Showing 1-10 of 24 articles.

How Custom Landscape Lighting Enhances Your Central Iowa Home

How Custom Landscape Lighting Enhances Your Central Iowa Home

Custom outdoor lighting is a great way to enhance the beauty of your home. Adding tasteful lighting to landscape beds, walkways, driveways, and other areas of your property highlights your home's best features while adding extra safety and security by illuminating dark areas of your property.

Here are some ways custom outdoor lighting can enhance your home in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and the surrounding areas.


Outdoor Lighting Adds Value & Functionality to Your Home

This yard in West Des Moines, IA has a custom landscape lighting system.

A home with proper outdoor lighting is much more than just a beautiful sight to behold in a neighborhood. Proper outdoor lighting can increase the value of your home and add functionality. On average, custom landscape lighting can increase your home's value by 20 percent. If you install energy-efficient LED bulbs, this lighting can save you even more money.

Adding a to a home's curb appeal always increases the property's value, and the same is true for custom landscape lighting. Outdoor lighting enhances your home by highlighting the decor and other areas of interest while complementing its style. Fixtures and lighting are available in many styles and finishes to enhance the look and feel of your outdoor living areas.

Outdoor lighting adds functionality to your outdoor living areas. Without proper lighting, certain areas inside your home become less functional, and the same is true for outdoor living spaces. Without light, these areas become...

Read Full Article

Why Your Lawn Needs Seasonal Cleanups

Why Your Lawn Needs Seasonal Cleanups

Seasonal cleanups, typically performed in spring and fall, can benefit your residential or commercial property in numerous ways including appearance, plant health, and more.

Here are some ways a cleanup can help your central Iowa yard in places such as Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and the surrounding areas.


Clearing Debris from Your Lawn Allows Plants to Breathe, Get Light & Water

This yard in West Des Moines, IA looks great after a seasonal cleanup.

When leaves and other debris are left to sit on top of your grass, it means that your lawn does not have enough of an opportunity to get the nutrients it needs to grow correctly. It takes a lot of time and money invested to get your lawn looking lush, full, and green. You don't want to lose that investment by letting yard debris stay put and choke out the grass underneath it.

Removing that debris gives the lawn a chance to breathe and absorb the proper amount of light and water it needs. 


Leaf Removal Is the Most Vital Part of Fall Cleanups

Removing leaves from your yard is important for a number of reasons. When leaves stay on your yard, they can accumulate and create a haven for yard pests. Those leaves can also end up blocking light, air, and water from reaching the soil below. When this happens, it can kill the grass underneath.

Fall cleanups should be done sometime before the end of November to ensure all the leaves have been removed from your yard before winter weather hits.


Spring Cleanups Involve Yard Debris...

Read Full Article

The Importance of Mosquito Control for Your Property

The Importance of Mosquito Control for Your Property

During the summer months, we like to enjoy our front and back yards as much as possible. But the constant presence of common, annoying pests such as mosquitoes can make that difficult. Keeping these pests at bay is important for a number of reasons.

Here is why you should consider using a mosquito control program for your home in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and other central Iowa areas.


Mosquitoes Transmit Diseases Such as West Nile Virus & Encephalitis

Mosquito bites alone are painful and itchy, but those bites can come with further complications that can lead to a hefty medical bill. Mosquito control for your property is necessary in order to mitigate the risks that come from mosquito bites. These pests can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, Zika virus, and encephalitis.

West Nile Virus may not become severe when it is contracted, but in severe cases, symptoms such as headaches, seizures, and tremors can happen. Encephalitis is also rare but symptoms include fever, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and more. Zika virus is mild in most people, but if a pregnant woman were to catch it, it could greatly affect the growing fetus and cause birth defects.


Areas Where Mosquitoes Breed & Multiply in Your Yard

This mosquito is resting on a leaf of a West Des Moines, IA yard.

There are some areas where mosquitoes are known to breed and then multiply, and there are plenty of those areas in your central Iowa yard. One of the most common places to find mosquitoes is in...

Read Full Article

What to Do if You See a Brown Patch in Your Yard

What to Do if You See a Brown Patch in Your Yard

No one wants to walk out and see a brown patch developing in their lawn, especially when they have invested a lot of money into making sure their grass looks green and healthy.

There are many reasons why your lawn could have a brown patch, including fungal disease, improper watering, or insect infestation. If you live in central Iowa areas such as Des Moines, West Des Moines, or Ankeny, then take a look to see what could be causing your lawn’s brown patch.


Fungal Diseases Can Cause Brown Patches, Dead Grass

Brown patch disease has attacked this lawn in Ankeny.

Many fungal diseases can spring up under moist conditions and spread quickly. One common disease is actually called brown patch disease. It begins to form at temperatures in the 60s but really begins to show once temperatures climb into the 80s. The patches show up as circular brown areas with an outer darker brown ring.

The patches can be just a few inches or several feet wide, and the affected grass ends up dying. Preventing these diseases requires regular fertilizer treatments along with making sure your lawn is being watered at proper times. If these don’t work, then your lawn will need fungicide treatments applied to it to control this disease.


Improper Watering Leads to Imbalance of Grass Growth

When irrigation systems aren’t set up with the correct zones and timing, it can cause some areas of your lawn to not get the water they need to grow. If your grass isn’t getting the right amount of water, it can ...

Read Full Article

Benefits of Adding Annual Flowers to Your Lawn

Benefits of Adding Annual Flowers to Your Lawn

If you are looking to revitalize your landscaping at your residential or commercial property in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and other nearby central Iowa areas, there are many ways to do this.

You can add new retaining walls, redo the beds completely, replenish mulch, or if you’re looking for something simpler, consider planting annual flowers in your landscaping beds.

Here are some reasons why adding annual flowers benefits your lawn and landscaping.


The Differences Between Annuals and Perennials

Annuals in a garden in West Des Moines

Annual flowers are defined as annual because they only bloom once during their life cycle, while perennials bloom multiple times during their life. Annuals usually bloom much longer than perennials, which means your landscaping has longer-lasting color that is more vibrant. Many also will drop seeds, which gives the potential for new plants to grow the next year.

If you’re looking to have immediate color, then annuals are the best choice. Perennials often take a year or so to begin blooming and are just green leaves until then, leaving your landscaping without much color.

Perennials also tend to require more maintenance than annuals—they will need to be trimmed and pruned at specific times of the year, will need fertilizer, and the soil where they’re planted will need to be prepared more.

Annuals have more color choices than some perennials do and produce more colorful, brighter blooms in order to bring in...

Read Full Article

How Mulch Helps Your Landscaping

How Mulch Helps Your Landscaping

Adding landscaping to your residential or commercial property in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and other central Iowa areas such as Johnston and Waukee has many benefits. It increases your curb appeal, it gives off a better impression to guests and customers, and it can provide a good return on investment.

One easy way to protect your landscaping investment is to install ground cover within your landscaping beds after your plants have been installed. At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we provide mulch ground covers to help your landscaping and soil stay healthy and protected. Here are some reasons why mulch helps your landscape beds, besides the aesthetics of a perfectly finished and polished look.


Mulch Helps to Insulate the Soil, Retain Moisture

Mulch helps the soil in this West Des Moines landscaping bed retain moisture.

One of the biggest benefits of using mulch in your landscaping is that it helps to keep your soil insulated from extreme temperature changes. In the greater Des Moines area that includes West Des Moines and Ankeny, our average low temperature in January tends to be about 13°, while we see highs in July at about 86°. When temperatures fluctuate and the soil is unprotected, it can harm the health of your plants.

Mulch also works to keep the roots of your landscape plants protected. The roots are what determine when plants come out of winter dormancy. If they detect warmth too early and come out of dormancy when there’s still a chance for frosts, they could be damaged.

Moisture retention ...

Read Full Article

Common Plant Diseases and How to Fix Them

Common Plant Diseases and How to Fix Them

It’s disconcerting to walk outside to look at your plants and shrubs and see their leaves looking spotty or see entire tree branches dying off. When plant disease strikes, it’s not easy to stop it unless it’s caught early through proactive practices like routine trimming and inspections.

In central Iowa, there are many types of common plant diseases that we see throughout the areas of Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Ankeny. Here are some of those diseases and what can be done to prevent them from overtaking your lawn and landscaping.


Oak Wilt Signs Include Leaf Discoloration, Wilt, & Death

Oak wilt spreads in spring and can kill an oak within a few weeks, especially red oaks. The first signs of this disease are wilted leaves and leaves falling from the tree. This disease is caused by sap-feeding beetles who pick it up from one oak and take it to another, and it can also spread underground from root systems intertwining.

The best way to try to prevent oak wilt is to not cut any part of the tree during its growing season, which is typically from April to August.


Pine Needles Wilting & Browning May Indicate Pine Wilt

Pine wilt is a common disease in central Iowa areas like West Des Moines.

If you notice needles on your pine trees starting to wilt and turn brown, then that’s a good indicator that your pines may have caught pine wilt. Pine wilt acts quickly, with rapid wilting and death of the tree. The disease is spread by beetles that bore under the bark of infected trees...

Read Full Article

Why You Should Shop at a Local Garden Center

Why You Should Shop at a Local Garden Center

There are many options for homeowners looking for gardening supplies, seeds, plants, and soil. Large box stores have taken over a huge portion of the market, which has hurt local businesses and left many home gardeners disappointed with wilted plants and mass-produced products.

There are many solid reasons why you should shop at a local garden center, including knowledgeable staff, locally grown plants, and a larger selection of native plants. The added bonus is that by patronizing a local garden center, you are supporting a locally owned and operated business.


Knowledgeable Garden Center Staff Is Ready for Questions & to Offer Advice

One primary difference between big box stores and local garden centers is the staff. Many of the big corporate chains have employees who work in multiple departments, or simply fill whatever positions are available. Sure, you may find a great employee with real gardening knowledge at a national chain, but nothing compares to a dedicated local garden center staff member.

For example, the staff at our Des Moines area garden center know the region, climate, and local growing conditions and have experience with planting and growing. We are available for questions and actually love what we do! You simply can’t find that level of service at a chain. Come pay us a visit!

Whether it’s advice regarding what will grow best in your beds, how large a plant will mature to, and what type of pruning is best—we...

Read Full Article

What Happens to Your Lawn Mower Without Regular Service

What Happens to Your Lawn Mower Without Regular Service

All machines need regular maintenance to function properly--and your mower is no exception! Without regular service, your mower can sustain damage and eventually break down.

It’s important to have your mower serviced annually. Our Sharp-N-Lube service offers homeowners a painless way to keep their mowers running smooth and performing well.


Mowers Suffer Engine Damage Without Regular Service

Without regular service, your mower will suffer just like a neglected car. Most manufacturers recommend an oil change at the beginning of every growing season. If left unchanged, oil breaks down and fails to provide proper lubrication, leading to damage and even failure. Dirt and debris can appear inside the oil itself, which can damage internal parts.

An oil change will clear out the used oil and replace it, offering better lubrication and protection.

It’s also recommended to avoid fuel with ethanol because it can gum up your mower’s carburetor. Search for gas stations that sell ethanol free fuel. A good starting point is at a marina or other locations where boats fuel up. You can also use an additive that dissolves ethanol if you can’t find any gas without it.


Mower Blades Need Regular Sharpening to Cut Properly & Avoid Lawn Disease

This lawn mower has received our services in Ankeny.

When mower blades become dull, they won’t cut properly. Instead, they will tear the grass blades. A rough cut will cause your lawn to be susceptible to plant disease, which can spread...

Read Full Article

Organic Fertilizer vs. Chemical Fertilizer

Organic Fertilizer vs. Chemical Fertilizer

Regular fertilizer service is an important way to keep your lawn well fed and strong enough to resist weeds and plant disease. Recently, many homeowners have become concerned with how fertilizer can affect the environment and have sought out more natural ways to feed their lawns.

There is a distinct difference between organic fertilizer vs. chemical fertilizer, including how it performs and how it is delivered to your lawn. Our experts know the ins and outs of the process and the products that are available and can answer any questions you may have.


Main Ingredients of Fertilizer Include Phosphorus, Nitrogen, & Potassium

Fertilizer in a lawn in Des Moines, IA.

Most fertilizer contains three main ingredients: phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. They are often mixed to different ratios for the time of year and type of grass. For example, starter fertilizer is often high in nitrogen to help promote a healthy root system.

Here is a quick breakdown of the main ingredients:

  • Phosphorus - All plants need phosphorus to produce flowers and fruit. Adequate amounts of phosphorus also aid in root development.
  • Nitrogen - Helps plants to grow quickly and develop seeds for reproduction.
  • Potassium - Used to strengthen plants and encourage blooming.
  • Other Ingredients - Other ingredients can include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, with small amounts of iron, copper, manganese, boron, molybdenum, chlorine, zinc, and nickel.

Difference Between Chemical Fertilizer & Organic Fertilizer

...
Read Full Article

Posts Per Page: