Posts Tagged Thousand Oaks

Side Yard Ideas

Southern California cities like Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, and La Canada have homes that are anything but cookie-cutter.  There are plenty of hillside homes, small homes on large lots, and lots featuring strange dimensions.

With homes like this, there is often a small stretch of yard which doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the space.  This could be a small side yard or an irregular spot behind the garage.  What can you do with such a space?  Here are some ideas:

Make it a play area.  Whether you have children or not, a space to stretch Children feet in green grassout and enjoy the outdoors is always welcome.

Your landscaper can design the space into a play area for children with swings or a sand box.   Another idea for kids is to install man-made grass so they can use the space for a slip-n-slide in the summer and a comfy play area the rest of the year.

Your side yard can be made into a play area for you by installing a small firepit, installing hardscaping so that the space can be used for a variety of games or installing man-made grass for games like bocci ball.

Make your own farmer’s market.  Utilize that extra space to grow your ownSmall Fruit Tree veggies in raised beds.  Or, plant a mini orchard with your favorite fruit trees.  You can also install a small vineyard for your own, homegrown California grapes.

Let it go to the dogs.  If you have dogs or other pets that require running room, set up your side yard as a dog run or a place for your pet to play.

Grow your own bouquet.  Plant your favorite flowers and create a living Meeting Placebouquet.  You can also find out the best flowers to attract your favorite insects or birds and grow those in your side yard garden patch.

These are just some ideas for your irregularly shaped lot.  Here’s to a yard that works perfectly for your needs – no matter the shape.


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Covering up for winter

This wintertime, it’s a good idea to cover any bare soil up.  I know we all think about mud slides for hillside homes, but imagine what those flash floods do to your soil quality, no matter the type of slope.  Every year soil gets swept away by flash floods, and the remaining soil gets compacted and weighed down by water, then it dries – usually very quickly – and creates hard, compact dirt.

While we aren’t getting flash floods yet here in Southern California and the weather forecast for winter is something like below to average rainfall, rain in places like Thousand Oaks, La Canada, Simi Valley, etc, tend to come in torrents.  So, how to protect that soil from compacting?

1. Plant a variety of species.  It can be nice to have a pretty, even lawn, and, while this isn’t a bad idea as it does slow soil compaction, it also means you have loose soil to a certain point, then it begins to compact.  This is because you’ll have a farely even root system.  So, if you don’t want hard pan when you do decide to shake it up and landscape, plant a variety of species.  Try different kinds of grasses, some wild flowers  and some shrubs or even a tree.  You can go entirely native too, planting only Southern California plants.  One of my neighbors does this and her front yard always smells amazing and attracts the most honey bees, birds, butterflies, etc. every year.

2. Plant a cover crop.  If you have bare ground because you haven’t decided what to do with it yet or you’re trying to let your soil rest, try planting a cover crop.  Cover crops like alfalfa, buckwheat, barley, mustard, etc, are great for rejuvenating and protecting your soil.  Just make sure to keep it mowed so it doesn’t get out of control and to turn it in spring before it reseeds. 

3. Mulch, mulch, mulch.  If you don’t want to plant a cover crop, or you’ve got a really small patch of bare soil you don’t want to have to mow, cover it up with a nice mulch.  You can research what your soil may be deficient in by examining your micro-climate, what you’ve been growing in it, or discussing it with your local landscaper or nursery.

Here’s to healthy, happy soil!

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Accent your natural landscape

Not everyone has their dream house, in their dream location.  But, when deciding what kind of landscaping you want, plan to accent the bright points of your home or surrounding area – while still blocking out what you don’t like. 

For example, you may have an awesome home with potential for a fabulous patio area, a fire pit and a lovely lawn space.  The only catch is that vacant lot next door.  What to do?

A) Buy the lot and add a pool, yay! 🙂

B) If you can’t afford to buy the lot, consider adding a gorgeous stone or wood wall to your landscaping schemes, or plant a lovely vine or flowering bush that will block the ugly lot, but beautify your yard even more.  Additionally, concentrate on all the beauty and joy that can be found in your own yard.  Get the porch you’ve always dreamed of, add lighting that enhances the beauty of your yard and casts shadows on that lot.

C) Do what these homeowners in Thousand Oaks, CA did and get amazing, professional landscaping on your perfect home, which is located in your ideal location.

So here’s hoping your location, home and yard stay perfect and beautiful, for years to come.

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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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