734-213-6911 | 4100 S. Maple Road Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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  1. New Paver Patio installed at a residence in Saline, MI.  The patio features a cozy living space for the family to dine and relax.

     

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  2. Two Turtles Rests On A Drain PipeDuring the periods of heavy rainfall in Ann Arbor MI, water might flow toward your house and cause periodic flooding with the consequent soggy soil prohibiting you from getting a start on your spring yard chores. As such, you could be wondering whether you can stop this water and if there is a way to remove the water efficiently and dry the soil.

    Fortunately, you can fix your lawn’s irrigation problem, dry out the soil, and prevent the flooding of your basement or crawl space by installing a trench drainage system. All you need is a little help and a single weekend.

    The reason for flooding
    Soil normally consists of organic debris, small pieces of rock, water, and air. The air content is usually highest in the upper 24 inches in many types of soil. Deeper into the ground, the overall weight of overlying materials compress the soil, squeezing out the air.

    Water enters the soil whenever it rains, pushing air towards the surface, after which gravity takes over. For sloping yards, the water in the ground begins to flow downhill. However, level lawns suffer the most since the water movement within the soil is minimal.

    The solution and why it works
    The installation of a trench drainage system either intercepts and re-directs sub-surface water or helps to accelerate the movement of surface water. It is easier for the subsurface water to travel through open drain pipes and gravel compared to forcing its way through the soil. Like most things, water usually takes the path comprised of the amount of least resistance.

    How to construct a do-it-yourself trench in Ann Arbor MI
    Trench drainage entails perforated drainage pipes covered in gravel and installed in narrow channels, a “moat” protecting your yard or house from sub-surface or surface water. You can construct this type of drainage by digging a trench approximately 6 inches wide and 24 inches deep. To intercept sub-surface water and dry out the yard, install the trench drain along the highest part of the property, extending it to the lowest part of the yard.

    Constructing the trench about six feet from the foundation provides protection to your house from the water. This system is U-shaped in many cases since it passes around houses. You need to dig a series of trenches and then interconnect them if you wish to drain a level yard. You can use an optical or a laser builder’s level to tell the high and low parts of your lot.

    Exposing the end of the pipe at the edge of your yard provides the best drainage results. While wearing gloves for protection, use a 6-foot 4×4 to compact any loose soil at the bottom of the trench once you finish digging it.

    Because you should never lay the piping directly onto the ground, set up a 2-inch layer of washed gravel on the compacted soil before installation of the perforated piping. The drainage holes through which the water enters ought to be a level above the ground.

    When using a rigid plastic pipe that features two rows of holes along the length, correctly install the holes pointing downwards since the water table within the soil builds upwards from the bottom of the soil profile, which means water enters the pipe sooner if than if the holes point downwards. It is also true that although a little water could find its way into an upward facing hole, most of the water will only build up until it can flow into such holes after flowing around the pipes.

    Cover the tubing with an inch of washed, rounded gravel once installed in the trench, and use gravel to fill the trench to within an inch of the surface. Disguise the channel by placing a piece of sod over the gravel. You can use large stepping stones or colored ones to create a walkway to conceal the drainage system even further.

  3. lawn-sprinkler-irrigation-systemAccording to professional irrigation experts in Ann Arbor MI, about half of the water consumed by an average household goes towards the irrigation of landscapes. Regrettably, about half of the water used to irrigate these landscapes goes to waste since a lot of irrigation systems are quite inefficient and tend to consume a significant amount of water.

    The truth is you are the most water-efficient system, a theory evidenced by the fact that homeowners who water by hand almost always tend to use the least quantities of water in their gardens and yards. However, the most significant drawback when it comes to watering by hand is the fact that most people rarely find themselves available whenever the plants need watering, which often leads to dead or unhealthy plants and unhappy homeowners.

    Fortunately, choosing the right type of irrigation for your particular yard provides an excellent solution, especially since the only other viable alternative is designing your garden to include the most drought-tolerant plants exclusively, those that require no more than once a week watering sessions even during the dry summer months.

    To provide yourself with the convenience of an in-ground irrigation system, it is, therefore, important that you acquire adequate knowledge on the different types of systems currently available, particularly since some are more water-efficient compared to others. Listed below are three main types of water-efficient systems recommended by experts for installation in areas such as Ann Arbor MI.

    Bubblers
    This system is a form of precise watering techniques capable of delivering water deep into the soil, which means it is quite useful around deep-rooted plants such as trees. Bubblers are additionally effective for use in specific planter containers where traditional sprinklers cannot work. This type of irrigation is quite durable, minimizes overspray and evaporation, requires minimal maintenance and filtration, and features an easily adjustable flow rate.

    Drip Irrigation
    This is a slow, direct, and precise system of watering, especially since this system avails 100% of the water to the plants. In comparison to traditional spray heads which only release up to about five gallons per minute, drip irrigation systems release significantly higher amounts of water every hour. The water-saving and environmental benefits offered by drip irrigation include minimized evaporation, runoff, and overspray.

    This type of irrigation is often preferable where considerably few plants spread over large areas such as a few bushes with lots of open space in-between, or hard-to-water areas like narrow planters. The installation of a drip system mandatorily includes a special filter to prevent the system from clogging and a device for lowering the water pressure.

    Stream Rotor Pop-ups
    This system replaces the traditional pop-up spray heads, which means installation is by unscrewing of the old nozzle top from the pop-up and screwing on the stream rotor in its place. Stream rotors are relatively water efficient when compared to traditional spray heads since they release approximately 25 percent of the amount of water traditional spray heads do per minute, which reduces runoff and evaporation. Stream rotors are ideal for use where a lot of short-rooted plants need watering such as groundcovers and bunchgrasses.

  4. lawn-sprinkler-paverThe lawn is one of the main features on residential properties and will stand out if it’s maintained well. During the summer season, the lawn can become damaged due excess heat and harsh weather conditions. To improve your lawn’s irrigation this summer, there are a few important steps to take for homeowners to transform their yard in Ann Arbor MI.

    1. Water Less Frequently

    Many people make the mistake of watering their lawn too frequently throughout the week. Although it’s important that your grass obtains plenty of water, it may not be getting enough if you water it every few days. It’s important to water the lawn for a longer period of time to ensure that the soil is moist and that the water reaches the roots. A watering lawn hose with a water breaker attached will make it easy to reach through foliage and direct the water to specific areas. This encourages the development of deep roots, making it important to water a maximum of one inches of water. The specific amount of water that is needed also depends on the type of soil that is used.

    You also want to remain consistent with your watering routine and allow the plants and lawn to adapt well to the schedule. Use extra hoses and sprinklers to reach areas on the lawn that are often neglected to ensure that each square inch is covered.

    2. Prevent Runoff

    Runoff is one of the main causes of water waste and can quickly cause the lawn to suffer. Monitor the lawn before, during, and after irrigation periods and evaluate how long it takes for the water to run after the sprinklers go off, which will allow you to determine when to set the time for each cycle.

    3. Choose the Right Sprinkler

    Your lawn may be suffering if your sprinkler system is outdated. You should replace the sprinklers if they tend to water the sidewalk or get the street wet, which wastes water and can cause dead spots to develop on your lawn. Installing new sprinklers will increase your water efficiency and can allow the lawn to absorb more water to ensure that it thrives during the summer season.

    4. Water at the Right Time

    The time of day that you water the lawn will determine how well it thrives in the summer heat in Ann Arbor MI. Set your sprinkler system to water the lawn in the early morning each day when the weather is cooler. This will prevent too much water from evaporating before the water is able to soak into the soil. It’s also important to avoid watering in the evening, which can cause fungus to develop over time.

    5. Avoid Over-watering

    Over-watering is just as much of a problem as under-watering your lawn. This can occur if it rains during the season, which can prevent the grass from growing well. Use a rain gauge to determine how much you really need to water it during summer hurricanes or storms.

  5. Lawn aerationMaintaining a great lawn is a matter of timing. You wouldn’t mow your lawn just after you watered it–likewise, it’s important to time your lawn aeration properly. Let’s examine how to determine the ideal time to aerate your lawn.

    Knowing Your Grass

    There are two categories of lawn grasses: cool-season and warm-season grasses.

    Warm-season grass begins to grow early in the Summer. This means that aerating these types of grass in the late Spring or early Summer will ensure that grass will ensure that growth will fill the holes left by aeration.

    Some common kinds of warm-season grasses are:

    • Bermuda
    • Buffalo
    • St. Augustine
    • Zoysia

    Cool-season grasses begin to grow in the early fall; they grow more vigorously in low temperatures. The ideal time to aerate cool-season grasses is in the late summer or early fall. The most common kinds of cool-season grasses are:

    • Kentucky Bluegrass
    • Ryegrass
    • Fescue
    • Creeping Bentgrass

    Different Varieties of Soil

    Different types of soil also determine the ideal time and frequency of lawn aeration. Because clay soil compacts so easily, it should be aerated once a year or more. Since most people in Ann Arbor MI have clay soil, aeration is especially important there.

    Homeowners who have sandier soil can aerate their lawns once a year, or even every other year. In drier climates, aerating your lawn twice a year will help your lawn grow faster and stay healthy.

    Why Should I Aerate My Lawn?

    Aeration is the best weapon against the inevitable process of soil compaction. Aeration is the simple process of perforating your lawn’s soil with many small holes that allow water, air, and nutrients the ability to penetrate to the grass’s roots. In turn, this helps the roots grow deeper, which produces a healthier, more vibrant lawn.

    Aeration is especially important if your lawn:

    • Is used heavily–if you’ve got children who play in the lawn a lot, your soil is probably compacted
    • Has a spongy feel, or dries out quickly
    • Is part of a newly-constructed home. Construction plays a huge impact on soil compaction
    • Started from sod–in this case, “soil layering” probably exists. Soil layering is what happens when soil that has a finer texture gets layered over a coarser type of soil. This condition makes it harder for grass roots to develop.

    Choosing the Right Type of Aeration

    If you live in Ann Arbor MI, you should be aerating your lawn at least once a year. Whether you choose a spike aerator or a plug aerator, you’ll help your grass have healthier roots. While the middle of the Summer isn’t the best time to aerate, depending on your grass, early or late Summer is the ideal time.



  6. Backyard DeckYour deck has seen its better days. Boards are bowed and splinters make going barefoot a hazard. Some boards have rotted through. The place where family used to gather and chat while the grill sizzled is now an eye-sore. It is dangerous and does not function anymore. It is time to replace the deck, but do you use wood again? Composite deck boards seem like a better option, but are they?

    Let’s consider some facts: In the blistering summer sun, a composite deck will not fade. This is great when you consider that the deck will be outside, year after year, baking in direct sunlight. A wooden deck will fade and split in the same sun. Composite decking is made to be UV resistant. The colors will not fade. Your deck will be as pretty in year 10 as it was when it was new.

    Being able to withstand summer heat, hail and thunderstorms, are more reasons to consider purchasing composite decking instead of traditional wood options. Since composite deck boards are mainly plastic, they are virtually weatherproof. Summer can rage on, bringing her afternoon thunderstorms and golf-ball sized hail. Your deck can handle it.

    Today’s composite boards have come a long way from the first ones that were brittle and ugly. Now, a deck can have a variety of color and pattern options. The composite looks so much like wood that it is very hard to tell the difference. The materials used to make the composite are designed to last for generations.

    Composite is easier to maintain than wood. No more staining and sealing every two years. The composite deck only needs to be washed occasionally to keep away dirt and mold. Specialty spacers ensure that the deck has proper spacing between boards for contraction and expansion. This way, boards will not crack or peel when the weather goes from hot to cold. The spacers also allow air flow so that the composite does not gather water, which could rot the wooden foundation of the deck.

    With guarantees of 10, 15, and even 20 years, composite decks are worth the extra money it will cost to build them initially. The lower maintenance will balance out that cost in just a few seasons. Add to that the time that you will save not having to strip, seal or repaint your deck, and composite seems to be the obvious winner.

    Whether you live in Ann Arbor MI or Austin TX, decks made from composite materials will hold up better and last longer than traditional wooden decks. They will get hotter than wood, so beware when choosing your colors. A dark deck will get hotter than the lighter colored options. Maybe this will not be such a factor in cooler climates like Ann Arbor MI, but it will definitely be something to consider if you live in a hot state like Texas.

    Before you begin tearing out and replacing rotted wood, consider composite materials. Your deck (and your back) will thank you.

  7. Long exposure of a backyard waterfall and pond surrounded by green foliage.With summer in full swing, consumers in Ann Arbor MI and elsewhere in the northeast United States are looking for fun and attractive ways to update their yards. From a variety of flowers to a brand new pond and more, the options are endless. An Ann Arbor outdoor water feature is also a great addition to any home garden.

    The Joys of Outdoor Water Features

    Fountains and other features can bring a garden to life. Whether you have a small garden or a huge yard, your guests will find your water fountains attractive and peaceful.

    Some of the many benefits of water features include:

    • Enjoyment – Both your family and your guests will enjoy sitting by your water feature during the spring and summer months.
    • Attractiveness – The water feature will make your yard more attractive.
    • Home Value Increase – From a practical standpoint, a water feature like a fountain or pond can help significantly increase the value of your home.

    Water features are especially popular in Ann Arbor MI because residents spend much of their time outdoors with family and friends.

    Is Summer the Right Time to Install a New Water Feature?

    There are many things to consider when purchasing a water feature, and time of installation should be at the top of your list.

    In Michigan, as in other parts of the country, water utility bills can often increase during the summer months. This is often caused by residents who use too much water to maintain their lawns and other parts of their yards. Proper water usage management can help lower utility bills, if necessary.

    The summer and spring months are still the best time to install and use water features. To avoid costly water bills, simply turn off the water features if your family and friends aren’t there to enjoy them.

    The following basic tips will help you reduce your water bill while still being able to enjoy your outdoor water feature:

    • Reduce the amount of time your family spends in the shower.
    • Use less water when washing your dishes.
    • Turn on your sprinklers at night only and for shorter periods of time.

    What Type of Water Feature Should I Invest in?

    There are many different water features that consumers can choose from:

    • Garden Fountains
    • Ponds
    • Bird Baths
    • Waterfalls
    • Water Feature Combinations

    The type you choose will likely depend on the amount of room you have for your feature and the amount of money you want to spend. For larger and more intricate features, you might have to alter a portion of your yard first.

    Many consumers choose to go with a waterfall and pond combination for their backyards, while others prefer simplicity with a bird bath or fountain. When choosing a water feature in Ann Arbor, MI, it’s important to consult with a professional about which water feature is best for you, and to have someone install the feature for you.

  8. slide1Owning a home with a luxurious lawn is a dream of many buyers, but that grass requires extensive maintenance. Mowing, fertilizing and other chores are part of your everyday life. However, you should also consider regular lawn aeration. This procedure involves the creation of holes in your lawn. These spaces allow oxygen to permeate the soil, which gives the grass a fresh resource for vigorous growth. Learn about the best frequency with which you should perform aeration. Your Ann Arbor MI home’s value can improve with a striking lawn appearance.

    Heavy-Duty Use

    Many homeowners see their grass as a play area. You might perform several activities on the lawn, such as playing catch or running through sprinklers. All of these actions, however, are detrimental to your lawn. The soil becomes compacted, which contributes to less water and oxygen at the root level. If you plan on using the lawn for heavy-duty use year-round, aerate the grass at least twice a year. Aerate after winter and in the fall, for instance. The grass will have a better lifespan as a result.

    Grass Species

    Determining aeration frequencies also depends on the grass’s species. There are warm- and cool-season grasses. For Michigan homes, most people have cool-season species because of the harsh winters. These grasses react best to aeration when it’s performed in the spring or fall. Active growth is what you want so that the removed soil plugs can be filled with seedlings before winter’s chill sets in. If you aren’t sure about your grass species, ask a professional for advice.

    Little Girl Dreaming in the parkThickness Factor

    Several grass species have so much growth that they create a thatch or thick layer below the visible blades. If this thatch is too thick, however, it can actually impede the lawn’s ability to remain healthy. Aerate your lawn once or twice a year if your thatch is thicker than one inch. Each removed plug will also reduce the thatch’s thickness too. The lawn has a chance to thin out this deteriorating mass as extra oxygen and water enter the deeper soil levels.

    Thinning Spots

    Your grass definitely needs an immediate aeration if you notice thinning areas across the surface. You might have lush grass in one corner, but it fades into bald areas nearby. These thin areas might be caused by uneven compaction, such as residents cutting through the grass to the front door. Aerate the grass during its growing season, and try to detour any traffic around the area. Grass grows best when it’s not stressed by foot traffic. Add stepping stones to this area or fence it off entirely. The bald spot will return after aeration if the grass isn’t relieved of the foot traffic.

    Although you can buy those spikes shoes for quick lawn aeration, it’s a better idea to use a tool that actually pulls soil sections from the ground. If you press the soil down with the spikes, you’re actually compacting the soil and reducing oxygen supplies. Professionals in Ann Arbor MI will always use soil-removal strategies during aeration. Follow their lead with your lawn.

  9. bigstock-Rain-gutter-full-of-autumn-lea-37528768If your gutters and downspouts are clogging, it could lead to serious water damage to the interior of your home. As there are many reasons why they could clog or otherwise become blocked, it may be best to have an Ann Arbor MI roofing professional take a look at them as soon as possible. He or she can diagnose the problem and help you avoid costly repairs to your home.

    Reasons Your Gutters Could Be Clogged

    A gutter can clog if it becomes too full of organic matter or other debris. For instance, you may have leaves or sticks from a nearby tree fall into them and block water from being able to flow properly. Leaves and other material may fall into a gutter and then decompose, which can turn them into giant piles of thick goo that can be difficult to remove. Gutters may also become clogged or backed up if ice accumulates along the gutter, which forces water back under shingles and into the home.

    Why Do Downspouts Get Clogged?

    A downspout can get clogged for many of the same reasons that a gutter will become clogged. Debris such as pine needles, leaves and sticks may roll off of the gutter and become lodged in a downspout. If a downspout isn’t properly connected to the home or to another piece properly, it could allow material to become lodged and fail to let water through. Additionally, it may be possible for rodents to enter your downspout and either nest there or have babies while inside.

    The Consequences of a Clogged Gutter or Downspout

    When water isn’t allowed to flow away from your Ann Arbor MI home or property, it will flow into the home instead. The first signs of water damage may be streaking on walls or the presence of water in the attic. If allowed to linger, you may notice that water starts to drip from the ceiling in one or more rooms in the house. If still allowed to linger, water could seep into walls and flow all the way to the basement and the foundation.

    Fixing a Gutter or Downspout Doesn’t Have to be Hard or Costly

    If you notice that a gutter or downspout is clogged, fixing the issue may be as simple as having it taken off of the house and reset properly. It may also be a good idea to have gutter guards installed that can block leaves, ice and other debris from getting into a gutter in the first place. These guards can be installed for a few hundred dollars, which is a fraction of the cost of dealing with a clogged gutter. A downspout only costs a few dollars to replace, and labor costs are reasonable as well.

    At the first sign of gutter or downspout issues, you should call a professional to take a look at them. A professional will be able to diagnose your issue and fix it in a timely manner. Once the problem has been resolved, you can sleep easier knowing that your home will be safe from the elements.

  10. Fertilizing LawnFew things are more picturesque of summer than a lush green lawn in Ann Arbor MI. It makes a wonderful natural playground for the kids, and it enhances the curb appeal of any home. But, the primary challenge is that quest to grow a perfectly manicured green lawn is often something more of fairytales than real life. That is unless you are willing to reach for a packaged solution – chemical fertilizers to kill off weeds and enhance the growth of attractive green grass.

    The statistics are somewhat astonishing when you get right down to it. Nearly 100 million pounds of pesticide are used by homeowners and gardeners each year, and the more we learn about them, the more concerned we all are. Studies have shown that the chemicals contained in lawn treatments are creeping into our homes and contaminating indoor air and even surfaces, exposing children to levels as high as ten times as much as pre-application levels. In fact, a study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of 9,282 people found pesticides in 100 percent of the people tested, with the average person carrying 13 of 23 pesticides tested.

    What Are Chemical Fertilizers and Lawn Care Products?

    Chemical lawn treatments are more than just fertilizers. These combinations contain not just the “food” to enhance your lawn’s growth but also chemicals that kill pests. The problem with the chemical element in these treatments is that most are broad-spectrum biocides, meaning they are poisonous to a wide variety of living organisms, such as garden plants, wildlife, pets, and your family. And, it’s not just the active ingredients that can be harmful. The inert ingredients that make up between 50 and 99 percent of the formula may actually be more toxic that their active counterparts.

    How Can Chemical Lawn Treatments Affect Your Family?

    The biggest issue with chemical lawn treatments is that so many of them also contain a pesticide component. Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 of them have actually been linked with cancer or carcinogenic properties, 13 have been identified with ties to birth defects, 21 with reproductive issues, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with imbalances of the endocrine system.

    Of those common pesticides, 17 have been located in groundwater, and 23 are capable of leaching into drinking water sources. Additionally, 24 are toxic to fish, 11 to bees, and 16 to birds.

    Are Chemical Lawn Products Regulated?

    No. The EPA currently allows no claims on pesticides or lawn care chemicals, and in fact, it is a federal violation to label pesticides with terms such as “safe” or “non-toxic.” It is estimated that nearly 90 percent of pesticides in use actually lack proper health and safety registration; however, they are still permitted on the market.

    Are There Alternatives to Toxic Lawn Care Products?

    Yes. There are natural options to maintain a healthy, pest-free landscape without the use of dangerous chemicals in Ann Arbor MI. One option is corn gluten, a natural pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer presently available to homeowners. Likewise, a thin layer of compost applied in the spring and fall can support healthy lawn growth while other natural practices can be applied to limit pests and disease.