Landscaping: Plan Your Yard Right, Part Two

file0001650809967We’ve been discussing the need to plan your yard before you landscape. Last time, we discussed light, water, and animals. We continue the discussion this week by exploring space, color, and arrangement.

Space

One of the biggest issues homeowners end up having is more plants than space. It’s very easy to overestimate how much space you really have given the plant’s size at maturity. In fact, what often happens is that the landscaping plan is made based on what fits together when the items are planted, but if you’re not planning for the next 5-10 years of growth, you’ll often end up with more problems.

As you plant, consider how much space you have based on the projected size, height, and root requirements of the mature plants. You can always use annuals to fill in the space you have to leave to accommodate the mature plants.

Color

Both by choosing the color of your flowers to complement each other and by choosing a variety of plants that bloom at different times, you can create a landscape that is beautiful all year long. Consider different textures and shades of color to add depth and dynamic to your landscaping.

Arrangement

When planning how to plant multiple plants in a group, again consider their size at maturity. Combine a variety of plants that will grow to different heights to create a visually appealing landscape, but consider how the growth of each plant will affect the others; if you’re now-sunny garden will soon be shady three quarters of the day from a large, fast-growing bush, you may want to reconsider what you plant.

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Landscaping: Plan Your Yard Right, Part One

file000570050411Have you ever seen a yard where it was obvious the landscapers didn’t plan for what the yard would look like in the years after planting? It’s important when you’re planting to consider not just how things fit together when they are newly planted but also how they will thrive together as they grow. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the basics you should consider when planting. In our next post, we’ll wrap up with some of the other considerations that help bring your landscaping plan together.

When it comes to planning new landscaping, there are several things you should consider before you start planting:

Light

How much light will the area receive? Observe how many hours of sun each part of your yard receives before choosing which plants should go in each location. Some plants will require full sun – more than six hours per day – and some will require very little sun.

Identify shady parts of your yard and choose plants that thrive in less sunlight.

Water

Do you live in an area with a water shortage? Are you in a desert or drought area? Consider plants that require less water. The more you choose your plants based on the climate in which you live, the more likely they are to thrive.

Animals

Are you in an area where you’re likely to get a lot of deer, or raccoon, or squirrel? Take these visitors into consideration when planning your landscaping. If you need to deter deer, choose plants with spiky leaves or thorns.

Landscaping is best done with a plan. Next time, we’ll explore color, space, and arrangement as factors in planning your landscape.

Flower Planting Guide by Month

irisIf you only plant crocuses or tulips, you’ll only enjoy blooms for a month or two at best, and then it will be back to drab, green plants that are just a reminder of what once was (and a hint that you’re one step closer to another winter).

To keep blooms fresh and lively in your garden all year, refer to this handy flower planting guide that will help you plan your garden so that as one set of blooms are wrapping up, another is just budding.

Hibiscus These tall, striking flowers will bloom from spring until fall. They can grow up to eight feet tall, though, so keep that in mind when planting.

Petunias Petunias will also bloom from early spring to late summer, especially if you get the purple vine style. They look wonderful in hanging baskets and planters

Other multi-month bloomers include Globe Amaranth and Day Lilies.

 April-May Blooms

Choose a variety of crocus and grape hyacinths for the first-hint-of-spring blooms that bring us all hope the summer is on its way.

May-June Blooms

Tulips, Daffodils, and some Iris varieties will bloom well in the late spring to early summer.

July-August Blooms

Bearded Iris, as well as Dahlias, Zinnias, and even wild flowers like Wild-Eyed Susans will do well during the hottest summer months.

September-October

Add lovely color to any garden in the fall with Aster, Goldenrod, and Perennial Sunflowers. Some climates will also support beautiful Red Spider Lilies.

Winter Bloomers

In our area of the country, it gets too cold for much of anything to survive, including humans. Some areas, however, will continue to be able to grow hardier flowers such as poppies and peonies. Check out this list of the top winter plants to inspire even more landscaping creativity.

 

Create an Escape with Landscaping

escape mrgWhether you have five acres to play with or just a small apartment balcony, there are things you can do with your landscaping that allow you to create a place of escape. Imagine having a small corner where you can read, enjoy the warm weather or simply relax.

For smaller spaces, consider adding a container garden. In containers, you can plant just about any fruit or veggie; potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes all have miniature versions designed to be grown in containers and other small spaces. To add color, plant nasturtium, and if you’re not bothered by bees, add some lavender for a lovely aroma. Another item that is perfect for small spaces is a tabletop fountain. The sound of running water is extremely calming, and a small fountain can be the perfect addition to your balcony. If you have more room to work with, you can build a small pond or install a larger fountain. Simply add a comfortable chair to your landscaping, and you’re set!

Surround yourself with your favorite floral fragrances, as well as fruits and veggies, using raised garden beds. If you’re trying to determine the perfect spot, consider a secluded corner that gets a bit of shade so you can enjoy it during hot afternoons.

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3 Factors to Consider for Container Gardens

containerYou can grow just about anything in a container, so limited space should not keep you from having a vegetable or flower garden that you love. Whether you want to grow container gardens of herbs close to your kitchen for the perfect spaghetti or grow roses in containers in the house so that you’ll always have a romantic bouquet on hand when you need one, there are three factors that will help you have success, even if your thumb isn’t very green.

Container Gardens Need Drainage

When you are working with containers, one of the most important factors to consider is drainage. Whether the plant needs a lot of water or barely any, you will still want to make sure you have a layer of river rocks at the bottom of large containers and all containers should have a drain hole.

Container Gardens Need Light

Choose places for your containers that give your plants the light they need. Some will need full sun while others will only need a few hours of sunlight each day. Observe how the light comes into your home and choose the location that best suits what you’re trying to grow.

Container Gardens Need Water and Soil

Particularly when you are first seeding your container garden or have transplanted small sprouts, water lightly but often. You can ensure plenty of nutrients for your container plants by using soil from your composter for planting. Supplement with natural nutrients like eggshells, coffee, and even veggie scraps.

Containers are not just for those with limited spaces; they can be used to add visual interest to any outdoor landscape as well. Consider adding containers to your garden to contain the growth of plants like mint or lavender that might otherwise choke out other plants.

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3 Landscaping Ideas to Freshen Up Your Yard

Even if you still have a layer of snow on the ground, as we do here in Ohio, it’s that time of year when we all start yearning to be outside more. From planting gardens and crops to hosting backyard barbecues, signs of spring fever are now becoming clear. (Please, Punxsutawney Phil, don’t see your shadow!)

This is a great time of year to start thinking about the changes you can make to your landscape. Whether you want to add raised garden beds or create a home paradise escape, now is the time to start planning. Here are three landscaping ideas that you can use to create your vision of paradise.

  1. Ponds

pondFrom the soothing sound of bubbling water to the youthful joy of having your own goldfish and koi, a pond is a great option for your backyard space. If you’re ambition is to have a large pond, consider using a windmill for aeration. Aeration is critical to the health of your fish. And depending on where you live, you also may need to invest in an artificial owl to keep birds from preying on your fish or netting to keep raccoons away.

  1. Grill, Baby, Grill

grillNo backyard space is complete without a grill or smoker (or both!). You can host backyard parties and truly enjoy the spring, summer and fall with a grill. To create an inviting space, add plenty of lawn furniture and some shade-providing plants and trees.

  1. Grow Your Own Food

dripThere’s nothing that tastes better than a salad made from greens and veggies grown in your own garden. Whether you have a huge plot of land or can only carve out a small area, growing your food is a great way to lower your grocery bill and encourage your kids to eat well and become involved with the environment. And gardening can be easier with a drip irrigation kit, which makes keeping your veggies hydrated all summer a snap.

What plans do you have for landscaping your yard this year?

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