Category Archives: Commercial Landscaping

Why You Should Develop a Plan for Snow and Ice Removal

Winter in Skippack PAWhy You Should Develop a Plan for Snow and Ice Removal

The winter months can be hard on everyone. Winter weather truly becomes an issue, however, when it negatively impacts your day or work schedule. One way you can help to prevent this is by preparing a plan in advance for snow and ice removal. This will help to make any foreseen (or unexpected) winter storms more tolerable.

Snow and Ice Removal for Your Home

In order to prepare for winter storms and ice, make sure that you have a substantial amount of salt and at least one shovel available at all times. If your shovel breaks or you run out of salt, make sure to replace these items immediately. Whenever there is a storm, there might not be any shovels or salt available when you need them the most, and you may not be able to borrow any, either. Further, if you own a car but park on the street, it’s a good idea to own a shovel in the event of an unexpected snowstorm that leaves your car buried beneath snow.

If you’re looking to ease the burden of snow removal, consider asking your neighbors for help. You could make a plan to help each other out in the event of a storm, or maybe one of your neighbors has a snow blower you could borrow. It never hurts to ask!

Snow and Ice Removal for Commercial Properties

Having a snow and ice removal plan in place is crucial for commercial properties. Commercial property owners are responsible for those that are on their land; if they neglect shoveling and salting their walkways, they could have a lawsuit on their hands. That’s why it’s necessary to come up with a plan for snow removal in advance, so that they can keep their property safe and presentable.

Whether they have a small property or a large property, snow removal can be laborious and often causes back pain and other issues. If an owner isn’t prepared to react in a timely manner to remove snow and ice from their property, then it might be time to consider a snow removal service.

Snow Removal Services

Make sure to contact a reliable snow removal service in advance, not at the last minute, so that they’re available to meet your needs. If you’re in need of some extra help this winter, contact Blue Tree Landscaping to handle your snow and ice removal for your commercial space. Blue Tree will help you to get through the winter months with ease.

The Importance of Great Snow Removal Services for Your Commercial Space

snow05Why You Need a Snow Removal Service for a Commercial Space

During the winter months, it’s important to have a great snow removal service for your commercial space. Prompt snow removal from your commercial space shows that you care about the reputation of your business or property, in addition to those who may live at, work at, or enjoy your commercial space. It shows that you’re professional, too.

No matter the purpose of your commercial space, it’s always important to maintain that first great impression of your business. Timely and proper snow removal will never go unnoticed — it’s important in maintaining day-to-day life. Further, it’s your responsibility. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a snow removal service that understands your values and needs.

Prevent Unsafe Conditions

Neglectful snow removal can ruin your business’s reputation, or worse, increase your risk for avoidable lawsuits. For example, if you have an apartment complex, and you are unable to remove snow and ice in a timely manner from your property, you will anger residents, impair their ability to perform jobs or duties if their car is snowed in, or risk a resident injuring themselves on black ice. Those who use your commercial space should have access to safe, clear walkways and roadways so that life can carry on as usual. The winter months shouldn’t be harder than they have to be.

How to Choose a Snow Removal Service

When deciding on a snow removal service, pay attention to reviews, the company’s values, and how they treat and train their employees, among other factors. You want a service that matches your dedication to quality and timely service. If a snow removal service has a reputation for lateness, poor work, or inability to perform, don’t give them any more attention. A season of poor snow removal could cause lasting damages to your business’s reputation.0

An All-in-One Service

Snow and ice removal can be time-consuming, tedious, and exhausting. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a snow removal service in advance, so that your property never falls behind. During the winter months, Blue Tree Landscaping offers fast and efficient snow removal services so that your business or property will continue to function in the way it’s meant to.

Blue Tree can help you to realize the transformation you desire for your outdoor space, whether commercial or residential. Contact Blue Tree for all of your landscaping, hardscaping, and lawn care needs. They’ll help you create your ideal outdoor space — and maintain it, too.

Fall Lawn Care for Commercial Spaces

img_4311Fall Lawn Care for Commercial Spaces

Proper lawn care is incredibly important for your commercial space, as the way that you present your space says a lot about your business. Your lawn is the first thing that a client, customer, or even an employee will notice when they enter your property. If a commercial lawn has dead grass, an abundance of weeds, and overgrown shrubs, it gives the impression that the business is not a welcoming place. Further, a lawn that isn’t properly cared for might make your clients, customers, and employees feel that they won’t be cared for. Proper lawn care is one of the ways your business can make that great first impression. The following are some ways you can care for your lawn this fall.

Timely Lawn Care is Crucial

If you want a beautiful lawn all year around — so you can continue making that first great impression — then you need to maintain timely lawn care in the fall. This includes raking leaves. When leaves cover the ground and are ignored, the grass is blocked from getting the sunlight and necessary nutrients it needs. This means that come springtime, your grass will be dead. Neglected leaves can also contribute to lawn diseases.

Cut and Water Your Lawn

In addition, continue to cut your grass until the grass frosts. Your grass still grows until then, and longer grass could increase your risk of fungi. This goes for watering your lawn as well (if your weather has been free of rain).

Prep for Winter with Fertilizer

You should still add fertilizer to your lawn in the fall in order to protect your lawn throughout the winter. This will help to protect your grass from disease, root damage, and cold weather so that it will be at its full strength in the spring.

Overseed Your Lawn

Fall is also the best time to overseed your lawn. Overseeding will maintain a dense lawn, which will further protect against possible damage. This is also a good time to overseed your lawn with ryegrass if you want to maintain that first great impression with a green lawn throughout the coming months.

The Question of Landscaping

Once you have your commercial space in great shape, you might be thinking about landscaping. Whether that means taking on a big landscaping project for the first time or giving your space an updated look, contact Blue Tree Landscaping. We’ll give your space the makeover it needs — and maintain it all year round, too.

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.

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.

How to Ensure your Front Steps and Walkway are Safe this Winter

house-snowWhether you’re a commercial facility looking to safeguard its assets and insurance premiums, or a parent who wants to keep her family safe through landscape design and maintenance, the tips below can help you keep your front steps, and walkway safe this winter:

  • Understand the Science of Melting Ice

    When you first go to buy ice melting material, you will likely be taken aback by the endless myriad of options. As it turns out, there is a science to melting dangerous ice patches, and it’s all about keeping them from thawing, refreezing, and forming black ice across your landscape design elements. Black ice is a very slippery, barely visible winter by-product, and it’s extremely dangerous. You can counteract any black ice formation on your landscape design by using an ice melting substance that helps prevent thawing, and refreezing. Such substances include rock salt, potassium chloride, or calcium magnesium acetate, a more environmentally-friendly option. Avoid substances like calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, ammonium chloride, and aluminum chloride, which tend to refreeze more quickly.

    A point to keep in mind with rock salt is that while it works for temperatures above 12 degrees (Fahrenheit), it can potentially damage nearby plants, trees, and shrubs.
  • Sand

    Contrary to popular belief, sand is not an ice melting substance. It simply provides an abrasive grip for your landscape design elements, and greatly improves traction. As such, it should not be used to melt ice, but rather, to provide basic traction that can help prevent slips and falls. However, before you coat your property with sand, know that it isn’t water soluble. If you use too much, it won’t drain properly, and you’ll have to clear it out after the spring thaw.
  • Landscape Lighting

    Landscape lighting is an often overlooked solution to the winter weather, but when you consider the reduced number of daylight hours, and the reduced visibility, it makes a lot of sense. Solar lights, or lights hard-wired into a larger system can help illuminate walkways safely. Each landscape lighting system has its own benefits, and detractions. Solar, for example, doesn’t last as long, but has a cheaper setup cost.
  • Elbow Grease

    There’s simply no getting around shovelling your walkway (other than paying a company to do it). A well-maintained winter walkway needs to have snow removed from it regularly, in order to decrease the amount of compacted snow that may create slippery ice patches.
  • Downspouts

    Downspouts are critical to funnelling water off your roof, but they can also wreak havoc on your walkways. If you have a downspout that expels even a small amount of water, it can create dangerous ice spots beneath it. Be sure to angle them away from walkways, and steps.

For more winter safety, and winter landscape design tips, contact us.

How to Protect and Maintain your Commercial Property During Winter

How to Protect and Maintain your Commericial Property During WinterIt’s been a mild winter so far. But the cold will most likely show up soon, and when it does it can freeze your business, both literally and figuratively. Failing to protect and maintain your commercial property when it snows and throughout winter can lead to disastrous consequences—especially when it comes to safety (and therefore legal) issues and productivity loss.

Maintaining your commercial property during winter’s snow and cold isn’t difficult, but it does require proper planning and strategy. Below are some of our tips for keeping your property up and running during the coldest months.

  1. Ensure that your roof has the right weight capacity. Since snow is extremely heavy, it can literally cause a roof to collapse. So ensure your roof is rated for that extra weight—and that it is in good enough condition to stand up to that rating.
  1. Clear your gutters. Ideally, you should clean your gutters before the first snowfall, but you’ll also want to ensure they are clear of debris periodically throughout winter, so as to avoid ice damming and other issues.
  1. Prevent ice dams. Ice dams are extremely problematic, and aren’t just caused by bad gutter maintenance. Ice dams need to be prevented by looking for heat sources that are letting out warm air near the edge of the roof. By finding and diverting the hot air, you can prevent snow from melting and freezing at the roof edges—which then traps in moisture that can ruin your roof and your overall commercial property. While you’re caring for your gutters and ice dams, you’ll also want to check your fasteners and downspouts to ensure they don’t fall off due to the weight of a heavy snow fall.
  1. Protect your pipes. Bursting pipes due to freezing is a huge concern for winter, as it is extremely expensive to fix and can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage quickly. To keep the water in your pipes from freezing and bursting the pipe, you’ll need to maintain your water flow and temperature.
  1. Create a snow-removal strategy. Ideally you should have your snow-removal contract (from a reputable company) in place well before the first snowfall.
  1. Have a plan for alternative power supplies. Not only is there a chance that you’ll need them, but the continuity it provides can help prevent expensive downtime. This will require portable and/or permanent generators.
  1. Plan for continuity. In addition to having a back-up power supply, you’ll also want to have a plan to inform employees and tenants of building/property closures, provide at-home access to resources, and plan for the reopening of facilities.

 

Following the above plan can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the event of a snow-related incident.

 

6 Landscaping Ideas for Your Commercial Property

Landscaping Ideas for Commericial PropertyCommercial landscaping might be subtle, but it still takes a surprising amount of planning. In fact, subtle landscape design can take as much concerted effort in the planning stages as more dramatic landscaping, as it involves trying to do more with less.

To help you find the balance between subtle and awe-inspiring features for your commercial property’s landscape design, we’ve put together six of our favorite, diverse ideas…

1. Entrance Focus

If your aim is for a professional, elegant landscape design, you’ll need minimal—but impactful—designs. Since elegance is generally simplistic in design, you’ll want to pick one, or a limited number, of focal points. One of those should be your entrance.

Think of your entrance as your welcoming area, and use pathways to highlight it. Consider opting for pathways with a distinctive material like interlocking brick or stamped concrete. Use statement greenery, like dynamic bushes, shrubs, and small trees—but stay away from too many plants or it will be a distraction from the design.

2. Fashion Meets Function

Design isn’t solely about looks—it is also about function! Make your landscape design as functional as it is fashionable by adding furniture. Pick a theme and stick with it, so choose either modern furniture (there are some stunning options available now), a more classic look like antique wrought iron, or stylized concrete. Use furniture sparingly so that the area doesn’t appear cluttered, but provide enough so that your commercial space offers an outdoor lounge area for staff and clients.

3. Shrub Signage

A clever way to introduce shrubbery or colorful plants is to create signage. Spell out the name of your company, or use plants in your company colors to make landscape-based branding.

4. Install a Water Feature

Water features are a great way to add more nature into your landscape design. Not only can they look extremely natural, but they can also give your property a more calming and down-to-earth look. Water features with more minimal water use will be more cost-effective over the long run.

5. Plan Your Watering

When you add multiple live elements (plants, shrubs, trees, etc.) to large commercial properties, you’re creating a difficult watering landscape. Keeping live elements in groupings, or ‘zones,’ will help keep your watering process easier and more effective. You’ll also use a lot less water.

6. Think Seasonally

Keep Philadelphia’s seasons in mind while you’re designing your commercial landscaping. Plan accordingly so that your landscaping looks beautiful year-round, and not just in the summer.

Summer Maintenance for Commercial Spaces

Summer MaintenanceLandscaping is heavily affected by all seasons—especially with Philadelphia’s seasonal fluctuations. Our cold winters are contrasted by hot summers, and your commercial landscaping plan needs to keep up with the change.

By recognizing the special needs of summer landscaping, you can prevent plant death and grass burns, and maintain a beautiful landscape and hardscape.

 Summer Maintenance Tips for Commercial Spaces

To help you put your best ‘green’ foot forward this summer, here are some of our expert tips to beat the summer heat through irrigation sprinklers, landscape design, hardscape design, and more.

 1. Heat Management

Heat is your biggest issue during summer, with temperatures reaching well over 90 degrees. While you can’t air condition the outdoors, you can protect some of the more vulnerable plants by moving planters out of direct sunlight during the hottest days.

2.Insects & Pests

Any camper knows that insects—unfortunately—thrive in the summer heat. If you don’t want to spray strong pesticides across all your growing spaces, you’ll need to visually monitor for insects. Knowing which insects are eating your plants will help give you a plan of attack—especially with natural remedies. For example, fungal diseases hate baking soda and aphids hate Ivory soap.

3. Watering

Water…or lack thereof, when it comes to landscaping, is directly related to the heat, as extremely high temperatures evaporate much-needed water from plants. Watering can be difficult during summer months—even with irrigation sprinklers—as wind carries the water, and heat evaporates it before the plants’ roots can consume it. Watering at the wrong time of day can burn your grass and plants. So, use your irrigation sprinklers to water before and after sunrise to keep your water bill lower and to give your plants time to absorb the water.

4. Mowing

Many commercial grounds managers are tempted into mowing the grass to a shorter level so it will ‘last longer.’ Don’t be seduced by this, though, as mowing the grass too short will cause it to dehydrate, burn, and otherwise fail to thrive.

5. Hardscaping
If your year-round maintenance—especially in summer—is becoming too difficult to maintain, then give some thought to using a hardscape technique. A hardscape design, through elements like retaining walls and walkways, can help you manage water flow while reducing your need for summer (and year round!) maintenance.

 

For help with your commercial landscape design and maintenance—or to discuss a hardscape concept—give us a call here at Blue Tree. Our professionals can help guide you in the right direction, while providing you with the manpower you need to get the job done.

8 Summer Garden Watering Tips to Help Your Plants Thrive

Summer Garden WateringAny seasoned gardener knows that gardening is hard: there’s a serious science behind all of it, from planting the right plants in the right places to giving them the correct amount of water. The science behind proper watering is why professional irrigation sprinkler systems have become so popular.

When it comes to watering, more isn’t necessarily better. A professional irrigation sprinkler system that targets the right areas might be a great solution to look into. But in the meantime, to help you water in the most efficient way (for your plants, your budget, and the environment) we’ve put together our 8 top watering tips:

1. Don’t Water Too Often

Healthy plants require healthy roots—and watering too often is inefficient for the root system. Allowing the roots to dry out a little before watering encourages their growth, which makes for healthier plants. So, don’t water everyday (unless it’s one of our scorching hot Philly summer days, and the earth is bone dry). Generally, watering 2-3 times a week is plenty.

2. Water Well

The above point recommends not watering everyday (especially for flower beds), but when you’re watering a few days a week, be sure to water thoroughly—although don’t create an impromptu swimming pool.

3. Time your Watering

Whether you’re standing there with a hose or have an automatic irrigation sprinkler system, time your watering correctly. Ideally, you want to water early in the morning or late in the evening. Avoiding watering midday will keep the majority of the water from evaporating, and you’ll keep your leaves from burning.

4. Avoid Watering the Leaves

Watering the leaves instead of the base/roots of the plant can keep them from burning, but it will also encourage mold and plant diseases. Plant diseases thrive in hot, moist environments—especially on the leaves themselves.

5. Don’t Water All at Once

If you have plants that require a large quantity of water, it’s better to water them in parts. So water the flowerbed, then move on to another section. Once the water has seeped into the soil you can return to water the flowerbed again.

6. Water Distribution

Be mindful of where you’re watering plants, as continually watering one side over the other will encourage lop-sided root growth. Lop-sided roots disrupt healthy nutrient absorption.

7. Use Moisture Sensors

If you want to be a high-tech, environmentally-conscious gardener, you can install water sensors that will alert you to the right density of water. Installing these on existing irrigation systems can make a big difference on your water bill (although it will take some time for them to ‘pay for themselves’).

8. Never Ever Over Water

More truly isn’t better with garden watering. Overwatering, aka ‘waterlogging,’ can deprive the roots of much-needed oxygen. Roots can drown in water.

Proper watering can enhance an already beautiful garden. If your garden and overall landscaping is lackluster, then call the pros here at Blue Tree Landscaping. Our professional landscapers in the Philadelphia area can help you plan your garden with the right plants for specific locations based on sun patterns, drainage, and a number of other critical factors.