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

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  1. 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.

    Water SprinklerPhysical 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.

    Automatic sprinklers watering grassSpray 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.

  2. 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.

    EvergreenHideaway Home
    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
    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.

    WillowLakeside Willow
    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
    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 Gum
    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.

    Basswood
    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.

    FruitCrabapple tree in full bloom
    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.

  3. 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

    Soil expansion is one of the primary reasons for foundation issues. When water is added, soil expands, and when there is a lack of moisturedrainage - does your yard look like this, 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.

    Excessive Water

    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.

    Drought

    Dry grass textureA 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.

  4. Even though gardening is a lot of work, many people find it a soothing hobby. Gardening is a work in progress and requires seasonal cleanup every few months. If you live in Ann Arbor MI, you are probably finishing your spring cleanup and getting ready for summer. If you need cleaning and designing help, a professional landscaping company can have your garden in shape for the season. These are some common areas that require a gardeners attention for summer blooms:Pruning Fruit Tree - Cutting Branches At Spring

    1. Prune Trees and Shrubs
    Winter weather can damage tender branches of shrubs and trees, so they need attention during seasonal cleanup. To keep them healthy, prune away dead or damaged branches back to the living stems. Larger branches may require a handsaw. Use hand pruners to shape hedges neatly. Shrubs that flower in the summer should be pruned before their buds swell. After spring-blooming shrubs have dropped their blooms, then they should have a summer pruning.

    2. Divide and Cut Back Perennials
    In order to allow for new growth, prune blooming perennials to a height of 5 inches and ornamental grasses down to 3 inches. Some perennials (such as lilies and irises) should be dug up and thinned so the flower bed in not overcrowded. Each clump should have at least three stems for new growth. Other clumps can be planted in bare areas or given to gardening friends. Roses should have damaged canes cut down to an inch below the dead area. Climbing roses should be tidied up and woody growth pruned away, leaving the green canes. Support new canes with twine as needed.

    3. Clean Up Flower Beds
    Any remaining dead leaves, foliage, or dead annuals can be raked or pulled up and put in the compost bin for organic matter. Avoid putting dead weeds in with compost, because they can go to seed and cause big weed problems when the compost is used. Apply a fresh layer of mulch as needed around flowers, trees, and shrubs. This is the ideal time to add proper fertilizer to the lawn and garden. It is also suggested to check irrigation lines to see if they need any repairs.

    4. Build Up New Compost
    All of the grass trimmings and other organic matter can be put into the compost bin to make new compost. Leaves and branches should be ground up so they will decompose quicker. The compost pile needs to be kept moist and turned every couple of weeks with a pitchfork. It will turn into a rich, organic compost that gardeners treasure like gold.

    5. Repair the LawnCouple Concerned About Lawn
    Each year, it is recommended that soil testing should be done to find the pH balance. Soil amendments can be added to correct an imbalance. A professional landscaper in Ann Arbor MI can do the testing. If there are bald spots in the lawn, the dirt can be worked up with a dirt rake and compost added. Then, new grass seed can be planted that will fill in spots during the summer. If any dead turf is in the yard, it can be dug up, flipped, and used as compost for the new seed.

    Even though you work every season in your garden and lawn, you are rewarded with beautiful flowers and a bountiful harvest. Some gardeners find it useful to keep a seasonal calendar of chores that need to be done. With a little effort, you can have a wonderful garden season this summer!

  5. Perhaps you’ve considered placing your Ann Arbor MI home on the market recently? Today, some local property owners enhance the marketability of their real estate using attractive outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting performs a valuable role in many marketing plans these days.

    LLighting_largeights Attract Attention

    First, consider the virtues of adding additional lighting around the exterior of your home. This feature frequently enhances the value that a property provides to residents:

    • Exterior lighting facilitates outdoor entertainment plans;
    • Lighting prevents slips and falls on the grounds at night;
    • Extra illumination may deter some crime;
    • Outdoor lighting enables realtors to show properties more effectively at any hour of the day or night;
    • Lighting emphasizes attractive property features, such as patios, gazebos, statues, entrances and decks.

    By increasing the utility of the yard to residents at night, well-situated exterior lights often contributes to the satisfaction that residents feel with the home. For this reason, a homeowner may want to consider asking a qualified landscaping company to install outdoor lighting before placing the home on the real estate market.

    An Evening Open House

    One useful way to market real estate involves conducting an “open house”. A real estate agent remains on the premises for several hours, greeting visitors and showing them around the property.

    Lovely exterior lighting installed by a professional landscaping company typically will contribute to the enjoyment that residents obtain from residential real estate in Ann Arbor MI. A lighting system on the property often expands the available real estate marketing options. For instance, you might consider asking your real estate agent to conduct an evening open house.

    Just consider a few of the advantages this sales tool offers:

    • Many people cannot spend time viewing real estate during daytime hours;
    • When your home shows well in the evening, visitors will appreciate its utility for entertaining;
    • Interested prospects can tour the premises again during the day;
    • Well placed lights will highlight the best features of the yard.

    Conducting an evening open house may not appeal to every buyer, but the chances remain very good that this sales strategy will interest some potential purchasers who might otherwise not spend time looking at the property. You’ll typically increase the number of interested prospects by conducting at least one open house during evening hours.

    Garden LampLong Term Benefits

    Carefully placed exterior lights furnish some definite advantages for real estate owners. Light permit residents to see more clearly when they return to a home after dusk. During summer, this feature significantly expands the entertaining options available to homeowners in Ann Arbor MI. Happy family barbecues, reunions, pool parties, graduation parties and neighborhood gatherings usually benefit from carefully illuminated residential exteriors.

    If you’ve placed property on the market and experienced difficulty distinguishing your home from surrounding properties, you might want to consider asking a local landscaper to install lights around the exterior of the residence. This strategy could improve marketability!

  6. Opulver 1ne: Finding it Difficult to Park a Vehicle or Enter a Home

    When there are no streetlights in your Ann Arbor MI neighborhood, it is vital to have outdoor lighting installed on a property’s landscaping. Driving on a street or driveway that is pitch-black is dangerous and can lead to serious accidents. If you manage to park a vehicle on a home’s driveway, then without exterior lights it is difficult to walk on sidewalks, steps or porches. There is a good chance that you will not even find a front door in order to insert a key in the lock when there are no light fixtures such as a porch light. If the weather is inclement, the situation of walking outside in the dark is more treacherous.

    Two: Having Thieves Break into a Home

    Thieves are looking for buildings that do not have lights outside because it is easier to break in without being seen by neighbors or passing police vehicles. Adding bright exterior lighting such as spotlights that are beamed at doorways and windows can help to prevent burglary and home invasions. It is a good idea to have a security monitoring system that increases the amount of lights that are turned on when a potential break-in is occurring to a home. With a security system in place, it will detect when a thief is breaking a window or opening a door and will turn on additional bright lights immediately while also contacting local law officials.

    Thbigstock-Golden-Retriever-Dog-Digging-H-22554335ree: No Outdoor Lighting during a Power Outage

    Ann Arbor MI occasionally has power outages caused by thunderstorms or high winds, and if you are relying on solar lights during these events, then there is not enough exterior lighting available. A professional landscaper can install a variety of exterior lights that operate from a generator that stores power for several hours to provide additional security and protection for a family. Ask about these types of exterior light fixtures for a home:

    • Security lights – bright lights that are near windows and doorways
    • Accent lights – designed to augment landscaping features
    • Decorative lights – will create additional beauty for a home

    In addition, you want to have lighting control options for a home that include:

    • Motion sensors – great for deterring thieves
    • Photoelectric sensors – turn on automatically when it is dark
    • Timers – set by homeowners to provide lighting when needed

    Four: Guests Can’t Find Your Home

    When guests complain that they cannot find your home because it is impossible to see the street address or driveway, then it is time to install additional exterior lights.

    Five: The Landscaping Does Not Look Attractive

    If you want an Ann Arbor MI home to look attractive, then adding spotlights and other forms of lights outside can augment a property’s landscaping. Understanding how to use the proper types of light fixtures in the correct positions requires knowledge about how dim or bright lighting works, and hiring a professional landscaper is essential for the installation of solar and regular lighting.

  7. Outdoor PatioYou are trying to decide between composite and wood decking for your backyard, and, although you love the look and feel of a natural product, the benefits of choosing a composite deck are definitely appealing. Some of the advantages of purchasing composite materials over wood include that these materials are:

    1. Attractive and Uniform
    Composite materials look very similar to their wood counterparts but are much more uniform. They do not have the flaws and damage that may cause a person to discard many of the boards for the deck. There are also no nails or other hardware visible to take away from the appearance of the beautiful surfaces. Many cannot even tell the difference between composite and wood decks. And know that you are contributing to the environment when you choose this attractive option. Even though composite is not a natural wood product, most manufacturers do their best to utilize recycled materials in the manufacturing process to contribute to a cleaner, better world.

    2. Easy to Clean and Maintain
    Composite decking rarely shows dirt or stains and can be easily wiped, mopped, or hosed down. It is easily replaced in the case of damage and can be quickly found in many national and local home builder venues. There is never any need to apply paint, water sealant, or stain to the surfaces once it is put in place, and future upkeep is usually nothing more than quickly cleaning it with a mild soap and water.

    Outdoor Living Area3. Available in Many Stains and Colors
    When it comes to composite stain and color choices, they are virtually unlimited. Take samples home with you to hold up against the wood or siding of your home to get a complementing match. It is much more uniform in color than natural wood and has so many to select from. Extras such as railings, posts, and post caps are readily available in matching tones and colors also.

    4. Holds Up to the Elements
    Composite materials will not fade, splinter, warp, or split. They will hold up to the heat of the sun as well as the winter snow and sleet that Ann Arbor MI is so often covered with. They do not attract mold or mildew and will not rot over time, even in the most humid of environments.

    5. Increases Home Values
    The addition of composite decking can add great value to your home. This can be a real asset if you ever decide to sell your Ann Arbor MI residence. The better shape the desk is in and the larger and more usable the decking is will greatly impact the final selling price of the entire residence.

    As is clearly evident, a composite building product is clearly the best route to go if you are seeking an attractive, durable material for your deck. Although it is initially more expensive than woods such as cedar or other woods, the long-term benefits will bring the costs down over the years as there is virtually no upkeep required.

  8. Flagstone Walkway with Lighting

    Natural stone is a hard and beautiful surface that lends itself to many useful purposes around the house. Although it may involve more initial labor in installation, hardscapes made of stone provides a superior, durable surface that will give the homeowner many years of service. Hardscaping with stone is a very good choice for a location like Ann Arbor MI because it is very weather resistant. Freezing temperatures, ice, and snow will not make an impact on stone.

    For Your Home’s Front Walk

    Stone used as paving to the front door of an Ann Arbor MI, home can be much more beautiful and interesting than a plain, gray concrete walkway. You can use the stone to not only hide the concrete but to create textural interest and lend a sense of elegance to the residence. When choosing stone for a front walkway, be sure and select colors that will compliment the home and enhance its appearance. For instance, if you have a brick home, choose a type of stone that will match or complement the reddish hues of the brick, not detract from its appearance.

    Around A Swimming Pool

    Swimming Pool With Large Stone PatioHardscaping around a swimming pool with natural stone can enhance the looks and beauty of the pool. Stone is very resistant to water and is a very good choice for achieving a natural look when landscaping around a swimming pool. Be sure and choose types of stone that provide some texture underfoot and will not be slippery when wet. This will help provide a safe swimming environment for you and your family. If your pool has a vividly colored liner, be sure and select a stone that will look good with that color and create a visually pleasing total look.

    Stone is also a good choice when seeking to achieve the natural look in a swimming pool, helping it to blend into the typical landscaping of Ann Arbor MI, instead of standing out like something artificial.

    Beautify A Patio

    Investing in stone for a patio will provide a lovely and durable area to enjoy your family at home. Stone is strong enough to hold up under heavy traffic and resist messy spills from grilling, food, and drinks. It will not easily break, even if heavy objects are dropped on it. Surrounded by colorful flowers and green grass, your lovely stone patio will provide many years of dependable service.

    Beautiful backyard fountain and poolA Solution For Damp Areas

    A homeowner can rely on the strength of stone to provide dry hardscapes that are waterproof and will not decay like wood when in contact with high levels of moisture. If abundant rainfall or melting snow creates wet spots in your yard, covering the spot with natural stone can solve the problem.

    Not only will you keep your feet dry when walking outside, but you will avoid tracking mud into your home which could eventually ruin the floors. A stone hardscape will also help keep children’s shoes and clothing clean and dry and keep pets out of the mud as well.

    If you’re interested in installing a stone hardscape in your yard contact Twin Oaks today.

  9. Tree On YardHaving to repair a cracked or damaged foundation can wind up costing Ann Arbor MI home and property owners thousands of dollars. Superior lawn care and landscaping services may allow homeowners to identify and address any potential issues that may pose a risk to their foundation. Even the most extensive prevention efforts and landscaping projects can often be arranged for a fraction of the cost associated with foundation repair services.

    Root Intrusion

    Plants that have deep roots can pose a serious threat to concrete foundations. Serious long-term risk to foundations may be caused when trees or even bushes are planted too close to a property or when root systems grow to be too large. Root intrusion is one of the leading causes of foundation damage, and the wrong tree placement or landscaping layout can end up costing property owners far more than they might realize. Even tree relocation and removal options may provide a more affordable alternative to the foundation repair services that may be required to address cracks and damages that may be caused by bushes, shrubs and trees.

    Grading Issues

    The slope and grading of a lawn or landscaped environment is never an issue that should be left to chance. Improper grading can channel storm water runoff towards the base of a home which can lead to foundation damage caused by increased soil erosion. Erosion can also cause the grading and slope of a lawn to alter over time. Ann Arbor MI homeowners would do well to call a professional if they notice standing water near their home’s foundation or experience frequent issues with flooding after storms.

     

    Before - Overgrown Front Bed

    Issues Caused by Irrigation and Drainage Equipment

    Storms and heavy rain may not be the only cause of soil erosion that may lead to foundation damage. Improper placement of irrigation and drainage equipment can cause extensive damage to landscaping and may even pose a threat to concrete foundations. Common equipment issues may include:

    • Lack of vegetation to soften runoff from downspouts and gutters
    • Exterior hoses, sprinklers and irrigation systems that may be leaking or damaged
    • Poor hardscaping placement or landscaping layout

    Lawn care professionals can offer a variety of solutions to ensure irrigation and drainage issues are less likely to create more serious problems. The right landscaping designs and layouts can minimize soil loss caused by erosion and ensure that irrigation and drainage equipment is able to function properly.

    Professional Services Provides Superior Solutions

    From selecting the right plants and landscaping designs that will minimize runoff and eliminate issues with standing water to removing shrubs and trees when root systems begin to encroach on the foundation, professional lawn care service offer homeowners the means to better protect their property and investment. Preventing damage to a home’s foundation can often be done for far less than the cost needed to arrange repairs. Access to professional lawn maintenance services and landscaping solutions can ensure Ann Arbor MI homeowners will be less likely to need foundation repairs in the days to come.

  10. Fall Cleanup - Leaves In GutterAnn Arbor MI is a city that receives snow in the winter and rain throughout the year. Naturally, this kind of weather is hard on roofs, gutters and downspouts. In addition to the weather, a drainage system can become cluttered with leaves,twigs and other debris throughout the year.

    A roof drainage system can also become worn out over time and is usually the last thing a person looks at for replacement. However, there are obvious signs that there is a problem with your gutter system.

    These include:

    • Landscape damage
    • Foundation cracks
    • Sunken driveways
    • Water overflow during a rainstorm
    • Mold occurring on water soaked walls

    Over time, this can cause a great deal of expense in damage repairs.

    A wide range of materials are available when it comes to a gutter system. Prices vary from around $3 per foot for vinyl to $20 for wood. When making a choice it is important to look at the history of the material and consider how it best suits your situation.

    Gutter Materials:

    • Aluminum – never rusts
    • Galvanized Steel – economical
    • Vinyl – cheapest but can become brittle in heat or cold weather
    • Copper-does not rust, most expensive
    • Wood-not recommended

    Gutter systems are available in sectional and seamless types. The seamless type is recommended as the sectionals have a tendency to develop leaks at the seams. Seamless models must be cut to lengths to fit your roof so must be installed by a contractor.

    In addition to types, gutters also come in different shapes (U and K) and sizes. These are called profiles. Sizes are varied and come in rectangular or round pipes. In areas of heavy rainfall, units as large as 6″ can be used. This size requires a 3″x4″ downspout. The choice of the size of the gutter and downspouts, that are appropriate for your particular situation, should be discussed with an expert on the subject. They will be acquainted with the type of weather involved as well as what will best suit your building.

    Fortunately, it is often possible to select a gutter system that will fit with the color of your home or business. Aluminum and steel models have more than 25 different colors available. Copper comes unpainted and vinyl is available in white or brown.

    Many people have found the installation of a gutter guard is very effective. These are permanently attached over gutters to have better control over constantly having to clean. These guards vary and include Solid Cover with Side Slots, Mesh or Screen, Foam, Snap-in, Integral and Guards that Lay.  Having the right gutter system can make a world of difference in time, labor and expense.