Is Your Parking Lot Customer Friendly?

Collectively, Americans own 250 million cars, and the United States has up to two billion parking spaces to house them. That’s eight spaces per car — more square footage, by some estimates, than exists for housing our population of 327 million people, and five percent or more of urban area in the Upper Great Lakes region. All that asphalt won’t take care of itself, especially when winter comes and the snow starts to pile up. If you’re a business owner, it’s important to keep your parking lot customer-friendly; after all, it’s not as though those cars and their drivers have nowhere else to go.

Making Your Parking Lot a Welcoming Place

So what can you do to blunt the edge on the average of 17 hours per year your customers spend looking for parking?

  • Plan carefully, since the location and layout of your parking lot and the traffic patterns that result, can make a big difference in customer experience; if you’re having your parking lot rebuilt or resurfaced, consider using the opportunity for a smarter makeover.
  • Prioritize safety, ensuring that the lot and surrounding foot paths are well-lit, and also consider security cameras to monitor the area; these simple steps have a deterrent effect on thieves and help customers feel safer.
  • Pay attention to small details, such as installing a cart corral if your business uses carts to prevent damage to vehicles, and ensuring that obstructions like dumpsters are kept in areas they won’t interfere with parking.
  • Build-in designated spaces for motorcycles and compact vehicles, set aside space for the handicapped, and those who are pregnant or have small children.
  • Don’t neglect your lot; parking lot snow and ice management and diligent maintenance year-round goes a long way.

Thinking Ahead: Parking as a Service?

We’ve already got SaaS (Software as a Service). Might PaaS, or Parking as a Service, be next? At least one author thinks so, and sees the opportunity to capitalize on drivers’ (and retailers’, and property managers’) frustrations. While Thomas Hohenacker suggests a suite of sophisticated sensors and IoT-connected LED screens to display available parking spaces (and advertising, of course), most small business owners don’t have the kind of cash, space, or need for a solution that robust. That doesn’t mean that Hohenacker’s solution is without merit; for businesses and service providers with larger parking lots, times of inclement weather can be a good time to provide a human touch to parking. If your lot is large — and especially if it’s shared by multiple tenants — it may be worth your while to consider valet parking. It cuts down on driver frustration, and can reinforce positive feelings toward your business.

Getting Back to Basics

Maybe you’re hesitant to install new lighting, or undertake some of the other improvements listed here. Maybe you haven’t got the additional payroll to spare on a parking lot attendant. We’re small business owners too, so we understand the challenges you face. With that said, one of the ways you can stretch your limited money the farthest is by paying attention to the fundamentals: parking lot snow and ice removal in the winter, reinforced by parking lot maintenance in the warmer months. HTA Companies can help, just as we’ve done for dozens of businesses in Lansing, Bath, Watertown, and the surrounding areas. Why not get in touch today and see how we can help?

Things to Ask Before Choosing a Landscape Contractor

How did you hear about them or where have you seen them?

Ads may not tell the whole picture. Have you admired a newly finished landscape or one in progress? Whose trucks do you see all over town and take note of the Contractor doing that work? Ask people you trust to find whom they have used or would recommend.

If a Landscape Contractor is referred by a friend, family, or neighbor; you could probably stop searching. People don’t often refer someone that has disappointed them. If this Contractor’s schedule and expertise match your needs, we recommend acting on the referral.

How long have they been in business?

Every business had a beginning! A new Landscape Contractor may be a perfect fit if your project is small and undemanding. A complicated project commands a more established and experienced Contractor. Don’t be a Guinea Pig, because it costs serious money to correct the mistakes of the inexperienced!

Are they licensed and insured? Any certifications or affiliations?

What is their background?

Once again you need to look at experience. Do they have training in Landscape Design?

Do they have working knowledge of proper planting, construction methods and industry standards? Years of mowing doesn’t automatically qualify them as an experienced Landscape Designer or Contractor. 

Have they done something similar?

As soon as you walk them through your wish list, they should be able to recall a similar project and tout their success. You don’t want to hear “I think we can” or we’ll try”; but “I know we can because we’ve done it!”

Are they experienced Landscape Designers?

Landscape Design isn’t just placing a plant or patio where it looks good. The proper selection of materials can make or break a job, because not knowing how large a plant will get or if the retaining wall will hold without failing, are examples of what an experienced designer must consider before construction ever begins. Mistakes in design can result in years of costly repairs and higher maintenance.

Don’t be afraid to ask to see examples of what they can do. With today’s technology, they probably have pictures of landscapes they’ve designed or installed, right there on their tablet or phone. Pictures really are worth a thousand words and they’ll be thrilled you asked to see their work!

Do they charge for their design?

Most accomplished Landscape Contractors will charge for their design. You are, after all, paying for their talent & experience, to pull your wish list together in a creative way and make it a reality. Their unique knowledge of selecting the right materials and construction methods will be invaluable if you want your landscape to stand the test of time.  

Many landscapers will credit back all or part of the design cost if you have them do the work. Even if they don’t; it’s money well spent!

Do they subcontract any of the work?

This is actually a very important question to ask. Contractors that can do everything with their own experienced crews, will be able to offer a seamless flow of work from start to finish, without delays or excuses from subcontractors. 

What is their schedule & can they complete the job on time?

If your project is time-critical, you should make this point right upfront when you’re calling for an appointment. Trustworthy Landscape Contractors should be able to tell you right then if they can meet your deadline.

Larger contractors may have more crews at their disposal and can have multiple projects under construction at the same time. The smaller a company is, the longer you may have to wait, because they must finish the job or jobs just ahead of you.

This isn’t necessarily bad though. If you’ve asked all these questions and feel comfortable so far, it could be worth the wait, if you’re not up against any deadlines.

Can they stay on the job until it’s completed?

This isn’t a dumb question! Their scheduling problems are not yours. If they start your job, they shouldn’t have to pull off to do something else, with the promise of coming back another day. This often turns into more than a few days, if not weeks.

Can they provide references? (Referred contractors should make this step unnecessary)

This isn’t a bad question to ask, but please try and keep things in perspective. Try to imagine how you would respond if someone called you as the reference. Please keep the scope and dollar amount of your project, in balance with the reference you’re asking for.

If your project requires an expensive outdoor kitchen, a glowing review of having two trees planted may not provide the affirmation you’re looking for in a reference.

Be content with one or two. Some Contractors may gladly offer several, while others might guard their references with a great deal of discretion. Don’t wear out a company’s hard-earned references.

Besides, if you’re not comfortable with a Landscape Contractor by this point, a reference probably isn’t going to sway your decision anyway.

How many bids should you get?

There is no magic number! A good Rule of Thumb is no more than 3. If your project requires a Landscape Design or Master Plan, and you don’t have anyone referred to you, we recommend talking to 2 or 3 Landscape Contractors, using the above guidelines to evaluate the best fit for your project.

After this evaluation, select One Contractor to move forward with and avoid putting yourself in the position of having to compare 3 different designs and bids. Every Contractor will have a different vision and approach to your project, making it difficult to choose. The designs become rather subjective at this point and it’s often too easy to just give up and make a decision based on price. The best solution, and not necessarily the least expensive; may have just slipped through your fingers, when you choose by price alone!

Is there a risk in taking more than one bid?

The economy is booming and every contractor worth hiring is extremely busy. The above tips equip you in making a proper selection, so the risk you run with taking multiple bids is you could lose the one you liked the most because too much time has lapsed and now their schedule is full.

When taking bids, one or two will promptly get things put together and come back to you in a timely manner. There always seems to be the one that can’t get back to you within the time requested, and too often people put the responsive bidders on hold while they are waiting on the slowpoke. Do not put up with this! Chances are if they can’t get you a bid on time, they won’t complete the work on time either!

If you’re impressed with the first company you meet with, there is nothing wrong with hiring them on the spot. The longer you take to decide, the further you get pushed back in everyone’s schedule. Every good Contractor is busy, so please cancel the remaining appointments right away so they can be free to make other appointments.

In Summary…

Just remember a Contractor’s time is valuable too, and they’ll respect you for your thoughtfulness.

The referred contractor is almost always the better path to take. Ask people you know and tell them what you’re doing. If they had a great experience, they’ll be glad to share it with you.

Final Thought…

Check all of the boxes by contacting HTA Companies first!

You’ll be glad you did!

How do I hire a Lawn Care Contractor?

I love my new Landscape… Now what?

The secret to keeping every landscape looking sharp is seeing that it is properly maintained. You may be one of those rare “Green Thumb” warriors that takes pride in maintaining your Landscape, and your yard always looks picture perfect. 

If you have the time and are one of these proud warriors, then take the task head-on, but be sure to ask the Landscape Contractor that installed it, if there are any plants or items that may require special attention, especially for that first growing season. 

What if I don’t have time?

If you’re not one of these individuals or would like to be but just don’t have the time, you should ask the Contractor that installed your new landscape if they would be interested in the weekly and regular maintenance of your property.

This is worth considering because most likely the work is under warranty and your new landscape deserves the proper attention and care to protect that warranty.

We would recommend contracting with the company that installed everything for at least the first year, because the lawn and many of the new plantings will require greater attention during the first year. Some contractors may even extend the warranty period for another year if they are taking care of the property. 

Is there more involved than just mowing?

It is understood that the array of products available to the contractor is vastly different than what the homeowner must rely on, but more importantly, the full-service lawn care contractor will have a whole range of beneficial services you can choose from.

  Mowing & trimming

  Spring & Fall Clean-ups & top-dressing mulch beds

  Fertilizer and weed control for lawns and plant beds

  Aerating & Slit-seeding

  Edging of plant beds, walks, drives, and curbs

  Tree & shrub pruning

  Disease and pest control for lawns and plants

  Irrigation service and repair

These are just some of the services a full-service lawn care contractor can provide and remember there is by law, a great deal of training and licensing required to perform many of these. (Any chemical application besides fertilizer requires a license issued by the State.)

Not only is it important to offer these services, but also knowing when it is appropriate to apply many of the products. Remember we are dealing with chemical applications, and conditions such as wind, moisture, and temperature may dictate when it is safe to apply many of these.

Is paying to have it done worth the cost?

This contractor may cost more than the local neighborhood mowing guy, but they understand what is at stake and will be more apt to notice or recognize when a lawn or plant is needing special attention and can recommend a course of action to protect your investment in the landscape.

This is a definite advantage over the guy that shows up once a week, mows for 10 minutes and disappears… Never picking up on potential problems or even being a contributor to them.

You may need to ask yourself what it would cost to replace expensive plants or repair areas of the lawn if these things aren’t properly maintained. Most warranties exclude replacing plants that are neglected or poorly maintained, so the cost of seasonal care may be the more effective way to keep costs under control.

In Summary…

We mentioned early on that you could be one of those rare warriors who enjoy the effort to maintain the landscape and have the resources and “Time” to see it through. If not, then consider working again with your Landscaper.

You’ve already had experience with the contractor that installed your new landscape and have asked all the right questions about experience and licensing, so this should be a rather easy decision to make.

Your contractor is there to help you enjoy your landscape and your hard-earned time off from work, by taking some of the burden from your plate.

Action…

Whether your landscape is new or old, it needs special attention to keep it healthy and looking sharp! Hiring a qualified Lawn Care Contractor can partner with you and do all the “heavy lifting” and leave you with nothing but time to enjoy your landscape!

Michigan Winter Landscaping

Winter Landscaping Ideas

Some folks like to while away the winter indoors, donning slippers and flannel PJs and hibernating by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. But some Michigan homeowners want to wring every available minute out of outdoor living, regardless of the snow and cold temperatures. If you fall into the latter category, we’ve got some good news: you can make your yard look just as good throughout the winter as it did during the warmer months — and lay some important groundwork so your lawn is ready when the thaw comes.

 

Don’t Neglect the Essentials

Before you worry about getting fancy with winter decor, remember that there are some simple things you can do to take care of your landscape in the winter. Ice and snow removal is a must. So, too, is taking care of plants that are prone to crushing under the weight of winter precipitation with a burlap wrap or some strategic tie-offs. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at a little winter gardening; it’s a great time to start seeds indoors for outdoor planting in the spring, and you’d be surprised how well lettuce, peas, onions, and some other leafy greens do outdoors in the winter.

 

Find New Sources of Color

Most of us don’t think of bold colors when we think of winter. We think of muted light, snowfall, and lots of dead, brown plants, and grasses. That doesn’t mean the season has to be dull and grey (or beige). Choosing evergreens, or perennials that flower or retain their fruit in winter, means having cheerful and seasonally-appropriate color. And remember that the dramatic light that’s common this time of year makes it great for other elements — patterns, contrast, and texture among them — to shine so that you’re not relying on color to do all the heavy lifting. Outdoor decor like a gazing ball, a wreath, or some pinecones and other decor in planting boxes can really stand out. And of course, a bird feeder will not only take care of your feathered friends but also make sure you’ve got company while you enjoy your morning coffee.

Use Native Plants

Don’t succumb to the lure of non-native plants from your local garden center or big box home supply store. Many of them are sold for their looks, not their suitability to the Michigan soil and climate; some will even be invasive species. Relying on native plant species has benefits year round. They’re lower maintenance in the warmer months, and they’re hardy enough to survive the worst that winter can dish out. Not sure what to plant? Ask us!

Get Creative with Hardscaping

Up to this point, we’ve primarily considered softscaping — that is to say, all the green stuff in your lawn and garden. But hardscaping has its place in the wintertime, as well. A fire feature, like a fire pit or outdoor kitchen, can give you more options for using and enjoying your outdoor spaces year round.

Getting a Helping Hand

Of course, nobody said you had to do all of this on your own. The best time to prepare for winter landscaping is actually months in advance, but if you’re reading this in the dead of winter, we still have good news: you’re just in time to start thinking about the spring and summer months. HTA Companies can take care of the essentials with a range of Michigan lawn care services that ensures your lawn wakes up from its winter rest ready to look its best in the warmer months to come.

snow removal services

Prepare for Winter with Snow Removal and Snow Services

Prepare for Winter with Snow Removal and Salt Services 

Winter snow can be beautiful, at least if you’re inside with a cup of hot cocoa and a plate of fresh-baked cookies. It can also be hazardous to your health. Studies cited in Consumer Reports show that cold weather raises cholesterol and blood pressure, increases the chances of clots forming, and leaves you more prone to a heart attack or stroke. Step outside to shovel, salt, or use a snow blower and the added activity — especially for those over 65, or those with a prior history of heart attack, stroke, or circulatory problems — goes up exponentially. Why take your chances? Get in touch with HTA Companies for Lansing salt and snow removal instead.

Snow and Ice Management Services

HTA Companies is the biggest snow service company in Lansing MI. We live here, we know the area, and we know how to respond quickly and appropriately to the unpredictable weather experienced during tough Michigan winters. We don’t just monitor; we keep our customers informed, so you’ll never have to wonder when — or if — we’ll be there.

Parking Lot Clearing and Salting

No matter how much it snows, life in Lansing goes on. Whether you own a home, an apartment complex, a business, or a retail establishment, you want to ensure that traffic around your property continues unimpeded without risking accidents or property damage. We’re here to help.

Sidewalk Salting and Clearing

Nobody wants a steep medical bill — or worse still, a lawsuit — because they, or a pedestrian, slipped on their sidewalk and sprained an ankle or broke a bone. We’ll clean and salt your sidewalks to keep dangerous ice from forming so your property stays clear and safe.

Snow Hauling

The first storm or two may not seem like much, but once we’ve gotten some way into winter, it’s easy for snow to pile up. It looks unsightly and can present dangers for pedestrians and vehicles. That’s why we also offer snow haul-off service.

Extra Cold-Weather Tips

So let’s say you’re convinced that scheduling professional snow removal is for the best. We’d still like you to be safe (we care about our neighbors), so here are a few extra tips if you’re heading out in the cold.

  • Bundle up, since the warmth prevents hypothermia and frostbite, and helps protect your heart, too.
  • Warm up by doing a bit of exercise (some jumping jacks or running in place) before exerting yourself outdoors.
  • Eat healthy, since the sugary and fatty foods, and alcohol we tend to indulge at this time of year, aren’t doing our bodies any favors.
  • If you’re younger and fitter, check in on neighbors who are older — they may need a hand with tasks like food shopping and household chores in the winter, and they’ll be glad for the company.
  • Know the signs of heart attack and stroke, and seek medical attention immediately if you suspect something’s wrong.

Start Planning Now

We help Lansing homeowners and businesses keep their property looking beautiful year round. We’d love to do the same for you. Plan now for the cold months ahead by scheduling salt and snow removal with HTA Companies and enjoy winter for a change!

fall lawn cleanup

Fall Landscaping and Lawn Cleanup Tips

Fall isn’t just the time for back to school, apple cider, and taking the warmer clothes out of the attic. It’s also one of the most important times for lawn care. And autumn lawn care is a lot more than raking (and raking… and raking) leaves. If you want your lawn to look great next spring, you need to get started on some essentials right now — and if you live in the Lansing area, HTA Companies is here to help.

Lawn Fertilization and Weed Control

Most homeowners think of weed control and fertilization as tasks that belong on spring and summer to-do lists. The time from September through November actually finds us busy with liquid weed control for broadleaf weeds, and the application of slow-release and high-nitrogen fertilizers that ensure your plants are fed for their winter nap. We can also aerate your soil and overseed, ensuring a healthy lawn that’s better able to inhibit weed growth in the spring.

Tree and Shrub Services

If you’ve noticed that some of the trees and shrubs in your yard aren’t as healthy as they should be, our tree and shrub care addresses the problem. Pruning that removes dead or diseased areas on shrubs, and large tree trimming that removes dead limbs, can be great to take care of in the fall. Not only does this help ensure the long-term health of your trees and shrubs, it also ensures that the snows of winter won’t weigh down and break dead branches, potentially doing further damage to an otherwise-healthy tree or falling on your car or home. We even offer on-site consultations with horticulturists and certified arborists who can suggest your best course of action.

Landscape Design and Construction

The autumn is also a good time for certain landscape design and construction projects. While projects that involve heavy planting are sometimes best left for the spring and early summer, autumn can be a good time for hardscaping. That’s because the kids are back in school and your yard is seeing much less use. This is a good time to repair or replace decks and retaining walls. It’s also perfect if you’re designing and installing a new patio, sidewalk, driveway, or a fire pit to enjoy those crisp autumn nights. In any event, our work at this time of year is much less likely to disrupt your day-to-day routine.

Other Things to Remember

We often find that homeowners take a hands-off approach to lawn care in the fall. There are a few important steps to take before the first frost that will help ensure your lawn is healthier when the snow melts, the ground thaws, and spring returns.

  • Remove leaves, since a carpet of autumn leaves may look gorgeous but can trap moisture and kill grass
  • Keep mowing, since your grass is growing (albeit slower than it did during the summer)
  • Keep watering, because a dry spell can still damage your grass even without the high heat of summer causing evaporation
  • Get a helping hand from HTA Companies, since timing matters in lawn care — we can keep you on schedule
Grass Care Tips

Late Summer Grass Care Tips

As summer winds down, it’s likely that your lawn could use some attention before the transition into autumn. These simple tips from HTA Companies will help keep your grass happy and healthy until the cooler weather sets in — and even make sure it’s ready for the colder months that follow.

 

What Summer Does to Grass

Under ideal circumstances — lots of rain, plenty of sun, adequate nutrients, and just enough heat — your lawn will thrive, since grass is a plant like any other. However, summer conditions around Lansing are often less than ideal. High heat and irregular rains can cause grass to brown, die, and thin out. Those bare patches can then grow as aggressively as the grass once did, which in turn leaves more room for weeds and lawn pests. 

 

Protecting and Caring for Grass

There are some simple things you can do to ensure your lawn stays healthy.

Water Properly

Just as you don’t feel your best when you’re dehydrated, insufficient water takes a toll on grass too. Keep an eye on the weather, and if you notice there’ll be long stretches of hot, dry weather, water your lawn. How you water matters; if you’re neglecting segments of your grass, they’re more likely to die out, so pay attention to sprinkler patterns. Similarly, make sure you water thoroughly, since watering only the surface leads to evaporation and may even mean the root system starting to pull upward to take advantage of what little water it’s getting. Deep watering helps.

Mow the Right Way

Every plant needs the right balance of sun and shade. Grass is no different, and it even provides its own shade — as long as you mow properly. We understand that nobody wants to mow too often, so there’s a temptation to give your lawn a buzz cut. However, that keeps the leaves of grass from shading the root system, leading to scorching and dead patches.

Seed When Necessary

Even when you’ve done everything right, you can still end up with bare patches. That’s especially true if you’ve got kids or pets, whose traffic on the lawn can cause damage. Rodents and other visitors can also lead to bare patches. Rather than visiting the hardware store or big box home supply store and making your best guess, let HTA Companies evaluate your lawn care needs and traffic to plant grass that will last.

Feed Regularly

You wouldn’t last too long on a diet made up only of water, and your grass won’t, either. We can help by applying fertilizers that release over a long period of time so your grass can nosh instead of bingeing. That leads to steady, healthy growth instead of rapid growth that can cause more problems than it solves.

 

Think Ahead

Your lawn is on its own highly specific timetable. Sometimes preparing for a season means thinking several months ahead. Some of the most important lawn care done by HTA Companies — including pest control, soil improvement, weed eradication and control, and slow-release fertilizers — takes place at this time of year so your lawn gets a good nap over the winter and can face the spring-fed, rested, and ready.

home curb appeal

How Curb Appeal Helps Boost Your Home Value

Remember your last job interview? You probably put in quite a bit of preparation and research, brushed up on your skills, and — especially — dressed to impress. We all know the importance of a good first impression, after all. Well, those first impressions count if you’re thinking of selling your home, too, and that’s why curb appeal matters. As HTA Companies knows from many years of experience, your landscaping and lawn care play an outsized part in that curb appeal. 

What Is Curb Appeal, Anyway?

Curb appeal is the term used by realtors and home buyers to describe the first impression left by a home. While the conventional wisdom says it’s all about location, location, location, you can think of your landscaping, then your home, as locations within the location. Most homebuyers will see your lawn, flower beds, and shrubs before they’ll ever lay eyes on your charming kitchen or the lovingly-restored built-ins, so those things are important.

Curb Appeal and Home Value

Let’s try to put a dollar value on your landscaping return on investment. But, since we’re landscapers and not bean-counters, let’s look to an outside expert just to keep things honest. Jill Chodorov Kaminsky of the Washington Post found that the average ROI was close to 150 percent — which is surprising given that many home improvements lose more money than they return

Lawn Care and Curb Appeal

So where does that dollar value come from? Rightly or wrongly, the care you’ve put into your landscaping is perceived as a hint to homebuyers about how diligent you’ve been about other parts of your home. If they see lush greenery and healthy plants, they’re getting subconscious signals that you’re likely to have paid attention to other aspects of maintenance indoors and out. If, on the other hand, they see something that looks like a jungle or a post-apocalyptic movie, they’re going to second-guess every creaky hinge and floorboard.

First Steps in Lawn Care and Landscaping

That, in turn, raises another question: how much should you invest, and how? The Post article cited above suggests ten percent of your home value. The median home value of a home in Troy, MI is in the low 300s, which would mean landscaping starting at around $30,000 — which isn’t going to be practical for many people. 

Our advice is to figure out a budget that’s sensible to you, and prioritize carefully. Start with areas that need attention, filling in bare spots, eradicating weeds, and restoring your lawn to health. Once that’s done, pay attention to plants that add character and color without needing a lot of maintenance; you don’t want a prospective buyer looking at your lawn and thinking of the amount of lawn care they’ll need rather than the beauty they’ll enjoy. Those fixes are quick, easy, and — perhaps most importantly — inexpensive. 

Will there be a bright line between money spent and the money you recoup in your home value? It’s helpful, but it’s also hard to assign a dollar value to the net effect. However, landscaping can do something else that, for many home sellers, is priceless: it can get your house off the market faster. If you’re not sure how or where to get started, reach out to the lawn care specialists at HTA Companies

lawn irrigation

Signs You Need Lawn Irrigation

A lush green lawn is money in the bank. It helps with your home’s curb appeal — adding tens of thousands of dollars to its value, by some estimates. But it still has value even if you’re staying put for the foreseeable future, since it makes your house and property feel more like home. There’s just one problem: your lawn can’t feed and water itself. So how do you stay on top of care and watering when your time is finite? One step is lawn irrigation, in the form of a smart irrigation system from HTA Companies. 

Your Water Bills Are High

At one time or another, we’ve all been told we need eight glasses of water per day. But how do you translate that to your greenscaping? The fact is, most people overwater with the best of intentions, which ends up leading to skyrocketing water bills every summer.

Your Plants are Suffering

There’s another problem with manual watering or using a store-bought solution. Not everything in your yard needs the same amount of water. Under-watering can leave everything yellowed, parched, or dying. However, overwatering won’t do you any favors either, since it can lead to soil erosion, rot, fungus, and other issues you’d probably rather avoid. An irrigation system helps you side-step this. 

You Want the Right Tools for the Job

Many homeowners make do with a combination of watering cans, garden hoses, and store-bought sprinklers. That turns watering into a time-consuming chore, but just as much to the point, it also doesn’t guarantee a thorough job. An irrigation system is designed for your property, and is adjusted so that each area gets precisely the water it needs when it’s most needed.

You’re Short on Time

The best time to water is early in the morning and late in the day. This allows water to filter into the soil and nourish the root systems of your plants and grass. That also means getting up early, or cutting short your evening plans, to care for your lawn. A smart irrigation system can be set to do its job, whether you’re home or not, saving you time and letting you sleep in on weekends.

Your Existing System is Old

Of course, not everyone’s puttering around with a garden hose every time the lawn needs a drink. Plenty of homeowners call HTA Companies because they already have an irrigation system and they suspect it’s on its last legs. Here are a few signs it’s time for irrigation repair or replacement:

  • Leaks, often manifested by pooling water
  • Low water pressure 
  • Rising water bills that outpace rate increases
  • System age, since many systems need extensive repairs or replacement after 25 years
  • Poor design that leaves large swaths of your landscape under or over-watered

 

Irrigation Design and Installation in Troy, MI

Homeowners, realtors, and your neighbors all agree: keeping your lawn green is a good thing. However, that can be easier said than done. Most Troy homeowners don’t double as landscaping experts, so knowing the right thing to do at the right times — whether it’s laying down pre-emergent, feeding, fertilizing, or keeping your lawn hydrated and happy — can be a challenge, to say nothing of finding the time to get everything done. That’s why so many homeowners rely on HTA Companies for smart irrigation systems, maintenance, and more. Why not contact us today?

weed prevention

Keep Up on Weed Prevention with These Best Practices

Whether you own a home or a business in the Lansing area, trying to keep your property looking great can be a challenge, at best. It’s likely that weeds are the bane of your existence. After all, the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University identifies more than two dozen weed species as the state’s worst — and those are just the most common! While HTA Companies specializes in weed prevention, we’ve found that the best way to keep a weed-free property is to keep them from taking hold in the first place. It’s easier than you think if you follow these steps.

Keep the Soil Intact

The soil in your lawn and garden is chock full of weed seeds. However, like any other seeds, weeds require a sufficient quantity of air and light to sprout. If you’re digging or tilling too much, you’re bringing more of those seeds to the surface and giving them a chance to grow. When you need to dig, keep it as localized as possible — and that includes the times you choose to pull weeds by hand. Fine Gardening suggests cutting the roots with a knife or other sharp object rather than pulling or digging, since that minimizes soil disturbance.

Mulch

Mulch doesn’t just keep your lawn and gardens looking tidy. It helps soil trap moisture, while the critters it shelters (like crickets and other insect species) help keep soil healthy while also feasting on weed seeds. But that isn’t the only way it helps control weeds. Remember, we mentioned earlier that plants need light to grow. Mulch helps to prevent weeds by keeping light away from those seeds.

Plant Tightly

While it’s not a good idea to overcrowd plants — they end up competing for water and nutrients — it’s also not a good idea to leave large spaces between them. Even small plants create shade, and are capable of denying sunlight to the weeds around them.

Mow Right

Nobody likes to mow (we’ll have more to say about this below), but if you’re going to mow, do it right. It’s tempting to mow short so you don’t have to mow quite as often, but this can cause grass to burn or even die off. You’re better off keeping grass mowed slightly higher. You’ll have to mow more often, but healthy grass that doesn’t contain gaps and bare spaces chokes out weed growth too.

Water Properly

Plants need air, sunshine, and water to grow. We take for granted that some plants will thrive in shade, while others require direct sunlight or partial sun. But water matters, too, especially if you’re trying to control weeds. Prevent indiscriminate watering and you’ll prevent indiscriminate weed growth. Your lawn will be healthier overall, too, since over-watering can contribute to rot and promote the growth of other organisms (like fungus and mushrooms). Not sure how best to water your landscape? Our landscape design services include the design and installation of sprinklers and irrigation systems.

Get Lawn Maintenance

Of course, you can take every last one of these steps with the utmost dedication, and you’re still likely to have weeds. They’re stubborn little buggers! That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of a comprehensive lawn maintenance plan that addresses your lawn’s needs year ‘round. If you live in the Lansing area, a call to HTA Companies is a first step toward everything from mowing, edging, and trimming to care for trees and shrubs, fertilizer, and pre-emergent and weed control to boost curb appeal with a minimum of time and effort on your part. Questions? Call 517-482-2007 today.