Learning About Embracing The Natural Landscape

Four Unconventional Groundcovers To Grow Between Stepping Stones

Few things are more delightful than a tranquil garden path marked by stepping stones, particularly when the spaces between those stones are occupied by soft and colorful groundcover plants. Although most groundcover will struggle to survive under high foot traffic, other species will thrive and flourish regardless of how often they are stepped on — and they are often available to buy as wholesale plants. These are four unusual and beautiful plants that are hardy enough to be grown as part of a walking path while still being comfortable enough to be navigated barefoot.

Dwarf Mondograss

Mondograss, or lilyturf, is a Japanese evergreen perennial that spreads quickly and grows well in partial shade or full sunlight. In summer and fall, delicate white or purple flowers ripen into bright blue berries, which are generally safe for humans and pets to consume. Dwarf mondograss never grows more than a few centimeters high, making it ideal for weaving between stepping stones.

Corsican Mint

Most mints grow tall, wide and wild when given the opportunity, but Corsican mint is unique in that it remains close to the ground for its entire growth cycle. When stepped on, the crushed mint releases a pleasant, refreshing smell similar to peppermint. Corsican mint is particularly useful for dry, shaded walkways, though it will grow in full sun as well. Most of the time, Corsican mint is composed only of small, vibrant green leaves, but it does occasionally break out in small purple flowers in summer.

Portulaca

This South American native is instantly recognizable by its small, vibrant flowers and succulent, cactus-like foliage. It requires full sun but is relatively drought-tolerant, meaning it won’t shrivel up if you neglect to water your walkway for a few days. Portulaca grows somewhat taller than the rest of the plants on this list, but regular foot traffic should be enough to keep it contained. Even better, most members of this family are edible and commonly cooked up or tossed into a salad.

Creeping Mazus

Mazus is a creeping flower hailing from the Himalayan mountains, and its long blooming season makes it particularly popular for garden walkways. Besides being sturdy enough to handle the occasional foot from above, mazus is also known for spreading quickly, so be prepared to prune or contain this plant if it starts expanding beyond your comfort. By choosing one of these groundcovers over a more fragile variety to plant between your stepping stones, you will soon transform your mundane path into an enchanting and sweet-smelling walkway. Talk to a landscaper, like Kauai Nursery & Landscaping Inc, for more ideas.

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3 Reasons Why You May Want To Have A Sprinkler System Installed In Your Yard

If you have been thinking about having a sprinkler system installed in your yard but are still unsure whether you would truly benefit from it, you will want to check out the following points.

You Can Reduce Your Water Bill

Do not make the mistake of assuming that a sprinkler installation would cause your water bill to rise more than it already does when you are watering everything by hand. You are most likely going to find that the installation of a sprinkler system is going to save yourself a lot of money on your water bill due to the fact that you will no longer have to worry about over watering your lawn, garden, or flowerbed. The sprinklers will be spaced evenly and you will adjust the sprinkler settings so they only run for a certain number of minutes and only a certain number of times each day. You will be able to turn off the sprinklers if you are expecting rain that day, since the additional watering will not be necessary.

You Save Yourself A Lot Of Time

When you have a sprinkler system in place instead of having to manually water everything with a garden hose, you are going to save yourself a lot of time. You will also not have to worry about finding a friend, family member, or neighbor that is willing to properly water your lawn for you while you are away on business trips or vacations. After all, you would not want to find that all of your hard work went to waste because your lawn was not watered and there was not a drop of rain that fell from the sky while you were away.

Increases The Curb Appeal Of Your Home

The installation of a sprinkler system can add to the curb appeal of your home in two ways. One way is through the plush grass, shrubs, and flowers that will grow beautifully thanks to being watered regularly. The proper watering through the use of a sprinkler system will simply make your landscape look much more appealing. Also, when people notice that you have a sprinkler system in place, they will realize that you are a homeowner that has made an effort to take good care of the property. All of this is important should you ever find yourself in a position where you need to sell your home.

 With those three points in consideration, you should have no trouble understanding why you will want to install a sprinkler system in your yard.

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Landscape Buffering Options To Protect Curbing And Fences From Mechanical Damage

While concrete curbing around a flower bed or a fence provides an attractive and useful barrier in the landscape, it can also be problematic to trim the grass around it. Lawnmowers can’t mow right up against the curbing or fence, and string trimmers may cause damage to the curbing or fence materials. Fortunately, there are some landscaping options that will solve this problem and still look good.

Option #1: Brick mowing strip

Although somewhat time consuming to install, a brick mowing strip installed next to the curbing or under a fence can solve all your difficulties. The process is simple. Dig out the soil in a strip right up against the curbing or beneath the fence. The depth should be about two times the thickness of the bricks you are using. Line this trench with landscape fabric to block weeds, and then fill it half full with sand. Set each brick into the sand, leveling them as you go, and then fill in the joints between the bricks with more sand. Now grass can’t go right against the fence or curbing, so you don’t have to worry about trying to mow too closely to it.

Option #2: Gravel no-man’s zone

You can achieve a similar strip using gravel instead of bricks. Simply skip the sand and place the decorative gravel right on top of the landscape fabric. Gravel isn’t as durable as bricks, though. You should avoid mowing over it directly, since the lawnmower wheels can get stuck in the gravel or pull it out into the grass. Instead, gravel provides a buffer so you can use a string trimmer without hitting the fence or the curbing. Just make sure it extends out far enough so the trimming strings don’t still reach the fencing.

Option #3: Plant protection

Sometimes the best buffer is a living one. Low growing ground covers, like creeping thyme, can be planted in a strip along the perimeter of the curbing or fence. This way you have green coverage but you don’t have to mow too closely to the fence or curbing and worry about mechanical damage. If the lawnmower or trimmer catches a little bit of the groundcovers edges, it’s not a big deal because it grows back. For tall privacy fences you can even go beyond groundcover and plant low shrubs, such as lingustrum.

For more help in landscaping and maintenance around difficult areas, talk to a landscape maintenance company, such as Show-Me Mowing in your area.

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Strategies That Can Help You Evaluate Your Residential Lawn Service

When you hire a lawn service to mow your lawn and perform other related jobs around your yard, you’ll happily find that you have more free time at your disposal because you no longer have to tend to such frequent duties. It’s important to make sure, however, that the service you hire is correctly addressing the finer points of the job. Anyone can simply cut the lawn for you, but the best lawn services will stand out for their ability to perform a variety of subtle tasks that show their professionalism and dedication to their craft. Once the job is done, here are some ways that you can evaluate the job that the lawn service is doing.

Trimming Around Obstacles

The best lawn services train their employees to take a conscientious approach to trimming around obstacles. This means that if you have trees, street signs or a fire hydrant in your yard, you shouldn’t see any errant blades of grass around the base of any of these things. Take a quick tour around your yard after the job is done to check how these obstacles look. You should expect that your lawn service employee will have used either a power trimmer or a hand trimmer to remove the grass around these things so that they’re as neat and tidy as your lawn itself.

Sweeping Up Afterward

Even if the lawn service employee uses a bag on the mower to catch the grass clippings, it’s often possible for several clippings to get blown around your yard. This should compel the person to take some time to sweep up after the mowing job is done. When the lawn service employee departs, your driveway, patio and any other elements around your yard should be free of glass clippings so that everything has a tidy, cared-for appearance.

Raking First

If you’re home when the lawn service arrives during an autumn visit, check to see if the person takes the time to rake up any leaves on your lawn before beginning the process of mowing the lawn. This level of attentiveness is ideal, as simply mowing over the leaves will shred them into small pieces and leave you with a mess that detracts from the visual appeal of your yard. The best lawn services will rake up the leaves before mowing to leave you with a clean finished product, as well as cart the leaves away so that you don’t have to deal with them. Contact a business, such as The Cutting Edge Lawn and Landscaping LLC  for more information. 

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Solutions For Controlling Slope Erosion In Your Yard

If your yard has a slope, especially if that slope is steep, you might notice that after each rainstorm, more soil continues to pile at the bottom of the hill, despite planted grass to help keep the topsoil in place. This is a sign that you need to design some type of erosion control, or your landscape will continue to change, eventually affecting your drainage and lawn quality. Here are some things you can do to slow the erosion of the slope.

Install a dry creek bed. 

A dry creek bed is a shallow gully that directs water downslope– water flows into it and moves easily to the bottom of the hill, leaving your soil intact. Dry creeks work because water takes the path of least resistance when it comes to flow. A dry creek is filled with rocks and the gully shape allows water from the hill to flow easily into it before it moves quickly downslope. Dry creeks can be a beautiful addition to a landscape. Typically, it just requires digging out a shallow channel and layering the channel with rocks of differing sizes. However, with very steep slopes, rocks may need to be fastened into place on top of a landscape fabric. In the case of steep inclines, it’s better to hire a landscape design professional for maximum benefit. 

When building your dry creek, be sure water is not directed into a neighbor’s yard. Both these things can get you into a legal trouble. Instead, send the water in the direction of gutters or storm drains. 

Terrace your hill.

This option is a little more labor intensive and involved than simply laying stones for a fry creek bed. However, terracing is necessary when a slope is too broad or steep for an effective dry creek. You can make small terraces out of a number of materials, and they don’t have to be elaborate. The goal is simply to slow the water down on its decent. A row of rocks, treated timbers like railroad ties, or even a strategically placed boulder here and there on the hill will help to divert the flow of water. You can often grade your terraces to direct water to a dry stream, allowing both elements to work together. 

Build level areas for long-term foliage.

One of the most traditional ways of dealing with erosion is to plant plants whose root systems prevent the soil from moving. In a residential setting, you still want to get some use out of your sloped yard, so traditional ground cover is not ideal. Instead, dig out level places into the hill and use these level spots as the planting sites for shrubs and small trees. The deep and aggressive root systems of the trees will make a natural terrace and help direct water to more predicable flow areas.

For more information on erosion control, talk to a landscape contractor in your area, such as Bill and Dave’s Landscape

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3 Problems Your Lawn May Suffer From And What You Can Do About Them

You may have a beautiful yard today, but it doesn’t take much for a problem to crop up and leave it looking terrible next week. Therefore, it is important to know what problems your lawn may encounter so that you know what to do when the unexpected happens, especially if you don’t currently have a grounds maintenance person to take care of the lawn for you. Here are three common issues that you may find yourself dealing with in your yard and how to deal with them:

Crabgrass

A common weed, crabgrass often becomes a problem in your yard when you mow too short. With that being said, one way to prevent it from becoming an issue that you have to deal with is by moving at the appropriate height based on your grass type. This will help to discourage the germination of any crabgrass seeds.

Now, if you find a patch of crabgrass, remove it immediately and be sure to lay down some mulch. This will make it more difficult for the seeds to germinate. Another idea is to lay down corn gluten meal, which is an organic pre-emergent herbicide that will help to control the crabgrass. Also, don’t forget to water deeply and less frequently, and always remember that a healthy yard is key to keeping crabgrass at bay.

Iron Deficiency

Just like humans, lawns can suffer from iron deficiencies. There are many reasons that the grass may not be receiving the iron it needs from the soil, including excessively wet or dry soil, lack of sunlight, cold weather and excessive fertilization. The ideal pH for grass is between six and seven, and the best way to add permanent iron to the soil is with sulfur. It is recommended to spray between one to two ounces of ferrous sulfate for every 1,000 square feet of grass on a bi-weekly basis.

Ants

As a general rule, ants won’t harm your lawn. In fact, they can actually be beneficial in that they will feed on aphids. However, they’re very annoying to you, your family and your pets. Plus, those huge ant hills that they build can do damage to your lush, green lawn. Practicing proper lawn maintenance will help keep ants out of your yard. However, if they decide to come visit anyway, you do have natural options at your disposal at eliminating them and their homes. Here are two of them:

  • First, boil three quarts of water and pour it directly over the ant mound. Once it dries completely, mix a 1:1 ratio of water and orange rinds in a blender. Pour this over the ant mound.
  • Take a mason jar lid and mix equal parts of borax and sugar. Place the jar lid next to the ant mound. The ants will make their way to the lid and take the “food” back to their family. The borax will kill them. Note: Be careful not to spill any on your lawn as it will kill it.

For more information, contact professionals like Coastal Lawn Service Inc.

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FAQs About A Drip Irrigation System

Are you trying to come up with an efficient way to water your vegetable garden? You might want to consider getting a drip irrigation system installed. A drip irrigation system can be beneficial in several ways. Take a look at this article to find answers to some of the questions that may come to your mind about drip irrigation systems.

What Is a Drip Irrigation System?

A drip irrigation system can deliver water to the vegetables in your garden through a customized system. For instance, you will have the option of coming up with your own design, or you can allow professionals to design the layout of a drip irrigation system. A drip irrigation system includes the installation of pipes, valves and other components depending on your specific needs. The system will deliver water at a low level of pressure. Water will basically drip onto the targeted areas of your garden to achieve the most efficiency.

What Are Some of the Benefits?

The most beneficial aspect of investing in a drip irrigation system is that it will release water in a way that targets the roots of your plants. You will find that your vegetables grow in a healthier manner by installing a drip irrigation system. Another great benefit is that you will save money on water costs, as only a small quantity of it will be released onto plants. Water will go to good use by not evaporating or running off as quickly as it does with typical sprinklers. Due to a drip irrigation not releasing unnecessary quantities of water on the soil, you won’t have to worry about puddles that can contribute to weeds, fungus and pests.

How Much Does a Drip Irrigation System Cost?

The price for a drip irrigation system will depend on your needs, as well as how many components are required for the design. If your vegetable garden is only up to 250 square feet, you can get a pre-packaged basic irrigation system for up to $90. If you want the best results, you might want to leave the task to a professional irrigation contractor. He or she will be able to create a customized drip irrigation system for your vegetable garden and install it for a minimum of $1,000 and up.

Make an appointment for a contractor to assess your vegetable garden and customize a drip irrigation system as soon as you are ready. Companies like H2O Lawn Sprinklers may be able to help meet your needs.

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