Common Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid, Part 1

common landscaping mistakes avoid

At Professional Yard Services, we’re proud to serve as your go-to landscape design and maintenance professionals. With one quick call, you’ll be greeted by a team of pros with years in lawn care, sprinkler repair and several other areas of landscaping throughout Sandy and nearby areas.

Unfortunately, not everyone in our space provides the same level of quality as our services. Whether the cause of improperly trained landscapers or homeowners attempting to do too much on their own, we’ve seen a number of landscaping errors made through the years – this two-part blog will dig into several of the most common mistake areas, plus how you can avoid them and keep your property’s landscape looking pristine throughout the year.

common landscaping mistakes avoid

Improper Planning

If you truly want your landscape to remain lush and visually pleasing throughout the year, it’s going to take more than just a wave of your hand and a few minutes at your local home improvement store. Specifically, it’s going to take some planning – you can spend a bunch of money and bring in all sorts of modern plants or design elements, but if you don’t have a proper plan for their planting and care, it will all be for nothing.

For starters, research the kinds of plants you want in your landscape. Do you have the time to care for several different varieties? Are there any that require special feeding requirements or have unique growth patterns? You can perform this same basic assessment for every area of the landscape, assessing both your budget and your future available time for care and upkeep.

Pruning Concerns

One major area of maintenance for virtually any landscape is pruning, or the strategic removal of certain plant elements to encourage their growth and development. Because pruning involves actually taking parts of a plant or tree off, doing it incorrectly can cause significant damage to their health while also diminishing the aesthetic appeal of your landscape. If you aren’t 100 percent sure how to prune a given plant or tree, call our professionals and ask them to do it for you.

Forgetting About the Front Yard

Some landscape owners make the fatal mistake of only focusing on the area where they spend the most time: The back yard. And while it’s fine to focus more of your efforts in this area, a truly complete landscape – one that maintains your home’s curb appeal – also includes the front yard. Areas like pathways to the front door, basic color and dimension setting for the home are those you can work on with the front yard, even if you’re keeping things relatively simple and saving the major work for the back.

For more on avoiding common landscaping mistakes to avoid, or to learn about any of our lawn care or other landscaping services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Warm-Season Grass vs. Cool-Season Grass Comparison

warm-season cool-season grass

If a top priority for your landscaping is maintaining a beautiful-looking lawn, one of the important factors to consider here will be grass type. There are several different individual species of grass out there, and knowing which match best with your climate, lifestyle and needs can go a long way to attaining the proper lawn care.

At Professional Yard Services, we’re proud to be your top contact source for lawn care services and several other landscaping areas. Generally speaking, lawn grass is grouped into two types: Warm-season grass and cool-season grass. Let’s go over some basics and examples of each, plus some in-between areas to consider as well.

warm-season cool-season grass

Warm-Season Grass

Warm-season grasses, those you’re likely a bit more familiar with, generally show growth between the months of April and October in most temperate climates. During the winter, most of these species will enter their standard dormancy period, during which they may brown and will not look their proper green color until the temperatures turn back to the warm end of the spectrum.

Warm-season grasses are almost all heat-tolerant, and drought-tolerant as well. Some common examples of warm-season grasses include the following:

  • Bahia grass
  • Bermuda grass
  • Buffalo grass
  • Centipede grass
  • Augustine grass
  • Zoysia grass

Cool-Season Grass

Cool-season grasses, on the other hand, are those that tend to grow most during spring and fall, or when temperatures sit between 60 and 75 degrees for most of the day. These grasses may or may not go dormant during the winter, and also may or may not do so during the hottest summer months.

For a climate like Utah’s, which has significant fluctuations in temperature between seasons, cool-season grasses can be highly valuable. They can help supplement the look of a given landscape during the early spring and late fall months, periods where other grasses will still be in their dormancy stages or just coming out of them. When planted in proper coordination with warm-season grasses, they’ll help you maintain strong green areas within the landscape during all the non-winter months of the year.

Some examples of cool-season grasses include the following:

  • Ryegrass – either annual or perennial options are available
  • Bentgrass
  • Fescue – tall or fine varieties available
  • Kentucky bluegrass

Cool-season grasses may require different kinds of soil maintenance or conditions than warm-season grasses, so be aware here.

Transition Zones

In many cases, particularly in climates like Utah, you need overlap between warm-season and cool-season grass areas. There are several grass types out there that endure a wide range of temperatures, and as we noted above, you can take steps to mix warm- and cool-season grasses within your lawn for great year-round growth.

For more on the kinds of grasses you may want to consider for your landscaping, or to learn about any of our additional grass maintenance services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Basics and Care Tips for Ornamental Grass Landscaping

basics care ornamental grass landscaping

If you’re looking for a wonderful addition to your landscape that will remain a prominent part of your visual aesthetic well into fall and even winter, ornamental grass is an area you should consider strongly. Essentially a form of grass grown as ornamental plants, ornamental grasses are becoming more and more popular, particularly in areas that have colder temperatures at any point during the year.

At Professional Yard Services, our team is happy to provide a full range of ornamental grass maintenance, expertise and service as required. Let’s go over some basics on this product and how it can affect your landscaping.

basics care ornamental grass landscaping

Defining Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses, as we said above, are grasses grown as ornamental plants. They come in a huge range of sizes and shapes, plus a wide array of colors to chose from.

Back in earlier decades, these grasses were mostly only used by experienced gardeners. But since they’re not only beautiful but also low-maintenance and economically-friendly, they’ve become much more popular in recent years and are beginning to show up everywhere. They can grow in a ton of different soil environments, a huge positive factor, and are generally drought-tolerant. On top of all this, they naturally resist many of the same insect infestations or diseases that may impact other grasses or plants.

When and Where to Plant Them

The choice on when to plant ornamental grasses comes down to whether you’re choosing annual options or perennials. In the case of annuals, these should be planted in spring and are meant to last through a full season. For perennials, we recommend planting in either spring or fall – whichever you prefer them to re-appear during in future years, which they will with proper care.

When choosing your planting location, consider both available sun in the area and the water that will be present. Most ornamental grasses do best in full sunlight, though a few types may do okay in partial sun. From here, individual ornamental grasses will vary in terms of water needs – you can find these details on their tags, where they’ll tell you the kinds of soil they prefer, the sort of draining they do best with, and more.

Care Tips

Some basic planting and care tips for ornamental grasses:

  • Plant ornamental grasses at the same depth as they were in the pot – this avoids water pooling and clumping.
  • Cut grasses back to 4-6 inches each spring (if using perennials).
  • Use a slow-release fertilizer in the spring, with low nitrogen levels to prevent grass from flopping over.
  • Use mulch placement to control weed growth and unneeded reseeding around your ornamental grasses.
  • Water ornamental grasses well during their initial planting season – it helps them grow a viable root system. In future years, perennials will only need supplemental watering during drought periods (again, further detail here will depend on the exact type you choose).

For more on ornamental grasses and how to care for them, or to learn about any of our lawn care or other landscaping services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.

Identifying and Preventing Soil Frost Heave

identifying preventing soil frost heave

Within the state of Utah, temperatures and weather conditions change significantly throughout the year. Winters are cold and snowy while summers are hot and dry, and these seasons plus everything in between have a significant impact on your grass, soil and other parts of your landscaping.

At Professional Yard Services, we can help with all temperature-related lawn care and landscape maintenance services. One such concern, particularly in winter and the periods just before or after it, is known as frost heave. What is frost heave, when can it take place, and how can you prevent it in your yard?

identifying preventing soil frost heave

Defining Frost Heave

Common both at the end of fall and during the beginning of spring, frost heave refers to a condition where soil expands and contracts due to the freezing and thawing taking place at its surface. As temperatures get into the 32 degree Fahrenheit range, cold air makes its way into your soil and freezes the water that’s there – this in turn expands the soil, plus brings further moisture up from below the surface.

Unless you address it, this cycle can become heavier and heavier and draw various items, including soil or roots, out of the ground. Your soil may appear to be “growing rocks” after too much frost heave, a negative look no one wants in their landscape.

Conditions for Frost Heave

There are three basic conditions that have to be present for frost heave to take place:

  • Cold: Temperatures have to be at 32 degrees, or even slightly colder in some situations, for frost heave to take place. This is because the freezing temperature needs to be able to reach below the top layer of soil.
  • Soil: There are certain kinds of soil that are not at risk of frost, but many others definitely are. If you have clay, silt or loam soil, these are all particularly susceptible to frost heave, as they al contain high levels of moisture.

Preventing Frost Heave

Some basic tips for preventing frost heave:

  • Plant early: During fall, plan to plant all your perennials at least six weeks before the first frost, if not earlier. This gives them time for their root systems to grow and become robust.
  • Watch: The best way to catch frost heave is to notice it early and correct it. Look for any areas that are freezing, then press the soil back into place and consider additional mulch for insulation.
  • Drainage: To avoid frost heave and several other issues as well, your soil must be able to properly drain moisture. You should be adding organic matter each fall and spring season to help here, plus rake and otherwise arrange things so drainage is optimal.
  • Mulch: Mulch can be valuable for several things, including keeping your soil a little warmer during winter. If you have issues with frost heave, consider additional mulch or changing to a stronger type.

For more on how to avoid frost heave in your soil, or to learn about any of our lawn care or sprinkler repair services, speak to the staff at Professional Yard Services today.