Butterflies are beautiful and interesting creatures. Unlike Bumble Bees and Mosquitoes butterflies are one insect many homeowners do not mind sharing their yard with. A butterfly garden is a type of garden that contains plants which are good for all stages of a butterfly’s life.

Butterfly Garden Basics

  • Nectar Sources: Plants to attract and nourish adult butterflies.
  • Host Plants: Plants that will serve as a food source for developing larva.
  • Shelter: Vegetation to provide protection from temperature extremes, storms and predators. These plants will also provide the butterflies with areas to sleep.
  • Water Source: A water source with a fountain is the best choice for a butterfly garden. Butterflies require water for drinking and thermoregulation.

Your butterfly garden can range from any size you desire as long as you cover the butterfly garden basics above.

Butterfly Garden Design

  • Provide a variety of nectar and host plant sources, this will ensure a variety of butterfly species. Offering a variety also encourages butterflies to remain in your yard instead of simply passing through.
  • Incorporate plants of varying heights and widths. The variety in shape and sizes will help to create micro-climates that will appeal to a diversity of butterfly species.
  • Make things colorful, different butterflies are attracted to different colors.
  • Offer a variety of flower shapes. Different butterflies require different shaped flowers to feed on. While smaller species have no difficulties feeding on a platform (Daisy) type flower,  some will require tube shaped flowers to easy access to nectar.
  • Incorporate native plants into your existing landscape if possible. Most host plants are natives and will produce a small extension to the butterfly garden itself.
  • Provide consistent host plants throughout the growing season. Choosing plants that bloom different times throughout the year will ensure your garden remains attractive and productive for as long as possible.
  • Plant in both shade and sun, this too will ensure a variety of species. Many forest species prefer shaded areas.
  • Plant in groupings which are aesthetically pleasing and provide larger masses of color. Groupings will be more apparent in landscape and will allow larvae to locate additional food sources if needed.

Butterfly Garden Maintenance

Mulching should be done upon installation to give your plants a great start.  Maintenance should be kept up upon just like any garden.  Water, Pruning, Weeding and fertilization should be done regularly as needed. Butterflies are sensitive to pesticides, organic materials and methods should be used when you can. If you need a pesticide for any reason minimal use is suggested.

Different areas have different butterfly species. To find out what plants will be best for your garden we recommend researching butterflies in your area.  The plants you need will be natives and will be readily available to you, this will also ensure maximum butterfly viewing in your yard.

April is quickly coming to an end and summer is quickly approaching. With our early March heatwave this year many perennials have already come and gone. While a few of our early and mid spring flowers may still be lingering around, most perennial gardens are now bare awaiting for brightly colored annuals to take there place.

Now is the perfect time to really start thinking about how you want your flower beds and summer landscape to look. Here is a little preparation list to help you think about what type of summer landscaping will best fit your needs.

What colors do you like? What colors will accent your home best?
While personal taste should be reflected in your color choices for flowers, you should also consider the color of your home and existing landscape. Take into consideration the brick, siding and trim of your home. If you have a home with blue siding, planting an abundance of blue flowers would blend into the existing landscape and colors of your home. Instead planting flowers of contrasting colors would work best to brighten up your landscape and add contrast.

Do your beds get more sun than shade, more shade than sun or do you have a good balance of both?
This is a very important aspect of gardening as certain flowers do well in one or the other. Many people assume they get a lot of one or the other based on the time they are home. However many people are not home all day to pay attention to the details of what type of light their home is receiving all day long.  Spend one day during the weekend occasionally observing your beds, you may be surprised by what you discover.

How much time do you have to maintaining your garden?
Sometime we start plant a garden with good intentions, sadly those good intentions can lead to a poorly maintained garden. One of the biggest things about gardening is the upkeep, depending on the plants and flowers you choose this can require little maintenance or high maintenance. Be realistic about your daily scheduled and how much effort you are willing to put in weekly to maintain your gardens.
Work all day? Busy with kids? Then opt for low maintenance plants that need very little maintenance.

Happy Summer Planning!

There are many different aspects to consider when planning a landscape. Most people think of landscaping as just tree’s and plants arranged in a certain way that are visually appealing to the eye. However, landscaping is actually much more than visual appeal. Good landscaping also needs to be functional and enjoyable to those who use it on an everyday basis.

Here are some things to consider when addressing your own personal landscape needs. Many of these aspects often get overlooked, by those who are unaware of all the different options to consider.

Will there be kids or animals playing in the space? What about allergies to plants or insects? If you have children and pets running around you will need much more durable surroundings and would probably like to stay away from plants with thorns. If your allergic to bee’s, you definitely would not want plants that attract them. Certain plants attract certain insects more so than others, researching plants is recommended to reduce planting anything that could increase the chance of an allergic reaction.

How about your favorite season? Many people focus on what a landscape will look like from late spring to early fall, the summer season when the majority enjoy the great outdoors. Not everyone enjoys summer and the lush canopies of green and vibrant flowers that scatter the ground. Others enjoy spring, autumn or even winter more than summer. What if your an Autumn person, someone who enjoys autumn and the leaves changing, wouldn’t you want landscape that would reflect this? A beautiful autumn colors landscape to enjoy in your own backyard.

What about functionality, what is the main purpose of your outdoor space? Will you be hosting lots of BBQ’s or will you be chasing children and pets throughout the yard. Is there a pool? hot tub? fireplace? pond? irrigation system? There are many aspects to consider about the functionality and what will work best where, visual aspects and outdoor amenities are all things that need to be thought of, during planning.

Last but not least don’t forget who this space is for and who will be enjoying it. Think about what time of day you will be outdoors the most. Think of your favorite colors, plants and scents. Think about maintenance and how much work you are willing to spend to keep up with your landscaping. Landscaping is something that should fit your lifestyle and reflect the things you enjoy.

Pruning trees is an essential part of a trees health and maintenance. Proper pruning, can maintain good tree health while enhancing the aesthetic and economic values of our landscape. The three main reason we prune trees are safety, health and aesthetics.

 

PRUNING FOR SAFETY

Trees can become dangerous for those around them if not properly maintained.  Older and diseased branches can become prone to falling off, which is dangerous to the people and properties that surround them. Inspecting your tree’s regularly can help you know when your tree’s need to be pruned, this is essential after storms when the tree has been exposed to extreme conditions.

It is also important to  trim branches that interfere with buildings, widows, driveways or those that obstruct views. Keeping tree branches out of utility lines is another important safety aspect of tree maintenance, failure to trim trees away from lines can lead to more hazardous situations in the future.

PRUNING FOR HEALTH

Weathering, aging and infestation are all things that can make a tree’s limbs become dull, broken and diseased. Failure to eliminate these problems can cause the tree to die, because of the infestation that will occur inside them.

Keeping up with your trees maintenance by thinning the canopy and removing rubbing/crossed branches, will help them increase airflow and sunlight exposure.  You can also create a better overall structure of your tree to lessen wind resistance and reduce the potential for storm damage.

Remember trees are a great source of oxygen, keeping your trees healthy allows them to process photosynthesis better which provides oxygen to everyone.

PRUNING FOR AESTHETICS

Pruned trees create a better tree structure, this is essential for trees that do very little self pruning.  Well maintained tree’s look beautiful in comparison to overgrown trees. Keeping the trees on your property well maintained not only ads to gorgeous landscape, they can also help increase the value of your property.

 

In conclusion there are many benefits of tree pruning. Pruning is not only an important part for the health and safety of the tree itself, but also important process to the people and properties that surround it. Keeping up with your pruning is a great preventive measure for your family’s health and safety.

 

Professional Landscape Management Services

The landscape of a building is just as important as the building itself when it comes to curb appeal and first impressions. Landscaping is used to enhance the overall look and feel of a building whether it be a commercial building or residential home.

When landscaping ones home, your landscape not only enhances your home it also reflects who you are. The choices you make in your landscape  design are a reflection of your personality. Is it welcoming? Engaging? Colorful or neutral? Simple or complex? These are some of the things visitors are going to notice when they first walk up to your home.  The same thing applies for a place of business and how guest will view your business upon first arriving.

The choices you make in your landscape are definitely important and both time and effort should be put into deciding what you like. Whether your doing it yourself or working with a professional designer, make sure your choices reflect your personality and what you want visitors to see when they first drive by.

Remember, a well maintained and landscaped home not only gives off a great first impression but it also increases the value of the property.

Award Winning Michigan Outdoor Lighting

Your home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. You have already invested in a beautiful home and gorgeous landscape… Wouldn’t you like to show them off and be able to enjoy your outdoor space at night?

Picture your home at night as it currently is, now ask yourself these questions. Do you feel safe coming home at night before entering your home?  Can you entertain outdoors at night with the ability to see your guest? Does your pet get lost in the night, when you let them outside at night?

If you answered no to any of the above questions then your outdoor space is probably poorly illuminated after the sun goes down. Picture your home at twilight…  A soft illuminated path inviting guests to your front door and a backyard patio illuminated for entertaining. Outdoor lighting adds drama, beauty and an added level of security to your home and its surroundings.

Benefits Of Landscape Lighting

  • SECURITY: Landscape lighting will help enhance the dark areas of your landscape. Outdoor lighting at night can help eliminate the amount of places someone could hide reducing your risk of home invasion.
  • SAFETY: Ensure the safety of your guest and yourself at night. With outdoor lighting you will be able to easily move around your property without worrying about what you may stumble over next.
  • BEAUTY: Enhance your homes architectural elements, illuminate your favorite landscape focal points or create a whimsical night path. Outdoor lighting provides beauty and drama after sunset, it also increases the value of your home.
  • USEABILITY:Illuminating your outdoor spaces allows you to enjoy your outdoor patios, decks and recreational areas at night.
  • ECONOMY: Outdoor lighting systems usually use lower voltage lighting which consumes 1/3 the electricity of a high voltage system.

Outdoor lighting comes with endless options on how to illuminate and accent your home after sunset. Think of the functionality outdoor lighting could add to your home, decide what areas you will be using most and what areas you would like to see illuminated.

Mulches are protective materials placed over soil to help retain moisture and improve overall soil conditions. When properly applied, mulch is very beneficial to plants, trees and shrubs, it can also give landscapes a very polished well maintained appearance. When improperly applied, mulch can do the reverse causing harm instead of providing protection.

BENEFITS OF PROPER MULCHING

  • Better Moisture – Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil, which leads to less evaporation of water from the soil. This ensures your plants are kept hydrated longer and reduces the chance of them drying out.
  • Weed Control – A covering of mulch will help prevent weed germination and growth.
  • Temperature Control – Mulch helps regulate temperature in your soil by cooling in the summer and warming in the winter.
  • Protection – Layers around trees and shrubs can help prevent damage from lawn equipment (such as weed whackers or lawn mowers).
  • Improved Water Flow – Improved aeration, structure and drainage
  • Overall Appeal – A proper layering of mulch gives a well maintained polish looked to the landscape.
  • Landscape Health – Mulching can help protect plants from specific diseases, while also improving the soil fertility.

While mulching is meant to be a beneficial process, when used in excess adverse effects will occur. While piling on a thick layer of mulch is effective in reducing maintenance by suppressing weeds, it is harmful to the things in which it is supposed to protect and can cause additional problems.

DANGERS OF IMPROPER MULCHING

Improper Mulching
  • Excess Moisture – When mulch is used in unnecessary amounts, excess moisture can build up in the root area leading to root rot.
  • Disease – Creating a type of “Mulch Mound” around a tree can stress your plants and lead to insect and disease complications.
  • Soil Deficiency – Using improper mulches over a long period of time can affect the soil pH balance and lead to nutrient deficiencies and/or toxicities.
  • Dehydration – When fine mulch is used thick blankets become mated and can prevent water and air from getting to the soil. This in turn can actually enhance weed growth.

Mulches are available in both organic and commercial forms. Different mulches offer different benefits and vary in the amount of maintenance needed. Before making a decision, research the different variations and decide what is best for your specific needs. Mulching a garden that is going to house fruits or vegetables will have different needs than landscape with only trees and shrubs.