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.

Do You Know These Common Landscaping Mistakes?

Decorating your yard is an exciting new feat in the home design process. The outdoor space surrounding your house is a completely blank canvas, and that can be overwhelming for both old and new homeowners. Most people aren’t taught the ins and outs of maintaining a garden, so many landscaping faux pas are committed (many of which go unnoticed). To have a beautiful, thriving outdoor ecosystem that will ornament your home wonderfully, it’s important to avoid these common landscaping mistakes.

Home and Plants Are Too Close Together

Plants need decent room to grow properly. Overgrown trees and shrubs located too close to the home might begin to disturb roofing and foundation material, damaging your property. In addition, the pests within these plants may be able to enter your home easier. 

Lawn Is Too Short

Another common landscaping mistake is keeping a nicely-trimmed lawn. Although it looks stunning and clean, it is actually extremely harmful to its health. If the grass of your lawn (keep in mind the various types of grass) is too short or you’re mowing it too often, it prevents the grass from performing photosynthesis adequately. Additionally, roots won’t grow properly, exposed soil will get damaged, and, your lawn will not be absorbing substantial nutrients. 

Overlooking the Seasons

People will often venture out to nursery or plant yards and buy what’s in season at the moment. Homeowners should keep in mind that various flowers bloom at different times throughout the year, so a proper selection must be made if year-round foliage is wanted. 

Fertilizing Wrong

Firstly, if you are not fertilizing at all, that is an issue. On the other hand, many homeowners fertilize too much or improperly. To avoid this common landscape mistake, one should fertilize twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. It should never be done in bright sun and always be followed by a good watering. Also, when planting new plants, fertilizer should be mixed in with the new soil. 

Planting Too Deeply

Many think that the more soil they can get around the base of the plant, the better off it will be. However, the root system needs air flow to it, otherwise this common landscaping mistake can choke the tree or shrub to death. Furthermore, planting too deeply may cause root rot. A good rule of thumb is to look at the main stem, the largest branch, and then where all the tentacles diverge from— the convergence point should be right at the surface. Otherwise, homeowners should plant their tree as deep as the pot it came in. 

Not Contacting Professional Landscapers

A plan for your yard can be hard to manage but trained experts will make the job so much easier. From lawn upkeep to keeping your plants properly fertilized, our team at Giovine Landscaping are the ones who will be able to assist you. They will be able to provide input on soil quality, pruning, and virtually everything you need to create and sustain a gorgeous outdoor space. With that being said, Giovine Landscaping provides all of the mentioned services at the utmost quality. Give them a call at (973) 325-1758 to avoid any of these common landscaping mistakes.

Top 5 End of Summer Landscaping Tips

End of summer landscaping tips will keep your lawn looking great!

It may still be scorching hot out, but in the next few weeks, that heat will begin to cool. As summer starts to wind down, you may be wondering how best to take care of your landscaping to prepare for the change in weather. No worries – we’ve got you covered. There are a number of easy things you can do to keep your yard healthy and prepare it for when the weather gets colder. Check out our favorite end of summer landscaping tips!

1. Harvest Your Vegetables

If you have a vegetable garden, you likely already have some crops growing, and you may have more come the fall. In order to make space and keep your plants healthy, make sure you harvest whatever vegetables have already grown. This will help new vegetables grow and receive a nice amount of nutrients. You can then add your harvested veggies into a delicious end-of-summer salad!

2. Deadhead and Cut Flowers

Believe it or not, it’s actually healthy for certain flower plants, like peonies, when you cut off the blooms, especially as they start to shrivel. This is called deadheading your plants. Deadheading is important both for the appearance of the plant and to encourage more buds to grow and bloom. The best part is you can then gather up your cut flowers and display them in your home!

3. Repair Your Lawn

If you have had a baby pool out all summer or any other kind of water play structure, you’ll notice that the grass underneath is probably not in the best condition—and is possibly even dead. The end of summer is a great time to reseed your lawn so that any bare patches or dead areas can have a chance to grow again.

4. Prepare for Fall Planting

Fall is a great time to plant bulbs that will bloom after the winter, and the end of summer is when you can start thinking about which bulbs to buy! There are also some seedlings that do well in the fall and that can be seeded towards the end of summer. Speak to your local gardening professional to get advice on which bulbs and seeds are best prepared this time of year.

5. Prevent Weed Growth

Weeds like to shoot up in your lawn during the fall months, and the best way to prevent weeds is to be proactive. Speak to your landscaper or do your own research on ways to treat your lawn to prevent weeds from growing. Depending on the kind of grass you have and your own personal preferences about chemicals, there are a variety of herbicide treatments you can choose from that will be effective in keeping weeds at bay.

If you keep these end of summer landscaping tips in mind, your property will stay healthy and looking its best! But you don’t have to do it alone. At Giovine Landscaping, our experts can prepare your landscaping to help you stay ahead of the game and keep your lawn healthy and beautiful throughout the fall. We’ll clean up any dead branches or blooms, seed grass where necessary, and treat your lawn to keep it in good shape.  No matter what your landscaping needs and goals are, we will work with you to care for your greenery every season!

Lawn Care: A Guide to Different Kinds of Grass

Kinds of grass

You may not think much about the grass growing on your lawn, but did you know that there are different grasses with different characteristics and care needs? The grass you have also affects what else grows on your lawn. The more you know about your grass, the better you’ll be able to understand and care for the greenery on your property. Here are just a few descriptions of the most common kinds of grass in the Northeast United States so you can get an idea of what kind of grass you have.

1. Kentucky Bluegrass

No, this grass is not technically from Kentucky, though Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State! Bluegrass is actually believed to have been brought to the United States from European and Asian countries back in the early days of settlers. The grass blades are not blue, either, but the buds are a bluish color, giving this grass its name. Bluegrass is considered a cool-season grass, which means it thrives in the cooler seasons of spring and fall but doesn’t do as well in the Dog Days of summer. It is one the most popular grass varieties throughout the country.

2.  Fescue

Fescue is another cool-season grass but it also does well in warm weather. This hardy grass is low-maintenance, and its long roots do an efficient job on their own of soaking up nutrients, meaning it doesn’t need much fertilizer provided by outside sources (like from you or your landscaper). Fescue is prone to growing weeds in the summer, but looks full and perfect all winter!

3. Zoysia

Zoysia grass is less common but can still be found in the Northeast United States. It is a warm-season grass and looks its best during the hot summer months. It is considered hardy and low maintenance, but also turns brown or yellow for ¾ of the year when the weather is cooler. It is also an aggressive grass variety, and can encroach into your neighbors’ yards, or into your garden bed. That said, it typically remains thick and lush all year long, even if it doesn’t stay green!

4. Perennial Ryegrass

Ryegrass is a cool-season grass that grows quickly, making it perfect for filling in empty patches on your lawn, or for turf grass. It does need to be mowed frequently because of its quick growth. Ryegrass is excellent for public parks or other frequently-used lawns because it can withstand heavy foot traffic well and is not easily susceptible to disease or infestations.


If you are putting in new grass, it’s important to consider what grass grow best in your area and on your specific property. The amount of sun or shade that your property gets coupled with your area’s climate will help determine which grass is best for your lawn. If you already have grass on your lawn, it’s a good idea to identify which grass you have so you can know how to best care for it. The experts at Giovine Landscaping can help you decide which grass variety to put in, and we know how to cater lawn care to your specific kind of grass.