Tag Archives: landscaper syracuse

Landscaping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Pavers & Retaining Walls – Garcias Landscaping

While there is nothing that can’t be fixed with a little hard work, the key to your satisfaction and peace of mind is learning how to avoid landscaping mistakes before they happen.

Failure to Plan

Thumbing through gardening magazines or strolling through your local nursery may spark your imagination and enthusiasm but coming home with a carload of plants before deciding where to put them may leave you disappointed with the finished result. In addition to researching the unique requirements and potential growth of each species, it’s important to strive for balance, harmony, and sustainability when considering your design. The team of landscape design experts at The Grounds Guys can help you achieve the look you desire while adding beauty and value to your home.

Neglecting the Front Yard

Many homeowners make the mistake of focusing on the backyard where they spend the majority of their time, to the detriment of the front yard space. In addition to consideration for your view of the yard from your indoor living area, focus on your curb appeal by adding some color and dimension and defining the pathway to your front door.

Bad Pruning Habits

Pruning is a vital component of landscape maintenance, which, when done correctly can encourage and control the growth of your plants. When done incorrectly, however, pruning can cause damage to your plants and cause your landscaping to appear unprofessional and unhealthy.

Cutting Your Grass Too Low

Whether your intention is to mimic the look of your favorite golf course, or to stretch out the amount of time in between mowing, cutting your grass too low can have dire consequences to its health and appearance. When too much of the stalk is removed the grass is unable to properly endure photosynthesis and root growth may be stunted. For best results, aim for a height that matches the variety and species of turf.

Excessive Ornamentation

Decorative items serve a unique function in most outdoor designs, but one of the biggest landscape design mistakes you can make is allowing them to take over your yard. Focus your efforts on creating a more natural and varied decor, incorporating a mixture of shrubs, grasses, flowers, and trees, with just a few strategically placed, high-quality decorations to attract the eye.

Not Using the Correct Irrigation

Adequate levels of moisture are crucial to a healthy lawn and garden, and both overwatering and underwatering can have detrimental effects. A professionally installed irrigation system takes the guesswork out of watering your plants and can be customized to meet the unique requirements of the various plants around your property.

Neglecting to Think About Color

Choose your color palette prior to planting, to ensure the colors work together with each other and the exterior of your home. Too many colors or too much of one color can be overwhelming, while too little may appear boring. Factor in seasonal color variations by researching flowering shrubs and variations in foliage prior to installation.

Spring Landscaping in NJ – The Best Time to Get Started - Landscape  Solutions

Lawn Mowing Tricks No One Ever Told You

When to Start Mowing in the Spring | The Turfgrass Group Inc

Mowing the grass is a pretty straightforward task, but are you unintentionally making the chore harder than it needs to be? Follow these 10 tips from Lowe’s to make mowing the lawn easier for you and more beneficial for your grass.

Sharpen the Blades

At first you may think this tip simply lengthens your to-do list, but sharp blades prevent you from having to make multiple passes. A quick investment of your time at the start of summer can make mowing the lawn easier all season long.

Top Off the Tank

There’s nothing more annoying than running out of fuel mid-mow. Plus, you’re advised not to refuel a hot lawn mower. If you think the tank is running low, remember to top it off before you start the mower next time.

Check the Lawn for Debris

The last thing you need is for a rock, stick or baseball to dull your lawn mower’s freshly sharpened blades. To prevent frustration and potential injury, clear these items from the grass before you start mowing.

Time Your Mowing Just Right

The best time of day to mow is when it’s cool outside, so in the morning or evening. Mowing when it’s cool helps keep moisture in the roots where it’s needed. It also reduces the chance of heat exhaustion.

Still, the evening is preferable to the morning, because this gives the grass 12 hours of darkness to heal before the sun comes up. The grass also tends to be dewy or wet from being watered in the morning, and you shouldn’t mow when the grass is wet for your own personal safety and the health of your grass.

Keep the Grass Long Enough

You may think giving your grass an extreme cut will prolong the time until you need to mow again, but cutting more than one-third of the blade at a time can damage the grass. Plus, longer blades shade the ground, which slows evaporation and helps prevent weeds from sprouting. In this way, more frequent, less extreme cuts result in a healthier lawn and fewer weeds.

Keep Grass Even Longer in the Shade

Longer grass signifies longer roots. Since grass growing under a tree must compete with tree roots for water and nutrients, help the grass stay as healthy as possible by leaving it longer than the grass growing in full sun.

Rethink Your Mowing Schedule

It’s easy to cut the grass on a set weekly schedule, but keep in mind that hot, dry weather slows the growth of cool-season grass. In these conditions, you’ll be happy to hear you can mow less frequently without harming the grass.

Speaking of schedules, check out these cleaning schedules, checklists and charts from Molly Maid, a fellow Neighborly company!

Change Up Your Mowing Pattern

You may fall into the habit of always mowing along the same route, but since grass tends to lean in the direction you mow, you’ll encourage more upward growth and avoid ruts if you switch up the way you mow each time with different mowing patterns.

Skip the Bag

Do you think leaving grass clippings behind looks messy? Maybe so, but this organic fertilizing technique returns nitrogen and other valuable nutrients to the soil. Make sure you shoot grass clippings onto areas you’ve already mowed as a free way to promote a healthier lawn.

Use Caution on Hills

If you have a steep yard, never mow straight up and down. This could make you slip and injure yourself. For easier lawn mowing and a reduced chance of injury, mow from side to side across the hill.

Low Maintenance Lawn Care Services in Minneapolis

Charcoal vs. Gas Grills: Which Is Better?

Charcoal Grill Vs Gas Grill : Pros And Cons - For Your Grill

Charcoal vs. gas grill, also known as the “Great Debate.” Our simple pros and cons list will help you decide which grill is best for your family.

Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to charcoal and gas grilling. Which type of grill is the best? Is there a correct choice for whipping up amazing grilling recipes? Rather than guessing which to use at your next cookout, we’ve rounded up the pros and cons of charcoal and gas grills so you can make a well-informed decision for what will be the tastiest choice of the summer.

Charcoal Grills

How to Cook on a Charcoal Grill - Consumer Reports

According to some die-hard barbecue fans, the only way to grill is with charcoal. Charcoal provides that rich, smoky flavor that, even with an attached smoker box, gas just can’t meet. Learn more about how to use a charcoal grill.

Pros of charcoal grills:

  • Typically, charcoal grills reach a higher temperature than gas grills. A grill has to reach a temperature of at least 600 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve a nice sear on your meat. This is no problem for a kettle grill filled with red-hot charcoals as it can reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit. While there are gas grills that can reach higher temperatures, they’re usually on the pricier end.
  • You get that scrumptious, smoky flavor. Ever wonder how charcoal grills give so much flavor? Turns out, that higher heat is key. When the drippings from your steak, chicken or veggies fall on the hot coals, they turn into flavor-packed steam and smoke that goes right back into the meat, resulting in the amazingly unique taste of charcoal grilling.
  • They are easier on your wallet. A basic charcoal grill will run you about $25, while a moderately priced one can be found for around $150. Of course, higher-end models go up from there, but in comparison, charcoal grills are far less expensive than gas grills which usually cost between $130-$300.

Cons of charcoal grills:

  • Longer heat up time. Charcoal grills, on average, take about 15-20 minutes to reach the proper cooking temperature (not including the time it takes to light the charcoal), whereas gas grills instantly light up and take about 10 minutes to reach cooking temperature. There are a few different ways to start a charcoal grill, too.
  • Fuel cost adds up. A 20-pound propane cylinder can provide around 25 days of cooking time, whereas a 20-pound bag of charcoal will only yield three grilling sessions. The type of charcoal you cook with can change the way your food tastes as well. Clean-burning hardwood/lump charcoal can go for $35 to $40 for a 20-pound bag.
  • The cleanup is a bit more cumbersome. As opposed to the gas grill that only needs a quick scrub with a brush, a charcoal grill has to be emptied of its used ashes before it can be scrubbed. Be sure to follow these grill cleaning tips, too.

Gas Grills

How To Use a Gas Grill - The Home Depot

There’s no denying how convenient gas grills are in terms of start-up and temperature control, but that ease comes with a price.

Pros of gas grills:

  • They are better for you and the environment. It’s scientifically proven! In regards to your health, The Healthy says opt for a gas grill. Why? Because gas-grilled meats contain fewer carcinogens compared to char-kissed charcoal-grilled meats. As for the environment, it’s been studied that gas grills’ carbon footprint is about one-third of charcoal grills’ carbon footprint.
  • Quick start-up and temperature control. With a simple press of the ignition button and a turn of the dial, your gas grill will spark to life. After a quick preheat, you’ll be ready to grill, rather than having to wait for coals to heat up. You can also go from low heat needed for bone-in chicken to searing hot for kebobs or steak without having to worry about moving around hot coals, too. (By the way, here’s the difference between propane and natural gas).
  • Versatility. With a gas grill, you can easily cook delicate foods such as fruit and vegetables without the worry of overpowering the food with the smoke flavor that comes along with charcoal grilling.

Cons of gas grills:

  • Assembly time. As opposed to the charcoal grill that can be set up in a jiffy, a mid-range gas model is a bit more complicated to assemble and hook up to a propane tank.
  • Safety. While there are safety precautions to follow with any form of cooking, you have to be extra careful when cooking with a gas grill. Always make sure that your propane tank is properly attached without leaks, your grill is at least ten feet from your home and deck and that the grill is free from grease. Not sure how to best clean your grill? Follow this simple grill cleaning check-list that’ll leave your grill looking brand-new!
  • Portability. Though travel-sized gas grills are available, it would be much too difficult, and dangerous, to tow a full-sized gas grill around to the park or the beach.

The Bottom Line

Charcoal and gas grills each have their pro and cons, but only you can decide which would be best for your family and lifestyle. With so many delicious grilling recipes to cook up this summer, you can’t go wrong either way.

How to Grill Burgers: 8 Secrets Every Cook Should Know

Best Time to Water Lawn

Lawn Watering Tips - Green Earth Solutions, Inc - Lawn Care in  Jacksonville, Florida

Like all living things, your lawn needs sunlight, food, and water in order to survive. While factors such as climate and soil conditions may cause variations with regards to the frequency and amount of water that is needed, the best time of day to water your lawn remains the same. Here are some helpful tips to keep your lawn looking its best.

What is the Best Time to Water Your Lawn?

While it is important to provide your lawn with adequate amounts of water, it is equally as important to water at the right time of day to maximize absorption and reduce the likelihood of disease or infestation. For best results, water your lawn in the early part of the day before temperatures or the wind start to pick up. Opt to have your watering completed by 10 a.m. to allow time for the water to penetrate the soil before evaporation can occur.

If you must water later in the day, choose a time between four and six p.m. to allow time for the grass to dry before nightfall, when the absence of sunlight and lower temperatures can result in a lawn that is wet for 12 to 15 hours, contributing to fungal or bacterial diseases.

How Long Should You Water Your Lawn?

Aim for an average of one inch of water per week, divided among two to three watering sessions during hotter weather. Under normal conditions, it takes approximately 30 minutes to deliver one-half inch of water. Slow and steady delivery allows the water to soak deep into the root system, while allowing for proper airflow and drainage.

Watering Requirements for Different Lawn Types

The best time to water lawn varieties depends on a number of factors including which zone you reside in, the season, and the type of grass. Use these guidelines for best results:

Warm-Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses thrive in climates where temperatures are between 80 and 95 degrees and include varieties such as Zoysia, Bermuda, and St. Augustine. Continue to actively water as long as the grass is growing and requires regular mowing, keeping in mind that warm-season grasses may require less water than their counterparts.

Cool-Season Grasses

Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescues, and ryegrass are ideally found in northern climates with active growth well into the fall season. While evaporation rates may slow in cooler weather, continue to provide between one and one-and-a-half inches of water each week up until the first frost.

Lawn Watering Tips

Don’t overwater. Allow the lawn to dry out in between watering to establish a strong root system, which will kill the weeds and fungi.

Raise your mower height. Cut higher during periods of excessive heat or drought to provide a shade canopy to protect the base of the grass.

Make exceptions. Pay close attention to moisture levels around large trees where the water requirements may be higher, and water sloped areas more slowly to allow time for proper absorption.

Check the soil. Use a screwdriver to check the soil during your first watering to determine how long it takes for the water to reach a depth of six inches, and set your sprinkler system accordingly.

How Long to Water Your Lawn (2021) - This Old House

How to Protect Trees from Deer

How to manage deer damage on trees and other plants | UMN Extension

Deer are infamous for damaging trees and shrubs. Hungry animals may browse on leaves, pine needles, buds, or bark. But deer don’t just eat your landscape; territorial bucks can also kill trees by scraping them with their antlers. Young and recently planted landscapes are the most susceptible to these animal antics, so take steps now to protect your trees from deer.

Physical Barriers Provide the Best Protection

You have probably heard all kinds of ideas for how to protect trees from deer. Deterrents range from mothballs and heavily scented soaps to garlic and decaying fish heads. All repellants work to some degree, but deer can acclimate, or the scents can lose their potency following rainfall or irrigation.

One surefire way to keep deer from eating your pine trees and evergreen shrubs is to install a physical barrier. You have a few options, depending on the size of your property and your aesthetic preferences. Here are the top suggestions:

Install nylon netting over low-lying shrubs: Cover the plants with a nylon mesh screen, pinning down the corners with twine or zip-ties attached to tent stakes.

Wrap shrubs in burlap: Deer are a big threat to young shrubs in the wintertime. Encasing plants in burlap sacks doesn’t just cover up the tempting foliage; it also helps prevent the branches from bending out of shape during wet, heavy snowfall.

Surround plants with wire metal cages: The cages should stand at least six feet tall. Position them a few feet out from young trees or shrubs and support the cages with stakes. Even though deer can leap over a six-foot fence, they are reluctant to enter a small space, such as a fenced-in bed of rhododendrons or yews. Have a small plant you want to protect? Surround it with an old tomato cage, wire-hanging basket, or milk crate anchored with tent stakes.

Wrap trunks with tree wrap: Paper or plastic tree wrap protects young and thin-barked trees from buck rubs. Replace the wrap every few months to prevent moisture buildup or insect infestation.

Install a deer-proof fence around your entire yard: Conventional residential fencing can keep deer out as long as it’s at least eight feet tall. Other options include exclusion fencing, snow fencing, slanted outrigger fencing, and binder twine fencing. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has more information about constructing different kinds of fences.

Build a Simple Fence to Protect Fruit Trees From Deer - Hobby Farms

Other Ways to Protect Trees from Deer

In addition to installing a physical barrier, here are other methods that have proven effective against hungry and territorial deer:

Remove plants from your landscape that deer are known to love, such as cedar, yew, rhododendron, maples, and roses.

Choose plants that deer dislike, such as those with fern-like foliage, fuzzy leaves, spines, or strong odors.

Spray vulnerable trees and shrubs with smelly, bitter-tasting deer repellent.

Remove food sources from your yard, including bird feeders and pet food dishes.

Install motion-detector sprinklers to scare deer away.

Pruning Trees in the Winter

While each type of tree has unique requirements for optimal health and growth, most will benefit from tree care during the winter months, including pruning. Carrying out this practice during the dormancy period is commonly used to ensure vigorous growth in the spring, but regardless of whether you need to remove unhealthy or dead branches, encroaching limbs, or want a better harvest, pruning can help.

When is the Best Time to Prune Trees?

The short answer to the question “Is it OK to prune in the winter?” is “yes”. In most situations, winter is the optimal time for pruning, after the tree has entered a state of dormancy and most of the leaves have fallen. Once the branches and limbs are exposed it is much easier to observe the structure of the tree and may help to identify areas of concern that may otherwise remain unseen.

Fruit trees and varieties including bald cypress, honey locust, juniper, poplar, and spruce trees all respond well to winter pruning, but sap-producing trees such as birch, elm, maple, and walnut are better left until late summer or early fall due to seepage.

How to Prune Trees in the Winter

You will need:

Gloves

Hand pruner

Handsaw

Loppers

Protective/warm clothing and eye wear

Shears

Which tools you use will depend on the diameter of the branches you wish to remove. Before you begin, examine the tree to determine a suitable course of action, taking note of any dead or dying limbs.

Begin pruning by removing smaller branches first in order to thin, shape, or reduce their numbers:

Take your hand pruners and make a clean, diagonal cut one-quarter of an inch above where a bud faces outwards from the plant.

Make cuts at a 45-degree angle to discourage disease or water damage.

Keep in mind pruning will encourage new growth in the direction of the cut.

To remove large branches or limbs:

Larger branches should be cut in stages to prevent injury to yourself or the tree.

Make a series of three separate cuts using your handsaw, beginning with a cut halfway through the underside of the limb, approximately 18 inches from the trunk of the tree.

Once complete, move to the top of the branch and begin cutting approximately one inch further out from the cut on the underside, sawing through to remove the limb.

Make your final cut at a 45-degree angle just outside of the branch’s collar, close to the trunk of the tree.

Benefits of Winter Tree Care:

Pruning trees in winter comes with a number of benefits, which include:

Avoid the spread of pests or diseases, which are more active during the spring and summer.

Free up valuable time in the spring to put towards other outdoor projects.

Less stress on trees, allowing time for pruning cuts to heal before warm weather insects and pathogens may be introduced.

Eliminate damage in the drop zone beneath the tree once the ground has frozen.

Corona Virus Update from WLM

To our Customers and Community,

During this period of great uncertainty and now a shut down, we will not be serving residences and businesses with lawn care, irrigation, or other landscape services. Like electricians, plumbers, exterminators, and other repair personnel, we are tradespeople and pride ourselves in helping maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of the properties we care for on a scheduled and ongoing basis.

Our industry may be considered an essential business, but at this time, it is still unclear. Other states on a mandatory shut down have ruled Green Industry Companies as essential and have allowed them to return back to work. We will keep ourselves updated and our valued clients.

Lawn, irrigation, and landscape services clearly maintain the quality of the property and of life around it. A well maintained landscape reduces erosion, provides cooler and softer playing surfaces for our youth, and reduces the presence of pests such as fleas, ticks, and even mosquitos. Properly maintained green spaces play a role in reducing the chance of injury.

As a lawn care, irrigation, and landscape provider we are participating in Best Management Practices as we deliver your services. We maintain social distancing and work outdoors, not entering the customer’s home or business. Our shops are not open to the public. We work with our teams routinely to emphasize proper hygiene practices while on the job and to limit their personal contact with the client.

We encourage our customers to call us with any questions or concerns. As an industry, we are all working to get through this incredible event together, and we deeply appreciate your support.

Thank you.

Joel E. Wihebrink

A Balanced Landscape for your Warsaw, IN Landscaping

Phlox is a great perennial for your landscape in Warsaw, Winona Lake, and Syracuse.

One of the comments I hear most as I meet with clients in Warsaw, Syracuse, Leesburg, and Winona Lake is “I would really like to have a balanced landscape and plantings.” Balance means alot of different things to different people throughout the greater Warsaw, In area. In this post, I would like to provide some explanation of what I consider to be a balanced landscape.

Me idea of a balanced landscape in Warsaw, IN & Syracuse, IN includes proper scale, flowing design, easy maintenance, evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees, perennial and annual flowers, water, sunlight, shade and good air movement. In Warsaw, Winona Lake, and Syracuse there is no shortage of water as most properties are either on the water or near it.

Proper Scale

A landscape should reflect the the size and scale of your home or lake house. This means that in time, mature plantings should appear that they belong. Wise choices avoid the pitfalls of designs that incorporate planting that are too large, too small, and too many or too few. All of us have seen foundation plantings that cover windows and crowd out walkways or hedges so think that plants are diseased and sickly. A landscape in Warsaw or Syracuse should express the uniqueness of the homeowner while enhancing the architecture. There is no right or wrong but a casual passerby should see the home and the landscape as one beautifully framed picture.

Flowing Design

A design integrates the needs of the homeowner with the use of the outdoor spaces created. I like an easy traffic pattern that moves one from the front of the home to the rear or lakeside with color and interest, while positioning service areas for air conditioners, pool equipment, trash cans, and storage sheds for quick accessibility but not necessarily in the line of vision. For those of you that live or have cottages on one of our many lakes in Warsaw, Winona Lake, Syracuse, North Webster, Leesburg or Culver, getting all that lake gear from the garage to the lake can be a problem. Traffic patterns become critical.

Next week I will continue with this blog post by providing more details on maintenance, planting suggestions, and water requirements.

How Will Cold Temps Effect Your Landscape Plants in Warsaw, IN?

Winter will have an effect on your landscape plants in Warsaw, IN.

Winter has arrived in full force in Warsaw, IN & Syracuse, IN this late January and the temperatures have dropped to near zero in the past few days. The weather in Warsaw, IN so far this winter has been pretty mild and we haven’t had alot of snow in the area, but that has changed in the past few days.

The forecast is predicting some of the coldest temperatures in recent memory for the Warsaw, IN area and we don’t have much, if any, snow cover to help insulate the ground and our landscaping plants.

What is winter dormancy and how does it affect my landscape plants in Warsaw, IN? Winter dormancy is a way of the landscape plantings coping with conditions too cold for growth. With the onset of cold temperatures and shorter nights, plants begin to do dormant. Deciduous trees will drop their leaves and evergreens may drop some needles but not all of them. Perennials will die back to the ground and survive under ground until warmer temperatures show back up in Warsaw, IN.

With winter in Warsaw, IN, dormancy has two stages. The first is a period when a dormant plant is incapable of growth even in temperatures warm up. With this stage of dormancy, a plant waits for a particular signal that says its OK to begin growing.

Usually this signal is triggered by a cold period of varying length, depending on where you live. The purpose is to prevent the plant from starting growth during an unseasonable period only to be killed when temperatures suddenly drop back to normal. Once the cold period requirement is satisfied, the plant is likely out of danger from a serious refreeze and becomes ecto-dormant.

These extremely cold temperatures that we are experiencing now and in the near forecast will have an effect on the health of your landscape plantings because of the lack of snow cover. Don’t be surprised if some of your more delicate plants struggle in the upcoming season or even don’t make it to the spring flush of growth. The extremely cold temperatures and lack of insulating snow will be the cause.

Eco Friendly Brick Pavers In Warsaw, IN

Eco Friendly Brick Pavers or Permeable Pavers are not new to the Warsaw and Winona Lake area and they certainly are not new to brick paving. Eco Friendly Brick Pavers are gaining alot of attention and momentum across the country as a solution to alot of hard surface problems like runoff, drainage, retention ponds, pollution, and erosion just to name a few.

Eco Friendly, or Permeable Brick Pavers, are a great solution to your brick paving needs if you need to create additional parking spots for overflow traffic at your Warsaw, In house or lake cottage but don’t want to give up the look of your green space. Turfstone buy Belgard, is a great option for additional parking spaces at your lake house in Warsaw, In or Winona Lake, IN but want to keep as much yard space as possible.

Some homeowners in Warsaw, IN & Syracuse, IN would like to have a surface that looks more like brick pavers instead of a green lawn area.  Permeable Pavers come in a large variety of styles and colors.  Unilock has a great product line that provides homeowners who desire a permeable brick paver area.

Permeable Pavers are designed to allow almost all of the water from rainfall to be able to be reclaimed back into the existing soils.  Permeable Pavers allow for larger gaps between the brick pavers which allows water to drain through the surface into a base material underneath.  Rather than rainwater running off over the top of the traditional asphalt driveway or parking lot into a storm water retention system, the water seeps through the permeable pavers system and through a series of open graded layers of base material.  This base layer can accommodate a tremendous  amount of water depending on the deign of the system.  Water can also be collected and used for things like irrigation or washing cars.