As Winter was still casting its spell upon all of us in Central Illinois a customer contacted us and requested that we help transform their dreams into reality. As we made it to the property we could tell there were several things that needed to be done. The property was an old one and the new homeowners started by gutting the house, as well as, the entire yard. We first started on the entry way into the updated home. As you can see in the first set of pictures, our crews had to remove the old landscape, landscape timbers, rock etc… After the clean up portion was completed our crew started laying the foundation of the new entry way by constructing a retaining wall. The retaining wall was necessary in order to bring the grade of the entry way up and have it stay level. After the wall was constructed we installed a custom designed brick paver walkway that adds character and dimension to the entrance. Once completion on the walkway was underway we installed a new landscape complete with decorative landscape rock and various perennials.
After completion of the entry way landscape our crews focused their efforts on the backyard. The turf was that of any typical lake side yard, filled with various weeds and very little grass to boot. After the existing turf grass was removed the homeowner requested on installing a natural stone walkway down to their newly constructed boat dock. In the pictures below you can get a really good understanding of before and after. The second picture was taken shortly after the stepping stones were installed but before the soil was regraded. In the “after” of the second image one can clearly see how the stepping stones are inset into the ground giving a seamless look. Only after two weeks of seeding the property, you can begin to see the lush green hue of the grass blades peeking up from the soil.
In the midst of laying the foundation for the Natural Stone Walkway, we had a crew begin on a steep hillside that had been overgrown with years of brush, debris, weeds, saplings etc… Our crews started by clearing away all of the overgrowth, simply so we could see actual ground. Once the overgrowth was cleared out, the homeowners met with us to discuss which trees they were wanting to keep and how far to bring some of the tree’s canopies. After said work had been completed our talented designer came up with a unique hillside design that would not take away from the homes natural setting but rather add to it. Various perennials were planted along this hillside including hostas & salvia…just to name a few. We also wanted to give back some of the charm of the “woodland” setting and installed 3 beautiful Canadian Hemlocks, as well as, various boulders scattered throughout. In the pictures below you will see how we were able to transform this once disheveled hillside into a mainstay at this particular property.
One of the final portions of this complete transformation was the replacement of a failing driveway retaining wall. As you can clearly see in the picture below, the previous wall was constructed out of decorative landscape block and NOT retaining wall block. After several years of heavy traffic the decorative wall could no longer hold under the pressure and eventually succumbed to it. Our crews began by removing the old wall block by block, and removing a tree that had sprouted and began causing issues as well. After the demolition was completed a proper retaining wall was constructed with the appropriate base, backfilling & drainage. The new wall was constructed to be able to take the beating that the decorative wall could no longer handle.
Not everything completed on this job is pictured here. We also installed a Premium WeatherMatic irrigation system, of which only 3% of contractors nationwide are accredited. Within the new landscape we also installed fabulous L.E.D. landscape path lights, as well as, up lighting to make the tree canopies stand out in the darkness of the night.
All in all the homeowners were extremely happy with the work that had been completed as were we to be able to work with such great customers! We know that this transformation is going to be loved, shared & enjoyed for years to come. We at Kiefer Landscaping cannot wait to see this landscape mature and add beauty and style to the area.
The history of this rock goes back to the Huronian period of the Proterozoic Era, an estimated one billion years ago. During this time, extensive sediments were deposited in or adjacent to seas, lakes, and other bodies of water. Much of this material, derived by erosion by older rocks, was in the fine sand particles and rounded pebbles of grey and white quartz. The bright red and brown jasper pebbles were deposited over small parts of an east-west band about fifty miles long lying north and north west of what is now Bruce Mines, Ontario. Sand, free of pebbles, formed sandstone under the weight of later sediments, the individual grains becoming cemented by silicone and iron bearing waters. Mixed sand and pebbles became conglomerates or sandstone conglomerates by the same process.
Under the heat and pressure of later volcanic activity, sandstones and conglomerates were transformed into quartzite and quartzite conglomerates. Weathering and erosion uncovered some of the rocks, and loose fragments were gathered and moved in great masses by the ice sheets.
The stone was named by English settlers, about 1840, because it looked like their boiled suet pudding with cherries and currants.
Answer: It is not that the application didn’t work. Weeds actually tell you a lot about the condition of your lawn and are an indication of what you need to do to grow healthy grass. Weeds thrive in soil that is compacted, poorly fertilized, and not pH balanced. They are also found in lawns that are improperly watered, seeded, and mowed. As you can see it takes more than just fertilizer to make your lawn weed free. Eliminate the conditions that promote weeds by doing the following:
- Aerate your lawn in either the spring or fall. Aerating removes soil plugs from the lawn and allows air, water and nutrients to reach the root system. This increases the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch. Often times, aerating is done to help relieve soil compaction. Soil compaction reduces the amount of air in the soil and is a physical barrier to root growth.
- Dethatch your lawn if needed. Thatch is a layer of grass stems and roots on the surface of the soil. When it becomes 1/2″ or more, the grass roots will grow within the thatch instead of in the soil. If thatch build up is not controlled, grass is susceptible to insects, disease, and weather stress.
- Use proper mowing techniques. Improper mowing techniques cause many lawn problems. If you mow lower than 1 1/2 inches you can kill the root system. A low mowing height also allows sunlight to reach weed seeds that are trying to germinate. A majority of lawns should be kept at 3 – 3 1/2 inches. This will help create a deeper, more drought-resistant root system. Also, keep your mower blades sharp! By doing so, you will prevent the development and spread of fungal diseases. Mow in different directions. Mowing in the same direction can cause compaction, which weeds love! Try not to cut wet grass. Wet grass causes uneven cuts, the clippings to clog the mower, and clumps can block sunlight. With proper mowing techniques, you will see a huge improvement in the health and appearance of your lawn.
- Maintain the pH of your soil. An ideal pH level is between 6.5 and 7. If it is lower than 6.5 your soil is too acidic and above 7 your soil is too alkaline.
- Properly fertilize your lawn. For those who want their lawn looking the best they should fertilize a minimum of 4-5 times a year. Fertilized lawns are greener, denser, and healthier than unfertilized lawns. It also helps make lawns resistant to drought, insects, and diseases. We now offer an organic fertilizer program as well as our granular program.
- Water your lawn. A typical lawn needs 1″ – 1 1/2″ of water per week from either rainfall or irrigation. Be sure to water deep but infrequent. The soil should be soaked to a depth of 6″.
Cleaning Is the First Step:
Before you can protect any hardscape, you need to remove ground-in dirt and efflorescence with a quality cleaner. Cleaning allows the protective sealers to penetrate the surfaces so they will last longer and protect better. Efflorescence is a naturally occurring byproduct of concrete manufacturing. It is a white chalky salt that can appear on the hardscape surface. The industry recommends waiting at least 60 days after installation to allow for the efflorescence process to occur before sealing. Grease, rust, food and other organic stains should be cleaned with stain removes prior to sealing.
Protect with a Quality Sealer:
There are numerous advantages to sealers:
- Keeps most stains on the surface and makes for easy clean-up
- Creates a barrier that reduces penetration and offers protection from gas, oil, grease, food and other stains
- Limits weed growth and insect infestation
- Stops moisture absorption
- Penetrates and do not get slippery when wet
- Facilitates regular cleaning and maintenance
- Enhances appearance (properly sealed pavers look better)
- Resists the attacks of weather, salt and freeze / thaw cycles
- Protects from UV rays, water and other natural elements to keep color as fresh as the day they were installed
Protect Older Hardscapes:
Existing installations can be rejuvenated and guarded against further staining by the use of quality protective sealer. A number of protectors are designed to enhance color, even on new or worn pavers.
Contact Us today or call (217) 347.7500 for a FREE ESTIMATE to bring life back into those faded Brick Paver Projects!!
Stop by our Retail Garden Center and check out our Hosta House!!! As you will hear in the video clip, the Hosta House has been a project of ours for the past 3 – 5 years and continues to grow every year! If you have any questions or would like to see if your favorite Hosta is on hand please contact us or give us a call at 217-347-7500.
Completed in the 2011 season, this landscape design and install put some of the finishing touches on this new home construction. The residents, whom previously resided in the South West, requested a landscape that reminded them of home and delivered the same satisfaction. With our sales staff working hand in hand with the designer and home owners we came up with the idea of creating a dry creek / stream bed, which the home owners fell in love with. Through a couple of consultations and revisions, the design that was finally settled on was one with very low maintenance plants such as; Ornamental Grasses, Variegated Boxwoods, and Coral Bells, just to name a few. We also went with a landscape rock called Black Trap to add a nice contrast against the backdrop of the house. With this landscape design and install we were able to bring a little of the South West to Central Illinois.
Land / Site Preparation
At Kiefer Landscaping our goal is to bring your homes appearance to the next level. What if you are only thinking about building your dream home? Do you have an entire site to prepare and clean-up? If so, Kiefer Landscaping can help every step of the way. The condition of your lot, that your future home will be built upon, is very crucial and must be prepared properly. We can start by flagging and clearing trees; our experts will be able to pinpoint which trees would add value to or be beneficial for your future residence. If trees aren’t your main concern but the condition of the land is , don’t fret. We have the equipment, manpower, and the know-how to get your site in shape. Whether your dealing with over grown brush, uneven and poorly draining land or you have yet to create an entrance point to your new property. Our experts can bush hog, clearing the lot for an overhaul of the terrain, where we will make sure the grade of the property is adequate and will not cause future problems when construction begins. You may think to yourself that this task is fairly large to take on and you may not know where to begin or you may be having trouble envisioning the completed project. Don’t worry any longer, one of our experienced team members will come out for an on-site consultation where we can assess the property and create a streamline plan for a seamless new home construction project. Again, whether your site needs a driveway dug, trees and brush cleared, or the soil needs excavated and re-worked we have the equipment, manpower, and know-how to get the job done. All consultations are free of charge and all work would be completed on a time basis with a tentative completion date. Avoid costly mistakes while building your dream home and let your friends at Kiefer Landscaping help from start to finish.
New Residential Home Construction Services:
White Grubs are beetle larvae (most commonly Japanese Beetles). They are 1/2 – 1.5 inches long and c-shaped. They have three pair of legs that are located near their head. They destroy lawns by feeding on the roots of grass. This root injury reduces the turf’s ability to take up water and nutrients. Normally, grubs are found in parts of the lawn that receive a lot of sun, not shade.
Signs of Grub Damage:
- Parts of your lawn begin to wilt
- Irregular brown patches in your lawn
- Lawn feels spongy when you walk across it
- Skunks, raccoons, and birds begin digging in your lawn
- Dead turf that easily pulls up like carpet
What are Japanese Beetles:
discovered in the U.S. in southern New Jersey in 1916. Japanese beetles occur in every state east of the Mississippi River except Florida. It’s spread is apparently governed by temperature and precipitation. The beetle is adapted to a region where the mean summer soil temperature is between 64° and 82°F and winter soil temperatures are above 15°F. Also, beetles thrive in areas where precipitation is rather uniform throughout the year, averaging at least 10 inches during the summer.
Japanese Beetle adults are slightly less than 1/2 inch long, and are shiny, metallic green. They have coppery-brown wing covers that do not entirely cover the abdomen. There are six pairs of patches of white hairs along the sides and back of the body, under the edges of the wings. Males and females have the same markings, but females are typically slightly larger. Newly hatched larvae are approximately 1/8 inch long and translucent creamy white. Once feeding begins, the hindgut appears gray to black.
Plants Attacked and Damage:
Japanese beetle adults do not damage turf but are an important pest of many other plants. They feed on foliage or flowers, and are a major pest of over 300 species of plants, including fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, field and forage crops, and weeds. Norway and Japanese maples, birch, crabapples, puple-leaf plums, roses, mountain ash, and linden are highly preferred ornamental hosts. Adults feed on the upper surface of the foliage of most plants, consuming soft mesophyll tissues between the veins and leaving a lace-like skeleton. Often the upper canopy is defoliated first or most severely. Trees receiving extensive feeding damage turn brown and become partially defoliated.
Japanese beetle grubs feed below-ground and chew on the roots of turf and ornamentals. As result, they reduce the plants ability to take up enough water and nutrients to withstand stresses of hot, dry weather. The first evidence of grub injury in turf appears as localized-patches of pale, dying grass that displays symptoms of drought stress. As grubs develop further and feeding increases, damaged areas rapidly enlarge and coalesce to a point whereby the turf is not well-anchored and can be rolled back like carpet.
Japanese beetles have only one generation per year. In mid-June, as soon as they emerge, adult females mate and begin laying eggs. The adults are most active in the afternoon in full-sun. Females leave ornamental plants where they feed and mate, and burrow two to four inches into the soils (under the turf) in a suitable area to lay their eggs. Eggs hatch in about two weeks, after which grubs begin feeding on the roots of turfgrass. The grubs grow quickly and by late-August are nearly full-grown (about one inch long). Mid-summer rainfall and adequate soil moisture are needed to prevent eggs and newly-hatched grubs from drying-out. Adult females instinctively select areas with higher soil moisture content to lay their eggs to ensure survival of their offspring. Older grubs are more drought tolerant and will move deeper into the soil if conditions become dry. Grubs can also withstand high levels of soil moisture, so excessive rainfall or iffigation will not effect them. As soil temperatures cool in the fall, and the first meaningful frost occurs, grubs begin to move deeper into the soil. Grubs overwinter in the soil about two to six inches below the surface, although some may be a deep as 20 inches. They become inactive when soil temperatures fall below 50°F. In the spring, when soil temperatures reach 50°F, the grubs begin to move up into the root-zone to resume feeding for about three to five weeks. Thereafter, the grubs stop feeding and begin creating an earthen cell whereby they transform into adults.
Control Methods for White Grubs:
- AllGuard is a very effective way to prevent grubs and also treat existing grubs. Purchase AllGuard today for only $25.00 and get ahead of Grubs today!
- Merit can be applied in June or July. This helps prevent new grub populations. Merit is an effective Insecticide that is for Professional Use Only. Call today for a free quote on getting your lawn sprayed.
- Preventative treatments are much more effective than curative treatments. Spraying your lawn with long residual insecticides will help prevent Grubs from attaching your lawn! This is one of the six steps of our fertilizer program.
Call us today at 217-347-7500 for more information!!