Friday, November 18, 2016

Permeable Paver Demo

This summer Ryan participated in a demonstration of a new permeable paver parking lot at Trinity Lutheran Church in Peoria, Illinois.

Close up of paver system

A fire truck (courtesy of the Peoria Fire Department) applied 550 gallons of water per minute over approximately 15 minutes, and the parking lot system absorbed all water with no pooling or puddling.

Fire Truck applying water at 550 gallons per minute

According to Unilock, "Permeable pavers provide stormwater management by reducing runoff volume and rate, filtering pollutants and keeping water on site, reducing the need for retention ponds. Permeable pavers have incredible durability and can be used in a variety of climates and applications ranging from patios to parking lots. Since the earth below is warmer than ambient air temperature the snow melts and drains allowing heat to waft through the system.

You don’t have to seal or replace as often as other surfaces and repairs are straightforward, removing and replacing individual pavers. Ongoing maintenance consists of keeping debris from clogging joints by vacuuming the surface one a year."

Paver aggregate sub-base profile

Special thanks to Unilock, Peoria Brick Company, and the Peoria Fire Department for a successful demonstration of this innovative product.

For more information use our contact form, or call us at 309-303-0919.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Milestone Meeting

We knocked off work a little early on Friday to thank our staff for their hard work and update them on the season's progress. We even rented a dunk tank from Peoria Rentals so our staff could take their shot at sinking their bosses! It was a fun afternoon and everyone left with a greater sense of appreciation for the hard work we do and the satisfaction we all share from serving our clients. 

Owner/Project Manager Corey playing grill master.
Chowing down on chicken and burgers.
Maintenance Division Manager Robert enjoying a rare opportunity.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How To Water

  • Individually hand water each tree, shrub or small plant, giving it a long, deep drink with a hose. Watering with a lawn irrigation system can cause problems by either keeping the plants too wet, or not watering deep enough.
  • Using a hose with water running at low pressure, place it in the center of the plant. Watch that the water penetrates the root zone immediately around the plant, and does not run off its surface without penetrating the soil. Applying the water directly to the root area at a slow rate ensures adequate moisture to the roots.
  • The soil in the soil ball will dry out more quickly than the loose soil around it, so when you check for moisture be sure to check the soil ball directly. Be aware that plants can be over-watered too, especially in clay soils. To check for over-watering, poke your finger down the side of the soil ball to feel how wet or dry it is.

Watering Trees, Shrubs and Perennials

For the first three weeks after planting, water every second or third day, and once a week through summer thereafter. If the weather is very hot, windy, and dry increase the frequency to prevent wilt, particularly on small, tender plants or lawns.

Discontinue watering when there is at least one inch of rainfall per week, otherwise hand water about once a week.

Late Fall to Winter
If there is inadequate rainfall, water the plants every 2 weeks until frost. When the tree leaves drop, make a final application of water just before the ground freezes.

Subsequent Spring and Summer
Water trees and shrubs deeply every couple of weeks as weather dictates. Perennials may need more frequent watering.

Lawn Watering

Sodded Lawns
Water daily for three weeks after installation, thoroughly soaking the sod each time. After about four weeks, water the established sod only once per week, applying one inch of water.

Seeded Lawns
Apply one inch of water daily until all the grass has germinated. If adequate rainfall occurs to sufficiently moisten the top inch of soil, there is no need to water that day. When the lawn is two inches high, reduce watering to one inch per week or as needed to maintain green, actively growing grass.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Great Curb Appeal for all Seasons

Your landscape helps shape the first impression of your home or business, and a little careful planning will help your property look its best. Here are some secrets to keep your landscape looking great through every season.

1. Spread out your flower times to get something interesting in different seasons. Some plants flower for several weeks or even months. Traditional lilacs are an old favorite in the spring, but tend to last only a week or two at most. There is now a reblooming variety of lilac available called "bloomerang". Consider planting reblooming daylilies and shrub roses for lasting flower color with minimal effort.

2. Try to balance your landscape with both evergreen and flowering plants. I like to use boxwood or arborvitae to provide garden structure and dress things up with my flowering plants.

3. Think about elements other than flowers, since most only last a few weeks. Leaf color, stem color, peeling bark, and changes in texture (leaf size or shape) add interest that lasts all season long. Contrast a fine-leafed red Japanese maple with a large, yellow leafed plant like Gold Standard Hosta. Plants with fruit or berries that persist through the fall and winter will attract cardinals, robins and blue jays that you may not otherwise see in your landscape. Try Blue Muffin Viburnum or Red Jewel Crabapple to keep your feathered friends coming around all year long.

4. Plan your landscape in layers. Use lower, spreading foreground plants (0'-2'), well shaped middle-ground plants (2'-5'), and strong boned background plants (5' and up) to create complementary and contrasting relationships.

5. Consider a special feature like a bench, water feature, sculpture or wind chime as a focal point. It could be functional or purely aesthetic, and it should complement the character of your house.

These helpful hints will add character and value to your curb appeal. Remember, your landscape is one of the few purchases that you will ever make that increases in value. 

For additional information, call us at 309-303-0919 or fill out the form and we'll be happy to help!

Lawn Care FAQ - Part 2

Q: I have grubs every year. How can I prevent them?

A: Most homeowners who have grubs need to have them treated each year. Like most pests, it is important to catch them early. The most successful way to beat grubs is to apply a treatment during the earliest pupa stage in late June. It is difficult to control grubs in the early spring.  

Q: How high should I mow my grass?

A: You should mow the grass at the highest setting on your mower or at least 3 inches. Each time you mow, you should cut no more than 1/3 of the grass height. While you may have to mow more often, your lawn will be healthier and less susceptible to disease and weed growth.

Q: How should I water my lawn?

A: Lawns will be most healthy if they are watered deeply and infrequently. The goal for most lawns is 1" of water per week, and it is best if water is delivered slowly but "all at once" instead of over several days. Longer, deeper watering will allow roots to penetrate deeper over the course of the week. Frequent, short waterings keep roots shallow and sensitive to drought.

For additional information, call us at 309-303-0919 or fill out the form and we'll be happy to help!

May's Landscape To-Do's

Trees and Shrubs

  • Flowering trees and shrubs may be pruned after they have completed flowering. 
  • Watch for bag worm development on arborvitae, spruce and juniper. This is the only month that spraying is effective. After May the bags should be pulled off.
  • Plant annual flowers after Mother's Day to protect them from a late frost.


  • Lawn care application #2 can be made late in the month.
  • Begin to raise lawn height as summer temperatures arrive.

Hardscapes and Water Features

  • Clean leaves and debris from ponds and install pumps. Increase water level to proper height.
  • Consider sealing pavers prior to busy summer season.

For additional information, call us at 309-303-0919 or fill out the form and we'll be happy to help!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happy 194th Birthday to Frederick Law Olmsted!

Portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted

Considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, his major roles included architect-in-chief of New York City's Central Park and site planner of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Though most frequently recognized for his work on some of America's most famous parks, he was also a journalist, conservationist, and the administrative head of the predecessor to the American Red Cross.

Olmsted is frequently discussed in Erik Larson's 2003 New York Times bestselling non-fiction book The Devil in the White City. I can personally recommend it as a really good read.

The Devil in the White City

Olmsted believed the purpose of landscape architecture was to affect the emotions of the observer. Likewise, we work hard to listen to your needs and create a landscape design which allows you to enjoy your outdoor living space with all your senses. Contact us today to get started on your own personal park!

Click here for more information and examples of Frederick Law Olmsted's many contributions.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mulching - When, Where and How Much?

Some Dos and Don'ts For Your Plant Beds

Nothing says spring like a freshly mulched planting bed. Mulch protects tree trunks from lawn mowers, suppresses weed growth in flower beds and helps retain moisture for plant root systems. But improper mulch use can harm your landscape. Too much mulch disrupts airflow and may encourage insects and disease.

Plants will benefit from mulch in any season as long as they have the right amount. Tree rings and shrub beds do well with 3"-4" of mulch. Don't allow mulch to be piled on trunks or bury branches. Both perennial and annual flowers only require a 2" layer of mulch during the growing season, but a thicker 6" layer in late fall will protect them from winter cold.  

The desire for longer lasting mulch color has given rise to the use of color-enhanced or dyed mulches. Buyer beware, all mulches fade. It is merely a matter of how quickly. Hardwood mulches are naturally dark in color because they come from hardwood trees. They do break down more quickly, but add nutrients to the soil.

Color enhanced mulches often come from shredded lumber or pallets. The dye not only fades, but also can stain hands, tools, and sidewalks. We recommend shredded hardwood mulch for its added nutrient value and natural appearance, but personal preference still rules the day here. Choose the mulch that compliments your home or business best.

Did you know that we provide both mulching and bed maintenance services?

Call us if we can help at 309-303-0919.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lawn Care Q and A - Part 1

Frequently asked questions about your lawn

Q: How do I get rid of weeds?
A: The best way to stop weeds is to get them before they start. Annual weeds that grow from seed can be prevented with the application of a pre-emergent herbicide prior to seed germination in the early spring. There is also a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent many perennial type broadleaf weeds. After the weeds appear, you can apply a post-emergent herbicide or pull the weeds by hand. We recommend a program that will control weeds and feed your lawn for healthy growth.

Q: Are dry fertilizer products better than liquid?
A: In some cases granular can be better, but in other cases, the liquid material may be the right choice. Granular applications allow for a slower release over time. This helps with ongoing pre-emergent weed control and nitrogen feeding for turf. Liquid applications are more effective on some established weeds for quicker kill and control. We use a combination of granular and liquid spot applications to achieve great results for our clients.

Q: What is core aeration and why is it important?
A: Core aeration is one of the most important processes used in keeping turf healthy. An aerator is used to reduce compacted soils and greatly reduces thatch build up, allowing the turf to breathe, which reduces the number of attacks by insects and diseases. Aeration also helps nutrients and water to reach the root zone, encouraging healthy root growth.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Early Spring Checklist

Your Outdoor Honey-dos For This Month

Trees and Shrubs:
· Prune trees to shape and raise undercarriage
· Prune rose bushes
· Fertilize trees and shrubs
· Inspect for insects and disease, treating as necessary

Planted Beds:
· Apply a fresh layer of mulch to beds
· Remove weeds, sticks, debris, etc., from planted areas
· Apply pre-emergent weed control in planted areas
· Postpone spring flower installation until after the last frost, usually May 15th or later

· Apply pre-emergent weed control over entire lawn
· Power rake your lawn to loose thatch and debris

Hardscapes, Water features, Irrigation Systems, and Outdoor Lighting:
· Reset automatic timers on outdoor lighting when Daylight Savings Time begins
· Schedule your irrigation or water feature start-up
· Check outdoor lighting fixtures for damage, replacing bulbs if necessary
· Inspect hardscapes for any damage caused by winter weather

· Finalize design and installation plans for this year's landscaping projects

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Designer Concepts Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Designer Concepts Landscape Architecture, Inc. has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015. 

"We are proud of the hard work our team has put in to earn this distinction.  It is an important part of our company vision, to set the standard for landscape excellence in central Illinois," said Ryan Palm, owner and landscape architect. 

“Only about 5 percent of the landscape services companies in central Illinois have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2015 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.