrical equipment, they cause shorts with the bridges they build between electrical contacts. The ant does not fly during swarming. Colonies spread by inadvertent carriers like cargo boxes, RVs, hay bales, and nursery plants.
N. fulva is now known to be living in at least 21 counties in southeast Texas, as far north as Austin. No one has reported them in Dallas yet, but the Texas Department of Agriculture expects it to be only a matter of time. They and the USDA have deemed the infestation alarming enough that they have set up a special task force to find a way to control the ant and prevent its spread.
Meanwhile, property owners can do their own prevention. L&C Fence & Gate notes that if the colonies start in moist debris piles outside, cleaning up piles can be key to stopping them, especially around the edges of automatic gates, where leaves collect, and in the gate tracks. And if the ants invade enclosed spaces like electronic equipment, then gate gear boxes and pool pumps can be kept cleaned and oiled as a possible deterrent. Although these steps will not stop the ants, they may slow them down enough to at least keep them outside, until researchers can find a longer term solution.
A fence serves a variety of purposes whether it’s using wooden panels for the optimum in privacy, wooden picket fences for a decorative effect or sturdy wrought iron fences for security and enhancement of the home’s exterior and landscaping. Whichever type chosen, periodic maintenance is necessary to keep the fence in shape and looking good.
Wooden fences come with several maintenance issues that homeowners should be aware of when choosing this material. Installing a quality fence from the start using the right materials along with standard maintenance can prolong the life of the fence for many years. Consider these tips to maintain a new or existing wooden fence.
● Material – if you are anticipating having a new wooden fence installed, select an appropriate type of wood and ensure the material is labeled pressure treated if it is going to be in contact with the ground. The specific chemicals added to create pressure treated wood protect the fence against moisture and insects especially the posts going directly into the ground that are most susceptible to moisture. Two materials that are good choices for fences as they are resistant to the elements that cause rot and decay and do not need to be pressure treated are cedar and redwood.
● Wood rot and drying – if the wooden panels have not been pre-treated, water from rain and sprinklers will speed up the rotting process. Natural drying and splitting of the wood also takes place over time. These same issues can affect pre-treated panels if not maintained. To prolong the durability of the fence, apply a quality, water-repelling acrylic or oil-based staint to clean, dry panels.
● Vines and foliage– if allowed to grow on or up against untreated wood, plants, shrubs and vines can cause wood rot due to moisture in the plants and a lack of adequate sunlight to keep panels dry. Place plants far enough from the paneling to allow sufficient air flow and sunlight and prune periodically.
● Algae – a natural growth but one that affects the panels. The easiest way to remove algae is with a pressure washer. The force of the water removes the unsightly growth leaving the wood looking like new. Homeowners can rent a pressure washer and do the project themselves or hire a company to do the cleaning. Reapply a coat of water-repelling sealant to the fence once the panels are thoroughly dry. Follow the product instructions for frequency of application.
Wrought Iron Fences
Wrought iron fences provide security while maintaining the open look of your yard. Although sturdy, maintaining the fence helps prevent rust and chipping.
Unlike wooden panels that turn grey and weathered looking if not maintained due to moisture, wrought iron fencing deals with unattractive rust. The build-up detracts from the look of the fence and if left unattended, can weaken the metal.
● Cleaning – clean the fence regularly using a solution of soapy water and a sponge. Visually check for signs of rust and paint bubbling while cleaning.
● Rust removal – for small areas, use a wire brush to scrape rust away from the affected area. After scraping, wipe the entire area down with a damp cloth using the soapy water solution to remove rust residue and debris. Allow fence to dry naturally or wipe it down with dry rags. Apply a metal primer to the clean area according to manufacturer instructions followed by a coat of rust-resistant paint.
● Minor scratches – For minor scratches, use steel wool to work out the scratch then thoroughly clean the area. Let dry then apply several coats of rust-resistant paint to the area.
● Large rust spots – when large or multiple rust spots are detected; it may be time for a complete overhaul of the fence. This entails scraping, cleaning and drying all parts of the fence, applying rust-resistant metal primer followed by a coat, or two, of rust-resistant metal paint.
● Bubbling or flaking paint – if detected, remove it with either a hand held rotary tool and grinder or a wire brush. Sand it down to the bare metal and use a metal filler to address any pitting or holes in the surface. Once dry, clean the fence, dry again then apply a rust-resistant primer followed by two coats of rust-resistant paint to the sanded area.
● Hinges and latches – carefully inspect these areas as both can trap water resulting in rust.
● General care – Keep hedges, vines, shrubs, grasses or any other decorative plants away from the fence to eliminate trapped moisture. Also, keep direct contact with water sprinklers to a minimum.
Privacy is very important, especially if you live in an urban area like Dallas, TX. Of course, no matter where you live, a neighborhood snoop can really put a crunch on how you enjoy your property. It can be very annoying to be out with your family, holding a barbeque, swimming in the famous Texas heat, or just sitting on the porch when suddenly you notice the neighborhood snoop staring into the yard. How rude! Pull the shades, close the blinds, or stay inside, those neighbors aren’t going to stop spying. But wait, what about enjoying your yard? There are ways you can keep those nosy neighbors at bay without getting into an argument. By installing a fence you can be passive and aggressive in a way that is safe for everyone.
Bushes for Privacy
There are different options for the homeowner that wants to preserve their privacy. Some people choose to plant bushes. The problem with bushes is that they can become unruly. While you might be fine with a high line of bushes, your neighbors might not be as happy when the bushes grow too large. Keeping bushes trimmed can be quite a job. Once bushes reach a certain height they become leggy and if one of your problems are wandering animals, such as dogs and cats, they can walk right under the bushes.
Trees are sometimes advertised in gardening catalogs as a great way to secure your privacy from prying neighbors. Most of the trees in the tree ‘fence’ advertising are fast growing. However, not all areas will support the best growth for these types of trees. In Texas the heat may cause them to be scraggly and weak. What Texan wants a pitiful looking line of trees surrounding their property? This is the home of ‘big, bigger, biggest’ – don’t get stuck with wimpy trees.
Privacy fencing is one of the most attractive ways you can envelop your home in a cocoon of privacy. You’ll avoid critters that are attracted to bushes. Western Red Cedar fencing is the most common and cost effective privacy fence you can have. Cost effective because of the long life this lumber affords to your project, expect well over 20 years You should use steel posts and can even cover the metal posts with cedar to soften the look. Attractive fencing can add beauty and value to your home, which makes such a fence an investment for your future – home equity is one of the most important aspects of property ownership.