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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 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.

Different Types of Patio Materials

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

Brick

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

Wood

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

Tile

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

Stone

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

Concrete

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

Contact Blue Tree

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

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.

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!

Entertaining Outside In Fall

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the festivities are moving to the comfort of the indoors. For those who wish to entertain outside, this can prove to be a bit of a challenge. Regardless, with preparation and some flexibility, anyone can host a stunning and enjoyable outdoor get-together as the seasons change.

Fire Pits

As the ultimate centerpiece for entertaining outdoors, fire pits provide more than just a lovely aesthetic; they additionally provide warmth and a rustic experience. Certain designs can also house a grate for grilling, and toasting marshmallows is always an option for a fun party dessert!

Space Heaters

One of the joys of outdoor dining at a restaurant or bar is sitting under a heat lamp and feeling its warmth while eating. To emulate that same concept, those restaurant beacons can be used in the home as well! Place a few free-standing units as desired, or consider investing in something more stagnant for entertaining.

Restaurants also use wind blockers for openings to and from the outside. Although not the most attractive option, plastic covers fitted to patios or doors leading to the front yard or backyard allow for a reprieve from wind and other weather conditions. When the warm weather rolls around again, roll them up and store them for next season!

Cozy Backyard Furniture

If the weather permits, break out some comfortable blankets and pillows for guests to use. Store them indoors while not in use, and try not to purchase any light colors or delicate fabrics that won’t stand up to the elements. Thicker, coarser materials such as wool or hemp are viable choices for winter months.

Winter Gazebo or Pergola

A gazebo is commonly thought of in the warmer months for entertaining, but this structure can be formatted to encase guests in an area of warmth! A gazebo roof will support sealing coatings and tarps for protection, and several heat entertainment functions can be added to the framework. Consider putting some of that cozy furniture under a gazebo during a party, too.

For a completely new addition, also consider a pergola. This small sanctuary can be customized to fit the season’s needs, from sturdy materials to protective coatings. Although some pergolas thrive with plant encasings during the summer months, tarps and thick coverings will contribute to the protective aspects just as well.

Contact Blue Tree

Worried about winter wear and tear that might come from these events? Blue Tree Landscaping can help! Our team of experts will seal and protect multiple backyard surfaces for entertaining, from the pool to the patio. Contact us for a quote on our services today!

How To Turn Your Yard Into An Island Getaway

It’s vacation time! While that might mean jetting off to a tropical excursion for some, others might not have the same plans for such an exotic getaway. Luckily, there are fun (and easy) ways to turn your yard into the ultimate staycation spot!

Tiki Torches

These festive decorations are easy to come by. Outdoor furniture outlets, home goods stores, and even home improvement places will all have the woven straw decorations that turn any yard into the perfect luau! Stick them into the ground around a pool deck or the path leading into the house, and set them ablaze after the sun goes down to keep the party going well into the night.

Lanterns

There are many options for hanging light fixtures that add another pleasing touch to any decor. Paper lanterns in a litany of colors are fun for parties, and permanent lanterns with cool, soft lighting are growing in popularity. Grab some mini tabletop lanterns for your next entertainment event, or take it a step further and get free-standing light structures that can be placed anywhere outside. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Tropical Plants

Since the summer months are short-lived, not everyone has the time to plant extravagant flowers that won’t last the year. Consider potted plants which can be relocated to different areas or even synthetic flowers that can be stored until next year’s heat wave. For beautiful, tropical choices, we recommend flowers with substantial roots and leaves, such as the Bird of Paradise flower.

Fabrics

Consider colorful pillows, seat covers, or tablecloths to spice up the decor. While it can get pricey to purchase seasonal, trendy furniture items and their accessories, covering existing decorations is a cost-efficient way to change it up. Aim for simplicity! In the summer, white and cream-colored cushions are stylish, and pops of color can be added in a variety of ways.

Music

No vacation is complete without the perfect playlist! Hook up speakers to an overhang or gazebo post to set the mood, no matter the occasion. As for the tunes, use services such as Spotify or Pandora to compile a list of soothing music that will boost the vacation feel for anyone listening.

Contact Blue Tree

Let us help you revitalize your space for the summer! Our team of experts at Blue Tree Landscaping is dedicated to providing quality landscaping, pool, and even decorative services to help any backyard thrive. Contact us to get a quote, and don’t wait any longer to treat yourself to some summer festivities!

Accent Your Yard with Different Plants

Decorating a yard is one of the most personal, fun aspects of putting together a beautiful space. With a warm season in the works, accessorizing might mean more than just a few well-placed tchotchkes. Give your yard what it needs by placing plants and natural accouterments in your outdoor space! There are several options for placing greenery in a yard, all of which can be customized into a unique layout for any aesthetic. Here are a few options worth visiting a greenhouse for:

Trees

This is one to plan for early. It can be rewarding to buy saplings early and let them flourish over years of time, but growth will happen very gradually. Make sure the ground has ample room for widening root systems, and know what the cycles of weather will bring for individual breeds. Choose from fir trees and smaller accent trees to fruit trees that will bring a personal harvest every year. Patience is key for tree growth, so enjoy watching the progress!

Shrubs

If there is a large amount of sidewalk space or a fence that needs sprucing up, choosing bushes or shrubs to line that space will provide more than just decoration. Small children or dogs will have some buffers from a more unforgiving surface, and outside critters will have a more difficult time infiltrating the property. Pruning can be a fun aspect to shrubbery, especially with the potential of forming different shapes into free-standing structures.

Flowers

Always a popular choice, accenting the yard with seasonal flowers will brighten any space. Flowers will pollinate, helping any garden plants to grow to full potential, and the whole yard will benefit from the natural care. If space allows, flower beds in windows or underneath them is a classic setup that with proper care and maintenance will result in beautiful bouquets along the outside walls of your home.

Grass

A well-groomed lawn has a subtle contribution to the overall picture. Whether one chooses natural grass, sod, or artificial turf surface, a lawn will help determine the health and potential of plants placed in it. A sufficient irrigation system and a little upkeep will keep your grass, and thus your plants, healthy.

Blue Tree

For more landscaping and installation ideas, contact Blue Tree! Our team of experts will advise and assist in this year’s round of planting, from choosing special breeds to crafting blueprints to making your space both lovely and functional. We have been serving creative homeowners since 1983, and cannot wait to work with you to build the yard of your dreams!

Upgrade Your Pool for Summer Entertaining

The summer solstice, which marks both the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, is coming up on June 21st. Around this time, schools are out, people are taking vacations, and many folks are hoping to enjoy a nice dip in the pool! If your pool’s amenities are outdated or need fixing up, there are a few ways to do this in time for more festivities.

Clean the Grout

If the pool’s surrounding surface has tiles, the dirt buildup in the cracks can be unsightly. Scraping it out works, but this can be a huge hassle. A power washer will get rid of dirt and buildup, without having to replace any cement or artificial stone that surrounds your pool area. The power washer can be used for the rest of your surfaces as well, such as wood patios, resilient fences, and walls that need cleaning.

Inspect the Pool

Most pools have plaster or Pebble Tec surfaces coating the interior. With winter weather and the wear-and-tear of extended use over the years, these surfaces might be starting to show deterioration. You many want to refinish any surfaces that are chipped or stained before they are put to use. Often, a harsher surface begins to peek out from under the smooth plaster, and fixing this is a safety and liability issue that you should try to take care of early.

Perform Some Touch-Ups

After a harsh winter, the landscaping around your pool might need replenishing. Plant fresh flowers and vegetation to give a lively vibe to any space, and paint over any faded decorations or surfaces that could use a new coat. Check out couch and chair cushions as well: sunlight can cause fading of colors and patterns, and it might be time to replace anything that looks lighter or loses its texture.

Decorate

One of the easiest and most attainable means for improvement, decorating your pool area is a personal and fun process. It can be as simple as changing out plants or color schemes, or can encompass projects that are larger in scale. Consider swapping out decorative tile work, large furniture, and lounge pieces to stay current with styles and give your whole backyard the makeover it deserves.

Contact Blue Tree

Let the experts join you in your renovations! Blue Tree Landscaping is proud to offer hardscaping and decorative services for backyards of any size. Call today for a quote or advice on getting started. Summer won’t last forever, but with a few tweaks, any backyard can be revamped for months and years to come.