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Happy Fourth of July!

I just wanted to wish you all a very happy Independence Day today.  I hope you take time out to enjoy these sunny days with friends and family.  Happy Fourth of July! Fourth of July

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Keeping Horses – Neigh or Yay?

There are areas of Los Angeles County which allow horses, most significantly Shadow Hills and Topanga Canyon.  However, there are lots of rules and regulations when it comes to keeping horses.  Not only that, but horses, being big animals, require lots of space.  In fact, you could say they need their own home outside of your home.

So, do you want to make the investment to keep horses at home?  Or, will you go with a housing facility?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Horses require LOTS of space out of doors.  Unless your land is enormous, you won’t be able to have a huge lawn with a deck, or something like that.  Additionally, you may have some wasted space between where you house your horses and your neighbor’s house.  If you aren’t sure if you have the required space to house your horses at home, consult with a professional landscaper.

2. Keeping horses grant you the ability to create some amazing compost – using horse manure, grass clippings, etc.  So, if you have the space, your horses can help your garden bloom.

3. Housing horses at a separate facility is expensive.  It may be expensive to remodel your landscape, but if you are going to keep horses, it will likely save you money in the long run to keep your own horses.

4. Last but not least, having your horse at home is a pleasure.  You can easily access them, you can enjoy their company and you can ensure their care is exactly to your liking.

So, here’s to a home set up exactly how you want it, and an outdoor space set up perfectly for your best friends – your pets.

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Time for Transplanting

With temperatures dropping in places like Thousand Oaks, Sunland and Simi Valley, now is a great time to plant and transplant.  So, what does this mean for your landscape?

1. If you have bulbs that need separating, now is the time to do it.  Plants like iris and gladious should be dug up during this time of year.  You’ll see two different types of bulbs, mushy ones and firm ones.  Cut out the firm ones, these are old, dead bulbs.  Separate out the firm ones and plant them or have your landscaper plant them.

2. Were you considering planting a tree? Now is the best time to pick that tree so you can have it professionally installed in your yard. It’s best to wait until it’s a tad cooler (more consistently in the 60’s and high 50’s – so December or January), but picking out your tree, working out where to plant it, etc, are all good things to do now. Planting a tree is no joke, so make sure you consult a professional landscaper who can advise you on any issues you may encounter. Some issues are: Surface root system that destroys your lawn, deep and long ranging roots which get into your pipes and sewer system, watering trees properly so they don’t die on you, etc.

3. If you’ve been planning to plant bulbs, now is a great time to dig up that area and plant them. Just remember to follow package instructions. Sometimes bulbs need to be kept in the freezer for a certain length of time, or need to be planted at certain temperatures.

4. Change around the look of your yard. If you have plants you’ve been wanting to move around to another side of your yard, or you’ve been consulting with a landscaper about changing around your yard, now is a great time to transplant as the cooler weather makes plants go dormant.

5. Cut the last of your summer flowers. Some kinds of roses bloom all the way through November/December. Take advantage of your blooming plants and make a beautiful bouquet of them as a final hurrah before fall really descends or the winds or fires affect them.

6. Do your brush clearing. Remember, it’s fire season in Southern California. If you have property with a lot of brush clogging up your land, get that cleared and disposed of. You do not want to be the cause of a fire, nor do you want fire around your home. It’s bad for your landscaping, bad for your home, bad for your neighbors and adds to the smog problem. So keep those areas clear. You can always plant hardy greenery in those areas to ensure the dirt won’t scatter everywhere when it’s windy.

7. To counteract that last, serious tip, make sure to decorate and have fun! It’s fall, when some of the trees change into vibrant colors and fun decorations pop up all over the place. There is so much you can do to make your yard fun, with an autumn display, or gorgeous flowers, or even a vegetable garden which you can enjoy over winter. Have fun with it!

Here’s to a gorgeous fall, a nice, rainy winter and a blooming spring.

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“Minor Changes” to Landscapes

My friend is  getting married and I have been named as the Maid of Honor.  As part of my newly appointed responsibilities, I helped her figure out the location where the wedding will take place.   She decided on a venue which is free – a family member’s backyard.  The only thing she wants – “minor changes” made to the landscaping. 

This got me thinking: What is a “minor change” when it comes to landscaping? 

This is what I came up with:  A minor change is generally something impermanent that is done to freshen up some tired landscaping.  This could be as small as moving your potted plants around, to planting a new flower border, to adding potted plants to your yard.  In fact, you can make big landscaping decisions with minor changes – by putting a potted plant somewhere you might want to plant it, or deciding that all those roses in pots deserve a real planter, or adding a portable waterfall to see if that’s a good place to install a real waterfall.

So, when making big landscaping decisions, it seems wise to try them out as much as possible by making “minor changes” first.

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