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Archive for the ‘Lawn Care’ Category

Your low maintenance landscape

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016







Nearly every client we meet asks for their landscape we are about to design to be “low maintenance.” This has been a theme for several years now, but recently seems to be really gaining some serious traction. So, what do we mean by a low maintenance landscape and how might it be different that what you currently have? Here are our insights into having your very own low maintenance landscape.

  1. It all begins with your soil, your living soil. Nutrient rich and living soils work for the plants, trees & grasses all the time. As time presses on they should require less input from you in the form of less fertilizers and moving to zero pesticides. This living soil also has the ability to hold greater amounts of water than a soil devoid of organic matter and “life.”
  2. Right plant, right place. Simple right? Might seem so but it is amazing how many times we are asked to plant something in the wrong light condition, or wrong soil condition or to close to a structure. The truth is that all the plantings in your garden will need some attention, this is because it is a cultivated space and not a naturally occurring space like in nature.
  3. A plants best food is its own foliage. What this means is that for deciduous shrubs & trees the best practice is to use their leaves as a natural mulch over the winter. This organic material can then be later cultivated into the soil or a decorative mulch layer can be placed lightly over the top.
  4. Fill up your beds! Add more plants to the open spaces to help choke out invasive weeds. Remember that in nature, weeds are there as a cover crop to go over an area that was recently disturbed or are barren. So, don’t give the weeds a place to grow.
  5. Consider removing some of your lawn and adding more planting bed space. Remember, lawns use much water and require a high level of input to maintain a thick, green appearance year round. Maybe you could increase your back yard patio size, add a seating wall to surround it and then finish with some beautiful low care native varieties.
    1. If you must keep your lawn use the simple tactic of mulch mowing or “grasscycling.” Turf grass research shows that by using proper mowers it is better to return clippings to the turf for nutritional replenishment. One side effect is a lower reliance upon fertilizers as you are now naturally fertilizing your lawn each time you grasscycle.


In your garden now…

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Now is the time in your garden to start some tasks to ensure the best possible Spring and Summer! Here are some “To-Do’s”


  • Tidy deciduous trees & shrubs while they are leafless to see the structure of the plants. Prune if needed to restore their natural shape.
  • Check out seed catalogs, garden books & go to seminars for inspiration, ideas and planning.
  • Schedule a garden coaching/consultation with one of our experts to get professional advice to help you create the garden of your dreams!
  • Keep storms debris like tree limbs and needles off lawns so they remain healthy.
  • Remove old, leftover perennial stems and leaves, be careful not to damage emerging leaves!
  • Bare root trees, berries and roses are arriving in garden stores. Plant them now!
  • Cut branches from forsythia, redbud, quince, flowering cherry, pussy willows and other spring blooming shrubs and trees.


  • Trim and clean ornamental grasses.
  • Treat for slugs around emerging bulb leaves and perennials. Look for a product safe to use around pets like the brand “sluggo.”
  • Divide crowded clumps of summer and fall blooming perennials like coneflowers, shasta daisies and asters.
  • As soil warms, mid to end of the month plant “starts” of cool weather crops like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.
  • Take a closer look at how the lawn grass made it through the winter. Consider the following for a green spring & summer lawn:
    • Moss killer application (Ferrous Sulfate) prior to other work.
    • Aeration – pokes holes in the lawn allowing water & nutrients to penetrate the “root zone.”
    • Thatching – think of this as a brush for the lawn. It removes all the old dead grass and any dead moss.
    • Fertilization – reinvigorates the lawn after the other treatments.
    • Over seed application – applying new grass seed to fill bare spots and give the lawn a head start.

Water Wise

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

In the modern landscape, being water wise is not just turning off the hose for the summer. Most people like the green, lush landscape through the summer, and it is obtainable if you plan ahead.

  1. Design for plants for your area. (Zone allocation, sun/shade, high and dry ground or low wetlands).
  2. When planting, water-in your plant material extremely well. Doing this will ensure that the root system can penetrate the native soil and tap into the natural soil moisture and nutrient nearby. We also like to use a type of mychrobial fungi during planting to ensure healthy soil culture.
  3. A healthy 2” layer of mulch around your plants will hold in moisture, protect your roots from heat/freeze and look good at the same time.
  4. Use your irrigation (or sprinkler) system with thoughtful planning. Plants need consistency in their watering schedule to help grow deep, healthy roots. Most importantly is a properly installed irrigation system, run times set for early in the morning and use of modern moisture control devices.  (Anything from a simple ‘Rain clik’ to the modern station monitoring sensors).
  5. Finally, yearly (at minimal) you should clean out the crown’s (the base of the plant where the stem meets the soil) of your plants. Excessive buildup of organic matter can actually hurt a plant by suffocation to the root system and giving an environment for fungi/insects to grow. Un-like the old wives’ tale, I don’t feel this helps with water conservation as much as one would think.

During this hot summer, most people are frantically trying to find ways to keep their landscapes looking their best. This water wise topic should not only be during the heat of the summer, but during all seasons in the landscape.

Realizing that several of these topics are a bit more involved than others, please feel free to contact us for products or advice.

Lawnless Landscapes Investigated.

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Quite recently, 10 minutes ago to be precise, I stumbled upon this header at “Tired of mowing? Pave over your lawn. Home owners are replacing grass with stone, concrete, or fake vegetation.”

I cringe. Even now, I have to take a moment to compose myself before continuing on. Yes, that is overly dramatic, but I must explain piece by piece.


Related Images:

4 keys to a prosperous garden.

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

A prosperous garden is one that is designed well and built and maintained to last. A design keeps you from wasting time and money by giving you a clear, thought out direction. Maintenance is much more than pruning. It is proper plant care that translates to long term happy, healthy plants. Building features to last means constructing them properly from the very beginning to cut the odds of having continual repair jobs.

There are four key elements to consider as you move to make an enjoyable garden.