734-213-6911 | 4100 S. Maple Road Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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  1. While many people assume that the U. S. tornado season lasts from April to May, that isn’t true for places other than tornado alley. The tornado season for Michigan actually starts in June and lasts until mid-July. A tornado might not touch the ground, but the storms associated with them can bring serious winds and rain from thunderstorms.

    Blooming Flowers In Springtime RainWhat is Storm Water Runoff?

    During thunderstorms that bring serious, torrential downpours to the area, there’s a good chance that the large amount of water can be a detriment to your property and cause serious storm water runoff. That storm water runoff can cause the storm drains to be overwhelmed, which can lead to flooding in the surrounding area. Storm water runoff can also gather debris and pollutants from your yard and wash them into natural waterways.

    The Pollutants and Debris That Could be in Your Yard

    Every street, parking lot, yard and driveway has pollutants that can be flushed out into the storm drains and eventually lead to the natural waterways of the city especially in Ann Arbor MI. Your driveway has toxic chemicals like antifreeze and oil that has leaked from cars.

    Most yards have chemicals used to treat weeds and pesticides from the garden that can rush with the runoff and reach the storm drain. Along with chemicals, silt, clay and sand can be disturbed and flow with the rushing water from your property.

    How Does the Water Travel From Your Property?

    While you shouldn’t head outside during a serious storm, the next time there’s a rain storm check to see how the rain collects and runs off from the house and the yard into the street. Storm water can’t be avoided, but it can be mitigated, so it doesn’t carry chemicals and other matter into the storm drains. Draw a map of your property with arrows indicating the direction of the storm water runoff. For proper storm water management, make sure that water is moving away from your foundation too.

    Plants and Trees to Manage the Storm Water

    When you’ve mapped the storm water flow, you can decide how you want to slow it down and spread it into the yard to benefit your plants and lawn. The addition of plants to the yard is one of the best ways to allow the water to soak into the soil. Plants will slow down the water and the soil can filter out many pollutants. Tree canopies will slow rainfall and spread it out over a wider area. The tree roots will help absorb water too.

    Garden Pond With RaindropsPlant a Garden Especially for the Rain

    Rain gardens are a great way to catch and slow water runoff since they are designed specifically for that purpose. They are planted in the low areas of the yard where runoff can collect. Rain gardens are great for storm water management.

    After mapping out the way water flows from your yard into the street, it’s important that you come up with a plan to ensure that the waterways in Ann Arbor MI don’t get polluted with contaminants from your yard. You can slow the water with landscaping.

  2. Lawn Irrigation SystemWhen it comes to irrigating your yard, there are plenty of options. But which is right for you? By considering the details of your space, available time, and budget, you can determine the best way to keep your yard green and watered.

    Why Irrigate?

    Irrigation can be much more efficient than above ground watering techniques. With the classic lawn sprinkler, water is not targeted to specific areas very well. Even good sprinklers water an area unevenly. The same is true if you use a hose by hand. With these systems, there can be expensive run off on your sidewalk or driveway.

    With an in-ground system, water is more efficiently targeted toward your lawn and your plants.

    Options for irrigation

    There are plenty of ways to irrigate. You can install small permanent sprinklers and set a timer. This system allows for water to be targeted efficiently. Whether it’s evenly spaced sprinklers on your lawn, or a couple of sprinklers targeting your rose bushes, this strategy can be very effective.

    Why is this better than an old fashioned oscillating sprinkler hooked up to a garden hose? Well, the sprinklers are low to the ground and the water is misted. This makes absorption easier.

    These sprinklers can also be set to a timer. By watering early in the morning, or after the hottest part of the day, less water is lost to evaporation. Thus, water is saved in the long run. This is better for your water bill, and in these times of drought, for our communities at large.

    There are plenty of options for your in-ground system. Kits can be purchased at home improvement stores. The setup you choose may involve poly tubing and mini sprinklers. Or it could be more complicated. Some systems today rely not on battery powered timers, but on more elaborate setups that involve networks and require wifi.

    DIY or Hire a Pro?

    If you have a large property in Ann Arbor MI and require a permanent system, going with a professional contractor may be the best choice for you. An irrigation system requires digging, connecting pipes and tubing, setting timers, and other labor. Experts are used to doing this work. Our experience can eliminate problems an absolute beginner might face.

    Also, when there is a hiccup in setting a system up, we know how to troubleshoot it. Maintaining an existing watering system is also a service we provide. Finding leaks and fixing them is one of the things we do best. With well trained technicians working on your property, you can rest assured that the job will be done right the first time.

    In Conclusion

    In-ground watering systems can be the best option for your property. Whether you have a traditional expanse of lawn, or an elaborate garden, we can help provide just the right solution for you in Ann Arbor MI. Watering by hand or with a traditional above ground sprinkler is not efficient, in terms of your time, money, or resources. With a permanent system, you have more control over the amount of water and hence, money, that goes into your property.

  3. One of the most frequent mistakes homeowners make with their lawns is over-watering them. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, too much water is as big a problem for lawns as too little water is. In fact, you can literally drown your lawn if you water it too frequently. The key to keeping your lawn happy is to give it that happy medium of enough water to grow without overwhelming it. If you want to keep your lawn from drowning, make sure you keep a weather eye out to avoid these five signs that you are over-watering your lawn.

    grass on water background1. An Abundance of Thatch

    One of the most prominent signs that you are overwatering your lawn is that it is overwhelmed by thatch. Thatch is a thick layer of partially decomposed plant matter that forms a dense mat on the surface of the soil under the lawn. This thatch breaks down on a healthy lawn and gives your lawn the nutrients it needs, but it does not have a chance to break down on an overwatered lawn.

    2. A Festival of Fungus

    If you are watering your lawn too much, one thing that will let you know fairly quickly is an abundance of mushrooms or other form of fungus. Fungi like mushrooms thrive in wet environments and overwatering your lawn will often lead to an invasion of mushrooms. Keep an eye out for mushrooms as an early warning sign that you need to cut down your watering regimen.

    3. Weeds

    Another sign to look out for in the battle against overwatering is an abundance of weeds in your lawn. In particular, crabgrass is a pesky weed that really loves it when homeowners over water their lawns. If you are wondering why your lawn is being overrun by crabgrass, it may very well be because you are giving your lawn too much water.

    4. An Infestation of Insects

    Insect pests thrive in grass environments in which the grass is stressed. One of the most stressful experiences a lawn can undergo is being overwatered. If you want to keep your lawn healthy and free from pests, then you should make sure that you do not water it too often. You may not always be able to see tNewly Seeded Grass Lawnhese pests, but a lawn that is suffering from inexplicable bare patches is often suffering from an insect infestation.

    5. Spongy Ground

    One of the easiest ways to tell that you are overwatering your lawn is that the ground is spongy. Your lawn should never be spongy. This includes right after you finish watering it. You want the ground under the lawn to still be firm even right after you water it.

    Keep a sharp eye out for these five warning signs of overwatering your lawn. This is an important part of keeping a lawn healthy. Keeping a lawn from becoming overwatered is just as important as keeping it from becoming invaded by pests or suffering from drought. A happy lawn will be a healthy lawn.

  4. Lawn Irrigation SystemIf you’re ready to invest in a permanent irrigation system or if you’ve got one and want to be sure it’s making the best use of water, contact a landscaping professional for an assessment of your current landscape. Standing water and inefficient run-off may mean that you should consider yard re-grading before installing permanent irrigation. In addition, standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, making your yard a hazard. If you have a permanent irrigation system and are dealing with an uneven or wasteful water distribution in Ann Arbor MI, a qualified landscaping professional can help you plan a better use of under-utilized water.

    Grading and Re-Grading Can Protect Your Foundation
    The most important thing to consider with regard to grading or re-grading your yard is foundation protection. An irrigation system that nourishes your lawn is wonderful. If it threatens your home, it’s a problem. A detailed assessment of the grade of your current landscape will provide you with the information you need regarding changing the grade of your lawn. Re-grading is critical if rainwater run-off or water from your yard’s irrigation system is impacting your foundation.

    If You Can’t Make It Level, Make It Beautiful!
    If you have a permanent irrigation system installed that doesn’t impact your foundation and is easy to winterize and maintain, re-grading will improve the level of your yard and the efficiency of your irrigation. An effective re-grade to level your lawn can provide you with a lawn that’s healthier and easier to mow. If re-grading for level doesn’t appeal to you, a landscape designer can offer many solutions and design ideas to correct issues such as standing water and run-off. For example, a low spot that collects water may be an ideal spot for a

    Garden Pond With RaindropsRain Garden. Rain gardens are dug deep and amended with permeable soil correction such as sand, compost and topsoil as needed. The native plants found in Ann Arbor MI can be put to beautiful use in these gardens and are water tolerant and thirsty. These plants filter run-off water, provide nourishment and habitats for birds, bees and butterflies, and offer low maintenance beauty in the landscape. Rain gardens can also be fed by directing the run-off from your downspouts and outdoor buildings with a

    Bioswale, or gently sloped drainage course designed to remove silt from run-off. You can make efficient use of water and beautify your yard. Bioswales are filled with water tolerant vegetation and often treated with irrigation fabric to reduce soil erosion. This efficient combination of landscaping features will make terrific use of any standing water in your yard.

    A careful yard re-grading can provide you with the smooth, even stretch of yard you desire. Once re-graded and level, your yard will be able to make better use of water, fertilizer treatments, and rainfall. However, if a re-grading for level isn’t possible, a qualified landscape designer can offer you other options to make the best use of standing water and run-off in your yard.

  5. Garden WallTrying to garden in Ann Arbor MI is no easy task. The plentiful rainfall can easily wash away fragile seedlings and newly planted flowers. Still, the love of gardening supersedes all of the challenges, and if you are resourceful enough, you can always find a way to make plants blossom despite the mess. One way to do that is to work smarter instead of harder, and use retaining walls. Read on for five great reasons you should consider adding them to your garden.

    Soil Erosion
    Heavy downpours of rain, high winds, and melting snowfall all contribute to soil erosion. As the top soil is washed away so are important nutrients that feed plants. Roots also become exposed, which cause the plants to wilt and die off. Retaining walls hold soil at bay, so this can’t happen.

    Aesthetics
    A retaining wall is not only functional but beautiful too. It adds a tremendous amount of curb appeal, which increases property values. In fact, they have become so desirable in Ann Arbor MI that properties that have them often sell faster than properties that don’t. That is because when they are placed in a garden setting with vines or flowers trailing down them, they certainly make passersby stop and stare at how lovely it all looks.

    Property and Garden Dividers
    A retaining wall is a sturdy property and garden divider. This is most helpful if your home is close to surrounding neighbors because it can act as a barrier to keep your prize rose bushes unavailable to stray dogs. It is also effective in keeping garden microclimates separate from each other.

    Raised Garden Beds
    Some people think of a retaining wall as a simple, flat structure, but that isn’t so. These walls can be curved, wavy, and made from many different sturdy substances. This versatility makes them perfect for raised garden beds. The walls support the sides of the bed and can transform a flat desolate area into a stunning focal point.

    Garden Bed Retaining Wall

    Flatten Sloped Areas
    While gardens that are planted on hills are quite lovely to look at, working in them can present quite a challenge. Many gardeners have taken a tumble while attempting to weed, plant, and till up gardens on hills. By adding a retaining wall, and some extra top soil too, a high-sloping hill can be transformed into a flattened garden bed ready for planting. This also helps with the above mentioned problem of soil erosion since hills have the highest rates of erosion because rain can carry the soil downward so much easier on them.

    As you can see, retaining walls are versatile, beautiful, and functional. They increase property values and make gardening easier. If you are considering having one or more of them installed, call in professionals to do the job. They have to be built using proper methods, so that they are the most strong and effective. Soil weighs quite a bit, so if they are not installed properly, they will not be able to withstand the pressure, and they could crumble. Twin Oaks can install your new retaining walls perfectly, so contact us today.

  6. Landscaping your yard involves a balance between green growing things and areas such as walkways, patios and decks. These “hardscapes” can be designed using many different materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.pulver 9

    Pavers
    No one particular material is used to make pavers. You might find these design elements made out of:
    • Brick
    • Concrete
    • Flagstone
    • Cobblestone

    This variety of compositions gives you a wide selection when it comes to style, color and size. Pavers can be shaped in many different fashions, so installing them can be a challenge for a nonprofessional, espeically since ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF PAVERS IS SUBBASE AND BASE products used to create a sound environment.  However, the stunning mix of colors that results makes an eye-catching addition to your yard.

    Concrete
    You can do pretty much anything with concrete. From perfectly square patios to textured poolside perimeters, concrete is a smart choice when you need a nonslip surface with a high level of durability. Its low cost means that you can create all kinds of landscaping elements without breaking the bank, and the ability to add aggregate or stamped designs allows you to make every style your own.

    Natural Stone
    This natural choice creates a harmonious look between your patio and the rest of your yard. Like brick, stone can be laid in a variety of patterns and be used for such versatile applications as garden paths and stepping stones. Locally quarried stone is cheaper since it doesn’t have to be shipped far, but harder stones such as granite and marble will increase landscaping costs.

    Composite Wood Products (Trex, Azec)Outdoor Patio
    When you want a rustic look for your patio, composite wood is a sensible option as they are resistant to outdoor damage and many have lifetime warranties. These products provide an almost totally free maintenance plan, most would include just a simple cleaning for spills, etc.

    In regards to using timber wood, it will require repeated treatment to retain its beauty and therefore requires more maintenance than other hardscape materials.  In addition, using timber wood for retaining soils generally shorten the life span of the wood.

    Tile
    Though highly decorative with a unique style, tile is a tentative choice for patios in Michigan. Its glazed surface may become slippery in wet conditions and the material is less hard-wearing than other hardscaping options. On the other hand, tile can add a warm glow to your outdoor area, so using it in moderation may be viable.

    Considering the different types of materials available before beginning your patio or hardscape project will help you envision the style that works best for your yard. Safety and durability are important when it comes to areas that will see a lot of use, and you want to choose something that will last for a long time without needing repair. Low maintenance, cost-effective materials abound so it shouldn’t be difficult to find just the right fit for your outdoor designs.

  7. Lighting_largeYou’ve worked hard to make your home an oasis of privacy and safety for your family. Make sure that your landscaping offers protection as well as screening from the outside world. A qualified landscaper can offer you outdoor lighting solutions that will reduce pockets of darkness around your home in Ann Arbor MI. This custom lighting design, specific to your architectural features and plantings, will increase the security level around your house.

    Wired Lighting Options
    The lighting options available are many. If power is available in the areas where you need to increase light, you can choose from

    • traditional internally controlled lighting, controlled with switch from inside the home
    • timed lighting units, which can be programmed to turn on at a specific time
    • daylight sensitive lights, which feature a sensor that reads the current amount of daylight and turns on at dusk, or
    • motion sensor units, which turn on when there is movement near the light fixture itself.

    Depending on the placement of the light and your household habits, each of these lighting units offers a security benefit. Timed lighting units and daylight sensitive fixtures offer you the surety of knowing that your outdoor security lighting is on whether you’re home or not. Motion sensor lighting units will send an intruder running, but can also become a nuisance if neighborhood cats or other night time animals are triggering the lighting unit. Your family habits can help determine the best lighting design for your situation and security needs.

    Non-Wired Lighting Options
    While there are many solar lighting landscaping options available for ambiance and walkway lighting, most of the units found in garden centers and home supply stores are not bright enough to be considered security lighting. However, solar motion sensor lights, properly sited and mounted, can provide you with a bright light in a dark area where power is not easily available. Because these units feature a separate charging panel, you can count on a fully charged light fixture, even in the placement of the lighting unit is in a dim spot. While the charging panel can be mounted to most efficiently catch the sun, the motion sensor is built into the lighting unit. Many of these units can function up to fifteen days after a full charge, so even during the rainy season, your solar security light will function consistently.

    A conversation with a professional landscaper can provide you with the best mix of solar and wired outdoor lighting solutions. No matter the season, you can be assured of quality security lighting to protect your family and home from unwelcome intrusion. Guidance will also be available on the best treatment of foundation plantings that may have become large enough to give a potential intruder a spot to hide. If you need plantings cut back, removed or replaced in Ann Arbor MI, contact a landscaping professional. A careful review of your home, window placement, current plantings and lighting needs is a great investment in the safety of your family and home.

  8. A weed is an undesired plant in a particular environment or surrounding. It is a plant that is considered useless or unwanted in a certain environment. The environment can either be a garden, farmyard, parks, and lawns. Weeds tend to grow together with planted vegetation or flowerbed and tend to make gardening difficult hindering the planted vegetation from growing efficiently and freely. The most common types of garden, lawns, and homestead weeds are the Crabgrass, Pigweed, Quack grass, Chickweed, Purslane, Lamb’s Quarters, Shepherd’s Purse and Buckhorn Plantain. Such weeds are a common gardening problem in parts of the state such as Dexter, Ann Arbor MI, and Ypsilanti among other areas.

    CDandelion Weedrabgrass carries the highest number of lawn discomfiture and complaints. It reproduces by its seeds and by rooting itself up at the lower joints. If not directly controlled, crabgrass competes directly with the surrounding vegetation for moisture and soil nutrients. It also hosts the leaf blast disease, nematodes, and the mosaic virus since it hosts them and become the next source of infections. Pigweed, on the other hand, is identified by its red roots, and it reproduces by producing lots of seeds. Its plenty seeds grow into a high number, hence interfering with the lawn or homestead garden plantation.

    Quack Grass is a perennial type of grass that is resistant and that creeps and forms a massive layer on the soil surface thus hindering other plants from growing. It affects up to 20% of a plants growth and if not uprooted it ends up demeaning the whole lawn or garden plantation. Chickweed is classified in two different types of species, an annual and a perennial one. The perennial one is known as the mouse-ear type of chickweed which forms a dense prostrate patch in gardens and lawns. Common chickweed is the perennial type of chickweed, and it appears more delicate distant view but has leaves vertically spread.

    Lamb’s Quarter is a kind of weed that is common during the summer. It is characterized by its tendency of rapidly draining moisture Man working in gardenfrom the soil. It is a fast-growing type of weed that grows annually and produces its seeds so fast. It, therefore, reproduces at a more rapid rate and takes over the plantation. Purslane is another type of weed that reproduces by its tiny black seed and stem-based fragments. It appears either in early summer or late spring. It thrives well in a fertile and productive soil under warm weather. It can live in the soil for a very extended period in the absence of moisture. It overgrows and prevents the vegetation from growing.

    The Shepherd’s Purse is another type of weed that survives by manipulating itself in the fastest way possible through its seeds. The weed is annual and is flowery in nature. Its seeds are yellowish brown in color and can stay on the ground for a very long period. It survives best in cool weather. The Buckhorn Plantain is a perennial weed hard in nature that also reproduces using seeds. It is a narrow-leaved seed, and it appears in any season. Common in Ann Arbor MI. If not controlled in advance, it invades pastures, lawns, and meadows. The above weeds are dangerous and can ruin gardening activities if not controlled early enough.

    If you find any of these weeds in your yard be sure to contact us to have them removed today.

  9. Lawn aeration is most ofteLawn aerationn recommended for older lawns that have developed problems with thatch. However, even young lawns benefit from lawn aeration. Aeration improves drainage, increases grass health, builds up drought resistance and prevents turf diseases.

    If thatch is a problem, then you should definitely choose to aerate your lawn. If thatch isn’t a problem, then consider the following reasons why lawn aeration is still beneficial:

    1.) Increase Drought Resistance

    The hot, dry summer of 2012 left many lawns in Ann Arbor MI brown and crisp. The reason behind so many distressed lawns does not lay solely with the weather. Compacted clay soils prevent proper root development. The same is true for soil in high traffic areas. In these growing environments roots are unable to penetrate packed soils. The result is shallow rooting. During times of significant drought, shallow roots are unable to reach deeper water sources. However, turf roots are able to penetrate and grow deeply in loose soils. The deeper the root penetration the more resistant the turf is to drought.

    2.) Control Grubs

    Grubs are beetle larvae that feed on turf and cause significant damage. The 2012 drought increased grub populations in Ann Arbor MI because the lack of rain weakened turf root systems and made them susceptible to grubs. If you are interested in curbing grub populations without using pesticides, then you can increase mowing height, encourage deep rooting provide fertilizers and water during dry periods. As mentioned earlier, aeration promotes deep growing roots. Aeration can also be benefit those choosing to use pesticides because loose soil allows better chemical penetration.

    3.) Improve Drainage

    There are 83 distinct soil types in Washtenaw County. In Ann Arbor MI soils range from sandy loam to clay. If you notice pooling in your yard or yellowing grass, then it is likely you have clay soils. Clay soils are made up ofsmall particles that are easily compressed creating a dense surface that is difficult for water to penetrate. Pooling water drowns your lawn and can be responsible for yellowing. During the aeration process, plugs of soil are pulled from your lawn providing drainage outlets.

    4.) Encourage Worms

    Lawn Irrigation SystemWorms are natural aerators. Although worms improve compacted soils by tunneling through them, worms won’t inhabit severely compacted soils. Aerating a lawn initiates the development of a habitable worm environment. Once worms get into a turf’s soil they will continue to improve and aerate it.

    5.) Prevent Fungal Diseases

    Some common turf types found in Ann Arbor are Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and fine fescue. Fungal diseases like red thread, slime mold and dollar spot tend to infect fescues but lawn experts have seen it in Kentucky bluegrass. Fungal diseases are commonly caused by excess moisture that builds when lawn soils are compacted. Other causes of fungal infection are weak roots and distressed grass. Improving drainage and increasing turf strength decreases the risk of fungal disease. Aeration is one of the best ways to encourage deep rooting turf and to discourage disease, distress and pests.

    If you need lawn aeration services performed contact Twin Oaks today.