Category Archives: Landscaping

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 Prepare Your Yard Before Moving Out

Landscape Edging OptionsWell, it’s finally happening. You’ve got everything packed, the house is clean, the kids are in the car. But wait — what about the yard? No one mentioned what to do about the yard, but you don’t want miss out on this crucial aspect of your home’s upkeep before leaving it for good.

This article details a few quick and necessary ways to make sure your yard looks great before leaving. You’ll be thankful for the lack of headaches and complaints.

Lawn Appeal 

Some neighborhoods or homeowners associations have ordinances that tell residents that their lawns must be kept tidy or to certain specifications. Even if there isn’t, most people love a well-maintained and lush green lawn. But beware — the fact that what you can see on the surface looks nice doesn’t necessarily mean everything is healthy under those blades of grass. So, before leaving, make sure to check for weeds, uprooting damage from trees or other plants, signs of pests, and any other changes that have taken place in the lawn since you moved in.

Sculpting Your Landscape

Like a gorgeous yard, many people also love a nice view of landscaping to complement their home. If left uncared for, however, the beauty of your landscaping can quickly turn ugly. That’s why it’s important to examine your landscaping before saying goodbye to your home and yard for good. Make sure none of the elements of your landscaping, such as rocks or asphalt chips, are sprinkled around the yard. Check for a rake, a pair of shears or other lawn items, which can easily be forgotten in the hustle-and-bustle of moving. Trim any overgrown bushes and trees, and remove any obvious weeds. And hey, why not take the opportunity to plant a few flowers? Make the last memory of your beloved former home a beautiful one.

Keep Your Pool Cool 

Whether above ground or in-ground, everyone loves a nice dip in the pool on a hot summer day. This includes the new owners of the home, too! Like your lawn and landscape, a pool left unmaintained can significantly reduce its value in terms of price and enjoyability. Common problems for a pool can be soil and/or concrete erosion, algae growth, plumbing leaks, and other foundational problems. Any of these can be a real headache. Give a good look at your pool, whether above ground or in-ground, before leaving.

Don’t Hesitate to Call

While some problems can be quickly spot-checked before you leave, others may require more involved work. If there’s a problem with your lawn, landscape, pool, or all three, don’t hesitate to call your local landscaping company. You’ll leave your home in excellent shape, and the next owners 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.

Keep Your Lawn Damage-Free This Winter

Winter Fun: Snow FortsKeep Your Lawn Damage-Free This Winter

Cold, harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on many outdoor surfaces. But the vast expanse of a lawn is particularly susceptible to damage if not treated properly. Even if you missed the boat on pre-winter preparations, you can still take steps to maintain the appearance and health of your grass before even more frigid weather rolls around. Here are some ideas for keeping your lawn looking great all year long, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

Don’t Stop Normal Lawn Care

As counterproductive as it might sound, keeping up with scheduled maintenance practices can help retain your lawn’s health. Watering and mowing will help keep your lawn in great shape through the cool season, and keeping your grass relatively short will deter burrowing animals, such as mice. The good news? You can mow less often during winter.

Invest in Winter Fertilizer

Although it may sound unconventional, seasonal fertilizer is a great way to save the surface of your yard. If you can, spread fertilizer before the first frost (so the materials don’t mingle with the moisture and cause further issues) or wait until the ground is dry enough to do so. There are several brands available at major outdoor home improvement stores, so talk to an expert to see which product will work best for your lawn.

Plant a Different Grass

If you need some sort of foliage, look into a more resilient seed to plant. Different grass breeds, such as ryegrass and its varieties, can stand up to harsher weather while still providing the desired aesthetic. The texture will withstand frost and snow, keeping the soil underneath relatively healthy for the spring’s more delicate grasses. If no grass is needed, consider an alternative surface such as rocks, tile or even a new patio addition. There is room to be creative here!

Consider Stripping It

One plus to starting over with a brand-new lawn in the spring is saving the effort of preserving it during the winter. If the grass is starting to look brown and withered, getting rid of it entirely is a low-maintenance option for the cold months. When the weather improves in the spring, lay down new sod and enjoy the fresh, beautiful surface!

Contact Blue Tree

Need extra assistance with your cold weather lawn care? Let Blue Tree Landscaping help with that. Our landscapers can provide quotes and advice on the best upkeep of your grass, lawn or yard surface. We look forward to helping you maintain your home’s beautiful outdoor surfaces, so call or email us today for a quote.

How to “Winterize” Your Yard

Winterizing your property requires paying careful attention to your lawn. Most households remove autumn leaves from the lawn to prepare for winter. Unraked leaves can suffocate your lawn if left out through the winter. A layer of leaves can prevent healthy lawn growth the following year. The easy way to take care of your lawn is to remove the leaves with a leaf-blower or a rake. Rakes, however, offer the added benefit of removing thatch – dead grass tissue – from your lawn. Raking your lawn yourself can be a tiring and long process. Try hiring a landscaper if you don’t have time to rake the lawn yourself. Landscapers can help prepare your lawn for winter by testing your soil for pH and adding sulfur or lime as needed. It also helps to over-seed the lawn in the fall, preparing it to grow abundantly come warmer weather.

Winterizing Your Pool

Winterizing your pool can be more work than expected. A pool installation or landscape professional can be a big help. A week before closing, you must balance the pH of the water. Then, remove skimmer baskets, wall fittings, cleaners, solar blankets, and ladders, clean the pool, lower the water level, drain and winterize the plumbing, and cover the pool. These complicated steps often require the help of a professional. The process for in-ground pools also presents a more significant challenge than above ground pools. Swimming pool installation experts and landscapers can help. Often people that install pools know them best – they can recommend the best maintenance and make sure your pool is in good shape to survive the winter.

Additional Landscaping

Get any landscaping you need done before the winter! You also need to winterize gardens, shrubs, and trees if you want them to survive the winter and continue growing large and healthy come springtime. Spreading mulch, preening shrubs and bushes, protecting bulbs, and removing invasive weeds makes for a healthier garden and yard come spring. In wintertime, it’s often harder to get landscaping services. The ground hardens, making it more difficult to install landscape lighting, retaining walls, fences, or gardens.

Keeping Your Yard Healthy In Philadelphia’s Suburbs

Suburbs of Philly like Montgomery County and Chester County have some of the toughest winters. Persistent freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall can hinder the health of your yard and landscape if not properly cared for. Winterizing your lawn, pools, and the rest of your yard can mitigate the effects of a cruel winter. Listening to good advice from professionals like those at Blue Tree Landscaping is the best thing you can do for your yard and home.

Gear Up For Early Snowfall

The weather is cooling down, and with it comes natural events such as sleet, snow, wind, and rain that can all cause collateral damage. To avoid any extra work after winter, it is crucial to take preventative steps to secure every surface in the late months of fall, as well as the early months of winter. Here are some things to keep in mind when prepping:

Check Pipes and Sprinkler Systems

A burst pipe in a home is one thing, but damage to outdoor water systems is not often considered. Sprinklers and pools need extra care this time of year, so tend to them accordingly. Don’t forget to reel in hoses and inspect external water systems, such as sinks or bar setups, before shutting them down for the winter. Doing so earlier on could save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage repairs.

Pull Plants

Frost and cold weather can kill delicate plants and flowers almost overnight. Save yourself the grief of gathering brown, dead flowers and plants and remove them sooner than later. Be sure to do subsequent research on what to take away in your garden beforehand; some plants can stand up to the cold and snow, so there’s no need to remove them.

Pick Crops

It might be time to pull in the fall harvest! Pumpkins, squashes, and beans are most likely in their peak harvesting time, as well as various tubers and nightshades in your personal garden. In addition, get ready to plant the winter vegetables and foliage that can withstand the cold. The fruits of your labor will reveal themselves early next year, or even as soon as the New Year!

Seal the Deal

With snowfall comes potential water damage, which means that paint, fences, and any external sealants are at risk of wear from the weather. Cover any surfaces that might be too sensitive for harsh materials, such as plush furniture and outdoor electrical appliances and stock up on temporary fixes like tarps and table covers for larger items. Now is also a great time to update outdoor pieces for next year; drag in anything that needs painting or decorating, and spruce it up for next season!

Contact Blue Tree

We know the snow here at Blue Tree Landscaping, and we can help you prepare for even the worst snowfall. Get in touch with our experts to survey your space and find the best tactics for yard preservation when winter hits. Contact us for a quote today!

Don’t Allow Wind To Inhibit Your Space

Of all the elements that might affect a landscape, the wind is perhaps one of the least thought of. In reality, though, a breezy day can do more than just ruffle the plants and leaves on the property. When outfitting a new space, refurbishing a current one, or taking precautions against the cooling weather, take these wind-conscious factors into consideration!

Consider Debris

This form of damage can come in all shapes and sizes. Mulch, gravel, sand from sandboxes, and loose dirt can be stirred up by wind and cause harm to surrounding surfaces. In addition, trash and outside materials can blow onto the property, making the problem more severe. Above all else, it gives the yard a dirty, tarnished appearance. Consider sealants or more durable materials for outdoor furniture such as coarse fabric for cushions and darker paint colors.

Watch The Accessories

Look after those umbrellas! Lighter outdoor features are in danger of blowing over or detaching from their bases. Awnings, pillows, cushions, and decorations can get scattered around by the wind. If the forecast calls for a blustery day, make sure everything is secure in their spot, or simply store them inside until the weather changes.

Get A Pool Cover

Patios and furniture can be cleaned, but fishing small pieces out of a swimming pool can be a real hassle. Invest in a pool cover that spans the length of the pool, and set it over the water on windy days. This will prevent any unwanted dirt blowing in and clogging the filters, and it will preserve the existing water as well. Take note of the backyard assets around the pool, too, such as potted plants and toys to make sure they don’t blow into the water.

Protect the Garden

Don’t let one day of bad weather undo the months of hard work you’ve put into your garden. Consider placing wire cages around taller plants to offer stability, or cover shorter plants with a light grate to block the wind. Depending on the layout, hedges or creative fencing can also deflect intrusive gusts that could cause harm, and it could add an eye-pleasing aesthetic to the yard on top of everything else.

Contact Blue Tree

Make sure your yard can stand up to the wind! At Blue Tree Landscaping, we pride ourselves on helping to craft sturdy, beautiful outdoor spaces that can stand up to the elements, especially wind. We can survey your home and its available space to determine what features will help it maintain its exterior. Contact us for a quote today!

Protect Your Yard For Fall

Although on the milder side, fall weather can lead to the damage of outdoor surfaces just like any other season. Most of the time, the summer runoff leaves areas hot, dry and faded. To adequately protect your more fragile backyard surfaces, follow these steps before the snow and sleet roll in this winter.

Clean the Surfaces

Remove any leaves, dirt, and debris that accumulated over the summer. If the surface has cracks or grout, take a power washer to them to erase any unsightly remains before the season begins. This will also clear the way for any treatments you want to perform on the yard, and regardless, having a clean yard throughout the winter is a great advantage.

Cleaning off your surfaces additionally means taking care of what resides on them. Put away children’s toys and smaller decorative pieces that may sustain damage throughout the season. Outdoor furniture should be covered or removed entirely, and plants with delicate pots would best be maintained under the cover of an overhang or well-covered table for the duration of the season.

Treat Vulnerable Spots

Keeping outdoor surfaces as fresh looking as possible is crucial for their long-term success. Weather protective coating and sealants for any surface, including even outdoor furniture, will come in handy, especially when rain and snow hit the yard.

For lawns and turf, clearing any dry and yellowed sod will not only treat the whole area, but it will prevent the rest of the vicinity from drying out and suffering from damage. Plants that line a walkway or patio might need pruning or grooming to preserve their health.

Protect Everything

If an area is too big to treat, invest in sturdy tarps to drape over the appropriate walkways. They can be rolled up and stored during the off-season, and the protection they provide will save on repairs and touch-ups for next year’s warmer months. Those tarps can also extend to furniture too big to move, such as a pool table or in-ground fire pit, and any plants that need a bit more protection, such as a garden.

Call Blue Tree

Need advice on the best way to protect your yard against the elements? Blue Tree Landscaping can help! Our team of professionals has experience working with outdoor surfaces and yards of all types and can assist in keeping yours in pristine condition year round. Contact us for a quote today!

Preparing Your Pool For Fall Weather

The seasons are beginning to change, and with nature’s preparation for winter comes leaves and debris that need to be taken care of before it’s too cold and the weather is unpredictable. Any yard with a pool requires extra attention and care for fall, whether that pool is in use or not. Check out these measures to keep in mind for the coming season!

Take toys out

This might seem like an easy one, but once the pool’s temperature gets too low to use, you should clear the pool of any children’s toys or floating accessories so that they don’t sustain any damage. Floating chairs and drink holders should also be removed and stored away. Clean them with dish soap and water before bringing them inside, and be sure to deflate them for optimal storage. That way, they will be fresh and ready to enjoy for next summer’s festivities!

Use a pool cover

For further protection (and a potentially smoother cleanup) consider investing in a plastic cover or tarp for your pool. The full-coverage benefit will shield the water from debris caused by wind and storms and will additionally shield any underwater surfaces as well. This can also provide adequate protection in the summer months during heat spells and summer storms.

Check chemical levels

Everyone’s pool sits at a slightly different chlorine level, so be vigilant about checking yours. All other factors, including the pH and any saltwater materials, should be checked before the weather affects these levels too much. Temperature, sunlight, and animals infiltrating the water’s surfaces all have an effect on the water, but with a bit of surveillance, the pool will remain healthy beyond the fall months.

Pool surfaces

Before snow and leaves coat the ground, ensure that the pool’s foundation and coatings are intact. If any grout or surface tiles are chipping or cracked, replace or repair them in a timely manner before it gets too difficult to do so. Any protective seals put on furniture should be inspected as well, or simply moved out of the way. Stocking up on materials to fix or polish damages done by the weather is not a bad idea either.

When it comes to pool surfaces, trust the experts to take care of any problem that’s too big to handle. At Blue Tree Landscaping, we are committed to helping protect your yard in case of unpredictable weather. Our in-ground pool knowledge will help to ensure its lifespan year-round, so call us for any questions or a free quote today!

Perfect Fall Decorations For The Outdoors

September is here, and that means the leaves are changing and fall is fast approaching. To whoever is not tending to late-year gardens and raking lawns, there is ample opportunity to decorate in celebration of the pending holiday season! Get creative this year with your fall decorations by following some of our tips:

Themed Decorations

This will become more prominent as the year progresses, with holidays coming up and plenty of themed choices for adorning the home. In the early stages of fall, changing leaves are a popular decoration, and fake garlands can be bought at craft stores to put inside or out. Plastic, wicker, or other synthetic materials can make up decorative pumpkins, cornucopias, and other fall squashes to place by a doorstop or an outdoor fireplace.

Animals

Nothing is cuter or more harvest-like than seeing stuffed animals placed around the house! Squirrels, birds, and other creatures are appropriate for the season and will match themed decorations with ease. Be careful to take pets into consideration for this choice, though; try not to get anything too realistic that might fool animals into thinking there’s an intruder in their home or backyard!

Plants

While fake plants can last through the season, there’s an authentic touch to planting beautiful fall foliage that is hard to replace. You can easily research flowers and crops that will stand up to dropping temperatures and any unpredictable weather. The best part is, the benefits of planting fall squashes and flowers can be reaped later in the year when fresh flowers and delicious holiday dishes are enjoyed.

Front Door Ornaments

Blow-up holiday figures on the front lawn do the job, but there is an abundance of alternatives to choose from for the other months. Decorate a wreath of leaves, pine needles, or pine cones and personalize it to match your front door. Placing signs or decorative flags can be a welcoming touch, too.

If none of these options seem appealing, more decorations that can be placed just about anywhere are garlands, candles, lamps, and vases with added touches to match the home. Consult design magazines and home good store attendants for advice and tricks to getting the most out of your space. Above all, enjoy the process of preparing for the fall season! After all, it does only come once a year.0

Contact Blue Tree

While you’re preparing your home for the colder months, we’ll make sure it stands up to the weather! Blue Tree Landscaping specializes in protective services for pools, patios, pergolas, and beyond. If you’re looking to sync your yard to the changing temperatures, ensure that you prepare with the best. Email or call us for a quote today!