Advantages of Rainwater Collection

Advantages of Rainwater Collection

Advantages of Rainwater Collection:

Whether you have an interest in water conservation or simply want to save a few dollars on your water bill, collecting rainwater for gardening may be the answer for you.

Unchlorinated rainwater is better for plants and gardens. Rainwater is the plants’ preferred source of hydration. It is free of chemicals and salts that are typical of any treated water. These chemicals alter the chemical composition of the soil which has a direct effect on plants.

Reducing Water Bills: Water is required for a lot of non-drinking functions. When harvested rainwater is used for all these functions, it reduces the load on the water supply. This may help to reduce utility bills.

Apart from aiding in nature’s cycle, you’ll be reducing flooding by runoff water, saving on energy, protecting the environment by reducing carbon emissions as well as growing healthy plants.

 

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Learn About Ornamental Grasses

Learn About Ornamental Grasses

             Ornamental grasses add color, texture, and movement to your landscape all year long, and they do that with little effort from you. Once established, water them during a drought, maybe cut them back in the spring. The following are some of the most popular grasses (provided by Midwest Living) used for adding color to an autumn landscape and often throughout the winter.

Because of their color, texture and movement, ornamental grasses are wonderful additions to our landscapes. Even better, you get all this beauty for little work–once established, just water during drought and cut them back in early spring. And they withstand pests (even deer avoid them). There are many varieties available, so find one to suit your garden style and growing by discussing with our landscape designer for your next project.

Feather Reedgrass
One of the most popular ornamental grasses. Plants have dark green leaves and narrow, tan plumes in early summer. This variety tends to grow straight and upright, giving an architectural element to landscapes even in winter. They have tiny flowers in early summer; seed heads mature to golden tan by midsummer and remain attractive into fall.

Fountaingrass
A mounding plant with a lovely shape, its name refers to its graceful spray of foliage and late-summer plumes of fuzzy flowers. The white, pink or red plumes (according to variety) continue into fall and bring an informal look to gardens. Some Pennisetum self seed freely, which means they can become invasive. Although some species will reach 5 feet in height, the dwarf types like ‘Hameln’ generally stay below 3 feet. ‘Purpureum’ is grown as an annual in cool climates but has lovely purple leaves and crimson flowers.

Blue fescue
One of the smallest of the ornamental grasses (under 1 foot tall), which makes them perfect for many different uses in the garden. Plant them at the base of leggy shrubs, in masses as a groundcover, in rows as edging, as accents or in containers. Evergreen in all buts its northernmost range, the bluish foliage looks best in early summer. Seed heads turn tan when mature; cut them off to keep plants looking neat. ‘Elijah Blue’ has powder-blue leaves.

Blue Oat Grass
Refined and elegant, this grass has beautiful blue-gray, fine-textured leaf blades that grow in a mound. It is stunning throughout most of the season and combines well with most perennials. In fall, brownish spikelets reach for the sky.

Maiden Grass
Miscanthus cultivars are go-to choices in the ornamental grass market because of their sky-high, easy growth. Narrow, arching foliage makes a perfect backdrop to showcase other perennials. Silvery plumes look enchanting when the sun shines through them. This perennial’s dramatic plumes of spikelets rise above the foliage and last well into winter. Leaves range from green-and-white striped, yellow striped, dark green and greenish white depending on cultivar. Plumes emerge at different times.

Ravennagrass
Often called hardy pampas grass, this massive, fast-growing perennial commands attention when in flower in late summer because of its great height. It is a wonderful grass to add drama in the landscape or to hide an unsightly view. Just be sure to plant it where it can take center stage–not much else will stand up to this tower of beauty.

Hairgrass
Evergreen depending on climate, tufted hairgrass gets its name from the hairlike flowers that rise above the leaves. Its needlelike leaves form mounds, then this perennial sends out airy plumes in shades of golden, silver, purple and green.

Purple Moorgrass
Chose a variety based on your garden size, then plant in masses for impact. It has delightful mounding foliage that turns brilliant gold in fall. The tall, delicate panicles are beautiful. Dense tufts of arching leaves are handsome spring through summer and offer good fall color.

Japanese Forestgrass
This low-growing, mounding plant has bright yellow, green-striped leaves, making them perfect for brightening shady spots in gardens. From late summer to mid-autumn, it bears needlelike, pale green spikelets.

Cordgrass
A spreading prairie grass that thrives in moist or wet soils, it’s a good choice to plant along a pond or stream. Pale green spikelets top the arching green leaves by autumn.

All of the information herein is provided by Midwest Living for your convenience and not a recommendation of usage.

 

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Preventive steps can be taken to help eliminate mosquitoes

Preventive steps can be taken to help eliminate mosquitoes

DID YOU KNOW? Preventive steps can be taken to help eliminate mosquitoes in gardens and outdoor space around your home. Mosquitoes are most likely to bite during the hours immediately before and after dawn and dusk. Plan your gardening to avoid the times when mosquitoes are most active. 

Efforts should be focused on preventing adult mosquitoes from breeding. During warm weather, mosquito eggs can develop into larvae and then into adult mosquitoes in water that has been left standing for seven to ten days.

Beginning in April until the first hard frost, weekly check your property, garden, alley, home exterior, and garage for any standing water or debris that might hold even the slightest amount of water. Household items might include cans, rain barrels, tires, buckets, garden tools, wheelbarrows, plant pot saucers, and children’s toys. The following precautions can also prevent the breeding cycle:

  • Repair outdoor leaky faucets to prevent small pools of water from forming.
  • Seal any hollowed areas of tree stumps.
  • Empty outdoor pet water bowls daily.
  • Repair torn screens or loose windows.
  • Clean gutters of all debris so rainwater never pools.
  • Check flat roofs for low spots that retain water.
  • Empty wading pools once a week. Store indoors when not in use.
  • Cover all larger pools if you are away for more than a week. Make sure pool covers do not accumulate water.
  • Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
  • Install small pumps in ponds, aquatic gardens, or fountains to aerate water, or add larvae-eating fish. 
  • Empty outdoor fountains if you will be away for more than a week.
  • Check sewer drains, septic tanks, and downspouts for any pooling water.
  • Cover rain barrels with tight-fitting lids or 16-mesh screening.
  • Wear Protective Clothing
  • Wear socks and shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved, light-colored shirts when outside. Protect children and babies with proper clothing and mosquito netting.

Plan Your Gardening

Mosquitoes are most likely to bite during the hours immediately before and after dawn and dusk. Plan your gardening to avoid the times when mosquitoes are most active. If virus-infected mosquitoes have been reported in your area, consider staying indoors during their peak biting hours. Mosquitoes favor shady, moist areas of a yard and rest in dense shrubbery; they are active from spring to the first hard frost in the fall.

 

  • Above is for informational purposes only and provide by: source 

 

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How short is too short for my lawn

How short is too short for my lawn

How short is too short for my lawn?

A few tips when you are mowing your lawn yourself or hiring a lawn mowing service.  Aztech Landscaping does NOT offer mowing although there are many local small businesses that can provide that service so we recommend to ask your family, friends and neighbors who they would recommend.

Mowing your lawn may seem like a straightforward task, but the WAY you mow makes a big difference to your lawn’s overall health. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you mow: Don’t mow too short! Most growth happens in the top 2 inches of a blade of grass because that’s where photosynthesis (converting of sunlight to energy for growth) takes place. If you scalp your lawn, you take off all the growing parts. New growth then has to come from the crown, which robs energy from the roots.

How often to mow? Ideal mowing frequency is closely tied to the growth rate. Spring and fall generally are times of faster growth, and you may need to mow more than once per week. Just never remove more than 1/3 of the total blade height in a single mowing.

Alternate Directions It’s a good idea to vary your pattern from mowing to mowing to avoid the grass being mashed down the same way each time. Mowing at a right angle to the previous mowing’s pattern works well to keep your lawn “standing tall.”

Stay Sharp Sharpen your lawn mower blades often to avoid your mowed grass having a “chewed” or ripped appearance.

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Selecting the Right Trees

Selecting the Right Trees

TREES ARE A WONDERFUL INVESTMENT IN A LANDSCAPE. Some trees serve functional purposes like providing shade from the sun or obstructing views of unsightly areas while other trees are important purely for the aesthetic value they offer. Selecting the right tree is no small feat but there are a few things to consider that can help narrow down your options. Our landscape designer will help with your design which can includes helping you make choices that will fit your lifestyle and beautify your yard. Learn more about types of trees at

Selecting the Right Tree for Your Landscape Project

Trees often serve as a focal point of a mature landscape because of their imposing height and sometimes their far-reaching branches. They also define spaces, act as barriers, provide color and texture, and much more. Trees play a lot of roles and accordingly, it’s important to understand what you want from your trees before adding them to your landscape. Most trees can be grouped into four categories: shade trees, flowering trees, ornamental trees, and evergreen trees.

Shade Trees
When you think of large trees, you may likely think of shade trees. Their graceful, arching canopies cast shade over yards, streets, and homes below. A shade tree is an excellent addition to the home landscape because the canopy provides summer shade, but when the leaves drop in winter more of that ever-important sunlight reaches the home. Some of the options to consider for large shade trees include pine oaks, silver maples, English oaks, tulip trees, white ash, and American sycamores.

Flowering Trees
Flowering trees can range in size from a large shrub, like a serviceberry, to large and dramatic, like a weeping cherry tree. One flowering tree can provide a focal point while in bloom. Multiple flowering trees can have greater visual impact if planted in groups or lining a driveway or path. Just be sure to consider the size and the sun or shade needs for your flowering tree before planting. Most flowering trees only bloom for a few weeks out of the year, so the tree needs to be right for your landscape all year long. Beautiful flowering trees to consider include Eastern redbuds, flowering dogwoods, forsythia, crape myrtles, and magnolias. While traditional shade trees offer broad home or yard coverage, many flowering trees offer direct shade to a specific area. These trees are perfect for sitting beneath and getting lost in a book or enjoying a backyard picnic.

Ornamental trees
There are many specimen trees that are planted and enjoyed just for their visual appeal. These can include Japanese maples, any number of conifers, and even Sago palms or pygmy date palms. These trees are often slower growing and more expensive, but their beauty earns them a place of distinction in the landscape.

Evergreen trees
Evergreen trees come in all shapes and sizes, and as a result they have different uses in the landscape. Large, dense evergreens like many pines and spruces are effective windbreaks and can also provide screening on larger properties. Small, narrow evergreens like arborvitae and some cedars and cypress can form excellent privacy screens without taking up too much real estate. Evergreen trees can also come in a wide range of colors, from light to dark green, blue, and even gold, so personal preferences can usually be met.

Contact Aztech Landscaping to learn more about adding trees within your landscape.

*All content is for information purposes 

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Tips for Hot Summer Weather

Tips for Hot Summer Weather

One of the biggest challenges you can face when maintaining your landscape is creating a design which can withstand a long, hot summer. Hot weather is the sworn enemy of many of the traditional landscaping elements used on residential properties. We wanted to offer some tips to help maintain your outdoor living space that you and your family and friends can enjoy throughout the summer months and beyond. 

#1 – Find Some Shade

It is difficult for some plants to ensure direct sunlight all day long. By putting some of your sensitive plants in portable pots, you can move them into shaded areas during the heat of the day for protection. If you can’t move some of your plants, try erecting temporary shade such as a fabric umbrella which can give the plants a break while the temperatures soar.

#2 – Water Early in the Day

This just might be the most important tip you can receive for landscaping during the summer. If possible, get out and water your property early in the morning. By getting an early start on your watering, you will be able to avoid the issue of having the water evaporate before it has a chance to soak into the soil. Also, you need to avoid leaving your plants soggy overnight, as this is bad for their health. By watering early in the day, the water will have evaporated by the time night rolls around, and you will be ready to repeat the process tomorrow. Of course, if you don’t have time in the morning to water manually, you can consider setting up an automatic sprinkler system to do the work for you.

#3 – Use Plenty of Mulch

Mulch is one of your greatest allies in the battle against summer heat. With at least a couple inches of mulch in your beds, you will be able to keep the temperature down under the surface, and the moisture level will stay higher as well. In addition to the functional benefits, mulch also looks great.

#4 – Keep the Grass Long

Cutting your grass short is asking for trouble in hot weather. Even if you like the look of short grass, let it grow to at least three inches in the summer to avoid the risk of burning up the blades. Short grass will have nowhere to hide under the sun, and you may scorch the roots as a result. Get into the habit of cutting the lawn long during the summer months and move back shorter (if you wish) as autumn arrives.

#5 – When You Water, Go Deep

Instead of frequently applying just a bit of water to your lawn, try watering less often but adding more water when you do. By watering deeply, you will reach the roots, which is the entire point of watering the lawn in the first place. If watering by hand, it will take a bit of time to add enough water to get down to the root level – but your patience will be rewarded with a beautiful lawn.

 

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Popular service areas include: Lake Holiday, Oswego, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville. (see more areas)

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How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Many of us are fascinated with the beauty and aerobatics of hummingbirds and many of the plants that attract hummingbirds also attract butterflies

Here’s a list of flowering plants that may attract hummingbirds. Choose varieties in red and orange shades.

Common Name:

  • Beard tongue   
  • Bee balm            
  • Butterfly bush  
  • Catmint
  • Clove pink          
  • Columbine         
  • Coral bells          
  • Daylily  
  • Larkspur              
  • Desert candle   
  • Iris                
  • Foxglove             
  • Lily         
  • Lupine 
  • Pentas 
  • Petunia
  • Pincushion flower
  • Red-hot poker  
  • Scarlet sage       
  • Scarlet trumpet honeysuckle     
  • Soapwort           
  • Summer phlox  
  • Verbena             
  • Weigela               

Here are some fun facts about these little birds:

  • The key to attracting hummingbirds to your yard is to plant lots of flowers and provide the habitat that will give them shade, shelter, food, water, and security. 
  • Herbs, flowering shrubs, dwarf trees, and vines can all be used to create an ideal tiered habitat from ground level to 10 feet or more.
  • Provide lots of space between plants to give hummingbirds enough room to hover and navigate from flower to flower.
  • Hummingbirds love water, especially if it’s moving. A gentle, continuous spray from a nozzle or a sprinkler hose is perfect for a bath on the fly.
  • Hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell and rely on bright colors to find their food.
  • They are particularly fond of red and are often observed investigating feeders with red parts, red plant labels, red thermometers, and even red clothes on a gardener. Note: Do not use red dye in a hummingbird feeder; there is concern that it may harm the birds. Instead, use plain, clear sugar water (1 part white sugar mixed with 4 parts water). The birds love it! If your feeder does not have red on it, attach a red label or other item to attract them.
  • Brightly colored flowers that are tubular hold the most nectar, and are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include perennials such as bee balms, columbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennials such as foxgloves and hollyhocks; and many annuals, including cleomes, impatiens, and petunias.
  • Hummingbirds can beat their wings up to 80 beats per second, producing a buzz audible to human ears
  • Bee hummingbirds are the tiniest of all birds, weighing less than an ounce and measuring only 2 inches long.
  • Their brightly-colored, iridescent feathers and quick movements make them appear as living sun catchers—hence their nickname, flying jewels.
  • Hummingbirds have the unique ability to fly in any direction, even backward, with their wings beating up to a blurring 80 beats per second. Plus, they can hover in midair when sipping nectar from brightly colored flowers with their long, slender beaks.
  • While whizzing about the garden, hummingbirds expend so much energy that they must eat at least half their body weight each day to replace the calories that they burn up. This means eating almost constantly—from sunrise to sunset—and visiting over a thousand flowers every day.

 

The above is for informational purposes only 

Source  

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Make Your Paver Project Special

Make Your Paver Project Special

When designing your outdoor space, special elements and individual touches can take your paving project from typical to something that is the envy of the street. Here are some tips to bring the “wow” factor to your outdoor hardscaping design.

1. Add ambience – Elevate your outdoor living spaces with the addition of a fireplace, firepit or a fire table for inviting warmth and comfort. Incorporate a wall fountain or other water feature, and enjoy the gentle sounds of nature in the background. Unilock has you covered with pre-built outdoor living elements that can be easily placed in your yard. Or engage a Unilock designer to help you custom-create your own outdoor project.

2. Put the accent on pavers – Resist the sea of sameness and play with pavers in different shapes, textures, sizes and colors. Start with a main paver and add complementing accents such as a border to define spaces, or a “paver rug” placed in the center of a circular driveway or at the front of a special feature like your barbeque or fireplace. Add visual interest and harmonious design to your outdoor project by taking the banding design used in paver flatwork and applying it to vertical elements like pillars, walls and grill islands.

3. Play in the sand – Rather than matching the jointing sand to the paver, choose a different color to dramatically change the look and feel of your paver surface. Consider matching the sand color to the siding of your home, your paver border or to vertical elements in your landscaping to help tie everything together.

4. Lighten the mood – Bring your paver projects to life with lighting features that are both mood-inducing and functional. Illuminate trees and other landscaping elements with soft lighting to enhance your outdoor settings, and strategically place lighting to guide visitors safely around the pool, over the steps and along walkways after the sun goes down.

5. Reach new heights – Pillars help to define spaces and provide vertical interest to your outdoor patio and pool areas. Turn an ordinary entrance into a grand entrance with pillars positioned at the end of your driveway, or used to corner the steps leading to your front door. Incorporate pillars along an extended half wall or paver fence to visually disrupt the line. Place lanterns or decorative planters on your pillars or incorporate a water feature for a truly elegant touch.

Looking for inspiration to make your outdoor spaces and paver project stand out? We can help.

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Importance and Benefits of Pre-Emergent Treatment

Importance and Benefits of Pre-Emergent Treatment

Spring is just around the corner, so it is time to start thinking about pre-emergent treatment in the landscape beds.

In the case of weeds and diseases we aim to flatten the curve, and pre-emergent is the start. Applying pre-emergent while the ornamental plants are dormant is the best and first step for seasonal weed prevention.

Controlling weeds once they and the ornamentals have appeared is difficult and tedious work. Pre-emergent can be applied in one visit so timing is critical for weed control. Pre-emergent herbicide does not move once applied to the soil; precision is essential. Noxious weeds that emerge from seed can be controlled with the treatment.

Among the services performed, the pre-emergent treatment is very important. Pre-emergent does exactly what it sounds like. It kills weeds prior to their emergence. Now, it’s a bit more complicated than that so we’d like to share, why pre-emergent is so important and describe the benefits.

How Pre-Emergents Work

The herbicides that are contained in a pre-emergent treatment application create, in essence, a barrier of vapor that destroys weeds before they are germinated. Pre-emergents used in residential mixtures often come in granular form and are mixed with fertilizer.

The timing of your pre-emergent application is vital to their effectiveness. Strategic timing is needed so your weeds can be controlled prior to their emergence from the soil.

Tips for Successful Treatment

Though it may seem counterintuitive, pre-emergent treatments are not effective against existing weeds, only weeds that have yet to be germinated. To control existing weeds, we recommend a few things such as pulling the weeds, application of weed killer, or hiring a lawn service such as Aztech Landscaping to treat and eradicate your weeds.

The ratio of fertilizer to herbicide must be precise, and the spread of the solution must be as even as possible. It really needs to be like a blanket to smother the weeds.

Weed Free Planting Beds

Aside from normal weed treatments, a pre-emergent treatment is the most basic and earliest form of weed prevention. It doesn’t matter if you do all you can pulling weeds if you’re not controlling them before germination. 

It’s important that either you or a professional such as Aztech Landscaping perform a pre-emergent treatment each year toward the end of February or at the beginning of March for optimum results.

 

Contact us today to schedule your pre-emergent application!

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Popular service areas include: Lake Holiday, Oswego, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville. (see more areas)

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Health of Our Environment

Health of Our Environment

DID YOU KNOW?

Our landscapes play a vital role in the health of our environment, our communities, and our families!

Living landscapes, including lawns and yards, gardens, managed landscapes around commercial and municipal buildings and other green space provide many benefits including AND not just a means to make our yards and greenspaces “look pretty”.

  • Providing recreational spaces for people and pets
  • Creating necessary habitat for birds, insects and animals
  • Producing oxygen and sequestering carbon
  • Capturing and filtering rainwater, as well as storm-water run-off
  • Capturing dust & particulate matter
  • Reducing heat and the heat island effect
  • Acting as a natural firebreak
  • Controlling soil erosion

Contact us if you would like to discuss the future of your landscape. 

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Popular service areas include: Lake Holiday, Oswego, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville. (see more areas)

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