Archive for Garden Design


Tips to Get Gardens Ready for Winter

With the year slowly coming to an end and winter quickly approaching the outdoors can turn into a dull and inhospitable place forcing most people to remain indoors however, for garden and landscape enthusiast alike this time of year is the ideal time to prep gardens, lawns and surrounding landscapes for the upcoming growing season.

Keep Gardens in Shape During Winter

Gardens

In the fall or just before winter most trees lose their foliage however at this time maintenance practices like pruning or trimming are encouraged during the latter months of the year as during this time of dormancy the majority of hedges, shrubs and trees can be pruned or trimmed without causing damage to the plant or tree.

This practice not only eliminates dead cumbersome branches from trees and plants but it also helps to improve their growth and shape while maintaining the general health of gardens.

As for the multitude of leaves that constantly fall and cover gardens at this time of year making it a practice to regularly clean gardens is extremely important as it allows garden beds and lawns to receive adequate sunlight which helps to promote optimal growth and health.

Another very important factor that gardeners should consider when preparing gardens for winter is the protection of plants from potential damage or destruction. Given the extreme conditions that come along with winter one clever tip that has proven to be an effective approach for protecting gardens during this extreme period is mulching.  

Mainly used to help soil to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature and suppress weed growth mulching is also a great way to shield and protect plants against the hostile conditions of winter. Planting beds should be mulched at a depth of 1.5 – 2 inches to ensure plant roots remain the right temperature as well as to offer the right amount of protection from any potential damage.

Contract a Professional Landscaping Service 

Not everyone may have the equipment to carry out trimming and pruning effectively and as for large, dead, trees and decayed branches hanging around gardens it’s best to contract trained professionals to manage tasks such as these since decayed trees and branches can pose serious threats of injury. Therefore contracting a professional landscaping service to manage tasks that might require equipment and trained personnel is the safest option.

Need Help with Preparing Your Garden for Winter? 

Here at DK Landscaping Inc. we understand how tedious it can be to manage gardens on your own however we like to say that “We like Jungles” and we’d be happy to come in and assist you with all your garden preparations for winter.

We aim to provide the highest quality landscaping and gardening services to all clients. Our services are very affordable and we work with clients to manage any type of surroundings. Give us a call at: 707 217-6508 or visit our website: dklandscaping.com for more information.

 

How Mulch Can Be Applied To Your Garden v2

To keep gardens healthy and vibrant gardeners utilize mulching and it is one of the easiest and more commonly used methods in most gardens. Mulch is mostly available in two forms organic and inorganic and is mainly used to eliminate weed growth, lend additional support to plants and to help plants retain moisture. Mulch can be purchased from any gardening supply store or can even be formulated by gardeners themselves by recycling other products or materials.

Try Mulching!

Mulch

If you mow your lawn the clippings of grass that remain can be converted to mulch. Grass clippings have a high nitrogen content and can be used to naturally fertilize plants but works exceptionally well to fertilize vegetables.

For gardeners who have enough compost this too can be used as mulch. Once it isn’t dried out compost is great for enriching soil but to ensure that it provides the necessary nutrients and remains biologically active another layer of mulch such as chopped leaves should be added to cover the compost.

There are so many different things found in and around gardens that can be used to mulch. Having said using straw or hay throughout gardens is another excellent mulching option. It has most of the benefits of other mulches while adding organic matter to soil as it decomposes.

Gardeners should keep in mind when using hay or straw to make sure it is weed and seed free when making applications. They should also ensure that it is not placed too close to stems to prevent attracting slugs and rodents.

Did you know that mulching a vegetable garden with sheets of black plastic film can do wonders? This is another neat, gardening and mulching alternative that has proven to be very effective where the black plastic transmits the sun’s heat to the soil beneath, creating a microclimate that is about three degrees warmer than a garden that does not have mulch applied.

Since the plastic film remains warm and dry fruits and vegetables are protected, they don’t rot and they are kept clean. As with other mulches it prevents weed growth and retains moisture however when using plastic gardeners should remember to punch holes so that soil can still receive air and that plants and seeds can be transplanted or sown.

As we may know some mulches come in inorganic forms as well. Gravel, stones, and geotextiles can all be used to mulch gardens. Even though some are of a hard or rough texture and do not filter nutrients into soil they still allow air and water through to the soil beneath while keeping weeds from coming up.

These are all great ways to recycle materials or products in and around gardens or homes as well as to help gardeners to save money. Mulching is great for plants and vegetables and promotes a healthy environment throughout gardens so if you haven’t already maybe it’s time you start as you don’t even have to buy it you can make it and apply it yourself.  Contact us for more information.

 

Have A Narrow Walkway? Try These Gardening Tips

There are quite a few gardeners out there who have an extensive knowledge of plants and landscaping in which they use to come up with some very impressive and unique ideas for their gardens. However there are still many amateur gardeners or homeowners out there who love to beautify their properties and are excited about doing new things but lack gardening knowledge.

Try These Gardening Ideas

Gardening

This might be just what you are looking for as this article offers some pretty insightful and dynamic tips that people can utilize to create gorgeous landscape designs while adding ambience and character to their surroundings.

Before focusing on choice of plants a great idea might be to add an outstanding feature to accessorize the garden and surrounding areas of the home. Installing an ornamental gate at the entrance of your walkway is a great start. This will immediately make the walkway feel more private for you and still feel inviting to visitors.

Once this is done establishing a focal point in the garden or surroundings would be the next step. Using an attractive tree, bird bath or bench brimmed with brightly colored plants can serve to draw the eye beyond the walkway while enhancing the appearance of the entire garden.

If the walkway or pavement needs repair it would be best to ensure that this is done in the initial stages. You should not wait until after you’ve planted the flanking beds mainly because this is exactly where you or your contractor will need to tread while working on the path or pavement. So to avoid the destruction of garden beds make sure you do any necessary repairs before proceeding to that stage.

Once you have secured and established the basic groundwork for your garden you want to make sure you choose the correct plants trees and flowers. If you reside in an urban area the best plants to use are low-growing perennials. Besides their beautiful shades most of them die in the winter or can be cut to the ground. This makes it easier for gardeners when dealing with the snow as well and when it’s time to regrow the next growing season.

  • The Ajuga, lysimachia, and creeping phlox species all spread like a carpet and Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’ has burgundy-bronze leaves that supply color to surroundings long after its deep-blue flower spikes fade in late spring.
  • The Lysimachia nummularia  species possesses a delicate, looking foliage that covers ground quickly and softens the edges of a path.

To add more color and variety consider using the Phlox stolonifera species which is popular for the graceful flower clusters it sends up on 8-inch stems in late spring. The wild form is usually bluish but there are also blue, white, and pink varieties.

To give an added touch to your paths or walkways using slightly taller plants would be best. They won’t bend into the way of people using the walkway and at the same time they add a contrasting feature to the surroundings. Be sure though to avoid using plants more than 8 inches tall to prevent overgrowth in the walkway along with overshadowing other features within the garden.

Ensuring that a safe and nurturing environment is maintained throughout, gardens and surroundings should be the priority of every gardener. If in difficulty or you may be lost in some areas hiring a professional would be the best course of action, but if you are just looking for tips to improve and enhance there are a network of informative and effective tips available online that give tremendous insight into how those ideas can be achieved. Contact us for more information.

Different Kinds of Irrigation Systems

If you are a farmer, gardener or even a landscaper you probably know how important it is to have an irrigation system installed to supply your plants, gardens or crops with water. Most irrigation systems are used during dry seasons when rainfall is scarce but since there are several types of irrigation it would be important for persons to identify which type would best serve their needs.

irrigation

Lets Look At irrigation Systems

Irrigation techniques may differ in several ways but the basic concept of the system is that water is obtained from a source and is distributed to plants or crops. Generally the aim of the system is to equally and uniformly distribute specific amounts of water to each plant or crop.

Types of irrigation used include high or micro flow irrigation, sub-irrigation, in-ground irrigation, localized irrigation and even automatic irrigation systems. They are all utilized to best suit their specific purpose however the two, most, commonly, used systems are the high flow or micro flow irrigation systems.

With these two main types of irrigation systems one releases water with a high flow and the other distributes water with a low flow or a drip. The high flowing system operates so that water spreads heavily across the surface of the specified area, in order to wet and infiltrate into the soil and the low flowing system functions so that water falls in a dripping fashion and is delivered directly at the position of roots.

The high flowing system is mostly used when irrigating agricultural land. Here water levels that originate from the irrigation source and are used to flood or control the level of water in each distinct field. The flooding system is controlled by dikes which are slopes that help to regulate water levels. This form of irrigation is mostly seen with the cultivation of rice.

The low flowing or drip irrigation system as we know obtains water from a source and transports and delivers it to plants through emitters, mini rotors, micro sprays or drip lines in a dripping fashion where water goes directly to roots.This method has been seen as the most, water-efficient, method, of irrigation as it utilizes less water and once managed properly minimizes evaporation and runoff.

Since drip irrigation systems are the more domestic and commonly used system here are a few tips that can assist persons with operating and maintaining them so that they function as efficiently as possible.

For this type drip lines are most recommended and should be used for continuous rooting as they have flexible tubing containing tiny, water, flow, regulators, for evenly spaced water distribution.

Micro sprays and mini rotors clog easily, and should be regularly maintained. Monthly investigations should be conducted and if necessary repairs or replacements done to ensure there are no irregularities within the system.

Laying out emitters individually can also prove to be an efficient practice as this delivers water exactly where the plant needs. It reduces the amount of weeds produced and eliminates excess, irrelevant water. Persons also need to make sure that their drip system includes pressure reducers and filters as these ensure water is measured accurately and delivered at the specified rate.

Remember that these systems must be designed to prevent runoff, low head drainage and overspray. For more information on irrigation contact us.

Lawn Care In the Fall

Lawn care is necessary if you are to keep your garden looking its best. At the end of a busy and fun filled summer, your lawn may begin to demonstrate symptoms of wear and tear.  Early autumn is an excellent time to maintain the damage and make sure that your lawn would be in good fettle for the upcoming year.

Lawn Care Guidelines

lawn care

Before raking debris, you should kill any moss with a lawn moss herbicide. For larger lawns, you can use a motorized scarifier.  Ensure that you use a spring-tined rake.  Scraping your lawn enhances its look and adds vigor to the lawn. Establish air channels in dense turf by placing a border fork in the soil.  This action will draw plugs out of the soil.

After scraping and aerating your turf, fill the holes with a top dressing.  You can purchase your top dressing from garden or hardware stores.  It is such an affordable and simple technique that you can also make your own top dressing.

After all the fun times and frequent use during the summer, your lawn may exhibit signs of degeneration.  Therefore, early autumn is a superb time to maintain any devastation.  Make sure that your lawn is in excellent health for next year.

With the use of gloves, put some granular autumn fertilizer evenly over noticeable squares.  If no rain falls within three days of applying the fertilizer, then wet it.  In the initial stage of autumn, your soil would be warm enough and damp to plant grass seed.  Additionally, scatter seed to correspond with your type of turf. Apply this at half of the suggested rate for contemporary turfs.  This helps to enhance any depilated spots.

If you want to improve on the way you take care of your lawn then contact DK Landscaping. We are the experts in plant and lawn care. We can help you create the right conditions for a healthy and much improved lawn and garden.

Time To Mulch

There are various kinds of organic mulches used in garden maintenance.  They act as fertilizers giving your soil the nutrients and conditions needed for sustainable growth. The State of California has policies in place that govern the production of mulch.  Take a look at the various kinds of mulches that are highly recommended:

Types Of Mulches

Newspaper is becoming more widespread as mulch.  Shredded newspaper has been used to maintain a damp environment for plants during shipping. This technique has been used on land as well. The way this all works is because layers of newspaper have excellent water retaining capabilities.  They also help to control weeds and manage soil temperatures. This is an excellent benefit.

Shredded Leaves can be utilized as mulch any and everywhere in your garden.  This is one of the most natural forms of mulch. Many gardens have flourished by using this technique.

Grass Clippings is used in the isolated areas of your garden where you want to restrain weeds.  Grass clippings also are prone to mass down the water causing it not to pass through.

As part of your gardening maintenance plan you should utilize a mulching mower and leave back the clippings on the lawn to supply added fertility to your soil.  Nonetheless, if you place your grass clippings in bags do not discard of them, unless you have utilized weed killer or some other pesticide on your lawn. You should also know that synthetic lawn care items can be harmful to some flowers, so you may not want to use them in your garden.  Grass clippings that are not treated should be placed in your compost bin or utilize as mulch for open areas are not yet planted.

Some gardeners hate to see leaves in their garden, and that’s a fact.  Leaves really aren’t suitable for a formal garden.  But if you cover your garden with the leaf mulch it tend to fusion into the garden in no time. This way you can still have the beauty of your garden untarnished while giving it the advantages of having mulch added.

During rainy times, unshredded leaves may mass together and fight off the water. If the leaves are too wet to shred, they can still be used. If you are considering implementing this gardening improvement technique then seek an expert gardening service. Contact us the gardening experts for more sound advice and gardening maintenance.

How to Transplant Shrubs in Summer

The best times of year to transplant trees and shrubs are spring and fall; however, certain situations may make it necessary to move your plants outside of those seasons. For example, you may want to take your shrubs with you if you are moving or you may have to move the plant because of the weather.

English garden in summer with furniture

If you find it necessary to move a plant during the warmest part of the year, you will need to take certain steps to ensure its health. Here are some tips on how to move shrubs in the summer without harming them:

  1. Choose the Right Location
    Transplantation represents a dramatic change and a plant will have to adapt to its new environment slowly in order to survive. This means that you will have to keep factors like sunlight, soil drainage and soil pH in mind when choosing a new location.
  2. Dig an Appropriate Hole
    You will need to dig a hole that is approximately twice as large as the shrub’s root system. The additional space allows the roots to grow into the new site comfortably.
  3. Carefully Remove the Shrub
    Work carefully to avoid damaging the root system when uprooting shrubs. You will want to take as much of it as you can. You will also want to move some of the soil from the old location to the new one. You can place larger shrubs on a tarp and drag them to the new location along with some of the soil.
  4. Add Adequate Water to the New Hole
    You will want to wet the hole thoroughly before placing the shrub into it but avoid oversaturating it as this can cause the shrub’s roots to rot.
  5. Place Shrub in the New Hole
    Along with the shrub, place some of the soil from the old location into the hole as well as some potting soil. Pat the soil down around the base to ensure that the shrub stays upright. You can add watering stakes to the ground so that the shrub can water at root level but this is not essential. Be careful to avoid damage to the roots when installing the watering stakes.

The quality of your landscaping plays a major role in your ability to enjoy your yard and in your property value. If you need help with moving shrubs or with any other aspect of landscape maintenance, contact us today. Our experienced landscaping crews know how to move your shrubs and trees quickly and without damaging them.

Plant Trees and Shrubs That Add Interest to a Garden in Winter

Tons of homeowners run down to their local nursery to pick up shrubs and small trees for their garden design. You can actually find some great deals by purchasing cold-hardy plants, shrubs and trees out of season, so to speak, prior to the thermometer dropping in September and October.

The problem is that these same homeowners don’t exactly know what to do with their cold-hardy plants and shrubs or whether they can set to work planting them in late fall and early winter or if they have to wait until the weather warms up in spring to put on their gardener’s hat.

Beautiful view with coorful trees and shrubs. English garden in spring. Landscape gardening.

How to Deal with Cold-Hardy Trees, Plants and Shrubs

What you may not know is that a variety of shrubs, plants, perennials, and trees can survive and even thrive in – what the USDA terms – the coldest planting zones in the country.

So, the question no doubt on the minds of everyone in these more frigid hardiness zones is whether to keep your trees and shrubs in pots throughout the cooler months or whether you can get started in late fall.

The answer’s that you can choose to do either, but you can definitely set to work right now, start planting in the late fall, and beautify your garden and outdoor decor throughout the winter and into the verdant spring months. Evergreen shrubs and hawthorn are two popular options.

What you still want to do, though, is manage your expectations and perhaps set your sights lower than a veritable Garden of Eden springing up in the crisp winter months. Here’s how to get started:

  • Follow Nature’s Lead

You would be very hard-pressed to find potted plants, much less artificial ones, growing wild out in nature.

Taken that to its logical extension, your plants and shrubs will typically be healthier and happier by being put into the ground than staying in a plastic pot in your garage throughout the winter season.

  • What Should I Plant?

Evergreen garden shrubs are but one example of resilient shrubs that can really add another dimension to your garden and front lawn during the winter without causing too much heartache in terms of worry or added energy you have to expend to make it happen.

Both conifer trees and evergreen shrubs can make it through winter in one piece, and the needle-leaf style of evergreen shrubs are normally considered more robust in cold-hardy climates.

Yew and Juniper are two kinds of evergreen garden shrubs that are resilient, tolerant to cold temperatures and drought conditions, yet really benefit from developing their root networks early in the fall (if you’re thinking about planting these early) as opposed to waiting until early-to-mid spring.

Deciduous trees like the Japanese Maple, eucalyptus, birch or hawthorn tree can even demonstrate fruit growth in the winter, which really adds a splash of color and interesting contrast against the icicles and powdery, white winter snow.

  • Going About It the Right Way

Year-round plants, shrubs and trees don’t actually need the extra shot in the arm that less hardy flora might.

There’s no need to use a crazy amount of fertilizer or growth agents in the late fall to get the most out of these trees and shrubs throughout the winter.

Still, realize that many of these flora grow upwards and their root networks are delicate at this early stage. Try not to move around or prune these shrubs early in their development.

Much and a little water in the fall are probably all these plants need to avoid desiccation and thrive for you year-round. Contact us today for more tips or help in getting started.

Xeriscape California Plant List

California boasts a rich variety of flowers, trees, and flora ~ a somewhat surprising fact considering the prevalence of arid landscapes and drought. Home and business owners who want an eco-friendly, economic landscaping solution would be wise to utilize xeriscape, a form of landscaping that combines drought-resistant plants, efficient irrigation, and thoughtful garden design to create beautiful outdoor spaces. To get started, check out this list of plants that will make a wonderful addition to your xeriscaping.

Luxury House

Aloe

Aloes are a variety of succulents that do well in dry environments. One common variety is Aloe Vera, also known as burn plant due to its ability to soothe sunburn. Aloe Vera can grow up to 3 feet in height and produces lovely yellow flowers. Although commonly grown as houseplants, Aloes can also thrive in xeriscape environments due to their preference for bright light and dry, well-draining soil.

Agave

This xeriscape-friendly plant is known for its use in making tequila! There are many different varieties, but all have a main taproot that discourages transplanting after they have been installed. A loose, well-draining soil is a must and plants prefer to dry out completely between watering. Agave tends to bloom once, then die, but often produces pups, or baby plants, that can replace the original.

Mexican Sage

A member of the Salvia family, Mexican Sage is a perennial that produces gorgeous purple or white flowers that can make it a stunning xeriscape addition. Moisture requirements are somewhat higher than for previously mentioned succulent varieties, so it may not be ideal for very arid locations. However, it is drought tolerant and often attracts pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds.

Verbena

Verbena comes in many varieties, including lemon, rose, and purpletop, just to name a few. Lemon verbena smells fantastic and can be used to make herbal tea. They can be grown as annuals or perennials and are resistant to heat and drought. Depending on the variety you choose, they can get quite tall and bushy, often producing beautiful, brightly colored flowers.

Honeysuckle

Most honeysuckle vine varieties smell fantastic, attract pollinators, produce beautiful flowers, and come back year-after-year. Being heat and drought resistant and fairly low maintenance makes them a wonderful addition to xeriscape areas. Full to partial sun and a well-draining soil are preferable. A fence, trellis, or other support system helps them grow to their full potential.

Sedge Grass

Sedges are a large family of grasses that work well in place of more high maintenance turf grass. They tend to be adaptable and often require little water. California meadow sedge is native to the Pacific coast area and tolerates heat, drought, and even foot traffic. It can be used as part of an eye-catching xeriscape focal point or used to replace a more traditional lawn. Since it requires very little mowing and no fertilizers or other chemicals, sedge grass is a great, no-fuss addition to any landscape.

Hollyleaf Cherry

The hollyleaf cherry tree is a shrub native to the California coast that produces lush, evergreen leaves, cream colored flowers, and edible fruit. The fruit is not very fleshy though, so it probably won’t become your favorite snack, but birds and other wildlife may appreciate it. Hollyleaf cherry is very tolerant of drought, thrives in full to partial sun, and prefers well-draining soil.
Xeriscape landscaping techniques are sure to become more popular as awareness grows about the need to conserve water and choose drought resistant plants. DK Landscaping strives to create beautiful landscapes that function well in the natural environment, so call us or contact us via email today to get started on a xeriscape project for your home or business.

Narrow Walkway Flower Bed Ideas

Flower bed ideas can be quite easy to implement. Most gardens have walkways that are about two feet wide. Narrower walkways may help you to use a small space more efficiently.

However, they pose a unique design challenge to gardeners, landscapers and homeowners: how can you create and position flower beds so that they don’t visually overpower the walkways? Try these flower bed ideas to add variety and beauty to your space.

Mixed flower bed in front of a picket fence.

Perennial and Evergreen Flower Bed Ideas

Narrow walkways limit access to your flower beds, and make maneuvering through the space more difficult. Annual plants are flower bed ideas that can create headaches due to yearly replanting. By choosing perennials suitable to your climate, you’ll ensure that your plants come back each year and minimize the amount of work you (or your landscapers) must do.

You may also put evergreen plants on your list of flower bed ideas. These come back each year, and the plants won’t lose their leaves or fade in ways that require additional maintenance.

Keep Flower Beds Controlled

If your flower beds grow weedy or otherwise out of control, they can cut into your walkway. Normally that may be unsightly, but not a disaster. But if your garden’s walkways are narrow, this can make the pathway difficult to navigate, or even find. This is particularly problematic with gravel or dirt walkways, where the edges are already, often, poorly defined.

When going through your flower bed ideas, make sure that the line between the flower bed and the path is clearly marked. You may want a small fence, stone wall or other raised marker. Make sure your flowers are semi-regularly pruned back from the edges of the path, and that any weeds are removed. You may want to choose plants that grow more slowly, and that put off fewer vines or shoots for you to have to deal with.

Use Trellises

Trellises and fences are perfect flower bed ideas for climbing plants, that allow you more room to play. Be sure to choose climbing plants that don’t grow to too tall of a height, to minimize maintenance. Many vines are invasive, as well, so be sure that your final choice is native to your area.

Create a Unique Environment

Finally, once your flower beds are complete, your garden may feel crowded. Take advantage of this by creating a unique atmosphere. Delicate lighting along the edges of your path, or hanging from trees, can create a mysterious atmosphere like an enchanted forest. A little fence around the whole space, along with a gate, is one of those flower bed ideas that can make your garden feel like something out of a fairy tale.

Conclusion

When you want to implement your flower bed ideas, it’s time to call an expert. Contact us for a consultation about your yard and its specific needs, including repair, maintenance, irritation, and xeriscaping for saving water.