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

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  1. A lot of money, as well as time and effort, are spent by people trying to create the outdoor water features they want on their property. Individuals who live in and around Ann Arbor MI know they will have to take important steps to make certain these features survive the winter. A few simple steps in the fall can make enjoyment of them possible in the spring.

    Long exposure of a backyard waterfall and pond surrounded by green foliage.Water Features
    There are a number of different water features a person can have. They range from a small container up to very large ponds. When water features are larger, it may be best to consult a pond expert and get their help with winterizing it. A person needs to determine which of their water features are likely to freeze and break in the cold. Things such as bird baths, shallow basins, bubbling rocks and more are likely to be destroyed if left outside during the intense cold.

    Plant Removal
    It is important the plants from an outdoor water feature be removed on or before the first frost. Once the plants have been taken out, it is important to clean all of the plant debris located at the bottom surface. Determine whether to keep the plants during the winter or get new ones in the spring. This is the time to clean the bottom of the pump vault. Should there be algae, it is important to use a granular contact algaecide that is water activated to clean. If there is algae staining the water feature, it will need to be drained. It will also need to be refilled prior to the cold of winter arrives. Refilling will help avoid damage.

    Remove Debris
    It is important in Ann Arbor MI to make certain the area around the water feature is free from debris like fallen leaves, branches as well as dead plants. If these items are permitted to build up, they can cause maintenance problems. When a person is planning to place an outdoor water feature on their property, they need to try and locate it away from areas of potential debris accumulation. Many professionals recommend owners cover the water supply with a net or trimming to avoid problems with debris.

    Remove Pump
    When a water pump freezes, the ice creates pressure on the pump’s outer casing. This pressure can lead to cracks developing. It will also cause water to get into the interior of the pump. This is where the working parts of the pump are located as well as the electrical lines. If this happens to a pump, when a person turns it on in the spring, it won’t work and will need to be replaced. The best way to avoid any problems is to remove the pump and store it inside for the duration of the Ann Arbor MI winter. This can insure having a working water pump in the spring. The water pump should be stored indoors or in an unheated garage. Some water features will also do better in the winter if they are dissembled and stored inside.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  2. Irrigation Systems -- Ann Arbor MIIt’s important to winterize your irrigation system, it’s more important to do it right. Even when people have tried to drain the water out of their system, a certain amount of water can remain. This can freeze and expand. It is able to crack PVC piping. Polyethylene piping is more flexible but will can also expand and rupture during freezing temperatures. It’s possible for freezing water to be left in a backflow assembly. This could damage its internal parts and crack the body. The parts of a system must be properly winterized.

    Manual Drain
    This method can be used in Ann Arbor MI when manual valves are at the end of the lower points of irrigation piping. These systems can be drained by shutting off the water supply to the irrigation system and opening each of the manual drain valves. When the water is out of the main line, it is time to open the boiler drain valve. In some cases, this is the drain cap on the waste and stop valve. The remaining water then needs to be drained. If a system has sprinklers, they need to be pulled up to permit water to drain from the sprinkler body. It’s important to make certain all the water is removed from the piping, sprinklers, and backflow. The last step is to carefully close all of the manual drain valves.

    Automatic Drain
    This is used in Ann Arbor MI when automatic drain valves are at the low end of a system’s piping. These are designed to automatically open and drain when water pressure in the piping is less that 10 pounds per square inch (PS). This can be activated by turning off the water supply to the system. This will relieve the system pressure. The water will drain from the mainline. It’s then time to open the boiler drain valve. Some may have a drain cap on their waste and stop valve. This will drain the water that is left. In some cases, an irrigation system may have a combination of automatic and manual drains. The mainline could be a manual drain system, and the lateral lines could be an automatic drain system.

    Insulate
    An important step in preventing winter damage in Ann Arbor MI is to insulate the lawn irrigation backflow preventers and valves. This can be done by using insulation tape or pine straw. This will be especially necessary is they are located above ground.

    Controllers
    With an outdoor mounted controller, the power should be left on and the switch or dial left in the off position. Transformers will make certain the enclosure has enough heat to prevent condensation from developing. With an indoor mounted controller, the power should be left on. The switch or dial should be put in the off position. Doing this will keep the controller from activating the system’s solenoids.

    Rain Sensors
    These require a very minimal amount of preparation for the cold weather. If the sensor being used has a cup or bowl designed to catch water, then any water in it needs to be removed. A plastic bag should then be placed over the sensor. This will prevent water from building up in the cup or bowl and freezing.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  3. Many parts of Ann Arbor MI and surrounding areas are subject to rain runoff that can cause serioCommercial Planting With Boulder Wallus damage to your home’s landscape. Flower gardens and vegetable gardens can experience severe deterioration due to soil erosion. A retaining wall can help to support these important areas of your property so you can enjoy the benefits of growing your own produce and floral arrangements.

    Understanding Retaining Walls
    A retaining wall is a structure that is designed to hold back material, usually soil, to prevent sliding or eroding away. They are generally used to prevent shifting of the ground from one elevation to a different elevation. Even though the difference may be slight, over time, natural forces can cause collapse of soil to the lower elevation. In some cases, when landscapes are being shaped into particular designs, retaining walls may be necessary to maintain the shape over time. An example of a simple retaining wall would be a basement wall, which must prevent the earth from collapsing into the lower level from the force of rainwater, gravity and soil compaction.

    Type of Retaining Walls
    A number of different retaining wall types are used to suit specific circumstances:

    · Gravity wall – These walls are generally quite heavy and use their mass to resist the pressure of the material behind it.
    · Cantilever wall – The cantilevered type of wall has a vertical portion and a horizontal lever that extends below the frost line. It converts the horizontal pressure on the wall to vertical pressure on the portion below.
    · Piling wall – Piling is sometimes used in soft soils or where spaces are tight. Vinyl, steel or wood planks are driven into the ground, often secured to material buried beneath the surface to stabilize the pilings.
    · Anchored wall – Anchored walls may use any of the above constructions and additional support, such as cables or other materials, which connect to underlying soil or rock to provide more stability.
    Retaining Wall Materials
    A number of materials are used in typical retaining wall designs. Some of these are chosen to suit the overall landscape design of the property. These are advantages and disadvantages to each type. An experienced landscape contractor can help to determine the right one for your needs:

    · Poured concrete – Poured concrete can

    Garden Bed Retaining Wall
    · Concrete blocks –Concrete blocks are another inexpensive material for walls that add support at a reasonable cost.
    · Brick – Brick is more expensive than other materials, but fits in well with many landscape designs and lasts for many years.
    · Wood – Wood timbers provide an attractive material for retaining structures, but is vulnerable to deterioration from moisture. Wood also requires regular maintenance.
    · Dry Stone – Stone is easy to maintain and will last for many years. However, it can be more expensive than other types of wall material.
    · Gabion Meshes – Gabion mesh is a wall made of stone, recycled concrete or brick pieces that are held together inside of stacked, steel mesh enclosures. They are very durable and provide a natural appearance, but may provide habitat for small creatures.

    If your garden areas are showing signs of erosion or collapse, consult a landscape contractor in Ann Arbor MI that can advise you on an appropriate retaining wall to preserve your gardening space.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  4. bigstock-winter-in-a-natural-garden-9769973Frost is the result of freezing water within the plant cells. The freezing water damages the cell walls, and the internal structure within the plant also becomes damaged. If the ground is frozen, it is difficult for the root of the plant to obtain water, and the plant will eventually die. It is important to be aware that early frost can occur during September to late spring. If you fail to plan ahead, you may have to shuffle some plants around. The traditional ways of covering your plants with fleece or bringing potted plants indoors are some of the best methods to limiting the effects of frost.

    Cover Plants
    Covering your plants is one of the most popular ways of safeguarding your plants against frost. When you cover your plants, you want to loosely draped them, and secure the drape with rocks, bricks, or stakes. Lighter covers can merely be placed on top of the plant, but you should use some type of support for heavier covers. This will prevent the plants from being crushed by the weight of the cover. Tender garden plants are likely to retain heat and protection from freezing once they are covered. It is also important to remove the covers once the sun is out, or the plants may die due to suffocation.

    IMG_0362Add Mulch
    Mulch is a great way of protecting the root system of the plant, especially for those plants with shallow roots. Even though a snow cover usually provides a good amount of protection against frost, it is nearly impossible to predict when it may snow. Your best option would be to spread straw, wood chips, pine needles, shredded bark, chopped leaves, or any other organic material on top of the base of the plant. The mulch captures the moisture and heat within the soil and prevents it from escaping. Normally, the soil that is below the mulch will not freeze as much, and the plants can continue to take in water. Soil management prior to applying any mulch can also help prevent frost.

    Add Water Prior to Freeze
    Thoroughly water your plants prior to any potential freeze. Although it may sound weird to add water, the laws of thermodynamics have already proven that it is much more difficult to cool humid air than it is to cool dry air. It may also be beneficial to water your entire yard, the evening preceding the freeze. This will increase humidity within the immediate micro climate. It will also assist in minimizing any effects of frosts and the freezing of plants within your yard. A sprinkler irrigation system can also assist with accomplishing this task. However, sprinklers do not work when weather conditions are extreme.

    You may also want to consider moving potted plants indoors and placing them near a window. An outdoor greenhouse is another option for minimizing the effects of frost. By covering your plants, adding mulch, and adding water prior to a freeze, you should be able to prevent frost to your plants.

    Construct the perfect deck, patio, walkway or porch with custom hardscaping services from Twin Oaks Landscape.

    Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  5. Lighting_largeIf you haven’t given any thought to outdoor lighting, you may be missing the benefits of outdoor entertaining, added safety and security and the beauty of landscape lighting. Adding a few well-placed lights to your home in Ann Arbor MI is a wonderful way to enhance the appearance of your home while making your outdoor space fully functional.

    1) Outdoor Entertaining

    Rather than spending a fortune on movie and concert tickets or paying for expensive restaurant meals, people are taking a second look at entertainment options at home. In many cases, our yards are beautifully landscaped and provide ample space for entertaining, but we have not taken advantage of these features.

    Installing additional lighting by the pool, around the deck, near the hot tub or grilling area makes perfect sense. Adding outside lights and landscape lighting is relatively inexpensive considering the alternatives for evening entertainment.

    2) Safety

    Outdoor landscape garden at night in Downtown of Vancouver, CanaNo matter how careful we are, family members are always leaving toys, tools and projects lying about the yard. Of course, these are easy to spot during the day, but during the evening, they can become real hazards when left in walkways and driveways without outdoor lights. Adding outdoor lights on paths and zone lights in a driveway provides the necessary light to prevent unforeseeable accidents.

    Although, you and your family may be quite familiar with the layout and landscaping of your home, visitors are not. Even the most lavish outdoor parties can be ruined when guests don’t feel comfortable and safe in your backyard. Providing sufficient lighting makes it easy for them to navigate your yard and enjoy the barbeque or party.

    If you’re like most typical families, you likely have young kids, teenagers and adults going and coming from your home at all times of the night. With insufficient lighting, you or your kids could easily trip over the hose in the front yard or miss a step leading to the front door. Adding outdoor lights like stair lights or floodlights could not only prevent an accident, but it could save you a great deal in medical costs.

    3) Security

    Besides using outdoor lighting to reduce safety issues, it is a great way to enhance security around your home. Dark backyards and entryway doors provide burglars with the perfect opportunity to enter your home unnoticed.

    Typically, homes with outdoor lights and landscape lighting become less of a target when criminals and vandals are picking their targets. Burglars will more than likely bypass your well-lit home and go for the dark home at the end of the block.

    IMG_23104) Landscape Lighting

    • Whether you do-it-yourself or hire a landscaping company in Ann Arbor MI, landscape lights not only illuminate your yard, but they can be used to highlight beautiful features, plants and gardens in your yard.

    • Landscape lighting is a great way to set the mood for a party and make special occasions festive and beautiful.

    If you are concerned about safety, security and want to enjoy the benefits of outdoor entertaining, consider adding outdoor lighting today.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  6. Flooded Park And RiverLandscaping professionals can be terrific for storm water management. They can implement a number of effective and modern eco-friendly methods can can keep levels of undesired storm water under control. These methods include pervious pavements, rain gardens and green roofs galore. Since minimizing storm water runoff can enhance local water supplies, management of it is always extremely important.

    The Potential Dangers of Storm Water Runoff

    Storm water runoff refers to the water that comes from melted snow or rain that instead of soaking into the ground, runs off over land, true to its name. It’s troubling for a number of different reasons. It’s capable of collecting dirt, chemicals, debris and various other kinds of pollutants and then making its way into storm sewer systems. If it goes into a storm sewer system, it can interfere with drinking water supplies and the health of community members. This is exactly why storm water management is so important.

    Professional Assistance

    If you want to help manage storm water in your community, recruiting the assistance of a reliable company in your area can be an extremely smart idea. If you want to implement helpful and efficient storm water management practices on your property, you can call our reputable Ann Arbor MI landscaping business for additional details. We can help you explore a variety of effective storm water options.

    Swales

    Swales can be terrific for handling storm water. These depressions, combined with soil that drains quickly, can go a long way in minimizing storm water. Not only can swales be effective for keeping storm water under control, but they can also be extremely attractive. If you want to boost the visual appeal of your property and at the same time do something positive for your neighborhood, swales can make a superb choice.

    Rain Gardens

    Rain gardens also can be excellent for storm water purposes. These types of gardens enable H20 to accumulate during rainfall. Once the rainfall is complete, these gardens enable the gathered H20 to gradually make its way into soil. If you’re interested in the idea of getting a rain garden for your property, try to place one in a section of your yard that tends to dry rapidly.

    Pervious Paving

    Pervious paving is yet another excellent choice for handling the potential troubles of storm water. Paving components that are composed of tiny openings enable water to make its way into gravel layers that are situated below. This is beneficial for making sure that upper surfaces remain nice and dry at all times. It’s also beneficial for getting rid of runoff. Convenient options in pervious paving include plastic grids, porous concrete and lastly, concrete pavers.

    Contact Our Company Now

    If you’re looking for practical and aesthetically pleasing answers to storm water issues, contact our highly respected Ann Arbor MI company for additional information and to get started. If you have any questions regarding storm water runoff, we’ll be more than happy to give you the information you need, as well. Call us today.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  7. Landscapers Ann ArborFall rain and winter weather can pose a serious risk to basements, foundations and below-ground rooms. Altering your exterior landscape and taking steps to ensure standing water, runoff and excess moisture is less likely to find its way into your home is an issue that no Ann Arbor MI property owner can afford to overlook. Even relatively minor issues that may cause basement leaking can create problems that require extensive cleanup efforts and costly repairs in order to address.

    Landscaping Solutions

    From soil that is unable to effectively avoid moisture to an exterior design or layout that may be interfering with proper drainage or keeping excess runoff from being channeled away from your home’s foundation, lawns that have been properly laid out and that possess the right features can be just as important as roof gutters and downspouts when it comes to keeping moisture out of the home and keeping your basement from leaking.

    • Pitch and Grade

    Ensuring soil is sloped away from your home can eliminate many of the problems caused by standing water or ineffective runoff. Soil that may be too tightly packed to absorb moisture as well as top-soil that may be too susceptible to erosion can lead to many problems. Reshaping the topography of your landscaping, selecting the right soil and even planting grasses and plants whose root-structure may provide a better anchor for your landscaping can all make a big difference.

    • IMG_5750Ensuring Effective Drainage

    French drains, artificial creek beds and even a simple trench can significantly improve drainage and ensure that standing water does not pose a greater risk to foundations and below-ground rooms. Pooling water or soil that retains moisture long after a rainstorm or shower may indicate the presence of a drainage problem, one that may pose an unacceptable risk to your home and property. By seeking out the best professional services Ann Arbor MI property owners can more easily and effectively address drainage issues that could lead to future problems.

    • Creating a Gap Between Your Landscape and Foundation

    The mulch needed to create flower beds, gardens or even to ensure bushes and other plants are able to grow and flourish could be creating a problem. A sufficient gap between mulched materials and your siding or foundation is needed to ensure that moisture is not being wicked away from your mulch bed in a way that may cause harm to construction materials. A proper gap can ensure that mulch beds do not contribute to basement leaks, rotting siding or other issues like a mold or mildew infestation.

    Superior Services Provide Superior Results

    Dealing with the wrong professional or attempting to alter your exterior landscape on your own could limit the effectiveness of your efforts. From simple improvements to the comprehensive assessment, design and alteration projects that may be needed in order to better protect your property from leaks, water damage and other season weather issues- it always pays to do business with the best.

  8. New Angeled Staircase

    Choosing the best material for your new deck is an important decision. You must weigh cost against longevity and maintenance. A composite material deck carries a larger initial cash outlay, but the benefits surely outweigh this cost. In the Ann Arbor MI area harsh weather can play havoc with outdoor structures. Using a longer lasting material protects your investment.

    Improvements

    Another consideration is the advancements in composites in recent years. The material and manufacturing process keep getting better. Scratch resistant and anti-fading additives have made a good product even better. Wood grain patterns are now added for a more realistic look. And new methods of installation have no nails or screws visible on the deck surface.

     

    Five Benefits

    There are five benefits that stand out from all the rest when building a composite deck for your home. Consider the following:

    1. Virtually maintenance free. Composite decking does not require painting, staining or sealing. A quick occasional cleaning with a broom or hose will take care of most cleaning jobs. Removing any debris quickly will ensure nothing stains the surface requiring a more thorough scrubbing.

    2. Longer life. Unlike wood, composite materials do not rot and are pest resistant. Made from recycled plastic and scrap wood products (sawdust, chips, etc) and then mixed with pigment and preservatives, the average lifespan of a deck is 20 – 30 years. The boards will not warp or twist. There is no shrinking and separations because of drying wood.

    3. Color retention. Nothing fades a painted or stained deck faster than exposure to the elements. New manufacturing processes now enclose the composite material in a shell which protects against fading. This new process allows for a 25 year anti-fade guarantee.

    4. Safety. Wood decks can become slippery when wet. Traffic and weathering can create splinters. A non-slip surface makes the composite material perfect for around a pool or hot tub. Non-splintering is a consideration for parents with children. Coordinating safety accessories can also be added where needed. These include hand rails, gates, and post caps.

    Deck patio

    The accessories are made of the same material, therefore the look is consistent and the benefits are the same.

    5. Non-toxic –Traditional pressure treated wood has been submerged in a chemical and pressure applied to force the chemical throughout the board. The chemical will deter pests and bacteria, but it is also harmful to humans. Warnings accompany pressure-treated wood stating it should not be handled without gloves. Sawdust should not be inhaled. Small children should have their contact limited with the wood. Sound like a family-friendly deck? Absolutely not. That is where composite material beats pressure treated wood hands down. No chemicals. No warnings. No potential harm to children. This eco-friendly product is manufactured from recycled material which is not harmful to the environment or those living with it.

    If you are in the Ann Arbor MI area and are thinking about a composite deck, we can help with the design and installation. We will use the most up to date materials to give your home a long-lasting deck.

     

  9. Cedar Deck

    Adding an outdoor living space is one of the best things you can do to add enjoyment to your Ann Arbor MI home. Some homeowners have difficulty deciding what kind of features to have installed. Here are some tips to help you decide.

    Deck Benefits

    Decks are usually made of wood or composite materials that look like wood. They are built up off the ground, and this makes them a little warmer than on-ground outdoor spaces in the cool seasons. High features like this can be especially desirable if your yard overlooks a scenic view of a river, trees or other natural beauty.

    They are often preferred for home’s in wooded areas away from the city not just for the view but because they add a bit more security. Your outdoor party is less likely to be interrupted by a roving bear when you are up off of the ground and behind railing. A latching gate at the bottom of the staircase provides even more protection from wilderness wanderers.

    This outdoor home feature goes with many decor styles, but it can be especially appealing to homeowners who are aiming for a rustic retreat-like ambience.

    Cons

    • Wood that is exposed to the elements requires regular maintenance. The planks need to be stained and weatherproofed to prevent rot. Using composite materials instead of solid wood prevents some of these problems, however.
    • Another potential downside is these aren’t allowed in all neighborhoods. It is best to check with your HOA before planning any high profile additions.
    • If poorly constructed, they are a safety hazard. Most collapses occur when too many people are on a deck that was poorly constructed or poorly maintained. If you install these, make sure you understand the weight limit.

    pulver 5Patio Benefits

    Patios are usually made from brick, stone or concrete. When properly installed, natural stone is longwearing and can handle nearly anything you or Mother Nature does to them.

    Because they are low profile, they are widely accepted by homeowner’s associations. They are also easily expanded and you don’t have to worry about a weight limit, loose railings or falls from heights.

    Cons

    • Concrete and brick are more vulnerable to cracks due to moisture entering into fissures and freezing during a harsh Ann Arbor MI winter. However, using natural stone or concrete pavers instead of a single slab reduces this problem, and bricks are easily replaced.

    Veranda Benefits

    Exterior Covered Patio With Fireplace And Furniture.One of the biggest benefits of a veranda is that it is covered. This feature offers some protection for the flooring and gives you some degree of shelter from the elements. It also makes it easy to add a screen to the structure to keep insects and other creatures away.

    Another less widely discussed benefit is that these provides extra shade to a section of the home, and this can keep your home cooler in summer.

    Cons

    • Some homeowners associations don’t allow these additions.
    • Maintenance for the floors is minimal because of the added protection of the roof, but the roof itself needs to be maintained.
    • Construction of this outdoor feature is a big project that can take some time.

    When you have made your choice, eliminate installation problems by hiring only licensed, experienced installers. This ensures your outdoor living space will serve you safely and bring enjoyment for many years.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.