Do It Yourself

backyard-garden
Whether you want a small garden or a whole landscape transformation, we are here to help! Not only can we take care of all your landscaping needs, but we also educate you so you are better prepared to make the best decisions for you outdoor environment.

Here are some things that you can do yourself:


Keep sand in the cracks for your paver sidewalks and patios
Dry sand tends to get washed away or swept out of paver brick and stone patio joints. One solution is to use special polymeric sand that binds together when wetted. You can buy the polymeric additive and mix it with dry sand yourself, or you can buy premixed bags of sand. Premixed sand is the most convenient solution. A bag is roughly $40 and it covers about 120 sq. ft. on paver bricks. Check with landscape suppliers and home centers. Make sure there is no sand on the surface of the brick or stone before you wet it.


Apply a stabilizing sealant
Another option is to apply a stabilizing sealant after you finish the walk or patio. The sealant soaks into the sand and glues the grains together. Sealing a patio helps prevent staining from spilled red wine or greasy meat. One brand is TechniSeal Stabilizing Sealant for Pavers and Sand Joints ($47 per gallon).


How to divide hostas
It’s hard to have too many hostas, and dividing them every three or four years is a simple way to increase your stock—and they’ll be happier, too. Divide hostas in early spring, when their snouts are a couple of inches out of the soil. Spade around the clump to loosen the soil and pry up the root ball with a garden fork. For a large clump, set it on the ground and, using a clean sharp spade, chop it vertically into half, then quarters, and even smaller if it’s a giant one. Each piece should have some roots and at least two or three snouts. Set medium-sized clumps in a wheelbarrow and slice them into chunks with a sharp knife. For smaller hostas, rinse off the soil and pull them apart with your fingers. Plant the divisions right away in moist, fertile soil and keep them well-watered.


Tree stump removal
Tree Stump Removal Get rid of tree stumps by drilling holes in the stump and filling them with 100% Epsom salt. Follow with water, and wait. Live stumps may take as long as a month to decay, and start to decompose all by themselves.


Transplanting Perennials
Late summer or early Fall is the best time to divide and transplant spring-blooming perennials. The most commonly divided perennials are irises, peonies, hostas, and day lilies.


Watering Your Plants
Most plants grow best with 1 to 2 inches of water per week. If not enough rain falls, water deeply once a week instead of watering lightly daily. Frequent, shallow watering only moistens the top layer of soil and encourages the plant’s roots to move there instead of growing deeper.


When to Plant
Avoid digging or planting in wet soil; working it damages soil structure. Wait until the soil is crumbly and no longer forms a ball in your hand (it doesn’t have to be bone-dry) to till or dig.


Comparing Landscapers
It’s important to get a detailed quotes from landscapers before you go ahead with the project.

You can then start comparing landscapers. They should outline the project and all the associated costs involved. You must assure yourself that this has covered all your points from the meeting. If not, ask the landscaper to send further written confirmation on any points not addressed already. You must carry out this process in an identical fashion for all quotes you ask for, so a direct financial and timescale comparison can be made.

Once you have received your quotes, and maybe visited previous build projects to see the quality of workmanship for yourself, you must decide on which landscaper is most suitable

Not only on the ‘bottom line figure’ of how much they quote, but also on their quality of work, available start date and project duration. The best is not necessarily the cheapest quote or earliest start date!

I’m not happy with my landscapers quotes…
If you are not happy with either of your quotes, then repeat this process with more landscapers until you find a company you are entirely happy with. It may seem a pain, but your diligence and effort now will save a lot of potential headaches once the landscaping commences.

Ensure you contact your chosen company as soon as you make the decision – good landscapers work schedules fill up very quickly, and the start date they quoted a week ago may already be filled.

Landscapers Payment Terms
All landscapers operate slightly differently, but common payment terms are 50% of project funds cleared with the landscaper on day one, (normally when the materials arrive) and then the final 50% on completion of the project – but all landscapers are different.

Remember to ensure the garden is ready for the landscaper when he arrives on day one, including access to the garden, a clear material storage area if needed, access to water and electricity if required – even dog and cat mess removed from the lawn and borders!

What about problems with landscapers?
If you are unhappy with how the work is developing, then speak to your contact and outline your concerns in a balanced manner – don’t become emotional, it may be your home, but to the landscaper it is simply business and you need to maintain a good working relationship until the conclusion of the project at least.
Draw up a list of problems you want rectifying by the landscaper and discuss timescales for these to be put right. Pay the final monies required when your problem areas are sorted out – not before!


We are always available to help, so call us at 847.383.5793 or email us with your questions!