Category Archives: Landscaping Projects

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Preparing Your Yard for Fall

1377123_10152013074799343_1974343329_nFall is the busiest time of the year for most families – kids are back in school, being driven to and from extracurricular activities and having friends over, while parents are getting ready for a holiday season full of family visits, travel and parties. The last thing you’ll want to worry about through the whirlwind of fall fun is working on your yard, so this month is the time to prepare your yard for cooler temperatures. Here are a few tasks to check off your list:

1.     Be sure to clean up your garden by pulling weeds, trimming back leaves and deadheading flowers. If you have a larger garden with many seasonal vegetables and annual flowers, you’ll want to pull these and clean up the area before temperatures get cold and the ground begins to freeze.
2.     Continue to mow your lawn until the growing season fully ends, but plan on coring and fertilizing your yard to protect it from heavy rains and relieve it from pressure and damage that can accumulate during summer activities.
3.     If you have water features in your yard, consider whether they will need to be drained or not to prevent damage during freezing and thawing. Smaller fountains can be drained and stored inside, but more complicated features may require the help of one of our maintenance professionals.
4.      We know you’ll want to keep using your pool until the very last warm day of the year, but now is a good time to make sure you have all of the right materials to prepare your pool for closing. Check to make sure your items for drainage and cleaning are organized and ready to go!
5.     Consider adding a fire pit and outdoor seating. A professionally installed fire pit is a fast and easy way to have a fire with friends and family during the fall, and causes no damage to your yard. Now is a great time to add a fire pit so that it is ready for the first chilly night of the season!

Many fall maintenance tasks will require the help of a professional. The experts at Basnight Land and Lawn are ready to help you prepare your yard now so your fall is easy-going and open for family activities and fun! Whether you need a patio or fireplace, call us today at (757) 436-9617 or fill out the Contact form.

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How Much Water Does a Fescue Lawn Need?

In general, fescue turf grasses need about 3/4″ – 1″ of water per week to maintain a nice green color and active growth. However, during certain times of the summer when high temperatures are the norm, you should allow lawns to naturally slow down in growth. You may even let the lawn go almost completely dormant in hot weather. There are a lot of factors that impact your lawn’s water needs, including soil and weather. Here are a few guidelines we have found get great results.

  • Decide beforehand. Decide before the summer heat arrives to either water lawns consistently as needed throughout the season, or let lawns go dormant as conditions turn hot and dry. Do not rotate back-and-forth. In other words, don’t let the grass turn totally brown, then apply enough water to green it up, then let the grass go dormant again. Interrupting the lawn’s dormancy actually drains large amounts of food reserves from the plant.
  • When is it time to water? The first few warm days of summer do not automatically mean it’s time to water lawns. In fact, allowing lawns to start to go under mild drought stress actually increases rooting. Watch for “foot printing,” or footprints remaining on the lawn after walking across it (instead of leaf blades bouncing back up). Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress. Sampling the root zone of your soil is another option.
  • Water as infrequently as possible. Thoroughly water when you do water, so moisture soaks down to the roots. Exceptions to this general rule are for newly seeded lawns where the surface needs to stay moist, and newly sodded lawns that have not yet rooted into the soil. Otherwise, avoid frequent watering, which promote shallower root systems and weeds (e.g., crabgrass). It is better to water for longer periods of time than more often. For example, 25 minutes three times a week is better than 15 minutes five times a week.  A good rule of thumb is to water three to four times a week, watching to weather and adjusting as needed.
  • Water early in the day if possible. Given a choice, water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday watering due to excessive evaporation, and at night due to potential increases in disease.
  • Water conservation. To help conserve water, mow your lawn at a higher than normal height, avoid applying an excess of nitrogen as warm weather approaches, limit traffic over the lawn, improve turf rooting, control thatch and soil compaction, and avoid pesticide use on drought-stressed lawns. Don’t allow water to hit the driveway or the street.
  • Avoid over-watering. Use a rain gauge to measure how much water you’re applying. Over-watering does more than deplete the water supply, it also makes plants prone to pests and adds to stormwater runoff, which pollutes our water systems. By choosing and operating a watering system correctly, you can reduce water bills, insect and disease problems, and maintenance requirements. The more you water your lawn, the faster it grows and the more it needs to be mowed.
  • Monitor rainfall. Don’t water the lawn if rains are expected soon. Keep track of rainfall for the week and don’t apply any more water to the lawn than what is absolutely necessary. The guide of about one inch of water per week is only a guide. If your lawn doesn’t get that one inch of water, it’s not going to die.

Below are examples of Brown Patch, a fungus which can be caused by afternoon watering. Contrast that with the great looking Basnight Land & Lawn property pictured above, and give us a call at (757) 436-9617 if you have questions about your property and proper irrigation.

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Which Plants Should I Choose For My Garden Pond?

“If you throw the pebble in the pond and the rings start circulating that much wider, you’ve done things and created things for people that they didn’t think they’d ever be able to do. That excites me.”- Mindy Grossman

pond3x800Ponds and other water features can be the crown jewels of landscapes when designed and installed properly. Home and business owners who choose to have garden ponds may not know where to start when devising a plan for their perfect pond, especially when it comes to the types of plants to put in and around it.

Aside from the aesthetic appeal of pond plants (think water lilies) they also play an important role in water filtration and maintaining a balanced environment in the water. There are a few categories of plants to consider to benefit the look and function of your garden pond:

Deep Water Plants

Speaking of water lilies, did you know that they don’t actually “float?” Instead, they anchor themselves to the  bottom of water body and grow to the surface so that they appear to float. Deep water plants thrive in, you guessed it, deeper water, and serve as shade for the water and any fish that may be there, too.

Floating Plants

True floating plants like water hyacinth, frog bit and water lettuce sit on the surface of the water and act as filters.

Submerged Plants

Also known as oxygenators, these plants grow completely underwater and help oxygenate the pond through photosynthesis. They also provide great hiding places for fish if you choose to have them. Some submerged plants to consider include water sprite, anacharis and ludwigia.

Bog Plants

Bog plants like water poppy, cattails and zephyr lily grow in shallow water around the edges of garden ponds. While they get most of their nutrients from the soil, they effectively filter the water.

pond10x800At Basnight Land & Lawn, we understand the delicate balance between form and function with garden ponds, water features and landscaping in general. For most homeowners, installing a pond is not a do-it-yourself activity thanks to the highly specific plant needs and filtration technology. Many of the garden pond projects we do actually involve fixing the mistakes of other landscaping companies and DIYers. If you’re interested in adding a pond to your landscape, call us today at (757) 436-9617 or fill out the online contact form.

 

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You’re Invited to See Our Belgard Display

Are you considering using pavers for a patio, walkway or retaining wall?  This is a perfect time to see our Belgard display at Greenbrier Farms and Tidewater Mulch and Materials in Chesapeake.  Our landscape design team is one of only 69 outdoor contractors in the country that are “Belgard Master Craftsman” certified (and the only one in Hampton Roads).  If you’re considering a paver project, contact the professionals at Basnight Land & Lawn for information about our landscape design and construction services.

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Drainage Solutions for a Soggy Yard

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Living in Hampton Roads, most of us have experienced the pervasive effects of flooding after heavy rain, especially in the springtime. For homeowners, this means facing potential flooding and damage to landscaping thanks to poor drainage planning. That’s why we believe that every yard should have a “drainage strategy.” At Basnight, we specialize in creating, implementing and maintaining drainage strategies for both residential and commercial properties.

Do you find that after it rains your yard doesn’t just seem wet, but mushy and waterlogged or takes days to dry up? This not only makes it impossible to enjoy the lawn during the rainy season; it also contributes to turf rot, root rot, and the “drowning” of plants that don’t require a lot of water. Perhaps one of the biggest risks of bad drainage is damage to a home’s foundation. If you routinely have a soggy lawn, it is very likely that you may soon experience these issues as well.

Potential Drainage Solutions

While we know that every lawn and home are different, there are a few standard fixes and drainage strategies in which our landscaping technicians specialize.

  • Replacing Beds and Adding Plants. One way to minimize the impact of poor lawn drainage is to fortify existing plants with ones that thrive with a great deal of water. Those plants can help “drink up” the excess water and are best installed with a new bed of soil. This solution generally does not completely solve the problem but can help manage it slowly but surely.
  • Regrading the Lawn. If your lawn is completely flat with no drainage contingency, water after a heavy rain can only sit on the turf surface as it as nowhere else to go. One way to fix this is to create a downgrade in the yard.
  • Installing Drain Tile Systems. Drain tiles are installed to help collect and redistribute water in soggy lawns. The best part about these tiles is that they encourage reabsorption in the soil.

These are just a few of the ways our experts manage drainage issues around homes and commercial properties. Let us come to you, assess the issue, and provide an estimate for a workable solution. Poor drainage goes beyond a soggy lawn and fixing it works to the benefit of your landscape, your lifestyle and the foundation of your home. Call us today at (757) 436-9617 or fill out the Contact Us form now.

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Making the Most of Your Waterfront Home

If you own waterfront property you know that along with amazing views and recreational convenience come the headache of additional maintenance. Whether on a lake, river, bay or the ocean, waterfront properties have their own unique challenges, from sloping terrain, nesting birds, erosion and pollution control, and strict community guidelines.

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With careful planning, there are effective techniques that optimize the beauty of waterfront living, while maintaining functionality and safety:

Plant Selection:
Natural ponds, streams, tidal zones, lakes and rivers benefit ecologically when a transition zone of native plants is kept between the water’s edge and the yard or garden. Native plants generally require less maintenance or fertilization, making them hassle-free and environmentally friendly.

Lighting:
Landscape professionals often opt for outdoor lighting to enhance the aesthetics and safety of waterfront property. This additioncan enhance the value of your home, transforming a beautiful property into something truly breathtaking. Lights can add ambiance to walkways and make it easier to host guests with outdoor living areas after dark.

Hardscape Levels:
Waterfront properties naturally slope downward where the yard meets the water. While it is easy to deem this space unusable, a skilled landscaper can transform this area with hardscapes, multi-leveled decks or patios, steps, and paver walkways. Retaining walls, bulkheads and riprap — stones or boulders covering the water’s edge — prevent erosion of waterfront property.

Boundaries:
Fencing, walls and gates serve multiple purposes for waterfront homes. They offer privacy, define space, help control runoff and protect your lawn from rising water levels and storms. Gates provide access to docks or paths to the water, but also serve as a protective barrier for children, pets or unwanted visitors. City ordinances and homeowners associations often set guidelines for fencing heights and materials. Be sure you work with a landscape company like Basnight Land & Lawn who is familiar with these rules.

If you own a waterfront home, or you are contemplating buying waterfront property, be sure to call Basnight Land & Lawn at 757-436-9617 to learn more about how we can maximize space and create an environment perfectly suited to your family’s needs.
Hardscaped fire pit and surrounding seating

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4 Reasons Why Now Is the Right Time to Start Your Landscaping Project

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What is something that you’ve always wanted to do with your home’s landscape but continue to put off because it’s never the “right time?” Whether it’s an outdoor kitchen, a new patio, a sprawling pool or the koi pond you’ve always wanted, it’s likely that the time will never be just right to start the project. One reason for this is that many homeowners don’t know where to begin when it comes to their landscaping projects. Let Basnight Land & Lawn help you get started with these 4 reasons to start your project today.

1. It is very hot outside. 

spill1-lgOne common deterrent for starting landscaping projects is extreme weather like the record breaking temperatures we’ve been experiencing in the Hampton Roads area. This means that landscaping projects designed to keep you cool tend to get put off until the cooler months. The good news is that excellent landscaping professionals are trained to work in heat and specialize in pool deck and landscape installations, water feature installation and shady landscape design (pergolas, covered patios, etc).

2. You should be taking advantage of your outdoor space. 

At Basnight Land & Lawn, we believe that what is surrounds your home is just as valuable as what is on the inside. Begin your landscaping project today so that you can make the most of the investment in your property.

3. The best time to start preparing for outdoor holiday entertaining is now. 

firepit-5-lgDo you dream of fall nights out on a comfortable patio by the light and warmth of a fire pit? It is smart to start planning your perfect patio during the summertime so it can be ready for out-of-town guests come autumn. Fire pits and outdoor heaters make the backyard a relaxation destination all year long. The same goes when it comes to building an outdoor kitchen that suits all seasons.

4. Working with landscaping professionals lessens the stress. 

Whether you have kids who are out of school or too many summer obligations, a busy schedule can put landscaping last on the priority list. Choosing a landscaping company that does the hard work of planning, design, construction and clean-up makes achieving your landscaping vision as easy on you as possible.

If you have a landscaping project in mind like pool installation, outdoor kitchen construction or an overall patio redesign, call Basnight Land & Lawn at 757-436-9617. We are ready to brave the summer heat to bring you the outdoor space you’ve always wanted.