Don’t Install New Landscaping Features Without First Doing This

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Variety is the spice of life, as they say. If you’re someone who invests a lot of time and energy into your landscape maintenance, you probably get a great deal of joy from creating a beautiful useful space. You may also find yourself wanting to incorporate new and exciting features to add to the beauty of your property.

If you’re often bored by maintaining the status quo of your landscape design, installing new features can be a great way to shake up the aesthetic of your property, but before you do so, make sure that you keep the following things in mind.

Work With What You Know

The only person who interacts with your yard on a daily basis is you. You know what has grown well in the past and which areas get enough shade or full sunlight. Mapping out these locations can be helpful for planning purposes. Use your knowledge and experience of your yard to plan any new additions accordingly.

It’s important to consider the unique terrain, soil quality, and light exposure of your property if you intend to install any new features in your landscape. While a cobblestone walkway may seem like a good idea, you know the particular incline of your property and should consider such factors when deciding what to install.

You also know best what your property will be used for. It is important to consider how the presence of children or pets in your yard will affect what you decide to install. A fountain may be a beautiful focal point to your property, but it could be dangerous if you have toddlers, or it could be one more thing for your dogs to splash around in.

When you’re deciding how to improve your landscape design, make sure that you use your previous knowledge of the property to inform your decision.  

Work With What is There

When thinking about your new landscape feature, remember that the rest of your yard is still there. That flashy gazebo or gorgeous footbridge may be just what you’ve always wanted in your yard, but if you’ve already got a pool, a back patio, and dense trees, it may only result in the congestion of your property.

Some landscape features can be moved or modified if you want to add something new to the existing design, but it’s important to consider what is already there and what is permanent.

On a less pragmatic level, it is also necessary to consider the aesthetic of your property. Will this new feature fit the theme that has already been established by your landscape design?

An eclectic property can either be a whimsical amalgamation of features or it can look like a reckless assembly. When you consider installing anything new to your existing landscape design, make sure that it will incorporate seamlessly with what you’ve already put together.

Work With a Professional

When you’re making a big change to your landscape design (or even a small one), having a second opinion is key to making sure that you don’t make any costly mistakes.

Working with a professional could give you the foresight to know whether or not the feature you want to install is feasible. While they can help you hammer out the details of installation and cost, they can also help you determine whether or not it is a wise aesthetic choice.

Consulting a lawn care and landscape professional is important because their experience can also help you envision the future of your landscape design. They will be able to foresee future issues and help you figure out how to prevent or prepare for them.

If you’re looking to develop your property and create a more exciting landscape, the experienced landscape and tree experts at The Parke Company know just how to meet your unique landscape service needs.

Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

4 Signs Your Irrigation System May Need Repair

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The right irrigation system can be every property owners best friend. When functioning properly, irrigation systems ensure that the beauty of your landscape design is maintained, even when the weather is less than hospitable.

Caring for finicky plants and upkeep of green grasses requires that your irrigation system is running at top performance to ensure that the moisture content of your soil remains optimal.

On the other hand, if it isn’t functioning properly, a faulty irrigation system could spell trouble. Dying plants and flooded flower beds shouldn’t be your first clue that something is up. Do you know how to spot a damaged irrigation system?

For the best landscape maintenance, check out these four signs that your irrigation system may need repair.

1. Increased Water Costs

As a prudent property owner, you should be well aware of how much your water bill typically costs – and for more reasons than one. While this cost may fluctuate somewhat from season to season, a sudden skyrocketing of your water bill for lawn care may be a sign that your irrigation system is malfunctioning.

This may be one of the first and only ways to quantifiably assess that your irrigation system isn’t working properly.

An increase in your water bill tells you that the system is pumping more water than normal onto your property, either due to a glitch in its settings or a leak. In either case, it is vital to have a lawn care professional evaluate the damage immediately before any harm is done to your property.

2. Flooding

An over watered landscape doesn’t always look like a small pond has cropped up in your flower beds. When your irrigation system functions as it should, the appropriate amount of water should be distributed to the soil.

If you notice pooling of water anywhere near your irrigation system, this lawn problem could be a sign that maintenance is required to fix a leak.  

When evaluating the leak, check to see if the excess water is only showing up in certain places or if it appears to be along the entire line of irrigation. This could help pinpoint the area of concern and narrow the focus of your landscaping professional.

This is also a good opportunity to assess your drainage systems. Flooding can also be caused by an inability to sufficiently drain excess water that collects when an irrigation system releases too much water.

3. Dry Patches

Conversely, dry patches on your property can also be a bad sign. At this point, if there are dry patches along your irrigation system, your system has likely been malfunctioning long enough for parts of your lawn to die.

It is paramount that you seek a lawn care professional immediately to quickly mitigate the situation before any further damage is done to your landscape or to your irrigation system.

4. Leaking Valves

You would never let a leaky faucet go unaddressed. The same goes for leaking valves in your irrigation system.

While a little extra water around your spigots may not seem like a cause for concern, it is a clear sign that your irrigation system may need repair.

On its own, an extra few drops of water will not cause significant damage to your landscape, but left unattended, this small issue can turn into a crisis.

If excess water seeps into your soil, it can result in constant moisture around the roots of your plants which can harbor mold and cause serious damage.

Healthy Irrigation with The Parke Company

An irrigation system seems like a form of landscape maintenance that doesn’t require much attention: you can install the system and worry a little less about watering your property as frequently.

While irrigation systems are certainly a source of convenience, a malfunctioning system can be hazardous for your property. The experienced professionals at The Parke Company are uniquely qualified to help you evaluate irrigation system issues or any other lawn problems you may be experiencing.
Don’t leave your lawn service up to fate. Give the experts a call  at 615-350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Mulching 101: Choosing and Applying the Right Mulch for Maximum Growth

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As much as many of us would simply like to let nature takes its course when it comes to tending our property, the fact of the matter is that lush landscapes do not grow themselves and often need to be helped along.

Incorporating mulch is a time-tested method for maintaining a beautiful landscape design, but with the myriad options available for mulching, choosing the best one for your particular property can be challenging.

First and foremost, the type of mulch you select depends heavily on the project you have in mind. When people hear “mulch”, brightly colored wood chips often come to mind. While this may be an appropriate aesthetic choice, the harsh dyes and chemicals in this material do not foster growth; they would be much more appropriate to cover parts of your landscape that only need visual improvement.

Furthermore, once you have carefully selected the type of mulch you’ll use, ensuring optimal growth means more than just heaving bags of compost over the top of your garden or along the edges of your property.

If you want your landscape to be the crowning glory of your neighborhood, properly incorporating mulch is key. Here is everything you need to know about choosing and applying the right mulch for maximum growth.

Mulching How-Tos

Choosing the right kind of mulch may require a visit back to high school environmental science class.

What you want out of mulch is decomposition. Decomposition pulls nitrogen from the soil, which plants love.  

Nitrogen is vital to plant growth because it is a primary component of chlorophyll, the necessary chemical for photosynthesis. Even if you slept through science class, you probably still caught that photosynthesis is how plants use sunlight to grow.

Many mulch varieties boast of their nitrogen content, but the best mulch for your next project may depend on the specific plants you are trying to grow.

Gardens

For a garden growing fruits and vegetables, organic and inorganic mulches can be effective. In some circumstances, mulches like wood chips can still promote growth, but in a garden they are more likely to be a nuisance since you will be digging up that area frequently.

When selecting an inorganic mulch for gardens, choose ones that will help defend against weeds while still protecting the soil.

Using plastic mulch can be good for gardens with temperature-sensitive plants. A dark plastic sheet will retain heat overnight and keep your more delicate vegetation warm. These sheets can ward off weeds and also prevent too much rainwater from soaking through the ground and overwatering your plants. When applying this kind of mulch, be sure to bury or weigh down the edges of your sheet and make holes in the sheet to allow for growth.

Organic mulches both cover and nurture soil in gardens. As mentioned previously, an organic, decomposed mulch enriches the soil because of its nitrogen content.

Additionally, hay and straw can be effective mulches to help retain moisture in soil and well as offering nutrients during decomposition. It is vital, however, that the hay is seed-free so that you are not inviting any unwanted plants into your garden. You should also be careful not to lay the hay or straw too close to the stems of your plants. This can attract slugs and other pests.

Trees

Mulch can also be a helpful tool if you’ve planted a tree and want to boost its growth. Mulch can be helpful for maintaining moisture in the soil around a tree’s roots, adding nutrients, and reducing damage to roots caused by lawn mowing (and damage to lawn mowers caused by tree roots!).

When it comes to these hardier plants though, the type of mulch used is less important than how the mulch is applied.

Much like garden plants, it is vital to avoid laying your mulch too close to the tree’s roots. This “volcano effect” occurs when mulch is piled high around a tree trunk and it can often result in too much moisture buildup which leads to root rot.

To avoid this pitfall, follow these few steps from The Arbor Day Foundation for the best tree care when laying mulch:

  • Remove all grass from around the base of the tree within a three to ten-foot radius (depending on the size of the tree).
  • Pour your mulch (they do recommend organic) within the circle about two to four inches deep
  • After pouring, double-check that the mulch is not touching the tree’s trunk.

From hardy oak trees to dainty tomato plants, incorporating mulch into your regular landscape maintenance could be what helps you achieve the lush property you’ve dreamed of. If you’re reticent about adding a new practice to your landscaping techniques, fear not! The certified arborists and landscaping professionals at The Parke Company are knowledgeable and experienced in how to cater to your property’s specific needs.

Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

5 Great Places for Paths and Walkways

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The importance of paths and walkways in the overall landscaping of your yard should never be overlooked. Focusing solely on your garden, pool, or patio, while forgetting to consider how each space is connected can leave your yard feeling disjointed. It is crucial to consider transitions between spaces in your outdoor landscape design.

Paths serve two primary purposes. First, they connect your outdoor spaces, ushering guests toward different destinations in your yard (delineating the way from the pool to the outdoor tiki bar to the barbeque, for example). Alternatively, paths and walkways can be used to simply encourage the enjoyment of your yard. A labyrinth, for instance, is a path meant for strolling, encouraging meditation, or the simple appreciation of your garden.

It’s important to think about your path’s purpose, look and feel, amount of foot traffic, dimension, shape, and which materials you wish to use when designing your ideal walkway.

Ideal Places for Walkways That Truly Enhance Your Landscape

Where to place paths and walkways throughout your outdoor living space depends on a variety of factors – the size of your yards, the outdoor features you wish to highlight, the amount of use you expect each path will get, the purpose your walkway will serve, etc. Below are a few ideal places where paths and walkways will help enhance your overall landscape:

  1. A welcoming front yard walkway not only increases your home’s curb appeal, it also provides an inviting entrance into your house. A beautifully landscaped front yard walkway gives guests an immediate positive impression as they make their way to your front door. As the entryway to your home, you want a front yard path that is visually pleasing, but also easy to walk. A walkway that leads to your front door should be relatively direct, although if you want to highlight certain features of your front yard it can be interesting to include a few slight detours through pleasant surroundings.
  2. Nothing beats a lovely garden path that welcomes you into nature. Enhancing your garden path with fragrance and color sets the tone for the entire area. As the entryway to a key aspect of your outdoor space, you’ll want to ensure the path reflects the same visual and emotive features that your garden offers.
  3. A meandering walkway within your backyard – be it through a rose or vegetable garden, a densely planted oasis that features a plethora of plants, or whatever else your great outdoor space has to offer. These walkways are dedicated to encouraging you to simply zen out, take a leisurely stroll, or enjoy the plants and wildlife that make up your outdoor area. Rather than being a path to a specific destination, meandering walkways curve through your backyard, inviting people to relax, reflect, and take in nature..
  4. Nothing beats a functional path to your pool, fire pit, dining patio, or any other key feature of your backyard.. Walkways that logically lead visitors to each outdoor destination will encourage the use of your various outdoor spaces.
  5. A path to a calming outdoor destination in your yard such as a lookout spot, bench, gazebo, reading nook, or intimate patio deserves a beautiful walkway that gently leads people towards their blissful destination.

The Parke Company Can Lead the Way to Your Ideal Front or Back Yard Path

Whether you are looking to upgrade an existing path or walkway with our landscape maintenance services, or need a new path or walkway installed via our landscape installation services, The Parke Company’s landscaping services will set you on the path to the walkway of your dreams. Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree removal and landscape services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area.

We know Nashville. When it comes to lawn services, we have all your bases covered. We know the soil, water tables, plants, seasons, and how each of these may directly or indirectly impact your specific landscape. We have the local experience, knowledge, and know-how to help you manage your landscape and realize your dreams.

Our certified team of Nashville locals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, and professional, and for being leaders in their industries. We at The Parke Company stand behind our work and pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly, provide efficient and cost-effective services, and meet your needs every step of the way.
Please feel free to give us a call at (615) 350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you. You can also ask about how our landscaping service can best support your outdoor living space’s paths and walkways.

Ground Cover: Right or Wrong for Your Yard?

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For homeowners, a lawn is both a blessing and curse. When a lawn is lush and well-maintained it greatly increases the property’s curb appeal. But if left unchecked for too long, a yard can quickly devolve into a warzone. Weeds, dead grass, tall grass, fungi, and other unwanted guests can infest this space at an alarming rate. It takes a lot more effort to undo the damage of these lawn problems than it does to prevent them from occurring. One way to protect a lawn from such chaos is by planting ground cover. But is ground cover the cure for every yard?

What is Ground Cover?

Ground cover refers to several species of plant that grow low to the topsoil, including grass. These plants help keep the soil hydrated and cool while warding off unwanted weeds. Though grass is a type of ground cover, people often categorize it separately because it is the most common type of cover for lawns (i.e. when we think of lawns we think of grass). Ground cover comes in many varieties, including the succulent Stonecrop, colorful Creeping Phlox, and darker Brass Buttons.

Which Yards Benefit from Ground Cover?

In truth, just about any yard can use some ground cover. It’s partially an aesthetic decision, though it also makes a big difference in terms of lawn maintenance. The majority of ground cover plants don’t rapidly grow upward like standard grass. This means that lawn mowing isn’t necessary over these spots. Some species will require a little trimming here and there, but for the most part, ground cover is extremely low-maintenance.

Yards that often experience bare spots and/or weed growth are prime candidates for ground cover. Since these plants help maintain the topsoil, they can often grow in these otherwise barren locations, filling out one’s yard while adding new texture and color. Ground cover, as previously mentioned, also stops weeds from growing, essentially maintaining itself. Those who enjoy gardening can also make good use of groundcover. With so many options, you can create patterns and outlines using groundcover to create a border or fill in a garden and protect it from unwanted weeds.

Is Ground Cover Ever Wrong for a Yard?

In short: no. It’s really a matter of taste and practicality. If you don’t have time to maintain your lawn and can’t afford to hire lawn services, installing ground cover makes a lot of sense. It will save you time and money on every aspect of yard maintenance. However, many homeowners would rather have grass fill their yard. This simply requires more effort in terms of watering, weeding, mowing, and fertilizing. Most people opt for a combination of traditional grass and ground cover. This way, bare spots and problem areas can be addressed with minimal effort, and the lawn as a whole still retains that classic look.

Everyone wants a beautiful, healthy lawn. If you’re struggling to achieve or maintain this, The Parke Company can help. We provide customers with complete landscaping services, including irrigation, maintenance, tree removal and trimming, stump grinding, and more. Whether you want to try some new ground cover or simply fix up a damaged lawn, give us a call today at (615)-350-6033.