Click on any question and you will be taken down to its answer.

GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT CAMBERLY GARDENS

HARDSCAPES (pavers, walls, walks, decks, etc.)

LAWNS AND IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND INSTALLATION

PLANT CARE, PLANT PROBLEMS, PRUNING, AND MAINTENANCE

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE BEEN AFRAID TO ASK


GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT CAMBERLY GARDENS

What guarantees do you offer on your work?

Much of the work we perform is covered by a written guarantee. As a measure of how confident we are in our work, we offer one of the best guarantees in the business, covering our pavers and Belgian Block edging for up to 15 (fifteen) years. We include a printed copy of our guarantee with your proposal for work such as pavers, retaining walls, plantings, and home improvements.

Are you licensed?

Yes - we are fully licensed and in full compliance! Although many companies are licensed in NJ, there are still a large number who skirt the law. Since the inception of the NJ Home Improvement Contractor License requirement all contractors must uphold and comply with the terms of this law. This means that, in addition to being licensed, the contractor must also supply each customer with proof of insurance, a copy of the license, a detailed written contract with start and end dates, and how to cancel their contract if they so choose. They must also post their license number on all correspondence. If they are not doing all of this, they are breaking the law, and by hiring them you jeopardize your rights & interests, especially if they do not have liability insurance.

Will you return calls?

Yes! We pride ourselves on returning calls and emails promptly. During the work day there is usually someone in the office to answer questions and take messages. We welcome emails which we frequently act on and respond to in or out of office hours.

I don’t want to run over budget!  What about “extras”?

At Camberly Gardens we don’t provide estimates - we provide our customers with Proposals which are highly detailed and which include essentially everything from start to finish - including side remediation and clean-up, when complete. But that’s not all, they are so detailed we use them as work orders for our crews. This protects you from contractors who only give vague “estimates” or who use unit pricing. This is an antiquated method of quoting where a contractor multiplies a quantity of goods by a “magic” cost. This system sometimes works, but does not take individual project details into account. However, we provide a finished price covering all of the details. We carefully look at access, site conditions, hazards, preparation, phases, seasonal discounts, material selection and many other variables before completing our proposals. Although this may take us slightly longer to complete, it ensures fewer unexpected charges if any, and gives a detailed proposal you can understand.

I have heard that Camberly Gardens may be more expensive.  Is this true?

The landscape field is filled with strong competition and cut-rate work. We made a careful decision when we began to take a different path. Many of our referrals are from customers who are tired of not receiving the service, attention and professionalism they deserve. Why be like everyone else and compete on cut-rate service where the contractor is forced to cut corners to make a buck? We subscribe to the belief that we want to do the job right the first time. As a result, we invest more time in the planning phase and often build to a higher standard to ensure our work lasts. (See the "We Don't Cut Corners" gallery to see how it should NOT be done!)



Compare our professionalism, quality of work, attention to detail, and service - you will be surprised by the value we offer!

What makes Camberly Gardens different from the competition?

We are a full service landscape company that handles all your needs from design to construction, planting, maintenance and beyond. We choose to stay manageably sized and offer personal attention. As many of our customers have been with us for over 10 years we clearly value long term relationships. Call us and you will see why Camberly Gardens is different!

How do you bill?

Our landscape maintenance customers are billed at the end of each month for the prior months maintenance and any additional services they received. We send a follow up bill on the 15th of the month covering the first 2 weeks of the month plus any outstanding balance.

How often do you make visits in the autumn?

Our fall cleanup visits begin late October and continue through mid December. Visits are made approximately every other week.

When do you start spring clean-ups?

Spring clean-ups begin early-to-mid-March, weather permitting, and continue until all homes have been visited. Clean-ups generally run until mid April at which point we start switching over to grass cutting.

Where do you get your trees, shrubs, perennials and flowers?

We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with a number of excellent nurseries and greenhouses. We are continually searching for the best plant materials for our customers and often buy directly from the grower or from a well-established nursery. Some of the materials we offer our customers is grown by us directly at our own licensed nursery in Maine.

Do you pull weeds?

Yes - and we dont charge extra!!! We automatically weed as part of our landscape maintenance program. Most weed pulling is done the old fashioned way, and as a result, we gain a detailed understanding of your property up close, and ensures we do our job right. Regular weed pulling has another handsome benefit – it reduces the seed sources of future generations of weeds. Being proactive pays off, as no one enjoys pulling weeds!

HARDSCAPES (pavers, walls, walks, decks, etc.)

What is that white powder on my pavers or wall?

The white powder is efflorescence, a deposit that may sometimes appear on the surface of the paving stones. Sometimes this appears immediately or a few months after installation. Normal use and exposure to the weather will dissipate the efflorescence, as will normal wear. Efflorescence is a normal occurrence in all cement-based products. As it is a natural reaction to the proper hydration of concrete, we do not consider it a defect and do not replace any materials affected. If you feel that efflorescence is undesirable, there are a number of solutions that can be used to remove it.

Does salt damage pavers?

No! The high density of concrete pavers will resist degradation from de-icing salts. If you are concerned about damage to other surfaces, try using a less damaging materials such as magnesium chloride or urea.

What can be done to protect and enhance my pavers?

We seal pavers with a product designed specifically for concrete which penetrates the surface of the material.  The sealer is designed for pavers and improves their appearance, protects them from the elements and stains such as oil, food and salts. Once sealed, pavers typically have a “wet” look and are much more vibrant.

How can I clean stains from my paver patio or driveway?

We clean paved surfaces with both high pressure water (pressure washing) as well as with chemical cleaners made for concrete. We can usually removed stains such as oil, salts, rubber, soil, and food.

Can I plow my paver driveway?

Yes. A properly installed paving stone system will not be damaged by snow plowing. Sometimes, minor scratches appear that soon fade. These scratches would have also occurred on an asphalt driveway.

LAWNS AND IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

What maintenance does my sprinkler system need?

We recommend a spring inspections to make sure all components are working properly and that grass or plants are watered evenly. After you shut down your system in mid-October, it is very important to have it winterized by blowing the water out of the sprinkler lines in order to prevent them from freezing and splitting the lines.

When will you seed my lawn?

We seed our lawns at the time of the spring clean-up, and will continue spot seeding as needed through late May as the weather permits. From late August through early October, we seed and make lawn repairs as needed.

What are those green pellets you spread on my lawn after seeding?

When seeding, we cover the bare areas with a seed protector called Penn Mulch. This covering helps insulate and protect the seedlings, while keeping them moist.

Why don’t you mow the lawn short like my neighbor?

Correct turf height coupled with regular mowing is vitally important to the health and appearance of your lawn.  In Northern NJ, we typically use cool season turfgrasses which thrive when cut between 2” - 3“. If lawns are cut too short in the summer they will be more susceptible to stress as they dry out and burn during the hotter months. Longer blades of grass protect the roots from heat and discourage weed growth.  We adjust our cutting height to the seasonal weather changes to provide your lawn with every advantage we can. 

How can aeration be beneficial, it’s only a series of holes punched in a lawn?

Removing cores of soil is the process used to open up holes that will allow for moisture and oxygen to penetrate.  As this is being done, some of the roots are cut which in turn stimulates further growth and thickening.  In addition, by removing plugs of soil, compaction is reduced giving the roots more space to spread.

Will aeration damage my lawn?

We use a core aerator which is superior to other types of aerators and does the best job for typical lawns.  Aeration does not damage the lawn or the roots; to the contrary, as the roots are cut they are stimulated to grow and thicken.  Furthermore fertilizer, water and air can now reach the root zone faster and won’t wash off.

How will I know that the aeration process is working?

Over time you will see lush grass growth.  Aerated lawns better resist weed growth, offer better drought resistance and are less compacted.  You may see that water penetrates better and causes less erosion.  Golf courses and athletic fields aerate regularly to improve their turfgrass.

Do you pull weeds?

Yes - and we dont charge extra!!! We automatically weed as part of our landscape maintenance program. Most weed pulling is done the old fashioned way, and as a result, we gain a detailed understanding of your property up close, and ensures we do our job right. Regular weed pulling has another handsome benefit – it reduces the seed sources of future generations of weeds. Being proactive pays off, as no one enjoys pulling weeds!

LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND INSTALLATION

Why do I need a landscape design?

If a customer is willing to spend a substantial sum of money on re-landscaping their home, we feel very strongly that they need the best possible organizational plan. A landscape design crafted by either a trained Designer or Architect will not only provide you with a unique thoughtful plan, but will save you money and insure that you are familiar with the project. All this is done before any of the work starts! As you would never ask a builder to construct a home without detailed plans, we too need plans to help make your dream a reality.

What is involved with landscape design?

Well-crafted landscape designs take time. The process can take from as little as a few weeks to as long as a few months. During this time you will meet with a landscape designer or architect to discuss your goals and ideas. You will review revisions and make changes until you are happy with the end product.

PLANT CARE, PLANT PROBLEMS, PRUNING, AND MAINTENANCE

How do I care for my new plants or construction project?

We discuss with you the details of each project and what future care may be needed to ensure the greatest success. We strongly believe in being proactive and working as a team with our customers and provide detailed written instructions. Most importantly we are only a call away!

When do you trim shrubs?

Shrub trimming is performed from June to September at the customer’s request. We trim most hedges and shrubs during the summer, although some materials are best pruned in the winter. Over the past five years we have been hand pruning more and using electric trimmers less, all in an effort to promote healthier shrubs.

Help! My plants are overgrown! What should I do?

We prune each plant based on its specific needs, many by hand!  Sadly, many contractors treat the summer as “trimming season” and trim anything they can get their hands on with an electric hedge trimmer.  We are different, we prune and trim over the course of the year as follows:

  • Late Winter
    Fruit tree pruning
    Rejuvenation/ Renovative Pruning- heavy pruning to “bring back” overgrown shrubs

  • Post-bloom
    Pruning of flowering shrubs (Azalea, Rhododendron, Hydrangea, etc.)

  • Summer trimming
    Shaping of hedges and shrubs (Forsythia, Taxus, Ilex, Buxus, etc.)

Although this system may seem different to what you may have experienced in the past, we plan long term and always keep your plants best interest in mind.

Why do I need to mulch my beds?

Mulch is an organic covering applied to flower beds made out of shredded bark or wood. Mulch differs from wood chips in that it has a more uniform consistency and color.

  • Mulch beautifies your property - gives it appeal
  • Mulch reduces weeds - keeping maintenance to a minimum
  • Mulch retains ground moisture – reduces the need for watering
  • Mulch protects your shrubs roots from heat damage - it's a natural insulation
  • Mulch enriches the soil as it decomposes – reducing the need for constant fertilizing

Isn’t mulch just mulch?

Although the general purpose of mulch is the same: to reduce weed growth, add organic matter to the soil and protect plants from moisture loss, there are many different varieties available. The main difference between them is generally color, texture and cost. We feel it is more important to mulch beds, even if with a less costly mulch, than to hold out for a specialty mulch. Over 80% of our customers use a quality hardwood mulch that is significantly less costly than the more expensive Cedar and Hemlock.

What sets your mulching apart from either cheaper mulch installers or blown mulch?

When we mulch we take care to protect tender plant materials from damage, we avoid piling it against plant stems and we apply the correct thickness. Our mulch crews are experienced and have a strong background in plant installation and care. We take the extra step to re-edge beds, remove surface rocks, spread the mulch evenly and clean up when we are finished. 

Blown mulch is exactly that. A worker blows the mulch through a pipe and onto the beds (and plants and landscape). While blown mulch is more practical for steep hillsides, most customers are unsatisfied with it when used in typical landscapes. Blown mulch is usually not applied as deeply, and we often find mulch piled on and around plant stems.

Also, be careful, as most mulch blowers have minimum orders, delivery charges and payment due immediately upon completion.

How often should I water?

Many variables affect a turf and plant watering needs including its location (sun or shade), type and size of plant material, soil, outside temperature and proximity to other trees and structures. Generally, lawns should be watered 3 to 4 days per week in the summer and slightly less in the spring and fall. Try to keep the soil moist, but not soaking. Use you experience to determine and adjust your schedule to fit your needs.

What is winter pruning?

During the winter months, certain plant materials respond better to pruning that would normally stress them during the active growing season. Some materials we choose to renovate by cutting them almost down to the ground in an effort to force them to thicken and regenerate. This is only safely performed while they are dormant in the winter (February to early March).

Can I transplant large trees and shrubs?

We move most trees and shrubs during their dormant winter months. This allows safer moving of materials that would ordinarily be tougher to transplant during the growing season.

How do I interpret the soil test results?

We review the results of every soil test we run. We then include a synopsis of the test as well as our recommendations for improvement. For a more detailed explanation of the test process, click here.

How do I care for my flowering shrubs?  What can I do to improve their blooms?

Flowering shrubs (eg Azalea, Hydrangea, Rhododendron...) must be pruned immediately after they flower to reduce the likelihood of cutting their next year’s buds.  Please note that while most plants bloom in the spring, some such as the Hydrangea bloom much later in the summer and need to be pruned accordingly.

How can I protect my evergreen plants against dieback and leaf damage in the winter?

We recommend applying an anti-dessicant spray to help reduce damage caused by excessive winter leaf moisture and drying winds. This application made in late autumn, acts as a non-harmful invisible protective barrier to hold in plant moisture. While the spray lasts approximately 4 months, we calculate that if you were to preserve the appearance or life of one plant, this treatment has paid for itself. (Photo shows wind burn on holly...click photo to enlarge it)

Do you pull weeds?

Yes - and we dont charge extra!!! We automatically weed as part of our landscape maintenance program. Most weed pulling is done the old fashioned way, and as a result, we gain a detailed understanding of your property up close, and ensures we do our job right. Regular weed pulling has another handsome benefit – it reduces the seed sources of future generations of weeds. Being proactive pays off, as no one enjoys pulling weeds!

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE BEEN AFRAID TO ASK

What do you guys do in the winter?

Move to Hawaii! Just kidding! Actually we are still quite busy in the winter. We have to review and write our new maintenance contracts, maintain our equipment, plow snow and take training courses. It’s not all work though, and most of the crewmembers catch up on sleep, watch TV, and relax. By late February, most of us are ready to go back to work!

Do you enjoy what you do?

Definitely! Working in the "green" industry is a lot of hard work, but to look back and see the progress over the season is amazing. We get great satisfaction from seeing the before and after of each project we construct.

Why can’t you use blowers that make less noise?

When they come out we will be the first people in line to buy them! There have been a number of technological advances in sound dampening in the last 5 years, with more to come. Over time, the evolution has been toward quieter machines.