Love Your Landscape – June 2017

Summer is finally here so we can start enjoying our lawns and the outdoor living-areas where we’ve been investing our resources, creativity and personal style. And no one is happier about that than me. If you already have a patio, deck or outdoor area, I encourage you to get out there and enjoy it and to also consider making some improvements.

For those of us whose outdoor-living dreams have yet to be realized, there are still a few simple ways to improve the time we spend outdoors. And here I’m going to introduce a word that isn’t normally associated with landscaping—“boundaries.” To feel most comfortable in an outdoor area, it helps to know where it begins and ends. Boundaries help create definition and depth in any outdoor area.

As much as I believe in the value of fencing, I also know that using plants as privacy fencing is another solution without taking on the commitment of installing a fence. Creating a sense of space is essential to utilizing the exterior of your property. If you don’t have a fence, there are a lot of landscape boundary ideas that incorporate plants to establish a boundary line around your home.

One of my favorite (and green) uses for seclusion is to create a boundary line of fast-growing trees that will reach their maximum height within a few years. Having fast-growing trees and shrubs as lawn edging throughout your yard will create a natural fence that will keep noise out and block the view from the inside and out. Some privacy fence ideas for backyard gardening include using Leyland Cypress trees or English laurel shrubs to create a privacy wall. Both grow quickly and keep their dark green colors year-round.

And let’s not forget about the lawn area itself—here are a few tips to keep your yard healthy during our hot summer months:

  • Time of Day: Water in early-morning hours before sunrise to lessen water lost to evaporation and daytime winds.
  • Monitor Your Landscape: Make adjustments to watering times as needed. Shaded or protected areas may need less water than other zones. You may even be able to water less frequently than you think.
  • Check Your Irrigation System: Check weekly for broken or misaligned sprinkler heads and drip emitters, which can be prime water-waste culprits.
  • Mow for Best Results: Every other time you mow, change direction. Set your mower to the proper height to promote a healthy lawn and reduce water usage. Recommended mowing heights are 2 1/2″ to 3″ for perennial rye and fescue
  • Feed your lawn: Every 5-8 weeks give your lawn a good feeding with an organic or synthetic fertilizer; the difference is amazing!

If your goal is to create your own personal summer oasis, take some time to think about these tips, and how you can incorporate them into your outdoor lifestyle and continue to plan, create and improve your outdoor living space.