Subscribe via E-mail

Your email:

Follow Me

CM's Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

4 Key Steps to Planning a Successful Landscape Project

omaha paver patio

"I want to add landscaping to my house, but I don’t know where to start!"  This is a common statement we hear when clients call us to start a landscape project.  Deciding on how to landscape your yard can be a very challenging process, and understandably so!  Creating an entire outdoor living space is a unique process for every project.  We hope you find the following guideline helpful to form ideas and make the most out of your consultation visit.



Step 1:  Prioritze the Features You Would Like 

  • Will your landscape occur in the front or back yard, include features such as a patio, water feature, or landscape lighting,water feature address an issue such as drainage, or a combination of everything?

  • If you are unsure of what you are interested in, look through books, magazines, or make your own sketch to come up with ideas for your project.  It may help you determine the desired size of your landscape, the features to include, how you would like to use the space, as well as your general likes and dislikes.  Be sure to share what you have found during your consultation visit

Step 2: Prepare a Budget  

  • outdoor patio Landscapes encompass a wide array of features and are customized for every project.  We will work with you to propose a plan that will fit your budget.

  •  If the project is a bit more than you are planning to spend this year, revisit the priorities of your project and discuss the possibility of completing the project in phases, such as: This year install the new patio and expand the driveway, next year install the retaining wall and plants.

  • Inquire about available financing.  Visit CM’s website to see our current financing options, which currently includes several no interest paid options with regular payments through the Wells Fargo Outdoor Solutions Card.

  •  Be prepared to provide a down payment for 1/3 of the total project upon agreeing to the proposal.

Step 3: Explore Options 

  • There are many factors that need to be considered that may affect a project.  Thelandscape lighting CM’s Team will help you determine the appropriate plants and structures to install for your property when considering such factors as sun and shade exposure, grading, and water flow.

  • Sprinkler systems do not have to prevent landscape projects from taking place.  Heads, lines, valve boxes—they can all be moved!  Drip irrigation zones can also be added to systems to help provide proper irrigation for new plant materials.

  •  Consider new features such as, landscape lighting.  It will not only accentuate features of your project, but it also adds safety and can extend the use of the area into the night.

Step 4: Consider Timing 

  • Try to find time to have all decision makers present at the consultation so everyone has the same expectations for the project.

  • MIXA7625compCall at least one month before you would like the project to be completed.  This will allow time for the initial consultation, designs and revisions, and estimates to be prepared.
  •  If you would like an early spring or summer install, don’t be afraid to call in the winter to get the process started.  Our designers and sales managers are available year-round.

  • Consider late summer or early fall installations to allow for greater flexibility in scheduling.

Schedule A Consultation

Tree Care Omaha - What Kind of Tree Should I Plant in My Yard?

Omaha Tree Care


There are a few important issues to consider when choosing a tree to plant.

What will be the mature size of the tree? 
All too often we see a tree that looked great close to the house when it was first planted but over the years grew too large for the site and had to have major limbs removed or even needed to be cut down.   If you

Japanese Lilacare looking to plant a tree near the foundation of your house, choose a tree with an appropriate smaller mature size. You could also choose a tree with an upright, columnar growth habit, such as a columnar white pine.

Are there any obstructions above the tree? 
While you are considering size, don’t forget to look up!  If there are power lines above your planting site, you will need to either choose a different planting site, or choose a tree that will not interfere with the power lines when it reaches its mature height.


Evergreen tree

What is the condition of the planting site?
Site conditions include the amount of sunlight that the tree will be exposed to, the moisture level of the soil, and if the site is protected from or exposed to extreme Midwest elements. For example, a Japanese maple tree will do much better in a protected shady location as opposed to a site that is exposed to harsh winter winds and hot summer sun.



What purpose will the tree serve?
Are you looking for a large tree to provide your house with afternoon shade or are you looking for a small tree to add ornamental value to your landscape? Many trees will offer more than one benefit. A large evergreen tree, for example, can provide a windbreak that protects a house from strong winter winds while providing shelter and nesting sites to birds like chickadees, cardinals, and finches.

Oak treeMany homeowners are looking for a fast growing shade tree so that they can enjoy the energy saving benefits as quickly as possible. It is important to keep in mind that fast growing trees tend to have softer wood than the slower growing trees and will not be as long lived as the hardwood trees. So, if you are looking for a tree that will provide shade for many years to come, you may be better off with a hard wood tree such as an oak as opposed to a soft wood tree like a birch.

Fall is a great time for planting trees! If you are interested in seeing how a tree will look when it has matured, the OPPD Arboretum has many examples of trees that do well in Nebraska.  If you would like more information about selecting the right tree for your property, please contact us!




Omaha Tree Care - Fall webworm


tree diagnosis omaha I've been told my trees have fall webworm.  Does this mean I will lose my tree?

 The damage done by the fall webworm looks much more devastating than it actually is. The webbing in the tree usually appears in late July or early August. The webbing starts at the ends of the branches and expands toward the trunk of the tree. Small black caterpillars are found devouring the foliage in and around the web. This activity leaves the tree looking very unsightly but not permanently damaged. In extreme cases, an entire tree may be defoliated. A healthy tree can withstand a fall webworm infestation for several consecutive years without suffering any major effects. A tree that has already been stressed or weakened by another pest may require action.

Generally speaking, fall webworms will favor fruit trees and ornamentals such as crabapple and pear trees. If the webbing is within reach, simply remove it with a stick, broom, etc. The areas of the tree that have been defoliated should leaf out with the rest of the tree next spring.

Tent caterpillar and Gypsy moth caterpillar are two types of pests that are very similar to fall webworm, but they are active beginning in the spring and will continue through the fall. Webbing usually begins in the forks of branches and expands toward the ends of the branches. These caterpillars can produce several generations during one season and should be removed when first noticed. 

If the webbing is out of reach or the tree is heavily infested, chemical control may be required. As always, we invite you to contact one of our licensed arborists for any tree care concerns you may have.

Free Tree Care Analysis



To Sell or Not to Sell? Landscape Improvements.


Outdoor LivingIt seems like “For Sale” signs are popping up all over town.  How quickly those signs turn to “Sold” can vary drastically.  This is where CM’s can help!  According to The Appraisal Institute (AI), a global association of real estate appraisers, changes in landscaping can effect the price of the home and how long it is on the market.

The Appraisal Institute specifically lists fire pits, patios, and outdoor lighting as potential additions to value.  Both AI and the National Association of Realtors suggest that a well-maintained lawn, trees, bushes, and flowers also are key components of creating curb appeal.  Whether you are planning to sell in the near or distant future we can help you to take steps to improve your curb appeal and enjoy your outdoor living space.

outdoor living

CM’s can expand or renovate your existing patio and add features such as a seat wall or fire
pit.  These items create more space and your patio becomes an extension of your home’s living space.

CM’s provides a 6-step fertilizer program that can improve the health and density of your lawn and address weeds.  We will also be able to make recommendations for aerating, seeding, and power raking as needed for your lawn.  CM’s offers many best practice tips for mowing and watering in our newsletter, blog, and through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office as well. 

Looking for a quick spruce up to create a wow affect?  CM’s landscape lightingcan add flower beds, a fresh layer of mulch, or prune and maintain your existing flower beds.  Remember, house hunters also look at houses at night.  Landscape lighting is an easy and quick way to illuminate your home and accentuate your landscape.  Now that’s a bright idea!





Landscape - Renovating a Concrete Patio


When you purchased your house, did it perhaps only have a 10’ X 10’ concrete slab for a patio?  Have you been in your house for awhile and your concrete is cracking or your family is expanding so much you can’t all enjoy the patio together?  Perhaps a mature tree or the freeze-thaw cycle has wreaked havoc on your sidewalk, or your preferences have changed since 20 years ago when you first landscaped.  All of these are common concerns we hear from clients.  Luckily there are many options to address these situations.

The first solution is the most basic.  In cases where concrete has buckled or cracked and
 become hazardous, just replace it with new concrete.  In some circumstances of settling concrete, there is also an option of mudjacking which is a process of pumping an expandable liquid solution (referred to as mud) under the concrete in order to elevate it to its original height.


Concrete Patio Before Renovation

If your preferences or needs have changed, it might be time to consider a renovation.  Renovations can include expanding the concrete or tearing out the old concrete and replacing it with new material, like pavers.  An additional benefit of a paver patio is that it can include simple features, such as a seatwall, that not only adds depth and visual interest to the patio, but also adds functionality and more space for guests. renovation.  


Renovated Patio with Pavers









Tree roots can be a very common issue for concrete.  You may replace the same section of concrete several times because roots keep destroying the concrete!  You love your tree, but are tired of tripping over that spot that has buckled time and time again.  Instead of fighting what seems to be a never-ending battle, another option is to replace the concrete with pavers, so you only have to replace a few pavers at a time.  You will have to compromise the root system of the tree, so be sure to consult one of our certified arborist.  Please visit our blog for more information on surface roots.


Before Patio Renovation

Similar to tree roots, water and the continuous contracting and expanding caused by the freeze-thaw cycle can also create recurring damage to concrete.  This is yet another situation where pavers are a popular choice.  If nature is bound and determined to damage your concrete, by switching to pavers you may once again only have to replace a few pavers rather than an entire section of concrete! 


After Renovation of Patio

Similar to tree roots, water and the continuous contracting and expanding caused by the freeze-thaw cycle can also create recurring damage to concrete.  This is yet another situation where pavers are a popular choice.  If nature is bound and determined to damage your concrete, by switching to pavers you may once again only have to replace a few pavers rather than an entire section of concrete! 

Contact CM’s today to start planning your renovation!


Landscape- Water Flow Solutions


We often talk about landscapes creating curb appeal and creating an aesthetically pleasing space. But have you ever had a problem area in your yard that you decided to give up on and just live with it? New landscaping can not only be pleasing to the eye, it can also be a solution to some homeowner frustrations!  This year we will focus on how landscaping and renovations can solve common issues that homeowners face. If you have an idea for topics we should cover, please contact us!

Today’s focus is on water flow issues including rain water or sprinkler system runoff. Have you ever had standing water in one part of the yard while another area is bone dry? How about water seeping into your basement, an area that always gets washed out, or water that just doesn’t seem to drain from your yard? You are not alone! These are some of the most common issues we hear about. Practically any change to land will have some effect on the flow of water. These occur from the grading on newly constructed homes, ground settling in new or existing homes, or new construction or renovations from neighboring properties. Luckily, there are many options to consider depending on your individual situation.

front yard landscape renovation

CM’s can create, renovate, or re-shape a landscape bed in order to change the flow of water.



dry stream bed

We can install a drainage stream bed to create a stone path for water drainage or install drainage tile in order to extend down spouts so water will be directed to drain in the correct direction.


backyard retaining wall

We can also install a retaining structure as needed in conjunction with adequately shaping the turf for proper drainage and to support changes in terrain.



It is important to note that every property is different and each home may require a specific plan of action.

Contact CM’s today to start planning your solution!

Ask The Arborist-landscape beds around mature trees


Ask The Arborist

By following a few important guidelines, you can safely landscape around an established tree.

Avoid soil build up against the bark of the tree. Raising the soil level by just a few inches can cause the trunk to rot. This will cause the tree to decline and eventually die. If possible, try to avoid adding soil to any area underneath the tree canopy. If you must add soil, use the smallest amount possible, taking care to keep it a few feet away from the trunk. Mounding soil on top of woody roots will have a similar effect to piling it against the bark. The wood protecting the root will rot, potentially cutting off a large source of water and nutrients to the tree.

landscapeWhen it comes time to plant, dig with care! Avoid damaging the roots as much as possible. Keep in mind that by severing a root close to the trunk, you are also cutting off many tiny feeder roots that are connected to the one root that is cut.

Using about 2-3” of mulch will not hurt the tree. However, do not add mulch right up against the trunk. It is important to keep good airflow around the base of the tree.

Landscape Tool Organization and Storage


After your fall clean-up is complete for the year, it is time to winterize your tools so that they are sharp, sanitized, and easy to find come spring.


  1. Clean all soil and debris off tools.
  2. Sanitize tools, especially those that have been used on diseased plant material.
  3. Sharpen blades of hoes, pruners, spades, loppers, and saws.
  4. Make any necessary repairs.
  5. Organize tools and equipment so that it is easily accessible for spring.

Remove soil or vegetation from all tools using a wire brush, scraper or a strong stream of water. Wire brushes marketed to clean grills are handy because they usually include a scraper. Once everything has been cleaned and dried, lubricate all tool pivot points and springs. Finally, spray all bare metal parts and cutting edges with penetrating oil such as WD-40 to prevent rust.

When sanitizing garden tools, the usual ratio is a 10 percent solution or 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Using a 1 cup measuring cup, this would be 1 cup bleach to 9 cups water. Use a heavy solution of 3 parts bleach and 2 parts water to disinfect tools used on plants that are known to be diseased. Sanitizing once per year for tools such as shovel and hoes is sufficient, but tools such as pruners and loppers should be sanitized after each use. This process with help prevent the spread of fungus, disease, insects, and insect eggs.

Check all tools thoroughly for loose screws or nuts and tighten them accordingly. Replace or repair broken handles and other bent or broken parts. Wheelbarrows, carts and wagons may also need some attention before winter. Clean them thoroughly and touch up paint chips with spray paint to prevent exposed steel from rusting.

With your array of garden tools and supplies, the key to great garage storage and organization is getting things off the floor and onto the wall. A pegboard attached to a wall is a great place to store garden tools when not in use. Hardware stores and home improvement centers have a variety of hooks and wall brackets for tools of all shapes and sizes. Don’t forget the hoses and other watering aids. Before storing hoses, nozzles and other sprinkler attachments away for the winter, drain all the water from them and store in a dry location. Hose supports or reels prevent sagging and kinking. Regardless of your preferred storage method, having tools ready to go in the spring will make those early season chores that much easier.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Rachael and Tobias

Planting a Garden for Cut-Flowers


No centerpiece is as lovely as a vase of freshly cut flowers.  Sure, you can pick up a bunch at most grocery stores, but who knows how long they've been sitting in that tub of water.  Wouldn't it be great to be able to walk into your own garden and cut a beautiful bouquet?  Here's how...


Site Selection: Choose a site with well-drained soil, plenty of sun and easy access to water. Prepare the soil by clearing the garden area of grass and weeds. Work organic matter, such as compost, into the soil.

Plant Selection: Decide on a color palette. It is best to include plants with different textures and of different sizes. Don’t forget the greens! Add foliage plants for color and texture.

cut flowersHarvesting the Flowers: Harvest flowers in the morning if possible. Cool air is better than hot afternoon sun for preserving fresh flowers. Use sharp scissors or cutting shears. If possible, choose flower stalks with a few buds that have not yet opened to prolong the life of your arrangement. Once you harvest your flowers, it is a good idea to give each stem a fresh cut just before placing them in the vase. It is best to make the fresh cut under running water to prevent air bubbles from getting into the vascular system of the stem and blocking water uptake. Cutting the stems at an angle will help them absorb more water. Remove any foliage that will be below the water line and place in warm water.

Caring for your Arrangement: The arrangement should be placed in a cool location, away from heat sources such as direct sunlight from a window, an oven, a heat vent, etc. The cooler the temperatures, the longer your bouquet will stay fresh. Using a floral preservative solution similar to the packets that come with flower arrangements can also help prolong the life of your arrangement. It is important to keep the water free from any leaves or plant material. Decaying plant material will clog the vascular system of the flower stems and cause them to wilt very quickly. Keep an eye on the water level of the vase. Fresh cut flowers can take up water at a surprisingly fast rate. Refill the vase before it runs out of water.

Common Cut-Flower Plants:                           cut flowers2                               Primary flowers: sunflowers, gerbera daisies, spider mums, roses, hydrangea, lilies.                                                                    Accent flowers: alstromeria, delphinium, mini carnations, larkspur, asters, gladiolus,goldenrod.                                                               Greenery: Lamb’s Ear, lavender, Bells of Ireland, ornamental grass.

Enjoy your cut flowers!

Rachael and Tobias

The Importance of Mulching


What is mulch?

Mulch in itself is material that is spread out over and around the roots of what you have planted. Two types of mulch are organic and inorganic mulch. Organic mulch includes grassMulch1 clippings, leaves, bark mulch, newspaper and straw like pine straw. Inorganic mulch includes various types of rocks, stones and gravel. The advantage to using organic mulch is that overtime it breaks down and adds nutrients to the soil, thus making the soil richer. However, because it eventually decomposes, organic mulch will need to be replaced from time to time. 

Why Use mulch?


Mulching is one of the most important ways to protect and maintain healthy landscaped plants, shrubs and flowers. Some

- it prevents weeds from coming through
- organic mulches add to the nutrient base of the soil making the soil richer
- helps to hold water and moisture in your plants and gardens, therefore you don’t have to water as much
- helps the roots maintain an even temperature
- protects your soil from erosion
- adds to the aesthetic appeal of your landscape by making it look more finished

Applying Mulch


When applying mulch you want to put a layer of it 2-4 inches as close to the roots as possible. Remember to replace the mulch as needed if using organic materials. Make sure you don’t use too much as too much of it will be a bad thing possible causing the roots to suffocate. You also want to make sure you keep any mulch away from tree trunks. Organic mulches are very beneficial but they can wind up being a habitat for insects. Most of these insects will not harm your plants but they may become a nuisance for you. Keep this in mind when using organic mulch close to your house. Pavement ants are known to love bark mulch. If put too close to your house you may have unwanted guests. Some people like to spread out a layer of plastic underneath before they apply mulch. This isn’t a good idea because it dries out the soil underneath defeating the purpose of maintaining proper moisture for the root system. The best time to apply mulch is in late Spring once the ground starts to warm up.

As a final mention on using mulch I can’t emphasize enough how it can improve the aesthetics of your landscape. Whether you use colored bark mulch or beautiful colored rocks, it will really make your yard pop. It is well known that beautifully landscaped yards add to the value of your home.

Article from

All Posts