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Landscaping
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How Residential Landscaping Offers A High ROI

It is well known that quality, professional residential landscaping can offer a much higher return on investment (ROI) compared to other home improvements. In a recent Society of Real Estate survey of appraisers, 99 per cent of the respondents agreed that landscaping enhances the curb appeal of residential real estate, making it likely to sell faster. Ninety-five per cent of the respondents also agreed that buyers had no problem paying 10 to 20 per cent more than the original value of the home before landscaping.

Home Landscaping For Best ROI

The home improvement that keeps improving
Residential landscaping not only increases your property’s value and selling price, but also keeps the price going up as the landscape matures. It is extremely satisfying to know that your investment will continue to increase the value of one of your biggest assets over time. And when you decide to sell, purchasers will pay a premium for mature and well maintained landscape.

This is because well-tended landscapes – that are not overgrown – give potential homebuyers the impression that the sellers are responsible, and that the inside is also likely to be well cared for. Real estate agents agree that most homebuyers get more excited when visiting homes that look inviting than those that seem dreary, with the exception of flippers.

It extends your living space
Transforming your yard into an attractive space gives you extra square footage you can enjoy instantly and for years to come. Hardscaping, which includes adding firepits, seats, fireplaces, and patio pavers, among other things, allows you to do anything that you would do inside your home outside and in the comfort of your compound.

To continue enjoying your landscape without detracting from it, consider:

  • Keeping the garden tidy: Trimming shrubs, pruning trees, and keeping the yard weed-free are all inexpensive ways to keep your landscape looking neat. You can manage weeds by using pre-emergent herbicides (dependent on what province you’re in) that kill weed seeds before they grow, or by applying mulch and raking it periodically to maintain a fresh, earthy look.
  • Planting many trees: The value of trees increases over time. In fact, landscape appraisers claim that a $10 sapling can be worth between $1,000 and $10,000 when mature. This is a huge return on investment, and the more trees you have the greater your ROI. If you plan on staying in your current home for more than five years, plant small trees. But if you plan on selling sooner, buying larger trees will be better so they mature just before selling.
  • Adding an outdoor entertainment area: Among the most desired outdoor elements among homebuyers are firepits and permeable paving, along with low-maintenance landscaping, which add the most value to your landscape. You can make your own firepit as a DIY project, or purchase one for a few dollars. Permeable paving is also quite affordable at about $600 per 100-sq.-ft.-area.
  • Drought preparedness: Installing an automated sprinkler system promises potential homebuyers a virtually maintenance-free yard. But with longer drought spells, you can have an even bigger impact on potential buyers if you landscape with drought-tolerant plants. Considering that nearly one-third of household water goes to landscaping, opting for environmentally friendly plants can mean a huge reduction in your water bills. Xeriscaping — low-water-use-renovations — is a worthwhile investment that will reduce your water costs in the short term, and pay off with higher home value when you decide to sell.
  • Add some seasonal plants for beauty: Although low-maintenance landscape offers the best ROI, you can take advantage of perennial flowering plants to act as a backdrop. Most flowers are annuals, but opting for more perennials will reduce the workload for replanting (redoing the landscape) each spring as they can survive for years. Options for perennials include lavender, rosemary, catmint, and sage, which add colour, scent, and can be used in recipes. Other less thirsty landscaping plant options include succulents, such as aloes and agaves, and vines, such as wisteria, grapes, and honeysuckles.

Safeguard your investment: Hire professional landscape contractors
Quality, low-maintenance residential landscaping projects typically cost about 10 per cent of the home’s value. Assuming that the improvements increase the value of your home by 15 per cent, it means that you get back 1.5 times your investment, or a 150 percent ROI. Seek professional help to identify responsible landscaping choices that will increase your ROI, such as those that add beauty and comfort, require minimal maintenance, and are economical.

When done right, investing in landscaping can make you feel good even in tough economic times. But this requires coherent, sophisticated design that can only be achieved with a skilled and experienced contractor. So, homeowners looking to increase their property’s value should protect their investment by working with the right licensed, professional residential landscape contractors. Otherwise you risk ending up with a disorganized space that detracts from your home’s curb appeal.

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Landscaping
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Tips For A Drought-Tolerant Landscape Design

With the climate constantly shifting, droughts are becoming more and more prevalent. Preparing for a drought isn’t easy, especially if you are looking to maintain a beautiful landscape. You don’t know exactly when a drought will occur, leaving you with a shriveled landscape that looks like a desert wasteland has taken up residence on your property. In order to create a drought-tolerant garden and greenspace for your property, any decent landscape design company will recommend xeriscaping. This is a special technique that involves meticulous insight, but yields incredible results. Below you’ll find important tips for a drought-tolerant landscape design that will ensure that your plants and greenery flourish even when rainfall and water sources are scarce.

Tips For A Drought-Tolerant Landscape Design

Planning Your Landscape

Take a look at your yard. Identify the shady spots and any existing vegetation that cannot be removed. When you understand the space you’re working with, it’s easier to come up with drought-tolerant landscape ideas. Keep an eye out for areas where the ground naturally slopes because these areas will play a key role in the natural drainage system of your landscape. Furthermore, determine the purpose of the entire area. Determine where the most foot traffic will be, and if it’s necessary to create a path for people to walk on. Stone paths can compliment any landscape and don’t need to be watered.

Analyze the Soil

Most custom landscape services involve soil analysis. This gives you an idea of the type of soil you’re working with, so you know how much improvement is necessary. A soil analysis also helps determine which types of plants will flourish in your space and which ones won’t grow at all.

Go Native

Once you have an idea of the type of soil you’re working with, you can select plants. A good rule for creating a drought-resistant landscape is to stick with native plants. Any plant that naturally grows in the region will require less watering and be well adapted to the local climate. When you bring in seeds from other places you’re looking at more watering and maintenance to help them grow.

Learn to Strategize

Group plants together based on how often they need watering. You should also come up with a watering strategy. For example, only water plants in the morning when the weather is cool, so that when the sun comes out, the water doesn’t evaporate. Moreover, avoid watering plants at night, because it can result in the growth of mould and fungus which are hard to get rid of during a drought. Finally, water your plants at their base, so there is less chance of evaporation.

Mulch Organically

Use organic mulch to help cool the plants’ roots and slow down the water evaporation process. Organic mulch is compatible with any soil and retains moisture efficiently, so if there is a drought, you can rest assured that your landscape won’t suffer.

Limit the Turf

Unless you are landscaping a soccer field, you should limit the use of high-input turf grass. This is only ideal for sports fields and not particularly drought-resistant. Although high-input turf may always seems to be a sparkling emerald green, it is difficult to maintain, and cannot stand up to a drought.

Collect Water Where You Can

Because a drought can hit without warning, you need to collect water when you can. This involves installing a rain barrel to capture rainwater, and taking advantage of downspouts. You can also collect water from basement dehumidifiers and pools. However, if there is a drought, you probably won’t be filling up your pool.

Weather Controlled Irrigation Systems

Weather controlled irrigation is the ideal solution for areas that experience frequent dry periods – and a strong investment for your property. These systems are programmed to irrigate at certain times per day when the soil will use the water most efficiently. The most advanced of these systems are connected to weather reports and will not turn on when it is predicted to rain.

Custom Landscape Services to the Rescue

The most effective way to design a drought-tolerant landscape is to take advantage of custom landscape services. Hiring a professional landscape design company will help you get the garden and foliage that you want, without sacrifices. Any reputable landscape design company will create the perfect drought-tolerant set-up for your property, whether it’s for a commercial space or your home.

Maintenance is Key

A little maintenance goes a long way. If you are trying to maintain a large property, you will probably want to hire a professional landscaper to handle upkeep. Even if you’re not dealing with a commercial space, custom landscape services are probably the best way to maintain your greenery. The better maintained your landscape is, the more drought-tolerant it will be.

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Landscaping
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Ten Ideas For Better Landscaping Solutions

A great way to improve your home is through landscaping. With so many landscaping option out there what should you choose? Do you go with a new patio or add a swimming pool? What about a colourful garden or space for the kids to play? Are you looking to cook more outdoors or cultivate a relaxing atmosphere? We’ve come up with ten ideas for better landscaping solutions that look great and compliment any home.

Ten Ideas For Better Landscaping Solutions

  1. Stone Path Dividers
  2. Whether it’s your back or front yard you’re looking to improve, stone paths can be used to divide any area. Adding stone paths or walkways to separate certain areas of your yard allow you to keep certain spaces separate from others. For instance, if you have a stone path that divides your yard into two areas, you can have a barbecue station in one and a swing set for your kids in another. Or, you can have stone paths around your home that connect the back and front yards. No matter what you choose, stone paths are proven landscaping solutions.

  3. Outdoor Kitchen
  4. Do you host a lot of barbecues? Do you like having people over for meals? Why not try this ultimate landscaping solution: the outdoor kitchen. You don’t have to install a full kitchen but speciality appliances like brick stoves and pizza ovens work great outdoors. It is also a good idea to install an outdoor sink to make cleaning up after barbecues a breeze.

  5. Meditation Garden
  6. If you’re looking to create a zen-like atmosphere in your backyard, a meditation garden will do the trick. Meditation gardens don’t necessarily need to be used to meditate. They’re actually stylish and offer a tranquil aspect to your yard.

  7. Swimming Pool
  8. The perfect landscaping solution for your home might be a swimming pool. Besides giving your family a place to cool down when the sun’s out for revenge, a pool is like an at-home gym because swimming is a great overall body workout. You don’t have to have an in-ground pool, an above-ground one with a deck built around it is a great landscaping option.

  9. Water Features
  10. If having an in-ground or above-ground pool isn’t a good landscaping option for your property there are other water features you can install that take up less space. Ponds, waterfalls, ceramic and stone fountains all make for beautiful landscaping ideas. You can even have fish in your pond to create an idyllic scene. Just remember that the fish will need a home in the winter when your pond freezes over.

  11. Privacy Shrubbery
  12. One of the more practical considerations of landscaping is ensuring that you have enough privacy from your neighbours. Traditional fencing is fine but if you’re looking to spruce up your property, try privacy shrubbery instead. Evergreen shrubs, bamboo plants—basically any tall hedge—will work to keep your home separate from your neighbours’. However, some shrubs will lose their greenery in the winter, so keep that in mind when choosing your plants.

  13. Kiddie Corner
  14. If you have kids, don’t neglect them when it comes to landscaping. Swing sets and jungle gyms can be incorporated into your backyard but if you really want to keep your kids busy for hours on end go for the fun option with a sandbox. Since you will already be dividing your backyard with beautiful stone paths, you can keep the sandbox separate from the “adult” areas of the yard like the outdoor kitchen and pool.

  15. Deck and Patio
  16. Depending on the size of your property, a deck or patio may be the right landscaping solution for you. You can go with a gorgeous stone patio or try the brick option. On the other hand, a treated-wood deck could look great in your yard. It all depends on the space available and what your tastes dictate.

  17. Theme Garden
  18. Another landscaping solution for your home is to add your own spin to a traditional garden. Theme gardens allow you to explore different colours and plant species. Everything from tropical to woodland to beach to rock garden is up for grabs and since this is your property, whatever theme you choose for your garden is perfect. You can match the rest of your yard to your theme garden for a little symmetry.

  19. Fireplace
  20. A simple landscaping option would be to add a fireplace or firepit to your yard. Fireplaces and firepits add a cozy feeling to your property and are easy to maintain. Plus, with a firepit or place you can entertain outside all year round.

If you are planning on undertaking a large landscaping project for your home, seek professional assistance. There are a great many things to consider, not the least of which being that many aspects of landscaping work can be dangerous. Contact the professionals at Infinity Gardens instead to help you every step of the way.

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Landscaping
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10 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Summer

With frequent dry spells, property owners are increasingly seeking custom landscape services to help them make the switch to xeriscape vegetation. But with summer approaching, more preparations are necessary to protect green lawns and young plants that help to beautify your landscape from the rising heat and pests, and to increase the comfort of your outdoor space as you plan on spending more time outside.

10 Summer Landscaping Ideas For Your Home

Here are some tips to prepare your outdoor living space for summer:

1. Provide ample lighting
Increasing your outdoor lighting is necessary to not only promote your safety and that of your guests, but also illuminate the yard from dusk to dawn, especially when entertaining guests. Ensure that all the bulbs are working and that there are no dark spots that could lead to a security breach.

2. Flip the shed
Put shovels, snowblowers, and skis in storage and bring forward your summer supplies, including hoses, lawn mower, sprinklers, fertilizer, and garden tools. Ensure that you have all the supplies you need, well organized and ready for use.

3. Adjust your irrigation controller
You don’t want to suffer the embarrassment of being the only house on your block with brown grass. Adjust the watering frequency as needed to keep your yard and plants healthy and save on water. Plants that have partial shade, as well as those that are well established may need less watering compared to others.

4. Inspect your irrigation system
Check the controller’s battery power backup and replace it if need be. Activate the watering system and check for leaks (soggy ground, standing water, or eroded spots). Also assess the valve operation to ensure they are opening and closing properly with no leaks. Replace missing or damaged sprinkler heads and clear any obstructions that could be blocking the spray.

5. Choose low maintenance plants
Remember to update any annual plants in your garden, or switch to perennials that don’t require replanting every year. Seek help from landscape experts to identify the best plants for your region. Local nurseries are a great source of information about low maintenance plants that will add beauty to your landscape, as well as warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda or Buffalo grass, that require much less water to retain their green colour.

6. Prune your garden
Acacias, ironwoods, palo verdes, and other native trees should be pruned in spring, but never in summer. Removing the leafy growth will expose the inner branches and stem to the scorching sun and necessitate more watering. Over-pruning during summer also increases the risk of severe sunscald.

7. Paint your tree trunks
If you need to prune sun-sensitive trees for access or safety, consider painting their trunks with properly diluted latex paint (1:1 with water). You can use any colour. Keep in mind that any pruning should not remove more than 25 per cent of the canopy in a single growing season, as it increases the risk of sunscald and makes the plants less water efficient.

8. Mow the lawn less
Set the mower blade higher to cut one-third of the blade of grass at a time. Using a lower setting that cuts more of the grass tends to increase the growth rate to compensate. This will not only stress the plant more, since there is less water available, but also increase the mowing frequency. It is a good idea to let the lawn grow taller in summer to shade the lawn and maintain the healthy look. Fertilize the grass in the morning and water it immediately to avoid burning the plants.

9. Apply mulch
Mulch is beneficial to all plants. Applying a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil will help to insulate it, keeping the roots cooler and more water available in the soil during the dry spells. You can add any type of mulch to your landscape, including organic mulch, such as compost and bark, or inorganic mulch like granite. But since you are applying a thick layer of mulch, leave a small 2- to 3-inch allowance from the plant stem to avoid suffocating the roots.

10. Pest control
The best time to spray garden chemicals is before sunrise or after sunset. Applying insecticides any other time when the temperatures are too high can cause some of the chemicals to burn the plants. In some cases, you can successfully manage insects such as aphids and mites using a strong spray of water to knock them off the plant – they can’t climb back on. Alternatively, you can apply a soapy water solution (1 tsp. per gallon of water) using a trigger spray, or some other organic pest control measure.

Are you satisfied with your space?
Lastly, walk the perimeter of your property line, noting anything that might need extra attention before summer. Seeking professional custom landscape services can help address most of these concerns. You may need awnings and pergolas to cover your patio, extra outdoor furniture or upholstery, or even an outdoor bar.

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Landscaping
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Common Landscaping Mistakes To Avoid

Springtime tends to ignite the need to get out the shovel and overhaul your yard. The weather is warming up and your leaf-less trees and shrubs look like they may need love and attention. And they do – but, not so fast.

Avoiding Landscaping Mistakes

There are a few landscaping mistakes that are commonly made, yet very preventable.

Not Starting With A Plan

It is easy to walk through your local garden center and end up with a cart filled with beautiful plants. This season, do not just buy aimlessly hoping to find a home for your new additions. Start with a plan. Decide which landscape aesthetic you are hoping to attain – minimalist, romantic, modern, country, etc. – and work from there.

Lack of planning can lead to numerous maintenance headaches. A poor design, or one with too many sharp angles, can leading to constant mowing nightmares. Hiring a landscape architect is often well worth the investment, as they can transform your desires into an achievable rendering, as well as provide plant suggestions that you can pass along to your landscape company.

Skipping Prep Work

You would not build a home on unprepped foundation, so you shouldn’t start executing your new landscape without laying out the groundwork for your plants.

Improving your soil quality is something that you can start way before the landscapers begin work. Test your soil and find out which nutrients it is craving, then make any needed pH level adjustments. To make your soil more acidic, add aluminum sulphate or sulphur. Add ground lime to make your soil more alkaline.

Start a compost pile or bin. Adding organic waste to your soil is essential, as it will help produce healthy, flourishing plants. Create a mixture of wet and dry materials. Wet materials include: coffee grounds, chopped leaves, eggs, grains, manure, weeds, fruits and vegetables. Dry materials include: hay, nutshells, paper, straw, pine needles and more.

Once your compost smells like rich soil, add it to your foundation.

Monochromatic Colour Schemes

While you may favour fuschia to violet, too much of a good thing is never pretty. Instead, go for four-season landscape colour. When choosing plants and trees in spring, consider varieties that provide intoxicating color in winter, like Japanese maples and various ornamental grasses. And do not forget springtime varieties, such as tulips, and summer-blooming flowers, like roses.

You may also choose to include hearty heirloom vegetables, such as Swiss chard, cabbage and kale. They survive cold climates and are not hard on the eyes, either.

A seasonal variety of plants for your landscape is most handsome – and important for resale curb appeal.

Forgetting to Factor Size

The day that tree on your front lawn grows so tall that it hits a power line will be a memorable one. Make sure it doesn’t come to this by planning ahead. Make sure your landscape plan does not include tall trees under electrical lines. Another common mistake made in landscaping is to plant tall shrubs under a window. They end up hiding the view. The easiest way to avoid this is to do a little research or hire a landscaper to help you determine the best locations for your preferred plantlife.

When Weeds Go Wild

Weeds will eat up your gorgeous landscaping, as well as your maintenance budget. They compete with other plants for nutrients and water. They may also shorten the lifespan of pavers and stone by growing in mortar cracks. Make sure you have removed most, if not all, of the weeds in your soil prior to planting. You don’t want your seedlings to have to fight for survival.

It is easier to destroy weeds before there are other plants in your garden beds. Whether you prefer to dig or spray, remove these pesky plants before you get started. You can apply a pre-emergent pesticide about three weeks before seeds germinate.

Your Land Is A Backyard Buffet

Grazing deer might be a fun sight for kids to catch, but your newly planted shrubs will end up sparse. To avoid various wildlife from feasting on your landscape, decorate with deer- and rabbit-resistant plant varieties. Your landscaper or local agricultural extension agent can provide you with a list of edibles that critters in your area dislike. An electric deer fence is also an option.

Although it is tempting to simply plant all your favourite flowers without much foresight, make the most of your landscape and plan before you plant. If you have any questions, consult local professionals – Infinity Gardens offers custom estimates on personalized designs.

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Gardening, Landscaping, Lawn Care
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Organic Weed Killer

weed killer

Organic Home Made Weed Killer
As many of us know today, chemical herbicides are non eco friendly

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Landscaping, Plant Disease
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Saving the Birch Trees

birch

Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) are wonderful addition to a landscape.  These trees have an abundant, draping canopy with delicate leaves.

With the proper planting and care, trees can last up to 50 years in Calgary.  Birch trees need extra consideration when planting to ensure their longevity.  A north east or east planting site is ideal.  These trees need abundant sunshine on their leaves but cool damp areas for their roots.  The birch roots are shallow and often succumb to dry, hot soils.  Shallow root systems do better with mulch and continuous damp conditions. Chinooks are hard on these species as the ground above the roots can be exposed and cause dissection.
Trees that are planted  in poor  or exposed sites are subject to constant stress.  Constant stress is an invitation for insect and disease problems.  The two most common birch pathogens are birch leaf miner and bronze birch borer.  Both insects do not respond very well to chemical treatments.  Pruning of dead branches and proper disposal of infected limbs are your best defences.
Birch trees should continue to be planted.  If proper sites  are chosen and care is taken, these trees will be a valuable part of the Calgary landscape.
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Gardening, Landscaping, Lawn Care
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Creeping Bell Flower

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Creeping Bell flower or European Bell flower is an invasive,
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Gardening, Landscaping, Plant Disease
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Black Knot Fungus on Mayday trees and Schubert Chokecherries

Black_knot_1 (2)

Black knot  (Dibotryon morbosum) is a fungal infection that is

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Gardening, Landscaping
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Shade Planting

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Shady, damp areas are often a difficult place to maintain a garden.  Coniferous (cone bearing trees) tend to create a rather acid soil

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