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Showing posts from 2014

5 Steps to Help Your Trees Weather the Winter Season

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For many landscape owners, the winter months aren't an active time. If you too stop working on your yard during winter and keep your trees at the mercy of the weather, many may either not live or get severely damaged in the harsh cold weather. To ensure sporting a healthy landscape during winter and help your trees weather the season of stormy winds, cold Bay Area temperatures and frost, here are five easy steps that you can use: Mulching: You can apply a thick layer (about 2’) of mulch around the tree’s drip line to give the roots extra warmth and a layer of protective insulation against the freezing temperatures. Such a layer will also help restrain water loss. However, you shouldn't pile up the mulch to touch the tree trunk or cover the crown.Managing the irrigation cycle: Winter winds in the Bay Area often tend to dry out the soil. The resultant lack of water can produce stressful conditions, similar to drought, for your trees.  In case the ground freezes, the…

7 Things to Know About Retaining Walls

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While designing the landscape of your garden, sometimes you may have to manage or utilize sloping yards. Leveling the ground with other parts of the landscape may not be feasible in such cases as it will cost you a lot of time, effort and money. If you have slopes in your garden or backyard, you can utilize them to create different ground levels that are connected with beautiful stairways or other types of landscaping features. Building a retaining wall to use slopes is a good way to enhance the beauty of your yard and add a personalized touch to it at the same time. These walls are usually used to prevent the erosion of an embankment or hold back material on a particular side. Retaining walls can be installed where neighboring free-standing walls have a bizarre junction between them or in areas where a sloping bank would have otherwise slumped.
To build retaining walls of different types such as freestanding, dry-laid, or short flagstone, you can use different materials …

How to choose pavers for your patio?

Patio pavers are brick, stone, or modular concrete units that are used to create outdoor living spaces. They come in a range of colors, sizes and shapes. Although they may cost more (upfront) in comparison to a wood deck, pavers need much less maintenance. When looking to choose suitable pavers for your patio, here are some factors that you must consider:
Climate:
What is the climate like in your city? Some pavers are more resilient to extreme weather conditions such as hot and cold while others are gentle. Hence, it is important for you to take climate into consideration, particularly if you live close to the sea. Stone pavers work best at places that face severe weather conditions. In case you live in a place that is mostly hot and sunny, choose pavers that reduce glare. Concrete works best in such conditions.
Color and style:
When choosing the style and color, make sure you select a design that matches your house. Patio pavers can either be traditional or contemporary. While bricks off…

Landscaping ideas for businesses

Although landscaping is essential for homeowners, it can also make the difference between failure and success when it comes to your business. An exquisitely landscaped corporate office can encourage prospects to stop by, but poor landscaping can send the same customers to your competitors.
How to choose the right landscaping design?
Keep your business and clientele in mind:
When making a blueprint, it is important to keep your clientele and the nature of your business in mind. Your choices should be customized to meet the expectations and needs of your customers. For example, the landscaping choices of a high-end luxury clothing store will be very different from a dollar store. Expensive retailers should invest in beautiful landscape elements, such as exotic shrubs and flowering trees, to attract and please wealthy buyers.
Keep maintenance costs in mind:
Designing a landscape without taking the ongoing maintenance cost into consideration is a bad idea. No matter how well-designed or stunni…

How to hire a professional landscaping expert?

A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant - rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance - but it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself. - Roberto Burle Marx
A well-designed landscape does not just enhance the value of your property, it also increases the livability of your house. A beautified home offers peace and tranquility amidst all the chaos. However, to really make the entire project possible, you will have to choose a landscaping expert carefully. The decision to hire a professional can leave you confused and dazed. Here are some traits you must look for when shortlisting a professional:
Training and education:
Your first criterion for selection should be qualification. All good landscaping contractors have formal training and education. There are several landscape associations that offer opportunities for aspirants to continue education and some even have their own …

How do experts plan outdoor landscape lighting?

Lighting does not just enhance the features of the garden at night but also adds to the safety of the area by deterring intruders in the dark. Perfectly placed lighting is also versatile enough to light up outdoor events such as, large parties and fancy romantic dinners. However, to achieve great results, it is best to make a carefully planned, cost-effective and efficient outdoor lighting strategy that defines desired results and clear objectives.
Here is how experts plan outdoor lighting:
Mapping out the landscape
Experts start off by sketching the area they want to illuminate. They include the trees and plants, doors and windows, pool areas, patio as well as the driveways and walkways.
Choosing the zones
The next step to planning is always choosing the right zones. Lights can be placed along the driveway, at the patio, in artificial water bodies like ponds, at the corners of the house, or under big, old trees. Accessible lights can also be placed at the back and front do…

Why won't some Plants Bloom?

Every gardener, whether experienced or a beginner, has had trouble many times to get their flowers to bloom. No matter what you do, there seems to be no solution to fix this problem. Don’t worry or feel bad if your plant refuses to flower. There can be various reasons for it to behave this way. To initiate the appearance of buds, there may be some type of process or stimulus to go about it. Here you will learn why plants flower before you understand the process of getting them to flower.
There is only one purpose for the existence of flowers and that is pollination. The showy and attractive blooms are meant to attract animals and insects to do their work for them. For example, a bee visiting a flower to get nectar but at the same time it carries some of the pollen of that plant to another unwittingly. So this results in plants getting productive and fruitful.
Take a look at some species of plants listed below and learn why they don’t bloom at the said time.
Hydrangea – Thes…

Power Perennials for your backyard

Perennials are plants that thrive and grow for more than two seasons. The top portion dies during winter and re-grows from the same root system during spring. There are many varieties of perennials that keep their leaves throughout the year and offer groundcovers or attractive borders. Here is a list of tough-as-nails perennials that can add some flower power to your landscape. Daylily – These plants will blossom beautifully in sunny spots and are practically indestructible. They are insect, drought resistant and easy-care perennials that form large clumps. They offer a variety of colors and bicolors and should be divided every three to four years. Buddleia – These plants commonly called the butterfly bush, will produce an abundance of nectar-rich, fragrant flowers during the whole of summer.  They are flowering shrubs which die back only to grow bigger and better the following spring. The flowers bloom in a variety of colors like blue, white, red, pink, purple, lavender an…

How to Choose Gardening Tools

Many homeowners make the mistake of buying too many gardening tools that they don’t need. When you head down to the local nursery or garden center, the choice of gardening tools on display can get confusing and bewildering. The fact is, you only need to buy the ones that are most important. Gardens can be well looked after with just a handful of tools. There is no necessity to spend a lot of money to fill your tool shed with every gardening gadget under the sun. There are basic tools that will benefit most gardeners like: a strongly made fork, a sturdy hand trowel, a square blade spade, a stirrup hoe, watering cans, a garden hose, a bow rake, a garden fork, a leaf rake, hand pruners, a hand cultivator and a wheelbarrow. Here are some basic tips to let you choose the right gardening tools that prove useful and are high-quality in nature to last a lifetime. Firstly, make sure you have all the tools listed at the beginning of this article. If you have lots of shrubs, hedge…

Growing a Garden That Will Attract Life

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert Einstein
As from the quote mentioned above, Albert Einstein understood that every living thing on this planet has the right to revel and enjoy in the company of nature. All of us as homeowners have a little bit of nature in our very own backyard. It would be nice to give back to the earth’s tiny creatures by creating a space that they can use for food and shelter. A home garden is the ideal place for attracting wildlife every season. Nature’s pollinators are birds, hummingbirds and butterflies. They visit your yard for nesting and food and in return give you a garden full of their colors, sounds and new life. You will get wildlife in your own backyard if you make the effort to provide food, water and a place to nest. It’s important to know what kinds of plants will attract birds and butterflies in your garden. Take a look below to know what kind of plants to plant and simple gardening rules to k…

How to Desert Landscape Your Yard

If you live in a dry, arid region, you would want to save on water and grow plants that contribute to your garden or lawn. This is where desert landscaping comes in. It can be a challenge for gardeners to use resources carefully and choose the right kind of plants suitable for arid conditions. There are many varieties of trees and plants that require more water in an average growing season. However, desert landscaping is simple if you have a plan in mind to showcase your designing skills to get the best result.
You can create a beautiful oasis, by planting drought-resistant plants throughout your landscape. This adds color and texture to the landscape. The myriad flowers and plants will liven up your outdoor space. To emulate a natural desert feel to your garden, choose plants that have desert colors like brilliant reds and deep oranges. A good example of such plants include: cacti, oleander, joshua trees, palm trees and pampas grass. Add a personal touch by choosing sui…

How to Paint Landscaping Rocks

Add a touch of earthy charm to your garden or yard by installing painted landscaping rocks. What makes them different? Well, every rock has a different color and varies in size and shape. This adds to the visual appeal of the flowers and plants that grow in your outdoor area. There is nothing like personalizing your landscape design to make it more special. This can be done by simple painting your landscaping rocks. Your garden will look dressed up with year-round brilliance. It is not very time-consuming and can be a fun and inexpensive family activity on weekends. You can use tones of different shapes, sizes and textures from places you visit and your garden to create imaginative forms, cheerful looking rock borders, whimsical creatures or anything that strikes your fancy. Pain them with bright, vibrant acrylic colors that will last for many years.
To get started, all you need is some creative flair, patience and a few simple supplies. Take a bucket of water and add 1/…

7 Deadly Sins of Landscaping

What constitutes the term bad landscaping? It may be following gardening practices that are too outdated or undertaking bad planting techniques that does no justice to your landscape. Everything changes over time and this includes gardening trends too. It was considered bad landscaping to grow vegetables in the front yard a decade ago. But now, there is a new gardening trend that prefers showcasing an edible garden in the front yard as it brings out the color, vibrancy and aesthetic appeal of the outdoor property. So what is “in” and what is “out”?
Here are 7 deadly sins that garden lovers must avoid when remodeling their landscape. Save yourself from the worst gardening transgressions that many fall prey to. Growing the wrong plants – Just because some flowers and shrubs are pretty doesn’t mean that they belong in your garden. You need to take the “nativist” approach to gardening. This simply means that you need to take into consideration the type of region you live in a…

The Best Flowering Trees for your Garden

Trees are versatile, perennial plants that fit into any type of landscape whether it’s urban or rural, contemporary or cottage themed. They can be difficult to choose and maintain because they live for over a lifetime or more. Trees add character to your landscape. The first years of their growth are the most critical, so you need to protect them. Trees can do unique things for your garden apart from providing shade and structure. A row of small trees can serve as a living fence or can be trained into decorative patterns for aesthetic appeal.
Flowering trees and shrubs are the best choices for this season as they add vibrancy and color each year. Whether you like white flowering trees, pink flowering trees, or small flowering trees, here is list of the types of flowering trees and shrubs to help you envelop your garden in blooms every year.
Eastern Redbud
The Eastern Redbud is a multistemmed, small, handsome, understory tree that has a 20-30 foot rounded crown and reaches …

Frontyard Landscaping that Earned us Love – Los Altos Project

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That’s another feather on our cap! Happy to announce that we are now the proud recipient of Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2013. And, our happiness is immense when we have a happy client talk about us.
"Tim turned our formerly ragged and neglected little front yard in to the showplace of our neighborhood! Our dream was to have a rainbow of plants throughout the seasons and put as many as we could have in yard with two large, shady oak trees. We also wanted to hide a neighbor's bordering dog fence, have a lawn put in under the oak trees and have a watering system installed. Because Tim didn't immediately respond to our Angie's List email, I thought he might be too busy to take us on, but luckily he had only delayed contacting us because he couldn't give us his full attention until the following week. When Tim came out our house, he was extremely responsive to our ideas, never forcing his expertise on us. Tim looked at the sket…

Accentuate your Outdoor area with Garden Planters

Your home may be the most beautiful looking building in your neighborhood; but, if your outdoor landscape and garden looks worn out and weak, then it will definitely affect the overall look of your property. The one aspect of landscaping that should not be neglected is planting the right kind of trees, shrubs and flowers.
To make the yard or garden your pride and joy, add interest to your decorating space with garden planters. Many contemporary homes have installed planters in areas like the balcony and entrance way to get the best first impression. A popular decor item that adds quality and brings out a welcoming effect that offers comfort and appeal throughout the year are garden planters.
Take pleasure in your very own private calming oasis and say goodbye to overgrown garden beds. Garden planters come in a wide variety of styles and can be used for flowers, plants and shrubs. You can choose the ones you need to complement your outdoor decor.  Apart from style, color a…

Encourage Gardening for Kids

Partner with nature to work magic with your fingers. Gardening is one outdoor activity that always springs a lot of surprises as it is fun and educational. You don’t have to achieve horticultural perfection every time you garden. Just enjoy it as a hobby and encourage kids to explore the priceless bounty of nature’s treasure chest. You can see the anticipation of children in gardening as they pull out vegetables from an edible garden; bite a carrot or see them create colorful bouquets of their handpicked flowers from the garden bed. Whether it’s discovering a new germinating seed, watering plants or making mud, there is a magnetic attraction between children and the garden.
There are fond memories associated with gardening as many people relate to invaluable time spent with their parents or grandparents who encouraged them to become a friend of the soil. They were the ones who inculcated the habit of playing outdoors and explore nature around them. Planting and play go …

Top Houseplants to Grow Indoors

Did you know that houseplants improve the quality of air we breathe indoors? A recent NASA research found that plants absorb the air pollutants to the soil and purify the air we breathe. There are different varieties of plants that are capable of removing certain volatile chemicals and substances from the air. They create an aesthetically pleasing living environment and also provide clean, fresh air to breathe. There is also 50-60 percent less airborne bacteria and molds found in rooms that have plants. The origin of having houseplants comes from the Tropical Rainforests, which have evolved over millions of years ago. During the process of evolution, these plants culture microbes in and around their roots— this helps them degrade complex organic structures found in rainforest debris and leaves.
People tend to suffer from chronic respiratory infections because of the presence of polluted indoor air. That is because the air found indoors is approximately ten times more pol…

How to Prepare your Garden for Spring

Spring is nearly here and it’s time to start preparing your garden for the most awaited season of the year. Dust off those gardening tools, start planning on fun things to plant and welcome new life to your outdoor space.
Start with a Plan
Before getting started on your garden, you need to think about what look you would like to achieve for your outdoor space. Make a checklist of the flowers, trees and shrubs you planted last year and then improve on that look by adding new perennials.  Maybe you can add a vegetable patch to grow your own herbs and vegetables or improve the overall design of that area by installing additional colorful containers and pots.
Go Green
Try to make the change in your environment by shifting from chemical gardening methods to organic gardening. You can use a compost pile in your garden, use natural fertilizers and collect rainwater from your gutters to water the plants.
Get your Garden Gear ready
To preserve your garden gear and get them ready f…