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20 Nov 2017

Is It Too Cold to Sit Outside?

Hmmm… Not if you have a crackling firepit to sip hot cocoa by. Nothing makes enjoying the outdoors on a chilly evening more welcoming than a firepit with your family and friends gathered ‘round enjoying each other. Just think of all the memories you’ll make when you have that elegant destination in your backyard.


Why not schedule a consultation with one of our design specialists to discuss building your firepit area?

Get started today by clicking HERE to complete our application.


20 Nov 2017

Is Low-voltage L.E.D. Landscape Lighting Really All That Great?

L.E.D. Outdoor Lighting Systems are a terrific way to add security to your home while enhancing its beauty during the evening hours. Each home is different, and our lighting specialists will explain in detail the techniques of balancing light and dark places, beam spread, and path lighting vs. directional lighting to set your home apart from the rest.

Don’t get ripped off at the big box store and buy a plastic solar light fixture. Solar fixtures are fragile, have a high failure rate, and don’t provide sufficient illumination. When you choose Benton Outdoor Living, you are provided with an elegant selection of high strength fixtures to choose from that come with an extended warranty.

By: Michael Esch

20 Nov 2017

TRUE OR FALSE? … “Fall is the BEST Time to Prune Trees and Shrubs.”

On the surface, this is a good and challenging question. However, with a little research and the help of this article, you will quickly and easily learn the best way to handle it.

Dead, diseased, or injured branches may be pruned at any time of the year to minimize further problems and improve aesthetics. However, heavy pruning such as Renovation Pruning, Selective Thinning, Heading-back, etc.… should be done at more specific times of the year based on when the plants bloom.

Spring flowering trees and shrubs make flower buds for the next year during the summer months, and pruning them in the fall would remove the buds. This results in reduced flowers the following spring. It is best to prune these after they finish blooming. Some examples of spring-flowering trees and shrubs are Saucer Magnolia, Dogwood, Azalea, Bigleaf Hydrangea, and many others.

Keep reading for a complete list of spring-flowering trees and shrubs…


Summer-flowering trees and shrubs bloom on the current year’s growth, (meaning that as the new growth begins in the spring they begin creating buds for summer blooms). So, these are best pruned in late winter before the spring growth begins. A few examples of summer-flowering trees and shrubs are Crape myrtle, Rose-of-Sharon, Japanese Spirea, and Gardenia.


Keep reading for a complete list of summer-flowering trees and shrubs…


Fall pruning of any trees or shrubs can stimulate new tender growth that can be burnt by freezing temperatures and cause damage to the plants overall.


Adhere to the guidelines for pruning in South Carolina as described by the Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center. Pruning techniques and styles are described in better detail in the “Pruning Trees” Fact Sheet available by clicking HERE


Get the list of Spring and Summer Flowering Trees and Shrubs by clicking HERE!

20 Nov 2017

Planting Trees and Shrubs

Fall is the best time of year to plant field-dug trees. Shrubbery and other plantings you wish to transplant tend to grow much better when handled in the fall season. This is because of lower temperatures, which reduces heat stress. Plus, with many plants going dormant… The route can still grow with minimal stress. This helps the plants thrive much better come the following spring.
Read the Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center’s bulletin called “Transplanting Established Trees & Shrubs” by clicking HERE.

28 Feb 2017

How to Transform a Messy Backyard Into a Dream Oasis

We all have dreams… Some are realized… Some are not.

This family was frustrated with their backyard…

What you are about to read is a case study about the issues these homeowners had with their yard prior to finding a solution…

This picture was taken prior to any work being done


These homeowners had lived in this home for 12 years and never used their backyard. The deck was small, trees were close to the home, and the yard was very uneven. Several trees had to be removed before the raised paver patio could be built. It was messy!


Working with our designer, they invested in a Master Plan that gave them the “Big Picture”. By working in phases they did not have to invest in the whole project all at once, yet it all flows together as if it were built at the same time.


Phase #1

Since they really wanted a larger area to sit outdoors, and since it would be more efficient to do first, we built their paver patio and raised planter. It was laid out in a fashion to allow for the future addition of a deck.

This is the Conceptual Plan created for the project.
This 3D Image was based on the original Master Plan to help them visualize it better.

Phase #2

Several months passed before they were ready to resurface the old deck…add on a new section…plus a pergola for shade.

Phase #3

The most recent phase included extending their driveway with pavers, and adding stepping stones to lead from there to the back patio area.


As for this Lake Wylie family, the dream of a backyard place to hangout with friends has become a reality! They now have an outdoor living area that has become the talk of the neighborhood – PLUS a destination for many of the neighbors. They now have exciting parties with their family and friends all the time.


…Even their teenagers want to stay home more…


…and bring their friends over to hangout!



If you have a similar situation you’d like to have addressed, or if you’d simply like to speak with someone about possibilities…

Just call us at 704-604-2813 to schedule a No Obligation “Needs Analysis Telephone Call” with one of our Outdoor Design Experts.

14 Feb 2017

Valentine’s Day – Give Your Landscape Some LOVE?


Here are some important tips for you to apply THIS week, so you can give some love to your lawn and landscaping.


Please be sure to leave a comment below… or even a question.



What happened to winter?

Looks like spring is coming a few weeks early with all of the blooms I’m starting to see! In fact, seeing the forsythia shrubs blooming in their vivid yellow colors reminds me to blow the whistle on weeds!!!

See… this shrub tends to bloom within certain temperature ranges that are also conducive to what makes that irritating crabgrass sprout up from seeds that have just been lying around since last summer.

You need to call your lawn fertilization company to come out and apply the first treatment of crabgrass preventer.  In fact, I hope it isn’t too late already!

While we at Benton Outdoor Living do not offer lawn maintenance, I personally worked in Lawn & Landscape Management for over 4 years. So I’m able to offer tips on improving your lawn as well as starting a new one.


If you are applying your own chemicals, you MUST READ and FOLLOW ALL LABEL INSTRUCTIONS along with the SAFETY PRECAUTIONS!!!!

This post in no way offers chemical recommendations, nor do we recommend applications to be done by anyone other than a licensed pesticide applicator. Contact your lawn care specialist for step-by-step recommendations and programs for lawn improvement.

Sun, shade, soil type, moisture, drainage, soil pH, proximity to trees & shrubs, etc., are all factors that affect the overall health and performance of your lawn areas.

For more detailed information on lawn care and establishment, see Clemson University’s Home & Garden Information Center website:



February tends to be the best month to prune many of your fruit trees, as well as other trees and shrubs.

You need to know what time of the year your flowering shrubs bloom if you wish to enjoy their beauty. Many of the spring blooming azaleas and hydrangeas should be pruned after they finish blooming. Otherwise, you risk cutting off potential blooms if you prune them now.

For more information about pruning trees, see Clemson University’s Home & Garden Information Center website:

And for information about pruning shrubbery, see:



If you are wanting to improve the overall quality of life in your outdoor areas, visit us at to discuss your outdoor improvement interests.

If you are simply looking for ideas at this time…

Download a FREE copy of “The Ultimate Homeowner’s Patio & Deck Planner” at Once you request this eBook, you will be entered into a mini e-course for outdoor living.

If you would like a workbook to get additional ideas and take notes in for maximizing your outdoor spaces, go to for a FREE copy of “5 Steps To Your Dream Backyard”.


I hope you’ve gained new insights for your landscape and outdoor living areas. If you’ve enjoyed reading this…

Would you forward this along to a friend who would enjoy it too?



Seth Hudson, Outdoor Design Specialist



30 Jan 2017

Artistic Patio Design Tips

In today’s blog post I’m going to give you a few style tips for your patio area.

In our area, there seems to be a general thought that all paver patios have to be curvy – or some type of organic shape. It seems that many people think of squares and rectangles as being “formal” in appearance.

While geometric shapes like these are common in “formal” gardens, there are many benefits to patios having more of a square layout. And, the landscaping can take on more of an informal appearance. (more on this in a couple of weeks)

Think about the rooms in your home… What are they shaped like?

Look at your furniture… How is it laid out?

If you are planning on having a lot of furniture on your patio, it is a good idea to consider the furniture style when planning the patio.

Some sofa sets are completely round. These would fit perfectly in a more curved patio layout. However, if this type does not suit your taste, then look at more traditional layouts and plan your patio accordingly.

Square or Rectangular Patio Layouts:

  • · Provide more of a “room” feeling
  • · Make planning furniture and walking space layout easier (when well proportioned)
  • · Can be less expensive to build due to lower material & labor costs on simple layouts
  • · Do not have to be “bland” – Color and pattern options are available
  • · Integrate well with structures and outdoor kitchen areas
  • · Can have more than one level and/or pattern to change up the feel of a space
  • · Landscape beds can be made “curvy” to soften the edges of the area

Curved or Circular Patio Layouts:

  • · Create a sense of excitement in the garden
  • · Work nicely with round firepits so people can gather around the fire
  • · Can be costlier to build due to higher material & labor costs
  • · Color and pattern options are available for these too!
  • · Can look more artistic
  • · Work well with circular furniture styles
  • · Can have lots of wasted space if not planned properly (remember Wendy’s “We don’t cut corners”?) A square foot cut is a square foot lost!

Some of the more popular patio styles include a mix of circular or curved layouts along with square or rectangular ones.

Be on the lookout for a chance to see some of these mixed layout patio designs.

Many patio pavers are either square or rectangular in shape, but come in different sizes. Lots of interest can be added to your space if you mix two or three varying patterns and/or colors.

A very popular design element is the Circle Kit. This looks like a large medallion placed on your patio, and can make a stunning accent to the pavers.

Paver colors should contrast with or complement the colors of your house. Using pavers that are too similar in color can make the patio look bland. You can also try using a different colored border around (or through) the main patio surface. This can provide a “picture frame” effect – an elegant touch!

Your designer can help with color and style selections for your patio. As long as the finished patio looks like it belongs with your home.

Don’t hesitate to email me at if you have any questions about patio style and layout.

Have a great day!


Already know what you want? … Ready to GET things done?

Call us at 704-604-2813 or visit our website

10 Jan 2017

Outdoor Living Design Tips…

Is Your Patio Too Small?

Would you like to invite your family and friends over for cookouts on a regular basis? A properly planned patio will provide the room you need for your dining table, sofa set and lounge chairs.

Don't forget about that fire pit area to keep warm by on chilly evenings with that special someone. How about the sounds of rippling water?

How about a nice covered area where you can watch the Carolina Panthers, the Clemson Tigers, or any of your favorite sports teams with your friends?

Is your current patio too small to have more than two people at a time on it? Does half of your patio furniture have to sit in the lawn? Are you sick and tired of getting your shoes dirty every time you need to get a chair from the stack?

Need Professional Guidance with Planning Your Patio?

Get "The Ultimate Homeowner's Patio & Deck Planner" when you visit .

This eBook contains some of our best advice for planning a patio and deck area. Use this tool to get the size and layout of your patio JUST RIGHT!

Have no idea where to start?

Get this free eBook which teaches you a simple 5-Step system for getting the backyard (and other areas of your property) the way you want them -

Get "5 Steps To Your Dream Backyard" at

Already know what you want? ... Ready to GET things done?

Call us at 704-604-2813 or visit our website

Schedule a consultation with one of our experts, and we will bring your yard to life the way YOU want it! #charlottelandscaping #landscaping#landscapingideas #ilovecharlotte #panthers #gopanthers #luxurylife#luxurylifestyle #luxuryrealestate #outdoorliving #outdoorlivingspace#outdoorlivingroom #backyardlife #backyardliving #pergola #patio#patiofurniture #patiodesign #patios #backyardretreat #myoasis #privatejet#clemson #clemsonhorticulture #trees #hibiscus #perennials #backyardgarden

29 Dec 2016

Planning Your Patio & Deck Area for Maximum Enjoyment

Your Patio & Deck Area…

An extension of your home that is almost like adding an extra room to your house.

When you start thinking about extending your deck or patio, there are a few things worth considering. Just think about the living room inside your home.

What types of furniture do you want for seating? How many coffee tables? How many end tables? Do you have a recliner? Will you want a chaise lounge or more? What about lighting?

This depends on how many people you plan on entertaining at one time, and how much furniture you want.

Using the list to the left, you will want to obtain the dimensions of each item you’ve selected for your patio or deck.

Then add an extra 3’ to each measurement to allow walking room.

[For example, an Adirondack chair can measure 4’ x 5’. Be sure to add an extra 3 feet to each dimension.]

This means you need a minimum space of 7’ x 8’ for ONE of these if you want to walk comfortably around it. 45 square feet suddenly becomes 56 square feet when you want walking room around your furniture.

NOTE: A typical 42 inch round patio table with 4 chairs needs a minimum space of 10 feet by 10 feet (100 square feet). This will allow for a fairly snug sitting space around the table with limited walking room.

Your patio or deck with one of these table sets will feel more open if you plan on a 13 feet by 13 feet (169 square foot) area.

[This excerpt taken from the eBook “Ultimate Homeowner’s Patio & Deck Planner”

To Get the Complete Guide for Planning Your Patio…

Download your own copy of the complete “Ultimate Homeowner’s Patio & Deck Planner” here absolutely FREE!