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Ensure Landscape Success with Simple Soil Testing

Summer is in full swing, and our recent travels around York, PA have revealed that this summer’s heat and lack of rain has taken a toll on local lawns and landscapes.

Many landscape owners believe that the problem is simply the inevitable result of this year’s extreme heat and irregular rain, but something else may be having an effect, and even with ideal temperatures and rainfall, that factor can prevent lawns and landscapes from being fully healthy and looking great.

Fortunately for these home and business owners, the team at Hively Landscapes has the ability to transform their lawns and landscapes from an eyesore into the lush green lawns and beautiful gardens you thought were only possible in commercials. Continue reading

Natural Pest Control

mosquitoIn celebration of Shark Week 2016 kicking off this Sunday (June 26), we wanted to draw attention to a real danger to humans here in Pennsylvania… mosquitoes! You may be surprised to learn that the deadliest animal in the world is also one of the smallest in size. Here in Pennsylvania, we most associate mosquitoes with the West Nile Virus, and in other parts of the world they also carry malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, and the much talked about, Zika virus. Mosquitoes are hard to escape as they are found in every region of the world except for Antarctica, and in Alaska they’re so big and plentiful that they’re the unofficial state bird. Continue reading

Professionally done landscape by Hively Landscapes

3 Options for Proactive Landscape Maintenance

If you’re familiar with our blog you’ve likely read our previous article on the benefits of proactive lawn care maintenance. From maximizing your flowers and growth to early identification and treatment of problems, residents and businesses alike have found that by selecting a proactive landscape maintenance plan with Hively Landscapes they’re maximizing their landscape investment, while avoiding costly replacements, removals, and other landscape troubles.

We offer three forms of proactive maintenance, and have outlined each below. Continue reading

5 Lawn Care Tips to Keep Your Grass the Greenest on the Block

If your landscape is like many, the most visible part of it is the grass.  Grass, or turfgrass, is a source of pride and often frustration for many DIY homeowners. The team at Hively Landscapes would like to help alleviate some of that frustration by providing you with a few simple lawn care tips we’ve learned over the nearly 50 years we’ve been beautifying landscapes in Dover, PA.

If you’re interested in helping improve your lawn’s curb appeal, without pouring much more of your hard earned money into your landscape, we encourage you to follow these lawn care tips.

  • grass cut too shortLet it GROW! The ideal length for the most common grasses in our region (fescue and bluegrass blends) is between 3 and 4 ½ inches.  Grass cut to this length is better able to withstand dry stretches and longer grass can help inhibit the growth of many common weeds.
  • MULCH it! Most professionals prefer to mulch grass clippings generated by mowing and not to bag them.  The truth is that grass clippings contain a high percentage of nitrogen, which returns to the soil when these clippings break down.  Nitrogen also happens to be a key component of fertilizer and very beneficial to healthy grass.

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5 Things to Look for In Your Next Landscaping Company

Choosing the right landscaping company is easy, when you know what to look for.

man weeding his garden

With spring underway, it’s now time to dive headfirst into everyone’s favorite landscape maintenance tasks!  If you enjoy this dirty, sweaty, and tiring chore as much as we do, you understand that this job comes with no finish line. As soon as you think you might be done, it’s time to start all over again. Lawn and landscape maintenance is a hobby that just keeps on giving! Day after day, week after week, year after year. Mowing, pruning, weeding, mulching, etc, etc, etc.

Ok, we realize it’s not quite as much fun for everyone as it is for us, and that’s why we offer proactive maintenance plans and other landscaping services for those people who just can’t find the time or the passion to do this kind of work.

So, if you don’t want to spend your wonderful spring, summer, fall, and even winter hours pushing a mower, digging out weeds, or pruning unruly trees and shrubs (and who can blame you?), how do you select a landscaping company that will do the job right? How do you know that company will treat your lawn and landscape with the same respect that you would, if you actually wanted to do all the work yourself?

Here are five things that you should look into before hiring any landscaping company:

  1. Reputation

While it may seem obvious, we still find it quite common that people will hire landscaping companies strictly on price, with no consideration of reputation or references. Don’t make this expensive mistake! There’s a reason why these companies charge $5 to trim a bush, and the next spring you find that your beautiful bush is barely alive. So check into what companies your neighbors are using. Then ask if these companies have solid references. If your neighborhood is like most others in Pennsylvania, you get bombarded in the spring and summer with flyers advertising grass mowing for a price that just seems too low to be true, such as $20.00. The truth is, these companies cannot maintain that price, and once the season kicks into high gear they’re nowhere to be found. We encourage you to check with friends and neighbors to see who their landscape contractor is, and if they’re happy with the work the company is doing for them. Continue reading

well maintained landscape lawn care service

The Many Benefits of Proactive Lawn Care Services

Lawn care service and maintenance are much less costly than replacement, but many businesses and homeowners fail to realize just how much time and money they can save on their landscaping each year simply by planning ahead. Just like your car which goes into the shop regularly for oil changes, tire rotations, and tune-ups to avoid engine problems, worn out tires, or other hazardous issues, your home landscape can receive the same kind of preventative care to save you headaches from plant diseases or insects, overgrown and unruly plants, or even the loss of your favorite tree or shrub.

We want to help you enjoy your landscape investment for more than just the short term! Our blog today aims to detail a few of the benefits of choosing proactive lawn care services with an experienced team of landscape contractors like the one you’ll find at Hively Landscapes. Continue reading

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Patio Paver versus A Stamped Concrete Patio – Which is Better For Me?

Potential and current customers frequently ask us if they should choose patio pavers or a stamped concrete patio. There’s no simple answer because every homeowner has different desires and expectations, so we begin to help them choose by explaining the significant differences between these two materials. Let’s clarify that “pavers” is a generic term for interlocking concrete pavers.  Patio pavers are manmade from high-strength concrete and come in an almost infinite variety of shapes, thicknesses, textures and colors.  We use pavers frequently, and we also construct many hardscapes from natural stone materials, using similar installation techniques.

Costs
Let’s get right to it; many people assume that a stamped concrete patio will be less expensive than a paver patio.  In some cases, they will be right but since no two design/installations are the same, it’s not really possible to make this judgment without some research.  It’s also not really an apples-to-apples comparison, as we will explain.

Construction

The most important part of any patio installation, regardless of material type, is the base.  This is the foundation of the final surface and as the saying goes, what you see is “only as strong as its foundation”. Continue reading

5 Winter Lawn Care Tips for Your Landscape

snowy branch with birdIf you believe that the care of your landscape simply stops once the weather gets cold, you are making a mistake that we see all too often and a mistake that leads to costly damage to your plants. Even if this winter turns out to be mild overall, it’s still winter, and the stress of weather that changes from cold to warm to cold can damage your trees and shrubs if they aren’t properly prepared. So, you can help your plants flourish once the spring arrives by following these simple winter lawn care tips: Continue reading

holiday planter ideas

Holiday Planter Ideas

With the Christmas season quickly approaching, we thought it would be appropriate to share some holiday planter ideas that you can use to decorate your business or home. You can easily make those entryways more festive and welcoming to your guests or customers with some great looking custom holiday decorations.

If you’re looking for ideas for creating a great holiday container, follow these helpful tips:

  • Start with a variety of greenery. Boxwood, cedar, pine, cypress, and fir trimmings all make for great additions to your planters or window boxes. You can also mix in a living element with dwarf varieties of evergreens.
  • For a mix of colors and texture, you’ll want to mix in some branches, pinecones, or fruit. Some favorite examples include yellow or red twig dogwood branches, winterberry branches, corkscrew willow branches, bittersweet, Osage oranges*, pomegranates, and sweetgum pods.
  • Add some decorative lights. If you have something already planted, wrap it in Christmas lights or even add a bow, and then decorate the base with a skirt of evergreen boughs.

*Osage oranges really aren’t oranges. They’re those green fruits that look like brains, and they also go by the names of hedge apple or monkey ball.

To help you develop your own beautiful planters, we’ve put together a sampling of containers that will give you some inspiration and ideas.

Continue reading

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The Secrets to Building a Great Fire Pit

With the fall ushering in cooler weather, many people are looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors as long as they possibly can. A fire pit is a solution to this problem, but you’ll want to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for a headache later due to poor planning or installation mistakes.

Our experience has taught us several secrets to fire pit building that most people overlook. We wanted to share these secrets with you if you are considering adding a fire pit to your backyard living space.

  1. You’ll need to determine what regulations local municipalities have enacted in regards to fire pits in your area. You don’t want to go through the trouble of building a fire pit only to be forced to remove it later.

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Prepare Your Landscape for Fall with These 5 Tips

Alexander Graham Bell said it best when he declared “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” If you want to enjoy a vibrant garden year-round, now is the perfect time to begin preparation for the potentially unforgiving fall and winter months. A fall maintenance checklist is critical to success and will help you hit the ground running in the spring when you begin to dig out from the winter lull.

At Hively Landscapes we would like to help you get your landscape ready, and have compiled a list of some of our favorite fall landscaping tips to share with you. These are just some tips to help you achieve the successful landscape you will enjoy for years to come.

  1. fall-leavesTake Care of Your Lawn – One of the best things you can do for your lawn is aeration. Aerating pulls thousands of small cores out of the ground. This allows both oxygen and water to reach the root system of your turf. This encourages a deeper and stronger root system that better resists the hot dry summer months in our area. Aeration is best done by a professional with the proper tools, though this equipment is available for rent at most tool rental stores. Give your grass a high-phosphorus fall fertilizer mix to encourage root growth, and be sure to keep after any leaves that drop as these can cause dead spots and prevent fertilizers from reaching the ground. **BONUS** Add the collected leaves to a compost pile and then mix up the pile every week or so to aerate. You can then use this leaf compost in the spring to nourish your trees, shrubs, and even your lawn!

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The Proper Way to Water

Man holding a hose and wateringMaintaining your garden can be a chore if you are ill-equipped to handle the job. We’re not just talking about bringing your gloves and pruners, but even more importantly the knowledge of how to properly care for the landscape you and your landscape designer have created.

One of the most common issues with a plant’s ability to survive is the way they are being watered. While it may seem simple enough, you’d be surprised how often a lack of water or an excess of water leads to a plant’s demise. You want to keep your plants all looking great year-round while also avoiding the costly expense of replacing them for something as preventable as drying out or being flooded.

The secret to great watering is to ensure that the root zone gets a sufficient amount of water. This seems simple, right? The problem begins when all the other variables in watering come into play. Some variables that will affect the way you water include: Continue reading

colorful garden and beautiful landscaping

The ROI of Great Landscaping

Beautifying your landscape doesn’t just improve your curb appeal and make you the envy of the neighborhood, it can also significantly increase resale value of your home. Rather than starting inside with expensive home remodels that can leave you without access to your kitchen, bathroom or family room, a better option to explore that provides great ROI is landscaping and hardscaping your property. President-elect of the National Association of Realtors, Walt McDonald, said back in 2003: “When people ask me how they can get strong interest in their property, I always tell them to fix up their landscaping…if a homeowner is reluctant to do it, I tell them they won’t get top dollar.” Even though the quote is more than a decade old the amazing part is that it still holds true, if not even more so in today’s market.

well designed landscape seating areaIf you’re looking for a specific number to expect with regard to ROI for your unique project, you won’t find it. If you do, it’s merely speculation. Your location, the market, nearby neighbor’s landscapes, and potential homebuyer’s preferences are just a few of the many variables that will factor into what you can expect to get back when you do resell your home. One thing that is for certain though, the only way to maximize your ROI on a landscaping or hardscaping project is to have a well designed and installed landscape. Continue reading

7 Rules Landscaping Contractors Must Follow

A landscaped patio/deck areaMany homeowners are unaware of the protections granted to them when it comes to hiring a landscaping company to do work around the home. The fact is any job between $500 and $50,000,000 that includes work on a structure around the home must follow the same laws that a general home contractor would. This includes projects like installs, replacements, improvements or construction of things like driveways, porches, garages, patios, and more.

We pulled out portions of the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act that are most relevant to become accustomed with if you plan on having work done in the future. The truth is there are many “landscapers” who do not follow these requirements that are implemented to protect the consumer. Make sure the landscaper you’ve hired complies with each of these seven edicts or else you’re destined for some serious problems. Continue reading

White Dogwood

May & June Bloomers

If you’re looking to plan your garden for year round color and want to know what some of the best late spring garden options are, you’ve come to the right place! All of the suggestions listed on this page are hardy for our area, so you won’t have to worry about losing them over the winter if you follow our tips and the weather turns sour as it has the last few years. We broke them down into a few common categories to make it easy for you. Continue reading