Welcome Summer '17- An Overdue Blog Post!

It has been 5 months and 5 days since our last blog post. To say we have been slacking on this is an understatement. Hopefully this is a testament as to how busy the Spring has been! I made it a point to set aside some time today to get this out, providing some tips for your property care as the Summer begins, bring up some new and exciting projects we have had the pleasure to work on, and just a general stance of where Glen Allen Grounds is!

I will address the informative stuff first. As always, the Richmond weather has not failed to disappoint us in 2017. Spring seemed to have come a bit early, creating some warmer temperatures in February which caused the turf to begin to jump. Irrigation systems were started up, then of course, a spike of below freezing temperatures came through causing some damages. We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we 'weathered' that issue. April and May brought some wet weather as well. I think we went roughly 5 weeks with at least 1 day worth of rain that put us behind, some weeks with multiple days. With a lot of moisture in the ground and this humidity, the not so popular disease of brown patch started to come through. This has been one of the worst brown patch season's we can think of to date, and I think our friends at ProjectGreen would tend to agree. If you see this in your yard, please give us a call to see how we can help!

By now, everyone's irrigation should be up and running. As the rainy months start to die down, the irrigation system will need to be adjusted giving the approaching warmer temperatures. At start up, we were running 3 days a week for roughly 12-15 minutes per zone. Planting zones were run between 1-2 times a week for 8-10 minutes, depending on specific requests. We recommend adjusting those run times to about 20 minutes per zone for rotors, and 12 minutes a zone for plant material. A string of warmer temperatures would require an additional day of watering. If you have any questions regarding your property and its irrigation system, please do not hesitate to call us.

We have had great opportunities to complete some wonderful projects this Spring. Both on the Landscape installation and Hardscape installation side, the projects have both enhanced the properties space, brought additional value to their home, and created something that will create family memories for years to come. Be sure to check out our website and social media pages for progress updates and completed pictures of these great projects! 

It is never too late to start gearing up or planning for a renovation. If you are considering a new landscape or hardscape project now or in the Fall, please reach out to us so we can get the process started. Fall is always a busy time for landscape contractors, so planning ahead is always recommended. We want to offer our clients a 10% discount on any hardscape or landscape project if the amount exceeds $5,000 from July 1st, 2017 until August 31st, 2017! If you know of anyone who could benefit from our services, please send them our way as well!

The hectic Spring is always tough to manage given the weather and increased work load. Our team members have done an excellent job responding to our requests and have provided extra assistance when asked. We ran 3 crews of anywhere from 8-10 people in 2016, and have increased that to 5 crews with around 15 people. Quite the undertaking, but feel we have handled it as best we can. Of course, always some bumps along the way, but without the loyalty and professionalism of our team members, none of this would be possible. 

I say this a lot, but I cannot express enough how appreciative I am of all of our clients and what they have done for us. I have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful people over the last few years, and your continued support is what keeps us, keeps me, going. Growth can sometimes get the best of us and quality can suffer. As a company, we hope that you feel our services are valuable to you and your lifestyle, and want to make sure we continue to provide that same level of detail regardless of the size of our business. 

We hope that everyone has a great start to Summer 2017, and again, thank you for your loyal support!

 

Eric Ellington

Vice President

January 2017 Newsletter- Updates From Glen Allen Grounds!

Happy 2017 Glen Allen Grounds customers!

     We hope everyone is off to a great start this new year. As we enter the back half of January, we wanted to reach out to everyone to bring to their attention our exciting 2017 plans and goals, updates on our business, and what we have been up to over the past few months!

     We were fortunate enough to get a small snow storm a few weeks ago! We had the opportunity to work for some great contractors with snow removal, working at Regency Mall and the VCU health building in Short Pump. Having gone from 2 trucks with only 2 drivers, to 3 trucks with 4 different drivers and adding in some hand labor work, we had a great weekend and new experiences behind the shovels and plows. Snow does limit our ability to perform maintenance work on our residential properties, as we essentially had to take a week off from visits while we let the snow melt and properties dry out. We have gotten back into a normal groove, making sure we hit everything this week. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we continue to progress through January.

 

      Our training with our field guys, specifically our grounds maintenance division, has allowed us to put Glen Allen Grounds in a better position to service our customers. Effective immediately, our President Will Lane has moved into the office permanently, and will oversee and direct our entire grounds maintenance division. He will be able to provide routine property visits and address any issues you may have, including enhancements or additional services you wish to have performed at your property.

     Glen Allen Grounds is also implementing a new service software that will allow us to communicate with our foremen in the field, as well as better communicate with you as a customer. There are a couple high profile features this service will equip us with to set ourselves apart from other companies in our industry.  We will be able to send notes from our meetings with you, or your service specific requests to their smartphones on the fly. Another cool feature is if, for example, you would prefer to receive a quote from us for mulching, just walk outside and notify our on-site foreman.  He’ll enter the information into an app on his phone which will notify us of your request, as well as email you saying we’ve received a quote request from you, and it’s on our radar for the immediate future! This will allow us to tackle items on the current or next visit, avoiding an additional trip and performing the tasks more efficiently.

     We have plans to add more man power and more crews to cut down on service lead times and become more efficient with the work we have during the week. Our new landscape truck is already lettered up and ready to go!

     Having said that, we also want to make everyone aware of mulch season, which, believe it or not, will be cranking up soon! If you are interested in us mulching your property this year, we ask that you please contact us quickly so that we can provide an estimate (if applicable), or get you on the schedule. We always fill up fast come March!

     On a personal note, 2017 is a big year for our owners! Will Lane and his wife Allie are expecting their first child in March of this year! We are very excited to welcome baby Lane to the Glen Allen Grounds family. Eric Ellington will be tying the knot with his fiancé Tiffany in April as well! Our crews will be ready to go in Will and Eric’s absence during these exciting times.

We thank everyone for their continuing support and look forward to a great 2017 with you!

Why Aeration & Product Selection Are Important to Your Turfs Health

     School has started, tailgates are cranking up, and landscaping companies across Richmond have their fleets stocked with seed, fertilizer, and aerators. That’s right, it’s turf-growing season.  I wanted to take the time to talk about the importance of aeration and why you should do it, product selection, and maintaining after the service is completed. Finding the cheapest price may not always prove to provide the best results!

     Aeration is a process that allows more air and water to enter the soil, penetrating and reducing thatch, breaking up compacted areas, and eventually allowing healthier grass to grow. Using a core aerator, 1-2’’ plugs are removed from the ground and left for further nutrients.  August is a tough month in Richmond, with days of high heat and no rain, patches of thatch and dead spots become common. Aeration is a vital step in returning your turf into the healthy yard you saw in the Spring.

     Your next step is to over seed the lawn. Seed selection is extremely important and is what I am most frequently asked about. Seed blends can contain pure live seed (PLS), crop seed, weed seed, noxious weeds, inert matter, or any variation of the group. The PLS number on each bag of seed describes how much of the particular seed will actually germinate based on the variety. The higher the PLS, the better chance you have of all the seed germinating. The bad things in the blend include weed seed, other crop seed, and inert matter. These are items that are in the blend that you are still paying for, but cause disruption in the growth of new turf strands.  It is best to purchase products with no more than .5-1.5% by weight in the bag.

     Your fertilizer selection can greatly enhance how quickly and how efficiently your new turf starts to grow. Most fertilizers contain three different numbers on the bag. This describes how much Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium by percentage are in the bag. A slow release fertilizer is recommended, as it is active longer and continues to provide nutrients to the seed and soil as the new seed starts to grow. Our 10-3-2 fertilizer combination is a natural, non-burning, organic blend with carbohydrates that provides a rich soil environment that are less susceptible to disease activity.

     Maintaining the lawn after the service is somewhat forgotten. This is where people like me need some assistance from the client. Making sure your irrigation run times are set to keep the seed wet throughout the day is step one. We recommend roughly 5 minutes a zone twice a day, every day, for the first couple of weeks. Not disturbing the lawn is recommended as well. This includes not mowing for 2-3 weeks after the service. Once you start to see some new growth is when you can start mowing. During that 2-3-week gap, get your mower blades sharpened to insure the turf is being cut, not shredded!

     For contractors, aeration season becomes an all-out bidding war. There are tons of Craig’s List and Facebook Ads advertising aeration, seed, and fertilizer services for $50, $80, $100 up to “X” amount of square feet. As a customer, it is important for you to ask the right questions to make sure the money you spend on your lawn is worth it in the long run.  Rates, seed mixes, and fertilizer types are all critical parts in insuring healthy turf growth. We have found that these lower prices include a seed mix with a high weed and crop percentage, low purity and germination rates, and low spread rates. We recommend and spread at a rate of 6 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. At 2-3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet, which is common at these rates, is not an adequate amount of seed to fully establish and rebuild your lawn. Why do you think you these ads do not include their spread rates?

     At the end of the day, choosing the right contractor to perform the service is very important. Why invest the money at all if it is not going to be done correctly in order to provide the best results? There are many reputable businesses in Richmond who may not be the cheapest for this service, but they will certainly back the product that they are installing, provide you with information as to what to do before and after the treatment, and be around the next year WITHOUT a coupon, when you are looking to do it again.

For more information about our aeration services or product information, please contact our office.

 

Eric Ellington- Vice President

 

August Newsletter

Good Afternoon Everyone!

     We hope everyone is beating the heat and off to a good start on this warm Monday. We wanted to take this time to provide an update on our company, some news, and upcoming dates we want everyone to be aware of.

     As many of you know, Glen Allen Grounds was nominated as one of the top 5 lawn and landscaping companies in Richmond. This is a huge honor for us considering this is our fourth year in business! We owe our growth and this top 5 finish to our clients, and without you none of this would be possible. We are asking all of our loyal customers to take a minute out of their busy schedules and vote Glen Allen Grounds the top Landscaping company in Richmond. We are up against some good competition and it would be a huge accomplishment if we are able to win. You can vote by visiting this link:

http://richmond.secondstreetapp.com/l/The-Best-2016/Ballot/HomeandGarden

     The middle of August also brings our attention to one thing: Aeration season. Our aeration services are set to begin Monday September 19th, and run through the first of October. A few important things to note with regards to your aeration service:

1.       Please refer to your maintenance contract to verify you are already signed up for aeration. If so, great! Your job is done!

2.       If you are not a routine maintenance customer or do not have the service in your contract and want a quote, please feel free to email info@glenallengrounds.com for more information.

3.       All maintenance properties will be cut between 2.75’’ and 3.5’’ the week prior to treatment.

4.       It is recommended to run irrigation the day before we come if we have not gotten any rain so the ground is soft. This allows for deeper plugs!

5.       Each service includes aeration, weed free tall fescue seed (unless otherwise stated), and one round of starter fertilizer.

6.       It is recommended to not mow the property for at least 14 days after the service is performed.  We don’t want to disturb the seed when it is just beginning to put down fragile roots!

7.       Sod that has been laid within the last 8 months should NOT be aerated. This can damage the fragile root systems.

8.       Last but not least, keep that seed watered! Start irrigation systems at 5AM and run for 15-20 minutes a zone. We should see some cooler evening temperatures in September.

     Speaking of irrigation, we have noticed some of our maintenance properties being a bit too wet. We are looking at cooler temperatures this week and hopefully for the remainder of the summer, but it is recommended to crank those run times down just a bit to prevent damaging the yard during services.

     With aeration services comes the dreaded task of handling the leaves. This is a very important part of ensuring your new seed is able to grow. Please contact our office if you would like to be put on a normal leaf removal schedule beginning in late October!

     Fall is also the time we see people getting outside more in the evenings when it’s cool. We are looking to help you get outside this fall with a great hardscape special running until the end of September. If you are thinking of a new hardscape project that will include a fire pit, we will take 10% off of the cost of the materials! This results in a FREE fire pit installation! We are able to help better visualize your ideas using our new 3D rendering presentations as well! Check these out:

https://www.dropbox.com/home/Wyndham%20Residence?preview=Mr.+%26+Mrs.+Residence_StoryBoard_01_001.mp4

     We hope everyone had a great summer and is ready for the Fall weather, being outside, and football! We know the month(s) leading up to school starting can be busy for most of you, and we hope to help alleviate some of that stress by maintaining your properties. If you have any questions with regards to your services, please feel free to contact us. We appreciate your continuing support!

 

As Summer Wind's Down...Glen Allen Grounds Heats Up!

Hello Everyone!

     First, Glen Allen Grounds welcomes you to our new website and blog feature! We have been working on this for several months and finally had the opportunity to launch. We hope this provides a better experience to consider working with us. We have uploaded a TON of new projects that we are very excited to introduce!

     Over the past couple of months, we have been working diligently towards our goal of becoming one of the best landscape providers in the Richmond area. Obtaining new and up to date certifications including NCMA retaining wall certification and SWAM certification, launching our new website, offering new 3D design features for our hardscape customers, and working with some great clients, have all helped us get closer to that goal. Recently, we were back helping our good friends at Pete Rose Landscape Products complete their EP Henry and Newline hardscape displays. The value and support that we offer to our customers would not be possible if we did not get that same support from our dealer. Ryan Flora, Nelson Rice, and Sean Larkin have been great people to work with, and they will certainly take care of you like they take care of us. If you are considering a new outdoor project, head over to Pete Rose to meet the guys and check out some of our work at the same time!

     A few weeks ago, we received some very exciting news that we finished in the top 5 of best landscaping companies in Richmond by the Richmond Times Dispatch. We hope that our loyal customers, family, and friends will help make this even better by going to the website below to cast their vote! 

http://richmond.secondstreetapp.com/l/The-Best-2016/Ballot/HomeandGarden

     Voting ends August 21st, and you can vote as many times as you want! We are truly honored to be considered as one of the best landscape companies in Richmond, and hope we continue to provide a level of service that will allow us to gain the top spot!

     Enough rambling this morning. We will use this blog to provide updates on our company, news, and upcoming scheduling notifications (Aeration & Leaf Removal soon!). We hope everyone has a great start to their week!

-The Glen Allen Grounds Team