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

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  1. Lighting_largeOutdoor lighting is commonly installed to dress up a property’s curb appeal, and it also can enhance security by lighting up darkened or shadowy areas of the yard at night. There are a wide range of exterior lighting solutions that include spotlights, accent lighting and more, and these are only effective at doing their job when they are not blocked in any way. However, during the colder months of the year, snow and ice can pile up in the Ann Arbor MI area, and this precipitation can keep the lights covered up for many days or even weeks on end in some cases.

    Clearing Away the Snow and Ice
    When snow and ice begin to accumulate in your yard, you understandably need to remove it. It can impact the condition of your home, cause flooding when it melts and block the light from your outdoor lighting features. Because the lights are blocked, the front of your home may be dark, and accidents from slips and tripping can occur. In addition, the security of your home may be impaired until the lighting is restored. Clearing away snow and ice is necessary after each snow storm or ice storm that blows through the area, so this is an ongoing process throughout the winter months.

    The Easy Solution for Snow Removal
    While you could remove the snow and ice from your property on a regular basis throughout the winter months on your own, there may be an easier solution available. Through your Ann Arbor MI landscaping firm, you can schedule snow removal service throughout the winter season, and you can rest assured that the precipitation will be removed from regularly from the areas around the lights as well as throughout the rest of the yard. This is a true benefit for the security of your property as well as for the safety of those who walk across the yard.

    Other Winter Landscaping Services for Your Home
    Snow removal is not the only winter service that your Ann Arbor MI landscaping firm can provide for you. For example, you may also have a sprinkler system that you use throughout the summer months to water your lawn and gardens with ease. Your landscaping firm may provide a winterization service for your sprinkler system. Raking leaves in the fall and rejuvenating the lawn in the spring are other related services that your firm may provide to you during the off-season from fall to spring each year.

    Lighting up your exterior is beneficial throughout the year, but snow and ice can easily cover up your spotlights, accent lighting and other outdoor lighting features during the winter months. Removing the snow with professional snow removal service is an easy way to continue to enjoy the benefits that your lights provide, and it also can make your outdoor space safer for others who visit your property. Contact your local landscaping firm for more information about regular snow removal service and other types of winter services that could benefit you.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  2. Cracked FoundationDuring the winter, homeowners tend to focus on interior repairs and problems, like refinishing a basement or updating the electrical system. However, it is important to keep an eye on your home’s foundation when the weather turns cold to check for damage that requires immediate attention. Here are several potential problems to look for.

    Freezing Temperatures

    When the thermometer dips into sub-freezing or below-zero temperatures, you will want to check the foundation for signs of cracks. These may be hard to see if they are small, or they might show up immediately. Horizontal cracks are of special concern, as they may indicate pressure that is damaging the foundation to the point where expensive repairs may be needed.


    Heavy rain or a buildup of snow against your home’s foundation can begin to erode the structure. Extensive moisture can also lead to a freeze-and-thaw pattern. This may sometimes lead to moisture wearing into the foundation or leaching into small nooks and crevices to cause more substantial damage. Check areas of your home’s foundation where rain typically directly impacts the masonry or where snow piles up for days at a time.


    Although rodents and insects do not burrow directly into concrete or brick structural foundations of a building, they can find small crevices or spaces where they enter the home and damage surrounding areas. This is especially true of termites. In turn, over time, significant infestation may damage concrete foundation structures indirectly, leading to costly repairs.


    Although wind erosion and damage tend to be gradual, depending on a home’s location and exposure, high wind damage may contribute to wear and tear on the masonry. Strong winds can also force large objects like patio furniture and heavy equipment against the foundation, causing minor damage that eventually may lead to treatable issues, especially in conjunction with other sources of masonry disintegration. If your home’s foundation is subject to high wind damage, check periodically for signs that repairs may soon be needed.

    Soil and Roof Drainage

    Inspect your foundation routinely for signs of moisture drainage or buildup. Check the roof and downspouts to be sure no water trickles are wearing on a portion of the foundation. Homeowners should also examine the outdoor landscape near the home’s foundation to look for pooling of moisture after heavy rain or snow, or temporary lawn flooding, which can creep into the foundation and damage it. Sitting water near or at the home’s foundation may sift into the soil to create damp conditions that could impact the foundation.

    If you are concerned about the need for possible foundation repair in Ann Arbor MI, take a close look at your foundation and note any questions or suspicions you might have. Contact a reputable foundation repair specialist in the area before problems expand and become more difficult to manage. By maintaining your Ann Arbor MI home’s foundation on a regular basis, you can help to ensure the house will remain a safe and comfortable dwelling for many years to come.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  3. bigstock-Ice-on-roof-and-gutters-52324966Integrating storm water management features into a residential landscape is a great way to avoid erosion, protect the home from water damage, and keep nearby waterways clean. The trouble is that these additions are mainly premised on utilizing liquid water, and in the Ann Arbor MI area, outdoor water isn’t liquid for part of the year. To contend with this exception to the rule, certain modifications can be built into storm water control elements that combine with special practices to ensure the desired goals are achieved throughout the year.

    Snow Threats
    When rain turns to ice and snow, it can thwart the functioning of various stormwater control systems through the following means.

    *Freezing porous surfaces
    *Water turning to ice
    *Accumulating snow in piles and drifts
    *Concentrating pollutants

    One or more of these problems can interfere with any of the typical water management practices used by the average homeowner. Here are some useful ways to overcome these difficulties.

    Trapping the Snow
    Shrubbery and tall grasses not only help impede rain runoff from reaching storm drains in warmer weather, they also trap blowing snow that can pile up around the foundation of the house. In the process, they allow it to soak into the ground whenever a warm spell permits melting. The key here is not to trim them back in the fall.

    Deposit Areas
    Rain gardens, swales, dry wells, and similar landscape features can serve as holding areas for excess snow and ice removed from the driveway. To work in the context of winter, they need to be established adjacent to the pavement. If the snow is moved to sloping ground, it will flow off during any mid-winter thaw periods since frozen soil warms slowly in the early spring.

    Chemical Control
    Of course, even without such landforms, an important winter storm water management practice is to use non-polluting snow melting chemicals like calcium magnesium acetate instead of road salt. Even better, avoid chemicals altogether by clearing the snow manually before it’s compressed into ice. Since dumping snow in a swale concentrates any melting agents in a relatively small spot, pollution-neutralizing plants like alpine pennycrest and sunflowers can be added that can help neutralize any pollutants in the melting snow. Other plants like helleborus or eryngium can tolerate a certain amount of salt.

    Rain Barrels
    One popular and compact control device for dealing with runoff is the rain barrel. This is piece of storm water management equipment that just isn’t designed for winter around the Ann Arbor MI region. It’s possible for snow on the roof to melt now and then during the winter and flow through the downspouts to a connected rain barrel. If enough of this water accumulates, it can re-freeze and expand. This is bad news for the barrel. When the cold temperatures settle in, it’s time to disconnect them and cover them to keep out damaging snow. A trough that redirects any water towards a collection spot in the yard should take the rain barrel’s place.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  4. Summers in Ann Arbor MI can be warm and even scorching hot on some days, and you mlawn-sprinkler-irrigation-systemay find it difficult to get your yard all of the water it needs to thrive without the functional use of your irrigation system. While you may use your watering system frequently throughout the summer, you may need to winterize it during the cold months of the year to prevent damage to it.

    What Happens to Your Sprinkler System in Cold Weather
    In Ann Arbor MI, the temperature often will drop well below freezing for many long hours or even days in some cases. While the ground may insulate the pipes in your sprinkler system for brief or light freezes, the temperature of the soil can easily drop below freezing during extreme weather situations. During a cold spell:

    • The water in the pipes may freeze
    • The water will expand when it freezes
    • The frozen water exerts outward pressure on the pipes
    • The pipes may rupture

    This can cause expensive water waste and the need for repair bills for your irrigation system in the spring. Winterization is a better idea than dealing with busted pipes in your sprinkler system once the temperature warms up.

    How Winterization Helps Your System
    Winterizing the pipes in your sprinkler system is a step that your landscaping or irrigation system service provider can complete for you. It involves draining all of the water in the pipes out of the system and the sprinkler heads. In some cases, the pipes will remain empty, but some service providers will run a special anti-freezing agent into the pipes to further prevent damage to the system. You can discuss the method that will be used with your system during a conversation with your service provider, and you may request a specific method.

    When to Complete Spring Start-Up Service
    After the risk of a freeze has passed and the temperatures are warming up, you may be ready to turn on your sprinkler system again for the first time of the season. Your landscaping firm or other system service provider may help you to prepare your system for use throughout the summer months by completing a spring start-up service. During this process, any agents that were used to prevent freezing in the pipes will be removed and fresh water will be restored to the pipes. After this service is completed, you will be able to restore the full function of the system so that you can water your lawn as desired.

    A sprinkler system is a true benefit to your Ann Arbor MI home, and you may love the benefits it provides. For example, it saves time and energy manually watering the yard, and it distributes water evenly throughout your space for the health of your lawn and other vegetation. If you want to keep your sprinkler system in the best shape possible over the cold, icy winter months, winterization service from your landscaping firm is a smart idea.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  5. Property Manager Testimonial

    I have worked in the Condominium Management industry for more than twenty years, and I have worked with dozens of different landscape firms throughout that time.  I found Twin Oaks to be one of the best in the industry.  They are prompt and thorough when it comes to communication and response time, and they provide exceptional service, increase property values and provide managers piece of mind when it comes to following through.  I highly recommend them to anyone looking for more than just cost when it comes to landscape firms.

    Mariah Sroka, CMCA, AMS, PCAM

    Community Manager

  6. Like the rest of the state, Ann Arbor MI experiences harsh winters. It can snow anytime between November and April, although some years have seen snowfall in October. Ann Arbor MI typically gets 58 inches of snow in the winter. January is the coldest month, with an average daily temperature of 24.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Given such brutal conditions, just about any tree, especially a young or non-native tree, will need some kind of protection. A snowstorm that dumps several feet of snow within a few hours is bad news for any tree, especially if wind is also involved. Ice makes twigs and branches extremely fragile, so the recommended tree maintenance is to provide support for them. Trying to remove the ice would actually make the branches and twigs more likely to break.

    Some types of trees are more vulnerable to particular winter hazards. Among them are the following:

    Fruit trees
    Fruit trees and exotic trees are particularly vulnerable to extreme cold. Temperatures around or below zero can kill buds, twigs and branches of such trees. The best tree maintenance in this case is prevention. Damage caused by intense cold is not reversible. One way to prevent such damage is to ensure the tree has gotten plenty of water, mulch and fertilizer during the growing season so it will be strong and healthy by the time winter comes.

    EvergreensSpruce Tree Isolated On White Background
    Evergreens are especially susceptible to desiccation injuries. Winter winds can strip moisture from leaves and needles. If the soil is also frozen and there is no water, the tree can’t replace the moisture and eventually becomes dehydrated. A desiccated conifer’s needles will eventually turn purple, brown or yellow. If a broad-leafed evergreen like a holly or boxwood gets desiccated, their leaves will curl and turn brown or tan at the margins. Again, prevention is key. Evergreens should either be planted in a protected area or wrapped in burlap or canvas. They should also be mulched and watered.

    Some evergreens are also very sensitive to the salt used to melt snow on roads. Scots, red, and white pine are very susceptible to the foliage burn salt can cause. (Some deciduous trees like oak and sugar maple are also vulnerable to salt.) Again, trees should be protected in some fashion. In the spring, trees need to be washed to get rid of accumulated salts.

    Deciduous trees
    Deciduous trees are vulnerable to a condition called “frost crack” that is caused by the fluctuating temperatures of a winter day. On a sunny winter day, the south side of a tree will be warmed and the tissues will consequently expand. The temperature drops rapidly at night, and the bark will contract more quickly than the wood beneath it. The bark therefore splits. Overtime, the repeated fluctuations in the temperature causes the trunk to split open. Although the split generally heals in the spring, the tree is still vulnerable to fungi and decay. There are a number of ways to protect the tree ranging from barriers that deflect the sun away from the tree’s south side to trunk protection like whitewash or burlap.

    If you want to keep your trees healthy this winter then call Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  7. Perennials are a beautiful addition to any property for plants that enhance the appeal of the space and incorporate added color to the yard throughout the year. Unfortunately, the perennials can be destroyed in the winter season due to harsh weather conditions where they’re prone to wilting. To protect your perennials this winter in Ann Arbor MI, there are a few important steps to take to ensure that they survive the cold season.

    Spider Plant1. Move or Divide the Perennials

    You can move your perennials to a safer area that has more shelter during the fall season, which will allow them to become more established and planted once winter arrives. Divide the plants when they are not in bloom for an effective way of replanting them. It’s important to group plants that have similar water requirements. Plant supports can also be placed early on in the season before the perennials grow to be too large.

    2. Cut the Plant Back

    Serious wilting is known to occur with perennials during the winter season but can be avoided by cutting the foliage by at least half. Cut back the dry stems to soil level to remove disease spores and pest eggs that may linger after frost for too long. You can leave the stems that have attractive seed heads. Diseased foliage from evergreen plants and shrubs should also be discarded before raking up mulch that has diseases.

    3. Add Organic Material

    One of the most effective steps to take for perennial care in the winter is to add organic material as winter mulch after the ground freezes and has become solid. It’s important to add a six inch layer of the organic material, which will prevent rodents from nesting in the soil during the winter months. The organic material will then need to be replaced again after several nights of above-freezing temperatures. You can then add the mulch to the compost pile.

    4. Compost Dead Plant Debris

    You can create an organic soil conditioner by composting dead plant debris for proper perennial care during the winer season. Hot, active piles will work well at killing weed seeds and disease pathogens. This will protect the plants for several months and will allow them to continue thriving in the spring season.Buttercup Flowers

    5. Lightly Fertilize the Plants

    You can protect the perennials by fertilizing them with low-nitrogen high-phosphorus fertilizer. Most perennials do not require heavy fertilizing after the winter season in Ann Arbor MI, but light fertilizing will help. You can apply this with a single application in the spring season once the weather becomes warmer.

    Winterizing your perennials is a simple and straightforward process if the right steps taken to protect the plants. It’ll be easier to winterize the perennials during the season if you take small steps throughout the year to carefully prep them. Although it may require a bit of work, you won’t need to provide further care for the next few months.

  8. Many households in Ann Arbor MI take advantage of wintertime in order to review landscaping videos before a spring or summer landscaping project commences. This 3d-designdecision represents a wise use of time.

    Informative 3D landscape videos give property owners a much clearer idea of the range of available options for beautifying and upgrading exterior features. Just consider five benefits that flow from taking this step:

    1. Enjoy Quality Family Leisure Time

    Watching these types of videos as a household provides a way for everyone to appreciate the impact of different landscaping techniques. Its a great way to share quality time with loved ones during the holiday season. Since an upcoming landscaping project impacts areas of the property accessible to the entire household, everyone on the premises possesses an interest in the outcome.

    2. Define the Scope of Each Project

    Landscaping presentations help individuals develop a better sense of what each type of project entails. For instance, if your landscaping firm will install lighting in the yard during the spring, this change will impact household members very directly. If some members of the household have always wanted to conduct outdoor evening sports activities, now might be the best time to consider adding extra light around an exterior tennis court or a basketball hoop. Seeing the three dimensional presentation gives everyone a better understanding of the scope of upcoming exterior transformations.

    3. Consider the Priority of Persistent Lawn and Garden Issues

    Boulder Retaining Wall with Patio


    Sometimes, when a couple sits down to watch a landscaping video together, individuals will think of persistent lawn and garden issues that require the most immediate attention. Watching a 3D landscape video often produces harmony and consensus about the best time for asking your landscaping company to initiate work on every project that you plan to address eventually. This type of household discussion sometimes helps prioritize landscaping needs more effectively.

    4. Enhance The Project Long Term

    Watching videos sometimes raises awareness about potential lawn issues that a landscaping project really should address. For example, if a particular tree will occupy significantly more space in ten years and disrupt other features, relocating it to a different section of the yard now makes sense. Seeing a landscaping video in 3D enables everyone in the household to visualize the importance of long term develoIMG_2751pments.

    5. Create New Outdoor Entertaining Plans

    Many people begin formulating exciting new outdoor entertainment plans shortly after watching landscaping videos. They possess a better appreciation for how their property will appear once the project ends. This period of the year may provide a great opportunity to contribute creative suggestions for outdoor family reunions, graduation parties and picnics that will occur during warmer months in Ann Arbor MI.

    Better Results

    By seizing the opportunity to use leisure hours effectively during colder months and examine 3D landscape videos closely, property owners gain a clearer idea about the full extent of each project. They prepare themselves to work closely with their landscaping firm. They also develop useful insights that assist the upcoming project.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  9. Landscapers divide the types of design work they do into two categories: Softscaping refers to plantings and other living elements in the landscape, while hardscaping refers to landscaping elements built from hard-wearing materials such as stone or concrete. Real estate agents in Ann Arbor MI have known for years that landscaping increases a home’s resale value, but recent trends in home sales show that hardscapes can also increase your home’s resale value. These hardscape elements are most likely to get you a better price for your home.Garden Brick Paver Path With Arbor

    In the front of your home, a concrete or stone walkway can dramatically increase your home’s curb appeal. A sidewalk that borders the front of your property gives your home a neat, well-maintained look, while a walkway that leads to the front door draws the eye to your home’s entryway, adding an exclamation point to your home’s positive first impression on potential buyers.

    Elsewhere on your property, walkways that lead to other landscaped areas promote usability and give the impression of a larger space.

    Fire Pit
    According to the Society of Landscape Architects, a stone fire pit and seating area is the most popular hardscape element in landscape design. Fire pits are a great way to turn your unused lawn or patio into a place for your family and friends to socialize and give buyers the sense that your house promotes the togetherness that will make it feel like home.

    Outdoor Kitchen
    All outdoor living spaces increase a home’s usable floor space and increase its value. That’s probably why one of the most attractive hardscapes is an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill. It also makes entertaining guests easy because an outdoor kitchen does not separate the guests from the hosts while the food is being prepared. Adding a dining area to the outdoor kitchen increases its appeal.

    Elegant Outdoor Living SpacePatio
    Probably the most prolific of all hardscapes, the patio is still one of the most desirable landscape elements. Because a patio essentially adds usable square footage to a home’s floor plan, backyard patios increase your home’s resale value. That increase is even more pronounced when the patio also includes flower beds, a water feature, a fire pit or permanent seating.

    Retaining Wall
    If your home is built on a hill, retaining walls are a good investment in your home’s value. Not only are they attractive, they also prevent your home’s foundation from shifting along with the hillside. Unlike wood railroad ties, using stone for your retaining walls ensures that they last a lifetime. If the needed retaining walls create a terraced property, adding stone steps makes your property more accessible and, therefore, more valuable.

    When to Add these Features
    Unlike a fresh coat of paint or a new front door, most hardscaping is not meant to be done as preparation for listing your home for sale in Ann Arbor MI. Rather, these projects are meant to increase the enjoyment of your home with an eye for increasing its value in the future.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  10. When most people hear the term soil erosion, they conjure up images of vast dust storms sucking up top soil and floods eating away at earthen river banks during the spring and summer months of the year. Very few consider that cold winter months also contribute to erosion.

    Just as in the warmer months, soil erosion can be a significant problem when the temperatures dip. In cold-climate areas like Ann Arbor MI, knowing the causes of erosion can help people plan ahead and minimize the harmful effects of soil loss.

    Wind – Snowstorms and wind can blow unprotected soil away before the ground is frozen. Even after the ground is frozen, thermal fracturing of the soil due to extreme temperature changes can mean the loss of tiny soil clods to fierce winter winds. Composting throughout the winter can enrich and help protect the soil from wind erosion.

    Water – Water is the leading cause of erosion. When a temporary thaw or warmer weather returns, snow and ice turn to water that can cause soil loss due to melt runoff. Unprotected soil can break down, compromising landscapes, lawns and gardens susceptible to further damage. With the loss of top soil, gardeners will have to resort to chemicals and artificial supplements to revitalize crops and grass coverings.After The Heavy Rain

    Gravity – The force of gravity is an ally to erosion. Water can only run downhill because of it. Extreme cold can expand rocks and soil, causing cracks in terraced area designed to hold water in place. Careful attention to and regular inspection of earth barriers will help correct problems before they fail.

    Lack of proper plants– Plant roots help anchor the soil against the forces of wind and water. Without a proper ground cover or sell-seated vegetation, there is nothing to bind the soil to the earth. Shrubs that thrive in cold temperature and root vegetables like potatoes and carrots help aid in soil retention. Flower bulbs panted in the fall for spring blooming also help hold the soil in place.

    Exposed soil – Any barren ground areas where plants or grass doesn’t exist are prime targets for erosion by both wind and water. For large areas, a cover crop like rye will provide ideal winter protection. Once spring arrives, the cover crop can be plowed under and further enrich he soil for planting. For smaller areas, use leaves or other natural mulching materials as a blanket to protect the soil throughout the winter. Where this isn’t practical, there are many varieties of soil blankets youdrainage - does your yard look like this can buy to spread across vulnerable areas. Some are made of synthetic material and reusable year after year. Others are mace of organic materials like straw that can be mulched into the ground when spring arrives.

    Preventing winter erosion in an area like Ann Arbor MI can help preserve the soil resources already in place while assuring you’ll have a landscape ready for spring planting when the winter snow and freeze have departed.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.