Spring arrives in less than a month so if you have any projects for your property this green season, now is the time to get those plans in place. Anyone can predict, but no one can foretell where the economy is headed. Recently, one big-box home improvement retail corporation is seeing post-pandemic trends pivoting away from home sales and moving toward home improvement once again. Fortunately, landscaping benefits more than resale value so even the smallest projects are a win-win for the homeowner.
If you are considering additional landscaping or hardscaping on your property, have that conversation with your landscape consultant as soon as possible. This will allow us time to make a plan, secure the materials, and schedule the work when the conditions are right. Hopefully there will be no more surprise material shortages or insane price increases.
“We believe everyone, everywhere, benefits from a connection with nature” is not only our tagline, but also the sentiment shared by our entire team as we work every day bringing our talents and skills to our clients while doing a job that we truly enjoy. ~Shayne
“While it is February, one can taste the full joys of anticipation. Spring stands at the gate with her finger on the latch.“ -Patience Strong
CREATING OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES
An outdoor living space is an extension of your home and can be used spring through fall – or even during a mild winter like we have had this year. Designers and manufacturers are using materials specifically made for outdoor use in everything from furniture to lighting as this trend continues to grow. Below is a custom outdoor kitchen complete with sink, fridge, propane grill, and a wood-fired pizza oven.
Remember to keep in mind the final goal of the space – who will be using it, at what times, and for what purpose. Will you be entertaining family and friends, or would you like a quiet, secluded spot where you can escape to and relax by yourself. Will you use the space during the day? Is there natural shade? Will the space have a firepit for nighttime use? Will you need some additional outdoor lighting? Below is a cool bluestone patio with a cedar pergola for dappled shade and lined with container plants for additional color.
Studies have shown that time spent in nature is good for our overall well-being. The calm sounds of nature lowers blood pressure and helps reduce stress. Fresh air can boost your mood, lower the heart rate, improve sleep, and even aid digestion.
Below: Natural stone steps lead to a shaded patio surrounded by lush hosta. The hammock is almost hidden affording the homeowner a quiet place to rest and recharge.
Last issue we spoke about Integrated Pest Management and how the goal of IPM is not to eradicate pests entirely but to maintain population levels below relevant levels. Here are the top three beneficial insects you may see in your garden.
Green lacewings have larvae that are voracious predators, and we like to see them in gardens along with ladybeetles and mantids (aka praying mantis) that help keep unwanted insect populations in check. The larvae of a green lacewing will feed on eggs, nymphs, and adults of soft-bodied garden pests like aphids, leafhoppers, and spider mites for 2-3 weeks. After that time, they spin a cocoon and emerge as adults.
Mantids are mostly ambush predators that lie in wait for prey to come along. While the green lacewing larvae feed on soft-bodied insects, mantids generally prey on arthropods.
The popularity of ladybugs for use in gardens and greenhouses has contributed to their decline and many suppliers of organic pest control have suspended the commercial sales of them until natural populations recover.
If you see these insects in your garden – be thankful and leave them alone because they are doing important work! If you see something of concern however, please contact your landscape consultant as soon as possible.
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