The Boise Landscaping Blog

Choosing The Best Overhead Shade For Your Yard in Boise, ID

While you're celebrating the extended daylight hours that summer brings to Boise, does the heat and sunlight also remind you of areas where you wish you had a little more shade? When considering overhead shade options as part of the hardscaping of your yard, you have a lot of choices. Everything from gazebos to arbors and pergolas to various kinds of trellis-style covers can bring you some relief during the hottest days of the summer, but choosing the best fit can include a lot of considerations. The team at Bella Vista Landscape can help. Before choosing your best option, here are some of the items you'll want to consider:

  • Purpose: Are you looking mostly for shade or for aesthetic? Do you plan to have climbing plants on your structure? Making those decisions in advance is key to choosing a structure that works for you, and not one you'll constantly be trying to adjust in the future.

  • Location: Do you want a free-standing structure in a larger yard away from your house, or do you want something that is more of an extension of existing buildings?

  • Size: Size can be a function of practicality–what activities you're planning under the overhead feature–and also a function of aesthetics–a very small feature in a very large yard can look awkward, and too large a feature in a small yard can overtake it completely.

  • Weather Protection: We are lucky to experience all four seasons in Boise, Idaho and surrounding areas. Weather-friendly building materials are key to an outdoor structure that stands the test of time.

  • Maintenance: As an extension of weather protection, it's important to consider what you or a yard landscape company like Bella Vista will need to do to keep your structure in prime condition. Wooden gazebos and pergolas will require some treatment in order to stay as beautiful as the day they were built. Some more modern materials require less attention.

  • Building Codes, Permits, and HOAs: When building any overhead structure, it's important to pay attention to your surroundings. If you have any power lines, phone lines, or cell towers in the vicinity, you may have to get a permit to build an overhead structure that affects access. Also, many Homeowners' Associations require permission to make large structural changes. Having these ducks in a row ahead of time makes construction a breeze.

Whatever the conditions, the hardscaping experts at Bella Vista Landscape would love to help you install a beautiful, long-lasting, functional overhead shade for your yard. We offer free landscape design consultations and you can also call us with questions at 208-995-3947 or contact us here for help.

Preparing Your Lawn and Yard for Fall and Winter in Boise, ID


It's that time of year again! The temperatures are starting (slowly) to drop, gardens are seeing the end of summer produce, and it's time to start thinking about how to prepare your lawn and yard for autumn and winter in the Boise, Idaho area. Bella Vista Landscape has advice, tips, and tricks on how to care for your backyard during this seasonal change.

Important items to consider include:

  • Lawn Aeration: Boise's soil is prone to compaction, especially if you are able to be out enjoying your yard as much as you'd like. Fall is the ideal time to give it some breathing room with aeration. By creating small, regular holes throughout your lawn, you allow nutrients, water, and air to reach the roots, making for a healthier lawn in the spring.

  • Fertilize Your Grass: Just like aeration gives your lawn access to the resources it needs, a good slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer can prepare your lawn for the months ahead. Much like a bear feeding before hibernation, giving your lawn a nice, big meal can keep it healthier and satisfied during its own dormancy.

  • Introduce The Magic of Mulch: Besides helping your yard look fresh and tidy, clean mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials is like giving your plants a warm blanket for the cold season. This layer helps insulate the soil from the harshest temperatures and also helps your soil retain moisture during dry spells. Give Bella Vista Landscape a call at 208-995-3947 if you'd like us to handle this step for you!

  • Yard and Garden Clean-Up: As summer winds down and fall moves in, making sure your leaves are raked, spent annuals are removed, perennials are cut back, and other yard-tidying activities are handled ensures your lawn and soil will have access to the nutrients they need, even while dormant. If your yard is covered in weeds that have gone to seed, a heavy coat of leaves, or out-of-control levels of dead and rotting plants, you will spend more of your spring fixing these problems than doing basic maintenance that allows you to enjoy your yard when the temperatures rise once again.

In the course of your fall/winter preparations, you might start brainstorming on some things you would like to change in your yard. You may decide to:

Those are all tasks that Bella Vista Landscape can assist with. We have the expertise to make sure the job is done right the first time with top-quality materials and still in an affordable way.

Whatever your questions or concerns about your landscape design, Bella Vista Landscape is here to help. If you live in or around Boise, ID, and would like help with both hardscaping and softscaping your yard, give us a call at 208-995-3947 or contact us here for more information and professional advice.

10 Tried and True Tips for Designing a Low-Maintenance Garden


Maintaining a garden can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but in today's fast-paced world, finding the time for extensive upkeep can be challenging. This challenge is compounded in regions like the Treasure Valley, where four distinct seasons bring changing landscapes and demands. With the hustle of modern life and the shifts in weather, designing a low-maintenance garden becomes not only a practical choice but also a smart one. At Bella Vista Landscape, we understand the value of creating a fantastic outdoor space that doesn't demand constant attention. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of a low-maintenance garden and provide you with 10 insightful tips to achieve it.

The Advantage of Low Maintenance Gardens in a Busy, Four-Season Climate

Busy lifestyles and the ever-changing seasons necessitate a garden design that doesn't consume excessive time and effort. A garden with less demanding upkeep, not only lets you enjoy the beauty of nature but also frees you up to focus on other important aspects of life. With four seasons in play, a garden that requires minimal tending allows you to enjoy each season without being burdened by extensive effort.

10 Tips for Designing Your Low-Maintenance Garden

  1. Native Plant Selection: Opt for native plants that are well adapted to the local climate. They require less attention, thrive better, and contribute to the ecosystem.

  1. Strategic Hardscaping: Incorporate well-placed hardscape elements like paths, patios, and seating areas. These not only reduce the area needing maintenance but also lend structure to your garden.

  1. Mulching for Moisture: Apply a layer of organic mulch to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate temperature. This minimizes the need for constant watering and weeding.

  1. Drought-Tolerant Plants: Choose plants that can withstand dry periods, reducing the need for constant watering during the warmer months.

  1. Automated Irrigation: Invest in an automated irrigation system to ensure your garden receives consistent water, even when you're busy.

  1. Grouping by Water Needs: Arrange plants with similar water requirements together, making it easier to water efficiently and effectively.

  1. Slow-Growing Trees: Opt for slow-growing trees to avoid excessive pruning and maintenance. These trees provide shade and character without constant upkeep.

  1. Perennial Plants: Select perennial plants that come back year after year, reducing the need for replanting and seasonal adjustments.

  1. Minimalist Design: Embrace a minimalist garden design that focuses on a few key elements. This not only creates an elegant aesthetic but also minimizes maintenance needs.

  1. Professional Guidance: Consult with landscaping experts like Bella Vista Landscape to create a tailored low-maintenance garden plan that suits your specific preferences and climate.

In a world where time is a precious commodity, a low-maintenance garden is a reflection of your mindful approach to both your busy lifestyle and the ever-changing seasons. By implementing these tips, you can achieve an outdoor oasis that thrives with minimal effort. 

By thoughtfully selecting native plants, incorporating smart hardscaping, and utilizing mulching techniques, you can significantly reduce the time and effort required for garden upkeep. Drought-tolerant plants, automated irrigation, and strategic grouping ensure your garden remains vibrant throughout the year with minimal intervention. The choice of slow-growing trees, perennial plants, and a minimalist design philosophy contributes to the ease of maintenance while still offering a captivating outdoor space. 

With the guidance of experts at Bella Vista Landscape, you can craft a simply maintained outdoor space that brings the beauty of nature closer without overwhelming your lifestyle. Enjoy the changing seasons and time in your garden, knowing that its upkeep is manageable and rewarding.

At Bella Vista Landscape, our mission is to help you design a low-maintenance garden that aligns with your unique needs and goals. Contact us today at (208) 995-3947 or through our online form to start creating a yard space that strengthens your connection to the great outdoors.

Budget-Friendly Ways to Create an Outdoor Living Space in Boise, ID


Perhaps the summer months have you wishing your yard was easier to utilize, or that it was more appealing so you would spend more time outside. One of the biggest barriers people face when re-designing or organizing their yard is budget. Understandably so; landscaping can seem like a low priority when funds are tight. However, what many people don’t realize is that it’s possible to make a lot of improvements on your property without breaking the bank. A few simple tweaks can quickly produce an area perfect for entertaining or relaxing. Today, we’ll be sharing a few of our top tips to re-creating your yard on a tight budget on our blog for Bella Vista Landscape

  1. Plan and prioritize. Any large project with a tight budget will benefit from a rigorous planning process; you don’t want to waste a single dollar, and planning well can help you achieve the most bang for your buck. Set a budget for how much you can spend on your landscape transformation, and begin by selecting your top priorities. Maybe you want seating that encourages conversation among larger groups, or a patio dining area, or a fire pit. Prioritize the items that will become the most important aspects of your space and allocate your budget accordingly.

  2. Repurpose and DIY. While we always recommend hiring an expert for more of the difficult aspects of landscaping, repurposing items you already own or choosing to DIY can save you a lot of expenses. Consider painting old furniture you already own or creating decorative elements with reclaimed materials; similarly, garden trellises or raised beds can often be created relatively inexpensively, and there are an abundant number of tutorials and tips to be found on YouTube or Pinterest. Choosing to DIY aspects of landscaping that are within the scope of your abilities can help cut costs so you can use your budget where you really need it.

  3. Shop secondhand and sales. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for good deals anyway, but if you’re hoping to accomplish a lot on a tight budget, secondhand and sales are the way to go. It may take a little more time to find the perfect piece, but thrift stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces often have unbeatable prices for furniture and décor in decent quality. Gently used items are often the perfect balance between price point and quality, and if you are patient, you can wait until off-season or end-of-season sales kick in to purchase retail items. Additionally, imperfect thrifted items are often sold at a lower cost, and these can often be re-finished or improved as a DIY project!

  4. Utilize nature. Plants and flowers can be excellent decorative elements, and can add to the natural beauty of your surroundings. Add potted plants or hanging baskets for color and texture, and use the shade of larger trees to create gathering areas rather than paying for shade umbrellas or overhead structures. Many plant enthusiasts are happy to share a cutting or two, so you may be able to gather plants and materials for little to know cost if you’re willing to flex your green thumb.

  5. Choose cost-effective and long-lasting materials. Use mulch or gravel rather than expensive pavers for pathways, or use compositive decking instead of natural wood. Making budget-friendly swaps can help you craft a space that meets your needs, and the0re is always the option to upgrade later. Having the pieces of your dream property in place can make a big difference in how often you utilize your property, and in how much you can enjoy it. 

Our mission at Bella Vista Landscape is to help our clients create and enjoy a landscape that maximizes their outdoor experience in Boise, Nampa, Meridian, ID, and all surrounding areas. Whether you have a plentiful budget or want to create a simple space on a more frugal one, our team of experts can help you design a space that meets your needs and provides a space for relaxation and connection right on your property. Everyone deserves to be able to enjoy their property to the fullest, and we are passionate about helping our clients built their dream properties. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (208) 995-3532 for more information or to schedule an appointment today!

Using Plants to Create Privacy in Your Yard in Boise, ID

One of the best parts of living in the Treasure Valley is the fact that we have four distinct, beautiful seasons to enjoy. People have come to recognize what a gem the capital of the Gem State truly is, and we’ve seen a huge rise in population since the pandemic. As our city grows quickly, we are seeing an increase in neighborhoods with smaller yards and properties where homes are packed more closely to their neighbors than in older subdivisions. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it can lead to friendly neighbors, but if you are someone who enjoys lounging in the privacy of your own property, it can be harder to feel at ease when you are in close quarters with neighbors on every side. At Bella Vista Landscape, we are eager to share our knowledge and expertise that comes with years of landscape design experience. Today, we’ll be discussing our top tips to create a private oasis on your property using one of the most natural and beautiful elements you can incorporate in your landscaping: plants. 

Plants are unique and dynamic; they change with the seasons and over time, and no two plants are exactly identical. We love this living, breathing dynamic and the fresh take every individual shrub, tree, or plant can add! Here are our top tips for using plants to increase your privacy level: 

  1. Decide how private you want your property to be. Obviously, the level of privacy will determine how much coverage and density you need from your plants to achieve that optimal level for yourself. The level of privacy may not be uniform across your entire property, either; perhaps you have a hot tub and want a secluded area where guests can feel protected from sight, while your raised flower beds don’t need quite as much privacy. Having a good idea on which parts of your property need more or less privacy can help you during the planning process.

  2. Select tall and dense plants. Dense foliage provides a visual barrier, while sparser plants do not. If seasonality does not affect your need for privacy, evergreen trees might be a good option, as they keep their pines throughout the winter. On the other hand, if you’re primarily concerned about summer time when your family may be wearing swimwear on your property, other kinds of trees may serve you just fine.

  3. Layer plants to create depth. Placing taller plants at the back of your property and shorter plants in front can be a visually appealing way to create a privacy screen! Additionally, taller trees and plants can block some of the view while layering shrubs and lower profile plants can create denser coverage at eye level.

  4. Consider how quickly plants grow. If you want privacy quickly, it may be wise to choose plants that can provide coverage more rapidly. Bamboo or privet can create privacy within a few seasons, whereas slower growing trees may need years before they provide adequate privacy. As with any quickly growing vegetation, be cautious so as to avoid invasive growth.

  5. Use vines and trellises. Rather than opting for a giant row of trees, utilize climbing plants or vines on trellises or fences to create a privacy screen. Ivy, clematis, and jasmine can cover structures and provide additional coverage without committing to the visually dense presence of a row of trees.

  6. Mix in flowering shrubs. Adding some flowering shrubs into your privacy planting can add beauty and color to your yard, and give you seasonal delights to look forward to. Hydrangeas, lilacs, and flowering quince are good options that provide dense coverage and aesthetic blooms to provide a stylish but effective privacy screen. 

At Bella Vista Landscape, we love creating beautiful views for our friends and family in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, ID, and all surrounding areas! Whether you are seeking help with installing a patio or a water feature of simply want tips and information provided through our blog, we are eager to share our passion for landscaping and help you create your dream getaway right on your own property. Give us a call at (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form for more information or to schedule an appointment today!

Landscaping Ideas for Hosting in Boise, ID

Summer has finally arrived, and summertime activities are in full swing! From the Boise River finally being open for floating to kids being out of school and temperatures climbing up into the 90s, many of Bella Vista Landscape’s friends and neighbors are looking for summer entertainment and enjoying the warm, late nights of connecting with loved ones. 

Having a nice backyard to host parties or intimate get-togethers can be a delight that transforms ordinary gatherings into unforgettable evenings with inside jokes and deep conversations. If you are someone who enjoys crafting these kinds of events with your friends and family, the right landscaping can transform your property into an enchanting oasis. Lush greenery with vibrant flowers, beautiful lawns, and a well-situated patio with a pergola can create the perfect atmosphere. Carefully chosen outdoor furniture can provide an excellent place for guests to relax and socialize, while outdoor lighting in the form of twinkling string or bistro lights can cultivate a soothing ambience. Perhaps you love a good barbecue or cooking in an outdoor kitchen, where the smells and sounds of a delicious meal sizzling on the grill will only add to the peaceful joy of the evening. The right landscaping and setup can serve as the perfect backdrop for cherished memories and heartwarming moments you will remember for years to come. 

Today, on Independence Day--the classic day for barbecues and family gatherings--we will share some landscaping ideas to create the ultimate backyard hosting experience. 

  1. Cozy seating areas. While kiddos are often content to lounge directly on the lawn, many adults will prefer to sit on such installations as lounge chairs, sofas, and hammocks. Choosing where to place your outdoor furniture can also play a role; if you often get together with three of your best friends, cluster four seats close together so you can enjoy conversation while everyone has a spot. If you gather in larger groups, consider installing bench-style seating where multiple guests can be seated.

  2. Outdoor kitchen and/or bar. Food has a special way of bringing people together, whether it’s over a steak dinner, burgers and hotdogs, kabobs, or drinks. Create an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill, countertop space, and a bar area for the ultimate backyard. This will allow for easy food prep and increase the likelihood of wonderful outdoor meals to be shared with your loved ones.

  3. Shade and shelter. Overhead structures like pergolas, awnings, and large umbrellas can provide shade and protect guests from the sun during daytime hours. Even something as simple as planting shade trees can improve your outdoor experience and allow everyone to stay comfortable and enjoy the outdoor space, even on hot days. The dry heat here in Idaho means that a little bit of shade can make a big difference!

  4. Spacious patio or deck. A good-sized patio or deck should be designed to accommodate whatever activities you anticipate using it for, be it seating, dining, or dancing. Durable and weather-resistant materials like brick, stone, or composite decking looks fantastic and will hold up against harsh weather conditions for many years.

  5. Fire pit or fireplace. Installing a fire pit or outdoor fireplace creates a focal point and natural gathering space with added warmth and ambience on cooler evenings. Especially here in the Treasure Valley where things cool down significantly once the sun goes down, a fire pit or fireplace can encourage guests to gather around and share stories while roasting marshmallows.

  6. Music and entertainment. A quick way to create a high-end vibe is to set up outdoor speakers to provide background music during your events; good music can set the tone for a lively evening and create a cheerful atmosphere while allowing guests to enjoy both engaging conversations and comfortable silences. 

At Bella Vista Landscape, we love serving our friends and neighbors in Boise, Nampa, Meridian, ID, and all surrounding areas as we help our clients design and create the landscaping of their dreams. Whether multi-functional spaces for gathers or spaces designed specifically for kids to play in, your dream yard is within reach. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (208) 995-3532 for more information or to schedule an appointment today, and happy Fourth of July to you and your loved ones!!!

Designing a Child-Friendly Backyard in Boise, ID

Summer is a fantastic season for kids to embrace the great outdoors and indulge in endless hours of play and exploration--which they can do right from your own backyard! With longer days, warm weather, lots of sunshine and summer break, kids have the perfect opportunity to engage in outdoor activities, which can promote physical, mental, and social development. Whether it’s running through sprinklers, building sandcastles at the beach, riding bicycles, playing catch in the yard, or simply playing imaginative games in your yard, there are a million possibilities for ways to keep your kids entertained this summer, even without excessive screen time. 

Playing outdoors can encourage creativity, physical fitness, problem-solving skills, and fosters social development as children navigate relationships with friends and siblings. The freedom that comes with summer break allows kiddos to enjoy nature, breathe in the fresh air, and create lasting childhood memories of time spent in the yard, and our team of experts at Bella Vista Landscape are eager to help. 

When it comes to landscape design, there are a number of things that must be taken into consideration, especially if you are keen on the idea of your kids being able to enjoy your property and spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer season. Today, we’ve put together a list of things to consider when designing your yard to be a fun and safe space for your children to play and explore. 

  1. Safety First. By and far the most important element of designing a child-friendly yard is to make sure that it’s a secure environment. Install child proof fences, gates, and locks to keep children within designated play areas and away from potential hazards, especially if you have a pool or live near a busier road.

  2. Soft Landing. If you have a play structure that your kids will be climbing on, make sure to incorporate softer surfaces like grass, rubber mats, or mulch under the play structures to provide a cushioned landing in case a child were to fall off. Although no one will experience a fall in an ideal world, avoiding harder surfaces like concrete or asphalt in areas where kids are likely to play can prevent injuries ranging from extra scrapes and bruises to broken bones. Prevention truly is key.

  3. Play Structures. Consider installing age-appropriate play structures, like swings, slides, climbing frames, a trampoline, or a playhouse. Think about the space that you have available and choose equipment that suits your kids’ ages, interests, and what they can grow into playing with. Considering not just the present but also the ages of your children in the coming years will help you make wise choices that will enable your kids to enjoy your yard for years to come.

  4. Sensory and Creative Spaces. Open-ended play is a fantastic way to help your kids develop creativity while stimulating their senses. Sensory spaces can include sandboxes, water play areas, musical instruments like wind chimes, or outdoor art stations that can foster imagination and exploration in a way that an indoor space may not be able to.

  5. Plants Choices. Select plants that are non-toxic and safe, whether for your kiddos or for your pets. Especially if your kids are younger, plants with thorns, spines, or poisonous berries can pose a threat. Create areas with colorful flowers or edible plants to engage children in gardening and nature appreciation.

  6. Shade and Shelter. Especially in the summer months when direct sunlight can cause sunburn, be sure to consider how much of your yard will be shaded throughout the day. Umbrellas, awnings, and trees can help protect children from the sun during hot weather. Consider adding a covered area or a small play tent where kids can seek shelter from the heat of the sun.

  7. Water Features. If you have space and you are able to ensure safety, child-friendly water features like a splash pad or small wading pool can be a lot of fun for young kiddos. For a less permanent feature, consider a water table for tiny tots who might enjoy splashing without the full commitment of a permanent installation. As always, be sure to supervise your children if they will be playing near water.

Needless to say, there are many different things you can do to make your yard a child-friendly play place! We serve our friends and neighbors in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, ID, and all surrounding areas. Give us a call at (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form for more information today!

Hardscaping: Visual Interest in Landscape Design in Boise, ID

Landscaping your backyard can be a fun and rewarding experience! It lets you exercise your creativity and is a fulfilling endeavor as you see your vision coming to life as your own personalized outdoor sanctuary. At Bella Vista Landscape, we are eager to help you thoroughly enjoy the landscaping process! From selecting plants to layouts, hardscape elements and water features, there are endless opportunities for self-expression that can be implemented via our landscape design services. Whether you envision the perfect garden beds to showcase your green thumb or a firepit with inviting seating areas, the decisions you make about your landscaping will contribute to the ambiance, aesthetics, and functionality of your property--not to mention raising property values. 

It can be handy to hire a professional for some elements of landscaping, although there are many elements that you may be able to DIY with a few handy friends. Today, we’ll be discussing hardscaping, which is defined as the non-living elements of landscaping ranging from pavers to walkways, patios and more, all of which can add visual interest and texture to your landscape design. Some of our top tips to use hardscaping to add interest to your property include: 

Use diverse materials. This is a trend that has been gaining popularity as clients choose to branch out from the most traditional brick and concrete pavers. You can use those common materials and mix and match with stone, wood, and even corrugated metal to create contrasting textures and colors throughout your yard. This can add depth and visual appeal to your landscape, and using similar elements in different parts of your property can bring it all together for a cohesive look.

Remember to create focal points. The human eye loves to know what to look at; if aesthetics are important to you, keep this in consideration when you’re designing your landscape. A striking pathway, a water feature, or a decorative wall can be a focal point in your landscape. These features draw the eye and serve as visual anchors, giving a sense of structure and allowing viewers to have natural points to rest their eyes. 

Mix vertical and horizontal elements. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and all horizontal with no vertical makes a property a dull one to look at! Trellises, pergolas, or arbors are excellent vertical elements, which can be paired with patios, walkways, and retaining walls to create an interplay between vertical and horizontal lines. These combinations can add dimension and a dynamic landscape that is equal parts functional and beautiful. 

Play with shapes and patterns. When it comes to designing your property, nothing is ever truly set in stone. Play with different shapes and patterns while arranging hardscape elements. Geometric pavers, circular seating areas, and curved pathways can add some movement to the flow of the landscape. 

Let there be light. Landscape lighting can highlight hardscape elements, improve evening functionality, and accentuate textures, depth, and create a warm and inviting ambiance even in the colder months. 

Consider the lilies. Integrating hardscape elements with vegetation can create beautiful, seamless transitions where man seems to meet nature. The smooth, flat surface of a concrete wall may be complemented by the intricate twining of ivy. The hard edges of many hardscape elements can be softened when paired with plants, and many vines love a good vertical structure to climb right up. 

At Bella Vista Landscape, we love helping clients experience the joy of witnessing their idea come to life as their plants grow, flowers bloom, and hardscape elements taking shape right in your own yard. Landscaping can help you connect with nature through the live elements you add, or with your family and friends when you create a space where friends and family can linger on a warm summer evening. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or beginner, landscaping your backyard can be a joyful experience, and we are eager to help you create an outdoor oasis that reflects your unique style and cultivates memories to last a lifetime. We serve our friends and neighbors in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, ID, and all surrounding areas. Give us a call at (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form for more information today!