How To Make A Safe Homemade Insecticide

It’s spring time, and that means it’s time to start thinking about the overall health and safety of your plants and shrubs. One of the biggest challenges to maintaining lively looking plants, bushes and shrubs involves controlling harmful bugs and insects. It’s an especially painstaking process when you are trying to do it without using harmful sprays and insecticides. Well, no worries friends, there is a solution. Today, we’re showing you how to make a your own homemade insecticide that is both non-toxic and safe. It also works great for keeping the insects away and the landscaping bills down.

The recipe for making this is extremely cost effective and easy to follow. By using a combination of common household items, you can create a powerful safe homemade insecticide. Simply combine Dawn dish soap, water, vegetable oil, and epsom salt to concoct an environmentally friendly, insect repellent and mineral rich spray. Also, the good news is you will not be harming helpful insects such as bees and other pollinating insects, but you will simply be repelling them as opposed to killing them. Combine all of the ingredients listed on our chart in an empty spray bottle. Make sure you’re using a spray bottle that you can easily use adjust to create a mist spray as to not damage the leaves and stems of your plants. Don’t worry about the order in which you combine the ingredients, but you might want to add your water first to avoid heavy bubbles from the Dawn dish soap.

Once you have finished combining your ingredients, you’re ready to rid your valued plants, flowers and shrubs of those pesky chewing and destructive insects. Start by lightly spraying all of your plants, flowers and bushes around their leaves, stems and base with this homemade insecticide. Doing this one to two times per month will organically help keep harmful pests away.

Using this environmentally safe, inexpensive, homemade insecticide is incredibly effective in controlling unwanted plant, flower, and bush eating insects. You can apply this homemade insecticide to kill and control invasive insects including:

  • aphids
  • mites
  • scales
  • beetles

It’s likely that you have already spent enough money and time finding and hiring a landscaping company to build your mulch bed, plant your shrubs, and maintain your property’s plants and overall landscaping features. Prevent from having call your landscaper or plant expert, once again, to eradicate insects using harmful chemical filled insecticides by using our recipe for a simple and easy to make homemade insecticide.

Watering Grass Seed

Grass-Seed-Lawn-Lawn-N-Order Landscaping


Labor Day is the time to aerate and overseed your lawn with grass seed. This gives the grass seed time to germinate and get well established before frost and freezing temperature hits and otherwise puts the seed into dormancy. With the dry summer in WNC, there’re some extra precautions to enable your grass seed to germinate. Without water, the seeds will die.

grass seedWatering recommendations for Lawns

We recommend giving your lawn a drink at approximately one inch of water a week. To measure this, set several cups out in the area you are watering and watch how long it takes to fill up 1 inch. Use that as a measured time to water.

Grass Seed Germination Time

Seed takes between 10-14 days for tall fescue and shade blends to germinate. The soil surface must stay moist at all times but not sopping wet. If the soil dries out, the grass seed will die. A gentle stream (not hard blasts) will keep the seed in place. If the grass seeds move or float away, then back off on the amount of pressure that’s applied and or length of time watered. Several times a day might be appropriate with the summer heat still lingering. Seeds will not sprout all at once because some may be buried at different depths and absorb water differently since you may have a blend in your yard of sun and shade. Just remember to keep the surface area constantly moist for all the seeds to germinate. Until the planted area is showing lots of new green growth, keeping watering.

Grass Seed & Automatic Timers

We recommend setting automatic timers for 5-10 minutes, early in the morning and again at mid-day. If you are watering by hand, it must be grass-grass-seed-lawnconsistently applied and use the light rain gauge on your spout handle.

Watering the grass can be a tedious task, but before long the lawn will be lush and green. Scheduled fertilization for the soil health will also give your lawn the added nutrients need for a healthy root system. We have a four and a seven system program that we offer in addition to the aeration, dethatching and overseeding.  Call us today for more information. 828.774.1590

May your grass be greener on your side of the fence!

Watering Plants Correctly & Thoroughly

watering-plants-landscaping ideas-Asheville

With hot weather comes our share of dry days and lack of rainfall. This can cause potential stress on your landscape and plantings. Supplemental watering will help the survival of your investment.  Take these notes on how to adequately water leaving all plants thoroughly satisfied.

Observe for Adequate Moistures

Make observations in the garden. Take a look at the leaves of the plants. Are they wilting? Are there brown leaves at the base of the plant? Scratch beneath the soil’s surface with a small trough to see if the soil beneath the surface is holding water or how dry it is. Dig several inches down to the root system to tell if there is any moisture. The soil should be moderately damp but not soupy wet. If there is moisture, skip watering. If not, get out the soaker hose and curl around the base of the plant or throughout the planting area. If a drip irrigation system is set up, the emitter can be added to adequately water at different gallons per hour.watering-plants-landscape ideas-Asheville

Watering for Penetration to Root Systems

If watering by hand or spot watering, first water until there is some runoff. Water each plant lightly using the rain dial on the handle instead of the hard pressure jet spray. A slow, steady stream is best to give a good drink to each plant. Water will slowly penetrate better instead of running off the surface of the mulch and away from the plant. After ten minutes of watering, brush away the mulch around the plant and dig down to see how much in inches the water has penetrated. This will give you a good understanding as to how long to continue watering. If setting up the sprinkler in the yard over a period, place a small bucket in the vicinity of the plant. Measure the amount of water obtained in the bucket and how long the sprinkler was running. Check the root system around the plant to see the depth of penetration and follow up accordingly.

Watch the weather forecast each week and observe the health of your plants by taking a daily walk through the garden. Any stress to the plant, whether it is drought, the wind or other conditions can make it susceptible to diseases. Enjoy your plantings for years with regular fertilizing and a water regiment.




Landscape Calendar—How to Keep the Garden Healthy and Blooming

Landscape Calendar

Everyone has a calendar on their phone or computer with appointments and reminders of important events but do you have a landscape calendar? If you’re as busy as a bee, you have to schedule it on the calendar or you’re liable to forget! That’s when a landscape calendar comes in handy. From year to year, we forget what the chore list is and when we’re supposed to get the job done. To keep your investment in the ground growing and not wilting or dying prematurely, we have listed a comprehensive garden task list that will keep the bees buzzing as well.

Landscape Calendar:


  1. Clean, condition, lubricate and repair garden tools.
  2. Cut back ornamental grasses
  3. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  4. Buy summer blooming bulbs.
  5. Get the lawn mower serviced before the rush!
  6. Organize tool shed and gardening tools.
  7. Inspect garden chemicals and make a list of things to buy.
  8. Look through seed catalogs and make a list for purchase.
  9. Look at your landscape while the leaves are off. Are there any spots that need filling in or additions, changes? Make notes and startpruning limbs-landscape calendar
  10. Prune out dead, damaged and diseased wood in trees (not fruit) and shrubs to prevent bark tearing and damage to the plant.
  11. Fill bird feeders and keep clean.



  1. Add manure, compost or fertilizer around shrub roots and trees before mulching.
  2. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  3. Add soil conditioners to the soil such as gypsum and Calcitic lime if needed.
  4. Sow seeds under lights according to germination directions.
  5. Cut back dead perennial foliage.
  6. Spray early season dormant spray if needed.
  7. Removed dead wood off rose bushes, seal cuts.
  8. Order summer bulbs.
  9. As hostas emerge, spread broken eggshells around the base to prevent slugs and snails.
  10. Fertilize bulbs at the first sign of emergence.
  11. Prune butterfly bushes to 1 ft. from the ground. Prune back summer and flowering shrubs for new shoots (i.e. Beautyberry, Caryopteris, Rose of Sharon)
  12. Prune roses.
  13. Mulch all beds before perennials emerge to keep the mulch at 2-3 inches in depth.



  1. Cut back and prune dead shoots, damaged and diseased limbs on trees (fruit trees too) and shrubs.
  2. Plant and/or fertilize the pansies and voilas.
  3. Spread pre-emergent herbicide (corn gluten or Preen) on your garden beds to prevent weeds.  Caution: do not spread of flower seeds are germinating.
  4. Fertilize the perennials with slow release fertilizer or compost that are emerging out of the ground.
  5. Spread mulch around perennials as they emerge if not before to provide protection and prevent weeds from germinating.
  6. Clean up the leftover dead leaves and flower heads at the base of plants and shrubbery (i.e. Camilla’s)landscape calendar-watering plants
  7. Fertilize shrubbery with a slow release fertilizer or compost.
  8. Examine shrubbery and trees for pests and treat.
  9. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  10. Add soil conditioners to the soil such as gypsum to soften the clay soil and add calcium.
  11. Begin to weed all areas of the garden.
  12. Mulch all beds to keep the mulch at 2-3 inches in depth.
  13. Blow off and remove leftover leaves and debris before mulching and dispose of in compost pile.
  14. Cut back died perennials that were not tended in February.
  15. Do not trim spring flowering shrubbery until after blooming has ended.



  1. Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer on summer bulbs.
  2. Cut back dead stems on bulbs or foliage on any lingering perennials.
  3. Set out annuals after last frost day (usually Mother’s Day weekend in WNC)
  4. Walk through the garden and watch out for any pests
  5. Propagate tip cuttings of herbaceous perennials. Divide or transplant before blooming begins.
  6. Watch rose bushes for mildew and fungus and treat.
  7. Prune flowering hedges and shrubs after bloom.
  8. Weed the garden after a soaking rain. It will make it easier to pull up the roots if thoroughly soaked.
  9. Prepare container gardens by washing out the pot, filling with drainage material and new soil and fertilizers.
  10. Treat lawns with middle spring fertilizer and broadleaf weed control.
  11. Seeding and overseeding, thatching and aeration can be done this month. Don’t overseed if pre-emergent has been spread.
  12. Finish mulching all areas that have not been mulched to this point.
  13. Soil tests can be taken and sent to the NC state extension office.
  14. Spraying herbicide on poisonous and invasive weeds can be started once the temperatures reach 70°F.
  15. Finish the fertilization of all trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.


  1. Water plants and containers assuring each plant have the needed amount. Check the soil to assure the water is penetrating down into the root system after several minutes of watering. Note how long it took to get this deep penetration.
  2. Weed and monitor for pests.
  3. Stake tall perennials that become floppy with grow-through supports.
  4. Plant seeds after all threat of freeze are over.
  5. Plant summer-flowering bulbs (gladiolas, dahlias, caladiums)
  6. Deadhead tulips and daffodils (Do not remove foliage until it turns yellow.)
  7. Apply Late Spring soil builder and broadleaf weed control. Add iron.
  8. Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering.
  9. Stake and secure perennial vines for support. Remove dead stems on clematis and shade the root zone.landscape calendar-perennials-deadheading
  10. Pinch back asters and mums for fall flowering.



  1. Order spring bulbs for fall planting.
  2. Fertilize perennials and deadhead.
  3. Weed the garden and water in needed places.
  4. Record observations in the garden for record keeping. i.e. How much mulch was ordered? What was planted? What pests to look out for in the garden?
  5. Pinch back numerous perennials to make stems/buds: Artemisia, Asters, Mums, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Russian sage, Phlox.
  6. Propagate perennials to multiple.
  7. Fertilize containers and deadhead.
  8. Replace spring annuals with summer plants for coverage.
  9. Start early summer fertilization and weed control.



  1. Water and fertilize flowering containers.
  2. Deadhead perennials.
  3. Divide irises and daylilies after bloom.
  4. Watch and monitor roses for disease and pests and treat.
  5. Sit and enjoy your garden in the shade!
  6. Start summer fertilization and broadleaf weed control application.
  7. Add compost over summer flowering bulbs for an extra boost.



  1. Water and fertilize flowering containers.
  2. Deadhead perennials.
  3. Do no pruning or fertilizing of shrubs this month.
  4. Add to and fluff tired container gardens. Water and fertilize.
  5. Remove all dead limbs and debris from summer storms.
  6. Overseed lawns.
  7. Edge the lawn beds this month to maintain a distinction between the lawn and the garden beds. container garden-cobblestone pavers-landscape design-Asheville



  1. Apply bulb fertilizer to daffodils and tulips.
  2. Plant spring bulbs. Divide daylilies and distribute.
  3. Weed and water.
  4. Check for garden pests and treat.
  5. Clean up garden as perennials die.
  6. Record notes in a garden journal.
  7. Cut back lavender to ½-1/3 after blooming. Avoid cutting woody stems.
  8. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials to get their roots established during the fall and winter season.
  9. Plant winter containers with evergreens and berries.
  10. Seed, overseed, thatch and aerate.
  11. Add soil builders to the lawn. No weed control for germinating grass seed.
  12. Remove leaves from the lawn and dispose into a compost pile.



  1. Divide perennials.
  2. Mulch perennial beds and water deeply.
  3. Clean garden and cut back and dispose of debris in a compost pile.
  4. Plant spring flowering bulbs. (crocus, daffodils, snowdrops, grape hyacinths and tulips)
  5. Plant pansies and ornamental cabbage for annual color and display.
  6. Water thoroughly before the first freeze.
  7. Add the fall and pre-winter fertilization application to the lawn (no weed control)
  8. Add the required amounts of lime to the lawn.
  9. Take soil samples and mail to the state extension service.
  10. Weed as needed.
  11. Remove leaves from the lawn and dispose into a compost pile.



  1. Drain, disconnect and store hoses and timers. Winterize watering system. Protect outside faucets with covers.
  2. Clean, sharpen and repair garden tools.
  3. Apply the last fall and pre-winter fertilization application on the lawn if it wasn’t completed in October.tulips-spring garden chores-landscape calendar
  4. Plant spring flowering bulbs to a depth equal to 4 times the bulb height.
  5. Remove all fruit from under bushes and fruit trees on the ground.
  6. Remove leaves off the lawn each week and dispose of.
  7. Remove dead, damaged and diseased limbs before winter.
  8. Water containers and plants consistently to prevent desiccation from cold temps and the wind.



  1. Fertilize annuals sparingly in the garden with calcium nitrate.
  2. Spread mulch over any barren spots in the garden beds.
  3. Finish the last clean up and dispose of debris in the compost pile.
  4. Cut perennial grasses back.
  5. During heavy winter snowdrifts, sweep off heavy loads off shrubbery to prevent limb breakage.



Hopefully, the bees will be buzzy in your garden as you create a little movement of your own. Before long, your plants will be flushed out, blooming and the bulbs will be multiplying. And while the blood, sweat and a few drops of water are shed, we are certain your garden will grow with this consistent landscape calendar! If you have thrown away your work clothes and need help in the garden, give us a call and a regular maintenance contract can be set up. It will give more time to stop and smell the roses!

Landscape Care After an Installation

The plant material has been carefully chosen for the environment (soil and light conditions) that it’s best suited and you are sitting and watching it all grow and bloom! To keep those blooms coming back year after year, follow a few landscape care tips in order to give your investment a healthy start.

landscape care

A Rain Bird table guideline for how long to run your system (Note: watering times are based on using 1.0 GPH Emitters).

Landscape Care:
Deep Watering Regiment

It will depend on the size of the plant, but it’s recommended to do deep watering instead of a few minutes of hose spray. Install drip irrigation around all your shrubs and trees and connect with a multi-outlet faucet attachment. A timer attached to each outlet (use hose extensions) and attached to the irrigation hose will save time. Set the timer to water 3-4x a week in hot weather, 2-3x a week in mild weather and 1-2x a week in cooler weather. The size of the plant will determine which emitter you choose and how long it’s watering. Also, the number of plants hooked up to one hose will decrease the amount of watering flowing to each plant. Watch this video for more details about how to set up this system.

Watering consistently and deeply is the key. After the first watering, dig down beside each plant to see how far the water penetrated. If it’s not hitting the root area, plan for a longer interval next watering or continue the watering currently for another 15 minutes until the root depth has been reached. Back off the timing, if water is puddling or extremely wet. Too much water can also drown a plant and deprive it of oxygen.

This chore will be one of the most important to be concerned with after the plantings are in the ground. For the best use of water, time your watering during the early morning hours. Late evening hours tend to create mold and mildew conditions after the sun goes down.

Landscape Care: Fertilizing Regiment

We plant our shrubs, trees, grasses, perennials and annuals with soil amendments, compost/organic products and root enhancers containing the sufficient nutrients for the growth needs of the plant for the first year of getting established. The landscape carefollowing spring will be the next time fertilization is necessary.

Landscape Care: Mulching Regiment

Each spring, mulching is necessary around your plantings for a number of reasons. It retards weed growth and also holds in the moisture for your new establishing plantings. It also protects the base of shrubs and trees from weed-eaters and other equipment that might get too close to the base and damage it.

Landscape Care: Weeding Regiment

Weeds deprive new plantings of moisture. Therefore, keep the garden area weed free. Hand pulling after a good soaking rain will make it easier and more efficient after the ground is moistened. Pull from the base of the weed to ensure the inclusion of its roots.

Landscape Care: Pruning

Dead, damaged and diseased limbs and branches should be removed from the plant. Pruning is normally done in the fall to late winter or early spring while in dormancy. Throughout the year, small pruning cuts can be made but too late in the season can promote new growth, which could get damaged in the first frost. Also, certain flowering shrubs get pruned right after flowering so as not to ruin the flower buds forming for the following season. Pruning is best left to a professional or one can take training classes at the NC Arboretum to successfully learn the basics.

As the winter breaks and daylight savings time gives more hours to our days, we venture out to see what’s blooming or growing. Often times we hear that “my plant has died and has no leaves!” Some deciduous plants take longer to form leaves. The earth

landscape care-new plantings

New leaf growth will look lighter in color or varied from the older leaves on the plant.

warms and gives a signal to the plant. Look closely at the branches to see if new buds are forming. Break off a small branch in an inconspicuous spot to observe green growth. If so, the plant isn’t dead. It’s just prolonging coming out of dormancy. Mother Nature will wake it up when it’s time.

New growth will emerge on the tips of the plant and be tender to the touch. New growth is usually lighter in color or a varied color for that particular plant. New growth is a good sign that your plant is receiving the necessary nutrients and watering needed.

If these instructions are followed, the plantings will do well under normal circumstances. Unusual circumstances could occur when there is abnormal rainfall or a drought condition. Making adjustments in the water schedule and assuring your drainage is adequate around the beds will ensure healthy plants. Severe cold and wind can take a toll on plants and cause either winter or freeze damage.

Keep an eye on your plants and enjoy your garden!

Landscaping on a Steep Slope

Landscaping can be a challenge on a steep slope. What plant is right for my hillside gardening? Let’s look at a few and how to make the proper selection for your hillside. The selections will also keep your erosion under control and the soil in your yard instead of washing away to the neighbors!

landscaping-steep slope-erosion controlOne of the considerations all horticulturist teach is ‘right plant, right place’ for its longevity and survival. Observe which direction the slope is facing. How much sunlight will your plants be getting?  Three hours versus eight hours? Eastern light versus western light will play a part in the selection of plant materials.

Since plants will be on a steep slope, drought tolerant varieties are highly suggested since irrigation may be at a minimum. On steep grades, the drainage will be more rapid than on a lesser grade surface.

Ideal Plants for Steep Slopes

Select conifers we recommend for sunny locations are: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’ or Pinus thenbergii, Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert,’ Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’.

Evergreens for partial shade are: Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’, Microbiota decussate, Tsuga canadensis ‘Jeddeloh’, Magnolia grandflora ‘Little Gem.’

Other Shrubs: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, Viburnum, PJM Rhododendrons, Cephalataxus, Pieris Japonica, Chaenomeles speciosa, Ilex verticillata

Grasses: Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbush’ (Switch Grass), Muhlenbergia capillaris, Schizachryium scoparium (Little Bluestem), Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Groundcovers: Rubus calycinoides, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Delosperma cooperi, and Dianthus

Steep Slope Planting & Irrigation

When landscaping for a steep slope, do not plant vertically out of the hillside. It will look like the leaning tower of Pisa and will not perform well. Prepare a mini terrace for each plant. The bottom part of plant’s soil base will need to be built up in a half well to support the plant. This method helps retain moisture to soak deep into the root system.

Irrigation has to be maintained the first 2-3 years for the best survival rates. Installing a drip irrigation might help with consistent watering schedules and be a timesaver for the homeowner. Place plants with more watering requirements at the bottom or halfway down the slope. The plants at the bottom will have more of the accumulation of water from drainage. Once your plants are established after the third year, continue to monitor for water needs and adjust according to the weather.

Hillside gardening can be a challenge if you don’t know which plant material works best. Ryan Houston is an NC Plant Professional and an NC Licensed Landscape Contractor and can give you the best solutions to your hillside gardening needs. Give us a call for a scheduled consultation. We will go over your options and suggest a customized solution for your landscape.

Steep Slope Erosion Control Options

Steep slope erosion control can be a challenge and is a continual source of irritation to newcomers to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Welcome to gardening on steep slopes! The following are some ideas to make the chore not such a dilemma and easier to manage. While it might seem like a challenge, we’ll give some ideas on how to make the most of your hilly gardening venue, so you don’t ever want to move back to the flat land again.

Terracing for Steep Slope Erosion Control

Terracing can be an option to steep slope erosion control. Building retaining walls not only gives more room for gardening but also slows down the water to prevent runoff. The rainwater can be captured, and erosion is kept to a minimum or eliminated. Depending on the height of the slope and grade, will determine the use of terracing.

steep-slope-erosion-control-conifers-hillside gardening

Placing boulders in the bank as outcroppings can also add to erosion control and add native objects to the landscape.

If terracing isn’t an option or your grade is slighter than most, then other options come into play. Plant selection and certain mulches will retain the soil in place to prevent steep slope erosion. Placing boulders in the bank as outcroppings can also add to erosion control and add native objects to the landscape.

Plants for Steep Slope Erosion Control

Select plants for steep slope erosion control that are drought tolerant since the water will be draining off fairly quickly. This selection should include plants with deep root systems to hold in the soil and add to its drought tolerance. Select trees, small and medium shrubbery, grasses and perennials used will be good coverage to the steep slope turning it into a lush garden.

Mulches for Steep Slope Erosion Control

Mulches that hold together, are coarser and shredded will knit together better than solid chips. Double ground hardwood bark is a favorite since it is from maples and oaks. It is heavy; thus, it doesn’t blow or wash away as easy. It’s staying power is ideal for sloped beds and gardens. A depth of 2-3 inches is recommended to retain moisture and a top dressing for the beds and slopes. Pine straw can be used as well because the needles know together and don’t slide or move on a slope. Some would argue that it’s harder to blow out leaves in the fall so keep this in mind when selecting for erosion control.

If you need some advice on your steep slope, then call a professional to get the job done and keep your precious soil in place and not running out from under you!

Low-Maintenance Landscaping

This article first appeared in Angie’s List under their Expert Contributor section. Click and share and enjoy the read!

Approximate cost: $32,000

This homeowner in Asheville, NC, (mecca to empty nesters and retirees for the natural beauty of the mountains and mild climate), built her mountain home to enjoy part of the year. The dilemma was that she would only be here seasonally to nurture and care for and the other seasons traveling the world. Thus, a low-maintenance garden was ordered. Who doesn’t want a low-maintenance garden that they can ‘plant and grow’ and still travel the world? This homeowner lives in two locations throughout the year so it’s imperative to have a garden that is satisfied to maintain its beauty with the seasonal rain.

Speaking of rain, the homeowner had two dysfunctional downspouts that were dumping water 8 feet from the house into the yard and saturating the lawn. Rerouting the drainage to a dry river rock bed and drain basins were the first priority to establish stormwater flow tfrontyard makeover-landscaping-drainage-Weavervillehroughout the property in preparation for landscaping. A trench along the back garden bed (which had a previous French drain installed) wasn’t functioning with the sod and soil on top. Therefore, the entire length of the drain was uncovered, dug deeper and lined with landscape fabric. To add that ‘mountain’ and native look river stone was used to mimic a dry river rock bed and hide the drain basins. The water permeated the river stones if there was a heavy flow and was routed to the drain basins on either end of the river stone bed. The homebuilder had routed the downspouts into neighbor’s yards so underground drainage had to be uplifted and rerouted around the entire perimeter of the foundation to the back portion of the home and over the steep hillside digging down some 4 feet.

The homeowner wanted to sit out in the privacy of their backyard and admire the mountainous view so a tiled back patio was laid. To appreciate her view scape, limbs and trees were selected, cleared and replaced with junipers and groundcovers that would smother out the invasive growth and weeds leaving a place for her pooches to safely play.

install-landscape-Lawn-N-Order-WeavervilleWith extra amounts of topsoil left from digging, raised beds were established to plant various specimen plantings (including Tamukeyama Japanese Maple and a Scotch Pine topiary) and native plant material for this area and climate given the perimeters of the homeowner’s choices. To carry the ‘indigenous’ theme, ten tons of mountain stone boulders harvested locally were brought in and set strategically to accent their form while lending foundational anchors to the landscape. Specimen conifers and perennials were placed as if they grew up around the boulders original to the landscape.

Sometimes a garden is established from scratch and the canvas is clean to work from with only a few minor hindrances. The homeowner and company worked through the foundational details of drainage problems and brought to the surface a beautiful plethora of four-season plantings that are virtually carefree and look great from spring to winter.

If you need a custom job installed with your particular needs in mind, give us a call to set up a consultation.


Edible Gardening for the Faint at Heart

edible gardening-vegetables

Now is the time everyone is thinking about their edible gardens and what they want to plant. If you’ve been there, done that and have the t-shirt to prove it, you know there’s some work involved to say the least! But there are more ways to skin a cat and you can still have your cake or in this reference, “tomato” and eat it too! You may not have the time or energy to do a full-fledged garden but have you considered incorporating edibles into your ornamental landscape? Many edibles have beautiful foliage, flowers and of course fruit. No one would blame you for enjoying the luxury of popping a few fresh cherry tomatoes in your mouth as you’re outside on the back porch taking in the sunset!

green bean trellis-vegetable gardens

This beautiful potager garden at Chanticleer is surrounded by a picket fence to keep critters out. A trellis is used here to help the green beans climb up nicely for an easy pick.

Here are a few ideas. Consider placing some basil, oregano and thyme around the back steps and call it your “Potager garden.” Growing green beans couldn’t be easier by training them on a trellis. Tomatoes need a full 8 hours of blasting sun so pick a spot that obliges. Give them a sturdier start by planting their stems deep into the ground so roots can establish and stabilize the heavy carried fruit that eventually produces. Pinch off the lower leaves and stake with a cage. When plants are young and freshly planted, water often but don’t let the soil get soggy. Fertilize with organics like Espoma Garden Tone to give your babies a productive start.

If you’re the type that likes a challenge and donning a farmer’s hat isn’t an intimidation, then we can till your garden and get it ready for your spring and summer plantings. Eating out of your own yard will be a pleasure but watch for neighbors who may get the same idea. You might start a revolution in the neighborhood! We hear it’s catching on! Call us today if you’re ‘chomping at the bit’ to get started on your own edible garden planting!

Spring Cleanup Chores to Do

forsythia-forced branches-landscape designer-After the deluge of cold weather, I’m sure some of you are itching this spring to get out and look to see if your trees and shrubs sustained the frigid wind and cold. Observations through walking around in the yard will give you a clear understanding of what spring chores need to be attended to first. Make note of spring cleanup chores that need to be done in the next 2-3 months to keep your garden growing and healthy.

  1. Observe winter-killed branches and prune away dead, damaged and diseased limbs after last winter storm unless there is a pending hazard.
  2. Pull up old annuals and spent perennials to tidy up.
  3. Cut back ornamental grasses to 2-3 inches for new growth to emerge.
  4. Cut back rose canes below the blackened area (winter damage) by 1 inch.
  5. Divide select perennials and transplant after the soil thaws.
  6. Rake leaves and dead foliage that could foster diseases, mold and smother grass seeds.
  7. After threat of frost, fertilizing and mulching can resume.
  8. Collect soil samples to test the soil’s pH.
  9. Begin seeding when forsythia starts to bloom.
  10. Spread pre-emergent for broadleaf weeds at forsythia bloom time.
If you need Spring CleanUp Chores performed, contact us!