Yearly Archives: 2018


Outdoor Patio Living

Summertime and the livin’ is easy….But it can be even easier if you have a beautiful extended living space for lounging or entertaining.  The first thing to consider is how you actually intend to use your space.  You can create an outdoor environment that is just as comfortable as your indoor living space if you take the time to determine what your needs are.  A thoughtful addition to your outdoor environment can greatly increase the value and appeal of your home in addition to improving your quality of life. Once you decide to make the investment, a consultation with one of our design professionals will help determine the best location for your outdoor living space.  In general, patios are best accessed through a kitchen, often the most popular room in the house.  We can walk with you to map out the best possible layout, one that will complement the existing landscape of your yard and maximize the use of the space. It’s important to remember that the proximity of your home to your neighbor’s property may affect the location of your patio.  It is critical that before any ground is broken for construction, building codes and zoning laws are corroborated, and property lines are clearly demarcated. There are no hard and fast rules as to the specific size of a patio, but in general, it should be proportional to the size of the house.  A good rule of thumb, if the budget allows, is to make it as wide as the house, or as big as an adjacent indoor room. If you decide that you would like a patio that will allow for friend and family barbecues, the materials you choose for both the patio

Landscape Watering Tips for the Hot Summer Months

The heat of summer has arrived, and your landscape is feeling it! To keep your landscape beautiful throughout the hot summer months it is crucial to water your lawn and gardens appropriately. While your outdoor water usage will rise during the summer months, it does not have to cost you a fortune.  Understanding what your landscape needs and smart watering can keep your landscape green and healthy well into the fall. Sunrise Landscape and Design offers the following information and tips.   How Much to Water Grassy areas need an average of 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to stay green and lush. This water can come from either irrigation or rainfall, but it is important that your lawn gets a good drink.   Depending on the types of plants and flowers you have, landscaped areas have varying needs when it comes to water. It is essential to learn about your plants and their sunlight and water requirements. For example, turf grasses tend to consume the most water compared to other plants, and newer plants or trees will need more frequent watering than established ones. Shady areas that don't get much sunlight may not require as much water or frequency. Be sure to incorporate mulch around shrubs and plants to help minimize evaporation, inhibit weed growth and prevent erosion.   You should provide enough water that the soil isn’t dried out within an hour or two of watering. You also don’t want puddles or extreme sogginess-- this means you are overwatering the soil which can be just as bad as under watering.   Landscape Watering Tips Take advantage of irrigation systems. Newer automatic irrigation systems or sprinkler sets can help make your watering

Control Weeds, Don’t Let Them Control You

When the prospect of working on your yard includes a special line-item for weed-pulling and killing, it’s time to get serious.   Summer passes us by all-too quickly, and the specter of spending the entire season pulling weeds is not really enjoying it to the fullest.   We can help you avoid weed growth at its inception as well as help you sort through all the products available by pinpointing what will work best for your landscape and flowering plants and will also be safe for your pets.   The specific form of weed prevention is dependent on the type of weeds you have.  There are three basic types:   Broadleaf Weeds: These are by far the most common weeds found in gardens.  They include dandelions, ground ivy, white clover, chick week and violets. Grassy Weeds: They look like grass and behave like it.  They include crabgrass, goose grass and yellow foxtail. Sedge Weeds: These are found in marshes, bogs and low-lying damp areas. Most herbicides don’t work on sedges. Common sedge weeds include wild onion or garlic, and Star of Bethlehem   The best method of weed prevention in your grassy areas is good lawn maintenance and care.  You want to grow a strong and robust lawn that can outgrow the weeds.  It is important to identify the type of grass you have, and its optimal height. Longer grass will shade the ground and keeps it cooler so that weed seed germination is slowed down.  Once weeds do sprout, they don’t have as much sunlight for the needed growth if the grass is a little longer. Mowing on a consistent basis keeps the weeds you’re not able to pull from seeding your lawn.   If

The Value of Beautiful Shrubs in Your Landscape

Shrubs are an integral part of a well-designed landscape, providing visual height in your garden in the area between the lawn and trees, offering color and privacy as well as food and shelter for birds and butterflies.  In many ways, shrubs serve as the backbone of good landscape design.  Properly planted shrubs add an extra visual element that can continue to add interest in the Fall and Winter months, as well as provide several other tangible benefits that may not be immediately apparent when you’re designing and planning your landscape. The well-chosen shrub can first and perhaps foremost anchor your house to the surrounding landscape.  The height of well-placed shrubbery can give your eye a place to rest between the trees and a flower bed planted with small to mid-size annuals, perennials and grasses.  In addition, when you choose a flowering shrub, you brighten your early growing season days, adding another dimension of color to your landscape. The shrub is also a utilitarian workhorse.  Think carefully about what your immediate needs are before deciding where to plant.  If you need shelter from wind or sun, shrubs are excellent protection against both.  Placing shrubbery near an air conditioning unit can keep the unit shaded, and planting them near windows or near a sidewalk can reduce heat.  Aside from it being aesthetically pleasing, this is an excellent way to make your little corner of the world a little more “green.” Shrubs are also a safe haven for birds, butterflies or other insects.  Again, choosing the right shrubbery can make all the difference in the ecology you invite into your landscape.  Taking that into consideration into the overall aesthetic can make the difference in a well-designed and thought

To Sod or Not to Sod

Now that you’ve had time to survey your lawn properly, what do you do if your grass needs a bit of renewing? You have two options to bring your grass back to its former glory. If the majority of your lawn is free of weeds and undesirable grass areas, then now is the time to seed new grass. Overseeding and eliminating weeds can rejuvenate your lawn. This is by far the cheaper option, but the reality is that this won’t bring you results for weeks. However, if you have the patience, seeded grass is, on the whole, better, since it develops a stronger root system from the very beginning. Also, with seed, grass develops in the same environment in which it will live, so you don’t run the risk of transplant issues. Once grass seed is spread, you will want to limit all traffic in the area. It is easily disturbed if you have small children or pets, so it’s best to cover with hay to protect it from birds and wind and cordon off the area until you are confident that growth will occur. On the other hand, if the majority of your yard is in need of lawn renovation, sod could be the right choice for you. This is especially true if you enjoy more immediate gratification, and financial considerations and are not your top priority. Sod grass rolls will provide you an “instant” lawn, from dirt to green vistas in one day. However, it’s imperative the installation is done by a professional. Professionals will work with sod farmers who do the growing work for you. Quality, state-certified sod will have few or no weeds. Handled and installed properly, new sod takes just

How to Get Your Lawn Mower in Shape for the Spring

Finally, it looks like it’s time to bring that mower out of hibernation for Spring and Summer.  Given the weather we’ve had lately, it’s been touch and go.  However, now that it seems that snow is on hold until Winter, it’s time to prep your mower for its upcoming busy season. Prepping your mower appropriately can help you avoid costly maintenance or even replacement later.  So, empty out the grass collection bag if you forgot last year and grab that owner’s manual, it’s time to evaluate your mower for optimum performance. Disconnect the spark plug boot before performing any kind of maintenance work. If you see signs or corrosion or dirt, clean the spark plug with a wire brush.  If it doesn’t start, then once your maintenance is complete, install a new spark plug. Consider having the blades sharpened or replaced.  If they need replacement, make sure you do so with a blade that is designed for the make and model of your mower.  While the blade is off, it is a good time to clean the underside of the mower – use a putty knife to remove any caked-on grass. Just like cars, to keep the engine protected you should change the oil. This should be done at least once a year or after 50 times of use.  Look at your owner’s manual to make sure you get the right type of oil. Install a new fuel filter if needed and add fresh fuel. Be sure to empty any residual fuel from last year before adding new. Ensure theair filter is clean. Paper air filters need to be replaced. Gently scrub foam air filters with hot water and detergent and be sure to allow

How to Protect Your Plants from Surprise Cold Snaps

The latest cold snap probably shocked your early blooming daffodils; Spring has officially started, but the thermostat says otherwise at the moment.  Mother Nature tries to adhere to a calendar, but at the end of the day, we are at her mercy.  Over all, our weather is considerably more hospitable this time of year, but there may still be a few more surprises, as evidenced by our recent snow storm.   It’s time to prepare your blooming fruit trees, vegetables or flowers from these potential cold snaps. There are several methods of protection for your landscape while the weather remains in flux. It’s important to note that it doesn’t have to freeze for plants to be damaged by frost.  It just has to get cold enough for water vapor to condense on cold plants that have been chilled.       Young trees or varieties of trees that have thin bark, (some fruit trees fall in this category), as well as the evergreens and firs are very susceptible to branches breaking from the heavy wet snow that often happens in the springtime. The best way to remove the snow is to gently brush the snow off by hand or with a broom with upward strokes. Gently shaking the branches can also be done, but this needs to be done carefully. Branches can be brittle during the winter months, so you could be doing more harm than good. You can also remove snow throughout the snow event to make removal easier and minimize the weight that’s on your plants at any given time.   There are many varieties of plants that can handle the sudden cold temperatures, such as azaleas, hollies and pansies – these can

March is Mulching Season

​​It’s time to think about mulching those trees and flower beds, now that the harsh colds of Winter have abated.  Applied correctly and liberally, it’s good for your plants as well as a great labor saver.   For starters, it will slow weed growth considerably.  That alone is a reason to mulch.  No one wants to spend all Spring and Summer hunched over their flower beds!  Mulch also reduces water evaporation and can improve soil quality, two benefits that will yield long term results in your garden. ​​ ​​However, not all mulch is created equal.  Depending on which type you decide to use, you could reap different benefits.  In general, mulch with larger pieces of bark will decompose more slowly.  Finer pine bark mulch will enrich the soil as it decomposes.  Its main function aside from weed reduction is offering insulation to the root sources when there are fluctuations in temperature.  It also reduces water loss from the soil when you water or run a sprinkler.  However poor choices in mulch quality, could mean that it can retain TOO much moisture and encourage slugs and other pests that may eat certain plants.  It can also run the risk of becoming moldy.   An expert from Sunrise Landscape and Design can help you decipher which mulch is best suited for which area of your lawn. ​​ Cosmetically, mulch can add visual interest to your yard, depending on the color and size you choose.  Colored mulch contains vegetable dye, its color lasting for a year or more.  They are also finer in texture which makes them ideal for areas with slope since they mat down nicely.  Other types of mulch include pine straw which are pine tree

Landscape Planning for Spring

Winter is the time when your landscape is clearly visible, for better or for worse.  Take a moment now to assess your surroundings and plan for any renovations and additions you may have dreamed about while hunkered down during the long Winter.  Get that Pinterest board ready and start collecting ideas! Your barren trees and less-than-robust bushes and greenery give you the opportunity to really evaluate what changes you’d like to make before Spring is in full bloom.  After all, our yards are now extensions of our living space, an “extra room,” and should reflect how we enjoy spending our free time, whether we’re entertaining, creating a cozy space to spend time alone, or creating more room for your kids to play. Think back to what worked and what didn’t last year.  If you love to entertain, did you have enough space on the patio?  If you have pets, perhaps they’ve worn a path in your lawn.  Is there more mud than there is grass?  Have you had drainage issues that may be exacerbated now that Spring showers are on their way? When considering all of these “issues”, keep the style of your house in mind when considering solutions.  Do you want to use the same materials as your house to implement a more cohesive look, or is now the time to maybe try something new? Think about the colors you’d like to see in your yard.  Tying in the color of your hardscape with the surrounding plantings creates a unified look and makes your home seem in harmony with its surroundings. There is a wealth of materials to choose from if you’re thinking of adding a patio, a water feature or a new walkway. 

Landscape Maintenance Winter Cleanup

Even though our Winter has been a little light on snow, chances are it’s been too cold for you to conduct any regular cleanup of your lawn.  With temperatures beginning to creep up, now is the time to focus on picking up the Winter plant debris. Be sure to pay special attention to your plant beds who will soon end their dormant period and take center stage. Those of us that love snow have been feeling a little neglected this season, but as compensation, there have been extensive periods of icing that have made rock salt and ice melt a necessity.  Unfortunately, some of these products can cause damage to your lawn when they make contact, so it’s important that you clear these chemicals off your shrubs, tree roots and lawn.  Spreading gypsum in the affected areas can mitigate the damage. If the temperature is consistently above 50 degrees, you can apply weed control where necessary while removing any annuals you may have missed in the Fall.  Removing all the dead branches and leaves from perennials will also help ensure future growth.  If you compost, this plant material would make an excellent addition to your compost pile. Pay attention to your trees and shrubs as well.  Remove burlap if you have covered the roots to protect them in Winter, and remove dead and damaged branches while they remain easy to see. It’s also time to start thinking about fertilizing in preparation of Spring.  Watch the outdoor temperatures, and if they will be on the milder side, use a fertilizer that includes a crabgrass preventer. In general, your lawn is out-of-sight-out-of-mind in the Winter months, but once the snow and ice melt you will be surprised