Category Archives: maintenance

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 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 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.

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!

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!

How to Keep Your Yard Alive Until Winter

We’re in the thick of summer when the air is hottest and driest. Around this time, lawns and foliage can start to look withered and brown, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are several measures you can take to preserve the integrity and beauty of your yard. Check out these tips on keeping the back and front yards looking fresh until the holidays, and finishing out the warmer months with a clean, polished space.

Sprinklers

Make sure the sprinkler system isn’t suffering along with the grass and plants. Check the equipment and water levels for the home to ensure that everything is in perfect working order, and make replacements as needed. If something is outdated or rusty, be sure to make changes immediately, so the weather doesn’t wreak havoc on expensive equipment.

Tend to All Surfaces 

The ground may be covered with leaves and snow in the months ahead, but that does not have to damage a patio or poolside surface. Seal the surface with protective shellacs or sealants, or strip existing coverage and replace it with new materials. It may be best to hold off on replacing any hardscaping materials until after the unpredictable, cooler weather subsides; spring might be best for projects that require a longer commitment for completion.

Sod or Plants 

If the greenery is beyond help, seek other solutions. Unrolling a new lawn over stripped ground provides a new foundation for an aesthetic yard. Keep in mind, though, that sod is a costlier option that should be considered early in the season.

Flowers or potted plants are other options that prove to be cost-efficient, especially if they’re artificial. When the weather turns frigid, the plants can be brought inside and stored for the next season’s enjoyment. Choose to replicate local flowers, or get creative and pick tropical options for a splash of color!

Adjust Décor 

It’s possible to enjoy the outdoors in the colder months if your space is equipped for it! Snag weather-resistant cushions that will stand up to harsher weather and bring any delicate adornments inside to protect them. A fire pit can be a comfortable entertainment choice for larger groups that want to enjoy the crisp late-year weather, and sturdy light fixtures will illuminate the space in all types of weather.

Contact Blue Tree

Let us help you polish your space! Our team of experts is happy to give you a quote on repair services, landscaping changes, and more. We are committed to helping you get the most out of your yard year-round, so contact us to get started!