Tag Archives: Libertyville Lawn Care

Plants for Chicago Winter

How to Keep Your Landscaping Looking Nice Even During the Winter Months

During the spring and summer, landscaping is a big focus for many home and business owners. However, once winter sets in, this seems to change. You might think that making your landscaping look nice during the winter is impossible, but the tips below can do just that.

Don’t Stop Raking

If you stop raking for the season after the first snowfall, you certainly aren’t alone. However, even though there aren’t quite as many leaves on the ground during the cold of winter, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist at all. When snow piles on top of those leaves and dead plant matter, the resulting environment can breed mold and fungus. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to rake your lawn now and then – especially where you can readily see the buildup.

Wrap Trees with Thin Bark

Trees with especially thin bark are susceptible to damage in the winter. This applies not only to certain species of trees but also to saplings and very young trees. A phenomenon is known as “sunscald” is a very real thing, and it occurs when there are large temperature fluctuations during the late fall and early spring. Use a light-colored wrap – even burlap – to prevent it.

Cover Shrubs to Protect from Salt

If your home or business is close to the road, and if any of your shrubs or plants are in what is known as “high-traffic” areas, it is worth your while to cover them with a tarp or sheet to protect them from road salt. In fact, if you are going to apply salt to a sidewalk or walkway near your plants, be sure to use it sparingly, and avoid using it near tree roots unless there’s no other choice for safety reasons.

Mulch Your Beds (And Check Them Often)

Mulch is much more than just a means to make your flower and plant beds look pretty. In fact, it can go a long way toward preventing frost from reaching plants’ roots. You can choose mulch in any color you prefer, or, if possible, you can even use the leaves you collected during the fall as mulch. Make sure your mulch is at least three inches deep to really protect the plants.

Keep Your Grass Cut Short

If you haven’t already mowed your lawn for the last time this season, now is the perfect time to do it. Just be sure that you lower the blade on your mower so that grass is no more than 2” tall – and ideally 1”. Grass can get frostbite just like your fingers and toes, and this results in dead patches or brown grass in the spring. What’s more, keeping your grass short through winter can also prevent pests like field mice from calling your yard home.

As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure your landscaping looks nice all winter long. Though many of these tips aren’t directly aesthetic, they will protect your trees, shrubs, plants, and flowering plants so that when spring rolls around, everything blooms as it should and nothing appears brown or dead.

low maintenance landscape

It’s Tax Refund Time: 4 Smart Ways to Invest into Your Landscaping

While the dullness of winter seems to keep going and going, it does bring with it one positive thing… income tax refund time! That check from Uncle Sam can get spent quickly if you forget to plan ahead on how best to invest it.

While some homeowners put these resources towards the inside of the home, investing into the outside can often be just as smart.
Here are four smart ways to invest tax return dollars back into your own backyard:

1. Create an Outdoor Oasis

The ultimate backyard is one which offers a sense of escape. When you combine a beautiful deck with a warming fire pit or even an electric fireplace, it feels like you just added another “room” to the home. A new outdoor oasis can be a great place to entertain with friends and family or just unwind from a long day.

2. Add a Water Feature

Waterfalls and fountains can be wonderful additions to a home’s outdoor space. Not only do these features add a relaxing atmosphere, they also can create visual interest to an otherwise boring backyard.

3. Install Quality Lighting

Installing outdoor lighting can be a great way to invest in your landscaping. Not only does it increase the security and safety of your home’s surroundings, it also can add value to the property itself. Good lighting can highlight unique architectural features of the home, illuminate a path or even be a warning sign of potential criminal activity.

4. Consider a Raised Garden Bed

Want to grow a garden but avoid some of its many common pitfalls? A raised garden bed can be a great way to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables without the constant upkeep. These types of gardens are less likely to become overgrown with weeds and less prone to animal damage. Raised gardens also offer better drainage and soil retention than the typical bed.

Ready to make 2018 the year you invest back into your own backyard? Contact the team at Martin John Company today to start planning your dream outdoor space. We are a full-service landscaping contractor specializing in custom design services as well as lawn care maintenance.

Need more inspiration? Visit our online portfolio.

Lawn Fertilization

The DOs and DON’Ts of Lawn Fertilization

Most landscaping experts would tell you that one of the best ways to maintain a healthy, lush lawn is with good fertilization.  Being consistent in feeding your plants and grass ensures your vegetation is receiving the nutrients necessary to thrive.

While many of us have fertilized before, we often don’t consider what we can do to increase our chances of success.  In fact, there are many different ways we can either help or hurt our lawns when it comes to fertilization.  How you approach this outdoor chore can mean the difference between a flourishing, beautiful backyard and one that is just so-so.

Here are some of the DOs and DON’Ts for better lawn fertilization:


– DO consider a slow-release fertilizer. This type of formula breaks down nutrients more slowly allowing you to space out applications.

– DO check out your fertilizer package label. Each bag of fertilizer will have three numbers – one represents the percentage of nitrogen, one for phosphate and one for potassium.

– DO follow the directions for watering. Watering is essential for allowing the fertilizer to penetrate the soil.  Make sure to include a good soaking.

– DO overlap your application strips slightly so you have an even application.


– DON’T fertilize too often. If using a regular fertilizer, every four weeks is sufficient.  If using a slow-release formula, you can space it out to 6-8 weeks.

– DON’T go with the cheapest fertilizer you can find. Like most things, you get what you pay for when it comes to your lawn care needs.

– DON’T over or under water your lawn before or after fertilization. The right amount will provide the moisture necessary to break down the granules.

– DON’T miss any areas of the lawn during application. This could result in “dead spots”.

There are few things more important to a healthy lawn than the benefits of a good fertilization.  For help in taking care of your property’s landscaping needs, contact the team at Martin John Company.  We provide both our residential and commercial customers the expert care they are looking for.  Let us help give your grass, garden beds, and flowers the attention they deserve!

Snow Removal

Make Your Commercial Property Ready for Winter

Owning a commercial property comes with a lot of responsibilities including maintaining both its interior and exterior.  Not practicing due diligence can leave you exposed to lawsuits, liability concerns and more.  Before winter is here, make sure to get your commercial property winter-ready.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Get overgrown branches away from the roof and electrical wires. Give them a good trim so that they don’t become iced-over turning into a hazard.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. After making sure they are completely drained, turn off the water supply to hoses, sprinklers and more.  This prevents pipes from bursting when the water freezes and expands.
  • Want a great lawn come spring? Now’s the time to aerate, reseed and apply a winter fertilizer to your green spaces.  This will ensure you have better root growth next year.
  • Clean soil out of planters and move fragile planters inside.
  • Check that all handrails are secure and look for potential hazards around mailbox areas and other common spaces.
  • Create a snow removal plan. Know how you are going to handle the snow and who’s going to handle it.

Fall can be a great time to prepare your commercial property for the upcoming winter.  For assistance in crossing this task off your winter checklist, contact Martin John Company.  As the leading landscaping firm in the Lake Forest area, we help property owners take care of all their outdoor needs.  We offer a comprehensive list of services all designed to help you maintain a healthy, beautiful lawn.  Contact us today to learn more.

snow removal

Have You Put Together Your Snow Removal Plan Yet?

Whether you are a single residence property owner or manage a sprawling apartment complex, it’s always smart to have a plan for your snow removal needs.  And it’s even smarter to have that plan in place before winter arrives.

Cleaning driveways, melting the icy spots and reducing hazards are all essential components of a good snow removal plan.  You have to consider the when, how, and who when you create your own strategy for controlling the heavy loads of snow we receive in the Midwest.  Doing so helps you prepare for whatever the season brings.

To start crafting your perfect snow removal plan, it’s first important to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What worked or didn’t work last year with your snow removal?
  • How much time do you have to dedicate to snow removal?
  • What tools and equipment do you have on hand to tackle the job?

Once you have considered these questions, it’s time to start planning your approach.  You can keep the process simple by addressing each individual aspect of the process.  Begin by devising a plan for these specific areas of snow removal.

When will the snow be removed?

What is your schedule like?  Are you able to run the snow blower before you head to work?  How quickly do you want the area clear?  Are there any community or city guidelines which require you to have the area cleared by a certain time?  Much of this is determined by when the snow actually comes but it can still be helpful to think of when you have time to complete this often lengthy task.

How will the snow be removed?

What type of equipment do you already have at your disposal to clear the snow?  Is that equipment in proper working order?  If you handle a large complex, do you have the manpower to run those machines as long as needed to clear the areas?  Snow removal is never easy but having the right tools for the job can help.

Who will remove the snow?

When time becomes limited or your equipment is less than adequate, you may want to consider hiring a professional team to remove the snow for you.  Partnering with a snow removal company can make creating (and following) your snow removal plan easy.  And it is much more affordable than you may think.

If you are looking for a safe and reliable snow removal team in the Libertyville area and beyond, look no further than Martin John Company.  We offer 24 hour service and a fully-staffed crew ready and waiting to help with whatever winter brings.  Keeping our customers and their properties safe is our top priority.

Contact our team today to begin putting together your own snow removal plan.

Four Unexpected Benefits of Mowing Your Lawn

We all know that a well-manicured lawn looks great. And don’t we all want to make sure we don’t have the longest grass in the neighborhood? There are many obvious reasons why keeping our landscaping in tip-top shape is beneficial.

But are there other reasons to give our lawn some regular attention besides the obvious answers? Here are four unexpected benefits of mowing your lawn:

  • Enjoy Even Growth. There are few things more unappealing than a patchy, uneven lawn. Mowing the lawn keeps the grass at a uniform level. This allows for better distribution of resources from the sun and water.
  • Keep Mosquitoes Away. Mosquitoes thrive in damp environments. When the blades get too long, moisture begins to accumulate making the area ripe for a mosquito infestation. Keep the buzzers away with regular trimmings. But don’t get your lawn too short! This can attract other insects such as grubs.
  • Only the Best Survive. Ever heard the term “survival of the fittest” – “only the strong will survive”? Your grass works in much of the same way. As we mow, we take out the weaker shoots and allow the stronger, more beautiful shoots to flourish.
  • Preventing Costly Fines. Many cities have ordinances regarding the upkeep of residential properties. Fines can actually be issued when a homeowner’s grass is found to be too long. Avoid costly fines by keeping it well-maintained.

What to do When You Can’t Keep Up

Sometimes taking time for regular lawn clippings just isn’t feasible. Maybe you travel for work or keep a busy schedule filled with soccer tournaments and dance recitals. Whatever the reason, taking care of the lawn doesn’t have to be neglected. Hiring a professional lawn care team to help you maintain a well-manicured property can be a great alternative.

If you are searching for the right landscaping team to help keep your lawn looking great, consider the best the Chicago Area has to offer – Martin John Company. We have been the chosen partner for homeowners throughout the Libertyville area and beyond. From weekly trimmings to snow plowing and more, our team provides clients the services they need for all of the Midwest’s many seasons. Contact us today to learn more.

Martin John Lanscaping

Why You Shouldn’t Plant Too Close to Your Home

Early spring is the time of year when many homeowners begin planning their landscaping strategy for the growing season. This may mean pruning some plants back or transplanting others to a new area. It could also mean adding new bushes, trees and flowers to the backyard.
While choosing the right species for your unique climate is important, so is deciding where to plant them. In fact, at Martin John Company we often help homeowners with plants which have been placed too close to the home. It’s a problem the average person wouldn’t think of until it’s too late. Don’t waste your time and energy planting in the wrong spot. Here are some things to watch for placing landscaping near the home:
• Heavy shrubbery too close to the home can create moisture problems. This excess water can lead to damage to certain types of siding such as stucco and composition material.

• Your landscaping appeal can be lessened when bushes are stuck against the homes exterior. Homeowners often will plant new bushes too close forgetting that in a couple years they will get larger in size growing against to the home.

• Termites are attracted to plants and trees as sources of food. Having vegetation too close to the home also invites these termites into the area as well.

• Landscaping close to the home is more difficult to weed, trim and maintain. Ample space allows for easy movement around it.

• Planting too nearby can also prevent you from being able to maintain other aspects of the homes exterior. Will you be able to clean the windows, hang Christmas lights, or power wash the siding? And will you be able to effectively clean your gutters? Giving yourself room to easily access your home will save you many headaches down the road.

You also want to consider how close trees are to the home. Many species such as Oaks and Maples have huge root systems. These can creep closer and closer to the home damaging sewer lines, foundations and more. It is also important to make sure the branches don’t hang too close to the home. Falling leaves and small twigs can easily clog a gutter system making you have to clean them more often.

If you are concerned about how close your bushes and trees are to the home, contact an expert for advice. The team at Martin John Company has helped many clients throughout the Libertyville area with all of their landscaping needs. Let us assess your property and offer a detailed report on how we can assist you in remedying any outstanding problems. We have been the team homeowners throughout the area have trusted with their backyards for over fifteen years!

New Sappling

How Landscaping Services Help Sell Chicago Homes

The real estate market is booming right now.  It seems like every day there is a new home for sale and another one exchanging hands.  It is a great time to be seller especially for those living in the Libertyville and surrounding areas.

But as the house market continues to heat up so will the number of homes for sale.  Buyers will have more options and sellers will need to make sure their Chicago home stands out from the competition. This is where the little details like great landscaping can make all the difference.  Want to sell your home faster?  Consider hiring a professional landscaping company for help!

Here are some ways a professional landscaping team such at Martin John Company can help get your home sold:

  • Add some color… in the right spots. Landscapers are experts at what they do and, if they are like Martin John Company, have years of experience under their belt.  They know how to add beautiful, colorful flowers in just the right spots.  You are sure to have blooms that not only look great but also have the right amount of sunlight and shade to flourish.
  • Refresh the mulch. Bald spots in landscaping bedding and faded mulch is unappealing.  Landscapers can quickly and cost-effectively lay new layers of fresh mulch to all of the property’s beds.
  • Trim unruly bushes & trees. Are you a little intimidated by the thought of trimming your bushes and trees?  Many homeowners are terrified of taking too much off and damaging the plant.  But an unruly shrub can make your home look more like a haunted house than an appealing property.  Let the experts give your bushes and trees the cut they need.
  • Create a polished look. Do you still have remnants of last year’s growing season?  Branches on the ground, leaf piles in the corners and clumps of dead grass?  These all remind potential homebuyers of all the work they need to do once they move in.  Have a professional landscaping team give your Chicago lawn the much-needed attention it deserves for a polished look.

One of the biggest risks you can take is not dealing with poor landscaping before you put your home on the market.  When the appraisers come to value homes, they take this important feature into account.  Your property can appraise higher or lower depending on its curb appeal.  Potential homebuyers also take note of how well the lawn is kept.  It can be a differentiator between you and the house down the street.                                                                       

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, there are few things that can improve your chances of selling your home more than professional landscaping.  For those in the Libertyville area and beyond, there is no better partner for your landscaping job than Martin John Company.  Our team can help you create that great outdoor appeal so your Chicago property can stand out from the rest.  Whether you need a quick spruce up or a more extensive overhaul, Martin John Company is ready for your call.  Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Chicago Lawn Care

How to Prevent Crabgrass from Taking Over Your Lawn

With the warm February we’ve had spring seems closer than ever before.  Before we know it, trees will be budding and bulbs will be popping up from the ground.  Along with the beautiful signs of warmer spring days comes some other not-so-welcome guests including crabgrass.

Crabgrass is one of the most common weeds you’ll find in homes throughout the North Shore area.  It is also one of the most common complaints we get at Martin John Company.  We often hear our customers say “Help! My landscaping is becoming ruined by crabgrass”.  Don’t worry, we are always here to help will all of your lawn care needs.  In the meantime, here are some things you should know about crabgrass and how to keep it from taking over your lawn.

  • The best way to stop crabgrass from taking over the lawn is to prevent it from sprouting in the first place. This variety only needs about 24-48 hours of 55+ degree soil temperature to germinate.
  • When watching your soil for rises in temperature keep in mind that the type of soil and where it’s located matters. Sandy soil heats faster than clay-based and sunny area temperatures will rise quicker than shaded spot ones.
  • Use a pre-emergent herbicide before the first signs of crabgrass. Do not use this type of herbicide though if crabgrass is already present or if you have just installed sod.
  • Post-emergent herbicide can be used when crabgrass has already germinated and is present. Apply the herbicide only to crabgrass as it can kill certain varieties of grass.  In fact, if you begin to notice a browning landscape, you have used too much herbicide.  You will also want to follow-up with a second treatment to kill any crabgrass that has germinated since the initial application.

It is important to be very careful when applying herbicides as they can kill many types of grass as well the crabgrass weed itself.  A professional expert such as Martin John Company can help you better navigate this tricky task.

At Martin John Company, we want to help our clients maintain healthy, beautiful lawns all year long.  Not only are we here to help with basic needs such as weed management and lawn cutting, we can also assist with your more extensive projects.  From poor drainage to hardscape installation, Martin John Company is the preeminent landscaping leader in the Chicago area.

Let us help you tackle that crabgrass and more! Contact us today.


Libertyville Lawn Care

4 Tips for Hiring the Right Landscaping Team

You wouldn’t trust your kitchen renovation or roof replacement to just anyone.  You’d want to see their other work and ensure that the contractor is both experienced and professional.  So why would you expect anything less from your landscaping partner?

Not all landscaping companies are created equal.  Some, such as Martin John Company, have a proven track record of success with years of experience in the industry.  They are invested in the communities they live and work in.  Others though are less interested in serving their neighbors and more interested in getting paid.

Who you hire for your landscaping matters.  It can mean the difference between a job that will last for years to come and one that only looks good for the next couple months.

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself when searching for the right landscaping team:

  • Do they have a history of performing quality work? A good landscaper should be able to provide past examples of completed work.  References from former clients and a good portfolio offers insight into what you can expect.
  • Are they licensed and insured? What happens if something goes wrong while the landscaper is working on your property?  Are you liable for any injuries or damages?  You want any company you hire to be both licensed and insured.
  • Have they completed projects similar to yours? Not all projects require the same level of expertise.  Those that require drainage installation or hardscape work warrant more expertise.  Check that the landscaping contractor you’re considering has completed projects similar to your own.
  • How long have they been in the landscaping business? Hiring a partner that has years of experience in the field can be a smart move.  They are more likely to complete the work on time and within budget.  And, while there are no guarantees, a seasoned landscaper is more apt to offer the quality and care you expect.

Finding the right landscaping team for your next project shouldn’t be a chore.  Consider Martin John Company for the job!  Our expert crew members are trained to handle any job.  Experienced in both small residential work and large-scale commercial developments, we can take on any size project you have in mind.  Contact us or call 847-634-2184 for more information or to schedule an appointment.