You’ve worked hard to make your home an oasis of privacy and safety for your family. Make sure that your landscaping offers protection as well as screening from the outside world. A qualified landscaper can offer you outdoor lighting solutions that will reduce pockets of darkness around your home in Ann Arbor MI. This custom lighting design, specific to your architectural features and plantings, will increase the security level around your house.
Wired Lighting Options
The lighting options available are many. If power is available in the areas where you need to increase light, you can choose from
- traditional internally controlled lighting, controlled with switch from inside the home
- timed lighting units, which can be programmed to turn on at a specific time
- daylight sensitive lights, which feature a sensor that reads the current amount of daylight and turns on at dusk, or
- motion sensor units, which turn on when there is movement near the light fixture itself.
Depending on the placement of the light and your household habits, each of these lighting units offers a security benefit. Timed lighting units and daylight sensitive fixtures offer you the surety of knowing that your outdoor security lighting is on whether you’re home or not. Motion sensor lighting units will send an intruder running, but can also become a nuisance if neighborhood cats or other night time animals are triggering the lighting unit. Your family habits can help determine the best lighting design for your situation and security needs.
Non-Wired Lighting Options
While there are many solar lighting landscaping options available for ambiance and walkway lighting, most of the units found in garden centers and home supply stores are not bright enough to be considered security lighting. However, solar motion sensor lights, properly sited and mounted, can provide you with a bright light in a dark area where power is not easily available. Because these units feature a separate charging panel, you can count on a fully charged light fixture, even in the placement of the lighting unit is in a dim spot. While the charging panel can be mounted to most efficiently catch the sun, the motion sensor is built into the lighting unit. Many of these units can function up to fifteen days after a full charge, so even during the rainy season, your solar security light will function consistently.
A conversation with a professional landscaper can provide you with the best mix of solar and wired outdoor lighting solutions. No matter the season, you can be assured of quality security lighting to protect your family and home from unwelcome intrusion. Guidance will also be available on the best treatment of foundation plantings that may have become large enough to give a potential intruder a spot to hide. If you need plantings cut back, removed or replaced in Ann Arbor MI, contact a landscaping professional. A careful review of your home, window placement, current plantings and lighting needs is a great investment in the safety of your family and home.
A weed is an undesired plant in a particular environment or surrounding. It is a plant that is considered useless or unwanted in a certain environment. The environment can either be a garden, farmyard, parks, and lawns. Weeds tend to grow together with planted vegetation or flowerbed and tend to make gardening difficult hindering the planted vegetation from growing efficiently and freely. The most common types of garden, lawns, and homestead weeds are the Crabgrass, Pigweed, Quack grass, Chickweed, Purslane, Lamb’s Quarters, Shepherd’s Purse and Buckhorn Plantain. Such weeds are a common gardening problem in parts of the state such as Dexter, Ann Arbor MI, and Ypsilanti among other areas.
Crabgrass carries the highest number of lawn discomfiture and complaints. It reproduces by its seeds and by rooting itself up at the lower joints. If not directly controlled, crabgrass competes directly with the surrounding vegetation for moisture and soil nutrients. It also hosts the leaf blast disease, nematodes, and the mosaic virus since it hosts them and become the next source of infections. Pigweed, on the other hand, is identified by its red roots, and it reproduces by producing lots of seeds. Its plenty seeds grow into a high number, hence interfering with the lawn or homestead garden plantation.
Quack Grass is a perennial type of grass that is resistant and that creeps and forms a massive layer on the soil surface thus hindering other plants from growing. It affects up to 20% of a plants growth and if not uprooted it ends up demeaning the whole lawn or garden plantation. Chickweed is classified in two different types of species, an annual and a perennial one. The perennial one is known as the mouse-ear type of chickweed which forms a dense prostrate patch in gardens and lawns. Common chickweed is the perennial type of chickweed, and it appears more delicate distant view but has leaves vertically spread.
Lamb’s Quarter is a kind of weed that is common during the summer. It is characterized by its tendency of rapidly draining moisture from the soil. It is a fast-growing type of weed that grows annually and produces its seeds so fast. It, therefore, reproduces at a more rapid rate and takes over the plantation. Purslane is another type of weed that reproduces by its tiny black seed and stem-based fragments. It appears either in early summer or late spring. It thrives well in a fertile and productive soil under warm weather. It can live in the soil for a very extended period in the absence of moisture. It overgrows and prevents the vegetation from growing.
The Shepherd’s Purse is another type of weed that survives by manipulating itself in the fastest way possible through its seeds. The weed is annual and is flowery in nature. Its seeds are yellowish brown in color and can stay on the ground for a very long period. It survives best in cool weather. The Buckhorn Plantain is a perennial weed hard in nature that also reproduces using seeds. It is a narrow-leaved seed, and it appears in any season. Common in Ann Arbor MI. If not controlled in advance, it invades pastures, lawns, and meadows. The above weeds are dangerous and can ruin gardening activities if not controlled early enough.
If you find any of these weeds in your yard be sure to contact us to have them removed today.
Lawn aeration is most often recommended for older lawns that have developed problems with thatch. However, even young lawns benefit from lawn aeration. Aeration improves drainage, increases grass health, builds up drought resistance and prevents turf diseases.
If thatch is a problem, then you should definitely choose to aerate your lawn. If thatch isn’t a problem, then consider the following reasons why lawn aeration is still beneficial:
1.) Increase Drought Resistance
The hot, dry summer of 2012 left many lawns in Ann Arbor MI brown and crisp. The reason behind so many distressed lawns does not lay solely with the weather. Compacted clay soils prevent proper root development. The same is true for soil in high traffic areas. In these growing environments roots are unable to penetrate packed soils. The result is shallow rooting. During times of significant drought, shallow roots are unable to reach deeper water sources. However, turf roots are able to penetrate and grow deeply in loose soils. The deeper the root penetration the more resistant the turf is to drought.
2.) Control Grubs
Grubs are beetle larvae that feed on turf and cause significant damage. The 2012 drought increased grub populations in Ann Arbor MI because the lack of rain weakened turf root systems and made them susceptible to grubs. If you are interested in curbing grub populations without using pesticides, then you can increase mowing height, encourage deep rooting provide fertilizers and water during dry periods. As mentioned earlier, aeration promotes deep growing roots. Aeration can also be benefit those choosing to use pesticides because loose soil allows better chemical penetration.
3.) Improve Drainage
There are 83 distinct soil types in Washtenaw County. In Ann Arbor MI soils range from sandy loam to clay. If you notice pooling in your yard or yellowing grass, then it is likely you have clay soils. Clay soils are made up ofsmall particles that are easily compressed creating a dense surface that is difficult for water to penetrate. Pooling water drowns your lawn and can be responsible for yellowing. During the aeration process, plugs of soil are pulled from your lawn providing drainage outlets.
4.) Encourage Worms
Worms are natural aerators. Although worms improve compacted soils by tunneling through them, worms won’t inhabit severely compacted soils. Aerating a lawn initiates the development of a habitable worm environment. Once worms get into a turf’s soil they will continue to improve and aerate it.
5.) Prevent Fungal Diseases
Some common turf types found in Ann Arbor are Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and fine fescue. Fungal diseases like red thread, slime mold and dollar spot tend to infect fescues but lawn experts have seen it in Kentucky bluegrass. Fungal diseases are commonly caused by excess moisture that builds when lawn soils are compacted. Other causes of fungal infection are weak roots and distressed grass. Improving drainage and increasing turf strength decreases the risk of fungal disease. Aeration is one of the best ways to encourage deep rooting turf and to discourage disease, distress and pests.
If you need lawn aeration services performed contact Twin Oaks today.
Savvy homeowners in Ann Arbor MI appreciate the benefits of retaining a landscaping company well-versed in the use of sophisticated computerized planning tools. The ability to employ 3D U-Vision Design Software to help visualize the appearance of your home and grounds can prove very useful. Here are a few of the ways that this software can assist homeowners.1. Reproduce Scaled Images
This great software tool allows people to create images of a home and its surroundings drawn to scale. This level of accuracy matters a lot when you develop plans for adding new enhancements, such as outdoor lighting systems, underground sprinklers, decks, ponds, arbors, walkways, trees and flower beds. When you reproduce these features according to scale during the planning stage, you’ll gain a much better idea of the quantity of materials required for the project. It helps many people calculate costs more accurately, without wasting supplies.2. Help Everyone Plan Improvements Accurately
By using the very accurate 3D U-Vision Design Software, property owners obtain the opportunity to appreciate the best sites for landscaping improvements in advance of authorizing projects to proceed. For instance, if a couple decides to install an outdoor spa, the use of the software program may enable everyone to agree ahead of time about the preferred location for the addition. A good landscaping software program helps homeowners compare and contrast different site options.
3. Toggle Between Plans And Perspective Views Easily
Unlike some landscaping programs, the 3D U-Vision Design Software Program enables people to toggle easily between a landscaping plans and a lifelike perspective view. You’ll gain the opportunity to take a virtual tour of your landscaped property from different vantage points before undertaking major changes. If you’ve always wondered how your residence would appear from the perspective of someone viewing the home from the curb after your landscaper implements improvements, this excellent software program will help you picture the final results from that unique vantage point.
4. View And Compare Specific Details
The software program offers users the ability to reproduce many landscaping and design accents with meticulous realism. For instance, you can compare the way your home in Ann Arbor MI would appear with different trim and brickwork options. The excellent level of detail increases homeowner satisfaction with the final results, since you’ll realize more clearly beforehand how various landscaping and construction improvements will change the appearance of the residence.
5. Track Landscaping Improvements Over Time
Finally, the 3D U-Vision software permits the tracking of landscaping changes into the future. For example, a tree planted in a particular location today may appear beautiful five years from today, but when it reaches maturity in 30 years it might obstruct a treasured panoramic view from an upper-story window. By using excellent planning tools, homeowners can select the best species of beautiful shrubs and trees to complement their residence over the course of time.
Professional landscaping companies today use software tools to help ensure that their customers make decisions that will enhance their satisfaction. These tools promote greater happiness. Be sure to ask Twin Oaks about their 3D U-Vision Design Software today.
Most homeowners want a nice green lawn and shrubs. Maybe they even have trees and some flowers. Whatever the landscaping arrangement of your home is like, you want to keep it looking its best. We all know about watering and mowing. Most of us are also aware of the basics of trimming and pruning. But sometimes we forget about feeding. Like people, plants require the proper mix of nutrients to grow strong. A well fed plant is stronger, healthier, and better looking than an undernourished one. Feeding your plants properly is something every homeowner and gardener should learn to do.
What Does Your Yard Need?
There are plenty of different fertilizers on the market. If you have a normal lawn, you should fertilize based on what type of grass you have, and how old the lawn is. There are products specialized for new lawns, established lawns, and for winterizing lawns.
Some products only provide nutrients; some are “weed and feed” products designed to do two jobs at once. There are granular products you put in a spreader, and liquid products you apply with a sprayer or hose attachment.
If you have shrubs, bushes, trees, or other plants, they will likely require a separate product. Most fertilizers have numbers representing their quantities of three nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. So, for example, a bag of 5-5-5 contains 5% nitrogen, 5% phosphorous and 5% potassium. Other common ratios are 16-6-4 and 10-10-10.
Do you have a vegetable garden? You may want specialized products for your tomatoes. If you grow roses, there are products tailored for them as well. Although uncommon here in Ann Arbor MI, citrus trees require a special plant food as well. We have seen a few dwarf potted Meyer lemons in our time!
DIY vs Professional Help
If you have a standard lawn and a few flowers, applying these products yourself may make perfect sense. If you have a more specialized set up, it may benefit you to hire a professional.
A well trained landscaper or gardener will know exactly what to apply to your plants. Professionals also understand what quantities to use. These products must be applied to plants with care, because they can cause problems when too much is used. Roots can be burned and the plant may not recover from such damage.
Healthy plant life is a bigger part of our home life than we realize. When landscaping is maintained properly, a home looks better. Property values are maintained. And living in a house with a healthy lawn, trees, and bushes just feels better. An orderly, healthy appearance contributes to a feeling of wellness for everyone who lives in the home.
If you have a lawn and garden in Ann Arbor MI that needs feeding, we would love to help. Putting our expertise to use can save you trouble in the long run. Call today, and we would be happy to discuss your needs with us. It’s our pleasure to provide you with an estimate.
Effective irrigation is important for not only maintaining the overall health of your lawn but also for supporting sensible use of water as an important resource. There are a number of different types of lawn irrigation systems each with different benefits. No matter what system you use, though, these five tips will help you improve your lawn’s irrigation and manage your water use more efficiently.
What Is Irrigation?
Irrigation is typically considered the supplemental addition of water to a plant when rainfall is insufficient to meet the plant’s needs. This practice is especially important in areas with little rainfall, but it’s also a consideration in areas with milder climates, like Ann Arbor MI, for controlling water use and maintaining the appearance of your lawn.
Determining appropriate steps for managing your lawn is relatively easy when you know what to consider. Follow these simple tips to learn how to make the most of the irrigation system in your lawn.
1. Use an Appropriate Dispensing Method
While it may be tempting to just take a hose to everything, doing so is an extremely inefficient way to water your lawn. A hose without a nozzle dispense water much more quickly that than grass and plants can absorb it, which causes excessive runoff and carries away topsoil. If you are not yet ready to invest in a sprinkler system, consider option for a hose nozzle with multiple settings or even just a watering can. Either option dispenses the water over a wider area, making it easier for the ground to absorb.
2. Water Deeply
The key to watering your lawn is to water deeply but infrequently. Doing so will encourage the development of deep roots. You’ll want to water your grass long enough that the water soaks to the depth of the roots. While the specific amount of time needed varies by soil type, a general rule of thumb is to apply no more than one inch of water. This amount should be enough to soak the soil between six and ten inches deep.
3. Water at the Right Time
Watering at the right time of day is another important consideration for effectively irrigating your lawn. It is best to water in the early morning. Watering midday can cause too much water to evaporate prior to soaking into the soil while watering late in the evening encourages fungal development.
4. Avoid Overwatering
Overwatering is just as much of an issue as under-watering, so be mindful of how much moisture your lawn has absorbed in the past few days. If your area has gotten ¾ to 1 inch of rain in a week, you should skip watering. A great way to monitor this is using a rain gauge in your yard. Likewise, attaching a rain sensor or moisture sensor on your automatic sprinkler system can help you avoid overwatering.
5. Prevent Runoff
Runoff is a significant contributor to water waste. The soil type and rate of application of water are the primary components that determine how quickly runoff will occur. To eliminate this issue, monitor your lawn before, during, and after several irrigation periods. Take note of how long the sprinkler runs before runoff appears, and then set the time for each cycle according to that observation.
Effective lawn irrigation is an important practice for maintaining its appearance as well as adequately regulating resources. Follow these tips to improve the irrigation in your Ann Arbor MI yard and enjoy healthier, fuller grass while using less water.
Installing a permanent irrigation system adds value to your home and beauty to your landscape. Depending on the shape, size and location of your yard, your sprinkler system design and layout will require careful consideration and a unique eye.
Physical Boundaries and Permanent Structures
The location of property lines and placement of trenches for your irrigation system water lines is critical. If fence structures or other physical barriers are currently in place, trenching placement will be in accordance with the fence line. If a fence is planned for the future, the trenches must be placed accordingly.
Permanent structure placement and future design plans of your Ann Arbor MI landscape must also be taken into consideration as possible. In addition to your home, garage and fences, any stone patios, storage buildings, or pool placement must be considered in the layout and design of your watering system. These collaborative design decisions will save you a lot of water over time.
Items to consider in the design your sprinkler system include
1) controller location
2) rain sensor placement
3) spray head placement
4) fixed vs rotor spray head concerns
Rotors vs. Spray Heads
Rotors function best over distances. Rotors are designed to produce a designated sweep of water, and produce a “chattering” sound as they turn back and forth, spouting water across the landscape. They generally have a radius between fifteen and thirty-five feet, depending on the amount of water pressure in your system. Because rotors can cover longer distances, placing these will require less trenching but cost more per placement due to the price of the rotor mechanism. It is important to note that rotors may not function efficiently if water pressure in your area is low. A qualified landscape designer can help you determine any limitations to a rotor system.
Spray heads are fixed in the landscape and produce a steady spray of water in one area, covering one circle of the landscape from their position. Depending on the size of the area to be watered, these may well be the most efficient option.
While many property owners prefer rotor heads to spray heads because there is less water lost to evaporation, unless your yard is large enough to offer an efficient use of the range offered by a rotor system, you may wind up watering fences, outbuildings, sidewalks and patios. Over time, excess water on these permanent structures can cause discoloration and damage. Ultimately, your sprinkler system needs to provide your landscape efficient, consistent water. If your landscape features curves, such as permanent paths or patio edges, a rotor system will be less efficient than a fixed spray head. Should your landscape contain long, narrow areas to be watered, there are sprinkler heads design to fan water over these stretches as well.
Your Ann Arbor MI landscape deserves the best professional treatment as you set out to enjoy the bounty and beauty of a Michigan summer. Contact a qualified professional landscape designer for expert advice in determining your needs.
There are plenty of hardy trees that thrive in Ann Arbor MI. While all trees require water, wholesome soil, and pruning, some trees require more maintenance than others. Many trees require extra maintenance in the summer months. Below you’ll find information about some of the most high-maintenance trees.
Evergreen trees are well-known for their beauty and the privacy they offer. Evergreens require continual maintenance in the form of trimming and pruning. Evergreen tree care is important to prevent a hazardous mass of dried twigs from forming in the center.
Silver maple trees are widespread across the Midwest. They offer plenty of shade, but their fast growth makes for brittle wood that breaks easily. Silver maples have shallow root systems which often leads to cracked sidewalks and broken sewer pipes. However, their fast growth is ideal for areas that need substantial shade in a short period of time.
Willow trees are instantly recognizable and gorgeous. However, they need lots of water. The roots will invade sewer lines and drain fields to get the precious water they need. Willows are also prone to cracking. However, with proper tree care, a willow can live up to 30 years.
Eucalyptus trees are heavy and fast-growing, shooting up as much as ten feet per year. They need to be pruned every summer to control growth and height. If they become too top-heavy, the resin-filled branches can break without warning.
Sweet gums are one of the most beautiful autumn trees. Their leaves become a vibrant shade of scarlet every fall. Sharp spikes cover their round seed pods. The spikes can stab bare feet and injure pets. If you or your pets plan on enjoying your yard, masses of sweet gum seed pods will have to be picked up.
Every summer basswood trees become infected with aphids that secrete sticky bits of sap. Anything beneath a basswood tree will become covered with difficult to remove sap. Make sure to park elsewhere if a basswood tree overlooks your driveway.
Several varieties of fruit trees grow well in the Midwest, such as apple, pear, and cherry. Fruit trees can be some of the most rewarding to grow, but they require a lot of maintenance. Insects and animals are drawn to the delicious fruit. These pests must be kept at bay. Fruit should also be picked so it does not rot on the ground around the tree.
Whatever is planted on your land, we have the expertise to take care of it for you. Call us today so that we can take care of all of your Ann Arbor MI landscaping needs.
When your homes’ foundation is suffering, your home will usually give you signs. Summer is the time of year when those signs can become most prominent due to weather changes. Here are some of the most common problems that may lead to foundation issues during the hottest months of the year.
Soil expansion is one of the primary reasons for foundation issues. When water is added, soil expands, and when there is a lack of moisture, soil contracts. This constant back and forth causes houses to settle and shift. Some settling over time is normal, but due to summer offering hotter temperatures, soil expansion and contraction can become more extreme during this season.
Flooding, though usually rare in summer, can occur. Excessive water from heavy rains or flooding cause extra strain on foundations. If a home has a basement, too much water can affect basement walls due to the pressure the extra moisture puts on them. Especially in places near water, such as Ann Arbor MI, it’s important for home owners to be aware of any excess water near their homes. The effect on foundations can be detrimental.
A very common issue in summer is drought. Days or even months without rain can make soil contraction extreme enough to affect a home’s foundation, resulting in the need for repair. Watering foundations can help, but depending on how extreme the damage is professional foundation repair may be necessary to correct the damage and save the integrity of the home.
Signs You May Have a Need for a Professional Assessment of Your Foundation:
1. Cracks on walls or floors
Not all cracks are created equal. Small cracks can be a normal sign of settling, but large cracks or cracks that run horizontally are usually signs of real problems. Cracks may be found in tile or on any other type of flooring, but many people forget to look up when assessing the health of their foundation. Cracks in walls give further evidence of foundation issues that are worth following up on.
2. Doors and windows that won’t close
If doors and windows stick when someone tries to close them, it can be a sign of foundation issues worth looking into. In summer issues with doors and windows will be easier to notice, especially if there hasn’t been much rain in the area.
3. Water that pools around the foundation
Assuming you do have rain in summer, water that doesn’t drain properly and pools around your house is a bad sign. If you notice pooling water, you will probably also notice that water isn’t draining properly from spouts. These are signs of foundation shifts that need to be assessed by a professional.
If you live in Ann Arbor MI and need foundation repair this summer, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as you notice that your foundation may have been compromised. Summer can wreak havoc on homes, but proper foundation repair early on can save money and your home before it’s too late.