Features & Enhancements
A fireplace can add such a magical feel to a dark cold evening and if ambiance is what you are after then this is the perfect application. Nothing says cozy and intimate like sitting by the fire with friends and family sharing stories and enjoying the glow of the fire.
Fireplaces can be built from natural stone or manufactured products such as pavers and can be made for wood burning or gas. If a fireplace is too much for you and you are looking for something a little more intimate then fire pits and fire tables may be the answer. These can be modified for any space and can be gas or wood burning just like a fireplace.
Water can bring such a tranquil and soothing element in your garden. It relaxes you and can also be used to buffer the sound of the city and bring you back to nature. Water front property is so desirable, when you cannot have the water by your home then why not bring the water to your home.
Ponds being some of the most popular water features can be made to be sustainable elements in your garden and can bring wildlife such as birds, butterflies and frogs. Fish can be added to your pond with along with other aquatic plant material and will help give your pond a more natural feel. This type of feature can not only be a spectacular backdrop to your gatherings but can be a great place to relax when you get home from a long day at work.
Materials that can be used to build these features are unlimited with the vast variety of stones that we have at our disposal.
If space or small children are a concern of yours and you still would like to hear the sound of running water, then a pondless water features such as bubbling rocks, water walls or even fountains will help you get the feel that you are looking for.
These features can be customized to whatever space that you would like to see them in; at your front door or around your back patio. These can be incorporated into your surrounding landscape to help add drama, along with adding some much needed peace to your daily life.
Water walls can be a unique way to add water to your home and can be customized to meet any size that you like. The amount of white noise can be increased with the height of the wall. Adding low voltage lights to these features can add additional drama with flicking light off the moving water.
Fountains can bring class and charm to a space in your garden without taking up too much room and still allowing for you to enjoy the sounds of water.
So no matter how much space you may have there is always room for the sound of water running in the back ground.
• Custom Cabinetry
• Pizza Ovens
Are you passionate about grilling? We’ll build you a kitchen for all your entertaining needs. Your outdoor cooking area will be a personalized space for your specific needs, with refrigerators, ice chests, grills, burners, multi-use cabinets, and sinks. We’ll handle the entire project and make your backyard, deck or patio the go-to spot for family and friends.
Low Voltage Lighting
It is amazing how everything changes at night. The familiar objects of day take on a new life in the dark. Colors change and shapes are manipulated by their own shadows – what will you see?
We at Great Lakes can help you illuminate your path and provide drama to your personal oasis with your own low-voltage lighting system.
Across the country, low-voltage outdoor lighting has become a highly desirable landscape feature. Professionally landscaped homes and public areas are transformed into spectacular showplaces at night…when illuminated with professional outdoor lighting. Artful gardens, dramatic trees, enchanting water features all receive a new visual excitement that is created at twilight with low voltage lighting.
We will design a low-voltage lighting plan that enhances your landscape during the day and illuminates and brings intrigue during the night. From simple designs to elaborate lighting nightscapes, we work closely with you.
• Multi-use courts for indoor and outdoor including all
accessories: hoops, nets, scoreboards and more
Arbor and pergolas are dramatic outdoor walkways or rooms that use columns to support an overhead, trellis-like structure. They maintain an open-air feeling while typically blocking some of the sun load. Arbors and pergolas add classic beauty and a definitive ah-ha factor to your yard, pool area, or entrance way. Often, they’re a perfect way to extend your entertainment space in a way that makes the most of Michigan’s gorgeous summers.
Fencing can be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and customized for any location. Material choices include aluminum, wood, vinyl, and wrought iron.
Wood has always been a favorite, adding a soothing, stunning look to your yard. Even if a small wooden gate is all you require, we can build it to fit your location.
If you seek privacy for a larger area, we can make a fence to your specifications or help you find a prefabricated fence in one of many styles, colors and wood types. In our photos, you’ll see a golden-colored, decay-resistant cedar fence, built by hand with tongue and groove boards. A diamond and square pattern across the top adds charm and depth. The final, breath-taking product is a one-of-a-kind showpiece!
Aluminum and wrought iron fencing can be functional and attractive. Wrought iron is a classic element in a more Victorian age, yet it still has a place in the modern landscape. Aluminum ranks as an affordable and durable alternative.
Vinyl is popular due to its low maintenance and durability. It can fit any need, be that privacy or purely aesthetic. If you want a country garden with an old-fashioned white picket fence, for example, vinyl is a great option.
Water to every homeowner is the enemy!!!! While it may be something that we need as humans to survive it becomes a downright nuisance and home wrecker when it gets in your house uninvited.
Upon site inspection we start at the top insuring we have good clean gutters, proper water flow, and solid downspouts that emit a minimum of 6’ from house. Next is a good positive drainage of soils from your foundation and don’t forget to waterproof and seal where the grade is raised.
At Great Lakes we bring you a wide range of solutions no matter what the site conditions are; flat, sloped or even concave. We are well versed in providing you with unique solutions to all your water problem needs.
Call us for an expert consultation and we will guide your water in the right path.
In our commitment to being “green” Great Lakes has become a certified green roof & living wall installer for ELT Easy Green Living Wall Systems. As heat islands and increasing water runoff tax the local sewers, Green Roof technology has increasing become more popular. With the limited amount of space in Europe this technology has already become established.
Green Roof technology is a great way to reduce the power needs of a building and also aids in water absorption that would otherwise be dumped into local rivers and lakes carrying contaminants creating more pollution and harming the surrounding environment. Green roofs tend to absorb 75% of any rainfall decreasing the load on waterways. By planting roofs with plant material that absorbs water, not only is water runoff reduced but there is a reduction to the heat island effect within the city. Most roofs usually are dark in color which absorbs the sun’s rays increasing the temperature of the surrounding space; this is why temperatures are cooler outside of the city, more green space. This process also reduces the power output of a building by keeping the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plants add insulation to a building as they give off water vapor through transpiration, this helps to dissipate heat.
Living walls are very similar to green roofs but instead of being level or nearly level they are literally walls. This allows you to garden in spaces that typically would have no room to do so otherwise. The inner city has very little space to work with so planting vertically is ideal. This also applies to people that have small courtyards. Living walls can be used for insulation purposes and to help reduce the heat in a small location by creating a micro climate within that space.
This is accomplished by using hanging trays that have inserts that allow a media to be placed inside and planted, just think of small pots that are set on their sides. Irrigation tubes are run through the tops of the trays; this allows water to pass through the permeable layers. Any additional water that passes through can be collected and reused for water conservation. Plant choices are limited by the size of the root stock of the plant that you choose to install considering that each space is only inches wide. Think of the possibilities, a restaurant in the inner city can use this not only to create a great atmosphere for their clientele but also to help grow produce and any essential herbs that would normally have to be purchased. It can also be used to create an annually change piece of living art. The use of this product uses are only limited by your imagination.
Typically people believe that trees should be planted with miniature volcanoes of mulch, planting the root ball above the soil line while making sure to stake the trees. This is not considered to be a sound horticultural practice.
When planting any plant one needs to evaluate the site conditions; soil type, moisture level of the soil and exposure. Knowing the site conditions will help you determine what plant best suites the conditions and what type of amendments may be required. After location is determined and is the proper space for the plant you can start to dig the hole. Industry standards state the root ball should be placed in a hole twice the size of the root ball. When back filling the soil, it should be done in lifts compacting at each level this allows for proper stability. Properly compacting the soil back into the hole when the tree is placed should alleviate the need for staking unless unusually high wind conditions are present. Keeping the plant at or just above original soil level is a good horticultural practice, this allows for any settling to occur, but if the hole is dug appropriately vary little settling should happen.
Mulch volcanoes, as we call them in the industry, do not increase water retention but can eventually cause rot as the much starts to decay around the trunk. Additional mulch applications, year after year increase the height of the mounds increasing the trees susceptibility to this issue. Mulch should be pulled away from the trunk and be spread out over the root ball equally, this allow for an equal decay rate of the organic material and allows for proper gas exchange between the soil and the air above.
Proper maintenance should be performed at this point to prevent future problems. Corrective prunings, removal of any wire tags and twine that can cause girdling in the future are just some of the small steps that should be taken in order to secure the tree a healthy start in its new home. Remember transplanting any plant will cause stress and any further stresses may harmful to the plant’s future.
Rain Gardens are an aesthetically pleasing and functional solution for dealing with water issues. As water runoff in the city becomes an increasingly larger issue, rain gardens have become more popular especially with the trend to go green. Rain gardens allow for natural processing of water runoff to occur on site through percolation methods, and planting materials that will absorb more water and can also survive periods of drought as well. Native plant materials are the best choice to use because of their ability to adjust to our climate and adaptability to the weather patterns.
When building a rain garden a specific location is chosen, downspouts direct water to that location or a swale is created to direct the water to that location. In that location the soil is removed to a certain depth and is filled with permeable materials such as sand and gravel along with original back fill to allow for the water to easily leach into the soils. The surrounding soils are amended and planted with water loving plant materials that will absorb the moisture. The idea is to hold the water until it is completed absorbed by the soils and surrounding plant material.
Rain gardens can be attractive by trying to add natural plantings and river stone with boulders, not only does this aide in the percolation but it adds a natural element that gives the feel of water without the actual existence of water it also allows a place for additional water to sit until the soil absorbs it.
Renovations are our specialty, we will design using any elements that the either our experts deem structurally sound or our client finds desirable and would like to remain within or perhaps relocated somewhere else on the property. Relocating materials can be a more affordable way to get the look that you desire.
Reusing existing stone from an existing walkway and adding to it is a great way to reduce ones cost and still keeps with the element of the classic home.
Transplanting larger existing shrubs or small ornamental trees that have sentimental value will also give your newly designed landscape a more established feel while retaining an element that you may be attached to.
Overgrown shrubs that block out your home can not only be visually distracting and darken the inside of your home but also can date your landscape. By removing existing materials such as junipers and burning bush that have outgrown their location you can add new life to a tired landscape. Often times we will salvage larger materials such as established trees, ornamentals and hedges that with proper pruning and the addition of new materials to provide your landscape the feel of a mature established one.
Synthetic turf can be a great compliment to any yard. The applications are almost endless; ranging from putting greens, high traffic areas, dog runs, to areas with maintenance issues and especially under children’s play structures. The turf has a UV rating that allows for it to maintain its color without fading and padding that can be installed underneath that has a rating for a fall up to nine feet which is great for under play structures. The turf has an Infill product that range from basic sand to acrylic that are applied as topdressing which helps hold the turf up in place and gives the lawn a more natural look. Acrylic infill is recommended for those individuals with dogs due to the fact that the acrylic material will not hold on to any of the odor.
Maintenance is no longer an issue when you have this product, there will be no more mowing, watering or even fertilizing, just sit back and enjoy your maintenance free environmentally friendly lawn.
We offer commercial and residential services to help your needs, which include:
Maintaining your landscape not only keeps the integrity of the original landscape design but can also keep your property from looking prematurely dated. Your landscape is an ever changing living element, but plants are easy to manipulate as long as attention is paid to their specific required living conditions.
There are many different aspects to maintaining your landscape; spring and fall cleanups will help keep leaf debris from building up. Annual mulch applications will give your landscape a fresh look and add much needed nutrients
and moisture-holding properties to the soil.
Pruning is another important aspect to maintaining your landscape. Pruning is done not only to keep plants in check but also to maintain health, vigor and for visual aesthetics. Without annual pruning the plants in your landscape would become large and overbearing, and may even crowd your walkway or other plants within the landscape.
Regular bed maintenance is also a very important aspect to caring for your garden. If not kept in check faster growing weeds will compete for nutrients and eventually overwhelm your plants. The longer weeds remain in your landscape, the harder it will be to remove them from your garden. As your landscape matures, less bed maintenance will be required – but your landscape will never be maintenance free. Remember your garden is alive and always changing.
“Hardscapes” is a term directly associated with the installation of walkways, patios, porches, pool decks and driveways. Like retaining walls, your hardscapes can be made from either a natural stone or a manufactured product. Manufactured products are designed and made to be uniform in size and makes for an easier installation over natural products. Pavers are installed as a dry laid system, meaning that the pavers have the ability to move freely of each other. The products that are available come from a wide range of manufacturers such as Unilock, Oaks, Fendt, Hanover, & Belgard to name a few. At Great Lakes Landscape Design we look for the best fit for each client’s needs without limiting their options.
Manufactured products have become quite popular due to their ability to be arranged in patterns that make for a more interesting layout. Another exciting design technique is called quilting – which adds detail, texture and color combinations that can draw the eye and lead you to a focal point. Quilting gives the homeowner the ability to customize their hardscape design to their own personal look. The single most important factor in creating a successful segmental paver installation is in the base preparation, which is referred to as a dry laid installation. At Great Lakes Landscape Design, not only do we exceed industry standards providing our clients an increased base of 50% +, but we back it up with a 5 year guarantee on labor. Coupled with the manufacturers lifetime material warranty, our warranty exceeds our competitors by more than double. Using our best practices for base installation, we have dramatically reduced installation failure to less than 1% of all square footage installed.
The products that we offer are not restricted to concrete manufactured units (pavers); the options are endless from clay pavers, for that classic look, to natural stones. In addition we can blend materials to give you a custom personalized product and design. The look of natural stones – such as bluestone – can be quite desirable and lead to a stunning end result. Natural stones range in size and thickness, making it more time consuming to install the product. These products are quarried – not manufactured – and are installed in two ways; wet laid or on a dry base, like pavers. Wet laid is simply the technique where the stones are mortared into place over 4” concrete with wire mesh and a dry aggregate base of 6”, creating in principle one continuous surface. Natural stone can be a modular stone laid in a random ashlars pattern, or all one size stone, or any combination that you can imagine. If you prefer an even more natural look stones can be obtained in an irregular configuration, stones are fit together in a completely random pattern like a jigsaw puzzle.
Applications for these products are endless – ranging from patios to walkways, and porches to driveways. Whichever method and product suits you, Great Lakes Landscape Design is dedicated to bringing you the highest quality in the Oakland County and Metro Detroit area.
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