Monday, April 23, 2018

Let's wake up your lawn after this long winter

Your lawn endured a lot of snow, ice, and harsh wind this past winter. Now that spring has come to melt the last of the freeze, it’s time to survey the grass and see what you need to do to bring your lawn back to life.
It may be able to bounce back on its own, but it may need some help. Here are some tips on reviving your lawn for the warmer months ahead. Just in case this sounds like more work than you have time for, we'd be happy to give you a free consultation. Give us a call, 616-893-5765 or complete our contact form and we’ll call you.

1. Clean Up the Yard
With the buildup of leaves, dirt, and debris, there’s a good chance your lawn will require a thorough cleaning. Use your hand tools to clean away everything that covers the grass – or use a blower if that’s easier. If there are any plants, shrubs or trees that didn’t survive the harsh winter, it’s time to remove them.
Any plants that did survive the winter – shrubs, and trees in particular – will need to be pruned and trimmed to allow for new spring growth. You can do this yourself on a weekend or give RRR Lawn & Landscape a call. Removing excess debris also allows you to see any bare, short or messy areas in the grass that may need extra care.

2. Aerate the Soil
If your soil was packed down by snow and foot traffic over the winter, it’s going to be hard for the roots to get necessary nutrients and grow. In this case, you’ll need to aerate the lawn and tousle the topsoil to allow nutrients to move freely.
There are two methods of aeration: poking holes in the lawn or using a plug aerator. To ensure your lawn is aerated properly, it’s best to hire a professional. You can rent a plug aerator and do the job yourself if your lawn is small. It depends on your time, budget and the size of your lawn.

 3. Get Rid of Dead Grass
Over the winter, your grass was probably matted down and flattened as snow and ice piled up. While the grass will start to rise again as spring continues, some of it may have died. Too many grass clippings could be left from your first mowing, as well.
The best balance is less than half an inch of clippings because more grass will prevent the soil from getting the necessary nutrients. If you have a lot of dead grass on your lawn, you need to think about dethatching it with a rake. Taking the rake, simply remove any dead or excess grass so your soil and living grass can breathe and access nutrients.

4. Handle Weeds and Their Seeds
As your lawn starts to recover from the winter, last year’s leftover weeds and seeds start to re-emerge. This is the time to take drastic measures against weed invasion. Look for any weeds that are starting to grow back and pull them up immediately. For any seeds that might be growing or starting to awaken in the soil, take preventive measures. Spray an herbicide over your lawn so it kills the seeds before they turn into adult weeds. You can also use a non-chemical approach to preventive weed treatment, such as cornmeal. Just be sure to do it early in the season before you water or apply any fertilizers that could spur weed growth.

5. Seed or Sod?
There’s a chance the winter weather killed parts of your lawn, leaving barren patches to cover. You have two approaches to handling these areas. You can buy and plant seeds, then water and wait for the seeds to grow. Or, if you’re in a hurry to cover the patch, the quick solution is to buy sod, which is pre-grown grass. We can lay down sod and do our best to match your existing grass.

6. Add Nutrients
Once you’ve addressed the bare areas and gotten the lawn cleaned up, it’s time to give it some nutrients. You probably stopped applying fertilizer, mulch, and water back in the fall. Now that spring is here, it’s time to give those nutrients back to the lawn.
Apply fertilizer to your lawn and garden beds. Mulch is particularly professional looking and effective for garden beds and around trees, especially if you don’t have edging in place. Give us a call for your mulch installation too.
Watering is best done in the morning – just be sure not to drown the lawn. This is true for seeds and sod as well. Don’t water in the middle of the day, because the sun will evaporate most of the moisture.

7. Keep It Well-Maintained
To keep your lawn in good shape through spring and into summer, make sure you mow at regular intervals. Your grass should stay at three inches long until fall, otherwise, it could dry out.
Fertilize intermittently, as too much could lead to pests and weeds. If you need help with the upkeep, you can always call us to can come to your house on a weekly, semiweekly or monthly basis.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hardscaping, Softscaping, and Landscaping, Oh My!

Softscaping and Hardscaping are common terms used by us to describe your landscape design project. Sometimes clients ask us to explain the difference, and often we need to remind clients that it is the combination of the two that gives you a beautiful, balanced final project.

Hardscape refers to the heavier elements, such as stones, rocks, patios, and driveways. Softscape refers to everything else, such as soil, plants, flowers and color schemes.

Think of Hardscaping as the structure of your landscaping design. Without features like retaining walls, pavers, pool, fire pit, rocks and other hardscaping the yard will feel disorganized in the same way that a lack of softscaping will make your yard feel hard, empty and void of color. Softscape elements soften the edges and change with the season; they invite you to move through your hardscape.

Hardscape plays a vital role in your landscape architecture; it levels the soil, limits erosion, and defines various spaces for all your outdoor activities.
Here are the most popular hardscape features:
Swimming pools
Stone benches
Heavy materials like stone, flagstone, and rock

Softscape refers to the softer side and color of your backyard landscaping. This is what makes softscaping so much fun, as it’s always changing to fit the season and vision of the homeowner.
Examples of softscape features include:
Vegetable gardens

No landscape is complete without elements from both categories. Retaining walls are ideal for incorporating raised plant beds, planters can be placed on steps, or along the top of low walls. This blending will achieve a cohesive feel to your space. It can also soften the hard lines of paved or built-up areas to give them a more natural and inviting appearance.

Our goal is a yard that looks lovely and is practical and comfortable for your family to enjoy. So now that you know about the two most important features of landscaping, let RRR Lawn & Landscape help you create the yard of your dreams. Contact us today, 616-893-5765 to learn more about our Landscaping Services!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Preparing Your Landscape for Garden Mulch


You can add 7 percent to 14 percent to your home’s value with a well-designed landscape. Adding mulch is an inexpensive, yet efficient way to spruce up your flower beds and walkways. But before you put down mulch in your yard, there are some tasks that need to be completed.

9 steps to prepare your landscape and flower beds for mulch.

1. Kill weeds in your landscape
Before adding mulch and embarking on your garden landscaping ideas, it's important to eliminate all unwanted plants and weed growth. Pulling up and removing unwanted plants is a simple and efficient natural weed killer. Another method for how to kill weeds is to spray them with an herbicide one to two weeks prior to mulching. This will allow the weeds to completely die.

2. Trim trees and bushes in your yard
It is best to trim nearby trees and bushes before mulching, and clean beneath them, because of the debris they create.

3. Clean out your garden beds
Use a rake to remove dead leaves, weeds, and trimmings.

4. Cultivate your landscaping beds
After your beds have been cleaned, cultivate any compacted soil or mulch. A rototiller or hand cultivator will do the job. Cultivating allows moisture and air to pass through the soil more easily.

5. Edge landscape beds before adding garden mulch
Creating a clean edge really enhances your landscape and gives it a professional look. An edging shovel or power edger can be used to create your edge.

6. Before you mulch your landscape, rake the area smooth
Using a stiff rake, such as a mud rake, smooth out all the surfaces to be mulched. Otherwise, your mulched flower beds or may look lumpy. This also allows the mulch an even depth, 2" is generally advised for moisture retention.

7. Apply a pre-emergent to prevent weeds
Apply a pre-emergent, such as Preen, to prevent germination of weed seeds.

8. It’s time to mulch your landscape and flower beds
Using your hands or a rake, apply new mulch over the existing cultivated mulch or soil. RRR Lawn & Landscape suggests a layer of mulch 2 inches (but no more than 3) thick.  Moisturize mulch and help it settle into place with water when you are finished.

9. Mulch maintenance
Once a month or so, check your mulch for compaction. If compacted, use a garden claw, rake or cultivator to loosen it. This will allow water and air to pass, which helps prevent the growth of fungus and restores its appearance.

If this all sounds like a bigger DIY project than you wish, give us a call today and schedule a Free Consultation, 616-893-5765 or complete our Contact Form.

Monday, March 26, 2018

6 Trends in Landscaping to Add to Your Wish List

Your yard is no longer just a place to plant a few shrubs. Think second living room or playroom, outdoor kitchen, fresh air office, and more.
Stimulated by a healthy economy, homeowners are innovating their landscapes in fun, new ways.  Here are some of the top landscape trends for 2018. 
To protect against the elements, "climate-cognizant landscaping" allows homeowners to quickly accommodate shifts in weather: Think pergolas with retractable canopies, outdoor heaters, and hardscape materials that can withstand drastic temperature fluctuations. Perfect for West Michigan climates.
1. Outdoor fireplaces
Move over, fire pit: Why hunker over a hole with hot coals in the ground when you can lounge next to a bona fide fireplace? It's the perfect addition to an outdoor living space with couches, particularly in colder climes where it might otherwise be too chilly to hang outdoors.
2. Creative play structures 
Seriously, who wouldn't want to play chess in their backyard? It's all part of the trend of "experiential landscape design," in which you interact with your surroundings in a playful, multisensory way.
3. Wonderful Water Features
Interest continues to grow in water features such as waterfalls or small ponds. Landscape and garden designers say water elements are among the biggest trends. We love the sound of water in the garden: water features from inexpensive self-contained systems in an urn or portable fountain to a high-end water wall are popular across all budgets.
4. The Birds and the Bees
It's back-to-the-earth functionality in more and more backyards. Besides figuring out how to incorporate veggie gardens and fruit trees into the landscape, some homeowners are also adding chickens and bees. 
5. Plants in playful colors and patterns
While the simple elegance of greenery was all the rage last year, 2018 will see a renewed interest in adding pops of color and whimsy to landscapes. With UltraViolet named the Color of the Year by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems and an influencer on interior and exterior design, landscape professionals expect to integrate more violets, verbena, clematis, iris, and other purple flowers into landscapes. “Patterned” plants are also getting their time in the garden spotlight, as these unique plants are revered for their intricate details, such as striped leaves or brightly colored veins.
6. Mainstream Sustainability
Low-maintenance gardens, drought-tolerant plants, and less turfgrass have become the norm in landscape design. Homeowners now assume sustainable design will be a major part of the plan — both for economic and environmental reasons. 
Let's get creative and discuss your idea list. Your outdoor living space can be as inventive as you wish with RRR Lawn & Landscape.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Good soil prep is the key to successful gardening

"Make your bed" is one of those statements that we each must have heard a million times as kids.  As gardeners though, this simple phrase has a different meaning.  "Make your bed" is all about preparing the soil for planting.  Every gardener gets excited by the thought of finally getting his or her hands in the soil and planting out the newest plant acquisitions.  The joy of finally getting to see the garden come together in spring is certainly a rewarding experience.  However, the key to success starts before the first plant even sees the garden. 
Soil amendment is just one of the steps we take at Seasonal Color by RRR Lawn & Landscape. Our designers are sticklers on "good preparation procedures" so here are some tips for your own lawn, landscape, and seasonal color. If it sounds overwhelming, give us a call, we'll do it all, 616-893-5765.
Soil Amendment | Flower Bed Design & Installation | Container Design & Installation
Custom Hanging Baskets | Rotation of Seasonal Annuals
Maintenance Programs including Fertilization, Deadheading & Watering

The roots of a plant are the foundation on which that plant thrives.  Good roots will generally mean that you have a happy, healthy plant that can survive the rigors of spring and summer.  A poor root system means your plants cannot grow to their full potential and leaves them vulnerable to damage from insects and disease, which is why we order through Proven Winners for all of our Seasonal Color plantings.  The most important factor for good roots is good soil preparation.  
There are three basic types of beds you might be preparing.  The first type is a brand new bed that has never been planted before.  The second type is an empty bed that has been planted before and the third type is a bed with existing perennials, bulbs, and/or shrubs.

Brand New Beds

The first step when planning to add a new flower bed or even if you are simply planting a tree or shrub is to check if there are any buried utility lines on your property. In addition to public utility lines, you will want to make sure you have identified any irrigation lines that might be buried on your property. 
1.  Work the soil when it is moist, but not wet.
2.  Turn the soil over to a depth of at least 12 inches.
3.  Add 2-3 inches of compost and turn it into the bed.
4.  Either cover the bed with a thick (3-4") layer of mulch or use a weed and feed to help keep weed seeds from germinating.
5.  Top dress with another layer of compost to keep down weeds and preserve moisture.

Existing Beds

1.  Add 2-3 inches of compost and turn it into the bed.
2.  Work the soil when it is moist, but not wet.
3.  Turn the soil over to a depth of at least 12 inches.
5.  Top dress with another layer of compost to keep down weeds and preserve moisture.

Existing Beds With Plants

1.  Add 2-3 inches of compost and work it into the top layer of soil, if possible
2.  Work the soil when it is moist, but not wet.
3.  Do not allow the compost to come into contact with plant stems
5.  Top dress with another layer of compost to keep down weeds and preserve moisture.
Preparing the soil in your beds doesn't have to be difficult, although it is great exercise.  Adding organic matter is the one thing that all soils can benefit from whether your soil is sand or clay based.  The addition of organic matter is beneficial, even if you are blessed with loam soil.  Are there more in-depth steps that can be taken?  Sure.  However, this is a good place to start. 
You may also be asking where you can get compost or organic matter.  You can make your own, you can buy it from your local garden center, or many municipalities have compost for sale or even for free.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Is Your Landscape Ready For Spring?

It's March and we both know there are a few more snowfalls to come but how excited are you to see your grass and think about how great your yard will look this year?

Hmm, not so excited? Concerned in fact, let us help you with that.

Creating an eye-catching lawn is an important part of establishing your home’s uniqueness and individuality in the neighborhood. It’s important to have the brightest lights at Christmastime, right? The same thing goes for your flowers, your trees and your general plant decorations all year round. 
Luxury Landscape Design can actually have practical applicability for your home or commercial property in addition to making it look striking. 
Here are four important ways a good landscape design plan will benefit you:
  •   Increasing the resale value
  •   Cutting down on monthly costs
  •   Improving the function of your landscape
  •   Giving your property a bit more privacy
Landscape design can include not only all your wishes but also create solutions for problem areas such as water drainage, defining an entrance or fixing a retaining wall.

Once the design is agreed upon, let our Landscape Management & Lawn Care take care of your weekly maintenance and our Seasonal Color service manage your flower beds, planters, and hanging baskets.

Our four seasons, Spring, Summer, Winter & Fall, of Seasonal Color services are sure to keep your home or business looking colorful and festive all year round.  Our design team will select appropriate plant varieties for your beds and containers based upon conditions; sun/shade, irrigation availability, soil condition and climate.

Seasonal Color Installation Options:
  • Rotation of Seasonal Annuals
  • Flower Bed Design & Installation
  • Container Design & Installation
  • Custom Hanging Baskets
  • Soil Amendment
  • Maintenance Programs including Fertilization, Deadheading & Watering
Give us a call, let us present a plan and then take it from there! You will love your yard again, (616) 893-5765.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Couple Easy Improvements for Commercial Properties

Let’s discuss two ways to improve a commercial property by increasing both curb appeal, attracting customers and visitors on a regular basis, and possibly even property values. This is our passion at RRR Lawn & Landscape, LLC.
Plant Shrubs and Seasonal Flowers
Our eyes are always drawn to bright and vivid colors, and one of the best ways to achieve this on a commercial property is through planting ornamental shrubs and seasonal flowers. Ornamental shrubs come in a variety of sizes, heights, and colors and they can be designed to add an element of height and visual appeal, especially in bare areas of the property. Seasonal flowers can be planted in a variety of locations, such as property entrances, near doorways, or along walkways or garden areas on the property. Businesses can also use large, bold-colored planters near buildings for further aesthetic value, and to minimize plant maintenance.
Install Water Features
When we step foot onto a commercial property, whether it's an office complex, shopping and retail center, hospital, school, or other commercial sites, we remember if there's something unique or beautiful about the property. If it seems like a tranquil place to be, we are far more likely to return or have positive memories associated with it. Water features can go a long way in helping create a peaceful and calming environment, no matter how hectic or busy the commercial property might be. A water feature such as fountain or pond can not only put visitors and customers at ease but also helps the well-being of employees who get to benefit from their beautiful natural surroundings.

Let our Seasonal Color and Landscape Design services work for you in transforming your commercial properties to stunning landscapes and tranquil places to work and do business on a daily basis. And, just maybe your competitors will be green with envy.