1. How do I find a Landscaper I can trust?
The best way to find a reputable landscaper or landscaping company near you is by word of mouth. Ask your friends, neighbors, and colleagues if they’ve worked with a company they’d recommend. Another good source is reading online reviews, and checking out company websites to see what kind of projects they’ve worked on. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can set up a consultation with each company. That way, you can learn more about their values and services, and choose the one that aligns with your project’s needs.

2. What’s the best time of year for landscape installation?
Landscaping takes part in cycles throughout the year. Generally, spring is the best time for prepping and planting flower beds, and beginning hardscaping projects. The summer construction season is when the majority of large landscaping and hardscaping projects are done. Fall is then a great time for planting trees and bushes since temperatures are lower. Hardscaping also continues through the fall until the ground freezes or it begins to snow.

One example is of a past project that began in late summer. All the hardscaping work including the patio, sittings walls, and fireplace were built, and trees and shrubs were planted as well. Then the following spring is when we got the perennial and annual plants in the ground, as they thrive in the spring.

To ensure your project gets done in the desired time frame, start contacting landscaping companies during the winter months. It’s much better to get on their schedule before spring when their season starts than calling in late summer when crews may be booked out to the end of the season.

3. What is landscaping vs. hardscaping?
Modern landscaping refers to the designing, planning, and construction of gardens and other features that both create useable space for outdoor activities, and enhance the appearance around a home. Landscaping includes hardscaping and softscaping, although many people refer to them softscaping and landscaping interchangeably. Hardscaping would be the aspect that includes non-organic materials such as stone and woodwork, retaining walls, decks, firepits, and more. Softscaping would then refer to planting designs, creating burms and grading, and mulching. Capital Landscaping does both landscape and hardscape design in the greater Des Moines, IA area.

4. Do I need an irrigation system?
Irrigation systems are not necessary for maintaining the health of your lawn or plants, but can be helpful. Irrigation does much of the hard work that watering entails so that you don’t have to, and it hits the parts of your lawn you might miss. A hose and sprinkler can be a money-saving alternative, but require you to set timers and manually move the sprinkler around your yard. With either option, though, it’s easy to waste water. Ultimately, you have to decide if an irrigation system is right for you.

5. When should I aerate my lawn?
Aeration should take place during high growth periods. This is typically during the cooler times of the year when there’s plenty of rain, mainly the spring and fall. Aeration puts stress on the turf, which could be detrimental when the turf is highly stressed already due to high heat and periods of drought. At Capital Landscaping, we recommend fall aeration with overseeding to loosen the soil and develop new growth at the same time. Aeration is great for any lawn, but especially if it gets a lot of foot traffic, is part of new construction with compact soil, or is part of thatch management/prevention program.

6. What’s the difference between annuals and perennials?
Annuals grow for one season, and then die when the weather gets cold. Perennials grow for multiple seasons, and regrow every spring after being in dormancy during the winter. Examples of popular annuals in Iowa are pansies, snapdragons, petunias, geraniums, salvia, California poppy, violas, and many more. Some perrenial examples are daffodils, phlox, peonies, purple coneflower, daylilies, black-eyed susan, Virginia bluebells, coral bells, hostas, and more.

7. How do I keep disease away from my plants?
With a few DIY techniques

  • Keep your garden clean. Pick up plant debris, remove dying stems or branches, weed the area regularly, and toss the debris in the garbage.
  • Fertilize just enough to keep your plants happy – too much fertilizer promotes weak growth which is susceptible to disease.
  • Wait to plant until the soil is warmed up. Planting to early will put extra stress on your plants and make them more susceptible to disease in the soil.
  • Use mulch to keep weeds at bay and harmful fungi in th soil away.
  • Inspect and remove infected stems and leaves. As soon as you notice signs of disease, carefully remove the leaf o stems and throw it away as soon as possible. y removing disease early on, you can help your plants to continue to grow healthily.

8. How do I permanently get rid of weeds?
This is a tough one. The conditions that are good for plant growth are naturally good for weed growth. But, there are steps you can take to prevent weed growth early on, and remove weeds if they do appear. First of all, use a landscaping fabric in your flower beds and garden to cover the soil where you don’t want weeds to grow. Then use a weed preventer, such as Preen, to further discourage weed growth. If weeds do appear, pull the entire weed, including the root, early on to prevent it from coming back. For cracks in concrete and pavers, use a commercial herbicide to kill weeds that appear. For a more organic method, try using vinegar in a spray bottle. Be warned, herbicides, including vinegar, will kill all plants they touch, not only weeds.

9. How do I water my new trees, shrubs and flowers?
The basics of watering are simple. Water immediately after planting, let the water soak into the soil, and then water again. During the first week, it’s best to continue frequent watering — either daily or every other day. Following the first week, you’ll only need to water two to three times per week depending on the weather conditions in your area.