As the sweltering heat of summer subsides to the pleasantly cool evenings of fall, home owners everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.
No more constant weeding, fertilizing, pruning, digging, mowing, and watering to keep the lawn looking fresh and clean.
The End of Lawn Care
But wait! Don’t give in to the beauty of fall and put away your lawn care equipment too quickly. Fall is the perfect time to tie up loose ends and prepare your lawn for the harsh winter months. The more you prepare now, the better your lawn will look in the spring!
Here are five great ways to prepare your lawn for the winter
1. Keep Mowing
Mowing is one of the least favorite lawn-care tasks. Not only can mowing take a long time given the size of your yard, but it can also be a pain to push or drive a lawnmower around a yard with uneven terrain.
However, mowing ensures that the grass doesn’t grow too tall and waste precious nutrients during the winter. Mowing also allows sunlight to reach more of the grass than if it were long and unkempt.
2. Rake the leaves
Although raking can be very time consuming, it is essential that you rake your yard during the fall too ensure that the grass and plants receive the sunlight and air needed for their survival. Raking also helps keep your yard free of foraging bugs that love soggy leaves, and it reduces the likelihood of the yard growing mold in the fall.
3. Fertilize and Aerate the Soil
Fertilization and aeration are two of the most important steps in maintaining optimal spring lawn health. The best time to fertilize your yard is in the fall because plants turn into mass-nutrient-absorbers before the dead of winter.
Aerate your soil so before you fertilize so that the nutrients of the fertilizer can puncture down into the deepest parts of the grass roots and truly benefit the plants.
4. Touch up the Rough Areas
It can be rather difficult to fill bald spots or heavily trafficked areas in your lawn during the summer as the grass or flower seeds simply don’t have time to develop their root systems. During the fall, you have the time you need to let grass and flower seeds dig into the soil and fill out your yard.
Use a garden rake, a trowel, or a small shovel to gently plow the ground where the worn area exists, and then cover the area in grass seed and fertilizer. Continue to take care of the area for several weeks following the initial planting, and your yard should grow back evenly in the spring.
5. Stick it to the Weeds
Just like other plants, weeds become nutrient guzzlers in the fall to prepare for the nutrient-bare winter months. If your lawn has been overtaken by weeds, spray or coat the weeds in herbicides, and those troublesome weeds won’t return in the spring.
Doing these five lawn-care chores throughout the fall will help keep your lawn healthy and beautiful despite the winter chill. If you don’t have time or don’t know how to properly finish these tasks, contact us, and we can help you take care of your lawn!
With so many beautiful flowers to choose from, it may be difficult to only pick out a few to landscape with.
To make your decision a little easier, here are five of the most popular flowers to landscape with throughout 2016.
Number 5: Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas can be very hardy, and they can easily tolerate cold weather conditions depending what variety you plant. The hydrangea arborescens can tolerate cold weather and summer drought, but other species such as the macrophylla and serrata are much less durable.
Hydrangeas can last all three seasons, and they should be planted in the spring to get the most out of your flowering plant.
Number 4: Geraniums
Geraniums are some of the hardiest plants that can be the staple of any landscape. These useful and dependable flowers come in a variety of colors and can become quite large when taken care of. Geraniums also survive well in nearly every type of climate; from sun to shade and damp to dry, geraniums are the flowers you need to fill your landscape with.
In addition to geraniums’ beautiful flowers, it also has attractive foliage that fills out the plant.
Number 3: Lilies
A good rule to remember when buying lilies is to never buy a lily from a garden center and always plant your lilies under deep soil coverage. Like geraniums, lilies also come in a variety of colors and sizes, and these elegant flowers can enhance nearly every garden landscape.
Lilies love the sun, and they should live in well-drained soil that has lots of nutrients. Another hint with lilies is to watch for slugs and scarlet lily beetles as they can destroy your beautiful lily blossoms.
Number 2: Tulips
Tulips are one of the most beautiful plants to have in your garden. Depending on what type of tulip you wish to plant, you may have a large amount of garden upkeep throughout the summer.
Most Tulips must be replanted every year, and if you don’t replant them, they may grow back much smaller and less beautiful than the original generation. However, planting a tulip is fairly easy. If you plant different seasonal tulips together, you may have a garden full of blossoming tulips from February until late June.
Number 1: Roses
Roses are by far a gardener’s favorite when landscaping a yard. Not only are roses very fragrant and beautifully colored, but they can also be planted in a variety of locations. Roses come in bushes, single plants, and clusters that can be trained to climb support structures.
The planting versatility that roses have to offer make them great choice for your garden.
All of these flowers require different amounts of maintenance and upkeep throughout the year, and several plants require annual replanting. For more information about landscaping, visit our landscaping site!
With a new school year just around the corner, you may be looking to spruce up your landscape with fresh plants and decorations.
Adding walkways or pathways are an easy way to add color and visual interest to a yard.
If your home sits farther away from the sidewalk or your driveway, you may be able to build a walkway. Depending on your landscape style, you could have a wide variety of material options to choose from.
One simple way to add visual interest to your yard is to build a short fence on each side of the walkway. The fence posts can act as support beams for vines, bushes, wisteria or other climbing plants, and give a rustic or country feel to a landscape.
Large flowers can also counterbalance modern material such as a wooden board walk or fully paved path; not to mention, add pops of color to green foliage.
If your landscape features more hills and valleys, you might want to consider a paved pathway instead of a fully built walkway. The many different materials used to build pathways can meet nearly any landscaping need, and the multitude of color options can compliment your current landscape.
Natural stones, such as bluestone and granite, offer unique color combinations and diverse, eye-catching textures that will enhance your yard’s natural beauty. Interspersing gravel and pebbles between stepping stones is also an easy way to offset uneven terrain.
If you don’t want to change the layout of your landscape but want to add a walkway or stepping stones, you should consider creating a geometric pathway around your plants. Uneven stones or unique freeform slabs can vary in shape and size to make a pathway through your plants.
Or, if you don’t want to place solid stones or bricks in your yard, small gravel or mulch offset by boxwood hedges can create a calm and relaxed feeling without disrupting the natural terrain.
Adding a few archways along a path can help create an appealing, vertical landscape that compliments your grounded plants. Climbing vines and roses can latch onto an archway and accent your path while providing color and texture to your skyline.
Pathways and walkways can significantly enhance your landscape’s natural beauty, and they are fairly easy to design and create.
If you have any questions about landscaping or hardscaping, contact us today!
Synthetic turf is an easy, efficient way for you to reduce the time and amount of care your yard requires.
Between water-usage restrictions and implementing general maintenance techniques, up-keeping a yard can be very difficult.
Why Synthetic Turf?
Synthetic turf requires minimal care after the initial installation. In addition, turf is a heartier, more resistant substance than regular grass, making it possible to utilize your yard space more often.
Depending on your home or organization’s needs, you can pick a turf style that works best for you. For example, areas that suffer from severe climate change may want a slightly different style of turf than a highly trafficked sports field.
The Structural Benefits of Synthetic Turf
Since turf is much more resilient than regular grass blades, home and business owners no longer have to worry about the physical appearance of their yard. One of the most convenient benefits of turf is its resiliency to overuse.
Previously, hotels, schools, and public transportation areas that constantly use their grassy areas had to spend exorbitant amounts of money on maintaining the grass. With synthetic turf, these organizations no longer need to limit their lawn use.
Using the Land
Synthetic turf opens the doors to many different opportunities. For example, homes, golf courses, businesses, parks, tourist attractions, and many other organizations can use turf in their landscaping where asphalt or rock paths may have been before. This will significantly increase the beauty of the area and better handle rain and other natural element wear and tear, which can also reduce the amount of money spent on general maintenance.
In addition, organizations can use turf on rooftops and high rises that were once deemed unusable and create beautiful, green spaces.
Synthetic Turf’s Environmental Benefits
There are many different reasons why turf installation can help the environment, but one of the most prominent reasons is water conservation. Sport stadiums, golf courses, and grass fields can use between 500,000 and one million gallons of water each year. Turf lawns require far less water, and in 2010 alone nearly 8 billion gallons of water were conserved in turf areas. That’s enough water to compensate for 55,000 American families’ water usage!
Besides water conservation, turf does not require harmful pesticides and fertilizers, and by lowering the amount of harmful chemicals on plants, cities and other organizations are able to significantly reduce the amount of polluted runoff that dumps into rivers and streams.
If you are interested in installing turf in your yard, contact us today!
Landscaping your dream yard doesn’t have to be as stressful or time consuming as you think.
If you have an idea of what you want your yard to look like, you only need a few sheets of graph paper to start sketching out your dream.
How to Choose a Landscape
There are several different ways that you can create and design a landscape. If you determine your yard’s dimensions, you can accurately scale your yard and begin to develop a general landscape layout.
If you aren’t comfortable taking your yard’s measurements, you can compile a portfolio of plants, decorations, and color schemes that you like. When you decide to create your landscape, a landscaper can look at your choices and develop a plan.
Maybe you don’t have time to find plants and decorations that you like, and you would rather leave the choices up to the professionals. No matter how involved you want to be in the design process, Allen Outdoor has landscapers that can work with you to develop a landscape that makes your dream come to life.
Designing the Landscape
It is very important to create a landscape’s layout or design before beginning the building process. Developing a layout ensures that you thoroughly survey your property and create an accurate representation of your space. If you don’t sketch an accurately scaled map, you could purchase too many – or too few – plants for the landscape, which can add extra stress and prolong construction time.
Once you have measured and scaled your yard, you need to plot the fixed items in your yard – such as driveways, buildings, and trees – that cannot be moved or would present a large challenge when trying to move them. After the fixed features are sketched, you are free to incorporate whatever type of plant or landscaping element that you want.
If you have multiple ideas or layouts that you like, try sketching them on overlay paper so that you don’t have to constantly erase or redraw the fixed features in the yard.
Prioritizing your Landscape
If you don’t want to design the landscape, you can meet with a landscaping team several times to make sure that the layout of the yard is what you had envisioned and that you will enjoy it for years to come.
Allen Outdoor ensures that each client loves his or her landscape design before the construction process begins so that everyone is happy with the final product.
For more information, visit our landscaping page.
When living in the Midwest, you could need to wear a sweatshirt one day and a tank top the next.
Although it’s rare to experience unrelenting, miserably suffocating heat all summer long, it is normal to have several weeks of scorching heat in between rainstorms.
Unfortunately, those few scorching weeks may be long enough to heat-shock your plants. Depending on how hearty your plants are, the recovery time of your plants can vary. In order to keep your landscape in its best condition, you need to take the necessary precautions during warmer weeks to protect your plants.
Doing your Research
Being prepared for sky-rocketing temperatures or high humidity greatly benefits your plants in two main ways. By paying attention to the anticipated forecast, you can plan what plants to add in your yard when landscaping. In addition to knowing what to plant, you can prepare for fluctuating temperatures and protect your plants’ longevity.
If your area has heat waves predicted in the near future, there are many different precautions that you can take. When preparing for heat waves, the first thing to know is your area’s water restrictions. If your town has strict water restrictions, you won’t be able to protect your plants through water use. If you aren’t restricted by water limits, you have a few more options to help keep your plants happy and healthy under the scorching sun.
Water Tips and Tricks
If your area is restricted by water, look into adding mulch to your yard. Mulch is a great way to protect your plants’ roots from the sun and to trap in moisture, which is a great benefit when you don’t have excess water to use.
Watering your yard in the early morning or late evening will help minimize water loss due to evaporation. If you live in a water-restricted area, water your plants deeply and occasionally, as it encourages plants to grow deeper roots, which can reach cooler soil.
Another way to beat water restriction is to use a seaweed-extract based liquid fertilizer. This treatment helps keep your plants healthy by reducing the effects of heat-shock and drought. It can also help create a fertile lawn for future planting purposes.
Building a Shade
If your lawn is constantly subjected to scorching sunlight, adding a shade cloth to cover your plants can help minimize wilting and water evaporation in the soil. Make sure to only shade plants for a short period of time – or during the hottest part of the day – as plants can quickly become less sun-tolerant, meaning that normal sun exposure could be enough to stress the plants.
For more information about lawn care, visit our homepage!
With all the recent rain, your yard may be looking a little soggy and sad.
If your house and lawn sits on a lower elevation than surrounding houses, you may have various puddles of water pooling in your yard.
The Downsides to Water Puddles
Besides being an eyesore, pooling water kills grass, inhibits mowing, and makes your yard muddy. In worst case scenarios, pooling water can cause your basement to take on water or even rot your home’s foundation. There are several different ways that you can prevent water pooling and damage to your yard.
Installing a French Drain
Installing a French drainage system is one of the best ways to ensure that water won’t collect in your basement. French Drains also help eliminate free-standing water and make sure that your home stays dry and mold free.
When installing a French Drain, the first step after perforating your pipes is to dig a trench around the outside of your footing, which should be about 2-3 feet wide and up to 6 feet deep. Then, when you lay your drain, make sure that the pipe is placed in downward-sloping ground so that gravity moves the water away from your home. Adding a French Drain can significantly improve the natural drainage of your yard.
Adding a Drain Pipe
Similar to the benefits of adding a French Drain, adding a drain pipe can help move water away from a low spot in the yard. A drain pipe is an underground drain that is connected to a pipe in a different area of the lawn.
The pipe pumps water from the low spot where it typically pools to an area that doesn’t receive as much rain fall or is farther away from your home so that you won’t have to worry about water coming into your basement.
Sometimes adding a drainage system isn’t entirely necessary. In some cases, adding an extension piece to your downspout can help lead water away from your house to a better drainage area. In other cases, you may just need to move the discharge from your sump pump to a different location.
If these options won’t work for your yard, you could consider adding a creek bed, which can help channel water away from a low spot. If you can’t keep water from pooling in one spot, you could consider adding a rain garden in that area filled with water loving plants and rocks.
Although a rain garden doesn’t solve the soggy yard problem, it does offer a way to enhance the beauty of your lawn.
If you have pooling water in your yard or basement, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Even if you don’t want a full drainage system added to your lawn, we can develop a landscape that will help keep water from pooling and damaging your yard and home.
Adding mulch to your landscape is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your yard. If you properly mulch your yard, you can protect the trees and plant life from harsh elements.
There are many different types of mulch, which gives you the ability to choose a kind that will compliment your landscape.
Types of Mulch
There are two main categories of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulch comes from natural resources such as woodchips, pine needles, hard or softwood bark, leaves, and compost mix among other styles. Given that organic mulches are made of natural materials, they will decompose at varying rates in your landscape.
Inorganic mulch, such as different types of stones, lava rock, pulverized rubber, and other materials do not decompose. Since these materials won’t fade away, you won’t need to replenish them nearly as often. However, the downside of inorganic mulch is that it doesn’t improve the soil structure or bump up nutrients in the soil through decomposition.
Benefits of Proper Mulching
Mulching your yard helps protect the roots of your trees and flowers. Blanketing soil with organic material helps reduce the loss of soil moisture through evaporation and can help minimize weed germination and growth. Retaining moisture and reducing weed growth will help maximize flowering and plant beauty throughout the entire year, making your yard the relaxing oasis that you intended it to be.
The best benefit that mulching provides is the protection that it offers the plants. It inhibits certain plant diseases, improves the soil biology, aeration, and structure, and it insulates the soil. All of these great benefits keep your plants protected against the elements and help your plants grow and flourish.
Don’t Over Mulch!
Improper mulching can be very detrimental to plant life as it can cause an unbalance in the natural moisture and pH levels in the soil. When mulching a yard, you should only have an even spread of 2 to 4 inches of mulch covering your plants and trees.
Too much mulch can trap excess moisture on the roots, causing stress on the plant and root rot. Excessive mulch can become a haven for rodents and bugs, which can harm the trees and plants, and it can also give off pungent odors that are toxic to plants.
For more information on our landscaping and yard services, check out our landscaping page!