Tuesday, 27 May 2014

7 Deadly Sins of Landscaping

What constitutes the term bad landscaping? It may be following gardening practices that are too outdated or undertaking bad planting techniques that does no justice to your landscape. Everything changes over time and this includes gardening trends too. It was considered bad landscaping to grow vegetables in the front yard a decade ago. But now, there is a new gardening trend that prefers showcasing an edible garden in the front yard as it brings out the color, vibrancy and aesthetic appeal of the outdoor property. So what is “in” and what is “out”?

Here are 7 deadly sins that garden lovers must avoid when remodeling their landscape. Save yourself from the worst gardening transgressions that many fall prey to.
    1. Growing the wrong plants – Just because some flowers and shrubs are pretty doesn’t mean that they belong in your garden. You need to take the “nativist” approach to gardening. This simply means that you need to take into consideration the type of region you live in and your living conditions. This could mean taking note of whether you live in dry, humid, pleasant or cold weather and the type of sunshine that you get every day. This could range from hot/warm and sunny, filtered light or shade. Get help from a landscaping contractor to help you choose what kind of plants will work best for your garden.
    2. Cutting grass too short – One myth that’s going around is that the shorter you cut the grass the lesser you have to mow the lawn. You will do more harm than good as scalping the lawn leads to ugly bare patches. This will invite pests, insects and make it susceptible to diseases. Cut the grass differently for every season. During summer, keep the blades a bit long so that when the lawn is watered, the moisture stays for a longer time. During winter, cut the grass a little shorter than normal so that the sun rays can get into the soil.
    3. Using harmful chemicals to fertilize – A big no-no is the use of harmful pesticides to keep weeds, insects and diseases at bay. You should organically fertilize the lawn by using naturally made concoctions.
    4. Planting in the wrong place or too deeply – Always make sure that your plants get plenty of sunlight. Planting in the wrong place will not give proper results. Choose plants that look lustrous throughout the whole year. If you are planting trees, consider how much space they need to thrive and grow. Another common mistake is planting too deeply. This will kill the plant as there is no air circulation in the root system which causes root rot. A good rule to follow is to dig the exact height of the container from which it came.
    5. Using the wrong tools and wrong size pots and planters – Buying quality gardening tools will ensure safety, efficiency and productivity. Some important tools to keep handy are gardening gloves, safety goggles, a solid shovel and rake. Keep them organized and clean at all times. If you need extra equipment, you can also rent them out from your hardware store. Don’t plant in wrong size pots or planters. You can also house a small or medium size plant in a big pot to allow it to grow with lots of room. However, don’t put small plants in very large pots as it will cause them to sink down into the soil. Repot them if you find the roots sticking out at the bottom.
    6. Going overboard with ornamentation – Avid gardeners may make the mistake of dumping too many items for ornamentation in their landscape. This can be a major source of distraction for the natural beauty of your outdoor space. Make sure that any softscape or hardscape feature fits into the context of the overall design and plant materials.
    7. Not accounting for wildlife – Protect your plants by making sure that there is proper fencing or wires around. You can even plant some bitter tasting ones to prevent deers or rabbits from making a meal of your sweet smelling flowers. To stop other critters like raccoons, squirrels, rodents, etc from destroying your produce, apply some chemicals around the surrounding vegetation to act as barriers. For a safer approach, you can even use bleach or cheap men’s cologne. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Best Flowering Trees for your Garden

Trees are versatile, perennial plants that fit into any type of landscape whether it’s urban or rural, contemporary or cottage themed. They can be difficult to choose and maintain because they live for over a lifetime or more. Trees add character to your landscape. The first years of their growth are the most critical, so you need to protect them. Trees can do unique things for your garden apart from providing shade and structure. A row of small trees can serve as a living fence or can be trained into decorative patterns for aesthetic appeal.

Flowering trees and shrubs are the best choices for this season as they add vibrancy and color each year. Whether you like white flowering trees, pink flowering trees, or small flowering trees, here is list of the types of flowering trees and shrubs to help you envelop your garden in blooms every year.

Eastern Redbud

The Eastern Redbud is a multistemmed, small, handsome, understory tree that has a 20-30 foot rounded crown and reaches 20 to 30 feet in height. The flowers bloom in early spring that has a reddish purple bud to a breathtaking rosy-pink. The leaves are heart-shaped and emerge after the flowers. The leaves turn an attractive yellow in fall.

Flowering Crabapple

The Japanese Flowering Crabapple is a small to midsized tree, which ranges in habit from low mounds to narrow, upright or weeping trees. During the spring season, flowers bloom in pink, white or red colors with a wonderful fragrance. During fall, apples in red, orange or yellow colors grow from them. They have attractive branches that are revealed in winter. Choose newer varieties that hold their fruits right into the cold seasons.

Southern Magnolia

This Southern Magnolia tree is planted for the purpose of enjoying its large, shiny, evergreen leaves with fuzzy undersides, beautifully fragrant, creamy white flowers that bloom in spring and red fruits during fall. It reaches to a height of 60 to 80 feet and 30 to 50 feet in width. Since they are large trees, you need to plant them away from swimming pools or walks, where the litter can get unsightly.

Flowering Dogwood

The Flowering Dogwood gives a visual treat during winter as it is a spreading tree with horizontal branches. The size varies with every climatic condition, but the typical height is 20 to 40 feet with the same width. During fall, the leaves look distinctive in their reddish purple color. Fruit looks a beautiful glossy red but the late spring flowers are insignificant. They are however surrounded by four attractive pink or white bracts.

Shrub Rose

The Shrub Rose is a family of rose hybrids developed by David Austin in the 1970s. They are a cross of hybrid tea roses and other modern varieties with the traditional old garden roses. They possess a unique combination of the form and fragrance of old roses with the hardiness, strength and long bloom season of modern hybrids.

Forsythia

The Forsythia is a sunny indication for the start of the spring season. It is an arching, upright, deciduous shrub that has beautiful, bright yellow flowers in early spring. Some branches shoot upwards while the others have a tendency to arch.

Pee Gee Hydrangea

The Pee Gee Hydrangea is one of the latest blooming and hardiest hydrangeas. During the summer season, it bears large, cone-shaped white flowers. The flowers then gradually turn reddish brown and hang on till winter. Most hydrangeas are less than 10 feet tall but they do have the potential to reach up to 15 feet tall and be pruned as a tree.