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  1. A gazebo can be an beautiful focal point and gathering spot for your backyard. However, the process of picking one out and shopping for it can be daunting. It can be overwhelming just knowing where to begin. If you are considering a gazebo for your yard, use this guide to help you identify what you want and how you should prepare for it.

    What Will Your Gazebo Be Used For?

    The first step in figuring out what type of gazebo will work best for you is to decide what you intend to use it for. There are nearly endless possibilities, but ultimately, the functionality of the gazebo should be of serious consideration when you are trying to decide which one you want. Below is a list of several different uses for a gazebo to help you determine which one will work best for you.

    Common Uses For A Gazebo

    • A gathering or ceremony like a wedding.
    • A place to get away and relax in the shade.
    • Increase the value of your home or make it more appealing to potential buyers.
    • A place for entertaining guests and hosting dinner parties.
    • A cool and shady place to exercise outdoors.

    Common Types Of Gazebos

    Gazebo on Pond

    While there are many different varieties or types of gazebos, they generally tend to come in two different styles; vinyl and wood. When built with wood, it is standard to build a gazebo with a very sturdy type like cedar or pine. Some people prefer the aesthetic appeal of a wood gazebo, while others enjoy the low-maintenance of the vinyl. When trying to design your gazebo, you have a lot of different options to consider. Here is a breakdown of some things to compare when trying to draw up your design plans:

    What To Compare:

    • Shape -squares, ovals, circles, and octagons are among the most common options when it come to shapes for gazebos
    • Size – the size you select will depend on the size of your yard, as well as, what you intend to use it for. The smallest gazebos tend to average around 8×8, while the larger ones can be as big as 20×40.
    • Siding – When selecting the siding for your gazebo, make sure that it will hold up well in your climate. For example, if you live in an area that is affected by tornadoes or hurricanes, you will want something more sturdy than vinyl.
    • Railings – choose a style of railing that will match both the siding and the exterior design of your house.
    • Roof – the standard options for a gazebo roof are the pagoda and the cupola, as well as, the tiered. However, you can stray from the norm and get creative if you really want your gazebo to stand out.
    • Flooring – While wood flooring has long been the traditional selection of choice for gazebos, composite decking makes an attractive and long-lasting alternative.
    • Amenities – If you plan to spend a lot of time enjoying your gazebo, there are endless ways that you can enhance it, including televisions, a bar, lounge furniture, heating, and cooling. You can also decorate it to make a true oasis right in your very own back yard.

    When preparing for the construction and installation of your new gazebo, you will not only need comprehensive design plans drawn up, but you will also need to allocate a budget for your gazebo building project. Your budget will likely play a significant role in the options you select for your gazebo.


  2. There are many benefits to owning a gazebo. It is a structure with a large variety of uses that can change from day to day and season to season, no matter where you live.


    Relaxation and socializing

    During the summer, a gazebo can provide a shady area to relax and have drinks. Even during rainy days, it can provide shelter for those who would like to spend more time outdoors reading or talking with friends. A gazebo often provide a good location for social engagements or a quiet place for contemplation.

    Cooking and barbecue

    It is also an ideal place for a barbecue. The roof provides shelter for the cook, but the open-air aspect of the gazebo means that the smoke has somewhere to go. The scent of good, old-fashioned barbecue is sure to inspire many family dinners. Safety is important when it comes to flames and smoke, so be sure to put your grill in a good location and keep an eye on it while cooking.


    Photography and film

    A gazebo is also useful as a place for event photography. It can add ambience to any scene, particularly, for proms and weddings. The romantic, architectural styles associated with these structures show up beautifully in both photography and film.



    Owning a gazebo adds to the overall aesthetic of a lawn. These structures can run the gamut from elegant to cozy and express a homeowner’s personal flair. Selecting the right architectural style and finding an ideal location for it is a speciality of many landscaping design firms, which can help tailor the structure to individual needs.


    Practical uses

    A gazebo has many practical uses. Depending upon the needs of the homeowner, it can serve as a functional outbuilding. During the fall and winter, firewood can be stored in the gazebo to keep dry. Some gazebos also offer storage space for tools, skis, rafts, and other items.


    Weddings, parties, and events

    A gazebo also offers a good place for events such as weddings or parties. The structure provides a focal point to the event and adds charm. It can be used as the main area of the event or even as a space for food, snacks, and drinks.


    Cozy winter hideaway

    During the winter, glass can be installed so that it can be used year-round. Adding a few space heaters and blankets turns it into a cozy place for after-dinner conversation and a glass of wine. Regardless of the climate in which your home is located, a gazebo is a great choice for year-round entertainment and socializing.

    Gazebos are a versatile and unique type of structure that add flair to any lawn or backyard by allowing a homeowner to express their own style.These beautiful and cozy structures are a great choice for anyone wanting to provide a special location for weddings, events, barbecues or simply, a quiet place to read a book with a glass of wine on a rainy afternoon.


  3. One of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors is at home. Many homeowners want to have furniture that allows them to enjoy the landscape in their own backyards. Today’s designers make that easier than ever before in 2017. New trends in landscape furniture respond to the needs of buyers with innovative, thoughtful, and even, whimsical ideas that are sure to please anyone in search of the right outdoor furniture.

    Today’s outdoor lifestyle is all about:

    • Color
    • Charm
    • Quality


    Bright Colors

    Homeowner’s today do not shy away from color. They know that a splash of bright red or a lively shade of aquamarine can help set a statement that is all about personal style. The use of colorful furniture can help any backyard feel like a haven from the world and art at the same time.


    Calling on the Tropics

    The warm hues of the tropics are also another style clearly visible in today’s outdoor landscaping furniture. Materials like rattan are popular. Companies are also offering materials like teak and bamboo with carvings like the traditional pineapple — a standard symbol of hospitality in the tropics. Buyers who want to use this theme should look for cushions in tropical prints.


    Using Local Materials

    Many homeowners in 2017 want to incorporate locally popular trends in their home decor. New England homeowners look to sources of inspiration that include Colonial days, leading them to pick out furniture that reflects this period for their backyard with clean lines and little ornamentation. Residents of the southern United States may turn to the antebellum period for inspiration, with more elaborate choices in furnishings that help create an outdoor room and take full advantage of the region’s mild climate.


    Having Outdoor Fun For Everyone

    The backyard is where people of all ages choose to gather today for fun time. Furniture trends reflect this use with innovative and useful items. Buyers are finding small scale pieces that allow children to comfortably sit in between dips in the pool. Older buyers are looking for furniture that allows them to get up more easily and enjoy the backyard even as they age.

    Staying Green

    Buyers today are even more eco-conscious than ever before. Companies are responding accordingly with green items. More and more buyers can now find furniture made from recycled materials that still looks wonderful. Buyers can also find items that do not emit harmful fumes and look great no matter the weather.


    Quality is Back

    Today’s buyers know exactly what they want and what they want is quality in their outdoor furniture. They want beautiful items that are made to last.

    Careful research can help any buyer find exactly what they want at an excellent price. Buyers can locate outdoor furniture that is sure to turn their backyard into the perfect place to see nature firsthand.


  4. Lawns in residential and commercial locations should be mowed regularly, because properly trimmed grass provides many practical benefits. The process of maintaining a yard in order to take advantage of the benefits is easy since there are various landscaping service options in Ann Arbor Michigan.


    Very Strong Grass

    When new grass grows in neighborhoods in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the stalks aren’t very strong. In order to strengthen a lawn, a mower must be used on a regular basis. After grass is cut, the new stalks that begin to grow are always thicker and stronger, and every cluster stands out, because each grass strand has a bold, green color.


    Enhanced Curb Appeal

    In order to increase curb appeal on landscapes, all grass on a lawn must grow evenly. Regular mowing boosts curb appeal by keeping a lawn green; the grass blades hold their bold color, because proper water distribution happens while the stalks are cut. Throughout this process, absorption happens in an efficient manner, because the water reaches the roots by seeping into the soil.


    These perks only happen after a lawn is cut evenly, because sunlight and water can’t access every spot on a landscape when the grass stalks have a different height and thickness. Consistency is the key to enhancing curb appeal, and the best way to maintain a professionally cut lawn is by working with landscapers.


    Easier Mulching

    Mulching is a vital task that benefits yards in Ann Arbor, as mulch protects a landscape by shielding important nutrients that are found in soil. Proper mulch that’s layered around a mowed yard can keep nutrients in the soil during:

    • Heavy rainstorms
    • Minor windstorms
    • Flooding

    Quicker Maintenance

    If the process of tackling lawn maintenance tasks seems like a hassle, regular mowing can simplify typical landscaping routines. Multiple things can impact a lawn, when the grass isn’t mowed, such as diseases, bugs, and weather conditions. These problems don’t affect properties that are trimmed with a lawn mower on a regular basis, because the nutrients in the stalks help an entire lawn recover when harmful elements impact the environment.


    In order to maintain a tidy yard, the grass must be mowed strategically and efficiently throughout the rainy season. Many locals simplify landscaping tasks in Ann Arbor by seeking professional services whenever tall grass needed to be mowed. This approach keeps grass plush, thick, and grass until the cold weather arrives in Ann Arbor.


  5. DrainageExtreme weather is nothing new to the residents of Ann Arbor, MI. Along with severe storms comes the excess water that needs a way to drain off so it does not result in flooding or standing water. Water concentration occurs wherever there is an impediment to drainage. Between the overgrowth or erosion of landscaping, the threat of flooding, and environmental concerns, the need for an effective stormwater management program is paramount in Ann Arbor. It is also paramount in other territories where extreme weather threatens both urban and non-urban areas.

    Rain Falls on Everything

    During rain storms, a percentage of precipitation is retained by plants and the earth which also helps replenish ground water levels. Urban areas have less open ground spaces, where water is normally absorbed. In both urban and non-urban areas, impervious surfaces such as rooftops, parking lots, streets and sidewalks, prevent absorption and encourage the water to flow to watersheds. Channels or pathways that drain runoff to streams, lakes, rivers or eventually the ocean, are watersheds. Storm drains are also watersheds.

    Most people assume the job of managing storm runoff is handled by local governmental agencies or developers. While it is true that these interests are responsible for planning and implementing effective programs, the role of residents in the community cannot be underestimated. The actions of one individual affect the community just as the actions of a community affect downstream neighbors. As excess water from severe storms flows along, it picks up potential pollutants such as:

    • Machine oils and gasoline from leaking engines
    • Pesticides and fertilizers used in lawn and garden maintenance
    • Bacteria from both human and animal waste
    • Metals
    • Chlorinated pool water

    The Importance of Storm Water Management Systems

    Modern urbanization has covered much of our open, rural landscapes with concrete and asphalt. Water collection systems are engineered in the planning of communities to help channel and capture runoff. Where the remaining landscape has shifted or clogs have developed, the existing systems cannot perform at peak level. It is of the highest importance that whole neighborhoods with their streets, lawns and common areas, share in being prepared for extreme weather. Homeowners should make the effort to learn about their local watersheds, the upstream impact, and how they impact downstream neighbors. Contaminated runoff is everyone’s problem as it impacts the water supply. Water consumption for both humans and the local wildlife is at risk from pollution due to runoff. If the excess water from severe storms has no place to go or if the systems in place are not up to the challenge, then the system is effectively useless.

    More communities these days are working to incorporate drainage systems that are more natural. In addition, runoff is reduced when water infiltration is increased on site. This is also the best method for improving the quality of the water retained, and it all starts with the individual homeowner.

    Landscape maintenance contracts provide residents and businesses with knowledgeable people who have the experience and resources to establish, construct, and maintain the ideal storm water management systems needed to prevent flooding and other perils related to water concentration. It is less costly to manage prevention than it is to pay for the cleanup.

  6. The benefits of planting fruiting and flowering trees may seem obvious. Flowering trees, whose flowers may turn into fruit at the end of the season, are beautiful. Some, like cherry trees, have a lovely fragrance. Fruiting trees provide delicious food, and cut down on grocery bills. However, there are many more benefits to planting and caring for these trees though. Among them are:

    1. Reduced Levels of Carbon Dioxide


    • Take carbon dioxide from the air..
    • Add oxygen to the air.


    2. Prevention of Storm Runoff

    One of the dangers of torrential rains and floods is that soil can be washed away. The roots of trees and plants keep the soil stable, and hills that are devoid of plants can even collapse.


    3. Reduction of Energy Costs

    A fruit tree or an ornamental tree planted in the right place can shade a home and keep it cooler in the summer. Scientists believe that one tree has the cooling power of 10 room air conditioners running 20 hours a day. In the winter, the tree’s bare limbs allow sunlight to come into the home and warm it. This helps to cut down on energy bills.


    4. Benefit of Locally Grown Fruit

    A lot of the fruit that’s sold in the supermarket has to be shipped in from hundreds of miles away. Some have lost some of their nutritional value or their taste during the journey. Others are picked when they’re a little unripe and may be treated with methane gas to help them ripen by the time they get to the store. Some of these fruits never properly ripen but simply start to rot once they’re bought. Others are waxed to preserve their freshness. But nothing beats the taste and freshness of fruit from a homeowner’s own tree.

    5. Extra Income

    A person who has a small orchard can sell the fruit, either at the above mentioned Farmers’ Market or at a fruit stand at the roadside. They can also just give surplus fruit away.


    6. The Joy of Community Gardening

    Community gardens with fruit trees teach their members how to plant and take care of these trees and experience the pleasure of a good harvest at the end of the season. It also encourages social bonds among garden members of all ages.


    7. The Birds and the Bees

    Ornamental and fruiting trees attract birds, bees, butterflies and other animals. Indeed, some fruit trees need bees and other pollinators in order to set fruit. Birds nest in mature trees, and eat the insects that would otherwise eat the leaves and the flowers.

    8. Hiding Unattractive Views

    An ornamental tree placed in front of the compost pile can hide it nicely when it’s in full bloom or full leaf. Ornamentals soften the look of a property’s hardscaping.


    9. Curb Appeal and Resell Value

    The sight of flowering trees in a yard is aesthetically pleasing and can even raise the home’s resale value.



    Beyond their beauty and the fruit they produce, fruiting trees and trees that burst into bloom are good for the environment, attract benevolent animals, encourage social bonds, and enhance the value of a property. They are trees homeowners should consider.


  7. Your backyard and garden are excellent places for your pet to enjoy the fresh air, play with their favorite toy, and relax. Making your backyard a pet-friendly, safe, and comfortable environment will give you peace of mind the next time your pet is out in the yard by themselves. Your goal is to create a safe environment for your pet, and at the same time, an attractive space for the people. This can be accomplished easily by following a couple of steps to make a safe haven for your pet.

    These steps are:

    1. Use Pet-Friendly Edging

    An edge separates the grass from the shrub or the flowerbeds. Steel is the most commonly used material for an edge. It has a sharp edge that can cut your pet’s paw once he/she steps on it. To avoid such injuries, it is advisable to use edges with a more rounded edge. You can also switch to brick or concrete blocks since they are more paw friendly.

    2. Use Comfy Mulch

    When choosing the material to use as mulch, you need to put in some consideration. First, you do not want to use materials that will stick on your pet’s coat. You also should stay away from materials with jagged edges such as granite as it can cut your pet’s paw. Instead, you should think of materials such as river rock mulch (since they are rounded they will not injure your pet’s little feet). You can also opt for cider chips. You should avoid using cocoa mulch as it contains theobromine, which is an ingredient used to make chocolate and could be poisonous to dogs.

    3. Be Selective with Your Yard Features

    To make the backyard more fun for your pet, you can incorporate some features such as a backyard pond or a sand box (especially, if you have a dog). It can be great for him/her to cool down in the hot summer weather or dig and bury his/her bones. However, if your dog is small or not a swimmer, be sure to block off any access to the pond for their safety. When it comes to a sand box, the installation is relatively easy, but it needs some maintenance. Keep a shovel close by to clean up and cover any waste and holes.

    4. Choose Plants Wisely

    While plants and flowers can make your backyard look beautiful, some plants are toxic to your pet. The toxicity levels will vary from plant to plant, and they may cause different reactions. Find out from your veterinary physician which plants you should avoid and which to plant. It is better to be safe than sorry. Use plant species that are known to reduce fleas such as rosemary, mint, and lavender. Also select urine resistant plants such as Euonymus Japonica. If you notice some brown or yellow spots on your lawn from urine, do not freak out, reseeding is quite easy.

    5. Be Cautious when Using Fertilizers, Herbicides, and Insecticides

    Always read the instructions on the bottle before use. This will reduce the chances of using chemicals that can be harmful to your pet. It is advisable to use organic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers on your lawn and on the plants as well.

    Knowing exactly what to do and what to change in your backyard to make it pet-friendly can be a challenge for most pet owners. The best option is to contact a landscape professional to advise you on the mulch, the plants to use, and the insecticides to avoid among other things. Feel free to contact us for further information.


  8. Landscaping can make any outdoor space come alive. Well chosen plantings along with pavers can take any ordinary area and make it a delight. Any kind of design should make it easy to see all areas of the space all year round. This is why so many people have turned to the creation of a paved walkway. Using paving can be helpful because it offers:

    An easier pathway through the property

    • A unified look
    • An element of safety


    A Pathway


    Creating a pathway from the door to the garage or across the front of the yard can be beautiful and elegant. This is where paving is very helpful. A paved walkway creates a clear walk for people to follow from the front of the yard to the front door as well as through the rest of the yard. The walkway can be structured to help highlight many features on the property that people want to see closely such an elegant old oak tree or a lovely view from the top of a hill or even a beautiful front door.


    Unified Space


    Another advantage of using a paved walkway is that it helps create a truly unified look to all areas of the property including the backyard. Any buyer can choose pavers that tie into all of the materials that have used in the home. For example, buyers can pick a walkway made from brick or stone. This will help make the entire landscape look like a carefully thought whole and thus add a pleasing sense of unity. Adding slightly different materials can also help create a sense of contrast that stands out and helps set off the property from the surrounding landscape and makes it look wonderful from every single vista.


    A Useful Element of Safety

    Using pavers also helps make the space feel safer. The pavers can bring people along a safe path rather than up a route that might otherwise be too steep or subject to fierce rains. Parents can use the path to help their children learn what areas on the property are safer and what areas might be otherwise off limits without their close supervision. The pathway can also be used to help provide a walkway that makes it easier to haul materials from one part of the area to another. Carrying heavy items can be dangerous. A pathway means that the walker always has a safe area where they can place their feet without worry. This allows them to transport items in a wheelbarrow or other cart along a path that is smooth and will not have unexpected tree branches or other potential obstacles in their way.


    Careful attention to detail at every turn is the key to creating wonderful landscaping for all to enjoy.

  9. When you are spring cleaning the exterior of your home, restaurant, retail store or commercial business, you want to ensure that the deck work is as sparkling clean as the rest of your property. Despite this, it can be labor-intensive to scrub a composite deck and get rid of all of the grit or algae that is growing in the cracks of the wood. To get a better idea of how you can make sure your deck is ready for spring (if it is made from composite wood), keep reading.


    Composite wood is the easiest to clean

    When you are in the process of buying composite wood for the deck, part of the advantage is the convenience. For example, on many of the websites that sell composite wood, they give advice about how it should be cleaned, and they count this as an advantage to buying their product. Truthfully, composite wood is one of the easiest types of outdoor building materials to clean, but it does require specific types of equipment.


    The best way to clean composite wood

    When composite wood is purchased to be used in the outdoors, it is often touted as being affordable and also, easy-to-clean with pressure washing. Nonetheless, the settings on your pressure washer will need to be fine-tuned, or else you could end up damaging the surface of your composite wood. For example, many composite woods have a coating that keeps them from losing their luster due to sun exposure or weather. Obviously, if the pressure washer is set too high, it can remove this finish or damage it. This inevitably means that your composite wood will start to deteriorate at a faster rate and also, may lose some of its capabilities to look new.


    Using chemicals to remove stains and microorganisms

    When you have a serious stain on your composite wood deck, you will need professional help to remove it. Outside of the usual staining culprits such as tannins from old decayed leaves, paints or red clay mud, another issue is build up from certain types of mold, algae, lichens or other microorganisms. Despite being plant-like, these microorganisms can stain composite wood. Removing stains involves degreasers and other types of chemical solvents that require using special techniques.


    What to expect from full-service outdoor composite wood spring cleaning

    Before the warm weather hits, it pays to have your composite wood deck completely cleaned to remove all of the gunk that fall and winter weather bring. For example, you will need to have all of the old leaves and mud removed from the deck. After it is scrubbed, deck brighteners might be applied to get rid of mineral buildup from snow or ice removal salts. The next step is to work on any oil or grease stains that might need to be removed from the composite wood. The final stages involve removing all the remaining stains with careful pressure washing.


    If you need professionals to help you preserve the beauty of your composite wood deck, we are here to help. We are available to residential, retail, and commercial property owners in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. To get started, please give us a call today.


  10. The latest trend in home building around the Ann Arbor Michigan area has focused on larger homes and smaller yards. When you are looking to make your yard a beautiful part of your home, but you don’t have very much square footage to work with, then you need to get creative. Here is a fun list of the many innovative and creative ways to make the most out of a small backyard.

    1. Plant a vertical garden

    A new trend in gardening has been moving up in the small backyards all over Ann Arbor Michigan. Vertical gardening focuses on the space above the ground, not below. By building a ladder type system where you can hang pots, you will find that there is much more room to grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables. This can also be a fun way to get creative with the design of your vertical garden, and match it to your own unique style.


    2. Create a center point

    When you don’t have a ton of room to work with in your yard area, you can put the focus on one beautiful feature. Whether you are planning on having a beautiful sculpture, a unique water feature or a magnificent plant, your whole yard design can focus on bringing attention to this main center point.


    3. Make the most out of your small backyard

    Your small yard space has a lot of potential. When you start thinking of the possibilities for your smaller yard, you can see all of the great things that can be done in this amount of space. A spa is a perfect example of an addition to your small yard that would allow you to host small parties in this space. You may even be able to fit in a small outdoor dining table that would accommodate many of your friends and family members.


    4. Get creative about your storage

    In most yards, you will see a large shed for all of the gardening equipment. When you have a smaller space, you will have to get more creative about where all of your lawn care items will be stored. There are many furniture items that will give you ample storage space. For example, there are benches made for smaller yards that will convert into storage chests. There are also decks that have floor storage built into them.


    5. Give your yard personality

    While you may not have a huge amount of space to work with, you will be able to slam a lot of your own personality and style into your small yard. If you are a skater, think of building a small halfpipe that would take up a big area of your back yard. If you love the beach, have some sand shipped to your yard for that beach feeling. Decorating can get fun when you put your own unique spin on things. Your friends and family will be much more likely to enjoy themselves at gatherings when they can see your own personal spin on your yard.
    When you take a look at smaller yards, there are a lot of options for this amount of space. If you take a creative approach to designing your smaller yard, you can add your own unique style into this space that will match the overall feel of your home.