Posts Tagged landscaping in southern california

Eight New Years Resolutions to Make for Your Yard

The time when we make decisions about the next twelve months is here once again.  While we all make decisions about our weight, our health, and possibly our wealth, it may be a good time to take a look at our yard and 2014 fireworks.make a few decisions about that as well.  Here are the top ten new years resolutions for gardening and landscaping in 2014:

#1.  Do one thing to make your yard more organic.  Amend your soil with natural fertilizer, add organic mulch, or use some elbow grease instead of weed and feed.

#2. Spend more time in your yard.  Your yard may be a paradise or a mess.  Either way, resolve to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all the benefits of living in Southern California.  This may mean you need to make some improvements to your yard or it might mean you need to drag a lawn chair outdoors.  Whatever you do, enjoy your yard this year. Enjoy your yard

#3. Try planting at least one thing which is both beautiful and edible.  You can be as minor as decorative (and delicious) cabbage or as complicated as planting new fruit trees.

#4. Tackle at least one outdoor project this year.  This might mean you need to call in a landscaper to set up your new outdoor gathering space.  It may mean you need to get down and dirty on a DIY project.  Whatever the project may be, tackle it this year.

#5. Help your local fauna enjoy your landscape too.  You can plant blossoms that attract butterflies and bees, add a bird bath, install a stream, or much more.

#6. Actually use the compost heap.  Many of us have a compost heap, but we don’t all use it.  Try getting the ratio right and actually using your composted plant material to improve your yard.  Sage attracting a butterfly

#7. Plant more local, Southern California plants.  Try adding natives into your gardening mix.  You might be surprised how easy it is to grow natives and how many local birds and insect life they will attract.

#8. Go to more gardens and on more garden tours.  It’s always great to get inspired by what others are doing with their yards.

Here’s to a bright new year!

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Fun Ideas for Enjoying Your Backyard in the Colder Months

Even though we are approaching the cooler months, we can still take advantage of our backyard spaces.  Here are some fun and creative ideas for making your yard the go-to place over the winter and spring:

  • Keep it shady.  It seems counter intuitive to utilize your trees when it’s not hot, but when it’s threatening rain, setting up a little conversation area beneath a tree might be just the right spot.  You can use a fun colored Backyard pavilionbackyard umbrella or pull down the patio covering to achieve a similar affect.
  • Cook outside.  Just because it’s fall or winter doesn’t mean you have to abandon the barbecue.  Set up an outdoor kitchen and enjoy the food from your enclosed patio, dining room, gazebo, or firepit.
  • Plant a variety.  The holidays don’t have to leave your yard barren.  You can plant new bushes, trees, and seasonal flowers.  These plants will not only look great, you will get birds and other animals visiting over the winter and give them a place to hang out when other homes may have a little less variety for them to enjoy.
  • Build an outdoor space you can enjoy all year round.  If you don’t have a patio, deck, pavilion or other place you can enjoy throughout the year, it may be time to build one.  One thing to think about is whether you want an outdoor fireplace, firepit, or kitchen area.  Also, consider if you want want the option to remove the roof covering or if you want something permanent.iStock_000016466276XSmall
  • Revamp that tool shed.  We all have seen an old, dilapidated tool shed in someone’s backyard.  If that someone is you, consider making that old structure into a space you, your family, and your guests can enjoy.  You can tear it down completely and create a hardscaped area to enjoy or you can revamp it into a fun hang out.
  • Place covered spots along your walkways.  If you have benches along your walkways or paths, put a cover above them so you can sit snug, even if it’s raining, and enjoy the outdoors

All in all, you aren’t banned from the backyard just because of some chilly weather.  Make your own space that you can enjoy all-year-round.  Here’s to a fun and creative holiday season!

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Light it up!

I know I’ve said a few times that it’s getting darker, earlier – but with daylight savings time in full swing, it’s black by the time most of us get home from work.  It’s not only a safety hazard to have dark walkways, nighttime landscapes can be gorgeous when the lighting is installed correctly by a professional landscaper.

It’s definitely time to look at exterior lighting options.

One of the more popular options are LED lights.  I think this is because the bulbs last for a really long time and they require very little power.  The downside is that the fixtures themselves cost quite a bit.  But, in the long term, you save quite a bit of money on power. 

Another popular option is low voltage lighting.  The fixtures on these are less expensive, however, the voltage usually isn’t quite as low as the LED lights and they don’t last as long.

An additional option is high voltage lighting.  This is sometimes necessary for large light fixtures or for lighting up large areas.  For example, if you have a large patio you’d like to light up and/or be able to dim with dimmer switches, higher voltage lighting will be needed than lighting up a pretty fern.

Finally, there’s seasonal lighting.  It’s the time of year many homes add string lights and other light displays to their yards and landscapes.  You don’t have to celebrate a particular holiday to add beautiful string lights to lighten up your yard.

So, here’s hoping your landscape stays bright and beautiful!

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