Josh Cooper

Learn About Landscaping

Landscaping essentially is manipulating the natural environment in an area to make it look a certain way. Many think that landscaping is just working with plants and flowers; however, it is so much more. Landscaping can include creating pathways through yards, parks, or gardens. It can be adding a wall or constructing a gazebo. Landscaping will make your yard or outside area attractive, work with the local environment, and make the area functional for outdoor recreation. Landscaping often starts with laying out pathways and building up from there to create a lush environment which may include fountains, pools, benches, gazebos, stone retaining walls, and other features. After the basic groundwork and structures have been completed, a landscaper can start adding shrubs, trees, plants, and so forth to create the desired look. Excellent landscaping will flow almost seamlessly with the natural environment, rather than fighting it. Landscaping may also require extensive maintenance to ensure that it continues to look good through the years of use. After an area has been landscaped and made just the way you like it, your garden may be turned over to a maintenance crew who will keep the plants and other features of the yard in good shape.

To keep a welcoming green lawn, it is first important to plant the right type of grass that can thrive in the local environment. Sometimes we don’t think about all the different types of grass that we can plant in our front and back yards, but there are a number of different types that are possible depending on the certain climate. For cool weathered climates, the most popular grass options are bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and fine fescue. For warmer climates, people tend to plant bahia, common bermuda, hybrid bermuda, centipede, or zoysia. Planting the correct type of grass will allow your yard to thrive in any type of climate, and be easier to maintain throughout the year. Most often the type of grass that is best suited for your area is stocked in local home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot. A mixture of different types of grasses may also be available to help your lawn transition from season to season. Soil testing will come in handy to ensure that your grass has a good nutrient filled area to grow and thrive in. Soil kits can be purchased and be easily used on your own to test the soil around your home. A soil test will indicate the nutrients or minerals that are lacking in your yard’s soil. This test will help you know the appropriate plan of action to keep your yard lush and green. The nutrients or minerals that will be needed after the test can be found at a variety of gardening and home improvement stores, so getting the materials and supplies will not be difficult.

Nowadays, many yards contain synthetic grass to cut down on the costs of watering and upkeep. Synthetic turf is UV stabilized so that the lush green color will not fade away. Unlike natural grass that will suffer from diseases, drought, dormancy or any other problem, artificial grass will look great all year long. Synthetic/artificial grass can also be placed in areas where grass normally wouldn’t grow. Synthetic grass is a great investment if you don’t want to worry about it too much. It will not increase the value of your home, but it can definitely increase your curb appeal. When looking into using artificial turf, it is important to review all the available products, based not just upon price, but also quality.  A few warnings about artificial grass, however. Although it may cut back on maintenance and watering, it can become very hot while sitting in the sun. Natural grass can bring some nice cooler temperatures around your home, but artificial grass may be about 20-50° F higher than natural grass.

Many wonder about the different types of landscaping that exist to better match their style. As far as “types” there are a few different categories/styles of landscaping that can be followed to match your taste. First of all, in all these different styles of landscaping, they all will include the possibility of Turf installation, water features, rock features, new plants, or adding walkways. However, they will use these garden ideas to flow with their own design and function.

English garden styles of landscaping will utilize shrubs and perennials that bring out the design of the house and extend it to the yard. It will complement the architecture of your home and may also contain arbors or birdbaths.

Oriental landscapes are very similar to the designs of Japanese Zen gardens in that it will employ the use of water, rocks, and evergreens to bring about a peaceful and somewhat private design.

Woodland landscapes are truly close to nature. This is an almost unregulated landscaping style that allows plants to grow as if they were in the natural world: wild and untamed. This style gives an unmanicured appearance that does not require a lot of time, money, or attention.

Formal landscapes are comprised of symmetrical patterns, straight lines, order, and well-pruned plants. These designs can look very appealing and are perfect for formal events in your own backyard. This is a great design if you have the time or money to keep it in an orderly fashion.

An informal style uses plant beds and wavy edges to blend your garden and yard together into one harmonic mess that captures the eye of anyone passing by. Plants are usually spread in the planters with no real pattern, allowing everything to mix together. This style is very popular here in Utah and is great for kids to run around in.

Butterfly gardens invite songbirds and beautiful butterflies to your front door by creating a safe space for them to live. Plant and flower species provide a food source for them; thus, inviting them around your house, and into your yard. These areas also create a place that is sheltered from the wind.

Xeriscape gardens are great for arid/desert climates, as they implicate many low-water plants and flowers. This style will highlight the wonders of gardens in water retention areas and will use rocks to add a textured feel to your yard and allow water to be retained for the surrounding plants. This is definitely a great option here in Saint George if you are looking to highlight the landscape of southern Utah.

Organic gardens will have a more natural appeal to maintaining them and making them look nice. This style tries to stay as environmentally friendly as possible, by refraining from using chemical fertilizers and using a blend of plants and flowers that is self-sustaining.

Regardless of the style you like, there are some important questions to keep in mind before committing to a certain style. What kind of conditions exists in your yard? In other words, what type of climate do you live in? Is the area very sunny or mostly shady? What kind of activities do you plan to use your yard for? Who will be using the yard? Do you have children or pets who will be in the yard? Would you want a low-maintenance landscape or have a garden that needs time and attention? Which landscape style would best compliment the design of your home? Which landscape style best reflects your lifestyle? By considering and answering these simple questions, you will best be able to find the style and design that best fits you.

The number of possibilities that can spice up your yard is endless. Even smaller spaces can be spruced up with some simple features. It will come down to what you want to pay, how much you want to work to keep it nice, and the climate you live in. A great way to make a small space look slightly bigger is by adding a small fence, that will make a great space to plant flowers and vines. Flowers can always make a home more welcoming. So adorning the front of your home with annuals and perennials will keep your house bright and vibrant, welcoming those who come to your home all year round.

Plants and flowers can also be used to hide certain features of your home. Your driveway, for example, can be hidden by carefully sculpting the landscape. A slightly raised area will create a flower bed that will raise plants up to eye level from the street. Entire yards can be hidden if you’re thinking about gaining more privacy from your neighbors. Layers of trees and shrubs by the edge of your property or fence will block out the view of your yard, giving you a private place to enjoy the outdoors. A vibrant blend of colors, textures, and heights will add texture and depth to your garden. Planting many different plants together may seem to be unorganized chaos, but it will bring a flare of nature to your yard. Sometimes deer can become a problem in gardens as they gobble up your hard work. To keep the deer away from your flowers and garden, you may try a variety of flowers that deer do not like. Plants and flowers such as butterfly weed, globe thistle, ‘Royal Red’ butterfly bush, or even purple cornflower will look good, and keep the deer away.

Adding hanging flower planters can turn your one-dimensional yard into a layered garden. Planters can be hung off your porch to bring the garden right to your door, or hangers can be purchased that will allow you to layer your garden anywhere in your yard. To grasp the potential of each hanging planter, each basket should contain a “spiller”(something that hangs down over the edge of the basket), “filler”(something that mounds and fills in the basket), and a “thriller”(a centerpiece that is tall and eye-catching). Tall blooming flowers, shrubs, and trees can fill up a large area and will provide a bit of color to your front or back yard. These can make up the foundation of your garden allowing for a base where planters may be placed, or they can outline your home and make it homier. Sometimes our yards may contain sheds or garages. You can hide them and make them blend in by placing potted ferns at the base of the structure to give an earthy accent to the threshold. Planters on the windows will help to engulf your structure within your garden.

Some ideas to great landscaping may include not planting any type of flower, but adding a path that elegantly flows through your garden, connecting points of interest together. A path can be an adventurous flare that allows access to a hidden area of your yard that is sheltered by the greenery, providing a private grove to sit and relax. These secret areas could become your own private oasis in your yard by adding seating and/or hammock. Outside living rooms can be an escape from your daily routine, and bring you to the sounds of the outdoors. Intersecting trails, meandering streams, and inspiring vistas hidden in your backyard will create the feeling of a vast landscape within feet of your back door. Water features can add a great addition to your yard as they will give the peace and serenity that calm flowing water will bring.

Outdoor lighting can keep the beauty of your garden visual throughout the night. Highlighting paths with small solar lights can make for a wonderful view at night and make the darkness of the night a welcoming change within your yard. Lighting may also allow you to feel safer and more secure at night. Seating such as benches and lawn chairs provide a relaxing space for you to sit and enjoy your hard work and beauty of your outdoor landscape.

The cost to landscape a home can vary depending on what you would like to do. Re-planting flowers in a flower bed or adding a new stone path may be relatively cheap; however, reapplying a weed barrier or completely changing the design may be a very costly project. For those that like to work out in the garden, then many tasks will be able to be completed quite easily on your own. Some of these tasks are replanting flowers or mowing your lawn. What may be a determining factor, is if you have the right tools. Lawnmowers, shovels, rakes, seed layers, and other tools are all very important to have if you are landscaping or up keeping your yard. The items will cost money depending on the type or size that you get, but they will become very useful as you continue to use them over time. Seeds, plants, soil, stepping stones, etc. will all vary in price depending on the type, species or materials that you prefer. Labor costs will also factor into the cost; however, doing it yourself will be much cheaper, but more time-consuming.