Tired of watering, weeding, feeding, mowing your lawn? Installation of artificial turf is the answer. Hate Fake? Today’s artificial grass looks like the real thing but unlike the real thing – stays perfectly groomed and green all year round. It especially works wonders in a hard-to-grow-anything shady yard.
Johnson’s Landscaping installed this lifelike artificial grass and gave it a natural, undulating border of dry stack walls and soil border for bedding plants to further enhance the illusion. Watch the installation video to see the amazing transformation and the lovely outcome – inviting landscape design for a lucky backyard in NW Washington DC. Contact Johnson’s Landscaping and talk to them about your yard makeover with easy-care outdoor-living ideas brought to fruition with professional landscape design.
Drainage & Erosion Solutions, LLC has been awarded the 2010 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor bestowed annually on approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.
“Our Super Service Award winners are the cream of the crop when it comes to providing consistently high quality customer service, as judged by the customers who hired them,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.
Drainage & Erosion Solutions was founded in 2003 by two friends, Ken Fraine, a licensed professional engineer, and Mark Lane, a landscape designer. Ken and Mark discovered that their two fields could be merged into the area of drainage design and construction and decided to create a unique service company to help homeowners with both engineering consultation and design system installation, all while creating an aesthetically pleasing result.
Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Snow, it was beautiful but troublesome last year in the Washington DC Metro Area, wasn’t it? If you were one of the unlucky warriors battling the blustery blizzard’s effects inside and outside your domain, you were definitely not alone. The snow was so significant that the weight caused caveins of flatroofs and the melting from ice dams forced rivers of ice water down our windows and walls.
Unless you want to find yourself shoveling snow buildup off your roof again this year, here’s some prevention tips & advice:
Gutters. Keep your gutters free and clear to keep water flowing away from your home.
Heat Tape. Find it at your local hardware store. Install along your rooflines (most houses will cost $500-$1000). Install where the roof meets the gutters and your unprotected water pipes and shut off valves. Very important to read directions about installation – could be damaging to plastic pipes.
Roofing Underlay. If your roof got damaged last year and you need to replace the roof, don’t shortcut and install ice and water shield, a roofing underlay material that blocks moisture from getting through. It only costs $500-$750 for an entire roof.
Insulation. Make sure you your attic is properly insulated. If your heat is escaping out your roof which can cause gutter damming. Check with an insulation specialist to see if you have enough to keep the heat down in your home, not up warming up your roof.
Snowblowers save backs. There are electric models but if your electricity goes out frequently in storms (and you have no generator), then it’s of no use. Infrequent use and expensive? Share with a responsible neighbor.
Generator. Power outages are here to stay. Besides the lost food, the room at the motel, no television or computer what else did loss of electricity shut down at your house last year? A generator’s size determines what necessities are powered in your home. Read more here about generators.Ice and snow melt at 35°F. Liquid water freezes at 32°F. Minor temperature differentials can lead to major freezing/melting problems so keep your temperature inside stable.
Pantyhose. If all else fails Steve Cockerham of Betty’s Azalea Ranch says, “Throw pantyhose up on your roof”. Well, there’s a little more: Fill the leg of an old pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Put the filled up pantyhose leg on the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. Use a long-handled garden tool to position it.The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof breaking up the dam. Remove in the Spring to avoid strange looks from the neighbors.
Wrap Bushes, Brace Trees. Fast-growing trees & multi-leader bushes can be weighed down by heavy ice and snow. You should wrap trees like birch (that have more than one trunk) and bushes like arborvitae, that have lots of branches. Again, pantyhose come to the rescue or any soft cloth or loosely bound with Bungee Cords available at hardware stores. Remove in Spring. If you’re worrying about a tree, take care of it now. Call a professional arborist like Wood Acres Tree Specialists to analyze the structure of the tree and cable the branches if needed.
Ice Dam Trouble
If you’re feeling temporarily safe because the weather forecasters keep downgrading the winter weather report - Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You’ll be patting yourself on your (not so aching & frozen) back later.
Welcome Home Washington would like to introduce you to a highly regarded Washington, DC Metro Area business in the field of improving water drainage on property and eliminating erosion problems: Drainage & Erosion Solutions LLC.
If you find any of these following problems on your land,Drainage & Erosion Solutionscan assess the current situation and provide design solutions:
Besides directing unwanted water away from areas, Drainage & Erosion Solutionscan add desirable natural light to your structure or home’s lower levels with egress. Whether you prefer a natural look with stone or maintenance-free alternative window wells from Wellcraft, it will be expertly installed. If you have a below-ground room with a closet (even if it’s a home office), it is, by law, classified as a bedroom and you’ll require egress*.Contactthem today if you may not be up to code.
*An egress window is a window that is required in specific locations in a dwelling and is intended to provide an emergency means of exiting a dwelling. Windows must meet specific size and requirements to qualify as an egress window.
Feeling creative this season? Evergreen decorations have been a part of winter festivals since ancient times. They have been used for centuries to represent everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. Take a walk around your own yard to see if there are some good candidates for decorative holiday greenery: Southern Magnolia, Holly, Junipers, Cedars, Firs, Spruce, Mountain Laurel, Pine, Cryptomeria, Yew, Boxwood, Pyracantha, Leyland Cypress, Arborvitae and Nandina (many more!) may all be pruned to provide Christmas greenery. There are a few points to remember when collecting these decorative materials:
1. Remember that you are pruning and in the wrong season. Remove the branch or stem at its base where it intersects another branch or stem. Prune with an eye toward thinning the entire plant towards your goal shape for better air and light circulation in the growing season.
2. When you bring your collection inside, re-cut the ends of each stem or branch and then split them either with a knife or by smashing with a hammer just before plunging them into warm water. The greenery needs to remain in warm water for 8-24 hours. Allow to dry and then spray all foliage with “Wilt-Pruf.” Do not use antitranspirants on juniper berries, cedar or blue spruce. The product can damage the wax coating that gives these plants. Keep completed wreaths, garlands and arrangements in a cool location until use. Display fresh greenery and fruits out of the sun and away from heat.
3. Poisonous berries are found on holly plants, yews, mistletoe, ivy plants, Jerusalem cherry, bittersweet and crown of thorns. The pearly white berries of mistletoe are particularly toxic. Keep all these plants out of the reach of children and curious pets.
Plan to replace greenery and fruits throughout the holiday season if they become less than fresh. Never keep dried out greens near a lit fireplace.
Decorating with Greens
Many different types of decorations can be made with fresh greenery. Some traditional types are garlands, swags, tabletops, kissing balls, and wreaths. A number of different types of forms can be stuffed with sprigs or branches to create topiaries. Kissing balls are a safer alternative to the usual mistletoe sprig (beware of mistletoe berries).
How to Make a Holiday Kissing Ball
Holiday kissing balls are often made of short sprigs of boxwood or other greenery and hung as an alternative to the traditional mistletoe sprig.
The easiest way to construct a kissing ball is to use a round potato for the base. The moisture in the potato will help keep the cut greenery fresh. Soak greenery to be used in water overnight. Insert evenly sized sprigs of the selected green into the potato until it is completely covered. If you have difficulty inserting the sprigs, make a starter hole for each with a metal skewer. Make the evergreen sprays form an even, well-rounded ball. After the ball is completed, decorate it with ribbons, berries, mistletoe or whatever else you wish. You can find a huge selection of mini-decorations at craft stores and garden centers’ Holiday Shops. Fasten a long piece of wire to the ball so it can be hung from a chandelier, doorway, or window.
How to Make Mini Christmas Trees or Topiaries
These are so beautiful you’ll want to make several at once – kids love to decorate them with child-size ornaments. Save 2 for your own display and give the rest away as spectacular hostess gifts.
Foam forms are available at craft stores. Prepare boxwood as described above and take sprigs of it or smaller leaf evergreens and push into the form until covered. Once it looks like a miniature christmas tree or the form you choose is fully covered decorate with ribbons, bows, mini-bulbs and ornaments, even strings of mini-lights you can get at local craft and garden centers. Keep in a shallow dish or festive pot (bonsai pots from garden centers are a good choice) and water once a day to keep the form moist.
…or take the busy Washingtonian route: just go to your local Garden Center for huge selections of already prepared greenery. Regardless of where it comes from, greenery crowns your house with nature’s simple reminder that you are uniquely blessed and there is always hope and renewal in the new year. Have a great holiday season – from WHW.
Very few flowers cheer up the landscape during the cold winter months – so try a vegetable. Once the vibrant colors of Fall foliage have fallen there are very few plants to fill this winter time void at your local nursery. In the Washington DC area, look for Brassica oleracea…. more commonly known as cabbage.
By cross pollination, botanists were able to hybridize the many colors and textures of Flowering (Ornamental) Cabbages (wavy edges) and Kale (crinkled edges) that we grow today.
These plants are very showy in color and form, and come in a variety of colors, ranging from white to pinks, purples or reds.The bloom, of course, is not a flower but foliage — a rosette of central leaves that lose their chlorophyll as the mercury drops, changing from green to white, pink, purple, and near-red. The ornamental cabbages and kales look much the same as their edible cousins, but the ruffled foliage is much fancier and more colorful.
Ornamental cabbages and kales do not tolerate summer heat, but are extremely cold-tolerant. They can survive winter temperatures as low as 20 F or even lower in protected areas if they are gradually acclimatized. While a sudden cold snap can finish this biennial that you’ll most likely treat as an annual, light and moderate frosts will intensify the brilliant coloring of these plants.
When purchasing ornamental cabbage or kale, look for a plant with a short rosette-type stem. Generally, if these plants were allowed to become root-bound in their pots, they will not get much larger after they are planted, so buy the largest you can find.
Kale and Ornamental cabbage plants prefer cool weather. Although Kale plants may be set out in the spring and allowed to grow through the summer, the best time to plant them is in the early fall. We have seen ornamental cabbage in all its glory way into a mild winter in this area before.
Planting Kale in August or early September will allow the plant to become established, but if the temperature isn’t cool enough, this will result in a leggy, relatively colorless plant. Planting before the first frost also means that you will have to contend with cabbage loopers, which bore unsightly holes through the plant.
The intensely colorful pigmentations that Kale plants are known for do not appear until after prolonged cool weather and a few frosts so it’s perfect for November/December.
Ornamental Cabbage and kale is best planted in a sunny location in a moderately moist, rich soil – in the landscape or in pots. You’ll enjoy the rich colors (with good weather luck!) throughout the season’s holiday time. – and yes, they are as edible but we doubt you’ll want to end the show early.
With all these intense storms that are occuring in 2010 in our area, it might be a good time to take a good look at your large trees.
Trees are down all over the area – particularly white pines. The faster the growing tree, the softer the wood. Evergreens are more prone to failure due to excessive snowfall or storms according to Wayne Knoll, City Forester of Rockville, MD.
White pines really aren’t suitable for most residential neighborhoods – they can grow 75 to 100 feet by 25 feet in diameter and there isn’t enough room for the tree structure and your house on the same lot. After 3-4 years they can grow up to 4 feet a year. That once-pretty screen you planted between the yards can turn into a giant, brittle, flyswatter (see image) that can fall on a home, car, take down live wires, or cause bodily harm. The big white pine has a crown structure that lends itself to big, broken branches. The Norway spruce, the amount of surface on those needles collect ice and snow and become extremely heavy and also a very popular one, the Norway maple which have such big, thick crowns they present themselves as a target for winds, ice, rain and snow – and lightning.
The root system of a tree goes out well beyond what we call the drip line, where those last branches are dripping water. It’s sort of a myth that the roots end there. Any damage that occurs to those roots, especially the root fibrils at the end of the roots is going to have an impact in the crown several years later. This can happen with housing construction, addition of sidewalks, driveways – they all can cause damage down the line.Check with a Certified arborist to assess your trees and advise you before construction.Be aware of any dead and dying branches. Look for any branches that have been pruned in the past, some of the pruning may’ve been done improperly. You also want to be looking for any fungus that may be growing and weakening your tree. Make sure you’ve checked trees that have been trimmed because of power lines, trees with leaves that fall early or the leaves turn brown and brittle.
Consumer Awareness Note: If you do have a downed tree do not fall prey to “lumberjacks”.They are tree cutters who swarm into storm areas from out of town and start knocking on doors. They are uncertified, uninsured, and unlicensed in our areas - it’s against the law. They want to perform the most dangerous of tree care services during times of storm-stress to make a quick buck – with no protection for you. State Departments of Natural Resources have been very busy canvassing neighborhoods and ticketing these characters.
Just in case you need some help, here’s a storm update…
Another powerful storm rolled into the metro area today bringing down trees, power lines, flooding roads and Metro stations.
It became black as night , then the lightning started – “At one point we had over 800 lightning strikes,” says ABC 7 Meteorologist Chris Naille.
ABC 7 Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill says weather trackers reported the rain coming down at a rate of 4 to 5 inches an hour. The storms include half-inch to three-quarter inch hail. The storm is still pounding Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. ”I think we could do this all over again this afternoon,” Hill says.
At 8:24 a.m. Pepco reported 103,009 customers without electricity.
Again: here’s the numbers to call if you need to contact your power company. Print these out while you can!
If you need to contact your electricity company here are the numbers and may we suggest you print these out for late if your power goes out in the future:
After so many complaints about outages that lasted days during recent storms, Pepco has come out with a five-year plan to increase its reliability.
No. 1 on Pepco’s reliability planwill be the tree trimming. In addition to regular tree trimming of older trees, which will increase the space between overhead wires and existing trees, Pepco will work with communities to remove trees that are dead, in poor health or that would hurt the distribution system if they fell.
We would like to welcome Betty’s Azalea Ranch to Welcome Home Washington. Betty’s is the largest single garden center in the U.S. As their name proclaims, their specialty is azaleas. You have never seen so many incredible azaleas in one place! The hardest part is picking your favorites from the many varieties and full range of colors. Choose from hardy standards or go for their unusual bi-colors or variegated.
16 Acres holds a lot more than their reknown azaleas & rhododendrons. You’ll find forests of trees, evergreens, ornamentals, shrubs, flowering bushes of every kind, annuals, perennials for every season ready for your purchase – all at discount prices.
Everything for your garden is right here: mulch, soil, tools, fertilizers, pots, statuary (if you want it for your yard and garden it is here) – with lots of friendly, knowledgeable service from the staff.
Need someone to put it all together for you? They have a landscape department that can turn your ideas into showhouse-garden style. Hardscapes, flower beds, landscaped walkways…put the jewel in the crown with expert installation of their healthy, quality stock.
No matter what the season, the scene is always changing at Betty’s Azalea Ranch to serve your needs whether it’s azaleas for Spring, flowers for Summer, planting bulbs and trees for Fall, or decorative indoor plants for Winter like poinsettias.
A one-of-a-kind Discount Garden Center right here- for your enjoyment and shopping- in Fairfax, VA.
If your daylily blooms, hostas, bushes, impatiens, vegetable garden, etc. have suddenly been devoured- you may have a deer problem. The Washington Area has a burgeoning problem with the deer population. They are driven from the shrinking woodlands to our gardens for food especially during times of drought which we are having right now in MD, DC, & No.VA.
There are several home-made solutions to repelling deer that some people swear by:
-hand a stong soap like Irish Spring or Ivory hung among your plants
-deer hate the smell of eggs (mix eggs and water and spray on your plants, add a little tabasco!)
-four or five mothballs in an onion sack, hang it from a tree about as high as a deer
-human hair sprinkled around the plants
-a six-foot high wire fence (angled away from the yard) will create a physical and psychological barrier that deer will fear becoming entangled in. The fence must have a 30-degree angle to be effective (deer can jump vertical fences 8 feet high).
-the “scarecross sprinkler”: squirts bursts of water when it detects movement
-deer guard: a fine mesh that comes in rolls or different sizes to place over your plants and bushes
Deer Repellant products (if anyone has used these let us know):
Milorganite. It is a fertilizer made from human waste, will not burn your plants and does not have to be watered in
The best idea is to plant deer-resistant plants so you have a good head start.
Here’s some great “deer-resistant” plants that do well in our area – Not a guarantee: if a deer is starving, he/she will eat anything.
Lucky 21 favorites of Welcome Home Washington.
Achillea – Yarrow
Aconitum – Monkshood
Ajuga – Bugleweed
Artemisia – Wormwood
Buxus – Boxwood
Carex ¨C Sedge (grasslike plants)
Coreopsis – Tickseed
Dicentra – Bleeding Hearts
Digitalis – Foxglove
Geranium – Hardy, Scented Geranium; Cranesbill
Grasses – Ornamental Grass
Helleborus – Hellebore
Iris sibirica – Siberian Iris
Lavandula – Lavender
Monarda – Bee Balm
Perovskia – Russian Sage
Picea – Spruce
Polemonium -Jacob’s Ladder
Potentilla – Cinquefoil
Salvia – Meadow Sage
2011 Update: same scenario only this year I caught the deer at 4AM when they set off my security lights. I had to go outside and shoo them away (those daylillies are such a treat to them). I sprayed Liquid Fence on them the next day (there were a few buds left) and so far so good. Liquid Fence (deer & rabbit repellant), by the way, smells SO BAD. I can’t describe it on a family website. We had a downpour last night so we’ll see how it holds up.