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

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  1. Lawn Irrigation SystemIf you’re ready to invest in a permanent irrigation system or if you’ve got one and want to be sure it’s making the best use of water, contact a landscaping professional for an assessment of your current landscape. Standing water and inefficient run-off may mean that you should consider yard re-grading before installing permanent irrigation. In addition, standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, making your yard a hazard. If you have a permanent irrigation system and are dealing with an uneven or wasteful water distribution in Ann Arbor MI, a qualified landscaping professional can help you plan a better use of under-utilized water.

    Grading and Re-Grading Can Protect Your Foundation
    The most important thing to consider with regard to grading or re-grading your yard is foundation protection. An irrigation system that nourishes your lawn is wonderful. If it threatens your home, it’s a problem. A detailed assessment of the grade of your current landscape will provide you with the information you need regarding changing the grade of your lawn. Re-grading is critical if rainwater run-off or water from your yard’s irrigation system is impacting your foundation.

    If You Can’t Make It Level, Make It Beautiful!
    If you have a permanent irrigation system installed that doesn’t impact your foundation and is easy to winterize and maintain, re-grading will improve the level of your yard and the efficiency of your irrigation. An effective re-grade to level your lawn can provide you with a lawn that’s healthier and easier to mow. If re-grading for level doesn’t appeal to you, a landscape designer can offer many solutions and design ideas to correct issues such as standing water and run-off. For example, a low spot that collects water may be an ideal spot for a

    Garden Pond With RaindropsRain Garden. Rain gardens are dug deep and amended with permeable soil correction such as sand, compost and topsoil as needed. The native plants found in Ann Arbor MI can be put to beautiful use in these gardens and are water tolerant and thirsty. These plants filter run-off water, provide nourishment and habitats for birds, bees and butterflies, and offer low maintenance beauty in the landscape. Rain gardens can also be fed by directing the run-off from your downspouts and outdoor buildings with a

    Bioswale, or gently sloped drainage course designed to remove silt from run-off. You can make efficient use of water and beautify your yard. Bioswales are filled with water tolerant vegetation and often treated with irrigation fabric to reduce soil erosion. This efficient combination of landscaping features will make terrific use of any standing water in your yard.

    A careful yard re-grading can provide you with the smooth, even stretch of yard you desire. Once re-graded and level, your yard will be able to make better use of water, fertilizer treatments, and rainfall. However, if a re-grading for level isn’t possible, a qualified landscape designer can offer you other options to make the best use of standing water and run-off in your yard.

  2. Garden WallTrying to garden in Ann Arbor MI is no easy task. The plentiful rainfall can easily wash away fragile seedlings and newly planted flowers. Still, the love of gardening supersedes all of the challenges, and if you are resourceful enough, you can always find a way to make plants blossom despite the mess. One way to do that is to work smarter instead of harder, and use retaining walls. Read on for five great reasons you should consider adding them to your garden.

    Soil Erosion
    Heavy downpours of rain, high winds, and melting snowfall all contribute to soil erosion. As the top soil is washed away so are important nutrients that feed plants. Roots also become exposed, which cause the plants to wilt and die off. Retaining walls hold soil at bay, so this can’t happen.

    Aesthetics
    A retaining wall is not only functional but beautiful too. It adds a tremendous amount of curb appeal, which increases property values. In fact, they have become so desirable in Ann Arbor MI that properties that have them often sell faster than properties that don’t. That is because when they are placed in a garden setting with vines or flowers trailing down them, they certainly make passersby stop and stare at how lovely it all looks.

    Property and Garden Dividers
    A retaining wall is a sturdy property and garden divider. This is most helpful if your home is close to surrounding neighbors because it can act as a barrier to keep your prize rose bushes unavailable to stray dogs. It is also effective in keeping garden microclimates separate from each other.

    Raised Garden Beds
    Some people think of a retaining wall as a simple, flat structure, but that isn’t so. These walls can be curved, wavy, and made from many different sturdy substances. This versatility makes them perfect for raised garden beds. The walls support the sides of the bed and can transform a flat desolate area into a stunning focal point.

    Garden Bed Retaining Wall

    Flatten Sloped Areas
    While gardens that are planted on hills are quite lovely to look at, working in them can present quite a challenge. Many gardeners have taken a tumble while attempting to weed, plant, and till up gardens on hills. By adding a retaining wall, and some extra top soil too, a high-sloping hill can be transformed into a flattened garden bed ready for planting. This also helps with the above mentioned problem of soil erosion since hills have the highest rates of erosion because rain can carry the soil downward so much easier on them.

    As you can see, retaining walls are versatile, beautiful, and functional. They increase property values and make gardening easier. If you are considering having one or more of them installed, call in professionals to do the job. They have to be built using proper methods, so that they are the most strong and effective. Soil weighs quite a bit, so if they are not installed properly, they will not be able to withstand the pressure, and they could crumble. Twin Oaks can install your new retaining walls perfectly, so contact us today.

  3. Landscaping your yard involves a balance between green growing things and areas such as walkways, patios and decks. These “hardscapes” can be designed using many different materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.pulver 9

    Pavers
    No one particular material is used to make pavers. You might find these design elements made out of:
    • Brick
    • Concrete
    • Flagstone
    • Cobblestone

    This variety of compositions gives you a wide selection when it comes to style, color and size. Pavers can be shaped in many different fashions, so installing them can be a challenge for a nonprofessional, espeically since ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF PAVERS IS SUBBASE AND BASE products used to create a sound environment.  However, the stunning mix of colors that results makes an eye-catching addition to your yard.

    Concrete
    You can do pretty much anything with concrete. From perfectly square patios to textured poolside perimeters, concrete is a smart choice when you need a nonslip surface with a high level of durability. Its low cost means that you can create all kinds of landscaping elements without breaking the bank, and the ability to add aggregate or stamped designs allows you to make every style your own.

    Natural Stone
    This natural choice creates a harmonious look between your patio and the rest of your yard. Like brick, stone can be laid in a variety of patterns and be used for such versatile applications as garden paths and stepping stones. Locally quarried stone is cheaper since it doesn’t have to be shipped far, but harder stones such as granite and marble will increase landscaping costs.

    Composite Wood Products (Trex, Azec)Outdoor Patio
    When you want a rustic look for your patio, composite wood is a sensible option as they are resistant to outdoor damage and many have lifetime warranties. These products provide an almost totally free maintenance plan, most would include just a simple cleaning for spills, etc.

    In regards to using timber wood, it will require repeated treatment to retain its beauty and therefore requires more maintenance than other hardscape materials.  In addition, using timber wood for retaining soils generally shorten the life span of the wood.

    Tile
    Though highly decorative with a unique style, tile is a tentative choice for patios in Michigan. Its glazed surface may become slippery in wet conditions and the material is less hard-wearing than other hardscaping options. On the other hand, tile can add a warm glow to your outdoor area, so using it in moderation may be viable.

    Considering the different types of materials available before beginning your patio or hardscape project will help you envision the style that works best for your yard. Safety and durability are important when it comes to areas that will see a lot of use, and you want to choose something that will last for a long time without needing repair. Low maintenance, cost-effective materials abound so it shouldn’t be difficult to find just the right fit for your outdoor designs.

  4. Lighting_largeYou’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.

  5. 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.

    CDandelion Weedrabgrass 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 Man working in gardenfrom 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.

  6. Lawn aeration is most ofteLawn aerationn 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

    Lawn Irrigation SystemWorms 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.

  7. Rounded firepit with patio

    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.Outdoor dining area with pergula3. 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.

  8. lawn-fertilizationFeeding Your Plants

    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.

    Multicolored Flowerbed On A LawnWrapping Up

    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.

  9. lawn-sprinkler-paverEffective 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.

    Improving Irrigation
    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 amoGreen grass.unt 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.