Monthly Archives: March 2016

How To Save Water With Your Landscape Design

Blue Tree Landscaping

 

Get the most out of your yard without the water-wasting. Read on to learn how you can save water with an updated landscape design.

 

Tips to Conserve Water with Landscape Design

Native or Regional Plants

Using plants that are already part of the natural landscape typically requires less work and upkeep, since they are accustomed to the soil and climate. Most require no more than the usual rainfall to thrive, and you likely won’t need to haul out the fertilizer or pesticides too often. They have a hardiness that other non-native or non-regional plants tend to lack.

Group by Watering Needs

Some plants are water hogs. Figure out which group of plants have similar watering needs, and place plants that don’t need a lot of water further out in your lawn. Plants that require the most water can take advantage of roof runoff, and should be placed closer to your home. This way, you won’t overwater or underwater any particular area. It will keep every part of your yard looking its best!

Saving Space

Avoid overcrowding your plants, and fight off the impulse to cram as many plants into a single space as possible. While it may take a few seasons to fill in your lawn, if you use fewer plants, you will use less water. The same goes for hedges. Some popular hedge varieties have been genetically engineered to grow taller than ever. If you only want a hedge that’s five feet tall, don’t plant a hedge that can reach fifteen feet.

Finishing Touches and Soil Savers

Mulch is more than just the finishing touch to your landscape. It can also help you conserve water, stall evaporation, and keep plants cool. Mulch fills in the space around your plants, preventing water-stealing weeds from growing. Natural mulches, like compost, bark chips, grass clippings, and pine needles will return nutrients to the soil as they decay. A healthy soil encourages deep roots—and better retains water.

Hardscaping

The hard elements of your landscape design, like concrete, let rainwater run exactly where you don’t want it to go: the street. Keep garden pathways porous so the rainwater stays put. Gravel, pebbles, or bricks, are all great options. To help prevent weed growth, line the area with old newspapers before laying these options down.

Water Conservation

When the rest of your Philly neighborhood is facing ever-increasing water bills, you can enjoy an efficient, environmentally-friendly landscape without the extra work. It’s time to go green.

 

If you want to conserve water, but aren’t sure where to start, turn to the professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping. We are your one-stop-shop when it comes to everything yard. From planning to design and maintenance, we can make your dream of a water-saving landscape a reality. Call today.

5 Best Flowers to Plant This Spring

Flowers for spring plantingFor bold displays of color this spring, there are a number of flowers you should add to your planting list. The varieties we’ve gathered below all grow well in zone seven, the zone for Philadelphia, so your plants can reap the benefits of our unique environment.

The Best Flowers for Spring Planting

Coreopsis ‘Lightning Bug’

This dense flowering plant will keep your garden aglow with blooms from June to September. There are a variety of Coreopsis plants available, but the Lightning Bug is a shorter, denser plant, making it a knockout for mixed beds, borders, and containers. These flowers can be a low-maintenance, butterfly-attracting addition for any home.

Wave Petunias

For a quick pop of color, wave petunias are the answer. These annual plants provide a slew of colors to choose from, so you can switch out the arrangement each year. They can handle a little sun, and will need plenty of water to truly thrive. Leave space between plantings, since these flowers tend to spread.

Phenomenal Lavender

Philadelphia winters can be rough—but this lavender can handle it. Not only can it survive the winter weather, but it can also handle the Philly summer heat. Lavender is considered a “must grow” perennial in Better Homes and Gardens for a reason. It will bloom in late spring and early summer. After that, you can sit back and enjoy their silvery green leaves.

Coral Eyes Phlox Plant

Early spring flowers add a welcome touch of color to any garden. Let cheery shades of pink provide a pleasant covering for the rockier areas of your yard. This phlox plant grows between 4”- 6” tall, making it a great choice for flower bed borders. Although these flowers enjoy full sun, they don’t require more than the average amount of water.

Hemerocallis ‘Big Time Happy’

An unusually cold winter won’t kill off your ‘Big Time Happy’ Hemerocallis. It’s a May blooming flower that will thrive in full sun or partial shade, and will reach somewhere between 16”-18” tall. It has a mild fragrance, but attracts butterflies regardless.

Getting Started

These plants all feature a wide array of colors and scents, and come in annual and perennial varieties. If you find that your green thumb is lacking, why not leave it to the pros? Get your yard in tip-top shape with Blue Tree Landscaping.

A true one-stop-shop for everything yard, the experts at Blue Tree can handle your lawn’s planning, design, and maintenance, from gardens to pools. Call today, and get your garden done right.

6 Gardening Tips for Early Spring

As everything begins to go green in Philly, your garden may need a little tender, loving care to see it through another successful season. Follow these tips to achieve plentiful produce and gorgeous blooms. If you procrastinate, you risk having a less than ideal yard when summer comes around.

Gardening Tips for the Early Spring

pH Test

Check the pH levels of the soil in your flower beds and garden area. Taking the time to boost the soil with lime or elemental sulfur, depending on your pH reading, will ensure a healthier garden later on.

Compost

Your perennial plants, like your roses, delphiniums, and clematis, will be off to a great start when you lay down a two- to three- inch layer of compost around the base of your plants. The key here is to add nutrients– not suffocate any new shoots.

Frost Happens

It may be warmer during the day, but the nighttime chill can bring a plant-killing layer of frost to your garden. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Protect your plants with cloches, a covering used to guard plants. Severed plastic bottles can also work in a pinch.

When Pests Arrive

Your tender sprouts are a tasty snack for slugs and snails. Set up a barrier of defense with egg shells, coarse sand, or even slug pellets.

Tool Prep

Did you leave a rake out all winter? Is the weed whacker lubricated, and in good working condition? Are those garden gloves in less than great shape? Take stock of your garden tools now, to ensure they will be all set when you need them most.

Fresh Flower Beds

Get your new flower beds prepped for late spring or early summer planting. Take out the sod, pull out any weeds, and finish up any necessary cleaning so they’re ready to go. If you have compost, spread a three- to four- inch layer on top of the worked soil. If not, it’s worth placing some well rotted manure.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

What is the usual condition of your garden? If the answer is mediocre at best, these tips will keep you on track during this new year. Whether it’s your flower beds or garden spreads, there’s a lot to get done. If this list feels too overwhelming, call the professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

Blue Tree Landscaping is your one-stop shop when it comes to everything yard and pool. From design to planning and maintenance, every yard can benefit from Blue Tree’s experienced green thumb.

Early Spring Lawn Care Tips

early spring lawn care tipsThe key to achieving a perfect yard is to put together a plan before the summer heat hits. Give your yard a strong foundation with these early spring lawn care tips.

 

Lawn Care for the Early Spring

Check Your Soil’s pH Levels

How acidic or alkaline is your soil? If you haven’t had your soil tested within the last two or three years, then now’s the time. Knowing the pH of your soil will help you determine which  minerals or lime will get your grass growing.

Make Your Green Grass Greener

When you know your soil’s pH level, it’s easy to figure out which grass seed will work best with the soil. Don’t forget to consider your region, as well. Given Philly’s cold winters, you’ll want to choose a hardy grass for your yard. Does your grass get a lot of sun, shade, or a combination of the two? Make sure to water your lawn regularly to make up for any potential damage.

Fertilize Thoughtfully

When the blossoms start blooming, and it begins to feel like spring in Philly, it’s tempting to rush out and douse the yard in a heavy-helping of fertilizer—but wait! This won’t do your lawn any favors. Consider using a slow-release, low-nitrogen fertilizer for your new grass seeding.

Save Mowing for Later

The sun may be shining, but you should wait a bit before taking out the mower. Mowing too early promotes weed growth. Wait until your grass reaches a height of 3-4 inches before you rev up the mower, and if possible, use a mulching mower to make good use of those grass clippings. When they decompose, they will add nutrients to the grass, helping you maintain a lush lawn.

Pests? No Problem

There’s at least one step you can leave out of your lawn care routine in the early spring: pest control. Unpredictable Philly weather should keep the bugs away until the the temperature becomes consistently warm in April and May.

Year-Round Lawn Care

Depending on the season, your grass will need a different kind of care, and early spring is no exception. If this sounds too overwhelming, or time-consuming, give the lawn care pros at Blue Tree Landscaping a call. We are your one-stop shop to a perfect lawn, handling everything from planning to design to maintenance.

Call today to set up an appointment. With Blue Tree Landscaping, your landscaping projects are always in good hands.

5 Tips for Planning Your Patio Design

hardscaping-09A shabby, neglected patio doesn’t exude a welcoming atmosphere, but a sleek, modern patio can become a beloved part of any home, while raising the home’s value in the process.

Whatever you can imagine, chances are there’s a patio to match that dream. Today’s styles have gone far beyond a boring slab of concrete, and include all manner of size, color, and shape. Before getting started, here are a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure a beautiful, finished product.

5 Tips for Patio Perfection

Layout

What do you want out of your patio? Do you want it near the kitchen for easy entertaining, or closer to an opposing side of your property for a restful retreat? How close are the neighbors? What sort of patio lighting do you prefer? Consider the size of your yard, as well as any problem areas. Are there any air conditioning units you’d like to camouflage? Do you want a water feature, or a fire pit? Browse through images of other patios to get a better idea of what suits you.

Size Matters

If your space will be used for entertaining, consider the number of people you’d like to comfortably move around this space. Many designers recommend making the patio as wide, and as long as your home, or mimicking the size of a favorite room inside.

Must Love Plants

Do you have a natural green thumb, or do you prefer plants that can stay alive with little help from you? Consider container groupings to provide a punch of color. Be sure to complete the hardscape before you put any plants in place.

Rules and Regulations

What does local law mandate as the maximum height for a fence? Do you need a permit? Check with your local city office to find out the rules for your area. Otherwise, your patio project could result in costly fines, and the removal of everything you’ve built.

Planning

Don’t feel like everything has to get done immediately. Create a long-range plan. You can tackle different items on your list as time, and budget allows. This will also help you prioritize your projects, so you don’t take on more than you can handle.

 

There are so many factors to consider when designing your patio, but these tips will help you create an outdoor space that fits the way you live. To get your Philly patio in tip-top shape without the hassle, contact the landscaping professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

From planning to design and construction, Blue Tree Landscaping is a one-stop shop for all your landscaping needs. Call today, and make your patio the envy of the neighborhood.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Sprinkler System

3 Tips for choosing the Right Sprinkler SystemDid you know that it takes more than 600 gallons of water to keep 1,000 square feet of grass green? When you are ready to give up the fight against tangled hoses, and scorched plants, it’s time to choose a sprinkler system.

How do you choose the right sprinkler system for you? With 30% of your water bill going toward yard care, we have three tips to help you find the most efficient option for keeping your Philly yard healthy.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Sprinkler System

Water Pressure

It’s an often overlooked factor, but water pressure is a major part of choosing the right sprinkler system. Too much, or too little can greatly impact the look of your lawn. If you aren’t sure how to gauge, get it tested, or do-it-yourself. Use a pressure gauge at the hose bib, and see how it checks out. Low pressure readings (anything under 30 psi) would work best with drip irrigation, while high pressure areas should utilize a regulator to avoid misting.

Wide Open Spaces or Small Groups?

For landscaping that covers a large area, an in-ground pop-up sprinkler system does the hard work for you. A scheduled timer can keep your plants properly watered at the times they need it most, without any additional work on your end. If you possess a few shrubs or bushes, with plenty of space in-between them, drip irrigation is a stand-out choice. It will deliver the water you need, to the places that need it most. Even better, it won’t water the areas in-between, so you can avoid weed growth, and conserve water. If you already possess an underground sprinkler system, your landscape professional can convert it to a drip irrigation system.

Budget Friendly

For anyone on a budget that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room, look to an above-ground sprinkler system. Basic, inexpensive, and perfect for a large lawn, the above-ground sprinkler can cover a wide range. The downside? The watering is often uneven, and sometimes inefficient. However, it will still get the job done as far as ensuring your yard still thrives.

Achieving Ideal Landscaping

First, consider the area you need to cover, and decide how much you can spend on an irrigation system. Then, get in touch with the professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

 

From planning, to construction and design, Blue Tree Landscaping is your one-stop shop for creating, and maintaining the landscape of your dreams.

Yard Color Scheme 101: Elements to Consider When Choosing Your Yard’s Color Scheme

flower-bed-ideas-4Selecting a yard color scheme that complements your garden design isn’t as simple as selecting a new paint for your dining area. It takes some careful, detailed planning. To achieve a professional garden design, you need to put significant thought into your yard’s palette, and we can help you choose the right fit.

Yard Color Scheme 101: The Basics

When one first thinks about landscaping, they may envision a ‘green dream,’ but having an entirely green garden design can be monotonous to say the least. Having a splash of color definitely helps, but if you want to take your design to the next level, consider a more thorough color concept that can brighten up your existing landscape.

Below we explain the importance of bold color concepts. However, it’s the perfect blend of color and texture that makes a garden design look exceptionally well done.

  • The Color Wheel

    Many of us were taught about the Color Wheel at some point in our young lives. The Color Wheel is a circle of colors designed to show us the basics of primary, secondary, and complementary colors. This tool can be a great help when planning out your garden.

    When it comes to the color wheel, it isn’t a hard-and-fast concept, but more of a guideline. You can use solely primary colors (like yellow, red, and blue) or secondary colors (like purple, orange, and green). Complementary colors can provide a bold ‘pop’ of color when used sparingly. For example, red and orange flowers stand out nicely against green foliage, and that green foliage can look exquisite next to a terracotta, or other light-colored wall.
  • Complementary Colors

    Continuing with the color wheel idea, let’s look at complementary colors. Using complementary colors can provide your garden, and yard with all the pop that it needs, without looking like the rainbow burst across your lawn. Complementary colors exist on opposite ends of the color wheel, like purple and yellow.
  • Mood Colors

    Selecting your garden design colors goes beyond making sure the colors match. You also want them to trigger a certain mood. Colors like red and orange foster an inner warmth, pastels elicit peacefulness and tranquility, and yellows can spur happy thoughts.
  • Neutral Tones

    Some colors are necessary to create a backdrop that showcases your other, bolder color selections. These potential backdrops include shades of brown, black, white, and green. These neutral tones are important to use between areas of color to create visual distinctions between them. They’re also helpful for separating clashing colors.

 

The above basics of garden and yard coloring are a great start, but putting your plan into action can be difficult. What plants should you use for color? Which textures blend well? How will you integrate your selections into your existing garden design? For help planning your garden, and yard color scheme, contact one of our professionals here at Blue Tree Landscaping.

5 Types of Landscape Lighting You Can Use For Your Yard

Mattiola3When you think about outdoor landscape lighting, the stark, solar-powered post lanterns we all grew up with may come to mind. But, we’re happy to say landscape lighting has come a very long way. The options are not only plentiful, but also incredibly varied, and stylish!

5 Types of Landscape Lighting You Can Use For Your Yard

Although the options for landscaping lighting are seemingly endless when you consider the wide range of makes, models, and styles, there are 5 primary types that homeowners use to light up their yards:

  • Wall Lights

    Wall lights, lanterns, and sconces are practical options for the exterior of your home. They can light up your lawn in decorative ways, illuminate pathways around the house, and highlight your hardscaping. Wall lights are commonly used around outdoor seating areas, but you should also consider installing a dimmer switch for when your wall lights are too bright for entertaining.  
  • Plant and Tree Lighting

    Many professional landscape plans utilize accent plants, shrubs, and/or trees. These plants are often the pièce de résistance of any yard, and should be highlighted accordingly. By using spotlights, and well lights, you can easily highlight your favorites. Spotlight lighting also works wonders for water pieces, like fountains, and architectural pieces, like columns.
  • Hanging Lights

    Hanging lights, or pendant lights, have long been used inside the home to illuminate indoor spaces in a stylish way. Now, they’ve made their way to the outdoors. By using outdoor hanging light fixtures, you can create a statement lighting piece, especially when used in a pergola, or outdoor entertaining area. The options are incredibly vast, so pick one that best suits your landscape design. Just make sure it’s built for life outdoors!
  • Post Lights

    Post lights offer dramatic statement lighting to your yard. They come in a wide variety, with the most popular being old-fashioned lantern lights. They are commonly used around decks, and entry ways, but can also illuminate your walkway.
  • Deck and Step Lights

    Deck lights, and step lights are a great way to edge an area in your yard with both beauty, and function. By placing these small lights around decks, steps, pools, driveways, and walkways, you can create a safe walking area while adding beauty to your yard’s nighttime appearance.

If you’re looking to install a full lighting concept that underscores the work you’ve done with your home’s landscape design, give us a call at Blue Tree Landscaping today.