If you’ve just bought a new house, take a look out your back window. Is your plot simply a pile of dirt ready for planting? Or if it’s already seeded or laid with sod, does your land still look more like a fairway than a lawn? Though there’s nothing wrong with green grass, there’s more to landscape design than occasional upkeep. In fact, the options you have with landscape architecture are limitless. There is such a wide variety of vegetation and decoration, however, that the options can be intimidating. In fact, many people throw in the towel before they even begin. We’re not all born with green thumbs, and some of us don’t even know what’s available. This is when landscape architects are extremely beneficial. With a professional landscape architect on your side to help plan, coordinate, and implement original landscape designs to specifically fit your needs, you’ll be well on your way to the property of your dreams.
Landscape Design: The Natural Blueprint
Just as you hire an architect to build your home, a licensed landscape architect is trained to create blueprints for your exterior.
Your lawn needs to breathe. Every time you step on your lawn, mow your grass, or allow your children to play in the yard, your lawn soil becomes a little more compacted. Minimal use usually isn’t a significant problem. Seasonal freezing and thawing can help keep your soil loose, as well as the occasional earthworm working his way through your lawn. For most homeowners, though, annual or bi-annual lawn aeration is important to keep a lawn healthy and disease-free.
Your lawn needs loose soil for several reasons. Vital nutrients, water, fertilizer, and pesticides will more easily move into loose soil. Plus, grass roots will more easily extend into the soil to extract these nutrients. An aerated lawn will also promote a healthy population of microorganisms that breakdown lawn thatch. Left unchecked, a spongy layer of thatch can block water and nutrients from reaching your lawn and will leave it more susceptible to disease.
Aerating Your Lawn
So how does it work? A lawn aerator removes soil plugs from your lawn allowing compacted soil to
The idea that a natural setting is good for the body isn’t a new one. To quote a WebMD article, “A landmark study by Roger S. Ulrich, published in the April 27, 1984, issue of Science magazine, found strong evidence that nature helps heal. Ulrich, a pioneer in the field of therapeutic environments at Texas A&M University, found that patients recovering from gallbladder surgery who looked out at a view of trees had significantly shorter hospital stays, fewer complaints, and took less pain medication, than those who looked out at a brick wall.”
Since then, other studies by scientists worldwide have bolstered the theory that scenes of nature and being outdoors has a positive effect on our health. However, not every American has the time or means to hit the wilderness whenever he or she wants. For most of us, getting our recommended intake of nature needs to occur much closer to home.
Get your Nature any Way you Can
One of the best things about the healing power of nature is that you don’t have to be in the middle of nowhere
A potting shed is an outbuilding designated specifically for gardening tasks. That includes, but certainly isn’t limited to, potting and re-potting plants, starting seedlings, hardening off seedlings before planting them outdoors, and tool storage and maintenance. While different gardeners have different gardening needs, there are a few must-have amenities that everybody should be sure to incorporate into their plans.
New or Used?
The truth is just about any structure can be turned into a good potting shed. If you’ve got an old outbuilding on your property, it’s certainly worth exploring if it can be adapted to your gardening needs. In most cases it’s a fairly easy transformation. If you’re starting from scratch, you still have several options. Any common backyard shed of the kit or pre-fabricated variety can easily be modified into a perfect garden shed. And if you like to dream big, you can have your shed custom built (or designed) to meet your every whim and desire.
Windows and Natural Light
One of the main reasons a potting or garden shed is different than that backyard Tuff Shed your neighbor owns is light. Remember, your potting shed isn’t just a storage area. The
The key to successful gardening is preparedness. Whether you’re thinking about starting a garden or have been tended your own garden for a few years, the best thing you can do is plan ahead. Start your garden now. Waiting until the first day of spring to begin your garden puts you behind schedule. Since you’ll need shovels, hoes, pruners, and other gardening tools, go to the hardware store now and beat the rush. Make sure these tools are sharpened or, better yet, learn how to sharpen them yourself. Don’t sit on the couch and say that you’ll start a garden this year, go ahead and start one.
If you think you may want to take on a slightly more ambitious project or specific questions about a certain aspect of your lawn or garden, call a landscape professional. Winter is the down season for landscapers and many of them may be happy to provide free consultations if you call them early enough. Plus, if you decide you need a landscaper too late, you may get waitlisted.
If you need to put in new lawn, make arrangement for early sod delivery or discover when the sod
Your landscaping makes a huge impact on the look and function of your property as a whole, and it is well worth the effort it takes to keep it looking as good as possible. However, while there are more than enough landscaping companies to go around, some projects are too large or too involved to simply hire landscape services. Is your project big and/or intricate enough that you should hire a landscape architect? Is your landscaping in the kind of shape where hiring a landscape architect is simply not necessary? If these are the kinds of questions that pop into your head when you look at your front lawn, this story may give you a better idea of what exactly a landscape architect can offer!
The Decision to Hire a Landscape Architect
The two-year undertaking at Jose and Mary Armario’s Hinsdale, Ill. home was so extensive and held so many opportunities for snafus, they knew that they couldn’t hire landscape services from a company that couldn’t handle the load. Having a good idea of what they wanted (the design and installation of a swimming pool, a patio and outdoor kitchen, a driveway, a brick wall, two porches,
Don’t blame yourself if you’re having trouble sustaining your yard. It doesn’t mean you lack a green thumb or can’t keep the simplest of species alive. The number one problem in any kind of landscaping is soil. Unless you live in a fertile part of the country, there’s a good chance you’ll run into difficult soil that will hinder you in growing even the most maintenance-free flowers or plants. There are several reasons why plants have a hard time growing, but when nature seems to be stacked against you, these soil solutions can make the difference between a garden that’s great, and one that’s nearly non-existent.
Causes of Difficult Soil
All yards run into difficulties at some point and a lot of it has to do with the ground it’s growing in. So the first line of attack is a good defense: identifying the setback.
- pH Balance: the most troublesome dilemma is your yard’s chemical composition. Dirt has a pH level which is measured using a scale ranging from 0-14. Since plants need a nice balance of several chemical elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc.) in order to effectively grow, you need to make sure its
With the enormous amount of children’s products available today, deciding what to spend your money on can be difficult. As a parent, you want something that will be durable and provide a lot of good times for your kids. When sifting through the wide variety of games and toys, many find that the things they enjoyed as a child are what they want for their children.
When it comes to classics, a backyard swing set or kid slide is a home addition that has stood the test of time. No matter what the current trends are in children’s products, generations of happy kids have enjoyed swinging and sliding and will no doubt continue to for generations to come.
Backyard Swing Sets
Backyard swing sets are generally made from wood, wooden composite, or metal. Deciding which material to go with can be a difficult one. A backyard swing set made from metal will be sturdier and require little, if any, maintenance. On the other hand, many homeowners shy away from these swing sets because they don’t want their backyard to look like the local, municipal playground. No doubt, a wooden swing set is a classier choice, and
One of the good things about choosing a natural grass putting green is that the initial installation is usually cheaper than the synthetic alternatives. You’ll want to resist, however, the urge to try to install the green yourself. More goes into installing a putting green than special grass and a good mower.
A sand base is put in, making the green sensitive to water. As such, the ground usually needs to be built up and sloped to allow for water runoff. Poor drainage will lead to pools of water that will make the grass disease-ridden. Plus, if you hire a professional they can also give you starting advice on proper maintenance for your putting green. One additional thing to keep in mind is that while the initial installation of a natural putting green is cheaper, there will be maintenance costs that aren’t associated with synthetics.
Unless you’re able to hire your own part-time greenskeeper, you really need to be an avid lover of both golf and gardening to choose a natural grass putting green. Good putting green maintenance involves precise measurements and practices of watering, fertilization, and topdressing. If this doesn’t sound daunting in
Gently worn tools are the hallmark of the true gardener. There’s a patina on the garden tool handles laid in by firm hands over years of digging, turning, cultivating and filling in. Your investment now in good quality gardening tools will last for generations.
A gardener’s tools should match the gardener’s strength and style of gardening. Knowing this, those who sow and reap with the seasons become reliant on these tools of the trade.
Back to Basics
It’s impossible to garden without a basic set of tools. Whether you’re setting up your new garden or upgrading what you already own, spend as much as you can afford on these tools, knowing that they’ll be at your side for years.
Basic quality tools like shovels and forks have heads constructed of high-carbon steel with terms such as “heat treated” or “forged” on the label. The shaft of long handled tools should be a light wood, such as ash, and should be unpainted and free of knots. The weakest part of a tool is where the handle meets the head. Settle for nothing less than a solid metal socket or strapped head with two or three
No matter what kind of house you live in, a green, healthy lawn is always the perfect compliment. When it comes to curb appeal, your grass, plants, trees, and shrubs are more than half the battle. Pulling the hose out every time you need to water is a hassle that many homeowners would rather do without, especially after a long work day; lawn irrigation systems are just the thing to keep your front yard flora blooming and green without putting an unnecessary dent in your free time!
Lawn Irrigation Systems: Sprays, Rotors, and Drips
The most common type of lawn irrigation system is, of course, the sprinkler. Depending on the slope of your lawn, the type of plants in your yard, and your local climate, a series of sprinklers may truly be the only lawn irrigation equipment you need. Often set on a timer (to provide the correct amount of water at the best time of day), sprinkler systems are a convenient and effective way to water, but you must be sure to get the right kind of sprinkler heads.
Spray Sprinkler Systems A “spray” sprinkler is good for lawns that are relatively flat. They are
Few gardening practices offer you more benefits than choosing a raised garden bed as one of your primary landscaping techniques. From a practical standpoint, you’ll have healthier plants and easier landscaping to maintain. And from an aesthetic point of view, by being creative about the materials you build raised beds out of and where you put them, you’ll add beauty, form, and texture to your overall landscaping vision.
Raised Beds Mean Healthier Plants
Perhaps the biggest payoff of raised bed style gardens is the improved health of your plants. Because a raised garden bed drains better, is filled with better soil, is easier to maintain, and generally attracts fewer weeds and insects, you can be sure your plants will be healthier and more productive. It’s the reason raised beds are so popular when it comes to vegetable gardens. By simply switching to raised bed plots, a gardener can see veggie yields improve by twice as much. The good news is that those stats don’t just go for tomatoes and squash. Raised bed gardening in landscaping means you’ll have twice the flowers come spring and summer, and that other shrubs and landscaping plants will flourish as well.