There’s no denying that a beautiful lawn with neatly trimmed green grass looks great. The challenge for most people is transforming their dull, brown soil into beautiful grass. You have to decide whether to use sod or seed. Your decision should be based on three factors.
What’s Your Budget?
Determine how much you can spend before making your decision to use sod or grass seed.
Sod is more expensive than grass seed. In fact, grass seed is typically cheaper than any type of sod that’s available. The reason for this is that someone else already did the hard work of cultivating grass seeds. You pay for them to carefully cultivated a patch of grass for you. The great thing about sod is that it is mature grass.
What’s Your Terrain Like?
The terrain or type of soil (yard) you have is an important factor. Seed might be more effective than sod if your lawn is plagued with “shaded spots” because sod does better in the sun. In addition, you can buy a special type of seed that won’t die in the shade.
However, if there are steep sides to your lawn, sod will be a better choice because seeds tend to get washed away before they can take root.
How Soon Do You Want Results?
You can have a solid, sturdy, and beautiful lawn in a matter of hours using sod.
Additionally, sod might be your only choice if you missed the primary seeding season that occurs during late spring and the early part of autumn. Seeds need warm soil to grow; however, sod can take root in any temperature that’s above freezing.
There’s no such thing as an one-size-fits-all mulch.
Your understanding of the various attributes of different types of mulch will help you select the right mulch for your landscape. And, the first distinction or decision you’ll want to make is whether your situation calls for “summer (growing) mulch” or “winter mulch.”
Summer or Winter Mulch
Summer (growing) mulch is typically applied in the spring, after the soil has begun to warm. Summer mulch is used mostly to:
- Reduce the growth of weeds
- Keep the soil moist
- Keep the soil evenly warm throughout the summer
Winter mulch is typically applied in the fall, after the soil begins to cool. Shredded leaves, straw, and pine mulch make for good winter mulches. Winter mulch is used mostly to:
- Insulate woody plants
- Ensure the soil is evenly cool during the winter
Your next consideration is deciding which mulch is best for your location. Following are helpful examples of matching mulch to a specific location.
- Vegetable gardens and small fruit plans commonly require straw, with black plastic
- Shrub beds and the area around trees are suited well for pine bark mulch chunks, wood chips, and pine needles
- Annual and perennial beds can be made attractive with fine mulches such as cocoa shells, buckwheat hulls, wood shavings, and bark granules.
- Rock gardens look more natural with crushed stone or fine gravel mulches
Cost and Availability
Cost and availability are certainly two other considerations when choosing a mulch.
Some mulches are “regional,” only available in regions where they’re processed. Buckwheat and cocoa are quite attractive, but they are also “regional” and much more expensive than bark or wood chips.
Mulch adds a certain beauty to your landscape that can’t be achieved without it.
However, it is good for more than revamping the look of your landscape. Mulch can help your landscaping goals become a reality in more than just a few ways.
Mulch Can Reduce Plant Diseases
Some plant diseases are due to fungal spores that are deflected from the ground up onto your plants from rain or watering your plants. Such diseases can damage and even destroy your plants.
You can use mulch to reduce plant diseases. Mulch allows for a gentler dispersing of rain or water along your plant bed instead of allowing fungal spores to bounce up from the bare ground onto your plant.
Mulch Can Control Erosion
Mulch creates a barrier between your precious soil and the harsh elements of weather. Mulch keeps your soil intact instead of being eroded by rain and wind. It is especially useful when landscaping sloped areas that are easily eroded by heavy rain.
Mulch Can Regulate Your Soil’s Temperature
In most places, there are dramatic temperature fluctuations. Extreme high and low temperatures can wreak havoc on soil and plants.
Mulch provides a layer of protection that helps to regulate the temperature of your soil. You can think of it as a protective “blanket” that protects your soil and shields the roots of your plants from the harsh, hot sun.
Mulch Can Conserve Your Soil’s Moisture
The soil and roots of your plants would be dried up by the sun without mulch. For example, by adding mulch to your plant beds, you’ll not have to water them as frequently because the soil conserves more moisture.
Creating a dramatic landscaping design that makes an unforgettable impression can be as simple as adding a few well-placed boulders as you plan your new lawn or garden area. Boulders are great ways to draw attention to a particular area of your property when they’re used as accent pieces, and can be an integral part of retaining walls, creek bed linings and other landscaping fixtures.
A professional landscape designer can help to ensure that your boulder placement is aesthetically pleasing and natural looking, regardless of how you’d like to incorporate them into your lawn or garden. Experienced landscaping designers can also show you how to use boulders to conceal unsightly drain pipes and security cameras or lighting fixtures. Natural stone boulders can also enhance the look of a swimming pool or spa, accentuate specific elements of your design or accent patios and decks. With natural stone boulders that are properly selected and placed, you can even create a faux waterfall that adds an unprecedented level of drama and appeal to your property.
Because natural stone is such a long-lasting material, the addition of landscaping boulders to your lawn is an investment that will not have to be repeated year after year. Your natural stone landscaping boulders will withstand the elements with strength and grace, enhancing your lawn beautifully without requiring lots of tedious looking after or maintenance.
When it comes to using boulders in landscape design, you’re limited only by your imagination and the size of your property! Speak with a professional landscaping designer about the best ways to incorporate natural stone boulders in your new design today!
Tennessee fieldstone is a versatile and beautiful natural stone product that can be used to enhance your landscaping design in a variety of impressive, eye-catching ways. The adaptability and wide range of applications of Tennessee fieldstone makes it an ideal choice for the creation of indoor and outdoor fireplaces, stacked stone walls, water features and stepping stones, just to name a few. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate stone fixtures into your landscaping design, Tennessee fieldstone is a viable material choice for almost any project you have in mind.
Another key to the versatility of Tennessee fieldstone lies in the fact that it can be shaped and chiseled as needed to create the perfect shapes for any project. The weathered look of fieldstone is part of the charm, so you’ll also be able to maintain your stone landscaping features with minimal effort. Unlike other fixtures that will require attention with the changing seasons, your Tennessee fieldstone’s timeless beauty only increases as it is weathered by the elements.
Tennessee fieldstone is available in thin stack, medium stack, long thick, fieldstone cap medium, fieldstone cap thin, fieldstone steppers and broken stack. There’s a type of Tennessee fieldstone out there that’s ideal for any stone landscaping design feature, making it a favorite of many landscapers and do-it-yourselfers. Working with an experienced landscaping designer and contractor can help you to obtain the lawn and garden of your dreams, especially when it comes to the selection and placement of fieldstone for path creation, the erection of stone walls and the enhancement of water features or the creation of a graceful, dramatic outdoor fireplace.
Whether you call it flagstone or flagging, the wide range of landscaping applications that can be enhanced with the addition of flagstones is impressive, to say the least. Flagstone is a flat, sedimentary rock that’s easily split and shaped but still withstands the elements very well, making it a favorite of landscaping contractors and designers. Colors tend to range from crab orchard, a tan and brown mixture, to gray and mocha shades.
Flagstone is even and flat for the most part, making it an ideal choice for elegant and eye-catching patios and walkways. The irregular shapes come together to create an attention-grabbing arrangement, and is naturally slip-resistant for increased safety. Close placement creates a polished look, while leaving a bit of space between the flagstones lends a more natural, earthy look to your patios and walkways.
Flagstone can also be used to build retaining walls around flowerbeds and along pathways, creating interesting shapes and clear delineation of borders. You can even create stacked fences along the perimeter of your property with flagstones, creating a unique property enclosure that’s pleasing to look at as well as functional. They’re also an ideal choice for water features like fountains and man-made waterfalls. The slip-resistant surface of flagstone paving makes it a viable and more aesthetically-pleasing alternative to concrete for use around the perimeter of swimming pools and spas.
Working with an experienced and reputable landscaping designer to determine the best ways of incorporating flagstones into your new lawn or garden can help you to ensure that the placement and selection of your stones is handled properly, and that your flagstone features are a delight in your outdoor living spaces for years to come.
If you’re planning a large landscaping project, there’s a very good chance that you’ll need to bring in some topsoil to complete it properly. Topsoil is sifted and screened to ensure that no sticks, rocks or other debris is introduced to your lawn or garden.
It’s important to understand the difference between topsoil and fill dirt before you begin a landscaping project, even if you’re working with a landscaping contractor and designer. Fill dirt is typically a mixture of soil and sod removed from other projects that has not been sifted or separated and is used for heavy-duty lawn leveling projects like filling an old swimming pool or pond. Fill dirt will usually require a second layer of high-quality topsoil before it’s suitable for planting or sod installation.
Topsoil typically does not contain any added fertilizers, but is still a rich, fertile soil that’s ideal for planting and leveling uneven areas of your lawn or garden. Properties with particularly poor soil quality will require the addition of clean, healthy topsoil to properly foster the establishment and growth of new plant life for landscaping design. If the soil on your property is sandy or comprised largely of clay that doesn’t promote plant growth, you’ll almost certainly need to introduce topsoil before planting to ensure that your new landscaping additions thrive and live up to their full potential.
Your landscaping contractor or supplier may also suggest the addition of topsoil if you’re planning to install sod to start a new lawn for leveling purposes, or if part of your design includes the building and creation of raised beds for gardening.
Humans love borders and boundaries, something that defines where one area ends and another begins. Lawn edging may be just part of the human need to quatrain off the lawn from the garden or to make a neat appearance. However, lawn edging can also have a legitimate purpose as well when used as a barrier to stop wanted plants or grasses from invading a lawn. There are a few different types of lawn edging that can be used, depending on personal taste and purpose.
Choosing Lawn Edging
While you can certainly “edge” your lawn by digging a trench around the perimeter, this is not as aesthetically pleasing as adding a decorative border. There are several choices, from expensive rock to even plastic edging that can be added.
- Rock. Natural and in many cases the preferred edging material, rock can make beautiful edging for a lawn. However, unless you happen to have rock of similar size and type lying around, it is a little more expensive then other options.
- Wood. Railroad ties and landscape timbers are often used for edging. The drawback to wood is that it will eventually rot and need to be replaced. It also is difficult for curved areas.
- Formed edging. There are cement, plastic and metal edgings that are specifically made for lawn edging. Most of these are fairly inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes.
Whatever your preference, lawn edging can give your yard a professional appearance while at the same time, limiting exposure to unwanted plants permeating your lawn. Your local landscape supply store most likely has a variety of edgings to choose from to meet both your aesthetic and budget needs.
As spring approaches, thoughts turn to planting flowers and plants in your garden or yard. Depending on what you are planting and where, you will most likely also need some soil to add to your existing flowerbeds, potted plants or garden to enhance the nutrient content. There are many different types of soil and compositions that can be used but to get the best results, you want to make sure you are buying the correct soil for your planting needs.
Soil Factors To Consider
There are many different kinds of soil but there are also types of compositions to consider. The soil you would buy for a potted plant that you intend to transplant later into your garden will differ from the soil you would buy for your flower garden. When looking at soil, three types are common among the choices:
- Organic and non-organic. Organic soil contains organisms that adds nutrients to the soil and can be used over and over again. This is best for gardens or soil that will be re-used. Non-organic soil is fortified with fertilizer and other nutrients that are added, but will be depleted after one season.
- Soil weight. The weight of the soil determines how much moisture it will hold. Most plants in direct sun will need a medium weight soil to hold moisture, where plants in the shade can use a lighter weight.
- Fertilizer. The type of fertilizer that is best for plants differs greatly. Make sure to read instructions on soils containing fertilizer on feeding instructions or consult your landscape supply store.
Getting the right soil can make all the difference when planting. Once you choose your plants, make sure you also choose the right soil that will help them flourish.