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Top 10 Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

Top 10 Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

With spring in the air, gardening, landscaping, and any reason to be outside is on everyone’s mind. While gardening is often a relaxing endeavor, it can be time-consuming. When we don’t have the time to invest in creating the outdoor oasis of our dreams, it can be tempting to do nothing at all. Instead, here are some low maintenance ideas that can help you create a beautiful outdoor space even if you do not have much time to invest.

Idea #1

Potted plants make a beautiful addition to porches, decks, and walkways. They are easy to maintain, and you can use a wide variety of things as planters. Using containers for your plants lets you move items around easily, so you can redesign your garden space anytime you want. One of the best advantages of using potted plants is that you don’t have to worry about weeds.

A fresh coat of paint on an old ladder can turn it into a fantastic plant holder. Use containers that fit well on the steps, use hanging baskets secured to the sides, or a combination of the two. This design allows you to upcycle an unused ladder while providing a unique focal point for your potted plants. If you enjoy fresh herbs, this would also make an excellent idea for a herb garden.

Old or new shudders, leaned against an exterior wall, can make a great centerpiece. Fill the slats with succulents or moss for a rustic look. This idea works great as a backdrop for your other potted plants.

Idea #2

There is no limit to the number of creative things you can do with landscaping stones. Create an edge around a small herb garden, or use large rocks to delineate a small area of your backyard. Then use small rocks to create an artistic display or write the names of your family. You can use stones purchased for the purpose or collect rocks and stones from the area around you.

Use colorful flat stones to create a spiral mosaic walkway. You can let your imagination go wild in choosing what design or colors you would like to use, and the walkway can be any length. You can use the spiral mosaics sporadically to add visual interest to a plain stone walkway.

Idea #3

Plant trailing periwinkle. Periwinkle has a well-earned reputation as one of the most low maintenance, hardy, flowering plants you could ever add to a garden. The trailing variety provides evergreen ground cover that chokes out weeds and provides a burst of color from mid-spring to late summer. Periwinkle attracts butterflies, so they are an added attraction in enjoying your time outdoors.

Idea #4

Wildlife of all types adds interest and appeal to any landscape. Install a birdbath, and hang a functional birdhouse and a couple of feeders in your backyard. All of those elements will add visual appeal that draws the eye, but the birds will be the stars of the show. Put these near a sitting area in your outdoor space, as it can become addicting to sit and watch the birds entertain.

Idea #5

Install mulch beds around your outdoor living space. Mulch breaks down to fertilize plants, reduces weeds, and provides visual appeal. It is also less work than grass and can reduce the time it takes to mow by doing away with the need to use a trimmer around fences or patios. As a bonus, mulch provides a pleasant aroma.

Idea #6

Plant lavender around porches, decks, and patios. The hardy plant comes back year after year and requires minimal upkeep and watering. The fragrant smell is calming for people and acts as a natural mosquito repellant.

Idea #7

Create crushed stone beds. Crushed stone has a nice clean look, and it is also a great way to treat areas in your yard where stagnant water tends to gather. The stone never has to be replaced, so it looks crisp and neat on its own, or it can serve as a lovely backdrop for other plants.

Idea #8

Put mulch in your beds before planting, and around trees. mulch prevents weed growth, so the more, the merrier for making your lawn as low maintenance as possible. Combining ideas, you can create a mulch border along a fence and then add pretty landscaping stones.

Idea #9

Plant your beds with perennials that will come back year after year. Choose low maintenance evergreen shrubs that will leave your landscape looking done with minimal maintenance and fuss.

Idea #10

Designate a part of your property to “remain wild.” Allowing one spot to remain in its natural state will give a woodland look to your outdoor space, attract wildlife, and require almost no maintenance. These spots are particularly inviting for wildlife if you have a natural stream or an installed water feature. Though it may seem counterintuitive at first, the place where you do the least can easily become the most beautiful spot in your garden.

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Tips

Spring Landscaping: Organic Garden Ideas

Spring Landscaping: Organic Garden Ideas

Spring is the perfect time of year to update your landscape design by planting new perennial plants, adding to the visual appeal by putting up a gazebo or a water feature, and sprucing up existing plants and shrubs. Landscaping increases the curb appeal of your home and serves to create an outdoor space you and your family enjoy.

Whether you are new to landscaping or looking for new ideas to add to your lawn or garden, spring is the perfect time to get started. Some plants, bulbs, and flowers do best when planted in the spring. Color is an essential part of the visual appeal of your landscape design, so the first step is deciding what colors you want to add.

Bulbs planted in the spring will be ready to bloom throughout the summer months. There are a few tips for planting bulbs to ensure that they grow strong and healthy. The depth you plant the bulb should be approximately two and a half times the depth of the bulb. So, if a bulb is two inches tall, you would plant the bulb about five inches below the surface. Most bulbs prefer well-drained soil, so avoid any soggy areas in your yard. Compost will help nourish your bulbs, so add a few shovelfuls of compost to the area where you will do your planting.

Hardy bulbs that do not require extensive maintenance to do well include:

  • Chinese Ground Orchids—these orchids only grow to about 18-inches in height and do best in shady areas. They come in purple, lavender, and white and will eventually develop an entire colony.
  • Hardy Begonia—as the name implies, these bulbs produce a low maintenance flowering plant that reaches approximately two feet in height. These Begonias can survive cold winters and come back to bloom year after year.
  • Oriental lilies—these beautiful flowers make a great focal point in your lawn or garden. They come in a broad range of heights and colors and will need to be staked as they grow. The flowers they produce are heavy, and they will need extra support.

Perennial flowers, in a riot of colors, scream that spring is finally here. Pansies are a classic favorite, used in beds, containers and window boxes. They can take full sun or partial shade, and last well into the depths of summer. If you have a woodland theme, the Bloodroot perennial is a great choice. The plant produces a white flower that lasts well into late spring or early summer, and thrive in shaded areas.

If you have never tried organic gardening techniques, this year is the perfect time to give it a try. One of the many benefits of organic gardening is that it makes sense to leave some part of your outdoor space vacant to allow wildlife to thrive. Leaving an area wild means less work, but adds a place of visual interest with no effort. Birds and insects that will thrive in this area will help pollinate your plants, and they will reduce pests that cause damage.

Other organic gardening ideas include:

  • Use three inches of mulch in organic beds. Mulch serves to keep weeds from growing, retains moisture in the soil and nourishes your plantings.
  • Consider the bio-intensive technique for a gorgeous look, or if you are planting in limited space. Biointensive planting places all plants close together, which prevents weed growth and saves water. Do your research about what plants thrive in tight confinement. You can combine things such as Tuscan Kale, Swiss chard, beets, and colorful herbs. These combinations give your garden a unique look while providing delicious organic food.
  • Water conservation, or even restrictions, are critical considerations in some areas. An organic, environmentally friendly way to water plants is to recycle a pretty bottle by filling it with water, then turning it upside down quickly and shoving it into the soil. The water will slowly leak out, providing a constant source of slow watering.
  • Use recycled cardboard to choke out weeds in your garden. Clear your space, cut the cardboard to fit your area, then layer with mulch and compost. The best part is that the cardboard will decay, nourishing the soil as it does.
  • Be creative in creating containers for your garden. Old boots, no longer needed handbags, wine crates, or salvaged wood can all be turned into one-of-a-kind containers that are budget and environmentally-friendly.
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Tips

Small Garden Patio Ideas

Small Garden Patio Ideas

Having a small outdoor space such as a patio garden can still let you create an enjoyable outdoor oasis with creativity and some space-saving landscape design ideas. Whether you want a retreat for relaxing, reading, or having coffee with a friend, or maybe you plan on hosting intimate dinners on a small patio. In order to make the most of your outdoor space, you need to start with a vision of what function you want the area to fulfill. Once you know how you want your outdoor garden to feel, you can pull together the pieces that work best with the space you have. All gardens should start with plants, so here are some tips to help you find the best planting ideas for small spaces.

Container Plants

If you do not have much green space to work with, you might want to use container plants for your outdoor garden patio. Container plants are easy to manage and care for, and the containers themselves can serve as décor pieces. Container gardens also make it easy to move them around and change the look depending on your mood or how you want to use the space.

 

Border Plants

Do you want to plant a border around your patio? Using foliage as a border allows you to define your patio space while adding greenery and color to suit your taste. Plants that do well as borders include:

  1. Tri-color sage—good for drier and sandy soil and likes full sunlight. Tri-color sage gives a splash of color year-round, and in the spring and summer, the lavender blooms will attract butterflies to your patio.
  2. Moss Phlox—a hardy and low maintenance plant that is drought tolerant makes a lovely border that does not require much work. It generally blooms in April and May and does well in full sun while tolerating sandy and rocky soil.
  3. Sweet Alyssum—known for its fragrant blooms, this plant thrives in many climates and is drought tolerant. It thrives best in full sun, except in scorching sun. In the hot sun, planting in partial shade will allow you to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of this border plant.
  4. Create a gorgeous border using herbs —combine thyme, oregano, English lavender, and sage to make a border with visual interest and a practical function of having fresh herbs on hand. Herbs have an added advantage of suppressing weeds, making your border easy to maintain.
  5. Consider a water feature to add interest and serenity to your space. You can find water features that will fit almost any sized garden patio area, so find the one that works best with the space and vibe you want to create. Flowing water is beautiful and relaxing and can also attract birds, wildlife, and hummingbirds to your patio.
  6. Add a fire pit or chiminea for cool evenings and to extend the amount of time you can use your outdoor living space. There is little that is more relaxing than a crackling fire on a cool evening. Fire adds a natural gathering spot for gathering around, and invites you to enjoy cool autumn days outside.

 

Ambiance & Landscape Lighting

 

Now that you have made your decisions about plants and borders, you can move on to creating the ambiance of your outdoor living space. The next step in creating your space is to pick out the furniture you want to use to entertain or enjoy your patio. It is important to choose the most comfortable furnishings for your outdoor space. Even on a small patio, you want to consider adding a table for outdoor dining and chairs that invite you to put your feet up and stay awhile, or curl up with a good book.

To complete your look, use landscape lighting to illuminate the masterpiece you have created. Solar lights come in many styles and shapes and will reduce any worry about electrical malfunctions. Use soft illumination around the edges of your patio to define the space and add additional lighting for the table and around the chairs. You can choose the romantic look of string lights, the elegance of coach lamps, or any combination that suits your needs.

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Tips

Easy Tips to Landscaping Your Garden

Easy Tips to Landscaping Your Garden

Your lawn is the first impression someone gets of your home and your lifestyle. It gives them an idea of the kind of person you are and the kind of house you keep. Therefore, your landscape design should reflect your personality and what you value most.

 

Determine Your Needs

The first step to designing your landscape is to determine its primary usage. Your yard should reflect your lifestyle. If you have children who need room to play, you need to have amble grass and plants that are not too fragile. If you have a green thumb and want a garden, consider if you’re going to grow food, flowers, or a mixture of both. If you want a low maintenance landscape design, consider plants and shrubbery that require little upkeep. Your needs will help you decide the layout of your landscape.

 

Flower Bed Borders

If you want to tidy up your flower beds and create a clean, polished look, consider adding a flower bed border or retainer wall. Flowers bed borders are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to add sophistication to your landscaping. You can get creative with the kind of brick or stones you use and showcase your personality with bright colors and intricate designs. A border also creates a barrier for plant roots and helps prevent soil erosion. It also helps keep weeds at bay and stops turf grass from growing into your gardening space.

 

Islands

Island beds are freestanding garden plots that are usually surrounded by grass. Many homeowners choose to add “islands” into their front yard to create a colorful focal point. Island beds should be visible from all sides, so consider this when selecting your location. It’s also essential to understand the purpose of your island. Are you trying to fill up an empty plot of grass or obscure an unpleasant view? Island beds in the center of yards can also make your yard appear larger.

 

Island spaces look best when plants of varying heights and colors are planted. Typically, homeowners choose to place the tallest plants in the center of the island and taper off in elevation as you move towards the edges. It’s essential to understand the bloom time of the plants you choose to place in your island bed as you want them to all be in bloom at the same time. If you live in a region with a harsh climate, consider adding decorative rocks and stones to your island to create an aesthetically pleasing winter feature.

 

Waterfeatures

A simple water feature can transform and tie together your entire landscaping design. Flowing water is a calming presence in any yard and can make your outdoor space an oasis of tranquility. Running water also attracts wildlife, so you can expect to see an increase in birds, squirrels, and other animals enjoying your backyard. Waterfeatures also improve the air quality around your house while reducing noise pollution.

 

Consolidate Annuals

Annual flowers need to be replanted every year, where perennial flowers come back each season. While annuals are short-lived plants, they tend to stand out in terms of color and design and are excellent accent pieces to incorporate throughout your landscape design. If you love certain annuals, consider putting these plants in standalone planters in highly visible areas of your yard to maximize their visual impact while they are in bloom. It can be tiresome and costly to plant new annuals in your flower beds each spring. Standalone planters reserved for annuals you love can cut down on your gardening time and add pops of color to areas of your yard that wouldn’t usually have them, such as by the front door, on a patio, or under a windowsill.

 

Walkways

Walkways are a great way to reduce foot traffic on your grass and connect points of interest. Walkways can be built using concrete stepping stones, decorative bricks, crushed stone, etc. depending on the purpose of the walkway and your budget. Walkways pull design elements together, so consider creating paths to showcase some of your favorite aspects of your outdoor space. Many homeowners choose to create pathways between patios and backdoors or between flowerbeds. If you are planning on using stone, gravel, or any other “loose” material, consider installing metal edging to keep it from overflowing into your garden or yard.

 

Creating an aesthetically pleasing outdoor living area can drastically increase your ability to entertain and enjoy the warmer months. Landscaping is typically an element of design most homeowners overlook. However, quality and well-maintained landscaping has the potential to increase your property value, create a lasting first impression of your home, and ultimately make your backyard a more pleasant and relaxing place to be!

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Keeping Your Plants Warm During Winter

Keeping Your Plants Warm During Winter

The winter months can be brutal on plants. Hopefully, you researched your zone and planted plants designed for Hamptons landscaping. Even if your plants are meant for the frigid winters of the Hamptons, there are steps to take to protect them during the winter cold.

The coastal climate of the Hamptons calls for unique preparedness measures for your lawn and garden. Though the weather remains temperate for most of the year, the Hamptons frequently receive heavy, wet snow. The snow usually does not last long, but the weight of the snow can do damage because its weight can break fragile branches and stalks.

Vulnerable plants include young plants, plants that were relocated late in the season and all plants during prolonged spells of snow and ice. Garden care for the landscape during the winter months should include:

  • Burlap sacks—Burlap sacks can be placed over the plants during hard freezes. The advantage of using burlap sacks is that they are easy to put on and take off during the winter months. Store them with your gardening supplies, and slide them over your plants when the weather turns brutal.
  • Add mulch to your soil in late autumn, or even at the first freeze. Why? Because adding mulch too early in the season invites an infestation of rodents that can damage your lawn. Waiting to apply mulch allows it to do its job of acting as an insulator to keep the soil warm, and retaining moisture, without worrying about inviting mice and moles. Mulch protects the delicate root systems of your plants and should be a part of your standard garden care.
  • Use landscape fabric designed to hold in warmth during the winter months. Fabrics like this will also help prevent weed growth in your beds.
  • Use frost protection cloth, which is sold in wide rolls. The fabric is easy to use and can cover wide swaths, such as hedges or beds. The fabric can be re-used when the next hard freeze rolls in.
  • Lighting designed to give off a small amount of warmth is also a popular trend in Hampton landscape design. The lighting can be arranged to do double duty in making your landscape aesthetically pleasing during long winter nights, while also providing enough warmth to keep plants safe from the cold.

Plants kept in containers, such as on decks and lining walkways, can be especially vulnerable to the effects of cold. In addition to the suggestions above, you can also re-arrange container plants so that they are protected from predominant winter winds. Plants in smaller containers can be kept in garages and garden sheds to keep them safe from the cold.

Winter winds from the north are dry and can make it challenging to maintain a healthy moisture level for your lawn and garden. The northern winds of the winter should be considered when designing your landscape, with natural barriers used as often as possible. You can also use plants and hedges that can withstand wind and do not need as much moisture in areas that are openly exposed to winds from the north.

Your other options for wind protection include windbreaks. You will see these frequently built on oceanfront properties. If you cannot construct a windbreak, then use anti-desiccant sprays that coat the plants with a long-lasting film of wax, latex or plastic-like material. The anti-desiccant sprays allow the plants to breathe while still giving protection from evaporation.

Protecting your plants from the harsh drying northern winds, combined with quality mulch applied at the right time, will go a long way in keeping your lawn and garden beautiful year-round. Add in winter lighting designed to give off enough heat to keep snow accumulations off any delicate plants, and you can have a landscape that is easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing during the winter.

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Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid During the Winter

Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid During the Winter

In most climates, winter can be hard on the landscaping you have worked so hard all year to maintain. To protect your grass, trees, plants and shrubs from the hazards of winter, these are the landscaping mistakes you want to avoid.

  • If you are new to an area or new to caring for your lawn, a critical mistake can be not understanding the zone where you live. Zones determine what type of plants, trees and shrubs will thrive. Planting for the wrong region can be a costly mistake if you decide to landscape your property without understanding the care the various plants and trees will need and if they are suitable for your particular zone.
  • Leaving grass clippings and fallen leaves on the ground over the winter. Foliage left on the ground mixes with moisture to form the perfect place for mold and fungus to thrive. Mold and fungus can not only leave you with unsightly patches of dead grass, but it can spread to the rest of your lawn or nearby shrubs and plants. Rake your yard well during the fall, but also continue to rake sporadically through the winter as foliage continues to fall to the ground.
  • Many people make the mistake of stopping watering during the winter months. Winter is not always synonymous with moisture, and in the absence of rain or snow, landscaping can suffer from a lack of water. Continue to water your for as long as it remains green, and water fruit trees and shrubs until temperatures drop to freezing.
  • Most spring bulbs are planted during the fall and early winter months. If you do not have them in the ground before the first freeze, you will not have the beautiful sprouts you want for the spring months.
  • Pesticides and weed killers require temperatures above 60 degrees to work. Using them around your r property in colder temps means you risk harming your plants for no gain as they will not be effective against pests.
  • It is tempting to store tools as usual after the last use of the season. Unfortunately, this often leads to accumulations of rust and other damage over the winter months. Make sure to clean, dry and oil your gardening tools before you store them over the winter.
  • The winter months are a great time to plan any changes and updates you plan to do to your landscaping. If you wait until spring to decide what you would like to add or change, you are missing out on valuable time to research and plan.
  • Most lawn maintenance and care slow down during the winter months, but the winter months are when you need to do any heavy pruning. Pruning when the plants or trees are dormant makes pruning less traumatic. Light pruning in the summer is fine, but winter is the time to do heavy pruning.
  • Another common mistake in winter landscaping is having nothing evergreen or blooming during the winter months. Most zones have winter flowering plants and shrubs that are suitable. If you fail to include any of these in your landscaping, then your property can look stark and barren during the winter months.
  • Change your lighting scheme for winter. In the winter months, the nights are longer and warm lighting around your property can help dispel the gloom. You also want to move lighting to different areas. After all, you do not want to spotlight a particular tree that might be glorious in the spring but is leafless and stark in the winter.
  • Winterize young trees and shrubs. Winter can be brutal on young trees that do not have heavy bark and a deeply established root system. Failing to wrap the trunks in a light colored burlap can leave these young trees and shrub supsceptible to frost damage.
  • Skimping on mulch is another critical mistake to make as winter closes in. Mulch can help protect your plants from the hazards of freezing temperatures, and helps them maintain vital moisture over the winter months.
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Winter Landscaping Tips

Winter Landscaping Tips

Caring for your lawn and landscaping during the winter months should not be a time-consuming task. Much foliage and grass are dormant in the winter months, so the time spent on lawn maintenance should be significantly reduced during the cold days of winter. Your focus on lawn care in the winter should be about giving you the best chance to have a gorgeous lawn when spring arrives.

If you want a beautiful, year-round landscape, your winter landscaping should include:

  • Continue to water during the winter months, unless you live in an area that receives abundant moisture. Do not water when the temperatures fall below 40 degrees.
  • Winterize your sprinkler system. Winter means freezing temperatures for many places, and freezing temperatures can damage or destroy sprinkler systems. Wrap exposed piping, and blow out lines using an air compressor before the first freeze of the year.
  • If you have thin-barked trees, consider placing a light-colored wrap around them during the winter months. The light-colored cover will help protect them from frost damage and sun-scorch.
  • Rake your lawn several times during the winter. Leaves and other foliage will continue to fall during the winter months. When these foliage remains on the ground and mixes with water from rain or snow, it creates an environment for mold and fungus that can damage your grass.
  • Add mulch around trees, shrubs and plants before winter. Mulch will help protect your plants from frost, and help them retain moisture over the winter months.
  • Road salt is hazardous to plants. If you have shrubs close to high traffic areas that will experience salted road spray, consider covering them. Use salt sparingly on walkways and driveways that are lined with shrubs. Remember that the salt melt will run down toward the roots of nearby shrubs and trees.
  • Fertilize your lawn and landscaping well before the first frost. Fertilizing before winter sets in will help your grass and plants have the proper nutrients to survive winter and flourish in the spring.
  • Cut your lawn shorter than normal before winter arrives. Experts recommend cutting your lawn to 2 to 2.5 inches before the first frost of winter. This helps to protect new growth and keeps your lawn from becoming a habitat for burrowing animals such as mice and moles during the colder months.
  • Trim and prune during the winter. The slow or dormant growth of the winter months makes it a perfect time to achieve the perfectly symmetrical look you want. Winter damaged branches can lead to infestation and damage healthy growth, so always prune damaged areas as soon as possible.

Landscaping and lawns that look gorgeous for most of the year can appear barren in the winter. If you want to add a touch of beauty to your winter landscape, consider adding:

  • Use pots for closely trimmed boxwoods or other plantings that will remain green year-round in most climates. Lining your walkways, or drive, with these pots will add a welcome spot of green to your landscape.
  • Know the zone you live in, and then add winter-blooming flowers throughout your landscape. The burst of color in the winter months is a welcome addition in the gloom of winter.
  • Use the winter months to plant trees such as maple and evergreen hollies. These trees do well in the winter months and add visual appeal to your property.
  • Use outdoor lighting in warm tones. Soft winter lighting looks beautiful against snow, and also holds appeal in brightening the gloom of long winter nights.

A little lawn care and maintenance during the winter, can save you work during the spring. Winter landscaping can keep your property looking neat and attractive for all four seasons. If you live in a warmer climate, winter may see you spending more time outdoors enjoying a break from summer heat. If so, winter can be the perfect time to do any repairs to fencing or decking on your home. Potted year-round shrubs, a fire pit, and beautiful lighting can help make entertaining outdoors a relaxing way to enjoy the cooler temps.

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Good Ways to Maintain Home Garden and Landscape

Good Ways to Maintain Home Garden and Landscape

The landscape and garden around your home are important to the value of your property, adds aesthetic appeal, and make your time outdoors more enjoyable. Given all the benefits of having a well-maintained garden and landscaping, it is essential to know how to care for your plants, shrubs, and trees.

If you are installing landscaping or a garden for the first time, the most critical decision is how much time, and energy are you willing to invest? Do you want something simple, hardy, and easy to maintain? Or, are you a seasoned gardener who wants a lavish garden? Once you determine how much time you want to invest, decide on what plants best suit your needs. Take into account your soil, climate, and the time it will take your landscape to mature.

If you bought a home with established an established landscape, or a home garden, then you may want to know the best way to maintain what you already have. The first step is to walk around your property with a notebook and write down every type of tree, shrub, and plant you have. If you can’t identify them, take a picture. You can use Google reverse image search to identify the plant or tree. Take notes of any immediate maintenance that needs to be done. Are there sick or dead growths? Those need to be removed as soon as possible. Diseases can spread rapidly among plants and shrubs, so remove any diseased plants as quickly as possible.

If you plan to do any new planting, know what time of year is best in your region. The early spring, after the last frost, is generally the best time to plant any new shrubs or trees. Garden plants vary by region and zone, so research what you want to plant. Now that you have an idea of what you have or want to have let’s discuss the best way to maintain your home garden and landscape.

  • Consider simplifying your home garden and landscaping by using flower beds and borders with similar plants. You can use differences in color in various areas to add visual appeal. Using the same or similar plants make maintenance more straightforward as the plants should all require the same care.
  • When adding any new planting, make sure you leave enough room for mature growth. It is easy to overcrowd your space when not accounting for how a plant or shrub will look when it reaches maturity.
  • Consider putting in an irrigation system. There are low-cost options available, and they can save you time and money, especially if you are away frequently and have to pay someone to water your garden. If you do water by hand, be careful to not over-water. Watering is usually required no more than once or twice a week. Avoid watering the leaves and plant heads. Gently spray water into the soil around the stem and roots of the plant.
  • Densely planted beds will discourage weed growth, as does the use of mulch. Weeding on a weekly basis will keep the task easy. You will catch any weed growths before they have time to proliferate.
  • If you have an outdoor patio or entertainment area, consider planting lavender. It is an easy maintenance plant that comes back year after year. The aroma is pleasing and relaxing, and, most importantly, it acts as a natural insect repellant.
  • If low maintenance is essential to you, consider crushed stone beds. They require almost no maintenance and add visual interest to your yard.
  • To winter-proof, your lawn, remove all leaves from the ground in the fall. Leaves decompose and can damage your grass, leaving an unattractive mess.
  • Prune shrubs and trees in the early spring. Do not over prune. Let your shrubs develop into their natural shape to cut down the amount of time you spend pruning. For the rest of the season, only prune unruly shoots or dead limbs.
  • Consider mulch around all your borders, trees and shrubs. Mulch is attractive, has a pleasing smell, prevents weed growth, and helps plants maintain their moisture balance. Mulch is an inexpensive way to make things look tied together.

The above list provides easy ways to help keep the landscape and garden of your home healthy and attractive. The goal of plants and trees in your outdoor space is to add to your enjoyment of your home. Keep this in mind when deciding what to plant. In addition to aesthetics, you want to make sure your design and ideas match the time investment you want to make. You might also want to consider that well-done, but easy to maintain landscaping adds to the resale value of your home.

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News

Top 10 Backyard Landscaping Tips & Ideas

Top 10 Backyard Landscaping Tips & Ideas

Your backyard, especially on beautiful days, is likely the space for hours of relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment – the best way to make it even more enjoyable is to design the perfect backyard landscaping that establishes absolute paradise right outside of your backdoor.

 

  1. Define the use of the backyard: it is family fun, with swing sets for the kids and kid- and pet-friendly plants coupled sprawling greens for playing sports? A pool party paradise? An outdoor entertainment center replete with dining areas, with easy access to the kitchen and grill, making considerations for the need to have access to the main house if necessary for plating? Or simply an aesthetically pleasing design that ties into the the home’s structure? Perhaps it’s a mix of a few of these?

 

  1. Determine views: what you want to hide, want you want to showcase, and the site line from each location at which your guests will be seated.

 

Site line: what you see (your site) from whatever location you stand. For example: you want to keep in mind what the site line is when you look directly outside your door, and what the site line would be from wherever you would be sitting – is there an existing site line you are working with, or are you going to create one with your hedging and planting, such as the site line created by the hedges that the white chairs on this lawn face?

 

Showcase: is there a pond, fountain, or herb/floral garden that you’d like the rest of the landscape to center around? Or perhaps a seating area for outdoor dining that you want set off by its own edging?

 

Hide or soften: are there foundational walls or paths that are weathered by the elements but don’t need functional replacement? Plants make an excellent disguise for unsightly walls, but they also soften hard lines without sacrificing modernity, such as the growth on the concrete walls in this modern backyard.

 

  1. Layer: no matter what style you’re going for (bountiful floral gardens or modern greenery), layering different heights side-by-side will give you the lush growth that adds depth to your property.

 

Soft varieties of greens give pathways a peaceful aesthetic – and layered heights feed into the depths of steps in pathways like these.

 

  1. When in doubt, go green (especially in modern homes): you cannot go wrong with simply layering different textures of greens – especially in modern architecture.

 

Varieties of textures and heights of greens accent this modern concrete and gravel pathway, creating what feels like a modern rainforest oasis.

For a simple solution with minimal soil maintenance, easy-growing trees and mulched beds with well-placed bushes lend modern greenery to the clean lines in a home or office building.

 

  1. Repeat: recurring elements throughout the property create a unity and rhythm that moves you (and your guests) through the property. Often, this best takes the form of a specific colored flower or plant throughout the property, such as the purples in this front lawn that will reappear in the backyard.

 

  1. Accent with annuals: use annuals and accents around seating areas, such as edging on pool/lounge decks or showcasing garden seating, and couple with stone around fountains and ponds for exuberant emphasis.

 

  1. Create walls with greenery: hedging, dense trees, and tall shrubs provide privacy and/or the ambiance of truly being in a retreat, such as the tall greenery at the edge of this pool – whether it’s dividing your backyard from your neighbor or simply the tennis court on the other side, greens make a lush solution to the hard lines of a fence or wall.

 

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of grass: seriously, the good grass makes a difference – just look at this gorgeous sprawling field and this supple yard.

 

  1. Use edging to make spaces: define paths with different sections of plants and/or styles – such as this organized row of low bushes that break the seating area away from the pool in this backyard.

 

  1. Plant a small herb/produce garden where you will host your outdoor dining: nothing will impress your guests more than consuming a meal that’s literally fresh from the garden!

Seem overwhelming? There are literally thousands of plants to choose from and seemingly endless array of options for backyard layout – especially if your backyard is on the larger end of the scale! Leave it to us at Creative Design to help create the backyard of your dreams.

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How To Properly Care For Your Irrigation System Leading Into The Winter

How To Properly Care For Your Irrigation System Leading Into The Winter

As water changes from a liquid to a frozen solid, it expands – and when this happens inside your irrigation systems, it can cause expensive and inconvenient damages when the temperature rises and your lawn awakens after a dormant winter. It’s not just the danger of pipes bursting; freezing can damage valves, fittings, nozzles, and essentially any other sprinkler system component that water enters.

So how can you prevent damage? By preparing your irrigation systems properly through a process called winterization, which is basically just landscape-speak for “preparing irrigation for winter months.”

The general procedure of winterization is the same, but the processes are sometimes different, depending on your specific system:

Step 1: Run the water to check for leaks.

Run the water and survey each line and nozzle for leaking or broken heads, and make the necessary repairs prior to shutting the water off.

Step 2: Shut the main valve off.

To locate the main valve, look between the main water supply to your home and the sprinkler controller. It is sometimes in a basement, and other times outdoors. Don’t be afraid if it’s hard to turn – if it hasn’t been turned on or off in a long time, you may need pliers to open it – BUT do not force it if pliers aren’t working. This can break the valve and cause water loss!

Step 3: Drain all water.

Depending on your system, you may be able to do this manually through the drain valves (located near the main shut off valve) or automatically:

  • To drain manual irrigation systems: open all main drain valves and allow all water to drain, making sure all water also drains from the backflow device, piping, and sprinkler heads. Then, close the drain valves.
  • To drain automatic irrigation systems: relieve the system’s pressure to below 10 PSI to activate the auto-drain. Also make sure that all water is drained from the backflow device, piping, and sprinkler heads. Then, close the drain valves.

Note: sometimes locating these valves can be difficult, especially if over time their valve boxes have been covered with overgrowth. One way to identify them is to work with a partner and turn the water on, and notice where the pressure comes out first, the most. That’s likely the nozzle located directly next to a main valve. If that doesn’t work, just give us a call – we’re happy to help!

Step 4: Blow out any remaining water.

To drain an irrigation system with the blow-out (air compressor) method, we recommend hiring a professional, as it can be pretty dangerous and costly if done incorrectly; there are debris that can get in your eyes and potential for causing damage to your irrigation system – including melting the pipes! There are also little details that are easy to forget: isolation ball valves must be closed, flow sensors must be removed, and only certain PSIs can be used.

Step 5: Empty and open the drain valve.

After blowing the remaining liquid, open the drain valve to get the very last of the liquid out – and leave it open. The drain valve should remain OPEN during winter.

Step 6: Turn off or adjust controller settings.

If you are running an automatic irrigation system, you likely want to turn it OFF, unless you have (and trust) a rain-mode setting. If rain-mode setting is available, we suggest choosing it, since it will keep programmed times, but simply will not send the signal to the valves to activate.

If you feel more comfortable turning it OFF, it’s totally no big deal – you’ll just have to reprogram the times and settings when you power it back on. For extra caution, you can shut off the power to the controller and remove the wires that connected “MV” to “common.”

Step 7: Insulate anything exposed.

Whenever possible, it’s best to bury your irrigation lines, but if not, purchase self-sticking foam-insulating tape or foam-insulating tubes for your lines. Additionally, invest in a backflow blanket for insulation on your backflow preventer.

Failing to properly prepare your irrigation systems before the temperatures drop can lead to costly repairs when the weather warms up again, and even if the repairs aren’t imminent, systems that are improperly maintained will weather and wear faster, meaning you’ll have to replace parts and systems sooner than later.

Winterizing your irrigation systems ensures optimal performance come warmer months – but we know it can seem like quite a lot of work! Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to schedule maintenance.