Yard landscaping for next year doesn't begin next spring, rather, it begins this fall.  Proper fall yard maintenance lowers the risk of plant diseases next spring and ensures that your property is ready for the cold winter months.  

Here are 9 important Fall Clean-up must do’s: 

1. Remove all annual plants
There are sure to be plants in the yard that will die once the summer is over and all annuals should be removed and composted.

2. Put away summer furniture
Before items go into storage, remove and wash cushions and wipe items down so they are nice and clean. If you don’t have space, covers are a great idea.

3. Outdoor Lighting Audit
Go through your lighting system to clean lenses, replace bulbs, reposition fixtures due to this seasons plant growth and change the start/end time on your automatic timers.  This will insure you have working lights throughout the winter months. 

4. Weed one last time
Every garden needs a good weeding at the end of the season. Go through all your plant beds and edges and remove any weeds. This will prevent you from extra work the following spring. After you weed add compost to the soil and work it in so next year when spring arrives, your soil will be ready for new plantings.

5 Winterize the rain barrel
If you have a water-saving rain barrel, empty it as much as possible and then disconnect it from the down spout and hose so no more water collects in it. Then, turn the barrel up side down so you will not have frozen water.

6. Plant any bulbs for Spring
Preparing early by planting bulbs in the fall is like getting a present you forgot about once spring arrives.

7. Divide and cut back perennials
Take inventory in the your yard and see if there are plants that need dividing and plan to move part of it to a new location in your garden.

8. Feed/Fertilize the lawn
There are many products for various types of grass including fertilizer that is to be used in the fall.  You’ll have your yard working for you while the winter passes.

9. Rake up leaves
Rake those leaves. Once the snow flies, an unraked layer of leaves can get matted down over the turf and smother it all winter long. Raking or using a mulching mower in the fall helps avoid dead patches in the spring and keeps the yard looking nice and tidy too.

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 22 September 2014 07:33

14 Simple Fall Pleasures for a Special Season

Have a meaningful, enjoyable autumn by getting closer to nature, being thankful and more.  Here are 14 fall traditions to consider from Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor.  Read more: 


Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 18 September 2014 10:25

Recipe Thursday - One Pot Mac and Cheese

It's a lightning-quick stovetop version of mac and cheese, made with spaghetti. No spaghetti? Use ziti. No ziti? How about shells? We can change this recipe every time or keep it the same but one thing won't change: the great taste!
•1 pound spaghetti
•1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
•1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 4 cups (1 quart) milk
• 6 cups (24 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
•1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper        

In a soup pot, cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and set aside in colander.
In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat then stir in flour.
Gradually stir in milk and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring frequently.
Add cheese, dry mustard, salt, and pepper and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Add spaghetti and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through, stirring constantly. Serve immediately.
Serve with steamed vegetables or a tossed salad.
Serves 4
Courtesy of mrfood.com

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 08 September 2014 08:38

9 Simple Ways to Savor Summer’s Final Days

Go ahead, ignore the calendar. Stretch out that easygoing, warm-weather feeling with these ideas for indoors and out.  Just because the summer holidays are over and school uniforms are back in the ironing pile, it doesn’t mean the end of those relaxing sunny moments or al fresco gatherings. Jo Froude  shares how to make the most of the golden light of late summer and the fresh, color-rich days of early autumn with these simple ideas. Read More: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/31443452?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u641&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery10patio-landscape-design-005

Landscape Design Ideas - Outdoor Dinning Ideas, Barrington, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping

Roll with the cooler weather by planting away.  Annie Thornton, a Houzz Editorial Staff, shares gardening guides to inform you what plant picks are best for each U.S. region. Read More:



Published in Landscaping
Friday, 29 August 2014 08:34

4 Elements of a Stunning Fall Garden

Late summer is a good time to look beyond trees to create an autumn landscape that draws the eye and stirs the soul.
Benjamin Vogt, a Houzz Contributor, shares his thoughts: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/30410619?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u609&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery19


Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 10:50

Great Design Plant: Ostrich Fern

Try these ferns for a showstopping sight in a shady or even somewhat sunny woodland garden from Jay Sifford, Houzz contributor.  Read More: 



Landscape Ideas: Border, Stone Walkway Path, Shade Plant Ideas, Winnetka, Illinois , Schmechtig Landscapes 

Published in Landscaping

This recipe uses your garden favorites. Serve this cold or at room temperature—perfect for a picnic or barbecue.
•8 ounces orzo (about 1 1/3 cups)
•6 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
•4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
•2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 9 ounces total), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
•1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
•3 tablespoons purchased pesto
•2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
•1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
•2 heirloom tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces total), cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
•1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
•1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl. Brush zucchini and bell pepper with oil mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto, lime juice, remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl for pesto vinaigrette. Place shrimp in medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons pesto vinaigrette; toss to coat.
Grill zucchini and bell pepper until crisptender, about 3 minutes per side for zucchini and 4 minutes per side for bell pepper. Transfer to work surface. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; grill until charred and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place shrimp in bowl with orzo. Chop zucchini and bell pepper; add to bowl with orzo. Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, sliced basil, and mozzarella; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover; chill.
Garnish with basil sprigs and serve cold or at room temperature.

Servings: Makes 6 servings
From Bon Appétit  | June 2008 by Sara Foster

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 10:42

Landscapes Need Renovating Just Like Homes

Your landscape is much like your home’s interior décor. It grows old, sometimes tattered and torn, and needs updating from time to time. Sometimes, plantings need to be torn out and replaced. Sometimes, old porches, patios and decks just don’t work any longer.  Here are some tips from KATHY VAN MULLEKOM of the Daily Press: http://www.timesdispatch.com/entertainment-life/home-garden/landscapes-need-renovating-just-like-homes/article_01bd5a63-d6f9-592a-8610-fbefbebb02d0.html


Glenview Landscape Ideas, Schmechtig Landscape

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 31 July 2014 07:59

Recipe Thursday - Fresh Peach Cake

Enjoy this Fresh Peach Cake recipe - it's easy and yummo!
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Total Time: 1 hr 15 min   Prep: 20 min   Cook: 55 min

Yield: 8 servings   Level: Easy
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Recipe courtesy Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? Copyright (c) 2010 by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter for Food Network Magazine


Published in Landscaping
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