What Every Homeowner Needs To Know About Lawn and Landscaping Soils

Soil health is one of the little understood aspects of residential landscapes for a very simple reason. Everything is happening quietly beneath the surface.

In fact, just as plant professionals go to the soil to get to the root of plant problems, you may wish to check in periodically too.

 

Just like a physician, a plant horticulturist will not make a diagnosis just from what they see on the surface. He or she will literally go deeper to discover more about air, water, food, and shelter – the essential needs of every living creature.

Understanding the basics of lawn and landscape soils will equip you to make informed choices for the trees and shrubs at your home.

How Lawn and Landscaping Soils Do Their Job

Soils are part of a larger ecosystem that provide plants with everything they need to thrive in conditions ranging from sweltering, wind-blown summers to sub-zero winters that we get in Pittsburgh.

This includes getting air and water to plants while also providing the right environment for beneficial micro and macro organisms to flourish, such as earthworms and microbes.

 

That’s right – your soil is alive. In fact, studies show some of those microbes are active and doing their work even when the ground is completely frozen.

#1. Air and Moisture

Plants are living creatures that share many similarities with human beings. They can survive extended periods without food, but cannot go very long without air or water – and the two have to work together.

Let’s say the leaves of your tree are falling off. One of the first things you should do is examine the soil. If it’s dry you know that your tree needs water. If it is saturated with water that’s an indication much of the air has been squeezed out and your tree is suffocating.

If it’s not too late, the solution is to pull back the surface layer of mulch so that it can dry out and allow more air to enter.

#2. Soil Structure

You live in a house with rooms that store items you use, provide space for future needs, and allow circulation for day-to-day activities.

Soil structure works the same way. The best structure is sufficiently loose enough to create “rooms” that hold air and water, provide space for microbes to break down organic matter for plants, and allow for the root system to grow.  

This is the purpose behind aerating your lawn or cultivating planting beds to loosen compaction and improve soil structure. The next step is to ensure there is plenty of organic matter available.

#3. Organic Matter

In addition to the natural structure of soil, which could be sandy, gravelly, or clayey, there is the structure that organic matter gives it.

Leaves and twigs make spaces that hold air and water so that it’s available for plants.

By now you are getting the idea that the secret to getting and keeping your lawn and landscaping healthy is when everything is balanced. That’s the definition of an ecosystem, one that is partly above the surface and partly underground.

Dream Greener Soil Enhancement Practices

There are a number of practices that we recommend for keeping your soils healthy. Some that have been mentioned here are proper watering and cultivation that you can do yourself.

Here are a few others to consider that are dependent on the current state of your soil profiles.

Mulching and Soil Amending

Most of our clients mulch their landscapes at least once every year, typically in the spring. Along with redefining crisp bed edges, this practice gives landscaping beds that like-new appearance that everybody loves.

In addition to the cosmetic benefits, mulching is invaluable for minimizing temperature and moisture fluctuations that can play havoc on the health of your plants. And it minimizes weeds and adds organic matter as it is naturally broken down.

Soil and Organic Matter Replacement

 

Sometimes it’s necessary to go a step further to remove spent soils that are depleted of organic matter and whose structure is broken beyond repair. This is especially true of clay-type soils have been overly compacted.

In situations like this it’s necessary to remove the existing soil in planting beds and replace it with fresh soil that has the right structure and abundant organic matter. Our clients that have done this tell us their seasonal flowers displays are now among the brightest in the neighborhood.

This may also be necessary for getting turfgrass to grow in heavily trafficked areas or where deicing salt has effectively killed what is good about the soil. We remove the old sod and 2-4 inches of the current soil and replace it with fresh soil and new sod.

 

If you have read this far you not only know more about soils than 90% of your neighbors, but also how important they are to enjoying a vibrant lawn and landscape!

Now it’s time to take action. Give us a call today at 412-835-1035 and we will help you make an accurate soil assessment and work with you to make plans for getting your lawn and landscape in top shape!

 

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Our business has grown because of our customers’ word-of-mouth recommendations to family, friends, and neighbors.

Our company continues to flourish because we satisfy and delight our customers with levels of service and communication far exceeding the rest of the industry.

Reviews

The Dream Greener crews have cleared the snow and ice off my driveway for three years now. They've always done a great job and are always timely. The emails they send to communicate the plan for snow removal for each storm are always appreciated and if they come in the middle of the night (as they often do) I've always wondered how they get the work done without waking me. Additionally, this company has taken care of my yard maintenance for four years. This includes mowing, edging, maintenance of the planting beds (including mulching) and leaf removal. Always a great job, always show up when they say they are going to and never a problem. I rarely write reviews, but this is a company worth recommending and I so so highly.
Herman Maestas
16:51 01 Feb 18
We recently contacted Dream Greener to do some grading and reseeding work. Additionally, we had drainage installed around our shed. This company was very responsive and pleasant each time I contacted them. Jon came out to take a look at the property and talk with me regarding our needs and then quickly sent us an estimate. The price was very similar to other companies we had give us an estimate. On the day of the work, Jon came out with the crew and walked through the plan. The team worked diligently the entire day and tidied everything up when they left. Jon followed up to make sure that I was satisfied with the work done. A follow up email was sent to provide us with watering instructions for our newly seeded areas. Now I am tending to my "baby grass." We are very happy with the work; the yard already looks so much better. We are already thinking about additional projects to have them help out with!
Jamie Turer
18:58 14 Aug 17
Our landscaping beds were a mess. Dream Greener came out to evaluate the situation, made some suggestions for alternative approaches, and broke down the proposal into sections so that we could do the pieces we could afford. While not the lowest, their prices were very competitive, but, more importantly, both the service and the outcome were superior. People actually stop at our house to tell how terrific our landscaping looks. I've never had THAT happen before.
Rebecca Bowman
16:06 06 Nov 17
I don't leave many reviews for businesses, but this one is worth the exception. Over the past four years I've had some fairly disappointing interactions with a number of landscaping companies. Missed appointments, poor communication, subpar work.. the list goes on.Dream Greener is absolutely amazing. Even compared to other excellent companies, I think they really manage to stand out. They follow up 100% of the time, when they say they will. If you have scheduled services performed (I do- mowing and basic grass upkeep), they show up on time, work quickly and the product is excellent. On at least one occasion, I didn't even realize they were there- Lawn Ninjas!Moreover, when they do additional work (for example, using a weed killer) they leave a note detailing the work performed and any additional care items. If you have scheduled work, they keep you in the loop as to when the work will be performed, and then send you reminders immediately before. The kicker in all of this is: They are priced very competitively. They're also very honest about their pricing- when quoting some work they even suggested that I might be better off working with another business for the work and provided a referral. I highly recommend!
Christian S
18:56 12 Jul 17
We had several companies come out for estimates and design. We decided on Dream Greener because of their professionalism, customer service, great attitude, and pictures/reviews of the work completed.The children and I were out when the work was completed and my little girl was mesmerized. She said it was a princess yard now! My wife drove past the house a few times just to admire the work. In one day I've had 4 neighbors ask about the work, and multiple compliments on the pictures we posted. We are in the process of moving (we had scheduled the landscaping prior to finding a new house) and when we move I will be using them to landscape the new house. We couldn't be more pleased with the work and with the care they gave to our home.
David Bliss
12:33 26 Apr 17
I've used Dream Greener to handle my complex and expansive landscaping for two years running now. They do an amazing job with all the bushes, trees, shrubs and flower beds. They are always professional, cost-effective and I wouldn't go with anyone else!
Verle Haines
18:09 02 Apr 18
We started using the Dream Greener crew not long after we moved into our home. Over the last ten months our lawn has made incredible improvements thanks to the wonderful job the crew does every week. It's absolutely one of the best lawns on the block now. They are extremely clean and efficient and take very good care of our property. Based on the great job they do, we are planning to use them for some other landscape work that we need done. I highly recommend them for any lawn care and maintenance jobs.
Benjamin Lindsey
20:12 09 May 18
We built a home and the lawn they gave us was awful. Jon and I mapped out a plan and knew it would take 12-18 months. We are now 36 months in and out yard is spectacular! Thanks Jon!!
Wade Wilson
19:51 14 May 18
Responsive, on time and great attention to detail. The entire time worked tirelessly until the job was done. Exceeded our expectations and will absolutely use again.
Sarah M. Kreinbihl
19:41 23 May 18
Dream Greener did a fabulous job on spring cleanup in our yard. The beds, edging and hedges look wonderful!! Thanks for your prompt service. #Thistlenomore 😂😂
Patty Conlon
11:34 15 Jun 18
We had an incredible experience with the entire Dream Greener staff on our recent project in June of 2018. With a larger scale job, we relied on their expertise in both the design and creation of our entire front yard landscaping. We were very pleased with the outcome and the efficient work of the team. The Dream Greener staff did more in a morning than I could have possibly done in an entire summer. Thanks again for your top notch service.
Jeff Brancolini
17:37 02 Jul 18
Wow! We just had Dream Greener install a completely new landscape around our entire house last week. It is absolutely gorgeous! Our neighbors even ran over as soon as the job was finished to tell us how beautiful it is. Our job involved a lot of work too, since we had stones instead of mulch. Everything had to be pulled up and taken away. The crew got the entire job done in less than 2 full days, absolutely amazing work. I would highly recommend their services, we couldn't be more pleased and impressed!
michele tommarello
20:35 03 Jul 18
Great company! Very reliable and they always call back quickly if I miss them in the office. Maria does a great job answering my questions and the crew always shows up with a smile when they mow my lawn. I've contracted Dream Greener for a year now and it was one of the best decisions I've made. They mow my lawn, mulch the flower beds, plant new flowers, and trim my shrubs. They always do a great job, I highly recommend them!
Sarah Ferano
17:28 12 Jul 18
I've been a customer for 3 years and each year their team's responsible and efficient work amazes me! Jon always keeps in touch and makes sure that I am happy with the work. I had them install a landscape 2 years ago (and they touch it up) and I still get compliments from people about it! I highly recommend you try them out
Kylie Wilson
17:18 12 Jul 18
Last spring I hired Dream Greener and I was very pleased with their work. They were very professional and did a great job! I now use their snow removal and mowing services as well, they always do amazing work
Emily F
17:36 12 Jul 18
John and his team at dream greener are amazing. I went through no less than 6 landscaping companies before I came Upon dream greener. I do not have an irrigation system but my lawn looks as good as the neighbours that have sprinklers. I would highly recommend dream greener to anyone who wants to have the best looking lawn and landscape in their neighbourhood.
Joe Lamphere
23:13 02 Aug 18
Oh My Goodness!!! What an amazing job done on our property yesterday. I have to keep going outside to marvel at the difference!!! Thank you. Thank you. This company does what it says. I’ve had previous landscaping services and NO ONE did the beautiful job that they company has done—-and the icing on the cake is the fair price that they charge.
Dayl Jewell
00:48 09 Sep 18