It’s almost that time of year! That time when the landscape of brown, dead grass and barren tree limbs transforms into a beautiful display of fresh budding leaves, pink and white flowers and healthy, renewed green grass. Spring is almost here! While we know spring won’t “officially” be here until March, it’s never too early to get your spring landscaping in place! By taking a few steps early in the season, you can help create a beautiful, healthy yard for the upcoming season.
This is a re-post from much earlier, but we updated some of the information. We love birds at Olympic Lawn, and think that birdwatching is a very rewarding hobby. Here are some tips on winter bird feeding.
There is nothing better than a lazy Sunday on the porch watching the robins and blue jays eat from the bird feeder. But when that cold weather hits, it is time to protect our winged friends winterize the bird feeders.
We’ve all been there – its tempting to give into the cheap landscape curbing that’s calling your name. Its all curled up, so nice and tight, sitting on the shelf like a good little piece of coiled black plastic. Especially with it’s darling little price tag hanging from the shelf. It doesn’t want you to know that once you cut those zip ties, it just goes down from there. Once you manage to wrangle it into some sort of manageable form and get it lined up in your yard, there’s no guarantee that it will last. And that cute little price tag becomes a glaring realization that all of those pennies just went down the drain. Especially when it gets near one of it’s biggest enemies like:
A Curved Landscape Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
A blog post about landscaping small yards recently caught our attention.
Professional landscapers in Baltimore gave several tips for how to make a backyard space look larger through professional landscaping. One great suggestion was to avoid lining the fence with trees and shrubs, and to consider edging in curved patterns and sweeping lines to add beauty and space.
Curbing Allows for Curved Patterns
We specialize in custom concrete curbing, which allows for the effect that the article recommends. Instead of having a straight-lined perimeter that makes the lawn look smaller and caged in, use concrete curbing to create the sweeping lines and soft borders. Curbing is long-lasting and will be the perfect fit for a small backyard. Rather than having the focus be on limited space, concrete curbing will attract the eye and add sophistication to any professional landscaping area – big or small.
Customizing the Curbing Shapes
Because concrete curbing is customized, it can be colored, shaped and designed to your specifications. We pour each brick that is installed, so we can create curbing in the shape and pattern you desire. Start by spending time in your backyard and drawing out how you’d like your curbing to be shaped. Then call your professional landscapers to make recommendations on the right shape and color for your curbing. Curbing is long-lasting and will add the “pop” to outdoor landscaping.
Adding Colors and Plants in a Small Backyard
Once the curved curbing is poured, enhance the flower beds with colorful plants and garden decor. As the article recommends, make sure to not put too many large pieces in the backyard, and plant shrubs and flowers that will not outgrow your space. Scale your lawn to make sure that you have the right size of items before purchasing.
For more tips on making a curved landscape pattern as beautiful as it can be, call Olympic Lawn & Landscape at (816) 875-9645
Only a few weeks left until pruning time begins. Why not assess your plants now and get a head start with some early pruning tips!
Pruning may not be fun, but it can actually lengthen the life of your plants. Proper pruning can help mature a plant to its fullest potential. Giving your plant the most ideal situation for growth is also ideal for you because it increases your properties curb appeal. And this time of year is ideal for pruning.
Pruning should begin in late-winter to avoid any winter injury to the plant. The ideal time to prune is just before spring growth is set to begin. Depending on your location, late February to early April are the best months for winter pruning.
Like all plants most of the life-giving energy is stored in the root system or at the base of the trunk or shrub, pruning the upper portion of a tree or a plant will not take away any energy the tree has stored up.
While it is healthy to do some winter pruning to almost all of your trees and plants it is actually very wise to prune any trees or plants that bear fruit. Pruning early helps the fruit bearing plants and trees to produce better shoots when they are ready to blossom in the spring. Strong sturdy shoots produce healthy fruit.
It is also very important for leafy shrubs as well as spruces and firs to be pruned just before spring. These vibrant green plants can often grow wildly during their active season. Thinning out these plants during their dormant season will help control their growth when spring arrives.
How to Prune
The first step in pruning is to come up with a pruning plan. A pruning plan will allow you to make wise cuts instead of and leaving your plants bare. To begin your plan remove all dead parts first, then evaluate if other pruning cuts need to be made for new growth.
Once you begin to prune make sharp quick cuts. Jagged cuts are not good on the plant. After removing dead branches or leaves evaluate if there are any tree limbs that rub together, if so, they will also need to be pruned.
It is best to make lateral cuts that are about 1/4 inch above a bud.
Pruning, looping and hedge shears are all important to have during the pruning process. A good pair of shears can last a long time.
Each shear has a specific function as it relates to your plants. For instance, Pruning shears work better for smaller plants, looping shears are good for hard to reach smaller branches and hedge shears are used best on hedge work.
Another good tool to have on hand is a saw. A saw can help you cut off larger branches that shears are unable to cut. Depending on the size of the branch, a hand saw or chain saw should do the trick.
Keep all tools sharp to make better cuts. Dull tools will create jagged rough cuts. Again, all cuts should be clean.
Start preparing to prune today! Not only will it highlight your landscaping design, your plants will thank you!
Want the best looking garden on the block? Creating a healthy eco-friendly garden can be much easier than you think. Plus, it’s extremely affordable. With a little time and practice, making your garden stand out from the rest can be done by using the age old method of composting.
Natural Gardening – The Beginning
Composting has been around since the beginning of time, literally. The earth naturally composts what it produces. For instance, if you were to walk in a wooded area and start to digging under fallen leaves you would see the natural composting process occurring.
When dead leaves, twigs, and other nature artifacts decay into the ground, they begin to compost. And inside a compost is some of the most nutrient-rich matter you will find out there. These nutrients make gardens bright and vibrant. Composting is a natural fertilizer that does not contain any hazardous chemicals either. It is one of the most natural ways to produce a luscious lawn and garden.
The great news about composting is that it is extremely simple. Any work you do in your lawn, from mowing to pruning, even to pulling weeds can be composted. And most food, aside from dairy products and meat, can be sent to the compost pile, too. The best food items include:
- Banana peels
- Rotted fruit
- Veggie scraps
- Potato skins
- Tea bags
How to Compost
The first step in composting is to designate a small spot of your yard for the compost pile. Usually a corner area that is not extremely noticeable is best. As a Kansas City Landscaper, I know that most people think that compost piles are an eye-sore to their yard. But, there are now reasonably priced and nice looking compost bins out there that help create a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing area for composting. Finding a bin or just creating a space for your compost is a big decision in the composting process.
After a spot is chosen it is now time to gather all of your dead leaves, grass clippings and pruned plants and place them in your composting spot. If you have large twigs, be sure to break them down so that they compost faster.
For food items, set up a container with a lid in your garage where you can throw your compostable foods. To avoid making multiple trips to the compost pile in a day, designate one time a day or one time every other day to dump your food container into your compost pile.
Up Keep for a Compost Pile
To keep your pile composting correctly and in a timely manner, be sure to mix the pile often. A simple way to mix your pile is to use a shovel and scoop the bottom contents to the top a few times. Also, make sure your compost pile is damp and not dry. A moist compost pile will allow the contents to decompose quicker. You can also buy worms to help in the composting process, but eventually worms from your yard will naturally make their way to your pile.
When your pile has a soil-like texture to it that contains small particles of leaves or food, you know that your pile is ready to use. Compost material can be used anywhere on your lawn. It will help plants in your garden grow and can also be used as a great fertilizer around your lawn.
When it is all said and done, not only are you making your lawn as luscious as it can be, which adds curb appeal, you are also saying thanks to Mother Earth by not sending more waste to the landfill.
If you live in the Midwest you probably haven’t been complaining about the winter weather. Weather can be one of the most unpredictable things. Even when forecasters have your entire week charted out, there is still no guarantee that things are going to stay as stated. Especially if you live in the Kansas City area.
This winter we have seen temperatures all the way up into the 70’s. Unusually unheard of this time of year, rare, really. One day it could be below freezing, damp and cloudy and the next day it’s dry and in the mid-50’s. So what does this mean for your plants this year?
Good For Your Grass
Warmer weather, even in the winter, allows grass roots to grow stronger especially for new grass that was put down in the fall. However, this new grass can also be sensitive if the temperature drops. During unpredictable winters, like this one, it is best to take extra care of your grass.
During a warm winter make sure that newer grass is hydrated properly. When the temperatures drop keep anyone, including dogs and cats off of newer grass.
Warm winter weather also encourages extra care for your flowering plants and fruit plants. If you catch some of your fruit or flowering plants budding early because of warmer weather, try protecting them when the cold weather is forecast.
There is nothing you can do to change the weather patterns, but you can protect your vulnerable buds from getting frost bite. Covering your plants when the temperature drops is the way to go. Be sure to use breathable material, cover your plants at dusk and then uncover them when the sun rises. Even on cold days, having sunlight is good nourishment for your plants.
The great news for your trees and shrubs is that almost all of them are hardy enough to brave most weather conditions, even the fluctuating ones we have had this year. If a tree or shrub does spring a bud a little early and then catch a freeze, the good news is that most will be able to re-bud again in the spring. Almost all trees can replace lost buds. Luckily, it takes a lot to really damage a hardy tree or shrub.
Warm Winter Maintenance – Plans For Your Landscaping
As a Kansas City Landscaper I know that properly taking care of a lawn and landscaping in the winter is key to a successful spring bloom. This winter if you keep a close eye on the weather forecast then you should be able to take the best care of your lawn and plants.
Warm Winter Maintenance Tips
For instance, if it is warm temperatures but moisture levels are low and rain is not in the forecast, then start watering your plants once or twice a week. Plants thrive on water and need it to stay strong, even in the winter!
Prune and Plant
If the warm weather is set to continue, consider doing some light early pruning to your trees and shrubs. And later in the winter season if the weather is still warm, take advantage of the temperatures and start planting for spring early.
Get the most out of this warmer weather for yourself and your lawn. Take advantage of some nice days in the great outdoors and give your landscaping a jump start on prospering this spring.
It’s officially a trend, more and more people are wanting to utilize their lawn not only for aesthetic design, but also to help save on the grocery bill. With the prices on produce rising, it is understandable that edible landscapes are on the up and up.
Why Mix It Up?
The Kansas City Star recently did a piece on edible landscapes and the earthy wave that is hitting the Midwest. The rational behind this movement carries a double benefit. Not only does taking fruits and veggies out of your garden and into your landscape add a new fresh design, it also allows you to save much needed cash. And finding the right produce to match the rest of your landscape is the key to edible success!
As a local landscaper, I know that landscaping in Kansas City can sometimes be tricky. With weather all over the map, it’s sometimes hard to find the right plants. But, the best way to make the edible landscape work is to just use what you would regularly put in your garden and move it to a different part of your lawn. No need to get extra fancy, a little rearranging can go a long way.
Mix and Match
Why keep your garden in your garden? Throw some color into your normal landscaping by using what you already have. If you want to add some vines to your landscaping try planting some pumpkin seeds. Want leafy greens, try mixing in cabbage or lettuce to a space that needs green texture. Need to plant a new tree, skip the oak and plant an apple or peach tree.
Before you go out and buy all of this years seeds and starter plants make sure you have a well thought out plan. Draw up how you want it to look before you plant. Research in advance how each of the plants work together.
Also, be sure to think out the colors involved when using edible arrangements. Many fruits and veggies can also produce colorful leaves and even flowers. Mix in color and texture that goes along with your current landscaping. Planning ahead will save extra work later.
Yard Work Done Easy
When tending to a garden there is definitely regular maintenance involved. One perk about edible landscaping is that since you will already be tending to your produce, it will allow you a better opportunity to take care of the surrounding plants as well.
Watering, picking and pruning can be done across your entire lawn while you pick your produce. Instead of just tending to your garden, you are now tending to your entire landscape. Not only can you pick fresh produce, but you can also cut some fresh flowers to decorate the inside of your house too!
Another added benefit of edible landscaping is the reduction of insects attacking your produce. You can plant your produce around other plants that attract bugs that will kill the bugs that arrive on your fruits and veggies. Insects who feast on produce are also not as likely to damage as much produce when it is mixed in with other plants because it has to travel a lot farther to get to the next section of produce.
As winter begins to close and you make big spring landscaping plans, try adding in a little life and color to your landscaping. Catch the wave and join others across the country on saving money and increasing curb appeal through edible landscaping.
March 20th marks the first day of spring and as the day approaches so does the time to add color and pizazz to your landscaping. Adding in the top spring flowers of 2012 will get the neighbors turning their heads towards your lawn.
If you didn’t get around to planting your bulbs in the fall, have no fear, you can still produce great color in your landscaping by adding flowers that can be planted in early spring. From perennials to annuals, there are plenty of beautiful flowers that can be planted in just a few weeks.
Once the ground starts to become soft again, it will be the perfect time to start digging and planting the flowers of your dreams!
Best Spring Flowers
If you want your lawn to get some attention and curb appeal try adding some of the following beauties to your landscaping design this spring! These flowers are perfect for early spring planting.
The calla lily is a beautiful flower that takes minimal effort to maintain. Usually blooming in yellow, pink or white, these distinguished and elegant flowers will take your landscaping to the next level.
Gladiolus are also elegant flowers. This tall wonder takes up little space and produce bright colors. Try planting multiple gladiolus flowers three or four weeks in a row to have a staggered bloom in late spring and summer. Having a staggered bloom in various colors will definitely get the attention of people passing by.
Dahlias should be a standard for all gardens. These curvy pompom type flowers produce hardy blooms that with proper can last through the summer. Coming in multiple varieties of colors and shapes, this plant can make a home anywhere in your garden.
If you want to mix things up, try adding nerines to your garden. These festive plants are tall and thin but produce fun blooms. And when their blooms die, the leaves on the flower produce luscious greens. Plant in an area with color so that the green leaves can pop when the petals fall. These plants fully bloom closer to fall so planting them around color in the spring is ideal.
A little more maintenance may be needed with these beauties, but the result is well worth it. The begonia is not bought as a bulb, and is best started in pots. The great thing about potted begonias is that they can be taken in and kept as house plants in the fall when it begins to frost.
Get the Most Use Out of your purchase
With so much great color blossoming in your yard, you should take full advantage of its beauty. Since most of these flowers don’t last long, try snipping off a couple of blooms a week and making bouquets for your house. The smells and colors will liven up any room and grace your house with the fragrance of spring.
As the days start to get warmer start planning your perfect flower arrangements. Consider hiring a local landscaper to help you plant your flowering beauties in the the most ideal spots for thriving. Take advantage of this springs top picks and start turning heads with your color combinations.
Nothing says summer like fresh veggies. Slice a deep red and beefy tomato, toss in some home grown basil and a good mozzarella and you’ll have the perfect summer salad. Few things compare to stepping outside and picking the tomato yourself with a snip of herbs on the way back inside.
Unfortunately a vegetable garden requires yard space, may interfere with landscaping or just be difficult to maintain. This is where the container garden steps in. Most any summer veggie can be coaxed into growing in the proper pot and the bounty can be delicious. Watering becomes easier, fertilizing is simple and they can actually add to the beauty of a patio or deck. So if you want the privilege of the backyard side dish there are lots of plant varieties that love the container.
I Say Tomato!
The granddaddy of the summer garden and the number one pick of all vegetable growers the tomato is very happy to be contained. A full size plant need a container with a soil capacity of at least 20 quarts and a water capacity of at least a gallon or more to keep up with this water lover. Patio varieties are also available for smaller spaces and produce smaller but just as yummy fruits. Buying tip: You may be tempted to buy large plants at the garden center with blossoms already set. Avoid this and buy smaller plants with dark green leaves and few or no blossoms. Blossoms can be a sign of stress in a plant that sits in a tiny pot. Give a small plant a big home and you’ll get a happy plant.
Wouldn’t You Like to Have a Pepper, Too?
Green, red, yellow, orange or even purple. Sweet, spicy or fiery. Large, small or just decorative. Pepper plants come in all kinds of delightful varieties and are well suited for containers. They love heat and consistent moisture and some varieties are compact enough to grow well in medium containers or even mix with other small plants in a larger one. Growing tip: Peppers need lots of light and heat so don’t be discouraged if they take a while to get going.
Lettuce Entertain You!
Lettuce is a fabulous container vegetable with almost as many choices for color, texture, size or taste as stars in the sky. They need constant moisture so a self-watering container is ideal. And because they are an early season plant that won’t tolerate summer heat you can use the container again for flowers after your lettuce season ends. Leaf lettuces are wonderful for “cut and come back” harvesting as you can cut the whole plane an inch above the soil and it will grow a new set of leaves.
Cukes Are Cute!
Cucumbers from the garden are a world away from the waxed and dry variety from the supermarket. They need heat, a consistent amount of food and lots and lots of H2O so this make them great for containers that can be tended just outside your door. They’ll need something to climb so if you don’t want that to be your patio furniture provide them with a trellis. Make sure your container is deep enough to sink support stakes into to secure the trellis as the vine can become heavy. Harvest when they’re smaller then the store variety as they will taste better. Beware of powdery mildew and cucumber beetles.
Squash Isn’t Just a Sport.
Summer squash is actually a bush rather than a vine so they can be grown in containers without invading your patio or everywhere else. Plant in the largest container you can manage, self-watering if possible, and deep. Like cucumbers summer squash in the garden should be harvested well before the size you see in the supermarket. Whether green zucchinis or yellow banana yellow squash you’ll be pleased with how well these container plants taste.
Herbs Are Well Seasoned.
Don’t forget the huge and wonderful varieties of herbs that can be container grown. Basil is the champ with colors from dark green to vivid purple and widely varied in taste. Rosemary is a wonderful, pungent Italian herb with a smell that will follow you anywhere once you’ve brushed against the silvery leaves. Thyme, sage, oregano, chives and parsley offer many choices of color and flavor. They can be planted together or separate and add a lovely foliage complement to annuals and perennials. Sneak a pot of chives into the house for the winter and clip the leaves as needed.
If you’ve never planted vegetables or herbs in containers you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be. And it can truly be a pleasure to step out of the kitchen on a lovely summer evening, collect a fresh selection of edibles and serve them for dinner. Entice your guests at a patio party with tiny orange peppers, striped tomatoes and edible nasturtium flowers in a fresh salad at the table.