New Apps Help Gardens Flourish
Contemporary garden design -- and, in fact, contemporary gardening, period -- is not as straightforward as you might think. First, relax; it's a good thing. New knowledge makes it possible to plant gardens that are more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and drought-resistant than ever before. Homeowners are also making a point of planting gardens that look good and serve a practical purpose. In other words, more Americans are planting herbs and fresh produce. According to OANow.com, "More than 35% of American households are growing some of their own fruits and vegetables." Now, free applications are available to help streamline the process. The apps advise homeowners about spacing, yield, location, days until ripe, video tutorials, and other details about specific fruit and vegetable varieties. Of course, when in doubt, it is always wise to consult a professional gardening or landscaping service
Some Things Never Change
While apps may help homeowners grow more fruitful gardens, conventional wisdom and old tactics still stand. For example, if you are struggling with high air conditioning costs or noisy neighbors, some well-placed trees can solve your problems. Trees can reduce noise and air conditioning needs by 50% each. And trees aren't a must. Any sort of elaborate garden or landscaping averages a return on investment (ROI) of 100 to 200%, Money Magazine writes.
The right landscape can do wonders for your property. New mobile apps can help you plant gardens that bear plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, or planting a few trees can help immeasurably with A/C costs and noise pollution.
Let’s be honest, the perfectly manicured yard is, without a doubt, part of what the picturesque American Dream looks like. Not surprisingly, the landscaping industry in the United States generates an estimated $74 billion annually. We all want the perfect outdoor space to complement the perfect indoor space, which, of course, resides in the best city in the best country in the entire world. It’s not rocket science, it’s just idealism, and we all secretly indulge in it. Turns out, though, there are actually some practical benefits to keeping your yard looking trim.
The proper landscape design can provide wind protection, which in turn will reduce heating costs. It can also reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50% by shading a home’s windows and walls. Landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100-200% at selling time. According to a survey of home builders, elegant patios or decks are some of the top features requested by new home buyers. Add in a contemporary garden design, and your property value probably increases even more.
It keeps your yard safe
Walkways and exterior lights aside, did you know that choosing gravel that consists of smaller stones can provide more traction for high traffic areas? More traction means less tripping and less tripping means less scraped knees.
It literally keeps your home peaceful
Not only does landscape maintenance generate inner peace by being pretty to look at, but a beautiful yard with strategic landscape design can offer privacy and less unwanted noise. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that trees can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50% and can mask unwanted noises with more pleasant sounds. That means your neighbors won’t complain as much about the kids playing loudly, and you won’t hear your neighbor's defective lawnmower as much. Everyone wins.
Whether you’re pursuing the American Dream, or you’re just tired of people tripping in your yard and complaining about noise, your life can be made a little simpler with some thoughtful landscape design.
Believe it or not, studies show that a beautiful yard can make you happy. According to an article in Miller-McCune, "Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster could produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration." And that means that professional landscaping, lush gardens, and elegant patios may be an investment in your health, not "just a luxury." Here is a look at some of the ways a beautiful lawn can make you happy:
A Stunning Landscape Can Help You Stay Mentally Fit
A report from the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture backs up the notion that a spring landscape, botanical gardens, and flowers can significantly lower stress levels -- but that's not all. "Being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by 20%," the report continues. Psychology Today adds that the presence of nature and plants can also improve attentiveness and productivity at work, raise job satisfaction, and lower blood pressure. (In other words, it's not a terrible idea to keep up your yard at home -- and bring some flowers or a plant or two in for your desk.)
Let's Talk About Trees
Trees can be an attractive and pleasing part of landscape design -- all while making you feel better, too. The benefits of trees are a little more concrete. According to the American Public Power Association, trees and landscaping can cast a shade on your home and ultimately reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50% (and who isn't happy paying less for bills?). Similarly, trees can block up to 50% of unwanted noise, creating a more peaceful and relaxing environment for you and your home.
The verdict is in; lush, green lawns, elaborate landscaping, and elegant patios keep you happy! (Not to mention, landscaping can increase a home's resale value by 100 to 200%.) Go ahead and splurge a little. Live amongst nature, and enjoy the benefits.
It seems that just about everyone is going "green" these days in an effort to become more environmentally friendly and conscious. Now, more than ever, people have a greater understanding of the link between environment and their own well being, with some even going as far as to grow their own food.
Naturally, the professional landscaping industry has followed suite. Eco-friendly and sustainable landscape design has become increasingly popular as more and more individuals and even large corporations explore the benefits of going green.
However, landscaping has always served a dual purpose. Aside from simply being nice to look at it, landscaping inherently has several green qualities. For example, properly selected, placed, and maintained landscaping can act as a wind barrier, which in turn can reduce heating costs. Similarly, according to the American Public Power Association, landscaping can reduce the need for air conditioning by up to 50% by shading windows and walls from the sun. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also notes that trees can reduce bothersome noise by as much as 50% and can mask unwanted noises with pleasant, more natural sounds such as chirping birds.
Sustainable, contemporary garden design not only looks beautiful but can serve several different purposes. If you're interested in creating such a design, it's important to consult with landscape designers who are experienced in eco-friendly practices and who can help in implementing your design.
Even if you already have a green thumb, it doesn't hurt to have the green thumbs of landscape designers help you bring your eco-friendly ideas to fruition. Landscaping professionals who specialize in sustainable landscape designs can help you determine what solutions are best for your specific goals. For example, they can help you identify which native plant species you can plant in order to conserve water. In addition, they can help teach you how to maintain your sustainable design throughout the year and as the seasons change.
April showers are said to bring May flowers, but wouldn't you rather have an experienced and professional landscape designer carry out your spring landscape design process instead of leaving it up to the weather? After all, the green thumb of a landscaping professional can do a lot more than make your yard look good; it can help save you money.
Did you know that properly selected, placed, and maintained landscaping can significantly reduce heating costs by providing protection from the elements? In addition, according to the American Public Power Association, landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by as much as 50% by shading the walls and windows of a home. Furthermore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that trees can reduce noise pollution by up to 50% and can mask unpleasant noise with pleasant sounds.
With all the benefits that landscaping provides, it's important to find the right landscape designer for the job. Here are just a few ways to get started.
Keeping up with the Jones' isn't always a bad thing, especially if they have beautiful landscaping. One of the best ways to find a landscape designer is by word of mouth. If you see a neighbor whose yard makes you green with envy, it's a good idea to ask who their landscaper was. Or, your family or friends may be able to recommend a service they've used in the past.
Have an idea of what you want
Not all landscaping projects are created equal. Therefore, you can save time -- and perhaps even money -- by first identifying what the scope of work of your project will entail. For example, if you're interested in creating sustainable design that incorporates native plant species and other eco-friendly aspects such as rain water collection, you should hire a landscape designer that has direct experience in this area.
The more, the merrier
Getting multiple bids for the the same project allows you to find the right price for your budget. You can compare bids to make sure you're not paying more than you should. However, be wary of bids that are too low to be true. This may be a sign of hidden fees or shoddy work. Before working with any landscaping professional it's also a good idea to ensure they are both licensed and insured.
After a long, drawn out winter, spring is officially here -- finally -- which means it's the perfect time to get cracking on planning out your landscape design process if you haven't started already. The spring and summer months are especially busy for landscape designers and other landscaping professionals, so it's important to schedule any appointments or consultations early. However, regardless of whether you're using professional landscaping services or you're tackling this project yourself, it's important to have a plan.
The U.S. landscaping industry generates an estimated $74 billion each year and it's easy to see why: landscaping projects can be expensive. However, they're well worth the cost. Not only can properly selected, placed, and maintained landscaping protect your home from the elements, but it can also help to reduce heating and cooling costs. In addition, Money Magazine wrote that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100-200% for a home at selling time. While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a landscaping project, it's equally -- if not more -- important to create a comfortable, realistic budget and stick to it.
This may seem self-explanatory, but identifying the end-goal or purpose of your landscaping project not only makes it easier to stick to your budget, but it also creates a clearer vision for the landscaping professional doing the work. Even if you decide to do part or all of the project yourself, having a clear purpose will ensure that things go smoothly. For example, many people may choose to incorporate eco-friendly elements into their modern or contemporary garden designs such as native plant species or rain water collecting systems, while others may want an aesthetically-pleasing flower garden.
Unlike most interior home improvement projects, landscape design can be affected by sun and wind patterns. Some contemporary garden designs have plant species that require more shade or sunlight than others, so it's important to get a feel for where the sun rises and sets on your home. Or wind can easily extinguish a poorly placed fire pit. In order to get the most enjoyment from your landscape design, you should account for the changing sun and wind patterns throughout the year.
It may seem hard to believe, but winter is almost over. The temperature is slowly beginning to creep above freezing -- and stay there -- while the days continue to grow longer. Soon, spring and summer will be here, which makes now the perfect time to begin fleshing out the landscape design process.
Professional landscaping is about much more than maintaining your garden. In fact, taking advantage or professional landscaping services in your area provides a whole host of benefits. Here's how.
Reduce energy costs
Did you know that trees are the longest living organisms on the entire planet? They're also highly effective in masking unpleasant noise and sound. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), trees can reduce bothersome and unwanted noise by up to 50%. In addition, properly selected and placed trees can serve as a protective barrier and a form of insulation, which in turn can reduce heating and cooling costs.
Whether you're creating a flower center or edible garden center in order to cultivate your own produce, professional landscaping can be used to beautify your home's exterior. In order to bring your creative vision to life, it's important to communicate your vision clearly with your professional yard designer or landscape architect. It may be helpful to include visual references such as pictures.
Also, it's important to find a landscaping professional who has the right combination of experience and education in order to meet your needs. For example, if you're creating a permaculture garden, it's best to work with a landscape designer who has experience in creating permaculture designs that are both beautiful and sustainable.
Increase home value
It's no secret that the real estate market is based on curb appeal. Perhaps you shouldn't judge a book by its cover; however, potential buyers often scrutinize a home's outward appearance and landscaping when making a decision. According to Money Magazine, landscaping can bring recovery values of 100 to 200% come selling time. Adding eco-friendly and sustainable features to your landscaping design can also increase recovery values.
Landscaping is big now. As Americans continue to become more environmentally conscious, and look for ways to balance their environmental concerns with aesthetics, beautiful yard concepts are in abundance. For example, did you know that trees -- some of the longest living organisms on the planet -- are able to reduce noise pollution by as much as 50% when planted properly around a home?
While winter may not seem like an ideal or practical time to maintain your garden, it's a great time to begin planning and fleshing out the landscape design process for spring and summer. Planning your spring or summer landscaping will make implementing your design that much easier once the warmer months come around, allowing you to love your new garden that much sooner.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing to maintain your garden.
It's important to take inventory of the soil's condition following the end of winter, as well as drainage, and existing vegetation. Will you be planting new plants, and if so, what kind? This will help you determine their placement, as different plant species require varying degrees of sunlight and water. You may also find it helpful to create a basic sketch of where you'd like to place different elements of your garden.
Weeds can be a nuisance; however, it's important to develop a weed management plan that is both safe and effective. If you're striving for an organic garden, you must stay away from chemical pesticides such as Ready Round Up and others. These may not be safe for consumption. However, by planting native species which encourage biodiversity, you may find that you'll need to weed less.
Keep it Short
It's more than likely that you'll need to do some clean up in order to maintain your garden once the winter ends. It's best to keep grass short and more frequently. Taking off the blade tips helps to keep your grass dense and healthy. In addition, you won't need to use a catcher!
The cold winter weather makes it difficult to imagine or even think about landscaping, but the truth is winter is the perfect time to get a head start on fleshing out the landscape design process for the spring and summer months. After all, cabin fever is no fun. The best way to keep it at bay is to stay busy as a bee by brainstorming ways to beautify your homes exterior.
Believe it or not, landscaping services aren't just about adding beauty to the outside of your home, they're also serving a practical purpose. Did you know that landscaping can add value to your home? In addition, did you know that planting shrubs and trees can significantly reduce your home energy costs as well as provide protection from wind and unwanted noise? That's plant power for you!
However, a core element of landscape design is aesthetics, so it's important to find ways to beautify your homes exterior that speak to you. For example, perhaps you enjoy the sound of falling water, in which case a small waterfall can be installed. Or perhaps sustainability is important to you, in which case solar panels or rainwater collection bins can be installed in order to irrigate your miniature eco-system.
Permaculture, as well, has made its way into the landscape design scene as Americans continue to become more environmentally conscious. Permaculture practices aim to replace what is taken from nature by creating a self-sustaining landscape. Common elements are edible forest gardens that consist of natural shrubbery that is native to the area.
It's important find a landscaper or yard designer who understands your design and end goals. There are a variety of landscape contractors, yard designers, and landscape architects that specialize in different areas of landscape design. As such, it's important to find one that is knowledgeable in regard to your needs.
Although it's hard to imagine winter will soon be over, considering that the beginning of the new year has been unseasonably cold, spring is just around the corner. Winter is the perfect time to hunker down and get a head start on planning your spring or summer landscape design. After all, there's no better way to beat cabin fever than to stay busy and dream of warmer weather!
When planning your landscape design process, it's important to identify your needs, both aesthetic and functional. Landscaping services do more than just beautify the areas surrounding your home; they serve a purpose too.
For example, did you know that trees can reduce unwanted noise by up to 50 percent? In addition, professional landscaping can not only reduce your home's heating and cool bills, it can add value to your home. Therefore, it's important to consider what's most important to you.
Perhaps you'd like to include eco-friendly, sustainable aspects to your design such as rainwater collection bins or a dry spring, or you'd like to incorporate elements of permaculture such as an edible forest garden center. Have fun finding inspiration throughout the landscape design process!
Once you've begun fleshing out your ideal landscape design, it's time to start crunching those numbers. It's important to create a realistic budget that is both reasonable and practical. Consider unforeseen expenses. You may even want to consider taking out a loan, especially if you are incorporating more expensive elements such as solar panels.
Last but not least, it's important to find landscape designers or architects who are able to bring your creative vision to life. If you have a specific idea in mind or a special request, it's best to find a yard designer who specializes in that area. Feel free to ask for personal recommendations or run an online search. There are a variety of online forums that may be helpful as well.
When in doubt, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call the landscaping company directly for a quote.
While there are plenty of ways to get relaxed in your home, there is no reason that this relaxation should be solely reserved for indoors, which leads you to bringing the relaxation outdoors. Just as it is important to create an indoor space that meets your personal wants and needs, you also need to create an ideal outdoor space with proper outdoor patio landscaping.
Although there is plenty of versatility available to accomplish this goal, the following ideas are generally well-received by most homeowners and can create a relaxing place for just about everyone.
Be Consistent with Flooring
It is tempting to get various types of flooring for different parts of your backyard, but this can create a little too much separation, thus causing the space to feel incomplete. To mesh the outdoor space seamlessly, you should choose a single type of flooring and use it for the entire space,
Some common flooring options include tile, hardwood, brick, and concrete, but there are even more options to pick from depending on your preferences.
Add a Fire Pit or Fireplace
In order to enjoy your outdoor space when it starts getting cold outside, you can benefit greatly from a built-in fire pit or fireplace, which allows you to warm up quickly and efficiently. Getting cozy on an outdoor couch with some hot chocolate or coffee in your hands can make for a relaxing experience, and this is exactly what you can do when you add a fire pit or fireplace to your patio space.
Consider a Pergola
If you are interested in reducing the amount of direct sun that your outdoor patio receives, you should consider a pergola that offers an excellent balance of both sunlight and shade. It is possible to add curtains to the sides to protect the interior from wind and bugs, thus making it even more relaxing.
With so many options to choose from to customize your outdoor patio, feel free to contact us to learn more about all of the options you have or to get answers to any questions you may have.
Getting a swimming pool has many benefits: exercise, fresh air, fun, relaxation, and time spent with family and friends. A well-designed pool landscape will not only enhance the beauty of your property; it will allow you to make the best use of your outdoor space for any occasion, whether it's sun-bathing privately or hosting a pool party.
According to Realtor® Mag, one of the top 21 housing trends for 2015 is "outdoor living." People aim to turn their property into a multifunctional retreat. They might opt for a garden and an area set aside for sports. And they might also want to install swimming pools, perhaps with additional perks such as poolside showers and hot tubs.
Don't wait to design your pool landscape
If you're thinking of getting a swimming pool installed, or you already have a pool but want to redo the landscape around it, it's critical to start thinking about pool landscape design now. Designing your pool landscape takes forethought and planning; you also wouldn't want to wait until the weather is warmer to make plans with landscaping experts.
When considering your pool landscape, the following are some points to keep in mind:
- The size and shape of the pool and its immediate environs.
- The unevenness of the terrain.
- The kind of plant life you want around the pool (when it comes to trees, for example, you need to make sure the roots won't interfere with the pool installation).
- The materials you want to use for poolside construction, along with the overall color scheme.
- Additional fixtures you'd like as part of your pool landscape, including a slide or a hot tub.
Also think about the kinds of things you would like to do in your pool besides swim or hang out in the water. Would you want your poolside to have a fun, sporty feel to it, or would you want a more enclosed, intimate garden or patio space? What would you like to leave room for next to your pool?
Be sure to contact us to discuss your ideas and their feasibility. Your pool landscape design will ideally meet your needs and fit seamlessly with your property.
Cabin John is known as a scenic destination, a place where you can get away from the heat and humidity. It's not miles away from Washington D.C., so what makes it a retreat?
One of the reasons people come to Cabin John is the mystery. No one knows for sure how Cabin John got its name. One story is a romantic story of a woman and man running away, the woman dying, and John mourning her. The other story is that a corrupt pirate buried his treasure there. Even today the citizens' association reserves rights to half of any treasure Captain John might have hidden.
But the main reason people come to Cabin John is the mix of old and new. There are stately old trees, and rock walls mixed with beds of flowers and modern sculptures. There are old homes with original landscaping and mansions with a more modern touch in the landscaping. That mix of old and new is what attracts people to live in Cabin John.
If you live in Cabin John, or are looking for a home in Cabin John, we'd like to help you with your landscaping. We'd like to help you find your perfect style that blends in with your neighbors, yet is uniquely you. We'd like to help you find that perfect blend of stately old trees and new flower beds. We'd like to help you blend old rock walls with modern water features or sculptures. If that is the type of personal landscaping you would like, contact us and we can make it happen.
Landscape design is in, and so is permaculture. While permaculture -- the art of creating sustainable, environmentally-friendly landscapes using both edible and native plants that encourage biodiversity while remaining aesthetically pleasing -- has been around since the 1970s when the term was first coined, it has only recently begun to gain traction as Americans become more environmentally conscious and aware. However, landscaping services and the principles of permaculture go hand in hand.
While landscaping a patio or a beautiful yard may be the last thing on your mind during winter's bitterly cold and dark months, winter is actually a perfect time to begin planning the landscape design process.
When landscaping a patio, it's important to understand its function or role in your life while beginning the design process. How much time do you spend outdoors on the patio? Do you enjoy entertaining and grilling outside? Do you have pets, and if so, what plants are harmful to them? Do you have a need for privacy? By clearly identifying your goals, you'll be able to begin "plugging" in certain sustainable practices.
For example, perhaps you'd like to capitalize on the amount of rain that falls and use this rainwater for watering plants or an edible forest garden center (which are becoming increasingly popular as more Americans are swapping genetically modified produce for organic). In this case, your landscaping professional can create a design that channels rainwater and run off into collecting containers. Or, if you live in an area which experiences heavy rain, a dry creek may be installed.
After determining the function or purpose of your patio, it's time to begin planning the aesthetics of it. Perhaps you have a favorite kind of tree or native plant that you'd like to incorporate in your design. Trees are excellent in that they can reduce noise, provide privacy by acting as a natural barrier, and in some cases may produce fruit. Choosing native plants encourages wildlife and the process of pollination, which is essential to creating a self-sustaining landscaped environment.
The most important aspect of landscaping a patio is to enjoy the process! Remember to have fun getting inspired and exploring new ideas.
Paver walkways can provide many benefits to homeowners. While many materials can be used to create outdoor walking paths, pavers are one of the most beneficial options to homeowners. Here are just a few of the many benefits paver walkways can provide.
With pavers, you will have a wide variety of options to choose from. With pavers being available in a wide a variety of colors, shapes, patterns, and sizes, you will be able to pick an option that best fits your home, taste, and personality.
While pavers do come in a wide variety of price ranges, for the most part, pavers are a great option for any budget. Unlike other walkway building materials, the broad price range pavers come in helps to ensure that homeowners are able to find something that will fit their budget as well as their style.
Paver walkways are extremely low-maintenance, as they generally only require periodic sweeping and occasional pressure washing. Furthermore, unlike other types of walkways, which may require costly repairs after settling, paver walkways can be easily reset. This makes paver walkways one of the cheaper options in the long run, as you will not have to worry about having to pay for costly repair work.
A Safe Option
One of the problems with many types of walkways is that they can become extremely slippery when wet. This can make these walkways a hazard for children and/or the elderly. Pavers on the other-hand are naturally slip-resistant. They provide a stable surface for your loved ones to walk on even when wet, making paver walkways a safe option.
Paver walkways can be a great option for homeowners as pavers provide a wide variety of options to homeowners at an affordable cost. Furthermore, the safety of pavers, as well as how low-maintenance they are, makes them the favorite of many homeowners. Contact us to find out more about the benefits of using pavers to create walkways on your property.
Buying a rental property is often done with the intention to make a primary or secondary income out of it, so spending tons of money on routine maintenance is not the best plan to succeed. If the property you buy has plenty of outdoor space, you should invest in an easy-to-maintain garden landscape to appeal to potential tenants without having to invest in consistent maintenance to keep it looking good.
Make Use of Native Plants
Native plants are useful because they mesh well with the climate you are in. Instead of attempting to grow plants that thrive in a completely different climate, you should look at local plants for your garden.
In order to have the best success, you will also want to consider sun and shade patterns as plant health and growth greatly depends on getting enough sunlight to grow and stay heathy.
Invest in Compost
Since compost has so many nutrients that are beneficial for plant life, you should not hesitate to use it within your garden landscape as this will just make it that much easier to maintain. Letting compost do the brunt of the work in keeping your plants healthy is the smart way to garden on your rental home.
Border Your Plants
Having a lush garden is great, but it can look cluttered when unorganized. It is important to bring structure to your garden landscape, which you can do by adding a border around the plant area. Doing this will help create a focal point in your front yard or backyard where the garden is located, along with creating a barrier that prevents weed growth from getting mixed in with your shrubs and perennials.
Prioritize Trees and Shrubs
Since you want your garden as simple as possible to maintain, whether you have a professional come by every week or two or rely on your tenants, you should consider shrubs and trees as your main source of color and foliage.
Investing in these is smart because they are sturdy, easy to grow, and look incredible.
Contact us to get professional help with garden landscape for your rental property.
While you may want your children to spend more time outdoors, it may not be a good idea if your lawn is treated with chemicals. In order for your lawn to be in great shape, while being safe around your children, you’ll want to look into natural garden landscaping taken care of by professionals. By investing in these services, your lawn will look its best throughout the year without the dangers of harsh chemicals.
Below are some tips for maintaining your lawn without the use of chemicals.
Although your lawn needs plenty of water to grow properly, it’s important that you don’t make a habit of overwatering. Not only can too much water cause the roots to attach too shallow, but it can also lead to diseases that will need to be treated. A good way to monitor the amount of water your lawn receives is through getting an automatic sprinkler system installed.
Use Natural Pest Control
One of the biggest reasons why homeowners use harsh chemicals on their lawn is due to concerns over pests. Luckily, you can take care of almost all pests using natural methods if you rely on other insects that can take care of the destructive ones.
Carefully Mow the Lawn
A lot of people make the mistake of over mowing the lawn or doing so in the middle of the day when the heat is at its worst. In order for your lawn to look its best, you’ll want to be careful about how and when you mow. Making sure that the blade is sharp and mowing early in the morning are just two tips for taking care of your lawn.
If you need professional help with caring for your lawn, please feel free to contact us to set up an appointment.
Come on, you know you want to. I mean, everyone's doing it... creating permaculture garden centers, that is.
Permaculture has become a buzz-word of sorts, permeating the English language but leaving people scratching their heads as to what it really is. The word itself is a portmanteau for the terms "permanent agriculture" and "permanent cultures." Permaculture is a self-sustaining agricultural system which focuses on organic farming methods that keep the surrounding ecological system intact. The system was originally created by two Australians during the 1970s and has recently begun to gain momentum in the United States.
As Americans become more health conscious and develop a closer relationship with their food and its source, many have adopted different eating habits in order to avoid consuming pesticide-treated, genetically modified crops. Pesticides, GMO's, growth hormones and antibiotics used in factory farming have been linked to a plethora of life threatening diseases and genetic disorders. As such, the trend towards self-sufficiency has increased.
In fact, consumers are much more conscious and tuned-in -- thanks to social media platforms -- than ever before, forcing brands to provide a level of transparency that many are reluctant to. Unsurprisingly, this has pushed many consumers farther and farther away from mainstream culture in search of a more holistic lifestyle, which is where permaculture comes into play.
Everyone thought the organic food movement was merely a trend or a marketing tactic that would soon be forgotten. It wasn’t until the agriculture and food industry as a whole was carefully examined that many consumers became mistrustful, if not disgusted, by how their food lands on their dinner table. Organic became more of a total lifestyle, rather than just the latest fad.
Permaculture is about much more than having a beautiful yard; it's essentially edible landscaping, balancing the beauty of landscape design with the practicality of having a garden. Landscape design itself, even when permaculture is not involved, can save homeowners thousands in heating and cooling costs, as well as boost a property's value come selling time.
Many modern landscape designers incorporate permaculture principles. The permaculture landscape design process focuses on creating a bountiful garden that not only seamlessly blends with the existing environment, but looks good doing it.
For the most part, a rock garden landscaping plan includes perennial succulents, low-growing herbs and some drought-tolerant annuals such as portulaca and California poppy. However, there are a number of flowering bulbs that grow very well in the Washington, DC area and that are appropriate for growing in a rock garden.
Most of these flowering bulbs bloom during the spring. There are a few that flower during summer and fall that should be considered in order to round out the growing season.
Northern Virginia and Maryland experience fairly warm winters, but luckily, there are enough winter days during which the temperature falls below 32 so spring-flowering bulbs develop blooms. Some of the best choices for a rock garden include galanthus, species crocus some species tulips, miniature narcissus and grape hyacinths. Both galanthus and the species crocus burst into bloom when the last of the snow melts. At times, these very hardy flowers will bloom in the snow. Species tulips such as the Kaufmannia varieties open in April. Although the stem length of the species tulips tends to be very short (4" to 6"), the flowers can be used for arranging as long as they are sunk into floral foam. The miniature narcissus share the stage with species tulips, and provide white and gold highlights to the tulips' overwhelmingly red, pink and purple shades. Finally, grape hyacinths flower during mid-spring. The most familiar grape hyacinth is a blue-purple color, but there are other varieties that bloom in white, pink, pale blue and deep purple.
The rain lily, or Zephyranthes, is the next in line to bloom. These dainty flowers send up flowering stems just after a late summer rain. They are a member of the Amaryllis family, so each flower stalk contains one or two showy blooms in shades of pink or white. There are some hybridized Zephyranthes that come in vivid orange and yellow, but these may grow too tall to include in a rock garden. Rain lilies naturalize easily and are an excellent choice for a maintenance-free garden.
Finally, the autumn-flowering crocus provides visual interest and, for the patient person, a source of culinary saffron. This bright lavender crocus grows only 4" tall and pops into bloom during autumn. Its tiny stamens contain threads of saffron, which is actually the pollen. The dedicated kitchen gardener will have to compete with the bees to harvest this delicacy.
It's not too late to consider adding bulbs to an existing rock garden or to begin a miniature bulb rock garden. For some excellent rock garden landscaping plans that include flowering bulbs, contact us.
It seems that everyone has heard of permaculture yet very few know what it actually means. Permaculture is much more than a trendy buzz word; it's a branch of sustainable ecological design that is regenerative and self-maintaining. Think of gardens that work with nature and gave back to the natural environment instead of being disruptive and taking from it.
Permaculture can be used in conjunction with professional landscaping services to create an edible garden and landscape that is both practical and beautiful. Landscape design can also save you a significant amount of money. In fact, according to Money Magazine, taking advantage of landscaping services can bring a home's recovery value up at selling time by a whopping 100 to 200 percent. In addition, professional landscaping can reduce bothersome noise and save on heating and cooling costs.
While there is a plethora of online resources in regards to permaculture and professional landscaping services, for amateurs who are new to the world of sustainable gardening, it's best to consult with a professional permaculture specialist or yard designer instead of tackling the project yourself.
Sustainable landscaping professionals will work closely work with you in order to determine your goals and create a plan of action that will bring them to life.