Monday, February 2, 2009

Landscaping Tips for Home Remodeling

▪ Please note, If you live in a very different climate, the suggestions will obviously need to be modified.

▪ To get started, I recommend that you take some photos of your house show them to someone at your local nursery (like Pike's). Explain to them how much sunlight you get in certain areas and ask for their advice about what to plant where.

▪ Grass is not as easy to get going as one might think. If you want grass quickly, you can pay for sod (strips of grass and roots that are already mature). However, sod can be very expensive and you must be sure that you are going to be around to water it while it is taking hold.

▪ Some areas are just too shady for grass, and you can get very frustrated trying to get it to grow. In these areas, I would suggest any of a variety of shade plants. My all time favorite plant is the azalea. This plant does well in the shade, requires little maintenance, can grow full, and has beautiful colorful blooms. Some special varieties of azaleas will even bloom twice per year. To get azaleas to look less "spindly" and more full, some homeowners will prune them shortly after they bloom. Ask a professional the best way to do this.

▪ Cryptomeria can be a fantastic option if you want to block a view. For example, my house is very close to my neighbor's house. To get some privacy, I planted cryptomeria between the houses. They grow quickly, are dense, and make look great.

▪ There are differing opinions about ivy. Some view it as an invasive pesky plant. Others think it is an attractive ground cover. I do not like the way ivy climbs up trees and completely covers them, causing an early death. It is important to get the ivy off of your trees so that the trees can get adequate sunlight. Also, yards that have a lot of ivy often have a lot of mosquitoes. If you do want to plant some ivy, you do not necessarily need to buy it from a store. You can easily cut a few pieces off of an existing ivy plant, relocate it in some fresh soil, and it will take hold in the new spot. If you are trying to control erosion on a steep bank, ivy clusters are a good option.

▪ It is easy and fun to plant trees and watch them grow. If you plant a very young tree, it can resemble a weed to a yard maintenance man in a hurry! Be sure to put a colorful piece of tape around it so that everyone knows that it is not to be destroyed.

▪ Japanese maples are beautiful trees that are easy to plant.

▪ Some colorful plants are "annuals". This means that they only bloom once. You have buy new ones and plant them every year. People use clusters of annuals strategically placed in their yards to provide some seasonal color. A popular annual in my area is the Pansy. Tulips are beautiful annuals, but they require a lot of special care in their storage and planting.

▪ My two favorite ground cover options are pine straw or mulch. It is best to use one or the other in your yard, but not both. Pine straw and mulch help to retain moisture around plants and keep the roots from getting too hot in the sunlight. If you have an area that requires a lot of mulch, try contacting a local tree care company. They will likely provide you with some mulch, which is ground wood chips, for free.

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