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  1. Even the most strictly ornamental landscape has its share of edible plants. Crabapple and Serviceberry trees are great examples in the Ann Arbor Michigan region. Of course, sunflowers of all sizes have delicious seeds to offer. As the list below demonstrates, attractive edibles can accommodate any garden niche, and some stand out as especially striking.


    *Trees and Shrubs

    *Fruiting Vegetables

    *Leafy Vegetables




    Trees and Shrubs

    This category can include everything from towering walnut and pecan trees to small blueberry shrubs. Classic additions like apples, cherries, pears, peaches, and plums can be counted on to provide a wonderful spring show. Blueberries, perfectly suited to the acidic soil of the Ann Arbor Michigan area, even, keep looking good in fall with brilliant scarlet leaves. Keep in mind that large fruit and nut trees will be dropping some of their bounty on the ground, and this limits where they can be planted.

    Fruiting Vegetables

    In recent years, more homeowners have been adding ornamental peppers to their garden displays. Fruit colors run the gamut from white to yellow to orange to red to purple-black. Leaves can be variegated with purple. Even the plants themselves range from several feet down to virtual ground covers. With equally variegated leaves and purple and white streaked fruit, eggplants are an alternative to look into.

    Leafy Vegetables

    Many vegetables can add a nice touch to the landscape, but the two big players are chard and kale. Decorative kale features smooth or extra curly center leaves in such colors as white, purple, and lavender paired with outer green leaves. With a little care, the display can continue into winter, while the leaves provide an exceptionally nutritious meal. Chard offers a vertical form of deep green or dark purple leaves highlighted with stems and veins of white, red, and yellow. Similar to chard, beets feature green leaves permeated with red veins.



    It’s impossible to name all the eye-catching plants in this category. Easily-grown perennial chives bear spherical purple blooms on their roughly foot tall stems. Silver thyme derives its name from variegated leaves of green with white edging. It’s also topped with light purple flowers. Pineapple sage is a container-grown herb sporting elongated red flowers that are also edible.


    With large leaves, many varieties of grape vines supply an attractive privacy screen that becomes more appealing as the grapes ripen into purple clusters. Hardy Kiwi Vines are another perennial option with masses of white spring flowers and sometimes, variegated leaves. Unlike kiwi fruits found in stores, these are smaller, sweeter, and have edible skins. Beware that Hardy Kiwi Vines can put on 20 feet of growth a year and can be invasive.


    Historically, edible plants were part of any decorative landscape. This practice lapsed only since the latter half of the 19th century. A new sense of practicality has brought it back to its rightful place, and with spring’s arrival, it might be a good time for you to bring it back to your home.

  2. Walk MS: Dexter 2017

    Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks the body’s nervous system. It is when your immune system attacks the protective nerve coverings and eats away at them. Information flow between your body and your brain is disrupted because of this, and it can cause the body to have issues such as: pain, vision loss, impaired coordination, and fatigue.The severity of these symptoms can vary, depending on the person.



    About the Walk

    MS is a disease that is yet to have a cure. The Walk MS: Dexter 2017 program is sponsored by the premier national sponsor Novartis and the national sponsor Genentech. It is the 7th largest walk fundraiser in the U.S. The purpose of this program is to help raise money for a cure, because the money goes toward research on Multiple Sclerosis and critical care. The overall program has raised over $50 million dollars toward stopping MS each year.



    Details About this Event

    The Walk MS: Dexter 2017 program is May 20th, 2017. It will start and end at Hudson Mills Metropark. The site will open at 9 a.m. and the walk will start at 10 a.m. There are no fees for registration for the Walk MS event. The fundraising goal for this particular MS walk is $29,560. This is because this particular MS Walk of 2016 raised this much with a total of 238 people participating, and we want to out do last year!



    Together we can end MS. You can sign up as a walker, a virtual walker or a volunteer. 

    Lastly, if you have any questions about the walk, feel free to contact us!

  3. One of the most important aspects of maintaining a commercial landscape is to keep it neat and organized in a way that will draw attention. No doubt, you would have to incorporate trees in your landscape. Over time, the trees require pruning to keep them looking their best and healthy so that they can thrive during the growing season. However, it’s important to know the proper way to prune your trees. Here are some tips on properly pruning trees for your commercial landscape.


    Use Proper Pruning Tools

    To successfully prune your trees, it is absolutely essential to have the right pruning tools. If your trees are small, you should use hand shears that are similar to scissors. For larger trees, there are bigger pruning shears. Your tools should always be kept clean and must have sharpened blades. A dull blade can damage your trees and prevent them from properly growing or blooming buds.


    Make Cuts Carefully

    You should always prune a tree from just outside of the collar of the branch. Cuts should also be made carefully so that you don’t harm the tree. The cuts should also be made at a slant instead of straight. That helps the tree to breathe after pruning is done. Avoid making any cuts that are too large, especially when the branch collar can easily suffer damage.

    When you are merely shortening a branch instead of completely removing it, prune it to the lateral branch. It will help to avoid problems such as stem decay and branches growing in abnormal directions.


    What to Cut When Pruning

    The entire purpose of pruning a tree is to cut away any dead or diseased wood so that it can thrive afterward. In some cases, it is also for aesthetic purposes so that it can maintain a specific shape, something that is certainly considered when you have a commercial landscape. Eliminating dead and diseased branches on your trees will ensure that the plants can remain healthy or be restored to their best health.

    Always Prune at the Right Time

    Of course, you must do your tree pruning at the appropriate time of year. In the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, the best time to prune is from late fall to early spring. This time is optimal because the tree is in its dormant phase and there is less possibility of the tree being infested by insects or developing diseases. In addition, there is easier access to the branches, because the tree is bare during the dormant period.


    Wound Dressing

    Sometimes, wound dressing is necessary after pruning a tree. This entails adding a dressing or pruning paint to any cuts made that are larger than one inch in diameter. The purpose of wound dressing is to protect the tree after pruning to prevent issues of disease or damage done by insects. At the same time, however, many arborists believe that wound dressing can actually slow the healing process. In most cases, it is only used when a tree already has a disease to prevent that disease from spreading after an afflicted tree has been pruned.


    These are things to keep in mind when you have to prune trees in your landscape. You may want to practice before you do your pruning, or hire a professional to be on the safe side.


  4. If you’ve ever seen large puddles and rivers of water on your property, you have a problem with storm water runoff. This is the water that comes from rain storms or melted ice and snow that isn’t absorbed into the ground. This runoff might flow into a storm drain, drainage swale or the sewers, but a bad storm can leave the systems unable to handle the invading water.

    When you have a storm water management problem on your property, you can see erosion, a wet lawn, damage to your landscaping, and damage to your foundation. A soggy lawn, garden or landscaping will result in bacteria, which loves moist, wet areas. Mosquitoes can breed in standing water too. The standing water left behind by a storm can cause many issues and should be addressed as soon as possible.

    1. Landscaping Strategies

    There are quite a few landscaping strategies to help with storm water runoff before it can start damaging your home or commercial building’s lawn or foundation.

    Flow-through planters are used to filter water and infiltrate it back into the soil over time. It collects in these planters and is released over time to ensure that the area isn’t bombarded with too much water. They’re great for providing green spaces near the building too.

    Swales can be created next to the foundation to pull moisture away from the building. They are small bits of land with beneficial plants that will trap particles and manage the water runoff in order to reduce its flow.

    Trees can be planted in areas that end up with standing water. The trees will take advantage of the water, slow it down, and decrease erosion of the soil. The tree roots will soak up pollutants and filter the water before it’s released.

    2. Evaluating Downspouts

    After making sure the downspouts are maintained properly, the next step to runoff management is making sure they are directed away from the building. Downspouts are meant for this specific purpose, but they can sometimes be overwhelmed with water.

    Check to see where the water is puddling and if there’s an area that is being inundated with stormwater. For example, if the water is running to one drain, that drain will be unable to handle the sheer amount of water flowing there. The downspouts might need to be redirected based on how the water flows.

    3. Culvert and Drain Management

    Some properties have a drainage system in place, but the area isn’t maintained as properly as it should be. A property with a culvert or drain system has to be landscaped to remove weeds and overgrown plants. Otherwise, the system won’t work. Water will collect in puddles near the culvert or drain and back up into the rest of the lawn.

    Landscaping, proper planning, and maintenance are vital for storm water management for runoff on your property. It’s best to consult with a landscaping company to ensure that you’re doing all you can to manage the storm water and directing it back into the ground properly.

  5. As a home gardener, you will always want to ensure that your irrigation system is turned off for the winter. Winterizing is important during the coldest months of the year, because your lawn and all the plants growing on it are in the dormant phase. By the time spring is back, you will want to turn your irrigation system back on just in time for the first blooms. When the temperatures increase, you will want to use proper irrigation maintenance. Doing so will allow your lawn to thrive throughout the entire growing season.

    It’s always important to remember where each component of your irrigation system is so that when winter is over, you can more easily access them. Here are steps to take during proper irrigation maintenance when you are ready to turn the system back on.

    1. Turn Water on Slowly

    One of the most important things to remember when you are turning the water back on to start up your irrigation system for the spring is to do so slowly. This is because doing so too quickly can cause a water hammer, which is a high pressure surge of water that can happen when a valve is opened after it was off for a long time. It can lead to a sprinkler head popping off or even fittings bursting, so take care to slowly turn it back on. Valves need time to properly pressurize, which is only possible when opened slowly.

    2. Locate Shut Off Valves

    There are a few different valves that make up a sprinkler system, including the stop and waste valves and the pressure vacuum breakers, which are above the ground. Make sure you know where they are so that you can effectively turn them back on when winter is over.

    3. Turn on Valves

    You need a meter key to turn on the stop and waste valves. The valves frequently turn on at a 90 degree angle in a counterclockwise position. It’s not uncommon for them to slightly leak when they are first turned on, but that should stop after a few moments. The pressure vacuum breakers turn on with two ball valves situated at either side of the vacuum breaker valve. When it is in the parallel position, it’s on, and when it is in the perpendicular position, it’s off. Turn it at about a quarter to turn this valve on. Remember to turn each valve slowly to avoid a water hammer.

    4. Check Individual Sprinkler Valves

    Check each of the sprinkler valves and remove the sprinkler head from each line before turning on the valves. It can prevent a water hammer if the valve is turned on too fast. Check for any leaks in the sprinkler lines. There is a manual screw on the side of most sprinkler valves if you prefer taking the time and turning each one on individually.

    5. Check Each Sprinkler Station and Set Timer

    Inspect each sprinkler station to ensure that none of the links are broken. Any broken sprinkler heads should be repaired or replaced. You can also make adjustments to their spray patterns. Afterward, set the timer for the times when you want your lawn to be watered.

    If you have any concerns or confusion about properly turning your irrigation system back on after winter, feel free to contact us. A professional can ensure that you get it back up and running efficiently.


  6. One of the responsibilities you have if you are the owner of a business is maintaining a commercial landscape. It is a task that calls for more attention than the maintenance of a residential landscape, because you want to make it not just presentable and eye catching for prospective customers but also safe for them, your employees, and the public in general. Here are some tips on maintaining your landscape on commercial property:



    The timing at which you perform your landscape care and all maintenance tasks associated with it should be organized to be the most effective and efficient. You should schedule for maintaining your commercial landscape at the right time so that it can bring about the effect you desire. You must water the plants that make up your landscape, prune them, and give them much needed mulch at precisely the right time so they can thrive. In the long run, it will save you time and money as well as resources. Take note of the growth cycles of the plants used in your landscape.



    It is absolutely essential to utilize the right practices to maintain your landscape, particularly when it is around a commercial property. You will need the right tools for planting and for maintenance tasks such as pruning. Just like your landscape, your tools should be in good condition and properly maintained – with sharp blades for pruning. They should also be clean to ensure the best health of the plants that make up the landscape. Using tools with dull blades can result in your plants becoming injured. The best practice when you are maintaining landscape plants is to have clean, sharp blades so that the damage done during pruning is minimal and the plants can more easily heal. Properly maintained tools can also prevent the spread of disease to plants.



    The truth is that every good landscape design includes well defined edges. They are the most transitional and active components of nature and include everything from sun, water, shade, woods, land, and fields. People walk around edges of landscapes all the time, whether they are simply walking on the street, maneuvering through their own yards or another person’s walkway and so on. It is imperative to have edges that stand out in your landscape, commercial or residential, so that it is easy to maneuver around. Edges in landscaping ensure that plants are well maintained and protected against damage. Of course, they also serve to beautify the landscape itself. Using the right edges in landscaping also helps to protect people who come onto your property, preventing them from potentially tripping and falling and getting injured. On the other hand, when they are improperly used, edging can cause damage to plants as vehicles or foot traffic comes into contact with them and can look very messy and disorganized.

    When you take these three factors into consideration to take advantage of the effectiveness and efficiency of your commercial landscape, you will be ensuring that both your business and the landscape itself succeeds.

  7. If you are looking for an exceptional way to improve your property’s curb appeal, adding fresh mulch to your landscaping may come to mind. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to dress up your landscaping with considerable results. However, you need to ensure that you can afford this expense. By asking how much it will cost to mulch your commercial property and by learning more about the benefits of mulching, you will see why this is an activity that you want to move forward with soon.

    The Benefits of Mulching Your Commercial Property

    Most commercial property owners are encouraged to mulch their properties because of the aesthetic benefits associated with mulching. This can instantly give your flowerbeds and planter boxes a polished look that adds curb appeal with amazing results. However, mulching also offers other benefits. For example, it prevents weed growth when mulch is applied amply, and this decreases maintenance tasks and promotes curb appeal for months. More than that, it locks in moisture in your flowerbeds to keep your plants from drying out and to reduce the time and expense associated with frequent watering sessions.

    Factors That Influence Mulching Costs

    As you can see, the process to mulch my commercial property can yield significant benefits that you want to enjoy. However, you may be wondering how much this task will cost to complete. If you plan to hire a contractor for assistance, the two primary components that affect cost are labor and materials. Labor costs vary by your location, and you may be able to shop around to find a great rate. Keep in mind that some landscapers offer lower rates in the off-season. The cost of mulch is the second component that affects the cost of your project. A typical bag of mulch at a retail store can cost you a few dollars. Depending on the size of your property, you may require dozens or even hundreds of bags of mulch for your project. Both the square footage covered as well as the thickness of the mulch will impact how much mulch you need. Your landscaper can provide you with an estimate regarding how much mulch is needed for your project.

    When to Request a Quote for Mulching Your Property

    Because mulch can fade in color and can break down over time, you may find that your beds and planter boxes need to be re-mulched regularly. Your landscaping team will generally recommend a mulching schedule for you when you set up regular lawn care and grounds maintenance service. If you are requesting a quote independent of a primary service contract, you may find more cost-effective quotes available during the off-season.

    Mulch is a wonderful material that offers commercial property owners many benefits. It is available in a wide range of hues to give you better control over what the finished look of your beds will look like after mulch has been spread. To obtain a firm estimate on your mulching task, contact a landscaping crew for assistance.

  8. Landscape pavers can add elegance, texture, and structure to a garden or yard, but not every type of paver is appropriate for every climate. The wrong paver in a cold climate can spall, which means bits or pieces of the paver fall away because of the freeze-thaw cycle. Water seeps into the material of the paver, freezes, expands, and cracks it. Frost heave happens when the soil beneath the paver becomes saturated with water, which freezes in the cold. The soil expands and lifts up the paver. The good news is that there are many types of paving materials that are resistant to freeze-thaw and other cold weather problems. They include:


    Slate is a hard rock that is famous for its ability to split into thin sheets. It comes in colors of green, blue, blue-gray, violet or green and brown. Used largely for roofing, it is durable and weatherproof and has the advantage over stone such as granite or marble for not being very porous. This makes it resistant to the freeze-thaw cycle, though it needs to be installed correctly to be spared frost heaving.


    Travertine is a whitish variety of limestone. For many years, contractors warned against installing travertine pavers, because the stone was too porous to bear up under cold weather. Now, travertine can be used as a landscape paver if it’s sealed. According to builders, it’s best to dry lay travertine and use stone dust instead of polymeric sand in between the joints. Even if a travertine paver cracks, it can be replaced easily.


    Porcelain is ceramic tile that is fired at a higher temperature than regular ceramic tile. This makes it very hard and absolutely waterproof. Porcelain pavers come in many colors, and since the colors permeate the entire paver, they won’t fade. Though many people think of porcelain as slippery, textured porcelain can reduce the risk of slips and falls.

    Stamped Concrete

    Homeowners in cold climates sometimes choose stamped concrete over brick, which some claim is more subject to frost heaving. The concrete is poured, troweled, and then stamped to look like brick, cobblestone or other material. Stamped concrete can be dyed or stained many colors to match the decor of the patio.

    Paving Brick

    This is brick that’s made to withstand both traffic and cold weather. Some come in interlocking sheets that are installed without mortar in less than a day. The colors of these bricks do fade over time, which may or may not be to the liking of the homeowner. Paving brick that’s made from clay and fired a long time in a very hot kiln is hard, tough, and can stand up to inclement weather. Well-made paving brick can last a century or more.

    Terra Cotta

    Terra cotta, which means “baked earth” in Italian, is the opposite of porcelain in that it’s clay fired at low temperatures. It can be glazed or unglazed, and needs to be sealed to make it water resistant. Though terracotta paver tiles can come in beautiful colors and patterns, some homeowners may not have the patience to seal it every two years or so.

    Homeowners who live in cold climates no longer have a limited range of paving materials to choose from. Different landscape pavers can be beautiful even as they endure the coldest winter.

  9. You’ve daydreamed about the perfect backyard, the perfect storefront, or the perfect patio for some time. Your dreams are shaping up into what could be a solid reality. Now is the time to make it happen – but first, consider these seven simple things you should think about before designing your dream landscape.

    1. What are you starting with?

    Evaluate first what you already have. Are there any landscape features already in place? If so, will they need to be removed or incorporated? Will grading or digging be required to achieve the desired look? If the area in question has features you do not like, such as a steep hill or existing trees, how could these be incorporated or altered to fit your vision? Considering these factors will aid in the planning process.

    2. Consider plant hardiness.

    If your dreamscape involves lushly planted gardens, do a bit of research on the types of plants you wish to include. Ann Arbor sits near the boundary of USDA plant hardiness zones 5 and 6. Choosing perennial plants (those that return every year without the need to be replanted) well suited to these zones will keep your garden looking great for years to come.

    3. Consider time expenditure.

    After installation, some landscaping features require regular maintenance. The most labor intensive are water features such as ponds, fountains, and swimming pools (filters must be cleaned, water parameters monitored, and chemicals applied). Some plants also require special care (fast growing bushes must be trimmed, ornamental and fruit bearing trees should be pruned, and roses dead-headed to remove spent flowers). Research these items or ask your landscaper so you know what you are getting yourself into.

    4. Count the cost.

    Before planning your garden area, decide on a maximum budget. As you learn the cost of each item and feature you desire, determine the total. If you exceed your budget, you will need to reduce costs by removing a feature or finding a cheaper alternative.

    5. Check local codes.

    Permits may be required for some decks and outdoor structures. Also, if your neighborhood has a homeowner’s association or you live in a gated community, there are often guidelines that must be followed, such as building fences, decks, and pools to certain specifications.

    6. Solve landscaping problems with creative ideas.

    Use internet sites as well as respected landscaping magazines to research ideas for your project. You may encounter solutions you never thought of for turning that hill into a terraced garden or filling that shaded corner with plants that will thrive.

    Designing your own landscape can be a demanding task, and implementing your design is even more daunting, but this is a task you don’t have to tackle by yourself. If you live in or around Ann Arbor, Michigan, contact us today. Our landscaping professionals will walk you through every step, allowing you to live your dream that much sooner.


  10. Whether it was a harsh winter or not, there are certain things you’ll have to do to your landscaping before spring officially arrives. When it warms enough for being outdoors working in the yard, you might be tempted to jump directly into your gardening. Unfortunately, there’s a transition phase between winter and the gardening of spring. Consider these landscape tips as a preparation for spring.

    1. Winter Clean Up and Lawn Care

    While you might have done a good job at cleaning before winter hit, there’s likely some work to be done in the yard. Clearing debris like broken branches, twigs and left over leaves, are a priority for spring. If you didn’t clean as much as you should have in the fall, now is the time to clear the rot or mold that could have developed.

    It’s a great time to rake your lawn. Even if you raked all the leaves, the grass can become matted due to snow depending on your area. It’ll give you a chance to assess the grass too. While raking the grass to allow it to breathe, check for signs of blighted areas. While caring for your lawn, aeration can help to loosen a compacted lawn. When you find bare parts of the lawn, add some seed to that area. Spring is the time to fertilize the lawn too.

    2. Tree and Shrub Damage and Pruning

    In the spring, you’ll want to do a perimeter check to see how the trees and shrubs fared through the winter. High winds, snow, and ice can really destroy some trees and weigh down shrubs. Broken or bent branches should be cut immediately. When trees and bushes emerge from winter to spring, they’ll take that time to heal from trauma. A clean cut heals better than a rip or torn branch.

    Make sure you understand the types of shrubs and plants you have before trimming and pruning. This task should be done to some trees and shrubs, but not on others. When a shrub has buds that can appear on the new wood, these are the shrubs you’ll want to prune. You’ll get a short, full shrub for the summer. This also means it’s time to prune rose bushes and climbing vines. Some flowering bushes or shrubs should be pruned only after they’ve flowered, so you can see where the dead parts are located.

    3. Equipment Inspection

    From the blades on your lawn mower to the sharpness of your cutters, hedge trimmer, and spades, it’s important to check and maintain your landscaping equipment. Add fuel to the lawnmower and chainsaw. Any equipment with a motor should be checked to ensure the lines aren’t frayed or torn.

    This is the time to check the sprinkler system too. Make sure none of the lines have been damaged. You can hire a professional to test and repair the system if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.


    Before you can think about planting, there’s a transition phase between winter and spring where you should be cleaning from winter and preparing the lawn and garden for the coming warmth. These landscape tips should help make that transition easier.