Archive for the ‘DIY Help’ Category

Landscaping Ideas and Tips

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

dutch touch landscape tips ideas wordpress blog Landscaping Ideas:

Every garden, no matter what its size, benefits from a focal point. Without a main feature, the viewer’s eye is more likely to flit from plant to plant, section to section, without zeroing in to examine and appreciate the harmony of the composition.

Perhaps the most overlooked tool in garden design is the use of texture. Plants are so varied in texture, you could have an entirely green garden and still have plenty of interest, if you varied textures. As you start to become more discerning about the texture of foliage, you’ll also begin to notice the interplay of plant forms. New gardeners are frequently attracted to the same type of plant over and over again. Perhaps it’s feathery foliage or spiky leaves. Too much of a good thing can make your garden looked chaotic and blurred. One architectural, bold-leaved plant, like a cannas, can restore order.

Finally there’s color. Actually, many gardeners like to start with color because it’s a familiar design element. But nature pulls a fast one on us. Even though we know yellow and blue look good together, orange and red will clash and white goes with anything. There are so many shades of each of these colors, even white. Experimenting is the best way to get to know what colors work for you. But the best advice for brand new garden designers is to keep your palette limited. Start with 2-3 colors and you won’t have to worry about making your viewers dizzy.

Since gardening is a living art form, it is constantly changing. Gardens get better over time, with plants filling in, mingling and becoming more lush. But there will probably come a time when more is just too much and you’ll want to think about a redesign, or what I like to call, reining in your garden. That starts with taking a good hard look at what exactly is bothering you about your garden, as it is and making small changes until it’s back to where you want it.

Small spaces and containers simply go together. Containers give you the chance to experiment and try different plants. If you don’t like it or a plant is under-performing, it is easy to correct. But where containers really excel is in control. The gardeners can choose just the right soil, the right exposure and the right cultural conditions.

clay container plants landscape idea dutch touch wordpress blogIt is possible to create an entire garden with potted plants, so not having a yard is no excuse for not having a garden. Not every plant will be happy in a container, but you might be surprised how many and which ones do.

Dwarf trees can be left outdoors year round. This includes fruit trees, ornamentals and evergreens. Many vegetable varieties have been bred specifically to be grown in pots. Anything with the words ‘patio’ or ‘mini’ in their name is a good bet.

orange flowers landscape ideas dutch touch wordpress blogLandscaping Tips:

Using ornamental flowers in containers gives you the means to truly have season long bloom. You can switch out plants or simply switch out pots.

No space can be wasted in a small garden. But try telling that to a plant that’s been eaten or that temporarily succumbed to the humidity. Potted containers are perfect for last minute fixes. Whether you create a new pot of simple petunias or pull a masterpiece off of your deck, it can be tucked in next to the ailing plant and instantly fill the void.

Another specialty of containers is their ability to create a focal point. If you’re having trouble finding a plant that will provide you with height and not take up your entire garden space, look instead for a tall urn or chimney pot. The foot print is relatively small, but you can fill the top with spiky or spreading color. If the foot print of an urn is still too large for your garden space, consider placing a stand, some blocks or a tree trunk in the space and placing the container on top.

landscaping ideas dutch touch wordpress blogEven the pot can be used to add color or texture to the garden. Containers are a great way to express yourself in the garden. Found items, cracked pots, rusted wheelbarrows, old shoes, even the kitchen sink can be put to use in the garden.

Always have drainage holes or at the very least, a 1-2 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of the container. If you are using a decorative pot without drainage holes, consider planting in a plastic pot with holes that is one size smaller than the decorative pot and using the plastic pot as an insert.

Use a good potting soil mix, not garden soil. A mix with peat, perlite or vermiculite will retain moisture longer and yet be well draining. It will also be lighter and won’t compact as the season goes on. Using a chunky-style potting mix in container of 5 or more gallons will help the soil mix remain loose even longer.

In a garden bed, you can select which plants need water and which to pass over. Not so with a container garden. Select plants that will be happy with the same amounts of water, sun, heat and food.

Avoid aggressive spreaders that will compete with neighboring plants and consider dwarf varieties.

Most container gardens are going to require daily watering in hot weather. Even so, there will be times when you potted plants are going to be baking in the sun. Give your container a fighting chance by favoring plants that can handle the intensified heat and dry soil of a container garden.

Container gardens look best when the plants are in balance with the container. Try to make sure your tallest plants are not be more than twice the height of the container and that the fullness of the plant material is not more than half the width again as wide.

cactus potted plants xeriscape dutch touch landscaping ideas wordpress blogTry not to site containers in full mid-day sun. You may have chosen plants that say they require full sun, but container gardens heat up much more quickly and intensely than in the ground gardens. Most plants will welcome some relief from mid-day sun.  Water and heat is a major concern, especially in San Diego North County summers. Try Xeriscape and get some potted succulent plants.

On the other hand, when you must position a container in the shade, consider putting it by a wall that can reflect some light back. The plants won’t suffer from the extreme heat, but they will benefit from indirect light.

Lack of water can quickly kill plants in a container garden. Unlike plants grown in the ground, container plant roots can’t move down deeply in search of subsurface water. Check your containers daily for water needs. Check twice daily in the heat of summer and with smaller containers.

Don’t be afraid to switch out plant material for the change of season. No plant can go on blooming forever. When one plant starts to fade, look for another to take its place. This way you can start your container garden in the spring and go until frost. Longer in warmer climates. With container gardens, sequence of bloom is entirely within the gardener’s control.

We do landscape and construction in the following cities and areas:

Carlsbad CA, 92008 92009 92010 92011 92013 92018

Del Mar CA, 92014 

Encinitas CA, 92023 92024 

Escondido CA, 92025 92026 92027 92029 92030 92033 92046 

Oceanside CA, 92049 92051 92052 92054 92055 92056 92057 92058 

Rancho Santa Fe CA, 92067 92091

San Marcos and San Elijo Hills CA, 92068 92069 92078 92096

Solana Beach CA, 92075 

Vista CA, 92081 92083 92084 92085

For more information, please visit our website:

http://www.dutchtouchlandscape.com/


Selecting Grass for Your Landscape

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
beautiful lawn bluegrass dutch touch landscaping services
 
Selecting Grass for Your Landscape

The lawn is the most dominant feature of the American home landscape. Most people have lawns to some degree. The lawn may have a flowerbed located in its middle, or it may be reduced in size by a patio, but it is, for the most part, ever present.
 
Not just any sod or grass seed will work everywhere. It is important when you begin designing and building your landscape that you choose grass that will thrive and that is likely to succeed. It is also very important to select grass that answers your ideas of maintenance.

 Where? Before you select your grass, however, it is important to decide were you will put it. Practical consideration of how to efficiently water the lawn and care for it is part of the determination as to whether or not your turf will survive. It is not a particularly sound practice to seed or lay sod in long, narrow strips of landscape. 

lovely landscape lawn flowers trees shrubs Grass is much better in larger square areas. Odd shaped areas of grass may not receive the water they need (it can be going other places, like onto the driveway or in the lower garden, especially with sprinkler irrigation), while large blocky areas are easier to water and easier to mow. Take this into account even before you select the grass for your landscape.
 
Which?
 
When it is time for you to select your grass, think about the requirements that the region in which you live and that your soil will impose upon your grass. Make sure that you have a soil analysis to determine the characteristics of your soil. You want to choose a grass that will thrive in that soil. 
 
If the soil is especially bad, you can usually add some sort of amendment to help the soil do better. However, you can increase your chances by choosing sod or seed that will be compatible with your area and with the condition of your soil. 
 
Bermuda grass Crab grass dutch touch landscapingSt. Augustine grass dutch touch landscaping services

You should also select grasses that fit with your climate. If you live in a hot climate, Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass may be a good choice.

Kentucky bluegrass DT LandscapeMany people like Kentucky blue grass, but fail to realize that this type of grass does not do especially well in times of drought.
 
Zoysia grass dutch touch landscaping
 
Buffalo grass dutch touch landscaping services
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Centipede grass dutch touch landscape

If you live in a semi-arid region, then Zoysia grass, Buffalo grass and Centipede grass are very promising choices. These types of grass do not need as much water, and are hardy and great ways to increase the efficiency of a xeriscape by conserving water.

Ornamental grasses dutch touch landscapeChoosing ornamental grasses can also be important for your landscape. Ornamental grasses are not grasses that are meant to be used as a lawn. These grasses usually grow taller and have distinctive looks.

ornamental grass dutch touch landscape San Diego County

 

 

 

When selecting ornamental grasses to add beauty to the yard, you should take into consideration things like the location of the grasses in your landscape, the colors and textures of the grasses you are using, and whether or not they are compatible with the growing conditions and climate in your area. The advantages of using ornamental grasses in your landscape include the facts that they are low maintenance and that they often conserve water.

How Big?

In addition to thinking of location (some grasses do well in drier soils in full sun while others require moist soil) and climate when selecting your ornamental grasses, it is also important to approach your choice with a sense of scale. Know how big the grasses will grow.

Willows and other large grasses would not do in a small area. And, if you have a large area, you might consider planting fewer different types of grass plants, but more of the types you do use. The attraction of ornamental grasses planted in large groups is that the grasses grow up to be large patches of color or texture, and can contrast nicely with other portions of the landscape.

Grasses are very important parts of the landscape. Whether you are using sod or seed to plant a beautiful lawn, or whether you are looking for ornamental grasses to be part of your landscape (or both!), you need to consider your grass selections beforehand. When you take into account what has the most chance of success in your landscape, and what would look the best as part of your design, then you end up with a superior looking yard.

What types of lawn grass are there to choose from?

Your choice depends in part on where you live. I’ll give two examples to illustrate types of lawn grass, and where they’re best grown:

In the southern U.S. “warm-season” grasses are generally grown. These types of lawn grasses grow actively from mid-April to mid-October. As their name implies, they like the warm weather. Bermuda grass is an example of a warm-season type of grass.

In the central and northern U.S. you are more likely to see people growing “cool-season” grasses. These types of grasses often grow the most in the moderately cool temperatures of late spring and early fall — the heat of summer slows them down. Kentucky bluegrass is an example of a cool-season type of grass.

Don’t forget that, in addition to lawn grasses, there are also “ornamental” grasses. Ornamental grasses can also be classified according to whether they are warm-season or cool-season grasses.

Faux grass dutch touch landscaping
The Benefits Of Using Artificial Grass
 
For some residents in a neighborhood in Carlsbad California, the streets are very well kept and the lawns are nice, green and beautiful.
However, all this prettiness changed when one resident decided that enough is enough. He ripped his yard up and installed artificial grass.
Though there are those who think that having a synthetic artificial lawn grass is pathetic, there are those who think otherwise.

Believe it or not, this coming summer will be witness to a lot more people from the suburban areas that are to install yards upon yards of artificial grass.

This is lawn faux grass that is somehow very lifelike and real that people could be fooled to think they are what they appear to be, and pets actually think it is real.

The fact of the matter is that spending on artificial grass is supposed to rise by a quarter this coming year at businesses as well as homes.

This basically translates to a revenue of two hundred and fifty million more. Compare this to a real lawn grass that need to be maintained, trimmed, sprinkled, etc. and an artificial grass that solely needs to be blow dried.

artificial lawn turf DT landscaping San Diego County

Why artificial grass?

 Though this prospect is tempting for some, it is unthinkable for a lot of other people. There are still those suburban residents that find artificial grass tacky and surreal.

Some residents still find a reason to complain on artificial grass. For them, artificial grass looks just too lushly fake in the cold, cold dead winter. This has even prompted some neighborhoods to ban the use of artificial grass altogether.

For the research director of the National Association of Gardening, having artificial grass is like having a toupee on your lawn.

But there are still positive perks from having artificial grass. For one, the artificial grass industry thinks that there are advantages of faux lawn grass.

One benefit is the decrease in the care of one’s lawn. Thereby saving anyone and everyone money and energy.

Artificial grass is also one way to decrease the use of fertilizers. It also helps neighborhood and households comply with the restrictions with regards to the use of water especially in areas that experience a lot of drought.

Take for example an area in New Mexico, particularly Albuquerque which actually offer five hundred dollars to those residents who have a part of their lawn converted to landscape and which need less water.

Same laws are also enforced in Arizona at Mesa as well as in Las Vegas. Simply put, for those who really want to see lush green grass, the use of artificial grass is a good alternative.

For those homeowners who prefer the artificial grass, the reasons are simple. One artificial grass user has found it helpful that his son no longer drags mud inside their house.

Though the fact of the matter is that he also had to pad some areas of the lawn in order for the child not to hurt himself – it cost three hundred dollars.

locust grasshopper pest insect lawn eater DT Landscape San Diego County

Another benefit that artificial grass brings: 

NO BUGS!

Also, artificial grass – like real lawn grass – comes in varieties. There are those who are garden lush variety artificial grass that has a recently-been-mowed look. This type of grass costs an average of thirty thousand dollars.

The plus is that it simply needs to be airblowered once after quite a long while.

How did fake grass become so hip?

It all started in the 1970’s when football teams as well as baseball teams decided to install artificial grass in stadiums all over the country.

Though fans claimed it as an ugly alternative, as well as dangerous and totally unnatural, it was actually a low maintenance and low cost landscaping phenomenon.

Until there were athletes that tore their ligaments and broke their bones due to the artificial grass.

All in all, the use of artificial grass depends much on a person’s preference, style, need and budget. What one could see as ugly could be beauty to another person’s perspective.

The important thing is that all the benefits and disadvantages are properly weighed by the potential user of the artificial grass and from there decide which is best as according to his long term likes and dislikes.

Still another benefit:

NO LAWN DISEASE!

Every lawn, whether new or established, is susceptible to a variety of lawn diseases. Most lawn disease starts with a fungus. Fungi are an oddity because they don’t set seeds; instead, they propagate by distributing spores in their surrounding area. Some of the spores are picked up by wind or animals and distributed in new locations.

One of the biggest problems in controlling lawn diseases is diagnosis. By the time signs of infection are evident, the fungus that causes it is often difficult to control. Although there are dozens of types of lawn disease, most can be prevented through regular lawn care. Most fungus spores lie dormant until conditions are right for them to grow and infect your lawn. Generally, fungus spores need warm temperatures, a moist environment, a source of nutrition and a susceptible host. Although you can’t control the weather, you can deprive them of the nutrients they need as well as a susceptible host.

Common Turf Diseases Identification

Please note that all the disease pictures on this page are examples taken from very short mowed turf. This makes for better pictures, but symptoms in a lawn situation where turf is taller, are often not so obvious.

Dollar Spot common disease on Bluegrass. dutch touch landscaping

Dollar Spot

This is a common disease on Bluegrass. However, it can occur on other turf grasses. It is one of the diseases that can be discouraged by adequate fertilizer. It prefers warm days, and relatively cool nights. It often appears during abnormally warm fall weather. It is among the easiest of diseases to control. Different Bluegrass cultivars show a wide range of resistance to this disease.

Brown Patch lawn disease DT landscaping San Diego county

Brown Patch

This is a troublesome disease which is very common on Tall Fescue turf. Brown Patch requires warm, humid days, and warm nights. During favorable conditions this disease is often present to some extent on almost every Tall Fescue lawn. Some cultivars of tall fescue have shown resistance, but none are immune. This disease rarely kills the turf, but can discolor it for extended periods. It can be managed with fungicides, but the disease pressure often outlasts the fungicide protection.

Leaf Spot is a common disease on Bluegrass DT landscaping

Leaf Spot

This is a common disease on Bluegrass. It prefers cool, wet weather. We see it mostly in the spring. It can discolor the lawn if many plants are infected. Leaf Spot is not tolerant of hot weather, so generally it is thought of as a temporary problem. When we have a long, cool and wet spring, this disease may eventually affect almost all Bluegrass lawns. It can be managed with fungicides, but generally is tolerated on a home lawn. Plants severely infected in the spring may weaken and die later in summer. This is called “melting out”.

Summer Patch very serious disease on Bluegrass. DT landscaping san diego

Summer Patch

This is a very serious disease on Bluegrass. It is caused by a soil borne fungus that colonizes the roots of the plant. It is a perennial problem on the lawns in which it is present. The infection of this disease initiates in late spring, but visible symptoms do not appear until late summer. Management of Summer Patch in a home lawn involves one of two options. You can convert the lawn to tall fescue, or you can help encourage recovery of the damaged turf in fall. Fungicide treatments for this disease are expensive, and results are often disappointing.

Powdery Mildew disease common during cool weather. Dutch Touch Landscaping

Powdery Mildew

This disease is common during cool weather. It often appears in shady areas with poor air circulation. The white grass blades are easy to see, and this is an easy disease to diagnose. It generally does not permanently damage the turf, but it can be very persistent. It responds to many common fungicides.

Rust disease is most common on Ryegrass. DT landscaping san diegoRust

This disease occurs on all types of grass, including Zoysia and Bluegrass, but is most common on Ryegrass. It often can be managed with proper fertilization. Rust frequently appears during wet periods of late spring and summer. During the hottest part of summer, this disease may show up in heavy shade areas. Fungicides are effective but are usually unnecessary. The spores of this disease are orange, and will stick to your shoes as you walk through the lawn. Orange shoes are a dead giveaway that this disease is present in the lawn.

Fairy Ring disease caused by soil borne fungus. DT landscaping san diego countyFairy Ring disease very difficult to eliminate. DT landscaping San Diego County

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Ring

This disease may occur in any lawn. It is caused by a soil borne fungus. The classic symptom is the circular dark green narrow band in the lawn. This narrow band will turn brown as moisture stress develops over the summer. There are many variations of this disease. The bands may be circular, small arcs, or long and winding. Sometimes mushrooms will grow in the band. This condition may be unsightly, but rarely causes permanent damage. It is very difficult to eliminate.

Mushrooms toadstools are fungi that often appear in home lawns. Dutch Touch landscaping San Diego

Mushrooms (Toadstools)

Mushrooms and toadstools are fungi that often appear in home lawns. They may occur in conjunction with a Fairy Ring, but more often they occur during wet periods, where decaying organic matter is in the soil. Old tree stumps, buried lumber, or even a heavy thatch layer can provide the nutrients necessary to support these mushrooms. There is no chemical control for these invaders, and none is necessary. Just knock them over, or mow them down. If possible, you can attempt to remove the source of the organic matter, but often this is not practical.

Slime mold usually disappears on its own after a short period. DT Landscaping San Diego.

Slime Mold

This generates a lot of customer calls, but is harmless to the turf. It shows up as a grayish, dusty looking coating of the grass blade. It can be washed of the grass, or swept off with a broom. The mold usually disappears on its own after a short period.

We do landscape and construction in the following cities and areas:

Carlsbad CA, 92008 92009 92010 92011 92013 92018

Del Mar CA, 92014 

Encinitas CA, 92023 92024 

Escondido CA, 92025 92026 92027 92029 92030 92033 92046 

Oceanside CA, 92049 92051 92052 92054 92055 92056 92057 92058 

Rancho Santa Fe CA, 92067 92091

San Marcos and San Elijo Hills CA, 92068 92069 92078 92096

Solana Beach CA, 92075 

Vista CA, 92081 92083 92084 92085

For more information, please visit our website:

http://www.dutchtouchlandscape.com/