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!

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!

Fall Landscaping Mistakes To Know & Avoid

Fall Landscaping Mistakes To Know & Avoid

When it comes to keeping up with your landscaping, timing is everything. For example, while the fall season is great for planting trees, it is not the best for pruning certain shrubs. The last thing you want is to wait until the spring season of next year only to find out that the maintenance performed in the fall (if any was performed at all) did more harm than good to your lawn. So, with that said, let’s take a look at a few fall landscaping maintenance mistakes you should know about and how you can avoid them.

Letting The Leaves Pile Up

Raking your leaves is just for the clean, aesthetic look. In addition, you shouldn’t assume that because no one rakes the forest floor and there are no issues with those trees that your lawn will fare just as well. A pile-up of leaves left on your lawn can suffocate the grass and negatively impact the airflow. Plus, it could lead to snow mold which is a lawn fungal infection that forms beneath the fallen leaves and can leave to dead areas.

Pruning Yews, Boxwood, and Spring-Flowering Shrubs

While yews and boxwood shrubs typically take pruning well, you shouldn’t be doing so after late August. The reason being that pruning too late will stimulate new growth that will not have the chance to harden off before the deep freeze of winter arrives. Now, while this will not totally kill the shrub, it will give you plenty of winter injury to remove when the spring season arrives. A rule of thumb is that shrubs that typically flower in the spring should be pruned immediately after they stop flowering.

Storing Tools Without Proper Cleanup

Gardening tools are what make the hard work a little bit easier which is why you should treat them with a little bit more love before storing them away for the winter. Proper maintenance of your tools will help them work more efficiently and become more durable, saving you the expense of having to replace them. First, be sure to clean them; you can use a wire brush to get the hard to remove bits of mud and debris. For rust spots, you would wanna use steel wool or fine sandpaper and then a file to restore the edge on shovels, lawn-mower blades, and pruners.

Cutting The Entire Garden

During the fall, it can be very tempting to go all in and cut your entire garden as the clean canvas can seem so appealing. However, keep in mind that there are many different creatures that need to survive the winter by staying within the hollow stems, and other nooks and crannies of your garden. So, try and leave them a little bit of sanctuary to ride out during the cold season. In addition, it’s important to know that native bees, butterflies, and others benefit from the “dead” gardens of the winter.

With the fall season right around the corner, be sure to familiarize yourself with these and other common maintenance mistakes and try to avoid them as best as possible. For additional questions on fall lawn maintenance, be sure to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy In The Summer Heat

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy In Summer Heat

The summer months are the time when people want their lawns to look their best. However, it is also the time when the lawn will face the most stress, due to factors such as drought and hot temperatures. The increased traffic from pets and children will also cause more wear and tear than usual. Plus, the warm weather attracts insects and other disease issues. So, with all these factors at play, it can leave once-green lawns looking brown and dry. Therefore, here are some steps you can take to keep your lawn green and healthy even during the hottest days of the summer. 

Be Aware Of Watering Habits

One of the most important things that will keep your lawn healthy is proper watering. If done incorrectly, your turf will suffer under hot temperatures and lose its healthy look. There are many different practices that will ensure it gets the moisture it needs. For example, soaking the grass during dry spells. As most people know, the summer has breaks between rainfalls that could last for weeks. During these periods, the grass will become more dormant to conserve energy and appear dry and brown/tan in color. So, regular watering helps to prevent dormancy, helping to train the turf to develop deep roots that can endure the heat of the summer. For best results, you should try to water in a way that mimics the pattern of rainfall which means soaking the grass at infrequent intervals. 

Keep Your Grass Longer

By mowing your grass on a higher setting, the longer grass will allow for the establishment of longer roots which will reach more moisture in the soil. Longer grass will also prevent it from drying out too quickly, ensuring that the roots are protected by the longer blades. You want to avoid mowing the grass too short as it can cause damage and even leave the lawn scorched to the point where your grass might not recover. However, if you do choose to mow your grass short, keep in mind that you will have to water it more often and more lightly.

Take Care Of Weeds

You should also be diligent with removing weeds from your lawn with the best approach being to take care of them early and often. Some people will wait to apply weed killer to the entire lawn at once, but sometimes, it might be too late by that point. So, instead, you can pull the weeds manually or use a weeding fork to get at them early. If you are treating a larger area, you can apply weed killer by “painting” it onto the affected area.

These are a few tips that will help you maintain a healthy lawn during the hot summer months. For more information or further assistance in summer lawn maintenance, give Giovine Landscaping a call at (973) 325-1758!

Flowers That Can Attract More Bees

Flowers That Can Attract More Bees

When homeowners are planning and planting their flower beds, their focus is usually on things like the easiest flowers to grow, and the color palette of the annuals that will compliment their home’s exterior paint color. However, one topic that is often overlooked and shouldn’t be is how to create a bee-friendly space. Not only are bees crucial to the health of mankind, but they also pollinate plants like fruit trees, vegetables, along with other ornamental plants. Honeybees pollinate an estimated 75 to 85 percent of all food crops. Therefore, it is certainly in every homeowner’s best interest to create bee destinations around their homes with flowering plants and healthy nectar to eat. Let’s take a look at the different flowers you can plant to attract more bees.

Goldenrod

While it is often confused with the allergy-inducing ragweed, goldenrods actually have many health benefits like the reduction of pain and inflammation. Bees love to flock to its golden blooms.

Bee Balm

Also known as wild bergamot, bee balm has fragrant foliage that will surely attract more pollinators to your garden. Try to plant these in a sunny spot for the summer blooms.

Black-Eyed Susan

This yellow flowering plant is related to sunflowers and is a native wildflower. As they are sun-loving and drought-tolerant, the summer is their chance to bloom and continues into the fall months.

Chive Flowers

These violet pom-pom shaped flowers are usually seen popping up in chive patches in the early spring months. You will want to plant these in a pot as opposed to directly in the ground and this is because they grow fast and can easily overtake your garden.

Mint

Mints are a great garden herb, and this lavender flower appears sometime between June and September. Similar to chives, these are quick spreaders and can choke out nearby plants, so it would be best to plant them in a pot. 

Sunflowers

When sunflower heads open, it reveals a plethora of tiny pollen and nectar-rich flowers making them another ideal bee destination for your yard. You can look to plant tall varieties in the back of a garden or you can try interpersing shorter ones throughout the garden bed.

Flowering Thyme

Thyme is another ideal addition to an herb garden as they can serve multiple purposes. Not only will bees buzz around the flagrant blossoms, you can even pick them for your cooking whether it’s in a salad as a garnish, or sprinkled on some avocado toast.

These are just a few of the many flowers you can plant in your garden to make it a more friendly bee destination. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758.

Summer Landscaping Ideas To Revamp Your Yard

Summer Landscaping Ideas To Revamp Your Yard

The weather is getting warmer, which means the summer season is right around the corner. This is the perfect time to start planning for a new and improved landscape. It can be difficult to know where to start or how to make the biggest impact on a budget, but summer landscaping does not have to take up too much time or cost a lot of money. There are many simple touches you can easily perform to add enjoyment and fun to your yard. Here are some landscaping ideas that will help you revamp your yard.

Incorporate Lighting

If you have spent a considerable amount of time on the artistry of your landscaping, you shouldn’t allow those efforts to be masked by darkness when the sun goes down. You can use clever landscape lighting to highlight your flower beds, gardens, walkways, porch, and more. Another idea is to use spotlights to direct people’s eyes to your favorite plants. You can even add decorative lanterns if you want a romantic touch.

Add Fragrance

Flowers are pleasing to the eye, but you can give your garden an extra dimension by adding plants that have an alluring scent. One of the best parts of the summer is a fragrant flower garden, so try adding some roses to stop and smell along your walkway. An overlooked flower to include are petunias, as they can be highly fragrant in the evening. Phlox is another great summer-blooming flower that is drought resistant and comes in a plethora of colors. 

Add More Structural Plants

You can also look to incorporate structural plants into your landscape, like boxwood hedges, which are beautiful year-round and make great foils for colorful plants. If you are not fond of the hedge look, you may want to consider small trees and shrubs that have unique shapes, like contorted white pines, or interesting bark, such as the amur cherry.

Add Your Own Personal Touch

One thing about community gardens is that they feature outdoor areas that are great for people to gather for a chat or a picnic. You can incorporate these kinds of areas in your yard on a smaller scale, like a small gazebo tucked in the corner of your landscape. Gazebos are a great place to eat with the family in the shade during the day or even gather under the stars at night. Patios, decks, and fire pits are other summer landscaping elements that encourage people to sit and make memories together.

There are many ways you can spruce up your yard this summer. If you are interested in taking the first step in summer landscaping but do not know where to start, be sure to call Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758!