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Commercial Grade Vinyl Privacy Fences

These fence styles are some new items we have been marketing from a local wholesaler.  They are wind certified up to 130 mph.  They are backed by a transferable lifetime warranty and are really sharp.  What I like the most about them is they are available in 8′ and 10′ heights.  Check them out!  They are pricey but they will last forever!  Literally.

Simulated Stone


Ashland Privacy Fence

Ashland Privacy Fence

Ashland Privacy Fence


12′ Simulated Stone Privacy Fence


Rainier Privacy Fence

Landscape Design in Winter with Salient Landscaping

Winter Landscape Design sounds like something you would do in Antarctica but it’s actually the way the smarter folks plan their spring projects  A $50k plus landscape design and installation can take months to complete, and several weeks to months to plan and stage.

If you have landscape design and installation work that you would like plan for the upcoming season, believe it or not, winter is the best time to get the design and planning accomplished.  Using satellite imagery, survey data from your mortgage, design software, and a little ingenuity, we can estimate, plan, and fully design and stage your entire project while there is snow on the ground.

By working on the creative side of the project in the winter, your landscaper can hit the ground running in the spring so you can enjoy your new landscaping this summer and fall.

3D Landscape Design

I’m sure everyone has seen all of the DIY shows with twin brothers turning torn-up houses into open concept beauties and husbands and wives flipping houses.  They use sophisticated 3D software that allows their clients to see what their houses will look like after the renovations before they raise the first hammer.

We use the exact same type of software to show our clients exactly what their properties will look like after the new landscaping is installed in gorgeous 3D.



Quick Video Overview of this summer 2016 project from Salient Landscaping

2016 Landscape Renovation Before

Mr and Mrs O hired us to completely renovate their fixer upper in June of 2016.  They renovated the entire inside of the house with everything from custom built-ins to heated floors to high end appliances and everything in between.  They were ready to move to the outside after finalizing everything on the inside last spring.


  • Driveway Paver borders
  • Demolish the “sunken garden” either filling it in and landscaping/paving over it, building a lower paver with walls and stairs along with a fire pit and seat wall, lighting and planting features, or lower entire landscape and rebuild a low elevation landscape.
  • Remove side patio, construct a new side patio and install electrical throughout.  Bring in a 6 person hot tub along with lighting, and potentially a heated pathway so one could walk barefoot outside even in the winter to your outdoor oasis.  Add planting beds, plants, trees, irrigation and electrical outlets.

  • Demolish and dispose of old rotted deck, install either a Trex, composite, or cedar deck replacement OR build a raised paver patio, and/or a lower patio, or a decorative concrete patio of whatever elevation makes sense.  In a project like this, a lot of determinations will be made after demolition begins.
  • Spade out two twin side pear trees and move them to the center of the new, expanded landscape feature.  Install a full, outdoor kitchen with granite counter-tops, gas, electric, and water as well as a custom made, 10′ x 4′ 1000 LBS chunky white oak dining table with heavy communal benches. Build a huge pergola.

Fifth Revision Design Rendering – 1 Dimensional Drawing

After several redesigns, and one napkin drawing from Mrs. O, we settled on this as the concept we were going to execute on.  We would fill in the sunken garden, and build a small raised patio to transition the higher elevation of the current kitchen.

Once we all settled on the 1-dimensional version of the project, we had our designer bring it into the 3D world using Google Sketch-up.  This is done to make sure the client is going to really like the project.  In this case we were looking at a $140k project after all of the upgrades and changes.  The worst thing in the world would be to complete the whole project and have an unhappy client!

2016 Finished Product


Winter Design Process

If you or someone you know is hoping to make major changes to their landscape or has a new construction landscape project they would like to get completed this spring, have them contact Salient Landscaping at 734-337-3261 or text 734-260-4340.  You can also contact us at

Some items to have ready to speed the process up:

  1. Plot plan/mortgage survey – either a scaled copy or a digital file you can email
  2. Any photos, pins, screenshots, or brochures with things you like and hate
  3. Budget numbers if possible
  4. Time to meet in person to tour the property and discuss details and projections

Budget Study After the first meeting, we will come up with a Budget Study that gives a broad range of costs in order to establish the budget.  Budget studies are helpful because we can determine a comfortable budget for the customer and discuss any unforeseen potential contingencies.

Design Contract, Detailed Proposal, and First Design will be delivered shortly after the budget study process – usually within a week or two depending on how involved the project.  At this time the design contract is signed and paid in full.  These can rage between $400 – $4000 depending on the size of the project and will be discussed at the time of the budget study.

Revisions, 3D Design Delivery, and approval occur next assuming minor changes need to be made.  The project deposit occurs now with usually a small 10% deposit to start the 3D process.  After this, the project is scheduled.

Oversight and Supervision Weekly and/or daily updates are made to the client via phone, text, email, or whatever means is most appreciated.  As contingencies – unforeseen problems, customer upgrades, and midstream changes come up. (as they always do during large projects) Salient will check in with the client at each opportunity to keep them up to speed with changes in the project as they come up or are discovered.

At the end of the project, the updates will be more frequent and may require meeting onsite a few times as the finishes are completed.  At the end of the project, we will walk the property with you and make sure everything is up to par with your expectations.  At this point, we will deliver the final invoice, and the plant maintenance manual.

Happy designing and planning!



The 5th Driest June in Ann Arbor – 2016
The remains of a tree lie over cracked ground at the almost dried out Maria Cristina reservoir near Castellon, July 25, 2014. Spain's south-east is suffering the worst drought after the driest winter in 150 years, according to local media. REUTERS/Heino Kalis (SPAIN - Tags: ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE SOCIETY) ORG XMIT: HJK01

Everything is dead

The average rainfall in Ann Arbor in the month of June is 37.55 inches.  We had 3.66 inches of rain in June this year.  Do the math people.


The soil is dry.  Our plants are struggling.  The grass is brown.  Our water bills are high as hell.  The news is talking about “drink more water” and “wear sunscreen” like we haven’t been through this before.  The real answers to the real questions are here.


How much should I Water my Plants and Lawns?

If you are a lawn and/or plant nerd like me, you should be watering like crazy right now.  What does “like crazy” mean?  A minimum of 30 minutes per zone per day in lawns and 20 minutes per zone every other other day in plant zones.  If your lawn is “drought stressed” (brown and crispy) water as directed and DO NOT cut the grass until it starts greening up and growing again.  If 30 minutes per zone per day doesn’t work, increase to an hour.  Don’t give up.  Your lawn isn’t going to die from thirst, but it’s not going to be healthy once it recovers.  Don’t freak out.  Your lawn turns brown as a defense mechanism. As soon as the grass plant doesn’t have enough water, it stops sending water and nutrients to the blade.  It goes into survival mode and shuts off water and sugar transport to the grass blade: the part we cut every week.  All water and nutrients that are left in the world are reserved in the roots to keep the plant alive.  Grass plants can live without water for beyond 60 days but don’t tempt fate.  If you can afford it, and there are not watering restrictions, please water your lawns as directed in this post.


Plant watering

I happen to LOVE hydrangeas as many of you may or may not know.  HYDRangeas are (you guessed it) water hording plants.  It makes it easy for airheads like me because they LOOK like they are dying when they get thirsty.  Check this out:

hydrangea thirst

Annuals and other plants can be equally obvious.


80114291These New Guinea Impatiens are water loving animals.  They SCREAM for water if you don’t keep them hydrated.  This photo above shows you the same plant ten minutes after being watered.  All plants aren’t that obvious so you probably need some guidance.  Annuals, like every year, need 10 minutes two to three times per day.  Keep this in your mind: every landscape is different.  If your lawn and plants look like they need more water, increase it.  If they look like they are drowning, decrease it.  If you don’t know what the hell you are doing, call me.  I will come to your property and hold your hand and walk you through this.  Salient is here for you.  734-337-3261  We care about everyone’s plants and will do whatever we can to help you keep yours alive.



What do the experts say?

In the meantime, I called on an unnamed expert to see what they recommended and about fell out of my seat at his response.  “I water my plants 2-3 hours per day and it’s not enough”  I am not a horticulturist but I KNOW that is wrong.  I have a thriving garden and flowers and am watering as directed in this blog post.  I have directed all of my clients to follow my watering instructions and we have had no dead plant or lawn fallout concerns.

Thank you for reading and happy watering!  Here’s to a wet July!!

What if we have an early spring?

It has been one of the weirdest winters of my life this year.  Almost no snow, record high temperatures, and what seems to be probably an early spring.  I found myself asking “is there anything I can do to get a jump on spring?”

Start your spring cleanup early


As soon as we have had a dry stretch of maybe a week or so, and you can stand to be outside, start your spring cleanup.  Get a leaf rake through your lawn areas, identify anywhere that is now bare soil, and topdress with 1″ of potting mix or topsoil and sprinkle with grass seed and seed mulch.

ezmulch-Bag-600x384Seed mulch is not cheap, but it’s so handy and effective.  It is pelletized ground paper and usually some sort of fertilizer mixed in.  It’s activated by water.  It breaks down and protects the seeds from blowing away.  It also keeps the moisture and nutrients between the seeds and the soil where they need to be.pellets


Clean out your beds  Get into your landscape beds and remove any weed skeletons, cut back any perennials you may have missed in the spring, lightly rake and cultivate your mulch, pull leaves and debris out of your beds.  Be very careful not to kill or damage any young, newly emerging bulbs.  spring-garden-snowdrops-rake

If you have grasses you left up over the winter, now is a perfect time to cut them back.  A gas hedge trimmer is a fast and easy way to do this.  Tie the grasses together with twine or string of some kind just above the ground.  Run your gas trimmers between the grass and the ground being careful not to cut into the soil.  Dispose of the top in your burn pile or in your garden waste bags.  The closer to spring you cut them back, the bigger and fuller they will be be in their full glory in summer.cutbackandfreshlymulched

Edge your beds and rake the mulch from the new, clean edge so that the surface is smooth and the grade slowly floats to the top of your bed grade. Install 2-4″ of fresh mulch making sure not to allow mulch to touch the base of your trees.  This can cause disease and suffocation to your trees in the long run. freshly mulched mulching-794901

It’s too soon to start cutting your lawn but in the next 2 weeks, a balanced rate of all mineral or organic fertilizer wouldn’t hurt.  As soon as the temperatures are consistently over 45 degrees F, and as soon as you want to start weekly grass cutting, go ahead with your first cut.  I recommend cutting a little shorter than usual, raking up the clippings, and cutting again.  After that get ready for quick green-up and lush, green grass sooner than all of your neighbors!

$299 Landscaping Evaluation and Plans right now on Angie’s List!


Are you finishing up a new construction project?  Perhaps you live in a house that is not landscaped to your liking or needs some level of repair?  Most people that need landscaping done know it’s not cheap to have the work done, but what many folks don’t realize is the consultation and planning of your project is the single most overlooked part of the project; and easily is the most important.

Right now on Angie’s List, you can get up to three (3) hours with a professional landscape designer, and a scaled, detailed drawing of your design for only $299.00.  Click here for details!

Once you purchase….our designer will contact you within 48 hours to schedule a meeting.  Now is a perfect time for this as we will have all winter to plan your project!  Once you meet, he will tour the site with you and come up with a list of ideas, as well as put together a footprint of your property.  You can speed this process up by having a mortgage survey or plot plan ready for him.

Next, he will come up with a budget study detailing a rough idea of what the project costs.  Once you determine the budget of the project, the design process begins!  The designer will then draw your project to scale and send to you for review!


Once you approve the drawing…and it may take a few revisions (all included in the $299) we will have a roadmap and a plan to complete the project as well as a timeline and schedule date!  If you choose to use Salient Landscaping to complete your project (which you should because we are the best around) the $299 will be credited to you at the end of the project and you will have a beautifully finished outdoor space!

WAHLAH!  Landscape-Design-55d3e4a7ce564-denver-landscape-design-patio

Need a loader? Check out this one from China that we are auditioning at our facility in 2015! The Werx 1.8!

Every year, when we change from Landscaping service to Snow Removal service, we buy and sell equipment, rally our employees, organize, and SPEND A TON OF MONEY to prepare.  One of the larger ticket items we have to buy is front end loader tractors.  We use them to load our trucks with salt, and to push mass quantities of snow for our larger client’s sites.  A typical 1.5 yard machine brand new with a fancy name like “John Deere” or “Komatsu” comes with a list price of $120,000 and a used price of $64,000 if you are lucky like this 244J Loader from John Deere

Our friend Jess Spike owns a farm in Chelsea and is often buying equipment to run and expand his business as well.  He found a manufacturer in China that makes a similar machine for around $36-$50k BRAND NEW depending on whether you want the 1 yard or 2 yard machine!  We picked on up a year ago and never looked back!  Check out the video on the website (youtube video below!)


How is your property drainage?


With a record setting wet summer in lower Michigan, we are getting more calls than ever about drainage problems.  Often, drainage is overlooked in the final phases of building a structure.  If the pitch on your property is not away from your house, any foundation issues will be exposed as soon as there is a heavy rain.

If you want to be proactive, you should consider burying your downspouts, installing pop-up emitters, and perimeter drainage solutions like French drains, and catch basins.  Each of these items minimize surface water by moving rainwater generated by rood-runoff, and water in low areas into underground drainage systems.

Burying Downspouts



In many areas, the general contractor is not required to bury downspouts.  We see problems with larger homes that don’t have their downspouts buried because the larger the roof, the more the volume of water that is generated in a rainfall.  Water is lazy.  It simply goes to the point of least resistance. If your grade is off a tiny bit, this can mean water coming in the basement.  If you have many neighbors, it can mean a very wet property line.

I suggest burying your downspouts and running them as far as you need to to get to a lower spot than your foundation.  You will need to measure each line from your downspout to the low area, and purchase enough 4″ flexible pipe from any hardware store, a downspout adapter for each connection, and a pop-up emitter for water exiting the drain system.



A swale is a fancy, builder-term for a vegetated ditch.  When your house is built, in order for the builder to get approval to sell you your new home, he has to get a “C of O” or Certificate of Occupancy.  Your property must have certain things in order for the city or township to allow you to safely live there.  Obvious things like running water and sewage are part of the formula for getting your C of O.  Depending on how particular your township or village is, the depth of the requirements for drainage can make or break achievement of your certificate.  For the most part, the inspector makes sure that water flows AWAY from your foundation.  That is it.  You are left with your downspouts and any other excess water issues to deal with on your own.

If you have a good builder, they will advise you of draining the water that your house produces (sump), and the runoff from the roof.  Many times they will build in a swale along your property line.  These work in theory, but they leave you with a wet, grassy ditch that you will have to walk through every week when you cut the grass, or drive through and leave ruts with your riding mower.  (See below)

Even with a swale, you still should install a french drain to keep the surface water underground.

If you have drainage questions or issues, give us a ring and one of our drainage experts can come out and assess the situation. 734-337-3261 Salient Landscaping

It’s SPRING in the mitten!!

It’s early spring in Michigan and the ground is just warm enough to break with a spade, but still a little wet in some areas.  If you are lucky enough to have good drainage, you can get a jump on planting now!  PLEASE NOTE:  Some risk is involved in super early planting.  BEWARE OF FROST DAMAGE!!

Dutch Imported Tulips

Get ready to see color!  Dutch tulip display

I personally will be planting my early spring root vegetables, some icicle pansies, and doing some soil amendments to prepare for my mid spring planting.

If you are bold enough to plant anything that can be damaged by the frost, be sure to keep them covered at night from now until about Mother’s day which is May 10, 2015.  After that and until the beginning of June, you are fairly home free but keep your eye on the weather.  Stranger things have happened than a post-mother’s day frost spell!!

Happy planting!

Whiskers pansies




Pull it together. Winter is coming and you don’t have a snow contract.

I hate to say I told you so but….I told you so.  Ok so i don’t hate to say it.  i love to say it.  I don’t understand why I have instincts about the weather but I just do.  So we had a gnarly winter last year and I warned you about it but some of you still took a gamble and went at it with a per push contract.  I hope you are proud of yourself.


Now that we can all take a step back, please consider a seasonal contract.  Some companies don’t offer them, but those of us that understand that firms have and need budgets, and that they need something upon which they can base their finaces DEMAND seasonal contracts.


If you don’t know what i am talking about, seasonal contracts are flat rate $X per month contracts that will handle your snow no matter how any times we get hit and no matter how many times it gets icy.  I highly recommend them and my clients swear by them.  If you are interested and are within our network (30 ile radius of 48197 zip code) please reach out and we will be happy to get you a quote! o 734337-3261


Thanks for following!

Salient Landscaping

What will you plant this summer?

Beautiful Dutch tulips at one of Salient’s sites this year

The summer just came out of NOWHERE this year…one day we were all bundled up by the fire and the next, we were sunning ourselves on the back patio in 87 degree heat!  I am never surprised by the weather in Michigan; or the wide, fast changes from one season to the next.  It keeps life interesting for sure.

As we prepare our sites for their annual flower displays, we have to ask our clients, “what’s the mood this year?”   I have heard an overwhelming call for curb appeal and “pop” this year more than any other year.  How do you do this and maintain it?


It all starts with bed preparation.  Is your bed well drained?  When is the last time you added compost or manure to your bed?  Do you have time in the heat of the summer to keep your bed watered or will you be up north?  I spend a few bucks every year and add compost to my beds before planting and my displays are off the HOOK because of it.  The other trick is using a 100% slow release granular fertilizer about a week after you plant, and then again in three weeks.  Water every day, and by the 4th of July, your display will be the talk of the town!


Beautiful Dutch tulips at one of Salient’s sites this year

The summer just came out of NOWHERE this year…one day we were all bundled up by the fire and the next, we were sunning ourselves on the back patio in 87 degree heat!  I am never surprised by the weather in Michigan; or the wide, fast changes from one season to the next.  It keeps life interesting for sure.

As we prepare our sites for their annual flower displays, we have to ask our clients, “what’s the mood this year?”   I have heard an overwhelming call for curb appeal and “pop” this year more than any other year.  How do you do this and maintain it?


It all starts with bed preparation.  Is your bed well drained?  When is the last time you added compost or manure to your bed?  Do you have time in the heat of the summer to keep your bed watered or will you be up north?  I spend a few bucks every year and add compost to my beds before planting and my displays are off the HOOK because of it.  The other trick is using a 100% slow release granular fertilizer about a week after you plant, and then again in three weeks.  Water every day, and by the 4th of July, your display will be the talk of the town!


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