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why you need to start thinking about pool landscape design now bethesda md

More and more homeowners are aiming to turn their outdoor space into a multifunctional retreat. This trend isn’t limited to outdoor kitchens and gardens. There’s a plethora of pool landscape additions that add functionality and enhance your existing features.

Your swimming pool provides you a ton of benefits: exercise, fresh air, fun, relaxation, and time with family and friends. A well-designed pool landscape will not just enhance the beauty of your property; it will allow you to make the best use of your outdoor space for any occasion, whether it's sun-bathing privately or hosting a pool party.

Don't wait to design your pool landscape

If you're thinking of getting a swimming pool installed, or you already have a pool but want to redo the landscape, it's critical to start thinking about pool landscape design now. Designing your pool landscape takes forethought and planning. Our landscape design experts can refine your vision once you’ve decided on the look and features you want. Our 5-step process will ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for.

When considering your pool landscape, keep these points in mind:

  • The size and shape of the pool
  • The unevenness of the terrain
  • The materials you want to use for poolside construction, along with the overall color scheme
  • Additional fixtures you'd like as part of your pool landscape, such as a slide or a hot tub

Also think about the kinds of things you would like to do in your pool besides swim or hang out in the water. Would you want your poolside to have a fun, sporty feel to it, or would you want a more enclosed, intimate garden or patio space?

Once you decide on a look and feel that’s appropriate for your outdoor space, our experts can walk you through specific design features.

Trees can create an interesting backdrop for a swimming pool; however, they often cause problems. Deciduous trees shed leaves like crazy. That’s more maintenance for you as you'll have to skim leaves out every time you want to swim. Evergreen trees can be just as bad. They drop needles that can be even more difficult to remove than leaves. Rather than planting trees around your swimming pool, opt for a privacy hedge made from Boxwood or Japanese Barberry.

Just because trees aren't recommended near swimming pools doesn't mean you have to forego greenery altogether. Tropical plants in large containers can make an excellent backdrop for your pool area. Try some ferns near a fence or retaining wall. You could surround these with hanging baskets full of annuals such as African marigold, geranium or daisies to add bright splashes of color.

The right hardscaping can help tie your plants and swimming pool together. Why not consider a brick walkway that winds gently through your garden on its way to your pool stairs?  A trickling waterfall or gushing fountain can also help lend an exotic feel to your backyard and make taking a refreshing dip all the more exciting.

You'll get more out of your pool with the right landscape lighting. Add a few path lights to your walkway so you'll be able to get to the swimming pool easily once the sun goes down. A string of lantern lights along a fence could be ideal for a late-night gathering, while lights inside the pool might be better if you plan regular evening swims.

When it comes to landscape pool design, there are plenty of things to consider. We'd love to help you turn your swimming pool area into a work of art that you'll be proud to show off to your family and friends. Contact us for more information.

3 water proofing basement techniques to save your homeA wet basement is a startling discovery, no matter the age of your home. But how does water get there in the first place? While most problems are caused by poorly sealed foundations and hydrostatic pressure, sometimes a wet basement is directly related to landscaping and water routing issues.

If you own a wet basement, you should be aware of the risks if it’s not properly taken care of. Below are some examples of how wet basements can become much worse than they may seem:

Foundation: What may seem like just a small amount of water in your basement can signify much larger problems. As water goes in and out of your basement, it takes a large toll on your home's foundation. Water can erode stone and cement horribly. What may look like nothing more than a trickle can in fact turn into a much larger problem involving a new foundation for your home. A foundation is what holds your home up, so preventing this from happening is vital.

Bugs: Bugs and insects live in the ground. So, by adding a damp, dark, indoor area for them to live and breed is something they will surely find. They thrive in wet areas and could soon become an infestation if not properly handled and prepared for. Having a home overrun by these critters is not on anybody's wish list!

Mold and mildew: This could be the most hazardous consequence of wet basement walls. Because it involves your health, it is not something to be taken lightly. Black mold grows in damp areas with low air circulation and can cause all kinds of breathing and lung problems such as asthma, chronic lung infection, sinusitis, allergic reactions, and eczema. This can be especially hazardous to older people and young children.

Selling: And lastly, when you eventually try to sell your house, a wet basement can chase the perfect buyer away very quickly.

The most obvious way to remedy the problem of a wet basement is to prevent the water from ever penetrating the basement walls. The best way to do this is to look at your yard's drainage. See where the water falls after a heavy rain and make sure it is not pooling beside your home's foundation.

Here’s six ways we can solve you wet basement issues.

  1. The grade is important. How important? When the grade of the ground next to your home runs toward your foundation, your basement can flood. A professional solution to poor grading solves many basement water problems. We can fix it by building a dry creek around your home and filling it with gravel. This bisection of the soil routes water away from your home and keeps your basement dry.
  2. Water accumulation. After particularly heavy rains, monitor where the water pools on the ground outside and which wet basement walls appear. A swampy lawn means that you have poor soil drainage, which leads to unwanted basement water entry. While we can install a sump pump to curb problems such as this, extending the sump pump's outflow as well as adding extensions to your downspouts can also help.
  3. Mulch problems. A home with a well-manicured lawn is a must. But what some people don't realize is that when you pack mulch up and around your foundation, you could be setting up a moisture wick. We solve this problem by always maintaining 4-6 inches between your home's foundation and any mulch. This simple trick can alleviate wet basement issues and keep your foundation dry.
  4. Downspout angles. Proper water drainage is important to fixing a wet basement. If your downspouts have seen better days and aren't even directed away from the ground immediately surrounding your home, it's time to take action and add extensions. The same goes for gutters; a little TLC can keep the water flowing from your roof and far, far away from your foundation.
  5. Grass and hydrostatic pressure. An effective barrier for excess rain is grass. Much like digging a dry creek around your home, it's possible for expert landscapers to use grass and valleys to redirect water away from your home's foundation. This method leads water away from trouble spots and relieves hydrostatic pressure that may have originated deep within your yard. And the best part is, it can save you thousands compared with traditional waterproofing methods.
  6. Patio Problems. A well-constructed patio is lovely during warm weather. But as the ground settles, patio pavers sink. As a result, water can pool in patios that sit next to foundations. To solve patio problems like this, we remove pavers and add new soil and pea gravel. As a result, water will run away from your foundation, and water pooling problems will disappear.

In many wet basement situations, a professional is the only person who can properly diagnose the problem. They know, after years of experience, what different water entry signs mean for your basement and the techniques to use to stop it before it becomes a serious problem.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you, please don't hesitate to contact us today for a free estimate.


When it comes to getting the most from flagstone patios or walkways, there are many options and components a homeowner should consider that go beyond simply color. Flagstone is often the best choice for an outdoor walkway or patio because it is so attractive, durable, maintenance-free, versatile and adaptable. Flagstone blends well with almost any type of outdoor decor, from formal to rustic.

While flagstone patios and walkways are timeless and easily maintained, the hardscape elements and landscaping plants you choose to accent the overall look can help personalize the space and make the difference between “meh” and “marvelous.” Once you’ve decided on your construction, plants and personalization, you can contact our expert team of masons to bring your vision to life.

Pick your flagstone construction method

There are two main methods of building a flagstone walkway or patio. You’ll need to learn about both the excavate and elevate construction methods to decide which one will work best for you.

Both steps begin with staking out the area where the patio will be built. We account for a slight grading away from the home to ensure drainage: 2 inches for every 10 feet away from the home.

The Excavate Method

If the patio will lay about the same grade as the ground around it, we have to first dig out the area so we can lay the foundation for the patio. We dig about 3 inches. If the area drains poorly, we may dig further so we can place 3 inches of well-packed gravel below our patio foundation. Then we create the foundation itself out of stone dust.

The Elevate Method

If the patio will be above the grade of the lawn, we need to build up to it by adding soil and other materials to the sides of where the patio will be. Once we have 3 inches of raised ground around the area, we can fill in with 3 inches of stone dust to create the foundation.

Whichever method we choose, the next step is to begin laying the flagstone. We tap the flagstone in place with a hammer and wood block, compacting the stone dust beneath it. If it moves too far below our planed patio grade, we take up the stone and fill in with more stone dust. 

Choose Plants

Hardscape elements that work well with flagstone patios can include retaining walls, benches and even water features. These options add to the overall beauty and increase the functionality of your new patio. But it’s the plants you choose to accent each feature, or the entire flagstone patio, that really tie everything together and bring out the softer side of your space.

When choosing plants to accent your flagstone patio or walkway, decide if you want plants that will function as a border or work in a more free-flowing manner by filling the spaces between flagstones, creating visual interest between each stone. You should choose plants that will grow well in the location of your walkway or patio. Drought-resistant plants will not thrive in damp spots, and plants that do well in damp or shady places will suffer in sunny, dry spots.

A fun new trend is the use of “step-able” plants to edge individual stones. Step-able plants include low-lying plants that tend to creep along the ground rather than grow vertically. These plants often offer a lush accent to break up the overall look of flagstone and are a pleasant break from more traditional filler. Additionally, step-able plants are easily maintained, can assist with soil retention and work to minimize soil erosion between flagstones. You want plants that grow thick and short and won’t spill over onto the flagstone.

Popular “step-able” plants include mosses, ivies and herbs. Many of these plants are resilient in the face of foot traffic and can even be chosen specifically for their scent when walked on. Low-lying plants such as Corsican mint and creeping thyme are highly valued as accents to flagstone patios due to their attractive nature, seasonal flowers and pleasing scents.

If you’d rather have a uniform look and get a border, or even wall effect, around your flagstone patio, there are many beautiful plants that adapt wonderfully. One of the earliest bloomers in the spring, the vibrant forsythia can make an excellent screen surrounding your patio that will keep your spring and early summer days filled drops of sunshine. A more hedge-like, lower-lying option can be achieved with lavender. This herb is renowned not only for its exquisite smell, but also for its prolific purple blooms. Other exciting options can include everything from native, ornamental grasses to rich layers of hosta plants and more.

Personalize Your Flagstone

A simple walkway is great, but you can also expand on the concept and personalize your outdoor area even more. Here are a few ideas:

  • Stairs made with flagstone can range from a basic, rough-hewn look to a more formal and elegant design.
  • Make your garden more inviting with meandering flagstone pathways. You can even create your own private mediation spot by circling a bench with a flagstone path.
  • Line an important flagstone walkway with orange LED lights to create a cozy atmosphere.
  • Use different color step-able plants between your flagstones for a fun patchwork effect.
  • Fill in the gaps between irregular flagstone pieces by creating small mosaic shapes with pebbles.
  • Build your flagstone around a mosaic design that fits with a theme, like a tree on the path leading out to a garden or the night sky for an open patio with a firepit.
  • Choose a color that transitions well from your home to your backyard. Flagstone can come in a variety of colors including blue, gray, red and beige.

For more ideas and to see the kind of quality work we do, check out our photo gallery of steps and walkways, or view our full gallery to see a variety examples of walkways, patios, retaining walls and water features that can be built by our experienced, talented masons. Contact us and let us help you start planning the outdoor living space of your dreams.

What Can a Landscape Maintenance Expert Do for You?

Many homeowners take great pride in their landscaping. Even those who don't know anything about caring for their lawns understand the importance of taking proper care of it. Whether you don't have time to handle your landscape maintenance or you lack the expertise, hiring an expert in landscape maintenance can help you keep your yard looking great.

Eliminate Weeds

Weeds are one of the biggest problems in yards everywhere. Dandelions can pop up in yards, creating unsightly yellow flowers that spread quickly. Other weeds can quickly overtake your gardens, choking out the flowers you want to grow and overshadowing them. Sometimes those weeds are difficult to differentiate from the real plants. A landscape contractor knows the difference and will help you get rid of the weeds so your yard looks its best at all times.

Keep Your Lawn Green

Green grass is appealing to everyone. Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to keep your grass growing as green as possible. Some homeowners do everything without success. Others simply don't know what to do. Hiring a qualified landscape maintenance contractor can help. They know what types of fertilizers to use and when to apply them for the best results, even when the weather isn't favorable to greener grass.

Prune Your Trees and Shrubs

Most homeowners have some trees or shrubs as part of their landscaping. However, these items need to be properly cared for. You can't simply plant a tree or a bush and let them grow wild. Not only will they look sloppy, but they won't be as healthy as they could be. The professionals know how to safely trim trees and bushes and ensure they are healthy and safe, giving you the beautiful landscape your desire. Your landscaping can have an impact on how you feel about your home, as well as how others perceive it. If you can't take care of your landscaping on your own, hiring an experienced landscape maintenance contractor will ensure everything is handled as it should be. They can perform all the routine maintenance your yard needs to always look its best.

Get the Job Done Right

The professionals know what it takes to keep your landscaping looking its best. When you maintain your own landscaping, it is up to you to do the research and determine what you need to do. This can lead to overlooking some of the most important tasks. The professionals will make sure all the smallest tasks are done.

Save Time

Proper landscape maintenance can take up a lot of your time, especially during season changes. Fall and spring both involve major work to ensure your garden and landscape looks its best. If you are the type of person who would rather do something else, working with a professional landscaper will leave you free to do whatever you please.

Regular Care

In addition to the seasonal changes, a landscape maintenance expert can take care of your landscaping throughout the growing season. The growing season means weeds will constantly pop up and other issues will be an ongoing problem. Having a maintenance contract with a landscaper will ensure all these problems are taken care of so your landscaping looks its best all summer long.

A landscape maintenance contract can be a useful tool if you don't have the time or the skills to take care of your landscaping. Your landscaping is essential to the beauty of your home. If you can't care for it, trust the professionals to keep your yard looking its best.

Prepare Your Fall Landscape for Next Spring

Hopefully, your landscaping season went exactly as planned. You have great visions of what you will do with your lawn and garden next year. There are a number of things that you can do this fall to prepare your lawn and garden for the best possible start in the spring, and a landscape maintenance expert can help.

Planning Ahead

You benefit a lot by planning next spring during the late fall because you can take advantage of end-of-season seed sales. A great way to handle that is to ask your landscape maintenance expert to help you put your garden plans on paper. Taking what you have learned from the growth this year can help you better plan spacing so that all your vegetables will thrive. Take note of any spots that tend to be shady and plan to add shade-loving vegetables next spring.

End-of-Season Cleanup

You might be tempted to leave the cleanup for next spring, but there are some things you should not put off. Leaves can cause damage to plants and lawns. It’s important to rake the leaves off the lawn because leaf-cover prevents the sunlight from reaching your grass.

If you leave the weeds until next spring, you may find you have much more than you remember. Check for insects and dead spots; if you have dead spots, grass seed is the solution. Rake all the leaves and add them to your compost pile. Also, complete a late-season weeding to get a head start on next year. Add mulch anywhere you want to protect delicate roots or help retain topsoil. Alternatively, you can save yourself all these headaches by finding a landscape maintenance contractor to handle these end-of-season issues for you.

Create A Winter Landscape

There are some plants that will add beauty to your winter landscape even after they have died off. Just clean up any hanging or broken branches and add a layer of mulch around the base. For winter color, Holly, with its bright red berries, will create a festive focal point. Small evergreen trees planted in pots can also add color to the winter garden.

By planning ahead, you will find that your annual spring cleaning will not be as much of a dreaded chore as in years past. Your garden will be healthier and that will mean a better, and longer, growing season and harvest. If we can help you with your end-of-season garden maintenance, please contact us and let's discuss your plans.

Whether or not seeding is necessary, fertilizing in early fall is essential. The lawn will continue to use nutrients during the winter in preparation for spring. There are good brands of fertilizer to select that can be found at any hardware or home improvement store. How often should you fertilize? That will depend on your soil condition and grass type. Does this sound outside of your area of expertise? Good news, you can CONTACT US, and our experts will handle it.

Set a Grass Maintenance Plan

Mowing properly is a more complex task than most homeowners realize. Different grasses should be cut at different heights. Cool-season grasses need to be cut at 3½ inches and warm-season grasses cut at 2 inches. Grass clippings need to be left on the lawn because they help future grass growth. It recycles the grass, known as “grass-cycling.” During warmer weather, your lawn needs to be watered on the really hot, dry days, but only in the early morning or late evening. At mid-day, the hot sunlight will just evaporate the water.

Your landscaping says a lot about your home and your personality. It is what people notice first when they visit your home. Organizing your landscaping is a big job; landscape maintenance is another major task. If you don't enjoy taking care of your landscaping, you need to consider contracting the task out to the professionals.

So now that you know the basics of what a landscape maintenance expert can do, contact us and we will be glad to help you design, landscape and maintain your yard.

Lawn Drainage.JPGWith 2017 shaping up to be a very wet year, many homeowners now realize that their landscapes have areas of poor yard drainage, leading to “standing” water. Those who live on the bottom of hills will wind up getting a deluge from their neighbors’ storm water runoff. Standing water can damage lawns, trees, and shrubs and provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes. To keep your basements and low-lying areas dry and to maintain a healthy landscape that is bug-free, you must address yard drainage issues as soon as possible.

At Johnson's Landscaping Service Inc., we know all about yard drainage and have great options to keep your lawn dry. These solutions include dry wells, Flo-Wells, piping the water to the street and water gardens.

Install a dry well

A dry well is a gravel pit below ground where water enters the pit and leaches into the subsoil. Allowing storm water from your property to run onto the street is damaging to our environment because of the fertilizer, animal feces, silt, and other things that mix with water runoff that enter the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Oftentimes, the dry well is covered with soil and sod, so it is not apparent in the landscape.

A word of caution: Dry wells can become clogged with silt, sediment and gutter debris that will cut the life of the dry well to five to six years, so you will need to clear it from time to time.

Install a Flo-Well

We can also install the Flo-Well, which is a storm water leaching system. This is a 49-gallon container with perforated holes throughout, and it is installed below ground with 1 foot of drainage gravel surrounding the unit. This can be used in a variety of ways, including collecting water from low areas, downspouts, catch basins, and French drains. The top has an optional drain grate to capture surface water in low areas. The system allows the water in the Flo-Well to leach into the soil and prevents harmful contaminants from entering local creeks and streams.

Dry wells and Flo-Wells work well for yard drainage issues. Water in your basement may need a different solution. Many times, water in your basement can be solved by grading and yard drainage work along your foundation.

Install More Drains

Prevention is the best method of controlling yard drainage problems. Installing channel drains to catch the running water and direct it to connecting pipes running underground and away from the house. This allows you to target critical areas around your home rather than use a catch-all system. Moving water away from the foundation will reduce hydrostatic pressure there. The soil will expand unevenly against the foundation, and you won’t get cracks that can lead to foundation damage or leaky basements.

You can also use more drains to redirect water before it causes yard drainage problems. Perhaps the most effective technique is to connect your current gutter system to new drainpipes running underneath the ground and away from the house.

Install a water garden

The landscape designers at Johnson’s can design and install a water garden for the space where your yard currently has standing water. Water gardens solve your yard drainage problems by holding excess water in an aesthetically pleasing basin that supports water-loving plants. A water garden gives your excess water a better place to go than unappealing puddles or the soil near your foundation.

Install a dry creek river rock bed

Another helpful landscaping feature in the fight against poor yard drainage is a creek bed. These look so great, even when it’s not raining, that people likely won’t notice that it’s functional rather than decorative.

The creek bed acts as a drain pipe would, directing storm water runoff away from low areas and into places that can handle more water.

Another common issue when your yard won’t drain is flooding on your patio.

Install 'permeable' concrete patio pavers

Imagine looking out your back window during a heavy rain one day, you’re shocked to discover that instead of gazing upon your nice patio, you’re staring at a small lake. Water is ponding 2 inches deep already — and the storm is far from over.

It’s a sight many D.C.-area homeowners have seen, whether during a long deluge like the one we got from Hurricane Sandy, or simply from a brief but powerful summer thunderstorm. But you don’t have to settle for standing water on your patio.

We recommend looking at two issues to address the problem. One is proper grading. If your patio has been around a good many years, the soil underneath it is bound to become uneven over time. Tree roots, normal wear and tear, and other factors will cause the soil beneath your patio to shift. Those changes will likely not be uniform, either, with some spots sinking while others get pushed up.

One solution: re-grading the patio. This involves removing the pavers — bricks, flagstones, etc. — and excavating the soil from your patio down to a certain depth. The depth will depend on what types of soil you have, what types of pavers you’re using, your yard’s drainage patterns, and other issues.

After the area is evaluated and excavated, new soil — or a combination of aggregates, sand and gravel or top soil — gets layered in, leveled, compacted, and graded to allow for efficient vertical and horizontal drainage.

Another solution: “permeable” concrete patio pavers. These are pavement systems that — together with very specific paver joint widths, sublevels of prescribed bedding material, and specialized construction methods — allow water to infiltrate between the pavers, filter down into courses of bedding, base and subbase material, and drain down into natural groundwater flows.

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute offers a good basic video about permeable paver systems on YouTube. Of course, Johnson's Landscaping Service Inc., an ICPI trained and certified firm, is always available to consult with you when you’re ready to reclaim your patio from Mother Nature. 

Enjoy your yard again

Once we’ve got your yard drainage figured out, we can talk about what you’d do in your yard if you could hang out there in comfort. Would you like a nice patio platform for a grill or perhaps a complete outdoor kitchen with a bar which would allow for neighbors and friends to hang out while you cook? We can make sure that most of that area (except for the grill itself) is under a nice solid roof so that you can entertain even when it’s raining.

Perhaps, now that you no longer feel like water is the enemy, we could even construct a pond on your property, so that you, your children, and even the neighborhood cats can enjoy watching some beautiful golden fish swim underneath blossoming lily pads.

So if you’re sitting indoors and watching your backyard drown this summer, contact us today to discuss how we can design a water-wise yard landscape.

4 questions to answer before picking your patio paver 1Is selecting the right patio paver giving you a headache? Are you having trouble deciding between materials, colors and designs? Pavers are the most essential building block of your outdoor patio. They’re big-ticket items, much like kitchen counters or carpets, so getting it right the first time can be pretty taxing. You don’t want to regret this decision in five years.

With so many paver options for you to choose, how do you know what is best for your situation? We've created this guide to help.

There’s four critical questions you’ll need to answer to make an informed decision on which paver to use for your patio.

How will you use your patio?

Outdoor patios are increasingly becoming a trendy way to expand your living space, but homeowners use that newfound space in many different ways. When selecting your paver, you need to make sure the form follows the function. With that in mind, here’s several possible uses for your patio with examples of how the styles of paver can help enhance those uses.

  1. Synthesizing with the landscape: Some homeowners use their outdoor patios as transition spaces from their homes into verdant, meticulously maintained backyards. Pavers that replicate the look of natural stone make a great choice for these types of outdoor patios, because they complement the landscape. A flagstone patio, for example, adds rich and natural texture and color to your home while blending seamlessly into your garden or lawn.
  2. Multi-use spaces: Many homeowners have multiple uses in mind when planning their outdoor patio. Some put their grills on their patios, have chaises for lounging or install small dining tables for al fresco parties. If you plan to design your patio for multiple uses, consider a paver that won’t be scratched by shifting furniture, but is also easy on bare feet.
  3. Embedded fire pits: Another major trend in outdoor living is fire pits. We're seeing more and more patios that accommodate fire pits, either built right into the patio or installed on it. You’ll likely use stone for the fire pit as the material is naturally non-flammable. Other popular trends to consider instead of or in addition to a fire pit include fireplaces and outdoor brick ovens. With these projects, you’ll want pavers that accentuate the structures and can stand up to the stresses associated with heat.
  4. Container gardening: Lots of homeowners are opting to add small container gardens to the edges of their patios to mix the patio space with the yard space. Herb gardens are popular, as it is easy to come out and take a clipping of fresh herbs to use for dinner. If you intend to keep a small garden on your patio, you’ll want to ensure you pick pavers that are easy to clean. You want to be able to hose all that extra dirt off your patio rather than have it settle in nooks and crannies between pavers.
  5. Nighttime fun and relaxation: If you plan to use your patio to unwind after a hard day’s work, you’ll want to consider the effect your lighting will play in your paver choice. At night, your patio can be difficult to use if your lighting clashes with your paver. We're also seeing a lot of patios these days factor in LED lighting, which does not consume a lot of power and lasts a long time. If you foresee frequent nighttime usage, your pavers should be a bright color that reflects your outdoor lighting well and should be smooth to get an even reflection.

What style and shape will your patio be?

4 questions to answer before picking your patio paverWhile a patio can be an excellent way to make the most of the square footage of your backyard and have a space to enjoy with friends and family, it's important that you take the time to look into all of the unique variations for outdoor patios so that you can pick a style of paver that helps it meld with your home beautifully.

The shape of your patio can vary greatly, from a standard rectangular design to unique curves and even several levels with steps. The options are endless for your patio, so it is a good idea to browse through our photo galleries to gather inspiration. You may find interesting ideas such as stairs or water features. Having an idea of what style and shape you want allows your landscape designer to narrow the plethora of paver options so that your outdoor patio can be built with your specific needs in mind and add a personalized element outside.

Patio pavers offer a smorgasbord of options. With myriad choices for paving for your patio, it's important to discuss the variations in terms of appearance. Understanding how you want your patio to look once the construction has been completed can help you determine which styles stand out the most so that your patio is a beautiful addition to your home. Due to the close proximity to your home, it's often best to choose a type of paver that is going to look great with the exterior of your home.

If you’d like a round patio, perhaps you want your pavers cut and laid in concentric circles with contrasting colors for each layer. For a small space that you’d like to appear larger, you can consider rectangular pavers set in a running bond pattern that gives the illusion of length or width. If you want an elegant pattern that will wow guests, the European fan pattern might be the right one for you. Different pavers will work best for each pattern.

Will my patio connect to a walkway?

Paver walkways can drastically expand the footprint of your patio, connecting the patio’s function to a large garden, pool or driveway gives your outdoor space a feeling of congruence and symmetry. While many materials can be used to create outdoor walking paths, patio pavers are one of the most beneficial options to homeowners, for several reasons.


With pavers, you will have a wide variety of options to choose from. With pavers being available in different colors, shapes, patterns and sizes, you will be able to pick an option that best fits the function of both your outdoor patio and your walkway.


When you’re talking about growing the footprint of your patio, you’re also talking about growing your budget. Fortunately, pavers have a large price range, and for the most part, pavers are a great option for any budget. Unlike other walkway building materials, the broad price range helps to ensure that homeowners are able to find something that will fit their budget as well as their style.


Paver walkways are extremely low-maintenance, as they generally only require periodic sweeping and occasional pressure washing. Furthermore, unlike other types of walkways, which may require costly repairs after settling, paver walkways can be easily reset. This makes paver walkways one of the cheaper options in the long run, as you will not have to worry about having to pay for costly repair work or time-consuming maintenance like adding polymeric sand.


One of the problems with many types of walkways is that they can become extremely slippery when wet. This can make these walkways a hazard for children and/or the elderly. Pavers on the other hand are naturally slip-resistant. They provide a stable surface for your loved ones to walk on even when wet, making paver walkways a safe option.

Paver walkways can be a great option for homeowners as pavers provide a wide variety of options to homeowners at an affordable cost. Furthermore, the safety of pavers, as well as how low-maintenance they are, makes them the favorite of many homeowners. Contact us to find out more about the benefits of using patio pavers to create walkways on your property.

Have you considered all the practical limitations?

While it’s great to have a wishlist of features for your perfect patio, practical concerns should also play a factor in your patio paver decision.


Pavers are investments, like all things you do to spruce up your home. Selecting based on value may be your best option in the short-term, but consider that if you do decide to pick a material that doesn't promise longevity, you’ll need to plan apply a proper sealer multiple times throughout your patio’s lifespan.


Are you adding a meandering, whimsical footpath around your home? Will a wonderfully beautiful pathway circumnavigate your pool and connect to your rear patio? No matter your answer, pick the paver for the placement. Sometimes necessity dictates such decisions, and it can be easy way for your landscape designer to help you make a selection.

Material features

Sometimes your need can be amended by the generous features a material has to offer. Thus, if you are looking for safety, select a paver that is textured and thus more slip-resistant. If it is a place where your bare feet are a consideration, don't select rough textures like gravel (ouch!). If you plan to drive a vehicle on it, select for durability.


Although patio pavers appear indestructible, which is only mostly true, picking a paver for the climate will save you a lot of future headaches. Consider, before you install, if the patio paver will see a lot of sun or if it will be in constant contact with water. In many instances, the appropriate paver will select itself.

Have you answered all these questions? If not, don't sweat it! Feel free to contact us to discuss how our service can help you with all of your outdoor needs.

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revitalize your property with quality expert landscapingLandscaping your home is generally done better and less expensive in the long run when a reputable contractor like Johnson’s Landscaping Service is involved.  

This is mainly due to the fact that their lifetimes of experience ensure that mistakes are far less likely to be made, and if any are…..you will not incur the charges.  

Johnson’s does listen to every client to ensure exactly what they invision in their ideal landscape, and they tell each client the benefits and disadvantages to their ideas, if both exist.

In this first blog some general landscaping mistakes which many homeowners commit when trying to tackle this intricate job are displayed.  Next, the added value your property can rise with the correct landscaping is written about.  Finally, adding life to your property through landscaping and how it can increase happiness and generally make you feel better is discussed.

Don't Wreck Your Curb Appeal: Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

Landscaping is one of the best investments a homeowner can make to increase the value of their home. Money Magazine reported that a properly implemented and maintained landscape design could bring the recovery value of a home up by 100 to 200% at selling time. But not all gardens are perfect. A poorly designed landscape can end up costing a homeowner hundreds of extra dollars, or leave them with an ugly yard. Here are some landscaping mistakes that you should avoid when planning out your new yard.

Not Enough Planning

If you’re thinking about landscaping, you’re going to need a complete plan before implementing your landscape design. The first step in landscaping is to take inventory of your yard, making an analysis of soil, climate conditions, and any existing vegetation. Make sure the plants you choose are able to grow in your garden environment, or risk ending up with a yard full of dead plant life.

Neglectful Nurture

One of the biggest landscaping mistakes a homeowner can make is not watering enough, which causes your plants to wilt and die. Expert landscape architects suggest that a homeowner install a simple drip-irrigation system, which can be attached to a hose and set on a timer.

No Predator Protection

Nobody will love your beautiful garden more than pests. Insects, rodents, and other hungry intruders will target your yard, leaving you with a barren yard. If you’re worried about pests, install deer fencing or chicken wire to protect your plants. You can also plant some pest repellents, such as anise, mint, bleeding heart, or fountain grass, which will keep away larger critters like deer or rabbits.

Forgetting Seasonal Changes

Not all plants last throughout the year. When planning your home landscape, keep in mind that the flowers you pick may not be in bloom all year round. If you choose plants that only bloom during one season, you’ll leave your yard looking underwhelming during the rest of the months. Try to opt for plants that last through all seasons, such as bushes or ferns.

How Landscaping Can Add Curb Appeal to Your Home

If you're looking to beautify your home's exterior, landscaping is a great way to create an eye-catching, beautiful yard. But many homeowners may not understand the benefits that come with a professional landscape design. Besides creating an aesthetically pleasing front yard, many contemporary garden designs have practical applications that can make your life a little easier.

It Can Lower Your Bills

Landscaping that is properly selected, placed, and maintained can actually save you money on your monthly heating or cooling costs. During the warmer months, plants and bushes can block the sun from entering your home, keeping your house's internal temperature cooler, so you don't have to keep raising the AC. These plants also help during the winter, as they can prevent cool wind from entering your home.

It Increases Your Privacy

Your home should be a place to relax, separate from the rest of the world. But this isn't always the case, especially if you have multiple neighbors or live on a busy street. Certain landscape designs can help give your home the privacy you need. For example, planting a tree in your yard can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50%, as stated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Landscaping can also be a good way to create separation between yards, rather than having to put up large, expensive fencing.

It Improves The Value of Your Home

Whether you're looking to sell your home, refinance, or just raise its value, landscaping is a great investment. A report by Money Magazine stated that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200%. Gardens that are attractive and well kept will boost the sale price of a home, as first impressions are often the most lasting for potential home buyers.

Are You Feeling Blue? Do Something About That Drab Lawn And Landscaping

Believe it or not, studies show that a beautiful yard can make you happy. According to an article in Miller-McCune, "Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster could produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration." And that means that professional landscaping, lush gardens, and elegant patios may be an investment in your health, not "just a luxury." Here is a look at some of the ways a beautiful lawn can make you happy:

A Stunning Landscape Can Help You Stay Mentally Fit

A report from the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture backs up the notion that a spring landscape, botanical gardens, and flowers can significantly lower stress levels -- but that's not all. "Being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by 20%," the report continues. Psychology Today adds that the presence of nature and plants can also improve attentiveness and productivity at work, raise job satisfaction, and lower blood pressure. (In other words, it's not a terrible idea to keep up your yard at home -- and bring some flowers or a plant or two in for your desk.)

Let's Talk About Trees

Trees can be an attractive and pleasing part of landscape design -- all while making you feel better, too. The benefits of trees are a little more concrete. According to the American Public Power Association, trees and landscaping can cast a shade on your home and ultimately reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50% (and who isn't happy paying less for bills?). Similarly, trees can block up to 50% of unwanted noise, creating a more peaceful and relaxing environment for you and your home.

The verdict is in; lush, green lawns, elaborate landscaping, and elegant patios keep you happy! (Not to mention, landscaping can increase a home's resale value by 100 to 200%.) Go ahead and splurge a little. Live amongst nature, and enjoy the benefits. 

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the critical keys to yard maintenanceYard maintenance is the most critical aspect of your entire landscape.  Lush, green grass will certainly die or become overgrown with weeds without the proper yard maintenance. Beautiful flower beds will quickly lose that beauty without proper yard maintenance.  Every aspect of your softscape will lose its unique characteristics without proper yard maintenance.

Lawn maintenance is the preservation and enhancement of your lawn and its features.  Take action to maintain your lawn by calling Johnson’s Landscaping Service.

As mentioned, maintaining and preserving your yard and its softscape features is lawn maintenance.  Ensuring your plants and flowers survive the heat or drought is absolutely necessary this time of year.  This article below discusses how to do this in great detail.  

Keeping Your Plants Healthy in Heat and Drought

In an effort to keep your plants healthy during heat and drought, we offer the following advice:

Newly planted trees and shrubs should be kept moist throughout the first year. A thorough soaking of each plant should be done three times a week for the first three weeks, twice a week for the next three weeks, and once a week for the balance of the year, even if it rains. When in a drought situation, this is the minimum these plants will need. It is very unusual to "over water" a plant, so when in doubt, WATER. Be mindful of current weather conditions and vary the watering accordingly. Wilting is often a sign of lack of water.

Watering is best done with an open-ended hose at a slow trickle or with the use of a soaker hose. Water should soak down around the deep roots of the plant. This takes a varying amount of time depending on the condition, slope, etc. of the soil around each plant. Ten to twenty minutes of a slow trickle may be necessary to attain deep watering. Check the soil down deep to be sure water is not just running off in another direction. Watering in the early morning and/or late afternoon (after 4:00 pm) is generally best.

Another faster and better way to water is to poke a hole in the soil next to the root ball of the plant. Root balls vary in size depending on the maturity of the plant. Average root balls being 12" to 18" in diameter. You should attempt to make the hole large enough and deep enough to insert a garden hose into the hole so there is no appreciable run off. Continue to use a slow trickle but this will allow you to water most plants in 5 minutes or less. You may have to use two or more holes for watering depending on the size of th

As plants begin to dry out the roots always seek moisture. If the plants are watered on the top two or three inches then the roots reach toward moisture at the surface. Then when the surface ground dries out, the roots become damaged and weak. If the plant is watered deeply at the bottom of the root ball and below, the roots go downward seeking the moisture and the plant root system becomes stronger. Note: Do not use any fertilizer at this time.

Yard maintenance encompasses many aspects of your landscape, none more important or less impactful than your new lawn.  Proper care after installation is immensely important.  This blog below recommends tips for ensuring your new lawn prospers and endures.

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New Sod Care - After Installation


This is the most crucial factor in ensuring the success of new sod. The sod must be watered deeply so that the roots of the new grass seek moisture down deep in the ground. Follow this schedule: 

FIRST TWO WEEKS AFTER INSTALLATION: Water each new sod area every day for 1 to 2 hours early in the morning, as early as 5:00 a.m., if desired. The water should completely saturate the sod and the soil below. Because the soil will be soggy, AVOID WALKING ON THE SOD at this time. THIS IS THE MOST CRITICAL PERIOD-YOU NEED TO KEEP THE GROUND MOIST DURING THIS TIME. 

THIRD WEEK AFTER INSTALLATION: Water every other day for 2 to 3 hours for one week

FOURTH WEEK AFTER INSTALLATION: Water every 3rd day for 2 to 3 hours.

FIFTH & SIXTH WEEK AFTER INSTALLATION: You should water each new sod area for 3 to 4 hours once a week to get the desired deep watering which forces the roots to seek the moisture deep in the ground as the top surface dries out during the non-watering periods. This deep watering/deep root system growth strengthens the lawn against the possibility of the mild drought that occurs so often in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. 

*In the Spring and Fall only (NOT Summer) you can count a rainfall, if it’s a quarter inch or more, as a watering. *Note-It is very important not to over water: there should be NO STANDING WATER – you don’t want puddling of newly sodded areas, if the ground will not hold the water.

MOWING: When the grass reaches 3.5” in height, allow the ground to dry and mow to 2.5” to 3.0”. Use a sharp blade. Mow approximately every seven days. Cut to 3.0” height in hot, dry weather.

FOOT TRAFFIC: Keep all pedestrians off of any slopes or banks that have been sodded for at least one month.

BROWNING: New sod regularly turns brown during the first few days after installation. If the sod is receiving adequate moisture, this is not cause for concern; sod will “green up” as the grass plants grow new leaves.

WEED CONTROL: Weed killers, if needed, may be applied only after the first 3 months, but not during the summer months.

INSECTS & DISEASES: Fungus growth may be a problem on new sod, as it is on any lawn, during hot, humid weather. Check your lawn for brown spots or patches and contact a professional for advice. To help alleviate the possibility of fungus growth, DO NOT WATER AFTER 4:00 P.M.!

FERTILIZER: Do not apply fertilizer for six months after installation. Then apply 2 applications at one half the normal rate of fertilizer in the spring, one full application in early fall and one application of 2 times the normal rate in late autumn. (The late fertilization is the most important.)

Plant care is also an essential part of yard maintenance.  New plants need the most care possible to ensure their transition to your soil and surroundings.

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After Installation - Plant Care Instructions

Once you have done everything necessary for your plants to promote vigorous healthy growth habits, it’s time to take care of them. These instructions assume the plants have been planted in a prepared planting area containing fertilizer and soil amenities.

WATERING: Newly planted trees and shrubs should be kept moist throughout the first year. A thorough soaking of each plant should be done three times a week for the first three weeks, twice a week for the next three weeks, and once a week for the balance of the year. Be mindful of current weather conditions and vary watering accordingly. Watering on warm (plus 35 degree) winter days is highly recommended. Wilting is often a sign of lack of water. If wilting still occurs 24 hours after a thorough soaking of the plant, please consult a professional horticulturist. Watering is best done with an open-ended hose at a slow trickle, or with the use of a soaker hose. Watering the leaves will not benefit the plant and can even be harmful. Watering in the early morning and/or late afternoon (4:00 p.m.) is generally best. Do not water mid-day nor in the late evening.

FERTILIZATION: Do not fertilize shrubs or trees for at least one full year following installation. After one year you may fertilize annually in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer. Take care for the environment; use natural fertilizers whenever possible. PRUNING The removal of excess growth and any diseased or dead wood is essential to the health of all plants, young or old. The use of sharp pruners will prevent damage to plants. Making clean cuts greatly reduces the chance of disease and insect infestation. Pruning can be done generally anytime depending on the type of plant:

  • Deciduous trees should be pruned in late fall. •Non-flowering shrubs can be pruned anytime (deciduous and evergreen). •Flowering trees and shrubs should be pruned after blooming. •Major pruning back of any plant should be done in late fall/early spring. INSECTS AND DISEASES Inspect new plantings periodically for signs of pest and/or disease damage (splotchy leaves, split bark, egg clusters, etc.). Consult with a professional horticulturist at first sign of duress.

Yard maintenance is a brush which paints a large array of proper care and enhancement of your landscape.

If the time and attention your flower, plants, grass and more becomes too unmanageable, please contact Johnson’s Landscaping Service to diagnose your yard and perform the critical functions and tasks which it needs to survive and thrive.

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*In this blog from Johnson’s Landscaping Service, factors and tips to make your landscape burst with beauty are written about.  Steps to avoid, as well as beneficial steps are evident as well.

make your yard stand out this springSpring is one of the most important times for landscape maintenance, and proper care keeps your yard looking fresh all year round. Here are some quick tips that will help maintain a beautiful landscape:

The first step in maintaining your garden is to take stock of the landscape. Check the soil to make sure it is ideal for your garden, making sure it's got the correct pH levels. Winter weather can alter your soil, creating an environment that can hinder the growth of your plants, such as the compacting of soil. It's also good to check on other factors that may affect your landscape, such as drainage or how weather and climate affect your plants. Before doing any other work, it's good to mow your lawn to help promote better root development.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make in landscape maintenance is improper watering. To ensure proper watering, install a simple drip-irrigation water system, which can be attached to a spigot with a timer. This way, you can maintain your garden without having to worry whether or not your plants are getting enough water. It can also be beneficial to lay down fertilizer to help stimulate growth early in the season. Be sure to check what kind of fertilizer is best for your plants, as if it is not used properly it could actually damage your plants. If there are patches of dead or brown grass, seed your lawn and cover it with fertilizer to bring your grass back to life.

Spring-time landscape maintenance will set the tone for the rest of the year. A properly maintained lawn will help your house look great, and can even help raise the value of your home. Money Magazine wrote that landscaping can bring up the recovery value of your home by 100 to 200% at selling time. So whether you're trying to sell your house, or just want a beautiful yard, following these simple tips can help enhance your garden year round.

    *Watering the right way is essential to the health of your landscape.  The correct and ideal soil will also make big differences.  Caring for your landscape the correct way will result in absolute beauty.  Landscape maintenance is the key to displaying your bountiful and beautiful property.

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1 LCA Cover 9Johnson’s Landscaping Service is a family oriented business with over 50 years of pleasing homeowners.  Tree planting and yard maintenance are obvious specialties; however, divisions of carpentry, lighting and drainage are highlights featured as well.

    This is because your landscape can become a beautiful puzzle of pieces, which you hand us through your ideas and desires.  We then put this puzzle together with our passion of landscaping services.  The final product is a collaborative effort which is timeless and breathtaking.

     Visit Johnson’s Landscaping Services at JLSinc.com or call (301) 494-3568 TODAY!

         *In this article “Tree Planting Basics”, Johnson’s Landscaping Service goes into detail about what a tree requires when being planted.  The specific ways to plant a tree, so it has maximum chance of thriving, is a primary focus.  

    How to care for that tree is perfectly conveyed, and this is a useful resource for clients as well as do-it-yourself landscapers.

    Tree Planting Basics

    When it comes to planting trees, details will vary by species, but the first step in planting any tree is digging a hole. One of the most common mistakes is digging a hole that's too deep and not wide enough. Plant it too deep and you'll deny the roots access to enough oxygen to support proper growth. If the hole is too narrow, there won't be room for the roots to expand to anchor and nourish the tree. So hole size is a crucial element in the art of tree planting. As a general rule, don't plant any tree deeper than the soil in which it was originally grown. Dig the hole at least 3 times wider than the container or the root ball's width. Doing this ensures that the tree will have enough worked soil to establish a healthy root system, which is vital to the future of the tree.

    One caveat -- if you're digging a hole in poorly draining clay soil, it's important to avoid having the sides and bottom of the hole become smoothed, which forms a water barrier. This is known as glazing. To prevent this, use a fork to work the bottom of the hole and scrape the tines along the sides of the completed hole. Another good idea is to raise the center bottom of the hole a bit higher than the area around it. This will help disperse water and reduce possible pooling around the roots.

    If you buy a tree that's balled and wrapped in burlap, it's not necessary to plant it immediately as long as you keep the root ball moist and store it in a shady spot. (It's best to plant it as soon as you can, but it's okay if it's stored for a few days.) Also, remember to always lift a balled and burlap-wrapped tree by the roots and never by the trunk. When you're ready to plant, remove the burlap completely if it's synthetic and not actual burlap.

    With natural burlap, you can either remove it or pull back the top third. Remove any string or twine used to secure it. Place back-fill soil (top soil combined with peat moss and composted manure) just to the height of the ball or even a bit lower to allow for settling. Make sure not to compress the back-fill soil or it could prevent water from reaching the roots and constrict their ability to spread beyond the ball.

    To plant a container tree, remove the container if it's plastic. If it's a fiber container, you can just tear the sides back. Once you've (carefully) removed the tree from its container, check the roots. If they seem compressed (pot-bound), use your fingers to gently tease out the finer roots from the mass and then spread the roots before planting it. If the roots are very woody, you might have to use a spade to break them apart. Loosening the root structure is imperative -- if you don't, the roots can 'girdle' and kill the tree! Once you've positioned the tree in the hole, back-fill as you would for a balled tree, just to the height of the container and being careful not to over-compress the soil. Just pat it gently using your hands -- not your feet.

    You should water your newly planted tree right away, then water it weekly during the first growing season (in rainless conditions), and more frequently during hot summer weather. Don't over-water though, as this can deprive the tree of oxygen. Experts recommend regular deep watering rather than frequent shallow watering. The water should reach about a foot or a little more below the surface of the soil.

    Finally, mulch to a depth of 3-4 inches with pine bark or chips to conserve moisture and promote water and air penetration. To compensate for root loss and transplant shock, treat your tree with mycorrhizal fungi and a fertilizer suited to the type of tree you've planted.

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    *This featured blog from Johnson’s Landscaping Service offers the advantages of trees to one’s property.  The tangible and intangible benefits of adding trees to your landscape are listed as well.

   These aspects are quite often overlooked by homeowners, and the blog shows much added value for which the homeowner can take advantage.

    Tree Planting: The Amazing Benefits of Adding Trees to Your Property

    Whether you are considering to landscape your yard, or you are simply looking for a way to make your home more energy-efficient, you may want to consider the benefits adding extra trees to your property could provide you with. Not many homeowners take the time to consider whether or not they have enough trees on their property; however, there are a surprising number of benefits that planting trees on your property can provide you and your family with. If you have extra space in your yard, here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider adding additional trees to your landscaping.

Increase Your Home’s Value and Curb Appeal

    One reason to consider adding additional trees to your property is that they can go along way in helping to increase your home’s curb appeal, and by association, its overall value. Trees will help to make your home more attractive, and will help to make it stand out in your neighborhood, which can make it more attractive to buyers should you go to sell your home in the future. In fact, not only will trees make your home more marketable, but also, it has been suggested that homes with trees on their lot sell for as much as 10 percent more than homes without trees. Such a small investment in your landscaping can then have a huge impact on the overall value of your home, making tree planting a wise investment in your property.

Provide Natural Shade and Reduce Energy Consumption

    Adding trees to your yard can also be a valuable investment by providing your home with natural shade during the hot summer months. This can then allow you to enjoy the outdoors during the summer by creating shady oases in your yard where you will be able to more comfortably relax and enjoy the summer weather. However, adding trees to your property can do more than create shady spots on your property. Having large trees on your property can actually greatly reduce your energy consumption during the summer. In fact, homes that have large trees shading them, and protecting them from some of the sun and heat, can save as much as 25% on their air conditioning bills when compared to homes that are not shaded by trees.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

    Adding trees to your property is also a great way for those who are concerned about their impact on the environment to reduce their carbon footprint. Trees naturally absorb pollution from the air, and can greatly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (which is the primary contributor to global warming). Adding trees to your property can go a long way in helping the environment overall, and in improving the air quality of your neighborhood. Taking these little steps is a great way in which homeowners can help to fight climate change.

Improve Drainage Around Your Home

    If you have experienced drainage problems on your property, adding trees to your yard can be a great way to fix this problem. If you yard is prone to flooding when it rains, you may be surprised by how much adding trees to your property could improve your yard’s drainage. Large trees can help to absorb rainwater into the ground during inclement weather. Even adding a few trees to your property can help to reduce the amount of water that lingers in your yard during a storm, and can prevent costly flooding in your home. In fact, proper landscaping is one of the best ways to fix drainage problems on your property. Thusly, if you have experienced flooding problems in the past, you would likely benefit greatly from consulting a professional landscaper to discuss your drainage problems and what you can do to fix them.

Provides Stress Relief

    As unusual as it may sound, having trees in your yard can actually help reduce the amount of stress you experience. According to a Texas A&M study, just looking at trees for five minutes was shown to significantly reduce the amount of stress people experienced. Adding trees to your property can then prove to be a boon for your health if you suffer from severe stress.

Invite Wildlife Into Your Yard

    For the nature lover, and the birdwatcher, adding trees to your yard can have the particularly enjoyable benefit of bringing wildlife into your yard. Trees provide a place for a variety of birds and animals to congregate, providing a fun view for any animal lover. This is where it can be beneficial to consult a professional landscaper when adding trees to your property, as choosing native trees for your yard will increase the chances that wildlife will be attracted to your property. This is not only beneficial for animal watchers, but is also great for native bird and insect populations whose natural habitats are often displaced for commercial and residential use by providing them with a new home in your yard.

    As you can see, there are many reasons to consider adding trees to your property, as there are many benefits that doing so can provide you with. However, when considering adding trees to your yard, it is important to consult a professional landscaper. A professional will be able to help you to determine what type of tree will be best for your property, and where the trees you choose will best thrive in your yard. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of adding trees to your yard, as well as for help in choosing trees for, and planting trees on, your property.

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    *This article from the company website, Johnson’s Landscaping Service, goes into a lot of depth regarding tree planting.  Keeping their customers highly informed of their processes is one of many aspects which sets them apart.

Everything You Need to Know About Tree Planting

    Planting a tree is more complicated than you might imagine. Rather than simply digging a hole and plugging in the greenery, you have to plan the process carefully, diligently, and with the future in mind.

    That process can become complicated. But given the many benefits of tree planting, it should not deter you from making your property more beautiful and more functional through a new tree. Instead, here is everything you need to know about planting a tree.

How to Pick the Right Tree Species

Your first decision, naturally, should be what type of tree to plant. Here are a few of the most common options, along with their general benefits for your yard.

  • Dogwood Trees. Many homeowners choose this species for their front yard thanks to its unique beauty around the year. It flowers red, white, and pink during spring, before developing a lush foliage in summer that turns red in fall. Once the leaves fall out, even the branching will be attractive during Maryland winters.

  • Sugar Maple. Probably one of the most common trees in the United States, the sugar maple will be especially distinguished during fall, when it develops lush orange leaves. But be mindful of its size, as it can easily grow up to 75 feet high.

  • Green Giant Arborvitae. You probably know this tree from the countless homeowners who use it as a natural barrier to roads and neighboring properties. It is fast-growing, hardy, and evergreen, making it a perfect fit to replace hedges and fences or to provide shade and privacy anywhere in your yard.

  • Red Oak. There is something majestic about any type of oak tree, and this North American variety embodies that feeling. It can grow to up to 90 feet in height, with a sizable tree trunk of up to 40 inches in diameter. Until it does, you can enjoy the beautiful red foliage during Fall that gives this tree its name.

    Of course, these are just a few of the countless trees you can choose from for your yard. This guide can help you find a tree species that works well for your location, yard, and preferences.

Planning the Planting Spot with the Future in Mind

Next, you have to determine exactly where you want to plant your tree. Here, it's important to be diligent; focus not just on what the tree might look like in a few years, but keep the next few decades in mind as well. As long as it's healthy, your tree will outlive you. In that time span, it will continue growing until it reaches far beyond the initial area you have planned for it.

For your tree planting efforts, that makes the right spot absolutely crucial. Don't plant it too close to your home, or you'll risk danger should it ever fall. Similarly, planting your tree too close to electrical lines can invite problems down the road. Or course, unless the type of tree you choose allows for it, make sure you don't plant your trees too close to each other if you plan to grow more than one.


How to Plant Your Tree the Right Way

     Finally, it's time to actually plant the tree. Start by digging a hole that is more than big enough; ideally, the hole you dig should be 2 to 3 times as wide as the root ball of the tree you're planting. At the same time, keep the depth shallow enough to prevent settling.

    Next, place your tree in the hole you dug and gently backfill it while only lightly packing the soil. At this stage, you have to be absolutely sure that the trunk of your tree remains straight. If it doesn't, you may have to deal with a crooked tree in your yard for generations.

    The next step is to support your young tree with a stake. Depending on the size of the tree you're planting, you may only need a single stake or up to three. Avoid tying the stake tightly to the trunk; instead, make a loose connection that allows for plenty of room to grow.

    Finally, it's time to provide water for the tree. Water it right after planting, and once per day for at least two weeks. After that, move to once per week for about a year, always making sure that the soil around the tree remains moist without being soaked. Of course, the exact watering requirements for a newly planted tree may differ based on the species you choose.

Finding a Company that can Ensure Your Success

    Given the above steps required to ensure the success of your tree planting efforts, you may shy away from doing so altogether. After all, you don't want to make a mistake that might haunt you in future years and even decades. Of course, you don't have to be alone in planting a tree. Instead, all you have to do is find the right professionals to help you.

    Not every landscaping company is the same. Some will focus on shrubbery and everyday maintenance, while others pride themselves in being experts on helping you find and plant a tree that will benefit your property in the long term. Your goal in this endeavor, naturally, is to find the latter.

    Do your research to find a company that has plenty of experience and positive reviews in your area. Then, contact them to learn more about their pricing and availability. Finally, share your tree planting plan with them to make sure that they agree on its viability. As long as you follow these steps, you can feel confident knowing that the tree you plant will enhance your yard for years and decades to come.

    Most landscapes have shady areas, depending on the trees on and around the property. Sometimes homeowners ignore the shady areas and plant just in the sunny spots. But, comprehensive overall landscape planning takes the shaded areas into account, filling in a spacious design with shade-loving plants, shrubs, and trees.

Different Amounts of Shade

    Many shaded areas in the landscape actually get some sun during the day. The amount of sun varies when deciduous trees are bare and when they have leaves. Determining how much sun the spot gets and when it receives it is part of the science of landscape technology. Let the pros at Johnson's Landscaping take a look at your shady area and determine which plants, shrubs, and trees will work best in your yard. There are a multitude of choices, so don't worry that your shady spot will be dull. Plants for shade or those for partially sunny spots provide a diversity of blooms and foliage somewhat different from those found in full-sun plants.

    Trees and shrubs for shade or part shade offer a range of forms, sizes, and colors. Many shrubs have colorful fall foliage, and some provide fruit. Often used to block an unsightly view and provide privacy, shrubs are often planted in rows.

Proper Soil

    Plants, shrubs, and trees frequently need a specially developed soil, similar to that of the forest floor, where many shade plants originated. Johnson's Landscaping professionals are experts at soil improvement and the knowledge of what each plant needs for optimum growth and development

    Don't leave those shady areas bare and unattractive. Let us show you the perfect landscape design for your entire yard, coordinating both the sunny and shady spots. Contact us today to get started on a beautiful design, especially for you.

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   * Johnson’s Landscaping Service writes about their most important resource for fresh and innovative input: you, the client.  

   Your ideas and desires are the first step to any and every project upon which they work.

  Plants, Shrubs and Trees to Design the Landscape for Your Home’s Needs

   We've all seen them, good-looking plantings in a front yard, yet somehow they seem out-of-place. Often the reason is that the landscaping does not match the homes' style. Many new and longtime homeowners feel overwhelmed when thinking of improving their landscape. Redesign and improvements appear necessary, but the starting point is unclear.

    Perhaps it is time to call in the professionals at Johnson's Landscaping. We know exactly what to plant to make your landscape match your homes' design. We maintain plantings in the landscape to keep them looking healthy.

    A pleasant, well-maintained landscape is important for many reasons. Good curb appeal improves the value of your property. Proper landscaping includes the upkeep of walkways, porches, driveways and the lawn, keeping you and your family from taking an unexpected tumble. Hardscape features compliment the style of the home when properly placed and constructed.

Turn to Professionals013

   Even if the homeowner has the expertise and equipment to install a safe and beautiful landscape, they likely do not have the time. That's why it is best to turn to a well-respected, professional landscape company, such as Johnson's Landscaping. As award-winning professionals, we design and install unique landscaping designs to match the style of your home's architecture. Whether it is modern, classic, colonial, farmhouse, or another style, we have a design to match.

    Although you won't be doing the actual work, your input on the design is important to landscaping themes that make you proud of your home. Plan and design with professionals for unique landscaping, avoiding the cookie cutter look.

Let Us Develop Your Vision

    Johnson's Landscaping understands this point and takes special care to develop your vision. With experience in more than planting and pruning, our professionals can improve your outdoor space to match it to your home's style. Using a unique landscaping design makes the area comfortable for your family and guests. Install a fire pit or outdoor fireplace to extend your outdoor seasons. Add comfortable seating to accommodate those outdoor gatherings.

    Let us plan and design your landscape to match your farmhouse style home. You'll want to add a cottage garden and a porch swing. Fruit trees or bushes often have beautiful blooms before producing fruit. A classic Cape Cod style home may call for a focal point to direct attention to a specific area.

    Ask us about what's appropriate for your home's style and let's get to work on making those changes. Look through our gallery for landscaping design ideas for your home. Plan and design with professionals for the most fulfilling landscape results.

Johnson’s Landscaping Services

Designing, Building, Maintaining….

(301) 327-1944

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Why would anyone want a landscape designer poking in around in their yard, their personnel space? Folks usually know what their lives are about and what is needed to facilitate them.

Or, do they?

Landscape design is like painting with plants and hardscape and buildings. It is an underrated art never given enough credit. Taking a bare yard space and turning it into a flowering wonder; an entrancing environment that hypnotically draws you in, is a complicated three dimensional affair involving numerous aspects from electrical, micro climates, sun/shade issues, plant material and building structures to name but a few.

The landscape designer must be fully competent to deal with not only the envisioning creative aspect involving color and shape, texture and size but also know their local plants, nurseries, suppliers; and hardscaping issues from plumbing to electrical, to paved walkways to patios, arbors to gates, and stonework to paving.

A good landscape designer will provide you with:

  • the expertise to create a complete finished project start to finish
  • create a design perfectly tailored to your family's needs and desires 
  • implement this design to the finished product
  • stay within your proposed budget
  • leave you very satisfied with a finished product that fits your family perfectly

So if this is not a task you are ready to take on yourself, and you are ready for a thoroughly top notch yard transformation by a family owned business of professionals with over 50 years experience dedicated to top quality and perfectionism, then contact us today for help.


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landscaping plants shrubs and trees for the shady spots in your yard

Most landscapes have shady areas, depending on the trees on and around the property. Sometimes homeowners ignore the shady areas and plant just in the sunny spots. But, comprehensive overall landscape planning takes the shaded areas into account, filling in a spacious design with shade-loving plants, shrubs, and trees.

Different Amounts of Shade

Many shaded areas in the landscape actually get some sun during the day. The amount of sun varies when deciduous trees are bare and when they have leaves. Determining how much sun the spot gets and when it receives it is part of the science of landscape technology. Let the pros at Johnson's Landscaping take a look at your shady area and determine which plants, shrubs, and trees will work best in your yard. There are a multitude of choices, so don't worry that your shady spot will be dull. Plants for shade or those for partially sunny spots provide a diversity of blooms and foliage somewhat different from those found in full-sun plants.

Trees and shrubs for shade or part shade offer a range of forms, sizes, and colors. Many shrubs have colorful fall foliage, and some provide fruit. Often used to block an unsightly view and provide privacy, shrubs are often planted in rows.

Proper Soil

Plants, shrubs, and trees frequently need a specially developed soil, similar to that of the forest floor, where many shade plants originated. Johnson's Landscaping professionals are experts at soil improvement and the knowledge of what each plant needs for optimum growth and development.

Don't leave those shady areas bare and unattractive. Let us show you the perfect landscape design for your entire yard, coordinating both the sunny and shady spots. Contact us today to get started on a beautiful design, especially for you.

Contact us today!

choosing the best plant shrubs and trees for your landscape let us help

Perhaps you can envision the perfect landscape for your home. A neat and structured front yard, bountiful blooms of varied heights alternating with robust greenery, partially shaded with large healthy trees.

The backyard is an ocean of green with repeating patches of colorful flowers and plants of varying textures, easily accessible by a stroll down a winding pathway. Benches and a few chairs offer a spot for relaxation and complement the fire pit and gathering area for friends and family.

An arbor entryway to a hidden area reveals another room-like spot with a dining table and chairs, a grill and a bar. A few raised beds are located in sunny spots, providing the perfect area to grow vegetables and herbs. A row of attractive shrubs offers privacy from the neighbor's view along with spring blooms and fruit later in the season.

Further to the left is a wall, covered with blooming vines that produce late summer color and fragrance. Perhaps you know exactly what to plant, when and where, for this desired result. Maybe you know what you want in the landscape, but have no idea where to start. Or maybe you have a front and back yard that needs improvement, but that's all you know.

Let Johnson's Landscaping handle these situations and all those in between. Using the right plants, trees and shrubs for your area and your individual yards, we can achieve the perfect landscaping result.

If you have a plan and know what plants you want to use, we advise if they are right for your area. Some plants need soil that is rich and fertile, while others happily grow in lean soils with few nutrients. Some specimens need lots of sun; others offer the best results when planted in a partially shaded patch of ground.

Our years of experience make us aware of what various plants need and what to expect from them. We know where to find healthy plants that give the desired result. And, so important, we put the right plant in the right place for proper development and growth.

If you don't have a plan, no worries. Our professional landscape designers will survey your yard and offer various options. Look at our portfolio for ideas and to see a few of our successful installations. As spring approaches, get ready for the landscape of your visions. Contact us soon to get started.

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landscaping design plants shrubs and trees

When selecting plants, shrubs, and trees, landscape designers focus on the following visual factors to balance the space and make it visually appealing:


Size, along with height, helps define a space. You don't want your large landscape elements (like towering trees) to overwhelm other structures (like a house) or to obstruct natural views. Try to create patterns and layers with various sizes of plants. Smaller plants are given additional weight by arranging them in masses or clusters.


Height is the most important factor in defining a space. It can have a huge visual impact when used correctly. Heights should be varied from front to back so that smaller plants are not hidden behind larger ones. Heights should also vary across the vertical horizon, undulating from taller to shorter and then back again.


Color is the most variable component in landscape design - it can change from season to season and even from morning to evening. However, it is also the component that carries the most visual weight. Brushing up on your color theory comes in handy when choosing a layout for your design. It's helpful to know how analogous, complementary, and contrasting colors work together to make a beautiful palette. Keep foliage, bark, flower, stem, and fruit in mind when considering colors.


Fragrance is the most overlooked factor in landscape design, but it's a wonderful way to engage visitors and encourage them to spend a little more time. Keep in mind that flowers are not the only plant part that have a fragrance. Many shrubs and even trees add their own scents to a yard.

If you would like to discuss how to use these landscaping elements in your yard with an expert designer, don't hesitate to contact us today.

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winter landscaping for your yard

The winter season is quickly approaching with the ever growing chill in the air. Your landscape is not a lost cause for the colder months of the year as there are plenty of ways to prepare your yard for the warmer months of the year.

3 Ways to Winter Landscape your Yard

  • Use Evergreens in Yard
  • Four-Season Perennials Great Option
  • Consider Hardscape for Spring & Summer

Check out all the winter landscape tips here.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

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winter landscaping plants shrubs and trees can add a magical touch to your yard

If you spend a good part of winter wishing it would snow just so that it would cover everything in the yard up and make it look beautiful for a while, it's time to correct the problem. The right plants can help you create low-maintenance interest and color all year long that can make your winter garden seem like it has a touch of magic in it. Here are two suggestions you can use.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is one of the most striking plants that you can add to your yard because it starts blooming long after most other plants are done. While this large bush gives off a gentle fragrance all year, it doesn't start to flower until its leaves fall off for winter. Depending on the variety you choose, the flowers range from a bright gold to a fiery red.

Many people are familiar with the gentle skin cleanser made from the witch hazel's bark, but most people don't realize that the flowers give off a sweet, clean smell all winter. There are two varieties commonly in use: the American species blooms in November and December and the Asian species blooms in January and February. Plant a mix of these and your yard will have color and scent through the majority of winter, even in the snow.

One of the best parts about the witch hazel is that it's very low-maintenance—as long as you give it space to grow. While technically a shrub, it can reach heights of 30 feet and grow up to 15 feet wide so many people refer to it as a tree. They're fairly non-fussy about where you plant them, as well. They'll adapt to different soil conditions, temperature zones, available water quantities, and can tolerate both partial shade and full sun.

Ornamental Kale and Cabbage

If you're looking for something that's a little smaller but just as startling in look as witch hazel against a bleak winter background, consider planting a few varieties of ornamental kale or cabbage. You can even plant them in pots, for easy arranging around your walk, steps, and doorway.

Ornamental kale and cabbage have an almost supernatural ability to thrive throughout the colder months. Different varieties can have dark green leaves, striking purple centers, or even vibrant reds. For the most part, whether you plant them in pots or directly in the ground, they're fairly easy to maintain. Just watch out for insect activity and treat the plants with an insecticide if necessary.

The right landscaping – plants, shrubs, and trees chosen for their ability to transform a winter yard from bleak to brilliant – can help you enjoy your yard all year. If you're having trouble figuring out what works best for you, contact us for assistance. We're more than happy to help you pick the right plants for your yard and get them going.

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Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

4 ways a residential or commercial landscaping expert saves you money in the long run

There's a common thought that landscape services are only for the wealthy. That it's only for the people who live in those large houses, in the gated communities. Or that only the large corporations can afford to pay someone to landscape the area around the building, but small businesses have to get it done themselves. Many people in need of residential or commercial landscaping will be happy to know this is a common misconception, and in the long run, there are many ways that hiring a professional landscape service can save you money.

  1. Plants and materials. Many DIY-ers are familiar with this experience. They go to the home improvement store, and buy hundreds of dollars in plants. Many different varieties of plants catch their eye, and they leave with a great plan in their mind to create a visually appealing outdoor space. After hours of planting, they're happy with the initial result, but look forward to things growing and filling in. But instead of seeing an improvement, plants start to wither and die. They try fertilizing and feeding, only to make things worse. In the end, these same people are back at the home improvement store the next spring, starting over, and spending more money. Why? Because all plants have different needs, and to thrive they must have the right conditions, including sunlight, soil, water, and food. A professional landscape designer can look at the space and pick plants that will grow and bloom with the conditions that you have, eliminating the need to constantly spend money on more plants, fertilizer and food.
  2. Tools and equipment. Keeping up with a yard and garden can be costly, not just for the materials, but for the tools needed. Shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows add up, and that doesn't even include some of the more costly things like mowers, edgers, and trimmers. With a landscaping service, not only do you save money on these items, but you don't need to find the space to store them either.
  3. Maintenance. Keeping up with a yard, even one that has just some basic landscaping, takes a lot of time. Many people just have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to work and family. Spending several hours a week to keep up with mowing, weeding, fertilizing, and trimming is a challenge. Often people have to make the choice to do the yard work, and miss out on family or work events. Not all costs are financial, and if the yard is costing you relationships or a promotion at work, it may be wiser to hire a professional landscaper to maintain the outdoor space.
  4. Equity. One of the easiest ways to increase the value of property is to give it a face lift using a professional landscape design. Typically, landscaping offers a great return on investment, and property owners will get a great return on the money they spend on landscaping services. In commercial buildings, business owners may also find their short-term worth goes up as the landscaping draws in new customers and clients too.

"We have used Johnson's Landscaping for various yard maintenance needs for many years. The work is always high quality and they are consistently responsive and reliable."

If you've always wanted a great-looking yard, but thought it was too expensive to hire a professional landscaping company, you may be surprised to learn that splurging on a service can actually save you money in the long run.

If you're in the Maryland/Washington DC area and would like to learn more about landscaping services, contact us. We offer a variety of services, including mowing, mulching, pruning, trimming, fertilization, weed control, and other yard maintenance. We also offer one-time services such as landscape design, sod installation, grading, drainage, retaining walls, and patio or pathway installation.

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a patio for your home

A patio provides a wonderful place to go out to enjoy an evening after a long day. Sit back and relax while taking in your yard's beautiful landscape design.

A patio brings out the best in your backyard. It offers a gathering space for parties and gatherings. It also is the perfect spot to place your grill. Nothing beats a summer cookout!

In the article on Bob Vila's blog, you will see how these home seamlessly transition into their accompanying outdoor patios from the interior. If you get any ideas from here about a patio, please don't hesitate to contact us!

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signs and causes of water in basements olney md

Having a basement can be a plus for homeowners needing extra space, whether it’s to store items or to eventually convert an unfinished basement into a finished room. On the other hand, a basement can be a nightmare if water seeps into it. If you have a basement, here are some basic clues that you may have water in your basement, along with a few of the most common causes of this problem.

Recognizing Signs of Water in a Basement

Sometimes, there can be water in a basement without the obvious sign of water. If you have a basement and have experienced significant rainfall, you need to look for possible clues that you may have a problem. Just because there isn’t visible water doesn’t mean your basement is safe. A few of the common red lights indicating water in a basement include those such as:

  • Noting small water pools in a basement or crawlspace can indicate a problem somewhere.
  • Spotting mildew or mold can suggest an excess of moisture.
  • Damp basement walls may be a sign of water.
  • Dripping or trickling water is another red light.
  • Humid, damp air can also be a warning.

Reasons for Water Entering a Basement

After realizing there is a problem of water seeping into your basement, the next step is determining the reason for it. Here are a few of main causes of water invading a basement.

  • Flawed window wells can lead to flooding. Many basements have small vents or windows on their outside walls. These windows, known as window wells, should be constructed  so that water doesn’t enter a basement or a crawlspace. However, if they’re defective or not designed properly, they can funnel pooled water into a house.
  • A defective water heater can create severe flooding issues in a basement.
  • Fractured water lines, due to frozen pipes, punctures or deteriorated plumbing, can also cause major basement flooding.
  • Cracks in the foundation or walls can be culprits. That’s why you need to regularly inspect your house for possible cracks. Even tiny cracks can eventually cause big issues.
  • Faulty, clogged or missing gutters and downspouts are causes. When gutters and downspouts are defective or gone, improperly installed or defective, rainwater falls around the edges of a house, eventually seeping into a basement.

Considerations and Warnings

  • The most common pathways that water takes to get into a basement are through walls, floors, windows or foundation cracks. Water can also seep into a basement or crawlspace through the seams that are between a floor and wall. In most cases, water takes the easiest path, offering the least amount of resistance.
  • Although the rainy season is considered to be the worst time of year for basements to flood, a heavy winter snowfall can be even worse. For example, snow can quickly melt when the above-ground temperature is above freezing, turning snow into water that can leak into a basement.
  • Basement flooding occurs more in older houses than it does in newer constructions.
  • Above-ground basements, and especially those built on elevated land, such as hills or mountains, are less likely to have flooding problems than below-ground basements. 
  • If you have coverage for flooding, promptly call your insurance agent. But if you lack insurance coverage for flooding, be sure to quickly contact a qualified restoration specialist who can property restore the damage. 

Sometimes water can invade basements because the land on a home site isn’t graded properly, or it is on an improper slope. Improper grading or erosion that has altered how your land is graded can cause water to flow in the direction of a house, entering a basement.

One of the many services of Johnson Landscaping is providing drainage solutions. Please contact us so that we can diagnose your drainage problems or take care of any landscaping projects that you may have been postponing.

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effective solutions for common yard drainage problems potomac mdA yard that looks like a swamp after a hard rain can be a nightmare for many homeowners. Besides being unattractive, standing water on grass can also present other serious issues such as compromising the health of your plants and lawn. Even worse, this condition can encourage pests such as mosquitoes or cause water to seep into a basement. What’s more, you can’t enjoy your yard until it’s repaired.

Some yards are more likely to have drainage problems than others. These include situations in which soils are that are dense, flat land and yards with high water tables. If you’re concerned about your lawn draining properly, here are some common yard drainage problems and solutions.

Solving the Problem of a High Water Table

Yards that lie in low areas can easily suffer from a high water table, making it hard to landscape. Because plant roots don’t get enough oxygen in saturated soil during their growing season, they rot much like houseplants that are overly watered. Some ways to resolve this issue include these options:

  • Use plants in your landscape that are naturally acclimated to a high water landscape such as fens and bogs. For trees, plant those species that come from similar wetlands. Use wet sun plants for a sunny yard, but if you have a shady yard, choose wet shade plants.
  • Elevate planting areas. Although this can be expensive, it works. If you’re wondering how high you need to raise the soil, it depends on what you want to plant. For example, large shrubs or trees require a considerably greater height so that the root crown is high enough to keep it dry. On the other hand, smaller shrubs don’t require as much height. As a result, the cost is less expensive.

Solutions for Drainage Issues Caused by Clay Soil

Yards that have clay soil can easily have drainage problems. In fact, clay soil is the cause of most minor yard drainage problems. Because soil that’s rich in clay has more density than loamy or sandy soil, rainwater doesn’t filter through it as quickly. To solve this condition, consider these options:

  • Growing plants that prefer soils that are rich in clay can gradually change the nature of clay soil. However, this can take a long time.
  • Adding things that can make your soil more permeable and richer is another option. You can do this either chemically or naturally. The chemical approach can entail adding limestone and gypsum to break up the clay, while the natural method is adding organic matter that's mixed into the soil to enrich it, as well as help in plant growth. The organic way is better because it doesn’t take as long to work.
  • Another solution is to create an underground “soakway” for water to filter down slowly.

Using an Underground Drain for Compacted Soil

Creating an underground drain is another option for solving a yard drainage issue. The type of underground drain that is typically used is called a “French Drain.”

This is basically a ditch that contains covered gravel. Besides using an underground drain for a compacted soil problem, you can also use it for soil that has hard sub-layers.

Using Rain Barrels for Rainwater That Falls from Nearby Buildings

In addition to dealing with rainwater falling directly in a yard, sometimes yards also suffer from rainwater from nearby structures. By attaching rain barrels to downspouts, you can collect rainwater that would otherwise gush into a yard. Why not save the rainwater and use it for irrigating your lawn.  

You don’t have to settle for poor yard drainage. Solving this problem can be frustrating and isn’t a job for the average homeowner. That’s why you need to call Johnson’s Landscaping Service. Our highly trained and experienced lawn landscaping designers can complete your landscaping project with proficiency and creativity. Please contact us for all your landscaping needs.

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7 great reasons to get landscaping services in rockville md

Most people admire others who have put a lot of care into their lawns, backyards and front yards. However, when it comes to doing up their own, they might shy away from the idea of getting landscaping services, largely because it seems like such a big project. Plus, they might wonder whether they need to come up with all the aesthetic ideas necessary to create a beautiful yard. Not everyone is aesthetically inclined and they may not know what will look good in their yard and what won’t.

Just as you can get aesthetic ideas from an interior designer for the inside of your home, you can get ideas from landscaping services in Rockville, MD for the exterior of your home. Given all our experience in working with exteriors of different shapes and sizes, we’re sure we can come up with something that will suit your taste. Here are a few ideas:

1. Paving: Just paving your drive or sections of your poolside/backyard can add greatly to its charm and beauty. It makes these areas easy to clean and gives them an old-fashioned, European look. You can imagine that you’re sitting at an outdoor café in Paris even when you’re sitting right outside your home!
2. Garden Paths: Nothing gives your backyard that enchanted, fairy-tale look like a garden path. Imagine a grassy expanse with a number of flowering plants. Then imagine walking through it on a garden path until you come to a table and chair in the shade of a tree. Garden paths are romantic, playful and practical at the same time.
3. Plants: Nowadays, we all work in urban areas which have been denuded of flora and fauna. So it’s nice to create a green haven in your backyard. Not only will this help you to breathe better, it will give you a space to meditate and let your thoughts flow. Your landscaping service can help you pick the right plants for your exterior. If you’re not much of a gardener, they can recommend plants that will be easy to take care of. If you want a yard full of flowers, that can also be arranged. The idea is to go with the type of yard that fits your personality.
4. Fireplace: Nowadays, outdoor fireplaces are all the vogue. It can be very cozy to light an outdoor fire on a chilly day. This will give you a chance to get outdoors on a day when you generally wouldn’t.
Hot Tub: Who wouldn’t like to soak in a hot tub after a long day at work? Nowadays, there are a number of hot tubs available with different features, including jets of water which will massage away all your aches and pains. If you’ve always wanted this luxury touch in your home, speak to your landscape designer about it.
5. Waterfall/Pond: It can be very picturesque to have a waterfall and/or pond in your backyard. Water running over an arrangement of rocks and eventually filling a pond full of fish lends a delicate touch to your space. This is a naturalistic look which will make you feel like you’re in the outdoors.
6. Gazebo/Pergola: A small roofed structure in your backyard which protects a table and chairs from the elements can be a lovely place to have your dinner. You can also have vines running over it to give it that fairy-tale look. It will give you and your partner that feeling of complete privacy which is so romantic. But a bigger gazebo can also be a great place for a dinner party, especially if you also have an outdoor kitchen.
Contact us for more great landscaping ideas.

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enhance your landscapeWhether you’re looking to enhance your landscape design or have your yard landscaped for the first time, there are plenty of good reasons to landscape your home. There are economic reasons, health reasons, and environment and social reasons. The benefits of good landscape design are broad and varied and completely worth it.

Landscaping increases the value of your home, making it look more appealing to a prospective buyer and reducing the time it takes for your home to sell. Money Magazine noted that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100% to 200% at selling time. Landscaping can also reduce heating and cooling costs. Properly selected, placed, and maintained landscaping can provide excellent wind protection, or windbreaks, which reduces heating costs. It can also reduce air conditioning by up to 50% by shading the windows and walls of a home.

Economic reasons alone would be enough, but the benefits don’t stop there.

Landscaping your home creates a healthier and safer environment for you to enjoy. For example, choosing gravel consisting of smaller stones for your driveway or landscaping project can make it easier to walk on, providing more traction for high foot traffic areas. The plants filter the pollutants and create cleaner air, which is always a plus in our book. A thoughtful landscape design will decrease your stress level too. Not only can a well crafted design offer privacy, but the trees can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50% and mask unwanted noises with pleasant sounds.

Environmental reasons to invest in landscaping include controlling erosion, controlling temperature extremes, reducing soil degradation and evaporation, and reducing storm water runoff that prevents local flooding. Of course, you shouldn’t expect these kind of results without the help of an experienced landscape designer who specializes in environmental landscaping.

Social reasons encompass all the others. Landscaping can improve the quality of your life by doing all of the above. You can entertain, enhance your landscape and give back to your home environment with a beautiful yard and landscape maintenance.

Who wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of landscaping?

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gardenHow is gardening and landscape design changing? How is it staying the same? Just like anything else, advancements in technology, including convenient mobile apps and more, can help you spruce up the garden and enhance your landscape. And these advancements may be just in time, too.

New Apps Help Gardens Flourish
Contemporary garden design -- and, in fact, contemporary gardening, period -- is not as straightforward as you might think. First, relax; it's a good thing. New knowledge makes it possible to plant gardens that are more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and drought-resistant than ever before. Homeowners are also making a point of planting gardens that look good and serve a practical purpose. In other words, more Americans are planting herbs and fresh produce. According to OANow.com, "More than 35% of American households are growing some of their own fruits and vegetables." Now, free applications are available to help streamline the process. The apps advise homeowners about spacing, yield, location, days until ripe, video tutorials, and other details about specific fruit and vegetable varieties. Of course, when in doubt, it is always wise to consult a professional gardening or landscaping service.

Some Things Never Change
While apps may help homeowners grow more fruitful gardens, conventional wisdom and old tactics still stand. For example, if you are struggling with high air conditioning costs or noisy neighbors, some well-placed trees can solve your problems. Trees can reduce noise and air conditioning needs by 50% each. And trees aren't a must. Any sort of elaborate garden or landscaping averages a return on investment (ROI) of 100 to 200%, Money Magazine writes.

The right landscape can do wonders for your property. New mobile apps can help you plant gardens that bear plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, or planting a few trees can help immeasurably with A/C costs and noise pollution.

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yardLet’s be honest, the perfectly manicured yard is, without a doubt, part of what the picturesque American Dream looks like. Not surprisingly, the landscaping industry in the United States generates an estimated $74 billion annually. We all want the perfect outdoor space to complement the perfect indoor space, which, of course, resides in the best city in the best country in the entire world. It’s not rocket science, it’s just idealism, and we all secretly indulge in it. Turns out, though, there are actually some practical benefits to keeping your yard looking trim.

It’s cost-effective
 The proper landscape design can provide wind protection, which in turn will reduce heating costs. It can also reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50% by shading a home’s windows and walls. Landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100-200% at selling time. According to a survey of home builders, elegant patios or decks are some of the top features requested by new home buyers. Add in a contemporary garden design, and your property value probably increases even more.

It keeps your yard safe
 Walkways and exterior lights aside, did you know that choosing gravel that consists of smaller stones can provide more traction for high traffic areas? More traction means less tripping and less tripping means less scraped knees.

It literally keeps your home peaceful
 Not only does landscape maintenance generate inner peace by being pretty to look at, but a beautiful yard with strategic landscape design can offer privacy and less unwanted noise. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that trees can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50% and can mask unwanted noises with more pleasant sounds. That means your neighbors won’t complain as much about the kids playing loudly, and you won’t hear your neighbor's defective lawnmower as much. Everyone wins.

Whether you’re pursuing the American Dream, or you’re just tired of people tripping in your yard and complaining about noise, your life can be made a little simpler with some thoughtful landscape design.

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landscapeFor many homeowners, home is a place where you can relax and be away from the world. However, that relaxation can easily be disrupted by a noisy neighbor or busy side street. When looking to increase the privacy of your home, homeowners may look to investing in expensive fence installation. However, there is another solution to your home privacy issues that you may not have considered: landscape design. Here are a few ways you can enhance your landscape while making your home the sanctuary you deserve.

Planting a private hedge may be one of the best solutions for creating privacy for your home. These hedges go around the perimeter of your home, similar to a fence. However, these hedges need constant care, and require regular trimmings. If you're looking for a more picturesque look, try planting layers of plants with different heights in a cluster. If you do not want to do a lot of lawn maintenance, consider planting a few trees in around your yard. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that trees can reduce noise by up to 50%, replacing that noise with quiet, pleasant sound.

In addition to privacy, intuitive landscaping placement can help save you money all year round. If you properly placed and maintain your garden, your home will be provided with excellent wind protection, which will help reduce heating costs during the colder months. During the summer months, landscaping can reduce your air conditioning costs up to 50% by shading the windows and walls according to the American Public Power Association.

There are plenty of reasons you want privacy in your home, but none of them should force you to be separate from nature. Landscaping can be a great way to turn your home into a relaxing sanctuary, without having to sacrifice the view of a perfect lawn. Contact us today!

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water in basement from melting snow 5 helpful prevention tips


Each year in winter and spring, homeowners have to deal with water in their basement because of melting snow and ice. Further, as winter weather fluctuates in temperature each week, warmer days melt accumulated snow that has settled around a home's foundation.

While winter weather and snow isn't a problem for a majority of homes in these situations, properties that are prone to exterior water penetration problems can experience seeping water and severe interior damage.

With winter weather, prevention is always key. The same type of preventative logic is applied to how roads are cared for, how airlines operate, and how to stop melting snow from turning your dry and beautiful basement into a wintertime pool that you didn't request.

There are a few ways for a homeowner to prevent snow from causing basement water problems -- though some people don't realize that they have a problem until it is too late and their basement is flooded.

5 Keys to Prevent Water Seepage

Ground Slope: The ground around a home's foundation must slope away at a good and constant grade. Settled soil allows water to run towards the house, which can be a huge problem. When the weather is nice enough, take a look at your ground's slope and correct any offending areas.

Bad Basement Seals: Interior walls don't last long if their waterproofing seal is missing. Waterproofing measures eventually wear away, and you are left with basement walls that show signs of seepage. It's important to check your basement walls for cracks regularly and apply new sealant when needed.

Gutter Problems: Gutters clogged with debris can lead to water overflow problems. Similarly, ice dams that form during winter cause water to back up and run down the home's siding. Prevent these occurrences by cleaning gutters at least once a season. To counter roof ice dams, contact a roofer to institute a fix.

Trees: Though beautiful and eye-catching, trees will sometimes weaken the ground and create unnatural routes for water to travel. If you are unsure about how the trees on your property are interacting with the ground around your foundation, ask a professional basement waterproofer to inspect the area closely.

Hydrostatic Pressure: The soil around your home is paramount in stopping seepage. What's more, extra pressure will push the soil towards your foundation and help water penetrate your basement walls. Have your soil tested for consistency, and ensure that the internal ground pressure isn't causing a problem for your foundation by talking to a professional.

What to Do If You Discover Water

Begin by determining how extensive the water problem is. Walk around your basement and search for signs of water entry. Decide how many locations require your attention. If you must, move furniture, boxes, or other obstructions to gain better insight into the water entry. 

It's fine to attempt to dry wet portions of your basement. Carpets, walls, tiles, hardwoods, and pooling water can be dried with fans, mops, dehumidifiers, and wet/dry vacuums. If you feel that any of the wet items in your basement are ruined, remove and discard them to avoid mold and other problems.

If there is a major basement water problem, it's best to remove any valuables from your basement as soon as possible. Then, as long as standing water isn't in contact with electrical devices or appliances, attempt to isolate the problem. After you determine the extent of the water problem, you should then contact your insurance company and a basement waterproofing professional.

A professional who specializes in basement water remediation can assist you with your water problems. They can help you clean up your current issues and stop all future problems from happening. 

If your basement floods after heavy snow and rain, or is generally a damp and messy haven for mold, we recommend working with a Washington, DC waterproofing and landscaping expert.

If you need help with your wet basement or landscape, please do not hesitate to contact us today for an estimate.

Johnson's Landscaping Service is a family owned and operated full-service landscaping company serving residential and commercial clients of Northwest DC and Montgomery County for 50 years.

how a gravel channel can be the ideal yard drainage solution for your family


If you live in an area that receives a lot of rainfall throughout the year, you may be hesitant about what kind of landscaping you do to keep the rain away from the foundation of your home and off the lawn where it can become muddy and unstable. This can be especially important to consider if you have children or pets that enjoy spending time in your backyard and do not want the mud to be an issue for them.

If you are looking for a way to clear the area around your home of rainwater without being an eyesore, consider the benefits that come with putting in a gravel channel.

Stunning Alternative to Exposed Pipes

Once pipes have been installed in your lawn, they can begin to divert water away from your home, but they can look unattractive due to their bright, white color and lack of cohesiveness with the rest of your landscaping. Gravel channels, or French drains as they are sometimes called, can be an effective way to move water away from your home without any exposed pipes.

Plenty of Variations for Gravel

A major benefit that comes with making a gravel channel to combat any yard drainage problems and solutions is the freedom to choose the ideal gravel for your yard. In many cases, you can choose gravel that is the exact size you want and the color that fits with the rest of your landscaping. This can be a great way to add some personality to your yard, while improving the yard drainage.

Some great options for gravel include decomposed granite—granitic rock that has broken down over time into small pieces and pea gravel—gravel the size of a small pea. Their small size allows water to pass through and drain properly with the pipe laid underneath.

Flexibility for Any Size or Shape of Yard

When looking into drainage options for your yard, you may discover that many options are a poor choice for the size or shape of your yard. This could mean that you will be spending a lot more money on a custom design for the property. The freedom to design the gravel channel, or French drain, allows you to create a winding design that looks beautiful and can help move rainwater without any complications due to the layout of your yard.

More Customization Options for the Channel

While pouring small pieces of gravel is important for designing the drainage system, you have even more options in terms of greenery and edging. By choosing edging that can be placed on each side of the channel, you can make the addition even more defined to help improve the look of the drainage system.

After the gravel has been poured into the channel, you can take the next step by planting small bits of greenery that can do well with gravel. Sprinkling some soil and greenery such as moss over the channel can help you spruce up the addition to the yard, without taking away any of the functionality of the drainage system. An added benefit is that the greenery should flourish due to the rainwater that it can absorb by your effort to divert the rainwater into it.

Adding a drainage system to your property is important if you experience a lot of rainfall and are concerned about the problems it can add for your family if they enjoy spending time outside. With a gravel channel installed, you can get the drainage solution you want, while improving the looks of your yard. Contact us to get started with this functional and attractive project for your property.

some typical yard drainage problems solutions


For those who have never owned a home, a pristine yard is a dream often explored by driving through well-tended suburbs or flipping the pages in a homeowner's magazine. Unfortunately, upon buying a home with a lawn, many people find that drainage problems can quickly cause a host of problems in the yard. Through investigating some of the typical yard drainage problems/solutions, alleviating this obstacle to such a staple of the American dream will be accomplishable.

Identify Sources of Water

  • Gutter System: The number one source of large volumes of water is your home gutter rainwater diversion system. Take a gander during a slight rainfall to see if there are any leaks. Leaks cause water to pool in areas which are not designed for proper drainage, which could inevitably lead to drainage problems. Clogged gutters can also cause issues since this decreases the rate at which water can evacuate through the system, leading to flooding over the edges of the gutters which is an improper drainage path. Investigate where water output from the gutter system goes to as well. In general, this water should follow a path that grades downward. 
  • Irrigation System: Your irrigation system can contribute a large volume of water to your yard. Unfortunately, malfunctioning of this system can cause water to be distributed improperly. Periodically inspect sprayers and adjust the amount of water output based upon rainwater amount and weather trends.

Consider Planting Water Absorbing Plants

Water absorbing plants can take care of yard drainage problems while enhancing the appeal of your landscaping. According to Landscaping Network, "Low-lying areas with a high water table can make landscaping a real challenge. Plant roots in saturated soil during the growing season are denied oxygen, and quickly rot just like an overwatered house plant. Certain plants that originate in river bottoms and wetlands do quite well in high water landscapes. The best choices will be riparian species from local bogs, fens and swamps naturally adapted to your climate and soils. Trees from similar wetlands elsewhere in the world also make good candidates. These provide more diversity than what is native to local plant communities."

Replace Poor-Draining or Unlevel Soil

Soil should downgrade away from the home in order to ensure proper flow of water. However, sometimes soil with the proper grading may still have poor drainage characteristics. This is typical of clay or rocky soils. In such an instance it may be necessary to replace areas of soil in order to ensure proper drainage on the property. Keep in mind that some soils are harder to dig up than others, so allocate the proper amount of time and equipment for the job.

Call Before Digging

If circumstances call for work involving the removal of dirt, make sure to call the local utility companies to ascertain the location of wiring and pipelines beneath the ground. Failure to do so could result in damage to or interruption of services for yourself or neighbors and may cause injury or death. A metal detector can also reveal the likely placement of utility lines on the property if there is still confusion after consultation or reviewal of the property schematics.

Install A Dry Well

In some instances, a particular spot on a property is simply an accumulation spot for water from a lot of surface area from the surrounding area. In this case replacing the soil may not fully eliminate the problem. Installation of a dry well creates a larger reservoir capacity for flooding after significant precipitation occurs. This then slowly drains into the surrounding soil.

If you have any questions about typical yard drainage problems/solutions then don't hesitate to contact us at Johnson's Landscaping. Our expertise can help guide you to a solution concerning your personal yard drainage issues.

the many benefits of waterproofing your basement


Waterproofing their basement is not something every homeowner considers having done; at least, not until it is too late. However, having your home’s basement waterproofed now can provide you and your family with many benefits, and can prevent you much trouble, stress, and expense down the road. Taking the proper steps to prevent water from entering you basement can prove to be highly valuable. Here are just a few of the many benefits of choosing to have your basement waterproofed.

Prevent Mold Growth

One of the greatest benefits waterproofing your basement will provide you and your family with is that it will help to prevent mold from growing in your basement. Mold thrives and grows in damp, moist conditions, which often makes basements a haven for mold growth. This can prove hazardous to you and your family, as mold can cause a variety of respiratory and airborne illnesses. However, where there is no moisture, there can be no mold. Waterproofing your basement is then one of the best steps you can take to prevent mold from growing in your home as it will prevent moisture from seeping into your basement in the first place.

Add Living Space to Your Home

Stereotypically, basements have been known to be damp, cold spaces. For this reason, this space often goes unused as its atmosphere, as well as the threat of it flooding, prevents people from taking advantage of the extra space their basement can provide. However, having your basement waterproofed can change your basement and allow you to finish it without having to worry about moisture or flooding being an issue. This can then vastly increase the living space within your home by transforming the way you view and use your basement. Finally, your basement can become a useful, livable space.


Aside from making your basement more usable, having your basement waterproofed can also greatly improve your peace-of-mind, as you will no longer have to worry about your basement flooding during the rainy season. For many homeowners with leaky basements, their basement can become a stressing factor in their lives, as they worry about the damage and expense basement flooding could cause. Having one’s basement waterproofed can then be a great investment for these individuals as it will save them costly water damage in the future, and it will allow them to sleep easy on even the stormiest nights knowing that their basement is protected.

Higher Resale Value

An added benefit of investing in basement waterproofing is that it can actually increase the value of your home, and make your home easier to sell. Time and again homeowners who have wet, leaky basements find that they are unable to get as much as they would like for their home. Furthermore, prospective buyers may be turned off by the threat of winter flooding. Having your basement waterproofed can then make the process of selling your home much better, as homebuyers will feel more confident about purchasing your home. Additionally, finishing your basement can add an additional 10-20% to the value of your home, which is something you would not be able to accomplish without first waterproofing your basement.

A wet and leaky basement can result in a variety of problems for you and your family, including costly damage to your home. Fortunately, basement waterproofing can help prevent this from happening by protecting your basement from infiltrating water and moisture. Having your basement waterproofed now can save you a great deal of time, stress, and expense this winter when the rainy season comes, so do not delay; contact us to find out about more of the reasons why you should have your basement waterproofed.

what you need to know about your wet basement walls

Many homes have basements. Sometimes these basements are utilized as a finished second living area for the homeowners, and sometimes they are nothing more than a storage area that is rarely seen or utilized. Regardless of how your basement is used, or the age it may be, it is still a basement and you need to be aware of certain elements it may be exposed to because of being located under ground.

Basements are basically holes in the ground surrounded by porous concrete. Because of this fact, they are more susceptible to rain water and damage from the earth and water constantly surrounding it. Many homeowners experience dry basements for years until external perimeter drainage systems clog, which in turn, need replaced. At times, the drainage is effected from the flow of the land around your home.

If you are a basement owner, you should be aware of the risks a basement faces and the damage it can incur if not properly taken care of. Below are some examples of how wet basements and wet basement walls can actually become much worse than it may seem:

  • Foundation: Over time, what may seem like just a small amount of water in your basement can signify much larger problems. As water goes in and out of your basement, it takes a large toll on your home's foundation. Water can erode stone and cement horribly. What may look like nothing more than a bit of water, can in fact turn into a much larger problem involving a new foundation for your home. A foundation is what holds your home up, so preventing this from happening is vital.
  • Bugs: Bugs and insects live in the ground. So, by adding a damp, dark, and indoor area for them to live and breed is something they will surely find. They thrive in wet areas and could soon become an infestation if not properly handled and prepared for. Having a home overrun by these critters is not on anybody's wish list!
  • Mold and Mildew: This could potentially be the most hazardous reason to take wet basement walls seriously. Because it involves your health, it is not something to be taken lightly. Black mold grows in damp areas with low air circulation and can cause all kinds of breathing and lung problems such as asthma, chronic lung infection, sinusitis, allergic reactions, and eczema. This can be especially hazardous to older people and young children. 
  • Selling: And lastly, when you go to eventually sell your house one day, a wet basement can chase the perfect buyer away very quickly. By being informed of the dangers of wet basements makes many people leery of even considering a home with wet basement walls as an option.

The most obvious way to remedy the problem of a wet basement is to prevent the water from ever being able to penetrate inside of the basement walls. The best way to do this is to look at your yard's drainage. This means see where the water falls after a heavy rain and make sure it is not pooling beside your home's foundation.

There is a simple test you can perform to determine any drainage problems. Dig a 2 foot deep and 2 foot wide hole in your yard and fill it up with water. If the water drains away within 60 minutes you have no problems. If it does not, it's time to call in the experts. Thankfully, Johnson's Landscaping Services can locate the source of the problem.

For more information on how Johnson's Landscaping can help take your water worries away, please do not hesitate to contact us. Or, hop on over to the blog for some more great water damage tips and advice!

6 landscaping methods to prevent basement water problems

Finding water in the basement is a startling discovery, no matter the age of your home. But how does water get there in the first place? While most problems are caused by poorly sealed foundations and hydrostatic pressure, sometimes basement flooding is directly related to landscaping and water routing issues.

Water in the basement is never a good sign. Most people who find signs of water in their home are confused about how it got there. Water is, after all, an elusive guest, and can be there one day and gone the next. 

Water's unreliability is perhaps the worst part of solving a basement moisture problem. Employing some detective work can yield positive results, but if the signs aren't obvious, the chance of uncovering the mystery is slim.

In this post, we'll layout 6 landscaping methods that will absolutely help your basement water problems.

1. The grade is important. How important? Because when the grade of the ground next to your home runs towards your foundation, your basement can flood. A professional solution to poor grading solves many basement water problems. One way of fixing it is to have a dry creek dug around your home and filled with gravel. This bisection of the soil routes water away from your home and keeps your basement dry.

2. Water accumulation. After particularly heavy rains, monitor where the water pools on the ground outside and where it enters your home (which basement wall). A swampy lawn means that you have poor soil drainage, which leads to unwanted basement water entry. While a sump pump can curb problems such as this, extending the sump pump's outflow as well as adding extensions to your downspouts can also help.

3. Mulch problems. A home with a well-manicured lawn is a must. But what some people don't realize is that when you pack mulch up and around your foundation, you could be setting up a moisture wick. Solve this problem by always maintaining 4-6 inches of space between your home's foundation and any mulch surrounding it. This simple trick can alleviate manageable basement moisture issues and keep your foundation dry.

4. Downspout angles. Proper water drainage pointed away from your home is important in maintaining a dry basement. If your downspouts have seen better days and aren't even directed away from the immediate ground surrounding your home, it's time to take action and add extensions. The same goes for gutters; a little TLC can keep the water flowing from your roof and far, far away from your foundation.

5. Grass and hydrostatic pressure. An effective barrier for excess rain is grass. Much like digging a dry creek around your home, it's possible for expert landscapers to use grass and valleys to redirect water away from your home's foundation. This method leads water away from trouble spots and relieves hydrostatic pressure that may have originated deep within your yard. And the best part is, it can save you thousands compared to traditional waterproofing methods. 

6. Patio Problems. A well-constructed patio is lovely during warm weather. But as the ground settles, patio pavers sink into the earth. As a result, patios that sit next to foundations are subject to pooling water. To solve patio problems like this, a landscaper will remove pavers and add new soil and pea gravel. As a result, water will run away from your foundation, and water pooling problems will disappear.

In many basement water situations, a professional is the only person who can properly diagnose the problem. They know, after years of experience, what different water entry signs mean for your basement and the techniques to use to stop it before it becomes a serious problem.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you, please don't hesitate to contact us today for a free estimate.


Having water in your basement is a common problem for many people, but not everyone realizes what a real problem it can turn into. Even a small moisture issue, if left untreated, can lead to a lot of damage down the road. The three types of home damages that restoration companies are most often called in for are fire, mold, and water damage. Mold and water damage are closely related; more often than not, if you have water damage, you have mold. Mold can occur anywhere in your home, but is most often found in basements.

There are plenty of ways water can find its way into your basement; cracks in the foundation or walls, flooding, and inadequate waterproofing methods - such as broken sump-pumps - are all common factors. You may not think too much of it if you have just a small leak or damp spot in your basement, but even a small leak can turn into a big issue.

Property Damage

Most people like to use their basements for storage. A dry basement is the perfect place to store away things you don't need lying around the rest of your house, like extra clothes or craft projects or all of those seasonal decorations. However, this is only a good idea if you have a dry basement. If your basement developes a water leak, storing anything down there is a bad idea. Water can and will ruin most of the things you keep in your basement - books, photographs, furniture, clothing  - and any mold will only compound the problem and make most of that stuff unrecoverable.

Besides the damage to items in your home is the damage to your home itself. A water problem left unchecked tends to grow bigger, and excess water can be a big blow to the structural integrity of your house. Water in the basement can make wooden structures become warped or rotten, cause excess window condensation, and will widen any cracks in the foundation over time.

Health Concerns

Another thing to think about when considering your water problem is the possible effects on you and your family's health. As mentioned before, a mold problem often follows closely on the heels of water damage. A damp, dark basement is the ideal environment in which fungi can grow and flourish - and flourishing is the last thing you want fungi to be doing in your house.Household molds and their effects on health have been studied quite extensively in recent years, and though there are numerous types of mold that all have different effects, there's a similar verdict for all - mold in your house is never a good thing. This is definitely something to take seriously if you or a family member suffers from respiratory issues like asthma or allergies; mold is a strong irritant for both conditions. Mold can be expensive and time-consuming to get rid of, so the best route you can take is prevention. That means keeping your basement as dry as possible; mold needs a damp place to survive, so keeping moisture at bay will prevent any destructive mold issue from occurring in the first place.   

A water leak can become both a serious and expensive problem if its left alone, but if caught early, a wet basement is usually a simple thing to fix. Don't let water cause major damage to your home before deciding to take action; by making sure your basement is properly waterproofed and stopping problems where they start, you'll save yourself from plenty of headaches and expenses in the long run.

If you're not sure how to start waterproofing your basement, contact us today; we'll let you know what steps to take and what you should do to keep your basement - and the rest of your home - safe and sound for years to come.

8 things to know about waterproofing your basement before you finish it

We all want extra square footage in our homes. After all, extra space adds value and increases ROI (return on investment), which is what makes basement finishing projects so impressive, not only monetarily, but also for time spent with family.

But before diving head-first into a basement finishing project, it's important that the basement in question is in the right condition from the start. 

In this post, we'll cover 8 basics on turning a basement into an additional living space, beginning with the benefit of basement waterproofing.

1. Water issues: There's no harm in having a dream. But some basements simply aren't suitable for a finishing project to start. Basements with severe water issues need professional intervention long before the furniture is moved in. Always handle water issues by calling a professional.

2. Outside issues: Moisture problems can originate outside rather easily. Aspects of the ground around your home, like an improper slope, can open the ground up for water. Further, faulty gutters and downspouts are often to blame for excess water running next to the foundation. Always have a professional check theoutside of your home before you begin a project inside your home.

3. Remediate: Ensure that there are no future water problems, and let a professional basement waterproofer design and install a waterproofing system that will work best in your home. Whether it's a French drain, a sump pit, sealed walls, or an extra sump pump to stop the threat of flooding, a waterproof basement is what you need from the beginning.

4. Within code: After any water issues are taken care of, you will want to check with the local building code department for any permits that you might need. Altering a basement without these codes could result in fines and reversals. Getting the proper authority to approve your project is as simple as making a phone call to your local municipal building.

5. Vapor barriers: Basement walls need to be framed with studs and drywall to create a living area. But before you let a contractor enclose the area, ensure that your basement is protected from moisture with an installed vapor barrier. Having a basement waterproofing contractor assess your basement for the proper vapor barrier will prevent future moisture issues.

6. Offset space: Subterranean living areas are prone to having water problems. So help stop moisture from penetrating your vapor barrier by creating an offset space between the concrete wall and the installed barrier. Work closely with your basement waterproofing contractor to ensure that this is done correctly.

7. Insulate: Plumbing and HVAC should be insulated thoroughly to avoid heat and moisture transfer. This includes any plumbing connected to water heaters and all ductwork coming out of your furnace. Better insulation means that your basement living area will be protected from drips and moisture. 

8. Leave space: Your design might not have compensated for mechanical devices, but it's important that there is ample space in and around things like your furnace and hot water tank. There should be enough room around each so that a person can service them as needed. Too little room means that wall will have to come down if something malfunctions.

A finished basement is a luxury that many people want. But before you potentially waste thousands of dollars that you will never get back, make sure that all of your best-laid plans are backed up by the professionals.

For more information on how we can help you achieve a dry basement, please contact us today for an estimate.

Johnson's Landscaping Service is a family owned and operated full-service landscaping company serving residential and commercial clients of Northwest DC and Montgomery County for 50 years.


Paver walkways can provide many benefits to homeowners. While many materials can be used to create outdoor walking paths, pavers are one of the most beneficial options to homeowners. Here are just a few of the many benefits paver walkways can provide.


With pavers, you will have a wide variety of options to choose from. With pavers being available in a wide a variety of colors, shapes, patterns, and sizes, you will be able to pick an option that best fits your home, taste, and personality.


While pavers do come in a wide variety of price ranges, for the most part, pavers are a great option for any budget. Unlike other walkway building materials, the broad price range pavers come in helps to ensure that homeowners are able to find something that will fit their budget as well as their style.


Paver walkways are extremely low-maintenance, as they generally only require periodic sweeping and occasional pressure washing. Furthermore, unlike other types of walkways, which may require costly repairs after settling, paver walkways can be easily reset. This makes paver walkways one of the cheaper options in the long run, as you will not have to worry about having to pay for costly repair work.

A Safe Option

One of the problems with many types of walkways is that they can become extremely slippery when wet. This can make these walkways a hazard for children and/or the elderly. Pavers on the other-hand are naturally slip-resistant. They provide a stable surface for your loved ones to walk on even when wet, making paver walkways a safe option.

Paver walkways can be a great option for homeowners as pavers provide a wide variety of options to homeowners at an affordable cost. Furthermore, the safety of pavers, as well as how low-maintenance they are, makes them the favorite of many homeowners. Contact us to find out more about the benefits of using pavers to create walkways on your property.






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signs of yard drainage problems

Most of us go through life not looking for problems. Gardeners, in particular, have a sunny disposition. However, sometimes problems crop up in even the most well-kept yards. Drainage problems are just one of many examples, and it is one of the biggest problems a yard-owner can encounter. Soggy foundations crack patios and walkways. Water that sits in the ground around the roots of plants causes root rot, and stagnant puddles attract mosquitoes, making a potentially beautiful yard unhealthy. In order to keep excess water from causing damage, you have to spot and fix yard drainage problems early. Here are some warning signs to keep a look out for.

Wet Spots

The most obvious sign is areas of the yard that are chronically soggy and spongy to the touch. There will be many reasons why some spots in your yard will retain water more than others. The culprit might be the type of soil, or the lay of the land. In either case, puddles will stay in your yard for days after it rains, and might never really dry completely.

Top Soil That Is On The Move

Water that doesn't go in to the ground winds up washing over the ground. This pushes your mulch, top soil, silt and bark in piles and gulleys. It may plaster your walkway with a pattern of silt, and it will probably bunch up mulch at the lowest point of your yard. Not only does this interfere with the design of the garden, but it indicates just how far the water goes when it is on the rise. 


Excess water causes soil to develop fissures and drop away. It might even cause holes to suddenly appear in your yard. (Probably you won't get what is technically called a sink hole, but the yard can definitely become pitted.) Whatever the extent of erosion, it can imperil foundations, raised garden beds, and any decorative ponds or statuary you might have.

Ponds Developing Under Downspouts and Gutters

This is a particularly bad sign. If water is collecting and staying right under your downspout or gutter, it is leaking under your house and undermining the foundation. It will wear away dirt that is protecting the concrete of your basement and generally expose more wall than is good for the house. The problem here may be clogged gutters or undersized downspouts, but water should be directed away from the house anyway. 

Preventative Checking

When you first get a house and consider landscaping, it is a good idea to check for the prerequisites for drainage problems. Look for hard clay soils; they won't drain well and won't be much good for growing things. You will also want to look at the topography of your yard. If there are low spots, where the ground dips down, water will collect there. You might need a topographical map, as even seemingly flat yards can have dips in it.

Check for a high water-table, too. It is tempting to think that you are safe from that if you are on a hill, but groundwater can get caught in pockets well above sea-level by pooling on impermeable rock.

If you spot these problems before the rainy season, you have a head start on the solution and won't have to suffer any consequences. If you didn't notice the problem until a storm hit and opened your eyes, don't fret. There is still time to fix the yard before the extra water does any damage to your property. Just contact us, and we will provide you with the drainage solution. We've been experts on providing the right drains for any type of yard since 1960.


Buying a rental property is often done with the intention to make a primary or secondary income out of it, so spending tons of money on routine maintenance is not the best plan to succeed. If the property you buy has plenty of outdoor space, you should invest in an easy-to-maintain garden landscape to appeal to potential tenants without having to invest in consistent maintenance to keep it looking good.

Make Use of Native Plants

Native plants are useful because they mesh well with the climate you are in. Instead of attempting to grow plants that thrive in a completely different climate, you should look at local plants for your garden.

In order to have the best success, you will also want to consider sun and shade patterns as plant health and growth greatly depends on getting enough sunlight to grow and stay heathy.

Invest in Compost

Since compost has so many nutrients that are beneficial for plant life, you should not hesitate to use it within your garden landscape as this will just make it that much easier to maintain. Letting compost do the brunt of the work in keeping your plants healthy is the smart way to garden on your rental home.

Border Your Plants

Having a lush garden is great, but it can look cluttered when unorganized. It is important to bring structure to your garden landscape, which you can do by adding a border around the plant area. Doing this will help create a focal point in your front yard or backyard where the garden is located, along with creating a barrier that prevents weed growth from getting mixed in with your shrubs and perennials.

Prioritize Trees and Shrubs

Since you want your garden as simple as possible to maintain, whether you have a professional come by every week or two or rely on your tenants, you should consider shrubs and trees as your main source of color and foliage.

Investing in these is smart because they are sturdy, easy to grow, and look incredible.

Contact us to get professional help with garden landscape for your rental property.






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common causes of water in your basement

Homeowners are often concerned by the presence of moisture in their basement. This is an understandable concern for homeowners to have, as the presence of water in one’s basement could be a sign of, or lead to, a variety of costly problems. However, should you discover water in your basement, it is important for you to try to determine the cause of your water problems so that you can address this issue as soon as possible. In order to help you  better understand the basement moisture problems you may be experiencing, here are some of the most common causes of water in your basement.


The first, and perhaps most common, reason for the presence of water in basement is the accumulation of condensation. Condensation is a common occurrence, particularly in finished basements, as sinks, dryers, showers, and the mere presence of people, can cause excess moisture to accumulate in the air of your basement. When this humid air comes in to contact with cool basement walls, it can cause condensation to accumulate. It is thusly important for homeowners to be aware of this condensation, as it is not necessarily a cause for immediate concern as it is likely not the result of structural problems. However, this condensation likely indicates that you may need better air movement and ventilation systems in your basement in order to prevent this condensation from occurring.

Floor and Wall Cracks

If you find water seeping out of your basement walls, or you notice damp spaces on your basement floors, then this is likely indicative of cracks in your basement. This is another common reason for basement moisture issues. As a house settles over time, it is common for these sorts of cracks to appear. In fact, you may have even noticed these small cracks in the past, and dismissed them as unimportant. However, aside from the fact that they could potentially indicate structural problems in your home, even the smallest cracks in your basement walls and floors can cause moisture problems when the soil outside of your home becomes saturated with water. Thusly, if you notice cracks in your basement, and/or you discover water in your basement that seems to be coming through the walls or floors, you will want to have your basement professionally inspected, have any structural damage repaired, and you will also want to consider having your basement waterproofed so that you do not have to deal with moisture problems in the future.

Improper Grading

Large amounts of water streaming down your basement walls, particularly during or after a storm, is likely an indicator of improper grading and water management systems around your home. When it rains, if you do not have proper gutters, downspouts, and grading around your home, large amounts of water will accumulate around your home’s walls. This water can then force its way between the ground floor of your home and your basement, causing your basement to flood. This is a critical problem that can cause severe water damage to your home, and can potentially cause other structural damage. If you experience large amounts of flooding in your basement, it is imperative to have this issue addressed as soon as possible. In addition, if you believe that this problem is the result of improper grading, you will want to address this issue before the next storm hits your area.

The presence of moisture in one’s basement is a cause for concern due to the damage it can cause to one’s possessions, as well as to one’s home. Thusly, while some homeowners may have the instinct to ignore occasional basement moisture, you should have this issue addressed as soon as possible in order to prevent costly repercussions later. Contact us to learn more about basement moisture problems, as well as to learn about having your basement waterproofed.

3 water proofing basement techniques to save your home

Water damage is not always obvious. Moisture in your basement is sometimes insidious, slowly damaging the structure of your home. Whether you discover several inches of standing water or suspect condensation, waterproofing your basement is the only solution.

Identify Signs Of Water Damage

Before you fix the problem, you must identify it. There are three common causes for wet basements:

Groundwater swelling
Each type has its own telltale signs to look out for. In general, a musty smell is an indicator of moisture in your basement. Don't ignore this odor. Investigate your building for the other signs of water damage.

Identifying And Treating Condensation

Condensation is the result of warm, moisture-laden air coming into contact with cooler foundation walls. This creates wet spots on the floor and walls and leads to structural problems down the road, not to mention unpleasant smells.

There is a simple way to determine if the moisture is the result of condensation or a leak. All you need are tape and plastic wrap. Choose a damp spot and cover it with the plastic wrap. Secure the wrap with tape all around the edges. If moisture appears on the inside of the plastic wrap (the side against the wall), there is a leak. If it appears on the outside, there is a condensation problem.

Condensation is the easiest wet basement issue to fix. Installing a decent dehumidifier usually takes care of the issue.

Identifying And Treating Runoff

Evidence of runoff is most common in the spring. Melting snow and rainwater are the culprits, along with improper drainage around your foundation. The runoff water forces its way through gaps and cracks in your walls and foundation due to hydrostatic pressure.

This results in mold and algae that are not only signs of a problem but potentially hazardous to your health. Fixing a runoff issue takes a little more muscle than installing a dehumidifier. Sometimes calling a landscaping company is the best solution.

Prevent runoff from getting into your foundation and pooling around your house by sloping the ground around your home away from the walls. This requires a significant amount of dirt. The ideal slope drops at least an inch every twelve horizontal inches. While you are at it, check your downspouts to make sure they are not pooling and adding to the problem.

Identifying And Treating Groundwater Swelling

Groundwater swelling is the trickiest basement issue to resolve. It is the result of an overflowing water table. When the water table reaches its capacity, the soil is no longer able to drain, and your basement floods.

If you have a groundwater swelling problem, you might notice that your basement is wet after a storm. You might even see water actively bubbling up from between the wall and floor joints.

Treatment for groundwater swelling depends on your budget and your yard. Clay soil is a common cause of poor drainage, as the small and closely packed clay particles inhibit water from draining quickly through the soil.

The first option for dealing with rainwater is working with the gradient of your yard. A landscaping professional is a good resource for concerned homeowners. The second option also requires professional assistance and requires installing an underground drainage system.

The third option is expensive but equally effective. Raising the ground level gives the water more space to drain, sparing your basement from flooding. This requires a lot of material and manpower and is not a good choice for a DIY project.

Other Waterproofing Methods For Basements

There are other options for dealing with wet basements. After you identify the problem and patch the obvious cracks, consider applying a concrete sealer or fitting a polyethylene membrane. Installing a sump pump is another way to get rid of standing water and the water that collects behind your newly installed polyethylene membrane.

Don't put off addressing a wet basement. Pooling water poses health threats from mold and algae and damages your foundation, along with anything stored in your basement. Identify the problem, come up with a solution, and start waterproofing your basement by contacting us today.

common yard drainage problems can be solved with a rain garden gaithersburg md

Yard drainage problems can be caused by a number of issues, ranging from poorly-compacted soil to an improper slope. Regardless of the reason for your drainage problems, one of the most practical solutions is a rain garden. A rain garden is one that utilizes water runoff in its design to cultivate plants that enhance the landscape while also attracting birds and butterflies. Here are some things you should know about rain gardens that will help you with planning yours.


The location of your rain garden is extremely important. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a spot:

  • Make sure your rain garden is away from your home, so that water runoff will not gather near its foundation. It should also be placed away from your septic system so as not to flood it.
  • Find a location that receives full sunlight for at least four to six hours each day. Adequate sunlight is necessary for the plants in your rain garden to thrive.
  • Your garden will need an adequate water supply, which means it should have access to a downspout or be located in an area where a great deal of runoff is present

Type of Garden

After choosing a location for your garden, you’ll then need to decide which type is best. Rain gardens may be one of two types: under-drained or self-contained. Under-drained systems are typically used whenever:

  • You would like your rainwater to drain into a storm pipe
  • Preventing erosion is also a concern

A self-contained rain garden could be better whenever you prefer water to pond or stand on the surface rather than being drained.

Garden Zones and Plant Selection

Once you have determined which type of rain garden is best suited for your property, the next step will be to divide the garden into zones. Zone 1 will be the deepest and wettest section, and will normally hold standing water for up to 24 hours at a time. The plants you place in this zone must therefore be able to withstand heavy flooding. Some ideal choices include:

  • Shrubs such as black chokeberry, elderberry, spicebush, and swamp azalea
  • Perennials and ferns, a few of which may be blue flag iris, golden ragwort, cinnamon fern, royal fern and New York aster
  • Trees such as bald cypress, black gum, hemlock, and swamp oak

Zone 2 of your rain garden will drain sooner than Zone 1, but will nonetheless hold water for several hours. Ideal plants for this zone include:

  • Shrubs such as American beautyberry, meadowsweet, and inkberry
  • Perennial plants like blue false indigo, bottlebrush grass, and broomsedge
  • Trees such as paw paw, ninebark, or fringetree

Zone 3 is primarily a “transition zone” that sits between your rain garden and the rest of your lawn. It may periodically receive heavy water, but will typically drain quickly. You can place nearly any plant in this area; however, some of the most common plants used in Zone 3 include:

  • Witch hazel
  • John’s wort
  • Sweet pepperbush
  • Butterfly weed
  • Mistflower

Maintaining your Rain Garden

Just because you have a “rain garden” doesn’t mean you won’t have to water plants. You may need to frequently irrigate certain specimens if you do not receive adequate rainfall. Some weeding and mulching may also be needed to keep your garden in good shape. The good news is that most rain gardens require only minimal maintenance to keep them looking attractive.

Building a rain garden is one of the best ways to solve yard drainage problems once and for all. Here at Johnson’s Landscaping, we can help you plan and design a rain garden that is right for your property, and invite you to contact us today to find out more.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

have wet basement walls look out for these 3 potential upcoming problems takoma park md

If you have recently walked into the bottom level of your home and noticed that you had wet basement walls, your initial thought might have been curiosity about where the water was coming from. However, you might have went back up to the upper levels of your home and continued on with your day.

Even though wet basement walls might not seem like a big deal -- especially if you don't use your basement for much -- they are a sign that you will soon be dealing with other problems. These are some of the potential issues that you might find yourself dealing with soon. Luckily, if you hire a professional to come out and find the source of the problem, you can then attack the problem and prevent wet basement walls and other issues in the future.

1. Mold Growth

Mold does not just look gross -- it is actually hazardous for you and your family. Breathing in mold can be extremely dangerous and can cause breathing problems, particularly if there is someone in your household who has asthma or serious allergies.

All of the extra moisture in your basement -- such as the moisture on your walls and the moisture that is coming from the source of the problem -- can greatly contribute to mold growth. This is something that you should look out for in the coming days, particularly if you do not have the problem fixed as soon as possible. Do not attempt to remove or clean up the mold yourself, and don't allow yourself and your family to spend time in the basement until it has been removed. Instead, hire a professional mold remediation company to come out and get rid of the mold to prevent health issues and to ensure that it's properly eliminated.

On a similar note, you might also notice mildew growth in your basement. Mildew is also caused by moist conditions, but it is not hazardous like mold is. It can look gross and can cause damage to your property, however, so it should be cleaned up as soon as possible as well. Luckily, you can clean it yourself with a regular household cleaner or with diluted bleach.

2. Property Damage

If your basement walls are wet, you can expect for them to become damaged soon. Wet drywall will slowly but surely rot, and you'll have to replace your walls completely. This isn't the only problem that you should be worried about, however. You also have to worry about the floors, the furniture and everything else in your basement becoming damaged due to the excessive moisture in your basement.

3. Foundation Damage 

In most cases, moisture in the basement is a sign of foundation damage. Foundation damage doesn't just affect the lowest level of your home, however. If you ignore the problem, your foundation damage will get increasingly worse.

Foundation damage can significantly decrease the structural integrity of your home. Over time, it can cause cracks in your walls, cracks in your chimney, misaligned doors throughout your home and other problems. Eventually, the foundation could fail completely, causing serious damage to your house and putting your family at risk.

Luckily, a company that is experienced in basement waterproofing and foundation repair can help with this issue and can repair existing foundation damage and prevent additional damage from happening in the future.

As you can see, wet basement walls are not just an annoyance; they can be an indication of a serious problem that can contribute to a lot of damage. If you have noticed any moisture on your basement walls or any other signs that there might be moisture in your basement, contact us at Johnson's Landscaping today to find out how we can help.

discovered wet basemement walls follow these steps chevy chase md

Have you recently discovered wet basement walls in your home? If so, then you're probably feeling understandably worried. Perhaps you're concerned that water problems in your home are going to damage your foundation, harm your indoor air quality, or even lead to a mold problem. Before you go into panic mode, understand that there are plenty of possible solutions to the issue of wet walls in your basement. Start by looking into these potential solutions and working with a professional to determine the best course of action for your needs and budget.

Check Gutters and Downspouts

First of all, understand that basement moisture problems can very well be caused by poor roof and gutter drainage. In fact, this is one of the easiest and cheapest fixes, which is why it's generally recommended that you start here. Either get on a ladder yourself and check out your gutters or hiring a roofing professional to do it for you; specifically, be on the lookout for clogs or problems with your downspouts. Make sure, for example, that downspouts are carrying water at least five feet away from your home's foundation.

If not, then downspout extensions and/or a gutter cleaning could be the simple fix to your wet basement wall problem.

Consider Interior Drainage Solutions

If your solution isn't quite this simple, then it's time to move on to other potential causes of your basement moisture issue. If there's no simple way to keep water from coming into your basement (for example, your home is located at the bottom of a slope and there's no affordable way to change the landscape), then you might need to install an interior drainage system.

One common option in terms of interior drainage is that of installing a sump pump. Specifically, this involves having a small channel drilled into the floor of your basement; this channel carries water swiftly out and away from the home itself. This isn't always the most ideal solution, as it does tend to cost a few thousand dollars and can create an eyesore in finished basement spaces. However, it's a great alternative if you have outdoor patios, decking, or landscaping that you don't want to tear up to install an exterior drainage system.

Explore Full Basement Waterproofing

Last but not least, there's always the option of having your basement walls waterproofed. There are many different forms of waterproofing systems available, ranging from sprays and paints that are applied to the walls themselves to more involved systems, such as French drains. The costs of these can vary greatly depending on the size of your basement and your specific needs, but the French drain system tends to be the more expensive option, as it often requires the digging up of outdoor landscaping.

Generally, the best way to determine the most cost-effective and long-term solution for your home's wet basement problem is to work with a professional waterproofing company. They'll be able to send some experts out to assess the problem and then come up with a series of options in addition to a recommendation based on the homeowner's specific budget. From there, you can rest assured that, when all is said and done, your home's basement will be protected from future water damage. As a result, you'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief and avoid potentially expensive foundation damage, mold, and other issues.

If you're looking for assistance with resolving your wet basement problems, be sure to contact us as soon as possible. We'd be happy to schedule an appointment at your convenience to assess your home and determine the best course of action.

5 signs that your basement needs to be waterproofed kensington md

Because of its location, your basement is more prone to moisture damage than any other part of your home. In fact, many people think that it's normal for a basement to be a bit moist.

However, even though moisture problems might be common in the basement, your basement should be just as dry as any other part of your house. If it's not, then you need to hire someone like Johnson's Landscaping to help you with waterproofing basement services.

If you're like a lot of homeowners, however, you might not even know about all of the moisture that is going on in the lowest level of your home. These are a few signs that your basement has moisture problems. Look out for these signs, and make a move soon if any of them relate to you; otherwise, the moisture could lead to foundation damage and could destroy the flooring, walls and other parts of your basement.

1. There's a Musty Odor in Your Basement

Have you noticed that your basement smells bad? Over time, moisture in your basement can lead to an unpleasant, musty odor. Simply cleaning your basement or using air fresheners might help with the smell, but it's best to attack the source of the problem by determining where your basement leak is coming from.

2. Your Walls Have Water Markings

Take a look at the walls in your basement. There might be water marks that you haven't yet noticed, especially if your basement is dark. If moisture has been seeping into your basement, water marks will form on the walls over time. Examine the walls near the baseboards to look for these water marks.

3. You've Noticed Mold or Mildew Grow

There shouldn't be mold or mildew in your basement, since mold and mildew both require moisture in order to grow. Mold and mildew can both cause property damage, and mold can even pose a health hazard for you and your family. Along with attacking the source of the leak, you will also need to hire a professional to get rid of the mold safely and effectively.

4. Your Floors or Walls Feel Soft to the Touch

Constant moisture can cause your floors or walls to slowly but surely rot. It doesn't even require a lot of moisture for this to happen; instead, it only requires an ongoing problem that is not repaired. If your walls or floors are soft to the touch, it's imperative to get rid of the leak before you make repairs; otherwise, your repair efforts will be futile, and you'll probably face the same problem later.

5. The Air Feels "Moist"

Sometimes, you might not be able to see the signs of basement moisture right away. However, you might be able to feel it. If you feel sticky and gross when you head into your basement, there is probably a lot of humidity in the air. Although the humidity can be affected by the weather conditions outside -- since you can even experience high humidity in the other parts of your home, especially during the summer or after periods of a lot of rain -- it can also be a sign of basement leaking, especially if it's an ongoing issue that you notice all year long.

As you can see, there are a few signs that you can look out for if you are keeping your eye out for moisture in your basement. If you notice any of these five things or otherwise think that there might be a leak in your basement, contact us right away. We can help you put a stop to your basement leak before the moisture causes serious damage.

In the U.S., the landscaping industry generates an estimated $74 billion each year as homeowners look to improve the value of their homes. But if you don’t know that much about landscaping, it can be easy to turn a beautiful landscape design into a nightmare. There are plenty of landscaping mistakes that can leave the front of your home looking neglected. Here are 3 of the most common mistakes a homeowner can make while implementing their landscape design.

Improper Planning
Many homeowners think they can just start planting before they take the time to plan. However, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. The first step in landscaping is to take an inventory of your yard, and note the conditions of the soil, drainage, climate conditions, and any existing vegetation. Try to implement plants that will last all year round, rather than a single season.

Overcrowded Plants
Plants need space in order to ensure the proper amount of air circulation. If your plants or shrubs are planted too close to each other, it can stunt their growth. Overcrowded landscaping forces plants to compete over water and nutrients in the soil, which can put the entire cluster of plants at risk. When planning your design, keep in mind how tall and wide each type of plant is expected to grow.

Not Watering Enough
To maintain a beautiful landscape, your plants must be watered on a regular basis. Not watering often enough is one of the biggest landscaping mistakes a homeowner can make. Professional landscapers suggest that homeowners invest in a simple drip-irrigation system. These systems can be attached to a spigot with a timer, ensuring your landscape will always get the water it needs to flourish.

landscape designIf you're looking to beautify your home's exterior, landscaping is a great way to create an eye-catching, beautiful yard. But many homeowners may not understand the benefits that come with a professional landscape design. Besides creating an aesthetically pleasing front yard, many contemporary garden designs have practical applications that can make your life a little easier.

It Can Lower Your Bills
Landscaping that is properly selected, placed, and maintained can actually save you money on your monthly heating or cooling costs. During the warmer months, plants and bushes can block the sun from entering your home, keeping your house's internal temperature cooler, so you don't have to keep raising the AC. These plants also help during the winter, as they can prevent cool wind from entering your home.

It Increases Your Privacy
Your home should be a place to relax, separate from the rest of the world. But this isn't always the case, especially if you have multiple neighbors or live on a busy street. Certain landscape designs can help give your home the privacy you need. For example, planting a tree in your yard can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50%, as stated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Landscaping can also be a good way to create separation between yards, rather than having to put up large, expensive fencing.

It Improves The Value of Your Home
Whether you're looking to sell your home, refinance, or just raise its value, landscaping is a great investment. A report by Money Magazine stated that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200%. Gardens that are attractive and well kept will boost the sale price of a home, as first impressions are often the most lasting for potential home buyers.

landscape designersIt seems that just about everyone is going "green" these days in an effort to become more environmentally friendly and conscious. Now, more than ever, people have a greater understanding of the link between environment and their own well being, with some even going as far as to grow their own food.

Naturally, the professional landscaping industry has followed suite. Eco-friendly and sustainable landscape design has become increasingly popular as more and more individuals and even large corporations explore the benefits of going green.

However, landscaping has always served a dual purpose. Aside from simply being nice to look at it, landscaping inherently has several green qualities. For example, properly selected, placed, and maintained landscaping can act as a wind barrier, which in turn can reduce heating costs. Similarly, according to the American Public Power Association, landscaping can reduce the need for air conditioning by up to 50% by shading windows and walls from the sun. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also notes that trees can reduce bothersome noise by as much as 50% and can mask unwanted noises with pleasant, more natural sounds such as chirping birds.

Sustainable, contemporary garden design not only looks beautiful but can serve several different purposes. If you're interested in creating such a design, it's important to consult with landscape designers who are experienced in eco-friendly practices and who can help in implementing your design.

Even if you already have a green thumb, it doesn't hurt to have the green thumbs of landscape designers help you bring your eco-friendly ideas to fruition. Landscaping professionals who specialize in sustainable landscape designs can help you determine what solutions are best for your specific goals. For example, they can help you identify which native plant species you can plant in order to conserve water. In addition, they can help teach you how to maintain your sustainable design throughout the year and as the seasons change.

landscape designerApril showers are said to bring May flowers, but wouldn't you rather have an experienced and professional landscape designer carry out your spring landscape design process instead of leaving it up to the weather? After all, the green thumb of a landscaping professional can do a lot more than make your yard look good; it can help save you money.

Did you know that properly selected, placed, and maintained landscaping can significantly reduce heating costs by providing protection from the elements? In addition, according to the American Public Power Association, landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by as much as 50% by shading the walls and windows of a home. Furthermore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that trees can reduce noise pollution by up to 50% and can mask unpleasant noise with pleasant sounds.

With all the benefits that landscaping provides, it's important to find the right landscape designer for the job. Here are just a few ways to get started.

Ask around
Keeping up with the Jones' isn't always a bad thing, especially if they have beautiful landscaping. One of the best ways to find a landscape designer is by word of mouth. If you see a neighbor whose yard makes you green with envy, it's a good idea to ask who their landscaper was. Or, your family or friends may be able to recommend a service they've used in the past.

Have an idea of what you want
Not all landscaping projects are created equal. Therefore, you can save time -- and perhaps even money -- by first identifying what the scope of work of your project will entail. For example, if you're interested in creating sustainable design that incorporates native plant species and other eco-friendly aspects such as rain water collection, you should hire a landscape designer that has direct experience in this area.

The more, the merrier
Getting multiple bids for the the same project allows you to find the right price for your budget. You can compare bids to make sure you're not paying more than you should. However, be wary of bids that are too low to be true. This may be a sign of hidden fees or shoddy work. Before working with any landscaping professional it's also a good idea to ensure they are both licensed and insured.

contemporary garden designAfter a long, drawn out winter, spring is officially here -- finally -- which means it's the perfect time to get cracking on planning out your landscape design process if you haven't started already. The spring and summer months are especially busy for landscape designers and other landscaping professionals, so it's important to schedule any appointments or consultations early. However, regardless of whether you're using professional landscaping services or you're tackling this project yourself, it's important to have a plan.

The U.S. landscaping industry generates an estimated $74 billion each year and it's easy to see why: landscaping projects can be expensive. However, they're well worth the cost. Not only can properly selected, placed, and maintained landscaping protect your home from the elements, but it can also help to reduce heating and cooling costs. In addition, Money Magazine wrote that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100-200% for a home at selling time. While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a landscaping project, it's equally -- if not more -- important to create a comfortable, realistic budget and stick to it.

This may seem self-explanatory, but identifying the end-goal or purpose of your landscaping project not only makes it easier to stick to your budget, but it also creates a clearer vision for the landscaping professional doing the work. Even if you decide to do part or all of the project yourself, having a clear purpose will ensure that things go smoothly. For example, many people may choose to incorporate eco-friendly elements into their modern or contemporary garden designs such as native plant species or rain water collecting systems, while others may want an aesthetically-pleasing flower garden.

Unlike most interior home improvement projects, landscape design can be affected by sun and wind patterns. Some contemporary garden designs have plant species that require more shade or sunlight than others, so it's important to get a feel for where the sun rises and sets on your home. Or wind can easily extinguish a poorly placed fire pit. In order to get the most enjoyment from your landscape design, you should account for the changing sun and wind patterns throughout the year.

professional landscaping

It may seem hard to believe, but winter is almost over. The temperature is slowly beginning to creep above freezing -- and stay there -- while the days continue to grow longer. Soon, spring and summer will be here, which makes now the perfect time to begin fleshing out the landscape design process.

Professional landscaping is about much more than maintaining your garden. In fact, taking advantage or professional landscaping services in your area provides a whole host of benefits. Here's how.

Reduce energy costs
Did you know that trees are the longest living organisms on the entire planet? They're also highly effective in masking unpleasant noise and sound. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), trees can reduce bothersome and unwanted noise by up to 50%. In addition, properly selected and placed trees can serve as a protective barrier and a form of insulation, which in turn can reduce heating and cooling costs.

Whether you're creating a flower center or edible garden center in order to cultivate your own produce, professional landscaping can be used to beautify your home's exterior. In order to bring your creative vision to life, it's important to communicate your vision clearly with your professional yard designer or landscape architect. It may be helpful to include visual references such as pictures.

Also, it's important to find a landscaping professional who has the right combination of experience and education in order to meet your needs. For example, if you're creating a permaculture garden, it's best to work with a landscape designer who has experience in creating permaculture designs that are both beautiful and sustainable.

Increase home value
It's no secret that the real estate market is based on curb appeal. Perhaps you shouldn't judge a book by its cover; however, potential buyers often scrutinize a home's outward appearance and landscaping when making a decision. According to Money Magazine, landscaping can bring recovery values of 100 to 200% come selling time. Adding eco-friendly and sustainable features to your landscaping design can also increase recovery values.

maintain your garden

Landscaping is big now. As Americans continue to become more environmentally conscious, and look for ways to balance their environmental concerns with aesthetics, beautiful yard concepts are in abundance. For example, did you know that trees -- some of the longest living organisms on the planet -- are able to reduce noise pollution by as much as 50% when planted properly around a home?

While winter may not seem like an ideal or practical time to maintain your garden, it's a great time to begin planning and fleshing out the landscape design process for spring and summer. Planning your spring or summer landscaping will make implementing your design that much easier once the warmer months come around, allowing you to love your new garden that much sooner.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing to maintain your garden.

Take stock

It's important to take inventory of the soil's condition following the end of winter, as well as drainage, and existing vegetation. Will you be planting new plants, and if so, what kind? This will help you determine their placement, as different plant species require varying degrees of sunlight and water. You may also find it helpful to create a basic sketch of where you'd like to place different elements of your garden.


Weeds can be a nuisance; however, it's important to develop a weed management plan that is both safe and effective. If you're striving for an organic garden, you must stay away from chemical pesticides such as Ready Round Up and others. These may not be safe for consumption. However, by planting native species which encourage biodiversity, you may find that you'll need to weed less.

Keep it Short

It's more than likely that you'll need to do some clean up in order to maintain your garden once the winter ends. It's best to keep grass short and more frequently. Taking off the blade tips helps to keep your grass dense and healthy. In addition, you won't need to use a catcher!

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