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!

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!

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!

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!

Spring Tasks To Foster A Healthy Lawn

Spring Tasks To Foster A Healthy Lawn

The spring season is finally upon us which likely means it is a sign to prepare your lawn for the growing season. The timing of when you start preparing your lawn will depend on the climate of your region, however. For example, if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, you will want to start when you are confident that the snow season has ended. Either way, homeowners in most regions should look to perform these tasks in the spring to help foster a healthier lawn.

Rake Deeply

Raking will be the first thing you should do as you prep your lawn for new growth. Keep in mind that raking does much more than remove tree leaves, because even if you did the best job at raking leaves during the fall season, you may still have to deal with thatch. For those unfamiliar, thatch is the layer of dead turfgrass tissue that lies between the green vegetation of the grass above and the root system and soil below. If this layer becomes too thick, it can be bad for the health of the grass. This is why you still need to rake deeply in the spring. Another benefit to doing so is that you can find matted patches of lawn. If you look closely, you may notice the grass blades are all stuck together which is a lawn disease known as snow mold. This will make it difficult for new grass to penetrate these matted patches, so by raking, you can solve this issue.

Assess The Soil

Another task you will need to do is assess the soil. Moss coating, for example, can be a sign of acidic soil. You can measure your soil’s acidity and alkalinity using the pH scale where 7 reflects perfectly neutral soil. You will know that your soil is acidic if the pH level is below 7, and alkaline soils measure higher than a 7. New grass prefers a neutral pH, so if your soil is outside of that range, then it may not grow as it should and could even be subject to moss growth.

Overseeding

Over time, your lawn may be riddled with bare patches due to a variety of factors such as dog spots, heavy traffic, or even neglect. When this happens, it may require an application of grass seed to fill those patches. This process is referred to as overseeding where you are sowing seed over existing grass. It is possible that you may only need to apply seed to the visible bare patches, but it is not uncommon to overseed the entire lawn to ensure that it remains thick and healthy. 

These are just a few of the many spring tasks you should take on this season to keep your lawn healthy. If you have any further questions on additional things you can do to maintain your lawn, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758.

Benefits of Recycling Your Leaves And Grass

Benefits of Recycling Your Leaves and Grass

If you are looking to make your lawn healthier and more attractive, then you will need to increase the organic matter of your lawn soil. The right amount of organic matter will increase the soil’s capacity to hold water and nutrients. According to the EPA, about fifty percent of total landfill waste consists of yard waste that most people can recycle and use as compost. Doing so not only feeds the soil, improving its quality, but it also is the more environmentally friendly approach. Yard grass and leaves are an essential component for soil rejuvenation that homeowners can utilize without even having to spend a penny. So, here are some of the benefits to recycling your leaves and yard grass.

Improves Quality of Soil

As mentioned previously, recycling your grass and leaves will greatly improve the quality of the soil as it will enhance its water holding capacity while reducing the chances of plant diseases. In addition, littering leaves and plant residues will encourage the production of good bacteria and fungi in the soil, creating humus which is a nitrogen-rich material in the soil.

Reduces The Use of Chemical Fertilizers

When you have leaves and dry grass littering all around your lawn or garden, you will not need chemical fertilizers as much to feed the soil which will in turn lower your carbon footprint while also saving you a few extra dollars over time. 

Creates A Garden Ecosystem

Aside from the friendly bacteria and fungi it creates, littered leaves and grass also invite many creatures like squirrels and other small animals that may see it as an inviting habitat. So, if you were looking to create a small wildlife garden in your backyard, recycling the plant residues is a great place to start making that happen.

Here are some of the most common ways to recycle your leaves:

Mowing – Mowing the lawn not only maintains the height of your grass, but also helps to recycle littered leaves. If the thickness of the residual leaves is less than an inch, then let them dry out. But once that is done, you will want to mow them with your lawnmower as it will allow the small leaf particles to decompose quickly without hurting the grassroots underneath.

Mulching – Mulching allows you to keep the soil cooler during the summer months which are approaching. It shields the soil while protecting it from loss of moisture. During the winter, mulches can act as insulators, reducing the effects of the fluctuating temperature. Mulching can also keep weeds at bay and suppress the spread of plant diseases.


There are other ways to recycle your plant residue to further benefit your lawn and garden. If you would like more ideas or need assistance in any of these tasks, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758!

Lawn Care Hacks That Can Save You Money

Lawn Care Hacks That Can Save You Money

Typically, when you think about saving money around the house, you immediately think of things happening on the inside like utility usage or family meals. However, what most don’t realize is that your lawn care and gardening habits can also cost you a lot of money and can be an area to cut back on. In fact, according to “American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn,” Americans spend an estimated $40 billion caring for their lawns every due to water, fertilizer, lawn care services, gardening equipment, amongst other costs. That is a lot of money that you could be putting to use in other areas of your life. So, let’s take a look at some lawn care hacks that can help you cut down on those costs.

Start a Compost Bin

By starting a compost bin, you could create your own mulch for free. Composting is great in gardens, flower beds, and other landscaped areas and the mulch will help the ground retain its moisture and prevent weeds from spreading. Some of the items you will want to include in your compost bin are vegetable peels, grass clippings, eggshells, leaves, newspapers, and coffee grounds. Avoid adding meat or dairy products as they will rot and produce a bad odor that can attract flies, maggots, and other creatures. Also be sure to stir the compost occasionally, and you should start to see results within a few months.

Use Boiling Water On Your Weeds

Weed killers can be very expensive. A cost-effective substitution is pouring boiling water on any weeds in your lawn. The water won’t hurt any of the soil underneath and it shouldn’t take long before you start seeing less weeds in your yard. Now, if the boiling water trick does not work, you can also try distilled white vinegar, however, keep in mind that by using vinegar, you will likely change the pH balance if the soil. Finally, you could also let your grass grow longer so that it chokes the weds in the lawn. So, by cutting the grass to three or four inches, the grass will win with all the weeds dying. 

Plant Fruit Trees

Fruit trees can both save you money by providing shade for your home which can reduce your heat bills, but also provide a great source of free fruit if you maintain them. For example, according to the Master Gardener Manual for the Cooperative Extension of the College of Agriculture at the University of Arizona, a healthy semi-dwarf apple tree can produce 4 bushels (about 168 pounds) of apples per year. So, if apples are selling at two dollars per pound, this tree could save you about $336 worth of apples each year.

So, these are just a few tricks that you can implement to maintaining your lawn that will also save you money along the way. If you are looking to give one of these a try or would like some more information on how you can save money through your lawn care, feel free to reach out to Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758.