What is Functional Landscaping?

Functional Landscaping is key in transforming your outdoor space. Landscaping projects are exciting for homeowners— you get the chance to craft a vision for your place and elevate its beauty. Transforming your outdoor space is usually motivated by a desire to improve its aesthetics, but beyond that, landscaping changes can also serve functional purposes. This includes any backyard improvement that is not only visually appealing but also makes your life as a garden owner much easier. Giovine Landscaping has compiled a list of several functional landscaping techniques that you can implement in your own outdoor building process!

Utilizing Trees For Shade

Trees not only fill up your outdoor space with stunning greenery and other colors throughout the seasons, but they also provide shade. Planting trees can help reduce air conditioning costs, so cleverly incorporating them into your backyard layout can serve you greatly. For instance, using deciduous trees will block large amounts of solar heat in the summer, but allow it to enter in the winter. 

Living Fences

Planting a line of trees at the perimeter of your yard creates a barrier of privacy for your home, called a living fence. Evergreens are the optimal choice for year-round protection. It is important to consider how tall and wide certain varieties grow to determine if it will be an adequate fit for the job. Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is an excellent selection, growing 10 to 15 feet tall and four to five feet wide. However, different homes may have different privacy screening needs, which could also be dependent on the season. Shrubs like azaleas, forsythia, and lilac can make your living fence a more vibrant spectacle. At the same time that these natural barriers increase a home’s privacy, they can also block prevailing wind by either slowing it down or changing its course. 

Pathways

The value of pathways is often underestimated, but their design plays an integral role in the overall functionality of your garden. Pathways are an important piece of infrastructure that let you traverse your outdoor space. Homeowners must think about the exact location, material, and shape of their pathway so that it can aid them most in their daily routine. This means there is much room for creativity when making your selection, and your backyard paths can look visually stunning while still being practical. Maintaining the practicality of your pathway also involves making sure water does not pile up around it when it rains. As such, consulting a landscaping contractor to help you set up a proper drainage system is in your best interest.  

Mulch

Mulch will be your best friend when it comes to keeping your plants and trees healthy. It is multifunctional, being useful for moderating soil temperatures, reducing heavy raindrop impact on soil, and suppressing plant diseases and weed growth. Mulch is any material that is placed atop soil to act as a covering. There are several organic and inorganic choices of mulch, but the former can break down and provide the soil structure and nutrients in the process. Some types of organic mulches include chipped wood, shredded leaves, and pine needles. These are applied two to three inches deep around the plant or tree, and with time, will contribute to a more beautiful garden.

Rain Barrels

As you sustain your backyard plant life, harvesting rainwater can be the best way to save resources. Many gallons of usable water fall during a rainstorm, so obtaining infrastructure that can collect this untapped resource is highly beneficial. Rain barrels come in varying materials and sizes, per the homeowner’s needs, and they are always placed beneath a downspout closest to where they will be most useful in the garden. Be mindful— the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states to be cautious if you plan on using rain barrel water on edible plantings as collected rainwater may pick up pollutants as it travels from the roof. Nonetheless, it can be a great addition to your home landscape that only makes backyard upkeep easier.

Now that you’ve learned several functional landscaping ideas, you can begin planning how these techniques can be implemented in your own space to ensure it is both attractive and efficient. It is never too late to incorporate any of these strategies into your gardening practices, and luckily, there are experts at your disposal to help guide you with any decisions you are considering. From mulching to pathway-building, the contractors at Giovine Landscaping have you covered. Call us today!

How to Maintain Your Yard in the Spring

As the vibrant colors of spring bloom, it’s time to maintain your yard and breathe new life into your outdoor space. A well-maintained yard not only enhances your home’s aesthetic appeal, but also provides a welcoming environment for outdoor activities. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential spring yard maintenance tips that will surely benefit your garden. 

Lawn Resurrection

Kickstart the season by raking away debris and dead grass. You will do yourself a big favor by making sure your lawn can foster new growth. Additionally, springtime is certainly when homeowners should consider aerating their lawns as it will improve water and nutrient absorption. Don’t forget to seed and fertilize bare patches as well— this will ensure you maintain a lush, green carpet-like lawn.

Pruning Your Plants

Pruning is not exclusive to the spring season, but it is a crucial task to complete regardless. Trimming overgrown branches and deadwood encourages healthy growth and establishes a good foundation for long-term health. Also, pruning flowering plants stimulates blooming and shapes shrubs for a clean appearance. At the same time, it will attract some of the helpful critters we like to see in our gardens, more of which you can read about in one of our previous blog posts. Just remember to be cautious when pruning— different plant species have different pruning needs and times. 

Deal with the Weeds

Preventing the intrusion of weeds will promote a flourishing outdoor haven for you to enjoy. To curb weed growth effectively during this season, implement these strategic practices for optimal garden maintenance: 

  1. Cultivate the soil to disrupt weed germination. 
  2. Apply a layer of organic mulch to suppress weed emergence but also retain soil moisture
  3. Embrace eco-friendly herbicides or vinegar solutions to target persistent weeds while minimizing environmental impact. 
  4. Regularly inspect your garden beds, promptly removing any emerging weeds before they can establish a foothold. 

Implementing these proactive measures not only ensures a weed-free spring garden but also enhances its overall health and vitality.

Water Wisdom

With the changing weather patterns, it’s essential to adopt a strategic approach to ensure optimal hydration for your plants. Begin by establishing a consistent watering schedule, preferably in the early morning, to minimize evaporation and fungal risks. Adjust the frequency based on the specific water needs of your plants, considering factors such as soil type and weather conditions. Invest in efficient irrigation systems, like drip irrigation or soaker hoses, to deliver water directly to the root zone, minimizing water wastage. 

Furniture Freshening

The maintenance of your outdoor furniture is as necessary for lasting comfort and visual appeal as is the maintenance of the natural aspects of your garden. Begin by thoroughly cleaning each piece, using a mild soap and water solution to remove accumulated dirt and grime. Inspect for any signs of wear, addressing issues promptly to prevent further damage. Consider applying protective coatings or sealants, particularly for wooden furniture, to shield against the elements and prolong their lifespan. Regularly check and tighten bolts, screws, or hinges to guarantee structural integrity. Given the rainfall associated with this season, it is important to store cushions and textiles on rainy days to prevent mold and mildew growth. Embracing these outdoor furniture maintenance practices not only enhances their longevity but also ensures a welcoming and stylish outdoor retreat. 

With these spring yard maintenance tips, your outdoor space will flourish in all the ways you desire. Embrace the season of renewal by implementing these strategies, and watch your garden thrive. For any further questions on how your garden can improved, call Giovine Landscaping at (724) 316-3064. Spring into action and achieve all your yard needs!

Guide to Rain Gardens

Giovine Landscaping has compiled this guide to rain gardens to educate homeowners about this eco-friendly and beautiful landscape feature.

Most people do not give much thought to how their landscaping decisions impact the environment, but this is a mistake. There are many ways your landscaping can positively impact the environment. Your landscaping decisions can have a large impact on local ecosystems, wildlife, and even water quality. Household runoff-related pollution plays a major role in polluting New Jersey rivers, lakes, streams, beaches, and drinking water. Thankfully, there is a way for homeowners to help fight against flooding and water pollution, while simultaneously adding a beautiful new feature to their landscape design: installing a rain garden. Our landscaping experts at Giovine Landscaping have compiled this guide for rain gardens, to help educate homeowners about this versatile, helpful, environmentally friendly, and beautiful landscape feature. 

What are rain gardens?

Rain gardens are plantings installed in shallow depressions, filled with native plants selected for their ability to capture, temporarily hold, and filter water back into the ground. They can be installed in both natural depressions and purpose-built human-made indentations. Rain gardens are useful for fighting flooding on your property because they collect water that flows from impervious surfaces like your roof, driveway, patio, paths, or waterlogged yard. These gardens are also beneficial for the environment because they can trap any pollutants on your property. Pollutants like pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste, motor oil, gasoline, automotive chemicals, household cleaners, and more, are held back from entering waterways by rain gardens. Rain gardens are also a beautiful and interesting landscaping feature that can be used to display numerous types of plants.

6 Rain Garden Design and Management Tips

1. Rain gardens should always be placed at least 10 feet away from your house. 

If your rain garden is installed less than 10 feet away from your home, you will risk water seeping into your basement or foundation. You should not place your garden above a septic tank or near any underground utility lines. It is best to select a spot that receives a decent amount of water and is located between two impervious surfaces, like your roof and the street, to maximize the rain garden’s effectiveness at catching water.

2. Test your selected rain garden spot to ensure proper drainage. 

A rain garden is not a pond. It is important to design your rain garden so that water drains within 12-48 hours after a typical rainstorm, to prevent mosquito breeding and other issues. Before you add any plants, you should conduct a water-absorption test. You can dig a hole in your proposed rain garden installation area that is 12 inches deep and 6 inches wide, and fill it with water and a ruler. Observing this area over a four-hour period will allow you to calculate the rate of absorption in inches per hour, to ensure the site is suitable for a rain garden. If the soil is not draining fast enough, you may need to amend the soil and/or focus more on selecting plants that will aid in absorption. For instance, adding more sandy soil to your rain garden will help it drain more quickly.

3. Your rain garden should be at least 7 to 20% the size of the impervious surface creating the runoff.  

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends that rain gardens should be between 7 and 20% the size of whatever impervious surface is creating the runoff that the garden is collecting. Typically, the largest impervious surface on your property will be your roof, so your rain garden should be 7 to 20% of your roof’s size to unlock its full environmental benefit. Still, even a smaller rain garden can be a beautiful landscape feature that reduces flooding and water pollution, while also benefiting wildlife through its native plantings. A rain garden that is 30% smaller than the ideal size for your property’s impervious surface area, will still be able to handle almost 75 percent of the storm watershed from a house.

4. Pick the right plant species

It may seem intuitive to select only water-loving or even aquatic plants for a rain garden, but this is not the right strategy. Your rain garden will be dry a lot of the time, especially around the edges, so you need plants that can tolerate both very wet soil and dry soil. You will need to plant species that require different moisture levels in different sections of your rain garden. You will also need to plant species that will be able to tolerate dry soil around the edges, species able to thrive in dry or wet conditions on the slopes, and moisture-tolerant species in the center.

All of the plants you select should be native perennials because these plants generally have deep root systems that will aid in water absorption. Plant species like black-eyed Susan, false indigo, coneflower, sedge, aster, daylily, iris, sedum, and native grasses thrive inside rain gardens. Plants like butterfly weed, gaura, coral bells, yarrow, and catmint make great plants for the edges of your rain garden. You can even plant a small tree or shrub species in a rain garden, like river birch, pawpaw, or oakleaf hydrangea. Whatever species you select, be sure to select a mix of plants with varied foliage, bark texture, and blooming periods so that your rain garden is interesting and beautiful all year long! 

5. Integrate your rain garden with the rest of your landscaping.

Your rain garden will be part of your overall landscape design, so it makes sense to integrate it with the rest of your landscaping. For instance, if you have a very orderly, manicured landscape, you may want your rain garden to be planted in this way as well, so it all matches. You can also line the outside of your rain garden with other decorative plants to further integrate it. Consider using the same kinds of decorative rocks both inside and outside of your rain garden. You can also consult with our landscape design experts at Giovine Landscaping, for other ideas for integrating your rain garden into your property’s overall landscape. 

6. Make sure your rain garden gets enough water during dry periods and maintenance in general. 

A new rain garden should be watered about an inch per week during any dry spells the year following installation, to allow your plants to establish themselves. After the first year, watering your rain garden deeply, but infrequently during times of drought, is best to encourage healthy root development. You should also prune your rain garden plants according to the needs of your specific species, and take care to remove weeds and debris that threaten to disrupt your garden. You can also further suppress weed growth by adding a 3-inch layer of fine hardwood mulch. It is important to use hardwood mulch, specifically, for this task because pine bark and wood chips will be washed out of your rain garden.

Contact Giovine Landscaping

If you want to install a rain garden or make any other changes to your landscape design, please contact Giovine Landscaping so that we can help you build the yard of your dreams!

Winter Landscaping Design Tips

Winter landscaping design is an overlooked but important part of building a beautiful yard. Giovine Landscaping is here to help with this guide.

Many backyards look dull, dead, and even downright ugly during winter despite looking beautiful during spring, summer, and fall. Unfortunately, the designs of many yards fail to stay aesthetically pleasing during the cold time of the year when most plants are dormant, but this failure is not inevitable. The landscape design experts here at Giovine Landscaping are sharing nine tips to build a beautiful winter landscape for your home.

Getting Started With Winter Landscaping Design

Every homeowner landscape design journey has to start with figuring out what exactly you want to change about your property and our first tip reflects that reality.

  1. Evaluate your current winter landscaping design: The first step to improving your winter landscape is to explore it in its current state. Go take a walk around your property and examine your plantings, hardscaping, wildlife presence, and other aspects of your yard. Take note of what aspects are already beautiful and what needs improvement. 
  2. Focus on your hardscapes: Winter is a good time of year to assess your hardscape (ie your patio, outdoor furniture, sculptures, and other non-plant-based landscape features). Look at your winter yard and decide if you need more or better hardscape features. Perhaps a new fire pit, barbecue area, path, or bench will really tie your yard together. Winter brings your yard back to basics so it is a good time to consider these questions.

Winter Landscaping Design Plant Selection

Plants are the backbone of any good backyard landscape design and this fact does not change during winter. Selecting plants that will keep your backyard beautiful even during the winter months is one of the most important aspects of designing a beautiful winter landscape.

  1. Consider adding evergreen trees and shrubs to your yard: Evergreen trees and shrubs do not lose their leaves during winter so utilizing these species in your yard is a great way to maintain color and texture in your winter landscaping design plan. Contrary to popular belief, evergreen trees and shrubs come in both needled and broadleaf varieties, giving homeowners more aesthetic choices in the plants they want to use.
  2. Utilize trees and shrubs with beautiful bark: While deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves in winter, they do not lose their bark, and landscape designers can use this to beautify winter landscapes. Tree and shrub species with particularly colorful or distinctive bark, like dogwood shrubs and birch trees, can be even more beautiful after they have lost their leaves. 
  3. Introduce plants that flower during winter: It may be surprising to learn that not all plants flower during the spring and summer, but it’s true some plants bloom during winter. Utilizing winter flowering plants, obviously makes any winter backyard more beautiful. Homeowners who do the proper planning and research can enjoy something in their yard that will bloom for most of the winter, since some plants bloom during early winter and others during late winter. Witch hazel is a particularly beautiful genus of winter-flowing plant with several species native to North America.
  4. Utilize winter berry and fruit-bearing plants: Incorporating plants that produce berries and other fruits during winter makes your yard more beautiful for two reasons. First of all these fruits provide a pop of bright color that will contrast with white snow, grey skies, and brown dormant plants that dominate winter landscapes. Secondly, these fruits provide food that attracts birds and other wildlife bringing beautiful and interesting life to your winter yard.

Winter Landscaping Design For Wildlife

Attracting wildlife to your yard is one of the best ways to maintain its beauty through winter. Wildlife-friendly yards allow us to stay connected with nature even when it is too cold to venture outside by allowing you and your family to watch birds and other wildlife through your windows. Building wildlife-friendly winter landscaping designs on your property also helps animals survive during the winter when food, water, and shelter are scarce, this is especially important in our current age of habitat loss and mass extinction. 

  1. Provide a food source for wildlife: Wild animals often struggle to find food during the lean months of winter. Creating food sources in your yard will both help wildlife and bring beauty to your yard through the presence of that wildlife. The exact sort of food sources you should add to your yard depends on the type of animals you wish to attract, but birdfeeders and fruit/berry-bearing plants are the best way to feed wildlife. If you do install a birdfeeder, be sure to clean it weekly to prevent the spread of diseases. You should also avoid hand-feeding wild animals because this can lead them to associate humans with food which can put both wildlife and people at risk. Let your landscape do the feeding.
  2. Provide a water source for wildlife: Water, like food, is harder for wildlife to find during winter so providing water sources for wildlife in your yard will attract animals. Water sources like bird baths, ponds, and fountains can also double as beautifying water features in their own right. Water sources do not need to be that complicated to attract wildlife through a shallow bucket, plate saucer, or even a trash can lid can also be good winter water sources for backyard wildlife. 
  3. Provide shelter for wildlife: Wild animals need shelter from the cold weather just like people so providing shelter is a great way to attract them to your property. Different types of shelter will benefit/attract different types of animals. Some bird species will happily move into nestboxes while other species may need specific plants or brush piles. Research the types of birds and animals you want to see on your property so you can create the right types of winter shelter for those species. 

Giovine Landscaping Can Help

Giovine Landscaping can help you design a yard that will be beautiful during winter and all year round. Call us today so we can help redesign your yard!

Winter Yard Maintenance Tips

Soon your backyard will be covered with snow like this one. Thankfully, Giovine Landscaping has compiled this guide of winter yard maintenance tips to help homeowners maintain their property this winter.

Winter has finally arrived. Many people tend to forget about their yard maintenance duties during the winter months, but there are still important steps homeowners should take to maintain their landscapes during this season. Giovine Landscaping has compiled this guide of winter yard maintenance tips to help homeowners maintain their property this winter.

Preparing Your Lawn For Winter

Protecting your lawn is important all year round, but winter presents unique challenges. Here are a few tips that every homeowner should know so that they can get their lawn ready for the frosty conditions of winter:

  1. Rake leaves and remove garden debris from your lawn. Leaving leaves, branches, and other debris on your lawn over the winter can smother your grass, stunting its growth, or even killing it. It is important to remove any debris from your lawn before the first snowfall of the season.
  2. Aerate your lawn before the first frost. You should give your grassroots extra air over the winter by aerating your lawn before the first frost. You can use a spade to take out spikes of soil across your yard or you can rent a larger manual or motorized aerator.
  3. Fertilize your lawn with winter fertilizer. The idea that your lawn should not be fertilized during winter is a misconception. There are specific formulations of fertilizer designed to help strengthen your lawn during fall and winter. You should also be sure to apply some fertilizer before the first frost.
  4. Cut your grass shorter and stop cutting it once the temperature drops below 50°F. Lawns should be cut between 3 inches to 3.5 inches during the growing season. However, for your last final lawn mowing session, you should cut your grass to between 2 inches to 2.5 inches. It is important to keep grass short during winter to protect new growth. You should do your last grass-cutting of the year before the temperature in your area consistently drops below 50°F.

Managing Trees and Shrubs

Winter presents unique challenges for protecting your trees and shrubs, but it also offers unique management opportunities. Here are some tips for managing your trees and shrubs over the winter:

  1. Place mulch around your trees shrubs, and other woody plants. Ideally, you should mulch your plants before the first frost of the season but it is better late than never. A two-inch application of mulch provides an extra layer of protection for your plants allowing for better management of root system temperature and moisture. It is also important to not apply mulch directly to your plane’s truck or step because this can promote rot and pests.
  2. Prepare the branches of your trees for snow. Heavy snow can damage the branches of your trees. Falling branches weighed down by snow or ice can even cause injuries if they fall and hit cars or people. You should consider removing vulnerable tree limbs ahead of major snow storms as a precaution. You should also tie vulnerable tree branches together to increase their strength.
  3. Apply wire mesh to the base of small and young trees. Winter is a lean time for animals like deer. The winter-browsing of these animals can harm small trees but wire mesh can protect against the teeth of hungry winter herbivores. 
  4. Apply anti-transpirants to the leaves of shrubs and trees. It is important to help your plants maintain their water levels during winter. This is especially important for evergreen trees and shrubs that do not lose their leaves. Alternatively, burlap- wrapping can also be used to protect your plants and help them hold in their moisture. 
  5. Late winter is the best time to prune your trees and shrubs. It is best to prune most trees and plants during winter while they are dormant. Specifically, you should prune most tree and shrub species during late winter, so the wounds will only be exposed to the elements for a short time before new growth begins.

Bonus Winter Yard Maintenance Tips

Finally, here are a few more miscellaneous yard maintenance tips to protect all of your backyard plants:

  1. Take in potted plants that are vulnerable to cold weather. Not all plant species have adaptions for dealing with cold weather. If you have any potted plants that are members of non-cold tolerant species and you want them to live through winter you should move these plants indoors.
  2. Be mindful of backyard traffic. When the first blizzard of the year arrives it can be easy for people to forge paths through the snow without thinking much about the ground they are trampling. Be mindful of where people are walking in your yard and avoid trampling flowerbeds, gardens, and vulnerable sections of your lawn. A heavily trampled path will compact the soil and be slower to regrow in the spring.
  3. Avoid salt damage. Road salt is important for preventing slip-and-fall accidents on your pathways during frosty conditions, but this same salt can damage your plants by drawing water away from their roots. Utilize salt sparingly and remove extra salt by flushing out your soil with lots of water.

Giovine Landscaping Can Help

The most important thing to remember out of all our winter yard maintenance tips is that Giovine Landscaping offers lawn care and landscape design services during winter and all year long. If you are in need of lawn care or landscape design assistance please contact us.

Best Flowers To Grow On The East Coast

Do you love seeing birds and butterflies in your garden? Want to help wildlife and the natural environment? Wondering how to grow beautiful plants that cost less time and money to maintain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider adding native flowers to your yard! 

What Is A Native Plant?

When a plant is “native” to New Jersey or the United States that means its species evolved and adapted to our local ecosystem and environment. Native species evolved over millions of years to the specific weather conditions of our area.

Many common garden plants are “aliens” imported from Asia and Europe. These foreign plants may look pretty but they are often useless and sometimes require more watering and fertilizer than native species. Sometimes these foreign plants spread into the wild and outcompete native plants. Unfortunately, this can harm wildlife and upset the ecological balance; these plants are called “invasive species.”  

Luckily, you can reduce the spread of invasive species by talking to one of our experts at Giovine Landscaping. They will help you design your backyard landscape while incorporating native New Jersey species. By growing native species, you increase the lifespan of your plants, while helping other plants grow naturally around them. Here are the best flowers to grow in New Jersey! 

Amazing Plants For Your Garden

  • Butterfly Weed: This plant gets its name from the fact that butterflies love it! This flower is useful for pollinating your garden, aiding in fertilizing surrounding greenery. It is best to plant it in late spring, with loads of sunlight, while the soil is warm. It prospers in sandy dry-soil and can survive drought-like conditions! This flower is bright and colorful and very low maintenance, meaning it can be a wonderful addition for your garden! 
  • Wood Anemone: Wild wood anemones bloom in woodlands on the edge of New Jersey forests from April to June. The species survives best in gardens that are partly, if not fully shaded. They also thrive in damp, rich, mucky soil. The wood anemone is a delicate plant with a stalked white or pink flower.
  • Great Blue Lobelia: The deep blue flowers of this plant grow on an upright spike. This native plant blooms in late summer to early fall. The great blue lobelia thrives in moist soil and can live in full sun or partial shade. The plant can grow 1 to 4 feet tall, and you should plant each one about 1 foot apart. The plant attracts pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds! 
  • Northern Red Oak: The northern red oak is a native east coast tree that can grow up to 80 feet tall! It thrives in full sun and in partial shade environments. It thrives in normal or moist soils, in early to mid fall. This species is unusually tolerant of polluted environments, making it a hardy tree that can be a welcome addition to any yard. It also attracts birds and mammals such as squirrels and deer.
  • Black-Eyed Susan: This flower blooms bright yellow, with a black center “eye”. It can grow 1 to 2 feet tall and blooms best from June to October. They thrive in an environment with tons of sun and well-draining soil. This flower also attracts multiple insects and pollinators due to its sweet nectar.
  • Northern Bayberry: This is a tough shrub that thrives in all types of soil. However, it prefers partial shade in your garden. It can grow 5 to 8 feet tall and grows very rapidly. Due to its toughness the northern bayberry is greatly beneficial to winter birds and butterflies. It blooms from March to June and can benefit your yard!  
  • Purple Coneflower: This vibrant purple flower blooms for two months in mid to late summer. It prefers partial to full sun exposure and is the perfect resource for wildlife. Its pale purple or pink flowers attract a variety of animals ranging from insects to Goldfinches and Hummingbirds! Growing up to three feet tall, this beautiful flower is easy to maintain and is beneficial for your garden.  

Update Your Garden Today! 

For all of your landscaping and plant needs, please contact Giovine Landscaping. Our professional team can help build and maintain the yard or garden of your dreams! Whether you want to remove ticks, fertilize plants or control unruly weeds, Giovine Landscaping is here to help! Don’t hesitate to contact us at (973) 325-1758 for some help in designing your perfect backyard! 

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2023 New Year’s Resolutions For An Exceptional Backyard

New Year's resolutions

The year is coming to an end, and now is the time to consider new home improvements! With a fresh start, comes a fresh and exceptional yard. There are many attainable goals that homeowners can set to upgrade their lawn and refine their landscape aesthetic. To achieve this, we will highlight several methods that can spark your creativity and get you working on your outdoor space. Check out these landscaping New Year’s resolutions for an exceptional backyard! 

Composting Is Important 

If you do not already have a compost bin, now is the time for it! If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to recycle more, composting is for you! Compost allows you to reduce waste and incorporate nutrient rich scraps into your soil. It is a simple process that ultimately improves the moisture and health of your lawn while reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizers. There are many benefits to composting, so consider adding it to your New Year’s resolutions

Brighten Things Up

For the new year, consider adding light fixtures to your backyard. It will lighten up your space and brighten your mood during these dark winter months. Light fixtures allow you and your guests to enjoy the beauty of your space at all times of the day. There are several options for implementing lights into your backyard. Whether they’re lined up on your patio or in your pool— the possibilities are endless! For this landscaping New Year’s resolution, let your inspiration guide you to create a magical backyard. 

Water-Efficient Landscaping 

This practice uses technology and techniques that reduce water usage to conserve and vitalize your backyard habitat. The design incorporates a combination of any of the following elements: sheet mulching to reduce lawn size, water-saving irrigation and opting for artificial grass. By utilizing these methods, you will come closer to completing your New Year’s resolutions. These are sustainable options that will cause your backyard to thrive throughout the new year. 

Weed Pulling 

Extracting weeds is certainly one of the most tedious tasks for any person! Although it can be a dreadful activity, pulling weeds will significantly improve your backyard. To make the task easier it is important that you use the correct technique and proper tools. This will prevent future weed growth after removing them. When considering the health of your beautiful space, this New Year’s resolution can spruce up your yard for years to come! Don’t hesitate to get started now on weed pulling activities! 

All in all, landscaping should be about making your backyard dreams come true! It’s a fun activity that entails hard work and constant attention, but the payoff is immeasurable. It is key to remember that landscaping professionals are always at your disposal. If you need assistance with creating your dream backyard, Giovine Landscaping is here to help! Don’t hesitate to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758 or visit our website today!

Making Your Lawn Beautiful…All Year Long!

A beautifully maintained lawn can not only add to your home’s curb appeal, but it can also add to your family’s quality of life outdoors. Outdoor activities like sports, cook-outs or simply relaxing outside on a beautifully maintained lawn can add so much joy to your life! By making your outdoor area beautiful, it can add appreciation and love for your home. With each passing season there are many challenges to keeping your grass healthy, but taking some simple steps throughout the year can help keep your lawn beautiful all year long! Giovine Landscaping will use their professional skills to help you and your family make the most out of your outdoor space. 

Winter 

Although there’s not much to maintain during the colder months, there are steps to achieve your healthy lawn goals! By preventing your grass from becoming dry and drab, it will keep your lawn beautiful for the spring months.

Make sure you cut your grass as short as possible before the snowy season begins. Also make an effort to remove any abundance of dead leaves before winter hits. Aerating is also crucial for healthy lawn maintenance before the first frost occurs. Aerating is when holes are created in your grass to relieve compaction and allow oxygen in. It also allows for roots to receive nutrients and water, so they don’t die and stay green!

Spring 

In the spring, it is important to mow on a regular schedule to keep your yard healthy. Make sure your lawn is receiving regular water, whether through a sprinkler system or manual water care. Applying a slow-release fertilizer will allow your yard to “spring” back from the cold winter months! Check out our website for an opportunity to see what we offer our clients. We will always listen to what your goals are and help you achieve them in a timely and cost-effective manner. 

Summer 

During the hottest months of the year, watering your grass is crucial. Doing so during the coolest times of the day will be most beneficial to your lawn. Either early in the morning, before sunrise, or later in the evening will work best to avoid evaporation. It is crucial to regularly apply fertilizer and keep up with mowing and maintaining your beautiful lawn! 

Fall 

Fall is the best time for fertilization and seeding. The cooler months will help develop a stronger root system. Pulling all the weeds and making sure leaves are removed promptly will allow the sunlight to reach your soil, keeping any greenery healthy.

Whenever you need help maintaining a beautiful lawn, we are here to help! At Giovine Landscaping we have experts ready to help answer any and all of your lawn care questions. Please feel free to contact us at 973.325.1758. We have been in business for more than 30 years, helping our clients and are more than happy to help YOU! 

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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.