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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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.

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!

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!

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!