Wednesday, 19 April 2017 09:12

10 Ways to Bring Earth Day Home

April 22nd is Earth Day and while your community probably has some sort of event planned, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate at home. Here are 10 ideas to try for reducing your carbon footprint and celebrating planet Earth all year long from Shana Levy McCracken, a sustainability consultant and contributor.
1. Plant a tree.
2. Start a compost pile.
3. Fix something.
4. Encourage pollinators.
5. Choose a species to follow.
6. Join a CSA.
7. Buy nothing.
8. Read an Earth-themed book.
9. Make a donation.
10. Gaze at the stars.
Read and see in detail McCracken's 10 ideas here:
Courtesy of

Published in Landscaping

Nearby landscapes and wild habitats can inspire your garden design and help welcome even more wildlife says Benjamin Vogt, a Houzz Contributor.  Vogt continues, we all want to help wildlife and see it thrive in our gardens. Providing native plants that pollinators know and have evolved with is critical, as is matching the right plants to the site conditions. But it’s not just plant selection we should think about when encouraging wildlife. We should also think about what habitats they use. In particular, we should notice what wild and human-made landscapes occur around our homes, and how we can strengthen, extend or replicate those landscapes in our gardens to encourage more wildlife like birds, frogs and beneficial insects to visit.  Here are 4 areas to consider:
1. Extend a tree line.
2. Augment or build a hedgerow.
3. Connect to a meadow or prairie.
4. Miniaturize a pond or wetland.

Read and see more of Benjamin Vogt ideas here:


Sheldon Landscape, Lake Geneva



Sheldon Landscape, Lake Geneva

Published in Landscaping

Many of us choose to hire a landscape maintenance company to care for our homes property. A full service company will be the best landscape company for you to hire.  Given that you will be serviced each week by this company, you want to choose the best company for your needs.



Sheldon Landscape Lake Geneva, Landscape Maintenance and Design

Your search should begin with assessing your own needs. Are you looking for a lawn service company to mow your lawn each week or do you require more services like weeding, planting seasonal flowers, container pot service, lawn fertilization, plant fertilization and irrigation service?

Landscape companies vary in size and the services they provide.  Some companies provide basic lawn care service while others provide additional services to basic lawn care offering everything you need to care for your landscape throughout the year: spring and fall cleanups; weekly grounds service which includes mowing your lawn, removing and disposing of debris before lawn mowing; pruning and trimming selected trees, shrubs, vines and ground cover; seasonal plant maintenance of perennial and annual beds and weeding.  A full service landscape maintenance company will provide weekly grounds service and more knowing when to perform each service like a lawn fertilizer program and plant bed fertilizer applied by their own licensed operators, lawn aeration to help your lawn improve soil conditions and reduce thatch, plant root feed to provide plants with a readily available source of nutrients, insect control grubs for preventive and curative application control of grubs in your lawn,  boxwood blight fungus control, dormant pruning,  deer and rabbit control, snow removal, irrigation services and more.



Landscape Maintenance and Design, Sheldon Landscape Lake Geneva


Search online for landscape maintenance companies and include lawn service companies and lawn care companies. You will learn a lot about a company from their website.   Websites reveal who they are and if they are a full service landscape company offering maintenance, lawn and plant fertilization,  landscape design and build, outdoor furniture and accessory selection, irrigation and lighting service, snow removal and all other landscape services you need, all in-house.  Look for accomplishments in the industry.  Is the company a member and involved in their states landscape contractors association?  Do they have Certified Landscape Technicians, horticulturists and other degreed licensed professionals on staff? What professional associations are they members of?  How many years have they been in business? Do they provide a detailed written proposal to eliminate any confusion what you will be paying?
Once you have selected a few companies, review each landscape company’s proposal carefully.  Some may seem low and others high.  Make sure you clarify the wording on the service offerings to compare apple to apples. Find a company that aligns with you. Do you want a company who reaches out and is involved serving charitable organizations?  Asking questions and being honest about your needs and monthly budget will ensure your satisfaction with the landscape and lawn company you choose.

 Landscape Maintenance Services and Lawn Care Sheldon Landscapes provide:

Spring & Fall Clean-Ups; Yard Clean-Up

Weekly Grounds

Weekly Lawn Service

Lawn Aeration






Stone, Sand, Gravel, Topsoil

Pruning – including Dormant Pruning

Plant Bed Service

Four Season Color Displays

Garden Services: Annuals, Perennials, Vegetables, Butterfly Gardens, Rose Care Program

 Pest Management:  Fertilization - Lawn and Plant Beds, Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, Ground Cover, and more

Weed, Insect and Disease Control

Animal Repellants

Deer Control

 Seasonal Container Pot Displays

Winter Plant Protection

Tree Health Care

Hand Watering Service

Gator Bags

Irrigation Service

Lighting Service

Power-washing Service

Hardscape Maintenance Service

Published in Landscaping

Here's a very useful list of what pro landscapers do in the fall for their properties and their clients, which you should steal and tackle between now and the end of November from House Beautiful and Beth Kaufman.  We couldn't agree more with HB and Beth!

1. They give their lawn one last cut.

Continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing - yes, even if it's cold. "If grass blades get too long, they shade the other blades around them," says Scott Olivieri of Michael and Sons Nurseries in the New York City area. "Also, at snowfall, the too-long grass will get packed down and promote snow mold." The general rule of thumb? Keep grass around three inches tall - all year - so there is enough surface area for the sun to hit.

2. They test their soil.

This is good time to apply grass seed, but there's a crucial first step: "The soil should be tested to determine pH and nutrient availability," says Matt Owens, president of the Landscape Contractors Association. "Necessary deficiencies need to be corrected or you're just wasting time and money." Sending a soil sample to a professional for testing will cost about $15 - and it's well worth it. "Soil plays such an important role in the landscape, yet it often gets overlooked."

3. Then they reseed the lawn.

Once the soil is tested - and any deficiencies are corrected - it's time to aerate and seed the parts that are stressed from the summer's sun or trampled from foot traffic. It depends on the condition of the lawn, but you typically need about three pounds for every 1,000 square feet of lawn, says Josh Kane, president of Kane Landscapes in Northern Virginia. "I like to use certified seed, which means it's almost purely grass seed with very little weed seeds and no fillers."

4. They fluff up the mulch.

Officially, it's called turning the mulch. Fluffing it up gives flowerbeds a fresh look and cuts down on (or even eliminates) the need for more, fresh mulch. If you end up adding new stuff, keep the pile around two to three inches thick, Owens says. More than that, and the mulch becomes a hiding place for insects and plant diseases, and water could have a harder time being absorbed.

5. They make their own mulch.

If you find that, after you turn the mulch, you still need more, try making your own. There's no shortage of fallen leaves this time of year. "Run your lawnmower over your leaves a few times and use them as mulch for your flower beds," says Owens. "This is an excellent source of organic matter that your plants will love you for."

6. They do some planning and planting.
"Fall is a great time to plant," says Kane. "See what plants need to be divided or re-spaced (especially perennials like Hosta plants and daisies) and what areas of the landscape need to be filled in to make next year look even better." If you have summer annuals, swap them out for fall-appropriate mums and pansies.

7. They give their driveway and walkways some TLC.

Your lawn's overall look includes your driveway and walkways. "The fall is an important time to fill cracks in asphalt or concrete, and apply a sealant to help prevent water penetration damage from freezing and thawing," says Kane. Any time water gets into cracks and freezes, you are at risk for even more damage.

8. They water their evergreens.

"Make sure all evergreens are sufficiently watered in September and October to reduce the possibility of dehydration in the winter," says Kevin McHale of McHale Landscape Design in Maryland. How much water do you need? That depends on the recent weather. "If it's starting to be a rainy fall, no water is necessary. If it's less than four inches for the month, you'll need one or two thorough hour-long waterings once a week for up to three weeks."

 9. They do some pruning.
Trees and shrubs typically need a heavy pruning before the cold winter. "Some may need it to help prevent damage from snow and ice storms and some just for looks or to control size for next spring," says Kane. Just don't prune certain flowering plants like hydrangeas, lilacs and viburnum, because it could spoil the spring bloom.

10. They pack up for the winter.
When your chores are done, bring in all of your tools, sprinklers and, especially, hoses. "Water in the hose will expand when it freezes and damage the hose," says Olivieri. "And don't forget to have all irrigation lines blown out so lines, heads and valves don't crack."


Courtesy of's lifestyles home and garden section, House Beautiful and Beth Kaufman

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 08 September 2016 15:28

10 Tips for Using Outdoor Fire Bowls

Now is perfect time of year to sit outside late into the evening, and nothing makes that better than the cheeriness and warmth of a fire, says Pangaea Interior Design.  They continue, if you don't want to spend megabucks on an outdoor fireplace and don't want to spend hours stacking bricks and slathering them with mortar to build a permanent fire-pit, what are you to do?



Permanent Fire Pit Design Schmechtig Landscapes. Sheldon Landscape, in Lake Geneva, is part of the the Schmechtig Family of Companies

Fire bowls are the answer. They can be as low-tech as a big fireproof bowl for burning real wood or they can be fueled by propane, natural gas or clean-burning gel. Either way, instead of spending your time on installation, you get to spend your time enjoying the ambience. Here are a few ideas:

Courtesy of and Pangaea Interior Design

Published in Landscaping

Getting to know your site is the first step to creating a wonderful garden, says Carol Bucknell, a Houzz New Zealand Contributor.

Follow Bucknell's 10-point checklist to get it right:


Multi Level Garden, Sheldon Landscape, Lake Geneva



Lake Geneva Landscape Design, Sheldon Landscape

Published in Landscaping

Paths, whether stretching from street to door or winding through gardens, have always intrigued me, says Jay Sifford, a Houzz Contributor. Sifford continues, perhaps it’s because their lines lead the eye and there are so many great design and material options for them, yet they often are so unimaginatively designed. Paths can and should tell a story, elicit emotion, promote exploration and make a meaningful connection with land and architecture. How do yours measure up? Jay Sifford, guides us through materials and placement choices that will take your pathways from ordinary to extraordinary:



Garden Path Landscape Design Ideas from Sheldon Landscape, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin



Published in Landscaping

It is mid-summer and the time of year when we look around our home and summer homes to access what parts of the landscaping are working, what parts of the outdoor spaces need improvement to fit current lifestyle preferences/uses and seek ideas/inspiration to make the desired landscape changes.  Here are 30 landscape design ideas for shaping up your summer landscape courtesy of Lavinia for Freshome’s Very Best of Read more:  Remember, it is always good to consult a landscape professional.



Outdoor Area for Napping/Sleeping using futon, outdoor fabric, outdoor pillows, blue stone, Schmechtig Landscapes, Barrington, IL. Sheldon Landscape in Lake Geneva, is part of the Schmechtig Landscapes Family of Companies



Schmechtig Landscapes Outdoor Patio Design, Glencoe, IL., for dining using blue stone, brick pavers and stone seat walls.  Sheldon Landscape in Lake Geneva, is part of the Schmechtig Landscapes Family of Companies

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 09:35

Fragrance in the Garden

Most gardens are planned for visual appeal, but using scent as a guideline further enhances the outdoor experience.  There are trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and annuals that provide unique scents to enjoy throughout the season. Smell and memory are closely linked.


Sheldon Landscape, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

A particular smell can transport you back to a moment, place or relationship. What better way to remember a wonderful moment than replicating that scent in your own garden. We find some of the most common requests for plants with scent include Lilacs, Roses and assorted climbing vines. But the inventory goes far beyond this short list. There are many other shrubs that offer sweet scents throughout their growing period. Also, the list of perennials and annuals that provide scent is extensive. Gardin Guides website: and Better Homes and Garden's website:  are just two sites that provide lists of fragrant plants to add a whole new level of enjoyment taking your garden beyond its visual beauty. 


Sheldon Landscape, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 09:03

Seek Shelter in the Shade This Summer

Open up to outdoor living with 8 garden shade strategies from Courtney Olander, a contributor. Olander continues, designing for shade also incorporates an often overlooked element of landscape design: the ceiling plane. No matter how solid, transparent, large or small, a ceiling plane helps to create a sense of enclosure, intimacy and privacy. Here are eight ways to add shade to your garden this summer from Olander:


Pergola Ideas, Sheldon Landscape Company, Lake Geneva

Published in Landscaping
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