We often get asked, "What is something I can do to make my garden look better?" Here are some of our most common suggestions for homeowners to improve their garden.
Welcome With Flowers
Flowers inform your visitors that they are welcome. An assortment of flowers near the entrance of your home sends the right type of warm message for company. Flowers add color that attracts the eye while softening hard edges. It would be nice to have flowers everywhere, but most people are on a budget.
Flowers Are Not Just For The Ground
Hanging baskets and raised planter boxes will take your garden to the next level, literally. This method creates visual layers which is quite appealing. Hanging baskets can adorn walk ways and patios. Raised planter boxes can liven up a drab patio. Experimenting is easy since you can simply move them to a new location. Remember to layer your baskets and planter boxes. Three types of plants should be in your containers: something that drapes, something that fills, and something tall.
Choose Flowering Plants
This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of landscapes are severely lacking in flowering plants. Lilies, irises, and hydrangeas are nice choices for some low maintenance color in your garden. Azaleas, gardenias, crepe myrtles, and camellias should keep your yard in bloom for most of the year.
Hide Your Shed
Sheds are functional, but most do not look great. Try lining your shed with some potted plants that get tall. A trellis with a flowering vine can screen a plain looking shed. Try a vertical herb wall. It will add some character and be useful when cooking.
Make It Memorable
Your backyard is yours to enjoy. Make something just for you that you love. If you have a large backyard, use the extra space to create an escape that you and friends clamor too. An outdoor oasis can include water features, statues, ornate outdoor furniture, grownup tree houses, or other hidden surprises.
Dogs can easily make a mess of your landscaping. Dogs can trample, chew, and dig a garden into a mud pit in no time. Our advice, stop fighting your dogs on what they are doing. Work with their natural instincts to make a place that is good for plants, people, and canines.
Dog breeds differ greatly. Figure out what your dog needs and be sure to include it. Keeping your dog happy will lead to an area that is easier to maintain. Doggy landscaping requires some extra work and a lot of patience.
What should be in a dog friendly garden?
Grass Type - Dogs run a lot. Be sure to pick a grass type that can handle the traffic. Athletic fields in the area use Bermuda grass. It requires full sun, but it can take a lot of traffic and repairs damage quickly.
Running Track - Dogs love to run. They are already running in a set path in your yard. Instead of trying to change their doggy behavior, work with it. Make a nice looking path out of flagstones, smooth pebbles, decking, or concrete. This will keep the paths less muddy and their paws cleaner. If your fur baby runs along your fence, give them a solid path. Dogs patrol the edges of their territory. Enhance their path to keep it looking great.
Marking Post - Give your dog a toilet of sorts. Set up a stump, post, or even a faux fire hydrant in a set area in your yard. Reward the pup for taking care of business in that area. This will lead to less dog spots in your grass and an easier area to clean up after.
Sturdy Plants - Pick strong plants that can take an excited dog running through them. Soft leaves are better for dogs since they shouldn't scratch them. Ornamental grasses work well also. Arrange your shrubs to they will grow densely. Dogs tend to not make a path in places that are hard to go through. Layer your landscaping with dense plantings in front of shrubs.
Shade - Dogs play in the sun, but rest in the shade when it is hot. Shade trees and covered areas are prime real estate for doggy naps. Provide an inviting spot under a shady tree to guide your dog.
Soft Mulch - Mulch that feels good to a dog is mulch that will not be dug out by a dog. If your dog has a favorite place to lay down, a nice soft mulch will make it look better. Be sure to pick a mulch that will not get stuck in their fur.
Borders - Small fences, stones, and hardscaped borders keep your dogs from running through areas they shouldn't. Find an aesthetic that works with your landscape style and go with it. If you don't like the look of borders in front of your landscape, use it as a temporary training tool. After a few weeks, remove the fence and see if the your dog's behavior has changed.
Water Feature - Pick a water feature that looks good, sounds nice, and provides clean water to refresh your dog. Choose a water feature that your pet can get out of in case they fall into it. Also pick one that is easy to replace the water.
Safe Landscaping - Obviously, don't use thorny plants. While they prevent your dog from going somewhere, they can also cause injury. A lot of plants are poisonous to dogs. While dogs don't always eat everything in the yard, cautious pet owners can choose to avoid the option all together. Here is a link to a list of plants that are dangerous to pets. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants
Camellias are an excellent option for most homeowners' landscape in Louisiana. They are resilient plants that bloom through the cool season providing some welcome color between fall and winter. Flowers from each plant tend to bloom only one color. Their colors range from white, pink, red, and a number of shades between. Camellias will inject beauty into any landscape garden they are planted.
Camellias are easy to maintain. This is nice since so many people have them still alive in their landscape beds at their homes. Camellias like partial shade, since too much sun can cause problems. They prefer acidic, well drained soils. Organic mulch can do wonders for your camellia. Camellias do not need to be pruned often. If you do need to prune, do it in spring after they have finished blooming.
C. sasanqua is the smaller of the two, usually staying in the form of a small shrub range between 2 feet and up to 12 feet.. These tend to have a larger number of smaller flowers. Sasanquas like well drained soils and can handle dry spells better than C. japonica.
Here are some we use:
Shi-Shi Gashira camellia - dwarf, pink flowers, Louisiana Super Plant
Snow on the Mountain - dwarf, white flowers
Maiden Blush camellia - upright, pink flowers
Yuletide camellia - upright, red flowers
These are a much taller camellia, growing an average 12 feet with some types growing as tall as 25 feet. These have fewer, but larger flowers. Japonicas need a lot of moisture.
Here are some we use:
Sarah Frost camellia - upright, dark pink flowers
Sea Foam camellia - upright, white flowers
Omega camellia - upright, white-pink flowers
Royal Velvet - upright, red flowers
The weather forecasts are predicting a dry June for both Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and throughout south Louisiana. Look out for dustier cars, panting animals, and stressed plants. Read on for some steps to take with the dry weather just around the corner.
Don’t stress out! We are not just taking about you. Don’t stress out your plants any more than they already will be. Keep your grass cut about a quarter inch higher than normal. Avoid selective herbicides if possible. Keep excessive shrub pruning to a minimum on susceptible plants. Give them a some water if they start to look droopy.
Add a good layer of mulch to your landscape beds. Keep it between two and three inches. A proper mulch layer will help to maintain a better moisture level in the soil near the roots of your plants. Soil with more moisture in a dry period means better looking plants. Leave an inch or so gap near tree trunks and the base of shrubs. Building up mulch near the base of these can lead to some long term problems.
Install a rain barrel to collect rain water from your roof. Less rain in June does not mean no rain. The roof of your home will channel the rain water toward your gutters and down into your rain barrel. Use the stored water to hydrate the plants and save yourself some money on your monthly water bill.
Plant flowers that are drought tolerant. Some flower varieties need constant attention and a lot of water. Skip these unless you have a lot of spare time. Peruse the annual selection at your local garden center for flowers that can take both the heat and dry times.
Install an irrigation system with an automatic timer. An irrigation system, or lawn sprinkler, is your insurance against drought. The automatic timer will keep your plants watered without you needing to worry about it. These systems last a long time and usually take a small amount of maintenance once a year. Good luck with the dry heat this summer.
Vinca, aka periwinkle, is a super popular plant during Louisiana summers. The flower is everywhere you look and for good reason. The flower looks fantastic in Louisiana landscapes. It does well in hot weather and in drier conditions. Unfortunately wet weather and cool temperatures become the perfect environment for Phytophthora blight, the vinca killer. This disease is always present in the soil, but can affect vinca when conditions favor it for too long. It spreads easily by rain splashing onto neighboring vinca, causing crown and root rot. It can wipe out an entire planting in no time.
Here are some best practices for planting vinca:
When you are working to perfect your Louisiana landscape, make sure that you consider the many ways that you can incorporate rocks. Any landscaper will tell you that rocks and are incredibly versatile because they serve as groundcover while also adding contrast and texture. As a bonus, they also require almost no maintenance. Knowing more about incorporating them into your landscape opens up a work of functional and decorative possibilities.
Exploring Popular Rock Options
The first step is picking out the rocks that you will use for your Louisiana landscape. Here is a little information about commonly used options and the look and feel that they provide:
Use Rocks Instead of Mulch
A good groundcover can help to protect your plant roots and it offers a finished look. Rocks can be a better choice than mulch because it is a lot more durable and you will not have to pull them all out and replace them every year like you often must do with mulch. Compared to mulch, rocks can also provide a sharper contrast when you choose options that are paler colors. For example, if you want to lay a groundcover under a dense bush or one that is deep in color, a light-colored rock can brighten the area and make your plants stand out. One additional benefit is that when used with a weed barrier, rocks can help in discouraging weed growth, keeping your garden looking clean and reducing the work you have to do to maintain it.
Create Walkways on Your Property
One of the best uses for rocks concerning your Louisiana landscape is to create walkways to better direct traffic on your property. It is common to place walkways in your garden area, from the sidewalk to your front door, from your driveway to a door and in your backyard going from your backdoor to a seating area.
Gravel rock is often the easiest to work with for walkways. A layer of two to four inches of gravel is usually ideal for a walkway, but make sure that the walkway is even and level before putting the gravel down. You should dig down into the soil two to four inches and place the gravel within this to keep it in place and to keep your walkways level with the rest of the ground area. This also makes your walkways appear neater and more defined. You might also consider lining the sides of the walkways with larger rocks or dense plants to help keep the gravel in place and to offer a decorative touch.
Frame Your Flower Beds
It is common to use large stones or wood to frame your flower beds, but rocks can offer a more natural look while serving the same purpose. For this element of your Louisiana landscape, start by planning your flower beds and marking them off with rope or string. Once the areas are planned, plant your flowers first so that it is easy to make adjustments to the size and shape of the beds if necessary.
Once your flowers are in place, dig out a small trench about two inches deep around the perimeter of your flower beds if you are using small rocks. You will place the rocks within the trench so that they stay in place. Ensure that the layer of rocks throughout the trench is even and level for a clean and professional look. If you are using larger rocks, you will not need a trench and you can simply place them around your flower bed perimeter.
Anchor and Accent Your Container Garden
A container garden can be a cool idea for an elegant Louisiana landscape. Start by picking out your containers and outdoor vases and getting your plants properly planted inside of them. Place the lower one to three inches, depending on the overall height, of your containers or vases down into the soil and pack the soil down around them. Then, you just need to fill the space in with the rocks that you chose. Smaller rocks are generally a better option for a container garden since it is easier to spread them around and ensure an even cover for the area.
Build a Simple Driveway
If your driveway is comprised of dirt and soil, gravel is a quick and simple solution for enhancing your Louisiana landscape. Placing this type of driveway can typically be done over the course of a weekend. This prevents issues, such as a muddy driveway on rainy days and the soil getting overly worn down, resulting in unevenness and dips that can make your driveway more difficult to walk and drive on.
Start by framing out the area where you plan to place the gravel for your driveway. Dig at least six to eight inches into the soil and make sure that it is level. Once it is level, ensure proper drainage and place a geotextile fabric down across the entire dug out area to help prevent erosion. Lay the gravel down in layers, with the first layer going directly on top of the fabric that you put down. This helps to make it sturdy so that it does not sink and dip in certain areas. Each layer should be even and approximately two inches deep, and you want three to four layers.
Your Louisiana landscape can be just about anything that you want it to be. What is nice about rocks is that they are very flexible and you can easily make changes as your property evolves. Whether you get help from a professional landscaper or you choose to tackle the work on your own, start with a plan and just make sure that what you choose works with the overall look and size of your property.
2017 Southern Landscaping Trends
It is vital to take care of your landscaping in Louisiana. A beautiful yard can impress the neighbors and potential buyers when it comes time to sell your house. If you own commercial property, then a beautiful landscape greets customers and provides a fantastic first impression. For homeowners with yards that leave something to be desired, it is natural to want to mix things up and completely change the aesthetic of the lawn. Anyone unsure of what route to take should consider landscape trends that are really making an impact in 2017.
Going green means more than just planting more foliage. It is a good idea to think about what type of plants are going to be good for the local environment. It is typically best to stick with natural flora. Additionally, using flowers native to the region is going to be better for the bees when they come to pollinate.
You should also think about what plants are not going to require a lot of irrigation. Many properties use far too much water to keep a lawn looking pristine. Even though it tends to get fairly hot in Louisiana, you should plant flowers that can stand up tough to the heat.
In the past, property owners would use a number of items in their landscaping. Fences, borders and hedges would be used to separate certain areas from one another. It can look great, but more people have been opting toward natural borders. For instance, if you wanted to separate two different flower patches, then it would be ideal to use rocks or boulders to divide the two. Decorative rocks can be a stunning addition to a property, and it will help make the area look more like it is part of nature.
Many people like having an array of colors in their gardens. As long as everything complements one another, this can be a glorious route to take. However, more homeowners have been sticking with green shades in 2017. From the grass to bushes, various shades can be much more impactful than a bunch of colors that do not really go together. This year, people have realized green can be used for more than just filler in a garden.
Gardens do not have to stay on the ground. In fact, many homeowners are opting to go vertical. Hanging gardens are one of the most popular landscaping trends of 2017. The plants can be arranged in any manner you see fit. You can create some wonderful designs or keep the plants fairly homogenous if you like. The one thing to keep in mind is how you are going to irrigate the plants that are high on the building. Sprinklers will probably not reach them. This is one reason why it is beneficial to go sustainable. You will not have to worry about watering as much if the plants you hang on the wall are adapted for a dry environment.
Certain flowers go in and out of style. In 2017, hydrangeas are the flowers to get for any landscaping project in Louisiana. Apart from simply looking beautiful, hydrangeas can be implemented in numerous ways in a garden. They can be used to simply fill in areas around the foundation or you can plant them around a picket fence for a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. There are numerous types of hydrangeas you can get, including:
People are no longer being confined to relaxing indoors. In fact, many people are turning outdoor space into an area to convene with friends and family. As a result, many homeowners want an area in a yard that is suitable for setting down a few chairs and other accompaniments. It is still good to have a little green in relaxation areas, and many homeowners like having a couple potted plants by the chairs so that they can still feel like a part of nature. Once your cozy area is set up, you will want to go outside as often as possible to curl up with a good book.
A Little Glam
As mentioned previously, many homeowners are seeing the appeal of simply having green fixtures in a garden. However, that does not mean you cannot add a little color with some truly glamorous flowers. Wisterias and Itoh peonies have become incredibly popular, and once you get a good look at them, it will be no wonder why they are one of the main landscape trends of the year. It is important to keep in mind that some of the more glamorous flowers take a little more work to maintain. Adding just a few flowers here and there for emphasis can still be a worth endeavor to take.
Different Grass Varieties
For many years, many people have said the best thing to do is to lose grass completely and replace it with something that does not require watering that often. This was recommended for aesthetic reasons, but it also helps with droughts some states, including Louisiana, sometimes face. Today, that is not too much of a concern, but it is recommended for homeowners to incorporate grass that is suitable for drought-prone cities. You can enjoy a green lawn while knowing you are doing your part for the planet.
One trend that has really taken off is the idea of taking trees that are ordinarily huge and getting smaller versions. A compact version of a tree is much easier to maintain. It also offers a unique visual addition to a standard yard. These days, there is no need to make a lawn look imposing with trees that tower over the building. You will adore how cute your yard has become once you invest in some dwarf trees.
Naturally, you can do whatever you like for your personal landscaping in Louisiana. Perhaps you want something that goes against one of these landscape trends, and that is perfectly fine. Ultimately, the best thing is whatever you like best, so find a gardener who is committed to making your vision become a reality.
Smart Methods for Choosing an Irrigation Company
With summer right around the corner, you’re likely interested in getting your landscape in tip-top shape. One of the best ways to create a flourishing environment around your home is to install the right irrigation system. But how do you go about finding the right company to accomplish the task? Well, it requires doing some research into your local service providers and determining who can get the job done properly. A professionally installed sprinkler system can be the way to a truly luxurious yard. Spend some time looking into how to make the right choice by using some of these smart methods in the process.
Ask Them About Their After-Sales Policies
Once the initial service of installing the sprinkler system is complete, most professional irrigation companies offer to extend their hand for later services as well. After all, there’s more than the one season to contend with. Ask your local service providers what services they make available to their longstanding customers. They should be happy to offer their help for winterization preparation and spring start-up methods, so pay close attention to any mention of those after-sales services.
Discuss What Kinds of Equipment and Products They Utilize
Any professional landscape contractor should be able to discuss at length the procedures with which he or she conducts business. Once the contractor has surveyed your yard and come up with a suitable estimate, it’s important to start asking questions about how the process works. This allows you, the customer, to determine how qualified the company is for the job and what kind of result your yard is going to be left in. Take the time to understand the components of installing an irrigation system and why the person’s ideas will be the smartest approach for your specific landscape.
Always Ensure That a Warranty Is in Place
Understanding the policies and warranty offers of your provider is key before signing on the dotted line. A one-year warranty is generally the industry standard, but the company may discuss different time variations depending on certain system components. While this isn’t abnormal, relieve yourself of stress later by taking the time to understand the concepts and reasoning behind the decisions.
Determine How Best To Proceed
Once you’ve gathered enough information from multiple irrigation companies regarding your home’s sprinkler system, it’s time to choose the right service provider for your personal landscape. With your newfound knowledge to guide you, finding a suitable, trustworthy company should be an easier decision to make.