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Carpenter Costin Blog

Add Curb Appeal to Spruce Up Your Property

Adding softscape and hardscape features by the "curb" is an easy way to add value and appeal to your property.

Even if you know absolutely nothing about real estate, you most likely have heard about the value of "curb appeal." Having an appealing "curb" or road-side landscape will not only add value to your home if you're trying to sell it, but it also improves the aesthetics and feel of the home - even if you aren't trying to sell!

Building a small hardscape feature, be it a wall or walkway, will help identify your property boundary, while also guiding visitors down the desired path and keeping them off your lawn. Compliment a hardscape wall or walkway with a nice arrangement of plants and you've got yourself "curb appeal."

Investing in "curb appeal" is usually a wise decision, even if you aren't putting your house on the market, mainly because it does not require a large investment. A skilled Landscape Architect can design and construct a beautifully landscaped curb for relatively minimal investment from the home owner.

Adding a professional landscape feature is a great idea if you're selling your house, because it adds a great value, but even if you aren't selling it still adds a tremendous amount to your property. We recommend consulting with a Registered Landscape Architect to discuss how you can add "curb appeal" to your property. Take advantage of our free consultations and meet with a Landscape Architect.

adding curb appeal

Hardscape and softscape features combine for added curb appeal.

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Plan Landscape Design & Construction Projects Early for Best Results

Don't wait until mid-spring to decide you want to improve your landscape. Plan landscape design and construction projects this winter for optimal results!

It happens every year - early spring rains come to an end and warm weather is greeted by flowering plants, helping to get everyone's landscape juices flowing. It is also at this time that home owners start to realize they may want to make some improvements to their landscape, which often range from a few new plantings to a complete landscape overhaul. Although our skilled staff is fully capable of building the landscape of your dreams throughout the whole growing season, it is best to start thinking about your landscape now!

Prepping for a new landscape project now will help ensure your dream landscape becomes a reality. With ample time before construction starts, our Registered Landscape Architects can deliver the design you're looking for and develop a plan to have the new features developed early - which allows for maximum usable time in your landscape come spring. This is especially important with hardscape features, such as patios. Planning your brick, stone, or paver patio construction early will ensure you don't miss a single cookout this spring.

The first step to planning your new landscape is meeting with a Registered Landscape Architect. In the initial meeting you can explain exactly what you're looking for, or looking to achieve, and a skilled landscape professional will be able to offer advice and guidance where needed. From here, a Landscape Architect will then take the appropriate measurements (sure helps when there isn't snow on the ground), and begin to design your landscape. Starting this process early ensures ample time to hammer down the design to get exactly what you're looking for, or experiment with different materials to get the price you're looking for. Both of these are luxuries that may not be available later in the year when the need for a landscape becomes more pressing.

Consider the above benefits of starting your landscape design early. Get out and look at your property while it is free of snow and start to visualize what certain landscape features would look like in your yard. Ask yourself, "What would a patio look like there, or a privacy barrier along the property's edge over there?" If (and when) you have questions, feel free to contact us!

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Warm Winter Watering Tips: Evergreen Tree Care

Should you water your plants and trees in the Winter?

As shocking as it sounds, you may still need to water your evergreens. During mild periods in the winter, there is a good chance that the ground around your trees will not freeze. If it has froze, then you don't need to worry about watering, but if temperatures are mild and the ground still soft, you must ensure your trees, specifically evergreens, are getting enough water this winter. winter evergreen watering

The general rule of plant watering that you adhere to in spring and summer applies to the winter as well. Assuming the ground does not freeze, you should aim for 1" of water per week. Usually during the fall and winter you can get away with less water per week, but if we are experiencing mild temperatures with very little moisture it is wise to provide your trees and plants with some water.

Without enough water, your evergreens (arborvitaes especially), can dry out during mild winter weather. Be sure to check your evergreen trees for moisture and see if the ground is dry, and not yet frozen. If the ground is frozen the water will run off, but if not it will be absorbed into the soil and ensure the health of your tree this winter. A water-starved evergreen can dry out in the winter, making it very difficult to recover in the spring. A simple moisture check can help save your evergreens during mild winters.

If you are interested in any of our tree services please contact us at 877-308-8733 or click the button for a free consultation.

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The Value of a Professional Landscape Design

Having a professional landscape designed and installed can be one of the best investments to make. When done properly, return can be between 100% and 200%!

If you're a loyal viewer of HGTV television shows you'll know that curb appeal is extremely important when discussing property sales and purchases. Investing in the beautification of the area surrounding your house is just as important as what's going on inside the house. Many real estate professionals believe that an investment in a professional landscape will pay for itself, and then some. Even Bob Vila, the handiest of handymen, suggests that a professional landscape will add 20% to the value of your home.

Adding a new landscape, or sprucing up your existing landscape seems like a no-brainer; however, there are a few factors to consider in order to get the most value out of the new design and installation.

First, make sure you allow plenty of time for your landscape to mature before selling your house. Letting your landscape mature for four or five years will ensure that new plants and new turf will grow in nicely. Maturing your landscape will ensure you get the most value out of your investment.

Secondly, make sure you use a true professional. Registered Landscape Architects are experts in both hardscape and softscape aspects of a new design. Ensuring you're working with a professional firm with an attractive design portfolio and great references will ease the new design process, especially when making a large investment in your property.

Adding a new landscape to your property will not only increase the value, but it can also create a great space for entertaining or relaxing for the homeowner. Think you're ready to add a professional landscape to your property? Consult with an Architect to find out what you can do.

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Cover Shrubs with Burlap for Winter Protection

Don't get burned by cold winter wind - Protect your shrubs with burlap.

Despite the mildness of this fall; the cold, whipping winds of winter will be here before you know it. Without proper protection, your shrubs can be severly damaged by cold winter wind. One method of defense is to use anti-transpirants; however, in areas with excessive wind, a burlap cover or wind screen may be your best bet.

Burlapping shrubs protects them from the wind, but still allows air to circulate through the small mesh holes, promoting good plant health throughout the winter. In addition to protecting from harsh winter winds, burlap also helps regulate the shrubs temperature. In 2011, there burlap for shrub coverwas so much snow that our shrubs were actually insulated by snow (much like an igloo). However, in winters with little snow fall, yet extremely cold temperatures, burlapping can be the difference between preserving your existing shrubs, and needing to plant new ones come spring.

Although we offer burlapping services, it is actually very easy to do yourself. Start with quite a bit of burlap and wrap it around a shrub a couple of times. To secure the burlap, it is best to use twine. Wrap the twine over the burlap tight enough that it will not come loose during periods of high winds; however, not too tight that you may compromise the shrub's integrity. An alternative to wrapping the entire shrub would be to create a wind screen. This works exceptionally well with immature shrubs. A wind screen is constructed using wooden stakes and burlap. Put the stakes in the ground on the windward side of the shrubs about three feet apart, for as long as you need to to cover them. Then lay the burlap along the stakes and staple it to the stakes

Protecting your shrubs with burlap will help you get off on the right foot come spring time. Simply unwrap the burlap, or remove your wind screen, and you should find that your shrubs have not been dried or damaged by the winter wind.

 

Don't Forget to Clean Those Gutters

As we approach winter, ensure your gutters are free of leaves and debris.

Clearing the fallen leaves and twigs from your lawn and flower beds is absolutely essential in maintaining a great landscape; however, that is the simple part of the fall clean up. Cleaning your gutters of the same fallen foliage and debris is even more essential to ensuring your house and property are safe and in great shape. Gutters clogged with leaves cannot properly dispense the water that runs off your roof, resulting in severe backup and a potentially dangerous situation. The added weight of wet leaves is enough to strain a gutter, but as the temperatures drop, the threat of ice developing in the gutters is something that should not be taken lightly.

I'm lucky enough to sit in a corner office (cubicle) at the Carpenter Costin headquarters, and as I look out the window, I am noticing an increase of fallen leaves thickly scattered across the street, sidewalks, and adjacent properties. There is no doubt in my mind that it is time to start the fall clean up process, and ensure that your gutters are free of all leaves and debris.

Our crews can easily and safely clean gutters during our fall clean ups. The equipment we utilize, coupled with a crew that is not afraid of heights, make gutter clearing a breeze. As you think about your fall clean up, please consider the importance of gutter cleaning, and please proceed with caution if you decide to clear your own gutters. Request your fall clean up and gutter clearing today.

Take Advantage of this Nice Weather with Late Fall Landscape Care

Utilize the nice weather while it is still here. Invest in lawn and landscape care now for improved results in the spring.

I was visiting my parents on the South Shore this weekend and was shocked to see how compact the soil was. Without hesitation I was off to the local tool rental store to rent an aerator. It was evident that the turf was not getting the nutrients it needed due to how compact the soil was. After about an hour of aerating and a small investment of $60 in the rental, the entire lawn was liberated from severe compaction.

Core aerating is a great fall lawn care practice, particularly for severly compacted lawns. The removal of the cores improves nutrient, air, and water flow, and also spreads organic material across your turf. It is also a good idea to broadcast some grass seed after core aerating. Although the seed will not germinate this fall, it will mesh with the cores and organic matter and help thicken your turf come next spring.

In addition to core aerating, be sure to get your yard cleaned up while the weather is still on our side. Pick up all the leaves, remove any lingering debris from the October storm, and get you final mowing in for the season if you haven't yet. There really is no telling how long this weather will last, and there is a very good chance that ground will be frozen once again by next week.

Last, but certainly not least, we are in the final weeks of prime planting weather. Fall planting can be great for root development, and is usually more cost effective as nurseries discount their inventory this time of year. Don't miss out on a great chance to add plants and trees to your landscape.

Investing the time in landscape care now will help you greatly come spring. A few hours of care in the fall can go a long way to improving your landscape. If you're unsure of what you can do to improve your landscape, or how to do it, please give us a call. We're happy to help. Don't forget, our Certified Arborists and Landscape Architects are always here for free consultations.

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 core aerator

Core aeration helps relieve soil compaction and improve water, air, and nutrient flow.

 

Save Money and Ensure Plant Health with November Plantings

Experience great results and cost savings by adding new plants in the 11th month!

Planting in the fall ensures optimal root development. Although many home owners have an urge to plant in the spring time, and are more focused on getting the snow blower running in November, it is actually better to add new plants in October, November, and even into December than it is in the spring. Much of a plant's spring time energy is spent on flower and bud production; however, during the fall months, a plant will focus all of its energy on root development. Fall planting ensures strong root development, and allows for a much better bloom come spring.

Another benefit of fall planting is that there is a actually a costs savings to be had. Local nurseries will lower their prices in an attempt to sell their inventory before winter. This allows Carpenter Costin to save even more on our already discounted prices and then pass those cost savings on to our customers.

Planting in November is both great for your landscape and great for your wallet. Plus you'll be able to enjoy your new plants early next spring. Don't wait too long though. Request your free consultation now.

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fall plantings

Take advantage of fall cost savings at our local nurseries.

The Value of Landscape Design Master Planning

This article was written by Bonnie Marsan for a Newsletter back in 2005, and deserves to be republished now more than ever. As our economy continues to struggle, many home owners are attempting to piece together their landscapes in small sections. Unfortunately piecing together a landscape is not a simple as putting a puzzle together. Theme, flow, and direction can all be lost through the multi-year process. A master plan can prevent this. Here is how Bonnie explains it:

Your home is more than a house and garden, it's where you live your life. Indoor and outdoor living space should be complementary, making the most out of the other, emphasizing assets, subordinating liabilities - a unique solution for a unique bit of earth. The landscape should be a harmonious spatial experience from which a homeowner derives satisfaction.

Landscape design makes use of the same principles which are inherent in all good art: simplicity, good scale, balance, sequence, and focalization. These principles are the guidelines in designing each outdoor feature, be it a flower garden, shrub border, or a patio; but they also apply to the complete landscape design, which represents the logical unified arrangement of the elements comprising the whole.

When you decide to improve your outdoor living space, master pre-planning is essential. A Landscape Architect creates a master plan by researching the parameters of the site, and analyzing the goals, needs and desires of the owner to determine optimum solutions, in advance of actual execution.

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

Our Registered Landscape Architects are available to discuss master planning. Click the button below for your free consultation.

Request Free Landscape Design Consultation

design master plan draft

Here is a draft of a portion of a master plan. Such projects can be completed over a period of seasons, helping to make the project more affordable, without losing the overall flow, scope, and direction.

Time For Fall Clean Ups

Carpenter Costin's experienced landscape maintenance crews provide efficient, and effective fall clean up services.

It's hard to believe, but with this morning's chill, I can safely say that winter is on its way. The frost on my windshield made it tough to see the leaves scattered across the lawns in my neighborhood, but as the defroster started to gain on its first real test of the year, I could start to make out the reds, yellows, and browns scattered across many lawns. It is time to start thinking about your fall clean up for the year.fall clean up

The fall clean up is an often-dreaded removal of leaves, twigs, and other debris that has littered your property over the course of the summer and fall. It is a labor intensive activity for home owners, that requires extensive raking, pick up, and bagging of leaves and more. Then, depending on where you live, you may have to bring the bags to a compost center, or consider alternative means of disposal, such as building your own compost pile. The worst part about doing fall clean ups on your own is that it often takes up one of the remaining "nice" days of the fall that can be spent much more appropriately by going for a hike, or long walk, or doing another enjoyable activity, rather than raking.

Let Carpenter Costin do your fall clean up for you. Our clean ups include complete leaf removal, flower bed and lawn clean up, and much more. We will still experience some defoliation of trees, as the abundance of rain seems to have lengthened the season a bit, but as we enter the month of November, it is time to get your property cleaned up. Click the button below and request your fall clean up.

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