Come Join Our Team!

Company News

Do you have a knack for growing and caring for plants? Do you like helping people visualize what’s possible around their property and landscape? Is working outdoors a dream for you? Do you enjoy collaborating, creating and maintaining outdoor spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, socially impactful, and environmentally responsible? Here at Stephens Landscaping Professionals, we are always looking to grow our team of hardworking and talented individuals

Landscaping Year-Round

Working for a landscaping firm is so much more than going out on a sunny day to mow a lawn and trim some hedges. At Stephens Landscaping Professionals, we specialize in the design, permitting, construction, and maintenance of a number of exceptional residential and commercial landscapes in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and beyond.

This means we work with our clients from the very beginning to very end of their projects and are involved at every step. Clients come to us with their ideas, and work with our landscape architect and design team to put those ideas into a plan. Our staff gets the plans approved and permits pulled, and their dedicated project manager works with them through every construction phase.

We also work on projects like excavation and sitework, helping clients prepare properties for construction and major landscape renovations, or for the change of seasons. We’ve helped homeowners with septic work, carpentry projects, property maintenance, snow and ice management, property management, and of course, all kinds of landscaping including lawn, tree, shrub and flower planting and maintenance, outdoor living space installations, the building of lakeside beaches and docks and decks, and so much more.

What Does a Career Path at Stephens Landscaping Professionals Look Like?

We offer so many career options! If you don’t have much work experience, you can come to us with a high school education or GED and get trained on the job. Along the way, you’ll be able to get certifications for hardscaping, plant knowledge, or even to work with certain types of machinery, which will help you build a long-term career. You’ll have an opportunity to learn and advance depending on your interests across the variety of services we offer to our clients.

If you find landscaping to be your calling, you might want to consider furthering your education and pursuing a degree related to landscaping, such as horticulture, arboriculture, or landscape management, where you can use your degree to pursue jobs in project management, account management, or design.

Landscaping careers can include groundskeepers, account managers, landscape forepersons, carpenters, supervisors, architects, landscape designers, tree specialists, turf managers, and so much more. If you are interested in working outdoors, landscaping as a career is definitely worth checking out.

Why Work with Stephens Landscaping Professionals?

Stephens Landscaping Professionals was started in 2007 by brothers John and Mark Stephens. Now employing over 75 dedicated employees, Stephens Landscaping Professionals is one of the Lake Region’s most innovative and respected landscaping companies. We value each and every one of our employees, and we strive to maintain a work culture that is challenging, rewarding, and fun. In addition to competitive pay, we offer:

  • Company Paid Life Insurance
  • Paid Vacation + Sick Time
  • Company Paid Short Term Disability
  • Provided Uniform
  • Employee Development Opportunities
  • Boot Allowance
  • Health + Dental Insurance Programs
  • IRA Plan with Company Match

To find out more about our company culture, read what some team members have to say, and explore current job openings, please visit our Careers page.

Keeping it Green

Landscape Maintenance

We’re well into the hottest part of the summer now, and our lawns, plantings, and gardens are looking very lush and healthy. Unfortunately, August is when droughts usually occur in New Hampshire, so it can be a struggle to keep our lawns looking green and our gardens well-watered. But with a little care, a well-designed irrigation system, and a carefully thought-out watering schedule, your lawn, plantings, and garden will survive the heat of late summer and thrive even into the late fall months.

Water, Water Everywhere

There are a lot of things to consider when planning to install an irrigation system on your property, such as water pressure, water volume, positioning to prevent run off, etc., that’s best left to professionals, but in this blog, we’ll discuss some basics to help you make an informed choice when considering what’s right for you and your property.

There are two types of irrigation systems for landscapes, sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation, and a well-designed irrigation system usually includes both kinds, as they serve different purposes. Both systems will have pipes buried under the lawn and garden to supply water to your lawn, garden, shrubbery, and trees.

Sprinkler irrigation systems are the watering systems we are most used to seeing in lawns and in gardens. They shoot out water to small or large areas of lawns or plantings. They pop up when needed, and retract when not in use, to be out of the way of lawn mowers and people, and to keep the property from looking unsightly.

  • Rotary sprinklers are high pressure heads that pop up and rotate to cover a large area when in use. They are adjustable and can cover arcs between 20 and 360 degrees.
  • Spray heads disperse a lower volume of water and are made to cover a smaller area of land. They spray water in a circle, but do not move. They work well if you want to water a specific area or planting.

Drip irrigation is used most often in vegetable gardens and amid plantings like shrubs, trees, and flower beds. This process involves soft hoses with have tiny holes, and water leeches out at a slow and steady pace. It’s a very efficient watering system, as it slowly feeds water directly to the roots of your plants, keeping moisture levels in the perfect range. As water is dripped below the soil’s surface, there is little chance for run off or evaporation, and the system is designed to run daily unless it rains.

Setting Up a Schedule

Here in NH, it’s recommended that watering is done between sunrise and 10 am, or 6pm and midnight, and watering is not needed if it has rained within the last 48 hours or if it’s scheduled to rain within the next 24 hours. By keeping to this schedule, no to minor adjustments should be needed if drought restrictions come into effect in your community.

Most lawns need to have about an inch of water or so a week, yours may need more or less depending on a variety of conditions. Call us at 603.707.0630 and we can work with you to help you come up with a good watering schedule based on what kind of grass and soil you have, and how long it takes your sprinkler to distribute an inch of water, so you can be sure your landscape is not over or under watered.

Controlling the Flow

While developing a schedule is crucial, life doesn’t always follow a plan, no matter how well that plan is thought out. Droughts happen, rainstorms happen, and schedules get pushed to the wayside. The best way to control any complication to your plan is to attach your irrigation system to a smart controller. A controller is as vital a part of your irrigation system as your sprinkler heads, so make sure to take the controller into consideration when choosing your system.

The controller should automatically adjust to weather conditions and cut down on any unnecessary water use. Be sure to choose a controller that connects to the Cloud, and that has an app so you can control and check up on your system by phone. And preferably one that has a forecast function, so it keeps itself aware of current weather conditions. A good controller is one that will control the different zones of your system differently, so your vegetable garden can be set up on a different schedule than your lawn and your shrubs, for example.

At Stephens Landscaping, keeping your property lush, green, and healthy is our goal. Our full-service irrigation division will manage your irrigation system from spring to fall.  This service includes starting your system in the spring, water management throughout the changing seasons, and shutting your system down at the end of the fall.  We also perform system repairs, system retrofits, and system upgrades to smart-watering technology. Call us at 603.707.0630 or reach out by email and we’ll be happy to chat with you about your ideas and specific needs.

Everything Your Moultonborough Garden Needs Before Winter

Garden Center

Songbirds flying south, trees dropping leaves, insects preparing for hibernation—all around us, the ecosystem is getting ready for winter. Likewise, it’s time to prep our garden and lawns for the months ahead. Here’s a guide to give your landscapes enriching fall care, whether you plan to leave for the off-season or live in New Hampshire year-round. 

Cut Back and Remove Diseased Plant Matter 

When it comes to a fall clean-up, the primary task on most gardeners’ minds is to cut back any dead leaves or flower stalks on their perennials. It’s essential to do this for plants infected with aphids, powdery mildew, slugs, or any other pests. Cleaning up diseased material now prevents the spread next spring. Be careful to keep any diseased material out of your compost bin!

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-Moultonborough-cutting back perennials

Cut Back or Leave Other Perennials

If your perennials are disease-free, you have the option to cut them back or leave them. The sole purpose for cutting them back is to have a cleaner appearance in the garden over winter and save you time during the spring clean-up. Like plants in the forest, your landscape plants will do perfectly well if you leave them. In fact, your garden stands to benefit, as dead plant matter provides important habitat for overwintering insects, like solitary native bees, daddy long legs, and butterfly caterpillars.

The only exceptions are peonies, lilies, hostas, and irises, which can be susceptible to fungus if you leave the dead stalks. Remember to cut these back, but feel free to leave the others. 

Note: the following perennials should never be cut back in New Hampshire: heuchera, heucherella, tiarella, grasses, lavender, Russian sage, hibiscus, ajuga, lamium, lambs ear, sedum, roses, perennial geraniums, ferns, brunnera, bergenia, and most hydrangeas.

Leave Seed Heads for Birds and Winter Interest 

Another benefit of leaving some perennials standing is for winter interest in the garden. Any perennials with strong flower stalks to withstand snow and interesting seed heads are good candidates, including hydrangeas, globe thistle, ligularia, blazing star, sea holly, black-eyed Susan’s, and ornamental grass. The seed heads also provide food for resident birds when other food is scarce. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-Moultonborough-ladybug in garden

Leave the Leaves in Your Garden 

Autumn leaves are a gift of nutrients and mulch for your garden. They hold moisture in the soil during the dry spells of winter, nourish the soil as they break down, and provide essential nesting sites for countless beneficial insects, including ladybugs, lacewings, and cocooning moths and butterflies. Keep some leaves in your garden, and you’ll retain these insects, which become natural pest controllers next year, pollinators for your vegetables, food for the birds, and beautiful creatures of their own.   

Note: to reap the most benefits from leaves, remember to wait until the insects emerge from hibernation next year before you start your spring clean-up. If you have an excess amount of leaves on your lawn in the fall, rake them up and use them as the all-important “browns,” or carbon component, in your compost pile.

Spread Compost on Your Soil 

Whether you’re growing vegetables, perennials, fruit trees, or shrubs, all gardens benefit from compost in the fall. It replaces the nutrients your plants use during the growing season and mixes into the soil over winter, making your beds ready for planting next spring. For avid gardeners or anyone who wants to grow exceptionally tasty and nutritious food, it’s also a good time to take a soil test and add any minerals you find missing. Caring for soil in the fall with compost and amendments leads to healthier plants, which are more resilient against pests.   

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-Moultonborough-mulching leaves in grass

The Essentials of Fall Lawn Care in New Hampshire

  • Mow and Mulch Leaves: too many leaves left on your grass can suffocate it over the winter. It’s best to shred some with the mower, leaving them behind as nutrients for your lawn, and transfer the rest to your garden or compost pile. 
  • Aerate, if Necessary: aeration helps loosen compacted lawns and bring airflow to the roots. It’s only necessary if your lawn is hard and compacted. 
  • Feed Your Lawn: just like your garden, you can improve the soil and health of your lawn by raking in a light layer of compost. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-Moultonborough-sharpening pruning shears

Other Important Tasks for Fall Lawn and Garden Care 

  • Note Perennials to Divide in the Spring: it’s too late to divide perennials now, but you can look for any plants that are crowded or have dieback in the center, make a note, and plan to divide them in the spring.  
  • Water Evergreens: giving them water in the fall helps them retain moisture throughout the winter and prevent winter burn.
  • Final Tool Care: after all your garden and lawn care is complete, clean any tools, sharpen them, and oil them for protection against rust over the winter. 

For supplies or other questions on garden and lawn care for winter, visit Stephens Landscaping Garden Center in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, and follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more updates! 

Water and Your Landscaping

Landscape Maintenance

In this month’s blog, we’ll discuss how to deal with the water conditions of your property: having not enough and having too much.

Dealing with Drought

If it hasn’t rained for a while, look for signs that your landscaping is experiencing water stress—plants with stunted growth or brown or yellow leaves, trees dropping leaves and have some dead branches, plants in the garden may not have flowers or start to seed early, and your lawn may start to show footprints or can’t “bounce back” after you walk on it or may even begin to show brown spots in some areas.

If a drought is coming, there are steps you can take immediately to minimize the damage:

  • Add mulch to garden areas and bare spots. Mulch keeps areas cool and traps moisture.
  • Don’t add any new plants; instead, focus your watering efforts to your existing landscape.
  • Don’t fertilize your plants or lawn. If you must fertilize, cut the amount of fertilization by half. Your lawn and plants are trying to survive, not grow. Fertilization is not needed at this time.
  • Pruning is not necessary, but remove dead branches and leaves, stalks, etc.
  • If plants look like they are going to die, remove them. Try not to waste water on something that will not make it through the drought.
  • Pull weeds. Eliminating weeds will cut down on unnecessary water usage, and your landscaping will look better.

When mowing your lawn, don’t mow too short. Keeping the blades long will shade the soil, reduce evaporation, and minimize any heat damage that may happen during the drought. Consider leaving the clippings on the lawn to help protect it and return nutrients to the soil.

If the drought is really bad and it looks like it will continue, consider letting your lawn go dormant; most grass is drought resistant and will recover when a steady supply of rain returns.

If you have ornamental plants around your yard, consider how long is left in the season. If it’s an annual, is it worth keeping them alive? If the season is almost over, it might be easier to let them die. If you’ve planted shrubs and trees in the past one or two years, they are more susceptible to being lost. Focus your watering efforts on new plantings, those plantings that are expensive to replace, or anything that you’ve planted that has sentimental value.

How to Water During a Drought

Once a drought is firmly established, soil will begin to harden and get impacted. Add water slowly so it gets absorbed instead of running off. A good way to make sure water gets absorbed well is to use soaker hoses. After running for an hour check that water has penetrated down about an inch; if not, run the water longer.

It’s best to water on a schedule, and to water in the early morning. This will stop the water from evaporating and allow time to soak in the soil. Do not water at night; wet grass overnight can cause fungus to grow.

If you have an irrigation system, it’s best to use a timer. Some irrigation systems can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi to monitor weather conditions. These systems control when and how you water your property and respond to water, weather, and soil conditions to deliver the right amount of water at the right time.

Water, Water Everywhere

What if we’re having a rainy summer and we’re experiencing the opposite problem? If you have noted areas of your lawn or garden where water pools, there are things you can do to avoid erosion and have your plants or lawn die from too much water.

One thing you can do is aerate your lawn to assure water is penetrating the dirt’s surface. By doing so, you’ll direct water to the roots of your grass, which will make it stronger and more lush when the rain stops. And it’ll make the soil less compact, allowing it to drain easier.

Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean, so the runoff doesn’t create erosion around the foundation of your home, garage, or other outdoor structures and buildings.

When planning your landscaping, be sure to properly grade your lawn, garden, and flower beds. And choose plants that love water—ask us if you’re unsure.

For existing landscapes, add soil and grade the surface away from your home. Consider adding terraces to your landscape to help water run down slopes. Prune your landscaping to allow sunlight to dry areas.

For areas that always seem wet or are susceptible to pooling, you might have to install a drain, or consider changing the layout to a hardscape. You can add a permanent water feature and incorporate that area, like a pond, water garden or even a meandering stream with a bridge to your yard.

At Stephens Landscaping, we have a lot of experience helping homeowners come up with a plan for drought and overwatering. Let us help you and your landscape; call us at 603.707.0630 or contact us today.

Making the Most of Mulch

Landscape Maintenance

Mulching has been favored by gardeners and landscapers alike for many years, as mulching adds a nice finishing touch to well-landscaped grounds and protects plants, trees, and shrubbery. Since mulch can affect the soil beneath the mulch, it must be applied properly to not damage the root system of your plants. We’ll discuss what to consider when adding mulch to your property so you can make sure your gardens, yard and landscaping look their best year-round.

What is mulch?

Mulch is the name used for a substance that’s put on top of soil to provide protection or add visual interest to an area. When you are deciding which mulch to use in your landscaping, remember, the best mulch is an organic material, that is, it’s a substance that already comes from nature. Common mulches are made of bark/wood chips, and moss. Mulch comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that best complements your property features and landscape design.

Why use mulch?

Mulch has been used to add an aesthetic, decorative touch to landscapes for decades. Mulching around plantings, shrubs and trees adds a dimension of shading under foliage as well as contrast under brightly colored flowers. But mulch serves much more than a decorative purpose.

Mulch can help deter weed growth among your plantings by not allowing sunlight to pass down to them. It will help the soil around your plantings retain moisture, which is always beneficial to their growth, especially in dry periods. Mulch traps water and slows evaporation from the surface of the soil, so plants stay hydrated longer, reducing the need for frequent watering. It can protect your plants during periods of heavy rain, as it will absorb water and protect the roots; mulch will also help minimize soil erosion around your plantings.

Mulch can also help protect your plant’s roots during periods of extreme heat, as it acts as an insulator. The use of mulch can reduce the occurrence of heat damage to both the base of your plants and the surrounding soil. It will also help your plants resist pest and plant disease; in fact, organic mulches provide earthworms and micro-organisms with food, which is great for your plants and your plant health.

During decomposition, organic mulches add beneficial nutrients back into the soil, enriching your soil for next year.

Apply mulch correctly

Once you’ve decided on the “what” (type and color) of the mulch you want to use on your property, you’ll want to focus on the “how” of spreading the mulch. Improperly spread mulch can not only be disruptive to the overall design of your yard, it can also be damaging to a garden or landscape. Mulch that’s applied too thickly can be damaging to a plant’s root system and may stop water from making its way down to the root of the plant, or not allow the area surrounding a plant to drain correctly after watering or a rainstorm.

Start your mulch application by cleaning out the areas where you want to apply mulch. Take out the weeds, sticks, leaves, etc. that have accumulated over the winter months, and water if necessary. Then start spreading the mulch; it’s best to lay down mulch in a depth of approximately 2 inches.

If you’re putting mulch down around plants, shrubbery, and trees, etc., make sure to keep the mulch around three inches away from the plant itself, to help with air circulation around the root of the plant. However, if you’re mulching a vegetable garden, you do want to mulch right up to the stalk of the plant, to help with water retention. Water the whole area after mulching.

At Stephens Landscaping, we have a lot of experience with using many kinds of mulch, and we’d love to discuss which kinds and colors of mulch are right for your landscape and garden. Call us at 603.707.0630 or reach out by email.