Following are some juicy landscaping tips and tidbits. Over the course of almost thirty years of landscaping in the greater Sonoma County area, Details Landscape Art has learned a few tricks in its day.
- Fertilize lawns in winter. We’ve always heard ‘Oh, don’t bother fertilizing in the winter – lawns and plant material don’t really use the nutrients when they are dormant and not actively growing’. Well, experience has shown us that when lawns are NOT fertilized in winter, they become sparse, weeds appear, and they lose their green. After a couple seasons of cool season fertilizing, it has been amazing how strong the grass looks and how quickly the new spring growth emerges.
- When building a redwood vegetable box, install a plastic liner on the inside walls of the box. Constant water from irrigating the veggies will rot the redwood over time, and the plastic liner protects the wood. Some landscaping tips are just good common sense.
- Edge lawns vertically. Too often we see string trimmers held so that the string cuts horizontally. If held vertically, and cut at the edge of a mowing strip, the lawn will stand up like a brush and make a nice clean edge. And NEVER create a trench between the grass and the mowing strip!
- Redwood fences, decks and overhead structures naturally oxidize and turn gray over time. This oxidation only occurs on the very surface of the wood. Many customers don’t like the appearance of this gray color on the wood. We found a product called Mold Armor, which is essentially a bleach, which works wonders on a gray fence. Using a pump sprayer, apply the product over a small area (maybe ten feet or so of a six-foot fence), let stand for a couple minutes, and then rinse thoroughly. The original pinkish orange redwood color will reappear. Landscaping tips can be simple! And the Mold Armor is an inexpensive product.
- When watering a hillside garden, water more often but for less time. Since excess water will run down the hill before it has a chance to be absorbed, water twice a day for ten minutes each time rather than twenty minutes a day. Most modern irrigation controllers can be programmed for multiple daily scheduled waterings.
- Adding aluminum sulfate to a hydrangea before the flower buds appear will yield blue flowers.
- When mortaring stone or flagstone products to a concrete surface, Mason’s Mix has been the correct product, sometimes mixed with a bonding adhesive. A new product has been recently introduced called Polymer Modified Mortar, which has significantly increased the adhesion of the mortar to the stone and to the concrete base.
- One important element of good landscape design is space. Too frequently we see plants installed that grow way to large for the space and encroach on nearby plants, thereby require frequent pruning or plant removal. One of our best landscaping tips is to do some homework before plant shopping to learn how tall and wide the plant will reach at maturity. It’s OK if the newly planted garden is a little sparse at the beginning – it will grow and mature so the plants will just touch each other and leave some space to breathe!
- Screws not nails! We still see contractors using nails to fasten ‘two by’ material’ as shown in the photo below. Use screws and the wood will remain fastened!
These are some of our recommended landscaping tips.