Posts Tagged hardscapes

Pet Friendly Landscaing – Little Changes that Make a Big Deal

It can be hard to keep the pet you want and have the perfect landscape.  CatsUnique Pet and dogs can ruin grass, flower and vegetable beds, and even trees.  Horses, goats, and chickens need their own specialized spaces which conform with city ordinances. Peacocks and other exotic pets have their own quirks and needs.

However, here are a few ideas which can help make the difference between fighting against your pet’s natural habits and having a peaceful outdoor space you both can enjoy.

Understand your pet’s needs. Different types of pets have different needs.  For example, a small mutt may just need a little running space and a patch on which to do his or her business.  However, a beagle or puggle needs lots of running space, and a puppy may need to chew on things – like your trees, and any dog may need a spot in which to dig or hide their favorite toys.

A cat usually needs plenty of roaming space and, if they are to be confined to the yard and house alone, very high fences.

Horses, goats, chickens, and other animals that may be considered farm animals have specific ordinances which cover their minimal needs.  The large animals like horses, goats, donkeys, etc also need a way to exit their pens and stalls to be walked or ridden on outside paths and roads.

The more you understand your pet’s needs, the more you can create a good place for them, while still keeping the yard space you want.

Set up fenced spaces as needed. Delineate where pens should be located, or if fences need to be put up to block your pet off from other parts of your yard.  Once you have that sorted out, work out if your need the fences high or deep (usually for cats and chickens, your fences need to be high, and for dogs you need your fences deep).

Try hardscaping some shared areas.  You can always hardscape areas that both you and your pet use.  This way they will have a tougher time damaging it, and you can still enjoy it.   If this means your landscaper will have to sacrifice your flowers or veggies, you can see if you can get a hanging garden installed.

Additionally, if you want to get really creative, you can incorporate your garden and a water feature.  I recently saw an amazing water feature which utilized a piano that had been deemed unusable.  The landscaper planted up the inside of the piano, while water came out of the area where the keys used to be.

The water will generally deter your pet from getting too curious.

Add levels to your yard. By installing raised beds, you can usually help deter your dog from getting into your garden and digging up your plants.   They can work like a fence for smaller dog, or just a less attractive and easy access area than the areas your dog normal frequents.

Install plants your pet doesn’t like. There are plants your pet won’t want to eat or don’t like to be around.  You can plant these around areas you don’t want them in.   For example, dogs often don’t like are: calendula and rue.  Both cats and dogs don’t like plectranthus caninus, or coleus canina.

These are just some ideas.  There are more ideas for pet friendly landscaping can be found here.  Do you have any strategies you use in your yard?

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April showers bring May flowers – and weeds

Now that spring is officially here, and summer is just around the corner, it’s that time of year when weeds poke their nasty little heads from every single crack or speck of dirt in your yard. 

How does one nip the problem in the bud, so to speak.  Here are a few tips.

1.  One organic and time-tested method is to get on your hands and knees and yank the darn things out of the ground.  This isn’t a ton of fun, but it can be for kids.  I’m not promoting child labor here, but if you have kids or babysit or anything, a weedy garden can provide at least an hour of entertainment.  Just be prepared to have some plants you actually want pulled up too.

Additionally, if your weeds are starting to go to seed (dandelions are especially obvious), get them out of there right now.  Otherwise, you’ll be yanking extra weeds all year long.

2. There are products, both organic and chemical which you can use to de-weed your property.  I’m hesitant to actually recommend any as I don’t really support using harsh chemicals, nor do I know your specific weed problem.  It’s best to get advise directly from the bag or the store where you purchase it.

3. Set up raised beds.  This one requires a ton of work, and often-times it’s easier to leave the installation up to a professional landscaper.  But, with a raised bed, you can control what kind of soil goes into it – and there are weed-free solutions.  Additionally, you can control what kind of plants grow in your raised bed (to some degree at least). 

4. Plant in pots.  This is the same idea as the raised beds situation.

5. Install hardscaping.  If you just don’t want to deal with the expense, time and work of setting up a weed-free yard, hardscaping is the way to go.  You’ll still have to deal with any weeds coming through cracks, but that’s not too difficult. Depending on the size of the project, a professional landscaper should probably be consulted.

6. Let some weeds grow.  If you’re looking to create a weed free lawn or something like that, reconsider what you classify as a weed.  A yard with a variety of grasses isn’t going to harm you and can look quite pretty.  Also, it’s a lot easier to pick and choose which plants you call weeds than to get rid of every plant except one type.

Here’s to a weed free landscape!

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Hardscapes – Preparing for next year

The weather outside may be frightful, but in spring and summer next year, you’ll want your hardscaping to look delightful.  So, now is the time to consider barbeques and outdoor activities which you’d like to take place when the weather warms up again.  Take a look at your yard, does that chain link fence need to go?  Is your cement or brick masonry crumbling or non-existent?  Do you dream of outdoor barbeques and entertainment?  Have you always wanted a waterfall?  Does it just look drab out there and you need a change?  Well, now is a great time to nab a professional landscaper and get your yard ready for spring and summer fun. It’s also a great present to give yourself, this holiday season.

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Creative Landscaping

This article on creative landscaping in Thousand Oaks inspired me to look at all the great creative gardening ideas out there. Here are some ideas:

– Repurposed items. Like the article above, you could repurpose your fountain or even an old bird bath as a planter. There are a lot of other items you can use this way, it really just depends on how eclectic youre landscaping is. You could take old plastic or metal buckets and use them as plant pots, or even masonry jars. One of my favorite examples of this were some ratty old hiking boots with a little cactus planted in each that I lusted over at a garage sale a few weeks ago.

– Add air plants to your trees. This won’t work in every landscape – as air plants do well in hot climates like Southern California or other southern states, but they are a really need addition to any garden and they require very little maintenance.

– Create a rock garden. You can do this because you have really tough soil, or just as a decorative addition to your landscape. Here’s an example of some Thousand Oaks landscaping which has a cute rock garden/regular garden combo. The article also talks about the problems encountered on the property, so you can decide if this kind of thing would work in your yard.

– Install a garden mirror. I know, I’m getting a little wild here, but adding a mirror to the right spot of your garden can make your yard seem bigger and looks very metropolitan (think Chicago’s Cloud Gate sculpture).

– Paint a mural or add mosaic tiling. Do you have one of those walls between your neighbor’s and your homes that is super ugly, but your neighbor agree to tear it down or help fund a new wall? Try making your wall pretty by painting a mural or hanging mosaic tile creations on it. This could be a fun project for kids, family, friends or that local artist down the way.

– Add an interesting path or some cool steps. This one is really something you’ll need a professional landscaper for, but adding a cool path like this landscape in Thousand Oaks or some funky steps like these ones – also from a Thousand Oaks landscape, can give your yard a feeling of uniqueness and personality.

– Try water gardening.  Add a waterfall or a stream, or even a pond.  I know, you’ll need a professional for this one too, but waterscapes really add to a yard.  You can also take a look at a unique water spout to start off the water process, and see what kind of recycling system your waterworks can use – so you can use the same water multiple times.

– Add a bench or some statuary.  I’m a fan of gnomes.  My aunt loves fairies.  It’s unlikely I’ll find a fairy gnome to surprise her with, but you’d be surprised what kind of neat statuary you can find to give your landscape some pizzaz.  On a drive through the redwood forest, I found the strangest statue I’ve ever encountered.  It’s the picture next to this paragraph.

That’s all the ideas I have for today!  Here’s hoping your yard will always allow you to express your creativity.

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