Jamie's Tips for your Landscape
Your goal should be to mix different shades, hues and textures of plants into a presentation that is pleasing to the eye. The challenge is to do this without ending up with a large collection of plants that looks too confusing and busy. Here are some suggestions that may help.
Tall Growing Shrubs/Ornamental Trees
These are the anchors or specimens of your design. Nobody is going to say “that’s a lovely Indian Hawthorne you have there!”, but they will notice and comment on your specimen shrubs and ornamental trees. Plant in a location where they can excel and be shown off. At either end of the home and/or between windows(if space allows) are good places to start. Plant taller growing shrubs and ornamental trees a minimum of 6 – 8 feet out from the house. A common mistake is to plant them where they look good when they are saplings, 3-4 feet from the house.
Medium Size Plants/Shrubs
For the rest of your beds, consider using evergreen shrubs as the backdrop. That way, even in the winter, when your flowers and perennials die back, your yard will still have the pretty shrubs to fall back on. In front of the shrubs plant showy annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses and place a few small moss boulders. Mulch the areas between plantings
While too many of the same plant can look monotonous, too much variety in one area can look equally unappealing. Clustering similar shrubs together (in groups of 3, 5 or 7depending on area) is the best solution. Don’t plant too close together, follow the guidelines on the labels and allow the plants room to grow.
Add Some Color
Annual and perennial flowers are they best way to bring color to your yard. You can, but you don’t have to spend a fortune or the whole weekend planting, to add color to your yard - just a few flats of annuals spread through your landscape can make the world of difference.
Tip: This is the #1 tip I give to homeowners wanting to improve drive up appeal in a simple, affordable way: If plants by the entryway of your home have grown so large that they completely fill the beds, a fast and affordable makeover is to remove these plants (or just the ones in the front if you have more than one layer) and replace with a small bed of annuals on each side of the front door. People have been amazed with how much drive up appeal this simple tip can create.
Monitor the Irrigation
A commitment to careful monitoring of your irrigation system will ensure your plants have the best possible chance to thrive.
How often? How long?
It seems everybody under the sun has a different opinion of how much and how often to water! Different opinions will come from different expectations. I find it important to state that that my expectations are that all your plants and turf will grow healthy and look presentable using the minimum amount of water possible. The following are suggestions to initially program your system. Adjustments may be necessary depending on water pressure, heads per zone, head spacing, etc. If your lawn is in bad condition, it may also need additional watering to nurse it back to health.
* Reduce by one day for each day it rains. A rain shut off sensor will do this for you. They can be retrofitted to any older system that doesn’t have one.
**Important: all times are for stationary heads. If one or more of your zones has rotors you will need to do 3 times these times (in just those zones) to put a comparable amount of water down. Rotors typically cover large lawn areas and the longer times are necessary to meet design specifications. Many newer sprinkler systems have both rotors and stationary heads within separate zones. Make sure you know which kind of heads you have in each of your zones.
*** Watering in the winter is usually not necessary – only benefiting disease, bugs, and weeds trying to take hold in your lawn. Run on manual for 15 minutes per zone only if it’s dry for 2 weeks and there is no rain in the forecast.
The best time to water is first thing in the morning*