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

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  1. Water Damaged BasementIf you are experiencing basement leaking in Ann Arbor MI, you may immediately think that you have a foundation crack letting the water in. However, you may be surprised to learn that your landscaping can play a huge role in water leaking into your space. Here are a few of the ways that your yard affects the amount of water that seeps into a basement.

    Adjust Your Sprinklers
    While we all like having a lush, green yard, it comes with potential risks. When you are watering your lawn, trees and plants, your sprinklers may be hitting the side of your home, which could cause water to leak into your basement. Taking a look at where water is hitting when it comes out of the sprinkler head will be a key indicator as to whether the sprinklers are causing your issue. If they are, you may need to move those sprinklers, shut off the offending ones, or change out the type of head on the sprinkler so it only sprays in the direction of your lawn, not in the direction of your home.

    Correct the Slope of Your Yard
    Adjusting the slope of your yard so that the water flows away from your home is a very smart investment tip. If your yard is sloped and water puddles or pools near your home, you can begin to experience leaking in the basement area, foundation issues and dry rot if your home has wood siding. Correcting the slope of the yard allows water to pool away from your home, rather than letting it just sit there.

    Install a New Ground Cover
    While grass is the most common type of ground cover used, there are many different types of ground covers available. Some of these soak up and use a lot of water. Installing one of these ground covers nearest your home can help ensure that any water that makes its way over there is getting used up by a ground cover that also helps to beautify and accentuate the outside of your home.

    Ground cover thrives beneath mature trees

    Plant Deep-Rooted Plants and Shrubs
    The last way you can stop basement leaking is to plant deep-rooted plants and shrubs. While having vegetation and plants can help absorb a lot of sitting water, sometimes the water is deeper than the root systems for these plants. Unfortunately, this deep water is far more likely to make its way into your basement than water sitting on the surface of your yard. As such, it’s always wise to have some deep-rooted plants planted to soak up this deep-reaching water.

    If you are experiencing basement leaking in Ann Arbor MI, there’s a good chance your landscaping could be causing the problem. If your sprinklers are hitting your home, if your yard slopes into your basement, or if there are no plants or ground covers to soak up the water, the water has nowhere to go but into your home. Adjusting these issues and planting new plants can help to solve the problem and leave you with a puddle-free, mildew-free basement.


    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. drainage - does your yard look like thisIn Ann Arbor MI (and many other communities), home owners sometimes consult landscapers about the problem of standing water. The issue usually causes concern. Obtaining an effective solution requires gaining insight into the reasons why water accumulates in some places. Usually, an experienced professional landscaper can assist clients in finding cost-effective solutions for this type of unwelcome problem.

    Stagnant bodies of water impacting a residential setting pose a problem for several reasons. These include:

    • Standing water causes inconvenience by creating muddy, waterlogged sections of lawn;
    • These temporary pools attract mosquitoes and other pests;
    • The ponding mars the appearance of residential landscaping;
    • Poor drainage may ultimately damage building foundations, walkways and other structures.

    Fortunately, landscapers often find creative solutions that prevent the development of unsightly pools of dirty water and help improve drainage within the property.

    Five Common Causes

    Water collects in yards for a variety of possible reasons. Some of the most widespread include:

    A Sloping Terrain

    Sometimes low-lying sections of a lawn suffer excessive water runoff, especially at certain times of year. Melting snow and rain typically drain downwards. Stagnant puddles may accumulate in saturated sections of the property; fortunately, landscaping often offers a solution.

    Heavy Recent PrecipitationFlooded Park And River

    Extremely heavy precipitation over a brief period of time may contribute to the development of temporary ponds in some places. For instance, if the property borders a creek or other waterway, the accumulated runoff following a strong downpour may saturate the ground and impede drainage. Without appropriate intervention, water may remain in certain places for extended periods of time. Sometimes landscapers can help alleviate this problem.

    Artificial Obstructions

    Occasionally an artificial nearby obstruction (such as a recently paved roadway, a concrete patio or an embedded fence) causes the development of standing water. In many situations, a landscaper can help identify the source of the obstruction and improve drainage.

    Poorly Draining Soil Conditions

    Some locations suffer from poorly draining soils. Depending on the time of year and recent environmental conditions, water may collect on the surface. Although even heavy clay soils eventually absorb this moisture, short term mud puddles and unsightly pools of stagnant water may create problems in the meantime. An experienced landscaper may assist homeowners in this situation.

    Significant Vegetation Changes Impacting Gradients

    Unplanned vegetation changes sometimes alter drainage patterns. These transformations sometimes impact a lawn significantly, also. For instance, following a brush fire that strips away vegetation, the sudden lack of ground covering creates water runoff issues in some locations. Landscaping may assist this problem.

    Landscaping Solutions

    Due to this area’s extensive snowfalls during certain months of the year, seasonal drainage issues relating to melting snow pose an especial concern for many residents of Ann Arbor MI. Fortunately, a variety of potential landscaping solutions often exist.

    A landscaper evaluates each case individually. The landscaper may explore several possible remedies with clients. These services significantly improve the appearance of affected yards in most situations.

    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. Watering is vital for all life on earth, and lack of water takes its toll in many ways. When you are thirsty, you can vocalize your need for water. Plants show their thirst in other ways, however, that are not always easy to notice unless you know what to look for. Many people rely on occasionally watering the landscape with an overhead sprinkler or water hose, and for some yards, this is sufficient. However, other yards require reliable irrigation to avoid drought-like conditions. Here are signs that your Ann Arbor MI landscape needs irrigation.

    Shriveled leavesa bull dog rolling in the grass

    Browning lawn turf and shriveled plant leaves are usually the first signs you will notice when your yard is too dry. This can happen anytime for some plants if you go a few days without watering and there is little rainfall. If most of your plants are showing shriveled leaves, however, the problem could be chronically dry soil. If you take a closer look at the plants, you might also notice weak stems and browning over all.

    Plants Lose Flowers, Buds or Fruit

    Plants that are water-stressed are in survival mode. This means they will not begin to produce, or will stop producing buds, flowers or fruit to conserve limited resources. This holds for most greenery in your yard, including your vegetable garden, flower garden and many trees. Some plants will additionally show signs of dwarfed growth in response to lack of adequate soil moisture.


    Plant dieback is a common result of drought. The plant foliage starts dying off first, and then the stems and branches. Unless they receive water in time to halt the dieback procession, the plants will die. Woody plants often start losing foliage towards the tips of branches, and then the branches become brittle. Trees in a long-term drought also display this feature. Dieback also occurs when plants are victim to certain diseases and pests. However, if your yard is displaying other signs of under-watering it is safe to assume the dieback is likely caused by the dry soil conditions.

    BrowningDry grass texture

    Poorly watered grass pales and eventually turns brown. This occurs evenly over the lawn and distinguishes it from the brown patches caused by some lawn diseases. Plant and leaf foliage will also lose color, eventuall becoming brown as the foliage dies. Some plants turn yellow before becoming brown. Yellow leaves can also indicate lack of nitrogen, but if the phenomenon is widespread through the yard, it is more likely a sign of water-stressed plants.

    Fails Soil Moisture Test

    Use a screwdriver or similar object and push it into the earth at least 6 inches deep. If it is dry when you pull it up, your yard is far too dry for most plants, including trees. Test this in several areas around the yard, as some areas dry out faster than other areas. This way you don’t risk getting a false positive by assuming the whole yard is fine just because one area shows moisture.

    If your Ann Arbor MI yard shows signs of chronic dryness, consider installing irrigation to safeguard your plants. Many systems come with moisture sensors and timers to prevent over watering. This saves water while ensuring plants get the moisture they need to thrive.

    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. Your lThree Tier Fountainawn is the first thing people see when driving by your home, and your neighbors must look at your lawn every day. Making a good impression with your lawn is simple when you are willing to introduce new ideas to the space. A softscape may be the thing your lawn needs to come alive, and an outdoor water feature will change the overall attitude of your lawn. A patch of green grass with a few flowers is merely a lawn, but a water feature makes the space into a wonderland of sound, color and movement.

    #1: What Water Features Should You Use?

    Your water feature in Ann Arbor MI will freeze in the winter, and you must keep the freezing temperatures of winter in mind when choosing your feature. The feature you choose should run water from one place to another, or the feature should spout water in a lovely shape. The shape will be frozen in place in the winter, and the shapes will constantly change with the wind in the summer.

    The outdoor water feature you choose should speak to your personality, or the feature should match the theme of the lawn. You may select any style you want, and the water feature must be easy to see. Anyone who passes your home must have a clear view of the water feature, and the supporting plants must draw attention to the feature.

    #2: How Do You Plant Around A Water Feature?

    There are several perennial softscapes you may plant in Ann Arbor MI that will survive the winter unscathed. Plant mosses, vines and shrubs around the water feature to help support its structure, and you may cover the base of the feature with the plants. This design will make the water feature appear to float on your lawn, and the frozen water in the winter will look even more enchanting.

    #3: How Do You Connect The Water Feature?

    Water features are fed by the water supply in your home, and there is an outdoor spigot you may use to run the device. You may bury the hose that runs to the feature, or you may cover the hose with another interesting plant. You need easy access to the hose if it is damaged, and you will leave the spigot on for most of the year. The spigot is only turned off when the temperatures freeze outside.

    #4: Planning The Water FeatureLong exposure of a backyard waterfall and pond surrounded by green foliage.

    Choose a feature that you believe will look good against the backdrop of your home. Your home has a certain personality, and the feature must complement the personality of your home. Choosing the wrong water feature will make your home look out of place, but the right water feature will look as if it was built with the house.

    Adding softscapes to your home will help change the appearance of your lawn, and you will add movement in the form of a water feature. Every suggestion above will make your lawn more interesting, and you may add several water features that all make your home more interesting to view from the street.

    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.

  5. The classic Ann Arbor MI American single-family house has a beautiful green lawn surrounding it. Thus, it can be frustratdog and cating when your ideal verdant lawn doesn’t exist even when you’ve applied proper lawn care, and instead you have a ugly, patchy lawn with brown spots or bare patches of soil. Fortunately, this is a common problem that can be remedied. However, to determine how to fix it, you must first know why it is happening, as different causes necessitate different solutions.

    Lack of Water

    The most common cause for dead patches of grass is lack of water. In Ann Arbor MI, especially in the hot summer when it can be hot enough to evaporate water out of the ground, rain is not sufficient to keep your grass fully watered. To see if lack if water is indeed the culprit, use a shovel to dig a bit into the soil and see if it’s dry. If lack of water is the problem, make sure that the lawn is watered enough. If you use sprinklers, check that they are functioning well with no clogs and that they are covering the intended area–over time, sprinkler positions may shift.


    Urine can harm grass due to the high nitrogen content. Most commonly, it’s a dog, but other large animals can also cause urine damage. Urine damage will cause a yellow spot with bright green margins where more diluted nitrogen acts as fertilizer. If urine spots are a frequent problem, water the area where your dog has urinated immediately afterwards to dilute it, or train them to urinate in a less conspicuous area. Alternatively, plant more nitrogen resistant grass.

    Mowing Incorrectly

    Although regular mowing is good, there are a number of ways it can go wrong. If the mower blade is set too low or if there are lumpy areas on your lawn that are higher, it can cut off the lower part of the grass that is responsible for the grass growing. Ensure that your mower blade is at the right height and that there are no high spots on your lawn. Mowing too frequently can also damage grass. In addition, a dull mower blade can tear the grass, causing damage, so it’s important to sharpen your blades regularly. Finally, it’s possible that gasoline, oil, or other substances are being spilt, which will cause irregular patches. Don’t overfill fuel and oil in this case, and if the problem persists, inspect your lawnmower.

    Poor Soil

    It’s possible for either compacted soil or nutrient deficit to be the cause of patchiness. To check for soil compaction, take a screwdriver and see if you can easily push it into the soil. If the soil lacks nutrients, apply fertilizer. However, too much fertilizer can also kill grass. Also test the pH of your soil–it’s possible for it to be too high or too low, and there are products that can fix this.

    Lawn Diseases

    There are many diseases that can affect your lawn. Many of them cause circular dead patches about a foot wide. However, because there are a multitude of lawn diseases that all cause circular patches, unless you feel comfortable trying many different products, the best course of action is to hire a contractor to save the trouble of doing complex lawn care.

    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. 911

    American Flag

  7. Compost for Ann Arbor

    For 2015, seasonal compost collection began Monday, March 30 through Friday, Dec. 4​, with weekly pickups. Apples

    Acceptable compostable materials include the following:

    • Plate scrapings (including meat and bones), fruits, vegetables​ and other food waste*
    • ​Bamboo dinnerware*
    • Grass clippings*
    • ​Properly​-contained leaves
    • Garden pruning’s, crab apples, garden surplus, etc.
    • Unpainted, untreated lumber (cart lid must close)
    • Brush
    • Weeds
    • Undecorated and cut up Christmas trees
    • Halloween pumpkins
    • ​Tree branches up to 6 inches in diameter

    *These items are only accepted in compost carts in order to avoid attracting wildlife, or creating odors and unsafe conditions of wet, overweight, broken bags at the curb. Items placed in compost carts do not need to be bagged or bundled.​

    Unacceptable compostable materials

    Do not place the following items in compost carts or paper yard waste bags:

    • Refuse
    • Sawdust​
    • Rocks, stones or gravel
    • Branches over 6 inches in diameter or over 4 feet in length
    • Painted wood
    • Treated lumber
    • Plastic bags or containers
    • Kitty litter or dog droppings
    • Diapers​

    SOURCE:  http://www.a2gov.org/departments/field-operations/trash-recycling/Pages/Compost.aspx



  8. Autumn Joy

    Even with busy back to school activities, visits to the cider mills, Michigan football games, and even the youth soccer season, we do notice that our Michigan trees are starting to change color, and the leaves turn magnificent colors that are breathtaking. Though, it’s the dreaded chore of raking up the leaves from the lawn that often dishearten the season.

    While the leaves that fall within our forests grounds slowly decay, they offer the return of vital nutrients to the earth. But, leaves left on the sidewalGirl Hanging From A Treeks and driveways become a slippery and unsightly mess, but worse yet, when left on lawns, these downed leaves can smother your lawn. In fact, fallen leaves create a barrier over the lawn, trapping moisture, inhibiting sunlight and harboring insects and diseases that can kill patches of even the healthiest lawns. Sometimes Mother Nature lends a helping hand by blowing a sweeping breeze that carries your leaves over to the neighbor’s yard. But beware: That same breeze is probably blowing more leaves onto your lawn, too.

    If raking your entire yard several times this fall seems like a daunting task, hire a contractor, or break up the tasks, doing portions at a time.

    Mulching Technique for Leaf Removal Using a Riding Lawn Mower

    If you’ve got a large yard and you use a riding lawn mower, try leaf mulching. It’s easy: Just mow over the leaves. The mower chops them up and returns the smaller leaf pieces to the lawn. (If you’ve got some spots with a lot of leaves, you might need to make two passes to get finer leaf pieces that’ll decay faster into your lawn.) University research shows that leaf mulching with a mower doesn’t negatively affect turf performance, and it sure is a time-efficient way to get rid of those leaves!

    But before you jump on your mower, here are a few tips:

    • Mow the leaves when they’re dry.
    • Survey the lawn for any sticks, branches or small tree limbs that may have fallen. Mowing over these can dull your blades and create dangerous projectiles.
    • Consider wearing a mask and safety glasses to protect your eyes and avoid breathing in the fair amount of dust that can come from chopping up dry leaves.
    • Bag your mulched leaves and use them for compost. (The smaller leaf pieces simply speed up the decomposition process.)

    Maintaining a leaf-free yard this fall can help assure a healthy lawn come spring, and it provides a wealth of composting material to further your garden’s wellbeing. It may be disheartening to go out the next day only to find your yard littered with more leaves. But soon enough the task will be behind us all, as the bare trees dot the coming winter landscape – giving us plenty of time to prepare for all the gardening fun come spring!

  9. Ottawa County residents have an alert arborist to thank for the discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid, which triggered response efforts by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to help protect the state’s hemlock trees and other natural resources.

    The infestation was discovered in June by an alert arborist working in Park Township who reported his suspicion to MDARD. Samples were sent to a United States Department of Agriculture insect identifier who confirmed the insect as HWA.  MDARD immediately initiated a survey of hemlock trees within a mile of the positivBoxwoode site and during that survey two more positive locations were discovered. Impacted property owners have been notified and the known infested trees are being treated. MDARD is currently working with its state and federal partners on a comprehensive response plan.

    HWA is a small, aphid-like insect that uses its long siphoning mouthparts to extract sap from hemlock trees.  Native to eastern Asia, HWA was discovered in Virginia in 1951 and has since spread over an area from Georgia to Maine, decimating hemlock stands across much of the eastern U.S. HWA will cause widespread tree mortality and move to other areas if left untreated.

    “Michigan is home to more than 100 million hemlock trees which provide valuable habitat for various animals including birds, deer and fish. These trees are critical to the ecology and aesthetics of Michigan’s northern forests,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. “This discovery underscores the importance of citizen involvement in exotic pest detection.  Without the report from an alert individual, it may have gone unnoticed for months, or even years, making management of this devastating pest much more difficult.”

    The area of concern is described as all portions of Park Township in Ottawa County north of Lake Macatawa. It’s bounded by New Holland Street to the north, Division Avenue/144th Avenue to the east, Lake Macatawa to the south and Lake Michigan to the west. People who live, work and play in the area of concern should be aware that HWA can be very difficult to detect at low population levels because the insect is so small.  The movement of hemlock materials (trees, branches and twigs) could spread HWA.  At this time, hemlock materials should not be removed from properties within the area of concern.  It’s recommended no hemlock trees be brought into the area of concern as they run the risk of becoming infested. Also, because birds move HWA, people in the area of concern should remove any bird feeders from hemlock trees.

    The origin of these infestations is not known. Work is being conducted by MDARD in an effort to identify the source of the infestation. So far, no clear source has been found, but a likely source is hemlock nursery stock moved into Michigan from infested areas outside of the state either prior to MDARD’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine implemented in 2002, or in violation of the quarantine. There are no known established populations of HWA anywhere else in Michigan.

    “Nursery operators, landscapers and homeowners should never accept hemlock from quarantined areas, and never accept hemlock without proper certification,” said Alessandri. “Examine your hemlock for the presence of white, cottony masses on the underside of the branches where the needles attach.  If you suspect HWA, contact MDARD immediately.”

    Michigan law restricts the movement of hemlock into the state, and includes a complete ban of movement of hemlock into the state from infested areas.


    SOURCE:  MNLA 2015

  10. Hey Chris,balloon

    I just wanted to let you know that Marcie liked the new beer you turned me on too, thanks!  Also just to reiterate, Marcie and I are are completely and totally satisfied with the way that our landscaping project turned out.  Fred and his guy’s were very professional and knowledgeable and polite. They kept all the supplies neat and organized through out the process and kept me and my family informed every step of the way.  They meet or exceeded all our expectations on every step of the process, even with the extra difficult weed removal they pushed through and gave us the perfect results. Just as last time your team made it a easy and enjoyable landscape experience, and that’s why you earned our repeat business!


    Scott & Marcie M.

    Dexter, MI