Six Care Tips for your Newly Installed Landscaping Feature

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Landscape installations are a surefire way to add visual interest to your property without completely overhauling the look of your home. 

Installations come in a variety of forms. They can be softscapes: adding trees, shrubs, flowers and other foliage to your landscape. You may also elect to install hardscapes: things like walkways, pavement, rocks and ponds. Or, perhaps  your new landscape installation could consist of decor like outdoor lighting, water features, or tree hangings.  

Whatever type of landscape installation you decide on, it’s important that these featured pieces stay as beautiful a year from now as they are when they’re first put in. 

Here are six care tips for your new landscaping feature. 

1. Lawn Maintenance

Aside from the obvious ones, there are plenty of reasons to keep your lawn maintained. Other than keeping a pristine lawn for aesthetic purposes, the health of your landscape can be compromised if you do not take good care of your grass. 

By choosing the appropriate mower height and keeping your lawn at the optimal level, you reduce your risk for weeds to grow in grass that is stressed or unhealthy.

Weeds left to their own devices can infiltrate your new landscaping feature over time. Your once beautiful walkway may now be overrun by weeds and other uninvited pests. 

Be sure to maintain your lawn to combat any plant life with malintent. 

2. Brush Clearing

Similar to maintaining a tidy lawn, it is also important to clear brush regularly. 

When dead leaves and foliage stay on the ground unattended, there is a significant risk of mildew and fungus growth. If you have a water feature nearby, moist environments can be severely compromised by the presence of these invaders. 

Piles of leaves and brush can be a convenient home for small rodents and pests. Naturally, these unwanted guests might also make a home in your new fountain or rock feature. Keeping brush and foliage maintained can help circumvent this risk and keep critters at bay. 

3. Check Irrigation 

Faulty irrigation systems can present a real problem for property owners. Not only can irrigation systems that dispense too much or too little water damage the plant life of your property, they can also cause significant structural damage to landscaping features. 

If your irrigation system isn’t working correctly, this can have an adverse effect on your water features, resulting in sky-high water bills. You may also find that your landscaping features suffer water damage from a leaky sprinkler system. 

Having your irrigation system evaluated by a professional could help you avoid unsightly damage. 

4. Tree Trimming 

Tree trimming on your property is a great way to ensure that your landscaping features shine. 

Ponds filled with dead leaves are unsightly, and it would be a tragedy for your beautiful outdoor lighting fixtures to meet their end at the hands of a fallen branch. 

Be sure to get your trees trimmed regularly to avoid damage. 

5. Energy Conservation

Conserving energy is a great decision for any reason, but it can also do a lot to maintain the health of your new landscaping feature. 

Particularly with features like lighting or fountains that are supported by electricity, conserving energy can help to ensure that your features don’t run themselves ragged and that all pieces and parts stay operational for as long as possible. 

6. Expert Advice

Ultimately, it’s hard to notice every flaw or red flag in a property where you spend every day. Hiring an extra set of eyes for your landscaping services could be just the ticket to ensure that no issue goes unnoticed and every problem is attended. 

The experienced arborists at The Parke Company are well-versed in what it takes to properly maintain landscaping features through high-quality landscaping services. From installation to repair, our experts are here to ensure that your property stays beautiful. 
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Kid and Pet-Friendly Pest Control for Your Lawn and Garden

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Maintaining a lawn and/or garden is a bit of a balancing act, requiring a delicate touch. That tightrope becomes even harder to walk when you have children and pets to worry about. A good number of traditional pesticides and pest control methods contain chemicals that can lead to acute or chronic illnesses in humans and domesticated animals. So, how can you keep your greenery lush and healthy without harming the ones you love by accident?

The answer: utilize kid- and pet-friendly pest control options for your lawn and garden. You may be surprised by all the different ways you can keep unwanted actors away from your property while maintaining the safety of your kids and pets. Let’s go over some of the best options for proper garden and lawn maintenance.

Horticultural Oils and Soaps/Sprays

Though they might sound like cleaning products or perfumes, horticultural soaps and oils are actually plant-derived formulas designed to target small pests like aphids and mites. The best part about these products is that they don’t harm beneficial insects, humans, or pets. Insecticidal soaps can also be made from home materials like vegetable oil, pure dishwasher soap, and warm water. Just be sure to do your research and test your formula on a plant before using it on your entire garden.

Diatomaceous Earth

This naturally-occurring pesticide often comes in the form of a dust or powder made from fossilized diatoms, which are microscopic aquatic lifeforms. The tiny particles kill harmful pests by sucking away moisture and fat from their exoskeletons. Researchers remain hard at work looking for potential negative effects diatomaceous earth may have on pets and humans, but so far there is no compelling evidence. In fact, versions of this material are often used as flea medications for cats and dogs.

Organic Insect Killers (Pet- and Kid-Safe)

Not all store-bought pesticides are toxic to humans and pets. In fact, more and more insecticide manufacturers are now creating safer products, knowing that people care about the safety of their kids and pets. EcoSMART is one such brand creating effective solutions that are safe, environmentally-friendly, chemical-free, and made in the U.S. Look for products that are useful for all sizes of lawns and gardens.

Mulch with Straw or Compost

Some lawn problems can be solved without the use of pesticides. At the very least, using the right kind of mulch can mitigate the number of pests and weeds that enter your green spaces. Mulching with compost or straw is just one way to protect your lawn, garden, and family. Many landscape services offer these mulching options.

Plant Certain Species to allow Predatory Pests

Another way to keep bad bugs away is to cultivate a good environment for “good” bugs. That is to say, if you can stomach it, it’s not a bad idea to create a home for some predatory pests, as they will gladly take care of a great number of other, smaller pests. Setting up this little ecosystem requires much patience and knowledge, so you may want to seek help from lawn services that specialize in this form of natural pest control.
Keeping your lawn or garden pest-free doesn’t mean you need to risk harming your children or pets. If you’re looking for more solutions and advice on maintaining your home’s green spaces, The Parke Company has the resources, knowledge, and experience you need. We offer a wide range of landscaping and tree services, including lawn aeration, irrigation, tree removal, mulching, and so much more. Give us a call today at (615)-350-6033.

Lawn Mowing and Landscaping: Recommended Mowing Height

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When you consider what it takes to keep your lawn and landscaping beautiful and verdant, a few things might come to mind: ensuring everything gets the right amount of sun, weed and tree removal where necessary, and a proper irrigation system, to name a few. 

What you may not have realized is that proper lawn mowing can be the key to circumventing serious lawn problems and ensuring that your entire landscape lives up to your design dreams. Here is what you need to know about recommended mowing height for expert lawn mowing and landscaping. 

The Basics

In general, the “rule of thumb” for optimal lawn height is that grass should be about 2½ inches. It is believed that you should cut off about one third of the blade of grass when you mow. Doing a little math, that means you’ll probably want to cut your lawn when it’s around 3 ⅔ inches high. 

Season and Climate

While the 2½ inches rule works well in the  cooler months, you may want to let it grow even longer in the hotter months as water is less and less available. 

Conversely, if you live in an area of high moisture, or if the winter months are coming soon, a low cut of grass can be much more beneficial in the long run

Tall grasses trapped under piles of snow can ultimately lead to the infiltration of mold and fungus. It can also be a place that rodents burrow during the winter to seek refuge from frigid temperatures. 

Cutting your lawn to a shorter length right before it is covered in snow can be immensely beneficial for avoiding some potential damage.   

Hydration

If you want to keep your lawn lush and hydrated, consider letting it grow a little longer. According to the home and garden efficianados at The Spruce, a lawn that grows longer has more surface area on every blade of grass and therefore has more moisture reserves, protecting your lawn during periods of drought or when you want to take a little extra time between watering. These longer blades of grass retain water longer down to the roots and can self-sustain until the next rainfall much more efficiently that shorter lawns.  

These longer blades also result in more extensive root systems that capitalize on photosynthesis more than shorter blades, fostering more expansive growth. 

Tips and Tricks

One of the simplest (and most clever) tricks for making sure you’re cutting your lawn to the appropriate height is also from the brilliant folks over at The Spruce. They suggest marking the wheels on your lawn mower with the desired height. 

Using a paint marker, draw a line indicating the height you want for your lawn and use that as a guide when you mow. (Just be sure to include arrows so you know which is the top and bottom of your line!)

While maintaining a healthy lawn isn’t rocket science, it can still be a tricky task. These tips can be a helpful guide to lawn maintenance, but sometimes the best route is to hire lawn services. 

The experienced professionals at The Parke Company can help you assess your lawn and landscape to ensure that your lawn maintenance caters to your property’s unique needs.  

Whether its tree removal, landscape design, or lawn care, give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Landscaping and Gardening: Is Your Lawn Right for a Home Garden?

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A beautiful garden can be one of the most notable and enjoyable features of your property. Aside from gardening being a fun and rewarding discipline, it can also add invaluable curb appeal to your home. But even if you feel ready to begin the process of starting a garden on your property, there are a few things you need to consider in order to save yourself from a frustrating (and pricey) failure. 

Here are some things you should consider to determine whether or not your lawn is right for a home garden.

Tree Placement 

If you haven’t conducted a tree inventory yet, you’ll want to do so before you think of putting in a garden. Conducting a survey like a tree inventory will give you an informed perspective on the status and location of other plant life on your property. 

In most cases, if you haven’t lived on your property for very long, chances are good that you didn’t plant your trees and that their level of health may be beyond your knowledge. If you have a large, sprawling property, it’s even possible that you don’t know about all the trees on your land. 

It is vital to have a keen awareness of all of the plant life that is already part of your landscape so that you know how that could interact with or interfere with a garden. 

In most cases, a tree or two won’t hinder the growth of a new garden, but it’s important to consider whether or not plants already on your property may attract pests that could harm a dainty crop like what is often planted in a home garden. 

Shade Coverage

In accordance with an awareness of trees on your property, be aware of the amount of shade they provide to certain areas of your landscape. If a set of trees offers too much shade in the area you wish to plant a garden, you may want to consider tree trimming or tree removal. Too much sun could blister vegetation that isn’t hardy, but too much shade could also stunt their growth. 

If there is a particular area you’ve dreamed of placing your garden, be sure that it isn’t overshadowed by other trees or structures. 

Drainage

As anyone with even the smallest amount of garden knowledge can tell you, watering plants is important. 

When you care for your lawn, you ensure to water it properly and to make sure that it doesn’t get flooded. The same is true for a home garden. Check with your landscape professional to see if the plants you’re seeking for your home garden require a similar level of water to that of your lawn. 

If you have an irrigation system that automatically waters your lawn, you could capitalize on this and use that same system to tend to a garden. However, if the lawn’s need for water and the garden’s need for water are not compatible, you will need to adjust accordingly. 

Garden Vision

Finally, it’s important to know what exactly you want in your garden. Growing a bed of flowers is drastically different from growing tomato plants or corn. There is a strong chance that a vegetable garden, especially one with a wide variety of produce, is going to require much more attention to detail than a lawn. In this case, you will want to seriously reconsider your irrigation options. It may not be practical to cluster together a number of different plants with vastly different needs. In this case, consider whether or not using planters or pots outdoors could help you achieve a similarly beautiful (or maybe even more beautiful!) look for your garden. 

Regardless of the route you take, it is vital that you speak with a professional to properly assess the unique needs of your property. Go to the knowledgeable arborists and landscape designers at The Parke Company to ensure that your property is in the best hands. 

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

Home Irrigation and Water Conservation– Can You Do Both?

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If you’ve got a green thumb, there’s no doubt that you care a lot about your property. It stands to reason that, as someone who values your land, you’re likely committed to caring for the environment as a whole. 

As more of the world focuses on green alternatives to everyday practices, lawn services and landscape maintenance practitioners are no exception. While many of us are taking shorter showers and riding bikes to work, property owners are also taking measures to ensure that the way they tend to their landscape is also eco-friendly. With as much water as it takes to maintain a landscape, water conservation may be the perfect place to start. 

It may seem like you have to choose: either you have a lush lawn and use excess water, or you can conserve water, but have a dull and lifeless lawn. 

While this may seem like a catch-22, you have other options! Here is what you need to know about conserving water while using a home irrigation system. 

Irrigation System Maintenance 

Making greener choices doesn’t always mean completely eliminating your daily activities that take a toll on the environment. When everyone does a little, it goes a long way to improving the state of the planet. 

One way to conserve water while still incorporating an irrigation system into your landscape maintenance is by making sure that your irrigation system is fully functioning. 

Aside from the fact that leaky sprinklers can jack up your water bill, malfunctioning irrigation systems can also waste precious water and lead to greater environmental impact. 

Regular maintenance of your irrigation system can keep you from wasting water. Check out this article for signs that your irrigation system needs to be repaired. 

Energy-Efficient Irrigation Systems

Another way to solve your lawn problems without harming the environment is to switch to a more efficient type of irrigation system. 

Using a system with time-controlled functions that can be easily adjusted as you experience rainfall can be helpful for conserving water. You can also set your system to water early in the morning, so that evaporation is reduced. 

The most efficient irrigation systems will also incorporate a rain sensor. Rain sensors are devices that can track how much rainfall an area of your property has received and can actually shut down any scheduled watering to prevent overwatering of the landscape. This way, you don’t waste water or damage your lawn. 

Holistically, you’ll also want to consider what kind of irrigation system is most appropriate for the area of land you’re watering. In-ground sprinklers are convenient, but they may be excessive for a small garden space and use more water than needed. Efficient irrigation begins with installation. 

Natural Irrigation 

The most eco-friendly irrigation system may not require excess water at all! 

Rainfall is obviously the most natural way for your landscape to maintain itself, but natural water may be of more use than you think. 

Rather than just letting water run off after a storm and losing valuable rainwater, consider containing extra rainwater and using it during dry spells. 

There are some sophisticated systems that can help you to maximize each rainfall. These systems will collect rainwater so you can lower your water bill and keep your lawn looking great without taxing the environment. 

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to harvest rainwater, it can be as simple as setting out some large empty barrels (especially near drainage pipes and gutter downspouts) and using the water in between rainfall. 

For property owners who want to care for the environment as much as they care for their own properties, expertise is key. The team at The Park Company has the exact skills necessary to tend to your property with eco-friendly practices that don’t sacrifice the beauty of your landscape design. 
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.