Top Tips for Summer Lawn & Garden Care

wet lawn with a sprayer in the backgroundWhile Indiana might not exactly be the hottest place in the world, our humid summers can certainly feel sultry and wreak havoc on plants and landscaping. As the rising temperatures take their toll, it can be frustrating to watch your well-tended lawn or garden turn brown and wilt.

The good news is that there are simple things you can do to get your vegetable gardens, perrennials, annuals, lawn, shrubs, and trees through stretches of extreme Midwestern summer. Here are our top tips for plant care in extreme heat.

Container Plants

In extreme heat, move your annuals and perennials that are in containers or hanging baskets in the shade (even if they are “full sun” varieties). Most pots are unable to retain moisture very long, due to their limited size. Water them daily, at minimum, and twice a day if temperatures rise to the high 90s or above. In addition:

  • Water shade-loving plants like impatiens and begonias twice a day.
  • If plants wilt at the end of the day, even if the soil is moist, lightly sprinkle them with water for a quick cool down and refresher.
  • Hot soil is not healthy for plants, so apply mulch to keep the soil cool and moist.

Garden Beds

There is little you can do to provide extra shade for your garden beds, so the best alternative is to keep your soil moist. If the soil remains moist at the root level, even if the surface is dry, your plants can survive. Make sure the layer of bed mulch is adequate (up to but no more than 3 inches). You can use wood bark or chips, compost, lawn clippings or leaves. Be aware that raised beds or sloped areas will dry out more quickly than level ground. Other tips include:

  • Water even your shaded plants once a day.
  • Watch closely for even the slightest of wilting, which is a sign that stress has already taken place.
  • Water only in the morning or evening.
  • Even heat loving plants like tomatoes or geraniums need to be protected. Rapid growth in extreme heat does not indicate that the plants are not stressed. Again, keep the soil moist and cool.
  • Avoid applying fertilizer in heat, which can result in burned plants. If you must fertilize, use a fish emulsion applied when watering.


It’s a myth that you should just allow your lawn to go dormant during the summer. While the grass itself might revive once it cools down, heat- and drought-tolerant weeds will thrive. In other words, you’ll just end up with a very weedy lawn.

Hopefully you are already keeping your lawn strong and healthy with fertilizer. In the beginning of summer, you can apply a light dose of lower nitrogen fertilizer just before a good rain or watering. In addition, you can:

  • Raise your lawn mower blade as temperatures rise, usually two or three times in stages during the summer.
  • In peak season, maintain your grass at 3” long, which helps shade the soil, keeping it cooler and moist.
  • Water your lawn, but avoid waste. First, target full-sun areas, slopes and grass that touches hot surfaces, like pavement, stones or blacktop.
  • Water enough to soak the roots (an hour of steady sprinkling should penetrate the soil as much as 3-6”.
  • Water early in the day to avoid evaporation that will cause wilt or burn.
  • Avoid night watering, as plants stay wet longer, which can lead to mildew, pests and disease.
  • Always follow any local drought and watering restrictions.

Additional Information

Taking care of your lawn and landscaping is crucial during summer months, especially during droughts or stretches of high heat. If you would like to know more about this topic, or if you need help, contact us. We can keep your outdoor space healthy and looking great.

Top 10 Tips for Spring Landscaping Prep

Spring LandscapeWhether you’re an amateur landscaper or serious gardener, spring is an exciting time full of life and potential. Flower pots and beds are surely calling your name, while weekends and evenings become irresistible get-your-hands-dirty invitations. As you prepare your outdoor space for color and growth, a good seasonal cleanup is in order. Take a look at our top ten tips for spring landscaping preparation.

Prune. While most of your perennials can be cut down to the base, you’ll need to leave a little growth leftover on some of them. If you’re not sure, do some online research to find out what’s best, or give us a call for help. Don’t forget to lightly prune your shrubs and trees, too.

Weed. Pull or destroy any remaining weeds out of beds and around plants or trees. Also, remove any damaged, diseased or dead branches.

Rake. Once your beds are cleared of weeds and dead branches, rake thoroughly to further remove all that leftover winter debris. You can save this material for your compost pile if you have one. Otherwise, to help prevent the spread of any potential diseases, dispose of it properly.

Edge. Edging will create a clearly defined definition to your beds and landscaping. This will not only help give your lawn a well-maintained look, it will also help prevent your turf from creeping into mulched areas.

Fertilize.  Your plants need nutrients! Consider applying fresh compost or fertilizer around all your plants to support health and vibrant growth before you layer on fresh mulch.

Weed control. While treating weeds won’t eliminate all your weed problems, it will make a huge difference by acting as a barrier (germination prevention) to any weed seeds existing in your beds. Apply weed control before you mulch in the spring, and continue throughout the summer as directed.

Mulch. A healthy layer of mulch helps your landscape look clean and tidy, and reduces surface evaporation from the soil. It will also help moderate soil temperatures, and improve water penetration and air movement. Just be careful not to exceed a 3” maximum layer. If you have existing mulch from the previous season, remove as needed.

Plant. With the spring temperatures still at a comfortable level, it’s the perfect time to add new plants, as it allows them time to adjust to their new environment with minimal stress from heat and drought.

Transplant. This is the perfect time to take care of those existing perennials that have become unruly or overgrown. Divide, move and transplant them to another area of your garden, or give them away to friends as special appreciation gifts.

Enjoy. Preparing your outdoor space is hard (and dirty) work! Take the time to sit back, relax and enjoy your efforts. Have friends over, throw parties and revel in your handy work.

While these top tips should be on your spring landscaping prep list, we know that not everyone has the time or energy to garden or properly maintain beds and other outdoor elements. Give us a call – we can help find solutions for your spring cleanup needs.

Countdown to Annuals!

As we look out the window and see the snow, it’s hard to imagine that we will soon be planting our annuals but know that Spring is just around the corner!

Here is a countdown to the first day of Spring, which will be Friday, March 20, 2015, as well as a gallery of annuals that we have planted in the Indianapolis area. Enjoy!

Countdown to Spring 2015

The countdown has already ended!
indianapolis landscape tips

Landscape Planning Guide for 2015

indianapolis landscaping gardenerMake your dream landscape design part of your New Year’s resolutions with these five easy steps.

It’s that time of year again … when you countdown to midnight on Dec. 31, and then write down all those things you want to do in the New Year. You know the drill … lose weight, exercise more or maybe spend more time with family.

But what about all those landscaping projects and renovations that keep calling your name every year? They need some attention, too! In fact, now is the perfect time to take stock of your outdoor living space and plan for the year. And we’re here to help. Take a look at our Landscape Planning Guide for 2015.

Assess your needs. Get started by identifying what you want from your outdoor living space. Do you want to be able to entertain guests and accommodate large groups? Are you a gardener, and will you want to cultivate flower beds and plants, or would you rather have low-maintenance features? And what about open spaces – do you want areas in which to exercise, meditate or just sit back and look at the stars? These are all things to consider as you create your landscaping plan.

Dream big. Most homeowners have specific beds, trees or existing landscapes that they love. And then they have areas that they just can’t stand or are in great need of attention. Take stock of what it is you like (or can live with), and what absolutely has to be changed, improved or destroyed. Then list, in order, what your dream outdoor living space would include. Even though you might not be able to afford to make all the changes on your list immediately, it will help to know where you should concentrate your efforts first. Some of the features you might want to consider include:

  • Hardscaping
  • Pavers, natural stone, retaining walls
  • Gardens
  • Landscape installations
  • Water features
  • Irrigation systems
  • Lighting
  • Designer art sculptures and elements
  • Arbors

Develop a budget. This is probably the hardest thing for most homeowners to do, as it’s difficult to even know where to begin. Of course, landscaping costs vary greatly by markets and size of projects. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, a ballpark figure for larger projects is 5-10 percent of your home’s worth. Keep in mind that a professional landscape design can add as much as 15 percent more value to your home, when compared to other properties in your area.

Consult a professional. While there are plenty of projects that you feel you can do yourself, consulting a professional will help you realize the possibilities (and limitations) of your outdoor space. Our experienced team members will create a custom design that can be done all at once, or in phases to fit your budget and needs. We will take into consideration your lifestyle and priorities in order to provide a comprehensive plan to suit your personality and property.

What do you think?

While focusing on self-improvement is a given during this time of year, developing goals for your home – and your lawn and garden in particular – can improve your quality of life and the value of your property. This is the perfect time of year to get started.

We’d love to know more about your landscaping resolutions. What features are on your wish-list, and what areas do you find more challenging or overwhelming? Leave any comments or questions below.