Archive for Landscape

Spring Landscaping: 8 Tips For A Gorgeous Lawn This Year

Spring Landscaping: 8 Tips For A Gorgeous Lawn This Year

The frost will soon  be over and we’re sure you can’t wait to get outside and begin your spring landscaping. Have you planned for a garden according to your soil type, geographic location and local plants? Below are 8 tips for getting the best results for landscaping your yard.

1) Plant according to your climate

Before you rush out and purchase plants or seeds because of their exotic color or unusual features you should know the climate of your locale. This is crucial to successful gardening. Besides your town location, your own yard has a separate temperature in itself. Purchase plants that correspond to the various climates in your yard, sunny lawn spots, tree shaded areas, etc.

2) Do your homework

Plan exactly what you want your yard to look like in advance. Write down the details of what you plan to do and which sections of your yard you will begin with first. Get advice from professionals or the employees at your local lawn and garden stores. If you plan on hiring a gardening expert to help you, figure out the cost of that as well as what you will purchase for your yard.

3) Pest elimination

syrphid fly garden pest

Planting and watering aren’t the only components for achieving a great lawn and garden. There is also the threat of garden pests and wildlife which can ruin your handy work before you are finished. Consider fencing or wires to keep out the wildlife. Some natural plants are natural deterrents to insects and animals as well.

Plant at the correct time of year

Even though you are eager to begin planning your ‘dream garden’ right away getting plants in at the right season give the best results. Always look at the seed packages for the best time to plant. For pre-potted plants, look at websites that give tips about the best times of year to plant. Your plants and flowers will be healthier and last longer if you follow this advice.

Estimate growth

It is important to know just how large your shrubs, trees and flowers will grow in certain time spans and to estimate exactly how big they can get. Surrounding a small tree with a hedge may look pretty right then, but if the hedge grows to be taller than the tree it will ruin the effect – and the tree! Be sure to look at height and growth information of the plant before you purchase it. This way you will know what to expect beforehand.

Be prepared for maintenance

yard maintenance in spring

Growing a garden is not a touch and go project. Landscaping takes time, effort and care. Once your flowers and plants are in you have to water, fertilizer, trim off withered branches and plant parts, etc. Once you keep this factor in mind you can get the plants that require the least amount of care and attention for your location.

Landscape to compliment your home

The prime objective of landscaping is not only to beautify your yard, but also to give your home an aesthetic appeal. Create a horticultural ‘masterpiece’ by purchasing trees, hedges and flowers with color schemes to bring out the beauty of your home. If your house is white, choose plants that have rich, dark undertones. If your home is pale blue, nothing will look lovelier than bright yellow daffodils and vivid yellow tulips.

Your lawn

The lawn is the foundation of your yard and ironically it will be the last bit of horticultural ornamentation to go down. Choosing which grass types go best for your yard is determined by climate, soil and rain fall. Warm season grasses are:

  • Bermuda grass
  • Bahia grass

Cool season grass:

  • Bluegrass
  • Fine fescues

Special needs grasses: Shade:

  • Rye grass
  • Bentgrass

High traffic:

  • Bahia grass
  • Perennial grass

Find out more about spring landscaping by reading our other posts:

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Landscaping Tips to Prepare Your Yard for the Winter

Landscaping Tips to Prepare Your Yard for the Winter

Preparing Your Lawn For Winter in Minneapolis

When the last leaf falls, it is time to start thinking about preparing your yard for the winter. When you correctly get your yard for winter weather, it will help to keep it healthy all year round. Whether you have mild winters or blistery, below zero winters, taking the necessary in the fall will not only prepare your lawn for the cooler weather, but for the following spring as well. Here are some winter preparation tips to help you prepare your lawn this fall.

Rake the Leaves

Raking the leaves is one of the most important things to do when preparing your lawn for the winter. When leaves are left on the ground, they smother the grass, which will cause dead grass and dirt patches next spring. When raking the leaves, save some of them to put in the flowerbeds to help prevent early growth of weeds in the spring. Along with raking, you should also clean up the yard. Pick fruit up off of the ground and cut back perennials. This will help give your garden and yard a cleaner look and it may help to reduce the risk of pests wintering in the debris.

Don’t Forget About the Garden

landscape ready for winter

Remove annuals that won’t make it through next spring, but leave the roots, so they can decompose and provide nutrients for the soil. Clean all plant debris from the flower beds to prevent mold and mildew. Pull the leftover weeds. Fall is the perfect time to plant your spring-blooming flower bulbs, trees and shrubs. The excess moisture during the fall and winter months will help new plants get the nutrients they need to resume growth next spring.

Mow the Grass

If you live in an area where it starts to get cold after September, but the grass is still growing, it is recommended that you mow the grass twice in October and once in November. On the last mow, cut the grass short, especially in moist/wet climates. This will allow the moisture to seep into the ground and prevent the grass from dying at the beginning of next spring. Although you shouldn’t leave large piles of grass on the lawn, if you leave a moderate build-up it will help to hold the moisture in the ground during the winter.


Late fall, typically one month before it usually freezes is the optimum time to fertilize your lawn. Fertilizing in the fall will help strengthen the turf for the winter and provide the nutrients it needs to be healthy next spring. Make sure to use the type of fertilization that is right for your region and the type of grass you have. If you aren’t sure about what type of fertilizer to use, it may be best to have a local landscaper do the fertilizing for you.

Reseed the Lawn

If there are bare spots in the lawn, fall is the perfect time to reseed. To ensure you have a lush lawn in the spring; first aerate the turf to make sure the seeds have sufficient room to root, spread a nutrient enriched compost and work the compost into the ground. Use a seeder to evenly spread the grass seed, cover the seed lightly with straw to prevent birds from dining on it and keep the seed watered until the grass is well established. Avoid mowing the grass until the new growth is about 2 to 3 inches in height.

Herbicides and Pesticides

The primary weeds you will need to worry about are perennial weeds, such as ground ivy and dandelions. To reduce growth next spring, spot treat with a broadleaf herbicide and avoid the use of weed killers that are intended for use only after the weeds have sprouted. If you use a pesticide, make sure that it is safe for lawns that will experience a freeze. The best way to use pesticides in the fall is by spraying around the perimeter of your house. This will help to reduce the pests that will migrate into the lawn.

Protecting Trees and Shrubs

Use paper tree wrap to help protect thin-barked trees from sunscald during the winter. Sunscald occurs when warmed sap is quickly frozen during the night, which causes the tree bark to split. Beds that have shrubs and/or flowers should have a protective layer of mulch put down before the first freeze. The mulch will help keep the soil at an even temperature and prevent the soil from heaving and forcing plants out of the ground.

After all of the winter preparations are completed for the lawn and the garden, turn off the lawn sprinklers, drain the sprinkler lines and turn the outside water off at the main line. Clean and sharpen the garden tools before storing them for the winter and remember to wipe down and store your outdoor furniture.

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Fall Landscaping Ideas

Fall Landscaping Ideas

Just because fall ushers in the turn of your yard’s leaves and the eventual hibernation of your plants does not mean you are unable to take advantage of the time of year. This is a great time to improve your yard and really spruce up the landscaping. While you probably are not going to start planting flowers throughout the yard, you can still take advantage of some of these ideas to add interest and depth to your landscaping.

Plant Evergreens

Evergreens planted around the edges of your yard are going to add exceptional beauty. Not only do these trees help give your yard privacy and shade, but the trees look beautiful against the changing leaves of all the other trees. Plus, when all of the leaves have fallen to the ground, at least you still have some green to look at when peering out your back window.

Weed and Plant

Fall is a nice time to remove weeds and other growths around the house in order to prevent everything from sticking around for next year. It is also a great time to replace these patches of weeds with some ground covers. A beautiful cranberry plant is going to burst with beautiful reds that not only look beautiful in the fall, but when the snow comes, the mix of bright red with snow capped white is unlike anything you have in your yard. Plus, this added color is going to help add interest to your garden come next year, so you have something to look forward to as well.

fall landscape minneapolis

Install a Structure

Landscaping is more than just planting your bushes, trees and flowers. You also need to incorporate a structure into your yard, ranging anywhere from a fence to retaining wall, arbor or pergola. Go with a material that is going to complement the overall look and style of your yard, all while fitting into your budget. A material such as stone is beautiful as it ages exceptionally well and comes in all sorts of shapes and colors. On top of it, you can mix stone styles to increase the overall appeal and you do not really need to wash the stone or do anything with it, so there is less work than brick or wood.

To learn more fall landscaping ideas, contact GT Design & Landscape for all your landscape design needs!

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Plants with Purpose | Mentha (Mint)

Welcome to a new series on GT Design & Landscapes Blog- Plants with Purpose. This is a place where we will introduce you to and share the advantages of different plant species that grown well in Minnesota. There are numerous reasons to incorporate plants into your landscape design, this series will help you be a bit more strategic in the selection process.



Mentha Spicata

Mentha Spicata

Mentha (Mint)

Mint is a great plant to incorporate into your herb garden, around your patio area in the soil or in a planter. Mint is a perennial and very resilient even after a cold Minnesota winter. This plant requires minimal care and will do best in a spot with plenty of sunlight. These plants have a tendency to take over, so be intentional about where and how you plant.

The plant has bright green toothed leaves that sometimes can be described as fuzzy and purple, pink or white flowers.  You can harvest the mint a couple times per season by cutting back stems to one to two inches from the ground right before flowering.

The plant has a pleasant aromatic property.  The beautiful smell of Peppermint is said to keep mice away. Spearmint is used in both the kitchen and for medicinal purposes. Harvest the leaves all at once or pluck as needed.

We’re looking forward to plucking a few spearmint leaves for a refreshing mojito on a hot summer’s day. Check out this recipe for a blueberry mojito:

GT_Blueberry Mojito

Photo Credit: Mentha Spicata Bad Alley via photopin cc
Photo Credit: Mentha agelakis via photopin cc

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Landscaping with Deciduous Trees

It may be difficult to think about the benefits of including deciduous trees in your landscape with the fall season almost behind us and winter well on its way. Trees, however, are beneficial to your home’s landscape for different reasons throughout the year.

What to Consider?
You have to consider a few very important factors before deciding on a specific tree species to ensure the conditions allow for optimal growth.

Height and Width: When you plant the tree it will of course be a manageable size, but you need to consider                              the mature height and width of the species. Think about overhead utility lines, tree limbs                              extending over the road, property line conflicts, and even the potential root growth                              interfering with underground utilities.

           Geography: The United States and Canada are divided into 11 different hardiness zones based off of                              annual average temperatures. The Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs are located in                              zones four and five. Be sure to inquire about trees and plants that grow well in your                              geographical zone. has a fabulous resource that allows you to pop in your                              zip code and search tree species that grow well in your zone.

After you address the aforementioned considerations for optimal growth you will still have a wide variety of tree species to choose from. You then can take into consideration the benefits of the species and placement.

Shade: Mature deciduous trees offer a great source of shade. Decide if you want to shade a patio area or offer shade to parts of your home for energy savings. Clean Energy Resource Teams suggests planting deciduous trees along the south side of your home creating shade from the sun’s rays throughout most of the day. If you are concerned about heating your home they suggest planting trees along the North/Northwest perimeter to create a natural wind-fence.GT_Emerald Lustre Norway MapleEmerald Lustre Norway Maples are one of the more popular shade trees in zone four and one of our favorite to use in landscape design. This species is known for its beautiful fall colors, large stature at maturity and resilience in different conditions. Photo courtesy of

Visual Interest: Trees are amazing and grow in many different sizes and shapes. Whether you are looking for great fall foliage, uniquely shaped canopies, flower/fruit/berry-producing trees, we are confident that you will find something that meets your fancy.GT_Royal Frost BirchIncorporating a Royal Frost Birch in your landscape design is a bold move if you are looking for visual appeal. The bark changes from cinnamon to white and the waxy leaves provide excellent fall foliage. The white trunk looks great against a well-maintained green lawn. This tree type is a relatively new selection of birch and easy to grow. Photo courtesy of Hickory Grove Nursery.

Wildlife Attraction: Are you a bird watcher? Would you rather not have birds or squirrels nesting in your trees? These are factors you will want to take into consideration as you decide on a species.GT_candymint-crabapple-treeCandymint Flowering Crab is a deciduous dwarf tree. However, what they lack in size they make up for in ornamental features, which is why we love this tree if you are looking to make a big statement in a small space. This species produces fragrant pink flowers, deep purple fruit, flashy rich purple leaves and tends to have wide spread horizontal branching. We find this tree to be a great addition to any bird lovers yard, as it attracts birds and is relatively low maintenance having to be pruned once a year in the late winter. Photo courtesy of Hoosier Home and Garden.

Plan Ahead
Please plan ahead when you are looking to enhance your landscape. If you are a DIYer we suggest you visit and contact the correct agency. They will visit your property and mark the underground utilities. If you are working with a contractor they should call ahead before moving forward with any digging.


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