Trees and Shrubs as Privacy Screens

 AOL’s DIY Life Network is GardenWise

I worked Francesca Clarke at AOL’s  DIY Life Network on a feature story about creating green structures with trees and shrubs for privacy in your garden and outdoor spaces.  There are many options available for all budgets and timelines, depending on how soon do you need a privacy screen from a neighboring home or structure and how quickly you want to block  unwanted  views.  Pictured is a GardenWise garden in DC which includes Black Bamboo which serves as a screen.  

You can read the story in its entirety here – http://www.diylife.com/2011/04/25/privacy-fence/

I recommend to my clients if they have the space is to off-set the shrubs you use for a privacy screen and consider using different heights for a more natural affect.  Also, if a plant dies with staggered plant scheme along with the varying heights, the gap created by the dead plant is not so obvious.  The back row should have the tallest plants that will create the screen.  The middle row should have medium height plants, such as a smaller deciduous shrub such as an Annabelle Hydrangea, which will offer texture contrast and offer summer color.  The front row should be composed of your shortest plants and evergreen ground cover, such as variegated Liriope, which is grass like and has the added bonus feature of a late summer spiky lavender colored flower. Another striking affect I like is to use the purple coneflower and the Russian sage against the pendulous white blossoms of the hydrangea will be smashing.  Unity in an outside space is the best way to quickly provide a stimulating visual. 

Come-And-Come-Back Flowers are GardenWise

Flowers All Summer Long

By cutting your flowers vs. dead-heading, they’ll flower for more than double the time which will leave you with a garden space filled w/beautiful, colorful and scented blooms through summer.  Here are some of my favorites:

Crocosmia: Pictured below, adds an exotic touch to your favorite home grown arrangements.  This gladiolus relative bears clusters of bold red, orange, or yellow flowers that always seem to be the center of attention.

Yarrow: It’s beautiful and tough. In fact, this is one of the most maintenance-free perennials you can grow.  yarrow resists heat, drought, deer, and rabbits. It’s also a blooming  machine, producing flat-topped clusters of yellow, orange, red, pink, or white flowers throughout the summer.

Bearded Iris: Bearded iris (also called German iris) provides a striking vertical accent with its stiff sword-shaped leaves. Flower colors run the rainbow from deep Burgundy red to pastel pinks and yellows, to every shade of blue and violet and appear in late spring.

Blazing Star: A N.orth American native, blazing star has spikes of white, rose or purple flowers that attract butterflies; a great plant to add a vertical element to a garden.  The blooms are ideal for cutting/drying. 

Crocosmia

Rain Barrels are GardenWise

Today’s Green Living tip falls into the Water Conservation category… recycle water by adding a rain barrel!  Adding a rain barrel to your landscape is a pretty simple project that can be completed in a single day.  Did you know a typical 1/2″ rain storm will fill a 50 gallon rain barrel, while a 1″ rainstorm produces 1/2 gallon of water per square foot of roof area?  That’s a lot of water to recycle,  and lot less water you’ll be paying for from you local water authority.     

Rain Barrels come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the uses are limitless — you can attach a standard garden hose to your barrel, or you can attach a soaker hose.  You can also use your rainwater in your watering cans for your containers and pots.   Because we love added bonuses here at GardenWise — here’s a good one:  rain barrels reduce the amount of water around the foundations of your home. 

A company I just started to work with, Gutter Supply,  has a lot of options to choose from that will allow you to imagine how nicely you can incorporate a rain barrel into your landscape design. 

 

Grouping Groundcovers Together is GardenWise

We’ve written a lot over the past two years about losing at least HALF of your lawn areas to create a “greener” more eco-friendly garden. Losing some of your lawns areas is a fantastic way to make your garden space less water needy — and it will introduce new options to make your landscape current and interesting.

Replacing lawn areas with ground covers is a great option I recommend everyone to consider. And remember that if you position numerous species of ground covers together in large groupings, it will add much drama to your space, in addition to both color and texture. Think about creeping Jenny for a sunny areas and Creeping mints for shadier spots. And trailing yellow dale and trailing Lantana.

What to really ramp it up? Bring your sense of smell into the mix and add a fragrant ground cover, such as Sweet Woodruff, to your garden space.

If in the end your heart belongs to grass, think about replacing your lawn areas with grasses and grass-like options such as pink mulhy grass, liliope, deschampisi caespitosa (aka tufted hair grass) or mondo grass.

You’ll need to water your grasses and ground covers adequately until they’re established, after that, depending on the type, you’ll find your ground covers require up to 100% less than your former lawn areas.

A Fragrant Groundcover is GardenWise

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.

Water, Water, Everywhere: Recycle Water in the Garden

Green Living Tips – Rain Barrels!

Landscape Architects have been on the cutting edge of combining sustainable and green trends with land use planning for decades.  Now there are numerous  affordable green garden steps  you  can take in your own garden spaces that will greatly impact our environment.  Today  our Green Living tip falls into the Water Conservation category;  recycle water  by adding a rain barrel!  

Rain barrels come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the uses are limitless — you can attach a standard garden hose to your barrel, or you can attach a soaker hose.  You can also use your rainwater in your watering cans for your containers and pots.   Because we love added bonuses here at GardenWise — here’s a good one: rain barrels  reduce the amount of water around the foundations of your home! 
 
Adding a rain barrell to your landscape is a pretty simple project that can be completed in a single day.  Did you know a typical 1/2″ rain storm will fill a 50 gallon rain barrel, while a 1″ rainstorm produces 1/2 gallon of water per square foot of roof area?  That’s a whole lot of water to recycle,  and a lot less water you’ll be paying for from you local water authority.    There are many rain barrel options to be found at garden centers an online.  A company I work with, Gutter Supply,  has a lot of options to choose from that will allow you to  seamlessly incorporate a rain barrel into your  landscape design.  If you think it’ s unsightly to have a barrel in your landscape, keep in mind it’s pretty easy to design a hidden area for your barrell, such as this bamboo structure in a garden corner.