Learning About the Benefits of Different Plants

4 Approaches To Landscaping You Can Use To Bring In Clients

If you own your own business, you probably find yourself considering ways to get clients in the door and interested in what you have to offer. Promotions, advertising and direct marketing all have their place, but did you know you could draw in customers simply through your landscaping choices? Here are four ways to capture your potential clients’ attention and bring them into your business. 

Project Professionalism

A professional appearance is key in the business world. You always want to project an image that tells your clients that you are serious about your work and will do your best for them. You can do this not only in your personal appearance but in the appearance of your business as well. 

Consider simple, no-nonsense landscaping to show clients that you are organized and can keep up with the challenges that they might present. Choose bushes that can be kept even and well manicured, and make sure you have distinct boundaries around any flower beds. Make walkways as even and as straight as possible, with bricks or stones that follow a pattern. This type of landscaping looks efficient and functional. 

Live Luxury

When you are trying to attract the type of clients who spend a great deal of money, it is helpful to show that you are a company with money. You can send this message through your landscaping by using large groupings of stunning flowers like roses, being sure to keep them maintained and looked well cared for. Add concrete water features or statues to enhance the look, and consider creating an area where clients can sit and be surrounded by iron gates, floral arrangements or a fountain. 

Boost a Mood

Did you know that green spaces and trees can actually make you happier? A study done at the University of Exeter showed that people are more content when they live in places with green areas. 

Invite your clients into a space of happiness and tranquility by creating a very natural and green look to your landscaping. Select an open space to plant a lush, green lawn, and surround it with trees. Place benches in areas where people can sit among nature and have conversations or meetings. Let bushes grow naturally, rather than keeping them at a standard height or size. 

This type of landscaping would work well for a business that offers a personal service such as counseling, massage or even hair care. Potential clients will be naturally drawn in to a space that makes them feel good. 

Stand Out

Attracting attention can be a great way to attract clients. Make a statement and get noticed by people who may be interested in your business. 

Start with one unique piece of artwork or sculpture, and make it the focal point of your landscaping. Build a walkway around it, and add a flower garden or greenery. Have the rest of your landscaping surround that particular piece. 

Another way to draw attention through landscaping is to use color. Choose one or two bright colors such as purple or yellow, and choose a variety of flowers and accents in those colors. For example, you could place yellow daisies in bright purple planters all along the walkway to your door. 

Choose large, bold pieces and plants to get the most eye-catching effects. 

This type of landscaping is a great way to be noticed from the street and to make potential customers wonder what is inside. A gift shop, flower shop or art business could use this type of landscaping to bring in new clients. 

Your choice in landscaping can make a difference in the success of your business, so be sure to consider the image you want to project when choosing your commercial landscaping style. 

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5 Benefits Of Xeriscaping Your Yard

If you’re looking for ways to improve your lawn or curb appeal, you have come across something called “xeriscaping” and wonder what it is. Xeriscaping is a method of conserving water through creative landscaping, with much focus often placed on using drought-resistant greenery. Xeriscaping your yard is a great way to conserve water and offers plenty of benefits, particularly if you find yourself living in an area that goes through droughts, such as the Southwest. Xeriscaping is quickly becoming more popular as water becomes a precious commodity among land and homeowners in America. With this in mind, xeriscaping your yard is an excellent consideration to make, as it provides plenty of benefits.

1. Saves Water

One of the most appealing things about xeriscaping is that it saves water. Initially, xeriscaping was developed for areas that frequently suffered from drought. Over 50% of residential water is used in landscaping and maintaining lawns. Xeriscaping your yard can drastically cut down water use that is used for landscaping alone.

With limited access to water in mind, xeriscaped yards are often designed using plants that are drought resistant. Plan and research what types of native plants can withstand your environment, and do your best to design a yard that requires little water. By incorporating plants that are native to your area, you’ll have a yard with greenery that’s able to thrive with very little water or maintenance.

Additionally, using something like organic silt mulch, rather than grass, can also help in drastically cutting down water use. Using mulch also helps in conserving soil moisture while keeping the soil around your plants cool. Mulch also helps reduce weed growth.

2. Less Maintenance

With careful design and planning, your xeriscaped yard will likely require much less maintenance compared to a normal one. Aside from the occasional pruning or weeding, your yard will not need much work, and installing a simple irrigation system in your yard can provide all the water needed. Because a s xeriscaped yard requires little water, your plants will likely grow slowly, meaning not much time or work will need to be spent on caring for them on a regular basis.

3. No Pesticides or Fertilizers

Another great thing about xeriscaping is that you won’t need to spend time fertilizing your yard or have to worry about pesticides, meaning your yard will be even more environmentally friendly and cheaper to take care of. By using plants native to your area in your garden, you’ll eliminate the need for chemical supplements.

4. Improves Property Value

The cost of xeriscaping your yard is ultimately outweighed by the increase you’ll see in your property value. A well-xeriscaped yard will not only have great curb appeal, it’ll also be drought proof. Xeriscaped yards are appealing to many potential homeowners. Not only are people becoming more conscious of water consumption, they’re also interested in becoming more environmentally friendly. A home with a yard requiring less watering or maintenance will likely find the property very appealing, especially since the water bill wouldn’t be as high compared to a home with a traditional grassy lawn.

5. Pollution Free

By xeriscaping your yard, you’ll no longer be polluting the environment with the heavy use of things like pesticides, herbicides, or gas lawnmowers that require the consumption of fossil fuels. By eliminating the use of chemicals such as pesticides or herbicides, the run-off pollution in your garden whenever it rains is reduced. Smaller turf areas in xersicaped yards can typically be maintained by using something like a reel mower.

The next time you feel like its time for a yard makeover, contact a landscaper or landscape designer and ask them about xeriscaping your yard. You won’t regret making the switch to this beneficial type of landscape design!

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How To Turn That Boring Backyard Into A Play Haven For The Kids

It’s important for kids to spend plenty of time outside. It gives them a chance to stretch their legs, release pent up energy, and get their hearts pumping through exercise. Outdoor exercise is crucial for growing bodies as it improves intellectual and social development as well as aids in maintaining optimal mental health.

But a boring backyard isn’t very enticing to kids, and you might find it hard to keep your little ones out long enough to benefit from their little adventure. Luckily, it isn’t tough to spruce things up – here are four things you can do to turn that boring backyard into a play haven for the kids:

Invest in Synthetic Grass

The goal is to get your kids outside to run, play with bikes, and maybe even gallivant through the sprinklers on a hot day. Because of this, your grass may take a beating and stop growing or have a hard time staying green. A great way to give the kids free reign of the yard while maintaining a polished look is to install synthetic grass at least in the areas where you intend the kids to play a lot. It looks great, it’s easy to take care of, and it holds up well to wear and tear which makes it a cost effective addition to any yard.

Include a Playground

Putting a playground in the yard as a centerpiece will provide your kids with the opportunity to use their muscles to keep them strong while aging. Playgrounds also offer plenty of opportunity to practice problem solving and motor skills as they find new ways to enjoy their playground accessories. There isn’t a need to invest in a huge wooden playground that competes in size with the one at the local neighborhood park. Instead, consider a small swing set with monkey bars attached or purchase plastic slides and climbable toys to create your own budget-friendly playground.

Implement a Sand Box

A sandbox is an excellent addition to your play yard because it’s fun enough to keep kids busy for hours without the need for special toys or much direction. Sandbox play also increases hand and finger strength, invigorates the senses, and improves sensory vocabulary. You can stock the sandbox with play accessories from around the house. Consider using small buckets and cups, PVC pipes, safe garden tools, funnels, paintbrushes, and sifters. Cycle the toys instead of stocking the sandbox with them all at once to minimize wear and tear and to keep things interesting for the kids.

Add Plenty of Vibrant Color

Color makes things exciting and can even have an effect on your kids’ moods as they play outside. For example red encourages excitement and invigorates energy, yellow keeps things cheery, and orange evokes enthusiasm. You can get the creative juices flowing with the help of purples shades too. A great way to add some extra color to your yard is to paint your exterior furniture, like the chairs and end tables, you favorite shades of emotion triggering colors.

Consider painting a hopscotch board on your cement or wooden porch. You can also add color as well as teach kids about gardening and healthy eating by planting colorful food producing plants (like strawberries and tomatoes) around the edge of the yard for hedges. Putting an easel in the yard and painting an old board with chalkboard paint to hang on an exterior wall will give your kids the opportunity to add their own color to the scheme too.

With the help of these tips and tricks, you may find that it’s hard to get your kids back inside again once they venture out to play. 

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Five Plants For Areas With Poor Drainage

Poorly drained soil can spell disaster for many flowering plants, as the soggy soil chokes out oxygen to the roots killing the plants. But, not all plants have an aversion to moist soil.  The trick to growing flowers in areas where the drainage is poor is to choose plants that thrive in wet soil. Try these five plants to enhance the beauty of your yard despite your problems with drainage.

1. Siberian Iris (Iris siberica)

The stately Siberian iris produces purple/blue blooms atop slender stalks. The foliage is grass-like with slender blades. This plant thrives in areas where the soil remains wet all year and will even survive in standing water. Blooms appear in mid to late spring, but the attractive foliage adds dimension to your flowerbed all year. This perennial is hardy in US Plant Hardiness Zones 3 through 9 and returns each year in bigger clumps.

2. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

The cardinal flower is known for its brilliant red blooms and bronze or green foliage. It attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds, setting your garden abuzz with activity all summer. It can be grown as a perennial in US Plant Hardiness Zones 3 through 9 and tolerates poorly drained soil. It reaches heights of 1 to 6 feet, depending on the variety. Plant cardinal flowers in areas of your yard with poor drainage to create an oasis of color and movement.

3. Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

For shaded areas that do not drain well, try the ostrich fern. Ferns create a lush green backdrop with a lacy appearance and give the illusion of a tropical oasis. These ferns thrive in plant hardiness zones 2 through 8 and actually perform best when the soil remains soggy in the spring. They require little to no care, and the lacy foliage remains until the frost strikes in the fall. Use the ostrich fern for a carefree plant to add interest to poorly drained areas in your yard.

4. Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)

For those in southern climates, the Calla Lily is a good choice for poorly drained soils. This plant thrives in plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. Gardeners in cooler regions must dig up the bulbs before the ground freezes in the fall and store them inside for the winter. Calla Lilies come in a variety of colors from traditional white, pink and yellow to red, maroon and bronze. These impressive flowers lend a touch of the exotic to your backyard. They make excellent cut flowers and are often used in bridal bouquets or as cut flowers in summer displays.

5. Hydrangea:  (Hydrangea spp)

For a more dramatic display of color in poorly drained areas, try planting hydrangea. This shrub thrives in planting zones 4 through 9 and produces showy clusters of pink, blue or white blooms from mid-summer until fall. Hydrangeas are known for their amazing ability to produce either pink or blue blooms depending on the acidity of the soil.  In acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 5.5, this shrub produces blue flowers, but if the pH of the soil is above 6.0, it produces pink blooms.  You can change the color of the blooms on your hydrangea by altering the pH of the soil in the spring when the first new growth appears. The plant grows to heights of 4 to 12 feet, depending on the cultivar.

Growing plants that thrive in the soil you have is infinitely easier than battling the forces of nature and trying to adjust the soil to meet the needs of plants that require well-drained soil.  These plants make it easy to create a flower garden in areas with poorly drained soil. You can read more about solving drainage issues when landscaping by following the link in this article.

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6 Drought-Tolerant Plants Perfect For A Yard In An Arid Climate

As more and more localities enact regulations that restrict the way you water your lawns and gardens, as a homeowner you’re going to have to learn to adapt to these changes or live in a dull, brown world. That’s because many plants and flowers currently used to liven up yards and gardens across the country are a poor match for most water rationing rules. These species will tend to turn wither and die in the dry summer heat. Thankfully, Mother Nature is always adaptable. She’s provided plenty of drought-tolerant species you can use in any low-water situations you encounter.

Cactus

The first plants that probably occurred to you when considering arid-climate plants is the staple of the southwest, the cactus. Some cacti are better suited for landscape accents around the home than others. Because overgrowth and height can be a problem, you should work carefully with your landscaper when selected the right cactus. One excellent candidate to consider is the golden barrel cactus. This native of arid Mexican climes is a slow-grower that sprouts dazzling golden flowers throughout the summer.

Cape Blanco

The Cape Blanco grows short, sprouts yellow flowers, and requires very little watering. Its velvety, thick green leaves should provide a splash of color all summer long, even in hot and dry settings. Because of its relatively low profile, Cape Blanco also makes an excellent choice to edge around rock gardens, sidewalks, and driveways.

Blue Oat Grass

Blue oat grass is a terrific choice for adding some volume and deeper hues to a lawn and garden. This species (scientific name helictotrichon sempervirens) grows in bushes that show large, blue-green slender blades.

A native of the American southwest mountain ranges, blue oat grass thrives in low-water, high-heat conditions. You can use this plant as you would a hedge, adding a dramatic touch to line sidewalks or even as natural fencing for property edges.

Dragon’s Blood

For a splash of burgundy or magenta color in your lawn or garden, Dragon’s Blood (sedum spurium) makes an excellent choice. This plant, which is native to dry Mediterranean climates, is very low maintenance. It has become a staple ground cover choice for gardens around the sandy, arid soil of wine-growing regions of California and Washington State. Like the Cape Blanco, this plant is an excellent choice you can use to outline rock gardens or add a dramatic accent to sidewalks.

Orange Libertia

The narrow, stiff leaves of the orange libertia (libertia peregrinans) can reach up to 2 feet in height. Thus, they can add a dazzling splash of southwestern-themed color to accent your dry-climate lawn or garden. While libertia serves as an excellent replacement for traditional deciduous bushes, this hardy plant becomes spectacular when it sprouts its white flowers at the height of summer. This plant is a native of New Zealand’s more rocky soil areas, and you can use it to add needed volume and texture to your garden.

Fernleaf Lavender

Also known as Egyptian Lavender or lavandula multifada, fernleaf lavender is a short, multi-stalked bush. Not only does it grow to 2 feet in height, it also sprouts glorious flowering purple tops at the end of its stalks. You should be able to use this low-water plant to provide a perfect color counterpoint for traditional dry-climate gardens that may be dominated by yellow and brown-hued vegetation.

Dry weather conditions don’t necessarily have to restrict the way you use color and texture to accent the landscaping that gives your home a unique and beautiful exterior. Many regions of the world have dry soil and naturally occurring near-drought conditions, yet still feature vivid, beautiful hues. Don’t be afraid to re-think you exterior decorating scheme by incorporating the plants mentioned above. Your landscaper can be an excellent way to source these flowers and bushes. Landscape professionals can also help with recommending low-water soil additives or fertilizers as well.

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2 Novice Tree Pruning Mistakes That Could Destroy Your Trees

After buying your first home, you might be eager to put your personal touch on the landscaping. After all, who wants to stare at that unsightly juniper bush for one more minute? Although it might seem simple to plant a few flowers or round out those shrubs, trimming those trees might be more difficult than you suspect. Here are two novice tree pruning mistakes that could destroy your trees, and how you can avoid trouble: 

1: Topping

If those long tree branches are stretching over your house or threatening overhead power lines, you might be tempted to take those pruning shears and chop off the top. Unfortunately, this pruning tactic, also referred to as “topping,” can destroy your tree. Here are a few things that might happen if you remove the top of your least-favorite tree:

  • Stress: Believe it or not, tree topping can remove as much as 50 to 100% of a tree’s leaf bearing crown, limiting the plant’s ability to absorb and convert sunlight into useable food. This added stress can trigger survival mechanisms in a tree, such as activating dormant buds or prompting the growth of unsightly shoots.
  • Decay: When you cut a tree evenly at the crown, you might be sawing through main trunks, which act as lifelines to the rest of the plant. Unfortunately, if the injury is too large, water might be able to seep into the entirety of the tree, rotting the structure.
  • Unnatural Growth Patterns: If your tree happens to survive being topped, it might start to grow in unnatural, unattractive ways. In addition to looking strange, topped trees can lose their natural balance, which might make them more prone to branch breakage and injury during extreme weather.   

If you have a large tree interfering with the functionality of your yard, consider having the tree professionally removed. Tree trimming specialists can safely cut down one branch at a time, and then grind out the stump so that you can plant sod or install a flowerbed where the tree once was.

2: Removing Too Much Foliage At A Time

Is that huge Flowering Pear tree blocking the view of your home? Because pruning can be difficult and time consuming, you might be tempted to remove as much extra foliage as possible. After all, why wouldn’t you make your Saturday morning count? Unfortunately, removing too much foliage can be hard on your tree too.

Anytime a branch is cut off of a tree, it represents an injury that the tree has to cope with. Much like your own immune system, trees can only fight so many battles at one time. If you remove too many branches, your tree might have to focus on healing from its recent injuries, instead of fending off pest infestations and new infections. Here are a few tips that might help you to avoid removing more foliage than you need to:

  • Prune Gradually: If you want to split up your work and give your tree more time to heal, consider pruning gradually over the course of a few days. In addition to spending more time evaluating your cuts, you might be able to shape the tree more effectively.  
  • Separate the Tree Into Sections: Consider splitting the tree into quadrants, and then working on each section one at a time. To do this, take a few pieces of masking tape and mark the trunk. When you are up in the tree trimming, pay attention to which side of the branches you are working from. Focus on taking an even amount from each side, so that you don’t over-prune.

To stay on the safe side, experts typically recommend never removing more than 15 to 20% of the total tree canopy at any given time, not including dead branches.

By taking your time to prune your trees carefully, you might be able to protect your landscaping and beautify your yard. 

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