Summer Planning!

Susan Friedman

Susan's News

In the midst of the busiest season I’ve had in the twenty years I’ve been in business, I found myself having to take a break due to a break—in my arm, that is!  Luckily, it happened to my right arm, and I’m a lefty.  However, it caused me to slow down and, as one of my clients so perfectly reminded me, “It just gives you more time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.” 
My wish for all of you is to take the time to enjoy the beauty of your family, friends and nature that surrounds us all—before you are forced to take that break!

Good Property Maintenance Means Higher Property Values


Now more than ever, it is important to keep our homes and properties in tip-top shape, so we can maximize our property values—not only for our property, but also for the neighbor who wants the neighborhood to reflect nicely on the home they are selling. 

Spring is a great time to go outside and assess the condition of your home and garden.  House painting, new gutters, installing new windows and re-roofing are a few way to update the exterior look of your home. Landscaping is another great way to keep up the value of your property.  Here are some things to consider to make property upkeep a bit easier on the wallet and your time!

The Garden: In the garden, how can you keep things looking beautiful while also trying to cut down on water usage?  First of all, remove unsightly weeds.  In an unplanted border, adding a layer of mulch over the soil makes the yard look fresh and new while reducing water loss and preventing soil erosion.  Thinking of planting?  Consider using California natives and drought tolerant plants.

Lawn Care: Keeping your grass blades at 2 ½ - 3 inches tall reduces water evaporation and cuts down on water needs.  Aeration in  he lawn helps water soak deep into the root zone and relieves soil compaction. 

What about fertilizer?  Not in a drought!  

Fertilizer encourages new growth, which adds to the need for more water.  If you can’t resist, cut the application in half and use an organic or a diluted liquid fertilizer that won’t burn out the lawn.  You can always let the back lawn go brown!  You can also consider removing or reducing the amount of lawn in your yard.

Entertainment Area: Your yard is an outdoor extension of your home, so think about adding a beautiful, new, outdoor entertaining area in place of lawn.  Use your imagination, look through magazines, take pictures, and get ideas. 

A well-designed and installed landscape is a sure way to maintain and increase the value of your property.  In today’s economy, it is important to keep your property values at their highest level possible.

Less (Lawn) Is More (Money) 

Guess what landscape plant requires the most maintenance? If you guessed the lawn, you are correct! 

A beautiful lawn requires one inch of water per week, which usually means artificial irrigation three to five times per week. A lawn also requires weekly mowing at least 40 weeks of the year! To get the deep green and weed-free look lawns require, quarterly applications of fertilizers with additional weed killing herbicides are needed, which can be harmful to the environment. Then there are the hours spent tending to lawns just to perform the above maintenance tasks. Instead of spending those hours on your lawn, wouldn’t you rather spend them doing pleasurable things like relaxing in the garden with a book and a refreshment?

What’s a homeowner to do when you want the look of greenery, but don’t want to expend the time or resources required for the perfect, green lawn? 

There are new alternative “lawns” being developed as substitutes for the perfectly manicured lawn. Jim Zuckerman, owner of Delta Bluegrass Sod Grower, says, “You just have to look at the California Natives Sod blends with a new pair of glasses.”
To get a green meadow look on a low water budget, do not expect to get the perfectly manicured green carpet we’re accustomed to. On the other hand, Delta Bluegrass has developed six new California Native Sod blends that require significantly less water, will give you the green look and will put more green in your wallet in the form of reduced water bills. 

California Native Sod blends are being used throughout the state in parks, municipal sites, HOA’s, commercial sites and are now gaining interest at the residential scale. In years to come, we may no longer be allowed to use irrigation water for lawns and could be forced to switch to low- or no-water alternatives.

Another alternative to lawn is adding new, drought tolerant plants like ornamental grasses, perennials and shrubs.  With this type of planting, you’ll get year-round interest with a beautiful variety of plant colors and textures.

Take a look at our lawn, put on a different pair of glasses and imagine your lawn with green flowing meadow grass or multi-layered drought tolerant plants.  Then imagine what you could do with the extra money you’ll save on your water bill, not to mention the time or money saved when there is no more mowing.  Now you can truly relax in your garden with a refreshment and that fabulous new book.

Plan Before You Dig!

Buying garden plants at a nursery or garden center can be so much fun.  All those flower blossoms filled with possibility--beautiful color, texture and fragrance.  Like many people, you buy a variety of plants and get excited about your new garden as you drive home. You imagine how gorgeous your yard is going to look in the neighborhood. You start to dream about admiring your new garden and inviting friends and family over to share your  excitement.  It’s that simple, right? 

Now, let’s rewind a bit. After driving home, you unload your carload of plants in the driveway, and your heart starts racing as reality sets in. 

“Where are all these plants going to go?”
 â€œDid I buy enough?” 
“Did I buy too many?” 
“Which plants go together and how big will they get?”
“Which plants do best in the hot, sunny, dry part of my yard and which do best in the shady, damp part of my yard?”
“Will I still have room to build my new patio?”
This is what I call “gardener paralysis.” In many cases, the plants never make it into the ground. Gardener paralysis occurs when you imagination exceeds your ability and desire to get the planting done.

If you can relate to this scenario, you are not alone.  One of the biggest mistakes people make when updating their landscape is to buy plants and dig holes before they have some sense of the overall design.  Many variables need to be factored into designing outdoor spaces, so it’s almost impossible to think it all through in one plant-buying trip. 
Before you buy, hire a professional designer who is knowledgeable about plant growing conditions, maintenance requirements, plant combinations and sizes, and a host of other variables. When you have a plan with all the details specified, you can take it to the garden center, purchase only the plants you can handle that day and know exactly where to plant them when you get home.  Ultimately, you’ll have a beautiful and professional looking landscape while investing in only the right plants for your yard. 

Spring/Summer offer:

$50.00 off a two-hour landscape consultation, priced normally at $270.  
Offer good for appointments booked before August 1, 2013.
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