Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Hi all!

While we try to be thankful daily for our many blessings, we thought it was appropriate to share with you all some things that we are thankful for today-you know, in the spirit of the holiday! Here it is...

Robbins Landscaping is THANKFUL for:

Loyal and friendly clients- Our clients are the lifeblood of our business and we thoroughly enjoy engaging with and serving our clients!

Conscientious and enthusiastic co-workers- let's face it, we spend more time with our co-workers than our families and it's nice to get along with our fellow team members!

This year's weather- Despite the fact that the rain and hurricane of this fall made completing projects and services a challenge, we are thankful that this year wasn't as dry as last year!

The beauty of nature- We love what we do and we are so thankful that we can be part of an effort to showcase the beauty of nature!

The Greater Richmond Community- We feel so lucky to be a part of such an energetic, culturally-rich, and close-knit community!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

We hope you have a wonderful holiday and that you have much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Add Value to Your Home!

While reading the Richmond Times Dispatch a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a helpful article entitled: 'What are the best ways to add value to your home?'

I thought I'd share the answers since we are all looking to add value these days:

-Remodel a home office
-Renovate or add a family room
-Replace the roof
-*Landscape your yard*
-Replace old windows
-Remodel your basement
-Paint (neutral colors)
-Remodel your kitchen
-Remodel or add a bathroom

And since this is a landscaping-based blog, I'll share the reasons why landscaping adds value to your home:

"...landscaping can give a great-or not so great- first impression. Backyard landscaping can transform ordinary spaces into incredible entertaining areas by including elegant water features and lush plants...your new landscaped yard adds value to your home and increases your living space."
-Richmond Times Dispatch, Saturday, October 15, 2011.

So there you have it: just one more reason that professional landscaping is a great idea!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

E-Myth Landscape Contractor--It's here!

We received a fun package in the mail yesterday; after quickly unwrapping it we discovered that The E-Myth Landscape Contractor book by Michael E. Gerber and Tony Bass had arrived!

Tony Bass, our long-time friend and business consultant, has partnered with Michael Gerber to write this fantastic book tailored specifically to the landscape contracting industry!

Doug was so lucky as to have had the opportunity to read the book before publishing! Check out Doug's review!

Congratulations to Tony Bass and Michael Gerber on a job well done! For all of you Green Industry professionals out there, take some time to read the book; it's a wealth of insight!

Note: we were not perked or paid to promote this book; we just think it's good enough to tell you about!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our Heartfelt Thanks

On this Veteran's Day we'd like to send a very heartfelt thank you to all of our servicemen and servicewomen along with their families and friends for the sacrifice and service they have given to our country.

We appreciate all that they have done and continue to do in order that we may live the American Dream.

On this day of remembrance we carry in our hearts the recognition of the veterans that so bravely and selflessly served and continue to serve our country.

"In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: 'To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…' "
-United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Thank you.

(Robbins Landscaping Team Members helping the Autry Family though GreenCare for Troops, Spring 2010)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Congratulations Dr. Day!

A heartfelt 'CONGRATULATIONS' goes out to Dr. Susan Day for being awarded the 2010 International Society of Arborculture's Early-Career Scientist Award!

Image from here

Dr. Day is a dedicated professor in Virginia Tech's Forestry and Horticulture Departments and her research and innovations help the industry to make progress in Urban Design.

Congratulations, Dr. Day! We are so happy for you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Videos from Nancy Ross Hugo!

Picture from here

Nancy Ross Hugo, a fantastic Horticulturist, floral designer extraordinaire, and author, has written a new book that focuses on the trees we Richmonders would find in our own neighborhoods!

Check out what she has to say about these common trees (you might learn something new about the dogwood flower!)

Tulip Poplar

Southern Magnolia

Flowering Dogwood

(Videos from the Richmond Times Dispatch)

Fall is for Planting!

Any savvy homeowner knows that fall is for planting; all the local garden centers, newspapers, and home improvement magazines tell us that! But why is fall a perfect time to plant?

First, from a horticultural standpoint: "Fall is the preferred time to plant in central Virginia. . . [Fall planting] allows the roots to get acclimated to your soil without having to suffer through high summer temperatures and limited moisture. The cooler soil temperatures are ideal for root growth and we normally have adequate moisture from rain during the fall months." -Richard Nunnally, 'Gardening Q & A'
Richmond Times Dispatch 9/3/2011

Second, from the homeowner's perspective: Fall is a great time to plant so that your landscape can look its best during the holiday season. Homeowners that are planning to host holiday gatherings should consider sprucing up their landscaping before guests arrive!

Third, from the investment perspective: fall is a great time to see discounts on plant materials! Many nurseries would prefer to sell off the season's stock instead of over-wintering it at their site, which translates to savings for you!

Whether you want to muscle a landscape installation on your own or call in the pro's, now is the time to add bulbs, fall annuals, shrubs, and trees to your landscape.

Happy planting!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Client Testimonial

We were excited and fortunate to receive the testimonial below from our client, Miki Greene. Part of our company's written Purpose is: " impress clients by creating and maintaining landscapes that make them happy." We strive to make our clients happy every day, and this kind of encouragement really hits home for us:

“I wanted to write you an email to let you know about the incredible workmanship that was completed by your company. There are not enough words to descrive how awesome your team is. When I first called to discuss the project with Tommy, he gave me all the information I needed to set up the appointment and to understand your process for work. He was patient and treated me with great respect as I outlined what i needed for my yard. He did not downplay the size of the project, but instead offered me ideas and an opportunity to meet with your designer Bruce. This is the first view of your company and Tommy really shined. He was extremely clear about how the project would proceed and gave me detailed explanations about your policies and processes.

Bruce arrived within a week to examine my yard. He had the toughest job of all because he had to deal with all my anxiety about the changes that I needed to make. He was also very respectful, kind, patient, and all around just wonderful to me and my husband. Bruce is a VERY talented individual who 'oozes' with innovation and creativity!!!! He immediately assessed what I needed and knew exactyl what we should do to update our front yard. His ability to work with the client, understand needs, and offer great options is what 'sold' me on your company. I interviewed several other landscaping companies in the area, and up to this point NO ONE even came close to competing with your company and staff.

Then the big day came for work to begin. Everything happened EXACTLY as it was outlined by your staff. I am extremely impressed by the organization and ability of you team to work together. I attribute this organization to your Project Manager, Tom. Tom is a gift from heaven!! He came on the site and assessed the work that was progressing. He immediately worked with the team to understand how the project was going and to help them with a few small questions they needed resolved. He did not interfere with what they were doing, but worked to help assist them as needed. I loved the way he treated them- as owners of their work rather than people to be dictated to. Tom worked with me on plant arrangements and quickly changed my design when we realized that I needed to move one of the trees to a different location. He took ownership for this project and flawlessly translated my design into a beautiful reality.

Lastly, BUT BY NO MEANS LEAST, I want to applaud you for hiring such incredibly smart, inventive, polite, and again 'all around wonderful' landscapers and hardscapers. These men did a phenomenal job executing my project. They were some of the most professional people I have had come to do work at my home. They assisted me with all my MANY questions, and did not consider my input an 'intrusion' on their work. The quality of the work completed was top notch and I cannot say enough good things about your staff!!”

- Miki Greene

Thank you for sharing your experience, Mrs. Greene!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Why, When, and How of Mulching

We all know that it's good to mulch your beds periodically because it makes your yard look tidy and fresh which keeps the neighbors happy, right?

But there's more to mulching that just aesthetics! We're here to tell you all you need to know about mulching so that you can make informed decisions about mulching your yard this season!

Why Mulch?
Mulching benefits your landscape in several ways, most of which are very important to the health of your plants and soil:

1. Mulching helps promote water retention around the root structures of your plants making rainfall and irrigation more effective and protecting your plants during hot, dry conditions.
2. Mulching also protects your plants during the cold: a proper mulch layer around your plants' root systems helps to prevent frost heave and protect against winter damage to your plants.
3. Mulching helps suppress weed growth: a proper layer of mulch helps to diminish the number of weed seeds that germinate in your beds. Let's face it, we all want fewer weeds!
4. Mulch also helps reduce erosion of valuable topsoil. Bare soil is easily carried away from your beds with the wind, rain, snow melt, or even human and animal traffic. A proper layer of mulch protects your valuable topsoil and preserves your healthy growing sites.

When Should You Have Your Landscape Mulched?
The best time to mulch is between early December and mid-late February. There are several reasons to mulch during this time:
1. Mulching during this time of year gives you the best value for your investment! Material is often less expensive and it is faster and easier for those spreading the mulch to get proper coverage when perennials and plant leaves are gone for the winter.
2. Mulching during December, January, and February protects plants' roots from cold and freezing which is critical to plant success.
3. Mulching during December, January, and February allows the soil to retain moisture necessary during the spring growth flush, which will help your plants look great when they put on new growth.
4. Once the leaves have fallen and your plants go dormant, mulching gives your landscape a fresh, tidy appearance for the holidays and winter months.

How Should You Have Your Landscape Mulched?
It is important to mulch properly in order to reap the benefits of mulching:
1. When mulching is complete you should have a mulch covering approximately 3 " thick spread throughout your beds. Areas prone to rapid decomposition should be considered and mulched accordingly.
2. Mulch should never build up around the trunks of trees and shrubs as it may retain water near the trunk and promote disease. Mulch around trees and shrubs should maintain the ideal 3" depth.
3. You should have your beds mulched every year or every other year depending on the decomposition rate of your site. Ideally, you want a healthy covering of mulch throughout the year, so if your mulch has decomposed considerably in one year's time, you should have your beds re-mulched.

Hope we were able to shed some light on the Why, When and How of Mulching!

Thanks for stopping by!

(All information is supported by numerous papers, studies and texts published and used by Virginia Tech and the Virginia Cooperative Extension.)