4 Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

landscaping mistakes to avoid In landscaping, just as in fashion, there are always trends and fads that come and go with the seasons.  Along with all the dos that are associated with a trend, there are a similar number of don’ts that are looked down upon by those who stay up to date with the current movements.  In this article we’ll go over four landscaping mistakes to avoid in today’s landscaping environment.

 

Heavy Chemical Use

The environment and our abuse of it are big news these days.  And using an unnecessary amount of chemicals as pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers is definitely frowned upon in the current landscaping world.  Organic and natural are big buzz words in several aspects of our lives and using a lot of chemicals is an anathema to good landscaping practices.  Finding other ways to deal with weeds, insects and slow growing plants is currently considered good landscaping.

 

Introducing Invasive Species

Bringing in foreign plants that reproduce expeditiously while rapidly take over the native species is a landscaping mistake that can actually result in a fine.  Contrary to popular belief, invasive species are not necessarily weeds, nor do they have to look ugly.  Some of the most successful invasive plants only got their start because of their beautiful flowers or interesting foliage.  And what might be considered invasive in a particular region may not be very successful at all in a different climate.  Make sure you know what you’re planting.

 

Depending On Too Much Plastic

Along with chemicals, plastics are another former miracle product that has been found to cause bigger problems over the long term.  And while many of the plastics that are used in the garden and yard may not end up in the water supply, they’ve become considered somewhat tacky.  Small plastic fences, plastic edging and even plastic watering cans aren’t looked upon with the same functional/fashionable eye that they used to be.  If you can easily substitute a more natural material for a plastic, why not try it?

 

Kitschy Design

Shaping your hedges into elephants or a popular cartoon character isn’t considered to be clever and skillful these days.  Trimming your hedges is still necessary, but keeping them looking somewhat natural will gain you more points in the gardening community.  Try and keep things looking natural to stay on point.

When is the Best Time to Lay Sod?

Compared to sowing seed, sod is a great way to end up with an instant patch of green grass.  That said there are some things that you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to successfully laying down some sod.  It can take up to two years for sod to fully take root, so knowing the answers to questions such as “When is the best time to lay sod?” or “How do I prepare my dirt patch for sod installation?” will help ensure the success of your sod laying attempt.  We’ve come up with a few pointers to get you started.

Time Of Year

The best times of year to lay down sod are spring and fall when the temperatures are still cool and there’s a decent chance of rain.  This will allow the sod to root more easily without having to worry about it freezing, scorching or drying out too much.  That said, it’s still possible to lay sod in any season, but you’ll need to take extra care in the summer or be patient if you’re laying it down just before snow falls.

Prepwork

Sod won’t just grow anywhere you throw it down.  You’ll need to ensure the ground is levelled to avoid water pooling.  You’ll need to remove debris such as rocks and sticks and make sure the soil is as weed free as possible.  If your soil is unusually compressed you’ll want to work it over to allow for better aeration.  It’s also a good idea to do some soil nutrient tests to see if you’ll need to fertilize before installation.  It’s much easier to do this on bare soil than it is to try it once the sod is laid.

Delivery And Installation

Because sod is harvested as close to the delivery time as possible, you should be ready to lay it down as soon as you get it.  You don’t want to wait for more than 72 hours after it’s been harvested or you may find yourself laying down dead grass that never takes root.  The sod should arrive feeling cool to the touch and the grass should be dark green.  If at all possible, try and time your delivery to coincide with an overcast and cool day.  If it’s a hot day, spray some water onto the soil before laying down the sod.  Once laid, give it a good watering, but don’t drench it.  You’ll need to give it light waterings twice a day for at least two weeks after installation.

 

4 Easy Spring Landscaping Tips

With the changing of the seasons comes a new lease on life for your yard.  Once the snow has melted and night time frosts are a thing of the past, it’s time to get your property prepared for the warm weather.  In this article we’ve come up with four easy spring landscaping tips to make sure everything is ready for the summer.

Inspect Your Trees

Trees can incur a lot of damage over the winter.  Heavy snowfalls can break branches, cold weather can cause die offs and a lack of moisture can contribute to brittleness.  Visually inspect your trees for dead or broken branches and signs of rot. Removing any sickly limbs or dying trees before they come tumbling down by themselves can save you a lot of trouble.  If you’re unsure, speak to an arborist to get a professional opinion.

Condition Your Lawn

If your lawn has spent the whole winter covered in snow you’ll need to be on the lookout for molds and mildew growth.  The easy way to rectify this is to give it a good raking to allow it to dry out. If the lawn has become compacted due to snow or heavy footfall, use an aeration tool to allow water, nutrients and air to reach the root system.  If there’s any bare spots, now’s the time to sow some grass seed. Consider a light fertilizer to give it a boost. If your lawn is dry and no rain is forthcoming, ensure it gets about an inch of water per week.

Remulch

If you properly prepared your yard for the winter you’d have laid mulch over the flower beds and around the bases of any small trees and shrubs.  Ensuring the mulch is still in place will not only help the soil retain moisture, it also gives your yard a neat looking appearance. Rake any scattered mulch back into place and add more where necessary.

Get Ready To Plant

Spring is time to get the new plants in.  Ideally you’ve spent the winter months creating a planting schedule that you can now put into action.  Some plants and bulbs can be sown while there are still frosty nights whereas others will need to wait until it’s warm enough.  Keep a close eye on the temperatures and frost watches to get an idea of what should be planted and when.

How to Treat Snow Mold on Your Grass

snow mold Snow mold occurs when your lawn receives a heavy snowfall before the ground has had a chance to freeze.  This allows moisture to get trapped and provides the ideal environment for snow mold to grow. Of the two types of snow mold, pink and gray, pink is the more damaging and can kill the grass roots as well as its crown where the roots and shoots meet.  Gray mold, on the other hand, typically only damages the blades of the grass. In this article we’ll go over various ways of how to treat snow mold on your grass.

 

Treating Existing Snow Mold

 

If spring has sprung and you’ve found circular patches of snow mold on your grass, it’s obviously too late to employ preventative measures.  The best thing you can do is allow the area to dry out thoroughly. This can be done by removing any layers of ground cover such as decaying leaves or other debris.  Give the area a good raking to unsettle the mold and allow the area to dry as much as possible.

 

Preventing Snow Mold

 

Tackling snow mold is best done by taking preventative measures.  You can do this by making sure to mow your lawn before the first snow flies.  Trimming the length to about an inch in height will ensure the grass blades won’t get crushed by a snowfall and encourage moisture and snow mold growth.  

 

If you’re regularly finding snow mold each spring, you might consider applying a coating of fungicide in the fall to help prevent mold growth over the winter months.  You should also be careful about applying too much nitrogenous fertilizer as this will only help the mold to take root.

 

When the snow does fall, especially if it’s an early snowfall without much cold weather beforehand, don’t let it build up on your lawn.  When you’re shoveling snow off your sidewalks and driveway, try to avoid piling snow on to problem areas of your lawn. Once spring comes, consider spreading the snow around on your lawn to allow it to melt and soak away or evaporate quickly.

 

How to Prepare Your Home for Spring Landscaping

As the winter carries on, most of us who are into gardening start to feel that yearning for being out in the yard and working the soil.  Even if it’s still too cold to get outside, there are still things you can do that will help you once spring arrives. In this article we’ll go over how to prepare your home for spring landscaping.

Seek Inspiration

Get some ideas of what you can do with your space by seeing what others are doing.  This may be as simple as looking through some magazines or watching some gardening shows on TV.  Visit your local gardening centre for ideas or consider taking in a gardening trade show. If you like to travel, keep an eye on how people organize their yards in different locales.

Understand Your Local Climate And Microclimate

Understanding how your local climate works will go a long way towards having a successful season.  There’s nothing worse than putting your plants out too early and having them killed off by a late frost.  Similarly you should also understand the microclimate of your own yard. Knowing which parts will get the most sun or shade, what parts are more susceptible to pooling water and where the hot spots in your garden are will allow you place your plants strategically.

Understand Your Adversaries

Knowing what kind of insects, animals and other pests you’ll be dealing with throughout the growing season can give you an advantage if you’re prepared for them.  You might be able to ward them off by planting certain types of plants together. You might be better off protecting certain plants with physical barriers such as burlap or chicken wire.  Knowing that certain species of birds pass through the area or you always deal with slugs at a specific time of year can influence your plantings and your protective efforts.

Create A Scheduled Map

Plotting out what you’re going to plant where and when will give you an overview of your entire growing season.  This will allow you to choose the right plants for the right locations at the right time of year. Not only will a scheduled map increase the likelihood of a full and lush garden throughout the growing season, you’ll also have fewer growing failures due to poor planning.  

 

What Makes Good Quality Sod?

For those who are looking to install a new lawn, they may have a tough time figuring out which sod is best for the job.  It’s not true that all sod is the same – there are certain things you should look for when choosing a sod to buy.  In this article we’ll try to answer the question of “What makes a good quality sod?”

The Grass

You want to buy sod where the grass has actually reached maturity.  Buying sod with grass that’s too young will result in a lawn that struggles to take root because it’s still too weak to recover from the shock of being harvested.  To tell if the grass has reached maturity before it was harvested, look for a strongly tangled web of roots on the underside.  You’ll also want the grass blades to be densely packed, about two inches tall and a consistent shade of deep green.  Beware of discoloured and thinly growing grass blades with undeveloped root systems.

The Soil

To be able to properly take root, a patch of sod needs the right type, consistency and depth of soil.  You’re looking for soil that’s rich and moist.  If it’s brittle and cracked it may have been harvested too long ago and will have a hard time transferring nutrients to the grass.  You also don’t want it too compacted as it will be tough for the roots to grow into the ground below.  The soil layer should be around one inch thick – not much more or much less than that. 

The Harvest Time

The closer to the harvest time that you obtain your sod, the more likely it’ll root successfully.  Ideally you’d get your sod within eight hours of it being harvested.  Any longer than that and it starts to dry out.  You want the roots and soil to still be moist when you take possession of it.  Beyond checking the soil moisture you can also look at the colour of the grass.  Look for a consistent deep green colour.  Also place your hand firmly on the grass blades.  They should be cool to the touch.  Warm or hot grass means that it’s probably been sitting in the sun too long and will have started breaking down.

4 Landscaping Ideas to Boost Curb Appeal

If you’re looking to make your house look better without undergoing a complete renovation, you can use a lot of simple tricks to freshen things up and make your house look better.  Not only will this create an overall better first impression of your house, a few minor landscaping maneuvers can even add to the value of your property. In this article we’ll go over four landscaping ideas to boost curb appeal.

Power Wash Your Driveway And Sidewalks

Because of the very nature of their use, your driveway and sidewalks will eventually accumulate dirt and stains.  You may not even find it noticeable as it occurs, but if you give these surfaces a power wash, you’ll notice the huge difference it makes.  You could rent machinery to get this done, but you could also simply invest in some outdoor cleaners and use your garden hose and a push broom to freshen things up.  

Manicure Your Lawn

Most people mow their lawns regularly and a freshly mown lawn makes the entire property look neater and tidier.  But if your lawn isn’t as green as it could get, even a fresh trim may not provide the results you hoped for. You may want to look into fertilizing brown spots or areas that aren’t growing properly.  It may create the need to mow the lawn even more often, but you’ll end up with a uniform green that’s pleasing to the eye.

Spruce Up Your Front Door

If your front door is looking tired it can have a knock-on effect over your whole house.  Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to your door to change the entire appearance of your property.  Using a colour on your door that contrasts with the rest of your house can add a visual appeal that’s hard to achieve in any other way.

Trim Your Trees

Overgrown trees and shrubs can make your property look messy.  Excess foliage can also hide aspects of your house that would normally be attractive to the eye.  Making sure your pathways and front door are easily accessible not only makes walking around easier, it’ll also make the entire house look better.

6 Benefits of Using Stonework in Landscaping

Stonework has been used in landscaping since time immemorial.  It was probably one of the first landscaping materials ever used by humans even if they didn’t realize that they were actually landscaping at the time.  Because the benefits are numerous, stonework is still one of the most popular landscaping materials available in the modern era.  In this article we’ll go over six benefits of using stonework in landscaping.

Versatility

Stonework is available in all sorts of colours, textures and styles.  It can be shaped to meet your needs or you can simply keep looking until you find something natural that works for your situation.   Stonework can be used in a wide variety of situations and is really only limited by your imagination.

Good Looks

Stonework has a natural rugged good look that isn’t found in a lot of manmade materials.  If you’re looking for curb appeal, stonework can be the focal point that works as a centrepiece while complementing its surroundings.  Give your property an added gleam by incorporating stonework into the scheme.

Low Maintenance

Stonework is easy to clean and maintain.  You won’t be constantly patching up cracks or worrying about the harsh effects of a sunny summer.  Because it’s naturally weather resistant you won’t run into many of the problems you find with other landscaping materials.

Affordability

Because stonework is so longlasting you won’t have to replace or repair it for years to come.  In the end, even if the initial costs seem somewhat high, you’ll end up playing much less in the long run. 

Stability

Stonework is much more stable than other solid landscaping materials such as concrete or asphalt.  Both concrete and asphalt are prone to expanding and contracting in extreme weather which will ultimately lead to cracking.  Although stonework isn’t completely unsusceptible to such movement, it is much more stable than the materials that need time to set.

Durability

You’re not going to find a much more durable material than stone.  Stonework can withstand all types of weather conditions and all types of uses.  Whether you live in an area of extreme weather changes or park heavy weights on top of your stonework you can be assured it’ll last for a long time.

What Irrigation System Works Best for Your Landscaping

Plants, grasses and shrubs are important parts of any landscaped area.  But you can’t take them for granted. You’ll need to make sure they have access to enough water to keep growing healthily and happily.  Irrigation systems are designed to keep you plants watered while saving you time, water and physical effort. To figure out what irrigation system works best for your landscaping, this article will describe four types of irrigation techniques.

Rotary Sprinklers

Asd their name suggests, rotary sprinklers work in a circular fashion by spraying water as they spin around.  If you have a decent amount of water pressure, rotary sprinklers can water quite large areas and work well for large lawns or swathes of turf. Some types of rotary sprinklers are easily moved around to different areas, whereas others are stationary.  Movable systems may require more maintenance than stationary systems.

Spray Irrigation

Spray irrigation systems are also good for covering large areas that need to be watered.  Spray irrigation systems are typically composed of sprinkler heads attached to a moveable framework that is attached to the main water source.  Spray irrigation systems can depend on the sprinkler heads for a certain amount of water coverage, but the fact that they move while still being attached to the water source gives this type of system its extended range.

Flood Systems

Flood systems typically dribble or bubble the water onto the ground surface rather than being sprayed or sprinkled.  This allows better saturation of the ground and decreases the evaporation associated with sprayers and sprinklers. Flood systems don’t work that well in hilly or graded areas, so having a flat surface is a prerequisite to this type of watering system.

Micro Irrigation

Micro irrigation systems are typically the most efficient way to water an area.  They are normally composed of a tube that carries the water to drippers placed along its length.  They are used to directly water plant roots at a consistent rate. Micro irrigation systems can also be attached to timers so you don’t need to continually turn the system on and off.

Top New Year’s Resolutions for Your Landscaping

The end of the year is nigh and that means people are finishing off their holiday shopping lists,  creating their Top 10 Of The Year lists and coming up with ideas for their New Year’s resolutions. And while most of these lists concentrate on the human aspects of the end of year, since we’re continually wrapped up in landscaping issues, we’ve come up with our own list: The top New Year’s resolutions for your landscaping.  Read this list over and figure out which of these tips might work for you.

Create A To Do List

The new year is a perfect time to create a landscaping to do list for the upcoming year.  You probably don’t have a lot growing right now and it’ll be too cold to get out there and work. So you might as well use your free time to come up with a list of the projects you’d really like to get done this year.  Once you have that list it’ll be a lot easier to create a schedule to ensure that everything is done at the appropriate time.

Spend More Time Enjoying Your Yard

Yards take a lot of work and a lot of time.  So much so, that many people never make the time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labour.  And sure, for many people, working on their yards is a form of enjoyment.  But give yourself a break this year and make sure you put down your tools for awhile and simply reflect upon all the work you’ve done.  You deserve it!

Try Composting

Everyone creates food waste.  Most everyone creates yard waste as well.  Rather than considering this material as waste, repurpose it into something useful by starting a compost pile.  You’ll need to learn a few basics beforehand, but once you start turning your waste into useful garden supplements it’ll become as automatic as throwing out the trash.

Conserve Water

Adequate fresh water is purported to become one of the biggest issues humankind will face in the coming years.  Doing your part to conserve this precious resource is where this crusade must begin. There are many ways to go about doing this, so you’ll have to consider your priorities.  You might think about swapping your lawn for something with lower water needs. Or it could be as simple as placing a rain barrel under your downspouts and using it on your plants.  Even smallest of efforts will make a difference.