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Irrigation Contractors – 4 Reasons to know a good company

Posted on 25 January 2011 | No responses

by Mark Forrester for the Landscape Network

Most homes these days have irrigation systems installed in their yards, most often in the front and in the back yard of the home. While cities like Denver, Colorado get plenty of rain, and they are considered to be seasonal locations with four different climate changes throughout the year – winter, spring, summer and fall – an irrigation system in Denver is still a necessary part of your home. Denver-Irrigation-Contractors Your plants, trees and lawn will still require a set watering schedule so that they are properly nourished and so that they thrive.

Because your landscaping requires constant maintenance and upkeep, and because most homes in Denver have a rather diverse array of plant life that is situated in the yards, it’s important that you make sure to address all of your irrigation needs. One of the best ways of doing so is by actually calling out an irrigation contractor so that you can have them take a look at your irrigation system and advise you of what you may be lacking, and or, find out if you have anything that needs to be attended to, maintained or even replaced so that you can enjoy a great looking landscape.

Here are four great reasons to always keep a Denver irrigation contractor in your rolodex:

  1. Even you have a landscaping contractor in Denver that you are already paying for landscaping services many times they don’t specialize in fixing your irrigation. So you know what happens? They often will call a person that they contract as an irrigation contractor and serve as the middleman, marking up the price on any repairs, which costs you more money than you need to spend.
  2. A reputable irrigation contractor won’t beat around the bush; all puns intended. They are able to easily identify what problems that you are having with your irrigation system and advise you on what the best method of proceeding would be. Sometimes it may just be this really small repair that won’t take much time or cost you too much money.
  3. You always want to place your trust in trained professionals. For example, most irrigation systems are placed in intricately positioned PVC piping that runs underneath your yard. These can be very delicate and if you are not familiar with how they are placed or how they are repaired, you could cause more damage by trying to dig up the lines and replace them yourself.
  4. Irrigation contractors in Denver are licensed, bonded and insured. They are professionals that specialize in their fields and you won’t have to worry about something going wrong. Whereas, if you try to remedy the problem on your own, and you don’t really know what you are doing, you could make things far worse and costlier.

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Top 5 Reasons to hire a Landscape Contractor

Posted on 25 January 2011 | No responses

by Mark Forrester for the Landscape Network

Your home is your place of solace. It really is “home sweet home.” It’s the place that you come back to after a long day of work. Even more important, it substantiates a strong investment of your hard earned money. Many people have a home mortgage that they took out on their homes and they are slowly but surely paying them off so that they ultimately can own a hundred percent of their homes. That being said, a home is your longstanding and most valuable investment, and our yards and landscaping can really make or break the way that our home looks and how we think about it when we come home.

When considering how to approach the subject of landscaping services, you have much to think about.Denver Landscaping Maintenance Do you need landscaping services? Do they make sense for your budget? Do you even have the time to do your yard work after you have worked all week and are tired? Or do you just want to relax and spend some time with your family or friends? Perhaps these top reasons can better help you to decide if a landscape contractor is right for your needs.

  1. Landscaping contractors can save you tons of personal time. It may even be time that you don’t have these days, depending upon your work schedule.
  2. If you factor how many hours that you would spend in your yard doing the yard work on your own time, as opposed to hiring a landscape contractor, does it really add up? How much money is your time worth? More than likely it makes sense to simply pay for the service and save your own time.
  3. Landscape contractors are trained and seasoned professionals. They know what is going on in your yard, what plants require what maintenance and how to keep your yard looking great and healthy.
  4. A landscape contractor has all of the tools and equipment that they will require in order to take care of your yard each week. Can you imagine how much money you would have to spend on purchasing costly equipment like a lawn mower, weed eater and so forth? And then having to also maintain it?
  5. Peace of mind. It’s a valuable service that you know that you can rely upon. Think about this: What if you got home and you didn’t have to fret over trying to find the energy to complete your yard work? Instead, you can turn on the big game of the day, relax and take your shoes off, knowing that your yard will look great because it’s being taken care of and tended to by a professional.

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Dogwoods for your landscaping

Posted on 24 January 2011 | No responses

May 11th, 2010
by Anna Bellamie for the Landscape Network

An extremely popular tree in many parts of the country, the dogwood is a fantastic pick to add beauty to any landscape. But their pleasing aesthetic qualities aren’t the only bonus to your setting, they also attract birds of all kinds, making for some great birdwatching. You’d be wise to add a few birdhouses in a large dogwood tree or feeders nearby to encourage our winged friends to hang around. A flowering dogwood is one of the first bursts of color in the spring, the most common varieties the 30-50 species that make up this genus being white and pink.

These trees love shade, and they love to give it. They will fare well in the shade of taller trees or building structures. Most species are true trees, but you can also get dogwoods in a shrub variety, if height is an issue. Two of the most common species are the “Cherokee Chief” (cornus florida) and Japanese varieties in general (cornus kousa), both come with many landscaping benefits. The Cherokee has a horizontal branching pattern, which makes it a great choice to add a different and striking quality. They grow to around 20 to 25 feet and will spread around 12 to 15; spring blooms are a deep pink to red with fall foliage turning bronze. Japanese flowering dogwood typical bear star-shaped, white blooms that appear later in the season than most other dogwoods. The red berries of these varieties (not to be eaten by humans) are a popular snack for our feathered friends, so expect winged visitors with the Japanese varieties, which will reach a height and spread of 15 to 30 feet.

A couple of planting tips: plant the root ball proud, meaning do not bury it completely, but in a hole just slightly shorter than the diameter of the root ball. Be sure to remove any plastic covering the root ball, as the roots could be damaged trying to burst through. Most dogwoods will come with a burlapped root ball, not plastic, and the burlap is fine to go into the ground, just as long as it’s of organic origin, not plastic. If you’re not sure what type of fabric covers the root ball, try the match test – take a lit match to it, if it melts, remove it.

The Dogwood has its place in history and our national heritage as well. There are many cities with the Dogwood as an insignia, nickname, or other cultural integration. It is the state flower and tree of Virginia, state tree of Missouri, state flower of North Carolina, the provincial tree of British Colombia, and Milwaukie, OR is known as The Dogwood City of the West. There are religious legends involving the dogwood branches as a symbol of crucifixion. Most etymology suggests the name came from “dagwood”, as in “dagger”, as the wood of these trees are very hard.

All things considered, this is a fantastic choice for any landscape. Dogwoods can be used to break up harsh lines created by structures, as property line dividers, encourage birds and other wildlife, and the blooms they provide each spring are absolutely gorgeous. Just remember this hot tree really actually likes to stay cool.

Click Here for more articles on planting.

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Trendy Outdoor Herb Gardens

Posted on 24 January 2011 | No responses

by Janine Buchal for the Landscape Network

These days, cooking with fresh herbs is not only trendy; it is cool. Having your own herb garden within a few feet of your back door is rather essential. I must admit, it is rather impressive as it allows for easy access and spontaneity in preparing a meal including fresh thyme, rosemary or parsley, for example.

Chefs like Jamie Oliver, Emeril Lagasse and The Barefoot Contessa utilize these fragrant gardens not only in cooking but also for their visual appeal.  Often adding rosemary to grilled meats, sage to pasta sauce or salad and thyme to butter sauces or braised chicken.  Visually, there is nothing quite like a stroll amongst a blooming herb garden, snipping chives for a soup and creating uses for these delectable herbs. Lavender is often used to bring a sweet scent and a touch of color and can be utilized in making potpourri or soap. Lavender flavored jams and butters are possible ideas as well.

Truly unbelievable favor and color are attainable with fresh herbs.

Even certain wines come alive with a hint of mint or sage with an accompanying appetizer; or try a Viognier with a sage or rosemary seasoned grilled salmon.      Herbs add some distinctive taste to cheeses as well. Sage has become quite popular in havarti, for example, and rosemary in brie. Again, these make great pairings with Chardonnay or even a light Pinot Noir.

For recipes, the rule of thumb is one Tablespoon fresh to one Teaspoon dried.  Save money cooking with fresh grown herbs and add more potent flavor and satiety to your meals. Once fall hits, I take my remaining outdoor fresh herbs and dry them for winter use in little glass jars.

Some additional herbs to consider include:

Lemon thyme, rosemary, garlic, cardamom, tarragon or basil.  Cilantro when gone to seed becomes cardamom, nice in Indian dishes especially when lightly roasted or fresh in a spicy tea.

Ask for advice at a local garden center for spacing, fertilizing and soil drainage options.  Starting out with six herbs or less in your garden is a simple beginning.  You are less likely to become overwhelmed with their care and maintenance or get herbs that crowd out each other while growing.  Packed with extraordinary flavor and healthful benefits, herbs are simply delightful additions to any meal whether fresh or dried.
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Ten great tips for growing tomatoes in your garden

Posted on 21 January 2011 | No responses

March 12th, 2010
by Gladice Thompson for the Landscape Network

Growing your own produce can be a very fun and enlightening, educational experience that many people find to be very enjoyable as well. Considering that local grocery stores also have produce, and that fresh vegetables are part of a well balanced and healthy diet, for many people it may make sense to grow their own vegetables. Not only can you more easily cut down on your food spending costs by having your own garden, but you can also enjoy fresher foods that are organic and that come from the fruits of your own labors.

Grow your own tomatoes in Denver

Growing your own tomatoes can be enjoyable and tasty

Perhaps one of the most versatile of all vegetables happens to be tomatoes. They are used in so many different dishes and tons of varying recipes call for tomatoes as well. Not only that, they tend to be a very versatile and forgiving crop that most people are able to grow. Since they are vine-grown, once you have all of your setup in place, you can enjoy growing tomatoes for years to come, and not have to spend nearly as much time during the planting season getting your tomato crop underway.

Tomatoes have plenty of excellent uses, too. You can make pasta sauce with them, salsa, a number of different dishes call for tomatoes, you can jar or can them, and you can even make delicious and healthy juice drinks for daily wellbeing and so much more. Last but not least, tomatoes are costly at local grocery stores and farmer’s markets, especially organic tomatoes. To better help you out along the way, here are some great tips on growing your own tomatoes in your home garden.

  1. Get your seedlings started. You will require smaller 4” pots for seedlings, which you can find at any home gardening supplies store. You will want to transplant your seedlings once they have started showing leaves.
  2. Use grow lights or natural lights for the seedlings. The seedlings need about 12 hours of sunlight per day. You can also use grow lights if you have them as well.
  3. While the seedlings are growing, use a fan on a light setting for a few hours per day; this helps them grow strong, as they are used to the wind hitting them in the wild.
  4. Heat up the soil in your home garden. You can use plastic soil blankets for this. Apply them several weeks prior to planting your seedlings, as tomatoes grow better in heat.
  5. Plant your seedlings. Once they are showing leaves, plant them in your home garden. Make sure to dig plenty of room; about six inches deep for most seedlings.
  6. Use mulch. After you plant your seedlings, add a top layer of mulch. This will help to provide heat and prevent weeds as well as conserve moisture.
  7. Prune your tomatoes. After they have grown to be about three inches in height, remove the bottom layers of the leaves. This will prevent fungus from infecting the plant.
  8. Remove any suckers that appear on the joints of the plant so that they don’t rob the rest of the plant of water.
  9. Water regularly. Don’t miss any water cycles, so that your tomatoes grow healthy.
  10. Set ready tomatoes. Once you see a number of tomatoes that are ready for harvesting, pinch the tips so that they set.

Tags: Growing Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Home Garden, Garden, produce, organic, growing your own tomatoes, organic tomatoes, home gardening, home gardening supplies, How to Grow Tomatoes in Your Home Garden

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Growing a Pet Friendly Garden

Posted on 16 January 2011 | No responses

May 11th, 2010
by Mark Forester for the Landscape Network

Many pet owners just getting into horticulture may not think about their pets’ needs when planting a garden. This is a mistake. In fact, if your pets spend any time near your garden, you’ll need to consider the safety of both your plants and animals. Thankfully, growing a pet-friendly garden is easy with the right precautions.

Growing a Pretty Friendly Garden

Growing a Pet Friendly Garden

The first step to growing a pet-friendly garden is to consider if any of the plants you’d like to grow are toxic to your animals. This is especially the case with dogs. Many people forget that dogs have very different reactions to plants than people do. A vegetable garden might provide much delicious food to humans but could be fatal to any dogs who eat from it. This is compounded by the inquisitive nature of most dogs. If the plants in your garden aren’t pet friendly, there’s a good chance your dog is going to snoop around in it.

Onions and garlic, for instance, are quite fatal to dogs. These foods can make your dog anemic, which is serious business. Grapes are also trouble. Even a small amount of grapes can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other digestive problems. Grapes can seem very tasty to some dogs, so think twice about growing a vineyard if your dog is going to be snooping around the grapevines. Avocados, peaches, and plums are some other fruits your dog should stay away from.

However, it’s not just fruits and vegetables that can cause problems for dogs. Other types of plants are not good for a pet-friendly garden, either. A number of flowers can be toxic, like azaleas, chrysanthemums, and almost any type of lily. Indoor plants, such as aloe and poinsettias, are not good to have around dogs either.

The same cautions apply for cats as well. Although cats are less likely to nibble on plants, it’s better to be safe than sorry when considering whether or not your garden is pet-friendly. If your cat is known to occasionally eat or chew on plants, be sure to avoid all the items mentioned above. Other animals bring all other sorts of issues into consideration. Herbivorous pets are most likely to eat things around the garden. For instance, it would be kind of silly to let a pet rabbit loose near your precious plants.

In truth, you can grow plants that aren’t necessarily pet-friendly as long as you take the right precautions. Keeping the plants out of reach of your animals is the general strategy here. Put some fencing around the plants that aren’t safe for your pets, for instance. Another thing to do is let the dog out the front yard if the garden’s in the back yard or vice versa. If you’re concerned about your cat, maybe you could consider making your cat stay inside.

Growing a pet-friendly garden isn’t as troublesome as it might seem. There are plenty of beautiful flowers and tasty fruits and vegetables that are safe to grow around animals. Also, much of keeping your garden pet-friendly is knowing the personality of your animal. If you have a curious, energetic puppy, you’ll undoubtedly need to exercise much more caution than if you have an older dog. Older animals are usually less likely to start munching on an unfamiliar plant, so you may not need to exercise as much caution.

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Growing Bell Peppers

Posted on 16 January 2011 | 1 response

May 11th, 2010
by Mark Forester for the Landscape Network

Bell peppers are probably one of the most popular vegetables for people to grow in small gardens. They’re not hard to grow, they taste great, and also they provide some great color to a garden. There are some specific things to know about growing bell peppers that contribute to both the challenge and the fun of the experience

How to Grow Bell Peppers

Growing Bell Peppers in your garden can be fun and easy

With the many varieties of bell peppers, they’re also very versatile. The first step is to decide what kind of bell peppers you will grow. Green bell peppers have less of a sweet taste than other varieties, but are more robust. Red peppers are usually sweeter, but are more delicate. Red peppers also have a higher nutritional content than other varieties. Yellow and orange peppers are in between red and green in sweetness and texture, although this depends on the varietal you consider planting. If you’re interested in growing bell peppers for the wonderful colors they can add to a garden, you might want to consider the more exotic purple or white peppers. Or, you can try growing several varieties at once.

The next step is the actual planting. Bell peppers are native to warm climates, and as such, you’ll want to grow your peppers during warmer months. For the same reason, also plant your peppers in direct sunlight.

If you’re living in the Denver area, this means you’ll probably want to plant in May, as by then the snow has usually stopped. At the same time, you don’t want to dally because the bell peppers take a little over two months before they’re ready for harvest. Unless you plan on growing bell peppers in a greenhouse, you will run the risk of it getting too cold for the peppers if you wait too long. Bell peppers are very sensitive to frost, so be sure to protect them if it looks like it may frost at any time. Also, mulch may help the bell pepper plants in cold weather because it will insulate the plants’ foundations.

Having good soil and fertilizer are also essential when growing any kind of bell peppers. Bell peppers require lots of phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium in order to produce large, healthy plants. Don’t overdo it though! Plants that receive too much nitrogen will not produce many peppers.

Watering, as will all plants, is crucial. Peppers require a fair amount of water to grow properly. Too much water will promote plant diseases, while too little water will produce unpleasant tasting peppers. A general rule of thumb is to keep the soil moist, but not inundated with water. This will mean watering your bell peppers once a day.

When the bell peppers first start to grow, you may be confused why all the peppers are green! Do not be concerned—all varieties of pepper (even green varieties) are green in their unripe state. You can eat unripe peppers if you’d like to, but remember that the bell peppers are not likely to have their usual sweetness until they’re ripened. However, if you’re looking for a crisper tasting bell pepper, the unripe peppers are sure to please you.

Don’t wait forever to harvest, though, because bell peppers are just as tasty to bugs as they are for people. You can allow the peppers to mature on the vine for sweeter, richer-colored peppers, or you can let them ripen after you’ve harvested them if you’re not concerned with those qualities.

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Common Garden Pests

Posted on 16 January 2011 | No responses

May 11th, 2010
by Mark Forester for the Landscape Network

Garden pests are the natural consequence of growing your own fruits and vegetables. Animals of all sizes are likely to enjoy your produce just as much as you will, so you must remain ever-vigilant. The best way to stop pests is to know when you might have a potential pest problem on your hands. By having foreknowledge of common garden pests in Colorado, you can stop a pest problem before it starts.

Generally speaking, caterpillars are particularly dangerous visitors to your garden. Caterpillars are some of the most common garden pests in the springtime. Hornworms are a particularly annoying caterpillar species for gardens. Tomatoes are the favorite of hornworms, so check your tomato plants regularly. Tomato hornworms are hard to spot without careful investigation the tomatoes themselves. These garden pests have voracious appetites, and can make short work of your tomatoes. Thankfully, hornworms can be eliminated easily by physically removing them from the plants and tossing them in a bucket of water.

Other kinds of caterpillars can be similarly dispatched, although insecticide might be preferable if you’re dealing with a large scale caterpillar invasion. Be mindful of some types of caterpillars who have spikes or spines on them, as these common garden pests will cause a nasty sting. Exterminate these bugs with chemicals for sure.

However, although caterpillars are physically the largest insect threat to your fruits and vegetables, smaller insects may pose an even greater threat. Psyllids are stealthy garden pests, and their small size can assist them in destroying your garden without you even realizing it. These tiny lice hop from plant to plant, targeting a particular species of plant in your garden until they’ve had their fill. These bugs tend to travel in large groups.

Psyllids tend to feast on the underside of leaves, and will drastically stunt the growth of small plants. The chemicals they secrete to digest their food will often cause imbalances in the plant. Any fruits that come from a plant effected by psyllids most likely develop an unpleasant taste or texture. These are not the most common garden pests in most of Colorado, but they’ve been appearing with greater frequency in the last few years.

Field mice are another pest to watch out for. Colorado is home to lots of open land, which leads to many rodents searching for things to eat. Field mice start to emerge from hibernation as winter turns to spring, so they’re a common garden pest especially in warmer months. Mice are pretty indiscriminate about what foods they’ll eat, so a garden with many different types of growing fruits and vegetables is likely to look like a buffet to a hungry mouse. Mice will often snatch up smaller fruits, such as berries and small tomatoes, back to their young. Mice and other rodent pests are most active at night, so you might never see them infiltrate your garden.

It’s best to use insecticide or rodent deterrent pre-emptively if at all possible. Many major hardware and lawn and garden stores sell pest control products especially geared for use outside. These can be applied before you actually have a pest problem, saving you a great deal of hassle. Most common garden pests are frustrating to get rid of once they’ve taken over your garden. Be sure to routinely check your garden for signs that pests might be eating your produce.

All things considered, this is a fantastic choice for any landscape. Dogwoods can be used to break up harsh lines created by structures, as property line dividers, encourage birds and other wildlife, and the blooms they provide each spring are absolutely gorgeous. Just remember this hot tree really actually likes to stay cool.
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Low-Cost Firepit

Posted on 16 January 2011 | No responses

A Fire Pit can really make your patio exciting at night and give you the heat that you need when the nights become colder. While Gas Fire Pits can be quite costly and expensive, constructing a simple wood-burning fire pit is an inexpensive way to get the job done. There are many different types of stone available to build your fire pit. In this video, they are using pre-cast stone which can be purchased at your local landscape supply store.

Be sure to check with local government codes before constructing your fire pit. Some cities do not allow wood burning or only allow it on certain days. Your local news channel can usually give you current information on wood burning restrictions. You should also consider placement of your fire pit. A great way to make enemies with your neighbors is to install a fire pit where they smoke is going to blow straight into their windows.

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Posted on 16 January 2011 | No responses

We all look forward to that time of year again and again – when the weather affords us the comfort to emerge from our homes and get out into the yard to enjoy the summer. It’s that time when your outdoor kitchen replaces your indoor kitchen and the food becomes more festive with the season. Grilling has been a pastime shared by many Americans for centuries, although Outdoor Kitchens have only recently become commonplace within the last decade.

With the increased demand, the outdoor kitchen has evolved into a work of art over the years, with new products from suppliers that have been around for some time, and many new and upcoming companies that are offering outdoor kitchen appliances. With that said, not all appliances are created equally. If it costs twice as much, there’s probably a reason – longevitiy and easy use / maintenance. When considering outdoor kitchen appliances, be sure to consider your options and speak with your installer or contractor in detail about the appliances you are considering. Some lower-end fixtures are more likely to discolor or stain easily and lose their shiny new appearance. Other low-end appliances can develop operating problems, sometimes shortly after the warranty has expired. That said, pick an appliance or fixture from a reputable manufacturer and outlet.

Countertop possibilities for outdoor kitchens will vary with the climate they are installed in. The most durable, granite tends to be the material of choice for kitchens because of its’ density and ease of maintenance. Granite, opposed to some other materials does not have a porous surface and therefore makes cleaning easy. Another options for kitchen countertops is flagstone, which is available in many colors regionally. Some flagstone tends to naturally flake, so it should be avoided for installation. While flagstone is a less expensive option for an outdoor kitchen countertop, it is more porous than granite and cleanup may be more difficult. When using flagstone for this application, be sure that it is sealed annually to protect its’ surface. Tile may also be used for outdoor kitchen countertops, but be sure to select a tile that is suited for your climate. You should also be sure to use a sealer on the tile and the grout to prevent any staining. The sealer should be re-applied annually just like the flagstone to maintain its’ appearance.

Outdoor Kitchens are a rewarding addition to any home and make the outdoors more of an integral part of your lifestyle. They are also a good investment, as many people find outdoor kitchens desireable. An outdoor kitchen will also hold its’ value when you sell your home.

Why not incorporate your garden into your outdoor kitchen experience? Herb gardens can add taste and flavor to your outdoor grilling. You will find that the vegetables that come out of your garden and straight to your grill will taste even better than what you can buy in the store. What you incorporate into your kitchen can make your outdoors even more enjoyable. Why stop with just a built in grill? Add a sink. Add a refrigerator. Add anything that would aid you in your quest to be able to do it all outdoors.

Are you ready for an Outdoor Kitchen?  Click here for Outdoor Kitchen Installers in the Denver, CO area.

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