Backyard Hardscapes – Creative Hardscapes for Beauty and Tranquility

Backyard Hardscapes Levels

You’ve meticulously laid out your favorite plants and grasses, but still something seems to be missing…

If you’re like the average homeowner, you may not be aware of the term hardscaping. Hardscaping is in fact the second half of the equation for making a beautiful backyard. It’s a subcategory of landscaping that refers to “hard things” in landscaping.

This includes:

  • walls
  • fences
  • stone pathways and stone benches
  • arbors
  • sprinkler systems
  • swimming pools
  • fountains
  • decks and patios
  • stone and brick walkways
  • driveways
  • and so much more…

As you can see, a thorough landscaping job is much more than just lawn care and flowers…

A well thought out hardscaping plan and landscaping plan are both critical for the success of your backyard makeover.

Hardscapes Ideas to Get You Started

Before you begin, the first question that must be answered is: should you start first with hardscaping or landscaping? The answer is hardscaping because it’s easier to work with. Lay the foundations of hardscaping elements first to avoid damaging the softscaping (grass, flowers etc) elements.

Now that you’ve started thinking about  backyard hardscapes ideas in general, you should keep in mind the usefulness of curves in hardscaping. Curved hardscapes (walls and walkways) work well to soften a landscape with linear lines (linear lines are used in most housing constructions).

Also, a curved path will allow you or your visitors to wander through your landscape, allowing anyone to enjoy the scenery.

Timeless Backyard Hardscapes

A good place to start building a curved path is right from your back door. Make it lead to an area with water. This will be a nice area to relax and unwind. Make the stone pathway interesting. Surround it with flowers or bamboo stalks. Add solar lights to light up the path at night.

You can make some very creative backyard hardscapes by utilizing the concept of hardscape levels. What this means is adding different level hardscapes to your backyard to create more visual appeal.

For example, a stone walkway is one level. A stone wall is another level. Once you have these different hardscape levels, you can let your creativity run wild. You could cover a wall with flowers and add planters to the top of the wall, and you can do the same to your stone walkway if you want.

One more bonus tip: try using citronella torches to keep the bugs away!

As you now see, the possibilities with backyard hardscapes and landscaping are endless; the only limit being your imagination (and budget).

Did we inspire you to make changes in your backyard? If so, share this article and let your friends and family know about the joy of hardscaping. You can also call your local landscape company to find out more!

Xeriscape Plants – The Sustainable Landscape of the Future is Here

xeriscape plants- CSWN

Xeriscaping may be a new word for you unless you’re a landscaper, contractor or an outdoor property management company. Typically, xeriscaping is used as another word for dry landscaping, or desert landscaping.

Xeriscape is there to fill the void in the areas of the world that are too dry to have a lush, colorful garden.

However, within the context of landscaping, xeric doesn’t necessarily equal “dry”. The true definition of xeriscaping is: water efficient usage of resources.

Xeriscaping is at the very heart of sustainability. Xeriscapes consume less water and are often more attractive than other common types of landscapes. Interested? Then read on as we discuss xeriscape landscaping, xeriscape plants and xeriscape planting.

Getting Started With Xeriscape Landscaping

Xeriscaping can be applied to almost any local environment. The proper materials for xeriscaping can replace the existing materials in the environment to simulate the desert environment.

Xeriscape gardening and landscaping is ideal for gardeners living in dry conditions. A couple examples of xeriscape type gardening includes rock gardens and cacti gardens.

With a rock garden it is important to choose mostly native plants that are accustomed to living among rocks.

You aren’t limited to just those choices for your garden however. You can opt for traditional types of flowers and grass, you just have to better plan your irrigation methods.

As for your lawn, a xeriscape will typically either eliminate the lawn entirely or it will keep it as a side piece only.xeriscaping-small

Xeriscape Planting

There are many different methods for xeriscaping. One method is to group plants that require the same amount of watering together in order to conserve water. This is good for plants that do better in dry conditions because this will ensure none of them get too much water. Likewise, it will be good for plants that need more water because it will ensure that all the thirstiest plants get enough water.

Xeriscape Plants

A good choice for xeriscape plants are cacti. They don’t need much watering. There are also many different types of cacti, so you can give your desert garden a very unique look.

Another good choice for xeriscape plants are seedums. Seedums are perennials that can grow in almost any climate in the Continental US. Usually they bloom in the fall season. Other options include: vines, shrubs, ornamental grasses, and ground cover.

As the world moves towards greener living, xeriscaping will probably become the future of landscaping, so everyone should research it. Help your friends make the world more sustainable by sharing this article with them and point out the diagram below.

why-xeriscape

Getting Started with Big Tree Landscaping – A Short Guide

big tree landscaping - Country Springs Wholesale Nursery

Actual trees at our farm

The Iconic Big Trees

Big trees in the U.S. are most notably from California, where the redwood and sequoia trees are found. tunnel-treeSince their discovery during the Gold Rush in the middle of the 19th century, big tree finds have spread throughout the world, particularly in the US and Europe, but also in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and South America.

Interestingly enough, sequoias will reach a height of 30ft (10m) after one decade, and after 5 decades will usually reach a height of 130 ft (40m). Some of them can grow over 300 feet tall, as tall as a city skyscraper.

What Are The Requirements For Big Tree Landscaping?

The biggest trees are strong and hardy; they aren’t easily affected by insects or diseases. Because of this, they can live for many years.

However, big trees take many years to mature & the success of big tree landscaping depends a lot on the matching of the region’s climate to that of the tree family’s location. Oaks, maples, cypress, & cherry trees are examples of trees that fall into the category for our region.

So, you won’t grow the large tree you want within your lifetime if you are just now considering planting a seed.

Unless you use an already existing large tree…

How You Can Get Started With Big Tree Landscaping Now

Big tree sales create a feel of maturity when transplanting existing big trees into your landscape. This isbig-tree-landscaping-cypress the fastest method for big tree landscaping. A big tree nursery raises strong and healthy large trees for transplanting.

So, what are some of the benefits of big tree landscaping?

  • Privacy
  • Blocking noise
  • Blocking wind and shading the house can reduce heating and cooling utility bills
    A fully matured large tree can be worth anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 (small trees were found to have no effect on sales prices)
  • A big tree will give a newly built house the illusion of maturity and steadfastness with a large tree or two planted around it.
  • Underneath certain types of big trees is a good place to grow certain types of plants. The types of trees that don’t cut off all light to anything growing underneath are good candidates for this. Many plants that do well with partial sunlight or shade will grow very well under big trees. Ask your local nursery for advice about these “base” plantings.

Our farm has an excellent selection of mature trees which include Autum Blaze Maples, Pin Oaks, & Yoshino Cherry trees. You can view examples of these and others on our BIG TREES page.

There are many different factors to take into consideration with big tree landscaping. For more information on these other factors, check out this thorough article on the subject.

Summer Plant Relocation: Essential Guidelines for Success

Summer Plant Relocation

Summer isn’t the best time to undertake plant relocation. The heat and sun angle are not plant friendly. However, there are times when the only option is to perform plant relocation during the summer. You can have success with plant relocation during any season by following these easy guidelines.

Plant Relocation Guidelines

  1. Water the plants to be dug and relocated at least a day before you plan to move them. This will make certain that hydration will reach all areas of the plant prior to the start of relocation.
  2. Dig and relocate only during cloudy days or in the evening when it is cooler.
  3. Prior to digging or removing the plant from its current location, be sure to water the base liberally. This will ensure that the soil will stay with the roots when it is removed from its current location.
  4. Do not expose the roots during plant relocation to wind, heat or sun. If relocating multiple plants, only work with one plant at a time. Do not remove multiple plants from their current location at the same time.Summer Plant Relocation Watering
  5. Water the intended plant relocation hole before moving.
  6. Put the relocated plant into the hole and pour water in until reaching half way point of the hole. The water will merge the root soil and the hole soil. After soak, finish filling hole with soil.
  7. Once the plant relocation is complete, you can tamp the soil but do so lightly.
  8. After the plant relocation is in place, water the entire plant again including the leaves.
  9. Keep the plant shielded from direct sunlight. A floating row cover or leaning a board between the plant and the direction of sun will work nicely. Do this step for 3-6 days.

Be sure to check on the plant relocation site every day for 2 weeks. Relocated plants will need watering at least once every day. If the plant is wilting give it water. Keep water the plant once or twice each day until it becomes established. If the plant has less roots than top growth or is very large, it will need more water.

This may seem to be an inordinate amount of attention, but the disturbance of being relocated is stressful to plants at any season. During the summer, taking extra caution is important to allow for the transition of your relocated plants.

The 17 Year Cicadas are Near: Helpful Resources for Your Preparation

17 Year Cicadas - Country Springs Wholesale Nursery

17 Year Cicada Facts

17 year cicadas (also known as 17 year locusts) are the most feared of cicadas because of the damage they cause to trees. This 2016 Brood V (5) 17 year cicadas are currently emerging by the thousands, in parts of Virginia and Maryland. They begin emerging first in the southern-most ares and gradually emerge in the northern-most areas. For a list of the states and more detail on the geographic range of 17 year cicada, see this page. http://www.cicadamania.com/cicadas/brood-v-17-year-cicadas-due-in-spring-of-2016/
17 year cicadas normally begin to rise from the ground (when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit) around the third week of May all the way through June in areas where they are expected to emerge.

What is a 17 year cicada exactly?

17 year cicadas look like giant flies. They are often referred to as locusts because of their size.
They are not harmful to humans and don’t bite or sting; however, they may mistake part of a human (such as the arms) as a tree or tree limb and attempt to feed. This will barely sting though, so simply remove the cicada from your person and continue your business.
They will feed with their long proboscis under their head, which they use to insert into plant stems in order to feed on sap.

Why 17 year cicadas are a problem17 Year Cicada Egg Scars - Country Springs Wholesale Nursery

So what’s the big deal about these insects? Well as you probably knew already, 17 year cicada are locusts that are known to wreak havoc on trees, particularly young trees as well as ornamental fruit trees.
Female cicadas will lay their eggs deep in tree branches, which will cause the branches to turn brown and wilt. This may result in young trees losing most or possibly all of their branches. 17 year cicadas are also particularly attracted to dogwood, oak, maple and fruit trees.

Where to find 17 year cicadas in your yard

Cicadas will emerge in sunny areas of your yard before cicadas in the shady areas, so check those areas first. Indicators of cicada presence include human finger diameter shaped holes in the ground. You may also find them under stones and slates.
For more information on their potential locations as well as the distinctive sounds they make, check out this page. http://www.cicadamania.com/where.html
For protecting your trees, use 1/4″ mesh cicada netting. This will make it iimpossible for the bugs to crawl through to the tree. Put the net over the entire tree and secure it to the trunk so they can’t crawl under the opening.

As mentioned earlier, Brood V is the one to watch for this year. The map below indicates the areas of highest risk.

17 year cicada calendar - CSWN