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.

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.

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!

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!

Essential Gardening Tools You Must Have

Essential Gardening Tools You Must Have

As the weather begins to slowly get warmer, it is important to begin thinking about the improvements you can make to your garden this coming spring. In order to make some of these changes, you are going to need the right tools for certain jobs. So, in this article, we are going to look at some of the most essential gardening tools everyone should have for landscaping

Weeder

If you are looking to tackle weeds, your best option will be to get simple weeder, rather than polluting the garden with any harmful chemicals. These small hand tools have a forked end which makes them ideal for digging individual weeds and removing them by the root. Plus, if you use your weeder correctly, you should be able to remove all of the offending plants so that it does not return. This will require some hard work though as removing weeds one at a time can be a time-consuming process.

Garden Scissors

Garden scissors are an essential but sometimes overlooked tool for gardeners. The reason for this is that they are extremely versatile and you can use them to a lot of simple chores. For example, you can use them for opening seed packets, performing delicate pruning jobs of small flowers, and you can also use them to dig out weeds if you have nothing else available. You will just need to be sure to clean them thoroughly afterwards. As a gardener, you need to be ready to improvise when the right tool is not at hand, and with a tool as versatile as garden scissors, you can do just that. 

Curved Blade Digging Shovel

Having a full-length curved blade digging shovel is a staple gardening tool and for good reason. You can use your shovel for a lot of the heavy-duty digging jobs such as planting trees and large shrubs. Shovels are also great when you are working over a lot of soil over a short amount of time. You can use it to loosen up the soil and get it ready for planting before you use a rake to break down any lumps and get the soil into a smooth finish that is ready for planting.

Gardening Gloves

Many people enjoy the feeling of dirt in their hands, but despite that, you still need a good pair of gardening gloves. They will definitely help you avoid any unwanted blisters from handing digging. Make sure you get a versatile pair that can help with weeding, planting, landscaping, picking fruit and vegetables to name a few.

Wheelbarrow

When it comes to digging out new gardens or taking care of a weed infestation, you’re bound to develop a lot of waste material. This is where having a wheelbarrow can be extremely useful because even if you have a backyard compost, you can use the wheelbarrow to carry the waste there. It will help save you a lot of time and effort, but make sure that the tires are properly inflated before you get to work.

These are just some of the essential gardening tools you should have and there are plenty more. For more information on this or any other landscaping needs, be sure to call Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

Upcycling Ideas For Your Garden

Upcycling Ideas For Your Garden

Garden waste is a very common problem and to reduce the amount that we produce, households have been urged to upcycle items rather than throwing them away. The great thing about this is that you can upcycle just about anything and place it into your garden. Doing so, not only will help you save money along with the environment, but it can also be a unique project that can show your personality for others to see. Plus, you don’t have to be a green-fingered garden pro or a DIY expert to do this. Take a look at some easy upcycling tips that anyone can try.

Plant Pots

Almost anything can be turned into a plant pot. You can use a wheelbarrow which is no longer working or even old boots that you planned on throwing out. Simply fill them with soil and then plant seeds or flowers straight into them and it will help give your garden personality while also reducing waste.

Pallets

An easy way to create your own organized and healthy garden is by making your wooden pallet. Now, you can purchase these at any garden center, but making them on your own is just as easy and will be much more useful moving forward. The best part is that the rows created by the wooden slots will make sure weeds do not grow amongst your flowers and plants. Also, if you want to get creative, you can use these pallets for a variety of other purposes. For example, you can use them for benches, storage boxes, and even outside tables.

Jam Jars

Are you unsure what to do with your empty jam jars? All you have to do is give it a rinse with hot water to sterilize it and remove the labels. Then, you can get creative and paint the jar and place it outside as a nice outdoor decoration. If you want something simpler, you can use them at home and place freshly-cut flowers inside them.

Tiles

Do you have any spare tiles lying around your house? They would be perfect to create garden labels. All you need is to use pens to write or draw what you are planting in the soil, stick the tiles to lollipop sticks and then you can put them into the soil. You can also do this with any slate or even old cutlery.

Tires

A very common challenge comes in figuring out what to do with tires from old cars. A great suggestion would be to stack them to create a deep plant pot, cut them in half and then place them amongst the soil to create a unique adventure playground for your children. You can also use them as a break between grass and borders. 


These are just a few simple ways you can use everyday items around the house to spruce up your yard. For more landscaping needs, feel free to call Giovine Landscaping at (973)-325-1758!

5 Winter Landscaping Tips

Winter Landscaping Tips

If you own a garden in a snowy region, you probably have a plethora of reasons to get cold feet about the winter. For example, while your plants are at rest, their bright colors dissipate and leave a palette of white and gray. So, with nothing to plant, most might think that there are very few landscaping tips for this season. However, by focusing on a few areas during the winter, you can keep a beautiful landscape that shines even through the restful season. So, here are five winter landscaping tips to help your yard.

Focus On Bark

Most transient trees lose their leaves in the wintertime which leaves their branches and trunks in focus. However, that can actually be a good thing. According to Barbara Pierson who is a nursery manager at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut, “if you have any interesting ornamental trees that have really visually distinctive bark, they will end up adding winter interest.” A majority of those trees and shrubs are smaller, so they are easier to find spots for in the winter landscape. 

Include Berries

There are many trees and shrubs that have berries and hold onto them during the fall and winter seasons. This can provide food for any birds who are spending the winter in your area. Pierson mentions that crabapples, specifically hold onto their little fruit which makes them a great addition to the winter landscape.

Remember Evergreens

There are many reasons as to why evergreens are great for a winter landscape. First is their color. Evergreens do not just come in green; they are available in yellow, blue, and all colors in between. They also make good design sense and not only are they important for the winter landscape but they are good focal points for all year-round. Barabara Pierson says if you are planting a new bed, you will want to have at least one evergreen.

Enhance Your Summertime Containers

Hanging baskets, window boxes and winter-hardy containers are all indispensable for winter landscaping. A few options that are perfect for the winter include miniature dwarf Alberta spruce and broadleaf evergreens like Japanese Andromeda, holly and rhododendron. The only caveat is that they need to be watered during the dry periods. According to Pierson, “fill your containers with evergreen boughs of different textures and colors and interesting twigs, anything with color in it.”  

Stick With Four-Season Perennials

Certain perennials have evergreen foliage such as ornamental grasses, hellebores, and even dianthus with its low-creeping foliage which makes them great for winter landscaping. Be sure to read the plant label to ensure that the plant has foliage in the winter so that you can see it all year-round.

Conclusion

By implementing some of these simple tips, you will be able to add texture, color, and beauty to your yard even during the winter months. These tips can also keep your yard in tip-top shape throughout the year, helping you stay ahead of the curve. And as always, for any landscaping needs, especially during the winter, be sure to give Giovine Landscaping a call at (973) 325-1758.