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Landscape Blog

You don't need a large outdoor space to create a beautiful and functional oasis in your backyard.  

Click here for tips to help you develop your home landscape design.

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2Before you begin another costly DIY home landscape design in Chicago or anywhere else, consider the benefits  of hiring a Landscape Architect and save thousands of dollars of missteps.

 I’ve replaced many patios  that were improperly installed by a homeowner.  The patios sometimes pitched  toward the house and the  water runoff went into the basement, or had an insufficient base causing the patio to  heave and crack.

Besides saving money, there are many other benefits of hiring a professional Landscape Architect.  Not only  will a Landscape Architect create a beautiful and functional design to meet your specific needs and preferences,  they also have the skills and knowledge to ensure a proper installation.

When you hire a Landscape Architect, you’re connecting to a vast network of professionals who are the best in  their fields.  Does the design include a pool, irrigation, patio, or lighting? Landscape Architects know the right  experts and best materials for any job.

A Landscape Architect has extensive knowledge of plants that are suitable for Chicago area home and commercial landscapes.  Each plant has its own individual needs to be taken into consideration. The growth of the plant and the desired growing conditions are important factors to consider when choosing the right plants. You can count on the assistance of a Landscape Architect for picking the right plant for the right place.

Building codes can change from year to year and vary depending on the property location.  A Landscape Architect is familiar with local requirements and can navigate through permit applications and processes.

Need another reason to hire a Landscape Architect?  A beautifully designed landscape can increase the value of your property!  A Clemson University study found landscaping can result in more than a 100% return on investment. The report concluded that “Homeowners wanting to increase the value of their property will do well to consider the cost‐ effective, return potential of quality landscaping, and to safeguard their investments by hiring licensed, professional landscape contractors to perform the work.”  According to the Appraisal Institute, good landscaping can not only increase a home’s value, but may also help sell a property much quicker.

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Friday, 06 February 2015 11:09

Designing Sustainable Landscapes

By: Cris Poggi

blogThe idea that spending time in nature can make you feel better is intuitive. The idea that spending time in your own beautiful, sustainably designed, and sustainably managed backyard is smart. Consider the peace of mind knowing that you, your family, and pets are safe from harmful chemicals. Sustainable landscape design aids not only your comfort and enjoyment but saves energy and water.

Our sustainable landscape management program is used extensively in Chicagoland. It includes Integrated Pest Management (IPM): The management of pests and diseases using non-chemicals with the judicious use of pesticides.

Mulching is a very important part of sustainable management. Mulch not only suppresses weeds, it also regulates soil temperature and reduces evaporation.

Residential lawn maintenance can be made more sustainable with core aeration, a taller cut, and irrigation management. Core aeration loosens soil and helps with uptake of water and nutrients. It also stimulates root and shoot growth for a thicker lawn.

Cutting the lawn to three inches helps shade out potential weeds, reducing chemical weed control. We recommend watering a lawn more deeply with less frequency to conserve water and encourage deeper root growth.

When designing the sustainable home landscape, careful thought is given to the choice and placement of plant material to conserve energy, water, and money! The right tree in the right place provides wind protection, shade, and cool air, while adding beauty and privacy to the landscape.

Using native plants and/or disease and pest resistant plants will conserve water. Matching plants to the growing conditions (shade, sun, moisture in the soil, space) is a smart way to not only conserve water but also reduce the need for costly replacements and maintenance. Locally sourced hardscape and plant materials helps support the local economy and reduce the impacts of long distance transportation.

Sustainable design and maintenance requires less maintenance, reduces environmental harm, and encourages the use of local, renewable, and recyclable materials. Beauty, safety, and comfort are all possible using sustainable practices.

Want to learn more? Contact me here: http://www.jamesmartinassociates.com/landscape-maintenance/landscape-services-company

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Friday, 09 January 2015 12:59

Should You Consider a Waterless Lawn?

Photo by www.perfectgrassltd.co.uk

Grass will always need water to survive. In fact, according to the Handbook of Water Use and Conservation, the average residential lawn requires 10,000 gallons of water each year. So when you hear the term “waterless lawn,” it doesn’t mean that turf grass researchers have figured out a way to avoid watering your lawn. Instead, it means using synthetic grass as part of your residential landscaping.

A few months ago, ABC-30 in Fresno, Calif., featured a home owner who installed synthetic grass on his property. Besides not having to mow or fertilize the lawn, he no longer needed to irrigate his lawn, a requirement for lawns in the hot California weather.

While irrigation is not a requirement for a lawn’s survival in the Chicagoland region, for many landscapes it is necessary to keep lawns looking lush and green through the Midwest hot summers.

If you’re thinking of a waterless lawn for your Chicago home landscape, consider the pros and cons of both:

  • According to OPEI, an average, managed lawn captures four times the carbon from the air than the carbon output of a typical mower.
  • According to Hometalk, synthetic lawns are made from a non-renewable, petroleum-based source that will one day wear down and end up in a dump.
  • Natural grass has a cooling effect, while synthetic grass absorbs heat.
  • Synthetic turf stands up to high levels of activity, while natural grass needs maintenance to keep high traffic areas looking good – core aeration, overseeding and fertilization.
  • Based on a cost comparison “Sod versus Synthetic Turf,” the cost to maintain real grass over 3 years is still less than the upfront cost of installing synthetic grass.

Let’s talk more about caring for your residential lawn! You can email me at c.poggi@jamesmartinassociates.com.

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