DIY Landscape Design Week 2

Identify specifically what you want to accomplish with the space such as: garden area, water feature, outdoor dining/entertaining area, children’s play area, storage/shed, pool, etc. Now decide how much space each area will require and the desired proximity to each other and the house would be. Consider distance from where the food is cooked to dining location, keeping kids in sight, surrounding views, safety, practicality of getting things in and out of the shed, etc. Imagine yourself using these areas and how they should work together.
 
Now is the time to start drawing. Begin with a concept drawing. This drawing should only include very basics of where the landscape components should go. This concept drawing should be on a scaled outline of the space, including where your house sits, to insure adequate spacing. Adjust components accordingly. Refer to example below.

Water Conservation Fun

Who says conserving Water Can't be fun.

We all need a fish out of water, for a little humor.

DIY Landscape Design

 One of the biggest hurdles in beautifying our landscapes is design. If you enjoy gardening or just don’t want to pay for a landscape design, you can do it yourself and I will help you. Your design can be carried out in one summer or in phases to ease the cost and allow time to find exactly what you want. To phase in your landscape you must first have a design. Only then will it be clear what pieces need to be done first, second, and last.  Some things you can contract out or many home stores, local gardens, nurseries, etc have classes to learn things like paving and even installing water features.  All that is waiting now is for you to start.
 
To keep from bombarding you with information I have divided designing your landscape in steps. Each week I will post the next step to insure that you have your design ready to go before it comes time to plant.

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Deer Resistant Water Wise Plants

 

Deer Resistant Water Wise Plants - Sprinkler Timers that use the weather























Deer are one of the landscapes biggest threats.  A great way to deter these hungry unwelcome guests is actually also great for conserving water. The characteristics of low water use plants also make them less desirable for animal consumption. Deer prefer highly fertilized and over irrigated plants as they are higher in water content and softer.  Some characteristics that deter deer include: thorns, prickly leaves, sharp leaves/ blades, odorous, sappy or milky, and hairy leaves. There are plants that deer prefer above other plants but when food is scarce they will eat almost anything. Be aware that choosing these plants may not mean you will never have a deer damaged landscape again but it will decrease the chances. Ways to deter deer include: applying repellents on a regular basis, restricting access with many different fencing methods, and yard dogs. Some of the plants listed can be poisonous to people, pets, and livestock when consumed in adequate doses. The plants marked below with an * are especially deer resistant and are the least likely to be damaged.

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Lets talk mulch!

The proper use of mulch has many benefits: It can enhance the beauty of your landscape, suppress the germination and spreading of weed seeds, aid in soil moisture retention, and provide some protection to plant material against traffic heavy lawn equipment etc. What kind of mulches are best to use, and which should we avoid?

What kind of mulch is best?
 
Beautiful gardens start with great mulch. Save water with Smart Controllers like Controller LinkOrganic mulches break down and add nutrients vital to plant health into the soil over time. Rock mulches can cause damage to the soil increasing compaction and raising the temperature of your landscape. Tumbled glass is even more detrimental to your soil as it works as a magnifying glass to fry the soil. Items used in mulch include: Tree bark, wood chips, grass clippings, pine needles, shredded leaves, sawdust, straw, peanut hulls, peat moss, and recycled paper. Pine needles may affect plant growth and should be used cautiously. Mulch from softwoods break down faster than hardwoods this means that hardwood mulches need less frequent additions than softwoods. When choosing a source for organic mulch, remember: Darker is better and larger chunks will break down slower.
 
Just a note:
It is easy to confuse compost with mulch. But they are different additions to your soil. Compost first then add mulch. Compost consists of decayed organic material and animal manure such as: leaves, produce peels, etc. Compost should never be warm to the touch upon use. The heat means that it is still actively decaying and releasing high amounts of nitrogen that can burn plant material. 

Water Wise Ornamental Grasses

Water Wise Ornamental grasses are an essential part of all landscapes. Adding winter interest, texture, and form to the landscape. With a wide selection of color and height there are ornamental grasses to complement any need, or theme. Ornamental Grasses are generally cut down in the early spring to allow winter interest and insure the health of the grass. Below is a countdown to this summers must have ornamental grasses:

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