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Celebrating Labor Day at Home: Just Add Water and Some Color

Getaways, by car or air, can be costly. Not to mention the crowds.

 

Labor Day Fun

Labor Day Fun

 

One way to not break the bank over the long Labor Day weekend is to simply enjoy it at home. Plant some colorful fall flowers, fire up the grill, string a few lights and set out the comfortable lounge furniture and chairs.

 

 

 

 

But a long weekend isn’t just one big bash. There’s plenty of time to relax outdoors and just enjoy the promised good weather we’re expecting.  And to give this experience just a little more zen — consider adding a bit of flowing water to your backyard scene.

For example, there’s one easy garden complement that makes any landscaped area transformative in how it delights the soul. Even small gardens become something wonderful when the sights and sounds of flowing water are added.

Those who know Deck and Patio for our larger pond/water feature installations (we’ve done over 300 on Long Island alone) may be surprised that we also specialize in smaller water features such as fountains.

Stacked Stone Urn fountain

Stacked Stone Urn fountain

This photo is one such garden fountain that we added for clients who had recently moved to a new home. (This fountain is also seen above as our feature photo) 

When working at their property, one of our team members mentioned that it felt like the garden was missing something — a feature that would offer both the sound and relaxing sight of water movement. 

The clients agreed that a garden fountain would be an ideal finishing touch in such limited space.

 

And here’s a 5-second video for you to hear the water music of that installation: 

 

 

DIY Fountain Projects

Deck and Patio can install a fountain for you. However, if you’d like to add one of these fountains on your own, all you need is a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a level. 

Then, adding a bag of decorative gravel and mulch, you have a picture-perfect-and-sound-perfect-fountain that not only you will enjoy but so will many of nature’s lovable wildlife.

 

 

Add Some Color

Add Some Color

 

 

So dress up your deck and comfortable seating areas with some flowers and the sounds of flowing water. Grill up something tasty — and avoid the crowds — and the costs. 

 

 

 

 

By |2022-08-18T12:41:25-05:00August 18th, 2022|Family Fun, Gardening, Landscape Planning, Landscaping, Outdoor Living|Comments Off on Celebrating Labor Day at Home: Just Add Water and Some Color

For Mother’s Day Flowers: Think ‘Aquatic’

 

If Mom has a backyard pond, stream or water fountain, rather than giving her the usual bouquet, how about gifting her plants for her outdoor waterscape.

 

Plants for Water Fountains

 

Aquascape Inc. Garden Fountain

Aquascape Inc. Garden Fountain

 

A water fountain that is set in a basin is the perfect spot for adding flowers and greenery. Consider free-floating plants which are perfect for a fountain garden. 

Tip: Don’t forget a bit of Miracle Gro. In a fountain basin, floaters won’t get nutrients from other decaying plants that are found in ponds, etc., so they’ll need some nutrients. 

Another tip: Put these plants in the calmest section of the fountain’s basin so they don’t get too much water splashed on them. If the basin is large enough, perhaps there’s room for a few koi as well. Koi and aquatic plants work well together in keeping a healthy waterscape.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a very short video of the sounds and beauty of a fountain-garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deck and Patio Built Pond

Deck and Patio Built Pond

Aquascape Inc., in St. Charles, IL — the country’s leading experts on all things pond and water gardens — describes the basic groups of aquatic plants as:

  • Water Lilies Lotus
  • Marginal Plants Water Lily-like Plants
  • Floating Plants Submerged Plants

And don’t worry if you’re choosing the right plant. Ponds are all the more beautiful with a variety of greenery and color.

“In fact, the best designs for ponds and water gardens utilize a wide mixture of plants in different heights, textures and color from at least three of the above groups,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. 

“This gives the most natural look. When installing these, at Deck and Patio we don’t do it in a symmetrical way. We find that a more random placement provides the most natural look.”

 

And when it comes to gift giving, “random” makes the choosing all the easier.

 

Here’s some more aquatic plant ideas:

 

Aquatic Plants and Pond Landscaping (Long Island/NY):

Aquatic Plants and Pond Landscaping (Long Island/NY):

 

The tall aquatic plant on the left of the pond (canna lily) offers a nice tall statement. It thrives in water conditions that are 70-80 degrees F, with a pH of 6.5-7.5. 

They’re also easy to care for, love natural light and are ideally suited near the edges of a pond. The weeping hemlock at the top right in the photo flourishes in moist soil and offers a bit of shade which helps balance the water temperature.

 

 

Aquatic Plants (Long Island/NY):

Aquatic Plants (Long Island/NY):

 

 

So think water garden plants for this mother’s day. These plants will live a long time in their water bed. And with the outdoor season coming fast toward us, Mom will thank you indeed for the extra color and texture around her favorite sitting spot. 

 

 

 

 

 

Pondside: Relaxing and Dining ’Al Fresco’

Even before COVID, dining and relaxing ‘al fresco’ has long been part of the outdoor experience for those with a backyard pond. 

With weather warming, and Memorial Weekend not all that far off, now is a great time to plan a backyard upgrade with a view to enjoying delightful pondside dining and relaxation right at home.

As Certified Contractors of Aquascape Inc. — one of the country’s leading manufacturers of pond and water feature products — Deck and Patio continually stays informed and trained on all the latest techniques and technologies for ideal waterscapes.

Each year, our expert teams can be found installing ponds, water gardens and other water features across Long Island and her environs. And because of our breadth of expertise, we can design/build a complete oasis, including decks and patios, pools, custom and portable hot tubs to complement any waterscape.

We also specialize in eco-friendly ponds sustained through rainwater harvesting. “We also specialize in landscaping waterscapes with gorgeous water plants, stocked with healthy pond fish, and aerated with naturally-looking waterfalls,” says our own Dave Stockwell.

The one thing our ponds all have in common, adds Dave, is how much a backyard pond adds to each family’s outdoor experience. Having such a water feature — with the sounds of moving water and natural beauty this provides — makes outdoor living and dining an exceptional experience.

 

Pond-side Living:

Pond-side Living:

Deck and Patio designed/built a new deck with a viewing platform pondside where the family can dine and relax outdoors. You’ve heard of Xanadu, well how about Zen-adu. Imagine. After dinner they can walk across a set of large stepping stones to view the pond from another vantage point.

 

Al Fresco Drinks/Dining by a Pond:

Al Fresco Drinks/Dining by a Pond:

This feature photo (see also top of page), was shared with us by Aquascape Inc. Here a group of family and friends — and even someone’s favorite pet —- enjoy a meal beside an exquisite pond stocked with koi. Soothing sounds from the waterfall help everyone relax and be at ease.

 

Backyard Sanctuary Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

Backyard Sanctuary Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

Deck and Patio created this natural backyard retreat complete with a large deck and pond that comes up to it. Our design formed different settings and focal points; our team planted over 4,000 bulbs, 300 species of deciduous woody plants, evergreens, and perennials, including 150 different varieties of these species. 

Imagine having the option of dine on your deck or in a backyard glass conservatory. (Note: Deck and Patio did not build the conservatory but worked with the contractors the family hired to bring this beautiful project together harmoniously.)

 

“Deck” Pond Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

“Deck” Pond Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

Aquascape Inc. also provided us with this photo of a charming dining area set on a deck with pond. Note how the wall mural picks up where the real plants leave off, giving a smallish water garden area the sense of natural expanse. The homeowner also chose blue cushions to go with the mural’s water scenes, which helps to tie it all together.

 

A big thank you to Aquascape for sharing some of today’s photos with us.

 

Landscaping Ideas: Add Plants in Pantone’s ‘Very Peri’ Color

Very Peri’ is Pantone’s Color for 2022

Very Peri’ is Pantone’s Color for 2022

Last month, Pantone announced Very Peri as its 2022 color of the year. They made their choice with a view to encourage an “altered landscape of possibilities” during a time when our “notions and standards are changing,” 

Pantone believes that Very Peri “displays a needed spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence” helpful in encouraging creativity and imaginative expressions.” 

Pantone’s new color definitely provides homeowners with the opportunity to create contrast and interest in their landscapes.

“We frequently get requests for plants in the latest popular colors,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “We love helping them keep up with the times, while always ensuring any updates are in harmony with the rest of what’s there.”

Dave adds that even if families aren’t planning major updates to their properties, incorporating some fresh touches of color such as Pantone’s Very Peri is an easy change.

For those who’d like to get started planning some seasonal floral updates, here’s just some plants that mimic Very Peri nicely:

 

Periwinkles

Periwinkles: This flower’s color and name may have inspired Pantone’s choice for 2022. “It’s such a superb spreading shrub, we like it because it’s great for erosion control. Grown as a ground cover, it blooms in April and May.”

This plant also helps control the growth of weeds. It’s a good climber, too. Caution: Plant it on its own where it won’t overtake or choke valuable plantings. It likes partial shade and acidic soil. If you don’t want it to spread too far and rapidly, you can plant it in full sun.

 

 

Iris

Iris

 

 

Iris: These beauties come in a variety of sizes and colors. Mark your calendar as the best time to plant them is late summer to early autumn. Most varieties need full sun. “We always recommend preparing the planting beds ahead. 

About two weeks before, loosen the soil in a depth close to a foot to allow for good drainage. They don’t need much water except just before bloom time. Caution: These plants are bad if ingested and definitely are not good for your pets. 

 

 

 

 

Delphinium elatum

Delphinium elatum

Delphinium elatum: A member of the buttercup family, delphiniums are delightful perennials that add lovely color when they bloom during spring to early summer. A sturdy plant grows tall and is nicely herbaceous. 

“In our neck of the woods,” says Dave, “these plants require special care, but are worth the effort we think.”

Perhaps in keeping with Pantone’s purpose in choosing the Very Peri color, these old-fashioned flowers, if you’ve got the time to care for them, can make a magnificent statement. 

They require high fertility, careful staking to keep them standing in rainstorms, etc. Give them space to spread out and ample air circulation. For more on this, check out this article.  

 

 

Feature Photo

Feature Photo: Hydrangea

 

Feature Photo at top of page: We selected hydrangea as our feature photo today because it not only is available in Pantone’s Very Peri color but is a favorite here on Long Island and easy to grow.  

More plantings available in this color choice are: hyacinths, verbena bonariensis, clematis ‘multi blue,’ nemesia denim blue, and, of course, one of our favorites — alliums! 

 

 

Landscaping: As Leaves Start to Fall, Think Spring!

 

Horticulturist, Sandra Vultaggio

Horticulturist, Sandra Vultaggio

 

Frankly, everyone loves the first sight of bright cheery flowers that tell us winter is finally over. Well, such welcome flowers grow from bulbs planted in the chilly weather of fall — late October and November.

For planting ideas, we spoke a while back with Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant, who had some wonderful tips on planting bulbs.

 

 

 

When to Plant Spring Bulbs

Waiting until the soil temperature in fall has dipped to about 55°F is ideal. Usually this corresponds to overnight air temperatures cooling to around 40 – 50°F.

 

Which Bulbs to Plant in Fall

Deer-Proofing Your Garden 

Deer-Proofing Your Garden

“We have a considerable deer population on Long Island,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “And we agree wholeheartedly with Sandra who recommends choosing bulbs that the deer tend to avoid.”

Such plants she recommends includes daffodils, allium (ornamental onion), hyacinth, grape hyacinth and crocus. 

“And though not actually bulbs, you can venture into some of the other tuberous perennials like peony and tall bearded iris as well,” adds Sandra.

 

 

 

Grape Hyacinth: “We often use these beauties to make lovely edging to other spring flowers,” says Dave. 

Grape Hyacinth: “We often use these beauties to make lovely edging to other spring flowers,” says Dave.

 

Crocus: These delightful plants are often the first flower you see in spring. And they return year after year.  

Crocus: These delightful plants are often the first flower you see in spring. And they return year after year.

 

Best Soils for Bulbs

Sandra adds that bulbs grow nicely  in many different soil types. But the one site they don’t do well in is heavy, poorly draining soils. Ideally you should plant in soils that are organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained “sandy loams or loamy sands.”

 

Spacing the Bulbs When Planting

If you are not using a landscaping firm like Deck and Patio to do the planting, it’s comforting to remember that all of the spacing information, etc. is provided as part of the growing instructions for each bulb. 

Planting depths even vary between varieties, depending on if you have a large “trumpet” variety, or the small ‘Tete A Tete’ varieties, says Sandra. Most bulbs will enjoy a sunny garden, but will usually perform well in a partially sunny garden as well.

 

Should You Compost

“Compost is not necessary to layer on top. If you feel your soil is lacking organic matter, you will be better off incorporating compost into the top 6” of soil before planting,” she adds. “Mix bonemeal or superphosphate with the soil at the bottom of the planting hole, or incorporate it into the soil around each bulb’s planting hole.”

What Tools Will You Need

As far as tools go, adds Sandra, to make the job easiest is to buy a bulb planter. “This is a metal garden gadget that you stick in the ground, pull it up and out comes a cylinder of soil. Place the bulb, right-side up into the hole, and cover back up with soil. If you don’t have a bulb planter, and garden trowel will do just fine.”

Short on time? Dig larger holes and place a few bulbs in each hole so the flowers come up in clumps, she says.

 

Ms. Vultaggio’s Spring Garden:   ‘Tete a tete’ daffodils brighten the horticulturist’s spring yard. 

Ms. Vultaggio’s Spring Garden:  
‘Tete a tete’ daffodils brighten the horticulturist’s spring yard.

 

Spring Flowers Inspiration:

Spring Flowers Inspiration:

We also asked Ms. Vultaggio what inspires her about spring flowers. She concluded today’s tips with: “Audrey Hepburn said ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.’ I agree that when you plant this little brown bulb in the soil, you plant the hope that you’ll see it break ground and bloom in the spring.”

 

Tulips, Tulips, Tulips:  

Tulips, Tulips, Tulips:

Note from Deck and Patio: Ms. Vultaggio’s comment on Audrey Hepburn reminds us that one of the episodes on the actress’s series on world gardens covered tulips and spring bulbs.

These beauties are some of the first heralds that spring has arrived. It’s no wonder that Ms. Hepburn and the producers of “Gardens of the World..” chose them as a focus of an episode — and that they are one of the horticulturist’s suggested bulbs.

 

 

 

By |2021-10-28T10:54:11-05:00October 28th, 2021|Backyard Maintenance, fall maintenance, Gardening, Landscape Planning, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Seasonal Landscapes, Updating Landscape|Comments Off on Landscaping: As Leaves Start to Fall, Think Spring!

Spruce Up the Yard with Pops of Color this Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend — the last of summer’s three big holiday weekends — is just about two weeks away. And while it’s not the end of the outdoor season, it is one of the final big outdoor weekends for entertaining — even if we have to gather wearing masks etc.

In order to make your outdoor area extra special for Labor Day, how about  adding pops of plant color around your deck or patio. Even if you’re not hosting a party yourself, but are attending someone else’s, a refreshed plantings allows you to create a special hostess gift, like a bouquet from your very own garden.

Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant

Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant

 

And for some good news: It’s not too late to be adding flowers for Labor Day that will also last well into the fall. Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant, has provided us with just the right plants to add this time of year.

“Late in the summer season is actually a great time to add some perennials,” says Vultaggio. “And you can usually get good deals on them this time of year.”\

As for which ones to look out for, she agrees with Deck and Patio that the beautiful Honorine Jobert Anemone (aka Windflower) with its bright yellow heart is a great choice to add mid-to-late August. The Windflower will bloom through October and it prefers shade-to-partial sun, and moist, well-drained soil.

 

Honorine Jobert Anemone (aka Windflower)

Honorine Jobert Anemone (aka Windflower)

 

Vultaggio offered several more perennial choices. For example, Chelone, (aka Turtlehead). “This purple/red flowering plant does well in both shade and sun,” she says.

 

Chelone, (aka Turtlehead)

Chelone, (aka Turtlehead)

 

Sedums (the “upright” like Autumn Joy), as well as Asters, are also great choices,” she continues. “These prefer sun and are available in many different varieties and shades of pink and purple.” 

 

Sedum — Autumn Joy

Sedum — Autumn Joy

 

For a sunny yellow option, Vultaggio suggests Solidago (aka Goldenrod) which also prefers full sun.

 

Solidago (aka Goldenrod)

Solidago (aka Goldenrod)

 

“I suggest getting these perennials in the ground sooner rather than later,” she continues. If it hasn’t rained before planting, soak the root systems thoroughly and keep them very well watered and mulched after planting.”

“It’s easy to make a splash this Labor Day weekend with bright plantings around your property,” adds Dave Stockwell. “Sandra’s ideas for adding color and beauty will not only make Labor Day Weekend entertaining colorful, but the impact will last well into the fall.”

 

Asters

Asters

 

 

Note: Our feature photo at the top of our blog page today shows a lovely colorful flower from the Aster family. 

 

 

 

By |2021-08-26T10:08:41-05:00August 26th, 2021|Backyard Refurbishments, Backyard Upgrades, Gardening, Landscape Planning, Landscaping, Living Landscapes, Outdoor Living, Seasonal Landscapes, Unique Ideas, Updating Landscape|Comments Off on Spruce Up the Yard with Pops of Color this Labor Day

The Perfect Waterscapes for Tight Spaces

Those who know Deck and Patio for our larger pond/water features (we’ve done over 300 on Long Island alone) might be surprised at the attractive garden waterscapes we install in tight spaces.

The fountain we’re highlighting today was for clients who had recently moved to a new home. When working at their property, one of our team members mentioned that it felt like the garden was missing something — a feature that would offer both the sound and relaxing sight of water movement. 

The clients agreed that a garden fountain would be an ideal finishing touch in such limited space.

They asked us to order and install the fountain. However, fountainscapes make a very easy DIY project. The ‘stacked stone urn’ fountain seen here is from Aquascape Inc. (St. Charles, IL). As a certified Aquascape Inc. contractor, Deck and Patio has used their products in many of the ponds and water features we have designed/built across Long Island. As for their fountains, Aquascape offers a nice variety in various styles, sizes and prices (see video below).

If you’d like to add one on your own, all you need is a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a level. Then, adding a bag of decorative gravel and mulch, you have a picture-perfect-and-sound-perfect-fountain that not only you will enjoy, but butterflies and birds will appreciate your efforts as well.

The first two photos and first video show the fountain we installed for our new clients. Below these, we include a DIY video from Aquascape followed by a link to the various fountains they have available.

 

Garden Fountain:

Garden Fountain:

Although we installed this “stacked stone urn” fountain for the clients, they are easy DIY projects. The kits come pretty well fabricated with a catch basin, pump, piping, and in different sizes. The one we used is the smallest (32” tall) — a perfect scale for this garden.

 

Garden Fountains:

Garden Fountains:

When adding a garden fountain, it is a good idea to locate it near your patio/deck so you can enjoy it whenever you are outside. And if you can position it close to a window, you will be able to not only enjoy the fountain indoors, but also the birds and butterflies who stop by to take a drink.

 

So you can hear the water music, here’s a 5-second Deck and Patio video of this stacked stone urn fountain:

 

 

 

For more water fountain ideas, enjoy this video:

 

 

 

And for a great DIY video from Aquascape for installing their fountains:

 

 

 

By |2021-08-19T13:27:02-05:00August 19th, 2021|Creative Design, Gardening, Landscape Planning, Landscaping, Plants, Serenity Escapes, Updating Landscape|Comments Off on The Perfect Waterscapes for Tight Spaces

Landscaping: Making a Home for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the Eastern Monarch Butterfly population fell again this past February.

The yearly count they say: “continues to show a dramatic decline in this imperiled species.” And to many, these beautiful nectar-feeding insects have become the face of wildlife extinction.

“Isn’t it wonderful, then, that we can do our part to help prevent this decline,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell.

“It can be difficult for these pollinators to find pure food sources causing them to use a lot of energy just hunting for food. So we love that many of our clients ask us to plant flowers that will attract them.”

 

Creating Safe Habitats for Caterpillars

Creating Safe Habitats for Caterpillars

In addition to adding the right plants, Dave says it’s also key to create a safe habitat for their caterpillars. Some herbs are ideal for that; Dill and Dutchman’s Pipe, for example, not only provide caterpillars food, but also protective cover before they turn into butterflies.

Organic gardening and environmentally-friendly lawn care products also go hand-in-hand with attracting and protecting the pollinators.

“Earth-friendly lawn and plant care is very possible,” says Dave. “It isn’t essential to go for a fast kill of plant disease and pests. In doing that, you might also hurt helpful organisms in the process. Heavy use of toxic chemicals are also dangerous to pets and children. It is much healthier to control them — and protect butterflies and other pollinators in the process — through a more organic approach.”

Out friends at Hicks Nurseries suggest that tubular-shaped plants or “Umbrels” provide a wonderful sanctuary for butterflies. These give them a landing plant filled with nectar just waiting for them, says one of their experts, who also suggests a seasonal approach that not only provides multi-seasonal color in gardens, but extra months of safe, bountiful habitats.

In spring, you can plant Columbine, Bachelor Buttons, Bleeding Hearts, and Dianthus, for example. In summer, there’s 30-40 plants to choose from, including Black Eyed Susan, Butterfly Weed, Butterfly Bush to name just a few. In fall, there’s Sedums, Joe Pye Weed, Asters, and Golden Rod.

 

Monarchs Love Oranges!

Monarchs Love Oranges!

 

Butterflies will get plenty of moisture from droplets left from sprinklers, morning dew, etc. “However, they do seem to love oranges, not only for food, but to quench their thirst,” says Caldwell. 

Note: To keep ants away from the fruit, put the slice on a smaller dish and insert it into a larger one with water. Also, cut fresh slices into the fruit every day.

“It’s wonderful that so many Long Islanders are helping the environment, in their own quiet way,” says Dave. “They celebrate Earth Day, every day, by creating safe, beautiful habitats for butterflies and other pollinators.”

 

 

 

 

Monarchs Love Oranges!

Monarchs Love Oranges!

As the name implies, Butterfly Bush is a great choice for attracting butterflies in the summer. “They can reach up to 6-8 feet in height,” says Hicks Nurseries. “They’re fast growing and don’t need a lot of care.”

 

Lavender and Butterflies:

Lavender and Butterflies:

Dave Stockwell says that Lavender (shown here) is another plant butterflies love. “It also gives off a calming peaceful scent. There are several types of lavender that bloom at different times — so you can have its perfume from spring nearly through fall.”

 

Black Eyed Susans (Photo: Hicks Nurseries):

Black Eyed Susans (Photo: Hicks Nurseries):

Great for attracting butterflies, these biennials are also a haven for other pollinators like bees. Their bright yellow petals and dark centers can’t help but make you smile.

 

 

 

Beautiful Plantings: Dressing Your Pond ‘to the Nines’

It’s Plantings That Truly Make a Pond

It’s Plantings That Truly Make a Pond

If it’s clothes that make the man or woman, it’s definitely plants that make a pond. Not that waterfalls and ponds aren’t delights in themselves. But like all creative endeavors, even making up plates of food, they are just more delectable when dressed.

As an inspiring example, we’re highlighting today one of our Long Island pond projects. During its design process, the homeowners encouraged us to not just dress their pond  — but dress it to the nines. 

“Our clients’ sloping property allowed us to create a masterpiece,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “Letting gravity do the work of moving the water, we cut a man-made stream down the slope, positioning moss rocks and natural stone boulders, creating just the right waterfall spills along the way — all ending in a koi pond. 

“The rock installations also gave us places to add plants and ground cover so that rich bright colors and textures carpet the whole slope as well as surround the pond.”

 

Beautiful Plantings Adorn Water Feature

Beautiful Plantings Adorn Water Feature

In the pond, you can see lily pads and water lilies. On the slope, to the left of the tree, a Bluestone perennial, tall Liriope Big Blue (Lily Turf), thrives. Its lilac-purple flowers also produce single-seeded berries on spikes in the fall. Flanking both sides of the pond, robust plants from the Sunflower family — Enchinaecea coneflowers (right) and Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susans, left) smile in the sunshine.

 

Plants are More Than Pretty Faces

Beautiful plants also play a key role in filtering a pond’s ecosystem. Aquatic plants absorb nutrients from the fish waste. “An ideal pond landscape mixes plant heights, textures and color,” adds Dave.

 

Idyllic Pond Landscaping

Idyllic Pond Landscaping

Our Deck and Patio clients love sitting by their pond. A favorite pastime is studying the many varieties of plants around it. 

As they listen to falling water they pick out the different ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis Yakujima (bottom left), admire Hydrangea Lace Cap (top right beside boulders), smile at the delicate yellow Coreopsis Moonbeam (in front of tree trunk), and linger over the purple loosestrife or Lythrum in the right of these photos.

 

Landscaping is also for the birds

Landscaping is also for the birds

On the far left of the photo immediately before this one, you can see the bird bath the clients added so all the birds and butterflies the landscaping attracts can take a drink. And if you look closely at the right of this photo, just above a trail of river rock up the slope, you’ll see a bird house for some birds to make a home. 

Standing sentinel over this scene are lovely Canna Lilies in a pinkish-orange. These plants are very low maintenance and easy to grow. Their exotic foliage add a tropical feel to their surroundings. 

Note: Other plants in this project: ground cover, Juniperus h. Procumbent, Juniperus Gold Star; colorful plants, Liriope Big Blue, Leucothoe maxillaries and Phlox s. Emerald Blue. Like all the flowers in this project, these can’t help but make you smile.

 

Flowing Water Soothes, But Flowers Make Us Smile

Flowing Water Soothes, But Flowers Make Us Smile

 

Landscaping Trends: Reducing the Size of Your Lawn

Not Easy Being Green

Not Easy Being Green

A beautifully manicured green lawn takes a lot of watering and fertilizing, not to mention mowing. It’s truly not easy being green.

We spoke a while back with Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant at Suffolk County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension. It turned out, that lawn reduction was something very much on her mind, too.

“I’ve been slowly edging out my own lawn in favor of native plants and flowers,” said Vultaggio. “A lawn is a high-input plant that requires a good deal of water and fertilizer to stay green, so it’s a good idea, say on Long Island, to reduce the amount of lawn we preserve.”

Vultaggio suggested, instead, planting more native perennials and shrubs.“Over time, after the planting stage, these will require much less irrigation. Perennials are pretty self-sufficient in searching for water on their own. Plus, their fertilizer requirements are at a minimum.”

Adding native plants is also a great help to local wildlife, who thrive when they can feed, find cover, and raise their young around familiar flora. 

For those unsure on how Ito remove turfgrass, Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio, offers tips at the end of this blog:

 

Mid-Late Summer Blooming Plants

 

For those who are eager to save some money and time — all while helping local wildlife — Vultaggio suggested the following native plants:

 

Monarda (Bee Balm)

Monarda (Bee Balm)

1. Monarda (Bee Balm):

Native to North America, this beautiful flowering plant is from the mint family. It’s easy to grow, is deer resistant, and attracts pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.

It’s tubular flowers come in a variety of colors (pink, white, violet, red) and bloom in high summer through early fall. Bee Balm takes to full sun or light shade, and prefers a well-drained fertile soil. It needs some protection from excess moisture in winter.

 

 

 

 

Liatris Spicata (Gayfeather)

Liatris Spicata (Gayfeather)

2. Violet-colored Liatris Spicata (Gayfeather):

Gayfeather (tall purple plant on the left) is an extremely easy plant to grow.

It blooms in late summer and grows from corms that sprout in spring. Part of the sunflower family, it, too, is native to North America. It likes full sun, well-drained soils; it attract birds and butterflies, and is an ideal perennial.

Because the Gayfeather often grows to a robust 2-4’ feet tall, it may require staking or some other support.

 

 

 

 

3.  Nectar and pollen-rich Asclepias tuberosa (Milkweed):

Milkweed Photo courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio

Milkweed Photo courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio

Milkweed Photo courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio

Milkweed Photo courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milkweed is native to eastern North America and blooms in clusters of orange flowers from mid-late summer. It is drought-tolerant and attracts birds and pollinators. It is a particularly good source of nectar for Monarchs; plus Monarch caterpillars feed off its leaves.

This plant thrives in poor dry soils, likes full sun; it is deer resistant, and is nicely fragrant.  These above two photos are of Vultaggio’s own garden and are courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio.

 

 

 

Kniphofia Photo Courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio

Kniphofia Photo Courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio

4.  Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker):

This frequently bi-colored flower makes a dramatic statement in the garden and is an ideal plant for those who are new to gardening. In fact, this plant is so easy to grow it has been described as “tough to kill.” It is fairly drought-resistant, plus hummingbirds and butterflies love it. It is best planted in early spring or late fall.

When in bloom, the blossoms appear a bit like a hot poker or torch and for those feeling a bit of sadness saying good-bye to some of their lawn, note that these plants boast very “grass-like” leaves. This photo is of Vultaggio’s own garden and is courtesy of Sandra Vultaggio.

(Note: the dramatic dark blue/black flowers in the foreground are Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ which bloom from late spring to early autumn.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawn Reduction: Initial Steps

Lawn Reduction: Initial Steps

How to remove turfgrass.

— Decide where you want to reduce the lawn area

— Use powdered lime, flour, or spray paint to mark the exact section you wish to cut back;

— Water the area ahead of time and then ‘scalp’ the grass (cut it to expose the stems)

— Now you have two options:

1) The physically harder, but quicker, one is: Using a turf cutter or spade, dig out the turf. Add soil and plant right away.  (Note: keep the removed turfgrass. After the sod breaks down, the turf can help make nitrogen-rich soil around the roots of plants).Or…

2) Try an easier, but slower, alternative method: Cover the sod with about 7 layers of newspaper or thin cardboard. Add a minimum of 6 inches of compost or topsoil on top.  The grass underneath will decompose in due course. Planting can then be done without any cultivation of the soil.

— Dave Stockwell

 

 

 

By |2021-06-10T12:32:45-05:00June 10th, 2021|Backyard Refurbishments, Environment Issues, Gardening, Landscape Planning, Landscaping, Lawns, Outdoor Living, Seasonal Landscapes, Unique Ideas|Comments Off on Landscaping Trends: Reducing the Size of Your Lawn
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