Category Archives: maintenance

Get Your Children Involved in Your Vegetable Garden

Growing a Vegetable Garden

Spending quality time with family is enjoyable at any age, especially when children are young and curious! One project that guarantees hard work, valuable lessons, and plenty of dirt is a backyard garden. Here are some tips for getting the kids involved in growing a vegetable garden.

Let Them Pick The Plants

Make the shopping trip for seeds a group activity. Let the little ones choose a few of the seed packets for planting, or let them choose the whole garden. If there’s a food they enjoy eating already, such as pizza, offer suggestions for toppings that can go on it, such as mushrooms or basil. This will expand their horizons and allow for creativity before the planting process begins.

Install The Garden Together

It’s almost guaranteed that getting down on hands and knees in the dirt is something that kids enjoy! Let them help ready the soil for planting, and place the seeds in the ground to watch them grow. This is an excellent bonding activity, and a great way to spend a few afternoons together when the weather allows for it. Plus, it serves as a great workout!

As an additional activity, create homemade plant markers to label plants with. Blank markers are available online, or go one step further and take to Pinterest for unique ideas. This will showcase your children’s efforts while the fruits and vegetables are sprouting, and help to curb the impatience of waiting for the fruits and vegetables to grow.

Give Them Tools

A full-sized shovel may be too much for a small child to handle. Consider investing in a set of child-sized tools, such as rakes and shovels, for your next outdoor session. Oftentimes, they will work as well as adult-sized tools, and the pride in using their own materials will be that much more fun for your child!

Assign Chores

Give everyone their own role in tending to the fruits and vegetables. Delegating activities such as watering, weeding, and checking for bugs are all important daily tasks that will keep the garden’s foliage healthy throughout the seasons. In addition, this serves as a lesson in responsibility, especially when parents get involved and tackle some of the more difficult tasks right alongside them.

Call Blue Tree

We can help you get your yard ready for the garden of your dreams! From clearing the landscape to designing the area and installing the beds, our garden landscape services will help you with every step of the process. Contact us today to get started!

How to Get Your Yard Ready for the First Spring Barbecue

Backyard barbecues are a classic warm-weather activity. With the introduction of spring, it’s time to prepare for this year’s schedule of get-togethers. Here’s a checklist of actions to take to make sure your yard is cookout ready!

Clear the Area

Starting with a clutter-free area is an important step in getting your yard ready. Clear away chipped-off roofing materials, paint, and other debris to maintain a clean appearance, and take care of any damaged furniture with canvas treatments and repairs. For the ground, taking a power washer to the surface and its cracks will remove hard-to-reach dirt and leftover remains of winter storms.

Harsh winter weather can also take a toll on plants and foliage. Strip away excess dead materials by weeding or ripping up old sod. Raking leaves and branches before treating the grass will aid the process, and depending on the type and amount of sod, it may need to be ripped up completely. Ultimately this will prevent any unwanted winter scraps from blowing into the grill, as well as provide the preferred aesthetic for cookouts and get-togethers.

Replant As Needed

Take a couple of days to beautify the space surrounding the grill. Replace and replant flowers and outdoor decorations, and don’t forget the grass; tending to a lawn may be a hefty task, but the payoff of a gorgeous, healthy lawn is worth the effort. This is also an excellent opportunity to upgrade your landscaping layout if desired.

Prepare the Grill

Grills that sat through the winter should be cleaned and treated for any damage sustained. Check the grease trap, the hose, the grate, and all other surfaces that were exposed to winter weather. A new propane tank might be necessary as well, but before the cooking starts, fire up the grill for a test run. This will guarantee that the systems are in working order for the meals to come.

Don’t forget to prep for the barbecue itself as well! Use a grill cleaner to ensure the lid and external surfaces are free of rust and oil and clean the surrounding prep area’s surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner. Even investing in high-quality utensils, such as tongs and skewers, will complement the hardware and allow the grill to perform throughout many cookout seasons.

Contact Blue Tree

The first barbecue of spring is approaching! We want to help you prepare your yard for barbecues, parties, and beyond. Contact us for hardscaping needs for your grill or patio today.

Five Benefits of a Vegetable Garden

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Flowers, shrubs and trees are always lovely additions to any outdoor space, but a vegetable garden brings a plethora of benefits that extend beyond a gorgeous landscape. The opportunities that come with cultivating a vegetable garden have an even further reach than the land it grows on. Here are five reasons to consider starting your own fresh vegetable garden.

1) Enjoy Healthy, Homegrown Produce

Vegetables are rich in vitamins and nutrients, making them staples in any nutritious diet. Pick and choose among dozens of varietals to create a diverse array of produce for your table. Plus, when you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can rest assured the crops are free of pesticides and other unwanted additives that commercial fruits and vegetables can contain. A garden is also a cost-efficient venture that will save you lots on your grocery bills throughout the growing months (think of those $5 packets of herbs you use once and then throw away!).

2) Gardening Is a Great Form of Exercise

Tending to a garden can be a great workout. Every aspect of working on a garden, from planting seeds to weeding, requires lots of movement and various forms of physical labor, like loading and pushing a wheelbarrow. Be sure to hydrate and wear adequate UV protection, such as sunblock and protective clothing, when working outdoors.

3) It Encourages Community Bonding

The social benefits of a garden are plentiful as well. Gardens can range from small backyard plots to huge community projects, and each one plays a role in serving the people that care for them. Tending to a vegetable garden can foster relationships with family and neighbors, as well as bring groups of people closer together to work towards a common goal. In addition, vegetable gardens produce food year after year, providing resources that everyone can enjoy.

4) Gardens Create Beautiful Landscapes

A vegetable garden can produce a bounty beyond just tomatoes and zucchinis. Get creative with your outdoor space! Placing flowers and other decorative plantings near the garden can add another design element while helping the soil produce healthy fruits and vegetables. Add some Insta-worthy plant labels to distinguish your sprouts, and arrange a small seating area so you can admire the fruits of your labor.

5) You’ll Cultivate New Skills

Gardens provide practical learning opportunities that go beyond planting and weeding. Grow herbs and spices to push your cooking skills to the next level, and choose other vegetables that will challenge your palate. The act of gardening can also teach the family, especially children, the importance of eating a well-balanced diet by bringing new foods and dishes to the table, straight from the backyard garden.

Blue Tree Can Help with All of Your Gardening Needs

At Blue Tree Landscaping, we enjoy helping others grow the vegetable garden of their dreams! Our landscape design services will help prepare, create and curate the garden of your dreams. Contact us today to get started!

Get Your Yard Ready – It’s Spring!

Yellow and red tulips

Spring is here! That means that it’s time to revamp your yard from its protective winter state to the lively green landscape it was before the cold hit. Here are some of our tips to making sure your yard is ready.

Treat Your Lawn

Grassy lawns require the most attention in the winter recovery process. Between fertilizing, aerating the soil, checking the pH, and reseeding, the process can be a lengthy one. In order to ensure your specific landscaping is receiving the correct care, consult an expert on the proper products and tools for your lawn, or for a recommendation if the sod needs replanting.

Pruning and Weeding

Winter weather can leave behind dead leaves, fallen branches, and various damage from heavy snowfall. Clearing away the leftover cold weather debris will give you a clean slate for new flowers and designs. Consider starting a compost pile to create a sustainable place for the remains, if one is not already present in your home; this will benefit the health of the yard, and the environment as a whole.

Plant New Flowers and Vines

Some flowers can last all year long, even through harsh winter weather. Prune the areas that need it, and if necessary, replant those flowers if damaged. For those that pulled their perennials before snowfall, plant some tulips, daisies, or your favorite springtime varietals around your landscape. This is an excellent opportunity to get creative, so don’t be afraid to choose vivid colors or bold petals for your garden or walkway.

Another option to establish in your yard is vines. Choose flowering vines for a burst of color, or leafy ones for an earthy appeal. Plant these early in the season, so they can grow up the side of your home or an aesthetic grate placed for support.

Bring Out The Furniture

If any of your outdoor furniture pieces or decorations were moved inside, it’s time to bring them out of hiding! If cushions or curtains are machine-washable, clean the material and apply a protective spray, to shield them from any remaining weather spurts going into summer. Furniture left outdoors during winter may have sustained some damage, so use an outdoor furniture cleaning spray to polish surfaces that need it.

Call Blue Tree

Let us help you get your yard spring ready! At Blue Tree Landscaping, we can assist with landscaping and lawn care needs for every type of home. Call or send us a message to get a head start today!

How To Keep Heavy Snowfall From Damaging Bushes

Snow is notorious for causing damage throughout the winter months. The weight of frozen water on home structures, delicate trees, and exterior paint and decorations is almost expected. As far as the plants and flowers, they are in significant danger of suffering under the weight of snow. Here are a few things to keep in mind before the heavy snowfalls roll around!

Make Sure Bushes Are Strong

Before the snow starts coming down, treat both the roots and branches of bushes to ensure they are healthy enough to support any extra weight. Mulch, fertilizer, and any snow treatment materials should be applied in a timely manner before the temperatures drop too low. Not only will they be fortified against outside forces, but their health will stay intact for you enjoy during the next season.

Watch The Roof

If the bushes are situated under the roof, snow and icicles can slide off the foundation of the house and crush any plants below it. When it comes time to handle the snowfall on the ground, take a few minutes to remove snow from the roof or overhang in small increments. Do this after clearing the ground; in the event that something breaks loose, the bushes underneath will not have the added weight of the loose fragments to add to it.

Keep Up With Maintenance

If it is safe to do so, go out in regular intervals to remove snow from the bushes. If left to pile up too long, the snow can compound and be too heavy for the foundation of the branches to handle. Use your hands or a broom to gently sweep snow off the tops of bushes or hedges. or even a light aerosol spray canister to get into smaller areas.

Deposit Snow Elsewhere

Try not to dump excess snow on foliage or bushes in your yard. What may look like a small amount could contain rocks, branches, or large shards of ice that may weigh the area down. Instead, place the snow on the sidewalk or asphalt, if the area allows for it. Even pushing it to the middle of a lawn into an organized pile will minimize the area affected by the weight, and piling it up out of harm’s way will aid in the health of your bushes.

Contact Blue Tree

We can help you gear up for any level of snowfall! With Blue Tree, we’ll help you plan and execute the perfect layout for your yard that will sustain little damage in the winter months. Contact us for a quote today!

Create A Professional Landscape For Your Business

First impressions are everything — especially for businesses. A well-maintained front exterior showcases professionalism that won’t go unnoticed. Not only will an attractive building and landscape make your business look good, but it is also a prime marketing opportunity. Current and prospective customers alike will appreciate your beautiful landscape, no matter your industry.

Want to update your organization’s landscape? Keep reading to explore the steps to take as you make plans.

Remember Less is More

Keep in mind that the aesthetic of your chosen landscape should suit your particular business. Unless your company sells tropical flowers, a subtler approach to foliage and details will probably be better-received than overly garish and colorful options. The uniformity of planters and square-cut shrubs suggest order and are a neat and tidy choice.

Add Special Touches

If an occasion calls for enhanced features, go for it! One fun idea is to match the colors of flowers and wall designs to your company logo. Consult a gardener for color schemes and plant bunches that will suit the aesthetic of the space. Comfortable contemporary furniture, such as outdoor hammocks or couches, is sure to please. You can also add other tasteful touches: Consider pretty pathway made from pavers, weather-resistant artwork, or an attractive plaque that offers information about your company’s history.

Take Proper Care

If the front of a building boasts drooping, withering plants, that doesn’t exactly create a reassuring environment for anyone who enters. Stay vigilant with maintenance, and consider hiring gardeners or groundskeepers for year-round upkeep. Swapping out flowers and plants for the appropriate varieties is a cost-effective way to ensure your landscape flourishes, no matter the weather. Also, be sure to clear any debris from parking areas, walkways, or sidewalks. After all, clutter does not offer customers the desired introduction to your business.

Make It Functional

Besides appearance, offer a place for clients and employees alike to relax. Provide shady spots with comfortable seating to make lunch breaks and phone calls a pleasurable experience. Consider accessories to achieve that effect as well, such as umbrellas or an awning. Don’t forget to add a personal touch to the landscape. Stamp your logo on the backs of chairs, benches, or even the on the ground in a noticeable spot to showcase your company’s uniqueness.

Call Blue Tree

How you portray your profession is at your discretion —so let our business help your business! Our team at Blue Tree Landscaping takes pride in providing expert opinions to anyone looking to improve their landscape, no matter the size or style. Contact us today to get started.

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.