Lawn & Landscape Blog | A+ Lawn & Landscape
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How long does a landscape project take to complete?

How long does a landscape project take to complete?

At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we are often asked how long it will take to complete the installation of a new landscape project. Unfortunately, there is no solid answer as it all depends on the total scope of the project and what all may be involved in the process, along with dependency on weather conditions. 

Learn about the landscape process and about how long it may take to complete certain types of projects for properties in West Des Moines, Des Moines, Ankeny, and the surrounding cities of central Iowa.

The initial consultation, design, and planning can take anywhere from one to two weeks.

Once you call for a consultation, we can schedule that and come out to your residential or commercial property. During that consultation, we will ask you about your wants and needs, as well as your total budget. Our designers will cull that information and plan out a design for you, which may take a few days to a week or more to complete based on our current workload. We send the design to you for approval so that you can review it and tell us if there are any changes. If you do not have changes, we can schedule you sooner, but if there are changes, this step in the process could take longer.

Scheduling your installation depends entirely on our workload.

Landscape bed with rock mulch in Ankeny, IA.

After we receive your final approval on the landscape design, our office manager will then look to find a time slot for your project installation. If you have contacted us during a time when we are less busy,...

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Landscapes vs. Hardscapes vs. Softscapes

Landscapes vs. Hardscapes vs. Softscapes

Adding a new landscape project can be an exciting time for any property owner, but once you start meeting with the designers and contractors, you may wonder what they are talking about when they start throwing out terms such as hardscaping and softscaping. These terms are used frequently in the landscape industry, but for those who do not often work in the arena, they may not know what they mean.

Learn here what landscapes, hardscapes, and softscapes mean and decide which features you may want to add to your residential or commercial property in West Des Moines, Des Moines, Ankeny, and nearby cities in central Iowa.

Hardscapes: Patios, Fire Pits, Outdoor Lighting, & More

Custom flagstone and stone fire pit and patio near Des Moines, IA.

The term "hardscape" covers any inorganic features that you decide to have installed in your yard. Usually, they are what makes up the structure of your outdoor living space. Items such as patios and fire pits are made with long-lasting and durable materials that also look great and natural so that the feature blends in well with the rest of your yard. Common types of hardscapes include paver patios, walkways, fire pits, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, retaining walls, seating walls, outdoor lighting systems, and more.

Softscapes: Plants, Mulch, Trees, Grass, & Other Organic Materials

English garden with custom landscaping in Des Moines, IA.

When you hear the term "softscaping," know that it refers to all the organic materials in your yard. In other words, softscapes include grass, wood mulch,...

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Keeping Pollinators Safe During Pesticide Applications

Keeping Pollinators Safe During Pesticide Applications

Pollinator populations are unfortunately on the decline in our country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are multiple reasons that affect their populations, but one area of concern is the application of pesticides that are used to control nuisance pests such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.

At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we have learned ways to avoid spraying when pollinators may be present in order to reduce the environmental impact of pesticide applications in West Des Moines, Des Moines, Ankeny, and surrounding areas of central Iowa. Learn more about how we strategically work to protect beneficial pollinators in our area.

Types of Pollinators & Why We Need Them

Butterfly pollinator on a blooming flower near Des Moines, IA.

There are several types of beneficial pollinators in central Iowa and they are all essential to our local ecosystem. Pollinators include:

  • Honeybees
  • Bumble bees
  • Butterflies
  • Moths
  • Flies
  • Wasps
  • And more

These insects land on flowers, taking pollen with them and fertilizing other plants. In fact, pollinators are directly responsible for a third of the food we consume, according to Pollinator Partnership. Their presence in our environment is vital.

Pollinators are a key component of a healthy and happy ecosystem and necessary for our survival.

How We Protect Pollinators When We Apply Pest Control Treatments

At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we are devoted to protecting our local environment, but we also know how important it is to keep harmful pests like...

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How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

If you start to see holes in the leaves of your landscape plants and notice iridescent flashes of flying insects, it is highly probably that your landscape plants, shrubs, and trees are falling victim to the pesky Japanese beetle. This invasive bug eats the leaves and flowers off of your plants, destroying the beauty of your landscaping and taking your investment with them.

Learn how you can get rid of Japanese beetles in central Iowa areas such as West Des Moines, Des Moines, Ankeny, and the surrounding cities.

Pesticides are the most effective way to get rid of Japanese beetles.

Damaged tree leaf covered with Japanese beetles in West Des Moines, IA.

As these beetles begin to emerge from the soil after pupating, usually in late June to mid-July, they begin to eat your plants. If you have applied a preventative treatment, then this should help to control their population. Curative treatment may also be required, particularly if the invasion is bad or the beetles stay around for a while. Generally, it is recommended to apply the treatment once or twice per season.

At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we use a product called Bifenthrin to get rid of these beetles. This product is used for Japanese beetles, but can also prevent other pests such as ticks, fire ants, spiders, yellow jackets, flies, fleas, termites, and more. Each treatment will be effective for about 30 days or so. If the beetles are present on your plants, the spray will kill them on contact, thus protecting any part of the landscape that has not yet been damaged by these...

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How Do You Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard?

How Do You Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard?

Mosquitoes are a pest that no one likes to deal with, especially when you are trying to enjoy your time outside. They dole out painful, itchy bites, and those bites can also come with harmful diseases with undesirable side effects, such as West Nile virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

These pesky insects can ruin a fun time outside pretty quickly, so how can you get rid of them to be able to enjoy your outdoor living space? Here are some of our tips to get rid of mosquitoes in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and other cities in central Iowa.

1. Use our mosquito control service.

A mosquito biting a person's arm near Des Moines, IA.

Starting in late April to early May, we begin applying routine mosquito control treatments. These are applied every 5-6 weeks for a total of four treatments during mosquito season. Our teams use a backpack fogger to distribute the product. We spray around the entire perimeter of your home or business, as well as any shaded or dark landscaped areas. If you have any standing water or bodies of water on your property, we will cover those areas as well.

Need extra treatments? Talk to our pest control professionals about scheduling more.

2. Have us install plants that naturally repel mosquitoes.

Another way to repel mosquitoes is to install plants in your landscaping and around your building that naturally deter them. As an added bonus, many of these plants are incredibly beautiful and/or give off a pleasant scent for humans, such as:

  • Lavender
  • ...
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Pavers or Flagstone: Which Is Better?

Pavers or Flagstone: Which Is Better?

If you are thinking about adding a hardscaping project to your home, then you have many decisions to make, such as what types of hardscaping to add, where to build it, and what materials to use when you do build it. Adding a patio, walkway, or even a driveway is a big choice, and we can help you with these decisions.

At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we often build patios, walkways, and other hardscapes with pavers and flagstone. Learn about these materials and decide which one may be best for your home in central Iowa areas like Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and the surrounding cities.

Flagstone has an almost infinite lifespan, but costs more upfront.

Outdoor living area with a flagstone patio at a Ankeny, IA home.

Considering flagstone? It is a beautiful choice, but do keep in mind that it does come with a higher upfront cost. It is harder to install, as the pieces are delivered straight from a quarry and will require shaping by our expert stoneworkers. Due to this, flagstone hardscaping also uses more labor for installation.

The term flagstone is actually inclusive of all types of natural stone, and we can use various types for your property. Since natural stone has an almost infinite lifespan, we do recommend you pick a color that will complement the outside of your home and that you know you will love for years to come. Types of natural stone we work with include:

  • Limestone
  • Bluestone
  • Granite
  • Fieldstone
  • Slate

Natural stone will not require as much maintenance as pavers, so if maintenance is a...

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Des Moines' Most Popular Spring & Summer Annual Flowers

Des Moines' Most Popular Spring & Summer Annual Flowers

As the weather is warming up and we start to spend more time outside, you may take a look around and realize your landscape beds need some sprucing up. A great way to do that is by adding some warm-season annual flowers that are popular in the Des Moines area. If you choose to install them yourself, then come check out the selection we have available every day in our local garden center. We also offer annual flower planting services. Check out some of the flowers that are frequently chosen in central Iowa.

Marigolds will bloom all summer long.

Vivid gold and red marigold flowers blooming in West Des Moines, IA.

The bright yellow and orange of the marigold is almost iconic. These flowers will provide beautiful color all summer long. They do need full sun in order to stay healthy throughout their lifespan, so keep that in mind if you are planting on your own. We do not recommend planting them in shade, as they can catch powdery mildew if they get too wet.

Impatiens bring vibrant shades of pink, purple, and other colors.

Multi-colored impatiens flowers blooming in Des Moines, IA.

One of our favorites each year to plant is the impatien. This fun, happy flower thrives in shaded areas and brings vibrant color to otherwise darkened areas of your yard. The flower blooms in shades of pink, purple, red, white, and other colors. Make sure these are not planted until you are certain that we have seen our last frost for the spring.

Geraniums also need sunlight to grow well.

Red geranium flowers in bloom near West Des Moines, IA.

Geraniums are a very popular warm-season annual due to their pretty colors and the pleasant scent they...

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Got erosion? Get a retaining wall.

Got erosion? Get a retaining wall.

If you have ever walked around your property after a heavy rain and found that soil had washed away or your lawn looked different afterward, it is possible that you have erosion issues in your yard, especially if you do not have trees or shrubs with strong root systems to hold dirt in place.

Fixing erosion may not be simple, but it can be adjusted with proper grading and retaining wall installations. If you own a home or business in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, or other central Iowa areas, learn how a retaining wall can help eliminate erosion in your yard.

Common signs of erosion include losing mulch, dirt, or grass from your yard.

Erosion destroying a lawn near Des Moines, IA.

If you are concerned about possible erosion on your property, check for some common signs of erosion, such as:

  • Losing mulch or rock ground cover: This is a tell-tale sign of an erosion issue in your landscape beds. If mulch and rock are washing away, then the landscape is not protected enough from rainwater.
  • Dirt washing away: If dirt is washing away from your yard, then you have erosion issues that need to be addressed.
  • Patches of bare soil or dead grass: If there is a part of the yard that will not support grass growth, then it is highly likely that the nutrients that were in the soil have been washed away.
  • Exposed tree or plant roots: Exposed roots mean that soil and dirt are eroding away from the property. This can end up causing the plants and trees to die off since they are not getting proper...
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6 Critical Spring Tasks for the Health of your Lawn & Landscape

6 Critical Spring Tasks for the Health of your Lawn & Landscape

After your lawn and landscape emerge from winter dormancy, they will need some tending. They've just been through several months of cold weather and more than likely sat under snow for a while.

To get your grass and plants adequately prepared for the growing season in central Iowa areas such as West Des Moines, Des Moines, Ankeny, and nearby areas, there are several tasks that need to be done. Learn more about these tasks.

Spring Essential Tasks For a Healthy Lawn and Landscape

It's important to start your lawn and landscape maintenance in early spring so that the grass and plants will get into a routine and will grow properly throughout the growing season. Here are six of those critical tasks:

  1. Get the first round of fertilizer and pre-emergent weed control treatments. The first application of fertilizer and weed control sets your lawn up for success. It helps to strengthen your grass and fight off common weeds such as crabgrass that take away nutrients from your lawn.
  2. Schedule your lawn maintenance or Sharp-N-Lube services. Routine mowing is vital to your lawn's health. We provide lawn maintenance, or if you prefer the DIY route, we offer Sharp-N-Lube services where we inspect your mower and clean it for you.
  3. Clean up all yard debris such as sticks and leaves on your lawn or landscaping. A spring yard cleanup ensures your grass and landscaping will be in tip-top shape. Too much yard debris can block them from obtaining key...
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How to Prepare Your Landscaping for Winter

How to Prepare Your Landscaping for Winter

Even though your lawn and landscape plants don’t tend to grow during the fall, this season is the optimal time to start preparing your property for the upcoming winter. Fall aeration, seeding, and fertilization will give your lawn a strong foundation for the winter, and fall yard cleanups will tidy up your landscape before the cold weather hits.

Contrary to popular belief, fall is when your lawn and landscape should receive the most maintenance and attention so it may return strong and healthy after winter dormancy. Here is how to prepare your landscaping for the winter in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and nearby areas.

Aerate & Overseed Your Lawn

Aerating your lawn breaks up dry, compacted soil, allowing nutrients, light, water, and air to penetrate deeply into your soil and down to your lawn’s roots. Providing greater access to your grass’ roots is vital to making sure it receives proper nutrition before entering dormancy. For the greatest effect, fertilize and seed just after aerating your lawn in the fall. The seed you lay down in fall will have time to sink deep down into your soil and take root to create a thick, lush lawn in the springtime.

Fertilize Your Lawn

Fall fertilization is key to ensuring your turf is prepared for the winter season. Providing your lawn with a mid- to late fall application of fertilizer provides it with essential nutrients to feed and sustain it through the harsh winter. These...

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