Category Archives: landscape design

Get Your Yard Ready – It’s Spring!

Yellow and red tulips

Spring is here! That means that it’s time to revamp your yard from its protective winter state to the lively green landscape it was before the cold hit. Here are some of our tips to making sure your yard is ready.

Treat Your Lawn

Grassy lawns require the most attention in the winter recovery process. Between fertilizing, aerating the soil, checking the pH, and reseeding, the process can be a lengthy one. In order to ensure your specific landscaping is receiving the correct care, consult an expert on the proper products and tools for your lawn, or for a recommendation if the sod needs replanting.

Pruning and Weeding

Winter weather can leave behind dead leaves, fallen branches, and various damage from heavy snowfall. Clearing away the leftover cold weather debris will give you a clean slate for new flowers and designs. Consider starting a compost pile to create a sustainable place for the remains, if one is not already present in your home; this will benefit the health of the yard, and the environment as a whole.

Plant New Flowers and Vines

Some flowers can last all year long, even through harsh winter weather. Prune the areas that need it, and if necessary, replant those flowers if damaged. For those that pulled their perennials before snowfall, plant some tulips, daisies, or your favorite springtime varietals around your landscape. This is an excellent opportunity to get creative, so don’t be afraid to choose vivid colors or bold petals for your garden or walkway.

Another option to establish in your yard is vines. Choose flowering vines for a burst of color, or leafy ones for an earthy appeal. Plant these early in the season, so they can grow up the side of your home or an aesthetic grate placed for support.

Bring Out The Furniture

If any of your outdoor furniture pieces or decorations were moved inside, it’s time to bring them out of hiding! If cushions or curtains are machine-washable, clean the material and apply a protective spray, to shield them from any remaining weather spurts going into summer. Furniture left outdoors during winter may have sustained some damage, so use an outdoor furniture cleaning spray to polish surfaces that need it.

Call Blue Tree

Let us help you get your yard spring ready! At Blue Tree Landscaping, we can assist with landscaping and lawn care needs for every type of home. Call or send us a message to get a head start today!

Create The Perfect Snowman For Your Yard This Winter

Building a snowman is classic. It’s easy, fun, and allows for everyone involved to express their creativity with the season’s favorite activity. This year, craft a snowman that will complete your outdoor space!

Set The Foundation

Work to roll solid snowballs to allow the snowman to stay together. Don’t be afraid to add a touch of water to the snow if the powder is too fine to pack together; turning the hose on to a light mist will make the snow more malleable for shaping. When the balls are ready, flatten the top and bottom to create a stable foundation for them to sit on. Take care not to make the top one too large, and lift with your legs to get the layers on top. Snowballs can get heavy, and knocking them out of alignment can erase all the hard work spent rolling them into shape.

Smooth It Out

Nailing the classic snowman ratio is no easy feat, and sometimes the balls can come out lopsided or lumpy on one side. Taking a spray bottle filled with water to the uneven sections and smoothing them down with your hands is effective. Don’t forget to wear gloves while doing this task. If that proves to be too chilly, take a rag and smooth the snow down with that.

Bring It To Life

The tried-and-true snowman face has coal for eyes, but there are many options for crafting a snow face. Try using fruit or cookies to create a unique appearance. For other details, use real buttons for a cute and functional look that can be put to use for years to come. Above all, don’t forget the classic carrot nose, or use another vegetable of your choice for a unique touch!

Match The Snowman To The Decor

Cold-weather accouterments are the best part of accenting your frozen figure, and if your home is boasting a beautiful set of decorations, include your snowman in the fun! Wreaths, holly, or color-complimenting gloves and a scarf will match the color scheme of your exterior decorating. Place your favorite sports team’s apparel on, such as a baseball hat or a football jersey, to showcase your team spirit. Spring holidays approaching? Put a heart-shaped box of chocolates in its hands for Valentine’s Day, or let him sport a green ensemble for St. Patrick’s Day. The possibilities are endless.

Let Blue Tree Help

All this snow got you thinking of warmer days and landscaping ideas? Contact our dedicated team to get started on a plan today!

Make Your Dream Of Owning A Pool A Reality

June 21st was the first day of summer in 2018, and this is the time that people are jumping into backyard pools and enjoying the water! If this is the year to begin construction on a pool of your own, there are a few factors to consider before getting started. Here are our tips for planning the pool of your dreams, from digging the hole to diving in.

Create a Timeline

Installing a pool is a lengthy process that spans over several months. The bulk of the construction should take place during mild months of the year when the weather will not pose a threat to the progress. Consult your contractor about the best time frame to perform certain steps in the process, from creating the hole to laying the materials, and even decorating the surrounding area.

Consider the Cost

A pool requires year-round maintenance to keep the structure intact, as well as the water and systems involved. See what type of pool can be maximized in your space, whether it be above ground or in-ground. There are pros and cons to both, from the cost of upkeep to amount of attention required, so write out a list and figure out what works best!

Once the type of pool is decided upon, compile a list of necessities. Equipment, insurance, and surrounding enclosures such as fences and retaining walls are all amenities to take into consideration during planning. Work with a budget to make decisions on what features to choose, such as polymer versus Pebble Tec walls, or a cement versus tile deck. If every facet of a successful pool is considered before construction, there will be no surprises later on.

Choose the Shape, Size, and Design

Study the layout of your backyard. Is the area long and narrow, uniquely shaped, or sprawling over an acre or two? In addition to the shape, the area immediately surrounding it needs to be considered, for a deck or furniture to accent the pool. Take measurements and draft up a few blueprints before committing to the details.

Keep It Beautiful

When the pool is installed, keep it clean! Chemicals are essential to balancing both the water’s pH and the pool wall’s integrity, and they flush out the filtration systems as well. Skim the surface for leaves and other debris, and invest in a vacuum that will travel underwater and remove buildup on the wall surfaces.

Let Blue Tree Landscaping Help

Above all else, enjoy the process! A pool is a personal venture, and it should be exactly to your specifications when the building begins. Take your time and craft something to be proud of. At Blue Tree Landscaping, we are a part of the entire process, from planning to installation to keeping the pool pristine year-round. Contact us for in-ground pools so we can get started!

How to Make Your Next Landscaping Project Affordable

Undertaking a brand-new landscaping project can be a daunting prospect when all the materials and labor are taken into account, not to mention the pressure of knowing what you want before it all begins! Luckily, there are many paths to take when saving money on landscaping projects. Check out some of our favorite methods for affordable outdoor renovations.

Plan Ahead

One factor about landscaping projects that is often overlooked is the time factor. Start thinking about what the project will require a few months in advance, so there are no surprises or headaches later on. Choose a season with mild, predictable weather that won’t delay progress to complete the project, and acquire materials such as tools and bulk items at a pace that won’t break your budget.

Drive around your neighborhood and look at what each house presents. If one neighbor has a flower arrangement you enjoy, ask them how they executed it, and if another neighbor has a healthy-looking lawn, inquire about the service they used to install it. This will not only aid in project planning but will encourage creativity for your own space.

Pick Long-Lasting Materials

One major setback many landscaping projects face is the tearing out of dying, weed-ridden plants and constantly replacing them. Take inventory of your yard. Are some flowers failing in the heat, while others are flourishing? What plants look dry and withered, and which ones are holding their integrity year after year? Plus, is your furniture faded from too much sun exposure?

Choose materials that are not only appropriate for the time of year but will regenerate and flourish in next year’s season. Consider grass that can be regrown with simple upkeep and fertilizer, or perennials and low-maintenance annuals that won’t break the bank. For the holding units and accessories, try durable pots, window boxes, and even furniture that won’t take the brunt of the sunshine and need replacing every couple of years.

Shop Secondhand Tools

Lacking the tools to complete the project? Chances are, someone else has what the job requires at a fraction of the cost. Ask around the neighborhood for short-term loans on gardening tools or equipment that can perform hefty tasks, like lawn mowers and larger hand tools. This community mindset will not only save your budget, but the materials will be coming from a trusted source.

Jump online and check out what other products people are selling as well. Craigslist and eBay are prime contenders for this category of purchases. Take heed with this option though; not all online sales are what they seem, so look for tools marked “new” or “gently used” before buying. Plus, selling off your own landscaping materials generates cash back for other necessities.

Call Blue Tree

Let us help you save from the get-go! At Blue Tree Landscaping, our team of experts will help plan the most affordable project for your personal space, from start to finish. Contact us for a quote today!

Transform Your Backyard Into A Coveted Sports Venue

Few things are more enjoyable than getting friends and family together to engage in friendly competition, especially in your own backyard. No matter the size or shape, any backyard can be transformed to house sports equipment, setups, and courts to satisfy even the most gung-ho sports fanatics. Here are some ideas to create the next go-to sports center for everyone to enjoy!

Invest in a Sport Court

Multi-sport courts are both trendy and low-maintenance. Outdoor sports tiles are easy to clean and arrange, and several companies boast notable safety approval reports. Plus, they can house several sport accessory forms, such as basketball hoops, tennis nets, and more. Choose a generic surface or customize your own!

Plenty of Open Space

This is the classic, fail-safe route for optimal backyard fun. A simple expanse of well-maintained lawn can play host to dozens of outdoor sporting activities. Set up a volleyball net, croquet wickets, soccer goals, and so much more! The versatility of a spacious backyard will please all age groups, and make your yard a versatile spot for games of all types.

Water Sports and Accessories

Pools can be excellent venues for outdoor sports. Sporting good stores and pool supply shops offer poolside basketball hoops and nets that stretch over the entire body of water, creating a makeshift court in minutes. For those with lakefront property, try a floating trampoline or water skis to amp up the activities even further! Even water polo balls and beach balls serve as tools in a variety of outdoor sports and are sold almost everywhere.

Professional Entertainment

If the backyard is too small for traditional sports, make it a premium viewing spot! Invest in a television that will take center stage in your outdoor space, to watch the big game for every season. A prime sound system will enhance the space, immersing guests in a court side experience, and comfortable outdoor couches and chairs will beat plastic stadium seats any day.

No space at all? No problem! Tabletop tennis, pool tables, and darts are popular toys that can go both indoors and outdoors, and are durable and require little maintenance. Choose an air hockey table to create an arcade-like atmosphere or a rod hockey game for a nostalgic feel. Combine any of these with a sporty backyard to create the ultimate entertainment area.

Blue Tree Landscaping

Game on! Here at Blue Tree, we recognize the importance of a functional, fun backyard and want to help yours be the best it can be. Our team of experts will help design and implement the best surfaces and accessories for the space allowed. Call or email us to get started today!

Reasons Your Outdoor Pool Needs A Fence

When a yard has an outdoor pool, a fence might seem like a great option to help add some decor to the space. However, any enclosure like a fence can serve an important functional purpose beyond just looks, and stand as one of the focal points of the pool. If your outdoor pool doesn’t have one already, here are a few reasons why it could benefit from a fence, from the obvious to the fun:

Safety

First and foremost, a fence is an excellent safety measure for a variety of household inhabitants. Smaller children will be kept safe by being blocked off from the open water if the fence is secure enough, and pets that run the risk of slipping into the pool area will be shut out as well. If the design is solid, even larger forces such as debris from storms, or flyaway cushions from the furniture surrounding the pool, will be contained and blocked as well. Ensure that the material you choose to build your fence can stand up to most circumstances, and the worry of accidents or damage will be eliminated. It’s not a wise choice to make the investment if the fence can’t keep toddlers at bay.

Keeps unwelcome visitors out

Depending on the terrain of your yard, small creatures can wander near the pool of their own volition. This is out of the pool owner’s control, of course, so to save the risk of them falling in or damaging any of the surrounding equipment or surfaces, consider a fence that reaches the ground to minimize the intrusion of unwanted animals. This way, anything that enters the pool will be at your discretion, eliminating the worry of unwanted guests or endangering the creatures in question.

Boosts backyard style

Beyond the functionality of a fence, make a statement with yours! Choose from a variety of materials and styles to match your outdoor pool’s unique look and feel, from wooden to wrought-iron and beyond. A fence also serves as a prime decorating piece for parties, when the style allows for it. String lights through the slots of a thinner fence, or tie balloons to the posts to add a festive touch to any occasion. By protecting against inclement weather, a fence around an outdoor pool will accentuate every feature that brings the yard together, and maintain its many other uses as well.

Blue Tree

Let us help install the perfect fence to suit your pool! At Blue Tree Landscaping, our team of experts has ample experience implementing proper outdoor fencing that will create purpose and style that will last for years to come. Contact us for a quote to get started!

Does your landscaping company do site visits?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have a yard — or some other outdoor space — in need of landscaping work. You’re unsure who to call because, well, nothing looks worse than bad landscaping work.

The question then arises: Will a landscaping company do a site visit before signing a contract?

The short answer is “yes.” But note that there are a few other steps to take before arranging a site visit with a landscaping company. Keep reading to learn about those steps and what you need to know before signing a contract to make your landscaping beautiful.

Initial Contact

Well, a relationship has to start somewhere, doesn’t it? The first thing to do is call your local landscaping company. From there, you’ll get an idea of their expertise, prices, and general attitude. Everyone has worked with someone they haven’t liked, so best to see if this company will be a good fit from the start. Additionally, the company will be able to get an idea of what kind of work you’re looking for, and will also be able to take notes on your unique situation to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Meet Your Account Manager 

After first contact, your dream landscaping project will be passed on to an account manager. From there, you will discuss the project and reaffirm that your expectations of the project are in line with their notes from the initial conversation. As we all know, things change and it is always better to err on the side of caution. After everything is finalized, you two will arrange for a site visit.

Site Visit

Okay — we’ve made it to the site visit. But that doesn’t mean the project ends there. Similar to the initial contact and meeting your account manager, the site visit will again reaffirm that the company knows what you’re looking for in regards to landscaping work. They’ll take measurements, note specifications, and develop a project proposal for you both to go over.

Scheduling 

Now you’ve met the company, done a site visit, and seen the proposal. Now is the big moment to decide if you want to sign the contract. By this point, having completed an exciting — albeit rigorous — verification process, you should be happy with the plan. A good landscaping company will make sure you feel comfortable, well-informed, and prepared for the project ahead.

Don’t Hesitate to Call0

Whether you’ve got a massive landscaping project, or one that can be finished in a few days, don’t hesitate to give your local landscaping company a call! A good landscaping company will work with you at every step leading up to the project to make sure you’re getting what you need — before you sign off.

Three Benefits of Having a Retaining Wall (Besides the Look)

If you think installing a retaining wall in your yard will only make your landscaping look great, think again! While a retaining wall can indeed provide a great aesthetic to your lawn, there is also a number of other material benefits to having that tasteful wall in your yard.

Keep reading to learn about some of the other benefits that come with adding a retaining wall to your landscaping.

Protection, Protection, Protection

First things first: let’s discuss just what a retaining is and does. A retaining wall is primarily a protective structure that is often used around soil in landscaping. No matter how great and fancy a retaining wall can look and be, its use is first and foremost for protection. Protection from what exactly? Well, a few things. Say there is a huge rainstorm that causes flooding in your yard, or a steep slope that constantly allows rainwater or spilled soil to spoil other items around your lawn. You don’t want to wake up after a storm to find those flowers you worked so hard on buried in mud. A retaining wall will keep everything in one place, and will also reduce runoff from flood water. It will also keep your soil safe from erosion, so your landscaping can stay looking great with as little maintenance possible.

The Other Aesthetic of Retaining Walls

We mentioned that a well-designed retaining wall can be decorative, but that doesn’t always refer only to the wall itself. If you’re like many homeowners, the look of a well-maintained yard doesn’t necessarily mean your yard itself is perfect. In other words, you might have mechanical equipment or pipes, a tree stump, or other areas that may be difficult to remediate and are best left unseen from the public eye. A retaining wall can provide you with some much-needed cover for problem areas like these, without having to pay for expensive remediations. So, if you have any unsightly elements in your yard, now you know how to conceal them in a way that keeps your yard looking great.

Adds to Home Value

Isn’t this the best section on the list? Along with a nice look, space-saving aesthetic, and superior protection for your yard, a retaining wall can also seriously improve the value of your home. This is especially true for well-maintained retaining walls. Don’t take that as a challenge — retaining walls are made from natural materials that are sturdy and are meant to hold up during the harshest weather conditions. That means less time and money on repairs, and less stress!

Don’t Hesitate to Call

Whether you’re looking for a retaining wall that promises supreme yard protection during harsh storms, a way to hide some unpleasant lawn blemishes, or just something to wow friends and family, don’t hesitate to call your local landscaping company about establishing a retaining wall on your property. Your yard and home will thank you!

How to Avoid Basement Water Damage

The Perfect Garden SolutionFortunately for you, there are ways to prevent this from becoming a reality by taking the right precautions. Keep reading to learn a few quick and easy ways to avoid water damage in your basement — and the huge bill you might otherwise face as a result.

Start From Above 

While it might seem obvious, gravity is a key factor in water’s ability to damage a home. So, to protect the basement below, look to the roof above. One common factor leading to water damage in a basement is clogged gutters and downspouts. A gutter or downspout, which can become clogged by leaves, shingles, or other debris, can cause water to overflow and fall to the ground below. That water doesn’t just disappear — it floods the soil. This can not only end up flooding your basement, but it can also hurt the foundation of your entire home as well.

It’s also worth noting that to avoid these issues, it is important to replace any missing shingles and to keep your downspouts pointed 5-10″ away from the house. This will keep water at a safer distance from your home and reduce the risk of problems.

Keep It Flawless 

Another major factor that can contribute to water damage in your basement the state of the home’s foundation. Cracks in the foundation represent additional risks, whether they’re major or small, hairline divisions. Scarily enough, you might not easily notice cracks in the event that they do form. Rainwater — especially during floods — has the potential to seep through these cracks, resulting in damage to the foundation of your home. Even worse, years-long neglect of these cracks can make major repairs to your home necessary, translating into a major home repair bill.

The Ultimate Basement Guard 

Do you live in a storm-heavy area with lots of rain? If so, installing a sump pump can be a great way to avoid potential damage from water-drenched soil. This device collects hazardous rainwater from the soil and natural waterways, keeping it out of your home. This collected water is then transferred to storm drains or dry-water wells, which will prevent re-entry into your home. Often a sump pump is connected to your home’s electrical system. Because of this, if you do live in a storm-heavy area, it’s advisable to connect your sump pump to a backup generator. You certainly want the sump pump to work, even if the power is out.

While some of these issues can be self-assessed, it’s important to know when you need to call in a landscaping or plumbing expert. As indicated above, waiting too long can allow additional problems to occur, leading to increased costs when the problem is ultimately addressed. Don’t hesitate to call your local service expert today — you don’t want to end up wet and with a major repair bill to boot.

Different Types of Patio Materials

Installing a new patio is an exciting prospect. You have so much opportunity to customize the space and create an outdoor haven that complements your home. There’s no shortage of selection when it comes to a customized outdoor surface. In fact, you’ll find such a diverse range of building materials that the hardest part may be choosing the right one. Here are five terrific patio material options. Install one for a smooth, simple surface, or use two or more for a unique look.

Brick

A rustic brick patio will stand up to any weather and withstand heavy furniture placed on it. Brick is easy to install, and the textured surface is durable and long-lasting. Keep in mind that brick heats up in the sunshine and warmer weather, and the grout needs upkeep to maintain its appearance. To make things easy, you can power-wash the area when it gets dirty.

Wood

Wood is a classic choice for patios. You can choose from a variety of types, styles and even stains to achieve the style you desire. In terms of decorations and matches, the material is incredibly versatile. Be sure to choose a strong wood to support heavier furniture pieces, fire pits or several people when you are entertaining.

Tile

Perhaps the easiest material to install, tile is an attractive choice for any type of backyard. The range of sizes and styles of tiles lets you mix and match to showcase different varieties, such as stripes or patterns, with room for accents and special touches embedded between the edges. Consult a style expert for a full array of options.

Stone

Pebbles, cobblestones and sandstone all qualify as stone patio materials, and they’re beautiful in many forms. Stone patios can mold to any backyard shape, including irregular shapes, and the neutral look is easy to match with furniture and their cushions and covers. Consider stone surfaces to complement frequent style changes or earth-toned accessories.

Concrete

Albeit not the most attractive option, concrete is the optimal choice for a strong, long-lasting patio. However, concrete doesn’t have to look uniform and dull. You can texture the sections to make an interesting surface underfoot or even draw lines that create the appearance of unconventionally shaped tiles. Prints are also possible while concrete is being laid, so you can press details such as handprints or letters into the patio for a lifetime of memories.

Contact Blue Tree

Blue Tree Landscaping would love to help install your new patio. Let our team of experts advise you on the best materials for your outdoor space, whether it’s in the front yard or backyard or both. We can also show you how to protect them from the elements for all seasons. Contact us for a quote today.