Landscaping & Garden

Landscaping, Lawn & Garden

Monday, February 28, 2005

12 LANDSCAPING MISTAKES TO AVOID

12 Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

The craving for a quick, sweet landscape can lead you astray. Here are 12 temptations to avoid and the healthy alternatives.

Yard Smarts

1. Don't Lose The House
Do consider the size, shape, and style of your home when planning the yard. Landscaping should harmonize with the house, not overwhelm, obscure, or contradict it. Connect your yard and home with repeating... more





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LANDSCAPING FOR SECURITY

Landscaping for Security

Burglars hit roughly 2.5 million U.S. residences every year, about one every 13 seconds. Trim your chances of joining the statistics by landscaping for security.

Planting for Safety

A security system doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles to frighten away thieves. It doesn't even have to have teeth. Well-placed thorny bushes, landscape lighting, or even a streetlight can double as a guardian.

Start burglar-proofing when you're planting. Trees make great shade, but can also lead burglars to upper stories where you are more apt to leave windows open or unlocked. Plant trees far enough away from the house... more





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LANDSCAPING FOR AN ACTIVE FAMILY

Landscaping for an Active Family

The best way to accomplish your outdoor goals, landscaping experts say, is to plan before you build.

Rough & Ready

An active family that includes children and pets needs a yard that stands up to wear and tear. The landscape you choose introduces your home to the world. Visitors are likely to notice a well-manicured lawn or a row of trees before they notice the home itself. If your landscaping suffers under the rough play of kids and pets, it can adversely affect the way others view your home.

Many homeowners say their first concern is to create an attractive yard that's also practical and durable, says Mike Carter, owner... more





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THE ULTIMATE GARDEN PLANNING GUIDE - Part 4

The Ultimate Garden Planning Guide - Part 4

Care and Cleanup
Knowing how to care for your plants now will help your garden prosper in future years.

A Case for Skimpy Cleanup

Don't be too quick to tidy up your garden after frost. The muted hues of the dormant black-eyed Susans and purple coneflowers are beautiful. So are the ornamental grasses and the sturdy heads of tall stonecrops, such as "Autumn Joy" sedum. Plus, dried seed heads will attract birds to the garden, adding to its winter... more





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THE ULTIMATE GARDEN PLANNING GUIDE - Part 3

The Ultimate Garden Planning Guide - Part 3

Plain and Simple Plant Advice
Once your soil is up to snuff, you'll be ready to dig in and start selecting plants.

The Right Plant for the Right Spot
When selecting plants, choose varieties that can thrive in your garden's environment.

Just because a plant does well in your neighbor's yard doesn't mean it will be happy in yours. That's because even within your own yard, there can be several microclimates, each with its own unique combination of soil type... more





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THE ULTIMATE GARDEN PLANNING GUIDE

The Ultimate Garden Planning Guide

Follow our tips now to ensure you will have the most beautiful growing season yet.

Dreams and Designs

Sketch your ideas on paper. It's easier to make changes with an eraser than with a shovel. This is the time to consider garden views from inside the house, traffic patterns throughout the yard, and ways your family uses the yard.

Draw permanent structures such as paths, walls, fences, decks, and gazebos, even if you don't intend... more





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LOCATING A LANDSCAPING PRO - Part 2

Locating a Landscaping Pro - Part 2

Choosing Wisely

To begin your search for the right landscape pro, ask family and friends for references. Check the Yellow Pages of your local telephone directory for a listing of firms, and contact local, state, or national trade associations for referrals. (One resource is the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, 800-395-ALCA.)

When you've gathered a number of names, interview several to find out more about their services. Plan to speak to them by phone first... more





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LOCATING A LANDSCAPING PRO

Locating a Landscaping Pro

What type of landscape professional is right for you? Here's a look at who does what and how to choose.

Who's Who

Landscape architects have gone to school full-time in landscape architecture and have usually taken civil engineering courses. Generally, they work with architects and engineers, do a lot of work for... more





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20 TOP LANDSCAPE MISTAKES - Part 3

20 Top Landscape Mistakes - Part 3

13. Squeezed Pathways
A sliver of a garden trail may not be a problem if you're a deer. But for most people, a path should be wide enough for two people to walk together (at least 3 feet wide). Allow extra space for plants to spill over the sides. It's OK that some paths fit only one person at a time, but also include paths wide enough for a group or with enough space to set a bench along the side.

14. Treacherous Passage
Keep a klutz in mind as you plan a path. Loose materials can be hard to navigate, and paths that blend materials, such as mulch and uneven... more





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20 TOP LANDSCAPE MISTAKES - Part 2

20 Top Landscape Mistakes - Part 2

7. Maintenance Miseries
Anything can look great on paper, but a year down the road, cool ideas can turn into problems. Will you really tend that shrub rose or aggressive vine? Will you really keep the fence painted and sealed? Will you clean and maintain your pond properly? Plan plants and features that you know you can handle.

8. Neighbor Envy
Don't lust after your neighbors' lush landscapes. Although you can steal an idea or two, it's a mistake to copy too much. Your soil, your site, your conditions, and your tastes will be different. A landscape should be a personal thing... more




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20 TOP LANDSCAPE MISTAKES

20 Top Landscape Mistakes

Even a beginner can create a knockout landscape as long as you avoid these common mistakes.

Planning Errors

1. Lost House
Many beginners plan a yard as if it's in a world of its own, which leaves the house looking like an ill-dressed tourist. The house and yard should work together in terms of style, scale, colors, and materials.

2. Poor Budgeting
Many beginners guesstimate a cost for a new landscape. And they guess wrong. Landscaping -- labor, plants, and materials -- is probably more expensive... more





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30 GREAT DESIGN TIPS - Part 3

30 Great Design Tips - Part 3

Structure

20. Nearly every garden needs a garden path. It directs people through the garden, making it a journey instead of a destination. Make it long and curving and at least 3 feet wide. It doesn't have to be fancy -- grass or wood chips will do.

21. Look up. A good garden has a variety of heights. Trees naturally provide a soaring vertical element, but nearly every garden benefits from trellises, arbors, bamboo tepees, or other structures that bring flowers... more





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30 GREAT DESIGN TIPS - Part 2

30 Great Design Tips - Part 2

Color

11. Foliage is important. Go for contrast in color, texture, and shape of flowering plant foliage. Don't think of everything as plain green. Put the tall, emerald green, grasslike foliage of Siberian iris next to the low, chunky, silver-gray foliage of lamb's-ears, for example. Foliage also comes in yellow-greens, spring greens, blue-greens, and with variegations that include bits of white, red, purple, and other colors.

12. Come up with a color theme. As tempting as it is to choose a splash of this and a bit of that, the best gardens have a general color theme... more





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30 GREAT DESIGN TIPS

30 Great Design Tips

You plan, you plant, and still your flower garden doesn't look quite the way you'd like? Try this potpourri of tips to get you on your way to the flower garden of your dreams.

Gettting Started

1. Educate yourself. Spend those long winter evenings reading garden magazines and books and poring over catalogs. You'll slowly be able to determine the look you want and envision what plants will work in your garden.

2. Don't feel compelled to put it on paper. Sure, you can chart it all out, but nothing... more





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A LIVABLE LANDSCAPE - Part 2

A Livable Landscape - Part 2

Repetition & Scale
Repetition

Repeating an element periodically in your landscape creates a sense of unity. It could be a color, surface, shape, flower, or even a continuous path that winds through all of your outdoor rooms.

Scale
The relative size of your landscape's elements is important. Our eyes expect a certain range and progression of sizes; a deviation looks wrong. For example, we expect to see the shortest plants... more





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A LIVABLE LANDSCAPE

A Livable Landscape

From the magazine, Simply Perfect Landscapes
Whether you design your landscape by yourself or enlist professional help, the guiding idea is to fit together different elements in a way that meets your needs and is visually appealing to you.

Dreams & Designs
Form Follows Function

Good design requires looking at your yard as a whole. One way to start is to make a bird's-eye sketch of your property on paper or on your computer. Then, using tracing paper or computer landscaping... more





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ALL ABOUT TREES - Part 2

All About Trees - Part 2

Choosing the Right Site

It's fun to pick out a tree you like, but it's tricky to pick out a proper place to put it. Careful planning and positioning of any new addition to your landscape will ensure its success and avoid problems in years to come. As an essential landscape feature, use trees to delineate areas, form a focal point, or reinforce vistas.

An appropriately sited tree has plenty of room to reach maturity and won't interfere with overhead utility lines, underground pipes and utility lines, street traffic, lighting, or parking. Avoid planting... more





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ALL ABOUT TREES

All About Trees

Everything you need to know to maintain these gentle giants.

Trees A-Z

Whether or not to plant a tree is one of the first landscaping decisions you need to make, and one of the most lasting ones, as a tree will stay around to reward or punish you and generations to come. When the appropriate tree is selected and planted in a proper spot, it frames the home and beautifies the landscape, making both more enjoyable. Trees increase the resale value of property, and save energy costs. Plan now, savor later.

Select the Right Tree
As you consider trees, visualize them at maturity and remember that some trees develop as much width as height if given space. Picture... more





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ESTIMATING LANDSCAPE COSTS - Part 2

Estimating Landscape Costs - Part 2

Money-Saving Ideas

Keep these tips in mind as you shop for your yard.

Plan before you buy. Knowing exactly what you need and where you're going to put it helps avoid wasting money.

Talk to a pro. You may not need to hire a landscape architect or designer to develop your whole project, but $50 to $100 for an hour-long consultation is well worth the money... more





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ESTIMATING LANDSCAPE COSTS

Estimating Landscape Costs

Keeping costs down may be the toughest landscape challenge. Use our price guide as a starting point.

Flowers, Shrubs, Grasses

Generally, starting small keeps plant costs under control; however, it may be years before your landscape matures. Larger plants cost more, but provide instant results. If you buy large trees, you may need professional help transporting and installing them.

With all plants, the price varies with rarity and quality. For annuals and perennials, buying seed and starting plants indoors is almost always cheaper... more





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LANDSCAPE A NEW SITE - Part 2

Landscape a New Site - Part 2

Phase 4: Perennials

Now you can buy your perennials. But be prepared for sticker shock. Ready for a warm-up jolt? A single daylily will probably cost from $9 to $20. One 3-inch Rudbeckia can cost $6. One sprig of ornamental grass can cost $9-$15. And it will take more than you think to fill an area. For instance, you will need about 12 bellflowers (Campanula carpatica) to fill a 2x2-foot space. At about $6 per plant, that's $72 for 4 square feet, although you can usually get discounts if you buy in bulk. Just a 5-foot-deep border along a typical house foundation could hold 150 square feet of planting space. To ease the budget, leave some gaps and let... more





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LANDSCAPE A NEW SITE

Landscape a New Site

Don't be intimidated at the prospect of landscaping an entire yard. By breaking the work into five distinct phases, you can handle the job with ease.

Phase 1: The Bones

Landscaping your yard is easily achievable if you break it into bite-sized work portions. Although you should have your results in mind before you start, don't hope to do it all at one sitting. Our example shows how you can turn a naked front yard into a full landscape in five phases, which can be done in consecutive years or on a timeline that matches your budget.

Each phase costs about $1,000-$1,500, depending on the size of plants you purchase... more





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LOW-UPKEEP LANDSCAPES - Part 2

Low-Upkeep Landscapes - Part 2

Low-Maintenance Plants
Ground Covers

- Armeria
- Chamomile (Anthemis nobilisClover (Trifolium spp.)
- Epimedium
- Pachysandra
- Phlox subulataSedum
- Sedum spp.
- Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
- Thyme (Thymus spp.)
- Violet

Perennials

- Aster
- Astilbe
... more




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LOW-UPKEEP LANDSCAPES

Low-Upkeep Landscapes

Want a yard that needs only minimal maintenance? Try these tips, including suggestions for low-upkeep plants.

Top Tips

Give away the lawn mower and forget about reseeding, watering, dethatching, and all of that other traditional yard work. Trade in your turf for an appealing, easy-care lawn.

"Low-upkeep" and "lawn" rarely appear in the same sentence. For most homeowners, the ideal front lawn is green and neat as a Christmas tree. But keeping this lush look demands sacrifice. Do you spend hours seeding... more





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PLAN YOUR YARD - Part 2

Plan Your Yard - Part 2

Practical Matters

5. Draw up a budget. It's a good idea to come up with a preliminary, flexible budget during the early stages of planning. You can modify it as your plans change and as you get a better feel for how much your dreams will cost. Determine a total sum you are willing to spend, factoring in how much of the construction and gardening work you want a professional to do. Decide whether quality or immediacy is more important. For example, typically a dry-stone retaining wall costs more than one made from railroad ties. If done... more





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A LANDSCAPE FROM SCRATH - Part 3

A Landscape from Scratch - Part 3

Trees and Evergreens

Shade trees grow to heights between 40 and 100 feet. Some shade trees, such as willow and catalpa, grow rapidly and will provide shade in five to 10 years. That quick growth results in weaker wood, however, so these trees are less likely to weather high winds without damage.

Slower-growing shade trees, such as red and white oak, and sugar and Norway maple, have stronger wood to resist weather extremes. These trees are valuable when planted on the south side of your home... more





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THE ULTIMATE GARDEN PLANNING GUIDE - Part 2

The Ultimate Garden Planning Guide - Part 2

Bedmaking Basics

Try this simple, no-dig way to transform a patch of lawn into a garden bed.

1. Cover the area with a layer of newspaper about 12 pages thick.

2. Cover the paper with 3 inches of compost, or a 50-50 mix of topsoil and manure (composted manure is virtually odorless).


3. Wait for six months while all the layers, including the sod, decompose to create
... more




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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Plan Your Yard

Take the time to create a personal vision for your landscape -- you'll be rewarded when that unused space turns into a usable and attractive part of your home.

Assess the Site

Effective design starts with planning. Follow these 10 steps to create a well-designed plan for your yard; then you'll be ready to transform your landscape yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.

1. Survey the site. Measure the area to be landscaped and plot the relative location and dimensions of the house, garage, and outdoor features... more





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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A LANDSCAPE FROM SCRATCH - Part 2

A Landscape from Scratch - Part 2

Put It on Paper

Remember that landscaping is created in pencil, not in dirt.

Whether you plan traditional -- or natural -- landscaping on your own or will oversee a contractor, take a look at your lot objectively. Doodle diagrams showing sun angles during the day and throughout the year, direction of winter winds and summer breezes, privacy... more





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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Landscape from Scratch

A Landscape from Scratch

How thoughtful landscape planning can make your new home a neighborhood showplace.

Complement Nature

Thoughtful architects, builders, and homeowners are increasingly concerned about blending new houses with existing plants and terrain. A landscape addition should be designed to complement nature.

"The fundamental idea is to preserve the character of the land and design the house and plants accordingly. This includes using plants that are native to the area," says Connecticut landscape designer A.E. Bye.

The formality of linear flowerbeds and sculptured hedgerows may complement a rigidly traditional home, but most landscape pros favor a ... more


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