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The landscaping around your house is an investment that grows naturally with time. For instance, trees are more valuable when they become mature.
Your landscaping can also contribute to a better quality of life and make your home look prettier.
You will see in this DVD how to conceive your landscaping. All the basic techniques will be shown and explained so you can go one with creating your own projects.
Landscaping usually regroups four different elements: Wood, rocks, water and greens.
In this DVD, these four elements will be covered starting with the treated wood. Treated wood has become an indispensable element in landscaping. It is light weight and easy to use to create fences, patios, pergola, flower boxes etc…
We will see step by step installation of concrete blocks for retaining walls, parking surfaces and alleyways.
A pond will be created completely with all the hardware needed for such project.
Finally, we will show you a wide varieties of trees, bushes, flowers, etc.. that you can integrate in your landscaping projects and how to transplant and nurse them.
Artaud Communications présents : So You’re Renovating! Landscaping, treated wood, concrete blocks, pond and greens.
Landscaping is an investment that yields profit in time. The more mature trees are, the more their value increases. Landscaping improves the living quality of your home and gives you the opportunity to design the whole project yourself so you can enjoy more beautiful surroundings. You must start by designing your landscaping project. In fact, you should make a scale drawing of your whole yard. Pinpoint the locations of all permanent landscape features, such as the house, and mark the position of trees which will be kept. Determine the location of driveways and walkways. Use your survey certificate to locate the exact boundaries of your property. Then, consider the exterior facing of the house. Make a list of all the elements you want to bring to the fore. Consider several visual angles of your property. Take pictures if you need to. A focal point is an element consisting of lines or volumes that naturally catches the eye. The main focal point in a house is its architectural style. Every house has a style that suggests lines, materials and volumes which can be used in the landscaping design. The overall property can also provide patterns in the composition, like converging lines for example, where a rock garden or an ornamental tree can be prominently displayed. You can create new focal points and direct the eye by planting a tree in the middle of the property or creating a rock garden overflowing with a choice of flowers that provide dazzling displays of color. The trees or flowers then become the key element of your landscaping project. The composition should smoothly balance elements that are similar in volume, texture and color. Opt for harmonious or contrasting lines, textures and colors, and choose a design that will perfectly suit your taste, inspiration, and budget.
Once the design is sketched, start building the structures that are adjacent to the house, such as the terrace for example. Here, we opted for pressure-treated lumber. A patio can extend the living space of your home. Create the kind of patio that will reflect your lifestyle. Think about the following design considerations: How will the orientation of the patio relate to the path of the sun? What kind of access will you plan for? Do you want more than one floor? Would you like to have a cozy, secluded area shielded from nearby backyards and streets? Check with your local building codes and municipal regulations for patios and fences, especially concerning the required height for fences. Now that you have decided upon the location, size and shape of your patio, use stakes and mason’s string to mark out the location of the future foundation posts. Use your house as a reference point; pull two parallel strings on each side of the house. Then, pull a third string that is perpendicular to the two first ones. This string corresponds to the front of the patio. Now check for square using the « 3-4-5 » method: pound a stake into the ground, exactly 3 feet from the intersection of the two strings. Then, on the opposite side, pound another stake 4 feet from the intersection. If the distance between those two stakes is 5 feet, then you have a square corner and your patio will be square with the house. Plan for a post on each side of the platform and every four feet. Mark the location of each post with a stake and connect them with a string so they are aligned. If your soil is soft, you may use a clamshell-style manual digger. Dig out the holes, all the while making sure their sides are vertical. You can also use a hand-operated power auger such as this one. You can remove the stones with a posthole shovel.
Digging out the holes to pour in the concrete for the foundations of the patio is surely the most difficult part of the project. The hand-operated power auger we saw earlier on works fast but can be quite tough to handle when the grounds are rocky. In which case, it is preferable to call on a professional contractor. Using light machinery such as a small tractor will make excavation work much quicker and easier. Try to make all the necessary holes around the house for the fences, the garden retaining walls and the walkways in one go.
Here, seeing as the ground is very rocky and clayey, we preferred to call on an excavation contractor. The holes should be deeper than the frost level to prevent the posts from lifting. In most cases, this equals to approximately 54 inches . (pause) Position the fiberboard tube form in each hole. Using the strings as a guide, make sure the forms are both level and centered. (pause) Use concrete mix. Normally, an 8-inch (tube will require approximately 3 bags of concrete mix. Pour the mixture into a wheelbarrow, form a crater and add approximately 3 liters of water per bag. Mix in the concrete. If the mixture is too thick, add more water, one cup at a time. Pour in the concrete in the tube in layers of 12 to 15 inches. After the second layer, gently lift the tube to create a base on the course of the foundation. Continue to fill the tube by adding successive layers. Pack down the mixture between each layer. Make sure the form is still vertical with a level. Saw the tube at the required height and finish off with a trowel.
Foundations such as the ones you just saw will be solid and stable for many years to come. You must absolutely avoid pouring foundation material above the frost line, that is to say approximately 3 to 4 feet depending on the region and the winters. Otherwise, the foundations could lift right up when the ground freezes.
The patio does not necessarily have to be fastened to the foundation. Twenty-four hours after the concrete is poured in, fill in the hole and start assembling the patio. Simply measure the height of each wood post that will act as support for the patio. Set the posts on the foundations and make sure the header and outside joists are level with the ledger. (pause) Check the right angles of the perimeter joists with a T-square. To cut through the 2/8 joists, you can use a circular saw, a portable work bench saw or a miter saw set on a work bench. Nail the header joist to the outside joists with 4 inch nails. Once the joists are secured, double the center beam as well as each perimeter joist. (pause) Make the joints overlap this way for greater stability. Now nail the metal joist hanger every 16 inches, on center, to secure the joists to the ledger or header joist.
Before moving on with the rest of the project, take advantage of the opportunity offered by the bare patio structure to grade the ground under the patio. Grading is usually a matter of flattening and sloping the soil to drain water away from the house. Rainwater must not accumulate close to the foundations of the house or patio. If it does, it will cause major problems.
You can control erosion by installing a subsurface groundcover that will also eliminate most weeds. Install the fabric with its logo side facing up if you wish to inhibit weeds, especially in landscaping projects. Finally, cover the fabric with 3\4 fine gravel.
Before installing the other joists, apply a recommended type of sealer-preservative to the end-grain of cut lumber. You can now slide the joists into their hangers and nails them into position. Nail blockings in the center of the joists. The blockings will prevent the joists from buckling. Screw in the patio floor directly on top of the joists. Use 2 inches long galvanized screws. Leave a 1/16-inch gap between each plank. Use two T-squares to space each plank. Snap a chalk line at the patio edge to cut the boards that are too long. By measuring the width of your circular saw, you will be able to create a guide that will make cutting much easier and really straight. (pause) Apply sealer-preservative on the end-grain of cut lumber and install a deck skirt for an impeccable finish.(pause) Installing the posts is very simple with pre-fabricated posts. Set the post in place on the patio edge, adjust the level with cedar wedges if necessary, and screw the posts directly into the skirt. (pause) Set down the stairway stringers. An encasement that molds the skirt will ensure greater stability. Use hangers to secure each stringer to the patio. You can also use hangers to fasten the stringers to the posts as seen here. Start by screwing in the risers, then, as for the floor, space and screw the stairs into position. (pause) Set the balusters on the patio every 4 inches . If needed, slightly readjust the distance between the balusters to avoid having a last, smaller gap. Trace the corresponding lines on the skirt using a T-square, then screw the balusters at both extremities. This will allow you to attach the rail right away. Securing the rest of the balusters will be much easier. Then, fix the rail to the posts, on the sides and underneath. (pause) For a nicer looking end-result, close the space under the patio with lattice skirts. Complete the stairs this way.
To build a fence, use stakes and mason’s string to mark out the location of the future foundation posts. They should be every 8 feet, on center. Dig out the holes and set the posts inside the fiberboard tube form. You must temporarily brace the posts with diagonal wood support fixtures to keep them steady. Check the alignment of each post as you go along. Pour the concrete inside the tube and pack down the mixture with a wood plank. At ground level, smooth out the concrete with a trowel. Slope the concrete away from the post, giving it a 2-inch slope to prevent rainwater from collecting. If you must attach a post to the house, drill two or three holes into the foundation and or brick wall with a hammer drill. Use lead sleeves and lag screws to fix the post. To attach the 2/4 rails between each post, you can use galvanized steel brackets such as this one. Fasten the bracket on the first post, set the 2/4 rail in place, adjust the level and mark the height of the bracket on the second post. Proceed in the same manner for the top beam. Screw the vertical boards into position according to the style and degree of privacy you desire. Complete the upper section of the fence with lattice-top panels and decorative post tops.
There are many types of products that can help you give your property a unique, custom look. For example, you can make your garden more attractive with pergola. These are very easy to assemble. The holes are pre-drilled and you only need to screw the different elements together. Beautiful little benches and planters are also available. Once again, assembling is as quick as a flash. Pressure-treated lumber is a multi-purpose material that will help you complete your landscaping project and enhance the general aspect of your property
All these decorative elements must be weatherproofed, even if they have been pressure-treated. You will have to paint them, dye them or apply the appropriate kind of sealer-preservative. Ideally, you should protect wood structures by treating them every two years.
Concrete blocks and low wall stones are surely among the most important elements in a landscaping design. Retaining walls are essential if the property is uneven or if you wish to create lovely rising floral levels. Different low-wall systems are used for different wall heights. Check the capacity of each system to find the one that will best suit your project.
As for pressure-treated lumber projects, you must start by pulling strings around the perimeter to determine precisely the location of the site. Use the 3, 4, 5 rule to make sure the alleyways, driveways and other constructions are at right angles with the house. (pause) Start excavating. For an alleyway or a sidewalk, dig at a depth of at least6 inches. To ensure adequate water drainage, give the surrounding grounds a minimum slope of 2%, that is at least one inch for every three feet. Water must absolutely be carried away from the house foundations, toward the street. The perimeter of the excavation should extend the surface you wish to pave by at least one foot. A concrete-lined surface will enjoy increased stability, especially on the sides. In general, concrete driveway foundations are the same as for an asphalt driveway. It is thus possible to keep the old foundation under the asphalt, as long as it bears no cracks, bumps or subsidence. Otherwise, proceed as follows: prior to the excavation, determine the precise location of all underground utilities. Call the appropriate company if you stumble upon any of these services. For a driveway, excavate the ground at a depth of approximately one foot for a sandy ground, and one foot and a half for a clayey ground. Level the bottom of the excavation with a rake. If the ground is really uneven and hard to work with, you can spread a layer of 0-3\40 gravel. Then, pack down the bottom of the excavation, unless it is still clayey. Proceed in the same manner for sidewalks and alleyways.
Ideally, install a subsurface groundcover that will prevent the foundation from mixing with the natural earth and ensure a greater stability for the project. Raise the groundcover at the level of the excavation to prevent any plant roots from piercing through the sides of the foundation. Overlaps should be 4 to 6 inches wide.
Spread the 0-3\4-inch gravel in one inch thick successive layers. Pack down the gravel carefully with a vibrating tamper after every layer. You can also use a Jumping jack soil tamper such as this one. For a great pack-down, you can pour water over the gravel. At this stage, the whole aspect of the project should be very close to how the end-result will look. To install the edging, pull a string that corresponds to the exact location and height of the edges
Spread one inch of stone dust which will serve as a base for the edges and make them easier to adjust. Stone dust is actually very fine gravel. To make a bed face, proceed as follows. Use steel stakes that are half inch in diameter. Install the first stake alongside the foundation. Adjust the height of the stake and the level, if need be, with the stone dust. Then, spread the dust on the surface to pave and install a second stake. Adjust it so it is level with the first one. (pause) With those two stakes and a 2 by 4, you will be able to level the stone dust and prepare a proper bed face for the edges. Here, we will use the same low-wall blocks for the driveway edging as for the terrace. Cut through the blocks with a wide-blade flat chisel. (pause) Set the low wall block on top of the stone dust and adjust the level with some dust and a rubber hammer. The first row must be perfectly level, otherwise the whole construction will be crooked. (pause) Move on to the second row. Intertwine the corners of the blocks this way. (pause) For peculiar angles, proceed as follows: calculate the angle to cut with a protractor and mark it on the block. Simply trace the line using a pencil. Ideally, use a concrete saw that eliminates dust particles. (pause) You can also use a carbide-tipped saw. However, make the cuts away from your working area to keep the dust from staining the new surface. (pause) Complete the last row by using smooth-top units.
Install a groundcover behind the garden wall to prevent the earth from obstructing the drainage system. The cover should be folded back in the final stages to completely cover the draining gravel. Install the drain and connect it to the sewer system. Backfill the garden wall with ¾ inch gravel. The groundcover will control the ground erosion and prevent weed germination from seeping between the blocks of the wall. To install the driveway edges, or the garden wall, proceed in the same way as for the porch. Once the groundcover is installed, spread some stone dust to prepare the base. Set down the first row and install the drain behind the garden wall. Note that with this system you can build a 5 feet wall at the most. (pause) Backfill the garden wall with 3\4 fine gravel and, finally, fold back the groundcover over the gravel to envelop it completely.
Now we can complete the foundation with the last 0-3/4-inch gravel layers and set down the base for the pavers. The concrete blocks that were used for the edges will be partially buried between the ground on one side and the gravel foundation on the other side. Note that in all cases, at least 1/10 of the height of the wall must be buried for greater stability.
Once all the edges are in place, complete the backfill and pack down around the foundation. (pause) Spread 1 inch of torpedo sand or stone dust which will now act as base for the pavers. As demonstrated earlier on, level the bed face using the stakes and a wood piece. Don’t leave any gaps. All level variations in the thickness of the base can cause the cobbled surface to be uneven.
Never pack down the base before setting down the pavers. Consider that a 1-inch thick bed face will be reduced by half when it is packed down after the pavers are installed. Delicately remove the stakes this way. Fill the gap that was made by the stake with stone dust. (pause) To spread the right amount of dust for a small bed face like the terrace, create a home-made guide such as this one.
Now install the edging for the sidewalk. Edges are required to vertically support all types of paved surfaces. Moreover, they make a nice-looking finish. Make sure the edges are correctly aligned and level. (pause) Finally, nail the edges in place. (pause) If you must cut leftover pieces, use a carbide-tipped saw.
To install the stones, pull parallel reference lines over the surface so as to align the rows properly. Set the cobblestones according to the pattern you chose, starting with a 90 degree angle. Make your way by walking over the cobblestones. Check the alignment every fifth row. Readjust the blocks if needed with an ice cutter. Leave a 1\8-inch gap between each row. (pause) To cut the cobblestones close to the edging, use a concrete saw. A concrete hydraulic saw such as this one will generate less dust. We strongly recommend you rent one at your local tool rental center. If you choose not to work with this type of equipment, make the cuts away from your working area as dust could stain the cobblestones that are already in place. Complete the driveway bed face and the cobblestone installation. For maximum security, use concrete glue to secure the smooth-top units.
Stabilize the cobblestones with a tampering roller. Tamper two or three times in both directions. Then, spread sand over the cobblestones. Let the sand dry if necessary and sweep it in all directions, into the joints between the blocks. Tamper once more and raise the level of joints that are insufficiently filled with mason’s sand. Keep some of the blocks in store in case you should ever need to replace one.
In the next segments, we want to show you how easy it is to design, construct and maintain your own water garden.
Before you begin, you should check local building codes and public utilities for buried lines and pipes. You might need a permit or put up a fence. Start by the site selection. Choose a level area with a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day. Avoid low-lying areas where water runoff is possible. Try to avoid choosing a site near or under trees, as falling debris can be a problem. Sketch out shape and size of your pond. If you want to add a waterfall or a stream, sketch that as well. Avoid shapes with elaborate curves. If you want to add a waterfall or a stream running into your pond, now is the time to think about it. You need to construct it on the most elevated location of the perimeter and build it up with the excavated dirt. The liner must fit the pond and overlap the edges to insure a proper fit. A good depth for a pond is 18 inches if it is not going to support fish. Fish like deeper ponds with a minimum depth of 36 inches. Use a garden hose, string or chalk or spay paint to lay out the shape of your pond for digging.
Remove sod and surface material, and save for later use as a patch. Dig around the outline to create a shallow shelf for coping stones. This shelf should be at least 1 to 3 inches deep and 12 to 15 inches wide. If your pond is to include shallow water plants, a shelf should be created 18 to 24 inches wide and about 12 inches deep. The rim and shelf surfaces need to be leveled. Use a length of 2 by 4 and a carpenter’s level, checking at various locations to ensure that the rim of the pool is perfectly level from edge to edge. The bottom of the pond should be flat. Use a tape measure or marked stake to make sure the depth is consistent. All areas must be smooth and free of rocks, and any roots should be cut back.
Slowly fill the pond to just below the coping. As the pond fills, adjust the liner slightly to smooth out major folds and wrinkles. Expect some to remain. Begin adding the edging materials to your pond. If you’re planning to install a waterfall or stream, be sure to leave an open area for the structure. Also, be sure to leave space in the coping for the tubing that will feed the waterfall or stream.
The water in the pond should be turned at least once an hour. Therefore, if you have a 500 gallon pond you should have at least a 500 gallon per hour pump. To select the right pump and filter you must know your pond’s capacity. To figure this out, use the following formula: Length in feet by width in feet by depth in feet by 7.5 equal the pump capacity in gallons per hour. A filter will help maintain a healthy pond by collecting decaying organic matter. To assure good filtration, locate the pump and filter at one end of the pond, and run discharge tubing to the opposite end. This method will ensure that the entire pond is filtered.
If you want to add plants to your pond, plan before you plant. Plant the taller and large-leafed plants to the rear of the pond. Smaller plants and flowers should be placed in front.
For fishes, wait two to three weeks before introducing fish to your pond. Species such as Koi or Goldfish are colorful and entertaining. The water must be well-oxygenated and free of harmful chemicals in order to support fish. Plants, fountains, and waterfalls will help to oxygenate the water.
Once you have filled your pond you need to remove the harmful chlorine and chloramines that are inherent to tap water. A dechlorinator will remove these harmful chemicals. You will need to use the dechlorinator anytime you add water to the pond. Follow the application instructions on the bottle. The manufacturer’s test strips will give you a reading on the pH level, nitrite level and buffering capacity of your pond. Add the manufacturer’s buffer water treatment as needed to maintain a buffering capacity of 80-240 ppm (parts per million). A properly buffered pond will resist changes in pH due to acid rain and other external factors. Don’t forget to test your water again.
If pH level is not above 6.5, use the manufacturer’s pH up bottle. You should not change the pH level more than .2 points per day. A drastic change can cause stress and possibly death in fish.
The last element in a landscape is surely not the least: plants, unlike other elements, are living beings that require special care. You must first determine in which climate zone is located your property. There are many different climatic zones in each country. Knowing about them will help you catalog the kinds of plants you can successfully put in your landscape. Your local nursery should be able to give you more information on the subject. Make a scale model of your landscape on paper, or on your computer, as shown in the following segment.
Let’s now see how to select and arrange the plants in your yard. Large trees like maples should be planted with their full-grown dimension in mind. Also consider the shade they will provide, as this could affect other plants and grass. Large plants will generally serve as a backdrop for the landscape or the house. They will thus become the feature elements in your yard. Large plants are usually planted in the back of the yard or on the sides, while smaller plants are set underneath or in front of larger ones, in order of height.
It is important to identify the plants you are fond of by their Latin name. It’s a bit difficult at first, but it’s the only way you can be sure you will not confuse them. There are many thousands of species you can choose from and knowing their Latin names will help you identify them precisely.
Trees are either evergreen or deciduous. Deciduous trees which can be successfully planted here include: maples, which come in several shapes and sizes, (pause) ornamental trees, which are much sought out for their beautiful flowers and fruits, the traditional birch, with its very distinctive bark, and the almond tree with its superb pink flowers. The Ginkgo Biloba’s peculiar-shaped leaves turn to bright yellow in autumn. For their part, evergreens are an unchanging element in a design and provide a reliable, all-season screen. They also come in a wide range of species that will enable you to create colorful harmonies. For example, the Colorado blue spruce’s main characteristic is its blue hue. This is a tree that will become imposingly massive once it reaches maturity. Opt for shrubs if the surface of your property is limited. A pale-green larch grows quickly and loses its needles in winter. Junipers are also very popular. They are available in almost all shapes and colors. For example, the Chinese juniper is vertical while the Sargent juniper is very much appreciated as a groundcover. For superb contrasts, try the low balsam fir, great for small spaces, and the Sawara false-cypress, unique with its pale green color. The umbrella-shaped Scotch pine is also an interesting option. Its needles are longer than in most other conifers and can help create texture contrasts. Obviously, there is also the cedar, widely used for hedges. Finally, the East dwarf spruce offers a rich green foliage and creates a delicate aspect when it is framed by the stern lines of a rock garden.
The enumerated species are just a few among hundreds of other available varieties. Start your landscape project by putting in the large trees and conifers first. They will act as natural screens and provide intimacy or visual focal points. Note that you can save energy by arranging the trees in a specific manner around the house. For example, a deciduous tree planted south will block off sun rays on the roof and windows in summertime, helping you save on those air conditioning expenses. Conifers on the north side of the house will act as a barrier for cold winds in the wintertime, so you can save on your heating expenses. Once the large trees are planted, you can lay out the shrubs. Here are some interesting species.
For deciduous trees, consider the Weigela with its dynamic colors. Or opt for a sand plum tree with purplish leaves for beautiful spring flowers. The weeping highbush blueberry is great in any kind of landscape. For mid-summer bright-red flowers, choose the spindle-tree. Some spindle-trees keep their leaves all year round, as in the case of the golden spindle-tree. The potentilla will charm you with its beautiful yellow, orange or white flowers. And finally, lilac remains a classic for the intoxicating perfume of its flowers.
Once you have selected the trees, shrubs and conifers you like, follow closely common planting directions for your landscape to be a success. Some trees are expensive and it is a pity to see them die because they were mishandled. Planting techniques slightly differ depending on whether the tree comes with its roots tucked into a container or a biodegradable burlap. Let’s first see how to plant a tree with a biodegradable burlap.
To plant trees, shrubs and conifers like this juniper, proceed as follows: the ideal time to put plants in the ground is during spring or autumn, especially for trees and shrubs whose roots are bare. Trees and shrubs whose roots are in ball-wrapping material, or in plastic or biodegradable containers, are always available. They can be planted all year round since container culture actually favors a better recovery and helps the plant overcome the transplant shock. Dig a hole twice as large as the diameter of the tree rootball, and equal in depth. If the tree is in a biodegradable pot, carefully cut through the container collar and remove the bottom. Add a starting fertilizer or a proper planting fertilizer. Mix the fertilizer with the soil and put a small quantity of topsoil back in the bottom of the hole to create a little mound. You can use a complete mix of organic soil, compost and peat moss to help the new plant settle. The rootball must be directly set on the little mound, in the bottom of the hole, and the root crown of the tree - where the stem meets the roots - should be at the same level at which it was planted at the nursery. Always handle the tree or shrub by its rootball to avoid damaging the roots or branches. Refill the hole and pack down the soil as you go along. When the soil in the hole is at grade level, shape an earth saucer around the plant with a rake to hold water. Then, cover the ground with 2 inches (5 cm) of organic cedar mulch to retain humidity and prevent weed germination. Finally, thoroughly water the tree. Watering is very important for plants that were recently put in the ground. Unless there’s a good rain, the plants should be soaked every three (3) days for two (2) weeks.
Remember that it is best to plant trees and shrubs during spring or autumn. The ground must be well-prepared and the plant should be put in the ground at the right depth.
You just saw different tree species you can use to create your own landscape. Once again, remember that large trees should be planted with their full-grown dimension taken into account. As the saying goes, two oak trees growing away from one another will be stronger. Keeping this in mind, you will be able to avoid being invaded by trees that grew out of proportion. This also goes for municipalities where cutting trees that reach a certain diameter is illegal. Let’s now see how to plant a tree that is in a plastic pot.
When you are planting a tree whose roots are in a plastic pot, such as in the case of this false-cypress, proceed as follows: dig a hole twice as large as the tree diameter, and slightly deeper. Add a starting fertilizer. Fill the bottom of the hole with a ¼ mix of cow or sheep manure, composted with ¼ peat moss and 2/4 garden soil. Mix in the elements to create the little mound on which the tree will be set. Mix the rest of the filling soil in a wheelbarrow. Delicately remove the pot. Avoid handling the tree or shrub by holding its trunk or branches. Always move the tree by its rootball. Place the tree on top of the mound, at the bottom of the hole. Cut the roots that girdled around the rootball. Refill the hole using the mix and pack down the soil to eliminate all air pockets. When the soil in the hole is at grade level, shape an earth saucer around the plant with a rake to hold water. Then, cover the ground with 2 inches (5 cm) of organic cedar mulch. Once the planting is complete, spread planting fertilizer to encourage the plant to take root more quickly. Use a spray to apply soluble fertilizers. The spray will automatically mix the fertilizer and consistently distribute it. Drive the support in the ground, outside the ball, and connect the tree to it with guy wire specifically designed for this purpose, or an easy-to-use anchoring system. Don’t forget to remove the identification tag; eventually, it could choke the branch. Prune damaged or dead limbs to avoid disease propagation.
Too many people don’t know the basic techniques for tree pruning. It is important to know that not all tree species should be pruned the same way.
Prune only damaged limbs at the base and don’t let the cut-end jut out. Also prune the « greedy » branches, meaning those sprouting branches that cross toward the center of the tree. By pruning at the base of the branch, you will help the tree heal more quickly. To prune a mature tree, you can use a pruning hook such as this one, either to cut new shoots or remove competing leaders. Finally, before winter comes, the trunk of each deciduous plant should be wrapped to protect it from weather shifts and winter attacks by rabbits and mice.
Remember that not all tree species should be pruned the same way. The techniques we just demonstrated are only basic reference techniques. Pruning fruit trees and conifers is quite another ball game.
Now that the backdrop of your landscape is filled with trees and shrubs, let’s take a look at herbaceous plants, also know as perennials. Perennials are very much appreciated by amateur gardeners because they bloom year after year if they are correctly cared for. Find out how much sunlight flowers you like need, and choose a location around the house that suits best their living conditions. This way, you will be able to conceive perennial flowerbeds that will provide color from snowmelt to snowfall, year after year. Everyone loves a landscape with continuous flowering.
Let’s take a look at herbaceous plants. Perennial flowers exist in a multitude of varieties that blossom at different times of the year. The main types of perennials are: irises, which come in a wide range of colors, lilies, peonies, rudbeckias, veronicas, salicarias, astilbes, chrysanthemums, lupins and columbines. Aubrietas are used as groundcovers, as is the Japanese pachysandra. The Virginia creeper is a popular way to cover walls and fences. Rosebushes also offer a large choice of colors and abundant flowering, but they require special care. They need plenty of sunshine and a well-drained ground. They must be protected before winter sets in, except if they are rustic-type roses such as the Rugosa.
As we mentioned earlier on, rosebushes are perennials, but they are in a class of their own since they are particularly vulnerable to winter frost.
Rosebushes should be planted on a raised flowerbed to provide adequate water drainage. There are all sorts of protection methods you can use to protect roses from winter winds and snow, for example covers which are specifically designed for this purpose, as we will see later on.
In many respects, perennial planting is similar to tree and shrub planting. However, it is recommended to improve the ground of the whole flowerbed beforehand. It’s much easier to tend to a flowerbed when it is raised on a mound above the surrounding ground. Hence the need for concrete or pressure-treated garden low walls. For rosebushes, dig a hole deep enough for the root crown to rest barely under the ground surface. Fertilize with a proper rose fertilizer before the growing-season starts and twice more during the growing-season itself, but never after mid-July. Cut the rosebush approximately 12 inches from the ground. Water it every two days for two weeks after the transplant.
Finally, there is a multitude of annual flowers that blossom all summer long. They will complete your landscape with unique colors and textures. In the next segment, we will show you some of the most popular annual flowers.
There is a multitude of annual flowers that blossom all summer long. Planted in large number, zinnias will look spectacular. Vignas in bloom will elegantly decorate a fence. Pink cleomes, petunias and pelargoniums are also very popular. Impatiens thrive in the shade and are available in many interbred colors. French marigolds, gomphrena, wild pansies, celosias, alyssums, snapdragons, violets and begonias can all be successfully used since they are easy to grow. The begonia semperflorena is another type of annual which loves shady spots.
You will be able to create superb flowerbeds of which you will be proud. You can also find inspiration in real, natural settings as do some professional landscape designers. For example, you can create Alpine, Mediterranean or Asian-inspired flowerbeds. Find a theme that will harmonize with the style of your house.
To transplant annual flowers like these Maritime cinerarias, improve the texture and composition of the ground by incorporating one third of peat, one third of composted manure and one third of black soil. Use 7-27-11 starting fertilizer and transplanting fertilizer to increase the ground fertility. When they overcome the transplant shock, plants grow easier and flower more. Repeat the fertilization process every four weeks. Cover the plants with 1 inch of organic cedar mulch.
Bulbs characteristically give a single bloom over a short period. Bulbs include tulips, crocuses and daffodils, and their sudden blossoming is always a beautiful surprise. Check with your nursery for autumn planting directions. Note that it is possible to plant bulbs that will blossom at different times.
Bulbs give a single bloom over a precise period of time. Plant spring-blossoming bulbs such as: crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. Then, plant summer-blossoming bulbs such as balisiers and ornamental dahlias, for a summer-long flowering. To plant bulbs, dig one or several troughs, 6 to 8 inches deep, following the type of bulbs you are planting. Add bone meal to the ground, a slow-acting phosphorous fertilizer. Put the bulbs in the ground. Then, fertilize the cuttings with a natural fertilizer of grounded bone, blood and kelp. After the spring bulbs have blossomed, remove the leaves, but only after they have become brown. For summer bulbs, wait after the first frost to cut the stems, unearth and store them away from the cold. You can complete your rock garden with ornamental rocks. After all you have done to establish a beautiful landscape, you will surely want to protect your investment by seeing to the health of your plants. Pruning and fertilizing the trees and shrubs is essential. It is also important to protect the plants before winter sets in. As you already know, snow, and especially ice, can be very damaging to trees and shrubs. Listen closely to the following segment.
Finally, to protect conifers, trees and shrubs from drying winter winds and road salt, water them abundantly before the first frost, especially if the autumn is very dry. Completely protect the plants by enveloping them with the appropriate covers. You will find a complete range of winter protection covers at your local nursery. It is particularly important to protect plants that were recently transplanted. Temperature fluctuations, drying winds, the weight of the snow and road salt can greatly affect the condition of the plants. Protection covers should be installed in autumn, when the ground is starting to freeze, then should be removed in spring, when the snow melts. Conifers should be thoroughly watered to increase their water reserves and prevent them from drying. They should also be protected by a cover. This permeable cover provides protection against cold, road salt, winter rains, ice storms, winds and sun rays. Leave a ventilation shaft on the top. This is ideal for clumps of young shrubs and hedges. You must also protect rosebushes. Wait until the cold blackens the leaves before pruning. Then, install the cover. Unlike cones, this type of cover will provide increased thermal protection. It also goes very well over rosebush groupings and evergreen shrubs. These types of plants require impermeable protection.
We really hope this landscaping and planting information will help you design and conceive your own landscape. The important thing is to create a landscape that fits your lifestyle and personality. Don’t be afraid to express yourself.