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.

Building a Treehouse: Choosing the Right Tree

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Nowadays, most children are heavily exposed to screens before the age of three and spend overwhelming amounts of time indoors rather than creating outdoor memories to last a lifetime.

People who grew up without the ubiquitous presence of screens are likely to recall one of childhood’s most nostalgic inventions – the treehouse. For parents who want to enrich their children’s upbringing and combat the negative social and physical effects of excessive screen time, installing a treehouse in your backyard may be the key.

If you’re thinking about adding a treehouse to your landscape design, strategy is key to ensure both safety and sustainability. Here are a few things you need to consider when choosing the right tree for your treehouse.

Location

Everyone knows the first rule of real estate: location, location, location. The same is true for choosing the perfect tree for your treehouse.

It is important to consider your specific needs when deciding where to build a treehouse. For a family of younger children, a treehouse close to your home may ensure that your kids do not stray too far on their adventures and remain in your line of sight. Be sure, however, not to locate the treehouse so close to your home that it presents a potential safety risk or disrupts the rest of your landscape design.

If your children are older and can handle a grander excursion, you may be able to build  your treehouse on a tree further back on your property, allowing your children to embrace a little independence and grow their developing imagination.

Age

Once you have determined the ideal location for your treehouse, consider the age of the trees in that area.

Safety is a top priority when building your treehouse and tist can be directly influenced by the age of the tree you choose. Older, weaker trees should be avoided when selecting a tree for a treehouse, but even young trees should be approached with caution.

Trees are (obviously) plants, so they continue to grow over time. When building around a tree that may continue to grow significantly, be sure that you have built your structure in such a way that allows for growth as you exercise regular tree care. The last thing you want is for a treehouse to burst at the seams after a few years’ growth.

Supports

There are a number of different factors to consider when ensuring that your tree will offer sufficient support for your treehouse.

The first option is to choose not one, but two trees between which to build your treehouse. If there are multiple trees near enough to each other, building across two trees may allow you to build a larger treehouse with double the support.

Regardless of whether or not you have the capability of building on two trees, the thickness and disbursement of the branches will be important for ensuring stability. Be sure the branches are sturdy and convenient enough for building a treehouse. Removing extraneous branches can be done easily with proper landscape maintenance, but it’s a much more difficult task to grow the right branches.  

Height

The internet is full of opulent photos of treehouses tucked away in the highest reaches of Amazonian canopies. While a sky-high treehouse may make for a scintillating Instagram post, treehouses placed far off the ground may not be the best idea.     

Especially with younger, more rambunctious children, treehouses placed in a tall tree may increase the risk of injury in the event of a fall. Generally, it is advised that treehouses for children should be about 10 feet from the ground.

Height can also be a risk factor when combined with risk factors from weather. When a treehouse’s center of gravity is higher from the ground, storms can present unforeseen danger. When subjected to high-speed winds, treehouse can act as a sail and multiply the stress put onto branches during a storm. Ideally, a well-built treehouse will be able to endure the weather typical of your area, but keeping a tree house low to the ground may be a simple step to ensuring stability.

Treehouses are a classic feature of landscape design that are often forgotten today. In an age when kids need time outside more than ever, incorporating a treehouse may be what helps to combat “tech-brain” and encourage imagination in ways that only outdoor play can.   

From tree planting to treehouse installation, The Parke Company is available and qualified to ensure that your treehouse is safe and artistically incorporated into your current landscape.

For more information on how to safely incorporate the whimsical delight of a treehouse into your landscape design, contact the certified arborists at The Parke Company and let their superior lawn services transform your property.
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

4 Ways Landscaping Can Be a Natural Sound Barrier

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The right landscaping is key to creating the perfect environment for your residential or commercial space. The visual element of your property, however, is only one factor in developing the aesthetic you seek. Even the most beautiful space can be tarnished by noise pollution.

Modern life is filled with noise. Between traffic, phone notifications, music, and chatter, it can seem impossible to escape the constant noise and find solace. Don’t let your property add to the noise. Here are four ways that your landscaping can also act as a natural sound barrier.

Water Features

In some circumstances, adverse sounds may not be severe. While the noise of distant traffic or neighboring properties may not dramatically affect the mood of your property, they can be easily mitigated.

Incorporating water features into your landscaping is a simple way to add the calming sounds of trickling water as a way to counteract moderate (but still inconvenient) noise pollution. Certain water features can also attract birds whose song can cancel out the din of less melodic noise.

Not only do water features offer a unique auditory serenity, they can also dramatically improve the visual quality of your property. Check out this article to learn more about the value of water features and find out if this is the right choice for you.

Vertical Barriers

If the sound disturbance is greater, a vertical barrier may be the best solution. Rather than adding sound to counteract noise pollution, these barriers act as a wall to block out noise from ever entering your property.

A tall fence can double as a property outline and a defence against noisy neighbors, perfectly maintaining the solace of your outdoor environment.

If a fence doesn’t fit within the pre-established aesthetic of your landscaping, consider a natural border to combat noise. Dense, tall hedges and trees can also act as an effective sound barrier and line the perimeter of your space in the same ways as a fence.

Sinking

When properly combating noise pollution, it is not enough to only consider what you incorporate into your landscape design. You must also consider where it is installed.

When deciding where to place hardscapes like walkways and pavement, sinking these spaces where possible can be an effective way to mitigate unwanted noise.

By setting these features lower to the ground, you create spaces that are insulated and protected from irritating noise. The only sounds heard are those intentionally created within your own environment.

This intentional sound barrier has the same effect as an amphitheatre and can perfectly maintain the serenity of your property, especially when combined with dense hedges or another natural sound barrier.

Pest Defense and Maintenance

Creating natural sound barriers within your landscaping doesn’t have to mean incorporating any new features to your property. It can be as simple as regular landscaping maintenance.

When the natural landscape of a property is not sufficiently maintained, it can leave you vulnerable to unwanted pests and wildlife. A pile of decomp at the corner of your property may seem initially inconsequential, but it can act as a homing beacon for pests.

Not only can unwanted critters cause damage to the natural beauty your property, but they can also be a source of unwanted noise. While chirping birds may offer welcome solace, chattering raccoons are far from calming.

Regular maintenance of the landscaping on your property is a straightforward way to ensure that no unwelcome guests pay you a visit and disrupt your space with noise.

Developing the visual quality of your space is certainly important, but even the most beautiful environments can be made less inviting by unwelcome noise. Get the most out of your landscape and ensure that it sounds as beautiful as it looks.

At The Parke Company, we operate with our motto in mind: “Make it pretty. Make it right.” We are dedicated to ensuring that your landscaping is not only beautiful, but also meets your unique needs. If noise pollution affects your property, or you simply want to improve the overall aesthetic of your landscape through natural sound barriers, let the trained professionals at The Parke Company do the work for you.

For more information on how to install natural sound barriers, contact the certified arborists at The Parke Company and let their superior lawn services transform your property.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.

Outdoor Water Features: Fountains or the Natural Look?

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Water features play a major role in enhancing your outdoor space. Whether you are looking to install a more formal fountain or a subdued natural pond, you can always count on water features to evoke a lovely sense of serenity and tranquility. They add texture and a soothing sense of calm to any landscape. Many water features attract birds and wildlife, and can be used as a pleasing habitat for fish. They can also work to cool down your space and bring health to your plants.

Given all of these factors, it’s key to find the best water features for your space in order to evoke the right mood and provide the benefits you need.

Which Water Features Are Right For You?

When it comes to water features, there are a variety of options to choose from in terms of price, size, design, and feel. We’ve outlined a few water feature options below:

  • Whether they are more elaborate and lavish or more simple and zen, fountains always evoke a sense of luxury and tranquility. One of the first images that comes to mind when people consider outdoor fountains is a lavish spouting fountain shooting water into the air. This can be an opportune choice for an elegant, distinctive effect, but there other available alternatives. Textured wall fountains are a modern, simple, and stylish option that add a contemporary and sophisticated flair while still economizing on space. Tiered, cascading fountains allow water to run down multiple layers for a more soothing vibe. No matter the fountain you choose, this water feature works to transform your outdoor space into a serene retreat that feels like your own personal paradise.
  • Ponds come is all shapes and sizes, but will always enhance your landscaping. Ponds can be a vibrant natural habitat for floating water lillies and other plants, or a clear body of water perfect for simple reflection. Ponds always bring sensory pleasure and many feature waterfalls or fountains as well.
  • There is nothing more soothing and invigorating than the sound of a babbling stream. Incorporating this water feature into your landscape is a great way to bring the sweet serenity of nature into your yard. One way to ensure that streams are low maintenance is to let nature do most of the heavy lifting. In this case, make sure your stream is sloped properly and that your property is equipped with the appropriate soil to handle the water flow.
  • Waterfalls are numbered among nature’s great wonders. They are breathtaking and mesmerizing while also providing a cool burst of fresh air in the summer heat.

The Parke Company Has You Covered

The Parke Company’s landscaping services include enhancing your yard with the perfect outdoor water features for you, impeccably installed installed via our landscape installation services. Installing water features are a fantastic way to enhance the beauty of your property, but it’s heavy work. The professionals at The Parke Company are here to help.

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, and 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 knowhow 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.
At The Parke Company, we 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 (615) 350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.