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Landscaping Articles

Crisp Fall days: Perfect for planting... and planning

When Autumn comes around we see our trees and plants getting ready for their "long winter's nap" and it's only natural to think that we can begin to take it easy too. However, with a little deeper thought, we can see that Fall is one of the most important times for us to pay attention to our landscape. In a recent column, I discussed some of the ways we can prepare the land for winter. Of course what we are really doing is setting the scene for the best possible growing conditions for next Spring and Summer. This is such an important topic that we're going to continue our thoughts...

Celebrate Earth Day - plant some trees!

It seems that the calendar is becoming filled with "Days" – as well as "Weeks" and "Months" – that are designated to celebrate even the most obscure events. But there is one very important event we all need to remember: Earth Day, celebrated on April 22 every year. Earth Day is the brainchild of Earth Day Network, a nonprofit organization that coordinates activities worldwide. The network is still headed by Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes, organizers of the first Earth Day held in 1970. >From my point of view (and probably from yours too, since you're reading this...

Flowering trees add vivid bursts of color

For me, at this time of year, nothing lifts my spirits quite like the sight of the beautiful flowering trees that Cheryl and I have planted over the years as part of our landscape. And it’s not just our trees. Driving around the neighborhood I can see splashes of crimson, pink and snow white where, only a few weeks ago there were only greys and muted browns. Maybe you’ve seen some colorful trees that really delighted you, but you weren’t sure what they were exactly and so you couldn’t your own specimens or even investigate them online. Here is a quick glance at some of...

Ornamental grasses enhance and showcase your flowers and shrubs

Your flower beds are finally free of weeds and you want to showcase your annuals and perennials with something special. This could be the perfect place for ornamental grasses. Last time in this column, I discussed the best ways to evict those wretched weeds from your flower beds and prepare the soil for planting. If you missed that column, you can find it archived at my Web site www.landsteward.org when you click on “The Plant Man”. Look for the one titled “Attack weeds early.” Sometimes, even the most beautiful shrubs can look rather forlorn, simply plonked down in a...

Planting trees this spring? These pre-plant tips will help!

We must be well into the new year because I've finally stopped writing the wrong year on my checks. It's about this time every year that both professional landscapers and home gardeners start thinking seriously about spring planting. Now is the perfect time to be thinking about the characteristics of your planting site. This is particularly important if trees are on your spring planting agenda. "It pays to plan well [and to] know your planting site," says Yvonne Barkley, a forestry extension associate with the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho...

Container gardening opens up new landscaping options

When it comes to getting creative with your landscaping, don't overlook containers! Perhaps you haven't really considered container gardening because you think of it as only for apartment-dwellers and others who have little or no land in which to grow plants. However, I believe that creative incorporation of container gardening into your landscape can add an exciting element with comparatively little effort on your part. I have suggestions for plants for your containers, but let's start with some of the benefits of container gardening... Move ‘em around!...

Noisy or nosy? Either way, screening can help!

One of the most depressing aspects of many new housing developments is the strange feeling you get that someone has planted an enormous meadow full of houses. Wherever you look, they're there: houses to the left of you, houses to the right of you, houses all around you. Sometimes you can see the houses on the street beyond the street... beyond the street... where your house stands. Compare that with an "established" neighborhood. Even where houses have been built with the same density, there isn't that feeling of exposure, that lack of privacy that is so common in newly...

Pruning: a kindly cut for your trees

Pruning trees is a subject that crops up quite frequently in e-mail that I receive from readers of this column. Many people feel uneasy about cutting limbs from their trees, even though they understand in principle that it's often a necessary and beneficial practice. "It feels as if I'm performing surgery without anesthetic," as one reader put it! Let's take a look at the basics of pruning, and I'll also point you at some online resources you can access and that will give you a far more comprehensive understanding of pruning than we have room for here. As...

Ornamental Grasses Add Year-long Garden Interest

Ornamental Grasses Add Year-long Garden Interest
There's grass... and then there are GRASSES! You mow the grass, but ornamental grasses get a whole different treatment. You scowl and say, "Darn it! Look how long the grass is getting!" Then smile and say, "Look at those beautiful grasses!" There's something very special about ornamental grasses than can make a fan out of the most avid lawn-care grumbler . For one thing, they are relatively easy to grow (and hard to kill) and they can be quite spectacular without requiring a lot of expertise on the part of the homeowner. Ornamental grasses add year-long garden interest. Ornamental grasses can...

Add pathways to your landscape and save your lawn!

Recently, a reader asked me what to do about some well worn patches across her lawn. It seems that her family continues to "beat a path" across a particular area, despite her gentle requests, more forceful suggestions and downright threats! I started to think of various types of tough, resistant grass or ground cover. And then it struck me. Why fight it? Go with the flow! There is probably a very good reason why her family continue to take this particular route. Maybe it's the most convenient way to reach the garage, the shed that houses the bikes and...

Dry soil? Six plants that will brighten your landscape

For farmers, there are only two kinds of rainfall: too much and not enough. Those of us who are into gardening and landscaping can sympathize with that! However, unlike farmers, most of us don’t have thousands of acres to worry about. That means we can concentrate our efforts on finding plants that can withstand the prevailing weather conditions in our (relatively) small patch of soil. The Plant Man’s simple rule of (green) thumb? Select trees and shrubs whose characteristics match the USDA plant hardiness zone where you live and the specific moisture conditions of your landscape...

Best ways to use flowering shrubs and evergreen shrubs

Best ways to use flowering shrubs and evergreen shrubs in any garden or landscape: Shrubs are virtually maintenance free . Our living fence shrubs and evergreen shrubs help you to maintain your privacy . Several specimens of the same variety can be planted in garden plant groupings for a stronger visual effect. Different plant varieties can be grouped together for diversity and harmony of form, foliage or flower. Use flowering shrubs to give a sense of volume in a flower bed and can be used to set off garden accessories such as statues, birdbaths, fountains...

Lovely landscapes... even when water is scarce

A recent e-mail question from a reader got me thinking about a subject that we haven't discussed before in this column. Monette West wrote: " We get your column in the Zapata County News in Zapata, Texas. Can you give me some info on xeriscaping. I am sure that is not correct but I expect you can figure out what I mean." Your spelling is correct, Monette. The term "xeriscape" is derived from combining the Greek word "xeros" meaning dry with the more familiar word "landscape". In fact, the name has been around since 1981 when it was coined by the Front Range Xeriscape Task Force of...

Free Landscape Design Software

We have listed below a few of the more popular landscape design software applications that you can download and play around with your own ideas. They are listed for your use and entertainment in landscape design. 3D Landscape for Everyone 2.0 - Free 15 day trial http://download.cnet.com/3D-Landscape-for-Everyone/3000-2191_4-10201133.html Smart Draw Landscape Design Software https://www.smartdraw.com/landscape-design/landscape-design-software.htm ...

Smart landscaping can lower your Summer energy bills!

Can planting trees actually save you money? Not just you, but the entire United States according to a report that I read recently at a fascinating web site called Pioneer Thinking. According to the report prepared by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), urban America has 100 million potential tree spaces (i.e., spaces where trees could be planted). NAS further estimates that filling these spaces with trees and lightening the color of dark, urban surfaces would result in annual energy savings of 50 billion kilowatt-hours -- 25% of the 200 billion kilowatt-hours consumed every year by air...

Damp soil? Here are four plants with wet feet!

So you have soggy soil and everything you plant seems to sink in the mud or drown? Why fight Mother Nature when you can go with the flow? Instead of trying to force unsuitable plants to adapt to your damp conditions, pick plants that love getting their feet wet! Here are plants that should be on your list if you have soil or weather conditions that is on the dry side. Today we’re at the other end of the moisture scale: looking at plants that are singin’ in the rain! Sedges and rushes You might not find Moses in your bulrushes, but if you’re familiar with the story, you remember that rushes...

The Perfect Mix of Shade Garden Plants for Your Landscape

A shade garden can be a great place of relaxation and serenity. Sitting under the shade, you can do a lot of restful activities without sweating under the sun. Just sit under the shade and enjoy the beauty of the nature, read books, or have casual talks with family members. The uniqueness of the shade garden plants is that they flourish well in areas frequented by limited natural light. The decreased light may be of a morning sun, gloomy sun, or filtered sun. These plants require moist soil that is rich in organic matter to grow well. Ideal places to grow the shade-loving plants would be the...

Plants for Your Pool Landscape

Looking for more ideas on what to plant around the fence (perimeter) of your pool area to create more privacy or in the poolside landscape? Greenwood Nursery has trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers that will grow beautifully in your pool landscape. Need more ideas? Send us a picture of your pool area along with location and we'll offer more suggestions. Plants that can be used for landscapes and hedges around the perimeter of the pool area (20 to 30 feet away from the pool) are: Rose of Sharon Emerald Green Arborvitae Sunset Glow Bamboo ...

How to Add Curb Appeal to Your Front Yard

Foundation plants are shrubs used for planting along homes and building to soften their look, enhance curb appeal and tie it to the surrounding landscape. Some considerations to keep in mind when choosing these shrubs are: - Style/Color - Size - Scale - Seasons The style of your house should be one of the biggest factors in selection foundation shrubs. For example, a colonial house should have different plants compared to a house that is of southwest style or modern style. The colonial would have more traditional, tight growing greenery such as boxwood whereas the southwest style home would...

Design Your Own Landscape

Even the simplest landscape and gardening projects can quickly become overwhelming. To make it easier, I have created this How-To on getting started with your own landscape plan which includes everything you need with landscape tips and ideas to information on helping you with long term maintenance for your home and landscape. There is, also, a detailed questionnaire to assist you in working out your needs and wants in your plan. Whether your home is new construction, new to you, or you're just renewing your landscape, this will ease the frustration of getting started...

Select Ground Cover Plants That Flatten The Landscape

The process of fattening out a landscape with ground cover plants is not difficult if the proper procedures are used. For this project, various things will be needed, such as different kinds of plants depending on the season. The Benefits Of Flattening An Area With Ground Cover Plants When an area is sloped, water runoff and soil erosion will be an issue. In addition, the moisture retention will be uneven. A sloped landscape is also tough to mow. The bottom of the slope is usually where water will travel and stop. Because of this, plants will have...

Maintaining Flowering Shrubs to Avoid Excessive Growth

You delight in your thriving garden or yard because you spend a lot of time gently nurturing and providing the TLC it needs to be beautiful. Once plants, trees, and flowering shrubs have taken root and established themselves, the rest is about enjoying your garden and maintaining it to keep its attractive appearance in order and avoid excessive growth. Caring for Large Flowering Shrubs Use hand-held pruners on larger perennials such as Buddleia, better known as the Butterfly Bush. Cut off the old blooms to keep them flowering beautifully throughout the summer. In the winter or early spring,...

OSO Easy Shrub Roses Make Elegant, Chemical-Free Garden Safe Zones

Today’s more earth friendly and natural landscapes pique interest in organic barriers and boundaries for homes and gardens. Shrubs, including chinese privet, are popular choices for creating nonintrusive privacy zones, but finding a shrub that presents both colorfully and elegantly can be a problem. To this end, garden enthusiasts have turned to roses for hundreds of years, but black spot and mildew often becomes a deterrent to grow long stands of eye-catching beauties. OSO Easy Rose Shrubs , though, stand to revolutionize both home and commercial area gardens as they are extremely...

Ground Cover Basics for Erosion Control, Beautification, and Elegant Focal Points

A lot of attention is paid to beds, borders, foundations, and focal points when it comes to home and commercial gardening, but just about any landscape might benefit from well-placed ground cover plants. A wide variety of ground cover plants are available, but a few choices deliver vivid greens, alluring colors, and hard-to-match benefits to gardens with special needs. Among the ground covers that benefit just about every garden are: Sedums Vincas Ajuga Pachysandra Virginia Creeper Purple Wintercreeper Thymes The most easily recognized...

Ground Covers Turn Your No-Grow Zones to Colorful Delights

Most yards exhibit some problem areas before serious gardening begins. In some cases, lawn problems will persist even after years of gardening know how has been applied. What the most successful gardeners understand is that pinpoint lawn problems early allows for quick application of long-term solutions. Common lawn problems for home gardens are: bare spots dry zones eroded areas Remedying any of these problems in your own future or current garden requires only the simplest eye for detail. Stepping back to consider these no-grow zones, assess the...

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