Category Archives: Home and Garden

Learn More About A Container Garden

Gardening has endless benefits. However, there are many homes that pose challenges for gardening success. A small yard, unsuitable land or changing weather conditions can make it difficult to exercise your green thumb. If you’re looking to garden but are uncertain you have what you need to be successful, don’t fear.

Container gardening is a popular way to grow various plants without sacrificing valuable space in your backyard. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to the hobby, as you can control the variables much easier than starting from the ground. Here’s a few tips on how you can start and maintain a beautiful container garden.

Are you ready to improve your landscaping? Contact a pro today for up to four free quotes from contractors in your area.

Choosing The Right Container

Before choosing your plants, the first step of any garden maintenance is giving them a proper place to grow and thrive. When it comes to container gardening, there are so many options that can help style your yard and home the way you’d like. The most important consideration is finding a container that has proper drainage. The larger the plant or herb you intend on growing, the larger container you will need. If the container is too small, roots can’t expand and your plant will likely die.

You’ll also want to consider the style of your home or yard to incorporate the design of the container. Remember, the container design becomes a part of the overall décor. A look that mixes and matches a few different styles of containers is a great way to incorporate various designs, without looking tacky. Remember to set a schedule for watering your container garden as they need it regularly and often.

Container Gardening For Every Season

While traditional gardens die in the cold weather, it’s possible to keep container gardens alive year-round. There are typically two ways to go about all-season container gardens. One way is to grow and store your plant indoors and ensure it gets plenty of sunlight and water. This works best with herbs and leafy plants, not only adding décor to your home but enhancing the air quality. A windowsill in the kitchen is a great place for this.

A second way is to change out the plants every season to fit the weather. Start with bulbs and bright color flowers to welcome the spring and adding foliage and bright, tropical flowers in the summer. As the cool weather approaches, change to ornamental grasses and foliage. During the winter months, cold-hardy plants like ferns and dogwood look beautiful in the snow when cared for properly. By rotating your plants, you keep your container garden alive year-round for everyone to see.

Container Vegetable Gardening

For small, urban backyards, growing your own food might seem impossible. But vegetable container gardens make it easy to grow fresh produce from your porch or deck. Instead of focusing on the décor of the container, you’ll want to plant your vegetable garden in a large container so your plant has room to grow. Mulch is another addition you’ll need to your container vegetable garden to help keep moisture in the dirt. Here are some vegetables that are best suited for your container garden:

  • Green Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers

Container Herb Garden

Can you imagine having fresh herbs for soups and stews during the winter? This is possible by utilizing containers for your herb garden. Small and versatile, herbs grow well on windowsills or outdoors. I love the basil plant I keep in my kitchen. It’s perfect for adding fresh flavor to pasta quickly and easily. The key to a successful container herb garden, however, is sunlight. Most need full sun to thrive. Here are a few ideas for herbs to grow in your container garden, indoors or out:

  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Lavender

Succulent Container Gardens

The trendiest choice for your container garden is succulents. If you’re struggling on your green thumb, succulents will give you the garden you love with much less risk. These small plants are hardy and great for containers of any size, both indoors and out. Mix and match your favorites to create a container garden look unique to your taste. They also need less water than most. Be sure to fill the bottom of your container with gravel before potting soil, to help drainage.

Though many of them never flower, they grow in shapes and sizes unique to their species. These succulent ideas are perfect for any container. Mix and match for the best results.

  • Echeveria
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Stonecrop
  • Aeonium
  • Aloe
  • Crassula

Container Gardening For Privacy

If you’re yard lacks a proper fence but you long for a bit of privacy, consider utilizing containers to create a natural barrier with long, ornamental grasses and small evergreens. You’ll need larger containers for this and works best if placed along a walkway or solid ground. While not a long-term solution, it could significantly cut down on noise and partial screening to the view of your property.

Learn More About The Perfect Garden Path

Do you dream of a dreamy backyard? Are you looking for a clever way to access parts of your garden without stepping on any precious petals? If you haven’t considered it yet, a garden path may be right for you.

From mulch to stepping stones, there are many options when it comes to creating your perfect garden path. Even more, you have the opportunity to decorate with lawn ornaments and plants how you wish. A garden path is the perfect addition to any backyard. See a few garden path ideas to incorporate in your landscaping this year.

Ready to transform the look of your yard? Contact a landscaping pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Garden Path Costs

A garden path is a fairly low maintenance investment that can have a big impact on the look and function of your yard. It can improve accessibility to parts of your garden you may not otherwise be able to reach. Garden path costs vary based on the material chosen and if you decide to DIY. The average cost to install a pathway is $2,884, with most homeowners spending between $1,952 and $3,122.

Garden Path Materials

The cost of your garden path largely depends on the material you choose and if you choose to install it yourself.  You may even decide to use multiple materials. While you might want the help of a pro to get your cement path just right, stepping stones might be an easy DIY project. Here are a few materials you can use for your garden path:

Stepping Stone Garden Paths

Of all the options, a stepping stone garden path is the easiest to DIY. For a whimsical look, lay flat stones down on the ground. It helps level your ground first so the stones are even.

Mulch Garden Paths

If you’re ready to create a permanent path in your garden and help keep weeds from sprouting up, mulch is your answer. This is also a garden path option that many homeowners choose to DIY. You may need to dig the path into the ground to properly lay your mulch flush with the grass. The minimum costs of mulch is $200 and the maximum cost of mulch is $2,000. These costs depend on how much mulch needed and the type of mulch used.

Brick Garden Paths

A brick walkway will instantly transform the look of your garden path. A brick path is a look that will never go out of style and for good reason. Brick paths have a long lifespan and are very durable. But, this is not something you’ll want to DIY.  The cost of a brick walkway is between $8 and $18/sf.

Cement Garden Path

Similarly to the brick path, a cement path is a great, durable choice for your garden path. Cement paths can be styled to your taste and space you have available. We recommend to contact a pro who can help lay your cement garden path. The average cost of a cement path is between $6 and $12/sf.

Garden Path Maintenance

Once your garden path is in place, there is some upkeep you need to do to keep it looking its best. First, know how to properly care for whatever material you’ve chosen to use. Mulch should be refreshed at least once a season, while brick may not need as much care for the first few years.

If you want a clean look for your garden path, consider a way to separate it from the rest of the yard by using other materials. Others, may want to include decorative plants along their path. Ornamental grasses are a great option and will come back year after year. Some homeowners choose to install lawn edging, which is simple to do on your own and keeps the grass off your path. Lawn edging is another technique to help create a clean and defined garden path. The average cost of lawn edging is between $2 and $400 depending on how much area you need to cover.

Garden Path Lights

If you’ll be using your garden path to move around your backyard, you might want to consider including lights to help see as it gets darker outside. Garden path lights are not just a safety feature, but they also enhance the look of your path. Solar lighting is a popular choice for path lights, as it takes no wiring to set up. Often, these will be affixed to stakes to simply stick in the ground, coming in a variety of styles. Lantern garden path lights are popular now and will add to the décor of your garden path. Stainless steel lights are another popular option to give your garden path a modern look.

Garden Path Lawn Ornaments

To really make a garden path stand out, you can add lawn ornaments around the path. I love the look of gazing globes in various spots near a path. There are also decorative garden path stakes you can include, that will look great and are sure to stay in place.

Some Mistakes While Preparing The Yard

Congratulations! You’ve just moved into your first home. Many possibilities await you to add your own personal touch. However, many responsibilities follow. Lawn care and maintenance is one of them that can sometimes be overlooked by a first-time homeowner.

If you moved into your home in the late fall or early winter, you may not have given the home’s landscaping much thought. However, as the weather starts to change, you can see changes in your yard that you may not have expected. Learning how to take care of your landscaping can be a challenge for any new homeowner. All new homeowners are bound to make mistakes, but here are few landscaping tips to help you avoid common errors.

Are you a new homeowner who’s looking for some guidance when it comes to your yard? Contact a landscaping pro for up to four quotes from contractors near you, for free.

Mistake #1: Not Hiring A Lawn Care Service

Many homeowners who are eager to DIY will see their lawn care as another project. But the fact is, you need some expertise to get rid of stubborn weeds that reoccur. While store-bought treatments may work in the short-term, it’s likely to not solve the issue. A lawn care service can help provide the professional treatments you need to get rid of weeds that ruin your lawn. The average cost to hire a lawn care serviceis $226, with most homeowners spending between $127 and $237.

Plant According To DirectionsMistake #2: Removing Plants That You Can’t Identify

While the blooms of spring are exciting, it’s also time for other plants to begin emerging from the ground. Sprouts don’t always look the best and can cause confusion for what their true identity. As they grow, you may be able to identify what plants they are. Never remove a plant before you know what it is. It could be the perfect addition to your yard. Need help identifying mystery plant? Contact a pro who can help.

Mistake #3: Planting Vegetables & Flowers At The Wrong Time

A new garden brings so many possibilities. You can grow vegetables, herbs, flowers and more. Some homeowners prefer to start with seeds, especially when it comes to growing fruits and vegetables. But, you must plant them appropriately. Planting your garden at the wrong time may cause the seed to not grow appropriately. While most seed packets have instruction on them, find your planting zone to ensure you know when to get your garden ready.

Mistake #4: Transplanting Flowers Without Watering

If you have flowers that are already potted, you may consider moving them to a different part of your yard or to a different pot or container. While transplanting flowers seems simple, you must remember to water them right away and regularly, especially for the first few weeks so they can really thrive.

Also, consider the sunlight needed for your transplanted flowers. While they may look better in your backyard, they may not get the appropriate amount of sun in your front yard. That’s why it’s extremely important to be able to identify your plants and what they need, before you transplant them.

Dont Mow Too LowMistake #5: Cutting The Grass At The Wrong Length

Cutting your grass isn’t just about appearance, but rather helping it to grow lush and full. Many new homeowners are surprised to learn that cutting grass too short can result in damaged turf. It is recommended that most grasses are cut between 2″ to 4″ high.  To maintain this height, you’ll likely be mowing the lawn at least once a week during the spring and into the early fall, especially right after a lot of rainfall.

Of course, you could entrust this chore to a professional. They will ensure that your lawn is kept up with regularly and the correct height every time. The average cost of mowing services is $61, depending on the size of your lawn.

Mistake #6: Planting Too Close Together

Many homeowners have a vision of a lush and thick garden, but unfortunately, few newer homeowners realize that it takes time to get there. For both plants starting from seeds or transplants, it’s important to give the roots space to grow and sunshine to thrive. If you’re starting from seeds or seedlings, always follow the instructions on the packet regarding spacing. This is also important if you’re starting a container garden, where nutrients may be more limited than when in the ground. Don’t overcrowd pots or containers

If you’re transplanting a shrub or flower to a different part of your yard, it helps to do a little research first. A plant that will spread, such as a perennial groundcover, should be given plenty of space to do so. While a shrub may not take up as much space, the roots may go deeper than flowers and steal nutrients away.

Mistake #7: Not Watering Your Lawn & Garden Regularly

Once your flowers and plants have been placed in your garden, step back and admire your work! However, the job isn’t over. Many new homeowners might neglect their yards and gardens within the first year by failing to create a watering schedule. Even seasoned homeowners fall into this as well. Create a schedule at the beginning of the season and stick to it.

Know More About Solar Landscape Lighting

Your outdoor décor doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Outdoor lighting can improve the elegance and sophistication of your home, not to mention the safety benefits it has.

One way you can save money and improve your ROI is with solar landscape lighting. Not only does solar landscape lighting save you money, but it’s also eco-friendly. From solar path lights to solar spot lights, you can find a landscape lighting option for your budget. See a few ideas you can use to boost your curb appeal with outdoor solar lights.

Are you ready to improve your landscaping with outdoor solar lighting? Some complex systems may need an expert to install. Contact an solar pro today for up to four quotes from contractors near you for free.

Why Choose Solar Power?

The latest innovations in solar power make it possible for you to add lighting virtually anywhere indoors and out, without increasing your electrical bill. Many homeowners are turning to solar power for their landscape lighting needs, as they are typically easy to install and the best way to harness the sun’s rays. Solar power lighting has a high ROI that will be good for your wallet now and when it’s time to sell.

Solar power not only helps your wallet but it also helps the earth. By choosing to use solar power, you are significantly reducing your carbon footprint and helping to conserve resources. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry projects have doubled in 2016 and expected to triple by 2022.  With the popularity of green homebuilding, outdoor solar lights might be just what you need to get your home up-to-date.

Solar Spot Lights

Of all the solar landscape lighting choices, spot lights will bring the most light and attention to a particular landscaping feature in your yard. Solar spot lights can also help deter intruders and be either placed into the ground with a stake or simply sit on top of the grass, with the light pointing at the feature you’d like to highlight.

Solar Fairy Lights

One of the latest trends in outdoor lighting is solar fairy lights. These little lights resemble string lights but are on a thin, flexible wire and don’t hang like other outdoor lights. They are perfect to wrap around trees, decking posts or pots. Most solar fairy lights are LED lights, so they have a long lifespan. When looking for outdoor solar fairy light, you’ll want to be sure they are waterproof so they won’t get damaged by the rain.

Outdoor Solar String Lights

For your deck or patio, outdoor solar string lights will help the party last into the evening. Globe and Edison style string lights are especially popular right now in backyard entertaining. Because solar string lights don’t need to be plugged into an electrical source, they can be hung almost anywhere in your yard. From decking to tree decor, you can get creative with your string outdoor solar lights.

Solar Path Lights

One of the most popular choices in solar landscape lighting is path lights. Not only are these a perfect addition to your pathway, but they increase the safety of your yard at night. There are many different varieties of solar path lights you can choose from. Most have a stake at the bottom so you can insert them directly into the ground, no wires needed. Here are a few popular styles of solar path lights:

  • Lantern Path Lights: Light with solar panels that hang from a small hook.
  • Pagoda Path Lights: The lights sit upon a steak with tiers of material around the source to illuminate evenly.
  • Block Path Lights: The light is in the body of the fixture. Great for a stylish touch near driveways or steps.
  • Mushroom Path Lights: The light is at the top of the steak with a shield over the top to help illuminate farther.
  • Faux Rock Path Lights: These lights are designed with the faux rock around the bulb

Some Simple Tree Maintenance Tips

From old to new, the trees in your yard need proper care to thrive and look their best. Trees can be beneficial to any yard. Not only do they help the environment by reducing pollution, they also improve the value of your home and cut utility costs.

The benefits of trees in your yard are truly endless, but an unhealthy tree can cause problems for you that cost you money and curb appeal. See seven tree maintenance tips that will help keep the trees in your yard healthy and happy.

Could you use some help with tree maintenance this season? Contact a landscaping pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

1. Regular Tree Maintenance

Regular tree maintenance can mean a variety of things. From tree trimming to regular watering, entrusting your trees to a pro can mean a longer and healthier life for them. It also has the benefit of taking that landscaping project off your plate. The average cost of tree maintenance is $425, with most homeowners spending between $247 and $470.

2. Tree Trimming

Much like we all need a haircut every few weeks, trees need to be trimmed to maintain their beautiful, healthy appearance. Tree trimming is a task you can do yourself or with the help of a landscaping pro. Regular tree trimming is important to remove dead branches and leaves so new ones can grow. You may also find that your tree needs some trimming if it’s getting a bit too close to the house. High winds, storms and loose branches can cause serious damage to your home, if not taken care of properly.

3. Soil Testing

If you’re finding that your trees are looking less than their best, soil may be the culprit. This is especially important if your tree is a seedling or you’ve recently replanted a tree. Soil testing can help you determine the pH levels and minerals already in your soil, and how you can improve it to see your trees truly thrive.

The average cost of soil testing is $1,142, with most homeowners paying between $947 and $1,515. Keep in mind, this is the cost for professional services. There are plenty of DIY services available at your local home garden store, however, they may not reveal all the details about your soil that could be important to tree growth.

4. Watering

For new trees, watering is extremely important. The general rule is 10 gallons of water per inch of the trunk’s diameter. This will help it grow and not dry out. As the roots get deeper and the tree gets larger, the tree is able to draw up water from other areas of the grow. A large tree can obtain up to 100 gallons of water through its deep roots in a day. While older and larger trees need less maintenance, newer or replanted trees need more regular watering to stay healthy.

5. Mulch

More than just a decorative element to your yard, mulch provides many benefits to your trees. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, it helps insulate the ground around the tree from drastic change in temperatures and retains water. This can be particularly helpful for trees that have been replanted.

The amount of mulch you’ll need depends on the size of the tree itself. Most tree bases need between 3’ to 10’ of mulch around the tree. The average cost of mulch is between $200 and $2,000, but this will depend on the area and how many trees you plan on mulching.

6. Watch For Pests & Diseases

Even with plenty of care, there are two enemies of a healthy tree. Pests and disease could ruin many efforts. To prevent this, carefully monitor your tree to see signs of abnormal change such as spots on leaves, fungi, or changes in plant structure. Any of these could mean that pests and disease are impacting your tree.

Tree Pest Removal

When it comes to pest control for your tree, there are plenty of critters that can infest your tree, causing damage to it and other trees around it. There are many insect control formulas available if you find an infestation. However, if you feel like you need a stronger solution, contact a landscaping pro who can help identify the problem and treat it appropriately.

Tree Disease Treatment

Rot and fungi are among the most common diseases in trees. Fungi is often the first sign of tree decay and rot and should be treated immediately. Similarly to pests, there are many fungicides at your local home and garden store that can help eliminate the fungus and stop the growth.

If the tree disease has become untreatable, it’s best to remove the tree. A tree that has rot can become a safety hazard to you and your home. The average cost to remove a tree is $630, with most homeowners spending between $419 and $697.

7. Prepare Your Tree For Winter

At the end of the season, before the first frost, you’ll want to prepare your tree for the winter. For smaller trees, transplants and fruit trees, you’ll want to protect them from the harsh cold. If you’re able, cover your tree with a tarp or sheet to protect from the frost. Also, put a layer of fertilizer down around the tree so it doesn’t lose the nutrients it needs.

For any tree, be sure to prune the branches one last time so they’re able to grow even more in the spring, once the warm weather returns.