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Appreciation Letter

We, at Transblue, take pride in our work. We are always happy to satisfy our clients – it is our main goal. Recently we received an appreciation letter from AVW Home Owner Association:

“I neglected to thank you for the update on the two projects we had in the pipeline (Greenbelt Maintenance, and the Bark Project).  Thank you very much for the updates here, from what I can tell, the property is looking terrific!  Also, I appreciate you sharing the summer work schedule for the maintenance team. 

Definitely appreciate all the you and TB do for us, we are very thankful and grateful for the hard work in making our community look so good.

Thank you!

Andrew”

Words like these motivate and keep us going!

 

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Luxury Outdoor Remodeling

Retaining wall, water feature, lights

Transblue builds beautiful outdoor living spaces. We always happy to make your dream to come true! Look at this wonderful backyard transformation, step by step:

Beginning of work, clearing the space:

Work In the process, retaining wall and fence building:

 

Retaining wall and patio finished, synthetic turf installed

Water feature, plants and lighting are added. Finished project:

Call us today to find out more about luxury outdoor and what we can do for you!

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Hillside Landscape

Hillside landscape is the most challenging of all residential design problems. Whether it is a natural undisturbed slope or one composed of cut-and-fill, there are five essentials that every homeowner should be aware of. Not all designers will be skilled in this special situation, so you must know your options before decisions are made; that can not only be extraordinarily expensive to implement, they can have far reaching impact on the stability of your entire homesite.

First you want to preserve the view, but carefully. You may be tempted to take down the biggest and view blocking trees but tree roots are a great way to keep a hillside solid. So, it’s not a good idea to log your entire property. Hiring an arborist can help decide which trees could be cut down and which ones could be thinned out for a view.Hillside landscape design

Secondly, slope your space as gradually as possible. Any time you cut into the slope you compromise the integrity of the slope. So, go slow. To preserve the slope, take up the grade with a series of shorter terraces rather than one or two very large ones graded with cut and fill. The larger terraces may require extreme erosion control measures on the cut slope and a substantial retaining wall must be specially engineered to hold the fill. Such walls are constructed with enormous footings, sometimes extending down to bedrock.

Next, use woody plants to bind deep underground. When creating multiple retaining walls or building pads the natural layers of the soil will inevitability be compromised. By planting woody plants and select trees they will reach far down to secure the slope. Some great plants to plant on slopes are rosemary, creeping juniper, purple coneflower, astilbe, and Lily-of-the-valley.

Another way to protect your sloped property is to protect the soil surface. By covering the exposed soil is great way to extend the longevity of a sloped landscape. As touched on above, any type of ground over is a useful plant on a slope.  Research your area to see what would do well in your sun and shade areas. By protecting the soil, you don’t want to completely soak the soil as it will erode quickly. Install a drip line system to ensure that plants get the water they need and your property remains stable.

Lastly, this brings us to maintenance and accessibility. Now that you’ve planted woody material on a slope in an area that is dry you are at a higher risk for fires. So, keep this area maintained. Provide an open through-way to drag out cut material off the slope. In addition, have an accessible area for firefighters to put out a blaze if this should occur.

Read the complete article here

 

A hillside landscape shouldn’t scare you away from your dream home, just know it comes with special circumstances you’ll have to be willing to take on. Call us today and schedule a time for our experts to come and walk your property and work with you to create a gorgeous hillside landscape design!

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Xeriscaping: Drought Tolerant Landscape

House and xeri-garden

A xeriscape (from the Greek xeros, meaning dry) is a water-saving garden designed for a dry region. Xeriscaping is especially useful in the western half of North America, where little rain falls in summer and gardeners depend heavily on irrigation. Most gardeners rely on rainfall to water their garden. In some areas this may not be realistic therefore the drought tolerant landscape is a desirable way to approach your yard – BUT this doesn’t mean your yard needs to be brown, beige, and taupe colors. We’ll explain below.

  • Pay attention to your micro-climate. Note where the dips are and may hold the most moisture as well as the driest areas. This will create a map of your yard and will give you an outline of where to put certain plants.
  • Improve soil. By bringing in organic matter and fresh nutrient rich soil will help your new landscape flourish.
  • Limit lawn area. Most grasses require plenty of water to remain green and lush. By incorporating lawn and pavers or patio area together creates an open play area that your family may desire.
  • Use Mulch. Use mulch in unplanted soil areas with 2 -3 inches of organic mulch or gravel. To go a step further add a weed- resistant fabric under to keep the ongoing maintenance at bay. Do keep in mind that you don’t want to cover your entire yard in mulch – try to keep it to smaller areas in-between plantings
  • Water efficiently. Water the plants that have a higher water need more than the lower water tolerant plants. Lawns still may require sprinklers, but other plants can be done with drip irrigation.
  • Plant according to your specific area. For example, Maples aren’t recommended for California. A good place to start is your native plants, because will already be accustomed to the climate. Succulents are a trend that is sure to fit within this landscape. Young plants may have a tough time thriving in the heat. Be sure to purchase more mature plants to reduce the chance of them failing the first year.
  • Maintain closely. Fertilize, prune and check irrigation system frequently. Be sure to adjust the timing of the irrigation throughout the year.

Remember that your local nurseries are there to help! Bring them a rough sketch of your yard and see what they suggest for your new Xeriscape!

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Art in your Yard

Fountain

Yard art isn’t plastic pink flamingos and gnomes anymore!!! Yard art has a whole new meaning nowadays. While nature always takes center stage in the garden, you can always accentuate the look by adding amazing art pieces that bring a unique flare to your backyard. Art canhouse number sign be incorporated into seating, fountains, planters, and the overall landscape architecture.

A fun way to incorporate art into your front yard in a sleek and stylish way is to use your address signage and mailboxes in a fun and unique way. This also creates curb appeal in a unique way fit to your style. Stand out from your neighbors by personalizing this front area of your home!

pretty house number sign

 

 

Find more shopping ideas here!

 

 

 

 

Seating is a practical way to incorporate art in your yard. It could be a whimsy flower garden bench or a modern sleek custom-made seating. By creating conversation pieces within your yard, you can rest assured that there will never be a lull in your backyard!

art bench

After your guests have gotten comfortable – give them something to look at! Fire pits and fountains are interactive ways to welcome your friends and family. Fire pits can be used year-round for smores and cozying up after a long day. By combining fire and water features it’s a guarantee show stopper!

Art can be within all areas of your yard. If you have a theme or overall feel to yourfire pit  outdoor space, it’s easy to incorporate it throughout. The fence, tree placement, water features, gazebos, and of course patio design can all include art into your yard. It could be an upcycled whimsy garden feel, an Japanese retreat, or a super modern crisp back yard.

 

 

 

Of course, if flamingos are the theme of your yard, I found a 9 foot one here. Yes, a 9-foot-tall flamingo. It’s a bargain for $10,000. Call us today and we can help you design your landscape around your new yard art piece!

9-foot-tall flamingo

 

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Assessing and Planning your Landscape

plants

When making changes to the landscape and surroundings of your home, there are many things to take into consideration when investing time and money into your land. Having a 1, 3, and 5-year plan is great! Of course, not every household can do 6 big projects within 1 year, but by planning it out over a few years you can find the most effective way to reaching your goals.  It is a good idea to have an expert help you to make these decisions.

  • Distinguish between dying trees/bushes and those that just need some TLC. Dead and dying trees are a hazard in storms and wind. They need to be taken out and addressed before that season comes around. Maybe you just need some fertilizer throughout the property.
  • Look at what’s over grown and obscuring windows, walkways, doors, and driveways. Vines and trailing plants can get out of control easily. Prune back and clean up anything that is overgrown.
  • Take into consideration how much work and effort you want to be putting in.  If you don’t have the time to take care of finicky plants, don’t plant those types.  If you are in a region that is hot and dry, take into consideration how much water plants need.
  • Assess how and where plants are in their lifespan. Financially, a home owner won’t install all young plants, trees, and bushes at the same time. Stagger out the ages of the plants, so they don’t all mature and overgrow at the same time, resulting in replacing or a large pruning at one time, which could cost a lot at one time.
  • Don’t fight Mother Nature. Look at what your property wants to grow. Work with the natural environment rather than constantly fighting natural tendencies of the land and area. If your home backs up to a stream, embrace it. Plant water heavy or even aquatic plants. Yellow flag, Louisiana Iris, Palm Grass or even water lilies would be fun!
  • Ask yourself what is a ‘Must’ on your list. Do you need ramps for the patio entrances for Grandpa Joe’s wheelchair? Does your home back up against the community park and you need to plant a privacy row of tall trees? Do you need covered parking for your RV? Will your child be the next Michael Phelps and you need an Olympic sized swimming pool installed? (Hey, you never know!)

Contact us today and we can walk your property and assess how best to go forward with changes to the landscape!

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Enhanced Backyard

House backyard, retaining wall

Transblue can transform your backyard into anything you want! Fire-pit? Sure! Water feature? Yes, please! And throw stone stairs on top of that!

Just let us know what you dream about, and we will do it for you! Look at our new project and a beautiful result:

Fire-Pit, Water Feature and Flagstone

firepit, water feature, backyard

Stone Stairs

Stairs

 

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Checklist: Winter Yard Work

Frosted grass

Landscape and yardwork are usually the last thing on the minds of most homeowners in the dead of winter, but this is actually the ideal time to renovate the lawn and eliminate the brown spots and crab grass left over from last summer.

Lawn renovation

A lawn renovation starts with a thorough raking to open the ground and expose the soil so new seeds can germinate. Next, level the lawn by covering the lowest areas with new soil. Then, reseed the entire lawn if necessary, or simply patch certain areas as required.

To ensure germination, add a good fertilizer and cover the seeds with humus to protect them from hungry birds. Then wait about three or four weeks for the seeds to pop.

An advantage to doing this in the winter is that nature provides enough water to germinate the seeds, whereas it is necessary to sprinkle the areas during other times of the year.

Crab grass

At this time of year your grass is full of millions of crab grass seeds waiting to sprout in the spring. Therefore, you want to be ready to spray with a pre-emergent about the last week of February, just before the temperature starts to warm up.

However, you don’t want to apply pre-emergent any earlier than February, as it would kill new seeds that you have planted. Also, the chemicals are not be as effective in the cold weather.

Also, remember that you cannot apply pre-emergent yourself because it is a hazardous chemical which by law must be applied by licensed professionals.

Pruning

Now is the time to begin pruning your trees, and don’t forget about your roses, too. In order to improve the production of both fruit trees and rose bushes, you must prune before they start to bud.

You should also cut back overgrown bushes and trim non-fruit trees before they start to grow again.

Professional pruning consists of:

  • Clean from the inside out, removing crossing branches.
  • Thin branches so they will not become too heavy with fruit. Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Don’t forget to spray your fruit trees with dormant oil. You should apply dormant spray three times: around Thanksgiving, around Christmas, and the third application should come after pruning.

Flower beds

Now is a great time to clean out the flower beds, removing the fallen leaves and blossoms to avoid potential fungus and molds from growing.

Planting

Plant bare-root trees and roses before spring arrives. Now is when you will get the very best prices possible on new trees and bushes for your landscape.

Contact landscape pros

Finally, winter is the ideal time to contact a landscape contractor about updating, remodeling, or totally reinstalling your yard.

Homeowners typically wait until spring to make their initial calls, only to find that most quality landscapers are busy and even scheduled ahead by March. Plan ahead to get your best service and prices of the year.

 

Original article was taken from HomeAdviser

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Arbor Care – Part 3 – Are you trees as healthy as they can be?

Lonely tree in the field

With all this Christmas celebration, presents and joy our blog post got delayed, so I apologize for that. However now we are getting back on track! So lets talk more about trees and how to apply fertilizer! 

Earlier, we’ve covered how to make sure your landscaping team is pruning and caring for all the trees at your locations. Today we have two more tips for care that are more relevant than you might think. The trees at your location might look like they are fine, but are they at their healthiest, and protected from pests?

Our focus today is on younger trees, and how to make sure you keep them healthy enough to grow into the beautiful large trees, that will keep your locations looking their best for years to come.

Deer Protection

In many places, most newly planted trees must be protected from deer. White-tailed deer damage young trees in two different ways:

  • They eat, or browse on the trees especially the twigs and buds; and
  • The bucks, or male deer, rub their antlers along the trunk, or stem, and scrape off the tree’s bark. The deer are instinctively rubbing velvet, or skin, off their antlers.

Both browsing and rubbing by deer kills trees. Therefore, protecting your trees is important.

One of the easiest way is to protect a newly planted trees from browsing is to plant trees that are taller than 6 feet. Deer may still eat some lower branches but they will not be able to reach the top of the tree allowing the tree to continue to grow.

For smaller trees, install chicken wire or deer netting around each tree or groups of trees. The wire or netting should be at least 5 feet tall.

There are several ways to stop bucks from rubbing the trunks. The best protection is to install a cage around the tree trunk. The best material is a heavy-duty plastic mesh. Chicken wire will also work. The mesh or wire should be at least 4-feet tall. It should be anchored to the ground so the deer cannot push it out of the way. Another way is to install two pieces of 4-foot rebar on opposite sides of the stem, or trunk, and as close to the trunk as possible.

 Fertilization

The best, cheapest, and easiest way to fertilize a tree is to mulch it properly. Mixing leaves into the mulch each fall adds a lot of nutrients. If your trees are healthy, use the leaves from your lawn that have been chopped into small pieces with the mower. If the leaves appear to be unhealthy or moldy, then don’t mix them in your mulch.

I think my tree needs a fertilizer.  What should I do?

The best way to figure out what kind of fertilizer your tree needs is to test your soil. The results will also tell you how often and when to apply the fertilizer.

An additional benefit of getting a soil test is that it provides helpful information on how to manage other plants in your yard.  

Often people spread the fertilizer over the grass around the tree, but the result is better grass and weeds rather than improved tree growth. Getting fertilizer below the grass to the roots of trees is important and not difficult. Many licensed tree care companies offer this service, but it can also be done on your own – follow the steps below.

How to apply fertilizer to your trees:

Test your soil before fertilizing to determine what nutrients are needed, how much to apply and when.

  • Choose one of the following 3 methods of application:
    • Fertilizer stakes: Push fertilizer stakes into the ground below the roots of the grass. You will need gloves and a mallet to hammer the stakes about 10 inches into the ground.
    • Granular fertilizer: Dig or drill 10-inch deep holes into the soil. You can use plant flower bulbs to dig the holes. Some home and garden stores rent or sell small augers. Place the granular fertilizer into the holes.
    • Liquid fertilizer: Inject liquid fertilizer 8-10 inches below the surface into the soil with a probe. This is the preferred method of the pros, but unrealistic for most homeowners without the special tools.
  • Based on the results of the soil test, head to your local home improvement store to buy the fertilizer. Tree fertilizer is not the same as fertilizer for grass. Look for “Deciduous Tree” or “Evergreen” and water insoluble nitrogen (WIN) on the label.
  • Use a slow-release fertilizer to protect the quality of water in our watersheds.
  • Always follow the directions on the label of the fertilizer.

When to apply fertilizer:

  • Follow the directions from the results of your soil test.
  • Time it right:
    • In October or November to encourage root development; or
    • In March or April to encourage tip and leaf growth.
  • Never fertilize a newly planted tree – mulch is best for the first 3-4 years after planting.

Where to apply fertilizer:

  • Put fertilizer stakes or dig the holes for granular fertilizer under the branches of the tree in a grid formation, about every 2 ft.
  • Start at the outside, or the ends of the branches, and go in towards the stem of the tree.
  • For all trees, stay at least 4 feet away from the trunk of the tree and work out to the tips of the branches.

 Check back tomorrow for our closing Arbor Care blog post