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  1. Not many people spend as much time as they should thinking about their pavements. Like every other part of your home, there are more ways to pave the pavement than you know. The installation of a different type of pavement can update your home’s curb appeal and change the entire appearance of your home overall. On the other hand, using the wrong paving material could be the reason your house looks drab and dated. Below is a handy guide that can help you determine the ideal pavement in Ann Arbor Michigan.

     

    Concrete Pavements

    Concrete is the oldest standby material for roadways. There are two main reasons for most suburban homes opting for this material. The first reason is that it is durable, and the second reason is that it is virtually, maintenance-free. However, the material also has a downside. For instance, concrete stains quickly, especially, if you are fond of making car repairs that could lead to oil spills on the pavement. Also, if you live in cooler climates, it might not be advisable to have a concrete pavement, because it will need frequent removal of ice, which breaks down the concrete.

     

    Asphalt Pavements

    An asphalt pavement is made by combining sand, rock, asphalt, and cement. Most of these pavements typically come in basic black, but you can stamp different designs onto your pavement to make it unique. The material is popular, because it is easy to install and cheap. If you have a vast and long pavement to cover, this is the ideal material for you. On the other hand, you will need a lot of maintenance to keep the pavement looking fresh and to get long service out of it.

     

    Gravel pavements

    These pavements are made of loose gravel poured into a barrier. If you have a long and winding driveway in the countryside with attractive landscaping, then this is an excellent pavement material. The material is interesting because of the low cost and ease of installation, however, you will have to rake up the gravel from time to time, and replace the gravel every few years.

     

    Brick Pavements

    If you want a classic feel to your pavement, then the ideal material to use is brick. A perimeter is created and the bricks are layered across. Even though the cost of a brick is a little more expensive than other materials, when the material is installed right, it can last for decades.

     

    Cobblestone

    Cobblestone is the ideal material to use when you want to create an old world feel in your pavement. The great thing about the material is that even though it is a little costly, it can last for decades when it is installed in the right manner. A little wear and tear makes it look more classic.

     

    Other materials that can be used for pavements include glass and green alternatives which work best in areas where grass grows easily.

    Those are some of the most common types of driveways in the country. When making a selection, think about the cost of installing the path, the cost of maintenance, the local weather, durability of the material, and whether you will be using the way to work on your vehicles. Consult with competent contractors, and make the right choice for your driveway in Ann Arbor Michigan.

     

  2. Soil fertility is essential for plant growth. Often, however, many people do not keep track of the condition of the soil they use. The results are evident in the increased land sizes that are becoming infertile. Small scale landscape projects are also guilty of contributing to infertile soils due to poor land management. Consequently, many of their plants and landscaping works give sub-optimal results. Over time, increased infertility, if not tackled, will lead to land being completely barren. Here are a few causes of soil infertility and land barrenness to consider and avoid.

     

    • Soil Structure

    When the soil has many large particles, it becomes highly oxygenated but drains water quickly. Conversely, when soil particles are too small, water will flow at a decreased rate, but the oxygen levels drop. Sandy and clay soils have large and fine soil particles, respectively, and both represent examples of infertile soils that lead to barren land.

    Consequently, it is exceptionally hard for any landscape project to bear fruit if you own a beach house or your home is surrounded by rocky terrain. However, there are methods to bypass this set of problems where your natural soil is not dependable. Consulting a landscaping firm will help you determine what will work best for you.

     

    • Acidity

    Homeowners should be cautious of the type and levels of fertilizers they use in their backyards. Nitrogenous fertilizers, for example, are notorious at making the soil more acidic. If you apply it often on your soil, be advised to have your soil pH levels regularly analyzed to check how low they are before the fertility is drastically affected. The acidic state leads to plants requiring more energy to absorb nutrients from the soil. To this end, a professional landscaper is also recommendable, if you consistently use commercial fertilizers (as different types affect the soil pH differently).

     

    • Pollution

    Continuous use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and insecticides plays a significant role to soils being unproductive and barren. The above contaminants adversely affect the soil and the microorganisms found in the soil and should only be applied to your lawn on the recommendation of a professional. Failure to adhere to this will drastically affect the soil’s ability to support plant life and make the soil lose minerals faster. Additionally, organisms present in the soil are also at risk with improper use of these synthetic chemicals. Therefore, continuous use of chemical additives should only be done by a professional landscaping company for the soil to remain fertile and support plant life.

     

    The Effects of Barren and Infertile Soil

    • Adverse effects of plant growth: Primarily, it affects how arable land is. When unsuitable to support plant life, none will flourish when planted on such soil. No matter the efforts put in, the garden will yield unfavorable results.

     

    • Increased desertification: Drought and aridity set in when soil fails to support plant life. Consequently, the desertification process is highly amplified, and previously productive areas become arid.

     

    • Increased flooding: The soil has less ability to hold water. More flood instances occur as a result, because the land is unable to soak and retain water.

     

    Based on this, it is clear how soil fertility can be a sensitive issue when it comes to landscaping. Nothing should be left to chance. A qualified landscaping company with years experience can save you a great deal by helping your soil maintain its fertility through proper management. Consulting one is, therefore, highly recommended.

     

  3. Landscape decor should have a focal point rather than planting flowers, trees, and shrubbery randomly. The attention to a particular place in your yard should enhance the effect but never be overpowering.

    How To Create Focus

    You can create focus of a particular place with a variety of natural or man-made elements including:

    • Trees
    • Shrubbery
    • Boulders
    • Gazebo or Pergola
    • Fountain
    • Pond

    Whatever you use to create a center of attention with your landscape design, it should be harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

     

    The Purpose of Landscaping

    Landscaping design is used to compliment the architecture and decor of your home. The idea is to draw the eye to a focal point in the yard and work around it. The flowers and plants you choose for landscaping your yard is the fun part, but with unlimited choices, it can be overwhelming. When deciding on colors, you can pick colors that are complimentary or contrasting. You can start with a small area and add to it or landscape your entire outdoor space. Make sure to have a focal point that you work around.

     

    Landscaping Techniques To Beautify Your Home

    1. Foundation plantings using shrubs or flowers around the foundation compliment the exterior decor of your home. To focus on a front facing wall with windows, plant decorative shrubbery between the two windows at the foundation and plant other bushes around it symmetrically to draw attention to the center wall. Foundation planting is effective for a home with exterior siding to break up the horizontal lines of the house.

     

    1. Flank entryways with trees or shrubs, with taller plants at the larger of the doorways. Another way to use the front entryway as a focus point is to plant decorative shrubbery on either side of the front entrance.

     

    1. Planting to scale can enhance or detract from the landscaping. Trees that grow to great heights shouldn’t be planted near a one-story home. However, planting a flowering tree such as a dogwood will compliment the design of the house and its architectural details.

     

    1. Framing is a way to enhance distant scenery that’s visible from your property such as a mountain scene. To make the panoramic view the focus, plant a line of shrubbery, flowering trees, or hedges.

     

    1. Curving lines are effective in creating a relaxed, informal atmosphere with your landscaping design. Curing lines create a more natural setting than a formal garden. Curved line plantings are effective in an area near a small pond or lake on the property as well as a wooded spot. The curved style of plantings works well with one-story, contemporary homes to minimize the straight lines.

     

    1. Creating focus for a garden can be challenging, whether the space is large or small. When flowers are planted randomly, there’s not a focal point. Some points to remember when creating a focus are:
    • Position the focal point a little off center
    • For a circular garden, place the focal point toward the rear
    • The focus can be a statue, tree, birdbath, or fountain
    • Use seasonal plantings in a group

     

    A landscaper can work with you to create a beautifully landscaped yard, and advise you about the flowers, trees, and shrubs that will grow well in your area and enhance the appearance of your home.

     

  4. A gazebo can be an beautiful focal point and gathering spot for your backyard. However, the process of picking one out and shopping for it can be daunting. It can be overwhelming just knowing where to begin. If you are considering a gazebo for your yard, use this guide to help you identify what you want and how you should prepare for it.

    What Will Your Gazebo Be Used For?

    The first step in figuring out what type of gazebo will work best for you is to decide what you intend to use it for. There are nearly endless possibilities, but ultimately, the functionality of the gazebo should be of serious consideration when you are trying to decide which one you want. Below is a list of several different uses for a gazebo to help you determine which one will work best for you.

    Common Uses For A Gazebo

    • A gathering or ceremony like a wedding.
    • A place to get away and relax in the shade.
    • Increase the value of your home or make it more appealing to potential buyers.
    • A place for entertaining guests and hosting dinner parties.
    • A cool and shady place to exercise outdoors.

    Common Types Of Gazebos

    Gazebo on Pond

    While there are many different varieties or types of gazebos, they generally tend to come in two different styles; vinyl and wood. When built with wood, it is standard to build a gazebo with a very sturdy type like cedar or pine. Some people prefer the aesthetic appeal of a wood gazebo, while others enjoy the low-maintenance of the vinyl. When trying to design your gazebo, you have a lot of different options to consider. Here is a breakdown of some things to compare when trying to draw up your design plans:

    What To Compare:

    • Shape -squares, ovals, circles, and octagons are among the most common options when it come to shapes for gazebos
    • Size – the size you select will depend on the size of your yard, as well as, what you intend to use it for. The smallest gazebos tend to average around 8×8, while the larger ones can be as big as 20×40.
    • Siding – When selecting the siding for your gazebo, make sure that it will hold up well in your climate. For example, if you live in an area that is affected by tornadoes or hurricanes, you will want something more sturdy than vinyl.
    • Railings – choose a style of railing that will match both the siding and the exterior design of your house.
    • Roof – the standard options for a gazebo roof are the pagoda and the cupola, as well as, the tiered. However, you can stray from the norm and get creative if you really want your gazebo to stand out.
    • Flooring – While wood flooring has long been the traditional selection of choice for gazebos, composite decking makes an attractive and long-lasting alternative.
    • Amenities – If you plan to spend a lot of time enjoying your gazebo, there are endless ways that you can enhance it, including televisions, a bar, lounge furniture, heating, and cooling. You can also decorate it to make a true oasis right in your very own back yard.

    When preparing for the construction and installation of your new gazebo, you will not only need comprehensive design plans drawn up, but you will also need to allocate a budget for your gazebo building project. Your budget will likely play a significant role in the options you select for your gazebo.

     

  5. There are many benefits to owning a gazebo. It is a structure with a large variety of uses that can change from day to day and season to season, no matter where you live.

     

    Relaxation and socializing

    During the summer, a gazebo can provide a shady area to relax and have drinks. Even during rainy days, it can provide shelter for those who would like to spend more time outdoors reading or talking with friends. A gazebo often provide a good location for social engagements or a quiet place for contemplation.

    Cooking and barbecue

    It is also an ideal place for a barbecue. The roof provides shelter for the cook, but the open-air aspect of the gazebo means that the smoke has somewhere to go. The scent of good, old-fashioned barbecue is sure to inspire many family dinners. Safety is important when it comes to flames and smoke, so be sure to put your grill in a good location and keep an eye on it while cooking.

     

    Photography and film

    A gazebo is also useful as a place for event photography. It can add ambience to any scene, particularly, for proms and weddings. The romantic, architectural styles associated with these structures show up beautifully in both photography and film.

     

    Aesthetics

    Owning a gazebo adds to the overall aesthetic of a lawn. These structures can run the gamut from elegant to cozy and express a homeowner’s personal flair. Selecting the right architectural style and finding an ideal location for it is a speciality of many landscaping design firms, which can help tailor the structure to individual needs.

     

    Practical uses

    A gazebo has many practical uses. Depending upon the needs of the homeowner, it can serve as a functional outbuilding. During the fall and winter, firewood can be stored in the gazebo to keep dry. Some gazebos also offer storage space for tools, skis, rafts, and other items.

     

    Weddings, parties, and events

    A gazebo also offers a good place for events such as weddings or parties. The structure provides a focal point to the event and adds charm. It can be used as the main area of the event or even as a space for food, snacks, and drinks.

     

    Cozy winter hideaway

    During the winter, glass can be installed so that it can be used year-round. Adding a few space heaters and blankets turns it into a cozy place for after-dinner conversation and a glass of wine. Regardless of the climate in which your home is located, a gazebo is a great choice for year-round entertainment and socializing.

    Gazebos are a versatile and unique type of structure that add flair to any lawn or backyard by allowing a homeowner to express their own style.These beautiful and cozy structures are a great choice for anyone wanting to provide a special location for weddings, events, barbecues or simply, a quiet place to read a book with a glass of wine on a rainy afternoon.

     

  6. One of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors is at home. Many homeowners want to have furniture that allows them to enjoy the landscape in their own backyards. Today’s designers make that easier than ever before in 2017. New trends in landscape furniture respond to the needs of buyers with innovative, thoughtful, and even, whimsical ideas that are sure to please anyone in search of the right outdoor furniture.

    Today’s outdoor lifestyle is all about:

    • Color
    • Charm
    • Quality

     

    Bright Colors

    Homeowner’s today do not shy away from color. They know that a splash of bright red or a lively shade of aquamarine can help set a statement that is all about personal style. The use of colorful furniture can help any backyard feel like a haven from the world and art at the same time.

     

    Calling on the Tropics

    The warm hues of the tropics are also another style clearly visible in today’s outdoor landscaping furniture. Materials like rattan are popular. Companies are also offering materials like teak and bamboo with carvings like the traditional pineapple — a standard symbol of hospitality in the tropics. Buyers who want to use this theme should look for cushions in tropical prints.

     

    Using Local Materials

    Many homeowners in 2017 want to incorporate locally popular trends in their home decor. New England homeowners look to sources of inspiration that include Colonial days, leading them to pick out furniture that reflects this period for their backyard with clean lines and little ornamentation. Residents of the southern United States may turn to the antebellum period for inspiration, with more elaborate choices in furnishings that help create an outdoor room and take full advantage of the region’s mild climate.

     

    Having Outdoor Fun For Everyone

    The backyard is where people of all ages choose to gather today for fun time. Furniture trends reflect this use with innovative and useful items. Buyers are finding small scale pieces that allow children to comfortably sit in between dips in the pool. Older buyers are looking for furniture that allows them to get up more easily and enjoy the backyard even as they age.

    Staying Green

    Buyers today are even more eco-conscious than ever before. Companies are responding accordingly with green items. More and more buyers can now find furniture made from recycled materials that still looks wonderful. Buyers can also find items that do not emit harmful fumes and look great no matter the weather.

     

    Quality is Back

    Today’s buyers know exactly what they want and what they want is quality in their outdoor furniture. They want beautiful items that are made to last.

    Careful research can help any buyer find exactly what they want at an excellent price. Buyers can locate outdoor furniture that is sure to turn their backyard into the perfect place to see nature firsthand.

     

  7. Lawns in residential and commercial locations should be mowed regularly, because properly trimmed grass provides many practical benefits. The process of maintaining a yard in order to take advantage of the benefits is easy since there are various landscaping service options in Ann Arbor Michigan.

     

    Very Strong Grass

    When new grass grows in neighborhoods in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the stalks aren’t very strong. In order to strengthen a lawn, a mower must be used on a regular basis. After grass is cut, the new stalks that begin to grow are always thicker and stronger, and every cluster stands out, because each grass strand has a bold, green color.

     

    Enhanced Curb Appeal

    In order to increase curb appeal on landscapes, all grass on a lawn must grow evenly. Regular mowing boosts curb appeal by keeping a lawn green; the grass blades hold their bold color, because proper water distribution happens while the stalks are cut. Throughout this process, absorption happens in an efficient manner, because the water reaches the roots by seeping into the soil.

     

    These perks only happen after a lawn is cut evenly, because sunlight and water can’t access every spot on a landscape when the grass stalks have a different height and thickness. Consistency is the key to enhancing curb appeal, and the best way to maintain a professionally cut lawn is by working with landscapers.

     

    Easier Mulching

    Mulching is a vital task that benefits yards in Ann Arbor, as mulch protects a landscape by shielding important nutrients that are found in soil. Proper mulch that’s layered around a mowed yard can keep nutrients in the soil during:

    • Heavy rainstorms
    • Minor windstorms
    • Flooding

    Quicker Maintenance

    If the process of tackling lawn maintenance tasks seems like a hassle, regular mowing can simplify typical landscaping routines. Multiple things can impact a lawn, when the grass isn’t mowed, such as diseases, bugs, and weather conditions. These problems don’t affect properties that are trimmed with a lawn mower on a regular basis, because the nutrients in the stalks help an entire lawn recover when harmful elements impact the environment.

     

    In order to maintain a tidy yard, the grass must be mowed strategically and efficiently throughout the rainy season. Many locals simplify landscaping tasks in Ann Arbor by seeking professional services whenever tall grass needed to be mowed. This approach keeps grass plush, thick, and grass until the cold weather arrives in Ann Arbor.

     

  8. DrainageExtreme weather is nothing new to the residents of Ann Arbor, MI. Along with severe storms comes the excess water that needs a way to drain off so it does not result in flooding or standing water. Water concentration occurs wherever there is an impediment to drainage. Between the overgrowth or erosion of landscaping, the threat of flooding, and environmental concerns, the need for an effective stormwater management program is paramount in Ann Arbor. It is also paramount in other territories where extreme weather threatens both urban and non-urban areas.

     

    Rain Falls on Everything

    During rain storms, a percentage of precipitation is retained by plants and the earth which also helps replenish ground water levels. Urban areas have less open ground spaces, where water is normally absorbed. In both urban and non-urban areas, impervious surfaces such as rooftops, parking lots, streets and sidewalks, prevent absorption and encourage the water to flow to watersheds. Channels or pathways that drain runoff to streams, lakes, rivers or eventually the ocean, are watersheds. Storm drains are also watersheds.

    Most people assume the job of managing storm runoff is handled by local governmental agencies or developers. While it is true that these interests are responsible for planning and implementing effective programs, the role of residents in the community cannot be underestimated. The actions of one individual affect the community just as the actions of a community affect downstream neighbors. As excess water from severe storms flows along, it picks up potential pollutants such as:

     

    • Machine oils and gasoline from leaking engines
    • Pesticides and fertilizers used in lawn and garden maintenance
    • Bacteria from both human and animal waste
    • Metals
    • Chlorinated pool water

     

    The Importance of Storm Water Management Systems

    Modern urbanization has covered much of our open, rural landscapes with concrete and asphalt. Water collection systems are engineered in the planning of communities to help channel and capture runoff. Where the remaining landscape has shifted or clogs have developed, the existing systems cannot perform at peak level. It is of the highest importance that whole neighborhoods with their streets, lawns and common areas, share in being prepared for extreme weather. Homeowners should make the effort to learn about their local watersheds, the upstream impact, and how they impact downstream neighbors. Contaminated runoff is everyone’s problem as it impacts the water supply. Water consumption for both humans and the local wildlife is at risk from pollution due to runoff. If the excess water from severe storms has no place to go or if the systems in place are not up to the challenge, then the system is effectively useless.

    More communities these days are working to incorporate drainage systems that are more natural. In addition, runoff is reduced when water infiltration is increased on site. This is also the best method for improving the quality of the water retained, and it all starts with the individual homeowner.

     

    Landscape maintenance contracts provide residents and businesses with knowledgeable people who have the experience and resources to establish, construct, and maintain the ideal storm water management systems needed to prevent flooding and other perils related to water concentration. It is less costly to manage prevention than it is to pay for the cleanup.

     

  9. The benefits of planting fruiting and flowering trees may seem obvious. Flowering trees, whose flowers may turn into fruit at the end of the season, are beautiful. Some, like cherry trees, have a lovely fragrance. Fruiting trees provide delicious food, and cut down on grocery bills. However, there are many more benefits to planting and caring for these trees though. Among them are:

    1. Reduced Levels of Carbon Dioxide

    Trees

    • Take carbon dioxide from the air..
    • Add oxygen to the air.

     

    2. Prevention of Storm Runoff

    One of the dangers of torrential rains and floods is that soil can be washed away. The roots of trees and plants keep the soil stable, and hills that are devoid of plants can even collapse.

     

    3. Reduction of Energy Costs

    A fruit tree or an ornamental tree planted in the right place can shade a home and keep it cooler in the summer. Scientists believe that one tree has the cooling power of 10 room air conditioners running 20 hours a day. In the winter, the tree’s bare limbs allow sunlight to come into the home and warm it. This helps to cut down on energy bills.

     

    4. Benefit of Locally Grown Fruit

    A lot of the fruit that’s sold in the supermarket has to be shipped in from hundreds of miles away. Some have lost some of their nutritional value or their taste during the journey. Others are picked when they’re a little unripe and may be treated with methane gas to help them ripen by the time they get to the store. Some of these fruits never properly ripen but simply start to rot once they’re bought. Others are waxed to preserve their freshness. But nothing beats the taste and freshness of fruit from a homeowner’s own tree.

    5. Extra Income

    A person who has a small orchard can sell the fruit, either at the above mentioned Farmers’ Market or at a fruit stand at the roadside. They can also just give surplus fruit away.

     

    6. The Joy of Community Gardening

    Community gardens with fruit trees teach their members how to plant and take care of these trees and experience the pleasure of a good harvest at the end of the season. It also encourages social bonds among garden members of all ages.

     

    7. The Birds and the Bees

    Ornamental and fruiting trees attract birds, bees, butterflies and other animals. Indeed, some fruit trees need bees and other pollinators in order to set fruit. Birds nest in mature trees, and eat the insects that would otherwise eat the leaves and the flowers.

    8. Hiding Unattractive Views

    An ornamental tree placed in front of the compost pile can hide it nicely when it’s in full bloom or full leaf. Ornamentals soften the look of a property’s hardscaping.

     

    9. Curb Appeal and Resell Value

    The sight of flowering trees in a yard is aesthetically pleasing and can even raise the home’s resale value.

     

    Conclusion

    Beyond their beauty and the fruit they produce, fruiting trees and trees that burst into bloom are good for the environment, attract benevolent animals, encourage social bonds, and enhance the value of a property. They are trees homeowners should consider.

     

  10. Your backyard and garden are excellent places for your pet to enjoy the fresh air, play with their favorite toy, and relax. Making your backyard a pet-friendly, safe, and comfortable environment will give you peace of mind the next time your pet is out in the yard by themselves. Your goal is to create a safe environment for your pet, and at the same time, an attractive space for the people. This can be accomplished easily by following a couple of steps to make a safe haven for your pet.

    These steps are:

    1. Use Pet-Friendly Edging

    An edge separates the grass from the shrub or the flowerbeds. Steel is the most commonly used material for an edge. It has a sharp edge that can cut your pet’s paw once he/she steps on it. To avoid such injuries, it is advisable to use edges with a more rounded edge. You can also switch to brick or concrete blocks since they are more paw friendly.

    2. Use Comfy Mulch

    When choosing the material to use as mulch, you need to put in some consideration. First, you do not want to use materials that will stick on your pet’s coat. You also should stay away from materials with jagged edges such as granite as it can cut your pet’s paw. Instead, you should think of materials such as river rock mulch (since they are rounded they will not injure your pet’s little feet). You can also opt for cider chips. You should avoid using cocoa mulch as it contains theobromine, which is an ingredient used to make chocolate and could be poisonous to dogs.

    3. Be Selective with Your Yard Features

    To make the backyard more fun for your pet, you can incorporate some features such as a backyard pond or a sand box (especially, if you have a dog). It can be great for him/her to cool down in the hot summer weather or dig and bury his/her bones. However, if your dog is small or not a swimmer, be sure to block off any access to the pond for their safety. When it comes to a sand box, the installation is relatively easy, but it needs some maintenance. Keep a shovel close by to clean up and cover any waste and holes.

    4. Choose Plants Wisely

    While plants and flowers can make your backyard look beautiful, some plants are toxic to your pet. The toxicity levels will vary from plant to plant, and they may cause different reactions. Find out from your veterinary physician which plants you should avoid and which to plant. It is better to be safe than sorry. Use plant species that are known to reduce fleas such as rosemary, mint, and lavender. Also select urine resistant plants such as Euonymus Japonica. If you notice some brown or yellow spots on your lawn from urine, do not freak out, reseeding is quite easy.

    5. Be Cautious when Using Fertilizers, Herbicides, and Insecticides

    Always read the instructions on the bottle before use. This will reduce the chances of using chemicals that can be harmful to your pet. It is advisable to use organic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers on your lawn and on the plants as well.

    Knowing exactly what to do and what to change in your backyard to make it pet-friendly can be a challenge for most pet owners. The best option is to contact a landscape professional to advise you on the mulch, the plants to use, and the insecticides to avoid among other things. Feel free to contact us for further information.