Lawn Care In Reno: The Do’s And Don’ts You Ought To Observe This Fall

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 18-11-2016

Fall has finally arrived! The wind whistles your name as the nostalgic foliage refreshes your memories and the cool weather cradles you to relax. It is indeed that time of year again when we deserve to indulge in the relaxing ambiance of our own homes, specifically in the comforting setting of our front or back yard.

Seeing a green, luscious and colorful landscaping just puts everything into perspective, right? Starting every morning with a cup of coffee, the vibrant rays of the sun, tranquil chill and a breath of fresh air as the leaf changes colors and falls on the ground, is probably the fantasy that we all have. I admit, I do have the similar reverie and I bet you do too.

Now, in as much as you dream to have a sight of an amazing lawn and landscape, you have to do our part in order to achieve best results. The climate in every city or state is not the same all the time because there are factors affecting it, just like in Reno. Besides, lush landscapes are an import the arid climate in Reno.

Moreover, one of the most crucial parts of a successful landscaping project is the lawn maintenance. The tender, love, and care you give your lawn during fall are different than any other seasons, which is why you have to be aware of the proper lawn care. Here are the do’s and don’ts worth considering this fall.

 

  1. Don’t Forget To Rake

During fall, tree shed its leaves and foliage can be seen almost everywhere in your lawn. Given this, you should not forget to keep raking your lawn as often as possible. Why? The carpet of colorful leaves is not as appealing as it looks when it fatally knocks out the grass below.

It also blocks the sunlight and nourishment that your grass requires in order to thrive. Also, ignoring to remove leaves can lead to a soggy mat and smother your grass.

Raking lifts the grass, clears it of any sun-blocking leaves or other matter, and prepares it to grow. After raking the leaves, you can make a compost which is an excellent fertilizer for your garden and lawn.

 

  1. Don’t Use Fertilizers Mixed With Poison

Oh yes, if poison can kill humans, it could also be lethal to plants growing in your garden or even the grass in your lawn. Therefore, don’t resolve to use fertilizers with poison content at any cost. Application of this chemical will result in the burning of your lawn.

 

Plus, the poison will be absorbed through the roots of the plants to the leaves and it will kill it. It could also cause the weakening of the plants which is in contrast to its original purpose. Always aim for organic fertilizers to ensure that its safe and supplementary for your garden’s overall growth.

 

  1. Avoid Using Commercial Pesticides Or Insecticides

In your yard’s lifetime, the presence of annoying critters is inevitable. These pests feed on the leaves, stems, and roots of your garden plants or grass which leads to their death. Now, in leading with this, first, you have to determine the problem and provide a solution that will target it.

Using pesticides or insecticide have been the most common solution, however, you have to check the content before you purchase it. There are pesticides and insecticide with strong chemical content which frays grass and kills plants, but not the pesky critters. There are natural ways to deal with critters that are worth trying.

 

  1. Don’t Ignore Lawn Mower Maintenance

Oh yes, one of the most important tasks involved in proper lawn care is mowing the lawn. Cutting the grass at an ideal 3-inch height should be your aim when mowing. When you do this task, most certainly dull blades are not good because it can aggravate lawn care problems and opportunity for diseases and pests to take over. Hence, you should pay attention to your lawn mower maintenance. Here are the tips to help you:

 

  • Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades
  • Change The Air Filter
  • Change The Oil Regularly
  • Change The Spark Plug
  • Add Fuel Treatment and Stabilizer

 

  1. Get A Soil Test

Before you start reseeding your lawn or digging to grow shrubs, perennials or any other plants, you have to test your soil. Results of the soil test can help you determine the pH level and nutrient content, and will tell you what to do in order to apply the right soil amendments. Through this, you’ll know what type of soil you have and how much organic material your soil contains.

In Reno, the best time to do a soil test is in late fall just before the soil freezes or in early spring before the growing season. For this, you can collect soil samples first then send it to a lab for testing. Or, you can prefer the Do-It-Yourself Soil test kits, however, the former is more accurate. A collection of 10-15 samples with a depth of 2-12 inches and taken from different locations throughout the growing area.

Once it’s done, you need to submit soil samples, completed sample submission forms, and appropriate payment to the Reno County Extension Office then the lab may recommend doses of fertilizer or soil amendments suitable for your area. Results are usually mailed after two weeks although it may vary depending on the time of year and the number of samples the lab requires to analyze.

 

  1. Tend To Bald Spots

Bald spots are very unappealing and no matter how beautiful your lawn is, it always sticks out. These patches on the lawn may indicate bug infestations, seasonal dryness, mowing damage, pet waste, grass diseases, and killer weeds. So, before you try to solve it, make sure to be certain of the underlying cause.

 

One of the simplest and most effective ways to deal with bald spots is over seeding the lawn. Before that, you have to do these task first:

  • Rake the soil
  • Remove any leaves or debris in the turf
  • Cast the seeds over the turf
  • Spread about a half an inch of compost or topsoil on the lawn

After doing these, you can over-seed your Bermuda grass-filled lawn this fall with perennial rye grass which is ideal for the fairly cold weather in Reno. Perennial rye grass can thrive through the fall and winter and go back successfully in spring and over-seeding your lawn with it can promote a continuous green lawn. When the weather turns warm next spring, you can reseed your lawn with Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass.

Moreover, a fine fescue and a Kentucky bluegrass blend is also a great choice for fall, however, you may need to put a little extra effort on its maintenance.

  1. Fertilize Your Soil

The fall season is the ideal time to start planting and tending to your lawn to prepare them for the spring and thrive in winter. It is one of the secrets of a dense lawn which is a good protection against weeds.

When choosing your lawn fertilizer, pick the ones with high-nitrogen content as well phosphorus, and potassium, respectively. Fertilizers with potassium stimulate root growth, disease protection, drought tolerance, and cold resistance.

The aerating of soil is also an important thing to do and you have to do this before spreading fertilizer to your soil. As an alternative, you can make your own compost out of organic matters in your kitchen as well as the grass clippings.

Adding organic matter to your soil can increase your soil’s ability to hold on to the nutrients until your plants are ready to use them. The more organic matter you put into it, the better. In Reno, when you apply compost or any other organic materials of the kind, you can add up to one-quarter inch of compost on top of the grass. Rake or water it in and it’s best to do it after you aerate the soil.

 

  1. Water Your Lawn And Garden

An essential thing to do in order to keep your lawn healthy is through proper watering techniques. Watering depends on the climate in your area and during fall, your lawn will most likely not need as much water in autumn as it would during other seasons. However, it should be stopped in early fall.

You may anticipate precipitation in winter, however, it may not be enough to sustain the requirements your lawn needs. In connection with this, you may have to check your irrigation system early in the season and you may water twice a week and during the rest of the season, it may drop to once a week. You have to do this in order to ensure that evergreen shrubs and trees thrive throughout the dormant season.Your local water company or community will keep you posted on this, so, you don’t have to worry.

In case you didn’t know, landscape experts in Reno suggest fall that is the time to cut back on watering your lawn and during the late season, sprinkler systems should be turned off completely, which gives room got the turf to go dormant for the winter. Follow suggested procedures by Truckee Meadows on how to properly shut down sprinklers during fall in order to avoid any pitfalls.

 

Doing all these tips will guarantee a successful lawn care which will result to an excellent landscaping. Remember, the dense, green and healthy lawn is a crucial part of the entire landscaping project and it is one of the first things that home buyers look at when they check a property. Hence, if you’re planning to add curb appeal to your home and place it on the market, then it’s all the more reason to pay attention to it.

More importantly, your assessment of your capabilities is important. Why? It’s because DIY can help you save money but if you think you’re not fit to do these tasks then it’s the time to ask assistance from local contractors. This will ensure that you’ll get the best value for your landscaping in Reno and you’ll be able to make your dream a reality. Say hello to a new and refreshing view!

5 Ingenious Little Tricks To Achieve The Best Results For Your Landscaping in Reno This Fall

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 09-11-2016

Listen to the whistling wind and nostalgic chill in the air – it’s definitely autumn! The leaves are changing colors, trees start to shed its leaves, kids are going back to school, the NBA season has started and people are unpacking their sweaters from their closets. Indeed, fall brings changes to the weather as well as to activities people do. During fall, most of us just want to take a break and relax – relieve ourselves from the stress of the previous months. On the other hand, some may even want to spend time with friends or family, hiking and camping in the famous Lake Tahoe in Reno. Nature truly is a sanctuary.

 

Furthermore, in as much as fall brings changes to the weather, it’s also an ideal time to make renovations or updates to your landscaping. This season is a great time to prepare your lawn and garden for the next growing season or in spring. There are countless landscaping ideas for fall to choose from, you only have to select the best ones that fit your budget. Here are five ingenious little tricks to help inspire you for your landscaping in Reno this fall.

 

  1. Spread Mulch

Spreading mulch in fall plays a crucial role in plant health more than you can imagine. It is a simple and effective way to ensure the health of your landscape especially when the grass is dormant. It is beneficial because it protects plant roots from extreme temperatures and helps retain moisture in the winter season. Also, mulching is potent in suppressing weeds and keeps the soil around your plants’ roots warm in fall. In as much as you have prepared your soil for the season, you have to pay attention to adding mulch. Here are tips for you to follow:

  • Determine the size of the area that you want to cover.
  • Choose what type of mulch you want to use: wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, cocoa hull mulch, and straw mulch.
  • Spread 2 to 3 inches of fresh mulch evenly across the landscape beds using the back side of a hard metal rake or using your hands.

Remember, the limited supply of water in the desert in Northern Nevada, especially Reno, means that landscapes must be water efficient. Meaning, adding mulch can help keep moderate soil temperatures, keeping them from swinging between extremes of heat and cold which is great for your lawn’s health.

Note: Buying mulch in bulk can help you save money and the trips to the store.

 

  1. Use Color To Your Advantage

Adding pops of color to your landscaping is a great way to make your yard or garden look more appealing. Fall is essentially a good time to plant because the soil temperature is still warm and encourages faster root growth. Autumn colors are in a wonderful assortment of bronzes, golds, reds, and purple to landscapes. Plant some fall perennials for bursts of rich, bright colors in flower beds and along walkways. Here are some plants that worth planting this fall:

  • Perennials: Autumn Joy sedum, dwarf plumbago, chrysanthemums, California fuschia, asters, and ornamental grasses.
  • Shrubs: Four-wing saltbush, Little leaf mahogany, Winterfat, Dorr sage, Rugosa rose, Pygmy pea shrub, Fernbush, and Silver buffaloberry.
  • Trees: Amur maple, Rocky Mountain maple, Incense-cedar, Common hackberry, and Goldenraintree.
  • Flowers: Gaillardia species, Linum perenne (perennial flax), Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian or Jupiter’s Beard), Sedum species, and Portulaca grandiflora (Moss Rose).

Note: In choosing the plants, flowers or shrubs to plant, make sure to consider the climate and your soil type. Pick the plants that thrive in Reno soil this fall.

 

  1. Take Good Care Of Your Lawn

One of the most relevant tasks that you have to think about is lawn maintenance. Fall is the perfect season to develop a lusher, greener, healthier lawn which adds astounding ambiance to your home. Keeping your turf healthy this fall will ensure that your grass will thrive through its dormant season. Lawn maintenance can be achieved by following these six tips and tricks:

  • Rake the leaves. Fallen leaves block direct sunlight and traps moisture which can cause the turf underneath to die, hence, it’s important to rake the leaves as often as possible.
  • Monitor Watering. If your lawn isn’t getting at least an inch of water a week, then install a simple rain gauge to keep the grass roots well hydrated especially now that the winter is coming.
  • Aerate the soil. By loosening the soil, your lawn will have the best chance to receive the nutrients and water it needs to grow healthy all throughout the fall and winter season.
  • Add fertilizer. Fall is the ideal time to fertilize your soil in order for your grass to get all of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, thrive the entire fall season and come back beautifully in spring. A balanced fertilizer will also help your lawn develop stronger roots and store nutrients over the winter period.
  • Reseed your lawn. Spruce up your lawn by reseeding it to fill in bald or thin spots and contribute to a dense and healthy turf next summer. In reseeding your lawn, the excellent choice would be Perennial Rye grass. This grass type has high drought tolerance and grows very well in Reno soil.
  • Mow your lawn. Give your lawn one or a couple more cuts until it stops growing in early winter. Almost all of the grasses in the Truckee Meadows are classified as cool season grasses which grows taller and faster than warm season grasses. Hence, you have to keep track of the height in order to determine when and how often do you have to mow your lawn. Keep it at an ideal 2½- to 3-inch height to avoid snow mold, diseases or infection.

 

  1. Do Some Lighting

Thus fall, your landscaping could use some outdoor lighting. Brighten up your yard and give space for work or play after the sun goes down especially that the holiday is just around the corner. Your landscape could certainly use a little bit of illumination this all and you can do so by installing low-voltage landscape lighting in walkways, water features, or benches. You could also add lanterns and other illuminating lights as you desire. If you wish to highlight a single item in your garden like a statue, gazing ball or fountain, you should consider using a few landscape lighting fixtures with lower intensity bulbs. The installation of lighting for your landscaping should be left to the professionals because it requires expertise in electrical wiring and stuff.

Here are few outdoor landscape lighting ideas:

  • On stairs
  • Staggered along walkways
  • In plant beds to light up your home
  • Inside columns
  • Under sitting walls

In order to avoid any municipal violation, it’s safer to use LED lights. It can help you save money, it’s efficient and has longer lifetime compared to other lighting such as halogen. Plus, use of search lights or animated lights are highly prohibited in any district in Reno.

  1. Include Edible Vegetable or Fruit Garden

Landscaping is not just about aesthetics, you can make use of it to grow a variety of vegetable or fruits! It’s going to be a unique addition to your garden. Imagine, you can now grow organic and fresh produce which are the perfect ingredients to any sumptuous dish. Plus, once it blooms or bears fruits, it’ll certainly add color to your landscape. You can plant various vegetables and fruits such as:

  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Turnip
  • Cherries

If you only have a small area to spare for your vegetable garden, it’s not necessary to acquire extra plot of land. Many vegetables and fruits lend themselves well to container gardening. You have a lot of option for containers such as flower pots, pails, buckets, wire baskets, bushel baskets, wooden boxes, etc. For example, you have an extra large salad (24-30″) container, you can use it to plant tomatoes – no need to spend. The size of your container shall depend on the size of the vegetable or fruit that you will plant. Arrange them in an organized and well-designed manner and it’ll certainly be incredible.

Note: You must learn more about the fall gardening guide and the fruits or vegetables that flourish in Reno in order to make sure that you’ll have the best harvest next year.

 

Fall is a magnificent time to show off the rich colors of your landscape as well as the beauty of it. These five little tricks that we’ve mentioned are just guidelines for you to follow or consider in your landscaping and by following it, you’ll certainly be on the right track. Bear in mind that before doing any of these, you should already have a well-designed landscaping design and plan – be smart and wise. To make your landscaping in Reno dream a reality, hire a professional and experienced landscape contractor to assist you every step of the way. Pick the one that you deem perfect for the job and don’t fall for scams.

Celebrate the festivity of this season thru your landscaping and indulge in the beauty of it when it’s done! Besides, the holiday season is rapidly approaching, invite friends to dinner or have a little family gathering and set up your newly renovated yard. Surely, it’s going to be a blast!

Creating a Beautiful Outdoor Ambiance through Landscape

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 10-01-2014

Outdoor AmbienceDid you ever imagine yourself in a beautiful garden with all the ornaments and breath-taking sights right outside your doorstep? In a world where everything seems fast paced, there’s a little chance that you can get a relaxation or be engaged in any stress-free activities.

An amazing landscape has been proven to lessen the stress of a person. There’s really a great impact of seeing an amazing scenery right after you open the door. Breathing into the freshness of air, the coolness that plants bring you, and the beauty of blooming flowers greeting you a happy morning.

Have a vacant yard in front of your house? Why don’t you turn it into a wonderful sight to make way to release your stress at the end of the day or to have an inspiration to start your busy day? You have the power to create a beautiful landscaping design to your garden.

Make a Plan or Design for Your Landscape

You need to sketch or draw fixed features of your house or yard like your pool, garage, walkways and other permanent fixtures. You should also consider the impact of placement of plants and furniture on home systems like on pipes, gutters, roofing materials, etc. Make sure that you don’t harm any passer-by.

Use Available Spaces and Consider the Sunlight

The space will dictate how many plants and other elements you will put on every side of your landscape. This will also dictate how big or small the plants should be or what kind of plants you should use.

Plants should be placed on areas where they can have sunlight and where their growth will not be hampered. There are plants that need a lot of sunlight and there are some that need just a little.

Designing Techniques

This is where the use of certain kinds of plants is considered. There are certain plants that should be used so as the theme of your landscape will not be destroyed. The colors of plants and shrubs should really be considered. To have a wonderful landscape, colors of the elements you use as well should be well-coordinated. Lighting should also be considered. These should be put in places where it will give your garden a “magnificent” look every night.

If you have available space, you can create a little pond, an artificial waterfall or fountain to make it more dramatic. You can also put decorative stones and plants that won’t cover the design of the pond, waterfall or fountain. This can indeed be a place of tranquility and peace.

Pathways and walkwaysUnique Patios and Walkways

There are a wide array of patios and walkways that you can use. Certain walkways are needed to enhance the beauty of the garden. Deciding on what color, what design or what style to use would depend on your taste but the beauty of your landscape should not be compromised.

Creating a beautiful landscape depends on the combination and matching of all elements. All should be well-coordinated and should be arranged so as to give a harmonious theme on the color and style that you want to see in your garden. Designing one is not that difficult, if you have the heart for art. Create inviting and appealing landscapes through your own effort and design.

The art of landscaping need not be done by professionals or landscape architects. You can have your own built from your own ideas and imagination which will give an authentic look and not just a commercial one. Seeing a beautiful garden because of your own efforts is much more rewarding feeling compared to letting someone else do it for you.

Edging and Path: Two Ways you Bring Beauty to Landscaping

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 10-10-2013

You have chosen the right plants for your vegetation, appropriate flowers for your flower beds and you may have added some water features so now it is time to focus on your garden edging. It can be achieved in different ways such as gathering rocks or seek the help of a skilled mason to build your garden a brick wall. Whatever your plan is for your garden, it is essential to install your garden edging for a more attractive landscape.

Types of Garden Edging

Garden is simply explained as the frame you create around the perimeter of your garden. This is very essential for your privacy and also for your plants not to go overboard your property. Hardware stores sell fences and rocks that you can use for your garden edging.

If you want to achieve an aesthetic edge, then you can make use of decorative concrete. They are beautiful and durable but a bit expensive. You can also make use of plants as your edge but it takes a while for the plants to grow fully and become strong edge.

Whatever type of design you want to incorporate in your garden, edging is one element you should not ignore. Make sure to give your time and effort in making the best out of your landscape.

Importance of Garden Paths

Now that you have established your garden edging, it is time to make your garden paths. People might perceive your garden as a closed or private area since you put up the borders but to make them feel welcome to your backyard, you can incorporate pathways from your gate leading up to your garden and your house.

It makes the visitor feel welcome in your beautiful landscape. Garden paths are easier than the garden edging.

Although garden walls are good drainage system, garden paths are also used to keep the water away from your garden. Stone, gravel and concrete are the common materials utilize to make pathways. Also they prevent weeds to invade your plants.

You can also incorporate path covers around your garden so your guests can venture out to your paradise. The path may lead up to a gazebo, a garden patio or a garden fountain. Garden pathways are also used around the pool so you won’t get easily slip when it is wet.

Make sure you have set the budget for this project. If you want to save then you have to do the edging and pathways at the same time. So the materials, labor, expenses and time will all be reduced and you have a garden that is not only attractive but also private.

Garden edging can protect your property and garden 24/7 so you are assured no wildlife will get into your backyard and might damage your garden. You must choose materials that are durable and can withstand extreme weather.

On the other hand, garden paths serve as your guest’s guide towards your house or your garden. Make sure to lead you paths to focal points of the garden so your visitors will truly enjoy what you have done with your landscape.

Garden edging and garden paths both have aesthetic and functional purposes for your landscape but one must be very careful in choosing the designs that will blend well with your garden. These two hardscapes play important roles for the beautification and improvement of your garden.

The Importance of Home Landscaping

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 25-05-2013

Landscaping has been around for many years. In fact, it started off as early as our ancient history records. It creates a sense of relaxation and balance every time a homeowner comes home greeted by the sight of a beautiful garden. However, landscaping is not just about planting flowers, shrubs and trees in a vacant lot. It should have a great design concept and a good plan to initiate the project.

People are continuously in the lookout for a great design. A common requirement for these concepts should have a blend of both homely charm and beauty. The art of landscaping helps to boost the kind of living standards a homeowner has. It also increases the market value of the property the moment a sale comes to mind.front

Landscaping is also a great hobby especially for stay at home moms, old age individuals and for those who just want to try out gardening. Studies show that those who are highly interested in gardening are often those who can develop great landscaping designs. It is also a good way to boost one’s creativity and a great form of exercise.

Tips to Achieve a Great Landscape

There are few things to consider for you to achieve a great landscape. The following tips will help you achieve the desired home garden you want.

• Plan Carefully. This is the first and the most crucial step in getting a great home garden done. Choose the theme and design you will use. Once you know your design, you will be able to identify the type of plants you need to use. This will save you time and energy as you cannot simply pull out an already planted flower because you want to change your concept.

• Be Creative. Don’t just plant one kind of flower in a single plot. Also, don’t over crowd your flower bed by planting two kinds of flowers in alternating patterns. Instead, imagine your dream garden and make that a reality.

• Make Up Your Mind. Ask yourself what scenery you want to see the moment you arrive home. This will help to get your creative side thinking what to do and decide the kind of materials you want to use.

• Follow Simple Patterns. The basics of landscaping should never be forgotten. You have to bear in mind that color, form and texture must be coherent in creating your garden. Unity, proportion, balance and transition should also be observed. Simplicity, rhythm and repetition should be carefully chosen to create a well-designed garden.

• Create a Landscape with a Natural Feel. Landscaping often links nature and people closer. That is why you should make a garden that will give you the feeling of being one with nature. Incorporating water themed concepts is a good idea to bring you closer to nature.

Advantages of Having a Landscape Garden at Home

Hearing chirping birds and seeing butterflies in your lawn can be very rewarding. The sight of beautiful flowers and green plants can also give you a relaxing and pleasant mood. It gives you a sense of motivation to keep a serene surrounding that appeases your mental state.

Aside from these, there are other advantages that you can enjoy from having a landscaped garden at home. You will be able to enjoy fresher and cleaner air because the bushes, trees and shrubs you plant can help to improve better air quality. A haven for wildlife is also created when you make a landscaped garden.

A landscaped garden can also reduce pollution. The plants you have can absorb carbon dioxide and gives out oxygen that is helpful to the environment. Your garden trees and plants can also help to block out noise that will enable you to rest peacefully. A green landscape can also soothe tired and weary eyes the moment you take a look at your garden.

Paradise in Your Yard: Beach Theme Landscape

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 24-04-2013

beach theme landscapeEverybody love going to the beach to enjoy not just swimming, but also the wonderful and breathtaking scenery. The view of the beach is a very relaxing sight that can free one from stress or having an overworked mind. But what if you want to go to the beach every day but the thing is, you don’t live near the beach? What to do?

There is actually a way to have the scene of a beach within the comfort of your home. The answer to this is through creating a theme garden – more specifically, a beach theme garden. Imagine the possibility of having the view of a beach right after stepping out of your own home, amazing right?

Beach theme landscape is a type of landscaping design that is specifically intended to imitate the view of a beach with plants and other things that are commonly found in the seaside and beach area. So whether you are living miles away from a seaside, you can actually bring the beach right at your backyard. All that is left for you to have beside you is a glass of piña colada or a refreshing fruit shake and you can relax all you want, anyway you want, for you have all the freedom because you are just outside your house.

Preparation Phase

Before you start doing something, preparation is always key. When starting a project like a beach theme landscape, it is much better to make a sketch of your home and yard. Through this, you can make consideration whether you want to add up a water feature such as a pool to make your landscape more realistic and refreshing or landscape lights to help improve the feel of your yard at night (tiki torches are awesome).

Preparation of the plants that you are going to put in the beach landscape is also a must. You should choose your plants wisely by making sure that these plants are commonly found in a seaside and beach area. It is much better to visit an actual beach or have a thorough research of the plants you are going to incorporate.

This is also the time to prepare the site you are going to transform into a beach-wannabe area once you have decided the spot to have your beach theme garden. Remove the things and other obstacles in your way for the construction of your landscape. Pull out weed and till the soil where you are to plant the beach vegetation and ornament into.

The Start

Once you are done with all the preparation, you can have the new plants transferred and planted in the area of your beach landscape. Make sure that you choose the appropriate plants to use in the landscape. If you have a pool installed in your landscape, make sure not to put the plants near it because the roots may affect the integrity of the structure of the pool or may damage the walls of the pool underground.

You can also add commercially-bought sand and have it placed on top of the soil in your landscape. You can also make a pathway or walkway towards the beach landscape with the use of pebbles and sand to make your work more realistic and creative. Add a dose of your personal touch and your beach theme garden is good to go.

Basic Principles of Landscape Design

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 07-02-2013

principles of landscapingLandscape design is based on the understanding of how the various shapes can be combined. The best way to draw a landscaping plan is to view it as a series of abstract shapes that will take on a more practical form after the final synthesis of the organic and inorganic materials that comprise a garden: soil, plants, water, bricks, stones, etc.

A balanced garden should convey harmony of all the materials involved and create a smooth sensation to the eye. Abrupt changes, sharp separations of its various sections must be avoided – with the exception of the area dedicated to growing vegetables, which must be isolated.

On the other hand, we may wish to make a specific spot or feature stand out from its environment, and this we can accomplish by using contrast.

There are various methods of creating contrast in a garden, namely:

Shapes

Lines give a sense of continuity within a given space. As they unfold through areas of various uses, our eye must be able to follow along without generating a feeling of disconnectedness. Paths, pavements, corners, flower beds’ or leisure areas’ boundaries, walls, frames – all these are horizontal or vertical lines that guide our attention to a certain spot and determine the ‘flow’ of a garden.

When drawing a pavement, for example, we should consider it as something more than a hard surface to walk on: a border made of a natural material, such as an edging strip of colorful bushes or an architectural feature to either side, will generate a lively sense of direction in a landscape design.

This sense of direction can also be created by sequence, i.e. the repetitive use of elements that produces an optical rhythm, thus directing the eye along a line — whether this line is straight, curved, or a diagonal.

The ultimate goal of using direction is to grasp the visitor’s attention and to lead it with accuracy to a few select, predetermined spots. A successful landscape design will display a series of images under a desired perspective: visitors will notice the various elements of the garden (whether plants or decorative items) in a specific order while touring the area.

In the instance when our garden space does not allow for the creation of long, open lines and of multiple points of reference without making them look rather congested and jumbled, garden design is made much simpler. In this case, we will designate one to two reference points (in direct relation with the size and the shape of our garden or backyard), and then we will enhance the desired effect by a well-chosen, personal style of planting. Urban gardens, with their restricted space, are the ones most frequently affected by this specific problem.

Color

Color is by no means a separate element, independent from all other considerations; it rather functions as a means of complementing the entire plan of the garden.

Plant color selection may be based on the colors of hard materials used in the garden: that of a fence or of a wall standing behind a series of bushes or trees; of the material with which the house is built; of your own favorite range of colors. The house’s interior may very well set the standard for the colors to be used outdoors, as well as for the color and type of paving, for the style and kind of the pots you will use, etc.

The size of our garden plays an important role to color selection: vivid, intense colors, applied over a large area, will definitely have the effect of making that area look smaller in size.

One more thing to take into consideration when it comes to color is light. Light intensity differs greatly from place to place. In general, intense light makes colors more clear and sharp, and we can recall this from our school days, when we learned that “color is light” and that light influences to a great extent the way we perceive color.

Finally, seasonal changes are another factor in selecting the right colors, as there seems to exist a sort of “cycle” in the way they alternate (at least, in moderate climates). Cream or light yellows mostly appear at the beginning of the year; blues pop up in the summer; the fall is characterized by warm orange and copper hues.

Unity and harmony

Unity is accomplished when the transition from one section of the garden to another is smooth. Visually strong lines, the repetition of geometrical shapes and of dominant design elements, e.g. water, contribute to the unity of the landscape.

In order for us to create an aesthetically appealing effect, contrasts must follow some proportions: lack of proportion means lack of harmony in the design. There must also be a harmonious relationship between the various natural and structural elements, which should be related according to a specific scale.

An all-important factor to consider is time: when selecting plants, we must know how these will develop and which size they will finally reach, or their sheer volume will bring about aesthetical and practical problems.

In a small garden, a single handsome tree may function as a central focal point around which to set the rest of the composition. Finally, the use of a single hardscaping material can act as a factor that will link together the whole landscape.

Beware!
Unity and harmony are not evident during the initial stages of garden creation, when plants are not yet grown enough to cover the area and to soften up rigid lines and hard surfaces.

Balance

Balance does not necessarily mean symmetry. An asymmetrical composition may be well-balanced and agreeable to the eye.

Examples:

  • The volume, color, or form of a planted area may be taken as a measure for the creation of a visually equivalent area on the other side of a focal point.
  • A concentration of a certain color on one side may be counterbalanced by a larger and more spread-out mass of verdure.

 

Variety

A multicolored tree or bush protruding from amidst a green turf or an opening to a beautiful view can be pleasing and welcome surprises.

Variety in colors, shapes, textures or shadings makes a garden more interesting; nevertheless, caution is advised, as the excessive use of varied materials risks causing a feeling of dizziness and confusion.

 

These are the basic principles that will guide us in drawing our landscape design. Then, after elaborating on the details, we’ll start implementing it, bit by bit or all at once, depending on our garden space, our budget, and the time we can allot to gardening and landscaping.

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Photo Credit: Bogdan Migulski via Compfight cc

The Wonders of Hydromulching – What to Expect

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 04-02-2013

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sprayNot so many people instantly turn to Hydromulching when they need to fix a bare patch of dirt on their lawn.

Perhaps only a few people are aware of this great method of seeding and the numerous advantages.

What Is Hydromulching and How It Works

Hydromulching is simply the process of planting which involves spraying the ground with a soupy mixture of mulch. The mulch which is a mixture of water, seeds, fertilizer, coloring, and tackifier makes Hydromulching unique and effective.

Once the ground is sprayed on using a specially designed machine with a hose or a mounted gun, the result is an instant cover that conserves moisture and protects the surface of the ground from wind or rain.

Since the Hydromulch contains tackifier or binder which holds all the elements together, it can stay in place though exposed to a variety of weather conditions.

A little time is required to let the mulch dry before supplying water. And you do not need much.

Just a little amount of water is needed, just so that it stays damp long enough for the seeds to germinate. This hydromulch makes a perfect nursery for seeds.

After a couple of days, grass will start growing though it might not be visible at first. But if you look closely, you will see little hair-like things protruding through the mulch. Given a few more days, those tiny sprouts will have turned green.

This is when you add more water at night since the roots are about four times longer than what you see above the ground.

Preparing the soil prior to spraying is also an important thing to note. Loosen the soil or add a thin layer of soil so it would be easier for tiny grass roots to penetrate the ground and absorb moisture.This is also the perfect time to mix some slow release fertilizer to the soil.

These procedures will make a huge difference for the results both in the time it takes for the grass to grow and in the overall appearance of your lawn. In a few more days, your once unpleasant lawn will be covered with nice green grass your neighbors will envy.

If you have problem with erosion, Hydromulching is also a perfect solution. It is made to hold tight to very steep banks. Your Hydro Spray Grass operator will only need to adjust the mix to hold to just about any slope.

It’s surprising how well it holds onto steep banks during a heavy rain or even a storm. The top soil can be washed away but the hydro mulch will hold on remarkably well.

After about three days, the area will be festooned with young grass all over the slope with roots holding the bank in place making your erosion concern yesterday’s problem.

Getting the Greenest Lawn On the Block

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 28-01-2013

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frontCurb appeal – the general attractiveness of a property from the sidewalk.

Often used by Realtors during a home’s evaluation, it’s also used by opinionated neighbors who are dedicated to the value of the community. One of the best ways to maintain curb appeal is a great lawn.

Don’t assume grass is simply grass, as there are a variety of types grown.

Several factors, such as climate, are to be considered when picking the type of grass to maintain. For cooler climates…

  • Bentgrasses
  • Bluegrasses
  • Fescues

… work the best.

Warmer climates will benefit from:

  • Bermudagrass
  • Centipedegrass
  • St. Augustinegrass

Other factors such as foot traffic, shading, and costs are to be researched before selecting grass type.

To be the greenest (and greatest) lawn on the block takes work, but the following tips will help.

Don’t over fertilize

Yes, fertilizing is a necessity, however there is a limit.

Fertilizing will help the grass grow faster, but it will also attract insects and make the grass more vulnerable to disease. Do this once a year between October and November to promote growth during the cold months where the blades stop growing beneath the soil.

Use slow-releasing fertilizer for best results (or organic for eco-friendly homeowners)

Mow on high

Taller grass = healthy grass.

It will keep soil cool and moist, and shade out weed seeds to prevent growth. With moist soil, nutrients will be produced and encourage the grass to spread into bare spots. Also, avoid mowing in the same direction as it will cause ruts in the lawn.

Say NO to pesticides

It will kill the nutrients your grass needs, plus the earthworms you need to keep your soul rich.

Water For Long Periods

Instead of frequent watering, as plants underground can remain alive and dormant for months. It’s better to deeply penetrate the lawn for an hour per week, versus a few minutes every day.

Remove Weeds

As soon as they appear (the cute dandelions too!) get rid of them. Dig down and get the root of the weed, as the root will continue growth year round.

Add Lime

To combat acid rain throughout the year, sprinkle liquid lime into the soil.

Remember, healthy grass is tougher to succumb to damage. Let the envy begin.

This post was written by Philippe Allaire, a home owner and expert on home renovations with 15 years experience under his belt, from gardens to drywall, we can accomplish your project together.

Landscaping with Natives

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Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in landscaping | Posted on 24-01-2013

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landscaping with nativesThe wisest tip on gardening and human intervention on the environment I had received from an old neighbor with the most beautiful garden I had seen in my life. It was, “Be quiet. Listen. Look around you.” I was too young and impatient then. And I’ve seen many beautiful gardens since.

Whatever I learned in the subsequent years (and I know a few tricks, after so many years in the business of shaping, preparing, and tending to the land, for both ornamental and cultivation purposes); the cornerstone for my subsequent development as a gardener has been, first, the careful examination of a given space – as well as of the various natural and artificial conditions of the area – and, secondly, an intervention aiming at preserving (as much as possible), restoring, and/or enhancing the balance, the health, and the looks of a garden.

 

To design a wildlife garden with native plants

 

If you wish to create a wildlife garden or, at least, to include a number of native plants that will grow add color to your flowerbeds and that will stand wonderful chances of thriving without much effort, start with a few walks in the surroundings and the nearby area. Take a camera and a notebook or a voice recording device with you.

Observe the ground.

  • What’s its color?
  • Is it dry or wet?
  • Is it compacted or fluffy? Light or heavy?
  • Does it crumble?
  • When crumbled, does it turn to dust, or does it have bigger grain?
  • (Ideally: what’s the pH index; composition)

How is the surrounding area?

  • Are there rises of the ground and other geological elements?
  • Are there water features in the vicinity?
  • What’s the weather (on that day / usually)
  • Inform yourself about the particularities of the area (local geography and microclimate)

What is/are the predominant species of wild and domestic vegetation?

  • What plants do you see most often around you?
  • What do they look like? What are the functions of their physical traits?
  • Which spot do they seem to prefer (e.g. walls to climb on, level ground on which to crawl, rocky and well-drained areas, shady spots protected from the winds, etc)?
  • Do they tend to spread?
  • Which of them have you already seen in your garden and near your home?

How would you incorporate the findings into your garden, so that it remains (or becomes), even partly, the continuance and the reproduction of the nature around you?

 

In order to create wildlife and native plants garden, your landscaping planner should work in conformity with the natural tendencies of the area. Tags: geology, geography, climate/weather, flora, fauna.

 

Tips

Set high standards, go after quality and knowledge: It’s the well-cared for, healthy gardens that you should examine. You will get some good lessons from the solutions that have worked for them and from the techniques they have applied successfully.
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There’s more than meets the eye. Ask, whenever you can – e.g.,

  • what substructure work had to be done in order to plant those juicy vegetables up on terraced flowerbeds (and, at the same time, to tackle a geographical feature, a slope, that you didn’t know how to add value to)?
  • why are those rosebushes planted amongst the vines?
    [Bonus-answer: Mildew, a disease that inflicts both plants, manifests its symptoms earlier in the rosebush. This gives you enough time to take the necessary steps and measures of protection for your vineyard.]
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Besides your on-the-spot observations, make sure to get the scientific and empirical facts about the plants of your area (their life cycle, their needs and preferences, their geographical spread, etc), as well as about the climatic conditions of your specific area of interest (yearly cycle, in a span of several years).
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Familiarize yourselves with your garden’s microclimate.

  • How is it oriented?
  • How much sunlight does it receive, and when? On which particular spots/sides?
  • What about humidity?
  • Which winds does it bear?
  • What are the surroundings, and how do they influence the garden?
  • What’s the soil type?
  • How does water flow in and through the garden?

These are a few of the clues that will lead you to verify the real needs of your garden, in relation to the area and to your tastes. The selection of the plants that are appropriate for the specific conditions of each separate section of the garden will thus be much easier, since you have definite criteria to work with when drawing your landscaping plans.

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Image Credit: zenera via Compfight cc