Siesta Key Landscape Blog

News and information about all things relating to landscaping.

Why Hire a Professional Landscaper?

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DIY landscaping projects can be a lot of fun, as long as everything goes according to plan but, if you don’t have the right training, tools or experience, a simple DIY project can quickly turn into a major unexpected expense - especially if you hit a utility line while digging!

Professional Landscapers have the knowledge, experience, equipment (and insurance) to handle any problem that might arise. They’re familiar with local rules and regulations, and they know what plants, irrigation systems, and water strategies will work best with your soil composition and climate.

There are many great reasons to hire a Professional Landscaper, especially for larger projects, even if you mow your own lawn and trim your own hedges each week. Here are some of them:

Professional Landscaping Increases Your Property Value

Professional landscaping offers an excellent return on investment. According to John Gidding, host of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” and Logo TV’s “Secret Guide to Fabulous”, a landscaping investment can yield as much as a 1,000% return. As a rule of thumb, Erik Shorb, co-owner American Plant, a Bethesda-based nursery and landscaping company, recommends investing 10% of your property value on landscaping. Of course, there are many things you can do to significantly improve your home’s curb appeal through landscaping, even if you only have a few hundred dollars to spend on landscaping.

Professional Landscaping Makes Your Home More Enjoyable

Professional Landscapers have the creative vision to turn an ugly backyard into your favorite staycation and, when your backyard looks good, you and your family will want to spend more time at home.

Professional Landscaping Lowers Your Water AND Energy Bills

You probably already know that the right landscaping will reduce your water consumption but, reports show that “shading and evaporation from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures by as much as 6°F” and “air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25°F cooler.” Talk about return on investment!

Professional Landscaping Will Save Your Back

Professional Landscaping is back-breaking work, especially if you don’t have a crew or the right equipment and hauling landscaping supplies in your sedan can take the fun out of any DIY project.

Maintaining your new-found oasis can be hard work too. If you don’t want to spend your hard-earned weekend working on the yard (or your hard-earned money paying someone else to do it), a professional landscaper can offer low-maintenance options.

Professional Landscaping Can Help Your Maximize Your Space

Even a small area can become a relaxing getaway with the right vision.

Professional Landscapers Can Keep You On Budget

We’ve all seen DIY Projects spin out of control. Professional Landscapers can tell you how much a project will cost (before you are knee-deep in it), they can help you establish priorities so you can stretch a project across a few phases, and help you stay on budget!

If you’re ready to increase your property value, reduce your cooling costs or just make your outdoor spaces more enjoyable, call Siesta Key Landscape at 941-379-3479.

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What’s killing my palm trees?

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The source could be your Areca palms.


There’s a common misconception regarding Areca palms that all the new growth must be trimmed away. Unfortunately, all these open cuts provide an easy point of entry for diseases which are often incurable and can spread to other palms on your property.


One common example of an incurable palm disease is Ganoderma Butt Rot. This disease is so contagious that it can easily spread through pruning shears or chainsaws and, once a diseased palm is removed, a new palm cannot be planted in its place for 4 to 5 years.


If you have any questions or concerns about Ganoderma, or any other palm disease, call Siesta Key Landscape at 941-379-3479 and always inform your landscape company if you think you might have an infected palm so they don’t inadvertently transfer the disease to healthy palms.


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A Shore Thing



When you land one of the last original bungalows in paradise, only the best will do and that includes landscaping by Siesta Key Landscape!


Check out the Detroit Home article of this Casey Key gem that we worked on.

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Oolite Stone for Landscaping

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Florida Oolite – (Coral Stone) found at or near the surface in southeastern peninsular of Florida from Palm Beach County to the Barrier Islands east of Miami bordering Biscayne Bay and the lower Keys of Florida From Big Pine Island to the Marquesas Keys just south of Key West.


Florida Oolite Coral Stone consists of fossiliferous limestone, quartz sand, marine sediments and lime sandstones.


Fossils present in this Coral Stone include mollusks, bryozoans, and corals. Molds and casts of fossils are common. This Coral Stone is highly porous and permeable. This Coral Stone has a Tropical appeal and is used in walls, columns, Building Veneer and as Bank or Shore Lining.


The most prevalent form of oolite is southern Dade county oolite because of the available rural land. Southern Dade county oolite is characterized by white. Gables oolite or graveyard stone is characterized by deep crevices & rust veining. It is available in limited quantities & because of its porosity can not be hatchet faced in thicknesses less than 3 inches.


Oolite is temperamental and requires expert installation, skills that exceed those of most commercial or residential tile layers.


Siesta Key Landscape can install it in a variety of formats: Trench Cut Blocks, Saw Cut Blocks, Slabs, Dimensional, Flagstone (Irregular shapes) and Curbing If you are looking for a Pinecrest, Gables, or Palm Beach look – oolite is the material for you.

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North Lake Shore Drive

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For this unique project on North Lake Shore Drive in Sarasota we removed all the existing landscape in order to allow for renovations to take place.


Then, once the new driveway was installed, we provided all the irrigation, landscape, drainage, and landscape lighting.


We carefully routed all the gutter drains underground and out to large drain basins near the bay, we installed several sections of artificial turf near the front entrance for low maintenance and aesthetics, and we added zoysia grass sod in the front yard and back.


Siesta Key Landscape worked closely with the homeowner and Tim Borden Landscape Architect to complete this stunning landscape design.


Coming Soon: Look for these pictures on the cover of Home & Design magazine!


Click here to see more photos

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A Shore Thing

A Casey Key home we did the landcaping for was recently featured in an article for Detroit Home Magazine.


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A respectful innovation of an original 1940s Florida cottage honors the best of the past and present.


Location, location, location. That’s about all the 1940s cottage on Florida’s exclusive Casey Key had going for it when Bud and Donna Brian, Detroiters who now spend part of the year in Florida and another part on northern Michigan’s Torch Lake, purchased it in 2010. The couple had been living in a larger, three-story house a few doors away and decided to downsize when the 1,800-square-foot house, one of the last of the 8-mile-long key’s original bungalows, came on the market.

“They were all about the property,” says Grosse Pointe Park-based interior designer Kathleen McGovern, who has worked with them on other projects and was brought in to steer the renovation, along with Bloomfield Hills architect Mark Johnson.

The great room's original ceiling was restored and refinished as part of the project, making a dramatic backdrop for the oversized green lanterns.

“I seemed to always be on the wrong floor when I needed something at our other home,” Donna explains about their reasons to move to the one-story structure situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. Its strengths included the deep and private lot, and the fact that the house “was a true beach cottage,” Donna says. “When you walk onto the gulf side of the property, you can look north and south and not see any other dwellings. It’s pretty special, and quite unusual, on the island today.”

This space features the original display cabinets and paneling over the newly tiled fireplace. The taxidermy tarpon came with the house.

The cottage’s weaknesses, unfortunately, included “just about everything else,” according to the designer. Built in 1949, it had been “updated” in the 1970s, McGovern says, “a time that was not particularly good for renovations.” Photos taken after the first remodeling reveal cramped rooms with low ceilings covered in acoustic tile, dated materials and colors (pink vanity or blue toilet, anyone?), and an awkward floor plan, much of it with rooms that didn’t take advantage of the stunning water views.
The Brians’ wish list included a more open floor plan as well as a casual and comfortable elegance that would accommodate not only them, but their energetic dogs and cats. Goals for the renovation included “restoring what was possible, renovating without destroying character, and modernizing for a contemporary lifestyle,” McGovern says.
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Preparing a Sports Field before Puting Grass Down



To do the job right, you need to make sure that a sporting field is completely level and that the soil is properly prepared before you put grass down.


That is why we begin by rough grading the area with a bobcat or large tractor, then we do the final grading with a box blade or another type of level before raking all of the soil into place by hand. We also add a large amount of organic matter to sandy soils so they can maintain good drainage and have the capacity to hold some water.


Siesta Key Landscape builds soccer fields, playgrounds, putting greens and all kinds of backyard sporting fields, and we do all of the prep work needed so the finished product is perfect every time!



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Ganoderma Palm Disease

Can You identify this palm disease in the landscape. Once a Palm is dead and cut down it’s extremely important to remove the stump or grind the stump to eliminate any other palms from contamination.




This palm disease is extremely dangerous to any palm, it spreads easily through pruning shears or chainsaws and there are no current treatments for this disease. The hard, Brown mushrooms are the fruit from the disease and should be carefully removed then immediately disposed of in the trash.


The unique shape and rich textures of Palm Trees have become a symbol of the Florida lifestyle and their durability and adaptability have made them a favorite of landscape designers in the warmer parts of the state, but these hearty plants can succumb to a variety of diseases including Ganoderma.


Ganoderma zonatum, the pathogen that causes Ganoderma Palm Disease, was first identified by scientists at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in 1994. This lethal and incurable disease which affects mature palms can easily spread through pruning shears or chainsaws and it is important to remove or grind the stump, once a tree has been cut down.


In the early stages of Ganoderma Palm Disease, the older fronds droop and turn brown, and new growth slows and becomes pale green or yellow. As the older fronds continue to die, the younger leaves begin to wilt and turn brown at the tips. Infected trees will usually die 6 to 12 months after the initial symptoms appear. Some trees have been known to hang on for several years, but they should be removed once the disease is identified in order to prevent further contamination.


Other symptoms include “bleeding”, a reddish secretion that stains the trunk, and the formation of a conk or bracket fungus on the lower part of the trunk as seen in these photos. This conk is the reproductive body or fruit of the disease and it should be carefully removed and immediately disposed of to protect neighboring palms. The presence of this hard, brown mushroom is proof that the tree has Ganoderma, but the absence of the same does not mean that a palm may not be infected.


The fungus starts out as a small, white blob that is flat against the tree. As it grows, it begins to jut out like a shelf, its texture becomes woody, and its color changes to a shiny brown with bands of reddish and lighter shades of brown. At maturity, the conks swell around the edges revealing a white surface where millions of spores are produced. These spores are then transported to other palms by the wind.

You should avoid replacing the removed palm with another palm because any fungus still present in the soil or root system of the diseased palm could infect the new palm. If you do are set on another palm, you should remove all of the old roots and replace the soil with new soil, but your best bet is to plant something other than a palm tree in that spot.


If you see the telltale conk or otherwise suspect that your palms have become infected with Ganoderma and you are in Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Lido Key or the surrounding areas of Sarasota County, call Siesta Key Landscape at 941-379-3479.

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Zoysia Grass for a Golf Course perfect lawn

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The explosion of manicured golf courses that spread throughout the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s made the “golf course-like lawn” a goal for many American homeowners.


Spurred by this new-found interest in golf courses and private lawns, the USDA increased its testing of potential lawn and turf grasses throughout the country's land-grant universities. It is around this time that Zoysia grass, which is native to Asia, is introduced into the United States.


Zoysia grasses are suitable for southern climates like ours, they grow in a variety of soil types, and can tolerate cold temperature, shade, and salt.

In recent years, turfgrass breeders have also made improvements to the insect resistance, establishment speed, and overall performance of the grasses but, without proper maintenance, even this hearty breed will not produce the desired results.


These warm-season grasses should be planted in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. Their optimal growth season is the late spring and summer and, although they tend to brown in the winter, they are among the first to return in the spring. Their dense turf makes them resistant to weeds and tolerant to heavy foot traffic, but the dense turf also causes them to develop a thick layer of organic material at the soil level known as a thatch.


Zoysia grasses should be aerated and dethatched in the early spring so they have time to recover before their peak growing season, they typically require 1” of rain or irrigation per week, although sandy soils require more frequent watering, they should be kept at a height of 1 to 1 ½ inches, they have a relatively low nitrogen requirement, and they prefer a soil pH of 5.8 to 7.0.


Soil testing can help you determine the nutrient requirements of your Zoysia lawn but, if you’re aiming for the “golf course-like lawn” that has been the goal of many Americans since the turn of last century, there’s no substitution for the care of a trained professional.


If you are in Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Lido Key, and the surrounding areas of Sarasota County, call Siesta Key Landscape at 941-379-3479.

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Nutrient deficiencies in palms

Have a problem w your palms and not sure what it could be?


Palms are very unique plants and are not like most trees. They require a very specific amount of fertilizer compared to turf grass. They can also be very negatively affected by turf grass fertilizer and should always be treated separately.


Most palm problems are from deficiencies in nutrients, excessive moisture or improper planting. Palms that experience severe nutrient deficiencies for too long can become stressed out and attract boring or chewing insects that could kill the palm.


At SKL we offer the very best palm nutritional program in Sarasota. We use a custom blended 8-2-12 granular fertilizer w slow release minor nutrients.


Not all 8-2-12 fertilizer is created equal and most companies take out the good slow release components for cheaper quick release components.


We apply this 8-2-12 directly to palms three times per year but what we do different is the key! During the black out period of the summer we apply a granular 0-0-16 Potassium based fertilizer w minor nutrients that gives palms the proper amount of potassium to offset any granular they may have received from the turf grass. Potassium deficiencies are one of the leading problems w palm tree decline so if your company is not doing this and using good quality fertilizer then they are doing u more harm than good.


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Casey Key Pool Patio



Siesta Key Landscape provides expert landscape design for Sarasota Florida and the surrounding areas.


We specialize in hardscapes and paver design. Here is an example of a Casey Key pool patio we recently finished. We can help you with all aspects of home masonry such as driveway and walkway construction, poolscapes and custom landscaping services.

Our services include: Driveways/walkways, Custom fireplaces, fire pits, and barbeques, Custom design, Poolscapes, Custom landscaping.

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Sarasota Custom Fire Pit Design



Fire pits are a popular addition to backyards.


This is a fire pit we recently completed with pavers around it. Our paver patio fire pits are lined with steel rings to protect the block surround. There are also grill attachments available for most pits that allow the pit to be used as a wood fire grill. We can customize each pit to fit our client’s needs.

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Crushed granite and landscaping

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Crushed granite with stepping stone pathways. The Pathways are lined with Adonidia palms.


Crushed granite is a granitic rock that has weathered to the point of breaking into very small piece. Crushed granite – also known as decomposed granite is ideal for pathways and rustic patios, and can also be used as a topdressing around arid plants.


Since crushed/decomposed granite is not a solid surface, it provides excellent drainage. Once compacted, a patio or walkway covered with lose crushed granite will be fairly hard.

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Pesticides and Bees

Many of you may have read about the recent (August 2015) aerial spraying of Naled in Dorchester County, South Carolina.


That spraying unintentionally killed millions of honeybees while attempting to control the disease-carrying mosquito population, but the fact that pesticides are really bad for bees should not come as a surprise to any of us.

Concerns about the effects of pesticides on bees and other pollinators are not new. In fact, the European Union banned the use of multiple neonicotinoids in 2003, although some exemptions have been made for use in the United Kingdom and they are widely used in other parts of the world, including the United States.

Until recently, most of the research on the effects of pesticides on insect populations for which they were not intended have been short-term and conducted on a small-scale in a laboratory setting, but a new study published in the August 2016 issue of the journal Nature Communications provides real evidence that the nicotinoid exposure can have a devastating effect on bee populations in the wild.

Using 18 years of data collected on more than 60 bee species in England, researchers found that the species that foraged on pesticide-treated oilseed rape crops experienced sharper population declines than those that foraged on other crops.

The practice of treating oilseed rape crops with nicotinoids on a large scale began in 2002. Researchers incorporated the data, which was mostly collected by citizen scientists over an 18 year period, into a model that helped them analyze the information. Using this models, researchers were able to compare individual plots of land to determine which species had been observed in which plot and which ones disappeared over time.

It’s important to note that scientists from Bayer Crop Science, as well as others from CropLife America, took issue with some of the study’s findings, but it is hard to ignore the fact that the 18-year study found that extinctions were three times more severe in the bee populations that foraged on oilseed rape plants than in the populations that foraged elsewhere.

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Copyright © 2018. Siesta Key Landscape All Rights Reserved.

Siesta Key Landscape Locations:

221 Beach Rd Ste 171, Sarasota, FL 34242

4030 Sawyer Ct, Sarasota, FL 34233

Phone: 941 379 3479