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.