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

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  1. Raised patio with pillar

    Landscaping is no longer just about trees, flowers, and foliage. Well-planned hardscapes that extend indoor living spaces outdoors are extremely popular additions that add value to your Ann Arbor MI home. They should be an important part of your landscape planning.

    The Value of Landscaping and Hardscapes

    According to a study conducted jointly by the University of Michigan and Clemson University, potential buyers estimate the value of well-landscaped homes to be up to 11.3 percent higher than their actual base price. Bob Villa, former host of This Old House, refers to studies that find that the first impression created by a well-planned and executed landscape design can increase the value of an Ann Arbor MI home by as much as 20 percent. That equals the value added by remodeling your kitchen or bath, two investments that are standard recommendations. For that reason, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends investing 10 percent of your home’s value in improving and maintaining your home’s landscaping.

    The Hardscaping Projects That Add the Most Value

    Among the projects that will add the most value to your home and bring the most return for your investment are:

    • A covered patio or deck with a screened in area
    • A fire pit
    • Unique designs created with bricks, stone pavers, or stamped and stained concrete

    A covered patio or deck allows you to use the area even when it rains. You can maintain the open to the sky look and add color by covering a portion of your deck with a pergola and canvas panel inserts. For an even more open look, try canvas sails.

    A screened in area allows you and your guests to escape mosquitoes at dusk while still enjoying your evening. If you want privacy, you can install blinds or even curtains in outdoor fabrics.

    A fire pit lets you entertain your guests outdoors, even when Michigan’s fall weather turns days and nights chilly.

    A patio requires flooring material, but why have a plain, boring floor when you could have designs created by bricks placed to form geometric designs with borders or patterns created with paving stones of different colors. For more versatility, concrete can be stamped and tinted to mimic many natural materials.

    Other Hardscape Projects

    Some hardscaping ideas add value to your home but don’t earn quite as much return for the investment. Before committing to these projects, consider how much you, your family, and friends will enjoy them.

    • A pool
    • An outdoor kitchen
    • An outdoor fireplace

    Pools and outdoor kitchens and fireplaces represent substantial cash investments. If you, your family, and your friends will use them only occasionally, you may want to consider a smaller kitchen and a larger fire pit instead of a fireplace. However, if you foresee that these additions will be sources of a great deal of fun and entertainment, then, by all means, indulge.

    Above all, choose what you enjoy.

  2. drainage - does your yard look like thisSoil Erosion is technically referred to as soil degradation and is a serious agricultural problem worldwide. So, what role can soil erosion play in a home yard setting where the growing season is primarily devoted to vegetable gardens and beautifying landscaping? The fact is that yards with domestic, nursery – provided plants are as susceptible to soil erosion just as land and soil devoted to agricultural uses are. Measures must be taken to protect the soil from the effects of planting, improper drainage, inundation with water that cannot be readily absorbed and which then is forced to leave the land as runoff, thereby causing unavoidable soil erosion at home.

    Causes of Soil Erosion at Home
    Soil erosion at home can be caused by a number of factors. Erosion is not limited to agricultural settings. The erosion can be caused by improperly preparing the soil in a home yard before planting. The drainage of soil in a yard can affect the water in that soil, and resulting runoff can cause soil erosion at home.

    Immediate Prevention of Soil Erosion
    Carefully choosing plants which are known to bind the surrounding loose soil around them can help prevent soil erosion. Carefully planning drainage to ensure that water is diverted away from erosion – prone spaces is also important when trying to minimize soil erosion. Hiring a local landscaper who is familiar with local soil conditions and effective drainage solutions is also a prudent move when dealing with soil erosion at home.

    Lasting Remedies For Soil Erosion
    When planing remedies for reversing soil erosion at home, it is important to choose solutions to the erosion problem and to avoid taking any action which would further the problem. A landscaper can help a homeowner devise a planting and hydration scheme for the yard which will provide a secure root system and minimize the water used.

    Future Prevention Plans
    Future landscaping plans should take erosion prevention into consideration. Reversing soil erosion should be considered a long-term effort; one successful growing season without erosion is just that–a good growing season. One successful season does not mean that the erosion situation is magically fixed. Homeowners must remain vigilant to signs of future problems. Implementing a thorough program to prevent soil erosion at home is a beneficial way to address this problem directly. A qualified landscaper is the best resource to use when coming up with a planting and lawn care program to prevent gamagind soil erosion at home.

    Conclusions About Soil Erosion at Home
    Preventing soil erosion at home requires a concerted effort which will include a landscaping plan to care for the soil and yard year round. By engaging a local landscaper who has experience with area soil conditions and drainage challenges, the homeowner can make informed planting decisions. Prudent, practiced probedures lawn care procedures0should help prevent soil erosion at home.

  3. Couple Concerned About LawnMany homes in Ann Arbor, MI are equipped with spacious basements that homeowners can use for everything from game rooms to extra bedrooms. While there are many advantages of this below-ground space, it doesn’t come without challenges due to its location. Basement leaks in particular are common problems caused by water in the soil that surrounds the home. If you have a basement and are interested in protecting your structure, then the important tips below are well worth learning.

    • You’re Most at Risk in Winter and Spring
      While heavy rainfall throughout the year can put your home at risk for basement leaks, there are also certain seasons that increase chances of water working its way into your basement. Winter and spring specifically put you at the greatest risk, as this is when snow is the most intense in Ann Arbor, MI. As the snow begins to melt on warm winter days or when the weather heats up into the spring, there will be much more water in the soil around your house. Unfortunately this will create more pressure in the ground, which is likely to lead to water leaks within the basement.
    • Learn the Signs of Water Leaks
      If you see mold on your drywall, water stains on your ceiling, wet carpets, or discoloration in any area of your basement, then it’s very likely you have a water leak in your basement. While this might be troublesome, it’s important that you know about it as soon as possible. This will help ensure you can avoid additional damage by tacking the cause of the leak right away.
    • Ask a Landscaper About Preventative Solutions

    With basement leaks being so common in Ann Arbor, MI homes due to the large amounts of snow accumulated during the winter, it’s important to protect your home in as many ways as you can. This should first mean repairing floor cracks, installing new window wells, and fixing any cracks in mortar joints. Once you’ve done this, contact a landscaping professional to help you with more specialized solutions, such as new drainage systems and basement waterproofing. These are some of the most effective ways to prevent water damage in your basement, whether you’re dealing with heavy snow in the winter or pouring rain in the spring.

    Is Your Home Prepared for Winter?
    When the snow starts to fall, will your basement be ready? If you want to avoid any major issues during the coldest time of year, it’s incredibly beneficial to prepare ahead of time. Fortunately by doing a few repairs and working with a landscaper, you’ll find that you enjoy the following benefits:

    1. Safety
    When your basement is waterproof and you have proper drainage, you’re less likely to see dangerous mold growth from leaks

    2. Peace of Mind
    Rather than being nervous that snow or ice will melt and eventually leak into your basement, you can enjoy the winter months knowing your basement is protected from water.

    3. Money Savings
    The small cost of preventative maintenance can save you quite a bit of money on repairs and updates down the road.

  4. Rake and leafsThe hot and dry weather of October goes on. But even now, while the roses and hydrangeas are still blossoming and the chrysanthemums and dahlias are putting on an amazing show, you should be thinking about starting the garden cleanup tasks for autumn. The killing frost will be coming soon, so getting the cleanup chores underway now will mean less stress once the weather turns really cold. You’ll be glad you stated early when spring rolls round again.
    Cleaning up the Lawn
    Grass grows more slowly as the temperature drops, and once the temperature of the air reaches approximately 40 degrees, lawn growth will cease altogether. So get the grass mown one last time for the season, so that the shorter blades are less likely to offer a late-season breeding ground for mold or fungus. Give the grass one last fertilizing as well; it won’t make a lot of difference now, but the extra feeding will mean that your grass will be greener and healthier once it starts its spring growth.
    Removing the Annuals
    By this time of year, annuals like marigolds, petunias, and asters are looking pretty seedy and spent. It’s time to clean them out and get them onto the compost pile (check to be sure you aren’t composting any diseased or pest-infested plants). Spade into the beds any dried leaves and general debris that the plants have left behind.
    Preparing the Perennials
    Start your fall cleanup of perennials well before the first frost. Once their major blooming season is past, trim back the spent blossoms and stems. Fertilizing should stop by mid-September, but be sure that you don’t let your perennials dry out: deep watering is best through to the time when the leaves start to fall. If you have tender perennials you’re planning on over-wintering in the house, pot them up while they are still enjoying late summer vigor, then set them in a protected area in the yard to get them ready for their temporary home inside – but don’t forget to give them plenty of water. Bulbs which have died back can now be lifted and divided.
    Winterizing Shrubs and Trees
    Late summer and early fall offer an excellent opportunity to trim back any dead or dying branches from your larger shrubs and trees. Trees especially should be inspected for any branches that could prove a problem during winter storms. If you have large trees with limbs that need removal, arrange with a professional landscaping service to help you cut down and dispose of these.
    Mulch with plantings

    Mulch with plantings

    Mulching the Beds
    Mulching is an activity that should go on throughout the growing season, but it becomes especially important in autumn. Start now to apply mulch to all your garden beds to insure that bulbs and perennials are safe from heaving during the long winter when the soil freezes solid.

    Raking up Leaves
    Hot and dry summers always cause some leaf loss; this should be dealt with immediately. When the major leave loss begins, keep up with the fall on a regular basis. The raked leaves should be composted, providing a rich mulch for your garden beds.
  5. If water is outstaying its welcome in your yard, you probably have a drainage issue. This can be particularly annoying as this standing water can be hard to look at, kill the lawn or other plants, and make it a hassle to move around. It is not exactly easy to maintain a healthy yard when it is always full of water!

    Many things can contribute to a poor yard drainage issue, including soil type and compaction, heavy rain, an improper grading plan, and fencing that blocks proper drainage. If you are noticing that large puddles of water persistently exist in your yard, there is a reason and, more importantly, there is a way to fix it and return your yard to its original state.drainage - does your yard look like this

    The most common reasons for standing water include:

    • Improper soil type
    • Heavy rain in the last forty-eight hours
    • A changed initial grading plan
    • Fencing that blocks proper flow

    Soil Type
    Heavy, clay-based soil is a large cause of draining issues. Because clay particles sit so close together, water does not pass though easily. Clay is not absorbent, but rather takes in water and retains it for extended periods of time. Other types of soil react much better to water and absorb it willingly, making drainage far less of an issue. If it is not possible to mess with the soil composition, drainage channels may be necessary. Ann Arbor MI statistically has a high percentage of clay in the soil.

    Heavy Rain

    If your water issues only occur after a heavy rainfall, your yard is most likely properly graded. There may still be a slight issue with the soil, but seeing pooling water right after a storm is very normal and is not cause for immediate worry.

    Fencing That Blocks Flow

    The issue may be born of fencing that is blocking the flow of drainage. Sometimes, fencing is placed too close to the ground, which can cause water to pool around the base. If you notice water gathers around the base of the fence, it was installed improperly.

    Change in the Initial Grading Plan

    Good grading occurs when engineers and landscapers work together in careful consideration to map out the drainage patterns of the yard. Establishing this grading plan means that your landscape will function fluidly. However, an alteration to the original site without consultation may be the reason you have water pooling in the yard. This could potentially lead to pieces of land being washed away and water damage to your home.

    Creating a beautifully landscaped yard can be very important to fully enjoying a home and can contribute greatly to the beauty of the neighborhood. Hiring a professional to manage all of your Ann Arbor MI landscaping needs is a sure way to avoid real issues with standing water. If you notice long-lasting and persistent pooling water in your yard that occurs without heavy rainfall, you should have it looked at by a professional. Sometimes, these issues can evolve in something that causes permanent damage.

  6. Smooth StonesHardscapes are elements on a property that are sturdier and more long lasting than the grass, flowers, plants and trees that often make up the rest of a landscape. Often made of stone, they include walkways, steps, walls, firepits and water elements. Many types of natural stone are used to add their unique qualities to an Ann Arbor MI hardscape. Here are a few of them:

    Versatile Limestone
    Limestone is a sedimentary rock, which means it was created by materials that accumulated over eons. It is made largely of calcite, which is a form of calcium carbonate and can be compact or full of the skeletons of tiny fossils. The color of limestone ranges from pure white to black. Other colors are yellow, pink, red and dark brown. Some types of limestone are too soft for hardscaping, but limestone designated as Type III by ASTM International is suitable for outdoor use. Type III limestone is excellent as pavers or steps.

    Tough, Beautiful Granite
    Strong, durable and beautiful, granite is a rock formed in the bowels of volcanoes. It comes in a rainbow of colors, from nearly pure white to solid black and can be used for outdoor flooring, walkways, seating, walls, statuary or fountains. Popular for indoor kitchen countertops, it is tough enough to be used for the counters of outdoor kitchens as well.

    Bluestone Patio And Stone GrillColorful Sandstone
    Sandstone is another sedimentary rock, made of grains of sand that have accumulated over millennia. Masons find sandstone easy to work with because it can be easily cleaved into slabs, which makes it good for walkways and garden walls. Colors range from white to reddish brown. There’s a type of blue-gray sandstone called, appropriately, bluestone. Good for seating and steps, sandstone adds a pop of interesting color to a garden.

    Water-resistant Slate
    Like sandstone, slate is easily broken into slabs, which makes it ideal for paving. As it’s water resistant, slate is good to place around water features such as ponds, pools or fountains. It comes in the familiar blue, green or gray.

    Luminous Quartzite
    Quartzite is a metamorphic rock, which means it was slowly transferred from one kind of rock into another over countless years. In the case of quartzite, it was formed out of sedimentary rocks such as arkose and graywacke. It is mostly made of quartz with additions of mica, feldspar and other minerals. Quartzite is hard, dense and luminous. Like marble, another metamorphic natural stone, it seems to gather light into itself and throw some of it back. This makes it a particularly beautiful stone to use in an area where there’s outdoor lighting.

    With the exception of slate and sandstone, these stones can be used as accent boulders or cobbles around a yard or garden. They can also be used as gravel in a pathway or at the bottom of a water feature. Residents of Ann Arbor MI shouldn’t hesitate to contact our company for their hardscaping needs or if they need more information about different types of natural stone.

  7. Summer is the time to sit back and enjoy your yard, but you also need to keep on top of cleanup and basic maintenance chores to ensure it looks its best. The key to a great looking lawn is to have a thorough understanding of what seasonal cleanup is required. The following guide can keep you on top of your landscaping chores.

    Clear the Thatch

    Natural stone landscaping in home rose gardenThatch build-up occurs on Ann Arbor MI lawns due to the collection of organic matter on top of the soil. Most of the grasses used in the area are cool season grasses, which means they tend to go dormant when the temperatures rise in mid-summer. This can lead to dead grass and stems forming a thick layer on top of the soil, called thatch, which prevents water and oxygen from
    seeping into the ground. Seasonal cleanup of the thatch is necessary as the grass resumes growth in late summer, following a system similar the following:

    1. Mow the lawn low – to about half the usual height – before beginning.
    2. Flag the location of any sprinkler heads so you don’t damage them.
    3. Using a dethatching rake, pull the rake across the lawn to lift the thatch layer up. For severe thatch you can rent a power rake.
    4. After removing the thatch in one direction, repeat the process at a 90 degree angle to the first pass to ensure all of the thatch is lifted and removed.

    Rake Up Storm Debris

    Summer thunderstorms are a normal issue in Ann Arbor MI, which can lead to small twigs, branches, and leaves strewn all over the lawn. Not only is this unattractive, it can also lead lawn mold growth as moisture collects underneath the fallen debris.

    Rake up all fallen detritus after each storm. This is also a good time to look up and check out the canopy of the trees on your property. If you notice dead or damaged wood, go ahead and cut it out. Although most tree pruning occurs in early spring, you can clean out dead and damaged wood at any time.

    SKiller Weedstay On Top of Weed Management

    Seasonal cleanup of weeds can really ramp up during the summer months. This is because weeds tend to go through a flush of growth as the temperatures rise and garden irrigation becomes consistent. The following can help you manage the weeds throughout the summer and into fall:

    • Maintain edging around garden beds. This means keeping the edges mowed or trimmed low, as well as removing any weeds or grasses promptly that begin to encroach.
    • Use landscape fabric or plastic over the soil in garden beds to keep down weeds. When switching out summer annuals for the spring annuals, plant into the same holes that are already cut in the weed fabric so weeds don’t begin growing through empty slots.
    • Apply a mid-summer fertilizer as your lawn comes out of dormancy that contains weed herbicide. This will keep weeds from overtaking the lawn.
    • When weeding, dispose of any weeds that have begun to set seed. If you try to compost them, the seeds may survive the process and then later get spread back onto the lawn or garden bed.

    Summer lawn care and cleanup in Ann Arbor MI is key to having a beautiful landscape as you enter the late summer and fall months. Fortunately, much of your lawn’s needs are simply maintenance level, so you will still have plenty of time to enjoy the lazy days of summer.

  8. 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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  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    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.