Outdoor Living - FAQ


Expect Excellence

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Can I get a complete evaluation of my property and a consultation? 
A. Yes. CM’s offers an evaluation and consultation service. These sessions with a CM’s professional provides clients with a comprehensive analysis of their property as well as the opportunity to discuss any concerns about their landscape. Clients will receive a service proposal and suggestions for enhancing their landscape. 

Q. Do you create landscape designs? 
A. Yes. CM's offers a complete custom design package based on the client’s wishes. CM's has full time designers on staff to work closely with our clients. Once the initial comprehensive evaluation and consultation service has been completed, a CM’s designer will provide a scaled drawing of a landscape tailored to enhance the overall beauty of the specific property. The cost for designs depends on the size and scope of the project. 

Q. When can you start? 
A. As soon as the client is satisfied with the job proposal, the client is asked to sign a contract and provide a down payment. Once the down payment and signed contract is received, the job is scheduled in the next available opening. 

Q. How much maintenance is required in my landscape? 
A. Maintenance varies depending upon the plant material within the landscape. The client will play a role in determining the amount of maintenance they wish to have when selecting the type of landscape and plant material in a new landscape. The consultation with the designer will allow the client to express his or her maintenance concerns. CM's offers a full maintenance program, bi-weekly or monthly bed maintenance and shrub pruning, that caters to the needs of clients. 

Q. How frequently will I have to water? 
A. Watering requirements for newly installed plant material varies. A tree requires a different regimen than a perennial. Grass seed and sod differ from a perennial and so on.  All plants, trees, shrubs and turf need water. Be prepared to spend a little time on this chore to protect your investment. Dedicated landscape bed irrigation is a good way to protect your investment in you new landscape. Download watering instructions.

Q. Do I need an irrigation system in my perennial beds? 
A. If you do not object to watering by hand, then no irrigation system is necessary. However, some landscapes should be watered with an irrigation system just to ensure the survival of the plant material. Sometimes, a homeowner’s schedule does not allow him/her to properly water the new landscape. Location of a bed is also a consideration. In these cases, dedicated bed watering is necessary for good plant health. 

Q. What is the difference between perennials and annuals? 
A. Annuals add color and texture to landscape bed, patios, pots and outdoor living areas. Annual colors are typically more vibrant and intense than perennial colors making them a much sought after addition to the landscape. Annuals last for one year only. Typically, annuals die out after the first fall freeze, and cannot be planted until after the frost-free date, which is near May 10th. Perennials are plants that bloom year after year. Typically, perennials will go dormant after the fall freeze and begin to regenerate in the spring once the ground reaches an appropriate temperature. 

Q. Will I have to replant every year? 
A. Most annuals need to be planted each year simply because of their lack of hardiness to our climate. You can expect about an 80 – 100 percent regeneration rate on perennials. 

Q. How big will the new perennials, trees and shrubs get? 
A. Each individual product’s growth is different. The designer will address specific questions regarding size and needs during the design consultation. 

Q. Do I need to fertilize shrubs and trees? 
A. Yes. Trees and shrubs develop better when they are getting the nutrients they need. CM’s offers a four step plant health care program for trees and shrubs. The program includes a fall and a spring deep root fertilization program and two mid-year disease and insect applications. We also offer rust prevention sprays for ornamental crab trees, insect and disease control for evergreens, and a host of other stand alone plant health care services. CM’s can customize a plant health care program to supply the fertilizers and nutrients your plants need. 

Q. Do I need to prune shrubs and trees? 
A. Pruning allows trees to grow more evenly, without dangerous low branches or crossing branches that may damage the overall health of the tree. Shrubs need to be pruned on a regular basis to keep them from overgrowing. Pruned shrubs will grow more vigorously because the damaged parts are always being removed, allowing more sunlight to reach to inner part of the plant. Pruning will also reduce the risk of disease by removing dead material. CM’s offers bed maintenance and pruning programs for every landscape. 

Q. When choosing a landscape cover, what is the difference between rock and mulch? 
A. Rock and mulch are a matter of preference. Mulch is less inexpensive to place initially, but it requires replenishing every one to two years. Mulch also offers benefits to the soil and overall health of the plants while rock does not. Rock is initially more expensive because of the actual cost of the rock and the labor for installation. 

Q. Do you use landscape fabric beneath mulch? 
A. Mulch serves as a natural weed barrier so it does not require fabric. Fabric will actually cause the mulch to blow off easier, and the mulch will not decompose like it should. The decomposition of mulch into the soil is healthy for the plants. 

Q. Where do you get your materials? 
A. We use various vendors. Generally all materials are supplied locally unless otherwise required.


Perennial Bed Maintenance

Q. When is the best time to prune perennials? 
A. Most perennials are pruned back after the first initial spring bloom and some perennials are not pruned at all. Perennials are meant to provide color, whether it is green foliage or shades of a bloom, all year round. It is normal for groupings of perennials to grow together in a landscape bed. 

Q. What should I expect from a bed maintenance visit? 
A. If plants are small, than any grooming that takes place on a regular basis should go largely unnoticed. The goal of bi-weekly bed maintenance is for the plants within a bed to be properly pruned and weed content kept to minimum. Some plants have a natural wild look to them. The goal with these plants is to keep them from invading the plant space of others while allowing them to keep their native appearance. 

Q. What should I do about rodents or other pests eating my plants? 
A. With insects, it is a simple as spraying on an insecticide product such as Diaznon. If rodents, such as rabbits, are the problem, there are a variety of cures that can be tried to varying degrees of success. You can call us regarding your specific rodent problem or we also suggest a call to the Douglas County Extension Agency. You can also visit their website at http://douglas-sarpy.unl.edu/. 

Q. Am I over-watering or under-watering my shrubs and perennials? 
A. If a plant is under watered, the plant roots will be brown and the texture of the leaf will crusty and flake off at touch. If the plant is being over watered, the roots will be yellowish and the texture of the leaf will still be smooth but wilted nonetheless. There can be other factors such as soil content or solar exposure that can have detrimental effects on plants as well.


Shrub Pruning

Q. When should my shrubs be pruned? 
A. Non-blooming shrubs can be pruned beginning in mid-May, and continuing through October or any time undesirable growth is present. Sometimes the best time to prune non-blooming, woody, spring shrubs is close to winter, when you can see crossing branches, etc. Blooming shrubs should be pruned a few weeks after the bloom period. Pruning shrubs at the wrong time of year will potentially prune off the next set of blooms. 

Q. Why are there brown spots in my shrubs? 
A. Brown spots in certain shrubs, especially fitzers and yews, can be caused by winter burn. Winter burn occurs when the shrubs are pruned close to the occurrence of a hard freeze and the exposed stems and foliage are shocked. If the brown sections are pruned back, they will soon fill in with greenery.