Many clients of Johnson’s Landscaping ask us about good times to plant. Another great thing about the Fall is planting! Late September is a great time to start planting, to sod or to seed your yard.
The plant gets in the ground, and there is no harsh weather to harm the root ball while it is establishing.The little stress from weather extremes makes it perfect to plant sod, seeds, trees, shrubs, and plants.
For questions about planting, call us at 301-740-8850.
When winter weather transforms your sidewalk and driveway into a dangerous skating rink, how do you melt the ice and snow without destroying your lawn and ornamental plants?
The key is to choose an environmentally safer deicer, use it in moderation and according to instructions, and to apply it before it begins to sleet or snow.
All chemical deicers essentially work in the same manner, by lowering the freezing point of water. The most common ice melter is sodium chloride (NaCl), otherwise known as good old-fashioned rock salt. Its popularity can be attributed to its low price and wide availability. However, since salt water still freezes at 0°F (or -18°C), it is of little help when the temperature falls below this point. Rock salt can also be destructive: it can corrode your car and your concrete walkway, and it can damage or kill your lawn and ornamental plants.
A better bet is to use one of the alternative, safer salts on the market. These include Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2), and Potassium Chloride (KCl). In general, these salts are more effective in reducing the freezing point of water to a lower temperature than rock salt, thus making them more effective in colder weather. Moreover, they tend to be less corrosive to metals and concrete, and are safer for lawns and ground-covers. Be sure to carefully look at the manufacturer's label for the listing of chemicals.
A newer, salt-free melting agent is calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), which is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid (the main compound of vinegar). This material has little impact on plants and animals, and is a good alternative for environmentally-sensitive areas. Pelleted fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate are sometimes also used for melting snow and ice, but these tend to damage concrete more than the salts. For locations where chemical deicers are not appropriate, sand, kitty litter, or gravel can provide some traction, but they will not melt ice or snow.
Whatever product you choose, be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and do not over-apply. Too many people erroneously believe that if 8 ounces is good, then 16 ounces must be better. Improper use of any chemical deicer may cause plant injury, which appears as drying, stunting, dieback, or "burning" of the foliage.
Want to have a great looking, low maintenance yard, while simultaneously supporting the Chesapeake Bay watershed?
Bayscaping is a method to landscape a commercial or residential property that provides habitat for local and migratory animals, improves water quality, and reduces the need for chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Bayscaping is valuable to the homeowner because it offers greater visual interest than lawn, reduces time and expense of maintaining a lawn, and addresses problem areas.
The principles of bayscaping includes the reduction of watering, chemical use, water runoff, and maintenance. It emphasizes the use of plants that are native to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Native plants are adapted to our soil, temperature, and rainfall conditions. After initial installation, native plants are virtually maintenance free. When a bayscape is designed properly, it can be aesthetically pleasing, drought resistant, and low maintenance.
If you are interested in a drought resistant and low maintenance landscape, please contact one of Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.'s professionally trained landscape designers to guide you through the design process.
As a dog owner myself, I can attest to the frustration many homeowners feel when the primordial needs of a dog (scratching, digging, peeing, and pooping) can conflict with the desires of an outdoor landscape pleasing to behold and easy to maintain. At times, it’s easy to raise the flag of defeat and give reign over the landscape to the dog.
Fear not, landscape and dog lovers! The two can co-exist. It may require some effort or investment. In the end, it will be worth it.
Most dog owners know that the way to a dog’s heart is through food and walks, with the emphasis on walks. A happy dog (i.e. a dog who gets lots of walks) often will refrain more often from anxious behaviors such as digging and scratching on that beautifully manicured lawn or the azalea just ready to bloom.
Because of work and family obligations, many homeowners just don’t have the time to regularly walk their dogs, even though they know that’s what’s best for them. Jaime Deason, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of Silver Spring, Maryland (www.fetchsilverspring.com), says that her business is available to support dog lovers in giving the gift of a walk. Jaime completes background checks on all her sitters, and then trains them herself. Says Jaime, “Walking a dog regularly is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, and to prevent the unwanted attacks on your landscape.”
Sam Nelson, landscape designer with Johnson’s Landscaping Service, Inc. (www.JohnsonsLandscaping.com), and a dog lover himself, says there are several things to consider when planning your landscape to accommodate dogs. First, Sam suggests “observing your dogs as they run throughout the yard. Make sure to notice where they like to go in the yard, and in your landscape plan leave this area as ‘open space’ for the dog. In this way, dogs will create a well worn path in some areas while leaving other areas to flourish.” Second, Sam observes that “dogs like to pee and run on the edging of plant beds.”
To soften the blow of this inevitable occurrence, Sam suggests lining the plant beds with low-lying liriope. This can help because the liriope is hardy enough to withstand the dog’s urine while simultaneously low enough to support larger shrubs and plants behind it. Finally, Sam reminds homeowners and dog lovers to be careful when choosing plants because some, like the Japanese Acuba, can be poisonous to dogs when chewed. Be sure to check with your local nursery before installing any plants.
As you can see, with a little effort and investment, a dog lover can enjoy both their landscape and their dogs….the two can co-exist!
How to Choose a Landscape Contractor by Jamie Newell
A landscape company that has a design staff is the best way to approach any landscape project. If you need something small like drainage and grading or a larger project such as an outdoor entertainment area, it is always a good idea to talk to a designer first. By consulting with an experienced designer, you will have the advantage of seeing the big picture. This will ensure that the completed task will fit nicely with the rest of your garden.
A design/build company will provide strong communication between the designer who made the arrangements and the workers who will install the project. If something unforeseen should arise, the designer can make on site changes to the project without delaying the job. There is nothing more frustrating than having two different companies blaming each other for something that was overlooked.
The first challenge is to find a good designer with a solid company to back them up. You might start by asking a friend or neighbor with a nice garden whom they would recommend. After you have chosen a well established company, it would be wise to see examples of their work and check their references. Stay away from a salesperson that is high pressure or doesn't spend time exploring different options with you. Choose someone who listens to your needs, asks the right questions, and understands the problem. Look for a designer that can communicate their ideas well.
The next step depends on the nature of the project. If it's a small or simple job a well written proposal is important to be sure everything discussed is included. If the job is large or complicated have a design prepared. A professional drawing may add cost but it can save a lot of headaches down the road. Whether you get a full scale rendering or a quick sketch, make sure the plan solves the problem and will look nice from season to season.
Once you have a qualified designer backed up by a reputable company with a good design, make sure the proposal is broken down in a way that you can see how much each task will cost. This will help you decide how to move forward in a budget conscious way and get the most for your investment. Be sure the agreement spells out a timetable for completion, payment schedule, specific walTanties, and the right to cancel.
Landscaping is a great investment for your property. When you decide to renovate your garden, make sure you choose the right company. Make sure the company is licensed, in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, and has good references. Before the project begins, have a good plan and a clearly written contract. Make sure the designer will be on the job to supervise the installation team. Be thorough before the job starts and you will end up with a garden that will grow nicely and stand up to the test of time.
Landscape Brighteners In lieu of summer's blazing color, many gardeners brace themselves for a winter of gray and brown, if not flat-out white. No matter if your winter is just a little chilly or bone-freezing cold, try these tips to brighten your landscape:
Install trees and shrubs that have beautiful exfoliating bark, vibrant berries, or bright evergreen foliage.
Install winter annuals or evergreens in containers near doors or windows, so you can enjoy them from indoors.
Not Your Average Pansy Every fall and spring all you see are the usual pansies in annual beds and containers. When the temperature drops and precipitation is in the forecast, those pansies look terrible and can develop gray mold. The pansy's cousin, the viola, is stronger and hardier, but has small blooms. Horticulturists have introduced the panola as a cross between the two. The panola has larger blossoms, better performance during inclement weather, and longer lasting blooms. The panola should be your new fall color standard!
Worried about your home's current value? Visit these links to learn how landscaping can help!
Lawn and Garden Equity
While studies show that you'll only recoup 80 to 90 cents on every dollar you spend to upgrade your kitchen or bath, professional landscape designers estimate that improvements to your lawn and garden can boost your home's value by 7 percent to 15 percent. Those findings have been confirmed by survey results from the Gallup Organization and the National Gardening Association, or NGA.
Value added: Consumers perceive a home with proper landscaping to be worth up to 11.3 percent more than its assessed value, according to 1999 study by Clemson University. The same study found that the return on the landscaping dollar is more than 100 percent.
"The whole trend for living outside is enormous right now" says Denis Flanagan, host of HGTV's One Garden, Two Looks and manager of membership services and PR for Landscape Ontario. "The garden has become an extension of the house."