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 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…

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…

Gardener’s Journal for May

Gardening, done well, is at least 50% preparation. Once you realize what you should have done, it’s probably too late for this year. So, having a garden journal is invaluable to for successful planning for next year. Here are a few things to look out for this spring, and steps to make next year even better: A Blank Slate – By fall when the bulb catalogues arrive, it’s easy to forget where you planted what. Take…

7 steps to a beautiful spring garden clean-up

Two-plus months in to the year, how are you doing with those New Year’s resolutions? Luckily, the gardening year in the Boston area is just starting, so you have a chance to start off on the right foot with your outdoor plans. Doing a thorough and careful spring clean up lays the groundwork (no pun intended!) for a year of trouble-free gardening: Prune dead and broken branches from ornamental trees and shrubs, repairing any snow…

What’s the definition of “organic” landscaping?

Every year, we attend trade and garden shows where companies peddle their latest, greatest green wares. There is often someone promoting their “100% certified organic” 4-step lawn service, and I have fun pretending I’m a homeowner and grilling them about their methods. Why? Currently, no agency “certifies” landscape or lawn care practices or companies as organic. So, how do you know that your lawn service is keeping your family safe and your landscape healthy? Here’s the…

Organic Maintenance Checklist

When do I prune this? How high should I mow my lawn? Can I cut back my perennials after they turn brown? Get answers to these and other basic organic maintenance questions by downloading this simple checklist. Then, go deeper with landscape tips and design ideas from our bi-monthly newsletter. Enjoy! Something we forgot to answer?  Give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll try to help.

Crabgrass and knotweed and grubs, oh my!

Mid summer is the true test of your landscape’s heath. Are layered planting beds, mulch, and turf thick enough to shade and cool the soil, withstanding drought and out-competing weeds, or are pests proliferating? If pests are getting the better of your lawn or garden, here are emergency and long-term solutions: Crabgrass is an annual weed that grows from seed each year. It loves hot, dry weather, and picks up steam just as fussier lawn grasses are…

The Skinny on “Miracle Grass”

Today’s piece on the “New Uber-Grass” on WBUR made me pause at this busy time of year to weigh in on these branded grass blends that promise great results with minimal maintenance: I was tickled to hear this story on a day when we were reviewing lawn installation with our crews!  Having designed, installed and maintained many organic and sustainable landscapes using this and other products, I’d say that like many other high quality, weed-free…

“Isn’t it all just dirt?”

A prospective client gave me the opportunity to help him make sense of the various quotes he received today for lawn installation and bed preparation.  He’s a smart consumer, and not the source of the title quote, “Isn’t it all just dirt?”  But I’ve definitely heard the question before, even from others in the trade.  So, here are some excerpts from my reply to him: Loam (sometimes pronounced “loom” in MA) technically refers to soil…