Anxious to dig in the dirt? Start with these 5 indoor plants!

February 15th, 2017

Mr. Groundhog saw his shadow, so we technically have at least six weeks left of winter. Despite mild temperatures, it’s still hard to wait until we can dig in the dirt again. Until spring arrives, here are five great choices for indoor plants to care for:

Aloe – Aloe, with its distinctive elongated leaves, is an easy to grow indoor plant. Aloe vera (a smaller version) is great to keep on a sunny kitchen window or in dish gardens. Avoid keeping in high traffic areas because of its spikey leaves.

Begonia – Annual begonia is about as easy as it gets. It comes in a variety of colors and does well in light shade with rich, well-drained soil. Water and fertilize often, and when the danger of frost has passed, replant them outdoors.

Snake plant – Looking for a plant that can withstand almost total neglect? This is it! A carefree, tough succulent, Snake plant grows almost anywhere and is great for beginners. Its sword-shape leaves grow edged with yellow or white and houseplant growers love it for its dramatic upright form.The smaller rosette varieties make nice desktop or tabletop plants.

Gebera daisies – These happy, colorful blooms are not only cheerful, but give off oxygen overnight which can help improve your sleep. For best results, place it near a bright light or window.

Hoya – This trailing plant is a trailing variety and shows off both smooth, shiny foliage and pink or white flowers with red centers. The waxy, sweetly scented flowers give hoya its alternate common name, wax plant. Place in hanging baskets or train it to grow upward along a trellis. Small-leaf types can be trained into topiaries. The easiest of the clan is Hoya carnosa.

Welcome our little landscaper!

We’re thrilled to announce the birth of our newest little landscaper, Arthur Thomas! He is the sweetest little guy and the rest of our kids are so proud of their baby brother!

Winter tips for paver care

December 19th, 2016

December is off to a snowy start and it looks like we’ll have definitely have a white Christmas!

With more snow coming, you’ll want to be careful how you clear a brick paver or stone driveway or walkway to maintain it and reduce damage. Here are a few tips:

Use caution when applying any de-icing chemicals and be careful to not overdo it. We recommend:

  • Calcium based products
  • Rock salt (sodium chloride)

Avoid using magnesium-based products, as they are very aggressive and may cause damage to the surface.

It’s also best to use a plastic shovel wherever possible, and attach plastic blade protectors to your snow plows or snow blowers. Avoid metal blades on plows, since they may scratch the surface.

Holiday events around the metro area

Looking for things to do while the kids are off school? Here are a few events in the metro area that sound fun to us!

  • Holidazzle is a special tradition that brings people from all over the region together to celebrate in a Winter Wonderland here in Downtown Minneapolis. It’s about stories of people, products and places that unite for a spectacular holiday event. Open Thursdays through Sundays through December 23, 2016!
  • How about an outdoor movie? Holidazzle is featuring movies outdoors in their Winter Wonderland area. “Ice Age” will be playing on Thursday, December 22, at 7 p.m., and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be on Friday, December 23 at 7 p.m.
  • Skating at Renaissance Depot Hotel One of the best things to do during the holidays is go ice skating, and Minneapolis is home to one of the top 10 skating rinks in the county, according to Fodor’s Travel. The Depot Rink at the Renaissance Depot Hotel dates all the way back to 1899. The indoor skating rink is a favorite because it’s heated, and it features floor-to-ceiling glass windowed walls looking out on the skyline of Minneapolis. Concessions serve warm comfort foods like soups, chili and pizza. Skaters can get a glass of wine, local craft beers or hot chocolate before and after skating.
  • Polar Dash Brave the cold weather for charity during the Polar Dash on New Year’s Day, when runners can participate in a 1,500 meter, 5k or 10k race along the icy Mississippi River to raise money for the Shriners Hospital for Children. The finish line reward? A steaming cup of hot chocolate. The event also includes a Yeti Challenge, where participants can join all three races.

We’ve had another great year helping our customers with their landscaping projects – thanks to all of our wonderful clients. We’re wishing all of you a healthy & happy holiday season!

November Planting & Clean-Up Tips

November 7th, 2016

Although the temps seem more like September or October, it’s November in Minnesota. We know the weather can turn on a dime, so take time now to get your lawn and landscape ready for winter. Here are a few fall planting and clean-up tips:

Plant Trees & Shrubs:

There’s still time to plant trees and shrubs in November, because the roots can grow in soil as cold as 40 degrees. Roots will have ample time to establish because soil remains warm long after the air temperatures drop.

Check out this handy guide, or contact us with questions about planting trees & shrubs. For more information, visit the University of Minnesota Extension Service website.

Inspect Existing Plants:

Before winter weather hits, take a little time to inspect your outdoor landscape for potential problems. Look for potential safety hazards, signs of pest and disease or plants that may need some extra watering before freezing temps settle in.

Remove Dead Foliage…or Not:

It can be confusing to know whether or not you should remove dead foliage at the end of the season.  There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but here are a few guidelines:

Perennials like coneflowers (Echinacea) and black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) provide seeds for birds in the winter and provide winter interest in your landscape, so it’s o.k. to leave them alone. Stonecrop (Sedum) looks great throughout the winter, so no reason to cut it back, either.

Hostas, a popular Minnesota perennial, can be cut back in the fall unless you enjoy the leaves for winter interest. If you decide to keep them in place, trim with a clean pair of shears in the spring to allow new foliage.

 

Wondering what your tree will look like next fall? Here's a handy leaf color guide.

 

Celebrate Fall with Last Minute Garden Tips and Oktoberfest!

October 6th, 2016

Crunchy leaves, apple pie and pumpkins abound…it must be fall in Minnesota! It’s our favorite time of year – great to check out festivals around the area AND a good time to plant perennials for next year’s landscape. Here are a few options for festivals, as well as some guidelines for fall garden care.

 

Landscape & Garden To-do List

Plant: It’s a great time to plant summer-blooming shrubs and vines, trees in containers and spring-blooming bulbs. Bulbs like lily, hyacinth and iris will bloom in the spring if covered with mulch to protect them from frigid winter temperatures.

Divide and conquer: Now is a good time to divide perennials and replant in areas to keep plants healthy and thriving. Wait until they’ve finished blooming for the season, then cut back foliage and cover with leaves and/or mulch.

Aerate: Lawns can benefit from aeration this time of year. The extra oxygen helps give the lawn a boost.

 

Oktoberfest and other Fall Festivals

Here’s a list of some of our favorite fall festivals – enjoy!

Oktoberfest in Waconia!

October 8, 2016, 12:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Traditional fun, food and beverages and music. Sat October 8th Noon to Midnight at the Carver County Fairgrounds

Entertainment building

$7 advance $12 at door

Tickets also get you in for the main drawing.

Polka band the Jolly Huntsmen 1pm-5pm

Joe Deithelm strolling accordion 5-8pm

Mix It DJ 8pm-12am German food, Beer & Liquor

Pull tabs

Hammers Schlagen

Car show (roll-in)

 

Twin Cities Oktoberfest – Saint Paul, MN – Oct 7 to Oct 8, 2016

This Minneapolis-St. Paul Oktoberfest provides two days of live music, dancers, brats and Summit Oktoberfest beer.

New Ulm Oktoberfest – New Ulm, MN – Oct 7 to Oct 15, 2016

The 35th Annual Minnesota Oktoberfest will take place at four locations in New Ulm on the first two weekends in October. The four locations are the Best Western Plus, Downtown New Ulm, Morgan Creek Vineyards and Schell’s Brewery. This has been ranked one of the top 25 events in Minnesota for many years. The Best Western Plus has two indoor band stage areas with German-style polka and bands playing party favorites for dancing. Downtown activities include horse-drawn trolley rides, hometown bands and tours of various buildings including the John Lind House, Hermann Monument, Schell’s Brewery and the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. Don’t miss the 45 foot Musical Glockenspiel which is setup in the downtown area. Morgan Creek Vineyards generally has a Grape Stomp on the first Saturday of the festival.

 

Add a Soothing Vibe to your Backyard with a Water Feature

August 24th, 2016

Water features are a great way to add beauty and structure to your landscape – and there’s still time to install one this season! With several options to choose from, you can find a structural element to fit your style and lot size. Here are just a few ideas:

 

Flowing Fountains
Water flowing is a soothing way to add peace and tranquility to your landscape. Boulder fountains are popular now, or you can go the traditional route. Birds love them and they make a fantastic focal point in  your yard or landscape.

Ponds – Big or Small – With or Without Fish!

Big or small, a pond is a great way to add a water feature. It can stand alone or serve as a gathering pool from an adjoining stream. Add a water lily, some koi and a small bench and you’ve got a pleasant spot to relax.

Retaining Walls

For an unexpected feature,  incorporate a running stream into a retaining wall!

Fix for a Slope

A sloping yard can prove challenging for mowing and yard maintenance. Why not eliminate the hassle and install a water feature? The natural slope is ideal for one or more streams, gathering at the bottom with a pond or disappearing beneath the stones (to be recycled again at the top).

For more ideas to improve your landscape or garden, visit our website or find us on Facebook!

What is a Rain Garden? And Why are they Important?

June 8th, 2016

A Rain Garden is a shallow depression in the ground that allows water to slowly infiltrate the soil during rainstorms. Water also gathers in the garden from  rooftops, sidewals, driveways and patios. The garden serves as a natural filter to prevent pollutants from entering our lakes, rivers and streams.

“I like rain gardens because they are a great solution for reducing water runoff and can easily be incorporated into the landscape design,” says Tom Hoese, owner of Magnolia Landscape & Design. “They can be as simple as a low area in the yard with plantings selected for the soil and moisture conditions to a drainage system designed to accommodate the roof water and runoff from a property.”

Rain gardens act as a sponges, drawing water into the soil and help replenish the groundwater supply. Native plants are ideal for rain gardens because they are beautiful, hardy and deep-rooted… and they help attract birds and butterflies.

For more information on rain gardens, check out the University of Minnesota Extension office or this guide from Better Homes and Gardens.

Rock Your Backyard with Outdoor Speaker Systems

May 11th, 2016

We saw an outdoor speaker system at the Northern Green Expo this winter that grabbed our attention. Essentially, it’s a high quality speaker system with a subwoofer that – get this – is buried in your yard, using the density of the soil to enhance the sound.  How cool is that?!

Subterrain woofers use the density of the soil to enhance sound.

The subwoofer, paired with 2 or 4 speakers, gives you a great outdoor sound system easily played via any Bluetooth device. And, you can design it to direct sound toward your entertaining space to avoid irritating the neighbors while you rock out (or just invite them to join you!)

Some outdoor speakers are built into "rocks" to blend easily into the landscape.

Once we started thinking about this, we looked for other ideas for backyard sound systems. Here are a few more – including floating speakers for swimming pools.

Designed to float along on the surface while you lounge in the pool, bath, or hot tub, the iSplash Floating Pool Speaker is a high-quality waterproof speaker that streams your favorite digital tunes from any Bluetooth-compatible device with a range of over 30 feet.

“I’m excited about the new technology that allows you to control features such as landscape lighting and irrigation with your tablet or phone,” says Alan Sanford, our foreman and project manager.

Studio Total (ST) is a small Scandinavian creative lab that’s working with experimental studio Pjadad to create the first loudspeaker that you can actually sit in. The AudioOrb is a large, spherical space made of Plexiglas that also serves to block out all outside noise. Inside, there are 18 mounted speakers ready to give you the ultimate audiophile experience.

3 Things to Consider When Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

March 31st, 2016
Outdoor dining and cooking has become a staple in backyard entertaining spaces, and we love to design and install them!
Here are a few tips from Tyler, a landscape designer on our team:  “The placement of the grill or outdoor kitchen deserves more thought than I think it typically receives.” says Tyler Wortz, landscape designer at Magnolia. “So often, the Grill Master is stuck in a corner somewhere with his/her back to the party.”
Here are 3 tips for perfect outdoor kitchen placement:
1. If the space allows, it’s great when a grill station allows the cook to face the dining area and be more included in the socializing that often comes with outdoor dining.  A built-in grill in an island with some counter or bar top space is a great solution.
2. Even without a full built in,  it’s important to keep the cooking area relatively close to the kitchen access (without putting it in any common window views). This placement will make those multiple trips to the kitchen (for meats, seasonings, plates and proper Grill Master refreshments), as short as possible!
3. Keep drinks close at hand by installing a refrigerator close to the cooking station, too. You can keep beverages, vegetables and meats cold and fresh until grilling time.
For more ideas on planning YOUR dream outdoor kitchen, visit our website or contact us for a free consultation!

Weddings, Graduations and Reunions, Oh My!

February 26th, 2016

It’s almost here… Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes lots of outdoor activity. Will your yard and landscape be ready? If not, we can help with that!

We love to transform backyards, front yards, decks and patios into beautiful outdoor living spaces. Whether it’s an outdoor kitchen, fire pit or swimming pool, we can make your landscape dreams come true.

Contact us now and let’s get started with planning. Then, when the frost is out, we’ll get started and you’ll be ready to welcome guests.

Move over Man Cave, it’s Time for a She Shed!

January 28th, 2016

Have you seen one of the latest backyard trends? They’re called She Sheds! Whether you clear out an existing, neglected shed or build a new one from scratch, She Sheds are a great place for women to read, craft, garden, nap or just hang out with friends.

You can add character and save materials from the landfill by repurposing windows, lumber, fencing and more.  Winter is a great time to dream about and plan your new landscape project. Need inspiration? We found lots of options online – here are just a few!

Embrace Minnesota Winter at the St. Paul Winter Carnival!

Going on now through February 6, the St. Paul Winter Carnival offers lots of fun and activities for all ages. For those of us 21+, enjoy a cool beverage at the Ice Bar sponsored by Summit Brewing Company and Cannon River Winery. Family events include the WinterSkate and Memorabilia Display, or zooming down the giant snow slide at Snow Park on the MN State Fairgrounds. Check the website for more details.

Come and see us at these Home & Garden Shows!

  • Saturday, Jan 30 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Home Improvement & Design Expo – Canterbury Park, Shakopee MN
  • Sunday, Feb 21 – 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – West Metro Home Remodeling Fair – Eisenhower Community Center, Hopkins
  • Saturday, March 5 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Home, Landscape & Wellness Expo – Chanhassen High School
  • Saturday, March 19 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Home, Landscape & Garden Expo – Grace Church, Eden Prairie MN
  • Saturday, April 2  – 9 .m. to 2 p.m. – Home, Garden & More Show – Savage Sports Center, Savage MN
  • Friday & Saturday – April 8 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. / April 9 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Plymouth Home Expo – Plymouth Creek Center

 

 

 

 

 
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