Posted by: homecomplete | November 21, 2010

New Season, New website

Our new website launched this week…. you can see it http://www.homecomplete.co.uk

We have to thank http://www.tamaringoldsmith.moonfruit.com/ for the new website, and their patience with us over the last few months.

This is the time of year that is actually our busiest for the gardens and grounds ,the run up to Christmas gets more and more booked up every year.

 

People having family and friends over for the festive season are increasingly booking us to get the garden in order ready for their arrival.

The other part of the business that is getting particularly busy is our commercial grounds maintenance  service. Lots of businesses are having to get rid of their expensive national contractors who charge a fortune for a standard ( sometimes sub standard ) service.

 

Although we would never describe ourselves as cheap and cheerful, we are normally an awful lot cheaper than the national contractors as we have far less overheads. No fancy offices,no fancy sales staff,no flash company cars.

We just provide an honest service from start to finish at an honest monthly price.

So if your business, housing estate or similar is paying too much for their service get in touch and we will come along and give you a quote.

 

 

Posted by: homecomplete | October 2, 2010

Our Autumn Newsletter

http://www.homecomplete.co.uk/newsletter/autumn_newsletter.pdf

Posted by: homecomplete | September 25, 2010

Crop Circles……in Barnes?

I answered the phone as usual…. ” Good Morning, Home Complete, David speaking, how may I help you?”

A ladies voice came back…..” erm….well….you may think I’m strange, and I feel stupid saying this, but I think I have a crop circle in my lawn……like a lawn circle……you know?”

My first thought was maybe that this was one of my wife’s friends having a joke at my expense, but I didn’t recognise the phone number and the lady sounded quite sincere.

I asked the lady to explain exactly what she meant and I got the following answer ” Well, I have been away for a week and when I came home it was dark, but the next morning in the light of the day I noticed these strange shapes in the lawn……”

My brain starts working, slowly but surely trying to think of a reasonable explanation for this… It must be a fairy ring , I tell myself,caused by fungus especially at this time of year and very treatable. So I described to the lady what a fairy ring looked like and she assured me that was not what it was.

” The best thing I can do is to pop over and have a look at this odd phenomena I suggested. ” Brilliant” she said.

I arranged to go along later that day and was intrigued to think that Barnes may have had its very own paranormal activity…..

I arrived later that day, trying to hide my excitement at seeing something as novel as a crop/lawn circle….

” Well is not quite a circle she said, its not really any shape at all….” even odder I thought.

So out we went to the back garden and it didn’t take me long to have my bubble burst…. I thought she was going to cry with embarresment when I told her what I thought it was.

You will never guess, but I have seen this more than once.

I asked her ” When you were away did you have any workmen in at all?”

” Yes, that’s why we went away to get out from all the stress of having building work done”

“Did they replace the windows by any chance?”

” Yes” she answered slowly “But what does that have to do with this strange shape on my lawn……?”

“Was the grass quite long when you went away and have the contractors cut it before came back from your holiday?”

“Yes”

“I think that like most contractors they have taken the old windows out and put them on the lawn to keep them out out the way,the sun has been very strong this week and the glass, laid on top of each other had magnified the sun and burnt the grass, I would imagine they had the glass piled up for a week or so maybe.”

” Once they moved the windows, they realised that the lawn was burnt and have cut the grass to remedy the situation,which has distorted the shape of it and flattened it….” by this point I felt like Sherlock Holmes, the newer cooler one who goes everywhere in a Black Cab on BBC a few months ago.

She rang the contractor whilst I was there and asked if this was the case, they reluctantly admitted it and then immediately offered to pay to get it put right. Incidentally, the contractors quality of workmanship on the house was outstanding.

Now, I don’t charge for call outs to look at things like that, its not fair on people, I obviously left her with a quote to fix it , which she has forwarded to the builders. But she did offer me a lovely bottle of wine and apologised for the Crop Circle theory.

No apology necessary, and I’m looking forward to a glass of the wine tonight….

Posted by: homecomplete | August 23, 2010

Weather!!??

For the last few months we have been preaching to everybody we come across to keep cutting there lawns and keep it well watered.

Keeping it watered is a bit of a no brainer considering how dry it has been since May this year, but regular mowing seems a bit unnecessary considering how slow the grass has been growing.

Well,  even if you take the top off of the grass by a few millimetres you will be strengthening the roots as well as keeping the lawn weeds down.

So why is it important to keep the roots strong….? Having a strong root system in your lawn will ensure that your lawn is more resilient to extreme weather such as the dry spell we have just come out of,the snow and ice we had for a few months in the winter or even the stress of children playing on it.

So, what is the best plan for this Autumn?

Keep on cutting, as we get closer to December slowly start to raise the cutting height on your mower to give the lawn some help during the colder months. We actually keep on cutting, even if its once a month from December until March.  So many people will think I am talking poppycock….they say ” never cut between October and April ” well, I disagree…..not only because we are a lawn cutting company,but also because it is good for your lawn to take a little bit off of it, it makes it look tidy and will help to remove dead leaves and other chaff which can suffocate your lawn.

But remember do not walk on or try to cut the lawn when there is a frost on it….. wait until later in the day or for a slightly warmer day.

Another good idea is to treat the weeds in lawn,leave it to take effect for a week or so and then Scarify, Aerate and Feed to take the dead organic matter out of the lawn that has built up over the dry summer, de-compact the ground and to strengthen the leaf and root ready for the winter.

Any queries we are always happy to offer some free advice….

Happy lawn health everybody!!!

Posted by: homecomplete | April 11, 2010

Revealed! The reasons why your lawn looks miserable

Revealed! The reasons why your lawn looks miserable

Moss and thatch. No, not an Eighties pop act, but actually two problems affecting most lawns this Spring. You probably thought that your grass had been happily put to bed before winter, and are quite rightly troubled by the patchy mess currently outside your back door.

Moss is an “opportunistic plant”, invading lawns under stress. It takes advantage of periods of drought followed by heavy rain. 2009 gave us a dry autumn followed by the wettest November on record. The recent snow means even more water saturated our lawns. In dry weather moss grows into cracks in the soil, and in wet weather it copes with waterlogging much better than grass. Moss hasn’t had it this good for years!

If your lawn looks more brown (or white) than green, the cause may well be “thatch”. This is the name given to dead grass and old stems that get pressed flat as you mow or walk across your lawn. It may make you feel better to know that even ‘brand spanking new’ rolls of turf bought from a garden centre have a layer of thatch – it’s the light brown layer you can see between the soil and the green grass. Turf growers usually let grass grow for 18 months specifically to let this layer build up to give the rolls some stability once cut from the field.

Thatch, unlike moss, should not be regarded as a “lawn problem” as it builds up naturally over time. It is not such an issue to begin with, as a thin layer of thatch helps to conserve moisture in drier weather.  But after a few years the vigour of the grass lessens and the overall appearance is no longer predominantly green.

The solution to moss and thatch is two rather scary words – ‘Scarification’ and ‘Aeration’. But don’t hide behind the curtains! Let’s find out what they mean…

‘Scarification’ is the removal of thatch and moss using a big metal comb. Whether you use a “spring-tine” rake or an ultra-efficient mechanical Scarifier, the effect is the same. Dead grass and moss is pulled away from the living, fresh shoots, giving your lawn a new lease of life. The main difference between the two methods is that a spring-tine rake will leave you with backache that last a week, whereas the purpose-built mechanical version is incredibly quick and collects the waste as it passes. This is particularly important with moss eradication, as it prevents moss “cuttings” from spreading and taking roots in other parts of your garden.

Aeration is simple – you are simply making holes in the ground to allow the grass roots to breathe. Don’t forget, as with all plants, healthy roots mean healthy shoots. You can use a garden fork to do this but it requires much effort to make deep holes, and covering a large area is too much for even a Bank Holiday weekend. If you haven’t got a gaggle of girls in sharp stilettos to hand, why not use a lawnmower-sized aerating machine built for the task – leaving you with more time to enjoy the Sunday papers.

Posted by: homecomplete | January 20, 2010

“Moss epidemic? I know just the man!”

As the white stuff melts our eyes are now drawn back to our lawns, which after a blanket of snow could well be in a sorry state. Meltwater in the Fen fields near my house gathers like lakes, which made me remember a story I read before Christmas. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) described moss as an “opportunistic plant”, that invades lawns under stress, taking advantage of periods of both drought and heavy rain. 2009 gave us a dry autumn followed by the wettest November on record. The recent snow means even more water is saturate our lawns. Moss has never had it so good! In dry weather moss grows into cracks in the soil, and in wet weather copes with waterlogging much better than grass. The Telegraph reported that gardeners could be facing “the worst infestions of moss for 25 years” as a result of the weather we’ve faced in the past six months. The RHS responded by advising against treating lawns in the cold winter months, and instead aerating the ground in spring after scarification (remove of moss and dead grass). So don’t despair! Make moss a thing of the past with a “spring clean”. It could even be the one New Year’s Resolution you actually keep, and one that my friend David at Home Complete will guarantee to help you achieve.

A big thank you to Tom Tree, Home Complete’s Horticultural consultant for this weeks blog entry. you can contact him directly on tree@homecomplete.co.uk

Posted by: homecomplete | November 23, 2009

A word or two for Winter …..

Is it safe to plant in December? Garden centres annually advertise autumn as “nature’s time for planting”, but what if the past few months have been so hectic that your plant purchases remain in pots on your patio?

 

The answer to the first question is a resounding “Yes!”. You can plant at any time of the year. However, summer is generally a bad idea because of the volume of water needed to keep the roots of new plants moist. The main reason gardeners prefer autumn is because the soil is warm and workable. The combination of increasing wet with still-warm soil helps plants to establish. As for winter, the reason why many people will tell you it is “a bad idea” to plant in the ground is not because the plants will die, but because of the effort involved.

 

Planting is the same as turfing, in that you can plant at any time as long as the ground is not frozen. It’s very difficult to get a spade in frozen ground! I once replanted a massive border in deepest darkest Surrey, in late December 2005, when the ground was frozen solid to 6 inches deep. I dug up the plants with a mini digger and divided the clumps with an axe in a horse stable. What fun! I put the divided chunks straight back in the ground and they came up beautifully in the spring.

If in the run up to Christmas you still don’t get an afternoon in the garden, you needn’t feel guilty. Hardy plants that you don’t get round to planting will sit happily dormant in their pots overwinter and are unaffected by cold and wet as long as they have adequate drainage. Just don’t let them sit in a puddle!

 

Many thanks to Home Complete’s Horticultural expert Tom Tree for this post.

 

David

Posted by: homecomplete | November 17, 2009

Commercial Grounds Maintenance

What a few months we have been having here at Home Complete Towers….
Firstly, Let me share some great news with you all…. My Wife and I are expecting our first Baby in Januray , everyone tells me to get some sleep while I can.

Secondly, we are seeing a huge number of new enquiries for commercial grounds maintenance in the last couple of months. It seems that companies are getting fed up with overly expensive contractors who just don’t provide the standard that is expected.

Writing all of the proposals for these has taken up quite a bit of time, which is my excuse for not updating for a while.

Do you know of any offices, warehouses or private estates that could do with or grounds maintenance service? Let me know and we can make contact to see where we can help.

I look forward to writing my next blog sooner than Christmas.

Posted by: homecomplete | September 28, 2009

What do you do in the Winter….?google6ce41aa39ea5fad0.html

What do you do in the Winter….?

It’s funny really, but I have had two completely different jobs in my lifetime where that was the question I got asked the most.

The first was in my mid twenties when I had a complete change of life moment and cleared off to Greece for a Summer season to work for a Sailing holiday resort in the kids club. It mainly involved playing around either on or in the sea or pool all day and then having a couple of beers in the local town each evening.

As staff in the resort , we were expected to sit and eat dinner with the guests which was fantastic as I got to meet so many interesting people. after the initial hello’s the question was inevitable….

I used to sit there bursting with local information about the island we were on,bursting with information about the weather and wind conditions that naturally occurred in the area and absolutely bursting at the seams with hints and tips on Sailing and windsurfing to improve their holiday experience.

But people are funny, they like to find out information about each other and the question arose every night…. ” so David, what do you do in the winter….?”

Well, I had a successful courier business before I packed up and left for Greece , and actually had no plan for the winter, wasnt even sure if i would go back to the U.K.

I just didnt know what to say….I couldnt answer them….In the end I chanced my arm and told them I was open to offers if they had a job going.

Now, 6 – 7 years later, I get asked that question whenver I go to a quote, which at the moment is about 6 times a week.

“So David,what do you do in the Winter……?”

 

Well now, I am bursting with answers:

  • Commercial Grounds Maintenance(regular as well as one off)
  • Block Paving and Driveway Cleaning
  • Selective and non Selective Herbicide Spraying (to kill weeds in car parks, alleyways and pathways)
  • Rubbish and Waste Clearances (fully licensed)
  • Lawn Cutting and Care (all sizes)
  • Lawn feeding
  • Lawn aeration
  • Lawn Scarifications
  • Hedge Trimming
  • Leaf Clearances
  • Internal Communal Area Cleaning
  • Pure Water Window Cleaning (pole fed system)

From time to time I tell customers this story when the ask me “The Question”  

Then I often get asked  if I miss it in Greece…


Well, no not anymore, I am very happily married and love my business that I have worked very hard for and love all of my customers. For some reason I tend to attract lovely customers.
It’s funny really how over time the questions stay the same,

 

  
 

 

 

 

 

but the answers change………..

 

David Salisbury.

Posted by: homecomplete | September 14, 2009

BUSY, BUSY,BUSY…..

Well its been a busy few weeks that has been responsible for the lack of blogs, we have been rushed off of our feet keeping up with the early Autumn drop of leaves, conkers and acorns in our customers gardens.

It is so important to keep onto of the leaves and other general chaff that can accumulate on your lawn in the autumn, they quickly starve your lawn of light,  and moisture.

Talking of moisture, it is amazing how many customers new and old have commented on the wash out this summer has been….. well actually it has been exceptionally dry this summer,coupled up with a good bit of wind this summer has left the ground as dry as a bone.

In fact I got a call from a lady in Ashford, Middlesex a couple of weeks ago, she was passed our number from a garden centre who shall remain nameless as it turned out they were giving her terrible advice.

The area in Ashford she lives in I know well as I have had many customers over the years  and I know it to be very free draining. In other words when it rains the water goes straight through and away giving the ground no real moisture.

Her lawn was yellow and a colour I could only describe as BRORANGE . The garden centre had advised all sorts of things, re-turfing, five tonne of topsoil and 25kg of grass seed and even to pave it. My advice was a lot simpler. Get the sprinkler out, get a good quality lawn feed on it, Aerate it to allow the ground to de-compact( after long dry periods the ground tends to need a good spiking) and see how it goes.

The options the nameless garden centre ranged from £500 – £10,000 my advice cost the lady about £30.00 plus her water bill if she was on a meter and worked a treat, it is green, shiny and lush. Brilliant. Couldnt be happier. Although we didnt do any of the work I am pleased that my advice got her the desired result.

So, keep leaves and other chaff off your lawns, and if it remains dry get some water on it…

Of course some problems are diseased related but we can help with that just give us a call.

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