Answers to common questions to assist with your landscaping projects

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About Green Arbor

Do you offer free quotes?

Yes, please contact our office to book a quote time. Our quotes are emailed to you for review. Turn-around time to receive your quote is typically forty-eight hours.

Do you offer monthly gardening services?

Yes, we sure do! First, we assess your property with a booked quote time to have your initial visit and to go over what services will be required to maintain your beautiful garden beds all through the season.

Do you offer Spring and Fall clean-up services?

Yes, Spring clean-up services include raking up winter debris from lawn and flowerbed areas, re-edging, cultivating, weeding your flower beds and topping up any soil or mulch if needed. Fall clean-up services include raking up leaves and hauling away, cutting back shrubs and perennial, and winterizing shrubs.

Who would benefit from landscaping?

Homeowners who are interested in cultivating a creative outdoor living space that complements their home and lifestyle, while providing year-round enjoyment.

Rental/investment property owners who are upgrading existing properties to increase rental and/or occupancy rates, improve curb appeal and reduce maintenance needs of the landscape. Having your property landscaped will add beauty, character and considerable value.

Why should I hire a professional landscaper?

Hiring a professional landscaper will allow you to get exactly what you want and relieve the stress and pressure of doing it yourself. At Green Arbor Landscape, our professional consult with every client will determine wants and needs, leading to prompt and skillful completion of your projects.

Retaining Walls

How do retaining walls work?

A retaining wall is intended to hold back soil when there is a drastic change in elevation. Often retaining walls are used to terrace yards that originally had a steep slope.

Retaining walls can also help create usable outdoor space as well as control erosion. Low retaining walls are frequently used as planting beds and can add interest to an otherwise flat yard.

Why install a proper base under retaining walls

A retaining wall must be built on a suitable base. Block manufacturers as well as experienced contractors and engineers stress the importance of starting with a good base. The base of a retaining wall should be set below ground level. The taller a wall is, the further below ground level it should be set. Crucial for supporting the rest of the wall, a good base is made of compacted soil and at least a six-inch layer of compacted sand and gravel.

Why it is important to back fill retaining walls with proper materials?

A retaining wall must have properly compacted backfill. Backfill refers to the dirt behind the wall. In order to provide proper drainage, at least 12 inches of granular backfill (gravel or a similar aggregate) should be installed directly behind the wall. Compacted native soil can be used to backfill the rest of the space behind the wall.

If you intend to do landscaping behind the wall, a six plus inch layer of native soil should also be placed over the gravel fill.

Why it is important to have proper drainage behind your retaining wall?

Since most retaining walls are impervious, which means water cannot pass through the wall itself, efficient drainage is crucial. When drainage goes unaddressed, hydrostatic pressure will build up behind the wall and cause damage such as bulging or cracking.

There are many ways to ensure proper drainage of water from behind a retaining wall. First, ensure your landscaping contractor backfills at least a foot of space behind the wall with gravel. Second, have a perforated pipe installed along the inside, or backfilled, bottom of the wall. And third, ask if weep holes will be needed to allow water to drain through the wall.

Why it is important to have the right height for your retaining wall?

It is important to know the height of a retaining wall determines the load it can bear and how much extra reinforcement will be necessary.

Typically, residential retaining walls are built between 3 and 4 feet high. This height provides excellent strength without requiring anchors, cantilevers or other additional reinforcements. If your property requires a higher wall you have two options: you can have the wall specially designed by an engineer or you can use a series of 3 - 4 foot walls to create a terraced effect.

Drainage Solutions

French Drains

If you have a soggy lawn or continual standing water, the solution may be a French drain. A French drain is excellent in collecting and channeling water, diverting it safely away. If you have any slope in your landscape, you can be sure that water runoff will flow downhill, and by the quickest route possible. If your yard is flat and there is nowhere for water to run, then without proper drainage you will face constant standing water especially if the underlying soil is clay based. Our construction crew can easily diagnose these issues and determine if the French drain is what you need or if you might also need a sump pump. The French drain is conceptually very simple, a slightly sloped trench filled with drainage gravel surrounding perforated pipe that’s buried underground helps divert excess water away from your home and foundation. How a French drain works once we’ve determined the areas where water is collecting on the property, we will map out exactly where the French drain will be located and start the installation process. Once the French drain system is installed, excess surface and subsurface water will channel through the gravel and into the perforated piping and flow through the trench and away from the property.

Catch Basin Drains

Catch basins are the main component in a landscape drainage system. There are boxes available in various sizes and materials that are placed in the ground near areas of standing water to help facilitate proper water drainage and avoid property damage.

The top of the box features a grate through which excess water and solids drain into the underground box. The solid particles then settle at the bottom of the box while the water collects until it reaches the outlet trap. Once the solids accumulate and account for one-third of the basin’s contents, you must remove the top grate and clean out the catch basin so it can continue to function properly.

Once your catch basins are installed, you’ll want to learn proper plumbing maintenance for them to keep the water draining freely from your landscape and away from your home. This becomes especially important during rainy seasons when storm runoff is more prevalent.

This is the area where the solid particles collect so they don’t block up the outlet pipes. Regularly cleaning this sediment out of the catch basin is the most important aspect of landscape drainage maintenance.

Weeping Tile

Weeping tile is a porous pipe used for underground water collection or discharge. Named in the time period when drainpipes were made from terracotta tiles, the modern material is typically a length of corrugated plastic pipe with small slits or weep holes in it, which is buried surrounded by aggregate larger than the slits. The aggregate rocks prevent excessive soil from falling through the slits into the weeping tile. With this arrangement, water in the surrounding soil above the weeping tile flows into the weeping tile. The weeping tile then drains into a solid pipe leading to a discharge or directly into a sump, where the water can be removed by a sump pump.

Swales

Swales can be part of an area’s natural landscaping, or they can be created to help ensure proper drainage, minimize runoff or capture storm water. Depending on their function, they may run along the contour lines of a hillside and may have a berm on the downhill side of the ditch. They rely on gravity to move water and are designed to direct the water where we want it to go.

Rain Leaders

A rain leader is a pipe that is connected to the rain gutter downspouts. The pipe is then connected to your sewer service. When it rains or when the snow on your roof melts the water travels down the gutters, into the rain leaders, and finally into the sewer main.

Gardening

Why should I use bone meal?

As a 100% natural source of nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium, bone meal fertilizer promotes plants’ root development while also stimulating blooming. It is essential for planting and transplanting all plants from bulbs to trees. For best results, apply your bone meal directly into the soil when planting.

Annuals or perennials?

For very low maintenance, perennials are the way to go. Plant once and these plants usually come back from year to year. However, perennials only flower at certain times during the summer which means you must carefully plan your garden so that you have flowers always. The benefit of planting annuals is that they flower all summer long. The ideal garden is a mixture of annuals and perennials. This gives a very good show for the gardener.

Why should I use mulch?

Mulch plays a fundamental role in promoting healthy plant growth. Mulch helps to reduce loss of moisture from the soil through evaporation & enabling soil water retention. The soil can experience considerably cooler temperatures arising from the presence of mulch especially during the hot summer months. Another benefit is the mulch protects the soil from erosion and crusting over. This allows for better air and water penetration creating a looser soil.

How do I get the most out of my hanging baskets?

An easy way to keep your hanging baskets in tip-top shape is by adding a top dressing of slow-release fertilizer. We recommend organic fertilizers, such as compost, you may also use a liquid fertilizer. Keep in mind that frequent watering flushes nutrients from the soil rather quickly and fertilizing will help replenish which is lost. It is important to deadhead all the old faded flowers after they have bloomed.

Why should I deadhead?

When flowers have gone past and plants begin to form seeds, in some cases, deadheading and cutting off the spent flowers can encourage more blooms. If you allow plants to form seeds, their energies will focus on that process. Cut back flowers that have faded and you can get more flowers or more robust plants.

Most annuals will produce more blooms if you regularly deadhead them. Cut the flowering stem back to a healthy leaf. Some perennials also will repeat bloom or continue blooming if you deadhead them, particularly those that bloom on stems that also bear leaves. In the case of perennials, deadheading often will cause plants to become bushier and more compact.

Turf Maintenance

What is core aeration?

Core aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more healthier lawn.

The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction. Compacted soils have too many solid particles in a certain volume or space, which prevents proper circulation of air, water and nutrients within the soil. Excess lawn thatch or heavy organic debris buried under the grass surface can also starve the roots from these essential elements.

Why should I fertilize my lawn?

To grow green and healthy, your lawn depends on high-quality fertilizer and regular feedings. When applied at the right times, a high-quality lawn fertilizer gives turf essential nutrients that help it grow thick and resist environmental stress.

What does lime do for my grass?

Lime is a soil conditioner or amendment, as opposed to a fertilizer. The main purpose of adding lime to a lawn is to decrease the acidity of the soil to a pH range that is optimal for growing healthy, vigorous grass.

What is dethatching?

Dethatching lawns refers to the mechanical removal from a lawn of the layer of dead turf grass tissue known as "Thatch" This residue is bad for your grass, as it keeps water and nutrients from seeping down to grass roots. Preventing thatch buildup is not nearly as big a part of lawn care as is mowing, but you should not overlook its importance to the long-term health of your grass.

What is the importance of setting you mower deck to the right height?

Using sharp blades when mowing your lawn is important. Adjusting your mower blade to the proper height can also have a significant impact on the health of your lawn since it prevents shock or other damage caused by cutting the grass too short.

Sod Installation

Why is grading important?

You can change the grades of your lawn to make it more user friendly or to correct drainage issues. It is important that you have positive drainage away from buildings and towards drainage outlets. When grading your lawn, you may also need to consider leaving enough space for the addition of soil amendments if the quality of your soil needs improvement

How much lawn soil do I need?

"The beauty is in the blades, but the 'action' is in the roots," is a good adage to remember when growing grass. The value of proper site preparation and soil improvement, before any planting takes place, is that it will be easier for the grass roots to establish deeply and evenly. Deep roots will make the lawn more drought resistant, a more efficient water and nutrient user and denser as new grass plant shoots emerge, A dense lawn will crowd out weeds and better resist insects and diseases.

How do I best fertilize sod?

Use turf builder fertilizer under the new sod. Its high phosphorus content promotes a strong root system, which in turn promotes a thick and healthy established lawn. Turf builder fertilizer enhances the development of new sod by supplying essential nutrients in accessible locations near the roots.

Why is watering important?

Once installed, your new lawn should be kept on a scheduled watering regimen for two weeks to insure good root development. Then gradually decrease your watering time. Don’t let the new sod dry out completely, but gradually decreasing water will cause the roots to grow deeper to find water. This helps ensure a well-rooted healthy lawn.

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