Posted by & filed under Landscaping Design.

With the snow piled high and temperatures dipped below freezing, you may not even be thinking about spring, but now is a great time to start planning your landscape projects. While you’re huddled inside staying warm, you have a wonderful opportunity to plan out your spring landscape design in the comfort of your home without the demands of outside work.

 
couple looking out window
 

Plan Ahead for Spring:

 

Whether you’re considering a new or revamped design for your landscape, adding a backyard patio, deck, outside kitchen or even a pool, winter is the opportune time for you to think about what you want and how to tackle it. A detailed understanding of your goals is necessary from the onset of any design process.

 

A well thought out landscaping project not only increases your property’s value, but it boosts your home’s curb appeal. A prepared-in-advance design helps to solve problems ranging from ugly views and lack of privacy to poor drainage and nondescript plantings. And now is the time to jumpstart your long-term landscape plan and develop it.

 

Garden Paradise Master Plan:

 

Having a master plan is essential to any landscaping project. You don’t have to worry about planning every detail to the nth degree, but a master plan is more about broad strokes, a theme, a look and a feeling that you want to evoke.

 

While you’re hunkered down in the house during the winter months, you have the opportunity to think through the entire landscape design, from hard-scapes or soft-scapes. It’s a great time of year to help you focus on your initial goals and provides a touchstone for ideas, changes, and decisions down the line. By having a master plan, you will less likely end up with a mishmash of hard-scapes, inappropriate colours, proportions and lacklustre design.

 

A master plan can help you to create, design and update your yard ranging from the practical to the indulgent while improving curb appeal, privacy, and functionality. Maybe last year you noticed a safety issue that you want to address this spring season. Now is a great time to think about some of those safety issues, such as a pool fence, fire-scaping or erosion on parts of the property that caused headaches last year.

 

Landscape Planning Guides:

 

There are several Landscaping Planning Guides on the market that will show you what to consider in planning your landscaping project. They provide you with the information you need to choose the right design and products. You can often begin your adventure by downloading and filling out a landscape priorities questionnaire that will guide you through your likes and dislikes and ultimate goal. Some of these guides may even have a landscape analysis worksheet that covers a multitude of issues pertaining to your specific home.

 

Professional Landscape Designer:

 

Winter is a great time to consult with a professional landscape designer, like the professionals at Evergreen Landscapes. During this time of year when everything is dormant and their workload is reduced, their time availably to sit and discuss your ideas is ideal.

 

Even if gardening is your passion and you think you’ve got a good idea of what you want and how to achieve it, a professional landscape designer may see solutions you never dreamed of and help you avoid costly mistakes. They can assess your property’s strengths and weaknesses, think about the ways you envision using your yard, and understand the steps involved in the landscape design process.

 

Think Spring!

 

So, while you’re idling the hours away huddled in your home during the winter months, now is a perfect opportunity to think about your landscaping projects for the spring and jumpstart the process. You’ll be ahead of the crowd without the stress of last minute planning and prepare to enjoy the final results for the upcoming summer. Contact Evergreen Landscapes Today for complete landscape design and builds for the Waterdown, Burlinton and Aldershot area.

Posted by & filed under Outdoor Lighting.

Now that winter is officially upon us and daylight hours are reduced, you’ll want to keep your outdoor landscape lights shining bright. With early sunsets, we find ourselves in the dark at an earlier hour; however with proper placement and care, your landscape lighting will provide you safe passage for the rest of the evening.
 
lighted stairs
 

By keeping your landscape lights well maintained during the winter months, your home will still be inviting and you can enjoy your outside space for longer while providing a safer environment during the wintertime.

 

Safety is always a priority, but there are other benefits as well, such as enhancing the beauty of your home at night, preventing potential intruders or unwelcomed visitors, and avoiding injuries due to dangerous slips or falls because of black ice or snow.

 

Here are some guidelines to keep your landscape lighting in tip-top shape:

 

Clean the Lens

Outdoor light fixtures can accumulate bugs, dirt, mineral deposits and other debris that can dim or block the light from the fixture. Shut off the fixture and use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior metal. You can clean the lens by using a non-abrasive damp cloth with a solution of CLR or something similar. If you use halogen lights in the fixture, the heat will melt most of the snow, but LED bulbs produce less heat and you may have to clear them off on occasion after a snowfall.
 

Change Bulbs

 
Due to extreme swings in temperatures during the winter months making the bulbs run longer, the lifespan of the bulbs may be shortened. Change bulbs as soon as possible when one burns out because a low voltage system draws a small amount of voltage on each bulb when running. As bulbs burn out, the nearby bulbs receive more voltage and this shortens the life span of the remaining bulbs.
 
You may want to consider switching to LEDs since they last, on average, three to ten years and perform better in cold temperatures.
 

Position Lights Properly

 
You should take some time and inspect the locations of your landscape lights to be sure that they are positioned properly, both from an illumination perspective and one of safety. Fixtures can get moved out of alignment and become crooked due to snow accumulation, drifting snow or high winds.
 
If you have a snow removal company maintaining your property, alert them to where the fixtures are located near the driveway and walkways. You can also place indicator flags where the lights are located.
 
Be particularly aware of positioning where you have walking paths or along the driveway. Also, be on the lookout for exposed wires due to temperature fluctuations that cause a wire to resurface. If any are found, bury them back down into the ground. If any wire is showing damage, repair it first before reburying it.
 

Dim Lights

 
Now that the leaves have completely fallen from the branches, you can adjust the brightness down a bit so that the bare branches don’t look so severe in the spotlights. By dimming down, your home will appear to have a less haunted house effect. You can even add frosted lenses in order to soften the lighting or lower the angle of the light to highlight the trunk instead of the exposed branches.
 

Adjust Timers

 
With daylight savings time over and darkness descending at an earlier time, remember to adjust the outside timers accordingly. Some timers work on a dusk to dawn setting while others operate on a definitive start time and end selection, such as 4-8 hours of operation. Also remember that if there is a power outage, you’ll need to reset the landscape lighting timer again.
 

Make it Easy

 
Winter landscape lighting and maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult if you take the time to inspect, position and replace burned out bulbs when they occur. Your home will look warm and inviting plus provide the added safety that landscaping lighting offers.
 
For the ultimate installation and service for outdoor lighting in Burlington and Aldershot, contact Evergreen Landscapes today.  We will work closely with you to achieve the perfect night scape your property deserves.

Posted by & filed under Landscaping Design.

The most important question every homeowner should consider is whether a landscape renovation will pay off and boost the value of their home. Although, you may not be planning to sell your home anytime soon, redesigning your landscape can add value to your home, improve your family’s quality of life and attract future buyers. The payoff may vary as landscape return on investment is determined from neighborhood to neighborhood and regionally as well.

grass

 

There is no need to go into overblown projects to recapture your investment. A good rule of thumb is no more than 10 percent of your home’s value. You want to be cautious about having your home’s landscaped property the most expensive house in the neighborhood.
 
However, a well-designed landscape that fits the style, size, and character of the rest of the home will enhance its overall curb appeal and value. Any good realtor will tell you that sprucing up your property is also one of the most important aspects for attracting potential buyers, now or in the future.
 

Increased Value

A home with an attractive and well-maintained landscape will increase your home’s value and add up to twenty percent to the overall value of your home, according to renowned home project expert Bob Vila. When you consider that your home is probably the biggest investment you own, the return on investment is something you seriously want to encourage to maximize its full potential.
 
So, with a little patience, energy, research and the right design, you can create a great first impression that will carry through to the rest of the property and pay off big-time. Surveys show that landscaping determines whether your home feels inviting and the money is well spent. Seventy-one percent of potential buyers say that curb appeal has a tremendous influence on their decision making process when choosing a house.
 
Follow these basic rules in order to get the best return on your investment:
 

The Basics

Landscape architecture is more than just plantings or soft-scaping. Basic landscaping can include structural features like lighting, fences, garden paths, fire pits, swimming pools, and ponds. The popular outside room and kitchen including terraces and decks are also high-yield structural or hardscaping investments.
 

Planning Your Landscape

Property assessment is the first step in achieving the desired goal. Hiring a qualified arborist can help distinguish between dying trees and removal or those just in need a bit of care. A certified landscape architect can also help you to determine where to place an on-grade patio, above-grade deck, a front walk, complementary plantings in the front yard and exterior lighting that are extremely desirable these days as a means to showcase the natural world at night using up-lights, down-lights, and tree-lights. They will also help you to determine what looks overgrown, what’s obscuring windows, what needs to be pruned or taken out.
 

Trends

Landscape trends have changed over the years. Today’s hottest trends in landscape architecture are the outdoor room or terrace extension. The adjacent outside terrace brings views into the house using fountains, a grove of trees, or arbors and used as a continuation of the surrounding environment. The interest in landscaping and property enhancement is a natural extension of the boom in home renovation. Improvements are being made in the rear of the property.
 

Keep It Green

Designing your landscape is not sufficient to maintaining the value of your home. It’s important to protect your landscaping investment and keep your property looking its very best. A landscape company can help you achieve a consistently beautiful appearance by scheduling for upkeep and maintenance. If time is of the essence to you, it’s worth protecting your investment by hiring the regular services of a landscaping maintenance company, like the pros at Evergreen Landscapes.
 

Your Home’s Value

Landscaping your property to enhance its appearance and curb appeal will result in a substantial return on investment that will add to the overall value of your property. It’s an investment well worth making.

 

Check out some of our other blogs on landscape design.

A woman pruning

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

As the fall comes rolling in, homeowners start the chore of cleaning up their property. They crave getting outside to prepare their gardens and landscape for the upcoming winter and part of their routine is to prune shrubs, trees and plants.  Before you ask yourself “Should I prune in the fall” and start hacking away at those bushes, learn a few lessons about pruning in fall that will help you avoid mistakes on your landscape.

According to gardening expert Mike McGrath, author of Mike McGrath’s Book of Compost, and radio host of the show You Bet Your Garden, the rule of pruning is that you should NOT prune in fall.  That’s right, nothing and no exceptions.

 

Why Fall is Not Prime Time for Pruning

Any gardening expert will tell you, (contrary to what you may believe) that pruning encourages new growth just when the plant is trying to go dormant and new growth doesn’t have enough time to harden before the first frost and freezing temperatures hit. Pruning at this time of year will severely weaken the plants.
 

This is disastrous for the plants and all the hard work you did during the year to make your landscape beautiful. If you can wait until all the leaves have fallen, you will allow the trees and shrubs the ability to have better structure and strength to make it through the winter to next spring without any damage. So, put your pruners away for another month or two and let plants go completely dormant. Once the dormancy has settled in, you can prune trees and shrubs after all the leaves have dropped. Pruning during the right time of year for overgrown flowering shrubs or fruit trees will help the plants produce more flowers and fruit when spring rolls around again.

 

Weather Conditions

It should also be noted that pruning is not advised if it is damp or wet outside. You will run the risk of spreading a lot of diseases in addition to the damp weather encouraging microbes to grow at a considerably faster rate. This growth will wreak havoc on the pruning that you just completed. An ideal condition is a dry, sunny situation where the cut is clean and the wound can heal correctly.

 

Exceptions

Any major pruning that you might be considering should be done in late winter-early spring when the wound will heal faster. However, there is one exception to the rule of thumb on pruning during the fall. You can prune any dead, diseased and damaged wood including anything on the property, (like a big branch over the roof) that might be hazardous to you or your home.

 

What You Can Do Now

What you can and should do is focus your attention on raking up the leaves (don’t leave them on the lawn), mulching and topping up the gardens so that they have a protective bed during the winter months. You can also consider amending the soils so that it is in tip-top shape come spring. Additionally, spring bloomers can be pruned after they have finished flowering.

 

Technique

The benefit of pruning is that it allows more sunlight and air to filter through the trees and shrubs, so it’s important to focus first on removing dead or dying branches by cutting between the diseased spot and the main body of the plant. You should also prune when branches are rubbing or crossing each other, cutting the smaller of the two off. Taking off low hanging branches that interfere with foot traffic or lawnmowers is perfectly acceptable as with any branch that might be growing vertically. Always try to cut back to the main stem or body of the plant.

 

Healthy Circle

What goes around comes around once again and pruning properly during the correct time of year will produce a healthier and more robust plant for the next season. So set your sights on pruning when it’s appropriate and avoid the pitfall of pruning in the fall for a more beautiful landscape next spring.

 

Read some more gardening tips in our gardening blog category.

Posted by & filed under Lawn.

As the temperature starts to drop and fall approaches, there are plenty of autumn cleanup projects that you’ll want to perform at this time of year.

Residential home with garden backyard at autumn rainy day. Fallen yellow and red autumn leaves on the wet pavement. Check out our fall cleanup tips

 

Aside from the annuals that will surely wither and die when the first frost hits your region, the remaining perennials prepare for dormancy. The cool weather is a good time to get the gardens, bushes and trees prepared for the upcoming bitter cold so that your gardens will rejuvenate when spring returns. The same holds true for your property, whether it’s aerating your lawn, cleaning windows, gutters, chimney sweep, leaf raking and disposal or shutting down you outside water systems.

 

Mulch it Up

Chances are that the mulch you placed in the gardens in spring has deteriorated during the summer months, so it’s important to add a new layer of mulch in fall to protect plants and soil over the winter season. By adding additional mulch now, you keep the soil warmer, but more importantly you maintain an even temperature throughout the soil.

 

Perennials & Bulbs

Fall is a great time to divide perennials. Begin this process about six weeks ahead of the ground freezing. The candidates for division are those perennials that are clumped too close together and do not flower robustly any longer. Dividing is also good for those plants that show bare spots in the middle.

Autumn is a perfect time to think about getting your bulbs into the ground for a magnificent spring bloom. September and October are the ideal months to plant spring bulbs because the days are still clear blue and the ground is still warm and welcoming.

 

Shrubs & Trees

Winter can be extremely harsh on shrubs. Snow, wind, rain and ice can wreak havoc on the delicate branches; hence, it’s wise to prune some of the smaller, weaker branches as a preventative measure.

Prune dead or overlapping branches in the late fall to strengthen the tree and encourage new growth in the spring. For tender bark of young trees, wrap them with wire mesh, tree guards or the old standby burlap covers.

 

Aerating Your Lawn

The best time to aerate is during the growing season in early summer or early autumn, when the lawn is growing most actively. These times are best because the grass can easily heal by filling in any open areas after the plugs have been removed. Ideally, you should aerate the lawn with a cool season grass selection in the fall.

 

Windows

Having windows cleaned in the fall is very beneficial because leaves and debris falling from the trees cause the screens and windows to become very dirty. This grunge reduces the amount of sunlight that comes in the house to warm it during the chilling days of winter. When sunlight is reduced from entering your home, you will have to compensate by using more heat, which will increase your utility bills.

 

Gutters

As the leaves start falling, your gutters should routinely be cleaned. Gutters are designed to help move water and debris away from your roof and home, but when they overflow with leaves they get clogged and create water damage as it allows the water to pool near your home. This can ruin the inside of your home and cause mold, mildew and decay on the ceilings or walls and weaken your home’s foundation. Clogged gutters can result in damage to your landscape in close proximity to your house due to debris accumulations.

 

Chimney

Cleaning your chimney each year before winter arrives is something every responsible homeowner should get done and fall is a great time to do it. If you didn’t get around to doing it last year, be sure to have a certified chimney inspector come in during the fall before the hearth starts running regularly again this year. A clean fireplace improves air quality because it prevents smoke from blowing back into the house. This ensures that your family remains safe while using the fireplace, especially during winter months when doors and windows are shut.

 

Prep for Winter

Fall is the ideal time to prepare your property and home for the upcoming winter.  For many, fall is the best time of year since the days are warm and nights cool for sleeping.  By doing a good fall cleanup, your gardens and property will be ready for the following spring and you will reap the rewards of your effort.

 

Check out some more of our seasonal landscape tips in our blog section.

stone walkway

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

The landscape surrounding your home is especially important because it creates visual appeal and increases the value of your home. Real estate agents will tell you that good landscaping can add as much as 20 percent to a property’s value. The ability to access your property is paramount to its appeal. Keep reading to find out how to make the best walkways for gardens.

 

Regardless what type of material is used for your path or walkway throughout the cultivated landscape, walkways offer homeowners not only beauty, but low maintenance with a greater dimension to the landscape’s design.

 

A well thought out walkway will provide a way for you and guests to get to your front door or other parts of your property. Whether it leads straight to your front door, a small courtyard garden, pool area or porch, there are many design options to choose among.

 

When thinking about installing a walkway, there are three important considerations to take into account in your design before beginning your project. Regardless if you decide to install it yourself or have a professional landscaper come in for a consultation on your ideas, you need to consider:
 

  • Width
  • Shape
  • Paving Materials

 

Determining Walkway Width

It is very important to determine your walkway’s width, whether it leads from the street to the front door, the driveway to the front door, the driveway to the backyard, or the front yard to the backyard. The walkway should be wide enough that two people can navigate the path comfortably side-by-side.

 

This is especially important if you’re a social entertainer and hosting parties or family gatherings will likely occur on a regular basis. Ordinarily, a four-foot width is the minimum for a front walkway, but five feet is preferred for its aesthetic appeal. Get more information about walkway dimensions.

 

Determining the Shape

The first thing to consider in determining the shape of your walkway is to consider the actual size and dimensions of your property. If you happen to have a smaller sized front yard, a simple straight walkway will look best. If your yard is on the larger scale, a curved walkway can add more of a design interest to accommodate the size.

 

The second factor to consider is your home’s style, such as a traditional Colonial or Victorian style versus a ranch or Mediterranean style that is more informal.

 

The more formal your home is in appearance, the more inclination for a straight path versus the look of informality and curved walkways. Be cautious to avoid too many curves because then people will take shortcuts through your front lawn. See more about walkway shapes.

 

Determining the Material

The most important consideration in selecting the material for your walkways or pathways is which material will complement the exterior of your home and property. In choosing your materials, keep in mind that solid paving, such as concrete, stone or pavers, are easier and safer to walk on than stepping stones or gravel.

 

The most common paver materials used on walkways are:

1. Natural Stone Pavers

  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Brownstone
  • Limestone
  • Sandstone
  • Bluestone

2. Concrete Pavers

These are manmade products manufactured and produced in factories and the shape and colour choices are endless. You’ll find that there are no limitations when it comes to selecting the right shaped pavers for any walkway.

3. Brick Pavers

These are also manmade products manufactured and processed in factories all over the world. Because they are fired at high temperatures, the firing process produces their earthy color tones.

 

Enhance Your Landscape

Walkways add charm, interest and curb appeal to any home.

Evergreen Landscaping’s qualified professionals can help you to enhance the look of your property, so contact us today for a consultation.

A Garden in front of a house

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

Everyone loves to have a beautiful garden during the summer time, but to achieve that is an accomplishment; water is a vital component to make those blooms burst with health, vitality and colour.

 

Toilets, lawns and landscape watering are the biggest offenders of water consumption, but with regard to your gardens, you can give the hose a rest and dramatically reduce your water usage by designing a water-wise garden. By creating a drought resistant water-wise garden, you can grow more flowers while using less water for long-blooming, easy-care perennials.

 

By being a responsible gardener following the guiding principle of using less water, you have the foundation to plan a garden that will not just survive but thrive in any climate. There are literally thousands of species of plants that are ideal for use in the garden, and with the right care in your initial year; you can have a gorgeous garden with little need for water thereafter.

 

By following these tips, you’ll be off to a great start in creating your oasis of beauty, save on water usage, reduce your water bills and help the environment.

 

Add Organic Matter 

Adding organic matter to your soil is important because not all soil is created equal. Since soil is essentially a collection of mineral particles, some soil is a composition of small clay particles and water will penetrate the soil much more slowly. Some other components of soil may be mostly large particles of sand that water passes through rapidly. When you add organic matter you get the benefit of improving the texture and the water-holding capacity of your soil. To learn more about improving your soil, read Building Healthy Soil.

 

Water to the Root System

When you add soaker hoses to your gardens, you are ensured that up to 90 percent of the water you apply will actually seep down into the plant’s root system. While hand watering and sprinklers are good methods, they only deliver 40-50 percent of water deliverability and efficiency. The benefit of drip irrigation and soaker hoses is that they minimize water loss due to evaporation. They help to keep the areas between plants dry and limit weed growth.

 

Add Mulch

Adding mulch as a top layer, usually 6-8 inches, will cut water needs in half. Mulch helps to block the growth of weeds and reduces water loss through evaporation. Mulch also helps to increase the humidity level in your garden; thereby, reducing your need to water on a frequent basis. Some organic mulch actually retains some water in their fibers because the mulch may include shredded leaves, straw, compost, grass clippings and rotted hay.

 

Barrel Water

You can use free water by purchasing a barrel to collect rain water. Rain water is great for your plants because it is clear and without chlorine residue. To decide how much you can collect from your roof, use the Rainfall Harvest Calculator.

 

Choosing Plants

Choose your plants carefully by selecting plants that are content from natural rainfall.

 

This is less work for you and beneficial for the plants. Choose plant varieties that are native to your area and climate for the best results. Consult with your garden center for some guidance. Check out some bee friendly plants you can have in your garden.

 

Achieving a water-wise garden is not difficult to do provided you do a bit of research, purchase barrels for water, use soaker hoses for water retention and choose plants wisely. In doing so, you’ll have a beautiful garden with less work for you and very happy plants.

 

Check out some of our other Blogs to get the best gardening & landscape tips.

flowers

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

Each year, we hear about the mysterious global disappearance of our pollinating friends, especially the plight of our honeybees. This is due mainly to the use of certain herbicides and particularly habitat loss. Gardeners can make a big difference for all pollinators by enhancing the type of flowers in the garden and creating a bee-friendly environment.

It’s easy for you to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators by establishing  pollinator gardens that can provide enough habitats to restore healthy communities of beneficial insects and pollinators. You don’t have to have a large backyard to attract and support pollinators. Anything from a wildflower meadow to a garden planter will do the trick with a few well-chosen species of seasonal plants.

 

The most important step you can take is to plant nectar and pollen-rich plants like wildflowers and old-fashioned varieties of flowers. A succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs is best so nectar and pollen will be available throughout the growing season

 

Pesticides

All pesticides, even organic pesticides, are toxic to bees and other beneficial organisms so there is little reason why they should be used to protect your garden from insects and diseases. They may provide a quick knock-down to the attackers in the short term, but kill beneficial organisms that help to sustain your garden.  Not only do you expose yourself, family and pets, to toxic chemicals, you risk disrupting the natural ecosystem that in your garden inhabit. Going organic is both safer and more effective.

 

By applying the simple principles of ecological plant protection, you can work with nature to control pests and diseases, enjoy a healthier garden and harvest and protect pollinators and other beneficial insects.

 

Provide Shelter

In order to avoid and hide from predators, butterflies, bees and other pollinators need shelter in order to get out of damaging outdoor elements and rear their young. One idea is to let a hedge grow wild for ground-nesting bees. Another is to let a log decompose in a sunny place on the ground, or allow a dead tree to stand to create nooks for butterflies and solitary bees.

 

You can also put up an artificial nesting box or add a bat house that provides shelter for bats to raise their young. The more shelter that is provided on your property for our friendly pollinators, the better the chance you backyard will be a bevy of activity.

 

Provide Food and Water

Like all animals, bees, birds and butterflies also all need access to water on a regular basis. If you’re really ambitious and wish to create the perfect oasis for pollinators, install a water garden, birdbath or catch basin for rain. Butterflies, in particular, will flock to muddy puddles to absorb the salts and nutrients in the water.

 

Backyard Beekeeping

It isn’t necessary to live in a rural area to keep bees because your backyard already has everything you need to get started.  All you really need is a little space, some source of water, a variety of flowers for them to visit, and a willingness to learn about beehives. Here is a great source for the interested hobbyist with easy to understand information about becoming a backyard beekeeper. Attracting Beneficial Bees.

 

Living Landscape

You should try to focus on a healthy landscape, instead of a perfect one because a pollinator’s health is critical to our food system and the diversity of life across the world. Each of us can do our part to create a pollinator-friendly environment that will benefit all of us for generations to come.

 

Interested in other gardening tips? Check out more of our Gardening Blogs.

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

With the last of the snow melting away, the days getting warmer and more daylight to enjoy, we get the sense the spring has finally arrived!

garden in spring
 
After the frigid misery of winter, your property and gardens have been exposed to an onslaught of soot, broken branches, leaves and lots of other debris that has accumulated.
 

The Cleanup

Now that the days are a bit warmer for you to get outside, it’s the perfect time to get your cleanup started before your spring bulbs and plants start popping their heads out of the ground. You can start by removing and composting any dead annual plants that remained over winter and prune back your perennials from last fall.  The sooner you get to cleaning up the debris, the less likelihood that you’ll be stepping on the growing plants and damaging their tender sprouts.
 
In addition to your ground cover cleanup, the same rule and method applies to your trees, shrubbery and bushes. Spring is an excellent time to prune your trees and shrubs. Some shrubbery with woody stems must be cut back each spring because they only bloom on new branches. By pruning in the spring, you get rid of any damaging effects of winter and form a healthy environment for newly developing growth.
 
If your ornamental grass was left up during the winter time, now is the time to cut it back. You do not have to wait for any new growth to form because ornamental grass will come back up on its own when it’s ready.
 

Weeds

Spring is an ideal time to take action against the straggler weeds that hung around from last season. Since the damp soil makes it so much easier to pull out hang over weeds or new seedlings, now is the time to be pro-active. There are a number of products on the market that can help you to prevent weeds from sprouting at this time of the year, so visit your local retailer to see the selection available.
 

Get out the garden tools

Any good gardener worth their salt knows that part of the secret to their success is to have clean, operationally working and effective tools. Head out to your garage or shed and get out your tools that have been hiding in there all winter long. You want to make sure that they are ready to do their job, so prepare them carefully, either by cleaning off the dirt and grime with soap and water or sharpening the blades. For tools that have a wooden handle, you can use mineral spirits to give them a good wash down that will help prevent the wood from splintering.
 

Prep Your Soil

Spring is a wonderful time to give your soil some tender loving care to make certain that it’s ready for the upcoming planting season.  You can start your planting preparation by turning over your soil with a pitchfork and rake it out.  A pitchfork is an ideal tool for loosening up and turning over caked and compacted soil while clearing out any weeds that might have recently developed.  You should then add compost, manure, of time released fertilizer a couple of weeks prior to planting so you don’t burn the roots of newly planted annuals or perennials. Be prepared to mix the fertilizer thoroughly so that it gets down deep into your soil. By preparing your soil ahead of time, your soil will be amended to the best possible environment for growing healthy and happy plants.
 

New Beginning

Spring is the time of new beginnings and rebirth.  It is the most wonderful time of the year to watch your garden and property come to life with colour and heady scents that will delight throughout the summer.

Posted by & filed under Landscaping Design, Water Features.

If you’re in the market for a landscape redesign and you’re a consumer, you are likely to underestimate the cost of things. Get the facts on pricing, organize your wants and desires, find the right professional and prepare for financial hiccups throughout the project. All these steps are essential to a beautifully landscaped property, your wallet, and your sanity.

pergola on stone patio with hot tub

 
Setting a budget is easy if you know the exact cost of your landscape redesign and you have a money tree in your backyard. In lieu of these two things, a little thought, preparation, and research will go a long way.
 
Two main things will affect your budget for a landscape redesign. How deep your pockets are and the extent of the project. If you are doing a landscape redesign, you likely already know what you don’t want. Start by identifying what it is you do want and need from a landscape redesign.
 
Make a list of wants that need to be fulfilled. For example, will your redesign include a water feature, a perennial garden or any new structures such as a deck? Will pathways be needed and if so, what will they be made of? Also, identify any large foliage such as trees that will need to be removed or planted.  Are there any geographical obstacles to a possible redesign such as septic system, well or gas line?  Getting an estimate on the cost of some of these bigger items will help you budget the entire project. Though you can’t be expected to know exactly what your redesign will look like, having the basics will help you to identify the scope of the project.
 
Finding the right professional to do your redesign will have a big impact on your experience. Always ask to see past projects, consider how long a contractor has been in business and insist on a great warranty. An estimate might be available that would give you a better idea of the end cost. This will give you time to get your finances in order before the work begins. It’s imperative that you consider this renovation of your outdoor space as just that, a renovation. You might find that things cost a lot more than you imagined.  After all, when was the last time you did a landscape redesign?
 
A contingency fund is always a good idea with any home improvement project. This allows for those inevitable hiccups while your landscape redesign is underway. If all goes smoothly, you will be left with money in your pocket. If there is any delay or miscalculation in the project, you will be prepared. At a minimum, you should have 10 percent of the cost of the project put away for those unforeseen costs.
 
Getting all your ducks in order is your best bet when trying to nail down a budget for that landscaping redesign. Be prepared, be informed and know your needs.  A landscape redesign should be exciting, not terrifying.