Your Home Outdoors: Starting with Your Needs to Plan Your Dream Outdoor Living Space

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When it comes to planning a new outdoor living space, dreaming big is the easy part. The sky’s the limit in our minds, but the nitty gritty of establishing a budget and a plan can often feel confusing and disorienting.

Here at The Park Company, we want to use  our landscaping services, irrigation services, and tree services to transform your outdoor living space according to your dreams while still staying within your budget. Here’s how the process works.

Start with Anything and Everything

If you’re dreaming, dream big. When planning a major (or minor) renovation to your outdoor living space, there is no reason to initially constrain yourself. (That comes later.) Have fun and start by putting it all out on the table. Do you want a fountain? Great! An outdoor kitchen with a full wet bar? Why not! A koi pond and Japanese zen garden? Sounds wonderfully serene! The goal for this step in the process is to brainstorm in order to gather as many ideas and options as possible. Nothing is off limits.

We recommend exploring our website and the various services we offer as you begin to develop ideas. Drive around your neighborhood to look at your neighbor’s outdoor spaces. Talk to friends and family. Use the image search feature of your favorite search engine. Think long-term (what you’d like your outdoor space to look like in 20 years) and short-term (what you’d like to have by next year). Think about the potential for multi-seasonal use of your outdoor spaces. Imagine what you’d like to do in your backyard if anything was possible. Think of things you do inside and envision doing them outside. Compile a list of outdoor activities you leave your property to accomplish and then imagine what would have to happen for you to be able to complete these activities in your own yard.

Generate as many ideas as possible, but make sure to record them somewhere. An online folder with pictures and a written list is always a great way to start. It will make the next step much easier.

Organize Your Ideas to Fit Your Specific Outdoor Space

Now that you have an extensive list of ideas, it’s time to organize them. There are many ways to do this. You may want to organize by season, by types of outdoor activities, by varietal of plant species, by some sort of color scheme, by keeping or cutting your trees, by things that you can do yourself versus things you would need professional help to complete (think raking leaves versus stump grinding), etc.

The main thing to avoid at this stage of the game is eliminating anything. Sure, your own personal nine-hole golf course might be a bit outside your price range, but for the organizational stage, it is still important that anything goes. Keeping a full list will help you see trends in your own desires and may make the process of onboarding a professional that much easier.

One simple, but highly effective tool you can utilize is a graphic organizer such as a Venn diagram or T-chart. By using different organizational structures and then placing this side-by-side, you will start to get a clearer picture of which ideas are common across all of the different potential renovation plans and which only fit into very specific outdoor living space concepts.

Budget, Prioritize, and Plan

Once you’ve organized your ideas, it’s time to get real by budgeting, prioritizing, and planning. It’s also time to contact a professional.

Budgeting is, for most people, the least enjoyable step in realizing your outdoor living space dreams, but it doesn’t have to be. With support from the professionals at The Parke Company, you might be surprised by just how far your money can go. This is especially true when planning long-term, multi-year renovation projects.

Once you’ve determined a realistic and sustainable budget, your next step is to begin to prioritize various outdoor projects or concepts. You may not have the money for the aforementioned golf course, but perhaps a putting green is feasible. A wet bar may be outside your reach, but a tiki bar may be obtainable. Maybe the deck comes this year, the grill next year, and the jacuzzi the year after that. Though these are highly personal decisions, a landscaping professional can help you see which aspects of your overall plan can be easily realized within your budget and help to you determine what and where to cut, if necessary.

Finally, it’s time to plan. Your dream is specific to you and your landscape is different from others. The planning stage should take into consideration your organized and prioritized ideas, your budget, your timeline, and the attributes of your current landscape and home. Only once all of these aspects are taken into account can a thoughtful and realistic plan, be developed.

Let The Parke Company Help You Make Your Dream Outdoor Living Space a Reality

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. We know Nashville. When it comes to outdoor living spaces, we have all your bases covered. We know the soil, water tables, plants, and 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 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. Here 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 at (615) 350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Comprehensive Guide to Winterizing Your Landscape Assets

Parke-company-nashville-winterization

Winterization is the process or processes required to prepare something for Winter. For a pool, this may mean drainage or covering. For a motorcycle, this may mean removing the gasoline and placing the battery on a drip charger. For people, this may mean procuring a few more sweaters and socks and purchasing firewood.

For your property, this may mean any number of things. Since each person’s property is different and unique, every landscape requires different processes to ensure effective and efficient winterization. Below are some of the more frequent winterization steps, though this list is certainly not extensive. For peace of mind and to guarantee that your property is ready for winter, reach out to the winterization professionals at The Parke Company to see how our landscaping services, irrigation services, and tree services can best support your land’s transition into the colder months.

Tree Winterization

When you think of winter, you think of the beautiful snow-blanketed landscape. When we think of winter, we think of snow blanketed dead tree limbs that are unable to carry the load and that break and fall on to your home. Sound bleak? It doesn’t have to be. One of the first steps to tree winterization is to check for dead or damaged limbs. Those that pose a threat to your home, vehicles, safety, or property should be removed before the snow or freezing rains fall. Additionally, to best prepare for winter storms, plants or brush that have built up on the trees and bushes around your home should also be removed. Overgrown plants should also be trimmed and pruned to mitigate unbearable loads during times of snow or freezing rain. The Parke Company has a variety of pruning and tree trimming services to choose from to ensure that your trees and bushes are to safe to take on the colder weather to come.

Lawn Winterization

Though they may spend much of the winter months buried beneath the snow, there are a few simple steps that should be taken to ensure that your lawns are ready for the cold weather. The first step is to cut your grass low to reduce weight and limit exposure to freezing temperatures. Long grasses will bend over under the snow and damage the growth beneath them. For the same reason, leaves and other litter should be raked and removed to prevent sunlight blockage, extra weight, and moisture retention. Once your lawn is ready, make sure that people, plants, and vehicles stay off it. One easy step is to set up flags or markers to outline your driveway and walkways. It seems silly to say, but stray shovel strokes or an improperly placed snowplow can cause extensive damage to your land. Finally, clear your lawn of unnecessary ornamentation that may also squash or damage your grass.

Of course, if you have an irrigation system, it is highly important that you properly drain and pressurize the system before the first frost. Cold weather and water-filled pipes don’t go together. Cracked or broken pipes and valves can be costly and time-consuming to repair. To ensure your irrigation system is properly winterized, consult our expert team. They have extensive knowledge in properly preparing systems of all shapes, sizes, and layouts.

Winter Plant and Shrub Coverings

Small and fragile plants and shrubs should be covered with burlap or something similar. This will prevent the build up of potentially damaging snow and freezing rain.

Winter Mulching and Fertilization

Your lawn, gardens, and trees receive very little nutrients during the winter months. Help them make it through these harsh days by applying fresh mulch and fertilizer before the freezing temperatures arrive. Mulch will help your soil retain temperature and moisture while fertilizer will give your plants a boost when the warmer weather arrives in spring.

Winter is Here, Snow is Falling, Now What?

Though proper winterization is paramount to a successful winter, there are many landscaping services that can be done during the winter months and a few that can only be done during winter. As the nights get colder and snow falls, there are several important things to consider.

First, do you have a snow clean-up plan? If not, take advantage of The Parke Company’s snow removal services to ensure your walkways and driveways are clean so that the winter weather doesn’t get in the way of you going about your life.

With or without snow, icy buildup on your exterior stairs and walkways can be very annoying or seriously dangerous. Unfortunately, many commercially available rock salts can have incredibly detrimental effects on your plants, gardens, and lawn. Make sure that you are utilizing safe salt options so that spring will find your property in good health and ready to take on the bountiful rains and sunshine.

Much of what needs to be done during the winter months you can do yourself. However, it is often safer and less time consuming to hire a professional. When it comes to ice and snow removal, it is important to know what you can safely do and when the project is over your head. If you are unsure, be safe and give us a call.

Is Winter Finally Over?

As the winter season ends and warmer weather rapidly approaches, there is a whole new list of things to do to get your landscapes ready for spring. Make sure you reach out to the professionals at The Parke Company to help you meet these seasonal changes head on to ensure that your property gets the fresh start it deserves.

Whatever Your Winterization Needs Are, Let The Parke Company Go to Work for You

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. We know Nashville. When it comes to winterization. We know the soil, water tables, and the specific winterization requirements for species endemic to Tennessee and for non-native plants and trees. We have experienced many Nashville winters ourselves and know how to best prepare for them. Even more, we know what to do when the unexpected happens and when the preparation is not enough. 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 (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

The Year Round Guide to Maintaining Landscaping Irrigation Systems in Nashville

Parke-company-nashville-irrigation-maintenance

No matter the size of your lawn and gardens, irrigation can have many benefits for your property and should be a key component of your lawn maintenance plan. An individualized, thought out, properly installed and maintained irrigation system can save you money and time, as well as conserve water. These benefits alone make it both a sensible and an environmentally conscious way to improve your property.

However, an irrigation system that is poorly planned, improperly installed, or not maintained can have the opposite effect and end up costing you both time and money in the long-term. Therefore, it is incredibly important to consult a highly trained landscape professional for every aspect of your irrigation planning, installation, and maintenance needs.

Maintenance Can Make or Break an Irrigation System

A well designed and installed irrigation system is only as efficient and effective as its maintenance plan. An unmaintained or improperly maintained system can be wracked by a plethora of issues. Broken or cracked pipes can leak. This will end up costing you money, interrupting irrigation, and flooding your property. Tilted, sunken, or improperly installed spray heads provide uneven water distribution and can lead to dry patches and overly saturated areas. Blocked or improperly placed heads (such as behind a tree) can also lead to large portions of your lawn or garden not receiving adequate irrigation. Timers that are either broken or not properly set up can lead to over or under watering, or can foster a system that irrigates during the hottest hours of the day when evaporation will undermine the effectiveness of your irrigation system. Additionally, water pressure that is either too high or too low can lead to evaporation, flooding, or inefficient coverage, and can potentially damage your lawn or garden.

All of these issues can be identified, mitigated, or corrected through frequent and proper irrigation system maintenance. Ideally, your system should be checked monthly, though seasonal maintenance is a minimum. Below are the steps that should be taken seasonally to ensure that your irrigation system is running as smoothly, effectively, and efficiently as possible.

Please note: a professional irrigation company should always be utilized to guarantee proper servicing of your specific system. Though do-it-yourself irrigation system installations and fixes may be tempting, improper care can simply be too risky and too costly.

Winter Maintenance

Winter irrigation preparation and maintenance is vitally important in order to prevent damages during the colder months. Winterization is a necessary step for all irrigation systems in Tennessee.

The first step is to shut off the main water source and to open manual drain valves to allow gravity to facilitate drainage. If you have an automatic controller, it is also very important to shut this off or switch it to manual. Next, your newly empty system should be pressurized with compressed air. This should be done to each system or zone until the heads in all zones blow air, ensuring full system compression and drainage. Finally, your controllers should be reset to automatic to run a few minutes every month over the winter.

Seem complicated? It is. This is why we strongly recommend hiring a professional to help facilitate the winterization of your irrigation system.

Spring Maintenance

Proper spring startup of your irrigation system is just as important as effective winterization. Start by making sure you have all the necessary replacement parts on hand. If you uncover any issues during the repressurization process, it is important to be able to fix them quickly. Next, test your lawns and gardens to ensure they are frost free. For a buried system, you should also check the soil to the depth of the pipes. Filling frozen pipes with water is an all but guaranteed way to crack or break them. Finally, if the system seems ready, close all manual drains and re-open the main valve to the water supply. Once each zone has water flowing, thoroughly check your system for damages sustained during the winter months. Even a small crack or a slightly relocated or realigned head could result in costly water loss or improper watering in the long run.

Summer & Fall Maintenance

Though not as important as winterization and spring startup, consistent maintenance throughout the summer and fall months is paramount to a well-functioning irrigation system. Your system should be frequently and thoroughly inspected for leaks; misaligned, sunken, or clogged heads; improperly set timers; irregularities in valves and flow; insufficient water pressure, etc. Any problems that are discovered during routine inspections should be swiftly and effectively dealt with to maintain the integrity of your irrigation systems.

It Doesn’t Stop at Maintenance – Other Irrigation Support

From planning to installation, maintenance to monitoring, and everything in between, The Parke Company is here to help you and support your irrigation system. We offer a wide variety of irrigation and lawn services, and have the skills and experience to meet your irrigation needs, whatever they may be. Our expert irrigators not only ensure excellence in design, installation techniques, and equipment used, but they are also specialists in water and resource conservation. Using pressure-regulated sprays and proper scheduling can make a substantial environmental impact. We’ll make sure you get the best advice when planning your irrigation project to ensure you create the perfect system to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for a new installation or seasonal tune-up, it’s important to remember that your irrigation system is a vital part of your landscaping investment.

Whatever Your Irrigation Needs Are, Let The Parke Company Go to Work for You

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. We know Nashville. When it comes to irrigation, we know the soil, water tables, and the specific water requirements for species endemic to Tennessee. Our certified team of Nashville locals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, 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 (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Nashville Tree Guide: Selecting and Installing the Right Trees for Your Property and Needs

nashville-trees

Trees are important. More than important, trees are an essential part of the Tennessee countryside. From food to firewood, shade to oxygen, soil erosion prevention to creation of habitats for endemic birds and other species, trees in the greater Nashville area are much more than simply a beautiful adornment to the landscape. It’s hard to imagine the rolling hills of Davidson County without their picturesque blanket of naturally occurring trees. While Mother Nature has done an incredible job of creating this beautiful scene, there are many important factors to take into consideration when selecting and installing the right species of trees for your property and needs.

Why It’s Important to Start By Thinking Endemic

When developing a tree installation plan, start by considering endemic species. Endemic species are those that are native to a given area. Endemic tree species in Tennessee have been here for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years. Over this extended period of time, these trees have developed mutually beneficial relationships with other plants and animals that are also endemic to the area. They have also adapted to the environment, weather, seasons, soil conditions, etc. Both of these attributes make them more adept at restricting and limiting the establishment of invasive species (such as the emerald ash borer) and at surviving and flourishing within this geographical region. Endemic trees require less maintenance, are more likely to survive, and will be more likely to attract local bird species.

Maple and Ash and Oak, Oh My! – Trees Native to Tennessee

Due to the incredibly diverse forested landscapes in the temperate forests of Tennessee, Nashville area residents have a lot of endemic tree species to choose from.

If you are interested in something traditional, consider maple, ash, or oak. For maple, there are several larger options (red maple, silver maple, and sugar maple) and smaller options (striped maple and mountain maple) to choose from. However, the native ash (white ash and green ash) and oak (white oak, scarlet oak, southern red oak, overcup oak, bur oak, swamp chestnut oak, chinkapin oak, water oak, nuttall oak, cherrybark oak, willow oak, chestnut oak, northern red oak, shumard oak, post oak, and black oak) varietals are typically on the larger side.

Perhaps you prefer conifers to deciduous trees? If this is the case, you have the eastern red cedar, shortleaf pine, eastern white pine, loblolly pine, and eastern hemlock to choose from.

Maybe you’re looking for something a little more unique. Some options could include the pecan, hickories, black walnut, sycamore, black cherry, American linden, hornbeam, dogwood, hawthorn, or witch hazel.

Maybe you’re looking for a fast growing tree that will quickly fill in a desired space in your landscape or a hole created by a recently dead or removed tree.

If your head is starting to spin, don’t be ashamed. Nature has provided Tennesseans with perhaps too many options. Don’t panic! We’re here to help you select the right tree for your individual situation, desire, or needs.

What to Consider if Selecting Non-Native Trees

Don’t feel bad if you are thinking about incorporating a non-native tree species into your landscape. Certain decorative trees are highly appealing based on their aesthetic value. We understand.

However, when incorporating a non-native plant or tree into your landscape it is important that you work with an arborist who knows the species, what it requires, and how it interacts with other plants and animals. All too often, well-intentioned plans are ruined by incorporating a tree that simply cannot survive in a specific climate, soil, moisture gradient, or in close proximity to other specific species. This can be frustrating and costly. Give yourself peace of mind and let us help you establish a tree selection and installation plan that is right for you. We guarantee that we will help you realize your goals while also honoring and understanding the geographic and environmental limitations and constraints of the Tennessee landscape.

Tree Selection and Installation: What’s Right For You?

With so many options, it’s incredibly difficult to decide what’s right for you and for your specific landscape. This is why it can be incredibly beneficial to contact the tree experts at The Parke Company when planning your next tree installation project. Our certified arborists have decades of experience working with endemic and non-native tree species in every type of ecosystem and landscape that the greater Nashville area has to offer. We can help you decide where to plant specific species of trees in order to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Just as important, we can also help you avoid planting trees in areas, soils, or habitats where they will struggle to survive, potentially saving you lots of frustration, time, and money in the long run.

Do You Have Issues with Trees on Your Property? The Parke Company is Here to Help

In addition to selection and installation, we are also here to help you with all of your tree needs. From crown thinning to cold weather care, weight reduction to cabling and bolting, tree removal to stump grinding, we offer a wide variety of tree services. However, we don’t stop there. Trees come with leaves – and we’ve got leaf cleanup and removal covered as well! We can also work with you to develop a landscape management plan to ensure that all aspects of your land, lawn, and gardens are well-maintained and cared for, not just your trees.

Whatever Your Tree Needs Are, Let The Parke Company Go to Work for You

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. Our certified team of Nashville locals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, 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 (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Tree Removal – Don’t Be Too Quick to Make the Decision

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Trees are one of nature’s most beautiful gifts. Even a single tree located on your Nashville property has a special attraction to humans. Their grace and strength give them a character that we can connect with. They represent continuity and stability, something missing in modern chaotic life. They give us shade in the summer and put on a show in the autumn. Losing one is like losing an old friend. But at times, trees can present a serious risk to people and property within their reach. Trees seriously damaged by storms or disease are going to fall down. Because they are big and heavy, if they fall on a roof, a car, or a family member, there’s going to be serious damage. The most common way of dealing with this risk is tree removal.

5 Signs it May Be Time to Remove a Tree

Removing a tree is an extreme step. We can’t overemphasize the need to have an arborist, like the ISA certified arborists at Nashville’s leading landscaping service, the Parke Company, inspect the tree first. However, there are signs that a tree may be in trouble, and you can use those tips as the trigger to call the arborist.

  1. Rough, upturned soil under the canopy of the tree and particularly at the base of the trunk.
  2. The growth of mushrooms at the base of the trunk. These decay-producing fungi are easy to spot.
  3. Excessive chipped or peeling bark in the trunk.
  4. Dead or hanging branches located in the upper portion of the crown.
  5. Twigs on the end of branches that don’t have a living bud.
  6. Remember that these are just signs, not absolute proof that warrants the removal of a tree. If you see these signs, it’s time to call us.

If you can keep a tree, you can continue to benefit from its presence. Removing a tree and disposing of the debris can be a labor-intensive and expensive proposition. It’s not just a matter of cutting down a tree. That tree needs to be cut into lengths, a stump grinder needs to remove the trunk and roots, and a wood chipper is required to clean up the debris.

An arborist is in a position to recommend strategies to keep the injured tree. Those strategies might include pest and disease treatments and/or specific pruning. An arborist is the best person to tell you what path to follow.

Don’t Be Fooled by a Leaning Tree

Don’t jump to the conclusion that a tree is falling down just because it’s leaning. Trees will “lean” naturally to get more sunlight. If a tree is close to a structure, or too close to another tree, it will change the direction of the trunk to get a better shot at the sun. If a tree is leaning because of wind damage, you need a visit by the arborist. Often, trees that have been bent by wind can be recovered through cabling and bracing. Getting reseated takes a fair amount of time but you can save the tree and avoid the expense of tree removal.

If you have trees that you are concerned about, give us a call today and we can arrange for a certified arborist from the Parke Company to visit your property.