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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Flooded Park And RiverLandscaping professionals can be terrific for storm water management. They can implement a number of effective and modern eco-friendly methods can can keep levels of undesired storm water under control. These methods include pervious pavements, rain gardens and green roofs galore. Since minimizing storm water runoff can enhance local water supplies, management of it is always extremely important.

    The Potential Dangers of Storm Water Runoff

    Storm water runoff refers to the water that comes from melted snow or rain that instead of soaking into the ground, runs off over land, true to its name. It’s troubling for a number of different reasons. It’s capable of collecting dirt, chemicals, debris and various other kinds of pollutants and then making its way into storm sewer systems. If it goes into a storm sewer system, it can interfere with drinking water supplies and the health of community members. This is exactly why storm water management is so important.

    Professional Assistance

    If you want to help manage storm water in your community, recruiting the assistance of a reliable company in your area can be an extremely smart idea. If you want to implement helpful and efficient storm water management practices on your property, you can call our reputable Ann Arbor MI landscaping business for additional details. We can help you explore a variety of effective storm water options.

    Swales

    Swales can be terrific for handling storm water. These depressions, combined with soil that drains quickly, can go a long way in minimizing storm water. Not only can swales be effective for keeping storm water under control, but they can also be extremely attractive. If you want to boost the visual appeal of your property and at the same time do something positive for your neighborhood, swales can make a superb choice.

    Rain Gardens

    Rain gardens also can be excellent for storm water purposes. These types of gardens enable H20 to accumulate during rainfall. Once the rainfall is complete, these gardens enable the gathered H20 to gradually make its way into soil. If you’re interested in the idea of getting a rain garden for your property, try to place one in a section of your yard that tends to dry rapidly.

    Pervious Paving

    Pervious paving is yet another excellent choice for handling the potential troubles of storm water. Paving components that are composed of tiny openings enable water to make its way into gravel layers that are situated below. This is beneficial for making sure that upper surfaces remain nice and dry at all times. It’s also beneficial for getting rid of runoff. Convenient options in pervious paving include plastic grids, porous concrete and lastly, concrete pavers.

    Contact Our Company Now

    If you’re looking for practical and aesthetically pleasing answers to storm water issues, contact our highly respected Ann Arbor MI company for additional information and to get started. If you have any questions regarding storm water runoff, we’ll be more than happy to give you the information you need, as well. Call us 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.

  4. Landscapers Ann ArborFall rain and winter weather can pose a serious risk to basements, foundations and below-ground rooms. Altering your exterior landscape and taking steps to ensure standing water, runoff and excess moisture is less likely to find its way into your home is an issue that no Ann Arbor MI property owner can afford to overlook. Even relatively minor issues that may cause basement leaking can create problems that require extensive cleanup efforts and costly repairs in order to address.

    Landscaping Solutions

    From soil that is unable to effectively avoid moisture to an exterior design or layout that may be interfering with proper drainage or keeping excess runoff from being channeled away from your home’s foundation, lawns that have been properly laid out and that possess the right features can be just as important as roof gutters and downspouts when it comes to keeping moisture out of the home and keeping your basement from leaking.

    • Pitch and Grade

    Ensuring soil is sloped away from your home can eliminate many of the problems caused by standing water or ineffective runoff. Soil that may be too tightly packed to absorb moisture as well as top-soil that may be too susceptible to erosion can lead to many problems. Reshaping the topography of your landscaping, selecting the right soil and even planting grasses and plants whose root-structure may provide a better anchor for your landscaping can all make a big difference.

    • IMG_5750Ensuring Effective Drainage

    French drains, artificial creek beds and even a simple trench can significantly improve drainage and ensure that standing water does not pose a greater risk to foundations and below-ground rooms. Pooling water or soil that retains moisture long after a rainstorm or shower may indicate the presence of a drainage problem, one that may pose an unacceptable risk to your home and property. By seeking out the best professional services Ann Arbor MI property owners can more easily and effectively address drainage issues that could lead to future problems.

    • Creating a Gap Between Your Landscape and Foundation

    The mulch needed to create flower beds, gardens or even to ensure bushes and other plants are able to grow and flourish could be creating a problem. A sufficient gap between mulched materials and your siding or foundation is needed to ensure that moisture is not being wicked away from your mulch bed in a way that may cause harm to construction materials. A proper gap can ensure that mulch beds do not contribute to basement leaks, rotting siding or other issues like a mold or mildew infestation.

    Superior Services Provide Superior Results

    Dealing with the wrong professional or attempting to alter your exterior landscape on your own could limit the effectiveness of your efforts. From simple improvements to the comprehensive assessment, design and alteration projects that may be needed in order to better protect your property from leaks, water damage and other season weather issues- it always pays to do business with the best.

  5. New Angeled Staircase

    Choosing the best material for your new deck is an important decision. You must weigh cost against longevity and maintenance. A composite material deck carries a larger initial cash outlay, but the benefits surely outweigh this cost. In the Ann Arbor MI area harsh weather can play havoc with outdoor structures. Using a longer lasting material protects your investment.

    Improvements

    Another consideration is the advancements in composites in recent years. The material and manufacturing process keep getting better. Scratch resistant and anti-fading additives have made a good product even better. Wood grain patterns are now added for a more realistic look. And new methods of installation have no nails or screws visible on the deck surface.

     

    Five Benefits

    There are five benefits that stand out from all the rest when building a composite deck for your home. Consider the following:

    1. Virtually maintenance free. Composite decking does not require painting, staining or sealing. A quick occasional cleaning with a broom or hose will take care of most cleaning jobs. Removing any debris quickly will ensure nothing stains the surface requiring a more thorough scrubbing.

    2. Longer life. Unlike wood, composite materials do not rot and are pest resistant. Made from recycled plastic and scrap wood products (sawdust, chips, etc) and then mixed with pigment and preservatives, the average lifespan of a deck is 20 – 30 years. The boards will not warp or twist. There is no shrinking and separations because of drying wood.

    3. Color retention. Nothing fades a painted or stained deck faster than exposure to the elements. New manufacturing processes now enclose the composite material in a shell which protects against fading. This new process allows for a 25 year anti-fade guarantee.

    4. Safety. Wood decks can become slippery when wet. Traffic and weathering can create splinters. A non-slip surface makes the composite material perfect for around a pool or hot tub. Non-splintering is a consideration for parents with children. Coordinating safety accessories can also be added where needed. These include hand rails, gates, and post caps.

    Deck patio

    The accessories are made of the same material, therefore the look is consistent and the benefits are the same.

    5. Non-toxic –Traditional pressure treated wood has been submerged in a chemical and pressure applied to force the chemical throughout the board. The chemical will deter pests and bacteria, but it is also harmful to humans. Warnings accompany pressure-treated wood stating it should not be handled without gloves. Sawdust should not be inhaled. Small children should have their contact limited with the wood. Sound like a family-friendly deck? Absolutely not. That is where composite material beats pressure treated wood hands down. No chemicals. No warnings. No potential harm to children. This eco-friendly product is manufactured from recycled material which is not harmful to the environment or those living with it.

    If you are in the Ann Arbor MI area and are thinking about a composite deck, we can help with the design and installation. We will use the most up to date materials to give your home a long-lasting deck.

     

  6. Cedar Deck

    Adding an outdoor living space is one of the best things you can do to add enjoyment to your Ann Arbor MI home. Some homeowners have difficulty deciding what kind of features to have installed. Here are some tips to help you decide.

    Deck Benefits

    Decks are usually made of wood or composite materials that look like wood. They are built up off the ground, and this makes them a little warmer than on-ground outdoor spaces in the cool seasons. High features like this can be especially desirable if your yard overlooks a scenic view of a river, trees or other natural beauty.

    They are often preferred for home’s in wooded areas away from the city not just for the view but because they add a bit more security. Your outdoor party is less likely to be interrupted by a roving bear when you are up off of the ground and behind railing. A latching gate at the bottom of the staircase provides even more protection from wilderness wanderers.

    This outdoor home feature goes with many decor styles, but it can be especially appealing to homeowners who are aiming for a rustic retreat-like ambience.

    Cons

    • Wood that is exposed to the elements requires regular maintenance. The planks need to be stained and weatherproofed to prevent rot. Using composite materials instead of solid wood prevents some of these problems, however.
    • Another potential downside is these aren’t allowed in all neighborhoods. It is best to check with your HOA before planning any high profile additions.
    • If poorly constructed, they are a safety hazard. Most collapses occur when too many people are on a deck that was poorly constructed or poorly maintained. If you install these, make sure you understand the weight limit.

    pulver 5Patio Benefits

    Patios are usually made from brick, stone or concrete. When properly installed, natural stone is longwearing and can handle nearly anything you or Mother Nature does to them.

    Because they are low profile, they are widely accepted by homeowner’s associations. They are also easily expanded and you don’t have to worry about a weight limit, loose railings or falls from heights.

    Cons

    • Concrete and brick are more vulnerable to cracks due to moisture entering into fissures and freezing during a harsh Ann Arbor MI winter. However, using natural stone or concrete pavers instead of a single slab reduces this problem, and bricks are easily replaced.

    Veranda Benefits

    Exterior Covered Patio With Fireplace And Furniture.One of the biggest benefits of a veranda is that it is covered. This feature offers some protection for the flooring and gives you some degree of shelter from the elements. It also makes it easy to add a screen to the structure to keep insects and other creatures away.

    Another less widely discussed benefit is that these provides extra shade to a section of the home, and this can keep your home cooler in summer.

    Cons

    • Some homeowners associations don’t allow these additions.
    • Maintenance for the floors is minimal because of the added protection of the roof, but the roof itself needs to be maintained.
    • Construction of this outdoor feature is a big project that can take some time.

    When you have made your choice, eliminate installation problems by hiring only licensed, experienced installers. This ensures your outdoor living space will serve you safely and bring enjoyment for many years.

    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. after 3 - CopyWhen examining the cost-efficient options of landscaping your home on a shoestring budget, the incredible qualities of natural stone stand out. While natural stone is extremely gorgeous, it is very bulky, and is time is an issue, you might want to consider using brick pavers instead. Ann Arbor MI takes the right step towards a cost-efficient residential garden by including a gorgeous walkway in your plan, and selecting the paving material that suits your needs. The revolutionary paving machines have what you need to undertake the job perfectly while minimizing the wastage and completing the job in the shortest time possible. Whether you want to create a garden that stands out, or come up with a subtle concept, the paving material is instrumental when it comes to assisting a vast array of people to undertake their hard landscaping projects successfully.

    Save Time and Money with Brick Pavements
    In your endeavor to create the ideal patio, Ann Arbor MI gathers the information you need to avoid the high cost of repair that can escalate beyond your budget. Fortunately, if you choose the brick pavers, it is possible to expedite the job with the modern paving machines, and install the pavers in the proper way, thereby enhancing the aesthetic value of your home. Despite the fact that the journey of finding the perfect brick pavements that satisfy your outdoor recreation requirements is fraught with challenges, it’s wise to anticipate some of the challenges beforehand. If you do not handle the bricks properly, they tend to chip at the edges. Also, brick requires a strong foundation to avoid cracking, especially under pressure.
    • Searching for a low-priced brick paver that can cut your costs and save time is crucial if you are on a shoestring budget.
    • Brick pavements come in user-friendly packages that are easy to unload and spread; reducing the time and effort you need to complete a large project.

    Add a Touch of Luxury with a Natural Stone Finish

    Flagstone Walkway with Lighting
    Since a good stone pavement might be very costly, extensive homework could help you to compare a broad selection of economical alternatives that match your unique demands. If your objective is to implement your project on a limited budget, you must list your top priorities so that you keep your costs within your budget. While the stone is expensive, it is very resilient, and its beauty is phenomenal. Besides, stone pavements can withstand enormous pressure, even if the foundation is unstable. After several years, the stone tends to age gracefully, and even if some cracks appear, they conform to its rugged shape easily. Once you find a suitable stone finish, find a good landscaping company such as Ann Arbor MI, and verify whether the material can withstand years of trampling to avoid frustration.
    • Because the cost of replacing the pavements has become a concern for lots of homeowners, the landscape contractors are sparing no effort when installing the resilient stone walkways that age with grace.
    • Today, the ability to mechanize the installation of natural pavements gives an upper hand to the homeowners who hope to cut their overall costs without sacrificing the benefits.

    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. fall-cleanupAny lawn in Ann Arbor MI will require care to maintain its health and aesthetic appeal. Soil, nutrients, variety, water, competing vegetation, etc. must be adequate before any lawnmower touches that grass. Here in Ann Arbor MI we are part of the Huron River Watershed with its rolling topography and glacial till. Soil may be sandy, gravelly, rocky, or “top soil,” and be “leached out” with little nutrient availability. This impacts the way we must prepare our lawns for winter.

    Soil. Composition of soil beneath our lawn has a major impact on our preparation for winter, from fertilization to mowing and raking before the snow falls. The water table is also a factor—remember our city’s sanitary sewer disconnect program to our sump pumps. A lawn lying atop a high water table, particularly where subterranean flow is “swift,” may lack nutrients necessary for root and blade health. The lawn will need fertilizer supplements. In rocky or pebbly gravel soils, rocks will migrate to the surface with our freeze and thaw cycles. Depending on size, those rocks will limit our mowing depth, irrespective of specific inch recommendations.

    Variety. Lawns may be established using seed or sod. Unfortunately, people sometimes plant lawns without understanding the necessity of having a variety compatible with our northern climate. The lawn may be well for several years and then fail in spring after an especially hard winter. A specific variety may be more vulnerable to disease in moist areas or susceptible to drought in dry areas or suffer from too much shade. “Imported” seed and sod from outside our immediate Ann Arbor MI area will suffer from more problems than locally grown sod or seed known to be compatible with our climate.

    Fall Leaves. Control of leaf fall is a concern for fall lawn care as well. Many of us would prefer to forget raking and just chop or mulch, leaving debris on the lawn, inducing mold or other disease within the lawn mat and inhibiting springtime growth. A layer of leaves may also provide a home for field mice and other “varmints” which may feed on or destroy root structure.

    Recommendations. In spring we want a short cut of 1.5 inches. To achieve that, our last cut in the fall should be that 1.5 inches. (The short cut encourages growth.) A deeper grass depth is preferable in the summer to preserve moisture and suppress weed growth, a cut of 2.5 to 3 inches. That level should be the goal until the fall when we gradually cut shorter to the 1.5 inch target. The general rule of thumb is that the top third of the grass may be cut during mowing. That is, don’t cut back immediately from 3 inches to 1.5. Work back a half inch at a time beginning in September when the climate cools. The mower blade should be sharp so that the remaining lawn leaves do not have lacerated—ragged edges risking loss of moisture and endangering individual lawn plants with disease (e.g., fungus) and susceptibility to insects.

    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. Happy couple lying down on grass with their adorable childrenKids get amazing benefits from playing outdoors, but there are often hidden hazards in the landscape. Here are ways to make your Ann Arbor MI yard safer for your kids while keeping it beautiful.

    Plants to Avoid

    Young children like to experiment and learn about their world through sight, smell and taste. Unfortunately, the latter sometimes leads to accidental poisonings. Even if you warn a child not to taste-test plants, this doesn’t mean testing won’t occur. Check the toxicity of any plant you want to put in your yard. Some common plants and flowers to avoid include:

    • Rhododendron
    • Lily of the Valley
    • Hydrangea
    • Foxglove
    • Annual Periwinkle

    The following plants are safer alternatives:

    • Tulips
    • Zinnia
    • Snapdragon
    • Rose of Sharon
    • Rose

    Fencing

    A fenced play area is always a good idea no matter if you live in the middle of Ann Arbor MI or you live on the outskirts with less traffic. Wood or vinyl privacy fencing is often a good choice because there are few to no sharp edges and few places for little fingers to get trapped or pinched.

    If you don’t want privacy fencing, consider wood picket fencing that has blunt, sloping top edges or chain link that is covered at the top by plastic tubing. Avoid pointy fencing that could injure a child if he or she tried to climb over it.

    As children play, they can become distracted. This is why fencing is important for school-age children and not just toddlers. Fencing makes the child pause and think twice before running out into the street after a wayward ball, for example. It is also essential if your yard backs up to a steep berm or other hazards you need to keep the child away from.

    Using Hedges

    If you enjoy the appearance of hedges, use tall ones in addition to, or instead of, fences to help establish the safety perimeter of the play space. The best kinds of hedges for this purpose are those with tightly growing foliage, like Cheyenne Privet or American Holly.

    Water Feature Safety

    Children in the upper elementary grades can usually be trusted around shallow garden ponds. However, avoid using these in your landscape if you have toddlers, or install the water feature in a fenced area that is inaccessible to the child. Another option is to install a tall fountain of a height beyond the toddler’s reach.

    Preventing Falls

    You won’t be able to completely prevent your child from falling, but you can take landscaping measures that reduce the risk. For walkways and patios, avoid using materials that become slick when wet such as varnished wood planks, smooth stone or glazed ceramic tile. Instead, use materials that provide traction, such as textured stone, tile, concrete or resin. For paths in plays areas, use soft mulch for both traction and a soft landing surface in case a child does trip and fall.

    Landscaping the Ground beneath Play equipment

    Grass is soft, but it won’t last long in these play areas. Sand or wood mulch are two options to consider. Both cushion falls better than dirt, which compacts beneath foot traffic.

    While there is no sure way to prevent cuts, scrapes and bruises during play, after taking these landscaping steps you will have at least reduced some of the worst hazards. Once you have installed the right fencing and other features, just be sure to keep it maintained so that new hazards do not appear.

    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.