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Do You Want to Make any Particular Plant a “Hero” in Your Design?

A hero plant can be more than a flower on your backyard.

Many people, when designing their landscape, have a vision in mind. What they want their dream back or front yard to look like. Others know they want a change but have a hard time deciding on design elements or themes for their landscape. An excellent option for building a landscape is choosing a “Hero” plant. This is basically a focal plant that gives you an attractive visual entry point to your yard or garden.

Although choosing a “Hero” plant isn’t necessarily difficult, you should keep in mind how you can support this plant with either supporting plants, hardscape and other features. Join me as we go through these elements in order to help you design a visually appealing landscape.

What is a Focal Point?

In your landscape, a focal point refers to where you want to direct the eyesight of guests visiting your yard. Any feature in your garden that you deem striking can be used as a focal point. 

Unique, exotic or colorful plants can create an exciting point of interest if the supporting landscape follows more natural colors and smoother lines. Trees can give a sense of scale while providing unique textures to your garden. Dwarf shrubs or potted bonsai trees can create a bit of an optical illusion shifting the sense of scale to make your landscape seem bigger than it is. Simple sculptures or decorative potted plants and hardscapes can be used to stand out from the natural colors and shapes. Water features like a bird bath, pond or waterfall can also be used to draw both eyes and ears towards the sounds of water.

Choosing your “Hero” Plant

A hero plant is basically the focal point of your landscape. There are many options for a “hero” plant, this can be anywhere from a fancy plant that you build your landscape around to a particular plant that you are already growing, like a tree you grew from a seed.

A “hero” plant can also be a beneficial plant to your environment. Many environmentally conscious customers like the idea of having the focal point in their garden also aid with local wildlife, a plant, tree or shrub that not only looks spectacular but can also help local insects, and birds thrive. For example the California fuchsia with thin red flowers attracts hummingbirds when it blooms in summer and fall, or the California milkweed which blooms with a round cluster of small white, pink or lavender flowers and can host the iconic monarch butterfly among others.

Supporting your Focal Point

Now that you’ve selected a focal point for your landscape you need to support it. Ideally you want eyes to naturally gravitate towards the focal point. There are a few different ways to provide support. Following the rules of 3rds is a great way to get started. Imagine your landscape is a canvas, divide it into a 3×3 grid pattern. The focal point should be placed either in the left or right side of the grid but never the middle. The rule of 3rds gives your landscape more depth, and is more visually dynamic.

You can design your landscape to have walkways, hardscape, walls, or flower beds to guide your eyes towards your focal point. Don’t forget that at night, your landscape design can change depending on the amount of light available. Lighting can be used to emphasize focal points during evenings. A plant or tree can blend into the surroundings during the day, but once the sun sets can be the “hero” of your landscape.

How would you feel with a yard expressly designed to fit your unique home and personality?

Our staff is dedicated to delivering unique landscapes that 100% fit the needs of homeowners. Each yard is designed in-house by our landscape designer. Our expertise and experience in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Seal Beach, Rossmoor & surrounding communities allows us to custom design the perfect landscape for you.

Your project is carefully managed by our team of experts. Whether you are looking to turn your front yard into a showpiece or creating the backyard of your dreams we are here to help. Fill out our Landscape Design request for landscape to fit your aesthetic today. Feel free to call us at (562) 225-9460 or get a free quote for the project you have in mind.

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Items to Consider When Selecting a Garden Hose

Watering is an important part of maintaining your landscape design and a garden hose is a common way to get to those spots your irrigation system may be missing. Although in Southern California being water conscious is important, it’s equally important to keep your yard looking as good as possible. There are a few items to consider when choosing the correct garden hose for your property. It’s not as obvious as grabbing an expensive hose off the shelf at your local garden center. Many homeowners are unsure as to what to look for when buying a garden hose. Depending on the type of hose you use, it can make watering your garden feel like a relaxing hobby or a troublesome chore.

Many elements of a garden hose go ignored by homeowners, we’ll go over a few items to pay attention to when buying your next garden hose.

Durability and Material

With a few exceptions, garden hoses are made of rubber, vinyl or polyurethane. Though the most hoses used  in homes is made from rubber, as this material typically is more durable and less likely to kink. Vinyl hoses cost and weigh less, but they’re typically not as durable as the rubber counterpart. Rubber hoses are heavier and can cost more, but are often more durable and less likely to kink. Hoses made of a combination of vinyl and rubber tend to be a good midrange solution. They’re usually more affordable than rubber hoses and more durable than vinyl hoses.

When shopping for a garden hose, you’ll often come across labels such as light duty, medium dusty, heavy duty, super duty. You may be inclined to purchase a super duty hose expecting it to be the best, however when it comes to garden hoses its best practice buy only what you need. If your needs require a short distance over grass, there is no need to carry around a super duty hose as it will weigh more and do the same job as a light or medium duty hose while not requiring the durability of the super duty hose. Though if you need to drag the hose over gravel and rougher terrain, or if the hose is going to be under the blistering sun, then a heavy or super duty hose should be preferred.

Storage

The sun can cause rubber in hoses to degrade over time. To increase the longevity of your hose, consider storing your hose in a container or a shady side of your home. There are many decorative storage solutions as well. Reel’s can be installed either on the side of the home near the hose bib. These are commonly used due to their affordability and simplicity though there is a market for decorative reels that can accent your landscape design, or hidden reels to avoid seeing it at all. A popular choice is to hide it in a decorative hose pot.

Attachments

Though you can definitely water your plants without any attachment, we’ve all put our thumb at the end of a hose to shower our gardens. Having an attachment for your hose is incredibly useful. Nozzles and water wands are the most useful when watering due to their versatility in watering options. Sprinkler heads can be used when you don’t have the time to focus on your yard and garden.

The attachment point from the hose bib to the hose is also important. Quality hoses often have a plastic or rubber “collar” extending perhaps four to six inches up the hose from the main connection point. This reduces the odds of a kink or split near the spigot, where they commonly occur.

Kink Control

Sadly there is no such thing as a kink free hose. Many may be advertised as being  kinkfree but even they will occasionally kink. Many times the best way to control the kink is to buy the appropriate hose. Thicker, heavier duty hoses may kink more often due to being more rigid. If hose kinks are your main concern, lighter duty hoses often make it easier to remove the kink by tugging on it.

How would you feel with a yard expressly designed to fit your unique home and personality?

Our staff is dedicated to delivering unique landscapes that 100% fit the needs of homeowners. Each yard is designed in-house by our landscape designer. Our expertise and experience in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Seal Beach, Rossmoor & surrounding communities allows us to custom design the perfect landscape for you.

Your project is carefully managed by our team of experts. Whether you are looking to turn your front yard into a showpiece or creating the backyard of your dreams we are here to help. Fill out our Landscape Design request for landscape to fit your aesthetic today. Feel free to call us at (562) 225-9460 or get a free quote for the project you have in mind.

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How Your Sprinkler Design is Critical to Supporting Your Landscaping Vision

Sprinkler systems range from smart to timer based.

When designing your landscape, the sprinkler system is going to be what makes sure your plants get the required water as efficiently as possible. Although in the past yards would be designed with a few sprinkler heads that spray water in an area for a few minutes, now we know there are better ways of doing things.

Today we’ll go through a number of things to keep in mind when designing the sprinkler system to support your landscaping vision for years to come.

Zones

When you speak with our designers, they will mention landscape zones. This is a term used to separate portions of the landscape such as your lawn, garden or potted plants. Zones are used to determine specific areas and how they are supposed to be irrigated. 

For example your lawn will require a different volume of water compared to a vegetable garden. If you were to use the same amount of water for both you could over water and drown plants in one zone while a different zone remains too dry. By separating your landscape through different zones you can use an irrigation controller to make sure each zone gets the perfect amount of water. This will help your lawn and plants to thrive while conserving water.

Types of Irrigation

In order for your landscape to look great and grow throughout the years you’ll need to water it. There are no exceptions. You can choose to do the watering yourself with a hose however, every zone may require different watering needs. Although watering a vegetable garden can be calming for some, many people don’t have the luxury of time to water their entire lawn. 

To solve watering issues there are a couple of popular options for irrigation that can be used in different zones to fulfill different watering needs.

Lawn Sprinkler System

This is the classic go to system many people use to water their lawns. Although it is no longer the most efficient form of irrigation, it’s still a great option when you need to water a large area such as a lawn. During hotter seasons it’s best to use sprinklers either early in the morning or in the evening after the sun has gone down to reduce water loss to evaporation.

Drip Irrigation System

Less is more with drip irrigation systems. With drip irrigation water slowly drips through irrigation tubing allowing you to fine tune how much water plants will receive. Due to tubing often being shaded by the plant or mulch, there is little evaporation even during the hottest days.

Irrigation Controller

An irrigation controller is used to regulate how much water is being used for each zone of your landscape. Though there are a few options you have for controllers as well. 

Smart Controller

Smart controllers are relatively new to the market, but have shown that being able to be controlled by a smartphone or tablet is convenient and efficient. By allowing them to connect to the internet, they can access meteorological databases, have sensors built into the controller or both to ensure efficient watering of your property. 

Smart controllers like the Rachio 3 can be purchased with 4 -16 different zone counts to allow for flexible irrigation tailored to your yard. 

Standard Irrigation Controller

Simple, yet cost effective, standard controllers are typically used when installing basic sprinkler systems. These controllers can use local weather conditions to regulate the amount of water used when you turn on the sprinkler system. Or may have a setting for seasonal adjustments allowing you to increase watering during summer and reduce watering during winter.

Battery Operated Controller

With many of the same features as standard irrigation controllers, battery operated controllers give you the freedom of having the controller installed without the need of a power source. Many come with small solar panels to recharge the internal battery. While others can function without issues for up to 3 years with two AA batteries.

How would you feel with a yard expressly designed to fit your unique home and personality?

Our staff is dedicated to delivering unique landscapes that 100% fit the needs of homeowners. Each yard is designed in-house by our landscape designer. Our expertise and experience in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Seal Beach, Rossmoor & surrounding communities allows us to custom design the perfect landscape for you.

Your project is carefully managed by our team of experts. Whether you are looking to turn your front yard into a showpiece or creating the backyard of your dreams we are here to help. Fill out our Landscape Design request for landscape to fit your aesthetic today. Feel free to call us at (562) 225-9460 or get a free quote for the project you have in mind.

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Decorative Mulch… What Does it Really do?

Mulch is a nutritional base for many plants used for landscaping

I’m sure you’ve seen wood chips or bark around plants and in gardens, and maybe you’ve wondered what it is and why people use it so often.

The chips are known as mulch, and there are many different options for mulch as well as a number of benefits for using it. 

What is mulch?

Mulch is a layer of material which is applied to the surface of your soil. Simple enough however, there are many ways to use it, from benefiting the growth of vegetables in your garden to adding some color to make some landscaping features stand out. 

Join me as we learn some of the nuances of mulch and why it’s so good for your landscape.

Why use Mulch?

A big reason right now to use mulch, is that it helps prevent water from evaporating from your soil. This allows you to conserve more water while maintaining the health of your plants and trees. 

Mulch can be used nearly anywhere in your landscape project, and when maintenance is done it should be replaced when necessary. Because mulch is almost always wood chips or bark, it will decompose over time. This is actually a benefit though, as it decomposes it enriches the soil under it with nutrients it may otherwise never get. Soil with high levels of sand can especially benefit from the decomposition of mulch because it not only gains nutrients, it also gains the ability to better retain water. Once again helping with water conservation.

A layer of hay or straw over a flower bed or garden bed can also help control weeds. Typically weeds will not be able to break through the layer of mulch. If you feel like you want a natural pest control use cypress or cedar chips. These trees contain natural chemicals and oils that deter insects. Cedar chips in particular can even kill insects like cockroaches. Though they may also be too heavy for smaller plants to grow from seed. In these cases it’s better to use established plants that can get transplanted.

Increase Curb Appeal with Mulch

Mulch can instantly add a splash of color and a nice finished look to your home. Mulch comes in a variety of colors, materials and sizes. Common organic materials include:

  • Hard/softwood chips
  • Bark
  • Evergreen needles
  • Grass trimming
  • Cut leaves

A dark wood chip mulch can contrast with flowers allowing them to stand out. You can also improve the theme and design of your landscape by adding red or brown bark to complement a brick wall. 

Mulch can also be In-organic materials such as:

  • Lava rock
  • Stones
  • Crushed stone/pebbles
  • Rubber

Stones and pebbles can be used to make walkways and paths. These rarely need to be replenished making them cost effective as they’re a one time investment of material and labor. Although the stone may look appealing, it’s best not to use it on trees and other plants. The stones retain heat which can cook roots and kill your plants during hot days.

For play areas, you can use pulverized rubber as mulch. This is inexpensive and usually made from recycled tires. It can prevent children from injuring themselves during play time while accenting other parts of your landscape and architecture. Rubber mulch doesn’t decompose like organic mulch, making it a poor choice for any other parts of your landscape. Its uncertain if rubber can leach toxins into soil as well, for that reason we recommend you keep it away from any plants.

When Should I Replace My Mulch?

The tell tale signs you should replace or replenish your mulch is if you begin to notice signs of decomposition, discoloration or soil erosion.  Try to maintain your organic mulch 2-3 inches deep. This will provide you with the best results. You may have to replenish every year or every other year depending on the amount of mulch, the weather, foot traffic and watering habits. Usually you won’t need to replace your mulch for 5-6 years. 

How would you feel with a yard expressly designed to fit your unique home and personality?

Our staff is dedicated to delivering unique landscapes that 100% fit the needs of homeowners. Each yard is designed in-house by our landscape designer. Our expertise and experience in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Seal Beach, Rossmoor & surrounding communities allows us to custom design the perfect landscape for you.

Your project is carefully managed by our team of experts. Whether you are looking to turn your front yard into a showpiece or creating the backyard of your dreams we are here to help. Fill out our Landscape Design request for landscape to fit your aesthetic today. Feel free to call us at (562) 225-9460 or get a free quote for the project you have in mind.

When it Comes to Maintaining Your Landscaping, it Takes More than Mowing

Mowing is the most common lawn maintenance but there is more to that when it comes to landscaping maintenance.

Landscaping Maintenance

Maintaining beautiful landscaping takes much more than simply mowing the grass and blowing leaves. With summer temperatures rising, how about letting the professionals take care of your landscape. We can visit your residential or commercial property once or twice a month. Whether one of our designs or not we strive to not only maintain your landscape but to protect your investment.

Join me as we go into detail about our landscaping maintenance service and how we keep your landscape looking the best it can all year long. 

Mowing

Of course we still need to mow the lawn. But we don’t stop there, we care about every detail. Our mower’s blades are kept razor sharp to prevent ragged edges that make the lawn look grayish-brown. We’ll mow around the perimeter of any obstacles first before creating straight lines and angles in those areas.

Once the grass has been trimmed we begin to edge your lawn. Following the path of the driveway or walkway to improve the overall look, and keep paths clear.

Finally we work clean. We’ll make sure to clean up after mowing so you can go back to enjoying your day.

Weeding

Everyone hates seeing weeds growing in their landscape, most weeds are taller and grow faster than more pleasing plants. Weeds can make lawns and gardens less attractive and look like they’re not cared for.

Weeds can damage the health and beauty of your entire landscape, they use soil nutrients that are vital for the plants and grass you’re growing. Getting rid of weeds while they are still small increases the chance of your landscape to grow healthy and minimizes the amount of fertilizer you may need in the future.

We’ll get rid of any weeds we see when doing our maintenance to keep your landscape looking as good as it can.

Sprinkler Monitoring and Optimization

On every one of our visits we’ll turn on your irrigation system and check for accuracy and any leaks. The last thing you want to deal with is getting reported for having too much water run off due to bad hardware.

We’ll make sure all irrigation sources are releasing water uniformly to ensure no water is going to waste. If some areas are being overwatered this can affect the health of your plants. We’ll also make sure to water any and all potted plants, or plants not being irrigated.

Plant Care

Not just gardens and lawns are part of your landscape, therefore we also take care of other plants on the property like bushes, hedges, and trees. By pruning bushes and trees, it helps to stimulate new growth while getting rid of dead or diseased parts of the plant. Not only revitalizing them, but also helping them keep their shape and aesthetic.

Occasionally some features may need to be replenished such as mulch or bark. If we notice some of your plants aren’t healthy, we’ll fertilize and care for them. If the plant or tree is dying or was affected by disease we’ll remove and replace them as needed. 

How would you feel with a yard expressly designed to fit your unique home and personality?

Our staff is dedicated to delivering unique landscapes that 100% fit the needs of homeowners. Each yard is designed in-house by our landscape designer. Our expertise and experience in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Seal Beach, Rossmoor & surrounding communities allows us to custom design the perfect landscape for you.

Your project is carefully managed by our team of experts. Whether you are looking to turn your front yard into a showpiece, creating the backyard of your dreams or looking to maintain its beauty we are here to help. Fill out our Landscape Design request today or feel free to call us at (562) 225-9460 or get a free quote for the project you have in mind.