7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscaper

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscaper

It’s not too early to start thinking about hiring a landscaper this year. Do you know what to look for before you sign a contract? Don’t just go with the lowest bidder. Save yourself time and money in the long-run by asking these questions up-front.   1. Will the people working on my property be employees or independent subcontractors? Some landscapers misclassify their workers as “subcontractors” in order to avoid paying payroll taxes, overtime, accrued…

Newton, Brookline, and Chestnut Hill homeowners: plan ahead for snow removal this year!

Newton, Brookline, and Chestnut Hill homeowners: plan ahead for snow removal this year!

Okay, we may not look as cool as that guy, but A Yard and a Half is now offering snow removal services for homeowners and condominiums in Newton, Brookline, and Chestnut Hill. We’ll take care of ploughing driveways, as well as hand shoveling steps, walkways, and sidewalks. If we’re hit with heavy accumulation like we were 2 years ago, you’ll be prepared; we have the equipment and will be happy to remove snow from your…

7 Essential Steps for Fall Home Maintenance

7 Essential Steps for Fall Home Maintenance

Ah, the beautiful respite of Fall. Things are starting to cool off as pumpkin lattes and children with backpacks abound. It can be easy to be taken away by the sights and smells, the beauty and the rhythm of this season…   I hate to bring it up, but this feels very similar to the calm before the (multiple) storms in the winter of 2015. Remember this? This New Englander had no idea he’d be…

Spring garden to-do’s

Spring garden to-do’s

Happy Spring! In case you’re a little behind because of this month’s rain, here are some tips for the spring organic garden: Lawns Rake excess leaves and thatch from lawns. If possible, delay aerating until fall, as it brings many weed seeds to the surface. If you can, wait until fall to start new lawns from seed to avoid weeds taking over.  Sod lawns are ok. When forsythia blooms, apply corn gluten to lawns as…

Merry and Bright

Merry and Bright

 Are you planning to host a festive gathering this holiday season for business associates or family and friends? Set the tone with a few special touches for your indoor and outdoor holiday decor. Check out the gallery below for some decorating ideas from the pros, appropriate to our Boston-area climate and classic New England style. (See more on our “Winter Wonders” Pinterst page.) Between shopping, cleaning, and managing the food, beverages, and guest list, it can be hard…

Spring in the Garden – What to Expect – Boston, March 2015

After a record-breaking winter of snow, many Boston-area gardeners and homeowners are wondering what they will find when the snow and ice melt. Here’s a glimpse into what you can expect for spring 2015, and how to repair winter damage in the landscape: Hardscape cracks – Paved surfaces like driveways, walks and patios may have cracked concrete and popped up paving stones. Pavers and stones can easily be re-leveled, but concrete may need to be patched…

Protecting plants in freezing weather

When winter temps drop below 0, Boston-area gardeners may need to exercise special care to protect plants. As average temperatures have warmed in recent years, the USDA has shifted its plant hardiness zones, so that much of eastern Massachusetts now falls within zone 6b, where it was 6a in the 1990 edition. In layperson’s terms, this means that many of the “hardy” zone 6 plants sold by local nurseries may only tolerate an average winter…

Are you prepared for winter snowstorms?

A little preparation during the final days of fall can prevent many headaches and chilly emergency repairs. Here are some tips to prepare your yard and landscape for winter: Last winter, rapid accumulation of heavy snows damaged many flat roofs. If your house has a flat roof, make sure that you purchase a roof rake ahead of time, or contract with a snow removal company that offers roof clearing services. Disconnect and drain any rain…

Organic Lawn Fixes for Late Summer

Is your lawn looking patchy? Mid-August to mid-September is the optimal time to renovate or establish lawns from seed. Here’s how: Shade? Add shade-tolerant seed such as fescue to thin areas under dappled shade. Crabgrass? Rip out crabgrass and add a blend of bluegrass and rye seed for heat and sun tolerance. Moss or rock-hard dirt? Aerate (poke little holes in the soil), add compost, and seed. If you’re facing tougher problems like grubs or…

Protecting plants from late spring frost

Frost Warning for the Boston AreaTonight – Tips from Mahoney’s Nurseries: The weather forecast is calling for overnight temperatures in the low 30’s (possibly upper 20’s) and the probability of frost for many Massachusetts towns. If you have purchased and planted any tender plants, you’ll want to protect your investment by moving them inside if at all possible, or covering them if they’re already planted. It’s always best to move plants inside (especially tender plants…