Eco-friendly Landscaping Ideas for Community or Residential Spaces

Creating the perfect landscape takes a considerable amount of research, time, and investment. Most homeowners pursue landscape ideas based on plans set in place by other homeowners or landscaping professionals, usually found online. Lately, people have been leaning more towards eco-friendly landscapes to preserve natural resources and promote the overall well-being of the environment.

For those searching for factors that make a landscape eco-friendlier, use these ideas as a reference.

Use Native Plants

orange flower landscaping ideas

Consult local plant nurseries regarding native plants. Botanists can inform you on what plants are ideal for your environment.

Why are native plants essential to eco-friendly landscaping?

  • Pollination – Native plants of different types bloom at two different times during the year. The process of give and take from plant to eco-system builds a balance that maintains the health of a landscape.
  • Adjustment – Native plants are optimal in their environment. Native plants can sustain the harsh conditions of the environment if the landscape is maintained effectively.

Pollination Gardens

walking path with circle stones and surrounded by pink flowers

As mentioned before, pollination is an effective method to creating an eco-friendly environment. Plants that bloom during different seasons help the environments plants and insects, and provide a great cosmetic look for the landscape, like Azaleas. These plants bloom during the Spring and the Fall.

Plants like Bee Balm, Dianthus, and Penstemon are also great pollinators. Different color flowering plants attract various insects or other animals. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to warm colors like red and yellow.

Recycled Material in a Landscape

man and women sitting on bench in front of large home

Landscapers, communities, and homeowners show character to a landscape by using recycled material. These materials can be weathered stepping stones and antique metal chairs. The idea is to produce an environment using second hand or even hand-made objects in a landscape design. Thrift stores can be a good place to find old benches and chairs to strategically use in a landscape.

Effective Ground Cover

green ground cover used for landscaping

To maintain the health of plants, a ground cover is essential for a landscape. Landscaping professionals, homeowners, and commercial businesses should consider installing a ground cover for garden beds and lawns.
Ground Cover Options:
Mulch – This ground cover type is the most effective in maintaining moisture in a garden bed. Mulch is more expensive than most ground covers, but it can protect plants from harsh weather conditions. Mulch comes in various colors (such as black, brown, and red). Find what mulch color works better for your landscape.
Pine Straw – It’s a lower cost than mulch. The brown and bronze color of pine straw complements the colors of evergreens and flowering plants that have a vibrant color.
Pine Bark – Pine bark costs more than pine straw and some mulch colors. Home improvement retailers usually sell pine bark in bags. Covering a large area or long path can be expensive so it’s important to weigh out various options before buying.

Efficient Drainage System

Building a landscape requires effective drainage. It’s best that the landscape is well prepared for inclement weather. Explore these drainage systems for optimal patio drainage.

  • French Drain System – This is the essential drainage system for most landscaping professionals. French drains are a combination of pipes (corrugated plastic or PVC pipe) and catch basins. Landscaping professionals and skilled homeowners dig trenches into the ground and install pipes and catch basins into the ground. Some of the pipes are perforated and are covered by gravel rock. French drainage systems are ideal for patios, decks, lawns, and gardens.
  • Rock Drainage System – Rock drainage is a natural drainage system that really brings the landscape cosmetic to another level. Rock drainage requires planning. Think of the location where water is likely to drain. Create a ditch or path. Lay out plastic or roofing paper (usually a black color). Set out rocks along the paper or plastic path to form a coarse path way of rock.

Community Benches

modern outdoor seating on pier

Open up landscapes to the community with benches where people can relax. Benches don’t have to be a classic design. Go with a granite bench made from the river rock. Or have carpenters build a bench area that encircles an old tree. Many community benches make areas more sociable and are effective in commercial business spaces, as well as public residential areas. To get the most out of the environment, use recycled materials and reach for nostalgia. Pull a memory from the local area or past time with thorough research and build a community bench based on those findings.

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October Landscape Maintenance Tips

Happy Autumn! A very special thanks goes to this month’s guest writer, Matt from kebony.com, a Norwegian company which aims to be the “leading wood brand and technology organization.”

 

From Lawnaholic: Some people think that it’s not important to maintain your lawn during colder months, but that is absolutely not true. Being able to keep many aspects of your yard in tip-top shape will help ease into Spring with better soil and growth.

The content below is all about October (and other fall months) Landscaping Tips —

Spring and summer are naturally the busiest months for landscape care but don’t stop regular maintenance and lawn care just because fall has arrived. It is all too common for novice homeowners and property managers to become lax on fall maintenance which only leaves more work to be done come spring.

Remember – the work you put into your landscape in the fall will pay off come spring when the snow has melted. Most of normal fall maintenance involves simple, but important, care that will help ensure your property comes through winter looking great.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while caring for your property in early to mid fall:

Don’t Stop Mowing Just Because Grass Growth Has Slowed

Grass growth slows down quite a bit in the fall but that doesn’t mean you should completely stop mowing. While you won’t need to mow very often you should mow if the length of the grass gets too long. There is a bit of a sweet spot for grass length in the fall. To ensure the grass survives and regrows you’ll want it to be at least 2″ tall. However, once you get to 3″ or more you risk the grass matting together which can mold once snow falls.

Don’t forget to check grass length around decking as well. You should mow here or weedwack if you find the grass or weeds are touching, especially if you have a wood deck as they are more sensitive to pest and moisture damage.

Stay on Top of Leaf and Debris Removal

Raking up leaves is the most obvious fall landscaping chore, but it’s important to routinely rake up leaves as they cover the ground rather than allowing them to sit until the last minute. Leaving leaves and other debris to sit can kill grass and groundcover fairly quickly. Wet leaves and debris can also potentially cause mold or fungus growth under the pile.

Be sure to safely dispose of leaves, branches, and other organic debris safely. In some areas it’s customary, and even somewhat traditional, to burn leaves. This can potentially be unsafe, not to mention it is a waste of a potentially useful organic matter. A better idea is to compost the leaves. If you live in a rural area, go the eco-friendly route and move the leaves on the outskirts of your property for insects and wildlife to use.

Use This Opportunity to Reseed or Start a New Lawn

Early fall is a great time to reseed your lawn or rip out your old lawn to start a new one. Many people make the mistake of reseeding in the spring, which often isn’t the most effective time to be replanting. Reseeding during the fall helps ensure that the seeds themselves can properly take hold in the soil and not be disrupted by family activities on the lawn or heavy snow. Come spring time you will see more growth and healthier grass.

Keep in mind that if you live in a very cold climate you may need to reseed fairly early on in September. Those in more regions with mild winters may be able to reseed as late as November.

Deep Water Shrubs, Hedges and Trees Right Before First Freeze

Depending on your gardening zone there is going to be a “sweet spot” of time between the time deciduous trees or shrubs go dormant and when the ground begins to freeze. This period of time is ideal for deep water around any trees, shrubs, hedges, etc. Thoroughly saturating this foliage will help them get through winter more easily. Just be sure to do this deep watering before the ground begins to freeze as watering combined with freezing ground may have the opposite effect.

Drain Water Systems and Irrigation Hoses

Late October, or earlier depending on when your region hits freezing temperatures at night, is a great time to drain out any irrigation hoses or watering systems around your landscape. You should also shut off outdoor water lines at night. This is a common practice in cooler climates but may not be common sense for everyone. Clearing out irrigation lines and watering systems may need to be done with compressed air to ensure all water is out.

Water trapped in hoses can freeze, expand and bust the lines, leaving you with a mess to clean up in the spring. Failing to shut off outdoor water lines in outbuildings can also cause pipes to break. To be safe, whenever your forecast shows freezing temperatures at night it’s time to consider draining hoses and turning off outdoor water lines.

Clean Off Walkways and Tidy Around Outbuildings

Part of landscaping maintenance includes caring for boardwalks, pathways, gazebos, and any other outbuildings. Allowing leaves or dirt to sit on walkways, especially on wood, can lead to algae or fungus growth and staining. If you live in a region that gets snow, the combination of snow (and ice) on top of loose debris on walkways is potentially a very dangerous slipping hazard as well. Ensure pathways are clear and outbuildings are prepared for winter.

When you properly maintain your landscape throughout fall you are ensuring that all the hard work you put into your property will once again pay off come spring.

 

5 Cool Outdoor Gadgets to Spice Up Your Yard

Out of all the cool outdoor gadgets, some of these on this list make me wonder how people even think of them! Enjoy this list of things you might consider.

1. Terra Grass Armchair Gets Your Yard Involved

If you’re lacking a couple of lawn chairs (you know, the portable kind) and want to sit in the grass, but not on a flat surface, you should check out the Terra Grass Armchair (Amazon Italy) to see what you think. The project was on KickStarter and raised enough money to make the products.

The whole thing is just cardboard and what you can do is build it, plant your seed in dirt and wait for it to grow. Different kits are available which will let you upgrade one of your seats to a sofa. That sounds pretty awesome!

2. Edyn Wi-Fi Garden Sensor

The Edyn garden sensor sets up continuous monitoring of your garden to inform you of any changes in light, humidity, temperature, moisture, and even soil nutrition! Depending on the weather forecast, you’ll be notified of changes and comparisons with a plant database.

Download the app to see how your garden is doing from anywhere (since it’s Wi-Fi connected). Another cool feature about this gadget. It’s solar powered.One of the best parts about the features are that it will recommend certain plants according to your soil and climate region. That’s something an ordinary person can’t do without years of experience.

Check out the Edyn Garden Sensor on Amazon! Wi-Fi connected, real-time monitoring of your plant and garden needs.

3. TreePod’s Original Hanging TreePod Backyard Tree House

hanging treehouse

For this one, you’re going to need a tree, but it will definitely be worth your time. With a capacity of up to 500 lbs., the Treepod Hanging Tree House is fully portable and breaks down to be used for camping, parks, or just your backyard. Certifiably an outdoor gadget worth mentioning.

Right now it’s offered in four different colors and built with nylon and an aluminum framing. The fabric is (of course) weather resistant, so if you want to be outside in the rain, no big deal. Measures 7.5 feet tall x 5 feet wide.

4. GoSun Sport Portable Solar Cooker

portable solar cooker

You might have a grill in your backyard, but when it’s full, you can resort to using the GoSun Portable Solar Cooker for steaming, frying, baking, or even boiling. It’s perfect for a pack of hot dogs (you know, the vegetarian kind) or pretty much anything you can fit. As long as the sun is shining, you’ll be able to cook on it. It has mirrors to help retain the heat from the sun to be used as a stove. But, remember to get a backup charcoal grill for the nighttime.

5. Outdoor Bluetooth Rock Speakers

You might have one of the bluetooth speakers that to carry around with you from place to place, but how well does it blend into a backyard? Unless it gets painted the same color as grass, these rock speakers are probably going to blend in better! They are designed to withstand extreme heat or cold – without reduced life or failing and have a 40W output to put out enough sound for medium or large sized backyards and patios. Click here to see the bluetooth speakers on Amazon.

Hope you enjoyed these! I know I’m looking forward to getting a hanging tree house once we plant a tree in the backyard…but, the garden sensor seems promising!

7 Outdoor Uses for Coffee Grounds (and Tea)

It’s hard to know what to do with leftovers in your home – especially coffee grounds. With many Americans drinking over 3 cups a day and spending nearly $20 each week, there’s a ton of waste! No worries though, because in this article, you’ll find many uses for coffee grounds (and tea) to help be green on the Earth.

uses for coffee grounds and tea

Source: Fix.com Blog




1. Use Your Coffee Grounds as Mulch

You can mix your used coffee grounds with another type of mulch in order to see benefits. You’ll want to be careful though as too much coffee can be a barrier to moisture and air. A perfect mix of coffee and existing mulch can help improve the growth of certain plants.

2. Make a Better Compost Pile

With a high nitrogen content, coffee grounds are perfect for adding into your compost. Another benefit is that worms can be attracted to the compost which will help with even more garden benefits.

3. Change the Color of Flowering Plants

In case you weren’t aware, some flowers actually change color when the pH level of soil is changed. Reducing the level will help give you bright blue flowers in something like a hydrangea.

4. Create Your Own Fertilizer

Mix 1/2 cup of coffee grounds per 1 gallon of water and you can use this for your plants. What develops is a homemade fertilizer that is kid-friendly for any area of your yard or garden. Plus, you can save a few bucks compared to a pre-made organic fertilizer.

5. Repel Insects like Ants and Slugs

Create a ring around your most precious plants to make these insects turn away from nipping on your plants. As an added option, take some used egg shells, grind them up, and add them in the mixture. Bugs will opt for another path around.

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6. Store Used Coffee Grounds for Garden

When you decided to reuse your grounds, they need to be dry. From our experience at home, storing them inside of a container with a lid is not a good idea! You need a place for them to dry out – maybe consider following these directions with a baker’s tray.

7. Suppress Those Weeds You Love

While not as surefire as some of the other ways to use your coffee, adding it to keep the weeds down can help. Although you’ll want to be careful as some plants that may be around the weeds (like tomatoes) will have an adverse effect.

How are your coffee grounds used? Leave something in the comments below to let others know your creative thoughts!