28 Feb 2020

Revamp your Landscape this Spring!

Spring is our favorite time of year at Serene Landscape Group. As the snow thaws and greenery returns to Michigan, we are working hard on designing projects for clients so we can hit the ground running once the season begins. Are you looking for some inspiration on ways to revamp your landscape this spring? Here are a few favorites from #teamserene:

  • A Built-In Fire Pit: This is the perfect way to not only give your home a modern look and increase its value but bring your family together. This addition will allow you to enjoy nights outside by the fire well through the fall.
  • A Seated Wall: For those who might be short on space in their yard or are looking to add other amenities other than chairs, the addition of a seated wall is the perfect way to add elevation to your landscape and increase seating. Our trusted professionals can help you design this build using Unilock, our paver manufacturer, to give you a clean, unique look.
  • An Outdoor Kitchen: This is the ultimate amenity for frequent entertainers. A big trend that will continue into 2020 is bringing the indoors, outdoors, and this is the perfect way to do just that.
  • Plants, Plants, and More Plants: Great landscaping will always increase the value of your home, and plants are the easiest way to do so. Our expert designers will work closely with you to help choose the right plants that not only match the style of your home but your personality.
  • A Unilock Driveway: We utilize Unilock in all of our paver projects. Their pavers are beautiful, but most importantly, they are durable and will extend the life of your driveway.

If you’re interested in adding any of these amenities to your home, contact Serene Landscape Group today to make your home dreams a reality!

19 Dec 2019

Trends to Take Your Landscaping into the New Decade

The winter is prime time for Serene Landscape Group to start planning landscaping projects and renovations for the spring/summer. Planning is essential to any successful installation, but doing so can be difficult if you’re not on top of the upcoming trends for this season.

Thanks to Mom’s Design Build Blog, we can stay ahead of the game and help you design your landscape accordingly. Here are just four predicted landscaping trends for 2020:

  1. The intersection of indoor and outdoor living: A cool trend in 2020 will be all about combining the elements and bringing indoor living to the outdoors. Sofas, comfortable chairs, and throw cushions, in turn, will live outdoors on patios – making lounging outside a comfort fest.
  2. Smart technology: We live in the age of advanced technology and smart features are enhancing home design everywhere. A perfect example of smart technology is phantom screens, which are retractable screen doors that can be used in outdoor spaces.
  3. Unique outdoor lighting: Sleek, minimalist, linear lighting will be all the rage in 2020. The addition of outdoor lighting illuminates your landscape and softens the design elements all-around your home. LED light channels hiding under sidewalks and patio spaces make for a soothing feel. Essentially, the lighting enhances the curves and texture of the design, boosting the look and creating safety and visibility for guests and family.
  4. Modern Patio Flooring: This year, a more modernized look with patio flooring will be on the rise. We can create unique designs for all of our clients using Unilock, which can be utilized not only on patios, but for walkways, driveways, and more. You can learn more about our paver manufacturer and what we can do using their products here.

Are you looking to update your landscaping this spring/summer? #TeamSerene is here to help! Contact us and our designers will help make your landscape dreams a reality.

This post originally appeared on Mom’s Design Blog and was written by Brittany Chaffee. You can view the original here: http://bit.ly/34FfQWl

18 Sep 2019

Fall Maintenance Guarantees Healthy Spring Lawns

What’s the key to a healthy lawn in the spring when the ground thaws and landscape comes back to life? It’s continued maintenance in the fall! While many homeowners focus on the leaves during the season change, it’s important to prep your lawn for Michigan’s notorious winter. Here are some tips on getting ahead and achieving a beautiful lawn come spring-time:

  • Pull weeds: This is not exclusive to fall and important all year round, but it can lead to less weeds in the spring when growth begins again.
  • Overseed and fertilize: Seed dead or bare spots and overseed your entire lawn to get dense, plush grass that is vibrant in color. Additionally, fertilizer should be laid mid-September for cold-winter climates and mid-October for mild-winter climates.
  • Continue Cutting Your Grass: It’s important to keep it at 2 to 2.5 inches tall, as more than 3 inches will cause it to mat, and lead to winter lawn disease problems such as snow mold. If you cut shorter than 2 inches, you’ll limit the ability to make and store food for growth in the spring and encourage weed growth.
  • Rake and Remove Debris: Raking and removing your leaves in the yard may seem like common sense, but it’s important to understand the damage it can cause to your yard. Aside from a healthier lawn, built up leaves that are left to freeze and unfreeze can leave room for bacteria to grow and release forms of phosphate and nitrates.
  • Prune Plants: Cut most perennials back close to the ground.

While this won’t guarantee a lush, green lawn when winter ends, following this guide will help you achieve the best lawn on the block and save time, money, and energy come spring. Of course, you can always contact Serene Landscape Group and take part in one of our lawncare programs. We are here to help!

These tips originally appeared in “A Seasonal Guide: Fall Lawn and Landscape Care” on www.loveyourlandscape.org. You can read the full article here.

03 Jul 2019

It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Yard into Top Shape!

 

Now is the height of lawn care and landscape maintenance season. While summer is generally the peak time for upkeep in your yard and growth for plants, it’s important to get ahead of maintenance early and practice it regularly throughout the summer and into the fall.

When you skip out on spring clean up, it can leave your yard in a disastrous state, leaving zero room for new growth, allowing fungi to thrive, and making your landscape the eyesore on the street.

While skipping out on spring clean up can cause serious damage to your yard, Serene Landscape Group can reverse that damage through disaster relief. Below are the following services we provide to turn your yard with time to spare before summer ends:

  • Lawn care and fertilization: Promoting growth in your lawn after a harsh Michigan winter and continued neglect can be difficult. Serene Landscape Group is a full-service lawn care company. We not only provide quality mowing but also treatments and fertilization that are catered to each individual client’s needs.
  • Landscape maintenance: We can provide complete care for all of your landscape needs. From the cleanup of landscape beds, tree, and shrub care programs, gardening, and weeding, we can bring life back to your yard and even install some new additions.
  • Gutter and window cleaning: This is a part of your landscape and home that people tend to neglect the most. Adventure Window Cleaning, a division of Serene, is our window and gutter cleaning company. We service both commercial and residential clients throughout southeast Michigan.

Continuing that maintenance throughout the summer and into the fall will keep the necessary labor and cost minimal. Summer may almost be halfway over, but it’s not too late for our trusted professionals to get and keep your landscape in top shape. Contact us today to get started!

21 May 2019

Small Projects Can Have a Big Impact on Your Home

Recently, the professionals at Serene Landscaping Group did a simple driveway expansion in Plymouth, Mich. and while the project was small, all of our work deserves the utmost care in planning and preparation. The key to any successful project like this one is a really good, well-executed plan.

In the installation for this and many of our driveway projects, geo-fabric is used to prevent sub-soils from mixing with base material and a rigid poly paver restraint is secured in place with 10” nails, which are driven into the base extension. Essentially and in layman’s terms, this extends the life of your driveway.

All of our paver projects are installed to Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute(ICPI) specifications and backed up by Unilock, our paver manufacturer. Unilock provides endless design opportunities not only for your driveway but for other landscaping features including the following:

  1. Outdoor Kitchen- You can add a whole new dimension to an outdoor grill by creating functional counter space around it. Adding a bar island will allow for extra seating and can bring your kitchen party outside during the summer months.
  2. Fire Feature- A Unilock fireplace or fire pit can serve as a focal point of your outdoor space. These features can be used year-round and can be custom built by the professionals at Serene Landscaping Group.
  3. Gathering Place- One of the biggest trends in landscaping is extending your living space outdoors. If you love to entertain, you can add something like a seat wall which can provide built-in seating and is also an attractive way to define your space.
  4. Outdoor Rooms- You can make any small space feel larger by using elevation changes, different paver patterns, and borders to create the feeling of distinct “rooms” in your outdoor space.
  5. Borders and Banding- We can add borders and banding accents in your pavers and walls to elevate your project from good to great.

 

You can see a variety of Unilock paver projects and other ways to incorporate it into your driveway or landscaping design in our gallery or on the Unilock website. Contact us today to get started on your summer projects!

BEFORE:

 

AFTER:

02 Dec 2018

Winter Landscaping

Ah, Winter. It is that time of year that we see our beautiful landscape transformed by the snow and ice, leaving a sense of longing for the Spring when we can start the planting season again. Despite the season, there are a number of things we can do to stem the “Winter Blues” and keep our landscaping looking top-shelf. Barbara Pierson, nursery manager at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut offers a few tips to “make you love your yard in every season!”

Originally Posted in Home and Gardens: By Kelly Roberson, https://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/landscape-basics/winter-landscaping-tips/

1. Focus on bark. Sure, deciduous trees lose their leaves in wintertime, leaving their branches and trunks in focus. But that can be a good thing, Pierson says, “if you have any interesting ornamental trees that have really visually distinctive bark, which will end up adding winter interest.” Many of those trees and some shrubs are smaller, meaning they’re easier to find spots for in the winter landscape. A few of Pierson’s favorites include dogwoods and birch trees, great for both texture and color.

2. Include berries. Many trees and shrubs have berries they hold onto during fall and winter, and those can provide food for birds overwintering in your area. “Crabapples hold their little fruit,” Pierson says, and they make a great addition to the winter landscape. “A holly with berries is really beautiful,” she says.

3. Remember evergreens. Evergreens are great in the winter landscape for many reasons. First, there’s color: Evergreens are not just green; they’re available in yellow, such as Gold Thread false cypress, and blues, including dwarf blue spruce, and all colors in between. And evergreens just make good design sense, Pierson says. “They are really important for a winter landscape, but they make good focal points all year-round,” she says. “I always like to have at least one or two evergreens and work a border around those. When you are planting a new bed, you always want to have at least one evergreen.”

4. Rely on your hardscape. Winter is a good time to critically assess your landscape, figuring out where it’s missing focal points. The solution to enhancing your winter landscaping might not be a plant at all. “Winter is the best time to consider hardscape,” Pierson says. “A trellis, a bench, an arbor, even a garden sculpture are really essential.”

5. Adorn your summertime containers. Window boxes, hanging baskets, winter-hardy containers: All are indispensable for winter landscaping. Miniature dwarf Alberta spruce and broadleaf evergreens, such as Japanese Andromeda, holly and rhododendron, are perfect for wintertime, but they all have to be watered during dry periods. You don’t have to spend money on plants, Pierson says. “Fill containers with evergreen boughs of different textures and colors and interesting twigs,” she says, “anything with color in it.”

6. Stick with four-season perennials. Some perennials have evergreen foliage — ornamental grasses, hellebores, even dianthus with its beautiful low-creeping foliage — making them great for winter landscaping, Pierson says. “Make sure to read the plant label and find out if the plant has foliage in the winter, so you can see it year-round,” she says.

So, no need to dread the Winter season. We can enjoy the change of scenery and find ways to keep our landscaping love alive and well.

Also, you can schedule your Spring appointment with Serene Surroundings today, giving you something to look forward to in 2019!

Call today – (734) 416-9062

09 Nov 2018

Nature Can Improve Moods

We love sharing articles with our readers that demonstrate the positive effects of nature on people. Nature can improve moods and it nurtures our mental well-being. Many of our clients express that their own yards and landscapes are natural getaways from their daily stresses and anxieties. We love to provide serene surroundings to our clients; it’s not just a clever name!

Mood Enhancers: An excerpt from Landscape Architecture Magazine, June 2018

Byline: Joann Plockova

A Cross-Disciplinary Team Examines the Effects of Nature on the Urban Mind in Real Time.

According to the results of the pilot phase of a project called Urban Mind, nature does indeed nurture. Urban Mind uses smartphone technology to assess the impact of nature on mental well-being in cities, merging the immediacy of real-time data collection with a growing body of evidence about environments and mental health.

Developed in response to an open call put out by the Van Alen Institute, the research project and open source app were created by a cross-disciplinary team including the neuroscientist Andrea Mechelli of King’s College London, the artist and researcher Michael Smythe of Nomad Projects, and the landscape architects Johanna Gibbons and Neil Davidson of J & L Gibbons. It’s one of several smartphone-based studies, including LondonMood and Mappiness, that explore the effects of the environment on mental well-being, but Urban Mind is distinguished by its cross-disciplinary team and the inclusion of specific types and amounts of nature—sky, trees, birdsong, and so forth. “We’ve had a long-standing interest in how nature and landscapes influence our health,”

Davidson, a partner at the London-based firm, says. “In regard to mental health, we always had a sort of instinct of how important it might be, but there’s been a lack of robust scientific data to support that hypothesis.” As a member of the mixed team of academics and practitioners, “we saw some benefits in the different disciplines challenging each other’s preconceptions,” Davidson says. J & L Gibbons brought a knowledge of city planning, a strong interest in research, and a decade of experience working with the mayor of London on a policy framework project focused on the city’s green infrastructure plans. “We think landscape architects are quite well placed across a lot of disciplines to see where there might be opportunities to connect the dots,” Davidson says.

A serene patio by Serene Landscape Group

Preceded by a baseline assessment that included demographics and trait impulsivity (an indicator of those at greater risk of mental health issues), the app poses a series of questions that asks participants about their current environment (Can you see trees? Can you hear birds singing?) and mental well-being in the moment. Prompts were sent to participants seven times per day over a period of one week. Data was collected in real time using a technique called ecological momentary assessment. “So as you’re walking around the city or in your office, the questions you’re asked require a response within a fairly limited time frame,” Davidson says. “What that means is that the responses you are getting are without bias.”

Results, published in January in BioScience, showed that exposure to natural elements such as trees, sky, and birdsong positively affect mental well-being in the moment, but also that those effects linger beyond the moment. And for people with more potential to develop mental health issues, those benefits were even greater. “In real terms,” Davidson says, “this might inform the work of landscape architects to inform a frequency and a distribution of urban nature interventions that can lead to the improved long-term well-being for urban communities.”

20 Oct 2018

How Trees Can Improve Quality of Life

We found this article while reading through a recent issue of one of our trade magazines and wanted to share it with our readers. We are sharing it as a demonstration of how a well thought out landscape design and specific placements of trees can improve quality of life, as well as positively impact your neighborhood and the local community. We hope you enjoy!

A Cooler Canopy: An excerpt from Landscape Architecture Magazine, June 2018

Byline: Gweneth Leigh, ASLA

In Suburban Sydney, A Landscape Architect Quantifies the Variable Effects of Street Trees.

Libby Gallagher spent two years collecting data as a PhD student at the University of Sydney on how the different forms, species, and age ranges of street trees affect their ability to lower temperatures, sequester carbon, and reduce household energy costs. “It was an onerous process, to be honest,” says Gallagher, a landscape architect and the director of Gallagher Studio in Surry Hills, New South Wales.

Now, however, that hard-earned data is the backbone of Cool Streets, an initiative Gallagher created with community planners Cred Consulting. Gallagher’s modeling revealed that nontraditional street planting designs —such as using asymmetrical layouts and a mixture of species—helped keep neighborhoods cooler. However, maximizing benefits relied on trees’ reaching maturity, and survival can be tough for juvenile tree stock. Cool Streets wants to improve their chances by helping residents become better tree stewards.

The program measures the potential impacts of different street planting strategies. For instance, a young, 16-foot-high tree can save up to AU$100 on a household’s annual electricity bill. Within a few decades, the annual savings can grow to AU$400. The Cool Streets team uses this information in neighborhood workshops as a way to help residents determine planting designs for their streets.

For example, Boonderoo Avenue in suburban Glenwood, New South Wales, is just under a decade old; street trees had never been incorporated. The Cool Streets team shared multiple canopy options with street residents, each accompanied by data quantifying impacts of CO2 emissions and household power bills. Desiring the appearance of neatness and order, residents opted for a symmetrical design using small, compact trees. The option delivered few benefits in terms of cooling. So the Cool Streets team devised ways of maintaining a “neat” appearance using bigger trees that were four times more effective at cooling temperatures and reducing energy bills. The majority of residents were swayed by the data and decided to implement the alternative design.

Cool Streets has caught the attention not only of local city councils but also of residents who are keen to implement similar street planting strategies in their neighborhoods. A methodology is being developed in hopes of replicating it across the country. “Climate change can feel so overwhelming,” Gallagher says. “Being able to empower people to do something from their street and in their neighborhood opens up a dialogue to new possibilities.”

31 Aug 2018

Preparing Your Lawn for Fall

Labor Day signifies onset of the fall season. During fall many homeowners think that their lawns need less upkeep. However, this is not necessarily the case. During this time of year, grass is busily absorbing energy, moisture, and nutrients in preparation for a long, dormant winter. By giving your lawn continued attention in the upcoming months, you are ensuring a healthy and lush spring lawn! Here are some fall lawn prep tips:

The first step to preparing your lawn for fall is to drain your irrigation lines. If water freezes in the lines it could cause damage to the system. You can empty the system with compressed air or use drain valves. For best results, shut off the water to the system and drain each zone separately. Also drain the main supply line from the house. If you use an air compressor, don’t exceed 50 psi of air pressure.

Fallen leaves can be a hassle to deal with. It is important to rake them up before snow falls, as leaf buildup can lead to excess moisture and block sunlight from reaching the soil and grass. If you don’t want to rake them up, you can run your lawn mower over the leaves multiple times to chop them into fine pieces. The smaller pieces will decompose faster and help to contribute to grass health.

Fall is the key time to fertilize your lawn. Applying a good fertilizer in late fall will give your lawn a real pre-winter boost and get it ready for the upcoming cold because of fertilizers’ most common ingredients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen helps build strong, healthy roots, while Potassium helps your lawn survive the cold.

21 Aug 2018

Tips for a Beautiful Lawn

Achieving a picture perfect green lawn may seem like an impossible task. However, with the right tools and know-how, a beautiful lawn is attainable!

  • Do a soil test. A soil test kit can be bought online or in-store at Lowe’s, Walmart, or Home Depot. Doing a soil test can help you to identify what problems you may have with your lawn and help you to identify the appropriate solutions. This will prevent you from over fertilizing.
  • Choose the right grass for you. When choosing a type of grass, there are several factors you need to take into consideration: climate, amount of sun, traffic on the lawn, surrounding plants, and incline. Some grasses that are well suited for Michigan include: Kentucky Bluegrass, Rough Bluegrass, Fine-Leaved Fescues, and Perennial Ryegrasses. Having a grass that is suited to Michigan and your lawn will reduce the amount of lawn care needed.
  • Change your mowing habits. Cutting your grass short actually harms its health. It causes surface roots to become exposed, the soil to dry out faster, and for surface aeration to be reduced. Ideally, you should not cut of more than one-third of the grass at any one time. Most grasses are healthiest at 2.5” to 3.5” tall. Additionally, when your lawn is finished growing for the season, cut it a little shorter to around 2” to minimize the risk of mold build-up during the winter.
  • Water longer and less often. Rather than watering often and in small amounts, lawns do better when watered less frequently and in larger amounts. This watering style encourages your grass to develop deep root systems, which makes your lawn hardier and more drought-resistant. A good rule of thumb when watering is to “Let the lawn dry out before re-watering; as a rule of thumb, the color should dull and footprints should stay compressed for more than a few seconds.” When watering, put a cup in the sprinkler zone; it should get at least one inch (2.5cm) water. Another tip is to water in the morning to less water is lost to evaporation. It is also important to note that different types of grass require varying periods of time between watering. 12-21 Days: Bahia grass, Buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, Centipede grass. 8-12 Days: Carpet grass, Fine fescue, Kikuyu grass, Seashore paspalum, Tall fescue, Zoysia. 5-7 Days: Ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Bentgrass.