Landscaping: Comprehensive Planning, Budgeting, and Installation the Parke Way

pond and trees

From tree removal to brush clearing, lawn aeration to stump grinding, leaf vacuuming to firewood processing, locally owned and operated The Parke Company is Nashville’s go-to for landscaping  services. We have the knowledge and know-how to provide you with consistent, professional-quality service no matter what your landscaping needs may be. As a company with deep roots in Nashville, we take great pride in giving back to the community by providing a valuable and reliable service that you can depend on year after year. We are, therefore, always honest, professional, and patient. We take the time to get to know you so that we may better serve your specific needs.

Comprehensive Planning – What Landscaping Services or Management Plans Are Best for You

Planning for the Landscape of Your Dreams

You know what you want, and we know how to best get you there. It is only together that we can best fulfill your needs and dreams.

If you are, unfortunately, reaching out to us in a time of emergency, we will provide you with expedited storm damage service to get the issue resolved and your life back to normal as fast as possible.

If you are instead reaching out to us because you want to revamp the style of (and add value to) your property, we start by taking the time to listen closely to what improvements you want and why. We then utilize our years of experience to custom-fit our skills and abilities with your landscape desires.

Our landscaping design and building service team and ISA certified arborists have years of experience in all aspects of the profession and will work with you every step of the way. We can help you best plan for (and carry out) the installation of trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials, or seasonal plants. We can create and amend beds. We are experts in developing and maintaining hardscapes (stonework, masonry, ponds, and fountains). We have vast experience with sodding. In addition, we can help establish a personalized lawn maintenance plan for your property, just to name a few. If they are a crucial component of your dream landscape, we can also provide top-notch tree, irrigation, mulching, and chipping services.

Consistent and Professional Municipality Services

If you are the representative of a municipality looking for our services, rest assured that we have the skills to take on your needs within your budgetary constraints.

The Parke Company has worked with Belle Meade and Forest Hills, among others. We offer these municipalities and others a wide range of consistent and professional landscaping services, including brush clearing, right-of-way maintenance, storm damage cleanup, emergency tree removal, and bag leaf removal. We are familiar with the landscaping needs of small and large municipalities and are able to work within your budget to develop a maintenance plan that is specifically tailored to fit your requirements and those of your constituents.

In either situation, personal or public, our goal is to provide a planning service that is personalized to your specific needs. Our goal is to provide a service that exceeds your expectations and keeps you coming back year after year. Our goal is to serve our community by being the go-to for tree and landscaping services in the Nashville area. Our goal is to help you achieve your goal.

Budgeting – How We Can Help You Make the Most of Your Landscaping Management Investment

Budgeting is most people’s least favorite part of the project planning process. However, at The Parke Company, we love it! No matter the size of the landscaping project, all too often, budgeting plays a limiting rather than supporting role.

In many cases, someone has an idea of what they’d like to accomplish and puts lots of time and thought into this idea, only to find out that it is outside of their budget. We like to shake things up and help our clients realize (even exceed) their goals within their budget.

By leveraging our years of experience, our vast set of specialized skills, and our community-focused approach, you’ll be amazed by what we can achieve within your budget.

Once we have a thorough understanding of your specific projects and/or long-term maintenance goals, we will develop a clear, intuitive budget. We then take the time to review the budget item by item to ensure that you know exactly what you are getting and where your money is going. Throughout this fully transparent process, we remain flexible and work to achieve our primary goal, which helps you achieve yours. Our team of tree and landscaping professionals will offer suggestions that better fit your particular project and budget. Similarly, as with the planning process, we are always looking for your input and thoughts. It is not uncommon to develop a plan, review the budget, and return to the planning process.

This is all a part of our desire to provide you with the best, individualized service at the best price.

In the case of emergencies, we can provide rapid estimates so that we can get you back on your feet, and your life back to normal, as fast as possible.

Nashville’s Go-To for Careful and Consistent Tree, Lawn, and Landscaping Service

Well-manicured landscapes and the serenity they provide are important to us; that’s why we’re in this business. You shouldn’t have to forfeit this benefit just because you want to revamp, improve, or maintain your landscape. That is why we at The Parke Company, and our team of landscape professionals and ISA certified arborists, go the extra mile to ensure that disturbances are kept at a minimum.

We always arrive when scheduled. We are polite and friendly and will fully explain any and all steps in your individualized plan. We respect your property and strive to conscientiously maintain a clean environment from start to finish.

When a disturbance is necessary (in a stump removal, for example), we utilize state-of-the-art procedures that are as non-invasive as possible. We will also work with you in advance to develop a recovery plan that has your property looking better than before in no time. Our specialists are always learning. In addition to state-of-the-art techniques, we bring years of experience to the Nashville area. For your specific project, we’ll utilize a mixture of these skills (cutting-edge and time-tested) to ensure that our landscaping and arboreal services exceed your expectations.

When working with municipalities, we understand that a messy work site can be disruptive or downright dangerous to the general public. We take great pride in the cleanliness of our work sites and our ability to plan for potential issues before they arise.

Contact The Parke Company

Whether you are faced with an emergency tree removal or simply need help cleaning up your leaves, reach out to our team of local tree and landscaping service professionals. Together we will develop a comprehensive plan that works within your budget to address your specific needs. With deep roots in Nashville, it is our goal to provide you with the highest-quality service and to become your go-to for all of your landscaping needs. Give us a call or schedule landscaping services consultation today to find out how The Parke Company can help you.

2018 Guide to Property Irrigation: Everything You Need to Know

The Parke Company is Nashville’s leading landscaping services provider, specializing in tree service, lawn maintenance, hardscape installation, and, of course, irrigation systems.

We have been providing irrigation design, installation, and system servicing to new Nashville construction and century-old landscapes for more than 30 years. We don’t advocate that you attempt to design and install an irrigation system as a DIY project, but we do believe that as the property owner, you should have a working knowledge of how an effective system works.

That’s the objective of this guide. We want you to understand how an effective irrigation system can nourish your investment in landscaping, conserve water, and avoid the very real and costly dangers of an improperly pressurized system. With that in mind, we will walk you through the basics of design, equipment selection, installation, and maintenance of a modern irrigation system.

Hopefully at the end, you will be able to evaluate your existing system or make informed decisions if you are investing in new irrigation.

Irrigation System Design Basics

Measure Your Lawn.

Keep in mind that all the data gathered during this stage is recorded to scale on a software program that will become the “map” of your irrigation system. Because the irrigation system is essentially all about pressure, measuring distances and lawn elevations has to be accurate to avoid dry spots.

Measuring the property can be accomplished with a low-tech tape or a high-tech laser range finder, or even GPS calculations. Property on the lawn (like your house, outbuildings, etc.) need to be measured and plotted as well. This is also a good time to locate and plot trees and existing garden beds.

If your property has a slope, it’s important that changes in elevation are measured and plotted. To determine elevation, all you need are three satellites, a GPS, and a program that calculates all the variables. A DIY method is a bit less sophisticated and involves two stakes, a line of string, a level, and a measuring tape.

Measure Your Water Supply.

This measurement is critical. A mistake here could cause “hammering” in your water line and create a need for expensive plumbing repairs. Ultimately you are looking for pressure (PSI) and volume (GPM) to determine the layout and equipment that will effectively irrigate your lawn. If you are serviced by a water company, they are the most accurate way to determine PSI and GPM.

The process that our expert irrigators use involves checking with the water company for the average static water pressure available to your home, measuring the diameter of the water supply line, and in cases where there is a regulator between the meter and the intake pipe, using a gauge to measure the actual pressure in the home’s plumbing. These measurements are important because we will use them to decide where to tap in for the irrigation system.

Once we determine how much pressure we have to play with (PSI), and the maximum amount of water flow (GPM) available, we can start to lay out the system knowing how much pressure will bleed off during irrigation based on product specifications. This will tell us how to design the system and where to install the sprinklers for optimum coverage.

Select Spray Heads

At The Parke Company we are big advocates of pressure regulating spray heads. The water supply pressure from Nashville, or just about any municipality, can and will fluctuate. When that occurs, it can impact the efficiency of your irrigation system, namely in overwatering or in underwatering.

Pressure-regulating spray heads are products that include a built-in regulator that maintains a more constant pressure for optimal nozzle performance. Typically for spray nozzles, 30 psi provides the best performance. For rotary nozzles, the preferred operating pressure is 40-45 psi. Correct nozzle pressure helps the nozzles distribute the water more evenly and reduces water waste caused by excessive pressure.

Plot the System

Our next step is to plot where the spray nozzles will go and what type of nozzles we will use (cull circle, half circle, quarter circle, or rotary). The placement of these nozzles determines the coverage provided. After that, we need to divide the lawn into zones, designating areas you want to irrigate as a group. The idea is to spread out the watering, preserving the pressure and maximizing the water flow.

Using the product specification sheet, we can determine the water flow rate required for each zone. If a zone exceeds the available flow rate, we can simply break out some of the nozzles and create a new zone.

As you may be suspecting at this point, you most definitely are going to need an automated system with robust control and scheduling capabilities.

Once the nozzles are located, it’s time to plot the pipes and zone valves. When selecting pipe, we always ensure the size of the pipe will be adequate to pull the water flow we need for the “thirstiest” zone. In addition, we plot the location of a backflow preventer, which will eliminate the possibility of contaminating your clean water supply.

Installation Basics

Installation starts by flagging the location of each nozzle. Nozzles are spotted so there is 100% coverage meaning the spray from one nozzle will reach the spray head of the nozzle next to it.

As you might imagine, there is a lot of trenching involved in installation. Because Nashville has relatively mild winters, we only dig down 12” for the main line and 8” for the laterals. We will use a trencher to speed things along but even so, there is a great deal of hand trenching required. So, step one is to dig all of the trenches.

To get a feel for what the piping grid looks like, let’s walk through how the water gets from the supply line to the sprinkler head.

The Pipeline

We will tap into your water supply line at a point between the water meter and the house. Obviously, we need to turn off the water when doing this, but the process takes very little time. Once we install a connection to the water supply line, we install an irrigation system shut-off valve. With this valve closed, we can turn the water back on to the house.

The main line runs from the shut-off valve to the valve box. Inside this box is a manifold consisting of a series of electrically operated valves. One for each zone. So, if your design has three zones, the manifold box will have three valves each connected to an outgoing zone pipe. The valves are connected to a low voltage controller cable that runs back to the timer and programmer. The valves automatically open and close per the schedule entered into the timer.

The zone pipe provides water and pressure for the lateral lines, which feed directly into the sprinkler heads.

Sprinkler Heads

Sprinklers come in a variety of configurations. We have already selected the sprinklers we want and where we want them based on the maximum water flow (GPM) available. The ultimate objective of the sprinklers is 100% coverage and our placement and type strategy assure that goal is met.

There are a variety of connections that can be used to mate the sprinkler with the lateral line. Once that has been done, the sprinkler is stabilized with some dirt in an up and down position with the head even with ground level.

Sprinklers are tough, but if they are sticking up out of the ground somebody is going to run a lawn mower over them or hit them with a weed cutter and do damage.

Controller

The controller is the brain of your irrigation system. It decides when and for how long each zone will be activated. It can communicate with a rain sensor and stop irrigating when nature takes over the job. The better models can also take mandated conservation efforts into account, like watering on odd days only. At The Parke Company we will make a recommendation on controllers but the final decision is yours. We can install and program all major brands.

Controllers can be located inside or outside, although outside requires protective covering and a direct connection with the electrical system. Garages tend to be popular spots for these devices. Interior installations require drilling through a wall to run conduit containing the control cable to the controller, and access to a nearby outlet.

Once the control cable is connected, and the system is programmed, you have a bare bones irrigation system ready for the final phases of installation.

Flush the Lines

With all the cutting, gluing, crimping, digging, and other activity, the pipes are likely to have dirt and debris in them. This material needs to be flushed out so that sprinklers will not be clogged from the inside. To accomplish this, all of the sprinkler heads are removed, and the irrigation system shut-off valve is opened to charge the system with water.

We let this flush run about 15 minutes then close the cutoff valve and replace all of the sprinkler heads.

The final step is backfilling the trenches. Care needs to be taken not to dislodge the sprinkler heads from their up and down position. The dirt is compacted to prevent low spots from forming. Then, using seed or sod, we restore the lawn that was disrupted by the trenching.

What We Didn’t Tell You

There are two components to an irrigation system that we didn’t mention because we didn’t want to confuse you about how the water flows through the pipes. Both components are important. One is required by code and the other is a must have maintenance feature.

A backflow preventer device ensures that water in the irrigation system cannot be sucked or siphoned back into the main supply line of the house. Nashville’s Metro Water Services requires that this valve be placed on the main supply line immediately behind the water meter.

The second item is a drain valve for the irrigation system. Our winters aren’t all that cold but they are cold enough to freeze the water in your irrigation pipes. If that happens you will have a major repair on your hands, not to mention a new pond in your lawn when you first turn the water back on. There are a number of ways to drain your system, but the best way will be determined by the terrain. Once we have inspected the lawn we can plan for effective drainage.

Why You Need The Parke Company to Install Your Irrigation System

We know Nashville and the surrounding communities. We know the soil, the species that thrive (and fail), and we have been at this work in Nashville for more than 30 years. The people in Nashville are very pleasant but they are also practical. They won’t let you stay in business for three decades unless you have a stellar reputation for delivering as promised.

We have the experience, staff, and resources to design, install, and maintain irrigation systems of any size anywhere in the Nashville area. Call us today and experience The Parke Company difference for yourself.

Springtime Seasonal Landscaping Maintenance in Nashville

Spring has arrived in Middle Tennessee, and people are once again spending more time outside their homes enjoying the great outdoors – even if that “outdoors” is just out back on a patio or deck. Spring is a time for new beginnings, and homeowners in Nashville, Brentwood, Cool Springs, and other communities who have invested in beautiful landscapes need to take a breath and remember they have some springtime lawn issues to deal with to protect those investments.

The Parke Company, a leading landscaping service in Nashville, firmly believes that proper lawn maintenance not only keeps the lawn and shrubs healthy, but can add to the value of the property as well. Investing in landscaping yields many benefits, but it does take some work and care.

So, let’s get started. Here are two simple spring lawn maintenance tasks to get a Nashville landscape off to a great start.

Mulching

Nashville can get hot quickly. Protecting plant beds with a couple of inches of mulch will help retain moisture, keep the soil cool, inhibit the growth of weeds, and give your plants a healthy head start. At the Parke Company, we offer a variety of traditional mulches along with two alternatives that may prove more beneficial.
Pine straw is an excellent renewable, organic, lightweight mulch that holds better than traditional mulch on slopes. If you have a planting bed that is built on an incline, pine straw may be your best solution. Shredded pine tree mulch is also an effective mulch, with the added benefit of a pleasant pine aroma.

If your lawn has debris and litter left over from the winter weather, we have an option you may be interested in. We offer a chopping and grinding service (using a Vermeer shredder) that will take your “waste” wood, branches, stumps, brush, and other organic debris and shred it into mulch.

Inspecting the Health of Plants and Shrubs

How well have your plants, shrubs, and trees survived the winter? A quick inspection can reveal common problems, hopefully early enough to get plant-saving intervention. Look for new growth on all the plants. New growth is typically an indicator of a healthy plant or tree. If you spot dead patches in shrubs or tree limbs that are bare, you should have a professional look at them.

If black spots appear on leaves, it could be an indicator of azalea lace bugs. If these spots appear on new growth, then you need to explore treatment options to prevent spread. Boxwoods are a favorite in the Nashville area, and they are also a favorite for boxwood leaf miners. Flip the leaves over and use a handheld magnifier to look for their eggs.

Finding these signs early is essential. Too many times, the conditions are allowed to progress to the point where there are no viable treatments and replacement is the only option.

Of course, if you would like a professional to make these evaluations, feel free to call us. We can have a qualified technician or arborist do a thorough inspection and create a treatment plan specific to your plants’ condition. You can count on the Parke Company for the best in tree service, lawn maintenance, and landscaping. Call today.

Landscape Renovation in Nashville

Landscape renovation is just one of the services that Nashville’s premier landscaping service, the Parke Company, provides to its many clients. Renovating your landscape is a great way to improve the appearance of your home and add significant value to it as well.

Your landscape renovation can be extensive, as found on old estate properties or a backyard that has seen better days. In this instance, size doesn’t matter, the Parke Company can help rejuvenate a landscape large or small. A renovation eliminates the need for an all-new installation. We can do an entire lawn or focus on a specific area like flower beds. Sometimes, adding a single hardscape feature can change the entire character of a lawn.

If your landscape is outdated, in bad shape, or if you just want a fresh look, you should consider a renovation as the solution. Whatever the renovation task, the professional arborists and ground crews of the Parke Company are ready to take it on.

Why a Landscape Renovation Makes Sense

The short answer is a renovation can cost significantly less than a complete overhaul and new installation. It’s less expensive because we can use what you already have and just enhance it. You get the fresh look at a reduced price without sacrificing any of the planning or services that you would expect from a new installation. We will work with you to create the exact landscape you have in mind.

If you are considering selling your home, an attractive, eye-catching landscape instantly improves curb appeal. A well-maintained landscape “announces” that the home will be of equal quality and gives the potential homebuyer a positive mindset before they even set foot in the house. A landscape renovation can result in a higher sale price and less time on the market.

What Areas of Your Landscape Would Benefit from a Renovation?

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. You know your lawn could use some updating, but you don’t know what exactly that “updating” should be. Here’s a quick list that our pros will take a look at with an eye towards renovation or addition:

  •        Repair/replace worn or bald patches of grass/sod
  •        Upgrade or add a firepit
  •        Tree removal of badly damaged or diseased trees
  •        Upgrade flower beds
  •        Upgrade/replace shrubbery
  •        Repair hardscape features like fountains, retaining walls, etc.
  •        Install/repair paver walkways
  •        Repair/replace outdoor landscape lighting
  •        Relocate/transplant existing shrubs and trees 

An investment in a landscape renovation isn’t just “fixing up the yard,” it’s an investment in your home. The exterior of your property is just as important to its value as the condition of your roof, exterior paint, or kitchen and bath upgrades.

While the Parke Company is principally recognized for its tree trimming, tree removal, and other tree services, we have the qualified designers, ground crews, and equipment to tackle your landscape needs, large or small. If it’s time to freshen up the look of your lawn, give us a call. We will be happy to sit down with you and plan out a renovation that will make your dream landscape a reality.

Fertilizing in Winter to See More Green in Spring

springtime nashville tn

In Nashville, most lawns are planted with cool-growth grass like bluegrass and tall fescue. These grasses grow longer into the fall and actually don’t go dormant until after the first hard freeze. Because of this “cool-weather” growth, a Nashville lawn can benefit from a late fall or early winter application of fertilizer.

The Parke Company, a full-service Nashville landscaping service and tree service, often recommends a late season application of fertilizer to feed the grass for the limited time it will continue to grow. Just as importantly, the fertilizer allows the grass to store nutrients in the roots, allowing the grass to come up green and lush in spring.

Winter, even our comparatively mild winters, can be hard on a lawn. Because the grass turns brown, many people seem to forget that the lawn still needs care, mostly protective care. A late fertilizer application, and even a late lawn aeration can go a long way in making your spring lawn strong and healthy, but it has to survive to spring first.

Winter Lawn Care Tips

Lawn problems are not limited to those months when the temperatures go up and the sun shines all day. Winter can bring problems that can actually kill grass, trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. To keep that risk to a minimum, follow these simple tips:

  • Keep your lawn clean. Dormant grass can be crushed. Grass can be “broken” by foot traffic or by something as light as a pile of leaves that sits on the grass in the same place for months. Winter can litter your lawn, creating those “light weight” dangers. Snow and winter rains will strip the last of any leaves left, snap twigs and weaker limbs, and scatter debris from the neighborhood onto your lawn. Periodically clean up the litter and do a leaf pickup. Your leaf rake is probably your best tool. It’s time consuming but it gets the job done without using a heavy machine and it gets you some outdoor exercise.
  • Keep your walkways clear. One way to minimize foot traffic on your lawn is to ensure your sidewalks and driveway are kept cleared of ice and snow. If you use a deicer to clear your walkways, make sure you use a plant safe formulation. Sodium chloride, AKA rock salt, will not only corrode your sidewalk, but if it gets on anything living like grass or shrubs, it may kill it.
  • Cover your fragile shrubs. If you have rose bushes or other more fragile plants, cover them with burlap. Nashville gets a little snow, but we get more than our fair share of sleet. A good sleet storm – and it only takes one – can devastate a rose garden.

Of course, if you don’t have the time to maintain your lawn in the winter, you can always call the Parke Company for assistance. Preventing damage in winter makes taking care of your lawn in the spring significantly easier. If we can help you with that, we would be delighted to assist.