The Boise Landscaping Blog

Overhead Landscaping Structures: Gazebos, Arbors, Pergolas in Boise, ID

At Bella Vista Landscaping, we are passionate about providing top-tier services for all things landscaping. For everything from landscape design services to sod and mulch installation to outdoor kitchens and more, we are experts on crafting and curating unique, lovely spaces that match each client’s vision. Today, we’ll be discussing one of our favorite trends: overhead structures. 

Overhead structures for backyards are an increasingly popular feature! While installing an overhead structure or shade may not be the first thing that crosses your mind when thinking of ways to improve your property, there are many reasons why they’re so popular: 

  • Aesthetic appeal: not only can overhead structures be beautiful in and of themselves, they can also serve as structures for vines and other plants to climb, helping to create a lush and living vertical element 

  • Privacy: overhead structures create an intimate and private setting for friends and family to share cherished conversations or a meal. The increased privacy afforded by these structures can cultivate a unique atmosphere that may otherwise not be possible. 

  • UV and weather protection: whether you choose to install a structure with a full roof or a structure with a latticework roof, a little bit of added shade can make your yard far more enjoyable in the summer months here in Boise, ID. 

  • Increased property value: a tastefully installed overhead structure increases curb appeal and helps elevate your yard to a beautiful, high-end oasis. 

When choosing an overhead structure, it’s important to consider your intentions on what exactly you’ll use it for. Do you want increased privacy? A place for an outdoor dining set? A space for outdoor entertaining, or protection from the sun and any inclement weather? You may want to consider what the local weather is like, and if there are specific activities you anticipate will take place in your yard. Perhaps the three most popular overhead structures for clients here in Boise are gazebos, arbors, and pergolas; we love seeing these structures in our clients’ yard, especially when we hear how much they love the installation!


Gazebo is a self-contained structure with a roof and full protection from the elements that serves as a location to overlook the surrounding property. In fact, the word “gazebo” is a combination of the word “gaze” and the Latin suffix meaning “I will.” These charming structures have been around for thousands of years, including in ancient civilizations. Gazebos are typically octagonal, but modern gazebos often come in other geometric shapes. Gazebos increase privacy, provide shade, and increase curb appeal as they provide a place for outdoor dining, a cup of coffee on a cool spring morning, and even as a shelter for a hot tub or other installation.  


As a smaller structure with lattice sides and an arched top, arbors are usually decorative archways that emphasize walkways or lead towards water structures, such as a fountain in the midst of a garden. “Arbor” comes from the French word for herb or grass, and are wonderful structures to train vines over. Arbors can beautify your yard while increasing privacy, adding shade, and cultivating a sweetly intimate atmosphere reminiscent of Burnett’s The Secret Garden


Pergolas are large decorative structures that traditionally have a flat lattice roof that vines and other vegetation can be trained over. Pergolas provide sun protection and are a charming and aesthetic addition for the plant lover. They create additional space for plants to thrive, whether from hanging planters or for climbing vines; lovers of wisteria, ivy, and honeysuckle often take advantage of the pergola for a beautiful way to showcase their plants. Adding a pergola can give more structure and shape to your yard, as it creates a large, designated space for entertaining. 

At Bella Vista Landscaping, we’re eager to serve our friends and neighbors through exceptional landscaping services and providing meaningful information. We are excited to discuss and visualize each client’s unique vision for their yard, and our design services can help bring your personal oasis to reality. We serve Boise, Eagle, Kuna, Star, Middleton, Meridian, Caldwell, ID and all surrounding areas. Give us a call at (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form today for more information or to schedule a consultation!

Xeriscaping: Low-Maintenance Landscaping with Plants Native to Boise, ID

It’s a well-known fact that Boise--the City of Trees--is a desert; we claim a small piece of  the Great Basin Desert, the only “cold” desert in the United States. If you’ve lived here in the Treasure Valley for very long, you are well aware of our frequent droughts, how frequently we discuss the water levels in our reservoirs, and noticed the low-water plants local to our area, including sage brush, bitterbrush, and arrowleaf balsamroot (those yellow, sunflower-like wildflowers you see during springtime hikes in the foothills). Yet, in Boise proper and into our suburbs, there is a stark contrast to the wild flora: green lawns all summer long are the norm, and few plants frequently used in landscaping are indigenous to Idaho. Today on Bella Vista Landscaping's blog, we'll be discussing a style of landscaping that’s rapidly gaining popularity addresses this difference: xeriscaping. 

What is xeriscaping? 

Xeriscaping is landscaping focused on low maintenance and low water usage. Xeriscaping--sometimes spelled “zeriscaping”--has been in wide usage in “hot” desert regions like Arizona and New Mexico for decades. This makes sense; these states often experience less than 10 inches of rainfall. Here in Boise, we often see 10-13 inches; it only makes sense that many homeowners are turning to more water-efficient landscaping options. The advantages of choosing to xeriscape are: 

  • Water conservation. Choosing landscaping that allows you to maintain a beautiful property without irrigation and sprinklers makes a huge difference in water conservation, which is both earth-friendly and saves on your water bill. 

  • Attracts wildlife. In addition to preserving water, a precious resource, utilizing native plants and materials means native animals, insects, and pollinators are at home. Especially as Boise and her suburbs continue to expand, creating an environment that allows native flora and fauna to coexist with our neighborhoods is conscientious and kind. 

  • Low maintenance. We all lead busy lives; mowing lawns, pulling weeds, pruning bushes--all of these tasks can be avoided with a little bit of extra forethought. By choosing to install native plants, most of the vegetation in your yard will thrive with very little attention. No patches of dead grass to worry over, although you may need to prune on occasion! 

  • Long term plant survival. Native plants are perfectly adapted to survive in our climate; especially here in Boise where we experience extremes in both heat and cold, hearty plants that have evolved for these exact conditions are more likely to survive. 

Many xeriscaped yards use native materials such as stones and rocks from the surrounding desert to create an aesthetic and natural landscape dotted with native plants. Some popular plants native to the treasure value include: 

  • Purple sage: a perennial shrub that’s heat-resistnat, drought-tolerant, and low-maintenance; requires good drainage and plenty of sunlight. Deep blue flowers can be expected in late spring. 

  • Red yucca: despite the name, this is not actually a yucca, although the leaves resemble yucca plants! Also a perennial, red yucca flower stalks can grow up to five feet in height and produce adorable red flowers. 

  • Rocky Mountain maple: produces yellow-green flowers in the spring; each tree produces either male or female flowers. Rocky Mountain maples are dainty in appearance but can grow up to 25 feet tall!

  • Penstemon: also called beardstongue, these sweet perennials produce a wide range of flowers and come in a variety of heights. They are especially great for attracting birds and thrive with a lot of sunlight. 

  • Blue flax: these iconic blue flowers don’t bloom for long, but are a local favorite. They are deer tolerant, and their scientific name is Linum lewisii--named after the explorer Meriwether Lewis, who discovered this charming plant. 

  • Green-headed coneflower: a sunflower-like perennial, the green-headed coneflower blooms for months over the summer and into autumn. This plant isn’t picky about the hours of sunlight it needs to grow, and attracts native bees for a lively garden. 

Whether you choose to xeriscape your yard or prefer a more traditional approach, Bella Vista Landscaping is excited to serve you! We are passionate about learning about each client’s unique vision for their yard, and our landscape design services are available to help ensure that we can make your vision come to life. We serve Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Middleton, Kuna, Caldwell, Star, ID, and all surrounding areas. Give us a call at (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form today for more information or to schedule a consultation!

Top Three Autumn Backyard Trends of 2022 in Boise, ID

We find ourselves in the midst of autumn, 2022, and each year, the changing and falling of leaves seems to take us by surprise. Here at
Bella Vista Landscape, we’re excited about the changing of seasons and the beautiful landscaping opportunities that come with each season, including consideration of what combination of trees and shrubs will look amazing all year around. As we consider recent trends and where we predict landscaping trends are headed, our team of experts is particularly excited to share our top picks for trends of autumn 2022 that will withstand the test of time. 

A trend that’s been up-and-coming for a while now is the modern look, and it continues to increase in popularity. We expect this will last for the foreseeable future and modern minimalism is here to stay. Clean lines, minimal clutter, and an emphasis on simplicity and ecological consciousness is on the precipice of reigning supreme. This trend has taken interior design by storm as we see an increase in natural materials with clean lines and both indoor and outdoor plants, and we’ve begun to see it in landscape design as well. If you’re considering landscaping work this autumn, we highly recommend investing in these design choices to stay up-to-date: 

  1. Retaining walls: Retaining walls have been used for decades as a means to create level surfaces on properties where hills previously existed. While older styles often used Oldcastle concrete blocks, the modern retaining wall comes with many options! From using timber for a fresh, organic twist on traditional retaining walls to poured concrete for an industrial vibe, there are a number of options that speak to many audiences. Choosing a clean, light-colored material for your retaining wall can evoke a sense of modernity and freshness with very little effort. Retaining walls are also increasingly popular here in the Boise area as new homes are built on smaller properties because retaining walls can increase the utility of your yard, maximizing the potential of your property regardless of the size. 

  2. Stone and paver walkways: Rather than opting for the usual sidewalk-esque walkways on your property, consider stone and paver walkways. Utilizing large, square blocks of concrete separated by a few inches of space where grass or other vegetation can grow through is becoming increasingly popular. This look is extremely clean-cut with its straight lines and blank squares, while allowing the forces of nature to speak between the lines. It’s the perfect blend of the warmth and organic charm of life and modernity that is so highly sought after, and is an affordable and chic option to consider for your yard. 

  3. Outdoor lighting: Along the earth-conscious, eco-friendly vein, solar powered lighting continues to be popular. Gone are the days where you had to choose between two or three ugly solar lanterns; the selection for solar powered lighting has exploded in the last few years, and with a little bit of searching, you can easily find a style that matches the aesthetic you’re trying to cultivate. For a modern minimal look, we recommend cylindrical lights with no excess embellishments or lines. These simple lanterns will enhance your yard without distracting the eye from the other curated elements of your landscape design.

We’re excited about the modern minimal trend; it’s a refreshing, gorgeous style that’s designed in a way that slows us down in our ever-rushing society. We hope to see more of these trends in landscaping as folks design and view their own properties as an escape from the drudgery of the daily grind. As you consider any landscaping changes to your own property, consider these up-and-coming design choices that will have you both on trend and relaxed in your backyard oasis. 

At the end of the day, your yard is an oasis best designed to serve you. Regardless of what’s trendy and chic during a particular season of a particular year, following your own tastes to make your vision come to life is paramount. At Bella Vista Landscape, we serve clients with a variety of ideas and preferences, and we love making each unique vision come to life. We serve clients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Star, Middleton, Caldwell, Kuna, ID, and all surrounding areas. Give us a call at (208) 995-3532 today for more information or to schedule a consultation!

Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits: What's the Difference?

Adding a fire feature to your backyard design is a fun way to make a statement. It also allows you to increase your yard usage; a good, old fashioned bonfire is an excellent way to spend a summer evening, and the warmth of a fire allows you to spend time outdoors earlier in the spring and later into the autumn. Both outdoor fire pits and fireplaces can add extra warmth and light, but what's the difference between these options? To get a nuanced understanding, let's begin by examining the similarities so you can figure out which is the better option for your property: 

In some ways, the same

Due to the fact that they're both residential fire features, backyard fire pits and fireplaces have a similar rustic, cozy aesthetic and functionality. They both provide excellent natural gathering points for warm, intimate discussions with friends, and both require similar amounts of cleaning and maintenance to ensure safety and upkeep. And, for families with young children, both present the same hazards--not only during use, but in requiring a screen to prevent soot smeared all over your yard! 

In other ways, different

Outdoor fireplaces tend to be a more permanent hardscaping design feature. Fireplaces come with a chimney and smoke ventilation firebox, which are frequently attached directly to the home or built into a custom deck or patio. Homeowners with larger properties seem to gravitate towards a fireplace because a fireplace can serve larger parties, and tend to be higher off the ground, which can make it easier to keep small children away from the heat and ash. For large families, an outdoor fireplace may be a natural option. 

On the flip side, outdoor fire pits are smaller, which is a natural catalyst for cozier, more intimate gatherings. Because a fire pit is often accessible from all sides, roasting marshmallows and other goodies or relaxing for an evening chat around the fire happens naturally. Firepits are also lower to the ground--sometimes even carved into a patio--so they don't distract from the view of your yard. The size of a fire pit is also completely customizable, giving you added flexibility. 

The factors you may need to take into consideration as you make the choice between outdoor fire pits and fire places are the size of your backyard, which option will be better suited for your unique children, and what the average size of a party you host might be. In any case, a fire feature can elevate your space and create the cozy atmosphere you crave. Bella Vista Landscape serves clients in Boise, Middleton, Caldwell, Meridian, Kuna, Star, Eagle, Nampa, ID, and all surrounding areas. For more ideas about landscaping, check out our online gallery or give us a call at (208) 995-3532 today! 

Lighting Options for Residential Backyards in Boise, ID

You have a vision in your mind: it's a late summer night, the sound of crickets in the air, a warm breeze lazily flitting through the air. It's peaceful, and you can't help but smile as you watch the expressions on your loved ones' faces; it's the perfect picture of the tranquil life you have always dreamed of. 

But... the last time you tried to cultivate this atmosphere, you ended up heading indoors because it ends up, nightfall also means darkness. So, what's the solution? 

Outdoor lighting. Simple, yet something many of us don't think about; lighting can make a drastic positive change to your property's aesthetic, especially in the evening. A few of the most popular landscape design lighting elements include: 
  • Ground and lawn lighting: solar stakes, canopy lights, or solar garden lanterns can create a charming ambience to your yard with a low profile. Many of these lighting options don't attract the eye during the day, but give a soft glow in the evening hours. 
  • Outdoor wall hanging light fixtures: this lighting option comes in both solar and batter-powered options, and are great if you plan on primarily using the space close to your home or have a yard small enough that lights along your fences can illuminate the area. 
  • Motion detector lights: these are popular in neighborhoods with wild animals or for families who may have late-night activities and would appreciate the added convenience of a lighted path after dark. 
  • Outdoor gazebo, yard, and balcony lights: outdoor floor and table lamps, gazebo lights, etc.--there is a wide variety of outdoor home accent and landscape lighting options. The possibilities are truly endless!
When you choose to invest in your property, you increase both the property value and your own enjoyment of your property. Installing outdoor lighting can create a lovely ambience and positively impact your evening activities so you can enjoy the beautiful summer, spring, and autumn nights here in Boise, ID. For more information about this or any other landscaping services, call Bella Vista Landscape at (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form

3 Overlooked Luxury Landscaping Ideas in Boise, ID

It's no secret that living in Idaho is becoming increasingly popular, especially for long-term residents of the Treasure Valley. From fantastic weather that spans all four seasons to beautiful skies, peaceful nature and beautiful hikes and outdoor sports and activities within a few hours' drive, Boise truly is a gem within the Gem State. One of the reasons Boise is such a desirable location is because of the people; we love to invite family, friends, and neighbors over, and spend time together while showing off our properties. If you love to spend time outside as much as the rest of us, let us share a few often overlooked landscaping design concepts that can help elevate your yard from average to exceptional! 

At Bella Vista Landscape, we pride ourselves on our affordable, high-quality landscaping services. You paid for not only your home but for the entire property, and you should be able to enjoy your yard as an extension of the house you call a home. We are a professional outdoor landscaping and installation service company and are passionate about turning our clients' dreams into a reality. Some of these dreams may include: 

  1. Outdoor kitchens: if there's one thing about Idahoans, it's that many of us love a good old fashioned barbeque. Whether you're cooking a steak or putting the final touches on some vegan kabobs, having an outdoor kitchen with a grill and surface to prepare food can elevate the outdoor dining experience to a whole new level. Even a simple outdoor kitchen design can transform your space, and our stone patio contractors know how to work some magic. 
  2. Retaining walls: a yard with sloping surfaces can make it tough to enjoy. A solution is to install a retaining wall. A retaining wall is often composed of cinder blocks, and creates a barrier to support higher ground while creating the opportunity to carve out a level area for your family to enjoy. 
  3. Fire pits: fire pits can add that final little spark your yard needed to be complete. Fire pits have a small footprint but can add a cozy and intimate vibe to your entire yard. At Bella Vista Landscape, we offer a variety of styles and options, allowing us to cater fully to your vision and desired aesthetic. 
We are honored to serve our clients in Boise, Kuna, Eagle, Caldwell, Meridian, Middleton, and Star, ID, with our outdoor luxury landscaping services. We love helping clients make their dreams come true through our landscaping services. Call us at (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form for more information today! 

Lawn Sprinkler and Irrigation System Installation in Boise, ID

Summer. It's that time of year when you get a really, really grasp on how good your plan for watering your yard is as lawns brown and plants wilt seemingly before your eyes on the hotter days. Installing a sprinkler system can help ensure that your grass and softscape features are neither drowning nor hurting for lack of water. There are many, many advantages to installing a sprinkler or irrigation system, including: 

  • Save water: using an automated sprinkler or irrigation system lets you water your vegetation at the most optimal time of day, such as early morning. Watering when it's cooler outside reduces evaporation and maximizes the water you consume.
  • Save money: saving water means a lower utility, and that can add up to some pretty big savings, especially when you consider the long term.  
  • Save time: with an automated sprinkler and irrigation system, the time you would have spent caring for and stressing over your yard can be better spent elsewhere, like enjoying your yard instead! 
Outside of the traditional sprinkler system, one option you may consider is adding a drip irrigation system to your garden or flowerbeds. A drip system is composed of a series of long, plastic or PVC pipes with holes drilled in them in strategic locations. These pipes are placed around flower beds and gardens, allowing a minute amount of water to be delivered to very specific spots. This specialized water deliver allows plants to thrive without wasting excess water as it targets the soil surrounding each plant. 

Our experts at Bella Vista Landscape recommend utilizing both to conserve water and keep your lawn, garden, and flowerbeds thriving and beautiful. If you choose to install a sprinkler system, you may also be interested in our sod, tree, and plant installation services. Many of our clients pair these services together as part of their journey to create a lush, green oasis on their property. 

Bella Vista Landscape serves clients in Boise, Meridian, Caldwell, Nampa, Kuna, Star, Middleton, and Eagle, ID, with all landscaping needs. Call (208) 995-3532 or fill out our online contact form to set up an appointment today. 

Top Four Softscape Landscape Elements to Consider in Boise, ID

At Bella Vista Landscaping, we understand that there are many pieces and parts that go into building your ideal residential yard. We hope to share informative and helpful tips and facts for our homeowners here in the Treasure Valley in addition to our many services offered to clients in the Boise, Idaho area. Today, we will be discussing softscaping; softscape landscaping works in conjunction with hardscaping elements to create an oasis where dreams meet reality. 

What is softscape landscaping? 

Landscaping can be broken down into two broad categories: hardscaping, which includes the man-made elements like patiosoverhead structures and shadeswater features, and more, and softscaping, which includes the more natural, living elements like trees, the lawn, shrubs, etc. While the construction of hardscape elements can and do make an enormous impact on the presentation and usability of your yard, the vegetation and natural elements are the detail that can make or break the yard of your dreams. Here are four of the most impactful choices you can make for the softscaping of your yard: 

1) Your lawn 

A traditional green lawn is a classic token of the American dream; do you expect your kids or fur babies to play on your lawn? If so, minimizing your hardscaping surfaces to maximize your lawn may be a priority for your unique needs. Depending on the ages of your kids, you may consider whether you want space for a swing set or trampoline. 

Alternatively, a landscaping choice that is growing in popularity are bee lawns. Bee lawns utilize indigenous plants and low-water need vegetation, including flowering plants like clover that creates an environmentally friendly horticultural carpet that provides nectar for bees and other pollinators. 

2) Trees

Trees are often the star of the show when it comes to landscaping: trees leave a legacy, as they provide shade, can provide fruit, a place to hang a swing or climb for adventurous kids, can reduce temperatures, and is overall good for the environment. Between leaves that change color in autumn and flowering trees in the spring, choosing the perfect species of trees for your family can enhance your yard in numerous ways. 

3) Shrubs and Flowerbeds

Bordering your yard with a variety of shrubs and flowerbeds can add interest and texture to your space; you could also utilize low-water plants such as succulents to create a trendy xeriscape, an increasingly popular landscaping technique that limits water usage. With a traditional lawn, decorative concrete curbing or edging can be a stylish touch that decreases your maintenance needs while delineating the border between flower bed and lawn.  

4) Compost, Mulch, Topsoil

There is no better time to consider adding compost, mulch, and topsoil than during the landscaping process. Although these nutrient-rich and water-saving options can be added at any point, it's a good idea to get your plants started on the right foot by giving them every advantage. Thinking about this ahead of time may save you a lot of work in the long run! 

Softscaping is often the most flexible part of landscaping, and can create a beautiful scenery with every seasonal if planned accordingly. At Bella Vista Landscaping we are excited to offer landscape design services to help you explore the many options you have while planning out your yard! Contact us or give us a call at (208) 995-3532 for more information today!