Time to build the patio!

Well another summer is racing bye. As we get back from our vacations, camps and general summer activities, it is a great time to focus on our landscapes. There is nothing like sitting around on a patio on a beautiful summer or autumn day! Whether the patio is constructed of Bluestone, Goshen-stone, brick paver, or any one of the great concrete pavers out there. A good patio installation contractor can also help you enhance your patio by adding features such as fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, water features, seat walls (whether stone or concrete segment), out door lighting, etc. There are many landscapers out there, we believe we are one of the best and our Angie’s List A rating is only one of the many referrals that we can produce to prove it.

So if you are in search or a landscape patio installation contractor, give us a call! And also, check out our website for pictures and ideas. The phone number or a contact page is on there as well.

Lawns under stress

We have all seen the brown lawns this year…. For those of us who take great pride in our lawns it is not a pretty site. The weather pattern this year is again challenging for growing and maintaining a healthy, weed and pest free lawn.  Mother Nature is conspiring against us, between the excessive rain in June, to draught like conditions of July, to a record long and intense heat wave, to humidity consistently being as high (OR HIGHER) than it ever gets here, the weather is creating the perfect storm for our lawns to struggle.  And struggle they are.

So, what do we do? The best answer for that is to first look at what we need to guard against. Fungus is prevalent due to the humidity. Crabgrass is prevalent due to both the rain in June and the draught/ heat of July. The grass is already stressed because it is a cool season crop growing in rainforest like conditions, so pests such as grubs are able to take off.

Many of these afflictions look like draught or heat stress. While it may be those issues, you must look closer and if you have a lawn service call them that is what they are there for. And remember, you see your lawn every day, they see it once a week or maybe once a month depending upon the level of service that you have. So you are an important part of the early detection which will help to avert a total collapse. If you do not have a lawn service contact the expert at your local garden store, they can help.

Unfortunately (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT) what you think of as heat or draught stress, can and often times is grub or fungus damage. Caught early and you can save it, BUT if you decide without looking further to add time to your irrigation, you can create a problem with fungus that is much like adding gas to a fire.  The fungus feeds on water. SO if you have brown spots or areas of your lawn and you have increased the watering and the spots are growing. STOP the watering and figure out your problem ASAP. If it is grubs (or other surface insects) or fungus, they are treatable. The sooner the better.

The crabgrass, nut sedge and other broadleaf weeds are extreme this year. Even in turf grass areas where we have put down 2 rounds of pre-emergent control. The best advice here is to again let your lawn service know, but also realize that you are in great company. Some of the finest lawns that we see (whether we or a competitor have serviced them) have some level of weeds this year. Depending on the severity of the weed problem, most reputable lawn services will be able to knock them back. And for those of you who do this on your own there are controls you can buy.

There are cultural practices that can be done proactively to the lawns that will help, they include aeration, topdressing, adding microbial nutrients etc. These can cost more than conventional lawn care and on their own are not going to produce a perfect weed free lawn. But they will make the soils and environment more healthy which in turn will make the turf (and all living landscape) more healthy which will make them less susceptible to pests and disease.

I hope this helps.

Drought and your lawn- Massachusetts

This year has been incredibly tough in terms of the weather and your plants and your turf. From the start of the year until Mid April in Massachusetts we had over a 6 inch deficit in terms of rain fall and the temperatures were well above average. The winter snows and subsequent melting are essential to healthy plants and lawns. We did have a 2 month period of average rainfall and temperatures, which was nice, but not enough to fully recharge the water table or the plants root zones.

In this period of extended heat and drought the landscape is in serious trouble. In terms of your lawns, if you have a sprinkler system use it, but use it regularly. The plants will not react well to intermittent watering at this point. The best time to water the lawn is early in the morning, never water at night as it will encourage disease and fungus to grow in your lawn.

Established shrubs and ornamentals should be able to survive this, but if you notice wilt and feel it essential to water. Water deeply- let a hose drip at the base of the tree long enough for the water to thoroughly soak deep into the root zone.

Early spring

It is April 20th and everyone in Massachusetts who loves their landscapes and yards should be praying for rain. We are in a moderate to severe drought. The plants and turf are going through dormancy typically seen in August. The good news is that the rain seems to be on it’s way and the plants are resilient and all will be in great shape once the rain starts. Let’s hope it is this weekend!!

Snow, yup snow

As I sit here the day after Labor Day, I am thinking of snow.  I realize there is still time to enjoy our back yards, cookouts the beach etc but the winter season is not all that terribly far away. 

I love the seasons, they are a time to enjoy, but also a time to plan.  In the winter we strategize how best to get spring clean ups done efficiently as well as how to deal with building stone walls and patios in the mud.  When springtime comes we turn our attention to thinking about the dry season and how that will affect the plants and lawns. When summer comes we look ahead to autumn and leaves falling. We think out how many more weeks we have to get our work done efficiently.  And as soon as Labor day passes we are working on snow. Now is the time to sign up for snow plowing, snow services, ice and snow melting, pushing, shoveling, removal or whatever form of winter weather services that you need.  We order our salt, fix up our sanders, our plows, our trucks and snowblowers. 
So if you are a commercial property manager and are in need of a profesional snow company, please consider us. You can go to our web site and sign up on line for a quote or request a meeting. 

While there are many good snow companies out there,

The summer season is slipping away, soon the children will be back in school and we will be planting fall chrysanthemums to replace the summer annual colors in our clients gardens.  Now is a great time for many things in your landscape-start a lawn, get a project complete before winter so that next year you can enjoy your new garden/ fire-pit/ patio/ waterfall/ stonewall or all of the above.  Believe it or not, we are starting the process of lining up our commercial snow plow service contracts for this year. But there is still plenty of time to work in your yards and fall is a great time to do it!

Turf grass in spring

I recently saw an ad looking for an experienced landscape professional.  In the ad the poster put “mowing a lawn does not make you experienced in landscaping.”  I reference that because I need to remember as I advise my clients that they may have some common misconsceptions regarding landscape. 

One of those is regarding turf grass seeding.  Seeding your turf in the spring is actually not a great time.  This is because here in the Massachusetts our turf varieties are cool season crops, meaning they grow best in cool weather.  On the other hand our most voracious weeds in the turf are typically warm season crops (ie- crabgrass, dandelions, ground ivy etc.)  What happens is your grass seed which germinates when the soils temperature is above 59 degrees for bluegrass and as hi as 68 degrees for rye-grass just barely starts to grow when the stronger better adapted weeds start.  To put that in context crabgrass will germinate at approximately 60 degrees.  The weeds now are going into their optimum growing season as the turf-grass is leaving its season. 
So what do you do?  The short answer is seed in late August, the end of most warm season weeds growing season.  Your grass now will germinate very quickly and within a month will have very little if any competition.  Also the grass plant will continue to grow and thrive well into November.  And in fact it’s root system will continue to grow well into December in Massachusetts.  As an aside late November is the single most important time to fertilize your lawn.  That is because virtually all of the nutrients are going to strengthen the root system.

To put this in perspective, you can obviously plant a lawn in the spring, but it will be a struggle for that seed to become thick lush turf, while if you can wait or plan for a late August planting your turf will be healthier and easier to care for right away. 

If you have any thoughts or questions on this.  We are always available to chat about your landscape.

landscape design and landscape architects

Did you know that a landscape designer is not automatically a landscape architect? Anyone can call themselves a landscape designer. And some of them are very talented, but just because someone has a landscape design graphics program does not mean they are good at design work. A well crafted landscape design takes shape in your yard. A landscape Architect goes through years of study and apprenticeship before they take a rigorous state exam.
Out landscape architects are exceptional at taking your thoughts and dreams creating a design that matches your site. But it does not end there, the design has to be properly installed by a reputable landscape contractor. again anyone can be a landscaper, but you need to look at their reputation and expertise before you choose someone for your project.
We can help you build a landscape to meet your dreams and needs. Whether it’s a stonewall, a bluestone patio or a beautiful planting, we have the experience and the reputation to exceed your expectations while building your dream landscape.

What type of Landscape Company are you looking for?

Summer Time!!

There are many types of landscape companies out there.  There are people who operate like a one man band. There are landscape companies who concentrate solely on maintenance, lawn care or design build.  There are national firms (the Walmarts of Landscapers) who can seemingly do it all.

Then there companies like ours who are small enough to understand you individually, yet big enough to be able to handle whatever your needs.  We have professionals (yes professionals) dedicated to  building and caring for landscapes.  Our mission is to provide you with peace of mind while creating and caring for your property.  Our staff consists of Licensed Landscape Architects, Certified Mass Horticulturists, Certified Mass Arborists, Licensed Lawn Care technicians. 

We have these designations because this is a profession to us, not just a job until the economy turns around.  You would be hard pressed to find a more talented caring Landscape Architect than ours.  She can turn a pile of rubble (if you look on our site at the lake house) into an exquisite, interesting place to enjoy the serenity of lake living.   

Likewise our certified horticulturists love tending and caring for plants.  We care for many of the areas finest perennial gardens and our annual displays are awe inspiring.  We cultivate and tend an organinic vegetable garden for The Harrington Farm Restaurant and event facility.   

The picture for the heading of this blog is a lawn that we have taken care of for over 10 years.  When we took over the lawn it was more weeds than grass and went dormant annually.  With our stewardship this lawn clearly thrives! Believe it or not this lawn is not irrigated or over treated with chemicals.  Drop us a line and we can tell you how.

I have yet to mention our crews who actually build our landscape projects.  They consist of people who have years of experience in grading, masonry, planting as well as just being great people to be around.  Many of our clients tell us they wish the project could go longer as they will miss having the contact with our staff.  I think that speaks as much to the quality of our team as the pictures on our site speak to the quality of our work.

There are many great landscape companies to choose from.  I obviously think ours is the best!  So if you are in the need of landscape services this year, give us a call so that we can provide you with the peace of mind that comes with hiring a group of caring professionals to be in your yard building, enhancing or caring for it.