Winter Landscaping Guide For A Beautiful Home

Wintertime is synonymous with icy landscapes, snow-covered scenes, and beautiful imagery. This provides the perfect backdrop for your property and allows you the opportunity to ornament it with trees, shrubs, and hardscapes. When decorating your lawn with various plants or objects, there are important landscaping tips to keep in mind. Continue reading this winter landscaping guide so you can keep your garden picture perfect throughout the colder months.

Don’t Stop Watering

Many people think that just because the temperature is dropping that grass and shrubs no longer require regular watering— that is not the case! Not watering your plants, lawn, and hedges can result in several issues, including making them susceptible to disease. Every winter, come back to this landscaping guide and don’t forget to hydrate your greenery.

Cut Your Grass Short

The optimal grass length for the winter season is within the range of 2 to 2.5 inches. When outside of this range, your grass is at risk of contracting diseases such as snow mold. When keeping your lawn perfect, it is important to follow this landscaping guide and maintain your grass length during the colder months. Furry creatures such as mice like to hide and dig nests in the grass during these months. Although they are cute, they can provide damage to your lawn. 

Pick Out Winter-Blooming Flowers

Uncommon to popular belief, flowers will actually be in their prime during these months and are a perfect addition to your garden. There are a variety of options: violets, pansies, snowdrops, honey wort, and winter jasmine. The guide goes on (in fact, you can find an extensive one here to aid you in your selection). These flowers will be sure to brighten up any drabby lawn!  Each flower comes with their own set of care needs and blooming periods so make sure to read up before making any big purchases.

Incorporate Light Outside 

Your homescape can easily be elevated with outdoor lighting, which is especially nice given how early it gets dark during this season. Wall lights are great for your home’s exterior and spotlights are perfect to accentuate paving, decking, and steps. There is a slew of equipment to pick from, and the possibilities are endless. 

The cold season should not be a time for slowing down on backyard development— if anything, it should spark some more creativity! This winter landscaping guide should be just enough of a kickstart to get you working on your winter homescape. If at any point you seek assistance with any of your landscaping troubles, contact Giovine Landscaping! They are here to support you through any landscaping issue you have! Their professional team can also assist you in decorating your lawn for the perfect winter set-up! Call now at: 973-325-1758.

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What Animals Live In My Backyard (And What to Do About Them)?

            Your backyard and garden host a thriving ecosystem of creatures, this can be a small problem or can be larger than life. When we first come into the possession of a beautiful yard, it becomes easy to forget that it is not just our home. Due to them not always being visible, we can forget that wildlife exists in our backyard and surrounds our home. These animals can prove to be pests or be helpful to your garden. Being knowledgeable about what roams your shared space will allow you to stay safe and keep your garden healthy! Keep on reading if you’d like to answer the question, “What lives in my backyard?”

Foxes

            Foxes are sly animals commonly found in residential neighborhoods. They are often sighted near homes as they are attracted to sources such as garbage, pet food and other sustenance. These creatures can pose an issue if you own any pets. Typically, they will not engage with large, full-sized pets but can with smaller ones. In that case, loud noises tend to scare them off easily. Otherwise, they pose no threat to your backyard ecosystem.

Racoons

            Racoons are like foxes in their nocturnal hunt for food but have sticky fingers. These animals should usually be avoided due to the potential of carrying rabies or transmitting diseases through urine and fecal matter. They also will dig up any garbage or food that is left in your backyard. It’s best to avoid leaving food outside to stop this problem. Also, consider investing in humane repellents to make them flee without harming them.

Opossum

            Compared to their bad reputation, this marsupial is actually a lovely visitor! Though they may steal food that you leave out in your backyard, there is no risk of them digging up your garbage or garden. In fact, they are known for naturally promoting garden health as they consume insects and small rodents. They have also been known to eat snakes, which keeps your backyard safe.

Deer

            Deer are elegant creatures that you are guaranteed to spot when living near a wooded area. It is important to remember that they are wild animals and will not behave the same way your dog or cat would. They can be physically aggressive at times and often carry ticks. To keep them out of your garden, it is good to recognize the factors that are attracting them to your residence. For example, there are several trees, shrubs, and flowers that draw them into backyards. Additionally, water sources and the presence of lawn fungi will certainly make them gallop over to your place.

            To conclude, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the diverse set of critters that enter your natural abode. By answering the question, “What animals live in my backyard?” you will not only keep yourself secure but will preserve your backyard’s beauty. When it comes down to lawn care and landscaping services, it is best to contact a trained professional. With that being said, Giovine Landscaping is always happy to help. Feel free to reach us at 973-325-1758.

How To Choose A Landscaper

choose a landscaper

Spring is all about showing off your beautiful front lawn to passersby. Reaching that point requires an expert landscaper to whip your yard into shape; you don’t want to trust just anyone to do the work. You need a landscaper who is experienced and has an eye for detail, without being too pushy. If you’re stumped in your decision to choose a landscaper, here are a couple things to keep in mind.

Know What You Want

There are lots of landscapers who will try to sell all sorts of services you might not need. Even worse, some might try to upcharge you for way more than any service warrants. That’s why you should do your research before even reaching out to any prospective contractor. Only contact someone once you know what you want to do with your lawn and have a general idea of what everything should cost. Don’t let them sell you services you do not want or need!

Hire Someone Experienced

When you choose a landscaper to work on your property, you obviously want to select someone who has lots of experience under their belt. That goes without saying. What you’ll want to pay extra attention to is the landscaper’s input. We already told you to not let them oversell you for unnecessary services, but you should still honor their input. Oftentimes, they’ll know what kind of plants to add, where to plant bushes, etc. They are the experts, after all!

Seek Recommendations

You’re far from the only homeowner in your area who needs work on their front yard. Ask around the neighborhood! Polling nearby residents about who they let handle their lawn is probably the best way to know who to choose for your own property. Ask each person what went into their decision to choose a landscaper. You can also try looking up different businesses online and read their reviews. A decision like this can seem burdensome, but it’s actually never been easier!

Don’t Choose A Landscaper Willy-Nilly

More and more people are spending money on landscapers, so do not act hastily when making your decision. You’re entrusting a team with the integrity of your front lawn, and you won’t want to flush it all away. If you want to choose a team of experienced landscapers to beautify your lawn with care, call Giovine Landscaping today to get started!

How To Maintain A Healthy Lawn This Spring

healthy lawn

A blooming, colorful front yard is something that everyone aspires to have in the warmer months, but maintaining a beautiful property is a lot more work than you may think. There are ever-changing variables that can overwhelm and discourage landscaping/gardening newcomers. If you need some advice on how to keep a healthy lawn during the spring and summer, we’ve got you covered!

Fertilize

The importance of regularly fertilizing your lawn cannot be overstated. Fertilizer provides your soil and grass with the nutrients required for proper growth. All of the lawns made of tall, forest green grass you see are products of proper and consistent fertilization. How often you should fertilize will depend on which product you use, but generally speaking, you should wait at least four to six weeks between fertilizing periods. Additionally, avoid stepping on your lawn for one to three days after fertilizing. Proper fertilization is the key to a healthy lawn not just during the spring, but year-round!

Get Mowing

You don’t want your grass to overgrow! Regular lawn mowing is another imperative practice to follow this spring. Cutting your grass after letting it grow for too long can send your lawn into shock, which can stunt future growth and make it become weaker overall. A weaker lawn can house insects and diseases, which are the last things you want. Mowing your lawn every one to two weeks should do the trick. Thankfully, depending on your mower, mowing the lawn should only take you under an hour! Wait a couple of days after fertilizing to mow. Mowing can seem like a rather arduous task, but we promise it’s not as bad as it seems. It can be a fun way to pass the time all while improving your home’s curb appeal!

Call An Expert

Like we said, upkeeping a healthy lawn can be stressful and tiresome. Having a team of trained professionals do the work for you is the best way to optimize your lawn. Not to mention, having several people do the work instead of you alone will make upkeeping your lawn more time-efficient and will yield better results. If you need help in any step of the spring landscaping process, give the team at Giovine Landscaping a call to do everything for you the right way. People don’t call us the best team of landscaping professionals for nothing!

3 Spring Landscaping Tips

spring landscaping

We discussed winter landscaping tips two blog posts ago, but now spring is almost here, so it’s time to share another round of tips for the new season! Landscaping and gardening are tasks that require regular work based on the season, which is why we try to make it all easier for you as the weather changes. With that said, keep reading for some spring landscaping tips!

De-Mulch Your Garden

In November, we advised to put mulch down to stave off weeds, provide insulation for your plants, and just generally enrich your soil. With the temperatures and duration of sunlight increasing, you can begin to remove the mulch as you see fit. So long as the freezing temperatures are done for the time being, and there is no ice or frost beneath the mulch, then it is most likely safe to remove it. Your perennials should be just about ready to bloom and impress passersby once again!

Consider Hiring An Exterminator

Warmer weather will make people want to spend more time in their yards, but the same can be said for invasive species that would love nothing more than to eat your plants, crops, and grass. We’re talking raccoons, rats, and all sorts of insects. Hiring an exterminator is the most surefire bet to protect your lawn this spring, as they are certified experts who provide permanent solutions to these invasive animals. If you do not wish to hire an exterminator, there are alternative measures you can take. Call and ask us about steps you can take yourself!

Be Mindful of Pets

Spring is not just a wonderful season for people, but for your pets, too! It is up to us to make spring as enjoyable for our pets as possible, which is why it’s important to realize that there are certain landscaping practices that can be harmful towards our favorite critters. Fertilizers, insecticides, and other enhancements could damage your dog’s and/or outdoor cat’s paws while playing in the yard or letting them roam around. If you look on the labels for your garden-enhancing materials, there should be information about how long to keep pets off your lawn. These spring landscaping tips extend to the entire ecosystem!


Hopefully after reading this series of spring landscaping tips, you are now more equipped to tackle taking care of your lawn this season. Should you run into any issues, please do not hesitate to reach out to Giovine for all your lawn care solutions!

The Best Plants for Winter Landscaping

Turning Yards into Beautiful Winter Scenes

Once the weather turns cold and snowy, your home’s landscape can still look good and thrive through the season. Whether you live in an area with long, cold seasons or you just want to spruce up your outdoor space for the chillier months, there are plenty of winter plants that can beautify your home. Find the best plants for winter landscaping!

Conifer trees and evergreen shrubs can be particularly hardy during the colder months and add interest to your home. The best plants for winter landscaping should have certain characteristics, such as their height. Tall trees and shrubs are a good bet because they can be seen during an average snowfall for your area. It is also important that your picks will attract wildlife like birds to bring spirit to an otherwise bleak season.

Characteristics of the Best Plants 

The best plants for your winter landscape depend on the weather in your area and personal preferences. It’s best to choose a species that is hardy and can survive the winter, and be visually appealing to you. Here are a few characteristics to consider when deciding which varieties to plant at home:

  • Berries that attract birds
  • Height and width
  • Attractive bark
  • Evergreen foliage
  • Sturdy branches to withstand snow

Conifer species are always an excellent choice, but there are plenty of lesser-known plants for winter landscaping that can upgrade your outdoor space.

Winter Plant Picks

One of the best plants for winter landscaping is the Christmas Evergreen Holly (Ilex opaca) which is popular during the winter months because of its fast-growing foliage, glossy leaves, and bright berries that attract many birds. It also adds decorative value to your home during the Holidays. Two varieties like the China Holly (Ilex meserveae) and the Compact Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra ‘Compacta’) are hardy enough for snowy regions. The China Holly is rounded and can reach a height of eight feet tall and wide. This variety is a great pick for regions with dry winters. Compact Inkberry Holly has dark green foliage and its berries are black rather than red, and can reach a height of four to eight feet.


The beautiful and unique Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Allemans’) is another extremely hardy plant. The Red Osier yields white blooms that are followed by white fruit. This plant is an especially unique pick because of its bark, which ranges in color from red to burgundy. Red Osier Dogwoods typically reach heights of six to ten feet with a similar spread. A patch of fiery Red Osier Dogwood against a backdrop of fresh snow makes for an unforgettable winter scene.

Plume Grass (Erianthus ravennae) is also one of the best plants for winter landscaping. This tall perennial grass can create contrasting visual interest among other plants. The Plume Grass has a thin shaft and fluffy foliage that add elegance to a winter landscape. This plant grows quickly up to 11 feet tall and 4 feet wide,and is very hardy in cold and warmer climates.

The Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) is a shrub with spreading growth that reaches 4 to 6 feet tall and equally wide (though they are slow to reach maturity). The Bayberry is glossy and aromatic with small gray berris. These unusual berries are widely used to scent candles and are a popular choice for holiday scents. The berries are also a big attraction for birds, but resistant to deer. The Bayberry is also a drought-tolerant shrub which makes it a popular choice.

The Compact American Cranberry Bush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum ‘Compactum’) is one of the best plants for winter landscaping. It yields large red berries that are a favorite for birds in winter landscapes. A rounded shrub, this species bears white flowers in May and June that are followed by red fruit. It also produces lovely foliage ranging from red to purple in the fall. Its color adds beauty to a snowy landscape. American Cranberry Bush Viburnum is hardy and reaches heights of 4 to 5 feet with a slightly smaller spread. 

The Birch Tree loses its leaves in winter, but is still a popular choice for landscaping in cold weather due to its beautiful and unique white bark. Birch trees are fast growers that typically add between 1 and 2 feet of height each year. Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) is known for its pale white bark that peels back to reveal darker sections underneath. It typically grows up to 2 feet each year and can reach 60 feet tall at maturity. 

Winter Landscapes 

Giovine Landscaping can help with choosing plants and once you have made your choices, your picks will require some care. Giovine Landscaping can help with this too. Applying mulch, pruning, and applying anti-tran spirants are some of the ways to care for your winter plants and maintain their health. Whichever plants you choose for your home, their beauty and vibrancy will make your landscape look magnificent through the otherwise gray months of winter.

4 Winter Landscaping Tips To Protect Your Lawn

winter landscaping tips

In last month’s blog, we discussed winter gardening tips that you should follow. As important as winter gardening is, it’s equally important to read up on some winter landscaping tips to make your lawn look healthy and complete this season. If you’re ready to maximize your lawn over the coming months, keep reading for some helpful information!

Fertilize, Fertilize, Fertilize!

When the temperature drops, your grass dries up and loses all the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and green. Thankfully, fertilizing your lawn provides your grass with everything it needs to prosper during the colder months. Fertilizing your lawn is the best way to simultaneously prolong your grass’s lifespan, protect it when it freezes over, and boost your curb appeal – there’s no reason not to enrich your lawn!

Don’t Stop Watering

We’ll probably sound like a broken record in due time, but we cannot stress enough that watering everything on your lawn is still necessary, even in the winter. Grass doesn’t require as much water during the winter months, but it still needs something. Watering just a few times per month, maybe once per week, is adequate. Neglecting your lawn is the last thing you want to do!

Stave Off Road Salt

We understand that salt is necessary to deice the roads and your walkways, but it can harm your lawn and other greenery, especially if you live in a high-traffic area. Accumulated road salt can stunt the growth of your grass by preventing absorption of vital nutrients. Cars and people walking to your front door can kick salt up onto your lawn, so you should always keep an eye out for it. 

Keep Raking

We all think raking is a fall-exclusive practice, but it’s actually beneficial to do in the winter, as well. Even though all the leaves are gone, there is still plant debris that can be left over, and it can yield detrimental results for your lawn. If this debris isn’t collected, it can mix with fallen snow and serve as a breeding ground for mold and fungus. Those are not things that you want growing on your lawn, and they definitely hurt your curb appeal, so we suggest you keep on raking.

Maintaining your lawn in the winter can prove quite challenging, so we hope that this series of winter landscaping tips was helpful. If you still don’t know where to start, or have further questions, feel free to get in touch with the experts at Giovine Landscaping today! We’re more than happy to help winterize your front lawn!

4 Winter Gardening Tips You Should Know

Just because it may be too cold to actively tend to your garden, that doesn’t mean you should neglect it! Looking after your garden is still essential in the winter, as ignoring it can bring rise to all sorts of problems in the warmer seasons. There are many ways you can care for your garden, but here are just a few winter gardening tips to consider:

Cover Your Plants

The best way to protect your plants from the forces of Mother Nature is to simply cover them! Covering your plants safeguards them from frosting and eventually freezing entirely. It also helps fight against soil erosion! There are several ways you can go about covering your delicate greenery, ranging from popup plant protectors, mobile greenhouses, or even bed sheets or comforters if you’re in a pinch. This is a simple tip, but possibly the most effective protective measure!

Deweed Your Garden

This may be one of the most basic, general gardening tips, but it’s still an important one. Weeds will fight your plants for precious real estate underground, so you’ll want to take care of that before the weeds stunt your plants’ growth. Removing invasive plants is just one of many imperative winter gardening tips to help maintain your garden for this season and those upcoming.

Add or Replace Mulch

Mulch is another great method to combat weeds in your garden, as they block off sunlight that weeds need to grow. Additionally, adding mulch can also reap several benefits for your soil. Mulch enhances the soil with nutrients, retains moisture, modulates soil temperature, and helps prevent soil erosion, among other things. Only the most careful gardeners use mulch to their advantage!

Do Not Forget To Water

Plants require consistent water consumption, just like we do! Whatever your concerns may be regarding watering your plants in frigid temperatures — throw them out the window. Even when the ground is frozen, you should still water your plants once a week, and new plants need to be watered even more. Do not overdo it, of course, as your plants do indeed require less water in the winter as opposed to other seasons. Just don’t forget to give your plants the sustenance they require!

We understand that tending to a garden yourself can be a massive undertaking. Whether you need some additional winter gardening tips or an expert landscaping team to do the work for you, be sure to contact the Giovine Landscaping team today!

10 Gardening and Lawn Care Tools You Need

lawn care tool

So you want to do some home gardening and landscaping. That’s fantastic! Every homeowner should know how to tend to their property. If you’re not sure where to start, though, you’ve come to the right place! We’re here to help you stock up on all the gardening and lawn care tools you’ll need. 

Gloves

When you’re dealing with the elements and sharp objects, you’re going to want to protect your hands! A nice, sturdy pair of gardening gloves will keep your hands clean and guarded from any possible hazards! You may also want to invest in other safety equipment like eye and ear protection, as well as long sleeve shirts and pants.

Hand Trowel

This is your most basic of lawn care tools. Versatile and reliable, hand trowels are the best tool to use for digging small holes and smoothing out gardening material. If you’re looking to start a small home garden, a trusty hand trowel will take you a long way!

Rakes

We recommend picking up two types of rakes: leaf and steel rakes. Leaf rakes are for your typical fallen leaf and debris collection, while steel rakes are for more stubborn gardening components like soil and mulch. Both types are very useful for lawn maintenance and upkeep.

Shovels

When you have to dig up some holes or move some dirt around, a dependable shovel is your best friend! A traditional, curved-edge shovel is designed for transporting loose material, while a flat-edge spade is great for digging. Both types of shovels are imperative additions to your arsenal!

Hoe

If you intend to plant some seeds, you’re going to want a gardening hoe. Weeds are more than likely to form, but a hoe will quickly eliminate them. Any serious gardener will have this tool in their kit!

Buckets

You don’t have to carry everything by hand! Whether you’re transporting soil or organizing your smaller tools, you’re going to want a few buckets.

Wheelbarrow

If you’re going to tackle a larger gardening project, you may want a wheelbarrow. It’s a fantastic mode of transporting an immense amount of soil, mulch, compost, and/or gravel. You won’t want to make a thousand trips back and forth moving all of that material!

Pruning Shears

Want to do some work on your bushes and shrubs? A sharp pair of shears will help you prune your shrubbery down to exactly how you want it to look. Be sure to call an expert before you do so though, as improper pruning can damage your bushes.

Lawn Mower

Your grass won’t cut itself! Investing in a top-quality lawn mower will make your life infinitely easier if you’re looking to maintain your lawn yourself. If you purchase a higher end mower, please do not hesitate to ask someone for advice on how to use it!

Leaf Blower

If you don’t want to manually rake up all those fallen leaves, a leaf blower is a fantastic alternative! It’s far and away the most efficient leaf-collecting practice, and it’ll save you the headache of expending all your energy raking them.

There are many more lawn care tools to possibly add to your set, but hopefully this is a good enough start to get you prepared for tending to your garden and lawn! If you have any questions about these tools and how to use them, or you want a group of professionals to do all the work for you, call Giovine Landscaping today at (937) 325-1758!

How To Keep Dogs From Pooping On Your Lawn

Keeping your lawn in pristine condition can sometimes prove to be more difficult than usual when it comes to neighborhood dogs who are known for pooping on lawns. This can result in damage to your otherwise healthy grass. If you are someone who is experiencing this issue, here are some tips to help you keep dogs from pooping on your lawn.

Installing Motion Sensing Lawn Sprinklers 

Installing a motion-sensing lawn sprinkler can be one of the best ways to repel dogs and other animals from pooping on your lawn. Keep in mind that while this may not work 100% of the time, it will certainly go a long way toward keeping your lawn safe and in good condition. Plus, it can be effective in driving away animals without harming them. Many of these sprinklers can even reach distances of up to forty feet away and produce a noise that is designed to startle critters. They are also relatively inexpensive compared to some of the other solutions.

Utilize Repellents

There are a variety of dog repellents you can get on the market that are used to dissuade dogs from pooping on your lawn. You can use either a spray or sprinkle a variant of the dog repellent available. Be aware that these options may get washed away quickly due to rain. Plus, if you want to maintain the effectiveness of these repellents, you should look to reapply them frequently. Make sure you also try to avoid dog repellents that are actually harmful to dogs.

Communicate With Your Neighbors

While this may seem like a simple solution, sometimes the most effective approach is the simplest one. So, try speaking with your neighbors about their dogs. This approach works, however, only if you know who owns the dog that did the deed. Obviously, out of all the options, this is clearly the least expensive and the results can be immediate.

Change Your Fertilizer To Something Less Appealing

You may not have realized, but some fertilizers contain ingredients that naturally attract dogs, which can lead to poop showing up on your lawn. In fact, some dogs will even ingest the fertilizer if it is tasty enough, which can lead to even more trouble. Try swapping out your current fertilizer to a completely plant-based fertilizer as these lack many of the common ingredients that dogs are attracted to, keeping everyone and your lawn safe.

Be aware that these methods are some of the most effective ways to stop dogs from pooping on your lawn, but they may not work 100% of the time. This is why you should look to other solutions that might work best for you and your lawn. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758.