Environmental Insights

Best Trees For Paved Areas (And Top 5 Trees Never To Use For Parking Lots in Georgia)

Posted by Tim Lake on Mar 1, 2018 7:04:00 AM

Unless you think your customers and employees would enjoy the sight of a barren expanse of asphalt with nothing to shade or cool it when it heats up hotter than blazes in the summer sun, trees are a must for parking lots in the South.

However, not all trees are equal for this purpose. In fact, there are definite do’s and don’ts when comes to trees for paved areas and parking lot islands here in central and southern Georgia.

Humor me and let’s start with the don’ts. Even though we see it done all the time, I will go so far as to say that it is an egregious crime to plant any of these trees where they will be surrounded by hot asphalt:

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Organic Lawn Care vs. Conventional Lawn Care: Which Works Best In Georgia

Posted by Tim Lake on Jan 23, 2018 7:02:00 AM

Whether it’s to do right by the environment or to protect the health of people and pets, more and more people in Georgia and elsewhere are becoming interested in living a less toxic lifestyle. It’s a choice that can impact just about every aspect of life—including lawn care.  

Here at T.Lake, we get it.  We’re outside people.  We like to go barefoot with the children and roll around in the grass with the dog. Their health, and ours, matters to us—a lot. So we certainly want to avoid unnecessary chemical use. But “Can you do organic lawn care?” is not a simple question for us to answer.

Of course, the easy reply is, “of course we can.” But the truth is, a 100% organic approach may not make you 100% happy. Here’s why.

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Topics: Commercial Landscape Maintenance, Residential Landscape Maintenance

Employee Spotlight: John Berryhill - T. Lake's Longest Tenured Employee

Posted by Tim Lake on Jan 18, 2018 1:17:40 PM

Since T. Lake’s inception in 1990, we’ve had a lot of employees come and go. Many of them didn’t last too long; we have a habit of weeding out the ones that don’t have enough grit or have too many vices. But we also attract our share of hardy souls who thrive on hard work, good old fashioned horse sense, and a job well done. These are the people who tend to stick around, and we appreciate them more than we could ever express in words.

That said, a few words of appreciation are always in order. So I thought it would be nice to spotlight a few of these individuals here, to recognize them for their excellence and the value they bring not only to T. Lake and the customers we serve, but to each of us as people and to the greater communities to which we belong.

And the very first person to spring to mind as a deserving recipient of this kind of recognition is our longest tenured employee, John Truman Berryhill II.

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Topics: Culture

Professional Landscape Lighting Design Tips

Posted by Tim Lake on Jan 4, 2018 2:25:09 PM

Want to know how to install professional-looking landscape lighting? Sure, I can give you some landscape lighting tips. I’ll post a few of my best below.

But first, bear with me, because I just have to rant about what NOT to do with landscape lighting. It’s actually easy to demonstrate. All you have to do is get in your car and ride around after dark. I can almost guarantee that within a few blocks you’ll have passed case after case of really bad lighting installations.


Like the giant square box runway lights that just blast light at a building as if it were daylight, doing nothing to highlight the architecture or evoke a mood.

Or the residence where somebody bought bullet lights and aimed them at a shrub, and it looks like what Moses saw on Mount Horeb: a single bush all alight with nothing but harsh shadows all around.

Or the facade of a house that has a bright, bright light in one spot right next to a patch of blackness so dark the devil could be hiding there. It’s jarring. When will people learn that you can’t just go buy lights and point them at things and expect it to come out looking good?

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s talk about how to do landscape lighting right.

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Topics: Landscape Construction, Landscape Architecture, Residential Landscape Design

How to Grow Your Career at T. Lake

Posted by Tim Lake on Dec 8, 2017 12:37:54 PM

Looking for a career in landscaping? Wondering if T.Lake is the company for you? We’re always on the lookout for top talent, so if you think you’re a good fit we’d love to hear from you. But before you do, let us give you a little peek into what it’s like to work at T.Lake, because we’re not for everyone.

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Topics: Culture

How Our Specialty Equipment Brings Value To Customers

Posted by Tim Lake on Nov 30, 2017 4:03:00 AM

Here at T. Lake we are problem solvers to the core. We love a challenge! In addition to the whole range of landscape work from hardscape design and installation to tree service to wetland mitigation, we’ve done everything from caulking and applying epoxy coatings onto warehouse floors to fly-over roof inspections with drones, to removal of slag and millings from manufacturing floor pits.

Our thought process is to look at the particular issue you have and find a better way to deal with it. This will often require solutions beyond the ordinary—and it is not uncommon for those solutions to require the use of specialty equipment.

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Topics: Landscape Construction, Environmental Services

Tree Trimming Cost (vs. The Potential Cost of Doing Nothing)

Posted by Tim Lake on Oct 9, 2017 8:04:00 AM

“What does tree trimming cost?”

Like many pricing questions, this one has no simple answer. Instead, let me give you the lowdown on what goes into tree trimming cost estimation, so you can better understand the bids you receive.

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Topics: Commercial Landscape Maintenance, Residential Landscape Maintenance

Hiring the Right People for Landscaping is Harder Than it Looks

Posted by Tim Lake on Oct 2, 2017 9:33:52 AM

Apologies in advance, but get ready for a rant.

On second thought, no apologies. This topic literally comes up in the first two minutes of nearly every conversation I have with any business owner, HR professional or manager. It runs across all types and scale of business. From doctors’ offices to large institutions to mom and pop operations, everyone bemoans that we can’t find enough good people.

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Capital Improvement vs. Maintenance and Repairs in the Landscape

Posted by Tim Lake on Sep 13, 2017 11:26:16 AM

Here’s a question that comes up a lot: “Will my landscape project qualify as a capital improvement?”

Whether the improvements are made to a home or business, all capital improvement projects are tax deductible. However, repair and maintenance projects are not. For larger projects especially, it’s a good idea to determine in advance whether or not a landscape project is a capital improvement.

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Topics: Commercial Landscape Maintenance

Your Commercial Landscape: Remaining Relevant in a Rapidly Changing World

Posted by Tim Lake on Aug 30, 2017 7:04:00 AM

My my, hey hey, Rock and roll is here to stay...It's better to burn out than it is to rust...  -Neil Young

Traveling about this summer, it has struck me how some formerly thriving businesses are in a death spiral, while others are vibrant and on a rocket-like trajectory toward success.

Whether retail, service, restaurant or hospitality, the common thread appears to be relevancy.  Those businesses that reinvent themselves to remain relevant in the marketplace thrive.  Those that keep plodding along as they always have, resting comfortably on what used to be, just kind of rust away into oblivion.  (The same can be said for marriages and churches, by the way.)

So, next time you sit down to do your commercial landscape budget planning,  consider taking an observant sweep of the world out there, and then taking a good look at your business.  What do your people and processes communicate?  How do your building and grounds represent your organization to the marketplace?  

Have you looked at your facility as one of your #1 marketing tools?

All you need to do is take a good look at some of the popular chain restaurants and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not hard to pick out which chains that are thriving and which ones are falling back. Take Chick-fil-A, for example. They have curb appeal, because they’ve made it a priority. They refurbish continually, and grade their people on how well they do it. And they are crushing it in sales. Of course, Chick-fil-A owes its phenomenal growth to more than just appearances, but how they present themselves is an integral part of the success mindset that has rocketed them into the big leagues of the fast food industry.

People are attracted to vibrant places and vibrant people.  

That’s what makes them feel good, which is super relevant to most people. Whether you run a restaurant, a strip mall, an apartment building, or a church, if you act like it’s dying and let it start looking tired and old, people will naturally drift away to your competitor or neighbor across the street who has refurbished their building, refreshed their landscape, replaced their signage, and trained their staff to be courteous and friendly.  

Today’s consumers are more educated than ever, and have more resources than ever to check you out. They know what the trends are. They know what they like. If you want to remain relevant, you have to keep an eye on those trends, all the way down to color schemes inside and out and the materials you use.

For instance, does your company appear environmentally responsible to today’s consumer? The younger generation coming along has a very different sense of ethics about the environment than the Baby Boomers do. They are rising in economic influence.  If we are to remain relevant and vibrant in the marketplace we should pay heed to their concerns. And that’s just one example. There are many more disrupters in the marketplace coming at a faster rate than ever before.

How can you keep your landscape relevant?

Staying relevant doesn’t have to break the bank. What it does require is an honest assessment of what you have going for you and what just doesn’t make the cut. If you still have those plasticy hollies and juniper you’re way behind the curve.

Today’s look is more naturalistic in character. Here are some of the most impactful landscape design trends to consider:

  • Low-impact landscape
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Sound design in the landscape
  • Architectural lighting
  • Hardscape and stone work

Strategic and tasteful  incorporation of these and similar elements can give your property a more modern, updated look that will instantly signal to your customers that you care about your business and about doing things right.

Are you relevant or are you rusting away?

Again, the statement you make is more important than how much you spend. It may be that  just a little pressure washing is all you need to freshen up your entire facade. Or maybe simply re-doing the bed at the sign or adding some color will make all the difference. Or perhaps you really would be ahead of the game to redo your landscape entirely.

It can be hard to look at yourself as other people see you. But we all need to do it if we want to stay relevant. If you feel you could benefit from an experienced eye to help you assess how your property stacks up in a changing world, by all means give us a call. You can reach us at 478-750-7733 or contact us here online. We’ll be glad to assist.

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