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11 Landscape Design Ideas to Improve Home Value

Are you looking for ways to increase your home’s value? Landscaping is one of the more cost-effective options for sprucing up your home before putting it on the market—it can even increase home value up to 20%. Use these 11 landscaping tips to improve your home’s curb appeal, boost property value, and attract more potential buyers!

Maintain a Healthy Lawn

A major factor behind making your home look presentable is to keep your lawn looking great. Overgrown grass, weeds, and dead spots are a sign of neglect and can drive the value of your home down. Fortunately, lawn care doesn’t need to be a budget-killer. Set up a fertilization schedule, mow regularly, and keep your lawn watered. And if you don’t want to do it yourself, lawn care companies are perfect to partner with!

Install an Irrigation System

One of the simplest solutions for maintaining your yard—and giving your home value a little boost—is to install an automatic irrigation system. Whether you’re looking to add a drip system or an in-ground sprinkler system, both distribute a selected amount of water so you can keep your landscape looking its best without worrying about overwatering or drying out.

Consider an Artificial Lawn

If you live in an area of the country where an arid, dry climate is the norm, artificial grass can provide your home with a quick value-add. Artificial grass eliminates the need to buy upkeep equipment or hire lawn maintenance companies. Better yet, yard turf can last up to 20 years, so you don’t need to worry about replacement if you plan to move within that timeframe. In addition, artificial grass conserves a lot of water, which can significantly lower water bills—an attractive selling point for your home!

Plant a Tree

Is your yard looking a little empty? Consider planting a tree! Depending on where you live, trees can add between $1,000 and $10,000 to your home’s value while also helping to fill empty space. That said, planting a tree isn’t an automatic boost, as mature trees are what buyers are looking for. It can take anywhere from three to eight years for a tree to reach maturity, so try to plant trees as early as possible. You can also look into landscaping companies that can assist you with planting mature trees—keep in mind, however, that this can get costly depending on tree size, relocation, and difficulty of planting.

Trim Shrubs & Bushes

If you have a lot of shrubs or bushes around your home, not taking care of them is noticeable to potential buyers. Make a point each year to prune and shape bushes in your yard to get rid of overgrowth or dead branches. Trimming shrubs and bushes down encourages healthy growth from the interior of the plant, which is vital to maintaining these landscape features long term.

Lay Down a Fresh Bed of Mulch

One of the best ways to keep your home landscaping looking fresh for longer is to add new mulch. Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil. It prevents evaporation, insulates soil, and helps maintain lower root temperatures, providing plants with essential nutrients that help them look their best. Not to mention, it’s the a perfect complement to any landscape design!

Cultivate a Low-Maintenance Landscape

An excellent way to improve your curb appeal and boost home value is to opt for low-maintenance landscaping. Rock gardens don’t need upkeep beyond replacing stray rocks. Succulent gardens and xeriscaping require little to no watering and are ideal for arid climates. You can also plant perennials around your home, which come and go with the changing of the season, so there’s almost no maintenance.

Highlight Your Home with Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting has quickly become one of the most desired outdoor landscaping features for homebuyers. With good landscape lighting, you can illuminate the outside of your home, accentuate landscape design elements, and even improve home security. Keep costs on lighting low by looking for LED and solar options, both of which will be bright enough to light up the outside of your home without increasing your electric bill!

Accent Walkways with Lights

Pathway lights are a simple solution for improving curb appeal. Not only do they help light the exterior of your home and highlight its features, but they also provide safety for anyone walking up and down walkways, stairs, driveways, and other paved surfaces throughout your home’s landscape.

Design an Outdoor Living Space

If you’re thinking about a large-scale update to your current landscape design, consider adding an outdoor living space! Outdoor kitchens, patios, decks, pergolas, swimming pools, and fire pits can all increase your home’s value, as buyers seek out homes with these spaces.

Introduce a Water Feature

Looking for a way to make your front yard landscape design stand out? Add a water feature! Features like waterfalls, fountains, and even small ponds are perfect for sprucing up your curb appeal and giving your home value a boost! While some larger water features may need some upkeep, most are designed with water recycling features that require less maintenance.

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Staying at Home? Make it Your Own!


20 Landscaping Trends for 2021

2020 has been a big year in the landscaping world and there are several innovations that grabbed our attention. Many landscaping trends took us back to nature with more low-maintenance, water-smart and eco-friendly designs. Many also involved using our outdoor spaces for more of our typically-indoor activities.

Here are 20 of the biggest landscaping trends we saw gaining traction in 2020, all of which will become even more important in 2021.

1. Going Native
If there’s one thing we’ve noticed over the years, it’s that people are choosing more and more native plants with every year that passes. Native plants provide a range of benefits but most importantly, they’ve already demonstrated that they can tolerate the conditions of your area.

When natives are chosen, you’ll have less to worry about as a gardener. They’ll thrive with the rainfall, wind, drought, and sun conditions that they’re used to. They’ve had hundreds—if not thousand—of years to adapt to stresses from pests or disease.

Even better, they tend to do better than non-natives when it comes to the extreme weather events brought on by climate change.

2. Outdoor Living Areas
If there’s one thing 2020 has instilled in us it’s the urge to do more outside. As we’ve adapted to socially distancing and safe socializing, many of us have turned to our outdoor areas as new living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and play areas.

The trend to take the indoors outside has been a big one this year and we’re seeing a lot of people transform underutilized lawns into a living area with a stained or polished concrete floor. We’re also seeing more gazebos and pergolas that can serve as a covered area perfect for working, meditation, or entertaining.

If you’re interested in turning this trend into your reality you can start small with an outdoor firepit/fireplace, a set of weather-proof outdoor furniture, or an outdoor pizza oven. Or you can go big and build an entire kitchen outdoors! To make it just like your indoor entertaining areas, you might even consider adding an outdoor TV or audio system.

3. Eco-Conscious Elements
For many of us, the prim and proper English-style gardens are coming slightly undone as we begin to adopt more naturalistic elements into our landscaping plans, opting for wildly lush cottage gardens instead. This could be seen as the incorporation of native plants but it could also mean doing much less to tame our gardens.

Many people are beginning to consider wildlife more and are leaving certain elements untouched—like plants and trees that provide food or shelter for local species of birds, animals, and even insects.

This “less is more” mentality can result in a low-maintenance garden that provides invaluable resources (aesthetic and otherwise) to both humans and wildlife. As a good rule of thumb, the more unattended it looks, the better!

4. Multi-Season Green
Gone are the days in which spring and summer were the only garden seasons to plan for! Now, there’s a new focus on trees, plants, and shrubs that offer either multi-season interest or tend to display their color, texture, fruit and flowers when we need a splash of color most—during winter!

5. Getting Creative With Food Plants
The boring beefsteak tomato has some competition—a range of other varieties of food plants that are receiving some new attention. We’re seeing that a lot of food gardeners are trading in some of the more traditional plant choices with heirloom and innovative new varieties.

Mini watermelons, purple cauliflower, heirloom tomatoes, blue kale, pattypan squash, purple bell peppers, and towering basil—the options are endless! The diversity of these plants not only looks great but can also help with pest control and eating a richer and more nutritious diet!

So, if you’re looking for a good winter activity, curl up with your favorite seed catalog and commit to trying at least one (or a few!) new varieties.

6. Setting Up A Pollinator Garden
Over recent years, we’ve begun realizing just how important our pollinators are and that even a small space designated for pollinator habitat can help us fight climate change and provide for the insects upon which our food system relies!

Depending on the space you’ve got available, you can convert your entire lawn, a small garden bed, or even a few containers into a pollinator-friendly oasis. It’s best to choose a diverse group of native plants that will attract different pollinators, including butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.

7. Growing Up With Vertical Gardens
It seems like we’ve been growing up recently because vertical gardening is a trend everyone appears to be trying! If you’ve got a small space, this is one of the best landscaping trends for you!

Don’t know where to start? Choose a wall, then build a frame. It’s much easier to do this before hanging it. You’ll want to use plastic sheeting on the back, which will keep water from directly touching the wall. Then a few layers of fabric can be attached to the frame. Next comes the irrigation system and then your plants!

When it comes to growing up, succulents, honeysuckle, Boston ivy (beware, some people are sensitive to this and it can cause a similar reaction to poison ivy), and lemon balm are our top recommendations.

If this is something you’d like to try but the process sounds daunting, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

8. Smart Technology
We’ve come a long way over recent years and now technology isn’t something that’s limited to our phones, computers, and at home virtual assistants.

Well now these are making their way outside and we’re beginning to see the integration of smart technology into landscaping. Especially in areas that are prone to drought, more people are beginning to install subsurface irrigation with smart controllers in order to do flow sensing. This manages the water so that someone can preset a maximum flow for a specific garden zone.

This takes the hassle out of your daily watering routine and is a more ecologically-sound way to keep your plants hydrated. If you’re able to splurge, you can even get a smart irrigation system that monitors evaporation, plant water use, soil conditions, and weather!

For anyone on a budget, there are several smart sprinkler systems that offer different configurations, easy use, and built in timers. Keep in mind that more efficient watering means a cheaper water bill!

For non-watering needs, we’re also seeing a lot more lighting sensors and wireless connectivity to sensors and outdoor speakers.

9. Keeping Pests Out
There’s no landscaping nightmare quite like waking up to plants and flowers that have been devastated by local rabbits and deer.

While there’s no tried and tested way to ensure that your garden is safe from hungry deer, there are a few things that can be done.

If you have a large garden, you can actually plant a buffet to satisfy the voracious appetite of wildlife pests. In the spring, daffodils and iris might prevent deer from eating other plants (plus they look beautiful!).

In the summer, aromatic plants like lavender, lilac, and allium might deter deer from going after the tasty vegetation in your garden. Anything with thorns might help to keep deer away, too! While not extremely prickly, a perimeter of American holly looks beautiful and will stay green and attractive throughout winter!

For another type of pest (mosquitos!), some of these same aromatic plants might also help to keep them away. Additionally, citronella, marigolds, lemon balm, basil, and catnip are great to have close to your outdoor living area, deck, or patio.

10. Composting For Healthy Soils
Whether a result of erosion, poor planting, heavy foot traffic, constant annuals, or just poor luck, many gardeners and landscapers struggle with poor soils.

Fortunately, this problem can be fixed by solving another one of the biggest problems in the world today: food waste. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. To put things into perspective, the average American family throws away $1,600 worth of produce every year.

We don’t need expensive technology or a huge shift in our practices to find a solution to both of these problems. We just need to start composting!

With a range of different sizes, prices, and functionalities, anyone can compost their food scraps and turn it into rich compost that is great for the garden! If you’re in a small house or apartment, a Bokashi compost bin would work for you. If you’re in a larger home, a cedar compost bin or compost tumbler is a better option.

11. Intricate Touches
Even with large spaces, there’s been an increased focus on detail this year. Flat and uniform surfaces are being replaced by geometric and ornate touches. Landscape designs are beginning to incorporate more stones, concrete pieces, and detailed patterns.

If you create an outdoor living area, walkway, or retaining water, consider some intricate designs and patterns!

12. Food Out Front
Before recently, the backyard has always been the chosen area for a raised bed or any food plants. Now, people are turning to their front yards for food production!

We know, you might have immediate concerns about what your neighbors will think or if it will end up looking messy. However, think of red russian kale or rainbow swiss chard—these vegetables are just as beautiful as decorative plants you may have in the front yard instead!

As an added bonus, growing food in a visible location is a great conversation starter. Not only that, but you may have better sunlight in the front yard.

13. Secluded Spaces
If you’re turned off by the idea of a front yard food forest and constant chats with neighbors, perhaps this idea is more up your alley. Recently, there has been an increased interest in transforming a corner of your backyard into a private, secluded slice of heaven.

As humans, we tend to have a preference for the cozy feeling we get when nestling. While we typically think of this for an indoor space, there’s no reason it can’t be done in the garden!

Homeowners like to unwind and relax and this is easy to create. We’ve noticed a trend towards smaller Japanese-style gardens with natural hedges for privacy. Incorporating seating for one or two, with some lush plants and a wall of tall and narrow plants as a privacy screen, is the perfect way to escape! Add a simple water feature and voila, you’re transported to a private paradise!

14. Low-Maintenance Landscapes
Some of us are natural green thumbs—most of us are not. This means that the majority of people want a garden that does not require them to spend hours and hours each week taking care of it.

Fortunately, a low-maintenance landscape is possible! Planting a ground cover, applying mulch, or turning a lawn into a cobblestone patio can help to reduce the fuss but still create an outdoor space that looks inviting.

If you’ve experienced the gardening buzz in spring, but then realize you’re not cut out for the regular upkeep to keep your landscape looking lush and healthy, then let us help. We offer a range of landscaping services, like mulching, turf management, hedge trimming, tree trimming, plantings, and a general spring and fall cleanup. We’re happy to get our hands dirty so that you can keep your weekly garden tasks at a minimum.

15. Unique Outdoor Lighting
Minimalist lighting has shone bright in 2020. Whether it’s hidden lighting that illuminates a path, a LED light channel underneath a patio or sidewalk, or lights placed under floating structures or trees, we’re beginning to see more lights used in new and improved ways.

The common trend with outdoor lighting is to enhance textures and curves of your landscape design, while still using lighting to improve visibility and ensure that garden spaces are safe.

16. Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping comes from the Greek word “xeros” which translates to “dry.” If you’ve heard of xeriscaping before, you likely associate it with the deserts in the Southwestern US. While it is an ideal design system that takes low average rainfall and periods of drought into account, there’s no reason it can’t benefit a landscape here, too.

As the name suggests, these xeriscapes are water-wise designs that take into several factors to help save water. Like most other landscape designs, it will require planning and a soil analysis. It will also include a selection of appropriate plants, efficient irrigation, appropriate maintenance, and use of mulch.

This low-maintenance garden design will require some additional water as the plants are getting established, but after that much less will be required in the way of pesticides, fertilizers, irrigation, and pruning.

What it will require, however, are native plants (trend # 1) and the addition of compost (trend # 10). Now you can see why some of these trends are so… trendy!

17. On-Site Water Collection
As you’ve noticed, many of these trends have some element of sustainability. It’s clear that people have been adopting more environmentally-conscious landscaping ideas over recent years. One of the most common trends is the collection of rainwater.

Every summer, outdoor garden activities typically require about 40% of a household’s water use. The costs can certainly become noticeable, which is why more people are turning to rain barrels to collect rainwater and minimize stormwater runoff.

These rain barrels are typically 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrels, although we’ve also seen some made from different materials like glazed ceramic or wood. Placed beneath a gutter or downspout, the collected water can be used in the garden or to water the lawn, but it can also be used to do household chores, wash cars, or even fill a swimming pool.

18. More Potted Plants
Regardless of how small or large your space is, potted plants are an amazing way to improve any landscape. They’re easy to move, don’t require a lot of weeding, and are the best way to control the size of your plants.

Another trend we’ve been seeing? Indoor plants. They’re good for our health and they reduce air toxins and prevent indoor dryness—especially in the winter. So, it’s great to have some potted plants that can make the journey indoors when temperatures get low.

19. Front Porch Living
With all of this talk of landscapes, it’s easy to forget about one area of the home that might deserve a little TLC: the front porch. As more of us are spending more time outdoors, this means that the front porch is no longer just a place for our delivery packages and dirty shoes!

Many of us are beginning to return to the front porch as a functional gathering space. Curb appeal is as important as making the front porch welcoming for friends and family members. This typically means that bright landscaping elements are chosen, comfy seating is added, and low maintenance bushes are incorporated. If you have a small space, hanging baskets are perfect, or some small potted plants.

20. Blue Gardens
Pantone, the color expert company, chose Classic Blue as the color of the year in 2020. For many people, this was the advice behind the decision to transform indoor and outdoor spaces with the addition of blue elements that are thought to instill connection, confidence, and calm.

They’ve predicted cherier color trends for 2021—like optimistic yellow, warm marigold, and serene cerulean blue. With these in mind, you can start making some of your plant choices for next year. Enjoy the colors that bring uplifted moods, comfort, and relaxation with plans for marigolds, tall bearded iris (Iris ‘Cerulean Blue’), and some happy yellow forsythia.

What trends have you taken part in this year? Are these trends going to be considered for your landscape designs in 2021? We’d love to know! And, as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any landscaping questions.



Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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The Case for Snow Relocation

If a client has limited space for storing and/or staging snow or large piles, then they need to be aware of the unsafe conditions these piles pose to the general public. In addition, these heaping mounds of snow and ice provide contractors with an opportunity to offer hauling and relocation services to move these piles to another location on their property or offsite to a snow disposal facility.

Here are three scenarios to point out to property owners that help make the case for snow pile relocation and removal.

Unwanted attention
What may seem like innocent winter fun could be a death trap for children and even adults. Although they may look hard and sturdy, large snow piles contain soft spots or pockets of air that can lead to sink holes. Kids, especially, can fall in, causing the pile to collapse, trapping them and leading to suffocation. If they survive, long-term exposure can result in hypothermia and death.

Furthermore, while building snow forts and making snow angels in piles at the apron of condo or apartment complex driveways, children typically do not pay attention to vehicles and snowplows as they approach. It’s very difficult for drivers to see over piles while children are playing. Furthermore, they often have to plow into the pile to move snow away from the street. The result is often a serious injury to anyone on the pile.

Pile Placement
In the event of a snow storm, plow trucks should be cautious about what areas snow is piled to avoid creating potential hazards. Piles should be away from stop signs, fire hydrants, street corners, driveway aprons and handicap accessible locations.

They should also be kept as far away from entry and exit points of buildings in the event of an emergency. These piles make entering and exiting a facility extremely difficult and unsafe for EMS providers when responding to emergency calls. Addressing and the relocation or removal of these piles alleviates any possible obstruction of signage or lot entryways.

Refreeze
Throughout the day the sun heats the surfaces around the pile causing them to melt. The water generated from these piles will naturally make its way to a low spot or drain. As the sun sets temperatures begin to cool, creating refreeze and icy conditions. As a result, parking lots, sidewalks, driveways and roadways can become extremely slick and dangerous to pedestrians.

When possible, piles should always be placed close to the high side near a drain to capture the water as it melts. As a precautionary measure, the area around the piles may need to be salted to eliminate slippery conditions. Again, removal of these piles mitigates the potential for refreeze and conditions for an unnecessary, and avoidable, slip-and-fall incident.

Properties such as condominiums, townhomes, apartments, retail, and even large manufacturing and industrial sites that operate 24/7 all benefit from snow removal, relocation and hauling services. With this in mind, these three real-world scenarios make a solid case for contractors to work with clients to address these potential problems, either at contract time or during the snow season if unseasonable winter conditions result in a large number or sized snow piles on a property.

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Liquid Deicer Vs. Salt: What's Best For Commercial Properties?

Getting rid of snow and ice on your commercial property isn’t as simple as it used to be, whether you manage an HOA, apartment building, or a retail facility. The need to increase safety is also higher than ever, with insurance companies taking a much closer look at how vulnerable a property is due to potential slip and fall lawsuits. For this reason, it’s important for property managers to have full confidence that their snow removal contractor is working efficiently.

Here at Property Perfect, we take pride in finding the most effective products to combat ice on the commercial properties we service. There are hundreds of different products (and blends of products) used to melt ice: from bulk salt, to brine—which is essentially liquid salt, to liquid deicer (which comes in many varieties itself). So, when it comes time for property managers to discuss their options with their commercial snow removal contractor, it’s understandable that the choices can seem a bit overwhelming.

Liquid deicer is a fairly new product within the snow removal industry, but it’s one that the more innovative companies have started to pay serious attention to. Liquid deicer works as a pre-treatment by keeping snow from bonding to the pavement, so that after snow is removed, ice doesn't reform as quickly and therefore less post-treatment deicer is needed.

Liquid Deicer: Cheaper, But Slower Working

Pros
It tends to be cheaper.

Though this isn’t always the case, liquid deicer does tend to be less expensive than salt when you pay by application versus paying for salt in bulk. For years, it has been standard industry practice for snow contractors to charge for salt by the ton. This doesn’t encourage crews to pay close attention at all to how much salt they’re putting down, let alone measuring in pounds exactly how much is being spread.

Due to our sustainability initiatives, the Property Perfect team is always looking to eliminate waste.

This means monitoring our salt output and becoming a champion of other snow contractors charging per application of salt instead of per ton. Charging this way encourages crews to be more conscientious of how much material they’re putting down.

Liquid deicer causes less damage.

Liquid deicer can be applied with much more precision than salt, which spreads as it’s sprayed. For this reason alone, it often causes less damage than bulk salt. We experienced this first hand when we began using liquid deicer last winter at Crocker Park. In the past, we’d replace around 20 trees per year on the massive 75+ acre lifestyle center, which gets serviced 7 days a week in the winter. This spring, that number was under 5, which is a savings of thousands of dollars.

Lower labor costs.

This one might be a corollary to our first point, but overall, it takes fewer crew members to apply liquid than it does bagged salt. If you have a full service seasonal contract, labor costs might not be something that concerns you, but for clients who are billed monthly, this is a huge benefit. Fewer workers on your property might not only lead to lower costs up front, but it can also make for a less intrusive snow removal experience.

Cons

It takes longer to work.

In general, liquid deicer takes longer to melt ice than salt does. This is why we use it most often as a pre-treatment solution for preventing the formation of ice on the walkable surfaces of your commercial property.

Salt: Faster, But More Damaging For Your Landscape

Pros

Salt works faster.

During the winter months, we’re constantly monitoring the weather for any signs of impending snow or ice. As soon as we think a freeze or snow fall is coming, we’re heading out to properties that have full-service seasonal contracts to apply pre-treatment. Liquid deicer works well here, as it keeps ice from bonding to the pavement.

But deicer can be slower than desired for removing ice once it’s already on the ground. So, for our clients who request service only after snow reaches a certain height in inches (usually 2-4 or 4-6), we sometimes rely more on salt simply because it works faster.

Salt can also be applied faster

Even though liquid deicer can be applied by fewer people, the average crew spends much less time putting salt down. If snow is falling rapidly time (or the lack of it) is always an important factor to consider. You might be thankful for this if snow starts to fall heavily right before your business opens.

Cons

Salt can damage plants, buildings, and interiors.

Another reason why we think it’s so important that crews are conscientious of how much salt they put down is because using too much salt can cause a lot of damage. As mentioned above, sodium leaches moisture away from vegetation and can essentially cause your turf, trees and shrubs to dry out. You may not notice the damage done until spring, when trees and shrubs don’t leaf out.

But the damage doesn’t stop there: salt can cause erosion on even the most durable of surfaces. Overtime, salt particles crystallize in porous materials like stone and eventually cause them to crumble. When it’s tracked indoors on people’s shoes, it can wreak similar havoc on wood, tile, and carpet.

The price and supply of salt can be unstable.

Winters with heavy snowfall will always lead to an increase in the demand for ice melt products. This is not only the case for salt, but also liquid deicer. What makes salt prices so much more unsteady is that there is a finite supply of it. When harsh winter weather hits, governmental and municipal transportation departments always get top priority. This leaves commercial snow contractors in steep competition for whatever is left. Basic economics dictates that when demand for a commodity rises, so does price.

More potential waste

As we said before, salt scatters when it’s applied. That’s just the nature of the product: it bounces along pavement where it lands and gets moved easily when people displace it as they walk. An apples to apples comparison in volume of salt vs liquid deicer will show that salt loses in the sheer amount that generally gets applied.

So Why Aren’t More People Requesting Liquid Deicer For Their Commercial Properties?

Despite the fact that liquid deicer has been used for years by municipal transportation departments in larger metropolitan areas, it’s still fairly new concept for many property managers. And, as with any new product (especially a chemical one), deicer will take some time to make inroads within the market.

As always, the Property Perfect team is here to help. If you’d like talk with anyone about the benefits of incorporating liquid deicer into your commercial snow removal routine, please reach out to us today. It’s never too early to start thinking about winter.

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Snow and Ice Management Services

Removing snow and ice quickly and effectively is key in keeping your business running as smoothly as possible during inclement winter weather. Failing to properly remove snow can have many negative effects.

If you experience a great deal of snowfall, the weight of it on your property's buildings could cause damage. Improper plowing could tear up your parking lot and sidewalks. Leaving snow in parking lots will make it difficult for customers, clients and employees to get in and out of their cars and into the buildings.

When you choose Property Perfect, we will grant an enhanced sense of visibility and mobility for your commercial property in the winter. You can focus on your business's operations without worrying about environmental factors.

Does your commercial property need snow removal services? Call Property Perfect today: (651) 777-7530.

Snow Plowing Service FAQ

• When should you plow snow?
It's best to plow snow during off hours, such as early in the morning before the local rush hour and before the business day begins. Plowing early in the morning will make it easier for your employees to arrive at work without any issues.

• How does snow removal work?
Due to the wide variety of different businesses we provide commercial snow removal services for, we may use different types of equipment, number of vehicles, and snow removal products for your particular site. We may provide snow plowing services, emergency snow removal, snow and ice management, ice control and removal, parking lot snow removal, hand shoveling for commercial sidewalks and entryways, and roads snow removal and sanding. Call us and we will design a custom snow removal plan for your business based on your facility’s needs.

• How do you get rid of snow quickly?
While it’s important to remove snow as quickly as possible, it is of paramount importance to remove snow safely. That’s where our 20 years of experience comes into play in a big way. We’ve worked with some of the world’s most recognizable brands to ensure they don’t lose business to bad weather. Depending on your commercial snow removal needs and your state’s snow removal laws, we’ll develop a multi-faceted customized approach to remove the snow on your property as quickly - and as safely - as possible.

• Should you plow an inch of snow?
Typically it is not necessary to plow an inch of snow, although there may be certain situations where this is advisable. An inch of snow or less on your commercial property can usually be dealt with by using salt or liquid deicer.

• How many inches of snow should there be before you plow?
Although each commercial snow removal situation calls for different strategies, typically the fewest inches of snow that would trigger the need for plowing is 2 inches. However, if you have different needs and want more frequent plowing to ensure the smoothest flow of your business, we’ll work together with you to customize the perfect plan according to your needs.

GENERAL LIST OF WINTER WEATHER SERVICES

• Snow Plowing
• Snow Blowing
• Ice Melt Applications
• Sand Applications
• Snow Removal
• Ice Removal

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Fall Lawn Care Tips

1. Remove the leaves.

A carpet of colorful autumn leaves may look nice and be fun to play in, but they're no good for grass. They block the light and trap moisture, potentially fatal knockout punches for the unlucky turf underneath. So when the leaves are falling, blow or rake them away as often as you can. Even after the trees are bare, continue raking out the corners where the wind piles leaves up. If you don't, come spring, the grass under that soggy, decaying mat will be dead.

2. Keep cutting, but to the correct height.

Don't put that mower away yet. Grass continues to grown up to the first hard frost, and so will need regular cuts to keep it at an ideal 2½- to 3-inch height. If you let it get too long, it will mat and be vulnerable to fungi like snow mold.

Cutting grass too short is just as bad, because it curtails the root system—root depth is proportional to cutting height—and impedes the lawn's ability to withstand winter cold and dryness. Regular mowing also gets rid of those pesky leaves, chopping them up and leaving behind a soil-enhancing mulch.

3. Continue watering.

People tend to let up on watering in the fall as the weather gets cooler. They figure that nature will take care of things for them. While it's true that there's more rain, more dew, and less evaporation at this time of year, that may not be enough to keep the grass roots well hydrated and healthy going into the winter.

If your lawn isn't getting at least an inch of water a week—a simple rain gauge is a useful way to keep track—then keep the sprinklers or irrigation system running until the end of October. By that time, you'll want to disconnect hoses and flush the irrigation system to avoid frozen pipes and spigots.

4. Loosen the soil.

Regular aeration—once every couple of yearsprevents soil from becoming compacted and covered with thatch, a thick layer of roots, stems, and debris that blocks water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the soil.

A core aerator corrects both problems by punching holes through that thatch and pulling up plugs of soil. It's a good idea to aerate a lawn right before fertilizing. All those holes in your turf will let the fertilizer reach right to the roots, where it can do the most good.

5. Add fertilizer.

Just as grass roots need water to last the winter, they also benefit from a shot of the plant sugars that protect roots from freezing and give the entire plant the energy to bounce back in the spring. Those sugars are produced by chlorophyll, which grass produces in abundance when there's enough nitrogen.

That's why we recommend a late-fall application of a slow-release granular 24-0-10 fertilizer. The numbers indicate the percentage by weight of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively. Potassium is also important at this time because it aids in root growth, disease protection, drought tolerance, and cold resistance. (A soil test can tell you how much of each nutrient your lawn actually needs.)

6. Spread seed.

A dense lawn also is good protection against weeds, which is why it's important to overseed existing turf. Not only does that fill in thin spots or bare patches, it allows you to introduce the latest in resilient, drought-tolerant grasses. Fall is the best time to overseed because the ground is still warm, moisture is more plentiful, nights are cool, and the sun is not as hot during the day.

You can't simply broadcast seeds over an established lawn and expect them to take hold. They need to be in full contact with the soil, kept moist until they germinate, and be well enough established before it gets too cold. Renting a slit seeder is a better option than broadcasting, but those machines are notorious for tearing up turf and leaving your lawn looking like a harrowed field.

7. Stay on schedule.

Each of the steps above has to be done at the right time for best results. Otherwise, it's wasted effort. For instance, overseed too late and the seedlings will be too tender to survive. Fertilize too early and the grass will send up tender blades that will get hammered by the cold. Fertilize too late and the grass roots won't be able to absorb all those nutrients you're feeding them. Thinking about aerating in the spring because you can't get around to it this fall? Don't bother. Spring aeration just makes it easier for weed seeds to get established.

If sticking to the schedule during the fall is proving too difficult, a lawn care service can handle the jobs that aren't getting done. Most often, those are the ones that require renting heavy machinery like core aerators and slit seeders, which are hard to transport, a bear to operate, and often in short supply at the rental yards at this time of year. Delegating one or two of those chores to a pro during this busy season will ensure the work gets done when it should—and that you will be enjoying a thick carpet of green grass next year.

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Dethatching and Aerating Your Lawn

Lawn care is simple—mow, water, and fertilize. Done! Well, there are two more things most homeowners neglect to do, to the potential detriment of their lawns: dethatching and aeration.

Thatch: A Barrier to Healthy Lawns

Thatch is a layer between the grass and the soil made up of interwoven accumulated dead and living grass shoots, stems, crowns, and roots. It creates a barrier between the soil and the green grass you so adore. A thin layer of thatch is good—about a half-inch. It helps maintain steady soil moisture and temperature. It becomes problematic when it’s thicker.

Thatch can harm lawns. It’s difficult for water to penetrate a thick thatch layer, causing water to run off instead of soaking in. It can harbor insects and lawn diseases, and grass may begin growing in the thatch layer instead of the soil, producing shallow root systems and exposing it to greater temperature extremes. It can block air, nutrients, and pesticides from reaching the roots.

You can tell if your lawn has a thatch problem when water runs off the lawn instead of soaking and you’ll begin to notice grayish-brown matts. To determine how much thatch has accumulated, cut out a wedge of lawn about two-inch deep. It should be fairly easy to identify the thatch layer between the soil and grass.

Contributing to thatch build-up are the three things you already do to maintain your lawn: mow, water, and fertilize. Compacted soil can also contribute to thatch build-up.

Aeration: Breathe Life into Your Lawn

The soil your lawn is growing in compresses over time. Compacted soil causes some of the same problems thatch does. The soil can become so dense water has a difficult time seeping in, grass struggles to grow, and roots gasp for air.

Aeration is the process of making holes in the lawn, which loosens the soil to improve drainage, making it easier for water, air, and fertilizer to reach the roots. It gives the roots some room to grow deeply. The result is a thicker, healthier lawn. Unfortunately, homeowners very often neglect this important maintenance practice.

There are two methods of aeration: tine or spike aeration, and core or plug aeration. Tine aeration uses tines to pierce the soil. Unfortunately, it can also further compact the soil; some don’t consider it to be aeration at all. Core aeration removes plugs of soil from the lawn and is the preferred method. Core aeration can also keep the thatch layer in check. Aeration equipment that’s pulled behind mowers tends to be ineffective.

When heavily traveled paths on the lawn start to look weak and there’s a thatch layer of an inch or more, it’s time to aerate. Lawns in good condition, with a half-inch or less of thatch, generally don’t need to be dethatched and should only need to be aerated every other year.

After your lawn is breathing easier, it’s the perfect time to overseed and fertilize using a slow-release fertilizer.

If aerating or dethatching sound like daunting tasks, call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Winter Risk Management

With the snow finally disappearing for the year, the summer months are a great time for commercial property managers to review their winter risk management plans. Assessing winter risk management plans in the warmer months will help streamline plans, improve performance, control costs, and better ensure the safety of visitors, staff, and the workers performing snow-related services. More importantly, summer gives managers an opportunity to identify these areas for improvement before winter returns.

RISK IDENTIFICATION

The foundation of any effective winter risk management plan is risk identification. To put together an effective plan, a thorough site review or walk-through of the property needs to be conducted. The warm summer weather will make it easier to walk around and find possible issues that could be hiding under the snow and ice during winter. Make sure to inspect these key areas of your property:

1. Building Entrances
Exterior doorways are prime areas for slip-and-fall hazards. Managers should not ignore awnings and other door or window coverings, either. These areas can collect snow and create runoff that can refreeze after a snow event, creating hazardous conditions.

2. Walkways, Stairs, and Ramp
Any surface that customers, staff, or other individuals walk on will need to be kept clear of snow and ice to prevent hazardous conditions and liability concerns. Applying de-icer before a snow event starts is a great way to help prevent snow and ice from accumulating on these surfaces.

3. Parking Lots
Crews should keep curb lines and other obstructions, including fire hydrants and decorative structures, clear of snow and ice buildup. Making good notes of the layout of your lot will minimize the risk of damage to curbs, medians, or other structures.

4. Drainage
The slope of the property can cause water to flow onto pedestrian areas and freeze. Identifying these areas is key to ensuring safety. Faulty building drainage and inoperable drains need to be identified as well so that they can be improved or repaired and minimize the risk of run-off water pooling up and freezing.

5. Snow Storage
Where to put all of the plowed snow also needs to be considered. It can take weeks or sometimes months for large snow piles to melt completely! Snow piles should be placed where they will not block driver or pedestrian visibility, or create slipping hazards from frozen run-off water. If the property does not have a suitable area for keeping all the plowed snow where it does not create any risk of liability, off-site snow removal should be considered.

6. Damage
Any damaged areas could indicate that changes are needed to your snow management plan to keep your property looking its best. For example, cracked sidewalks may be a result of run-off water that didn’t drain properly, and was able to freeze and thaw repeatedly over time, or grass and landscape damage can result from the overuse of deicers or improper snow storage.

RISK ANALYSIS – PRIORITIZE, PREPARE, AND BE READY TO RESPOND

After your commercial property has been thoroughly reviewed, you will be able to create a proper winter risk management plan that prioritizes the most heavily-trafficked areas of the property. Having these preparation and response strategies in place, and implementing them productively, will minimize liability risks and maximize the efficiency of the staff on hand. Ensuring that your winter risk management plan can stay within budget is also crucial. An efficient plan will control costs as well as possible, saving you money and the stress of going over-budget. By assessing risks, prioritizing the most important areas that need to be cared for, being prepared for a snow event beforehand, and being ready to respond as soon as possible, you can build an excellent winter risk management plan that will be efficient, cost-effective, and will maximize safety while mitigating risk and liability as much as possible.

Call Property Perfect today: (651) 777-7530.

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Commercial Snow Removal

As your business looks ahead to winter, it's important to be aware of how snow accumulation can impede your operations and hinder its success. There are many reasons to consider hiring a professional snow removal company, such as Property Perfect, for your commercial property.

1. Our snow removal services reduce your expenses.

Removing snow yourself takes a significant amount of time and energy. Plus, you have to invest in equipment like snow blowers and shovels. Some large areas may even require a plow. Another important part of snow removal is access to salt. Salt can be expensive and hard to find because of its high demand in the wintertime.

Recruiting Property Perfect’s regular snow removal services is a smart move for your business. We reduce your expenses with one cost that includes the necessary labor and access to snow removal equipment. We always have the supplies on hand that we need to keep your property snow-free.

We are experts at what we do, so we ensure your property is efficiently accessible even in the harshest of winters.

2. Minimize customer and employee injuries with our snow removal services.

Thousands of people get injured every year due to slipping on snow and ice. Common injuries associated with slipping on snow include:
• Spinal compression fractures
• Ligament strains
• Muscle sprains
• Concussions and other head injuries
• Back pain

Don't allow accumulated snow to create an unsafe environment for your customers and employees. Hire Property Perfect to take care of all of your snow removal needs.

3. Prevent liability with regular snow removal.

In addition to maintaining the trust of your customers and employees, regular snow removal prevents you from acquiring costly expenses. Lawsuits due to slips and falls on snow can make you responsible for a victim's medical bills, lost wages, and other costs.

If you enlist our regular snow removal services for your commercial property, you won't need to worry about someone, whether it be a customer, partner, or employee, slipping on snow or ice.

Property Perfect’s snow removal team gives your employees safe access to your building.

Slippery ice and accumulated snow can prevent employees from safely accessing your building. To minimize lost time, recruit our snow removal team to clear a safe path to your building. With an accessible way to enter your company's facility, your employees' productivity won't be compromised.

Property Perfect employees are trained to clear snow from a variety of tight and large spaces including:
• Entryways
• Parking lots
• Driveways
• Walkways
• Loading docks

When you choose Property Perfect, we will grant an enhanced sense of visibility and mobility for your commercial property in the winter. You can focus on your business's operations without worrying about environmental factors.

Does your commercial property need snow removal services? Call Property Perfect today: (651) 777-7530.

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Landscaping Trends in 2020

Intricate hardscaping

Flat, uniform surfaces are giving way to more ornate, geometric ones. Homeowners incorporating stone, concrete, and other hardscaping into their outdoor spaces are requesting waves, chevron, lattice, and basket weave patterns on everything from walkways to retaining walls, according to NALP. If you’re repaving a walkway or adding a fire feature, consider something with a pattern.

Simple, functional design

Minimalism has taken the world by storm, and outdoor spaces are adopting the trend, too. According to NALP’s report, people are looking for sleek, contemporary landscape designs that look good and have some useful function, preferably in multiple seasons: Think native plants, heat lamps, and protective structures that allow people to spend more time outdoors year-round.

Shades of blue

With predictions for Color of the Year 2020 trending blue, it’s no surprise that outdoor spaces are expected to as well. Expect to see more blue sculptures, water features, and plants in yards near you this year.

Personalized spaces

More and more, people are adopting the landscape design ideas that better support their lifestyle preferences, whether that’s xeriscaping to be more sustainable, creating edible gardens to consume more local, organic foods and reduce carbon footprints, or planting only native greenery to preserve the local ecosystem.

Smart irrigation

Smart home devices have made maintaining a home easier, and they do the same outdoors, too. High-tech irrigation, such as smart sprinkler systems, makes grooming a large, green yard or garden both easier and more sustainable (no more accidental waterings on rainy days!) and NALP predicts it will be a top landscape design trend in 2020.

Native Plants

Native plants are increasingly popular in landscape design, and not only in places where water is an issue. Designing with natives and non- natives allows the homeowner to save water while maximizing aesthetic considerations. It also means you can be really water smart, putting plants that need more water at the bottom, because the water flows downhill. Your whole irrigation plan can change when you’re using particular plants.

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Summer Lawn Care Tips

Summer Lawn Care Tips:

1. Mow at the right height.

In summer, adjust your mower height to leave grass taller. Taller grass shades soil, which reduces water evaporation, leads to deeper roots and prevents weed seeds from germinating. Ideal mowing height varies with grass type. Time mowings so you're never removing more than one-third of the leaf surface at a time.

2. Water properly.

For the healthiest grass, water your lawn deeply and infrequently. Check with your local water authority or Cooperative Extension System office for recommended irrigation schedules. Discover tips on how much water a lawn needs. Learn the basics of lawn watering.

3. Treat for Grubs.

Japanese Beetles, June Bugs (Beetles) and European Chafers lay eggs in grass in early to midsummer. Eggs hatch into Grubs in mid-to late summer. Timing varies by Beetle and region. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office to determine the best time to put down Grub control.

4. Clean up after your dog.

The family dog can cause dead spots on a lawn. If you see dying grass due to your dog's urination, flush the area with water to dilute the urine in soil. The best solution is to create a mulched or pebbled area and train your dog to use that area for bathroom breaks. Also, keep waste picked up and dispose of it properly.

5. Avoid parking on the grass.

Driving or parking on the lawn is never a good idea. It leads to soil compaction, which can cause a host of other problems, including dead grass. During drought or times of excessive heat, it's even wise to limit foot traffic on grass to avoid damaging turf crowns.

6. Sharpen your mower blade.

A dull mower blade tears grass, creating ragged, brown edges that provide an opening for disease organisms. Sharpen your mower blade regularly. The rule of thumb is that a sharp blade lasts for 10 hours of mowing. Consider purchasing a second blade so you'll always have a sharp blade at the ready.

7. Let clippings lie.

If you're mowing grass at the right height, you can let clippings lie on the lawn. This practice is called grasscycling and saves you time, money and fertilizer. 8. Fertilize warm-season grasses.

Warm-season turf grows strongly during summer and needs nutrients. Check with local Cooperative Extension System office to learn fertilizer schedules for your region. Do not fertilize cool-season lawns during summer. Wait until fall or early spring.

9. Pick up litter.

Summer activities can result in toys, water games, lawn chairs or tools being left on turf. Pick-up everything to avoid damaging the grass or creating dangerous obstacles while mowing.

10. Tackle weeds.

Apply weed control to help control weeds. Always read and follow label instructions. Do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide in fall if you plan to seed or over seed.

Property Perfect is your Experienced Landscape Designer and Lawn Maintenance Specialist. Contact Us Today for a FREE Quote for lawn care, landscaping, or hardscaping.

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COVID-19 and Time Outside

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, spending time outside may help to alleviate some of the negative impacts of stay-at-home restrictions.

Research has shown that spending time in nature can be beneficial to physical and mental health. Being outdoors reduces stress, fights-off depression, and is vital to staying physically healthy -- something that is especially important during the current pandemic.

It’s true that we need to get outdoors to clear our minds, gather our thoughts, and keep our bodies healthy. But, with research still being compiled about COVID-19, one question needs to be answered:

Does going outside lower or raise the risk of contracting COVID-19?

Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon from East Cooper Medical Center, said that preliminary studies show that it looks like the risk of contracting the virus while outdoors is relatively low, if you stick to the six feet social distancing measure.

According to data compiled by a Canadian journalist, he found 70 percent of super-spreading events of COVID-19 happened in face-to-face business or social settings. Almost all of these events were indoors, where people tend to be packed together in relatively small spaces.

Dr. Geier said that being outdoors is one of the healthiest things to do, given that vitamin D from the sun supports the immune system. He recommends that families spend more time in nature and give their immune systems a boost, further helping them stay strong against COVID-19.

To watch Dr. Geier's full video, click on the link below.

Dr. Geirer's Video

We at Property Perfect encourage you to make time for a walk or simply sit outside in your backyard every day. Whether you spend time in solitude or six feet away from a friend, nature is likely to benefit your physical and mental health. Stay safe and be well!

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