Posts Tagged seasonal landscaping

8 Ways to Dress Up Your Yard This Season

This time of year is full of wacky weather in Southern California.  The plants in your yard don’t know whether they should die off and get ready for winter, or stay alive and keep on reaching for the sun.  Either way, it’s a good time to inject a little fun into your yard.  Here are eight ways to make your yard the place to be over fall and winter:

1. Surround your firepit, fountain, or other hardscaping feature with seasonal color by placing miniature conifers in a burgundy bowl or pot and placing them in likely spots around your yard.  You can always plant them in your yard next year, or keep them as bonsai-type trees for next year’s holiday season.

2. Welcome company with bright lighting along each pathway.  If you don’t have lights installed, try a temporary fix by placing tea candles in glass holders along your decorations

3. Add a potted boarder to your existing border.  You can place poinsettias, cyclamen, and other bright plants along your boarder in seasonally colored pots.

4. Don’t settle for just one potted flower at your entryway, group pots with a variety of flowers to welcome friends and family for the holidays.

5. Mulch up any bare spots in your yard.

6. Take cuttings and create your own garden wreath.  Or, if you aren’t particularly fond of arts and crafts, use existing plants in arrangements throughout the house and on your outdoor furniture.

7. Use cushions in seasonal colors to accent your outdoor furniture.  It’s still warm enough to enjoy your yard with friends and family, so keep your outdoors decorated with seasonal items.

Here’s to a healthy, bright yard over the holidays!


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Spring To Dos

I know it’s not quite spring, but here in Southern California, the end of February is a great time to begin thinking with springtime “To Dos”.

1. Take a look at your yard and decide how you can best enjoy it.  If this means you will want to install a covered patio for barbeques or a fountain to block out traffic noise, plan ahead.  Another way to plan ahead is to look at what you enjoy most about your yard in the summertime.  Do you like to sit outside and read?  Maybe you should get a bench or gazebo installed.  Is your major enjoyment the wildlife your yard attracts?  If so, see what kinds of plants and feeders would work best for attracting your local wildlife.  Do you want to have lots of house parties?  Try getting a fire pit installed, a built-in barbecue or even a pool.

2. Just before spring (like right now) is a great time to get your trees trimmed to promote shapely growth.  It’s also a wonderful time to plant bare-root stock or trees and bushes from pots.   So, if you’ve been wanting the opportunity spend your retirement on a hammock between two trees, now’s the time to get those trees started.

3. Feed your plants with compost or fertilizer.  While they have been dormant over the winter, their roots have been growing and the soil surrounding your plants has been getting all the nutrients funnelled into your plants.  Replenish the soil with compost.  If you get it on their while there is still some rain, the water will help the nutrients from your compost leach into your soil.

4. Get your deck, patio, etc cleaned up and repaired as needed.  If your deck or patio needs repair or sprucing up, get that sorted out now – before you’ll want to use it.

5. Install anything you want to enjoy over the summertime.  In summer, we all like to barbecue, warm ourselves by a fire pit, listen to the rush of water as we look at the stars, or even have a little mini golf in our own backyard.  Get this installed now so you can enjoy it over summer.

6. Dust off your lawn furniture and get it ready for use.  Even the most fastidious person has dusty lawn furniture which needs to be gotten ready for enjoyment.

7. If you want to plant by seed, start sprouting them and get compost down in the areas you’d like to plant up.

8. Clean up your yard.  Get anything dead out of your yard.

9. If you are uncomfortable with the amount of open soil in your yard, and you have a planting plan you can’t implement yet, try buying some flower baskets and pots and arrange them in your yard for a pretty, spring-like look.

10. If you haven’t already, either chop up or get rid of your holiday wreaths and tree.  If this is something you’ve been “meaning to do”, ring in spring by getting it over with.

Here’s to a bright and blooming springtime!

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Spooky plants – just in time for Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  Here’s hoping you have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!

Here are some spooooooookkkkyyyy plants for this Halloween:

Ghost pumpkin. “Little spooky” (pumpkin), Devils tongue lettuce, Devils club, Skull caps, Vipers bugloss, Rush skeleton weed, Eyeball plant, The bat plant, Dead mans fingers, Dragons blood, Abracadabra Hydrangea, Ghost weigela, Handsome devil viburnum, Bloody butcher sweet corn, Bloody butcher tomatoes, Love lies bleeding, Voodoo lily, Witch hazel,
Witches butter, Corokia phantom, Deadly night shade, Corpse flower, Death camus, The horse dung fungus, Crocosmia lucifer, Dogs snout apple, and Sheep’s head apple.

While not all these plants would survive here in SoCal, you can always consult with your local landscaper to see which you can plant for next years Halloween garden display.


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Seasonal Landscaping

I was driving down Candy Cane Lane and it struck me that some people really enjoy decorating their yards for holidays year round. This means you really have to keep in mind what sort of landscaping would be appropriate. If you have waves of lawn, poking holes in it to put up seasonal decorations might be detrimental and frustrating as, as soon as each plug grows back, you’re just going to want to stick something else in there.

In looking at well decorated homes, I was saddened that most people were in fact completely destroying their lawns. I tend to see this around Halloween too, with fun decorations smashing and poking holes the an otherwise well tended lawn.

If you really enjoy decorating for each season, a hard-scape and small, well designed gardens are most likely your best bet. Additionally, you want clean, even and well-lit paths. Finally, some shrubs or trees would benefit you so you may decorate with lights and/or hanging other fun things in the branches.

You can even set up your landscape to cater to your desire to put up fun decorations, but including sufficient outlets on exterior walls, putting things which need holes dug in dirt – and later filling the hole created with flowers, and you can even have hooks and things installed so that you may put your fun and festive decorations up more easily – and make them less likely to be blown about by the wind.

As a final note, even if you don’t go all out and decorate for each season, a bit of hardscaping can go a long way to fun, festive outdoor activities. It’s pretty cold and wet right now, but on a dry day you can enjoy the cooler temperatures by having an impromptu outdoor barbecue, or chatting around a fire pit. Additionally, if you’re like me, you might like a covered porch, where you can go outside no matter the weather and enjoy the outdoors.

So, here’s hoping you enjoy this blustery season!

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Fall is Here

There are about a million pumpkins in front of the grocery stores, yards are full of gravestones and haunts, kids and adults are shopping for a costume… fall has officially arrived.

So, what does this mean for your yard or garden?  Beyond, of course, more leaves in the swimming pool.

Unless you are going for a dead, creepy, messy garden look for Halloween, get rid of all the dead stuff. I know I said this in a previous post, but it remains true. Now is the time to pull up dead plants and rake up all those dead leaves. I know we don’t have a ton of fall color in Southern California, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t trees that shed their leaves. Bag all that up and use it for compost or send it out in the yard waste bin. (If you do want to compost it, I’d recommend deciding on the size and location of your pile. If you want it out in the yard and not in a container of some sort, consult with a local landscaper for the best place to put it so it doesn’t mar your yard.)

Another good idea is to reseed and aerate your lawn if you have dense soil like that common to the Thousand Oaks area.

Now is a great time to start up any landscaping projects as plants go dormant in cooler temperatures – and though it’s been pretty warm, the weather is cooling down, so it’s the perfect time to get your old plants dug up and your yard re-modeled for a gorgeous spring.

Finally, tis the season to have exciting lawn decorations with pumpkin, corn, squash, bales of hay and spooky surprises for that day where kids around the US go begging for candy.  So, decorate to your heart’s content.  I have to say my favorite decorations when I was a kid were those houses which went all out and really got into the season, weather it be with a cute pumpkin patch or a scary graveyard, so think about what you want your yard to look like this Halloween and have fun with it!

Here’s hoping your yard is not filled with fright this October. 🙂

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