3 Quick Resources for Exterior Holiday Decorating Ideas

Outdoor christmas lights ideasIf you haven’t had a chance to start your exterior holiday decorating, Indianapolis will have record highs today, with temperatures reaching 70 degrees. Visit the following resources to get some ideas for your exterior lighting and decorations before the cold weather moves back in to central Indiana.

  • Better Homes and Gardens: Known for their fabulous home pictorials and tips on home decorating and maintenance, Better Homes and Gardens doesn’t disappoint with their tips and ideas for outdoor Christmas decorating. Some included topics include, “Holiday Front Porch Decorating Ideas,” and “Outdoor Holiday Decorating Ideas,” to name a few. To visit the holiday decorating section of their website, click here.
  • Google Images: If you want to browse pictures, rather than do a bunch of reading, Google images displays thousands of photos, gathered from various websites. A quick search of “Exterior Holiday Decorating” yielded pages and pages of results. Adjust your search to see ideas for something more specific, such as “ Holiday Front Porch Decorating” or “Christmas Light Decoration Ideas”. To see a sample search for exterior Holiday decorating, click here.
  • Pinterest: Have you heard of Pinterest? Think of it as a virtual bulletin board, where visitors can collect images from all over the web for various topics or specialty. After signing up for a free account, users can search for holiday decorating ideas and the results will be unlimited. Sign up here and then start your holiday decorating search.

These exterior holiday decorating ideas are brought to you by Indianapolis landscape and outdoor design company, All Seasons Landscape Management.

When is the Best Time to Plant Trees?

When is the Best Time to Plant Trees?

 That is a good question we get asked all the time. Some claim the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the second best time is right now. When exactly is right now? You certainly cannot achieve the same success rate when planting any time during the year.

We like to tell our Indianapolis clients that the best time to plant trees is generally in the late winter to early spring. Summer is a bad choice, because the weather is too hot and the actively growing trees are too susceptible to damage. This summer was especially bad with the drought conditions we experienced in central Indiana. Fall can also be a good time to plant when the trees begin to enter their dormant stage. When trees become dormant, the branches do not grow, which puts all the tree’s focus into making the roots stronger to help the tree withstand the colder months. By planting in the Fall, the tree develops a stronger root system, which prepares it for the Spring rainy season.

Intense heat is a major enemy to newly planted saplings. But lack of water for their root systems is worse. Although you may not think of winter as a dry time with all the snow—remember, the moisture from the snow can not get to the roots until the snow melts and the ground thaws, creating desert-like conditions. That is why watering trees properly in the Fall is so important for your trees. They need to be hydrated to sustain them for the long winter months.

When planting trees this Fall, remember to dig a wide hole, not necessarily a deep hole. Nurseries used to recommend that you dig a very deep hole and pile up the soil and plant the tree. However, it is now known that most of the roots on the trees grow in the upper 12-18 inches of soil, and they spread out two to three times the canopy of the tree. This makes it important to dig wide and shallow. The greatest cause of death to newly planted trees is planting them too deep.  Indiana has a large clay base. This clay base often creates a bathtub effect when it does rain. Rainwater or even artificially watered trees will not thrive when their roots are constantly being held in water.

With proper planting and care, your new trees will take root and start providing much needed shade in the summer while helping to regulate temperature extremes. Additionally they will purify the air by removing carbon dioxide. The sooner you plant new trees, the sooner you will be able to enjoy the benefits now and into the future.

For more information on tree planting or where to purchase trees in the Indianapolis area , contact All Seasons Landscape Management at 317-259-9222.

Taking the “Hard” Out of “Hardscape”

While the term hardscape is common in the landscape and garden design industry, many property owners aren’t exactly sure what it means. Some might even joke that, “… hardscaping is anything that turns out to be harder than you expect it to be.”
Actually, when we talk about hardscapes, we are referring to the hard or solid areas in your outdoor space. These hard areas might be made up of materials like pavers, brick, wood, rocks, stone, pea gravel, or concrete. While planters and other containers are considered part of the hardscape, the actual plants inside of them, or in any other part of your yard, are considered to be the softscape.
When it comes to hardscaping, our job at All Seasons Landscape Management is to do the heavy lifting, and let you sit back and enjoy the outcome. And fall is a very good time of year to make improvements or additions to your hardscaping needs. These could include anything from patios, decks and verandas with or without kitchens, fireplaces or firepits, to fountains, pools, ponds and pergolas. The possibilities are literally endless.
Hardscaping has become increasingly popular with Indianapolis homeowners for a number of reasons, including:

  • Improved aesthetics. Even something as simple as a tiled path to your garden can create a brand new look for your home, and provide a fresh, peaceful aesthetic.
  • Reduced maintenance. Adding hardscaping to your yard can serve as a way to cut down on weeding and mowing, decreasing the amount of time and energy you have to spend on lawn care.
  • Increased living space. By adding a new outdoor living area, like a paving stone patio, you can increase your property value, while giving your family an added space to enjoy together.
  • Architectural support. Appropriate hardscaping can not only serve as a means to correct water damage issues, it can also provide architectural support for the design and layout of your yard.

If you’d like to find out more about our hardscaping options and services in the Indianapolis, Fishers, Geist, Noblesville and surrounding areas, contact us at 317-259-9222.

Lawn Care Tips During Drought Conditions

It’s been a brutal summer for Hoosiers, and gone are the dreams of a plush, green lawn surrounded byoverflowing landscapes. Current drought conditions, along with community watering bans in Fishers, Indianapolis and Westfield, have certainly taken a toll on even the most manicured of lawns.

So what’s a home or business owner to do? While water conservation should always be on the top of the list during a drought, there are other simple steps that property owners can take in order to insure a healthy lawn this fall:

Minimize fertilization. Heavily fertilized lawns use up more water and are more susceptible to drought stress. Skip the multi-step fertilization process for now, and save the treatments for the fall, which is the most critical time for fertilizer.Be sure to include a winterizer application to help promote root development and greening of the lawn in the spring.

Keep off the grass.While your lawn might not technically be “dead,” one of the factors that can kill drought-stressed turf is intense traffic, which can damage the grass and its’ crown. If at all possible, decrease foot traffic and the use of any heavy equipment.

Mow with caution. If you do need to mow, a general guideline is to never remove more than one-third of your grass at one time. Raise the mowing height of your lawn mower at least one setting higher than what you’re used to. This will force your grass to develop and use deeper roots.

Give mulching a try. Even if your mower isn’t designed to mulch, let the clippings remain on your lawn. Grass tends to lose more water and nutrients through the evaporation process, which happens faster when clippings are removed.

Aerate this fall. If you didn’t aerate your lawn last spring, plan to do so this fall. The aeration process, which creates small holes in the ground, allows water to soak deeper into the soil, promoting root growth.  Additionally if you over-seed after aerating, seed will get into the plugs. A good starter fertilizer is essential for good seed growth and root development before the weather gets colder.

Maintain equipment. Sharpen up those mower blades during the summer months (at least twice when on a regular mowing schedule). Dull blades tear grass, forcing them to use 40-60 percent more water trying to recover from stress.

Check sprinkler systems.Once water bans are lifted, check your sprinkler system for any leaky valves or heads, which will lead to water waste. Change timing settings, if appropriate.

Water lightly.If you are allowed to water, only apply enough to reach the depth of the roots in order to avoid wasting water. The roots of many cool-season grasses (like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue) tend to be shallow during the summer months. Taking a soil plug should give homeowners a good idea of how deep the grass roots are. Also, ideal watering times are from 4-9 a.m. When watering bans are not in effect follow these guidelines: Watering for longer periods of time, but less often is the best way to get roots to be deeper and denser. This will provide better water retention in the future when drought conditions are present. Additionally grass will remain greener longer.

Follow water limits. If water limits are imposed in your community, follow them. If allowed, watering on alternate days can save 40-50 percent of water. While most grasses won’t retain their color during a drought, they can survive about a month without water.

Landscaping & Trees:Don’t forget to get water to your landscape, especially Trees. This unprecedented drought is effecting Evergreen Trees that have been around for 10 or more years. Once an evergreen tree or shrub starts to turn brown, it is usually to late to save it. Since trees and landscaping can be much more expensive than re-seeding your lawn, don’t forget to give them a drink as well.

Gator Bags:these water bags connected at the base of trees helps to distribute an adequate supply of water to help sustain the trees during periods of drought. It supplies much needed water to the root ball where it is absorbed directly by the roots. It further prevents water run-off and waste.

Soaker Hoses: these hoses help get the needed moisture through landscaping beds. They can be woven in between shrubs and perennials. They provide thousands of little holes along a rubber hose. This helps prevent water run-off and waste. They can be hooked up to a water faucet with a timer that shuts off the supply automatically.

If you have more questions about lawn or landscape care during drought conditions, call All Seasons Landscape Management at 317-259-9222.

January and February Landscape Tips

Turf:

Avoid salt damage along sidewalks and driveways.  When temperatures above are zero, the use of urea instead of salt will melt ice and not damage turf.

Remove any wind driven leaves or trash.

Seeding turf areas can begin in mid-February provided there is no snow on the ground.

Broadcast seeding is effective at this time of year with no loss to germination potential.

Trees:

Check the trunks and root collars of trees for rodent damage.  If necessary, use plastic or wire protectors.  While in the dormant period, trees may be pruned provided temperatures are above 32 degrees to avoid additional damage to tissue.  Dormant oils may also be applied provided the temperature will remain above 32 degrees for 24 hours after application.

Evergreens will continue to transpire throughout the year.  A three-inch to six-inch layer of mulch is required over the root zone to prevent desiccation.

Shrubs and Perennials:

Replace or replenish mulch to maintain a 3 to 4 inch layer

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