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Carpenter Costin Blog

Increase Your Property Value With Landscaping

Improving your existing landscape or creating a whole new landscape will not only enhance the look of a property but also add value when refinancing or selling a home.

If you are looking to improve your landscape there are some key takeaways and benefits you should definitely consider to help make the decision a no-brainer.

Lets go through some of the benefits of investing in landscape design projects for your property and home.

The benefits of properly executed landscaping plans are:

  • Economic benefits

  • Environmental

  • Personal health

  • Socialization

  • Outdoor living space

Economic Benefits From Landscaping

Landscaping your property can increase the resale value of a property by as much as 15%. 

A significant landscape project that can bring close to 12% increase in property value is the construction of a patio. Patios bring an aesthetic appeal along with a purpose. 

Environmental Benefits Landscaping

Green Leaf Wide

It is a known fact that trees clean the air of pollutants which improves the quality of our air we breathe. Trees have many environmental benefits which we go into more detail in our blog posts "Importance and Value of Trees"

When planting trees, there are a select few that if properly and strategically planted can significantly absorb sounds waves and reduces noise pollution.

Improve Your Personal Health With Landscaping

Women Happy Nature Wide

Some studies have shown that when people are surrounded by nature like trees and flowers they significantly suffered less job stress and ended up feeling more satisfaction from their job.

To get more specific many people reported having fewer headaches and ailments than people that did not have a view of natural surroundings like trees and flowers. 

Overall by being surrounded by trees and plants it caused an increase in positive feelings while feelings of fear and anger were reduced.

Create Outdoor Living Spaces

People enjoy being outside in the sunlight and enjoying time with family and friends. A landscaped patio can raise the value of a home by as much as 12.4%. 

Outdoor Living Spaces

Landscape designs for your yard can encourage and provide much more opportunities for social interactions and family time. Picture a backyard patio where you can have an outdoor fireplace where your family and friends can sit around, roast marshmallows.

A key feature in a backyard landscape is a water feature. This does NOT mean a pool. Anything from a fountain to a small pond or even a hot tub would be more than enough. The reason being that you are creating an area in your backyard that is a comfortable place to sit, relax and take in the fresh air.

The benefits of landscaping can be maximized when you have a certified professional involved in all aspects of the landscape including the design, site prep, plant selection, and installation. This is where a Landscape Master Plan is highly recommended.

 

If you have any questions or interested in any of our services please reach out to us at 877-308-8773 or click on the link below for a free consultation!

Request Free Landscape Design Consultation

 

Creating a Master Plan for your Landscape Design

When you finally want your dream landscape to happen it doesn’t start with a patio, plantings, water feature or even shrubs. It starts by working with a landscape designer to create your Master Plan.

Landscape Design Master Plan

A master plan is a comprehensive plan of action intended to guide growth and development. It documents every last detail of your space. You can create a master plan for professional success, for personal growth, for a community, and you can create a master plan for your home and landscape design.

Lincoln patio and pool 10-04  Updated 5-16-19 (1)

Why a Master Plan is Important

The question you should ask is, ‘would I want someone to build my house without knowing how they are going to build it, what tools they will need, what kind of resources are required, or how much time is going to be needed to complete it?’ A master plan acts as a blue print or road map for the project of your dream landscape so we can answer all those questions and ensure the completion of your project the way we planned it TOGETHER.

Understand Your Goals For Your Landscape

Although you might know that you want a patio or a couple trees planted there are a few things to consider and figure out. The master plan will help you make certain of;

What you want: Patio, Retaining wall, Walkway, Natural Privacy screen,

Where you want it: Front yard, Side yard, Backyard

How it will be used or want to be used: For entertainment, Relaxation, Privacy, Personal space, etc. 

Complications that could arise: What happens when the tree you planted grows? Is it too close to your patio?

This is why a master plan is crucial because once the project is completed there really is no turning back without spending money you shouldn't have had to if you had just created the master plan.

Break Your Landscape Project into Different Stages

Whether you implement your design in one season or break it down into phases and install over several seasons, a landscape master plan ensures continuity throughout the project. Master planning allows you a practical approach to construction sequencing and phasing, and gives you a better understanding of the costs and maintenance you will need for your landscape.

Side of paver drive

When your landscape project includes more than one project like:

  • Tree Plantings for a natural privacy screen
  • Patio design & construction
  • Outdoor Kitchen/Fireplace
  • Water features like a waterfall or pond

It is very important to break your dream landscape into multiple stages. This will allow you to have more control over your projects like completion dates and spending amounts. So if the patio project is your priority then you will be able to start with that and decide the next steps you are able to take and plan from that.

Flow of the Landscape

Your home, where you live, includes both the indoor and outdoor living space that should be complementary. You want a flow from one space of your property to the other. Your landscape should be a harmonious space from which you derive enjoyment.

Blue Pebble RiverWith that being said, every property flows differently. Questions to ask yourself or for the landscape designer to consider is;

  • Is your yard flat or does it slope dramatically? Is there a hill?
  • What is your soil made up of? Rocks? Sand?
  • How does your yard handle a heavy rain? Does it drain well or flood?

These are just a few questions that will be answered in your master plan so that both you and the landscape designer are on the same page throughout the process.

Landscape Design is an Art Form

Landscape design is an art, it uses the principles of simplicity, good scale, balance, sequence, and focalization. These principles are the guidelines in designing each outdoor feature, whether it's patio, stone walkway/pathway, a flower garden, or a shrub border. Every detail matters which is why it is critical to have the master plan to effectively and efficiently get the job done.

Improve Your Landscape

When you decide to improve your landscape, your outdoor living space, a master plan is essential. A Landscape Architect creates a master plan by working with you to understand your goals for the space and how you intend to live in it. Analyzing your goals and researching the parameters of the site helps determine the optimum solutions in advance of actual execution.

If you have any questions or would like to move forward with improving your landscape please contact our registered Landscape Architects to discuss master planning for your landscape design project.

Request Free Landscape Design Consultation

Landscape Design Portfolio

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Editors Note: This post was originally published in April of 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Importance and Value of Trees Part 2

Personal & Mental Health Benefits

Trees Improve Our Health  

Trees can help us think better and feel better. There are studies that show that people with access to trees and forests have much better overall mental health and personal health. Here are a few topics we will talk about.

Forestry on state lands Dtop

Exposure to forests and trees:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves mood
  • Increases the ability to focus
  • Increases energy level
  • Improves sleep

Trees Help Boost our Immune System

While breathing fresh air outside, we breathe in phytoncides. Phytoncides are airborne chemicals that trees and plants give off which protect them from insects. According to ny.gov, people don't know that this airborne chemical contains antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities which helps them fight diseases, so when we breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number of white blood cells which means we are able to fight off more virus-infected cells.

Trees Reduce Stress and Improve Your Mood

Canva - Person Walking Inside Forest

We all know one way or another that being surrounded by nature can make us feel good. Whether exercising in forests or simply looking at trees reduces blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline. When listening to the sounds of the forests, the scent the trees give off and the fresh clean air it gives us a sense of comfort. According to Dr. Qing Li, in Japan they practice forest bathing or shinrin-yoku. Forest bathing is not exercise like hiking, it is just being surrounded by nature, using our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Researchers found when using the Profile of Mood States test after forest bathing trips it significantly decreased the scores for anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue.

Trees Help Increase Your Focus

Our lives are constantly busy with jobs, school, and socialization. When trying to focus on multiple activities or just one for a long period of time it can mentally drain us, which is known as Directed Attention Fatigue. According to nytimes' blog, there are two forms of attention: "directed" attention and "involuntary" attention. We use directed attention most of the time when we are working and studying, while involuntary attention is just an automatic response to certain events.

Canva - Person Holding and Reading Book during Daytime

Children and adults with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing the mental fatigue. For more information on how trees helped with ADHD check out another nytimes post here

Trees Bring Community & Social Value

Tree plantings can provide an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment that will improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Trees are on our streets, apart of our parks, and in our backyards that create a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment. Ultra-violet rays are known for causing skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Trees help shield from direct sunlight which in turn reduces the UV-B exposure by about 50%. Trees can provide protection for children at recess, playgrounds, or wherever children spend time outdoors. This increases our quality of life by bringing natural life and wildlife habitats into urban settings. 

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Trees as landmarks can give a neighborhood or town a new identity and encourage pride for their neighborhood. Trees can be used for Tree Houses for children or as a creative and spiritual inspiration for adults. Trees have provided an escape for us throughout the ages.

We tend to overlook the importance of trees and the positive effects that they bring us every single day. If we take care of our trees they will take care of us. For more information on the importance and value of trees check out our previous blog Importance and Value of Trees Part 1.

If you have any questions or are interested in any of our services please feel free to reach us at 877-308-8733.  All estimates are free of charge. We look forward to hearing from you!

Schedule a Free Consultation

Renovate Your Lawn For Optimal Health

Overview

Lawn renovation is important to keep your lawn strong, healthy and lush. The healthier your lawn the easier it is to keep weeds from growing. In this post we will go over two of the main cultural practices; core aeration and over seeding and when you should have them done.

Core Aeration Process and Results

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Core Aeration is the process in which a machine pulls out plugs of soil. The result is small holes which allow air, water and nutrients to reach the turf roots. The soil plugs are left on the lawn which then break down naturally. When the turf roots receive more air, water and nutrients they are able to produce a much more vigorous lawn.

The main reason to aerate your lawn is to reduce soil compaction. Soil compaction is a form of soil degradation. When the soil is compacted it compresses the soil and limits the amount of air and water available to the roots of the turf.

When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

When to aerate your lawn is the big question. Should you do it in the spring? Summer? or Fall? The answer is anytime during the growing season. This is because during the growing season you will allow the turf roots to expand into growth spaces created during the core aeration process. All lawns need yearly aeration. No aeration can cause compaction issues and a struggling lawn in the future.

Over Seeding

Overseeding

Over seeding is the application of seed over existing lawns to improve the density. Although it seems simple, there is some specifications that you'll want to know when deciding when to over seed.

When Should You Over Seed?

The ideal time to over seed your lawn is in the fall. The reason is that in the fall the soil is still warm but the air is cooler. When the air is cooler and soil is just warm there are fewer weeds for the new grass to compete with.

Signs your lawn needs overseeding:

  • Brown spots spreading across your lawn.
  • You haven't overseeded in the past few years.
  • Your lawn has thin spots or bare areas

It is far more cost effective and efficient to over seed than to remove the existing turf and install a new lawn from seed or sod.

Our lawn care experts can advise you on these cultural practices, and provide the necessary services to improve the health and beauty of your lawn. Please inquire for a free consultation with one of our lawn care pros, and get your lawn looking healthy, lush and strong!

Consult With A Turf Pro

Contact us at 877-308-8733 or info@carpentercostin.net

Using Compost When Planting Annuals

Annual-Flower-Bed-2Good Soil Promotes Healthy Growth

Annuals are a great way to add color and brighten up planting beds. One of the most important factors in planting annuals - and for any planting! - is starting with good soil.  For long lasting, vibrant blooms, many landscape contractors add compost to flower beds. 

What is Compost?

Compost is often called black gold and many consider it the most important form of organic matter. Commercially produced compost is ‘green waste’, leaves or wood chips or products, which has decomposed into nutrient rich humus, similar to soil on a forest floor. 

Benefits of Compost

Compost energizes the soil food web and enhances the ability of many plants to stand up to common diseases and insects. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. 

How to Create Your Own Compost

You can buy bagged compost, or if you have the time, make it yourself. Compost is the end-product of the decomposition of organic matter and typical ingredients include leaves or grass clippings from your garden and vegetable trimmings from your kitchen. Put all biodegradable waste in a container and stir regularly. Compost is ready when it is dark brown, crumbly, and has an earthy smell. It should not be moldy, powdery, hot, or smell like ammonia. 

To add compost to your flower or vegetable garden, cover the top layer of soil with 3 to 4 inches of compost and rake thoroughly. Dig the holes, insert your plants, and sprinkle another layer of compost over the top of the soil layer. Water well. 

Don’t be surprised if you have many, many more blooms and vegetables than your neighbors!

Keep Your Trees Safe During Construction

constructionThis is the time of year for renovations and other construction projects. Before you begin, consider consulting with one of our Certified Arborists to evaluate the impact this work may have on your trees and shrubs.

One of the most prevalent dangers is severing a tree’s root system, but soil compaction is another large problem that many people don't consider.  When heavy equipment drives over plant root zones, soil becomes compressed. When water can't penetrate the dense, compacted soil you end up with excessive dryness and roots suffocate.  Compacted soil also causes twig and branch die back, leaf or needle dryness and possibly even tree death.  

Learn the steps necessary to prevent plant injury by including an Arborist’s visit in your project’s planning process. 

For a free consultation with a Certified Arborist, before your next project, give us a call at (877)308-8733, or click below.

Request a Free Consultation

Avoid Over-Mulching Your Trees

Mulch is any material spread over soil as a covering. Often, mulch used in landscaping around trees is made from bark chips and is used to inhibit weed growth, hold in soil moisture, and creates aesthetic appeal. Mulch is a excellent part of any landscaping plan, but many people don’t realize that they can kill their trees with too much mulch. 

Over-mulching can create a waterlogged soil and root zone, resulting in root suffocation. Roots need to take in oxygen, unlike leaves that give off oxygen. The problems that are caused from yearly over-mulching are not immediate and symptoms can take up to three to five years to show. When oxygen levels drop below 10 percent, root growth declines. Unfortunately, by the time you recognize the symptoms (off-color foliage, abnormally small leaves, poor growth and die-back of older branches), it's usually too late to apply corrective measures and the plant has begun an irreversible decline. Sugar Maple, Beech, Dogwood, Oak, Tulip, Spruce and Pine trees are most easily damaged by excessive mulch or grade changes. 

Follow these tips to avoid and correct over-mulching:

  • Never add significant amounts of soil or mulch around tree trunks
  • Follow the rule of thumb of keeping mulch and soil below the area of the trunk flare (the trunk spread at the base of tree).
  • If your trees are already over-mulched, help them ‘breathe’ by lowering the depth of the mulch below the root flare.

For more information on tree mulching, please give us a call at 877-308-8733 or request a free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation 

Preparing Your Lawn for Spring

A healthy lawn does a lot for your yard: it ties together all your landscaping elements, provides a plush place for kids to play, and it provides curb appeal. All homeowners want a beautifully, healthy lawn to enjoy. With the rough winter weather behind us (we hope, at least!), it's time to start preparing your lawn for spring. 

1. Clear the lawn: Preparing your lawn starts with removing dead sticks, leaves and other debris to provide a clean slate so you can assess areas that may need reseeding.

2. Reseed. If you do need to reseed, rake the area to bring healthy soil to the surface and then spread the seed. Be sure to water well.

3. Trim, Don't Cut. There's a misconception that you should mow your grass as low as possible to avoid having to cut it as often. This isn't true and, in fact, a higher mow allows the grass to offer shade that prevents the yard from drying out and establishes a better root system that creates a plusher lawn.

 If you’d like to have some professional help with your lawn, or are thinking about a turf health program, please take advantage of our free consultations and meet with a Carpenter Costin pro.

Request a Free Consultation

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Maintenance Tips For Your Spring Landscape

With temperatures skimming 50 all week I think it's safe to say that winter is behind us. It's time to focus on spring! This is the perfect time to plan your spring landscape so you can enjoy your yard through spring, summer, and fall.

Essential Steps For Your Spring Landscape:

Early Spring (April – Early May)

1.       Inspect trees and shrubs for damaged or hazardous branches

2.       Fertilize trees and shrubs to promote growth and improve vigor

3.       Begin fungicide treatments to Dogwoods, Crabapples, and Hawthornes

4.       Dethatch and core aerate lawn to allow water, soil, and nutrient flow.

5.       Slice seed thin areas in lawn

6.       Fertilize lawn and apply crabgrass control

7.       Apply Horticultural Oil to Hemlocks to control Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

 

Mid-to-Late Spring (Late April – Mid May)

1.       Treat Austrian and Red Pines for Diplodia Tip Blight fungus disease

2.       Mulch trees and shrubs to retain soil moisture

3.       Treat Birches for leafminer

4.       Treat plants for Winter Moth and Canker Worms

Contact us for a free landscape consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

 

Preparing for Spring Landscaping

Landscaping Services in the Spring

It doesn't feel like Spring is around the corner but in reality now is a great time to start planning your Spring landscape. To begin, think about how you want to use your yard this year and consider areas for kids or pets, entertaining or outdoor living. If you're not sure, our landscape architects have great ideas and will help you envision your yard as a perfect place to play and relax.

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Here are some ideas for Spring Landscaping:

  1. Bring warmth and fun to your backyard with a stone fire pit

  2. Redefine the entrance to your home with a new walkway

  3. Add a beautiful flowering tree for an interesting focal point

  4. Introduce seasonal color to your property by adding flowers that bloom all season

  5. Add outdoor living space with a new patio

  6. Remove or transplant overgrown shrubs that detract from curb appeal

  7. Install a stone wall to delineate a seating area

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Carpenter Costin’s landscape architects will work with you to explore the possibilities of your property and turn your dreams into reality. Call now for a no obligation consultation on spring landscaping, 877-308-8733.

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