Getting Your Garden Started

If you have never been into gardening before, you could be unsure where to start. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to do this successfully.

Choose The Right Site

When you start your garden, location is just as important as when you buy real estate. You need to put your garden in a part of your yard where you can see it regularly. Out of sight will be out of mind and this is not something that you want. When you choose the right spot, you will be more likely to spend time in the garden.

Follow The Sun

When you are first learning to garden, you can easily misjudge the sunlight. You need to take the time and pay attention to where the sunlight is in your yard before you choose a spot for the garden. Most of the edible plants you want such as herbs, vegetables, and fruits will need at least 6 hours of sunlight to thrive.

Stay Close To The Water

One of the best tips for gardening is to plan your new garden close to a source of water. You need to ensure that you can run your hose to the garden and that you will not have to carry water to the plants each time you need to water them. One of the best ways to tell if your plants need more water is to push your finger into the soil to your first knuckle. If the soil is dry, you will need to water the plants.

Choose the Right Plants

The right plants and flowers will depend on so many variables. A garden that works well for cherry blossoms for instance, may not be ideal for morning glories. You can get the details now on Gardener’s Path if they’re something you wish to grow.

Start With Good Soil

When you start a garden, you need to invest in good soil which is well-drained and rich in nutrients. You can get this blend by putting around 3 inches of all-purpose garden soil into the existing soil. If you are not planting directly into the ground and will use a raised bed, you should use soil made for raised beds. This will have the best texture and weight for these beds.

Consider Containers

If you have limited space, you need to look at containers. It is possible to grow plants such as flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs and berries in pots. When you use a container, you need to ensure that it is large enough for the plants and you need to fill it with the right potting mix. Potting mix will be specially formulated to help the plants in pots thrive and it will help you prevent over or under-watering.

The Growing Conditions

When you choose plants, you need to match them with your growing conditions. This means that you need to place plants that love the sun in sunny spots. If you are in a warmer climate, you should choose heat-tolerant plants and give any ground eating vines like melons and pumpkins enough room or a trellis to grow. It is important that you do your homework and choose the plants that will grow and thrive in your space. If you want to get a step up on garden success, you should start with some vigorous young plants instead of growing from seed.

Know Your Zone

When you choose the best plants, you need to know what your hardiness zone is. This will be the coldest place that a plant can grow. The higher the zone number, the warmer the climate will be. This means that a plant which is hardy to zone 4 and you live in zone 5, the plant will survive. However, if you are in zone 3, it will be too cold and the plant will have a hard time thriving.

Learn Frost Dates

When you plant too early or late in the season, it can spell disaster for the garden. To avoid this, you need to know when the last average spring frost will happen for your area. This will stop you from accidentally killing your plants by putting them out too early. You should also know when the first average fall frost comes to know when to move your plants indoors or harvest them before the cold damages them.

Add Mulch

You should apply around 2 to 3 inches of mulch to each plant. This will reduce the weeds coming through and the moisture that is lost. There are many types of mulch that provide you with a polished look. You can also put down shredded leaves, straw, and other locally available materials.

How To Improve Lawn Soil

spring preparation

lawn fertilizationHealthy grass is what every lawn fan desires. But it’s not an easy dream. It takes time, effort, and money before you can turn that green turf into a reality. It’s a long process that won’t happen overnight.

A healthy lawn requires fertile soil. For established turf, improving and maintaining the soil quality can be a challenge. The good news is that there are things to keep in mind.

Dethatching: Use Enough Thatch

Improving the lawn soil starts from removing excess thatch. As a layer of organic debris, thatch can build up on any soil. While it plays a vital role in a shiny lawn, an excessive amount can be risky. Not only can it block the sunlight and water, but it can also inhibit the grass growth.

Aside from inhibiting growth, thatch can make your lawn susceptible to insect infestation and disease. For successful dethatching, use a rake to get rid of any debris. A mulching lawn mower is also helpful. You can use it to trim the grass and avoid unnecessary thatch.

Aeration: Fast Lawn Growth

Another tested tip to improve lawn soil is core aeration. For every lawn enthusiast, regular aeration is necessary. Unlike other maintenance solutions, it’s not on a monthly basis. Yearly core aeration is advisable.

As with other methods, this solution has been gaining in popularity because it can reduce soil compaction. As it transforms compact soil into a healthy one, proper water and nutrient absorption will be possible. But wait, there’s more! Aerating also leads to deeper root growth. This makes the lawn less vulnerable to insects and drought.

But when can you aerate the lawn? Early fall is a perfect time. During this season, the soil is likely moist and the grass is growing. To aerate your turf, let a specialist handle the job for you. An expert has the experience and tools to get the job done right the first time.

Soil Fertilization: Healthy Turf

Last but not the least is soil fertilization. Called as a top-dressing, a fertilization method increases the soil fertility. Early autumn is the right season to top-dress your lawn. This allows the grass to grow before the long, cold season hits.

When looking for a perfect fertilizer, it’s not as easy as you think and testing the soil should be a top priority. After that, you can make top-dressing with a mixture of sharp sand, loam, and compost.

For newbies, figuring out the right amount of ingredients can be a burden. Don’t worry! Just determine the kind of soil you have. Is it loamy soil? Then, an equal amount of all components is awesome. Do you have clay soil? A little amount of loam is good.

Low-quality lawn? Or pest-damaged turf? Whatever the case may be, the soil is what’s to blame. Get rid of the extra thatch, aerate yearly, and apply organic fertilizer. That’s it! Green and thick grasses will be a reality.

Top 7 Landscaping Design Trends of 2018

flower bed landscaping
landscaping stone walkway gravel
Landscaping Design – Flagstone Walkway with Rock Gravel

Are you looking to upgrade your lawn and improve the look of your landscape and curb appeal?

This year, it’s all about growing your own fruits and vegetables, growing native plants, and creating comfortable seating areas.

Water and energy efficiency is becoming more popular each year, so installing a water-preserving irrigation system is another eco-friendly choice.

Are you ready to transform your garden and turn it into an urban oasis? Keep reading to discover the most talked-about trends in landscaping design this year.

1. Native Plants

Native plants are among the most requested front yard landscaping ideas for 2018. Instead of growing plants that struggle in different climates, use plants that are native to the state you live in.

This will help them thrive much faster and as a result, you’ll save water, money for maintenance, and energy needed to keep them alive.

You may be tempted to spruce up your yard with exotic trees, shrubs, and fruits, but they need very specific weather conditions, soil, and maintenance.

For example, if you want to grow cacti that love arid soil, heat, and very little water, you can’t expect them to thrive in areas where it rains several months a year.

Growing native plants is better for the environment, the ecosystem in your area, and your wallet. Most native plants don’t need human intervention to grow because they’re already adapted to the environmental conditions.

2. An Outdoor Kitchen

Cooking and eating ‘al fresco’ is one of the most popular backyard landscaping ideas of 2018.

If you have ample space, invest in a fully stocked kitchen with a fridge, stove, barbeque, and a sink.

Add a dining area where you can have family meals, invite friends for dinner cookouts and BBQs, and host birthday parties.

If you love cooking, but don’t want your entire house to smell like food, an outdoor kitchen is perfect to keep the odors outside your home.

Most outdoor kitchens are built to withstand the weather conditions and come with a sturdy cover for when you’re not using the elements.

3. Water Efficiency

In 2018, landscapers are installing more water-efficient features and irrigation systems.

Being eco-friendly is not only good for the environment, but also for the small ecosystem that is your backyard.

You’ll also save a lot of time and money if you have drought-tolerant plants, gravel, and artificial turf instead of real grass.

You can also add deck space and concrete sitting areas that don’t require a lot of maintenance.

Another great option is having compost bins that you can use to fertilize your natural lawn, plants or the vegetable garden.

4. Fruit and Vegetable Garden

The 2018 trends in landscaping design are all about growing your own vegetable and fruit garden.

Whether it’s a horizontal or a vertical patch, the ‘garden to table’ approach is a great way to stay healthy and have immediate access to fresh food.

You don’t need to have a green thumb or a big space. You can grow tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, herbs, berries, and different fruits, depending on the climate in your area.

If your community regulations allow it, you can also get a beehive and have fresh honey anytime or some chickens for fresh eggs each morning.

5. Water Features and Fire Pits

Some of the most innovative landscaping design ideas include custom-made fire pits and water features. This will give your yard a personalized touch, but also a natural look and tranquility.

Fire pits serve as a central point when entertaining and will make your space warm and beautifully lit.

Water features like fountains, ponds, and small streams are a trendy, yet timeless component if you want to add some zen into your backyard.

Both fire and water are natural elements that will add to the eco-friendly theme.

6. Comfortable Entertaining Spaces

In 2018, landscape trends aim for comfort and expanding the coziness of your home outside.

Warm lighting, soft outdoor furniture, swing chairs, and even a jacuzzi will make your backyard a safe haven of contentment.

In the warmer months, you can set up an outdoor cinema and invite people over for a movie night. If you have an outdoor kitchen, you can make popcorn and snacks or entertain guests for a dinner under the sky on a full-size dining table or bench.

Find a space in the yard to create an intimate, cozy reading nook. Add a sun shade for daytime reading and a few lamps for nighttime. Install drawers or a small cabinet to store your books, blankets, and supplies.

Based on the season and the weather, add heaters and coolers to make your stay outside more pleasant.

Another way to make your backyard more useful is to build an exercise, yoga, and meditation corner.

7. Green Grass

Having a backyard that is green, lush and healthy is popular year after year. You can opt for artificial turf to save time and money in the long run. It’s also easier to maintain if you want your yard to look fresh year-round.

If you want your backyard to be all natural, go for real grass. Bear in mind you’ll have to fertilize it and water it throughout the year.

Another issue with natural grass are pests, weeds, and animals that can destroy your lawn if you’re not careful.

Natural lawns also require constant mowing for curb appeal and maintaining the health of the grass.

This can prove inefficient if your goal is to have an eco-friendly and energy-efficient backyard.

Which of These Landscaping Design Ideas Will You Use for Your Own Backyard?

Whether you love having people over for an outdoor dinner or create a serene space where you can relax, these landscaping design trends are just what your backyard needs in 2018.

Are you ready to overhaul your landscape? Let us help you create the outdoor space of your dreams! Click here to get a free estimate for your lawn and landscaping needs and we will get in touch with you soon.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our services, contact us today.

Looking for more curb appeal inspiration? Visit our blog for more landscaping tips and tricks.

Landscaping With Stones

stone work brick and stone border landscaping

Planning and Preparing Your Landscape

Landscapes are man-made, they could be mixed with nature while others are cut, carved and built in their entirety. The goal in landscape building is longevity, making landscapes of stones one of the important indicators of past cultures. Stones used in landscaping may be rocks, pebbles and boulders. It could be carved, cut, uncut, cleft giving each stone its own unique characteristics of size, shape, color and density. Stones as the natural clothing or mantle of the earth is the most intriguing artifact for landscape architects.

Black-Lava-RockHowever due to the cost of obtaining stone for landscape, effective use of each stone is non-negotiable. The architect must consider the visual appeal and the feasibility of the stone intended for the choice landscaping site. The stone must fit into the site intended for landscaping which leaves the architect with the option of deciding which stone best serves his purpose. He could either obtain stones from water courses that makes them rounded, grey and offer little contrast or a stone that have sustained microbes due to the corrosive nature of iron that blends easily into a new location. Since rocks are naturally heavy, distance must be considered in its acquisition as transportation from long distance increases the cost of landscaping. When rocks are available, once again the site determines the choice used. For example if the site is a garden; warmth is provided by tawny beach pebbles or river rocks while marble chips help brighten shady areas. A tropical landscape would be greatly enhanced by flat terracotta stones and black lava stones are used for modern landscape.

In selection of ground cover (especially when landscaping a garden), using mulch (protective organic covering laid over soil to prevent erosion, retain moisture and sometimes enrich soil) will only generate unnecessary work as it must be replaced every season while rocks though more expensive is more durable. Another value rocks add to landscaping is the striking contrast it provides which brightens shady corners of landscapes. Weed growth is also hindered by rocks when landscaping is in gardens but a weed barrier is essential before putting stones in place.

Center Piece Stone
Center Piece Stone

Some Creative Ideas
Creating a centerpiece is an eye-catching focal point especially when landscaping gardens. For this purpose, a large unusually-shaped boulder is often used for this purpose. A boulder is simply a large fragment of rock greater than 200 mm/8 in diameter. Creation of a centerpiece adds visual interest and appreciation of the landscape. However arrangement of stones alone doesn’t highlight beauty and proper contrast if there is no appreciation for properties of stone used. A stone taller than it is wide typically used on the taller half of waterfalls or as a central stone in a composition is usually called a tall vertical. The opposite is a low vertical which is a stone wider than it is tall. It is usually a massive stone, carefully placed to complement tall vertical stones so they don’t appear as monolith.

When an oddly shaped stone overhangs on right or left which could also be referred to as a thrusting stone, this is known as arching. It is slightly lower than the low vertical stone and usually used to give firmness and durability to places like the corner of a stone bridge which considered as part of the vital points of a garden. This design can prove a bit tricky and usually require the experience of a professional landscape architect as the stone is planted at an angle to make a moderate arch more permanent.

Reclining Boulder
Reclining Boulder

Another design stone is known as reclining where the boulder looks like the shape of a reclining animal with the head on one end higher and narrower than the hips on the opposite end and generally regarded as the ox stone because of the strength it represents. All these gives landscaping with stones an intriguing subject to consider.

Ready to add some boulder and stone to your landscape?  Contact Us for more information and a free quote!