Salt: it’s our oldest food seasoning, an essential nutrient for good heath, a relaxing and therapeutic addition to a hot bath, and, in some religions and cultures, part of rituals and deeply held beliefs.
It’s also what we dispense on roads in winter to keep them safe for travel even when there’s winter weather. Why? There’s science behind the importance of ice prevention and winter-weather salt procedures. Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water and melts ice because heat is generated when salt is in contact with water. This chemical reaction is what results in decreasing temperature and, therefore, melting (rather than solid) ice.
Because of this, it’s a common practice ice prevention by salting roads before a storm or to use salt to melt ice that’s accumulated on sidewalks and roadways. Doing so has been proven effective; according to the American Highway Users Alliance, salting roads decreases collisions by up to 85%.
But it’s not just roads that get icy or snow packed. Sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots need attention, too. Some of this is easy to do on your own. By keeping a container of commercially available salt and salting before the snow or ice hits, you can prevent dangerous conditions.
What differentiates table salt from ice melt isn’t the chemical composition of each. The salt you buy to spread on your sidewalk is the same, structurally, as the stuff you shake into your bowl of soup. What’s different is the size. Table salt is small and fine while commercially available rock salt/ice melt is larger and coarse. This means you could, technically, use table salt to keep ice off of your sidewalks. The question is, would you want to?
The answer to that question isn’t a simple yes or no. Yes, salt is a natural mineral. But just like having too much in your diet can lead to unwanted and dangerous health conditions, using salt incorrectly or in excess to remedy winter weather conditions can also have unwanted consequences.
It’s important to take care when sprinkling salt. It can adversely affect metal, for example—and if you’re salting your driveway or parking space, this means that it can affect your car or other vehicles. Simply put, the more your vehicle is in contact with salt, the more rust you can expect. You can also track salt into your home via boots, which means it might embed in your carpet.
There are other considerations, to be sure. And many of those factors affect you and your neighbors, both on local and global scales. The truth is, damage to infrastructure sometimes occurs when using salt. In fact, it’s estimated that damage due to corrosion costs between $3.5 to $7 billion dollars every year.
These concerns don’t mean we shouldn’t overlook the benefits of using salt for snow and ice prevention. But it does mean consulting with professionals to understand which salt is best to use, to determine best practices in application and frequency, and to ensure that it’s being used in the most economically and environmentally favorable way.
It’s time to think about ice, snow, and freezing temperatures—and how those elements affect your lawn. Before it turns too cold to be outside, think about doing the following to ensure your lawn is prepared for its long winter’s nap.
We’ve said it once, but we’ll say it again: it’s vital to rake leaves and remove debris from your lawn before snow and ice settles in. If there’s still time to mow, do that now—not only is it important to cut your grass shorter before winter comes, but mowing will shred any leaves you’ve missed while raking.
Now’s the time to aerate and seed for next season. Doing so in the fall helps fill in bare spots. It’s also important to water your lawn, fertilize trees, and cut back perennials. Not sure how or when to aerate, or need help with seeding your lawn? We’d love to help.
You want to protect your plants as much as possible to help them survive freezing temperatures. To do this, be sure to mulch; remove dead leaves/branches and debris; and, if appropriate, wrap with burlap or another protective cover. Have roses? Learn more about caring for them here.
If you have an outdoor kitchen, it’s imperative to turn off water sources and to drain lines. Same is true of your sprinkler system. Making sure all water is drained will prevent freezing, which can lead to significant damage.
Even though you can see your breath on some Fall mornings, the soil is still relatively warm, which means it’s a great time to plant bulbs, trees, and shrubs. October is the prime month for this planting, so don’t wait—if you haven’t yet, get busy and cross this task off your list! You’ll be glad you did once the snow clears and buds start appearing next Spring.
Need help getting your lawn and landscape ready for our impending Kansas winter? If so, you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help, whether it’s landscaping, snow removal, or prepping for warmer weather. Take a peek at the projects we’ve been working on over on our Facebook page, or give us a call to talk!
It’s officially fall —the seasons have changed! Have you noticed the shift in places you frequent? Grocery stores are sporting pumpkins and apples, clothing stores are filled with muted plaid long-sleeved shirts and cozy scarves, and restaurants are featuring new specials—think portobello ravioli or roasted acorn squash.
Just like those places, your landscaping is ready for a change, too! And Fall is the perfect time to not just ready your lawn for winter, but to add special decorative touches that amp up your curb appeal—and just might make you the envy of your neighbors.
You might think that you have to make major changes to improve your fall landscaping, and it’s true that big projects like retaining walls or outdoor kitchens can make a huge difference. But there are more modest, easy to implement ideas that will enhance your landscaping and increase your curb appeal. Here are a ten of our favorites:
We talk about Spring cleaning, but Fall cleaning matters too! Power wash your hard surfaces, clear out your gutters, and remove debris from your space. This is the first step to making your landscape shine.
Not all mulch is created equally. Sure, mulch is practical: it helps prevent weeds and can make your space look better. But you have a choice when it comes to which mulch you use. Instead of picking up a discount bag, check out shredded hardwood mulch—or try a colored variety.
Fall is a good time to prune bushes and trees, but there’s a catch: you have to do it at the right time. Learn more here.
Mums are the (un)official arbiter of Fall flower beds. Choose from yellow, rust, orange, red, or purple and pair them with ornamental cabbages or peppers for a potted arrangement that screams bonfires and s’mores.
Think of your porch like you would your dining room table and plan a display that reflects your personal or family aesthetic. Love Halloween? Turn your porch into a spooky spot with store-bought decorations. Prefer Thanksgiving? Stack a hay bale or two, strew various sizes of pumpkins, add a bench with a cozy blanket.
Even if you don’t have a porch to decorate, you can spiff up your entryway to welcome the season. You might consider painting your front door an interesting new color. If that’s too much of a commitment, opt for a new wreath.
Even if you don’t have substantial installations like a retaining wall, you can add lighting to enhance your curb appeal. Try pathway lights that sink right into the ground or hanging lanterns to add a spooky (or welcoming) glow.
While you’re at it, make sure your existing lighting has fresh bulbs. It’s starting to get dark earlier, which means longer hours for porch and other outdoor lights. Be prepped and ready.
As the leaves fall, it’s important to keep your lawn free of debris. Surprise wet or snowy conditions can trap extra leaves and lead to unwanted lawn issues. But don’t worry if you don’t get every single stray leaf; once you mow, you’ll shred any stragglers that might cause problems.
As you enjoy the chilly air and spend time outdoors, think about what you want for your space next Fall. Wish you had a firepit? Dream about firing up the outdoor oven to prep a pizza? Think having an outdoor dinner party would be fun—but you just don’t have the right set-up? Write it down, then call us. We’ll work with you to make your space perfect for you.
Can you feel it? Yes, the air is still hot here in KC, but there’s a tinge of Fall in all these high temperatures. Maybe it’s the back-to-school shopping or the Halloween and pumpkin displays already popping up at local stores. Or maybe it’s because Starbucks is bringing back the much-discussed pumpkin latte earlier than ever this year. Whatever it is, there’s no escaping that Summer is waning and Fall is ready to return to Kansas City.
Before that happens, give some thought to what you can do now and as the temperatures start to chill out to bring the most value to your landscape and your home. In fact, think about how much value the right professional landscaping can add to your home!
Let’s talk about curb appeal. It’s a buzzword for real estate pros and it’s important for every homeowner to understand. Simply put, curb appeal is how appealing your property is to the average viewer. Think about when you take a walk or a drive: you look at neighborhoods, don’t you? And you look at the houses in those neighborhoods. You can’t see inside, but you can tell something about the property from the curb and what you see makes an impression.
That first impression—that curb appeal—can mean more money in your pocket when it comes time to sell, if planned and executed right.
How much value can positive curb appeal put in your pocket? This article says well-landscaped homes sell for 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent more than non-landscaped homes. If your home is worth $300,000, that means quality landscaping can add between $16,500 and $38,100 to the value of your home.
Let’s be clear, though: simply cutting your grass or planting a few flowers won’t make for stunning curb appeal. It takes planning, vision, and commitment to turn a hum-drum lawn to an oh-wow display—and all of that takes time and professional help.
Most buyers want stunning curb appeal. They want sophisticated layouts and mature trees and plants. It’s been proven that large, deciduous, evergreen and annual, colorful plants increase a home’s resale value. Working with a professional landscaping company can not only save you time; it can also ensure that your space is planned in the best possible way.
Now is the perfect time to reassess your landscaping plan with an eye to curb appeal and resale value, and we have great ideas to bring Fall flair to your lawn and garden. Reach out to learn more!
Retaining walls aren’t always the most glamorous element of landscaping to talk about. They’re not often pretty, like flower beds or gorgeous trees, and they can be valued more for what they do than for how the look.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make your retaining wall pull double duty. With inspired vision, a bit of creativity, and the help of a professional landscaper, you can turn your retaining wall into a feature that not only works hard, but also lends a unique design aesthetic to your home.
Retaining walls are often installed along driveways or walkways. This makes them the perfect place to also install lighting. Rather than thinking of these two things as opposing projects, why not talk with your landscape designer about how to integrate both elements together?
Adding lights to your retaining wall can improve the safety of your home by providing necessary light to make pathways visible. They can also be security features—we all know that a well-landscaped, well-lit yard is a deterrent to criminals. But adding lighting to a retaining wall can also be a design element.
Think about it: different lights evoke different looks. Inside your home, you might prefer brighter light in the bathroom than you do in the bedroom. You might like overhead light in the garage but prefer cabinet-mounted spotlights in your kitchen. There are logistical concerns to lighting, to be sure, but lighting can also be an interesting design element.
When you think about your outdoor space, think about how you use it. If your retaining wall is in your backyard, for example, and you love to entertain, consider adding lights that set the mood but don’t flood guests with glare. If you need a retaining wall built in your front yard, think about installing lighting that marks a pathway or guides you safely into the garage.
The hardest part of using lighting to enhance a retaining wall is choosing which option you like best. There are so many! The good news is that by working with a professional landscaping company that understands how you use your space and how you want it to look, you have help narrowing down the options to find the best one for you.
Ready to turn your space into one you love? Reach out. We’d love to talk with you.
Retaining walls offer countless benefits. They can be a gorgeous aesthetic element that shows your home design and landscaping personality. More than that, though, they’re functional. Retaining walls help prevent run-off, guard against erosion, and can protect your home’s foundation.
But there are three places in particular that retaining walls can be especially beneficial. Those places are at your driveway and/or stairway, around your flower beds, and when either placed next to, or used as, fencing.
One of the most important things a retaining wall can do for your landscape is provide additional support for architectural and functional features. This is especially true when it comes to your driveway and/or the stairway to your home. It’s all about the slope of your land, here: a retaining wall and help correct less than ideal slopes. This means that a retaining wall at your driveway and/or stairway is less likely to shift. An added bonus is that a retaining wall here can be both attractive and an added safety feature.
Retaining walls are one of the best ways to create the lawn of your dreams. By building retaining walls, you can turn a blank space into an array of raised beds full of color, texture, and height. All of these elements are pleasing to the eye and make the best use of every bit of available space.
Retaining walls that create flower beds don’t just provide an instant home for your favorite flowers and plants. These retaining walls also help do what all other retaining walls do: they help prevent excessive run-off, help control soil erosion, correct slopes, and protect the foundation of your home.
Let’s face it: replacing a fence isn’t an inexpensive endeavor. Why not consider a retaining wall instead? Doing so means you can maximize not just your budget, but the design potential of your space. This doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision: by working with a professional landscaping company, you can choose to use a retaining wall as a fence, install a fence on top of a retaining wall, or add a fence and/or guardrails around the retaining wall.
No matter where you want to install a retaining wall, there are serious concerns to keep in mind. Knowing the slope of your land and how the water drains is vital. So is having a clear understanding of what your city or town’s regulations are when it comes to building or installing new features.
As an Olathe landscape company that works throughout the Johnson County and greater Kansas City area, we know those requirements and can work with you to find the best option for your space. Reach out when you’re ready to learn more.
We talked about snow in our last post but make no mistake: it’s still summer in Kansas! And we all know that that means: it’s hot, sticky, and we’d all rather be inside where the air is cool and there’s something sweet to drink!
There’s an easy way to make that happen. You call us, your local Olathe landscapers. That’s it! We’ll take it from there so you can relax, work on other projects, and still have a gorgeous lawn.
Summer lawns don’t need just water, though that’s an important part of maintenance. Hot weather lawn care requires a balance of the right moisture, the right mowing, and the right fertilizing. There’s a science to all of this that we understand because we are professional landscapers, and experts on Kansas City soil and how to care for it.
We also know that heat exhaustion is real. Trying to soldier through and work on your lawn in the hottest of temperatures can be harmful to your health. There’s sunburn to worry about, bug bites to scratch, and dehydration. All of those conditions can range from mildly annoying to serious. Heat exhaustion, too, is a real concern.
Summer is intense, there’s no doubt about it. This means how we treat your lawn has to change with the season. We realize that the clay-packed soil here in the Kansas City area requires a specific watering plan. Our crews know how often to mow (hint: it’s not as often as in the Spring). We are familiar with which seeds and fertilizers will work and which are a waste of money.
We also know that while some things are common (the type of soil we have here, the temperature, etc), your lawn is unique. Letting us tackle the hard, sweaty work of summer lawn care leaves more time for you to dream about—and plan—your perfect space. Ask us how to make that outdoor kitchen a reality or whether or not you need a retaining wall. We’re here to help.
The good news is that the stifling heat of summer won’t last forever. Before we know it, we’ll need a sweater once the sun sets and then we’ll be planning for snow. Working with professional landscapers means your lawn will be ready for these changes, too.
Want to put your mind at ease by creating a yearly lawn and landscape plan? Reach out. We’d love to talk with you.
Let’s talk about snow. Yes, snow! We know it might sound a bit premature to be thinking about the cold, white stuff now, since we’re still knee-deep in summer. But trust us: it’s better to think about—and plan for—snow now, than it is to wait until Mother Nature has covered Kansas City and left us scrambling for shovels.
When you think about it, contracting commercial snow removal services is no different than relying on your Olathe landscaper for summer flower beds. Snow removal can be hard work and, because weather in Kansas City can be unpredictable, dealing with winter storms can require more manpower and expertise than you might have.
One of the most important things a commercial snow removal service can do is show up with the right tools. The shovel you use on your driveway won’t clear a parking lot—and trying to clear snow from even a small space can take much more time than one might think.
Whether you have to shovel a driveway and a sidewalk so you can come and go from your home, or a parking lot so your customers can still come to your business to shop or purchase your services, relying on professionals to clear the path means that work will be done quickly.
If you’re a DYI’er you might think that clearing snow is something you can do easily on your own. That might be true—sometimes. If the snow is more of a dusting that a deluge, you might be right. It might even be fun to suit up and play for awhile (snowball fight and hot chocolate, anyone?)!
But if you own a business, snow removal isn’t about fun. Snow and ice can mean liability issues, and liability issues affect the bottom line. It’s smart to check with your insurance company to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to create a safe, passable path for customers, employees, delivery people, and even strangers who might set foot on your property.
OK, we’ll admit it: playing in the snow can be fun! A good old fashioned snowball fight, picking the perfect carrot so your snowman has a nose, even forging an igloo in your front yard—many a perfect photo has been snapped with a perfectly white backdrop and cherry red cheeks.
But the thing is, we all have incredibly busy lives. There’s only so much time to get everything done. If you’re shoveling and snow blowing, that’s time taken away from making snow angels with your kids or grandkids. It’s energy expended that could be spent making new memories with the people you love.
We’re not just a landscape company. We’re people who love family and know how precious every moment is. Let us do what we do best—even when it snows—so you can do what matters most to you.
With summer comes hot, sticky days; and for Olathe landscaping, it could mean trouble. Most sources say temperatures in the Kansas City metro area hover in the 90-degree range. If that makes us sweat, imagine what it does to our lawns! If not properly cared for, lawns can suffer in the summer. Grass can wilt and even burn if the temperatures rise and care isn’t adjusted to beat the heat.
The good news is that there are ways to help keep your Olathe landscaping and lawn healthy and beautiful all summer long—and one of those tactics means you get a break from being outside!
Just like your body needs more water when the temperatures rise, your lawn requires additional moisture to stay healthy. Believe it or not, there’s science behind how often you should water your lawn. Factors that matter include the type of soil in your lawn, the slope of your property, and the type of grass you’ve planted.
Kansas City’s dirt is clay-packed and absorbs water at a rate of no more than two-tenths of an inch per hour. Slope matters here too: a flat area can take less water than an area that is sloped.
There are different schools on summer watering. You can learn about the soak and cycle method, which is what the K-State Research and Extension Office recommends. Or you can call us, and we’ll help you devise a customized plan to keep your summer lawn lush.
That’s right—stay inside and drink something cool, and don’t worry about mowing as often as you do in the Spring. When you do mow, make sure to mow no lower than 3 inches. Doing so alleviates some of the stress lawns experience due to dryness and heat.
Of course, exactly how often a lawn should be mowed will depend on too many variables to account for here. A general rule of thumb, though, is to mow less often than during cooler months. We can help you understand when to cut your grass and when to let it grow. Just ask!
There are countless scientific advances that benefit our lawns and landscapes, especially when temperatures are a concern. In summer months, it’s best to opt for seeds and fertilizers that are optimized to work best with less water.
Doing so doesn’t just make your space prettier, it also conserves water during the summer, which is vital to the community as a whole—and it sure helps with those water bills!
Curious which water-efficient seeds and fertilizers are right for your lawn? We’re here to help.
Sure, there are reasons to DIY your lawn and landscape this summer. But if you look a little deeper, you might realize that hiring landscapers will save you time, money, and frustration.
It’s a romantic notion that taking the time to work on your yard yourself will save you wheelbarrows of cash, but think about the real economics of this scenario for a second—and then do the math.
The truth is, your time is valuable. Even if you don’t have to take time off of work to get everything done, whatever time you spend tending to your yard takes away time you could be spending doing other things. Some of those things might make you more money. Some of those things might bring you more joy—and if there’s anything we all know for sure, it’s that we cannot put a price on time. There’s no substitute for time spent laughing and making memories with family and friends.
Have you walked into a home improvement store lately and looked at the rows and rows of lawn care products on the shelves? Do you know which ones will work for your lawn? Consulting with professional landscapers to take care of your outdoor space isn’t that different from consulting a pharmacist when you need medication. Chemicals and products interact in ways only trained professionals know. It’s vital to the health and look of your lawn to use the best, most appropriate products. Doing so saves you money. It also ensures that your yard will be gorgeous and healthy, even if you haven’t studied the intricacies of grasses, plants, and landscaping.
Believe it or not, there’s a method to what we do. There are right times to plant, to cut, to mulch….you get the idea. There are also right ways to tend a tree, manicure a lawn, or edge a border wall. And those times and procedures vary from yard to yard, depending on a set of circumstances that are unique to your space. So learning exactly what you need to do and when those things need to be done can be a full-time job.
Sure, you could spend time searching online, watching videos, asking for help from your handy friend at work, or checking out a stack of books at the library to learn how to maintain your yard the right way. Or you could call us and let us do what we do best, so you can have the best looking lawn possible with zero hassle.
Admit it: there are some yards you drive by and have to slow down to look at because they’re just so beautiful. Chances are, those eye-catching designs were done by a professional that the homeowner trusted to design and maintain the right way. We can do the same for you!