Smart Irrigation

In our previous article we spoke specifically about the Rachio Smart Irrigation system and what features a good smart controller needs to have. In this article we talk about smart irrigation in general.

Smart Irrigation Systems – Saving water

Smart sprinklers and irrigation controllers can simplify home lawn and garden care, and reduce water consumption.

Instead of fixed timers, these systems draw on data from sensors, weather forecasts and plant-care databases to determine watering needs. They deliver just enough moisture at just the right time. Lower your water bill, and check up on your plants from anywhere in the world using mobile and web apps.

EPA standards

According to the EPA, in the United States, outdoor water use alone averages more than 9 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscape irrigation. As much as 50% of this water is wasted due to over watering caused by inefficiencies in traditional irrigation methods and systems. Smart irrigation control technologies can significantly reduce over watering by applying water only when plants need it.

Not all controllers are made equal so the EPA came up with the WaterSense stamp of approval. WaterSense labeled controllers allow watering schedules to better match plants’ water needs. With proper installation, programming, and maintenance, homeowners and businesses can use WaterSense labeled controllers instead of standard clock-timer controllers on their existing systems, and no longer worry about wasted water.

To earn the WaterSense label, landscape irrigation controllers must be able to adequately meet the watering needs of a landscape without over watering. As with all other WaterSense labeled products. WaterSense labeled controllers will be independently certified to ensure that they meet the criteria for efficiency and performance.

Replacing a standard clock timer with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller can save an average home nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually. If every home in the United States with an automatic irrigation system installed and properly operated a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller, we could save $435 million in water costs and 120 billion gallons of water across the
country annually from not over watering lawns and landscapes. That’s equal to the annual household water needs of nearly 1.3 million average American homes.

The Benefits

If you’re a typical property owner, you probably put your automatic sprinkler system into the same category as your heating and cooling system. You expect it to work reliably and efficiently with minimum fuss. Smart irrigation controllers saves water, saves time, adds convenience.

There are two major types of smart irrigation controllers: weather-based and on-site soil moisture sensors. The right solution depends on your geographic location and landscape environment. Not wanting to baffle you with too much detail here. We suggest that you contact us to discuss the various options for your site.

We have installed smart irrigation systems in Denver and in the greater Chicago areas where we have our teams located.

Let us conduct an irrigation audit for you to help determine the best smart irrigation solution for your property.

Recycling Pool Heaters

The question about Recycling Pool Heaters often comes up.

When you remove as many pools as we do here at MackLand we tend to accumulate a lot of recyclable material such as pool heaters. Recycling pool heaters at a state regulated facility follows our ethos of being as friendly to the environment as possible on every job that we do.

How do you prove you’re the industry leader?  Drop off 33 pool heaters at a time from our Illinois operation, to be reborn into new products that you may be using tomorrow.

Both our Chicagoland and Denver Metro operations strive to reduce the impact to your property and to reduce the impact to the environment by keeping trash out of the landfill and recycling all the various debris generated from a pool removal including the Recycling Pool Heaters. 

Doing the right things today for tomorrow.

It makes no difference if it’s an all concrete pool removal in Northbrook, IL or an indoor pool removal in Colorado Springs , CO

Don’t do anything before Contacting us about removing your pool.


Xeriscaping is known as the art of conserving water through creative landscaping.

The concept was coined and trademarked by Denver Water, the city of Denver’s water department, during a difficult drought period in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Since then Xeriscaping has become more mainstream even in areas where this is no drought but where people would like to conserve water for many other reasons.

Yards that embrace xeriscape ideas actually feature all manner of plants and garden styles, including cottage gardens. The term simply refers to a landscape that minimizes water use.

For a Xeriscape exercise to be successful the following steps need to be considered.

  • Thorough planning and design of the overall area
  • Improving the soil with organic matter to hold more moisture
  • Practical turf management.  Turf grasses have a place in xeriscapes for recreational space, for pets, or just for their aesthetic appeal. However, because turf grass uses more water and maintenance than any other part of the xeriscape, it is recommended only for limited areas that serve a specific purpose. Lawns created primarily for appearance could be replaced by attractive alternatives, which also reduce erosion, prevent the sun’s glare, and cool the local environment.
  • Appropriate plant selection is key. As you research xeriscaping plants, always select ones that are winter hardy in your zone. Many of these water-wise plants demand well-drained soil. Take time to amend soil in planting beds with compost or grit, which includes things like gravel, pulverized granite, terra-cotta pot pieces or builder’s sand.
  • Efficient irrigation practices, such as “smart systems” like those from Rachio that recognize moisture content or drip systems which lessen evaporation.
  • The use of mulches, both organic (compost, wood chips, bark, etc.) or others such as gravels, cobbles or decomposed granite.
  • And finally, on-going maintenance of the garden to ensure long term health and appearance.

As members of the American Society of Landscape Architects we have years of experience and are eminently qualified to assist you in your xeriscaping pursuits.  We are able to tackle xeriscaping in Chicago and xeriscaping in Denver with teams in both of these areas and surrounds.

Contact us and we will get right back to you.


Compact Excavator Advantages

The compact excavator or mini excavator has many advantages with very few disadvantages.  You will notice that we use the compact excavator for a great deal of the services we offer.

Here are some of the many projects that we tackle where the compact excavator is used.

  • Swimming Pool Removals
  • Grading & Drainage
  • Boulder and Outcropping Stone Walls
  • Electrical Trenching
  • Underground Utilities
  • Detention Pond Maintenance
  • Detention Ponds
  • Fish Ponds
  • Topsoil
  • Fill Dirt
  • Landscape Berms
  • Small Structure Demolition
  • Heating Oil Tank Removal
  • Concrete Removal
  • Driveway Removal
  • Debris Removal
  • Lot Clearing & Buckthorn Removal
  • Parking Lot Additions

A compact excavator is a large piece of equipment, driven by a qualified worker, that can be used for either digging or demolition. Because these excavators are smaller than other types of similar equipment, they are generally used for small to medium-sized projects.  These machines may not have the digging depth of their full-sized counterparts, but they bring superior capabilities to smaller digging operations in close quarters.

One of the biggest benefits of using a mini excavator is that it brings a lot of power to a small space. Even projects that don’t provide much room for large equipment, a mini excavator may be able to handle with ease. They have a small foot print but are very powerful and can manage even tough tasks.

There are two basic types of attachments that can be used with a compact excavator, those used for digging and those used for demolition. The type of attachment we use will depend on the project we are working on and some projects may require us to use a few different kinds of attachments.


Compact Excavator Advantages

 More versatility.  – Different attachments to accomplish a variety of tasks using one machine. For example, you could drill a hole with an auger, demolish concrete with a breaker or move concrete debris using a thumb.
Better maneuverability. – Features such as 360-degree turning, offset digging and reduced tail swing allow rented compact excavators to work productively in spaces where a full-sized excavator could not move.
Lower fuel expenses. – A compact excavator uses less fuel than larger excavating equipment does. You also can tow a compact excavator using smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Lighter footprint. – A rubber-tracked compact excavator can move over pavement without harming it. A compact excavator’s low ground pressure also minimizes damage to turf.
Less noise. – Compact excavators generate less noise than larger excavators, especially when moving across pavement or other hard surfaces.

Completing projects safely and efficiently is our number one priority. With good leadership and communication and using the best equipment for the job, you’ll end up with a great outcome every time. If you’re in the greater Denver or Chicago areas please contact us to discuss your compact excavator requirements.

Fiberglass Pool Removal

The location of this fiberglass pool removal job was in Huntley, Il.

This was an above ground salt water pool that had fallen into bad disrepair.

With the high water table, water was welling up underneath the pool ultimately leading to cracks in the middle.

This fiberglass pool was becoming a real hassle to maintain and the client wanted it removed.

We approached this fiberglass pool removal job with the same attention to detail that we approach all of our pool removal jobs.  One thing that did make this project stand out is that all the fill material was on site from when they excavated to put in the pool.

1. Call JULIE to do a utility locate prior to digging
2. Install plywood and/or wood chips to protect access path as needed
3. Pump out existing pool water and discharge to curb or on property
4. Safely disconnect and remove all pool utilities, gas and electric
5. Remove pool liner and dispose offsite
6. Break up and pulverize pool bottom into 10” recycled fractured concrete fill
8. Break up pool deck and pulverize pool deck into 10” minus recycled fractured concrete fill
9. Compact all fractured concrete in layers
10. Import fill, distribute and compact fill material
11. Import pulverized topsoil as needed
12. Grade entire disturbed area (all areas will be graded with positive drainage away from all structures)
13. Seed all disturbed areas with Kentucky Bluegrass mix with DS-75 Erosion Control (straw blanket)

This was a recent fiberglass pool removal and as a result we do not yet have photos to show how good the garden looks after the the removal exercise.

So if you live in the greater Denver or Chicago area and for whatever reason need your pool removed please make sure to contact us. Also make sure to visit our experience page to see some of our previous pool removal work.


Landscape Architect – why hire one?

At the bottom of our website you will notice the ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) logo of which we are a member.

What’s the significance of this and why should you hire a landscape architect who falls under this umbrella organization?

The Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship. Sustainability has been part of ASLA’s mission since its founding and is an overarching value that informs all of the Society’s programs and operations. ASLA has been a leader in demonstrating the benefits of green infrastructure and resilient development practices through the creation of its own green roof, co-development of the SITES® Rating System, and the creation of publicly-accessible sustainable design resources.

Residential Design


ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Vineyard Retreat, Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture/ image: Matthew Millman Photography

1. Landscape architects will increase the value of your home.
Hiring a landscape architect is one of the best investments for your home, adding as much as 15 percent to its value over comparable houses. A landscape architect is well equipped to design an outdoor living space that will not only add value, but also extend your living space while allowing you to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Arbors, installed seating, fountains, fire pits/fireplaces, patios, and even outdoor kitchens can create a space that is both inviting and environmentally sustainable. And research from Virginia Tech shows that landscapes literally grow in value over time, while traditional home additions or remodels start to lose value the minute the dust settles.Increase Value
ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Hill Country Prospect, Studio Outside Landscape Architects / image: Arlen Kennedy Photography and Robert Reck Photography

2. Landscape architects have a plan. 
A big advantage of hiring landscape architects is that they’re trained to think about landscapes as systems. They will assess your property’s problem areas as well as possibilities and create a solid plan that addresses both the big picture and exact details of how your landscape will look. They will also help you select the perfect materials, styles, textures, and colors for your landscape project. A landscape architect will handle all the details, saving you time and stress.
Plan2014 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Category, City House in a Garden, McKay Landscape Architects / image: McKay Landscape Architects

3. Landscape architects design low-maintenance gardens featuring beautiful native plants.
 For those who are looking for low-maintenance gardens, native plants are the way to go—and a landscape architect will incorporate them into your landscape design. Native plants reduce water costs and often reduce chemical applications, and insects like bumble bees and butterflies flourish among them. One trend that relies on native plants is called xeriscaping, which reduces the need for supplemental watering or irrigation.
2015 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Category, West Texas Ranch, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc. / image: Terry Moore, Christine Ten Eyck, Trish Bigler

4. Landscape architects know where to place trees to lower energy bills. 
The proper placement of trees and large shrubs can actually lower energy bills by reducing heating and cooling costs, and a knowledgeable landscape architect knows exactly where they should be placed.
Permeable Paving
2014 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Category, City House in a Garden, McKay Landscape Architects / image: Linda Oyama Bryan

5. Landscape architects incorporate permeable paving.
 Permeable paving can offer solutions for driveway flooding or just add beauty to patios and sidewalks, while reducing runoff and encouraging groundwater recharge. A landscape architect will integrate permeable paving into your home landscape.

Lower Energy
ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Vineyard Retreat, Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture / image: Matthew Millman Photography

6. Landscape architects design beautiful rain gardens.
 A landscape architect will create a properly-placed rain garden for backyards that might experience seasonal flooding. Rain gardens also create a habitat for birds and beneficial insects. These gardens help to filter rainwater runoff away from sidewalks and lawns and allow the water to infiltrate back into the ground. They are more attractive than a storm drain or French drain.

Natural Pools
ASLA 2014 Award of Excellence, Residential Category, Woodland Rain Gardens, Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects / image: Rebecca A. O’Neal and Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects

7. Landscape architects design natural swimming pools. Unlike the aquamarine-colored pools of the past, a natural pool looks and sometimes acts like a natural pond, but also offers all the benefits of a chlorinated pool with less maintenance and harsh chemicals. A landscape architect will work with you to create a beautiful, all-natural backyard pool.Natural Pools 2
ASLA 2010 Honor Award, Residential Category, Bridle Road Residence, Rees Roberts & Partners / image: Scott Frances

8. Landscape architects can devise the perfect drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation systems water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternative to sprinkler systems. But an incorrectly-installed irrigation system can not only cost extra dollars on a monthly water bill, but it can also kill all of the new plants it’s meant to be helping. Over-watering is a huge problem in many residential landscapes and one that can be easily avoided by hiring a landscape. Be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.Drip Irrigation 2

9. Landscape architects offer expertise from start to finish. Landscape architects will remain involved with the construction and follow through. What the homeowner may consider a long weekend project might actually take weeks.Cobbles

10. Landscape architects will design a landscape you will love. Landscape architects will deliver a finished project that you will love but also comply with regulations and codes. It will be a special place that you and your family and friends will enjoy for years to come.Love
ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Vineyard Retreat, Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture / image: Matthew Millman Photography

With credit to The American Society of Landscape Architects

6 Winter Backyard Tips

Just because winter is just around the corner doesn’t mean your backyard must lie dormant until spring. Here are some tips to follow that will help make your winter backyard a little more appealing during those cooler months.

Heat your pool

If you have a pool, winterizing this part of your backyard is probably one of your first priorities at the end of summer. What if we told you you didn’t have to drain and cover your pool at all this winter? There are a number of innovative solar powered technologies to choose from. Ask us and we will point you in the right direction depending on your needs.

Cover furniture and water features

If you live in an area that suffers from harsh winters then it would be worthwhile to protect your various outdoor items that could get damaged by the freezing temperatures and snow.

For items like fountains or grills, heavy duty vinyl covers should keep them safe and dry all winter. For outdoor furniture, look for covers made from water-resistant material to prevent any damage to fabric.

Winter Storm Preparedness

Patio Heating

For any outdoor space in the winter to be appealing, it needs to be heated. If you don’t keep it warm then you’re going to prefer to rather stay indoors. Wood burning or gas fire pits always make a great option here, as they can double as both a heating device and a great patio centerpiece.

For the smaller outdoor space, try something like an electric patio heater, which is both powerful and compact, providing plenty of heat without needing a lot of room.

Landscape Lighting

With fewer daylight hours during winter, outdoor lighting becomes even more important in your winter backyard plan. When you have a great landscape lighting plan in place it would encourage you to spend more time outside. Different areas call for different types of lighting, just like inside the home. For romantic lighting over a table for two, choose low wattage bulbs, but for a well-lit area for the kids to play, go with brighter LED bulbs that will incidentally use up 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
Line walkways and patios with staggered path lights, adding in some ambient lighting within the beds for depth. Accentuate architectural details you want to highlight with strategically placed light fixtures.

Heat your driveway/patio

Staying safe and slip-free is the number one reason to install a heated driveway or patio snow melting system. The main reason people do this is for safety. Many driveways are impossibly steep and homeowners are afraid of the fall hazard presented by ice build-up on drives and walks. So, making these areas more appealing and spend more time out there.

Move your plants indoors

If you have plants that can be easily transplanted, try moving them indoors before you get your first freeze. For outdoor planters too big to bring inside, wrap them with a heavily insulated material, like burlap, to keep the soil warmer and prevent damage to the planter itself. To reduce the shock of moving from outdoors to indoors, now’s the time to bring plants in to overwinter.

Bonus Tip

In a previous blog post we spoke about chickens in the garden.

Here are some simple tips to make life more comfortable for the chickens during winter.

1) Close all the coop windows and vents except a few small vents up high.

2) Add a thick barrier of straw to the floor and walls.

3) Try the Deep Litter Method.

4) Make a wind block in a sunny corner of your run.

5) Add logs or stumps for the backyard chickens to stand on to get up off the cold, snowy ground.

6) Feed scratch grains or suet treats before bedtime.


Winter Storms preparedness

Know your risk


Winter storms occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. Winter storms can range from freezing rain and ice, to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures.

Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions.


Winter storms and colder than normal temperatures can happen in every region of the country.


Winter storms can occur from early autumn to late spring depending on the region.

Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

  • Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Make an emergency kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency.
  • Keep space heater safety in mind: Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Remember to keep all heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.
  • Prepare your home:
    • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
    • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
    • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
    • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
    • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
    • If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat. Also, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.
    • Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
      • Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats
      • Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas log fireplace
  • Vehicle Prepardeness:
    • Fully winterize your vehicle: Have a mechanic check antifreeze, brakes, heater and defroster, tires, and windshield wipers to ensure they are in good shape. Keep your gas tank at least half full.
    • Keep an extra emergency kit specifically created for your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.
    • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
    • Sand to improve traction.
  • Make sure you have a cell phone with an emergency charging option (car, solar, hand crank, etc.) in case of a power failure.
  • People who depend on electricity to operate medical equipment should have alternate arrangements in place in case power is out for an extended period of time.
  • Plan to check on elderly/disabled relatives and neighbors.
  • Plan to bring pets inside.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it in case you lose power.
  • Fill a gallon container with water and place them in the freezer to help keep food cold.
  • A NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.

During Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

Cold Related Illness

  • Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness
    • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
    • Warnings signs of hypothermia:
    • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
    • Infants:  bright red, cold skin, very low energyIf you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Stay or Go


  • If stuck on the road to avoid exposure and/or when rescue is likely
  • If a safe location is neither nearby or visible
  • If you do not have appropriate clothing to go outside
  • If you do not have the ability to call for help


  • If the distance to call for help is accessible.
  • If you have visibility and outside conditions are safe.
  • If you have appropriate clothing.
  • Once the storm has passed, if you are not already home, follow instructions from your local transportation department and emergency management agency to determine if it is safe to drive and, if so, which route will be safest for you to get home. Drive with extra caution.

After Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Winter Weather Watches and Warnings

  • Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme winter weather alerts:
  • Freezing Rain – Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
  • Sleet – Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Wind Chill– Windchill is the temperature it “feels like” when you are outside. The NWS provides a Windchill Chart to show the difference between air temperature and the perceived temperature and the amount of time until frostbite occurs. For more information, visit:
  • Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening. The NWS issues a winter weather advisory when conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.
  • Winter Storms Watch – A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information. The NWS issues a winter storm watch when severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area but the location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of a potential severe storm. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies, and gather any items you may need if you lose power.
  • Winter Storms Warning – A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
  • Blizzard Warning – Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
  • Frost/Freeze Warning – Below freezing temperatures are expected.

If you’re in the Chicago area and would like to discuss other winter landscaping measures including heated driveways then please contact us.

With acknowledgement to the  Department of Homeland Security

Above Ground Pool Removal

The process of above ground pool removal differs somewhat to the traditional concrete pool removal. Here we will discuss the process of above ground pool removal a little more.

As discussed in our various previous posts there are many reasons why one  would want to remove a pool. What’s most important once you make the decision is to choose a contractor who follows best practice. It’s not just a case of smash it up and haul away the rubble.

Above Ground Pool Removal

The first step is to call in  Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators (JULIE)  1 week prior to start. JULIE provides Illinois excavators and underground utility owners with a continuously improving, one-call message handling and delivery service committed to protecting underground utilities and the safety of people working or living near them.

You may be surprised by what’s buried in your yard. That’s because most electric, gas, water, sewer and telecommunications companies are delivering utility services underground.

Few people know that state law requires you to notify JULIE at least two business days before any digging project regardless of the project size or depth so that can assist in ensuring that none of the utilities get damaged.

Next step is to pump out existing pool water and discharge to curb or on property. We keep abreast of the regulations in both the Chicago and Denver areas to ensure that the discharge of this water is done according to state requirements.

All pool utilities, gas and electric then need to be safely disconnected and removed.

The pool liner is then carefully removed and disposed of offsite.
The remaining supporting structure is disassembled and all materials are then recycled.
We then bring in the appropriate type of topsoil to cover the disturbed area that was previously under the above ground pool.
This area is then covered with sod or seeded according to the wishes of the client.

We are particularly familiar with pool removals in Northbrook. If you live in that area make sure to call us first.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to do your own above ground pool removal. We have been dong this for years and we will be in and out with the least amount of hassle and in the quickest time.

Contact us today for a friendly chat.

Robotic Mower – Which one for my lawn?

The Robotic Mower

Robotic vacuum cleaners have been around for some time but the Robotic Mower is relatively new to the market.

Here we will discuss a little more about how they work, what features to look for and how to choose the right one for your lawn.

Why buy a robotic mower when traditional lawn mowers have done the job for years?

No more gas mower servicing.

More free time while the robotic mower does the job for you.

Some distance between you and those allergy causing particles.

Less time being exposed to those harmful sun rays.

Frequent mowing means a perfect carpet like lawn every time with no weeds.

How do Robotic Mowers work?

A base station is installed that connects to your house mains. This base station is where the robotic mower lives and gets charged when it’s not mowing the lawn.

A guide wire that starts at the base station is run along the perimeter of the area to be so that the mower knows where all the edges are. At the end of it’s mowing cycle it will return to base on its own to continue charging, ready for the next day’s mowing.

Complex areas can be broken up into zones and using various accessories these zones can also be dealt with by the robotic mower.


Every day, the mower cuts a few millimeters of grass and leaves the clippings on the ground, fertilizing your lawn in a natural way.

Obstacles are easily handled with the robotic mower detecting obstacles and mowing around them.


What are the typical specifications?

There are a number of makes a models designed to handle everything from the smallest area all the way up to more than an acre. Depending on the model selected the specifications will fall somewhere in this range.

  •  LAWN SIZE : from 1/20th to a 1 1/4 Acre
  •  MOWING WIDTH : from 7 to 22 INCH
  •  MOWING HEIGHT : 0.5-3.14 INCH
  •  MOWING MOTOR : 200W-400W
  •  SLOPES : up to 50%

What are the typical features?

There are a number of models to choose from that will have a combination of the following features.

  • Reliability
  • Excellent cutting result
  • GPS-assisted navigation
  • Weather timer
  • Low noise
  • Cell phone app. control
  • Quick charge
  • Latest battery technology
  • Remote object detection
  • Weather proof
  • Anti-theft alarm


Mackland LLC has extensive knowledge about Ambrogio robotic mowers having installed them for customers and using them for their own purposes in both the Denver and Chicago areas.

Don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong product for the job ask the experts for advice. As part of your Chicago and Denver area landscaping architecture project, we will even source, deliver and install for you.