Landscaping Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

IMG_20150507_094704_910It may seem overwhelming when you’re staring at a vacant lot and wondering how you’ll ever be able to turn it into anything resembling a backyard. Or perhaps you’re tired of the vast expanse of lawn and want something more interesting and less work. Below are a few Simple Landscaping Tips to get you started.

What Do You Want?
Before lifting that first shovel full of dirt, think about what you want your landscaping to do. There’s no sense in putting time and money into designing an area for formal entertaining if most of your get-togethers are family and friends. Do you have children that would like a play area? Do your dogs need an enclosure for romping? Would you like to have a quiet cup of tea in the morning sunlight in a secluded part of the garden? Write down all your ideas for your garden design.

How Much Time Do You Have?
Lush lawns, glorious roses, and babbling fountains are beautiful but take time and effort to maintain. If you can’t put in several hours a day on maintaining your gardens, scale it down, use less fussy plants, or use native plants that don’t care if you neglect them. Another alternative is hiring a gardening or landscaping service to maintain your landscaping for you.

What’s Your Budget?
You may want a champagne garden but be stuck with a beer budget. Determine what you can realistically afford for new landscaping for the next few years. Once that’s done prioritize your wish list. For example, hardscaping — new patios, walls and terracing — can be expensive. So get those installed first because they form the bones of your garden. It doesn’t make sense to plant the rose garden only to have to rip it up the next year to allow the equipment to build the new patio room to work.

Bigger isn’t Necessarily Better
When planting your garden leave enough space between plants so they don’t crowd each other when full grown. Those little trees may look scrawny and you’re tempted to plant closer together. If you do, the trees won’t have the room they need when they’re full size. Instead fill in the barren areas with annuals, either planted from seed or from small packs purchased from your local garden center.

Why you might benefit from a winter landscaping project

IMG_20151112_131902_644The summer sun has passed and we’re quickly approaching the colder winds of winter. However, this doesn’t mean that your home’s yard should be left to fend for itself. All your shrubs and trees, your bulbs and perennials continue to grow roots, seeking nutrients from the soil below until it freezes away. So, now is the perfect time to get a head start on the growing season of next year. Following, we’ll explore all the things you can do for a landscaping project in these next few months that will go a long way toward making your yard ready once Spring swings its way around. Your project for the winter could be anything from complete garden redesign through to something as simple as a new driveway installation or general landscaping project. Hiring the skills of a professional landscaper is recommended although these tips will help you out in the short term.

Let The Sun Through
One of the most important things to do in the sun’s dormant months is to clear all the trees’ fallen leaves off your lawn. Leaves and other debris happen to prevent the precious sunlight from getting to the grass beneath by sitting on the surface. In the winter, your lawn is already facing the prospect of less sun – and thus, less growth – so it’s vital you don’t let covering leaves make that phenomenon worse. Luckily, this is prevented fairly easily. Simply rake the leaves and other debris from your grass every few days. Be sure, however, to not miss a spot or you’ll be left with possibly worse looking dead patches.

“Planning” Beds
You might have already given some thought to what you’re planning to grow in your planting beds come Spring. Well, you can do even more than right now, prepping these beds for mulch in these preceding days. It’s a straightforward process, as well, broken down here in four simple tasks:
• Prune trees, perennials and shrubs in the beds
• Define the beds’ edges through hard edging, then a lawnmower pass along that edge
• Trim along the line for a nice, clean finish
• Plant your bulbs in a elevated and well draining bed

Mulch Protection
Mulch works to do much more than suppress weeds and improve the look of a lawn. It additionally works as a protection against the worse weathers of winter, slowing the evaporation of moisture and shielding soil from cracking and shifting. Between 1.5 and 2 inches of mulch depth should keep your plants protected and warmer. Be sure to spread the mulch so it doesn’t exceed that depth otherwise you could see root rot.

The winter months offer a reprieve from a lot of lawn work, but what is left is important. “Putting the garden to bed” in a complete way will help it be ready for Spring and entirely complete for Summer for the family to enjoy.

How to Grow Roses: 5 Tips to Grow Healthy Roses

rosesSummer is coming and there’s nothing more beautiful than a rose bush covered with lush blossoms and healthy green leaves. How to grow roses without a lot of strain and effort? Follow these 4 tips and you can grow healthy roses.

Prepare the soil If you’re planting a rose bush dig a hole about 1 and half times as deep as the rose bush container and twice as wide. Add slow release fertilizer per package directions to the bottom of the hole, then a shovel full of compost, a shovel of the soil you removed and a bit more fertilizer.

Remove the rose bush gently from the container and set in the hole. The soil line on the rose bush from the container should be the same as in your garden. If it’s too high remove a bit more soil from the planting hole. If it’s a bit too low add another shovel of soil. When it’s just right, gently scratch the roots from the bottom of the root ball and around the sides. That will encourage the roots to start branching out into the new hole. Fill the hole half way, alternating soil and compost with a sprinkle of fertilizer. Water thoroughly. When the water has been absorbed by the soil, fill the hole to the top and water again.

Refresh the soil. Dig a few inches deep around the base of your rose out to the edges of the bush. Remove about half of the soil and replace with compost, or bagged topsoil, mixed with slow release fertilizer � follow package directions. Add a layer of mulch a couple of inches deep to retain the moisture in the soil. The mulch will break down over the season and add organic matter to the soil.

Catch problems before they start If you see aphids or other buggy creatures remove them immediately. Don’t wait until you get to the nursery for bug spray. Most creatures can be washed off with a strong spray of water. Aphids can be sprayed with a mixture of � teaspoon dishwashing liquid to one quart of water. Spray on the aphids. If you don’t have a sprayer handy use a sponge. It’s messier but it works.

Look at your roses as they grow and treat problems right away. Look at the leaves for disease or brown spots. Don’t get too worried if leaves are a bit yellowish-greenish or new growth is kind of reddish, that can be normal. If the veins of the leaves are dark green but the leaf itself is yellow it could be a sign of iron deficiency. That’s easily treatable. If the entire leaf is yellow that could be a sign of nitrogen deficiency, again easily corrected.

Water but don’t over water. Roses don’t like getting their leaves wet and they don’t like keeping their feet wet. Don’t water on a preset schedule. Water when the top 3 or 4 inches of soil is dry, then soak the plants.

In very humid climates don’t crowd your roses with other plants, it invites fungus diseases. In hot dry climates don’t water everyday, plant the roses so they receive afternoon shade. Remove sent blossoms The only purpose of a flower is to produce seed, well at least to the plant that’s the only purpose. Remove the spent blossoms and the rose will continue to bud and flower. The exception is if the rose is of a variety that only blooms once a year. In that case leave the blossoms and enjoy the display. Follow these easy tips and you’ll have no problem growing healthy roses.