Do's and Don'ts of Great Curb Appeal

Nicole Stevens

villages curb appealFirst impressions are so crucial in many different aspects of life. From relationships to jobs, even to home owning, a good first impression is an important one. Imagine any of the times you’ve driven through nice neighborhoods, potentially looking for a new place to rent or even buy. You drive slowly, taking a mental note of the nicer homes and speeding up a bit past the not so nice looking home; ones with overgrown lawns and faded/cracked mailboxes and a for sale sign out front. Would something like this hold an importance to a potential buyer? Absolutely! It’s called curb appeal, and it’s a crucial part in a buyer’s decision to purchase or not. Here are a few tips to make sure your curb appeal is far from appalling.

  • DO make sure you keep your lawn neat and clean! An unkempt lawn is an indication of laziness in how the home looks, so it can leave potential buyers wondering how bad the inside might look compared to the tall grass outside. This includes trimming any hedges that may grow alongside the home/property.
  • DON’T crowd your front yard area. This includes any lawn ornaments that could obstruct the view of the front door (or just look plain tacky) and flower assortment, specifically annuals. If you desire a floral presentation in the front yard, consider planting perennials as they last much longer and add color and beauty to the yard.
  • DO shine some light on the situation! If you have a driveway or partial sidewalk leading up to the front door, a few small solar lights to stake in the floor will help light the way when walking from vehicles to the front door in the evening.
  • DON’T make your front door a mystery. Your front door should stand out and be obvious that is the main entry way into the home. The entrance in the home should be a warming invitation and not a guessing game between a side or back door to the home.
  • DO keep an up to date mailbox. Or at least a sturdy, clean one. A broken, bent, warp or paint chipped mailbox is another indication of laziness in the upkeep of the exterior of the home. Upgrade the mailbox to one that’s weather resistant, and closes securely.
  • DON’T go too “out there” with the paint job. Everyone always remembers the random brightly colored house in the middle of a neutrally painted neighborhood, but it’s not always a potential buyer’s cup of tea. It provides a shock effect anddefinitely grabs the attention of lookers, but it is rare you will find someone in the market for a bright pink home. Stay within the pattern of the neighbors, neutral colors are safest – grays and beiges being most popular.
  • DO take the extra step and power/pressure wash the driveway/surrounding sidewalk and possibly the exterior of the home (professional help may be required with that last part). It will show the home is well taken care of and that the curb appeal extends all the way to, well, the curb itself!

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How do I prevent a chinch bug invasion from my neighbor’s yard?

chinch bugTo chinch bugs, your lawn is dinner. 

You’ve done everything right. Watered your lawn regularly. Fed your lawn when you’re supposed to. Now and then, you discover you have what appears to be drought damage. If you have St. Augustine or zoysia grass, you definitely may be entertaining an entire troop of chinch bugs. These nasty, pesky little critters  suck your grass blades dry. Then, to take a step further, they inject a poison that kills the grass. Chinch bugs can kill patches of your lawn or the entire thing - and get them under control in your yard is one thing, but what happens if your neighbor’s lawn has an infestation too?

The short answer? Prevention is key.

As with any lawn issue, whether pests, weed or disease, a healthy, strong lawn offers better resistance to withstand pressure from pests. Following a rigorous lawn care schedule helps ensure you’re taking every measure available to keep your lawn at its best - including:

  • Mowing your grass to about 2 to 2 ½ inches in length
  • Applying fertilizer with proper timing and in proper amounts, using caution to avoid over-fertilization
  • Properly irrigating lawns in times of drought and avoiding improper watering or overwatering, which can weaken your lawn.
  • Manage thatch - Thatch is a buildup of dead grass, living grass and various other organic matter that creates a perfect environment for chinch bugs to feed and live.
  • If chinch bugs are consistently problematic year after year, preventative chinch bug pesticide should be applied in early spring befortoe eggs hatching. May is an optimal target month, but contact a professional for more accurate dates to apply preventative pesticides and keep a chinch bug free lawn all year long.

Keeping Your Landscaping Looking Beautiful...Even With Florida Summer Downpours

florida summer rainOftentimes, the primary difference between minimizing storm damage and sustaining a complete loss to landscape trees, gardens and flower beds comes down to how well your landscape is managed. 

During the Florida storm season, unpredictable summer downpours and even severe thunderstorms sometimes seemingly come out of nowhere. Maintaining a green thumb all year long on your landscape will profoundly enhance its chances of survival. Plants that are properly fertilized and pruned on a regular basis have the best rate of survival from high winds, rains, and even drought conditions.

A few key tips to keep in mind during this summer’s storm season are:

  1. Properly maintain and prune trees to enable them to withstand heavy gusts of wind.
  2. Prune low-hanging branches and remove weak or dead limbs.
  3. Inspect the base of the tree for fungal growth - which could be a sign that the tree has rot or decay, indicating severe weakness.
  4. Trees that are heavily weighted on one side more than the other need to be balanced, especially if the heavier side is opposite the prevalent winds.
  5. Remove any limbs that encroach upon a structure.
  6. When choosing plants and trees, remember to choose wind resistant breeds first. (these include conifers, palms and dicots like crape myrtles, live oaks, southern magnolias, bald cypress, some hollies and various sand live oaks).

Bee Friendly Landscaping Ideas

bee friendly landscapesUndoubtedly, you’ve heard about the recent drastic decline in honeybees and may want to find out if there is anything you can do to support maintaining and even increasing the local bee populations. Well, the excellent news is that there's a lot that you, as a homeowner can do to play your part in helping local bee populations thrive.

One thing you can do is use your landscape to feed local bee populations. Planting flowers that provide bees with nectar and pollen increase biodiversity for all bees, not just honeybees. If you have a lot of flowers, whether they are native or not, the flowers provide bees with vital nectar and pollen. Unfortunately, we are so often focused on a beautiful green lawn, free of flowers, which doesn’t contribute ecologically. A plain green lawn doesn't do anything for bees or other organisms.

So, what can you do to contribute to the survival of the bee population? A real kicker for improving your property to become bee friendly is maintaining an unbroken succession of blooms that last all season long. Include an assembly of plants on your landscape that bloom all spring and summer. Bees depend heavily on having a lot of blooms flowering in mid-summer which is the time of year that bees are producing the next year's queens. The real key here is to time your planting calendar to be sure something is always blooming on your property.

Keep notes of the times during the year that are naturally short on healthy flowering plants, and fill in those deficiencies. A good candidate for healthy flowering plants is the sunflower. Sunflowers are a mid-summer blooming flower. They can be planted at a time when there are not a lot of other things naturally blooming. Some sages are also midsummer blooms. Crepe myrtle is another midsummer bloom.

Some August Tips Tricks for Florida Landscapes

florida home palm treesSoil Solarization - In August, the hottest days of summer are well upon us. Temperatures reach the 90’s daily with heat indexes well above 100. In August, some often feel it’s too hot to work in the lawn and garden, but the climbing temperatures can be put to use to solarize your soil. Successful soil solarization takes about 4 to 6 weeks, so August is the time to get your garden ready for fall planting.

August Flower Garden Tips - Weekly deep watering -- from irrigation or rainfall -- is crucial for certain shrubs and trees, especially rhododendrons and azaleas, which are setting flower buds now for next year's blooms. The same goestrue for camellias. Plants that offer showy winter berries, such as hollies and firethorn, also appreciate consistent moisture now. If they get too dry, the immature berries may drop.

  • Roses Prepare everblooming roses for fall flowering by cutting plants back by about one-third. Also, prune any dead stems. Feed plants using a rose fertilizer and renew mulch. Water roses deeply once a week if the drought persists.
  • Impatiens Give leggy, lanky impatiens a haircut, trimming stems to half their length. After cutting, feed plants with a general water-soluble fertilizer, such as 20-20-20. You'll have bushy plants covered with blooms in time for autumn.

August Landscape Design Tips - Study the sun and wind patterns. You might want to place a patio on the west side of the house, but it will get lots of afternoon sun, which means dinner time in August won't be relaxing -- just hot. And wind whistling around a corner will quickly extinguish a fire pit. Those are common mistakes in landscape design for beginners - especially in August. Your plan should take into account what the sun and the wind do at different times of the day and year. 

 

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Offer Valid Only If Job Given At Time Of Estimate. $3500 Job Minimum Required. Offer Must Be Presented At Time Of Estimate. Job must be completed by 1/31/18.
We offer estimates at your home or in our landscape nursery & hardscape showroom. Please setup an appointment and come down to our nursery with pictures of your landscaping and a copy of your plot plan. If you receive an estimate at our landscape nursery & hardscape showroom and it is necessary to visit your home to confirm estimate details, you still are eligible to receive and discounts & special offers as long as at home estimate confirmation is done the same day or the following day.
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What Your Neighbors Are Saying About Mansfield Landscaping

My mother in law also used Mansfield and was pleased with their work. It wasn't a very large job, but she had one stacker wall put around a palm and is very happy with it.

Pooh (www.talkofthevillages.com)

Mansfield did our landscaping in the last 3 weeks and we couldn't be any happier. The did a phenomonal job in a short amount of time and we are ecstatic. Please feel free to come by and see ours on Evinston Court.

Oren Miller (www.talkofthevillages.com)

Being in one of the new neighborhoods we were seeing a large number of landscape companies doing work in the area. After talking with several people Mansfield was clearly the company that offered the best combination of quality, price and service. In meeting with Steve he not only offered excellent ideas for a design, but personally walked us through the nursery, pointing out plants and trees that would be good for our project, even to the point of allowing us to select the exact trees to be planted. We especially like Mansfield's practice of bringing a large number and variety of smaller plants to our house so that we could see how they looked with existing plants. The workers were very patient and moved plants around where ever we asked and pointed out ones that would be good or not good together. The finished product far exceeded our expectation and we would highly recommend Mansfield Landscaping.

Tom McCulloch (The Villages)

I first used Mansfield Landscaping a year ago after seeing the unique design work Steve Mansfield did at a neighbor's house. The tree specimens used were more impressive than those typically found in our village and this was the result of Mansfield having a massive inventory and variety of trees, shrubs, and other landscaping materials at his huge nursery in Yalaha-about 30 minutes from The Villages and right next door to the famous Yalaha Bakery. After getting over my initial reservations about Steve's quirky personality, I was thrilled to discover the genuine Steve-a truly unusual individual; a caring and considerate character who gives personal service and attention to his clients! My first job turned out so well that I recently used him and his hard-working crew again to re-landscape an entire house, including the fabrication of a magnificent water fall and stream. While there are many companies doing business in The Villages, Steve's knowledge of the landscaping profession combined with competitive pricing and his emphasis on making his clients happy and satisfied is proven by accepting no money until the job is completely finished. Steve "cranks" out the best landscape design and implementation in The Villages.

Kidzdds (www.talkofthevillages.com)

Thank you Mansfield Landscaping for the beautiful landscape job. We are very pleased with the final results. The people involved with our landscaping were very professional and courteous. Ron and his men did not leave until we were completely satisfied with their work. Thank you again for a beautiful job.

M Orth

Thank you so much for replacing the plants in our yard that did not survive the winter. Everything looks so beautiful, and I am very grateful to you and your employees for doing such a wonderful job.

Mary Ann Flynn (The Villages)

We have just completed a large landscaping job with Steve Mansfield and are totally pleased and impressed with the quality of the work, the overall appearance and the end product. The job was completed within a week of the estimate and far below other estimates. With those estimates the jobs could not have been started for over a month, at a much higher cost. We went to the nursery with our outside pictures and chose the specific trees we wanted in our yard. This was a long process, but well worth the effort. Steve likes to talk, but he estimated the job that we wanted with the exact trees we wanted to our total satisfaction.

Turtle (www.talkofthevillages.com)