Drought Watering Guidelines

As you know the current weather conditions are extremely dry and grass and plant materials are struggling to survive.  As a result we have put together some watering tips for you to follow to ensure that your plant materials can survive.  Water is essential for plants to grow and develop, and it carries minerals from the soil to the leaves.  It also acts as the raw material from which plants manufacture food.  Below you will find some information regarding the root systems of different plant materials:

 

Plant Type                                        Minimum Root Depth

Annuals & Groundcovers                     2” – 4”

Turf Grass                                                     4” – 6”

Perennials                                                   12” – 14”

Shrubs                                                           18” – 24”

Trees                                                              24” – 60”

 

While your sprinklers may be sufficient for grass areas, groundcovers and perennials, trees and shrubs have a deeper root system that require a lot more water.  It is a good idea to deep-water trees and shrubs by using your garden hose and holding it at the root system for a period of 1-2 minutes.  Do this twice a day during periods of extreme drought.  For other plant materials such as annuals, perennials, groundcovers and grass, they should be watered additionally between the hours of 2pm and 6pm in order to cool off the root system and prevent rooting from drying out.  It is best to water several hours before sunset to give the leaves time to dry before dark.  If you water too late in the day the plants are left wet at night, fungi and related diseases set in.

 

In addition to watering more, you may want to have fresh mulch added to your beds and around trees to keep moisture from evaporating and prevent over drying.  If you should need any fresh mulch, please feel free to call us to be added to our schedule.

 

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Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2016

Team Great Lakes Discuss: DECOR

Landscape designer, Jeremy and landscape stylist, Alicia of Team Great Lakes sit down to discuss decor. Listen and watch as they give tips on how to make your indoors flow to your outdoors and back again. You can also view the transcript below. All images are property of Great Lakes Landscape Design.

Alicia: Some people don’t even realize how important it is to decorate their outdoors. They don’t even realize it’s the first place you look at, it’s the first place you come to, it’s the place you leave from, and it’s almost more important than any room, I think, in the house. I think you can have outdoor décor in your front, I think you can have it in your back. I think you can use it as far as your mailbox can be part of your décor, your rug mat can be part of your décor, and your lighting can be part of your décor. There are so many things that can create a vibe from the outside that can give like a feeling of who you are on the inside.
Jeremy: It also shows that the home is lived in, and the space is lived in and well used. It gives the space personality, and the items that you can use range from rugs, pillows, any of the chotchkie material such as pagodas and sundials, bird baths; any of that stuff can be used as décor.
Alicia: And unexpected things too, things you don’t expect. You could have statues, you could put a mirror, I mean people think mirrors are like for bathrooms and bedrooms, they’re so not according to Feng Shui they belong outside. They create a whole bunch of vibe on what kind of house it is. And as Ivan Katz says: “They make rules to follow, and we at Great Lakes like to break them.”
Jeremy: Now things like planters can also be used as décor. Planters don’t need to be just clay pots, they can be glazed with numerous colors and shapes and styles, and those all lend themselves to the personality of that home owner, giving color and range. And then you can build on that with the plant material that goes in it.
Alicia: Completely, and it doesn’t necessarily even have to be like a real pot for planting. People use all kinds of stuff, you know, you make a hole in it and you can turn it into a pot, shoes, and different kinds of pots that aren’t necessarily clay pots for planting. You know, you can create all kinds of stuff, now anything is acceptable, really. You can go with the vibe of your house, or you can be eclectic and have one feeling outside and a different feeling inside.
Desiree: You even see people using old doors and old ladders, and stuff like that.
Alicia: Windows…
Jeremy: As trellises. I’ve seen ladders placed up against a home and then vines growing on them. But things like throw pillows and afghans, things like that on furniture.
Alicia: I mean really, it’s all about inside out and outside in.

Juicy Custom Pots!

Click here and like us on Facebook, and share if you feel so inclined! We’re always posting a variety of images from jobs we’ve completed, updates from past jobs, landscape tips, and more! Because who doesn’t want MORE? We take pride in bringing our clients closer to nature whether that’s via beautiful images or in their own backyard. This image is from just a few of our Spring/Summer pots from this past season. So juicy! Just a little over a month before we begin the Fall pot season.

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

Landscapes New & Old – Maintenance & Care

Your landscapes will always require some form of care, there is no such thing as a care free landscape. A landscape will require frequent weeding, trimming, and the occasional dividing of your perennials and ornamental grasses, to maintain the original design intent of the landscape.

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

When a landscape is originally installed, thoughts towards what plants will go in will determine what level of care the landscape will require. Hedges will require regular pruning or the hedges will become unruly and can overtake the surrounding plants. Plant selection can help reduce pruning frequencies for example; if you are looking for a small evergreen hedge that you wish to stay small, you want to choose a plant that will not mature to a large size. This will reduce pruning frequencies. This same practice can also be applied to flowering shrubs. The industry as of late has started to develop plants that have a much smaller mature size such as Little Lime Hydrangea. These smaller mature sizes can reduce pruning times and are great for smaller spaces that cannot contain its larger counter- part; Limelight Hydrangea.

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

The same thought in pruning goes for well-established landscapes. Older landscapes unfortunately do not have that luxury, but the use of chemical growth inhibitors can be implemented to reduce level of pruning.

Weeding is universal in all landscapes, if weeding is not done nature will reclaim it; extreme vigilance is necessary when the wind, birds or other animals deposit weed seeds within your landscape. There are many methods used to try and reduce weeding such as Preen, which only prevents weed seeds from germinating, it does not stop weeds that already exist, which is a common misconception. Another issue that most people do not know is that Preen can also inhibit your groundcover from spreading. A second chemical application used is Round Up, this chemical is a non-selective herbicide that will kill almost everything that it comes into contact with. Yes, there are plants out there that can understand such an assault, so even Round Up is not the complete answer. Round Up is a great product, and when used as directed it can be a great tool to help reduce weeds within the landscape. A physical barrier is also frequently used, which is great if you are trying to smother existing weeds that are a nuisance, but the usefulness ends there. What most people do not understand is that organic matter will end up on top of the barrier. Whether you use mulch (which will break down to become soil) or any other type of organic material, soil will eventually end up there via wind, birds etc. The best way to combat weeds is to plant a landscape that can help smother the ground reducing that competition. Plants such as Hostas and other ground coverings cover the ground, reducing the spaces in which weeds can grow. Planting such plants, again, is not a guarantee that weeds will not grow. They need to become established first, maintaining a weed free zone until that time. Once these plants have become established your weeding frequencies will be greatly reduced.

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

Another great way to help reduce weeds within your planting space is to provide a 3” layer of mulch that has a great matting capacity, this means the fibers fuse together. This matted layer not only provides a great level of water retention for the soil, but creates a thermal barrier that helps prevent weed seeds from growing. Again this is not a guarantee that weeds will not grow, sometimes just physically removing them is the best option.

Winter preparation can be an intricate part of your landscape maintenance. Being prepared can be a difficult thing to adjust for, one cannot know what kind of winter we are going to have. Your best way to assure that most of your plants will make it through the winter is to make sure you select plant material that grows well within our growing zone. Zones are based on low temperatures throughout our county. Choosing plant material that is on the boarder of the zones can leave you a little heartbroken if the winter’s low temperatures dip too much lower than those plants tolerances. Winters with a great deal of snow can be very good to retain soil temperature by creating an insulating layer, while winters with little snow and a great deal of cold can wreak havoc on all of your landscape plants. Broad leaf evergreens are extremely susceptible to winter desiccation. This is when a plant tries to draw moisture from the frozen earth and there is nothing to draw from or when there are high winds that pull the moisture right from the leaves causing the plants leaves to fold in and turn brown. How to prevent this is to either physically adding something around the plant to help protect the plant from the damaging winds and to shade the plant when there is a great deal of sun during those late Indian Summers that we are known for. Another option to help reduce this is to add a chemical application called an anti-desiccant which will help close the plants pores and help prevent water loss. Perennials can also be susceptible to harsh winter weather that can not only cause them to be stunted for the season but also can cause them to parish. To assist this adding mulch to help insulate the soil is a great deal of help and if you have a particular sensitive perennial that you are growing that is on the boarder of our growing zone you can place straw on top of them to help keep them for the winter. A winter like the one that we have just had is something that no one can prepare for, no matter how far within the tolerances you are with your plant material, temperatures fell far below what we have seen in many decades so remember mother nature can be very unpredictable and we must be prepared for almost anything.

Once your landscape has become established, your bed maintenance should be greatly reduced, granted that you do not have a hedge filled formal garden. The general removal of the occasional weed, along with seasonal pruning and the occasional dividing of perennials and ornamental grasses should be all that is needed to maintain a healthy and well-kept landscape. Keep following our future blogs on tips on transplanting and dividing.

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

Are you ready for your outdoor parties?

Preparation is everything when it comes to a big event at your home, so begin preparing for your parties early. Whether it is a graduation party, Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah, Wedding or your seasonal 4th of July party; you do not want to be caught at the last minute scrambling to get on the schedule to finish that paver project, or new landscape, or just a touch up of your existing landscape. Another thing that you may want to consider is the general maintenance of your outdoor kitchen. After many seasons of use your grill should be gone over with a thorough cleaning and general review to make sure that all systems are working at peak efficiency. Nobody wants to have a grill malfunction in the middle of barbequing for all of your guests. Please call us so we can get you on the schedule and make sure that your landscape is in order for any of your upcoming events.

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

If you do not have an outdoor kitchen and you are looking at getting one, there are many options to consider when deciding on materials to construct it. Materials that can be considered are: pavers, stone veneer, house brick or even stucco. These materials can be used to either blend in with existing materials to make it look like it was always there, or you can go with a material that will pop and draw attention to the space as a focal point. Just as if it were part of your home, counter tops are also a very important part of the decision, but one must consider durability because this space will be exposed to the elements year round. Material options to consider are; granite, concrete or natural stone. Finishing touches will be determined by the needs of the client; how large of a grill is needed, how many cabinets, drawers, burners, whether or not running water is needed etc.

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

© Great Lakes Landscape Design, 2014

If grilling is a passion, nothing beats a custom outdoor kitchen that you can entertain guests around and have as a great focal point in your back yard. Call us today for your consultation.