What’s Better Than A Great Deck?

One of the few things I consider to be an all-around excellent investment in a house or property is an outdoor seating and entertaining area.  Having a beautiful deck or patio adds so much value.. not only monetary value, but adds value to your everyday life.  Spending time with family in the early evening hours eating and enjoying each other in a well set-up space that is just inviting and relaxing makes us treasure life even more.

Some of the best earliest memories I have are of my Dad and I hanging out together on our big backyard deck.  This was the kind of deck that was only about 6 inches above the ground level, or what they call a “floating deck”. Built out of wood, and with no railings on any side, it was a kind of platform that spanned most of the length of the back of our small ranch house.  I remember being out there almost every summer night, and even when it started to get colder, we set up a warmer so we could still have a couple beers out there when the leaves started to change color.   It was the most inviting spot and so easy to have friends over to chill there for awhile and get into our deep conversations and discussions on every topic from the meaning of life to how to best grill a piece of fish.  My sister played guitar and would sing to us on that deck, creating an ambiance of nostalgia for years to come.

When my folks sold that house, I think I was  most sad about not being able to sit out on that deck any longer.  They took great care of it over the years, and I remember helping my Dad stain that deck more than a few times to water proof it and keep it resilient during the long New England winter months.   One time after a big storm a tree had fallen in our yard and broke one of the wooden planks in the deck.  We ended up hiring a professional deck repair service to fix it, which was a tough call for my Dad who was always a DIY kinda guy, and thought that a real man always knew how to fix anything. But this was a bit out of his range.   They did a great job though, and after a few years the newer planks blended right in and you could never tell that they hadn’t been there from the beginning.

But probably because of the fact that I grew up knowing how great an outdoor hang out space can be, I made it my mission that any  house I would own had to have some kind of deck, or nice stone patio area for people to gather.  I love the outdoors (if you can’t tell)  but I also love the finer things in life.  So having a lovely manicured and landscaped yard that is so refreshing to look at, and also having a space to sit and relax and enjoy that yard together with family and friends is a must-have for my and my wife and 3 kids that are now getting to develop their own memories enjoying family time on our deck.

So all in all, even if you don’t have much of a yard (like many of the overstuffed housing situations available these days)  if you take some time and money to invest in a deck or patio, you can still enjoy the outdoors and fresh air and have a space to entertain a few friends, all while adding value to your property and life.

Why Do We Need to Prune our Trees?

Everyone loves to show off a beautifully kept yard, and keeping your trees neatly trimmed and pruned is vitally important to maintaining a healthy garden.  Pruning your tree(s) ensures that any dead branches are removed before they break or fall off, which can be potentially dangerous to you or your home.  Keeping the branches timed can also help your tree to look more aesthetically pleasing, and can even help the structural integrity of the tree by avoiding uneven weight distribution or awkward branch growths.

But there’s a lot more to pruning than clipping off leaves and branches.  So before you grab the nearest saw or pair of shears, take a moment to check out these quick tips!

The Basics of Tree Pruning

There are a few things to keep in mind when getting ready to prune a tree.  First off, you want to be sure that your timing is correct.  For most trees, the best time to prune is in fall or early winter.  This is when the tree is entering its dormant season, and it will be less likely to go into shock when you are removing branches.  The cooler months also mean that there is less of a chance that fungi or insects will enter the tree through the newly trimmed areas and infect it.

Secondly, you want to be certain not to take too much off of your tree at one time.  You want to approach tree pruning with a “less is more” mindset; try to achieve the desired effect with as little trimming as possible.  Pruning too much or too quickly risks fatally damaging the tree.  Never take more than a quarter off the top or “crown” of the tree, as this is where most of the leaves are and is how your tree absorbs the majority of its energy.

Thirdly, know that not all trees should be pruned at the same time, or in the same way.  Many tree species require precise methods of pruning in order to avoid risking the tree’s health.

If you’re uncertain in any way about your ability to safely and effectively prune your tree, it’s always a good idea to seek the help of a certified arborist.  Arborists are specially trained in keeping trees healthy and thriving, and are the best resource available when it comes to keeping your trees at their best.

Hiring a Professional Pruning Service

Nowadays, you can find most services online, and that includes locating a good arborist or gardener that can help prune your trees.  Websites like Yelp, Angie’s List or Home Advisor can help you locate reliable companies or independent contractors, and showcase plenty of customer reviews to help you make your decision.  These websites also make it easy to compare rates, so that you can be sure to find an excellent contractor without breaking the bank.

Just remember that when you hire an arborist or gardener to prune your trees, that they should be ready and willing to provide you with a copy of an up-to-date certificate of insurance and the work contract.  You should also look for someone who is certified with a group like the International Society of Agriculture (ISA).  A good arborist will be able to give you a detailed estimate on how much your project will cost, how long it will take, and what equipment he/she will need to use in order to get everything done. A great example company to hire if you are in the Massachusetts area is the tree pruning service in Framingham MA.

Trees are beautiful, long-lived, and useful additions to any yard or garden, and should be cared for just like any other good investment.  Taking the time to ensure that your tree is pruned correctly and on a regular basis will go a long way towards making sure that it stays healthy for many years to come!