Category Archives: Lawn Care

How To Maintain Your Yard In The Hot Summer Heat

In the throes of summer heat, going outside to work on the yard is a chore that most want to avoid. With a bit of planning, though, less time can be spent sweating over your space, in favor of enjoying the fruits of your labor! Here are our tips for performing maintenance that will last through hot weather.

Create a Watering Schedule

Watering in the middle of the day will cause the water to evaporate, robbing foliage of essential hydration. Plan on watering early in the morning or later in the evening, after the heat of the day has subsided. If a sprinkler system is in place, set the timer to go off at optimal periods. Not only will it take the guesswork out of knowing when to water, but it removes the risk of over watering plants and grass, saving on water bills!

Know When To Mow – And Fertilize

There are benefits to lawn upkeep in the hotter months, besides enjoying barefoot strolls across the grass! The longer the blanket of grass is, the better protection the lawn has in the unrelenting summer temperatures. Not only is the immediate surface of the lawn protected, but the soil underneath will have a welcome shield from direct sunlight. Keep the length of the blades longer, but stick to a consistent mowing schedule all the same.

Contrary to popular belief, fertilizing can do more damage to a lawn in the summer months. The nutrients will produce a new crop of grass, which will have a hard time surviving in the heat. Save the treatments for the colder months following summer, when new sod can flourish, and take care of existing grass to the best of your ability.

Protect Outdoor Furniture

Faded, sun-damaged furniture is no picnic to look at, much less to use and enjoy. Consider investing in furniture covers for when the sun is beating down on more permanent fixtures, such as pool tables and grills. Covering furniture is essential to protecting the temperature as well, especially for metal or heat-retaining stone, which will save your skin when it’s time to wander outdoors.

For lighter pieces, simply move them in the shade or indoors. Be sure to remove cushions and smaller plants from direct sunlight. That way, the color won’t be washed out of fabric fibers or plants, keeping them attractive and fresh into the next year.

Call Blue Tree

Blue Tree Landscaping knows how to beat the heat! Let us assist you in planning the upkeep of your yard from the beginning of summer and beyond. Call or email us to get started today!

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!

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.

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.

Best Fall Plants to Plant For Next Season

When the seasons change for cooler weather, the temperature dips and children go back to school. It’s a beautiful time, and nature reflects that by placing changing leaves and fall flowers out on display for the world. There are several varieties of foliage you can plant on your property to enhance the autumnal experience. Check out some popular options for this year’s harvest below!

Snapdragons

These colorful buds are strong and will stand up to most weather conditions. Planting them in the declining seasons is a viable option, and they can be installed in cooler springtime weather as well. You can water them as normal, and be sure they have some access to sunlight. Their muted colors will also match a cooler winter decor should you choose to bring them inside to liven up your home.

Pansies

Pansies may look delicate, but their short clusters are a striking addition to yards in harsher climates. There is a multitude of colors and combinations to choose from as well. You can plant these alongside a cobblestone path or in window boxes for a bright splash against the drab of winter.

Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are a classic choice. Their light fragrance and soft colors make them flexible for both indoor and outdoor aesthetics. However, sweet peas do require a bit more upkeep due to their rarity and ease of growing. Be sure that sweet peas are a true essential for fall flowers in your own garden, as they are a commitment!

Winter Vegetables

Now is also the perfect time to begin planting small crops for the winter. Leafy greens will thrive this time of year and certain squashes and vegetables will be ready to pick soon. You may want to consider consulting a gardening guide to ensure that your choices are acted on in the appropriate time frame.

Wedding Flowers

As the summer wedding season winds down, there are a few transitional options for the perfect fall ceremony. Several lilies and chrysanthemums are coming into bloom, and carnations are always in fashion for any occasion. Tulips and daisies are conventional, dependable options that are available almost everywhere. Ultimately, it comes down to what the bride and groom prefer, but know that there are many plants out there to take into account.

Contact Blue Tree

Let us help you design the space of your dreams! At Blue Tree Landscaping, we take pride in helping homeowners craft the ideal outdoor landscape, from hardscaping and pool services to design and more. Email or call us to get a quote today!

Why Your Yard is Flooding and How to Fix It

When the rain pours, and when the mounds of snow melt, many homeowners may find themselves dealing with a soggy, marshy wasteland instead of a scenic, gathering-friendly backyard.

What’s worse, the neighbor’s yard may be the picture of perfection. What gives? Why is your yard flooding and what can you do to fix it?

Yard Floods and How to Fix Them

Let’s Talk Soil

Clay soil can be the culprit behind a yard that’s less than stellar. Unlike other types of soil, clay won’t absorb as much water, leaving a slushy mess. What can you do? Try adding a thin layer of compost or topsoil to the top of your lawn each year. Over time, it will help provide the cushion of water absorbing soil that your lawn is currently lacking. After you mow, don’t dump those clippings at the curb. Use them instead. Leave a layer of clippings in your yard after you mow to add that extra bit of organic matter — and another topsoil layer. But if it isn’t about clay soil, you might have too much foot traffic running through your yard. You can encourage your kids, friends, and guests to stick to the stone paths and walkways in your yard. You can also aerate your lawn.

On Top of the Hill

The view from the top is great, but if your yard is more towards the bottom of a hill or situated on a slope, water will collect. You do still have options. You can level or regrade your lawn to try to alleviate some of the sloping. If it is a steep hill, look into other drainage systems to help solve your issue.

High Water Table

Some parts of the country have a high water table or a point where the ground can’t hold any more water, resulting in the squishy lawn you may be familiar with. As rain falls and snow melts, the ground can only take so much. While you may be tempted to try to regrade your yard, a high water table might make that solution tricky. You may want to look into a drainage system to deal with the issue head on.

You Can Have the Perfect Lawn

While it can take a bit of work to help your current marshland turn into the backyard oasis of your dreams, it isn’t impossible. You can make it happen even faster by enlisting the help of professionals. Contact Blue Tree Landscaping to get your  yard into shape. From lawns to pools to drainage and fencing, Blue Tree Landscaping is the one-stop-shop for everything you need to care for your yard.

Avoid A Dry Yard With Proper Lawn Care

Warmer months are ahead of us! That means it’s time to start preparing your lawns and greenery for heightened temperatures and dry weather. This is best done with a few careful steps taken to ensure that every inch of topography is cared for the proper way. Check out our tips for maintaining a lush, beautiful lawn for the remainder of spring.

The Right Time

It seems obvious enough, but knowing when to water your lawn is an important factor in consistent upkeep. Grass does require a fair amount of water, but not every day. Turning on your sprinkler system for thirty minutes twice a week, instead of a few minutes every day, will benefit the soil and allow for the grass to fully absorb the resources you give it.

The time of day matters as well. It’s best to turn your sprinklers on or water a garden in the early morning, before the heat of the day moves in and evaporates water faster. If that is not possible, try the early evening when any harsh weather conditions may have died down enough for the sprinklers to operate smoothly.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Sometimes the weather can be unpredictable, especially in the months of April and May. If it rains, turn off any automated service your lawn care equipment has and let nature do the work for you. Adjusting to what the day brings will ensure not only that your lawn stays fresh and vibrant, but also that any garden and even potted plants that add to the aesthetic receive proper care as well.

Have the Right Tools

The basis of a beautiful yard literally starts from the ground up. Determine what your grass needs from the soil type and layout of your yard to install an irrigation system that hits every bit of surface area. Drainage is also pivotal in order to achieve the right amount of moisture in the grass and soil, and if your space has lawn ornaments or larger furniture pieces, moving those to get to the area underneath is also important. As much as a beautiful lawn adds to the vision of a lovely home, risking any water damage to the house or backyard accouterments can be avoided with proper precautions. Use what your space has to your advantage!

Contact Blue Tree

It’s not too late to install state-of-the-art equipment in time for summer! Blue Tree will outfit your home with the right landscaping tools and services for any time of year. Our team of professionals can provide information and a quote based on your needs, so contact us with any questions on how to help you get started!

Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts for Small Backyards

Divide Your PlantsSome backyards do not have the luxury of abundant room to personalize, especially in areas that are closer to major cities. This can force homeowners to get creative with their backyards, which can lead to many different positive outcomes. Take a look at some do’s and don’ts to take into consideration before beginning the remodeling process.

Do: Take Company into Account

If your backyard plays host to parties and get-togethers on a frequent basis, a simple aesthetic might be the key to an appealing setting. Tables, chairs, and sufficient walkways are crucial to any successful hosting of an event. Stick to landscaping and decorations that won’t detract from your guest’s experience.

Don’t: Over-Decorate 

Choosing giant features for a tiny space can overwhelm the eye and take up valuable real estate. Often, one or two simple pieces can act as accoutrements to the main components (e.g. a few wall ornaments will match an in-ground pool that takes up most your yard’s foot room). Fountains, statues, and accessories that hold little function can cause clutter. Be conscientious of what you’re working with; less is enough in situations like these.

Do: Choose Functionality

Maximizing surface area can be a key component to expanding any backyard size. Adding a retaining wall can provide multitier opportunities for the gardener in the family, and lighting up the whole space will create an entertainment hub for hosts of every kind. When every inch is cared for, it can greatly increase the enjoyment capacity for everyone.

Don’t: Ignore Your Climate

Whether it’s hot and dry or damp outside, landscaping can suffer if the proper materials are not chosen for a backyard space. This is especially true when children are present; a patio that gets too hot in the summer or lawn components that dominate the space are not conducive to their play or enjoyment.

Do: Contact Blue Tree

It’s time to get started! Blue Tree Landscaping has all the keys to a new and beautiful space that you can be proud of. We offer commercial landscaping services such as lawn care services, pool installation, and beyond for those looking to revitalize any limited backyard. Call us today to explore your options and turn your small backyard into your favorite room in the house!

Why You Need Different Kinds of Soil While Landscaping

6 tips for growing vebetablesAutumn in America can mean many things to Americans. Football season is back. Apple picking is now the go-to weekend activity. And there is still time to plant crops like beets and broccoli. However, there’s more to seasonal gardening than just knowing what types of produce should be harvested at this time of year. The type of soil you plant your crops in matters almost as much as the crops themselves.

Below, we’ll discuss the properties of each kind of soil, and what conditions they’re best utilized in.

Sandy Soil 

Sandy soil behaves quite similarly to the beachy landscapes its name is derived from: it’s dry and gritty to the touch, and, because it is comprised of large particles, it doesn’t retain much water. Moreover, like the sand found on beaches, sandy soil gets heated up rapidly compared to the surrounding environment. While this means sandy soil is far from ideal for summer gardening, this light soil is great for springtime planting.

Silty Soil 

Silty soils is far smoother than sandy soil, and is much less coarse to the touch. This means that, unlike sandy soil, it will hold a far greater quantity of water. When moistened, silty soil will take on an almost soapy texture due to the water it retains. Of course, this water capacity comes at the expense of soil nutrients, and the soil should not be stepped on, as that will affect its aeration. Silty soil is ideal for agricultural uses at all types of the year, given ideal conditions are present.

Clay 

Out of the soils on this list, clay has the smallest sized particles. This means that clay can hold greater volumes of water than the other soils on this list, which makes clay among the densest and heaviest of soil types. Moreover, since it drains more slowly than all other soil types, clay retains nutrients for long stretches of time, which are ideal for plant growth. Clay soil is best used during the fall and spring, as summer weather can make clay very dry and heavy.

Peaty Soil 

Peaty soil, like moss or lichen, is soft to the touch, and is very rich in nutrients and organic material. In fact, much of the peaty soil around today formed during the last 9,000 years, as plants submerged as melting glaciers slowly decomposed. Once drained of excess water, peaty soil is a great growing medium in most climates. However, peaty soil should be avoided during the summer months, as it is highly combustible. Additionally, peaty soil typically contains a high pH, which, while detrimental for some plants to grow, can help regulate diseases in the soil thanks to its acidic composition.

Loam 

The type of soil that gardens and gardeners love is loamy soil. It contains an ideal balance of silt, sand, clay, and humus. Because of its high organic matter content, loam contains a high pH and a high amount of calcium. Loam does a great job of retaining water and plant nutrients, but isn’t difficult to drain, as air moves freely between soil particles down to the roots.

Although loamy soil is the ideal material to work with, don’t despair if you don’t have it in your garden. That’s because soil will always favor one particle’s size over the two others. Then again, there are many ways to condition your soil, and, depending on the unique composition of your land, loam can still yield verdant grassy lawns, delicious vegetables, or bountiful harvests.

If you’d like professional help deciding which soils to use, contact Blue Tree Landscaping for advice. Blue Tree will also assist with picking the right plants for your yard so that you can create a healthy and aesthetically pleasing space.