GardenWise on Recycling & “Green” Garden Design
There are so many advantages to using recycled materials when creating a stone/hardscape garden project. For the environment and your wallet! We use recycled materials, such as concrete for paving systems, recycled glass in stepping stones, and crushed recycled stone and granite for patio surfaces whenever possible. It’s a great “green” step to take while creating your special garden space.
An added benefit to using recycled materials? The savings on the installation of a landscape design. If I can incorporate larger pieces of old concrete into a design, the purchase and delivery of new materials is eliminated. Also eliminated? The cost of removing and disposing of old materials.
If you think that you can’t afford to install your next hardscape project, ask about incorporating recycled materials into your design. The savings may just be enough for you to go ahead and create the garden space you desire. Just in time for spring and summer.
GardenWise is Sweet on Woodruff
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) is a shade garden delight, and the perfect groundcover for adding fragrance to your outside space while reducing lawn areas. Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils, it’s fast growing, insect repellent, low maintainance, quick to establish and it isn’t prone to invasiveness — though you definitely do need to keep it in check. Sweet Woodruff has white spring flowers and an attractive eye-catching foilage. The foliage’s scent intensifies when the flowers are dried, which makes them a popular choice for those making potpourri.
GardenWise on Productive and Green Gardens
Many clients come to me with questions about how to take significant “green” steps to make their gardens more eco-friendly. The question I hear the most? “Where to start?” Here are five easy steps every person can take in their home garden that will help the environment and save you money in the long run on watering and energy costs.
Reduce your lawn by half — yes, by half! Replace your reduced lawn area with groundcovers that will provide beautiful colors and textures to your space, and add beautiful hardscape or some pourous paving which allow for surrounding plantings to soak up any excess water
Replace plants with drought-tolerant alternatives that require much less water.
Also replace exotic plants with native plants that can easily survive and thrive in the year round weather conditions in your area. This will also cut down on the cost of replacing plants that don’t survive well in your weather.
Add a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves in Fall) which will grow tall, and shade your home and roof during summer months, keeping your inside temps lower. These trees will also allow for sunlight to enter your home during winter months to help keept it warm and reduce your overall energy use.
Make your garden productive by adding vegetables and 2-3 fruit trees. Vegetables can be grown in former lawn areas, and trees are fantastic garden additions as they absorb CO2 and other dangerous gasses while replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen. You can save money at the grocery store, enjoy fresh produce, or help others by donating your home grown vegetables and fruit to those in need
GardenWise on “Green” Garden Projects
When a gardener asks, “How can I make my garden ‘green’?” The journey has begun. A thoughtful understanding that an outside space can have a positive impact on the environment is the first step to a green garden makeover. An exciting weekend project that will bring immediate and amazing results is to reduce your lawn area by at least half.
Substituting lawn areas with ground covers will provide beautiful colors and textures to your garden spaces. Ground covers retain moisture in the soil, help prevent erosion, and require significantly less water than grass, which will make your garden space eco-friendly. Creeping thymes and Creeping Jenny are good choices for sunny spots, and for shadier areas, tiny creeping mints such as Mentha requienii will work well. Some nice low-water choices include Trailing Yellow Dalea and Trailing lantana.
By adding some stone elements and pourous pavers into your plan, your garden space will come alive with wonderful garden paths that will add new dimensions to your garden spaces.
Home & Design Magazine Article ‘A Modern Landscape’
When J. Mark White of GardenWise was called in to restore the garden of a 1920s Colonial Revival, he was already familiar with the property, having previously landscaped the front and back yards. After fire struck the Cleveland Park home, the owners turned to the landscape architect for a redo.
As we enjoy Fall, conserving water remains a priority. Here are some easy ways to get the biggest bangs for your water bucks.
Less Lawn. I write about this all the time. Reduce your lawn areas by half. The average American uses 200 gallons each day they water their lawn. Consider replacing some of that grass with an attractive groundcover which is drought resistant, covers a large area, and requires zero mowing.
Super Soak. Up to a third of all water from yoru irrigation system can evaporate during the heat of the day. Give your plants fewer, heavy soakings. If your watering routine includes using sprinklers, think about only using them in only use them in the morning.
Grey Is Good. Recapturing grey water or rainwater can provide a free source of garden irrigation. These systems can be easily installed and even incorporated into irrigation systems.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip irrigation systems water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternative to sprinkler systems. Be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.
Free Seed Packets from DIYLife are GardenWise!
We saw this offer on DIYLife.com and couldn’t resist sharing the info! FREE wildflower seeds for the first 1,000 people who list an item on Diggerslist. We could recap DIYLife’s story, but we just wouldn’t do them justice, so here in their own words on the GardenWise blog . . .
“Need that extra push to get rid of those old kitchen cabinets, windows or a loveseat? Here’s the perfect incentive: If you’re one of the first 1,000 people to post an item for sale on DiggersList before the end of the month, the site will thank you with a package of seeds sent right to your door.
We love everything about this plan because good stuff just keeps coming: Once you post the items, people can sign up to buy them and place them in good homes — places that will actually use that bamboo flooring sitting in your garage. That leaves you with money in your pocket (your online bank account) and those seeds for you plant anywhere in your house or garden.
Feeling extra eco-ambitious? We dare you to invest the money you make from the sale to buy earth-friendly products like green outdoor furniture, lighting and paint.”
Thanks, DIYLife! And as Whoopi Goldberg used to say in those old MCI commercials, “…ain’t no better savings than free, honey!”
Replacing Lawns with Groundcovers is GardenWise
A thoughtful understanding that an outside space can have a positive impact the environment is the best first step to a green garden. Another important step to take is to reduce your lawn area by at least half. To the left is a GardenWIse garden using only groundcovers, no grass!
Substitute lawn areas with ground covers that will provide beautiful colors and textures to your spaces. Groundcovers also help retain moisture in the soil and help prevent erosion. Creeping thymes and Creeping Jenny (my favorite) are good choices for sunny spots, and for shadier areas, tiny creeping mints such as Mentha requienii will do well. Black Eyed Susan grown en masse make for an eye-catching and bright display. Some nice low-water choices include Trailing Yellow Dalea and Trailing lantana. Adding stone elements and pourous pavers can help create wonderful garden paths.
Another substitute? Vegetables. A small area dedicated growing your favorite vegetables that you can inexpensively install yourself will transform the most unproductive area of your landscape.
GardenWise’s J. Mark White is in very good company in the September issue of AARP The Magazine ( “the world’s largest-circulation magazine, with more than 47 million readers”) as writer Cathie Gandel shares Fall 2010 gardening tips from landscape experts and garden writers. Mark shares an easy to follow tip on reducing a lawn area by half and replacing it with groundcovers and perennial grasses. Come spring, you’ll have a more productive space, and here’s another “green” idea: take it a step further next year and reduce your already reduced lawn areas AGAIN by adding an area for vegetables. Talk about making your garden more productive and “green! ”
Be sure to check it out at AARP online.