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.

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.