Monday, September 29, 2008
As a follow up to the announcement of the new free contractors directory, I wanted to add some thoughts on finding and hiring a good landscaper or designer. See the post at Landscaping Designers And Contractors Of Character. It's a good read and will give you something to think about if you are planning to use a landscaping contractor or company.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
We've just added a new directory to the site. After all, it should live up to its name and offer everything that one would be looking for related to landscape and garden design.
I am surprised that we have the #1 spot for the search term landscape designer. I've never tried to have that spot. Still, it's a good indication that we needed to create a resource for locating landscape design contractors.
So we created a free landscaping contractors directory that also displays portfolios and finished landscape designs created by the contractors and designers. This way, you as a home owner can view the quality and design style of each contractor before you contact them. And there's no cost to contact as many designers as you like.
As a contractor or designer, there's also no cost to add your information, portfolio, contact information, and even an active link back to your site. Advertise for free on The Landscape Design Site.com.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I wrote a great article on my main blog titled How To Install Landscaping Fabric. Instead of repeating it here, just follow the link. It's very informative and detailed.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
After a recent server change, The landscape design site was offline for several days which caused a few pages to get lost. The landscape design idea gallery has been moved out of place. Also, the garden styles gallery was moved as well. We'll see about getting them back.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Properly fertilizing your lawn should be one of the simpler and less time consuming processes in your lawn care program. While you could get very technical about it, the basics you need to know are not as complicated as they might appear to be. Listening to some lawn care professionals and gurus explain detailed processes and equations might leave you a bit confused about the whole deal. However, you don't need to know all the details to have a beautiful lawn.
How much to fertilize, how often, when, and what formula to use are all the right questions. However, because of all the different variables ranging from soil type to location to hundreds of grass varieties and types, it’s impossible to give an exact lawn care program that would fit every lawn.
Testing the soil isn’t usually necessary for determining lawn fertilizer needs. If you’re having trouble growing a lawn, testing may be helpful to figure Ph and to see if a nutrient level is extremely high or low. Otherwise, they don’t give a good indication of the amount of nutrients your lawn needs.
You generally only need to be concerned with the three basic nutrients of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Other minor nutrients such as iron and zinc are usually plentiful in the soil. However, in some instances such as my own yard, I do apply one application of fruit and nut tree food to the entire lawn every few years. I have several trees that take these nutrients from the soil. Still it’s not common practice and isn’t necessary in most yards, landscaping ideas, and lawns.
The right formula? I can’t give an exact. Just a guideline. The three numbers on the label (0-0-0) represent the product percentage of the three nutrients in order, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. A good mixture would be high in Nitrogen, low in Phosphorus, and medium in Potassium. An example might be 10-2-5. This is one of those areas that can get technical. However, if you're not inclined to study up in this area, just keep applications low and safe. Keep Nitrogen, the first number, at 20 or below.
As my own rule for staying on the safe side, and in my opinion is a better way to feed a lawn, cut the amount in half and apply it twice as often or even less often. For some nutrients, plants will absorb all that is in the soil until it’s gone, grow very quickly, and deplete the soil before it’s time to fertilize again. A continuous feed is much better for the health of the lawn, reduces the risk of burning, and is easier to get an idea of what feeding program your specific lawn needs.
Again, all of this can’t be placed in a given formula for all lawn types. When to fertilize, of course, depends on your area, time of year, weather. Your soil type (clay, sand, etc) will influence many factors including how often and how much to fertilize. So it’s best to follow the steps of starting with less and working your way up. It also helps to keep a journal to keep track of your results.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Hillsides and slopes can be a challenge for landscaping projects. Coming up with ideas for usable space and drainage can be difficult.
We just added a video on our site of one of our designs of a circular driveway on a slight slope. See Landscaping On A Slope to see the video and hopefully get some ideas you can use to landscape a sloped area if you have one.
And don't forget our original directory of hillside and sloping design ideas. See Landscaping On A Slope Or Hillside for several more ideas from various professional designers and landscaping contractors.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I'm very excited to finally start publishing one of our Mediterranean landscaping projects that we've created. Besides an amazing Enclosed Tuscan courtyard, there will be videos on creating waterfalls, walkways, curbing, sprinkler systems, lawn, and much more.
So far there are two videos out with the last one being courtyard gardens drainage which covers some preparation considerations and drainage issues.
All the videos and lessons in this series will be archived at Mediterranean Garden Design. I hope you enjoy and get something out of the series.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I just posted a detailed article on the site on how to save money in your landscaping projects.
Most articles related to landscaping on a budget only touch on one or two specific areas of design. The article landscaping on a budget details money saving ideas involved in the entire landscaping design process.
You should find it very interesting as it will give you some details for saving money in your landscaping that you probably haven't thought of.
Landscaping On A Budget.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I just got finished with an extensive blog post about plant selection that goes beyond the normal scope of choosing the right landscaping and garden plant.
The post goes into basic principles of garden and landscaping planting ideas as well as additional considerations in placement.
Xeriscaping (low water use landscaping) is getting a lot of attention due to an increased awareness in natural resources. Read xeriscaping principles and methods
More to come in a few days.
Monday, March 03, 2008
After spending a lot of time searching for a social bookmark sites specific to the do it yourself niches and finding very few, I decided to create one. www.diwire.net is free for everyone wanting to share or bookmark favorites or their own sites.
Do it yourself social bookmarking - landscaping - garden - gardening - home improvement
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The Landscape Design Site looks a bit odd as we're changing templates. We've also added a video section to the site at Landscaping Videos. Of course, the videos there are our own as well as landscaping lessons and ideas from some of the better producers.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
My Grandfather was an old world dirt farmer who depended on his crops for his living. That old man knew more about soil and dirt than anyone I've ever known.
On his farm there was never a need for chemical fertilizers and insecticides as his crops were healthy and produced incredible yields. He was completely organic, returned everything to the soil, and rotated his crops. And in return, his soil had a perfect ph balance. Or at least that's what he said.
Back then, there were no soil test kits or probes so folks tasted the soil to test its ph. If it was sweet, it was acid. If it was sour, it was alkaline. And I guess bittersweet was a perfect 7. I don't know. To me, most dirt just tastes like...dirt.
Anyway, the importance of proper ph has been known for a long time. Nutrient uptake as well as many other factors are regulated by ph balance. And plants are always healthiest, produce more, are more nutritious, and have fewer pests and diseases when ph is perfect.
Anyway, the point of this blurb.....
I was reminded of my Grandfather the other day as I consulted with a client about his yellowing Hollies, Nandina, and other Evergreens. He had already been to the nursery where they had given him the cure to his problem in the form of a sack of iron supplement.
Since I live here and have dealt with this same problem many times, I knew the problem wasn't a lack of iron. There's plenty of iron in our soil. However, the plants can't pick it up. It's locked in the soil because of improper soil ph. We live on a huge limestone shelf and so the soil is extremely alkaline.
So rather than drown the soil in toxic levels of manufactured iron supplement, we began a slow systematic increase in soil acidity with simple garden sulfer. Within a few months the soil ph will become more acid, the iron will become available, the tree will get healthy and green, and I'll get paid.
So, while you won't have to eat dirt because there are modern test kits and probes, there's no excuse for not knowing the ph of your soil. And actually, at the first sign of plant problems, you should look for visible signs of insects or disease and check the ph of the soil.
Ultimately and the biggest lesson learned from my Grandfather is organics. Before the extensive use of chemicals, folks did just fine and even better with rich organic soil. And while organics may not be practical in some of our modern applications, using it when and where you can will produce growing benefits to your gardening experience. Naturally balanced soil ph being one of them.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I don't know a lot about caring for houseplants. I could tell you a lot about outdoor landscaping plants but I couldn't tell you a thing about houseplant care. Well...except for my Ficus tree.
I have one plant in my entire home. A 7 foot Ficus tree. However, since it appears to be quite a happy little tree, I'd say I'm doing something right with it. Really, it just seems that taking care of houseplants is common sense.....for the most part.
Just like in landscaping, plants can add so much beauty and structure to the interior landscape. That sounds a little strange to me. Interior "landscape". Anyway, I've seen it done wonderfully but never really thought about it in my own house. My arguement has always been that it's just something more to take care of. And you're always having to get someone to take care of your plants when you go out of town.
However, being interior design challenged, this seems to be the simplest no-brainer way to add a little something to my home. I don't think I would go all out to the extent of landscaping the interior of my house but maybe you would. You may be interested to read Interior Landscaping and Indoor Plants for a more extreme approach to interiorscaping.
Indoor Gardens And Terrariums are more my speed as they seem to be easy to take care of. Especially terrariums. I've always liked the way they're more like a showpiece than a plant. And being self contained, means less mess.
Anyway, as I started looking into this, I came across a few good articles that I wanted to share with you. I didn't mean to ramble on and get sidetracked. Anyway, if houseplants is your thing, you might find some fresh ideas in these stories.
5 Ways To A Greener Indoors
Taking Care Of Indoor Plants In Winter
Proper Care Of Some Houseplants
Off the subject. I also published another article this week as a list of what little Free Landscape Design Software I could find available. There's not much to speak of but it might be useful if you're planning any landscaping, designing, or or drawing.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Winter Gardening - Springtime Planting Ideas
I guess I must be ready for Spring. I was geared up to write a bit on Springtime planting and spring gardening. However, as I skim the headlines I am reminded that it's still Winter in most parts of the Country.
Caring For Plants In The Cold
I never really gave it much thought. Around here, once things (including my yard and garden) are put up for the Winter, I don't give them much thought until I dig them out in the Spring. However, I stumbled on a nice piece of information that reminded me that there are some considerations to keep in mind for your plants in the dead cold of Winter.
I'll use the word "considerations" here just to keep us safe from actually having to get out and do any of this. So check out Caring For Plants In The Cold if you might like to "consider" some tasks you can do pre-spring to keep your garden and landscaping in order.
Fluctuating temperatures harm your landscaping
I thought this was an interesting piece of news. While this may be something I'm aware of as a professional, I bet most folks never give it much thought. While it's generally not a problem for established gardens and landscaping, newly planted landscapes can suffer due to extreme fluctuation of temperatures in early Spring and Late Winter.
Even if your landscape or garden is well established, it's a good read for a few tips on protecting your plants in Winter. See Fluctuating temperatures harm your landscaping
A winter checklist for your home and garden
Here we go. I like checklists. You usually get at least one good thing you never thought of even if it's completely obvious. As well as a few gardening tips for Early Spring, this article looks mostly at indoor home issues such as energy savings and weatherproofing.
Actually, this is something you probably would already have done at this point - before it was freezing cold outside. It's still good info you can use next year. Read A winter checklist for your home and garden.
Planning A Springtime Landscaping Project?
O.K., one more thing. This is a piece I just created on planning your own landscaping. And since it's almost Springtime and I know lots of folks are "planning" to do some landscaping as soon as it warms up, I figured it would be worth mentioning here. The article Landscaping Ideas - Creating Do It Yourself Landscaping Ideas is based on a method we use to help consultees and clients come up with their own design ideas. It's a good exercize that will give you a few things to think about if you're planning to do your own landscaping projects.
I hope you get some good stuff from this. We'll talk soon.