Having a great landscape design in Downtown Durham NC can make or break your home’s curb appeal. But having a home with curb appeal doesn’t have to be the end game. For many homeowners, having a yard that looks picture worthy is more than a goal, it is a passion. However, for those who want the beautiful yard but possess minimal knowledge of how to achieve that look, it can be an intimidating challenge.
Fortunately, having a gorgeous yard does not require a degree in horticulture, but is does mean either doing a lot of homework or either bringing someone in to do the work for you. If you opt to do the work yourself and lean as you go, then having some helpful hints from pros both around the country, and especially in your region, can be a big help. To get you started, here are some landscaping tips from the pros.
Don’t just get stuck on a beautiful yard for a specific season. Think about what your yard will look like from January through December, then plant accordingly and think with yard maintenance in mind. With this thought, be sure to include a variety of shrubs and trees that will remain green all year long.
What should You Avoid When Landscaping in Downtown Durham NC?
One of the most important aspects of landscape design, and this definitely applies to small spaces, is creating a front entrance that is inviting and curb appeal that is attractive and adds value to a home. Even if your front entrance is small, you can have a beautiful front entrance. Even if you have no front yard - your curb appeal can be maximized with careful planning and thought. You can easily use what small space you have to create a large impact on how the façade of your home feels and looks. An inviting and beautiful front to a home will increase neighborhood pride in ownership. It'll add literal desirability to your home which adds value, important if you're selling it. And most importantly, a small, beautiful front space will bring you home each day with a smile. Here are three simple tips on how to create maximum appeal with your small front yard and space.
Use vines! Vines are a small space's best friend. In typical design, it's easy to add impressive dimension by layering objects based on size, and this is especially important when it comes to landscaping the front yard. Taller objects are behind shorter ones, which creates dimension and can make an area appear larger than it already is by taking advantage of vertical space when horizontal space is limited. In an area that may not fit large trees and shrubs that add vertical elements to a front yard, vines can be substituted and can have the same effect. Use trellises that are specially designed to support vines of size, or sink trellises into the ground or in pots to support smaller vines. We love Clematis because of its beautiful and long-lived flowering. Place vines in the rear of your design, along walls and porch columns. Train them to grow around doorways. Allow them to take up as much height as they can, which will add a large visual element to your small entrance.
Pots, pots, pots! Another way to add size to small spaces follows the same principle as adding vines, but instead with pots! Pots are made in all sizes- from very large, to tiny. Use varying sizes of pots to create visual depth in an area that doesn't have a lot of actual depth. Place larger pots behind smaller ones in groups, and don't be afraid to fill them with perennials that you often see in large landscapes. Many perennials will live just fine in pots. Grasses are a wonderful choice in pots and do well in pot culture. There are many sizes of grasses, and they are all excellent choices depending on the size of the pot. Try layering medium pots among a display with this lovely Acorus Ogon Grass. It's bright yellow variegation will brighten up a small space without much work. The 'Chip' series of butterfly bush is another great perennial for pot culture, and their small size makes them ideal for small spaces. 'Blue Chip' will play well with the Ogon grass in a pot display in full or partial sun. Layer in pots of annuals too- often found in pretty, ready to display pots for purchase.
Opt for smaller ornamental versions of the big things. One simple example - Japanese maples. Even if you have limited ground space, there's likely a cultivar of these amazing small trees that will be able to grace your front area. Some of these trees can even be grown in large pots - which is essential if you live in an area where it may get too cold to keep most Japanese maple cultivars outside year-round. We love the Japanese Butterfly Tree, which tops out at a small 10 feet in height and sports lovely color in foliage all year-long. You can trim Japanese maples to take on that open, gnarled, and layered characteristic that we all picture well-kept Japanese maples as, or you can allow this cultivar to grow and fill out as it pleases for a lovely, balanced look. It's small and unobtrusive size will make it perfect for most all small spaces, and will easily add a pop of color where you need it most.
For more ideas on adding small size plants to your small yard, check out our Small Size Plants. We hope these three ideas help you create a big impact in your small front yard space. Build a beautiful front yard with these three ideas and you'll soon have the front façade of your dreams- even if it is tiny!
Yard Maintenance - Summer Lawn Watering Tips
Summer can be one of the toughest times of the year for lawns, especially when we live in one of the warmer climates. While Summer is a time of thriving for many lawns, likewise it is also a time for less well looked after turf to suffer many different problems that can lead to stress and poor health. With a few simple lawn care practices we should be able to greatly improve all lawns as they navigate their way through the warmest months of the year.
Best Practice Lawn Watering
Watering is of course the most important aspect of turf health in Summer. Correct lawn watering practices will enable a lawn to send down roots much deeper into the soil profile, past the evaporation level of the very top of the soil, which as a result will make our turf more heat and drought tolerant.
We can slowly train our turf to create a deep root system by only ever watering the lawn once it's showing signs of leaf wilt, and then giving the lawn a deep drink of water at that time. This is an easy method to grow a deep root system for all turf.
Fertilize Lawns In The Spring
A home lawn which is healthy before Summer arrives is a far better solution to achieve a healthy Summer lawn, than if we were to wait until Summer arrives and then trying to create a healthy lawn. The same is true of Winter lawn care.
Fertilization of turf should be done prior to the onset of the two harshest seasons, Summer and Winter. So we want to be sure we have fertilized with a high quality fertilizer prior to the onset of Summer so that the lawn is in its peak health as the heat arrives.
The Importance Of Correct Summer Lawn Mowing
Loss of moisture in soils is responsible for the majority of turf problems in the Summer. As already discussed, we can greatly improve this situation by watering correctly to promote deep root growth, but we can also help the soil further by reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation in the Summer sun.
While a strong healthy lawn growing in full sunlight can be cut short, for most lawns which are less than perfect, their greatest health benefit in Summer can come about by increasing the lawn mowing height. This increase in the length of the lawn leaf then shades and insulates the soil against further moisture loss, resulting in less heat stress for the lawn.
This same principle of insulating the soil against moisture loss can be further added upon by mulch mowing the lawn. Whereby the lawn cuttings are recycled back into the lawn, rather than being collected and thrown away. Recycling lawn clippings not only insulates the lawn soil against moisture loss, but they are an incredible source of nutrients to feed back to the lawn instead of relying on the expense and hassle of having to use so many lawn fertilizers.
Lawn Weed And Pest Control
Some treatments for lawn pests and weeds can be harsh on the lawn, especially those that are applied by the homeowner and not by a turf professional.
Avoid treating for weeds or pests using chemical pesticides on the hottest days of Summer, instead wait for milder days to do any such spraying, or better yet, try to treat for pests and weeds in Spring, before Summer arrives.
Even if you're not in possession of the greenest thumb in the neighborhood, you are no doubt aware spring is a critical time for your yard. Making sure you are properly prepared for the (gulp) mowing season is important if you'd like those neighbors to spend the summer staring at your grass with envy.
Here are a few steps to take in the upcoming weeks to ensure your grass is ready to go.
Fertilizing: Depending on climate, the time between February and April is one of the key times you should be "feeding" your lawn each year. Spring fertilizing helps strengthen roots before the heavy growing period that is just around the corner.
Try and figure out which kind of weeds (like crabgrass) you struggled with the previous year and find a weed-and-feed that is best suited to your needs.
Weeds: When the soil reaches 55F degrees and stays there for a few days your old pal crabgrass can start to creep up.
You'll want to think about a pre-emergent herbicide. There are a number of options - Tupersan, Dithopyr, and Pendimethalin - with each ranging in terms of cost. Keep in mind that some of those will impact when you are able to plant seed, if that is part of your plan this season.
This is also the time for attacking dandelions when they start to arrive. Whether you spray or tackle them by hand, make sure to get them take care of before they produce seeds.
Raking/Mowing: It sounds like a no-brainer, but cleaning up your lawn in the spring is important to get rid of dead grass and other debris. When your lawn is both thawed and dry, spend some time either with your rake or your bagging mower. Put that mower down to a lower setting and get rid of all the excess yards waste. If you do a good job bagging now you should be able to mulch the rest of the year.
Seeding: Fall is the best time for overseeding, but you may now be noticing pets and/or kids have created a number of unsightly bare spots.
If you go this route, one option is to apply a "starter" fertilizer to those spots. A month or so later you'll want to follow that up with a nitrogen fertilizer. Keep in mind, however, that you won't get the same results as you will if you wait until the fall.
The majority of yard projects can be handled on your own without any outside assistance. But if you have physical limitations or find you are unable to get the desired results, a good idea is to seek out a trained professional.