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Lifestyle Landscapes

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A successful landscape depends upon one essential question you must first ask yourself. Do you or do you not like to garden? You are a gardener if you find pleasure in watching plants grow, enjoy feeling earth, consider gardening relaxing and have time to devote to the craft. You are not a gardener if you find the idea of gardening a waste of valuable time. However, even a non-gardener can still appreciate the finished appearance that landscaping can give property. The key is to realize if you are, or are not, a gardener.

Both types of individuals must start with the first basic steps of landscaping.

  • Draw the shape of your property on a piece of paper.
  • Orient and draw the shape of your house/office on top of the property.
  • Note windows, doors, pathways and heights of eves on paper.
  • Using a compass mark the exact N, S, E and W directions on the paper.
  • Fill  small bags with dirt from each direction and mark the bag accordingly.

Rules of Thumb

North is shady


East has early morning sun (unless blocked by houses or trees)
South is hot and sunny (unless dappled sunlight from high trees) West has late afternoon sun (unless blocked by houses or trees)

Patience and Planning are characteristics that must be carefully cultivated.  Find a reputable nursery with a knowledgeable staff and keep asking questions.  Read about gardening. The library is a free and bottomless source of information.

  • Your gardening mantras are "Fall is for Planting" and "Keep it Simple".

  • File information and pictures with appeal and keep it in your car for reference.

  • Follow first basic steps and Rule Of  Thumb 

 General Rules

  • Annuals last one growing season, then die. Pinching or disbudding encourages profuse blooms.

  • Perennials return stronger and bigger each year Never spray roses with the hose.

  • Plant Bulbs pointed end up and never in poorly drained soil.

  • Use sand to lighten, drain and aerate heavy soil.

  • Water and feed plants.

  • Pick the flower of a bulb only. Cut back the rest after the leaves turn yellow and fall.

  • Spring flowering bulbs can be left in the ground. Others must be lifted and stored. Tag your plants to remember their names, care directions.

  • Use a timed soaker hose so that you can sleep through your 3AM watering!

  • Know your soil. Match or change the soil to accommodate the plant.

  • Have the garden center test your soil bags and advise you of a reputable soil treatment for your needs ~ Join G.A.B.B. (Gardeners Against Bad Bugs)

  • Prune late spring or summer blooming shrubs in late winter or early spring Prune a shrub right after it blooms, if the blooms occur on last year's growth Invest in useful gardening tools and keep them in a safely locked garden shed Unless you like the sun, plan to garden in the shade.

  • Prepare you plants for winter with recommended food, pruning and burlap covers

  • Let some dried fallen leaves and needles act as a bed cover during the cold winter months. Clean up some of those leaves in the Spring

Form and Function

  • Plant in clusters of like colors. Blend your patterns in a flowing fashion.

  • Plant low covers in front, medium blooms next, then tall flowers in the rear.

  • Stagger your bloom cycles. Consider what remains after the bloom cycle is complete.

  • Use lots of good mulch. It is attractive, beneficial and discourages weeds. Define architectural and landscape elements such as front entrances and pathways Conceal blemishes such as exposed foundation and utility boxes Consider landscaping for privacy or wind and heat protection Consider solar lighting for illuminating walkways and dark corners.

  • For effective traffic control, add thorny plants to the corners and borders of your property.

  • Communicate with colors: yellow roses (sun), yellow lilies (part shade) yellow Corydalis (shade)

  • Consider which plants attract wide life such as birds and butterflies as well as bees and flies.

  • Carefully consider family allergies and poisonous plants.

  • Consider flowers that make beautiful vases, dried arrangements and gifts for friends.

  • Consider brick, stone, boulders, trellises, benches, birdbaths and other ornaments. (not all together).

The Understated

  • Remember to close your windows before you water the flower boxes

  • Pulling at the plant will not make it grow faster

  • Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and are hideous in the landscape. Put a sand can outside. Well-cultivated weeds can reap beautiful flowers Take time to smell the flowers.

Landscaping can be other than Plants.
 Consider the following alternatives:

Brick Decking with mortar for weed control

Stones with flat sides to prevent rolling

lluminate walkways and Front Entrances
 with solar lighting Systems

Control traffic and increase privacy by using thorny hedges near windows and as fences Use decorative lattice panels to cover ugly utilities or create privacy.

Use old benches with plantings to create decorative seating areas on property.

For The Non-Gardener:

If you are not going to hire a landscaper heed the following advise:

Buy only from a reputable nursery with knowledgeable staff.  Match the above Rule of Thumb guide to tree and shrub sunlight tags.  Have the center test your soil bags and advise you of a reputable soil treatment or recommend which shrubs grow will in your soil type.

Plant those with like needs together. For example, plant groupings of acidic soil, full sun and water together and alkaline soil, shade, and light water together. Consider low maintenance ground covers like Ivy instead of lawn.

Install a soaker hose connected to a timer so that you don't have to manually water.

Use a good mulch to avoid weeding chores and to maintain soil moisture

Know trees and shrubs full height and width at maturity and position accordingly.

Plant in groups with soft curved edges at strategic locations on your property.

Look for terms like: hardy, tolerant to drought and poor soil, disease resistant and low maintenance Follow the planting and watering directions.

Stay with trees and shrubs, preferably evergreens and deciduous trees placed in strategic locations.  Plant only trees and shrubs that are suitable or indigenous to your climate.