When it comes to designing and building landscapes, we’ve been asked a lot of questions! And that makes perfect sense – after all, we’re helping to build an outdoor space that will live, breathe and grow with you and perfectly fit your lifestyle. We bet you have a hundred questions and we’re happy to answer them all.
For now, here are 10 of the top questions we get asked all the time. Hopefully they’ll help you understand landscape design a little better and give you some ideas for your own yard.
Have another question that we didn’t answer? Just let us know!
1. I Love Bamboo But Won’t It Take Over My Yard?
It absolutely can – and your neighbor’s yard, and the guy down the block’s yard… but the operative word is “can”. The truth is that it shouldn’t – not if it’s planted properly.
Bamboo can be perfectly safe and thrive even in small spaces as long as it’s done right. So what does that mean? Well, the short answer is that the roots must be contained, typically using something called a “rhizome barrier” so they can’t spread and take over the neighborhood. Other materials and methods are sometimes used to contain roots but they can have unfortunate results.
So plan to do it right and you won’t be fielding any nasty calls from the guy six houses down asking why your bamboo is showing up in his peas.
Want the longer answer? Read more about bamboo here.
2. How Can I Bring More Butterflies To My Yard?
Butterflies are one of the few insects that get a pass when it comes to hanging out with us in our yards. And most people want to see more of them.
If you’re one of those people, you can attract these lovely gliders to your yard with the right plants and environmental features. Butterflies feed on nectar, which means you’ll need plenty of flowers, but you’ll also need the right type of flower. They are particularly attracted to red, yellow, orange, pink and purple and prefer flat topped or clustered blossoms like those of aster or goldenrod.
You’ll also want to provide butterflies with a bit of sun – place flat rocks in places where the butterflies can rest – and give them some puddles where they can drink.
Want to know more about attracting butterflies and other wildlife? Read on.
3. Why Should I Switch To LED Lighting?
If you’ve got perfectly good halogen lighting and you’re looking at the price tag of switching to LEDs you may wonder why bother at all?
LED lighting actually provides a number of advantages over halogens, including simpler maintenance, longer lasting bulbs and increased property value.
But if you’re staring at that price tag it may help to know that LED lighting can save you 70-80% on your energy costs over halogen lights. Plus, even though the initial cost of the bulbs is higher, they can last seven times longer than halogens, which means far less long term spending and less spent on maintenance.
Thinking of making the switch? Here are some things you need to know about LEDs.
4. Why Do I Need A Master Plan?
It’s so easy to hop on over to Home Depot in the spring, grab a pickup truck full of your favorite plants and put your green thumb to work.
So why bother with all the hoopla involved in a master plan?
There are myriad reasons but some of the most important include setting a short and long term budget, mitigating environmental problems and predicting the results of planting over the long term.
That last one is so often overlooked without a master plan that it’s worth talking about a little more. Imagine you’ve come home from your shopping trip with a car full of trees, plants and shrubs. You get them into the ground and they look fantastic. As the season wears on, they begin to fill in and you’re thrilled.
But as time goes by, the roots of the tree that was planted a little too close to the walkway begins to push it up. And the flowerbed that looked great in the spring starts to burn out in the summer or it turns into a barren patch of dirt in the winter.
Master planning can help you look forward to where you landscape will be in a month, a season and even years ahead. That way it will live and grow in harmony, giving you something to enjoy year round.
5. Can I Still Have A Garden If My Yard Is Shaded?
Absolutely! You may not be growing tomatoes but there are plenty of plants that do well in partial or full shade.
But you can also think beyond the plant – to things like ponds and even rock gardens. Ponds actually require a good amount of shade in the summer so if you have a shaded area that could be the perfect spot for a pond.
And a rock garden is another great way to add interest, color and texture to your space.
6. What’s The Best Time To Begin A Landscape Project?
There are actually two great times to start your project. You probably already guessed that one is spring, because that’s when everyone comes out of the woodwork and looks forward to a new season of enjoying the outdoors.
Designing and planting in the spring will give you months of enjoyment as you watch your new landscape grow.
But what you may not know is that fall can actually be better than spring for starting your project. The cooler weather means less stress on plants, which means they adapt better and require less watering and maintenance.
Landscaping in the fall also affords you the opportunity to prepare some of spring’s favorite blossoms, like tulips and daffodils, so they’ll be ready and waiting for the warmer weather.
Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy your winter landscape a whole lot more, too. A great landscape will add just the right colors, textures and cold-hardy plants that will keep things looking beautiful through even the darkest days of winter.
7. Why Do I Need To Hire A Professional Landscape Architect?
Remember that trip to Home Depot and all those amazing plants you bought? Why not just get to work yourself or hire that handyman who does yard work? It sounds a lot quicker and cheaper, doesn’t it?
Well, we already mentioned how important a master plan is, and that’s one reason to go pro, but there are more!
Professional landscapers understand plants, water, wildlife, natural ecosystems and more. They’ll be able to guide you when it comes to choosing the best plants, trees and shrubs for your space (and budget!) and they’ll take a “big picture” approach to design rather than simply popping some colorful blooms into a spot along the walkway.
A good architect will take into account things like your home’s exposure to sun and wind, irrigation, soil quality and even your lifestyle and how you want to live in your outdoor space.
They’ll be able to recommend plants that will work well together and thrive in your environment. Are the deer constantly nibbling on your greenery? Well, it might just be that you’ve chosen the wrong plants! A professional will dig to the bottom of trouble spots and make sure your space is all it can be.
It’s also worth mentioning that a good landscape architect is thinking far beyond simply “landscaping” to designing an outdoor space that will become part of your lifestyle and an extension of your home.
8. Will I Have To Do A Lot Of Maintenance?
Nothing is ever zero maintenance but that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours sweating over your perennials.
This is where having a master plan and a good architect will pay dividends. If you’re looking for less maintenance, that will depend in part on the plants you choose. Having someone to guide you and help you create a space that fits your lifestyle and maintenance needs is an important piece of the puzzle.
Understanding and implementing a maintenance schedule will also be part of the plan. It’s a lot easier to do a little bit of maintenance often than a tremendous amount of work all at once.
If you’re concerned about watering your plants, there are other options you can consider, like rainwater harvesting. That’s a great way to deal with summertime water restrictions and to improve the quality of your plants.
9. What If I Have A Small Yard?
Big or small, full sun or full shade, oceanside or curbside, you can still enjoy a beautiful outdoor space. A master plan and a great architect will help you make the most of the space you have, from using plants of the right sizes and heights to choosing the right features.
You may not have room for a pond, for example, but a pondless waterfall will give you the delightful sound and motion that you may be looking for and take up no more room than a typical patio table.
10. My Yard Needs Help But Do I Really Have To Start Over?
Maybe not. If you’ve got a good foundation or had your landscaping done years ago and it’s starting to show its age, you may just need a rejuvenation.
That could mean getting rid of dead, wilting or inappropriate plantings and swapping them out for new and better ones. It could mean adding a water feature, pond or rock garden to enhance the beauty of your space. It could mean creating the right mood with the perfect décor.
Want to know more about how you can rejuvenate your space without starting over? Read more here.
There you have the top 10 questions we hear about landscape design. Do you have another? Or would you like to talk to us about building the outdoor space of your dreams? Get in touch and we’ll set up a consultation.