Posted by & filed under Gardens.

Composting has remarkable benefits. Not only is composting good for your garden’s soil, but it takes a huge chunk of garbage out of landfills that would otherwise become part of the waste debris that we throw away every day.

 

Mother and Daughter Composting

 

When it comes to learning how to compost, nature is your best teacher because the process has been occurring since the beginning of life on our planet. You see it in the forests, prairies, meadows and even deserts throughout the world.

 

Making compost is simple if you are willing to allow Nature to rot your leftovers and biodegradable garbage into a composting bin, trench, pit or barrel and let Mother Nature take over. You will be amazed that by adding biodegradable garbage, nature will convert the waste into rich humus.

 

Compost buffers the soil, neutralizing both acid & alkaline soils, bringing pH levels to the optimum range for nutrient availability to plants. It is a foolproof process because nature will readily correct almost all of your mistakes.

 

The Right Ingredients for Compost:

 

Composting is based on a balance rich diet of microorganisms eating nitrogen and carbon-rich foods. It helps bind clusters of soil particles, called aggregates, which provide good soil structure. Such soil is full of tiny air channels and pores that hold air, moisture and nutrients. This diet consists of:

 

  • Very High Nitrogen – C/N less than 10 – Hot Greens
  • High Nitrogen – C/N between 10 and 30 – Greens
  • High Carbon – C/N between 30 and 80 – Browns
  • Very High Carbon – C/N over 80 – Dry Browns

 

In general, grass, leaves, vegetable and fruit scraps work well. Keep meat and grains out of your compost as it will attract rodents. Wood, such as twigs and chips should be use sparingly as they are bulky and can quickly change the balance of your compost heap.

 

Water and Compost:

 

It’s important to have the right amount of water, similar to a wet sponge without it being too soggy because nitrogen-rich waste is already wet, particularly greens at about an 80-85% moisture level. When you add dry, brown carbon-rich material, which has a much lower moisture level, the two mix appropriately, but you still want a thin layer of moisture to cover all of the materials going into the composter. Ideally, the moisture should be about 40-60% water regardless of what is happening in your particular climate so that the breakdown occurs most efficiently.

 

Aeration of Compost:

 

All decomposition occurs most effectively in an oxygen rich environment; however as the compost materials settle, the oxygen is squeezed out creating a bogged down mound. A decent flow of air allows the aerobic microbes to thrive, do their job and thereby decomposition will occur faster. You’re striving to have your materials break down cleanly into CO2, H2O, minerals, and humus; otherwise, the process will slow down, and your compost will start to stink like rotten eggs from the Hydrogen Sulfide. To make your decomposition work effectively here is a short list of methods to use:

 

  • Turning Your Compost using Compost Aeration Tools
  • Making Air Pockets as You Build
  • Use PVC Aeration Pipes
  • If your compost is in a barrel, you can roll it

 

Your Gardens and Compost:

 

By the time this whole decomposition process has taken place, you will have rich humus fertilizer that your plants will love and amazing blooming gardens.

Posted by & filed under Gardens, Landscaping Design, Lawn.

Have you ever considered planting your flowers and vegetables in a raised bed? The advantages are numerous.Raised beds are quite different than garden planters. Planters are containers that are elevated and have bottoms which prevent the soil from falling out. The bottoms also have slats or holes which allow for drainage. However, raised beds do not have bottoms; instead, they are open to the ground. This provides the benefit of allowing plant roots to grow into the ground for any available nutrients.

a raised garden bed

Here are some of the advantages to using raised gardens:

  1. Weed Control. The raised garden is planted above existing soil. This allows you to use weed barriers which can be placed between the ground and the soil in the garden box.
  2. Better Soil. Planting a garden directly in the ground limits you to using the soil that’s already there. That soil might not be the best for gardening. You can add mulch and compost to improve the soil but it is a difficult task to manage. However, when you have a raised garden bed, you can fill it with the soil that will work best for your garden. This will help your plants grow more successfully.
  3. Pest Control. You can keep out critters such as ground hogs, squirrels and moles easily, simply by placing chicken wire beneath the raised garden and above the box. This will effectively keep these pests from your precious plants.
  4. Portability.  A raised garden box can be moved around in your yard. This is especially handy if you decide to do some landscaping and change the design of your yard.
  5. Accessible. Probably the best thing about raised beds is that you can easily reach every single plant in the garden. This allows you to easily water, weed, inspect and pick the plants.
  6. Higher Yields. Raised gardens generally produce more fruit and vegetables as a result of the better soil that you are able to use.
  7. Frugality. Seeds can be quite expensive. Often when you plant in traditional “in-ground” garden, you start by scattering the seeds. Then you thin the plants as they grow which wastes seeds. However when you plant in a raised bed garden, you are able to plant only the seeds that you need.
  8. Longer Growing Season. Your gardening season is determined by the temperature of the soil. The soil in a raised garden box will warm up much more quickly in the spring than the ground soil.
  9. Aesthetically Pleasing. Your raised garden beds will always look neat and tidy. Raised garden beds also inspire some creative ideas in the garden. Don’t be afraid to try something new in your garden design.

As you can see, there are a lot of great reasons to try raised garden beds this spring. There are so many different styles and types available you will surely find something that will suit your tastes and needs. Need some help choosing? Contact the professionals at Evergreen for some great ideas and advice.

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

In December, we wrote an article listing some great Christmas gift ideas that you could give the gardener in your life. We talked about the right tool makes any job easier and only a handful of inexpensive gardening tools can handle the most common lawn and garden maintenance. However, there are a few additional tools that every homeowner needs to top off that list for making gardening chores efficient and enjoyable with less pain and strain.

Gardening Tools

Even if your first foray into gardening might seem a bit daunting, the right tools will help you do the job right all the way through spring cleanup, summer planting, fall wind-down and preparation for winter’s hibernation. The right tools help to avoid strained back muscles, scratched hands, and other backyard annoyances, so having the right tool to do the job is a priority. Here is a recap of our Christmas suggestions, in addition to the selection of new add-ons, to make your gardening experience be the best it can be.

Xmas Recap:

  • Shovel

    Any gardener will tell you that a shovel is a necessity for any garden or landscape work.  It is best used for planting or digging out trees and shrubs, mixing large quantities of dirt, creating a dugout for an annual or perennial garden, composting and so much more.

  • Hand Pruner

    Hand pruners are a versatile tool that can be used for many purposes in the garden, but they are best used for snipping and removing dead and unwanted branches from trees and shrubs in an easy stroke motion.

  • Hand Trowel

    A hand trowel is designed for digging small holes, transplanting seedlings, planting flowers and bulbs in garden beds or performing similar tasks. Many gardeners find hand trowels immensely useful and quite commonly found in gardening sheds as an indispensable tool.

  • Garden Utility Bucket or Caddy

    A utility bucket or caddy is ideal for carrying your hand tools around the property, gathering clipping and weeds and freeing up your hands from carrying objects.

  • Leaf Rake

    The most basic of tool for any property is a leaf rake. It is best used for gathering leaves, lawn clippings, spreading mulch around the gardens and other ground-covering materials around planting beds.

  • Garden Rake

    These rakes are best used for working the soil in planting beds, pressing sown seeds into the soil and removing dead grass from the lawn. A flat head rake is useful for leveling soil, while a bow-head garden rake is often easier to maneuver.

  • Watering Can

    A medium sized watering can is ideal for transporting small quantities of water from an outdoor tap to thirsty plants that are potted or in the garden.

New Additions:

  • Folding Pruning Saw

    A folding pruning saw is indispensable for cutting through branches up to 10 centimetres in diameter. The blade cuts cleanly even through green wood, which promotes quick healing. It then folds safely away to be used for another day.

  • Telescoping Leaf Rake

    This type of rake can be used for raking leaves and cuttings neatly and efficiently.  It spreads mulch and smooths the soil in flowerbeds or veggie patches.  Its aluminum handle can be adjusted to suit your height, and you can change the width of the head to suit the task at hand.

  • Japanese Farmer’s Knife

    This tool is a cross between a knife and a trowel.  It is an indispensable tool for planting bulbs, weeding beds and containers. It is great for dividing perennials and handling those tough stems and roots. The curved blade is two sided, one straight and one serrated, and both are extremely sharp.

  • Stainless-Steel Soil Scoops

    These sturdy scoops are ideal when you want to mix small quantities of soil or compost. They can be used for all sorts of things like filling flowerpots, window boxes and bird feeders.

  • Garden Spade

    A garden space is a square-edge, straight blade used for preparing beds for planting, combining soil mixtures, edging beds and slicing through sod. The small blade has comfortable treads and the handle is made of fibreglass that helps to prevent muscle fatigue.

  • Bypass Secateurs

    This tool has a rotating handle, which make it easier for pruning rosebushes, shrubs and trees. It has bypass blades for cleaner, faster-healing cuts on the plants than Anvil blades, which crush as the plant as they cut.

Evergreen Landscapes is an Award Winning Landscape Design Company that specializes in lawn care for Burlington, Waterdown, Aldershot, Dundas, and Ancaster. Our services include Stone Patio Installation, Building Stone Steps, Paving Stone Walkways, Poolscapes, Backyard Fountains and Waterfalls, and various Landscaping Maintenance Services.

Posted by & filed under Outdoor Kitchens.

If you’ve invested the time and money into an outdoor kitchen, you already have a love of the outdoors along with the love of cooking. Don’t let the frigid temperatures of a southern Ontario winter, dampen your enthusiasm for outdoor cooking.

 

You may choose to cook outside during the winter because it’s still worth the trouble of shoveling off the barbecue. Or, you may choose to take your culinary skills outside because you aren’t going to let the winter beat you. Whichever rings true to you, there are things you can do that will make it an easier to get out there during the winter months and express your inner chef.

 

Outdoor Patio Kitchen

 

Winterizing your outdoor kitchen

 

Before you even consider cedar plank salmon on the barbie this winter, it is important to first consider winterizing parts of your outdoor kitchen. With temperatures that are guaranteed to drop below zero, bursting pipes are a real risk with any plumbing that is not insulated. An outdoor kitchen with running water falls into this category. Be sure to drain all pipes and close down the water supply. Any water left in your pipes is likely to expand and could, in turn, burst a pipe. While there is no reason why you can’t take your culinary skills outside during the winter, you won’t likely be using the fridge, the ice maker or wine cooler. It is safest to turn these off and unplug them. Remember, in the dead of winter, cooling of your food and wine will come naturally and an unplugged refrigerator can still be used to temporarily store food.

 

Create a functional work-space and be organized

 

You wouldn’t want to cook in a dirty kitchen, and cooking outside is not different. As the warmer months wane, give your grill and other outdoor kitchen elements a good cleaning. Keep snow clear of your grill and maintain a clear path to your outdoor kitchen. Despite the cold, an inviting kitchen is one that gets used, and outdoor cooking is no different. With the heat of an outdoor grill or fireplace, cooking outdoors isn’t as cold as you’d think it is. Dress appropriately but remember that good cooking can warm more than the soul. Gather all that you’ll need before donning your parka and mitts. Pull everything from the refrigerator and cupboards and do all your prep beforehand. Be sure to have the cooking surface preheated. Proper lighting will also make the job a whole lot easier.

 

Open your mind to new tastes

 

During long summer nights, hot dogs and marshmallows with a smores chaser may constitute a three-course meal. During the winter, consider meals that can be placed on the open fire or grill and that are slow cooking and don’t need constant attention. Soups, chili, stews or a slow cooking rotisserie chicken. Cooking outdoors, no matter how cold it is, can be satisfying, but cooking outdoors while you watch out the window from inside the kitchen, is better. Having to run in and out 134 000 times while you cook up a couple of burgers, can dampen the outdoor cooking experience. Unlike the summer months, standing outside in the winter with a beer in hand while you grill isn’t as common and with the less inviting temperatures, can be a lonely experience. Let the food cook outdoors while you enjoy your family and friends inside.

 

While many elements of your outdoor space are off limits during the winter, there is very little reason to close the kitchen. Though trudging through two feet of snow in the middle of a Canadian February may pose more of a challenge than you anticipated, the outcome can leave you proud and impressed with yourself. You are hearty and so is your outdoor kitchen.

 

Call Evergreen Landscapes to have your dream outdoor kitchen built for you in Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, or the surrounding areas like Aldershot. We can work with you to build an ideal kitchen that works with your landscape, and the Canadian climate.

Posted by & filed under Gardens, Landscaping Design.

Many homeowners simply don’t have the time or desire to invest a lot of hours in keeping up with an extensive landscaping regimen. For those people who want to spend less time away from the tedious chore of maintaining their properties, a low maintenance landscape is an ideal solution. With the correct plan in place and a bit of preparation ahead of time, you can have a beautifully landscaped yard without the hours of upkeep. You can get back to doing the things that you truly enjoy in life instead of spending countless hours tending your yard.

Low-Maintenance Landscaping

 

The biggest mistake many homeowners make is that they piece their yard together sporadically and without much thought given to how it needs to ultimately come together. Unfortunately, this type of practice typically creates a landscape that requires more time and money to maintain. Obviously, the best way to get around this problem is to hire a professional landscape designer or architect like Evergreen Landscapes to help you plan out your gardens with reduced maintenance in mind. If hiring a designer is more than your budget can manage, there are some simple rules that you can follow to achieve a beautiful low maintenance yard that you will be proud to call your own.

 

Start with a Plan

 

Before you can begin to dream about a yard with minimal care, you need to have a plan set in place to achieve this envisioning goal. You can start by taking photos of the various parts of your yard during the different times of the day. Pictures will help you identify the assets and problem areas of the property. You can then draw a rough sketch of your yard, including any features that are particularly troublesome like an overgrowing and fully blooming garden bed. This preparation will help you to establish an overall view of the yard and help you with the problem solving details to resolve them.

 

Simplicity of Design

 

Any landscape expert will tell you that simplicity of design is the key factor in having a low maintenance landscape. According to Christopher Starbuck, an Associate Professor of the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri Extension says, “Simplicity is characteristic both of good design and low-maintenance landscapes. Eliminate frills such as statues and water features or design them for easy care and maintenance.” If you do decide to go with a landscaping company, inform them up-front that a simple, low-maintenance landscape is what you are after so they can plan their design accordingly.

 

Proper Plantings

 

A good low-maintenance landscape should have the correct size of plants in the most suitable locations. When you have the proper plant size for the various locations in the yard, you will substantially reduce the amount of pruning required to keep everything in check. Another trick to low-maintenance plantings is to plant in mass groups because they are easier to care for in groupings and easier to mow around. For best results, you should also select mass plants with similar light and water requirements. You should also plant plenty of perennials and sparingly plant annuals because it won’t only save you money over the long run, it will cut down on the time required for planting each season.

 

Mulch

 

One of the most beneficial substances that you can use for low-maintenance landscaping is the generous use of mulch as a way to reduce landscape maintenance needs. The benefits of an abundance of mulch on the property are many, such as:

 

  • Acts as a weed barrier
  • Holds in moisture, which reduces the amount of watering required.
  • Helps to release nutrients into the soil
  • Improves the appearance of garden beds

Having a low-maintenance property can be easily achieved if you have a plan and carry out that plan with thoughtful diligence.

 

If you feel that this might be a job for a professional to do or still have questions regarding this topic, contact our team of experts today and we’ll be ready to help.

Posted by & filed under Landscaping Design.

For many homeowners, owning a piece of property that they can landscape is truly a dream come true. Even though the work involved can be difficult at times, the planning and execution can truly be a fun project. Spending time outdoors in the fresh air, digging your hands into the soil while getting hot and sweaty can seem like heaven to many people. You get to soak up the sun, feel healthy, plus get the pleasure of creating a beautiful environment that is personalized, and you can call your own.

a man pushing a lawnmower across a garden

 

For many homeowners, it just doesn’t get any better than this and people look forward to this time of the year more than any other. However, as enjoyable as all of these wonderful attributes sound, there are common mistakes and pitfalls that every homeowner faces unless a little planning and research is done before talking on or executing any project. While some homeowners simply make unattractive choices in their landscaping design or choices of products, others may make decisions that are unsightly, downright dangerous and perhaps even unlawful. So, what are the most common landscaping mistakes?

 

Selecting the Wrong Plants

The first of thumb is to go to a reputable garden centre for your plant selection instead of relying on the Internet for online shopping. Although you might see something inspirational for your landscape, it might be completely wrong for your region, location and climate. Many online retail stores will organize their plants by region, but you cannot be sure that this is the case. You will end up very disappointed when the plants fail to grow and thrive on your property. When you buy from a local retailer, at least you are sure that you are buying the appropriate plants for your region. It may not be the right plant for your properties conditions, but the climate conditions are reliable.

 

The next rule is to select plants that are appropriate for your properties particular conditions and we all have them. Many different conditions can coexist on the same property, such as one part may receive sun all day while other parts are primarily shaded areas. You may have clay in one section and richer soil in another where most plants grow to their optimum best. Your best solution to these inconsistencies is to observe your property carefully before you start digging to find out what will best suit you.

 

Forgetting to Research the Growth Rate

You may have never thought of this, but different plants grow at different growth rates. This is a huge mistake made by many homeowners and one of the major landscaping mistakes. If you have a property where you want a privacy hedge, you have to look for fast-growing evergreens that ideally grow at a three feet per season rate. Slower growing evergreens in the same space will not give you the desired effect and you will be waiting a long time for that view-block effect to occur.

 

The opposite can happen as well when you take home a lovely looking tree for an accent effect and sadly watch it grow well beyond what you had in mind in the first place. Instead of an accent effect, you have a monster out of control on your hand. It can spread into your foundation and crack it or wreak havoc on your underground pipes resulting in a very costly repair. Resolving this potential hazard is easily solved by simply checking beforehand the growth rate of your selections before you plant.

 

Ignoring the Harmony of Nature

Many homeowners make the mistake of ignoring the harmony of nature by disregarding the local wildlife when landscaping. Even city dwellers have wildlife, like squirrels, skunks, and raccoons. Learn what animals eat certain foods, such as those producing sweet berries and opt for bitter flavors to discourage unwanted visitors. On the other hand, if you love having birds visit your property, select trees that provide them shelter from the elements and select plants or shrubs that will produce their favorite delicacies.

 

Bypassing Local Regulations

Many inner city or suburb municipalities have certain restrictions on landscaping designs. They are put in place to protect citizens and ensure neighborhood harmony. In particular are sidewalks that may run the length of the property where low hanging branches would be considered an obstruction. It’s wise to check with your local bylaws before you plant. In the same vein, some residential areas prohibit tall trees or fences that obstruct a neighbor’s view.

 

Local regulations also strongly recommend that you know the location of utility lines before you dig. Power lines, water mains, cable and gas lines are often buried beneath a residential property out of view. Hitting these lines can be catastrophic both for you and your neighbors, so before you dig have the utilities come out to your property and run a check for location.

 

Landscaping errors can be avoided with a little planning ahead and a bit of research so that you can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

Call Evergreen Landscapes for help with your landscaping design.

Posted by & filed under Landscaping Design.

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, nothing brings out the magic of the holidays around your home like a dazzling display of holiday lights. It’s the time of the year that homeowners try to create an enchanted winter wonderland that’s inviting and decked out for the season. Whether you want an elaborate display of lights, like icicles drizzling off the rooftop, or a simple accent of lights on the front of your house and door, the right lighting is essential for a festive look.

 

landscape lightingWhile traditional incandescent holiday lights are still a favorite among consumers, there have been tremendous advances in LED technology over the past few years. Today’s LED lights offer many advantages over the traditional incandescent lights, including:

 

  • Energy savings of up to 80%
  • A lifespan up to 20 times longer
  • More durable and cool to the touch
  • More strands can be connected together on one outlet or extension cord

 

Some of the most popular locations for holiday lighting include:

 

  • rooflines or eaves
  • bushes, hedges and trees
  • pillars, posts or deck railings
  • windows and door frames
  • driveways and pathways
  • window boxes and planters

 

With all of this talk about holiday lights creating a magical sparkle for the Christmas season, it’s important to remember that this dazzling illumination only last about six weeks. Once it’s over the spark is gone, but if you have premium year-round landscape lighting, it lasts for every season and brings a bit of pizazz to your property daily.

 

Premium Landscape Lighting

 

Most homeowners work hard to make their homes and yards look top-notch and beautiful, but all of that effort is lost when night falls and the beauty fades away into the shadows. However, with a good transformer, timer and some landscape lights placed in strategic places, you can take your yard out of the darkness and put all of its beauty on display.

 

When landscape lighting is thoughtfully planned out and done right, landscape lighting brings out the best of your home’s environment by highlighting its architectural features while drawing attention to plantings, gardens, bushes, shrubs and trees. Best of all, landscape lighting enhances your property 24/7, 365 days a year for a breathtaking illumination of your home’s finest qualities.

 

Most of today’s landscape lighting is low voltage and can be expanded to as many lights as the power of the transformer that you buy. Some come in kits already to go and range in the number of lights or spots so you can make an interesting mixture of lighting. Although low-voltage lights receive only one-tenth the power of the old 120-volt systems because of a step-down transformer, there’s no limit to the dramatic look that they can achieve. You can enjoy the feel of moonlight beaming down from a tree’s canopy to a subtle glow that cascades over a garden because this creation is more than just picking the right hardware. It’s an attractive lighting scheme that is all about design and artistry.

 

Premium year-round landscape lighting does more than simply illuminate the exterior of a structure, plantings or property. One of its great attributes is to actually extend living space physically as well as visually since landscape lighting pushes the boundaries of a house. By going beyond the boundaries, your home takes on a visually striking look from the outside of the house, especially when the interior lights are turned off. You can extend the practice of boundary lighting even further with a fence or shrub line that represents your property line. With a small output wall wash illumination fixture, one light can be overlapped to create a continuous wall of light that will subtly show the edges of a yard.

 

So, which is better? Holiday lighting is a sparkly seasonal event that creates a magical place for all to see during the holiday season, but premium landscape lighting creates a visually appealing environment that people can enjoy year-round.

Posted by & filed under Gardens.

Even though winter is upon us, there is no better time to think about giving a touch of spring as a Christmas gift to your gardening enthusiast. Receiving gardening tools as a Christmas gift will get your gardener excited about the upcoming months leading to spring and summer.

While gardens and gardeners come in all shapes, sizes and needs, there are some garden tools every gardener should own because the right tools make the job easier. A handful of inexpensive tools will do the trick to handle the most common lawn and garden maintenance issues.

 

gardening tools

 

And, just like us, garden tools come in all shapes, sizes and ways we can use them, but one thing gardeners all agree upon is that we want the garden tools to last and to work as hard as we do. The right tools help to avoid strained back muscles, scratched hands, and other backyard annoyances, so having the right tool to do the job is a priority.

 

Gardening Tools that are a Must

 

Shovel – Any gardener will tell you that a shovel is a necessity for any garden or landscape work. It is best used for planting or digging out trees and shrubs, mixing large quantities of dirt, creating a dugout for an annual or perennial garden, composting and so much more. You should look for a sturdy tempered-steel round-point shovel that is 44 to 48 inches long in the shaft that you can grip comfortably and lift with as little effort on your back as possible.

 

Hand Pruner – Hand pruners are a versatile tool that can be used for many purposes in the garden, but they are best used for snipping and removing dead and unwanted branches from trees and shrubs in an easy stroke motion. They come in many sizes and blades such as hand-held bypass pruners that have a smooth operating blade and comfortable grip for your hand.

 

Hand Trowel – A hand trowel is designed for digging small holes, transplanting seedlings, planting flowers and bulbs in garden beds or performing similar tasks. Many gardeners find hand trowels immensely useful and indispensable. Look for a hand trowel with a comfortable grip and a narrow, sturdy blade that will pierce the soil more easily.

 

Garden Utility Bucket or Caddy – A utility bucket or caddy is ideal for carrying your hand tools around the property, freeing up your hands while gathering clippings and weeds. Some caddy type models let you carry a beverage or cell phone in designated pockets. The standard utility bucket lets you carry your tools and toss a lot of debris in it as well. Look for easy to clean canvas construction in caddy models or go for a basic 5 gallon plastic bucket with handles.

 

Leaf Rake – The most basic of tool for any property is a leaf rake. It is best used for gathering leaves, lawn clippings, spreading mulch around the gardens and other ground-covering materials around planting beds. You want to look for a rake that has a medium size head width in either metal or plastic tines because super-sized leaf rakes can be difficult to maneuver.

 

Garden Rake – These rakes are best used for working the soil in planting beds, pressing sown seeds into the soil and removing dead grass from the lawn. A flat head rake is useful for leveling soil, while a bow-head garden rake is often easier to maneuver.

 

Watering Can – A medium sized watering can is ideal for transporting small quantities of water from an outdoor tap to thirsty plants that are potted or in the garden. Look for a 1.5 or 2 gallon plastic or metal watering can with a sturdy handle for a comfortable grip and ease of transportation.

 

Garden and Work Gloves – Gardeners will tell you how important a good pair of garden gloves is for working in the outdoors. They protect your hands from being stabbed by thorns and branches and shield them against chemicals and poisonous plants. You can buy cotton gloves with rubberized grips, which are inexpensive, but they soak up water and wear out quickly. The best type is a pair of leather or synthetic gloves for greater protection and durability.

Posted by & filed under Lawn.

With the temperature plunging and the days getting shorter, it’s never too soon for homeowners to consider the numerous tasks that need to be done to prepare your home for winter. Getting the interior and exterior of your house prepared for the frigid winds, snow, sleet and ice is critical for keeping your home in tip-top shape so that you stay safe, warm and toasty inside.

Snow on House
 

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 can come 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.
 
Sealing windows is equally important to cleaning your windows before the snow flies in order to keep your house warm and reduce energy costs. Using caulking to seal up the cracks is a simple way to prevent drafts from leaking into your home. Alternatively, covering your windows in a thin plastic film helps to waterproof your home due to severe winter weather conditions.
 

Gutters

Your gutters are designed to help move water, melting snow and debris away from your roof and home, but when they overflow with leaves they get clogged, create water damage, ice damage to the roof, freeze and crack the pipes. This can ruin the inside of your home and cause mold, mildew and decay on the ceilings or walls and it can weaken your home’s foundation. Consumer reports suggest that leader pipes should extend at least five feet from the home. Overflowing gutters can cause your windows, siding, wood or brick exterior to become muddy and a broken or clogged gutter can result in backed up stagnant water resulting in unwanted animals and insects. Clogged gutters can result in damage to your landscape in close proximity to your house due to falling ice accumulations.
 

Chimney

Cleaning your chimney each year before winter arrives is something every responsible homeowner should get done. 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.
 
By cleaning your chimney ahead of it being consistently used, it will help to keep your home running better because the air motion in your home will flow better and be cleaner. It’s important to keep your damper closed since an open damper will allow warm air to escape when the fireplace is not in use and that’s likely to be costly in energy bills over time.
 

Tools for Winter

Shovels are a necessity for the winter months to clear your driveway and outside stairs. You may think that the larger the scoop, the quicker the work will be done, but snow is particularly heavy which puts a strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. Here are some choices for you to consider to get the job done with the least physical effort.
 

  • Keep the dimensions moderate. A good size shovel is 18 to 22 inches wide.
  • High-strength plastic shovels are strong, lightweight, and easy to use because they’re less prone to freezing and release snow better than metal shovels. However scraping against concrete walks and driveways can wear out the edge more quickly and they’re not good for removing ice.
  • Steel shovels are hard to beat for durability, but they’re the heaviest, require more energy to use and more expensive; however, they’re great at removing both snow and ice.
  • Aluminum shovels are more durable than plastic, lighter and less expensive than steel, but they bend when it comes in contact with a stubborn ice chunk or cracks in the driveway. Once bent, you might as well toss them away.

It’s on its way

With winter fast approaching, fall is the perfect time to get your home ready for the onslaught of Old Man Winter. Fortunately, if you take a few simple steps now before the big freeze, your home inside and outside will be more energy efficient, safer and warm until the spring thaw occurs.
 
Once your home is prepared for winter, the next step is to have your lawn prepared to ensure a beautiful lawn for summer. Contact us and our team will assist you with all your lawn care needs for any season.

Posted by & filed under Driveways.

Depending on how you cared for your snowblower at the end of the season last year, it may need some TLC before you hit the snowdrifts this winter.

While maintenance on your snowblower can happen on either end of the season, it’s imperative that it gets done. Finding out you have a dead snowblower during the first snowfall isn’t ideal.

 
Getting the opportunity to use your snowblower for the first time this year might get you fired up. Make sure your beloved machine gets fired up too.

 
a red snowblower
 

Oil Change

If you haven’t already, change the oil in your snow blower. Even if you only used your machine a hand full of times last season, oil needs to be changed after a year of storage.

 

Check all maintenance parts

Inspect belts for fraying or cracking and replace as needed. Same goes for the air filter. Be sure to check the spark plug as well. A bad plug will certainly derail your snow removal efforts. Inspect the plug for any wear or damage. It’s a good idea to remove the wire from the spark plug while you work on your snowblower in case it starts up by accident. If the electrodes are not corroded, and the shaft has no cracks, it will not need to be replaced. Also, lubricate all seals and bearings.

 

New gas

Siphon off any gas that has been left in your snowblower. The types of gasoline today do not stand the test of time and will break down if not used. Add methanol to your snowblower gas once a year to prevent condensation in the gas tank. Be sure to mark your snowblower gas so that it is not confused with the chainsaw, lawnmower or leaf blower gas.

 

Inspect

Inspect all moving parts such as the scraper and auger. Some augers need to be lubricated, and others do not. Check your manual to find out which what kind of auger you have. If it does need to be lubricated, this should be done at least once a season. Use the recommended oil or grease for your snowblower. Check and tighten any bolts.

 

Tires

Check the tread or the air pressure in your tires. Tires can go soft during the off seasons. If your tires have treads, ensure the tracks are aligned and move freely.

 
Now you’re ready to start your engine. Be sure to prime the engine before starting so that the new oil will have the chance to coat the engine. Turn the snowblower to slow and put the choke on. Now you’re ready to give it a go.

 
If all of this prep is taking the fun out of snow removal for you, take it to the professionals. You may have the confidence of a snow blowing superhero but no confidence when it comes to maintaining the tools of your trade. The professionals will ensure your snowblower is in top shape for the long winter ahead.

 
Contact Evergreen Landscapes for your landscaping needs.