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Fall Landscaping needs to prepare for winter, and yes spring too!

Dog PictureStanley only has time for a quick drink.  Temperatures have started to tip downwards and the cool air from the Bay will be taking control and lots of work is ahead. While there is still plenty of time before winter hits you need to be preparing your landscape for the winter months. There are several things that need to be done to help ensure the health of your lawn, plants and trees not only for the winter, but for the spring.

Yard Preparation
Lawn Walk Behind Mower1. Mowing: Keep mowing your lawn up to winter gets here and the grass finally stops growing. You do not want your grass to be long going into winter because it might lay-over and possibly cause “grass rot”. Some even mow their grass shorter in the fall and winter months to ensure a healthy lawn and to allow leaves to blow off without much resistance.
2. Trimming: Very important to keep your plants, trees, bushes and hedges trimmed back and free of any dying or decaying branches. Reach in and prune them back to keep them sized and to “air them out”. This will also help in eliminating broken limbs and branches from the snow.
IMG_36643. Cleanup: Take time to rake up the leaves, pick-up the fallen branches, and other debris from your lawn which is key to the health of your lawn. You can use these materials in your organic mulch pile for use on your garden beds in the spring.
4. Feeding: Take time to feed your lawn and plants in the fall of the year. This will have a huge effect on your plants and lawns health in the springtime.
5. Tying: If you have large plants that could be damaged, split or broken by high winds and/or by a heavy snow take time to tie them up a day or so before the storm. Take some string and gently pull the branches up and tie them together…not tight, but snug enough to hold them together and for the string not to slip down the branches. Do not leave the plants tied up all winter, this could also cause damage. Elimination of storm damage will save you a lot of time and money by not having to replace plants every year.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. prides itself in providing fall yard and maintenance cleanups for our Cecil and Harford County clients’. Our Service Group performs yard maintenance, mowing, plantings, landscaping, patios, pruning and gardening on a contract basis. Pick-up the phone and call us to learn more about how we can change the look of your property with “Fall Clean-ups” that will change the appearance of your home and ensure the health of your landscape year round.
Phone – 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

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21 Tips for Using a Weed Trimmer Safely

Bull Dog PictureStanley says Weed Trimmer safety is a serious issue. There are more than 5,000 serious injuries reported each year and tens of thousands of injuries not reported. Cuts and bruises from flying debris accounted for approximately 55% of the injuries, while another 35% were eye injuries. The pure nature of all rotating equipment is that they can cause instant injuries with no warning.

WeedeatingWeed Trimmer Safety Tips
1. Read the operating manual. Seriously, read it!
2. Ensure the equipment is operable. Are the guards in place, is the fuel cap on tight?
3. Wear heavy duty thick boots with an outdoor tread for sure footing.
4. Use safety glasses/goggles and ear protection.
5. Protect your body with tight-fitting long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
6. Wear good leather work gloves to protect your hands.
7. Use the correct fuel mixture (oil & gas) to ensure correct operation of the equipment.
8. Start the engine with one hand holding and the other starting.
9. Inspect the area where you will be cutting for foreign objects – rocks, wood chips, etc.
10. Turn off the engine and disconnect the spark-plug wire when making equipment repairs.
11. Make sure the engine has cooled off when refueling.
12. Do not trim in areas where people are within 25 to 50 feet.
13. Allow the engine to idle down and rest when cutting weeds or brush.
Weedeating Picture 214. Never use the trimmer to cut anything above waist height. Never reach out or up!
15. Be sure your engine speed is proportional to the weeds you are cutting.
16. Do not allow cuttings to wrap around the head or pile up when in use.
17. Let the unit run on idle for a few minutes to cool down before turning off.
18. Hit the “kill switch” and stop the unit before setting the unit down on the ground.
19. Inspect the trimmer for any damage, wear, or maintenance needs after each usage.
20. Do not work on the equipment while it is still running. Shut it down and put it down.
21. Use good judgment and a lot of common sense. Most injuries can be prevented!

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. helps homeowners and businesses in Cecil and Harford Counties with all of their landscaping maintenance needs. From design, to construction, to maintaining your property year round, we will provide you with a landscaping experience that will exceed your expectations. When considering your landscape, hardscape, or lawn maintenance needs, please give us a call for a free consultation so we can turn your visions and our experience into an outdoor living experience you and your family will enjoy and appreciate.

Phone: 410.378.8668
Website: SwanCreekLandscaping.com

Water Features can change the look, sounds and value of your property….

Dog PictureFor many people the soft sounds of moving water creates a soothing and relaxing environment that can create a great reading area, thinking pit, and an atmosphere for just relaxing.  There are many ways to incorporate water features into your landscape including:
•      Running Creek Beds with water returns
•      Small Ponds for vegetation or fishes
•      Fountains with cascading or spouting features

Creek Beds running through your yard area with a destination collection area that includes a pumping station for water return back to the start of the creek bed can create an extremely nice water feature.  This type of water feature can require some in-depth excavation work to your property and probably would require a lot of bedding materials including gravel, rocks, and boulders.  As you can tell from the material needs this would be a more expensive type project.

Small, fish, and vegetation ponds can be an affordable addition to your landscape while changing its appearance and beauty.  Most of this type of water feature is somewhat less expensive and requires minimal excavation with the use of a predetermined plastic liner that you placed into a hole location.  You then add rocks, stones, fishes and/or vegetation and in a very short period of time you have a soothing landscape addition.

TOSHIBA - Water Feature 1 (2)Fountain additions can be among the easiest and least expensive water addition you can add to your landscape.  Most fountains are self-contained, self-pumping units that take up less space and can be placed anywhere you like.  Fountains come in several types: spouting and cascading units that can be used in a pond or can be pond-less.
•      Spouting fountains often are placed in ponds and shoot water into the air that falls back into the pond creating splashing sounds.
•      Cascading fountains, usually are self-contained, having a soothing trickling effect that is created by having multiple levels for the water to flow too.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. provides both small and large water features to our Cecil and Harford County clients’.  Our Maintenance Group will create a unique outdoor “water feature” experience that will produce a restful, soothing environment that will change your life style.  In addition, our Service Group performs yard maintenance, mowing, plantings, landscaping, patios, pruning and retaining walls on a contract basis.  It will only take a minute to pick-up the phone and call us to learn how Swan Creek can change the look and sound of your property with water features solutions that will enhance the appearance of your home along with the value.

Phone – 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

Why and when to dethatch and aerate your lawn…..

Often times we hear of trends, ideas and concepts that seem to catch on and everyone jumps on band wagon with the very best intent. This is also true when you talk to “green-thumbs” about Dethatching and Aerating your lawn. Some say leave it to Mother Nature and others say let’s take charge of the yard and enhance her efforts.

AeratorFirst things first, what is Dethatching and Soil Compaction:
•     Thatch is a dense, intertwined mat of living and dead grass materials that accumulate on your yards ground surface.  This is caused when the grass is growing faster than the clippings and debris                                                                                   can decompose
•     Soil compaction is normally in the first 3” or 4” inches which is caused by the settling of the soil from people walking on it and from mowing.  In Maryland it is also caused by the freezing and thawing of the soil during the winter and spring months

Why is it important to dethatch and aerate?
•      The accumulated thatch in some yards serves to restrict the oxygen levels in the soil.  All plants require oxygen and you grass is no exception.  Thatch makes it tough for the oxygen to enter the stems and root system
•      If your yard has compacted soil you are inviting pests to breed in your lawn, which will cause major maintenance issues going forward
•      When you dethatch and aerate your lawn you disturb and shake-up the soil, thus stimulating root growth because the oxygen, nutrients and water can now reach root area of the grasses.  This will cause the lawn to become more dense causing water runoff to be hindered

How do you Dethatch?
•      In the late spring or early fall you want to mow your grass to a low height
•      Select a power dethatcher (from most rental stores) or a hand thatching rake with large cutting blades and go about lifting up the dead under mat to the top of the grass surface
•      Thatch the yard using an even pattern to ensure coverage. If you have a sprinkler system mark the heads and lines so you don’t destroy them when thatching
•      Gather the clipping and add to your compost pile or dispose of them if needed
•      Water the lawn and you are done!

How do you Aerate?
Aeration Equipment•      For Maryland grasses early fall is the best time when the soil is moist and the ground soft
•      Select a power aeration machine – most rental stores have one
•      Aerate the yard using a specific back and forth pattern to ensure an even aeration. If you have a sprinkler system mark the heads and lines so you don’t destroy them during aeration

Dethatching and Aeration of the soils is a labor intensive job that can sometimes be a little difficult.  Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. provides these services to our Cecil and Harford County clients’. Our Maintenance Group will inspect your yard to determine the need and then schedule a time when the soil is just right to dethatch and/or aerate.  In addition, our Maintenance Service Group performs yard maintenance of all types including: mowing, plantings, pruning, landscaping, and spring/fall clean-ups on a contract basis.  Please pick-up the phone and call us to learn how Swan Creek can change the look of your property with yard maintenance that will enhance the appearance of your home along with the value.

Phone – 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

4 – Lawn mowing safety tips and a lot of common sense….

A lawn mower is a dangerous piece of equipment that can hurt you and others, while doing physical harm to your property. At first glance, it would appear that mowing the grass is a simple job: just pull the cord, walk behind the mower, and voila, the job is done. That could be true if you have taken good care of your equipment, know how it operates, and apply a lot of common sense. Below find 4 steps for mower safety that can help eliminate many of the mowing obstacles and dangers you face each time you mow.

Tractor Mowing1. Maintain your mower and keep it in good working condition
• When working on the mower, disconnect the spark plug wire
• Check the oil level and add some it needed but do not over fill
• Make sure your blades are sharp and tight
• Check to make sure that all covers, shields, and guards are in                   place and working
• Fill the mow with gas, making sure not to spill any
• Set the mower to the right cutting level for the work at hand                   before you start the engine

2. Always use safety equipment and protective eye to wear to                     eliminate injuries
• Wear tight-fitting clothing that protects your legs and arms
• Use ear plugs, work gloves, and eye protection at all times
• Wear closed-toe work shoes with good traction bottoms

Mowing Grass3. Clean up the yard and eliminate any debris, toys, and obstacles
• Do not mow around people–ask them to leave the area or stop              mowing
• Turn off the mower or blade rotation when crossing gravel or                  stone areas
• Walk around the yard to pick up sticks, rocks, toys, and other                  debris
• Know what is lurking in the grass when mowing in a high grassy             area
• In high grass, take your time, raise the height adjustment, and do          not clog the mow thus choke it down
• Mow cautiously around trees and shrubs that have low-handing           branches
• When mowing on rough ground, set the height adjustment to                 the highest level

Bull Dog Picture4. Dig into the common sense area of your brain and use it!
• Keep your hands and feet away from the blade area and the hot           motor casing and exhaust
• Do not let undersized, under trained, children operate your                       mower
• When cleaning up, do not spray water on a hot engine
• Do not make mowing height adjustments while the engine is                   running
• Do not refuel the mower while the engine is running
• Do not mow areas that are wet or slippery
• Do not leave the mower unattended

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. helps homeowners and businesses in Cecil and Harford Counties with helpful tips and suggestions for all your landscaping, maintenance, and mowing needs.  From landscape design, to construction, to maintaining your property year round, we will provide you with a landscaping and hardscaping  experience that will exceed your expectations.  When considering your landscape, hardscape, or lawn-maintenance needs, please give us a call for a free consultation on how we can turn your visions and our experience into an outdoor living experience you and your family will enjoy and appreciate.

Phone: 410-378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

Pest control for your yard and garden will enhance productivity…..

If you are like most people who have gardens you spend a lot of time deciding what to plant, when to plant, how to plant and how to maintain you’re a valuable source of vegetables for our family. One morning you walk out and find that numerous pests have invaded your garden and turned it into a smorgasbord of fine dining for them and their friends.

Below are a few tips that address the most common garden pests from destroying your garden.

1.  Ground Hogs, Squirrels, Rabbits & Moles – As you might expect the best way to keep them away from the garden is to instill a fence. The fence should be high enough so they cannot come over the top and inserted into the ground enough to present them from digging under.  We would recommend a fence that is at least 2 foot tall with about 6” inches placed in the ground.  The placement of short metal posts can be spread apart about 3’ to 4’ feet and the use of Cable Ties makes it easy to assemble and to tear down.

You will find in the Garden Store several different kinds of powders and pellets that suggest the ward-off pests of different varies.  Some work and some just make you feel good about addressing the pest problem.  Everyone has their remedy and one we have used with some positive results is spreading cayenne pepper around the outside perimeter of the garden.  The smell seems to discourage pest from visiting your garden and to encourage them find somewhere else to look for food.  The pepper will not hurt or damage your plants.

2.  Deer pose a different kind of deterrent – Fencing would have to be tall to discourage these pests. There are also powders and pellets at the Garden Center that seem effective.  One of the powders is called “Blood Power” and it does seem to ward-off deer.  Another solution that some use is hanging net bags of pet or other animal hair.  Check with your garden center for more information.

3.  Birds…All of the Birds – There are several things you can do to keep birds away from your garden.  One is to place aluminum pie plates around the garden which hang by string off of metal fence posts. This makes noise with the wind which creates a loud enough sound as to scare them.

Another effective idea is to place a Bird Feeder in your yard that is close enough for them to see and visit and far enough away from the garden that do not want to visit.

4.  Insects…thousands of Insects – It might be surprising, but the most effective way to address insects is to have healthy soil that is cultivated and active.  Good soil will keep your plants strong and healthy which will ward-off insect attacks along with some other infections and molds.

If you continue to have insect problems you might want to mix up a diluted mixture of mild dish washing soap and water to spray around the plants. The mixture will kill most inspects and will prevent other garden pests without effecting or harming your plants.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. prides itself in providing gardening ideas and options for our Cecil and Harford County clients’.  Our Maintenance Group will create a unique outdoor gardening experience that will provide productive vegetables for you and your neighbors.  In addition, our Service Group performs yard maintenance, mowing, plantings, landscaping, patios, pruning and retaining walls.  Pick-up the phone and call us to learn how Swan Creek can change the look of your property with landscaping  solutions that will enhance the appearance and value of your home.

Phone – 410.378.8668
Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com

Change and improve the appearance of your landscape and property by installing a Paver Driveway

How in the world does a Paver Driveway improve the appearance of my landscape is probably the first thought that comes into your mind.  Well to begin with, your driveway is probably the first thing everyone sees when they come to your home.  So changing the look and functionality of the driveway can not only change the appearance of your landscape, it will change the look and beauty of your home.

image_4Swan Creek Landscaping has designed, built and maintained unique driveways using Techo-Bloc pavers for the past 9 years.  We are a Certified Techo-Bloc Installer/Contractor for this industry leading provider of Pavers, Slabs, Permeable Pavers, Walls, & Outdoor Living Spaces including: Patios, Walkways, Retaining Walls, Steps, Driveways, Outdoor Kitchens, and Pool Decks.

What are the design considerations for a Paver Driveway?
The very first consideration is what materials and colors are pleasing to your eye.  We would surely recommend you consider using the outstanding designs and craftsmanship offered by Techo-Bloc who will present multiple patterns, colors, and styles of pavers for your selection.  Please do not be deceived; picking the right color and design is the toughest part of the project and will take some time.

Choosing the right materials and the related benefits:                        

  • Brick Paver Driveways – These materials (there are several to choose from) and the related design will focus on a classic, rustic, elegant look to your home’s exterior.
  • Permeable Pavers – Features include many attractive patterns and styles, but with an added feature of being “self-draining” which helps to prevent erosion and the opportunity for a flooded driveway.
  • Flagstone Pavers – Focuses on the classic, random patterned Maryland quarry stone look from the era of so many small stone quarries of the past. The classy look will bring out the beauty of any home.

IMG_4156Techo-Bloc has many pavers to choose from and we can send you a catalog upon your request.

You have picked the materials and colors and now it is time for the real design choices which begs the following questions: What size of driveway do you want?  Do you want a turnaround area?  Do you want you walkways to match the driveway?  Do you want a wraparound driveway?  Do you want a defined edging outlining the driveway?  Do you want to landscape and/or add plants to parts of the driveway?  Do you want the driveway to be lighted? Do you want a marque entrance added?

With many of the decisions made and your questions answered it is now time for your landscaper to start your driveway redesign, which should include the design patterns, materials, colors, construction plans, project timing and, of course, the cost of the project.

Swan Creek Landscaping, Inc. helps homeowners and businesses in Cecil and Harford Counties with all of their landscaping needs including new Paver Driveways to beautify your home and landscape. From design, to construction, to maintaining your property year round, we will provide you with a landscaping experience that will exceed your expectations.  When considering your landscape, hardscape (patios, walkways, driveways, pool decks and outdoor living spaces) or lawn maintenance needs, please give us a call for a free consultation on how we can turn your visions and our experience into an outdoor living experience you and your family will enjoy and appreciate.

Phone – 410.378.8668                                                                                             Website: http://www.SwanCreekLandscaping.com