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

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  1. Frost is the bane of every gardener’s existence. It can be highly stressful to be worrying about your plants and flowers during a cold snap, especially when you have worked so hard to keep them healthy and productive. This is why learning a few basic frost protection techniques can save you a lot of stress and keep your garden thriving, even during colder weather. Listed below are some of the most effective and easy ways to ensure that your garden is safe from frost.

    sheared-shrubs_largeSpreading Organic Material

    Layering a few inches of organic material over plants is definitely the most commonly used method among lawn care professionals and home gardeners alike when it comes to keeping frost at bay. This time honored strategy has been used forever because it is simple and highly effective. Make sure to always keep a supply of hay or mulch on your property for use before an upcoming dip in temperatures.

    Water Your Garden Thoroughly

    Watering your plants thoroughly before a frost is especially important around Ann Arbor MI. Plants that are full of water are less likely to freeze than ones that are not, as plants that are fully watered are healthier and stronger when it comes to fighting the cold. Watering will also saturate the soil around your plants, which provides an added layer of insulation against the cold. By simply establishing a regular watering routine for your garden, you can always be sure that your plants are prepared for an impromptu frost.

    Using Blankets And Sheets

    Frost blankets and sheets are items that every gardener should keep on hand. These can be purchased at any home improvement store. Your local lawn care professional will also have access to these types of protective coverings. Draping sheets and blankets over plants keeps them insulated, warm and out of the way of freezing precipitation. Try to keep the sheets from touching your plants directly to achieve the best results, and always remember to remove the coverings as soon as temperatures rise again to prevent them from keeping your plants too warm.

    Sheltering Individual Plants

    Placing overturned buckets and pots over plants and sprouts that are especially delicate and susceptible to cold is always a good idea when temperatures are going down around Ann Arbor MI. This method, combined with other frost prevention techniques, can ensure that even the smallest and least developed of your plants are still protected. This means that you won’t lose any of that hard-earned progress you have made on your garden. The best part about this method is that as a gardener you probably have a lot of extra buckets and pots lying around already.

    These are just a few of the many frost protection methods available to you as a gardener. It is highly encouraged that you take the time to properly insulate your plants and flowers before the arrival of cold weather, or that you have your professional lawn care company take care of the job for you. Taking even the simplest of steps toward protecting your garden can ensure that you have a beautiful and productive garden space for 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.

  2. Lighting_largeCollege towns bring the vibrancy and diversity in life to savor by yourself or if one is raising a family. Ann Arbor MI is the home of your Wolverines and a mecca for culture and night life that extends from Main Street outward. With the ebb and flow of visitors that are attracted to the city, it is imperative to keep your loved ones protected from individuals of a transient nature. Few things relax the minds of everyone you love than having the outside of your homestead adequately lit. Here are the methods to add or improve upon your outdoor lighting to keep the property you live on safe.

    Avoid Going DEFCON

    The nuclear option with a few very intense lamps is not the way to go. Not only could it be disconcerting to your neighbors but when used in conjunction with security cameras it is counter productive. Glare is much more likely from those highly focused beams of light. Instead opt for more lights but at a medium intensity. The job still gets done and those around you run much less the risk of becoming offended.

    Modern Motion Control

    Ability to fine tune to your surroundings will alleviate a lot of the problems with earlier systems. Remember when any little chipmunk or blowing leaves would cause the system to trigger. Now the level of sophistication is present where it can differentiate between ambient background motion and nefarious activity.

    Blend Into the Surroundings

    Vibrant and decorative yards are part of the appeal to living in Ann Arbor MI. Choose a system that not only gets the job done but is non intrusive to the theme or look you wish the property to portray. Security should blend into the features and not be an eyesore. Best method to do this is to consult with an outdoor lighting professional from an area landscaping company. Let their decades of experience aid and assist you in being both secure and maintaining the integrity of your yard’s visual appeal.

    All the Entries

    Porch and sliding doors are the inexperienced thieves mode of entry. One must look at every nook and cranny as a port of entry. Every window should have the ability to be bathed in light if the corresponding motion control sensor is tripped. Not only that but pathways in which an intruder can go vertical must be considered. Upper floors suffer because the homeowner under estimates the desire of the intruder to make into your home. Do not forget about your driveway or garage. Cars make for quick pit stops for glove compartment looting. Garages morph into a shopping spree for the would be pilferer if not protected.

    A consultation with a local landscaping company is affordable and provides feedback on approaches that might be missing with your outdoor lighting. Let their decades of experience reinforce the options that are already present on your property. In the end, all of us work far too hard to let a thief interrupt our family’s serenity.

    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. Hiding Underground Power Line Boxes With Giant Ornamental GrasseGiving your yard a makeover might seem like a daunting task, but creating a lush and beautiful garden is a fantastic investment. More importantly, creating colorful softscapes that are easy on the eyes will make springtime after the long Ann Arbor MI winter even more appealing and give you a relaxing space to decompress. There are several reasons that you should consider digging in and planting that garden.

    1. Increased Property Values

    With the Ann Arbor MI property market as competitive as it is, adding some softscapes in the front yard can increase your home’s value by thousands. Something as simple as accenting your yard with a bed of Geraniums or Black-eyed Susans around the mailbox can really make your home stand out to potential buyers when the time comes to sell. If your neighbors get on board and add some greenery of their own, your street becomes that much more desirable.

    2. Get in Touch With Your Green Thumb

    Dedicate a corner of your yard to seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is such a great way to learn a new skill, save money, and enjoy the “fruits of your labor.” Grow tomatoes on a trellis, start a strawberry patch, and add beds of your favorite herbs. Creating a whimsical raised bed can add some dimension to your softscape and allow you to use the space better. While you wouldn’t want to make a farm of your backyard, adding a few patches of edible plants can keep things interesting. Imagine waking up one morning to find the summer’s first strawberry right there in your backyard. It’s much easier than you think!

    3. Unique Designs

    Adding custom softscapes to your property can transform your home in such a unique way. Whether it means planting a zen Japanese-style garden or a lush English garden, you can alter the whole look and feel of your property. Pulling some of the elements of your garden into your home can help bring the outdoors in by creating a cohesive design theme. Understanding the aesthetic elements of softscaping will give you new perspectives in interior design. It will inspire you to get creative with indoor plants, terrariums, and windowboxes. Adding splashes of green to the interior of your home can truly transform your space – especially during those gray Ann Arbor winters!

    Cozy little back yard terrace with table and chair.4. Create an Oasis

    Last but not least, creating a beautiful garden essentially means adding another room to your home. When springtime comes, you’ll have a new space to entertain and relax. Imagine having drinks on the patio on a Friday night among the butterflies and birds that have taken up residence in your new backyard, or feeling the sun on your face as you delve into your summer reading list. Add a hammock or a bench swing among the greenery and give yourself a space to get off your feet and breathe. With so much of our lives spent indoors, it’s so important to give yourself a small oasis that is teeming with life.

    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. Plowing the RoadWinter brings a seasonal mix of cold temperatures, snowy precipitation, and icy buildup on roads, walkways, and parking lots. Sometimes the local weather forecast service can provide ample advance warnings. At other times, the snow hits thick and fast, piling up several inches or feet before you know it. To be prepared for expected or surprise snowstorms with significant accumulation, it’s a good idea to locate a snow removal company at the beginning of the season to ensure ready assistance when the snow starts falling.

    You become a regular customer.

    A dedicated snow removal company will be ready to plow when you need it. As a regular client, you will have ready access to the company through phone or online access, and your calls will be expected. In fact, you may receive courtesy calls asking if you have snow removal needs when a snowstorm is expected or has just dropped several inches of snow in your area.

    Your snow removal needs are on file.

    An Ann Arbor MI snow removal business will know which services you generally need, and they will be prepared to provide them in a timely manner. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend time as snow is falling to find a company who handles your type of snow removal needs, and the work may be delayed. Working with different companies each time can lead to uneven results. You never know which ones will be available, respond promptly, or charge a fair rate.

    You will know in advance what to expect.

    When you hire a dedicated snow remover, a written contract may spell out the services you are requesting as well as the expected pay and conditions for both you and the company. For example, the company may agree to respond to your snow removal request within twelve hours except in emergencies. In turn, you might agree to pay the fee that day or within thirty days. There won’t be any last-minute surprises to snarl the agreement or slow the work.

    You can trust the company.

    Working regularly with the same crew and equipment that the dedicated company sends to assist with snow removal, you will get to know the employees and the process. This will establish a sense of trust that goes both ways. When a big storm or blizzard hits, you want to be able to rely on the people that you ask for help, not wait for hours or days, wondering when they’re going to get around to responding. Trust reduces stress and builds security, making your life simpler.

    If you live in an area that expects heavy snow this year, find a dedicated snow removal company to keep your home and business safe and snow-free. You don’t want anyone falling and getting hurt, and you’ll need a parking area or clear walkways to ensure safe passage from the vehicle to the building. Set up a standing agreement with an Ann Arbor MI snow removal business to be ready when the winter snow begins to fly.

    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. A lot of money, as well as time and effort, are spent by people trying to create the outdoor water features they want on their property. Individuals who live in and around Ann Arbor MI know they will have to take important steps to make certain these features survive the winter. A few simple steps in the fall can make enjoyment of them possible in the spring.

    Long exposure of a backyard waterfall and pond surrounded by green foliage.Water Features
    There are a number of different water features a person can have. They range from a small container up to very large ponds. When water features are larger, it may be best to consult a pond expert and get their help with winterizing it. A person needs to determine which of their water features are likely to freeze and break in the cold. Things such as bird baths, shallow basins, bubbling rocks and more are likely to be destroyed if left outside during the intense cold.

    Plant Removal
    It is important the plants from an outdoor water feature be removed on or before the first frost. Once the plants have been taken out, it is important to clean all of the plant debris located at the bottom surface. Determine whether to keep the plants during the winter or get new ones in the spring. This is the time to clean the bottom of the pump vault. Should there be algae, it is important to use a granular contact algaecide that is water activated to clean. If there is algae staining the water feature, it will need to be drained. It will also need to be refilled prior to the cold of winter arrives. Refilling will help avoid damage.

    Remove Debris
    It is important in Ann Arbor MI to make certain the area around the water feature is free from debris like fallen leaves, branches as well as dead plants. If these items are permitted to build up, they can cause maintenance problems. When a person is planning to place an outdoor water feature on their property, they need to try and locate it away from areas of potential debris accumulation. Many professionals recommend owners cover the water supply with a net or trimming to avoid problems with debris.

    Remove Pump
    When a water pump freezes, the ice creates pressure on the pump’s outer casing. This pressure can lead to cracks developing. It will also cause water to get into the interior of the pump. This is where the working parts of the pump are located as well as the electrical lines. If this happens to a pump, when a person turns it on in the spring, it won’t work and will need to be replaced. The best way to avoid any problems is to remove the pump and store it inside for the duration of the Ann Arbor MI winter. This can insure having a working water pump in the spring. The water pump should be stored indoors or in an unheated garage. Some water features will also do better in the winter if they are dissembled and stored inside.

    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.

  6. Irrigation Systems -- Ann Arbor MIIt’s important to winterize your irrigation system, it’s more important to do it right. Even when people have tried to drain the water out of their system, a certain amount of water can remain. This can freeze and expand. It is able to crack PVC piping. Polyethylene piping is more flexible but will can also expand and rupture during freezing temperatures. It’s possible for freezing water to be left in a backflow assembly. This could damage its internal parts and crack the body. The parts of a system must be properly winterized.

    Manual Drain
    This method can be used in Ann Arbor MI when manual valves are at the end of the lower points of irrigation piping. These systems can be drained by shutting off the water supply to the irrigation system and opening each of the manual drain valves. When the water is out of the main line, it is time to open the boiler drain valve. In some cases, this is the drain cap on the waste and stop valve. The remaining water then needs to be drained. If a system has sprinklers, they need to be pulled up to permit water to drain from the sprinkler body. It’s important to make certain all the water is removed from the piping, sprinklers, and backflow. The last step is to carefully close all of the manual drain valves.

    Automatic Drain
    This is used in Ann Arbor MI when automatic drain valves are at the low end of a system’s piping. These are designed to automatically open and drain when water pressure in the piping is less that 10 pounds per square inch (PS). This can be activated by turning off the water supply to the system. This will relieve the system pressure. The water will drain from the mainline. It’s then time to open the boiler drain valve. Some may have a drain cap on their waste and stop valve. This will drain the water that is left. In some cases, an irrigation system may have a combination of automatic and manual drains. The mainline could be a manual drain system, and the lateral lines could be an automatic drain system.

    Insulate
    An important step in preventing winter damage in Ann Arbor MI is to insulate the lawn irrigation backflow preventers and valves. This can be done by using insulation tape or pine straw. This will be especially necessary is they are located above ground.

    Controllers
    With an outdoor mounted controller, the power should be left on and the switch or dial left in the off position. Transformers will make certain the enclosure has enough heat to prevent condensation from developing. With an indoor mounted controller, the power should be left on. The switch or dial should be put in the off position. Doing this will keep the controller from activating the system’s solenoids.

    Rain Sensors
    These require a very minimal amount of preparation for the cold weather. If the sensor being used has a cup or bowl designed to catch water, then any water in it needs to be removed. A plastic bag should then be placed over the sensor. This will prevent water from building up in the cup or bowl and freezing.

    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.

  7. Many parts of Ann Arbor MI and surrounding areas are subject to rain runoff that can cause serioCommercial Planting With Boulder Wallus damage to your home’s landscape. Flower gardens and vegetable gardens can experience severe deterioration due to soil erosion. A retaining wall can help to support these important areas of your property so you can enjoy the benefits of growing your own produce and floral arrangements.

    Understanding Retaining Walls
    A retaining wall is a structure that is designed to hold back material, usually soil, to prevent sliding or eroding away. They are generally used to prevent shifting of the ground from one elevation to a different elevation. Even though the difference may be slight, over time, natural forces can cause collapse of soil to the lower elevation. In some cases, when landscapes are being shaped into particular designs, retaining walls may be necessary to maintain the shape over time. An example of a simple retaining wall would be a basement wall, which must prevent the earth from collapsing into the lower level from the force of rainwater, gravity and soil compaction.

    Type of Retaining Walls
    A number of different retaining wall types are used to suit specific circumstances:

    · Gravity wall – These walls are generally quite heavy and use their mass to resist the pressure of the material behind it.
    · Cantilever wall – The cantilevered type of wall has a vertical portion and a horizontal lever that extends below the frost line. It converts the horizontal pressure on the wall to vertical pressure on the portion below.
    · Piling wall – Piling is sometimes used in soft soils or where spaces are tight. Vinyl, steel or wood planks are driven into the ground, often secured to material buried beneath the surface to stabilize the pilings.
    · Anchored wall – Anchored walls may use any of the above constructions and additional support, such as cables or other materials, which connect to underlying soil or rock to provide more stability.
    Retaining Wall Materials
    A number of materials are used in typical retaining wall designs. Some of these are chosen to suit the overall landscape design of the property. These are advantages and disadvantages to each type. An experienced landscape contractor can help to determine the right one for your needs:

    · Poured concrete – Poured concrete can

    Garden Bed Retaining Wall
    · Concrete blocks –Concrete blocks are another inexpensive material for walls that add support at a reasonable cost.
    · Brick – Brick is more expensive than other materials, but fits in well with many landscape designs and lasts for many years.
    · Wood – Wood timbers provide an attractive material for retaining structures, but is vulnerable to deterioration from moisture. Wood also requires regular maintenance.
    · Dry Stone – Stone is easy to maintain and will last for many years. However, it can be more expensive than other types of wall material.
    · Gabion Meshes – Gabion mesh is a wall made of stone, recycled concrete or brick pieces that are held together inside of stacked, steel mesh enclosures. They are very durable and provide a natural appearance, but may provide habitat for small creatures.

    If your garden areas are showing signs of erosion or collapse, consult a landscape contractor in Ann Arbor MI that can advise you on an appropriate retaining wall to preserve your gardening space.

    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.

  8. bigstock-winter-in-a-natural-garden-9769973Frost is the result of freezing water within the plant cells. The freezing water damages the cell walls, and the internal structure within the plant also becomes damaged. If the ground is frozen, it is difficult for the root of the plant to obtain water, and the plant will eventually die. It is important to be aware that early frost can occur during September to late spring. If you fail to plan ahead, you may have to shuffle some plants around. The traditional ways of covering your plants with fleece or bringing potted plants indoors are some of the best methods to limiting the effects of frost.

    Cover Plants
    Covering your plants is one of the most popular ways of safeguarding your plants against frost. When you cover your plants, you want to loosely draped them, and secure the drape with rocks, bricks, or stakes. Lighter covers can merely be placed on top of the plant, but you should use some type of support for heavier covers. This will prevent the plants from being crushed by the weight of the cover. Tender garden plants are likely to retain heat and protection from freezing once they are covered. It is also important to remove the covers once the sun is out, or the plants may die due to suffocation.

    IMG_0362Add Mulch
    Mulch is a great way of protecting the root system of the plant, especially for those plants with shallow roots. Even though a snow cover usually provides a good amount of protection against frost, it is nearly impossible to predict when it may snow. Your best option would be to spread straw, wood chips, pine needles, shredded bark, chopped leaves, or any other organic material on top of the base of the plant. The mulch captures the moisture and heat within the soil and prevents it from escaping. Normally, the soil that is below the mulch will not freeze as much, and the plants can continue to take in water. Soil management prior to applying any mulch can also help prevent frost.

    Add Water Prior to Freeze
    Thoroughly water your plants prior to any potential freeze. Although it may sound weird to add water, the laws of thermodynamics have already proven that it is much more difficult to cool humid air than it is to cool dry air. It may also be beneficial to water your entire yard, the evening preceding the freeze. This will increase humidity within the immediate micro climate. It will also assist in minimizing any effects of frosts and the freezing of plants within your yard. A sprinkler irrigation system can also assist with accomplishing this task. However, sprinklers do not work when weather conditions are extreme.

    You may also want to consider moving potted plants indoors and placing them near a window. An outdoor greenhouse is another option for minimizing the effects of frost. By covering your plants, adding mulch, and adding water prior to a freeze, you should be able to prevent frost to your plants.

    Construct the perfect deck, patio, walkway or porch with custom hardscaping services from Twin Oaks Landscape.

    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. Lighting_largeIf you haven’t given any thought to outdoor lighting, you may be missing the benefits of outdoor entertaining, added safety and security and the beauty of landscape lighting. Adding a few well-placed lights to your home in Ann Arbor MI is a wonderful way to enhance the appearance of your home while making your outdoor space fully functional.

    1) Outdoor Entertaining

    Rather than spending a fortune on movie and concert tickets or paying for expensive restaurant meals, people are taking a second look at entertainment options at home. In many cases, our yards are beautifully landscaped and provide ample space for entertaining, but we have not taken advantage of these features.

    Installing additional lighting by the pool, around the deck, near the hot tub or grilling area makes perfect sense. Adding outside lights and landscape lighting is relatively inexpensive considering the alternatives for evening entertainment.

    2) Safety

    Outdoor landscape garden at night in Downtown of Vancouver, CanaNo matter how careful we are, family members are always leaving toys, tools and projects lying about the yard. Of course, these are easy to spot during the day, but during the evening, they can become real hazards when left in walkways and driveways without outdoor lights. Adding outdoor lights on paths and zone lights in a driveway provides the necessary light to prevent unforeseeable accidents.

    Although, you and your family may be quite familiar with the layout and landscaping of your home, visitors are not. Even the most lavish outdoor parties can be ruined when guests don’t feel comfortable and safe in your backyard. Providing sufficient lighting makes it easy for them to navigate your yard and enjoy the barbeque or party.

    If you’re like most typical families, you likely have young kids, teenagers and adults going and coming from your home at all times of the night. With insufficient lighting, you or your kids could easily trip over the hose in the front yard or miss a step leading to the front door. Adding outdoor lights like stair lights or floodlights could not only prevent an accident, but it could save you a great deal in medical costs.

    3) Security

    Besides using outdoor lighting to reduce safety issues, it is a great way to enhance security around your home. Dark backyards and entryway doors provide burglars with the perfect opportunity to enter your home unnoticed.

    Typically, homes with outdoor lights and landscape lighting become less of a target when criminals and vandals are picking their targets. Burglars will more than likely bypass your well-lit home and go for the dark home at the end of the block.

    IMG_23104) Landscape Lighting

    • Whether you do-it-yourself or hire a landscaping company in Ann Arbor MI, landscape lights not only illuminate your yard, but they can be used to highlight beautiful features, plants and gardens in your yard.

    • Landscape lighting is a great way to set the mood for a party and make special occasions festive and beautiful.

    If you are concerned about safety, security and want to enjoy the benefits of outdoor entertaining, consider adding outdoor lighting today.

    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.