Category Archives: Trees

Everything You Should Know About Planting in the Fall

Everything You Should Know About Planting in the Fall

Early fall is a great time to add new plants to your yard or garden. You’ll want to plan out what you’re going to plant long before your area will experience an intense frost so that your plants have time to root. The fall offers a great climate for your plants to grow, in addition to a more pleasant environment for you to work in. The following are all of the items you should plant this season.

Plant Vegetables in Your Garden

There are many vegetables that should be planted during cooler weather, such as different types of lettuce, salad greens like kale or spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, and cauliflower. Most of these vegetables should be planted as early in the fall as possible, or even in the late summer. So, make sure to check the seed packet before starting. Types of garlic and onion, for example, can be planted in the fall to be harvested in the spring or summer. This is also a great time to plant many types of herbs, like basil.

Plant Flowers for Spring

Now is the best time to plant flowers that will bloom in the spring. Unlike planting in the spring, when the ground is still cold from the winter, planting in the fall allows the flowers to root while the ground is still warm. Perennial flowers, like tulips, black-eyed Susans, pansies, peonies, and daffodils, are all great choices to plant now. This is also a good time to plant roses. Come springtime, you will have a beautiful array of flowers in your yard.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

It is also beneficial for trees and shrubs to take root while the ground is still warm. Trees and shrubs with fall colors — such as deep reds, oranges, and yellows — would be a great addition to your yard. Try planting a Japanese maple tree in your front yard to spruce up your landscaping. This is also a good time to plant larger trees, such as various types of maple or pine trees.

Make Your Yard Stand Out

Landscaping is a key component to making your yard stand out. Combined with hardscaping, landscaping your yard helps you to make the most of your outdoor space. Contact Blue Tree Landscaping to transform your yard into the manicured lawn you’ve been dreaming of. Whether you have an idea in mind or need help brainstorming, Blue Tree will help you every step of the way.

Creative Ways to Add Shade to Your Garden This Summer

005Effective garden landscaping takes comfort into consideration, providing easy access to both sunny and shady spots. Is your landscape lacking? Read on for creative ways to add shade to your garden this summer.

How to Add Shade to Your Garden This Summer

Shady Plantings

Add a bit of shade and a touch of class to your landscape with trees and evergreens. You don’t need to cover the entire yard, just go with species that will filter sunlight wherever you desire. Stick with shorter trees to provide an easy break from the heat without dominating your yard. Double-check the height and spread of a tree before you plant it. Additionally, plant trees far enough away from driveways, sidewalks, and other concrete areas to avoid interference from roots. Flowering trees add beauty to your yard while fruit trees offer a sweet snack.

Strategic Plants
For anyone on a budget, a bit of shade can still be achieved on the cheap. Look for large potted plants to define your garden and provide the shade you need. Potted plants are easy to rearrange in formations that help beat the heat. Use a large table umbrella to cover any gaps.

Hedge It

Need shade somewhere particular? A hedge can help you get there, fast. Find a hedge that matches your needs. See if it will grow tall enough and if it can withstand the range of temperatures between summer and winter. More than just a shady feature, a hedge can provide a handy windbreak that can not only shield anyone on the patio, but can also protect fragile, new plants. Best of all, hedges enhance a landscape — even in the dead of winter.

Pergolas and Other Structures

Sophisticated and attractive, a pergola incorporates shade and a touch of drama. Enjoy the light-filtering benefits of a structure like a pergola, gazebo, or arbor, and upgrade your curb appeal. For tighter spaces, a partial pergola is the perfect match for a barren corner. To add an extra boost, consider the addition of hanging flower baskets or putting in flowering vines for a more romantic look.

Your landscape needs to fit a variety of needs. By adding in shade to otherwise too sunny areas, you can ensure that your yard functions as a gathering space all summer long.

To make sure your landscape is up to the task, consider turning to a professional. Blue Tree Landscaping is the one-stop-shop for everything from planning to design to maintenance — and even pools. Contact Blue Tree Landscaping today to incorporate shade into your garden.

 

 

How Outdoor Landscaping Can Add Value to Your Home

How Outdoor Landscaping Can Add Value to Your HomeExperts agree that landscaping not only adds instant curb appeal to your home, but also increases the value of your property by a whopping 20%. If your home’s outdoor landscape is typically more of an afterthought, consider making a change. Whipping your yard into shape now can help you achieve maximum benefits later.

How Outdoor Landscaping Adds Value

The Outdoor Advantage

By adding outdoor rooms, you can merge the functionality of the indoors with the natural beauty of the outdoors, significantly doubling your living space in the process. Use like materials to help capture that home feeling. Hardscaping elements can help establish an easy flow, and increase the value of your home to future buyers.

Shady Spaces

If you aren’t planning to sell your home in the near future, planting a shade tree now will help you reap the benefits in more ways than one later on. Not only can a perfectly placed tree add that special something to your yard, but it can also reduce your cooling costs by 40%.

Native Plants

Which plants and flowers are indigenous to the Philly area? Consider these plant types first. The general rule is that plants that are particular to the area will require less maintenance, and be better able to resist the weather conditions and local pests of the Philly region. Furthermore, these plants will add value to your home without draining your budget or requiring constant care.

Shed a Little Light

Lighting will not only provide future home buyers with a feeling of security and safety, but when lights are placed just right, it will also create a welcoming ambience. Highlight the key features of your yard and garden with well-placed lighting structures. Install light fixtures that shine right to your front door. Potential buyers won’t be able to resist.

Good Fences, Great Neighbors

Sturdy, well-maintained fences can increase your property value. Skip the chain link fence and do something a little different. Opt for a fence that’s different from the rest of the homes on your block, while still being tasteful. It will make even a small yard seem more spacious, while providing some needed privacy.

Form and Function

Backyard construction projects are a great way to begin adding value to your home. If these projects seem too overwhelming, turn to the experienced professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

 

Blue Tree Landscaping is your one-stop-shop for everything lawn, from planning to design to maintenance. Call Blue Tree Landscaping and add value to your home today!

How to Create More Privacy in your Yard

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We all love our neighbors, but that doesn’t mean we want our lawn in their full view. If your yard didn’t come with any barriers, there are a number of stylish elements you can choose from.

Here are 5 great ways to give your yard a little more privacy:

1. Fences

Installing a fence between you and your neighbors isn’t the most creative solution, but it is certainly the most traditional. It’s relatively cost effective, and provides the ultimate barrier for any yard. When purchasing a fence, be sure to consider the height carefully. A 6-foot fence often provides ample privacy, but some homeowners opt for greater heights.

2. A Living Barrier

A living barrier uses plants, flowers, vines, or trees to create a visual privacy barrier. These can easily fit any landscape design, provided you choose the right type of plant. If you opt for a living barrier, there’s a number of things to consider beyond a plant’s style. You also need to decide how thick or dense you want the barrier to be. For example, a dense barrier may provide more privacy, but it also reduces lighting. Another element to consider is how the living barrier will grow. A lattice is a great start for vines, but bushes need to either be installed fully-grown, or chosen based on their future height.

3. Overhead Privacy

Sometimes the privacy you want isn’t for the entire yard. Maybe you just want a portion of your lawn closed-off, so you can entertain in peace. For those who want ‘overhead’ privacy, shade, sails, or pergolas can offer excellent privacy options. They’re especially helpful if your property is at a lower level than your neighbors.

4. A Private Area

Setting up a fence or living barrier can be cumbersome, which is why a single private area, like a patio, can be a great option. Creating a single, secluded space, with a lattice or tall plant, can create the single private area you need, without isolating your neighbors.

5. Patio Screens

Another option for creating an isolated area on your lawn is to screen in a patio. By adding privacy screens, you can create a private space without the ongoing maintenance of plants, or the expense of tall fences.  

Need Help?

Figuring out how to best create a private space for your yard can be tough, especially when fitting it into your existing landscape design. If you need help choosing a yard privacy option that suits your current property, contact us at Blue Tree Landscaping. With 30 years of experience, we’re more than ready to give you the guidance you need.

How to Landscape Your Yard to Increase the Value of Your Home

Add Ambiance and Enjoyment to Your PoolTo increase the value of your home, you have to focus on more than just the interior. In fact, curb appeal and a striking backyard are both important when it comes to attracting homebuyers and boosting your home’s list price.

If you’re ready to landscape your yard and transform it from a bland, uninviting space into one that would entice anyone to spend more time outside, continue reading for a few tips.   

Choose Plants Wisely for Color Throughout the Year

Perennials are a great way to add color throughout your yard, depending upon when they bloom, and you don’t have to worry about replanting them every spring. Instead, they’ll continue to grow larger with each passing year.

Don’t just focus on plants that bloom in the spring and early summer. To achieve color throughout the year, plant perennials that bloom in the middle to latter part of summer, as well as in the fall, such as Chrysanthemums.

Also, don’t forget to plant a variety of evergreens so you can have plenty of greenery even when the snow falls. These also work well if you want to create a natural privacy barrier between your yard and a neighbor’s yard, rather than installing a fence.

Add Majestic Trees

Trees are a beautiful way to provide habitat to local wildlife and create much-needed shade. You can even place trees in areas of your yard where they’ll help reduce the costs of cooling your home in the summer.

No matter where you decide to plant trees, though, you can rest assured that they’ll increase in value over time as they grow ever more tall and lovely, and this will translate to an increase in your property’s overall value.

Decorate Your Pool and Add Outdoor Lighting

If you have an in-ground pool, it’s already adding value to your home, but with the right pool landscape design, including pavers and plants, you can boost its appeal even further.

Combine this with outdoor lighting throughout your space and you’ll be able to create an inviting and calming area that’s perfect for spending nights entertaining friends and family.

For Attractive Landscape Designs, Hire the Pros

Hiring professional landscapers like those here at Blue Tree is the best way to achieve the highest quality landscape design that isn’t just affordable, but also customized to suit your particular backyard.

 

We provide everything from pool design and patios to garden design and pavers, throughout the many towns in Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks County, PA. You’ll be amazed by how much value professional landscaping will add to your home, and you won’t even have to lift a finger from start to finish.  

 

How to Protect Your Plants and Trees from Cold Weather

How to Protect Your Plants and Trees from Cold WeatherOur cold Philadelphia winters aren’t just hard on us—they’re hard on our gardens and landscaping too! But despite the hardship many plants, trees, and shrubs endure over the winter, all is not lost, and you needn’t surrender your garden design to the low temperatures.

How to Protect your Plants and Trees from Cold Weather

Each type of garden life will react differently to winter—particularly trees, shrubs, and plants. So let’s look at each aspect of your garden design individually…

Trees

Trees are some of nature’s heartier plants, which means they weather winter quite well for the most part. Trees meant for warm weather, however, will require specific care and should be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

While trees generally do well over winter, they do have a couple of weak spots that you can help them with—most notably root injury and frost heaving. Root injury occurs when frost penetrates the ground deep enough to damage the roots of the tree. You can give your trees a hand by using mulch, which acts as an insulator to (somewhat) protect the roots. If you have a freshly planted or transplanted tree, mulch can help protect the roots from any gaps in the backfilling.

The other issue with trees in winter is frost heaving, which is caused by freezing and thawing (making the soil expand and contract). Adding a layer of mulch, 4 to 6 inches deep, can help maintain a more steady temperature and prevent the heaving action.

So the answer to protecting trees in winter is, in many cases, mulch.

If your trees are damaged already from frost, don’t prune until they’re healthy again, and cover any areas where bark has been removed.

Shrubs

There is a fairly easy way to protect shrubs from frost: cover them with a blanket. While this isn’t practical for the entire winter, it can help in a flash frost in fall or spring.

Plants

This category is extremely broad, so we’ll try to cover as much as we can. However for fickle plants, especially warm-weather plants, you’ll need to consult their specific cold-weather rules.

Unfortunately, some plants simply aren’t designed to make it through the winter, especially less hearty species. Plants especially vulnerable to frost can be dug up, potted, and brought in doors. Similarly, plants with bulbs can be dug up, and the bulbs can be stored for the winter in a cool, dry place.

If the first frost is impending but hasn’t hit yet, thoroughly water your plants before they frost or freeze. This will give them a layer of insulating water and help collapse any air tunnels (which lets frost get to the roots).


Professional Winter Prep

If you’ve spent ample time and money on your garden design and want to ensure that it makes it through the winter and is resplendent for spring—contact us. Our professionals here at Blue Tree can help you prepare your garden design for winter…and beyond.

6 Steps to Prep Your Yard for Winter

6 Steps ro Prep Your Yard for WinterYour yard and landscape design should be put to rest for winter in the same loving way you put a child to bed…with careful planning and a soothing touch. After all, it’s about to lay dormant for months while fighting off the pings of frost.

Luckily, prepping your landscape design for the cold winter isn’t difficult—it just takes a little planning and some elbow grease.

How to Prep Your Yard for Winter

Prepping your yard for winter can be accomplished in 6 (relatively) simple steps…

1. Mow Your Lawn

Many Philadelphia residents give the lawn a last mowing based on a somewhat arbitrary date, generally around the time it gets cold. But our cold-season grasses like bluegrass and fescue will continue growing through the cold, albeit at a slower pace. Continue mowing until the ground is frozen (though with the slowed growth you’ll only need to mow every two weeks). Keeping the grass short before snowfall will help prevent fungal growth.

2. Remove Some Debris

Removing all leaves and natural debris isn’t required, as they can provide excellent ground cover and fertilizer. However, having said that, look for larger clumps and remove them to prevent your lawn from being smothered.

3. Aerate

Aeration (creating little holes in your lawn) will help uncompact your lawn and provide it with much-needed oxygen. While it shouldn’t be done willy-nilly (over aerating has no value), it proves exceedingly useful if you have lawn clippings or other natural debris that are more than half an inch deep.

4. Fertilize—for Winter

In the springtime, lawns can be fertilized with nitrogen-rich fertilizer to promote quick growth. In winter, however, you want the exact opposite…slow growth. Look for a fertilizer with potassium to slow lawn growth but still leave the soil ready for spring blooms.

5. Don’t Prune the Perennials

Many homeowners prune back their perennials in the fall in preparation for spring. We say leave them be. Letting them finish their natural growth cycle is a powerful way to let their energy reserves store up.

6. Control your Weeds

Fall is the best time to control weeds—especially those that prey on your perennials. By spraying for weeds in the fall you disrupt their natural growth cycle, causing them to die over winter without having the energy required to reboot in the spring.

 

With a little elbow grease your landscape design will be ready to hibernate over winter—and bloom brilliantly in the spring.

If in the spring you decide that your landscape design could use a little sprucing up, give us a call here at Blue Tree Landscaping. Our hardscaping, garden designs, and other elements can give your yard that extra oomph it needs.

5 Pool Landscaping Ideas to Make Your Pool Stunning…and Your Neighbors Jealous

5 pool landscaping ideasIn ground swimming pools have come a long way! No longer are they functional at the price of your yard’s style—instead, a quality pool can be the visual highlight of your yard while offering hours of entertainment.

To help you get inspired to spiff up an existing pool or start on a new in ground swimming pool design, we’ve put together 5 of our favorite pool landscaping ideas…     

1. Lounge Area

Patios are a common sight around in ground swimming pools, but you can take this concept a step further by upgrading your patio to a swanky lounge area. By trading your dated table and chair sets in for modern loungers and outdoor sofas, you’ll not only look significantly more stylish, but you’ll also be way more comfortable while catching rays and watching the kids.

2. Pergola

Pergolas are a great way to highlight a lounge or patio area by a pool. While they don’t provide much protection from the elements (which you likely won’t need if you’re outside for a pool day anyway) the added modern oomph that they offer is tangible.

3. New Stonework 

Adding high-quality inlaid stones around your in ground swimming pool can quickly (although not ‘easily’…which anyone who has laid brick or stones before knows all too well) turn a 90’s-looking pool into a modern design. High-quality stones can be pricey, but will last over the long term—and add a hefty chunk of change to the value of your home.

4. Hardscaped Walls

Adding hardscaped walls around your in ground swimming pool can not only improve its safety and add extra seating for parties (if the wall is thick enough), but also give a beautiful visual. If it’s a retaining wall, you can add a beautiful garden around the pool to boot.

5. Trees

A pool isn’t an island—it should be part of a landscape design that includes trees and nature. Trees can make a pool look more natural by incorporating green and other natural colors into its surroundings.

The key with trees is to carefully select ones that won’t grow over the pool or shed their leaves or other debris in it. For around-the-pool trees we recommend paperbark, copper beech, dogwood, and lindens—although these trees require pruning as they mature. Evergreens, cedars, and yews are also great options.

 

Tree transplanting, lounge furniture acquisition, and pergola building are possible DIY projects, but for a more professional look—or if you simply don’t have the time or effort to spend—you may want to look into professional help. In ground swimming pools, hardscaped walls, and stonework should be completed by a professional.

Contact us here at Blue Tree landscaping today for recommendations to rejuvenate your pool landscaping…within your budget.

October: Tree-Transplanting Month

Tree transplantingOctober is a great time of year to transplant trees, shrubs, and rosebushes to improve your landscape design. That is, transplanting them now works well because they have just enough time to take root before they go into hibernation with the rest of your yard.

So—how exactly do you transport trees and shrubs?

 How to Transplant Trees and Shrubs

The bad news about transplanting for landscape design is that it seems like an easy concept, but it can be deceptively difficult. The transplanting of trees and shrubs must be executed correctly or the roots won’t take and the plant will die.

If you follow these steps from our professional landscapers, though, you’ll be good to go:

Step #1: Scout your Location

When scouting out the best location for your transplant landscape design, pay close attention to the spacing of other large plants, water drainage, and sun and shade. If you’re unsure of the specific needs of your trees, shrubs, or rosebushes, Google them beforehand.

Step #2: Dig Your Hole—First

Be sure to dig your hole in your new landscape design transplant area first, so as to not dry out the roots or subject them to damage from the elements for an extended period of time. When digging the new hole ensure it is twice the width of the original rootball size (see step #3 for details), but dig it a little shallower than the original rootball to avoid water settling in and rotting the roots. Don’t break up the earth at the bottom of the new hole, as this, surprisingly, can cause the tree to sink and rot.

Step #3: Rootball

Measure or estimate the width and depth of the rootball based on the average size of the tree or shrub. You may need to do an exploratory dig around the roots to determine the exact size (while this is arduous, it does have the added benefit of making you feel a bit like an archeologist). Keep as much of the rootball intact as possible by digging around the main mass of roots (although it’s impossible to get every single root). When cutting through offshoot roots use a sharp shovel or pruners for a clean cut.

 Step #4: Transplant

After you have removed enough dirt around the rootball and cut through the remaining offshoot roots, you should be able to put your shovel under the tree or shrub and lift. Next, gently transport the plant to the hole in the new location. If it is too large to transport easily by lifting it, then put it on a tarp for transport. After placing it (gently) in the hole, cover it with dirt and tap the soil down to remove any air pockets (which could cause it to shift and not take root properly).

Step #5: Reverse Moat

To help water stay where it’s needed, create a mounded dirt ring (a couple of inches high will suffice) around the tree.

Step #6: Mulch

Rodents and other pests love to eat freshly transplanted plants, so spread a layer of mulch around yours—but not too close to the trunk/base, or you’ll restrict needed air.

Need Some Help with your Landscape Design?

If transplanting is an attempt to boost your garden design in a yard that looks lackluster, consider giving us a call here at Blue Tree. Our professionals can help you plan and implement a landscape design that will look fabulous for years to come.