Posts Tagged Southern California Landscaping

Five Tips Water Saving Tips

This year we’ve had pretty bad drought conditions here in Southern California.  In fact, we’ve had drought conditions for a few years now.  This means we want to get the most out of every single drop of water we use. Here are five water saving tips for your yard:

Tip #1: Water your yard in the early morning – preferably right before the sun comes up and the heat of the day begins.  This will give the water a chance to sink into the ground and won’t flood your lawn all night long.  A great way to do this for any night owls out there – or just people who don’t want to wake up before dawn – is to set your sprinkler system on a timer.  Rich Soil

Tip #2: Keep composting.  There are a lot of great ways to compost.  You can use mulch from your compost pile, you can buy compost, and you can leave the grass on  your lawn as you mow.  These will all help the health of your soil and allow it to retain water better.

Tip #3: If you’re planting in a container, choose what you use carefully.  A metal container will heat up quickly and make water evaporate faster.  An unglazed clay pot is porous and will cause moisture loss through the clay itself.  One way to combat this problem in pots is to find a good, rich soil that will hold moisture.  Cactus Garden Window

Tip #4: Plant California natives, succulents, and cactus instead of their water-guzzling friends and neighbors.  I just wrote a recent blog post about designing a drought-tolerant yard.

Tip #5: Consult with a landscaper.  One of the best ways to utilize water properly in your yard is to design it in such a way that no water goes to waste.  Get in touch with your local landscaper about how to best design your space so it’s both water-efficient and your dream yard.  It can actually help you save money in the long run.

Here’s to some rain!!!

Leave a Comment

Make your Home Unique

Many of us live on streets or in neighborhoods where one architect designed the whole block – so our houses are very similar.  There are some obvious ways to make a home stand out in these types of areas.  You can repaint your home, add shutters, changed the style of your door or even add on to the home.  But a great way to keep your home looking and feeling fresh is to do something unique with your yard.  Here are five ideas for doing just that: Front deck walkway

1. Get a front porch.  If you have some poor soil that you don’t want to work with or you simply like this look, you can try graduated decking from your front porch, all the way down to the sidewalk.  Another idea is to create a hardscaped front yard and set it up for guests, picnics, family, or simple relaxation.  This idea is a great one to consider in places prone to drought – like Southern California.

2. Add potted plants.  Whether you have a perfect green lawn or a hardscaped front yard, potted plants can give your yard a new look whenever you feel like changing it up.  During the winter holiday season you can plant red and white plants, in the summer you can go for a cactus look or do potted succulents. You can also experiment with color by adding pots that pop – along with vivid plants.

3. Go all out on the entrance.  There are so many great designs for entryways.  You can use different types of gates, a classic picket fence, or a gorgeous arbor.  You can also define your property line using stone or brick to set your yard apart from the sidewalk.

4. Make your front yard the place to be.  Don’t just design a great landscape, but provide the seating to enjoy it.  You can add the classic rocking chair to your front porch, hang a hammock, or set up a bench where guests can sit and chat – or where you can relax and enjoy.

5. Get exotic.  Southern California is the perfect place to get quirky with your yard.  There are already so many tropical plants, succulents, and cactus here in SoCal that adding something fun to your landscape just might set your home apart from the others.  This can be as subtle as installing lighting which makes your yard shine at night or you could add an art installation for some real eye candy.

No matter what you do, be sure your yard reflects both your personality and your needs.  Here’s to your home – may it be like no other home on the block!

 

 

Leave a Comment

Seven Great Water Features

The sounds of splashing water is always soothing – and it’s a sound we don’t hear often enough of in Southern California.  There are ways for you to enjoy the sights and sounds of water around your home without spending an arm and a leg to keep the water going.  Here are seven great water feature ideas that will turn your backyard into a soothing paradise:

1. Install a fountain.  A fountain is probably one of the easiest ways to get a water feature which lets you hear the sounds of splashing water – without a ton of hassle.  But, if a traditional fountain doesn’t match with your style, there are plenty of other options.  You can have an art installation which is also a fountain, install orbs that are small fountains, or even have a recycled water set up coming out of a surrounding wall.

2. Go with a pond.  Ponds can be big or small, they can include fish and other creatures, and you can even set it up so it doubles as a bird bath. Central Park

3. Incorporate a water feature into your existing landscape.  You can create a little river that falls down the middle of your stairs, a small waterfall that rolls down the side of your hillside home, or a pond for your flat lot.

4. Want to just try out the whole water feature business?  Try a pond in a pot or a bubbling water container.  These are small and inexpensive, but they will give you an idea of how a more permanent feature might match your landscaping.  iStock_000001549219XSmall

5. Think about using basins.  These are a more artistic expression of a pond.  A basin can feed into another basin in a small waterfall, it can be fed by an external pipe, or it can just bubble from a recycling system below ground.

6. Add a waterfall to your pool or Jacuzzi.  Jazz up your spa with a waterfall that feeds into it. Beautifully landscaped backyard pool with a waterfall.

7.  Go pondless.  There are some really great designs that allow a waterfall to drip onto rocks or some other feature.  This can create a pretty sound – and make it safer for kids to play around.

Here’s to a yard that makes you feel happy and calm every time you enter it!

Comments (1)

Five Last Minute Tips to Spruce up your Yard

With holiday season in full force, you may have been concentrating completely on decorating your interior, getting menus together, and wrapping presents.  If you take a moment to look at your yard, it might need a little pick-me-up.  Short of calling your local landscaper, how can you make it look more welcoming?  Here are five easy, quick tips for you to do before your guests begin to arrive:

Tip #1: Clean up.  This may seem obvious, but give your yard a quick once over.  Rake up any leaves, pick up any garbage that has blown on to your lawn, and trim off anything dead in your yard. Pink-white senecio cineraria

Tip #2: Plant something bright.  Are there some spots that are tough to look at in your yard?  Distract attention by bringing color to your borders and popping some pretty flowers into those empty beds.  Some good plants for cool-season color in Southern California are: cineraria, pansies, candytuft, heath, primrose, snapdragons, English daisies, calendula, cyclamen, hellebores, cool-season poppies, ornamental kale, ornamental cabbage, and more.

Tip #3: Decorate with potted plants.  Don’t have time to get on those hands and knees and plant some flowers?  Try decorating with lovely pots and pretty plants.  You can add any of the above flowers to draw the eye to your front porch, line your walkway with potted plants, or prop them in an empty flower bed to bring it a little cheer.

Tip #4: Cover bald spots.  Warm up chilly ground with some pretty mulch – bark mulch can often dress up some bare ground and make the ground healthier for next year!Light wrapped tree at Twilight

Tip #5: Bring your tree outside.  You may have a gorgeous, dressed-up tree indoors.  Celebrate the theme by dressing up a tree or two that is sitting outdoors.  There are fun, outdoor bulbs you can use, outdoor string lights and so much more.  Additionally, you can add some pretty boughs and wreathes around your yard, along handrails, or even on dividing walls or your fence.  Don’t limit the festivity to the indoors.

Here’s to a wonderful – stress free holiday season!

Leave a Comment

Simple Landscaping Ideas

Sometimes the best looking landscape is the one with the simplest design.  When we look at magazines and see great landscapes, they are usually several simple ideas put together and made into a cohesive whole.  So, here are some simple ideas you should consider when taking a look at your own landscape:Trellis

– Think within a specific color scheme.  Whether you are looking at hardscaping or plants, you can consider basic color schemes.  For example, if you love red, you can work that in to your yard with bright zinnia, poppies, celosia, or an accent tile or stone.  Keeping the color consistent will help your yard look more pulled together and cohesive as a whole.

– Don’t fret about bare spots.  Instead of worrying about bare spots in your yard, utilize them by placing a piece of art, a water feature, or a bench over that spot.

– Don’t worry about mixing and matching.  Mother Nature mixes and matches all the time and comes up with meadows filled with flowers or mysterious forests.  Try it yourself by utilizing different types of plants and hardscaping materials.  Just try grouping like things together as much as possible.

–  Create private spaces.  If you have a bit of room in your yard, you can get a simple, private space designed for you- separated by a low wall or a hedge.

– Install islands of plants or hardscaping.  Reverse the usual borders by making your grass a boarder for a hardscaped retreat or colorful island of plants.

– Have fun with textures and geometry.  Exploring different types and sizes of plants, as well as a variety of hardscaping materials can lead to an organic and interesting look you can’t get with a plain grass lawn.

– When in doubt, try something traditional.  If you aren’t sure what to do with that wide open space, plant a lawn there.  You can mix and match type of grass, add in flowers, or create an island later on.  Sometimes keeping things traditional opens up the space to more fun ideas later on down the road.

These are just a few of the many simple and interesting techniques you can utilize for your yard.  Here’s to a gorgeous yard filled with fun and laughter!

Leave a Comment

Landscaping by the Ocean

Here in Southern California, we have plenty of oceanfront homes, as well as homes that are right by the ocean.  Living by the ocean is awesome – and brings about a new set of challenges for your yard.  Here are a few ideas to best utilize your sandy soil and your beach views: iStock_000002365576XSmall

Think with privacy.  One of the great things about the beach is that everyone wants to be right where you are during certain times of year.  This is fabulous for you – because you’re already there.  But the negative effect is that there are a ton of people traversing paths all around your home.  Instead of being inundated by people and noise throughout the busy season, try designing your yard space for privacy.  This may mean planting salt tolerant trees or shrubs like oaks, sunburst honey locusts, Norway maples, hydrangea, beach rose, sumac, winterberry holly, yucca, and bayberry shrubs.  You could also try installing a wall with a water feature to cut off the chattering crowds.

You may not want to make your whole home private, however.  You bought the home to be close to the beach, hear the ocean rolling in, and see that rolling expanse of water.  One idea for both privacy and views is to install a deck and surround it by shrubs, trees, or a privacy wall.  This way, you can enjoy the beach the majority of the time and relax in your private retreat when you want to get away from the crowds.

Grow an edible garden.  Just because you are by the beach doesn’t mean you have to stop growing your own foods.  There are vegetables that are salt tolerant and you can fight sandy soil by adding in raised beds.  Here are some salt tolerant veggies you can try: vine tomatoes

(High Tolerance) Beets, Kale, Asparagus, and Spinach

(Medium Tolerance) Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peas, Lettuce, Broccoli, Cabbage, and some Squashes.

You can also try planting coast strawberry for fruit.  They aren’t as sweet as regular strawberries, but they are hardy and will survive in your sandy soil.

Monopolize your view.  A beachfront home with any kind of a view is something to be proud of and enjoy.  Be sure you monopolize on this by building a deck with an ocean-facing view.  You can get a retractable cover so you can sunbathe on your own property, right in view of the ocean.

Additionally, people coming over to your home will want to enjoy the view with you, so create a social area based around viewing the ocean.  Install a firepit or a barbecue so people can enjoy the space and the view – day or night.Succulent Plant

Fall in love with succulents.  Succulents, California natives, and beach grasses are perfect for your home.  Find great ways to feature these gorgeous plants in your landscaping.  Beachfront homes that really embrace location often have the nicest looking yards.

 

 

Leave a Comment

Nine Ways to Update Your Front Yard

Is the walkway into your home boring?  Take a look at these nine ways to spice that front yard up:

1. Explore hardscaping options.  Just because everyone on your block has a front lawn they spend tons of money on each year to keep green doesn’t mean you have to.  Consider broadening your walkways, extending your front porch, paving the area over and adding in potted plants, or even creating a front yard firepit.  It’s perfectly possible for you to enclose your front yard and make it an extension of your backyard space.

2. Just add water.  Water features are beautiful, can add life to an area, and might even block out street noise.  Make your front yard into a watery paradise with a pond, fountain, art installation, or stream.Sage attracting a butterfly

3. Consider installing planters.  If your backyard is occupied with a pool, a deck, or a space for the kids, revamp your front yard into a traditional kitchen garden.  There’s no need to try to keep it all in the back.

4. Brighten up your day.  Not quite sure that you want a fully remodeled landscape?  Try planting naturally bright or light colored plants to greet you through the winter.  There are plenty of ornamental grasses, bright cabbages, and several flowers that will brighten up your mood as you approach your home this winter.

5. Start a vineyard.  You don’t have to love wine to love grapes, arbors, and other growing vines.  Install an arbor with climbing roses, wisteria, or grapes.  The plants won’t be ready to great you through the winter this year – but next year you may have a Secret Garden-like entryway.

6. Make your yard a private place.  Install a fence or hedge along the boarder of your front yard to create a feeling of privacy.  Perhaps your front yard will become the place to hang out!

7. Mulch away!  If you have a yard in which grass will not grow, or you just get patchy crab grass, stop fretting.  Plant some California natives in areas you might like to see some plants and cover the rest with bark chips.

Desert Landscaping8. Add a bench.  It may seem a little strange to set a bench into your front yard, but it might end up being the spot where you and your neighbors chat on a sunny winter’s day.

9. Go native.  Try designing your landscape with Southern California natives.  You might be surprised how easy they are to maintain and how beautiful they turn out to be.

Here’s to a bright and welcoming front yard!

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »