Frequently Asked Questions
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The Landcare Group is a landscape contractor in Long Island, NY. We have been providing professional landscape design services to Long Island, NY and the surrounding area for over 20 years. We provide the area with our unique landscape design services, including decorative concrete, waterfalls and water features. We work with our clients to gather ideas, design unique outdoor spaces, and then implement our designs to create the beautifully landscaped yards, patios and walkways we are known for.
If you have other questions, please let us know!
Q: What is the first step I should take to landscape my yard?
A: Every good landscape installation starts with a strong design. Having a plan before you start can help eliminate having to re-do or move already installed landscaping. Having a plan allows you to take your projects in steps with the end result that will make your landscape fit your house and surroundings.
Q: I have to remove all of my existing plants when I redo my landscaping?
A: Everything has a life span. Overgrown, mismanaged shrubbery can be a detriment to your dream of beautiful landscaping. 90% of the time it is best to remove old landscaping and start fresh with new ideas and designs to create a different look.
Q :I want to have a low maintenance yard. What should I do?
A: No matter what you hear or have experienced, large expansive lawns are high maintenance. You are forever mowing, raking, fertilizing, and watering your lawn. Feel liberated and enjoy the summer by watching your landscaping bloom and grow, cut out the yard maintenance, and increase the curb appeal of your home. Like all things in life there is no such thing as “no maintenance.” But with a proper design and planning, a lot can be done to make it as minimal as possible.
Q: When is the best time to install my irrigation system?
A: Before you attempt to grow any type of lawn it is best to install your irrigation. When establishing your lawn it requires the most attention, meaning lots of water and mowing. Make sure to plan ahead for future landscaping needs by adding extra zones, and making sure spray heads and drip lines can be added or moved easily to water your landscape plantings as well.
Q: How much will it cost to landscape my yard?
A: The actual cost of landscaping depends highly on your taste, and residence size. As a general rule, budget between 10-15% of your home purchase. This is just a guide line. If you start with a good plan that gives you the “final picture” of what you want, it is easy to take the project in phases according to your budget. Remember, a good landscape job dramatically increases the curb appeal and resale value of your home, just as an inadequate landscape job can do the opposite.
Q: Which is better, mulch or rock?
A: Triple ground mulch is by far more popular than rock as a mulch. However, much of this decision depends on personal taste and home design. Generally plants grow more vibrantly when shredded mulches are used. If you are looking for an informal appearance, mulch is the way to go; for a formal appearance, use rock.
Q: Is it better to water daily during droughts or not water at all?
A: The answer really depends on the type of plants in question. For annual flowers planted in beds, it is best to water every day or two. Annuals planted in containers require daily watering. For newly planted trees and shrubs, a thorough watering once a week should be sufficient, however some shrubs, like barberry require more frequent watering – usually twice weekly. Well established trees and shrubs should be thoroughly watered about every other week to guard against heat stress.
When it comes to lawns, the type of grass in question will determine watering needs. In general, however, growing lawns should be watered as often as twice to three times weekly. If you have allowed your lawn to go dormant you should still give it a healthy watering every 2 to 3 weeks in order to keep the root system from dying.
A basic rule of thumb is that early morning watering is preferable and you should always water slowly in order to avoid run off. Be sure to thoroughly soak the ground surface and ensure that moisture reaches the root systems. If using organic mulch remember that it can deflect and absorb water intended for your plants. If possible, the use of soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems is ideal.
Q: How do I prepare my lawn for winter?
A: At the end of the growing season (mid to late fall) you should mow your lawn but remember it is going into dormancy so be careful not to cut it too short. About a 2 inch cutting height is appropriate for most grass types. Next make sure that your lawn is free from leaves and thatch (matted grass clippings and other debris) that can deprive the root systems of air and moisture.
This is also a good time of year to perform a soil test. If your soil is deficient in lime this is the ideal time to apply the recommended amount. Soil tests are not necessary on an annual basis but you should test your soil every 3 to 5 years and address any deficiencies you may discover.
The late fall is also the time to apply a good winterizer type fertilizer to your lawn. Winterizers typically contain high levels of potassium that increases hardiness and disease resistance. If applying both lime and fertilizer it is best to apply the fertilizer first and allow 2 weeks before applying the lime.
Q: When is the best time to seed or sod your lawn, spring or fall?
A: Many people consider spring the best time to seed and sod but autumn is actually the optimal time of year. By seeding or laying sod in the fall you are providing tender vegetation with 2 cool growing seasons before subjecting them to the heat and dryness of summer. Your new grass will also face less competition from weeds which tend to be more prevalent in spring.
Q: What is the best material for lining my garden pond, rubber or cement?
A: Ponds and water features can be lined with cement; however cement will deteriorate and crack in time unless it is heavily reinforced with steel. This can be extremely expensive and requires a great deal of knowledge of installation techniques.
Rubber liners are extremely durable and offer the added benefit of flexibility which allows them to conform to irregularities and shifting in the surrounding terrain. Rubber liners also require less manpower to install and, depending on the mil rating, will last 20 years or more.
Q: What should I do if I tried everything to get rid of dandelions without success?
A: You might try eating them or brewing them into dandelion tea. Did you know that dandelions are a good source for vitamins A and C and that they have higher levels of beta carotene than carrots? The also have more potassium than spinach and broccoli and have been shown to improve liver, kidney and intestinal functions.
If you’re still determined to eliminate them from your lawn there are a number of natural and chemical herbicides that are effective if used properly but you must be patient as it is often necessary to re-treat heavy populations to ensure that the root systems have been destroyed.
Q: I have a slope near my house that’s beginning to erode. I’ve tried to plant ground cover to stop this but the plants just wash away when it rains. How can I solve this problem?
A: Try covering the area with jute before planting. This biodegradable landscape netting is widely available and will prevent surface erosion and allow the plants time to become established. Eventually the jute will degrade and the plants can do the job of erosion control on their own.