Hardscape vs Softscape and Why Your Landscape Needs Both 

Together softscape and hardscape help make up your landscaping design, transforming your yard into a relaxing oasis, which can be used for basking in the scenery, to extend your living space, or for entertaining family and friends.


However, when it comes to softscape and hardscape, many people actually know what they are, as well as the importance of each for your yard; therefore, the following breakdown will help you understand both, which can then be used to create the perfect landscape.  


What is Softscape?


Living things in your yard, also known as softscaping, give your yard a natural beauty that only lush greenery can provide.  


The most obvious living feature in your yard is the lawn; however, trees, flowers, shrubs, ground cover, and any other soft, living, growing things in your landscape are also considered softscaping. 


In fact, there are various elements that categorize a feature as softscaping, which include: 


  • Live, horticultural elements that, in landscaping, are categorized by their soft touch.

  • Soft landscaping features that thrive and continuously evolve with the climate and other atmospheric conditions.

  • Yard features that are not hard to the touch, such as stone wall.


What is Hardscape?


Hardscaping, on the other hand, are the inorganic features in your yard, such as the patio, deck, brick walls, gravel paths, and the driveway, etc. In other words, it is simply the hard foundation of your outdoor landscape. 


Hardscape serves various purposes in a yard from, creating an outdoor living room to creating an outdoor kitchen for cooking and dining to creating a walking path for maneuvering your yard.  


As with softscaping, there are also various elements that categorize a feature as hardscaping, which include: 


  • Inorganic or lifeless objects. 

  • Yard features that are hard to the touch; however, they are transferable, such as stones and pavers. 

  • Solid, permanent objects.

  • Hardscaping objects can be natural like stone, or they can be human made, such as an outdoor gazebo, planter, or water feature, etc.  


How Softscaping and Hardscaping Work Together 


Though softscaping and hardscaping are totally different landscaping aspects, together, they help create balance in your yard, which makes for a more enjoyable space.  


Otherwise, a yard with an abundance of live features and solely consists of living plants can create a jungle-like look and feel to the space, which makes the space appear overgrown and uncared for. However, by adding hardscaping features, such as a stone or gravel walkway, it helps create space between your yard's living features, which makes the yard look more organized. 


Likewise, a yard with too many hard features, such as all rocks or a single retaining wall, can make your property look more industrial or like commercial property rather than a residential structure. However, by adding soft features, such as colorful plants or ornamental grasses, it helps create a more homely feel that makes your property more inviting.  


Therefore, avoid incorporating too much of one or the other when it comes to your landscaping design, which can throw your yard off balance. Since your landscaping also affects your property's curb appeal, if your yard's landscaping is off-balanced, it can even decrease its resale value. 

When in doubt, you may even consider working with a professional landscaping company that can not only help you select the right features for your yard but also ensure they are incorporated in the right balance for maximum curb appeal.

Planning a Water Efficient Landscape 

Water is a precious resource we often take for granted. Many of us are aware of our indoor water usage. We use efficient shower heads and only wash clothes when we have a full load. This is fantastic, but for many of us our good intentions vanish when we water the grass. Traditional gardens can use far more water than is good for our ecosystem. Instead of wasting water, conserve it by creating a water efficient landscape.


Benefits of a Water Efficient Landscape


An eco-friendly landscape doesn’t require an excess of water and it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Here are a few benefits for making your yard more water efficient.


  • Use less water. Did you know that up to 50% of water used in a typical California residence is used for watering the lawn? That’s a significant chunk of your water bill. Creating a landscape that uses less water is better for the environment. Plus, it’s easier on your wallet too.
  • Increase the property value of your home. An attractive water efficient landscape can boost the value of your home 11%. People are attracted to beauty, and a lovely, eco-friendly yard will only make your home more desirable.
  • More time for yourself. Spend less time on lawn care by making your landscape water efficient. An efficient water irrigation system saves time and money. Plants that use less water need far less upkeep. You will use fewer chemicals and have more time to enjoy your yard instead of spending hours mowing it.
  • Preserve natural habitats. Using fewer resources means birds and fish in the area will have more natural resources.
  • Use less energy. When you use less water, you use less energy because you don’t have to pump or treat as much water.
  • Protect local waterways. Water friendly yards don’t have the amount of toxic run-off as traditional yards do. 
  • Animals love an eco-friendly yard. Our Santa Cruz landscaping team uses as many indigenous plants as we can. This is very attractive to local species of birds, animals and butterflies. These plants are also used to local conditions, so they require much less fertilizer and maintenance.


Fundamentals of Eco-Friendly Landscaping


  • Make a diagram of your yard, and plan how you want it to look in advance. This includes the primary features of your yard, such as your home, trees and flower beds. After this step, create another diagram showing improvements you wish to make. Once you are done, you will have a thorough gardening plan.
  • Planting water-wise plants is key to a water-efficient yard. Native plants have had centuries to become acclimated to local conditions and require far less upkeep. You can also choose plants that are drought resistant. Often they become dormant when water isn’t available, then become active when it is.
  • Different sections of your yard require different plants. Minimize water usage by placing plants in the appropriate section of your yard. This means placing certain plants together based on water and sunlight requirements.
  • Soil matters. Healthy soil is crucial to the success of your garden. Another important component is the size of the particles. Sand is larger than many other types of soil, and water passes through it quickly. Building up the quality of your soil will make your yard naturally conserve water.
  • Aerate your lawn. Often soil becomes compacted, either over long-term use or after home construction. Aerating your lawn allows water to seep deeper into the earth so you don’t need to water as often.
  • Use mulch in your flower beds to increase water retention. Mulch not only prevents weeds from taking root, it holds onto water by decreasing evaporation. 
  • Use water efficiently. There are several types of irrigation systems to choose from, and the choices can get complicated. Speaking with our Santa Cruz landscaping company would be a great place to start when selecting one. Many homeowners collect rainwater in barrels placed around their house. They also use gray water and reclaimed water. People who use reclaimed water typically save up to 25% on their water bills. 
  • Grass can still be your friend. Having a water-efficient yard does not mean it will be filled with rocks and cacti. Planting grass where it is appropriate is perfectly fine. This might include areas children or pets play in. Also be aware that some types of grass use more water than others and choose appropriately.


Creating an eco-friendly landscape can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it. The benefits are numerous. Saving money and conserving our natural resources are two to consider. Most importantly, you will end up with a lovely yard that blends seamlessly into the local environment. If you have any questions, please contact us today. We would love to help you create the perfect yard.

Creating a Fun and Functional Outdoor Space

A well-designed outdoor space augments and extends the living space of your home. It is possible to create an ideal space in your backyard or your front yard, which feels like a smooth transition from your indoor space. Fun and functional landscaping will add to the allure of your outdoor living space and help you make it your own. 


Front yard or backyard landscaping can seamlessly fit into the overall design of your space. Whether you have designed your outdoor space for entertaining, for family fun with children and pets, or as a tranquil hangout area, residential landscaping services can help you plan and execute your ideas and concepts. 










Poolside entertaining


The space around your swimming pool can be enhanced by a variety of landscaping styles


- Landscaping can conform to the shape of your pool. If you have a pool with curved edges, creeping and winding plants by the poolside will match the soft and flowing look. For a pool with perpendicular lines or a well-defined geometric shape, a minimalist lawn and geometric stone landscape will provide a clean and contemporary look. 


- You can design a poolside space with a theme. Tropical palms and banana trees are perfect for rendering a California flavor to your poolside. If your backyard adjoins a wooded area, lush beds of flowering plants bordering the pool will reflect the forest-like surroundings. 


- A design with a more practical aim is a gravel poolside landscape dotted with hardy plants that are suited for a hot and dry climate. This can help you save water during regular maintenance of your pool and backyard.


Patio and deck areas


With a sheltered and comfortably furnished patio or deck, you can carry your indoor living space outside. It can double as a dining area, an outdoor gym, a secondary kitchen for those barbecue evenings, or even an office space for when you are working from home. 

Whatever the purpose of the space, landscaping can make it more homely and suited to the activity.


- Shelter: A pergola strung with graceful vines can shelter your patio without blocking out sunlight and fresh air. Wood can be used for a more traditional feel or metal for a modern look. A retractable canvas awning will give you the flexibility to alter the space depending on the weather. 


- Privacy: Partial walls can create a cozy nook. Strategic placement of these walls can give you privacy from the street or a neighboring yard. A wall of tall hedges can serve the same purpose and blend in with the rest of your patio landscaping. 


- Artistic touch: Night lights placed at the feet of trees can highlight them and make your patio more inviting after dark. Solar-powered lamps can be used for this purpose, helping you save energy and the environment. Grass or other greenery can be planted in between the spaces between stone slabs, creating lines of green, to soften the severity of the stone, and add a pop of color. 


- Color: Pebbles, gray-toned succulents, and cacti can be added to match the stone seating of your patio. Tender, green bamboo can be planted to match your wooden slat furniture. Flowering plants with blooms of the appropriate color can match your patio furniture and fixtures. They can be changed when you change the fixtures, like the cushions on your couch, for example.  


Garden space


Your backyard or front yard could be a beautiful garden, which could be a hobby, increase the curb appeal of your home, or provide you with a space to do some organic farming. 


- Local flora survives the best in all types of local weather and will require minimal maintenance. Plants native to the Santa Cruz environs, such as cypress, elderberry, and types of sage, are easily available. Some plants attract bees and butterflies and are beneficial to the ecosystem. 


- Rock gardens can give your outdoor space an artistic touch. It is a space can be filled mostly with stones and rocks, requiring fewer plants. Rocks and pebbles of varying sizes and hues are arranged in creative layouts that can be multi-level or terraced in some cases. Moss adds color and softens the arrangement. Plants that complement the stony appearance are added to complete the design. A water feature such as a pond or a waterfall can enhance its beauty. 


- A vegetable garden in your backyard will provide your kitchen with the supply you need, grown in the manner of your choice. Raised beds can be accommodated in any part of the yard. Herbs, vegetables, and fruits can be cultivated organically, helping you maintain a sustainable lifestyle for yourself and your family. 


Kid-friendly and pet-friendly outdoor areas


One of the main reasons that homeowners purchase a home with a large backyard is for the sake of their children and pets. Landscaping can help make this space safe as well as inviting to both. 


- Kid-friendly backyards can have a lush lawn with a jungle gym, a trampoline, or an above-ground kiddie pool. A colorful climbing wall with a rubber fall surface can be a fun way to keep the children active. Plants that do not have thorns or prickly leaves, rocks that add a decorative touch but do not have sharp edges, and are placed well away from the center of the space can keep your backyard attractive as well as safe.


- Pets love a large backyard in which to run around. Landscaping ideas suited for pets can keep them happy and safe. Taking care to avoid flowering and fruiting plants that could be harmful to your pets if ingested, is one way to adapt the landscaping for pets. 


Functional landscaping for socializing


Your backyard can be a perfect space for entertaining. Whether it is for a barbecue, a quiet gathering, cocktails, or as a spillover space for a party at home, a beautifully landscaped backyard can be an alluring space. 


- An outdoor bar or barbecue can make it a self-sufficient space for a party in balmy weather when the guests would prefer to stay outside and the hosts do not need to shuttle between the outdoor space and the indoor bar or kitchen. 


- A fire pit or a fireplace would make your backyard a convenient space for a gathering during the cooler months. 


- Ample lighting around the outdoor entertaining space makes it more appealing. Lighting can be in the form of overhead warm lights on the cabana, enhanced by solar lamps in the surrounding shrubbery. Tiki torches can add a touch of whimsy. 


- A cozy nook or conversation corner can be built using a partial L-shaped wall for a sectional sofa.


An oasis of serenity


Your outdoor space can be designed to be a haven in which to de-stress and unwind. 


- A tranquil space can be created in your backyard with water features. A gurgling fountain or a gently cascading waterfall can be a source of soothing white noise. A koi pond can add to the zen-like atmosphere and make it a pleasant space in which to kick back and read or listen to music.


- Shady areas can be built with plants whose leaves rustle in the wind. Plants with sweet-smelling flowers like jasmine or gardenias can elevate the allure of the space. 


- A raised wooden platform surrounded by plants can be a delightful space for yoga or meditation. In larger spaces, a meandering walkway can be used for a relaxing stroll. 


Landscaping can make your outdoor space enticing as well as functional. A range of ideas can be used in Santa Cruz for landscaping your home. Once you have an idea of the purpose that you would like for your outdoor space, there is a wide variety of creative ways in which you can realize the dream of your ideal backyard or front yard.


Disease and Insect Prevention Guideline for Trees

Trees are an integral and important part of the home landscape. Providing many benefits and often increasing the value of your home, keep them in optimum condition by learning the best tree disease and insect prevention methods.


Like other growing plants in your yard, landscape trees and shrubs can fall victim to a variety of diseases and attacks from different insects. If you can spot these issues before they damage your valuable trees and shrubs, you can usually contain the problem. Become familiar with potential pests and diseases that affect trees in your area.


Practicing Tree Disease and Insect Prevention


Trees should be healthy and vigorous to maintain their beauty. When they suffer from damaging insect infestations or any of a number of diseases, their appearance begins to change. This may be the first indication that something is wrong with your trees.

Learn to inspect them regularly to catch any potential problems. A stroll through your property can double as a way to check your trees. When you’re inspecting for pests and disease, it is often called scouting.


Be on the lookout for tree abnormalities like dying limbs, and the yellowing and drying of foliage when it should be green and growing. If you see bleeding cankers, or visible fungi it may be time to call in a professional. Tree care experts, like those at Santa Cruz Tree Service are trained to diagnose and treat issues that are hurting your trees.


Tree Disease Prevention


Keeping trees healthy is the best way to stop disease from infecting them. Providing the right nutrition is important in this quest. Trees in the forest get nutrition from their neighbors, such as leaves that fall, hold in moisture and then decompose to provide nutrients.


Provide the same scenario in your landscape by removing grass under trees and mulching with organic mulch. This type of mulch will decompose and provide nutrients. Leave a few inches between the tree trunk and the mulch, as mulch cuts off air circulation.


Mulch stops weed seeds from sprouting near the base of the tree. Keep weeds removed from the area as much as possible, as they compete with the tree for nutrients in the soil.


Fertilize trees that have lost their vigor. Healthy trees that are properly cited may not need fertilization. Those in need of a boost may benefit from an annual layer of compost, blood meal, or sewage sludge in early autumn. If you let fallen leaves remain under trees, or shred them and put them back, other fertilizer is likely not necessary. 


Tree disease mostly results from bacterial pathogens and fungal infections. These often don’t kill the tree immediately but start a process of a slow decline. Healthy trees resist a steady onslaught of potential infections.


Sometimes disease enters through a mechanical injury, like that from a mower or weed eater. Disease can be spread by splashing water. An insect infestation can cause an opening for disease to enter your tree.


Disease possibilities include root rots, wilts, cankers, blights, and general decline. Different trees are affected by different diseases, such as hardwoods, softwoods, and conifers.


Diseases are often specific to the type of tree. In many cases they are identified by the name preceding the disease, as in this listing by University of California of Diseases of Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.  


Tree Insect Prevention


As with disease, healthy trees are more likely to repel a serious insect infestation. This is not always possible and sometimes treatments are necessary to save the tree.


One of the most potentially dangerous situations is an appearance by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This is a jewel beetle often responsible for the destruction of ash trees. It is native to NE Asia.


Non-native insects are more threatening to our trees than those that are native to our country. This is true in both the forest and the landscape. The EAB was discovered in the US in 2002, in Michigan.


While this destructive pest has not appeared in our area, Santa Cruz Tree Care professionals are aware of how to treat it. We also provide Tree Insect Prevention for Other dangerous insect pests, such as:

  • Goldspotted oak borer
  • Asian longhorned beetle
  • Sudden Oak Death
  • Pitch canker


We also offer protection against more common, but not so deadly tree insect pests like:

  • Beetles
  • Borers
  • Caterpillars
  • Weevils 
  • Adelgids


Insect pests sometimes arrive in the country on plant material transported from overseas. Of course we can’t mention every insect pest or Tree Disease Prevention program we offer. However, you can rely on our experts to properly diagnose and treat ailing trees and shrubs.


Keep in mind the healthy tree concept and follow these tips to keep your trees happy without chemicals. This can start with planting. Plant a new tree in the right location and care for it properly afterward. Once trees are established in the right location, care is often minimal as they grow. During this time they add beauty and value to your property, while providing shade and ornamental benefits.


Santa Cruz Tree Care


Tree experts at K&D Landscaping serve Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley & Watsonville, CA (Central Coast). They're trained to quickly diagnose disease and begin treatment. These professionals are up-to-date and informed of new types of insect pests that may arrive in the area.


Call a professional tree care expert if you need them. Most likely, they will love your trees just as you do.


Landscaping for Small Yards 

Your Californian home is a source of pride for you. It's a place where you spend time often, so it should reflect your style and values. Even if it isn't as large as you'd like it to be, there are many things you can do to make it your own. Part of the fun of owning a home is making it feel comfortable and inviting from the outside to the inside. Santa Cruz landscaping can be transformative even when applied to the smallest yards.

Below, learn how a landscaped yard is highly beneficial. Gain insight into ways to improve the appearance of your front and back lawns and gardens. The only thing stopping you from experiencing a residential landscape is the lack of knowledge as to where to start with the project.

The Benefits of Small Yard Landscaping

A landscaped yard is testimony that you care about every square inch of your property, no matter if it's small or not. It adds to the value of the home and allows you to tell your story the way you want to tell it. Your landscaping can reflect your personality and interests with minimal effort.

Many benefits come with small yard landscaping. Among the most notable is how it increases the curb appeal of your home. The addition of flowers, plants, and bushes causes people to pass by your house and notice how good the yard looks. It's not enough to decorate the interior of your property because the exterior needs love, too!

Other things worth mentioning about home landscaping include:

  • It protects your home from becoming damaged by erosion. Santa Cruz landscaping keeps the foundation of your house from shifting due to loose soil and rainfall. It's a way of protecting your property by minimizing the amount of soil that shifts when the rain pours. Too much rain can significantly impact your home's structure if not addressed. Containment walls can be included as part of your landscaping to help keep excess water from pooling at your doorstep and potentially ruining your home's foundation.
  • It attracts bees which pollinate food crops. It's how farmers can supply their nations with the surplus. You can select what you plant based on this information and provide ample nourishment for pollinators. There are many wildflowers that you can plant in an attempt to feed the bees.
  • It gives you less grass to mow. Think about how much time, effort, and money you'll save by investing in home landscaping. You won't spend hours mowing the same patches of grass repeatedly because you decided to landscape your small yard. There is less effort expended trying to keep the grass lush and green, and more time enjoying your beautiful landscaping.
  • It provides you with a source of food as well as fresh flowers you can bring indoors. The inclusion of plants can be very beneficial. Not only do they improve the appearance of your yard, but they also give you food to eat and fresh floral arrangements, you can decorate your home with often. A garden rewards you with tangible goods that you can use to better your physical health and mental well-being.

As you can see, the benefits of small yard landscaping are abundant. The choices that you make today have a direct impact on your future. From making your home appear more appealing to neighbors and passersby to providing your family with an endless supply of fresh produce, herbs, and flower arrangements, you have options.

Are you still not sure where to begin? Don't worry. There are landscaping ideas for you to consider in the next section of the guide. Decide which ones serve your small property best after reading through the ideas.

Landscaping Ideas for You to Explore

Landscaping options exist to meet your needs and the size of your yard. You don't need to invest a lot of money to get your desired look, either. Working within your budget, you can create the type of yard that gains everyone's attention for the right reasons.

Your perfectly manicured lawn can consist of a variety of things, including stone pavers, water fountains, birdhouses, potted plants, garden fences, shrubs, trees, and plants of all sizes and varieties. The materials that you use can be a mixture of wood, stone, bamboo, and metal, depending on the look you are trying to create with your choices.

Landscaping can provide you with greater privacy, hence the addition of bushes. It can create a small but tranquil space for you to soak up Vitamin D. The items that you select to place in your yard can also provide shade, promote self-sufficiency, and invite conversation.

There is no yard too small for residential landscaping. With some creativity, you can transform the space that you know into one that you're able to enjoy more frequently. It's incredible how a stone bench and a few flower pots full of your favorite flowers can make you feel happy and serene.

Make Your Small Yard Look and Feel Like Home to You Through Landscaping

Now that you know what it takes to landscape a small yard and how doing so benefits you, you're able to decide what to do with your own property. What will you do to enhance its appearance and make it match your design aesthetic? You've got options that meet your needs and fulfill your vision that you can explore today.


Attractive Landscaping for Office Buildings 

If you're trying to determine the best landscaping solutions for your office building, then you should check out this list below. Here are seven ways to ensure you have attractive landscaping for your office building. 

Attractive Landscaping for Office Buildings 

1. Work with a Commercial Landscape Provider

If you want to have the best possible commercial landscape, then you should look into utilizing professional services. They will help ensure your property gets the exact TLC it deserves. No matter your budget, you should be able to find someone who can handle your office building landscape needs. 

Make sure you only use a landscaper with a proven track record of success. Before signing up for their services, you can ask to see examples of their work. You also can ask for reviews of their work. Consider one-off services and ongoing service agreements to get the results you want. 


2. Have Annuals and Perennials Planted

A Santa Cruz landscape design company could plant annuals and perennials on your property. Remember that annuals do not return every year. Use them for a seasonal blast of color. Perennial plants will come back for you year in and year out if properly cared for, and landscaping pros can ensure that proper care happens.  

When looking at your solutions for landscaping in California, there are some great annuals and perennials that will work for your Central California property. You have bushes, shrubs, and trees to consider. Take some time now to think about what types of annual and perennial blooms will look best for your business.  


3. Look into Shade Producing Plants

You also should be sure to look into shade producing plants for your building. Consider various bushes and trees that do more than just look great. Look into plants that also will shade your building. 

When you add shade producing plants, you can potentially lower your company's energy bills. And why would you not want to reduce how much you pay for your utilities? Invest in shade producing plants. It will pay off for your company right away and well on into the future, too. 


4. Remove Weeds and Unnecessary Growth 

It is essential to remove weeds and unnecessary growth in your office building garden. Did you know that if you leave these issues unchecked, you can impact the safety of your building? Weeds and growth can cause you to have all kinds of foundation and structural issues with your building. Not only can a landscaper remove weeds and growth for you, they can install liners, mulch, and pine straw, too, to keep these issues from developing again for your business. 

After-hour safety is further ensured for your company, too. Keep the growth under control. Remove opportunities for criminals to lurk on your company and hideout waiting for their moment to strike. 


5. Pay Attention to Walkways and Surface Issues 

Make sure to have a landscaper look into any imperfections with your walkways and surfaces. These issues can present safety issues for your company and can negatively impact your curb appeal. 

You might have grown accustomed to seeing these cracks and other flaws. You might not even notice them at all, but they actually are some of the first things the public notices about your property. Those first impressions are very important for your business. 


6. Ensure You Have a Green Lawn and Colorful Blooms

It's also very important for your lawn to be green and healthy. Colorful blooms are a must for you, too. Both will attract more people to your business and will continue to influence your current customers to continue doing business with you

Fertilizers can be applied to your lawn and garden beds. Proper pruning of bushes, trees, and shrubs by landscapers will ensure you have better curb appeal, too. Landscaping in California comes with specific needs pertaining to the region, so be sure you have those basics covered. Your Santa Cruz landscape design firm also might install a watering system to ensure you have that green lawn and colorful blooms. 


7. Limit the Impact of Pests and Rodents on Your Property

You should know there are all kinds of pests and rodents in Central California that can wreak havoc on your landscaping. These critters can cause you to have issues with your building, too. You should apply necessary precautions to prevent these issues from happening. 

Experienced landscapers are well-versed with how to remove pests and rodents for you. They also can help ensure you do not have pests and rodents return. Talk to professional landscapers today to see how you can mitigate your chances of issues. 


Work with Pros to Ensure You Have Attractive Landscaping 

Make sure you consult with experts about what will and will not work with your landscaping. These pros can guarantee your Santa Cruz area office building gets an immediate facelift. They can ensure your office building looks its best for many years to come, too.

Improve Landscape Water Drainage

5 Tips to Improve Landscape Water Drainage

Throughout the year, your yard will receive lots of water from the rain. You have to find ways to get rid of this water. Here are five tips to improve landscape drainage to get you ready for 2019:

1. Keep the landscape drainage routes running freely

Avoid obstructing the run-off drainage paths with raised gardens, planters or berms. Your yard should have a gentle slope that drains the water to a given route. If these routes are blocked, you will have a flooded lawn.

Ground runoff accounts for much of the surface drainage even where you have installed other types of in-ground drainage systems. It is essential to inspect the natural ridges in your lawn where water flows and remove any object or heavy vegetation that could impede the flow of the water. These routes are often created during the landscape design before planting the grass.

2. Install artificial drainage systems if natural ones are not sufficient

If you have ill-drained soils such as clay or poor landscape design, you will still have a problem with waterlogging even after the runoff drains away from the yard. You can improve the soil drainage by installing drainage systems in your yard. Here are the common drainage systems you might consider.

  • Simple ditches

Dig ditches several meters apart which are around 90cm deep. These must slow towards the lower end of your lawn. To achieve uniformity and a gradual slope, consider hiring a trenching machine for the work. There are small pedestrian machines for hire.

  • French ditches

If you rather not have open ditches, French ditches are an alternative. These ditches are constructed by filling a ditch with some coarse gravel and then topping it up with permeable membranes or turf that is upturned to prevent the entry of the soil into the ditch.

  • Piped Drainage

If the drainage problem in your yard is severe, you may use piped drainage that involves laying perforated plastic pipes on trenches that have been made firm by a 5cm bed of coarse gravel. The pipe is then covered with at least 10 cm of fine gravel. You need the assistance of a professional landscape planner to install piped drainage.

3. Consider an inlet basin or a channel drain

An inlet basin or a detention basin is a place where water is collected rapidly and then released slowly to reduce the impact it has on the surrounding area. A detention basin can be installed just below the surface of your landscape. You can have several installed across the yard to catch large amounts of water that may come from storms.

Basins are essential to water collection points if your property sits at the top of the landscape. A large amount of water collected by your downspouts may find its way onto the ground if a drainage pipe is blocked. This water may damage the yard if left to flow as runoff down the landscape. The inlet basins should be placed on the upper part of the landscape to collect as much water as possible before it heads downhill.

4. Harvest the water where possible

You may harvest the ground runoff water by installing a storage well or water barrel below the grade. The collected runoff can then be used to water your lawn. This is a feasible option where you do not have proper systems to drain away the water at the lower end of your garden or are looking to conserve water for the dry season.

When building a water harvesting system, you should take steps to ensure that soil and other debris do not get into the well. Accumulation of silt will reduce the amount of water that the storage can hold. Perforated piping systems work best for the below-the-grade water collection system. However, you can still use open ditches but layer them with gravel or create a filtration system at the mouth of your basin.

As for the barrel, you can construct a pond-like barrel if you have enough space or purchase the plastic underground barrel to collect water. You may need the assistance of a landscape planner to plan the water collection. If you do not want to pump the water from under the ground, you may consider creating a dry well. This is a gravel-filled underground reservoir where the water is collected and slowly absorbed into the soil without causing any pooling.

5. Drainage systems should go beyond your planting beds

Ensure that you corrugated drains, PVC drainage systems, and downspouts extend beyond the planting beds on your landscape. Most homeowners have planting beds close to the house. If the water collection systems end at the edge of these beds, water that flows away carries the loose topsoil with it. This not only causes soil erosion and damage to the planting beds but also causes silting of any other drainage systems that may have been installed in the yard.

If you have water collection beds or natural drainage systems leaving your home, consider connecting your home drainage systems to these major drainage systems. If the drainage is at the lower part of the landscape, you can have a pipe or a corrugated open drain that leads the water away from your yard. Be on the lookout for landscaping ideas that enable easy drainage of water especially if your yard is flat. Again, it is important to consider drainage when looking at various landscaping ideas.

When creating drainage systems, find the easiest path of getting the water away from the landscape and your home. The natural paths such as gentle slopes and drainage routes should be the priority as they are easy to maintain. The other systems may come in to improve the drainage capabilities of these drainage systems.

If you live in the Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito or Santa Cruz County area, and you’d like to learn about K & D Landscaping’s landscaping services, please call 831-728-4018 or visit our Contact Page.

weed abatement services

Fire Safety & Weed Abatement: How to Protect Your Property from Wildfires


Weed abatement is an essential element in fire prevention. Understanding the basics of fire safety as it relates to property management is essential for homeowners and businesses. Many local government authorities have issued guidelines for managing weed abatement and reducing the risk of wildfires. Here are some of the most important points to keep in mind when planning weed abatement activities this year.

Keep Vegetation Away From Buildings

Minimum fire safety standards have been established that require that property owners keep flammable vegetation at least 30 feet away from structures and buildings. This includes dead weeds, dead ornamental vegetation and brush cover. On slopes, this perimeter may be increased to 100 feet of clearance on all sides of the structure.

These precautions are necessary to prevent fires from spreading to buildings and causing serious property damage if they should occur in your area. By maintaining your vegetation carefully and removing any dead plants and trees promptly, you can protect your structures more effectively against the devastating effects of wildfires.

Keep Grass, Weeds and Ornamental Plants Clipped

Fire safety guidelines also require that all weeds and other ground cover must be maintained at a height of six inches or lower. This goes into effect on April 15 of each year and is designed to reduce the amount of fuel for wildfires and to promote the safest environment for residents and business owners in California. The hard deadline for this property maintenance may vary depending on the weather conditions and the amount of growth for vegetation in many counties.

The guidelines also recommend keeping grass and weeds clipped to six inches of less around roadways, driveways and other access routes. This will typically reduce the risks to drivers trying to escape the areas affected by wildfires and will allow emergency equipment to travel to the scene in greater safety. By maintaining your property by mowing or trimming regularly, you will help to control the risk of wildfires in your area.

Clean Your Gutters

Another piece of the puzzle for fire safety management is gutter cleaning. Removing leaves, pine needles and other debris from the gutters of your home or business will take away this source of fuel for wildfires and will provide some protection for your property against the effects of these devastating events. Regular gutter cleaning is a must to ensure the highest degree of fire safety for your home or business.

Choose Fire-Resistant Trees and Shrubbery

According to a fire safety standards brochure distributed by the Santa Clara County Department of Agriculture and Environmental Management, these trees shrubs and groundcover choices are fire-resistant and preferred for use in areas at risk for wildfires:

  • Trees to consider include Brazilian and California pepper and African sumac.
  • Some of the most fire-resistant shrubs recommended for several California counties include Italian buckthorn, lemonade berry, Texas privet, Carmel creeper, Carolina and Catalina cherry and bearberry plants.
  • Australian daisy, morning glory bush, candytuft, ivy, capeweed and ice plant are among the most fire-resistant options for groundcover.

Your local landscaping company can provide you with added information on the most appropriate trees, shrubs and other plants to round out your landscaping and to provide added protection against wildfires.


Your woodpile should be kept at least 30 feet from your home or business and any other outdoor structures. This is also true for yard waste that has been bagged or stacked neatly. While these items are still allowed during the high-risk period for fires, they must be kept away from buildings.

Property Size Matters

Local authorities have established guidelines for managing properties of various sizes for fire protection purposes:

  • Properties of one acre or less will be completely in compliance with all weed control and management guidelines. This means that no weeds over six inches high should be allowed on any part of these properties during the risk period for wildfires starting April 15.
  • Property parcels from one to five acres require at least 30 feet of clearance between any buildings, structures or roadways and weeds or dry vegetation. Depending on the configuration of the property and the risk of wildfire, you may also be required to implement 30-foot firebreaks or cross breaks that are free of vegetation to slow the spread of fires should they occur.
  • If your property consists of five acres or more, you will be required to install 30-foot firebreaks in addition to the 30-foot clearance requirements for buildings, outbuildings and roads. These firebreaks will be deployed so that they separate your property into areas of five acres or less to prevent the spread of fires across a wider area.

In many cases, consulting with a landscaping company can provide added information on the best ways to manage fire safety issues while ensuring the greatest degree of curb appeal for your California business or home.

Clear the Decks

The fire safety regulations for many of the surrounding areas prohibit the accumulation of trash, dead weeds and vegetation and wood on residential and commercial properties. While woodpiles, compost heaps and other neatly arranged piles are permissible, keeping your property free of dead vegetation and other combustible materials is critical to promote fire safety in our area.

Trim Your Trees

Fire safety guidelines also require that tree branches must be trimmed back to at least 10 feet from chimneys. This will prevent the wood of the tree from accidentally igniting and potentially starting a wildfire. Working with a company that specializes in landscaping and tree trimming services can provide an added level of protection for homes and businesses.

Know the Zones

Creating defensible space zones is the best way to protect homes and businesses from the risk of wildfire. There are three primary zones to consider:

  • Zone 0 is the Ignition Resistant Zone. It extends five feet from the structures on your property. Combustible weeds, plants and other vegetation must be kept entirely out of this zone by pruning them or removing them entirely. Additionally, doormats should not be used during fire season.
  • Depending on the county in which you live, Zone 1 extends for 30 feet or 50 feet from structures on your property. San Diego County requires that Zone 1 extend for 50 feet; most other areas require a 30-foot perimeter. Trees in this zone should be trimmed to keep branches at least 10 feet away from other trees. All combustible vegetation like dry leaves, dead weeds and pine needles must be removed from this zone.
  • Zone 2 consists of a 100-foot perimeter around your home or business. In this zone, you should keep grass clipped to four inches or less and maintain your property to reduce the chance of fire spreading in these areas.

Keeping these zones in mind will help you to stay safer throughout the peak wildfire season and beyond throughout the state of California.

If you live in the Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito or Santa Cruz County area, and you’d like to learn about K & D Landscaping’s weed abatement services, please call 831-728-4018 or visit our Contact Page.


shady landscape

Ten Ways to Add Shade to Your Landscape

An Enjoyable Project

Landscaping for shade interests many people along California's lovely Central Coast. Whether you reside in Scotts Valley, Watsonville, or Santa Cruz, you enjoy numerous options for creating a cooler yard. This landscaping project enhances comfort during hot summer days!

Consider designing a shady landscape to transform an outdoor spot into a welcome retreat from the beating sun. Plants, pets, and people all benefit from careful landscape design. Use these ten practical landscaping tips to add more shade to your grounds:

Plant Shade Trees

One of the least expensive and most popular ways to gain shade also appeals to gardeners: planting shade trees. Today, residents of this area of California enjoy a rich selection. The arching canopies of many shade trees supply welcome relief during sweltering hot summer weather. Some realty experts estimate mature trees increase a property's market value, too. If you maintain a large property, then planting full-sized shade trees proves feasible. For smaller yards, consider dwarf cultivars. Some very lovely types of shade trees include:

Add Tall Bushes to Patio Perimeters

Another strategy to increase shade involves selectively planting tall bushes near a backyard patio. Many flowering shrubs produce beautiful spring and summer blooms. These plants often enhance the visual appeal of residential and commercial settings. This approach proves inexpensive over the long term. Plant bushes far enough away from a home or a business to prevent the plant from posing a fire hazard.

Create Covered Porches And Decks

One popular way to obtain a shaded summer outdoor retreat involves covering a porch or a deck. Screening in these areas enables people to take full advantage of gentle breezes, while avoiding hot sunlight. A covered deck may offer an ideal location for casual outdoor entertaining. Landscape for shade by implementing this home improvement appeals to local property owners.

Install Patio Door And Window Awnings

Adding a well-constructed awning over patio doors and windows helps create cool outdoor areas. Some companies today even market retractable awnings. These products enable customers to select their preferred level of shade. A stylish awning enhances "curb appeal". This improvement also helps reduce sun glare indoors.

Deploy a Shade Sail on Sunny Days

Installing a temporary shade sail provide a fun way to obtain rapid shady landscaping. This selection works best in locations without high winds. Shade sails range across a broad price spectrum depending upon size and constituent materials. Many households obtain comparatively inexpensive summer shade using this ancient technology.

Build a Pergola

Pergolas offer excellent shade for people enjoying picnic tables or garden benches. Today, some companies offer DIY kits for constructing these structures. You may also obtain an excellent pergola by contacting a landscaping firm. To optimize summer shade, consider growing grape vines or flowering vines. For centuries, in parts of the Mediterranean, pergolas have shaded outdoor dining areas. They now offer welcome relief from the sun in Southern California!

Include a Garden Arbor

Does your garden include a shaded arbor? Landscaping for shade in this way adds beauty. It also offers gardeners a great way to obtain respite from the sun. Many plants, including lovely climbing tea roses, adapt well to arbors. You might also enjoy raising honeysuckle or Morning Glory vines using an arbor as a trellis.

Cover a Patio

Many residents of the Central Coast enjoy creating elegant covered patios to shelter outdoor gathering areas. Plan this project with care for optimal results. You enjoy a wide selection of roofing materials. Many homeowners prefer patio roofs that complement existing residential trim. A vine-covered pergola provides an excellent lightweight patio cover.

Plant Hedges

Today, many flowering bushes also lend themselves to forming elegant hedges. To obtain at least partial shade along sidewalks or beside uncovered patios, you might consider planting a hedgerow. This addition requires careful pruning to help train the plants to grow in a conformation you prefer. Shade from a hedge may supply welcome protection against the sun for some flowers and vegetables.

Trellis Vines Extensively

Using trellises to grow vines ultimately contributes to cooler areas in a garden. At certain hours of the day, these plants cast shadows. Would you like to cultivate shade loving plants (like Hostas)? If so, the presence of at least some reliably shaded locations on a daily basis proves vitally important. Consider placing trellises with care to help optimize shaded garden beds, based upon your plant selections.

Landscaping For Shade Creates More Comfortable Yards

By intentionally designing a shady landscape, you'll also create a cooler yard. Both business customers and households appreciate comfortably shaded open areas during hot weather. Taking the time to implement some of these landscaping tips improves outdoor settings. It also brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction during the hottest months of the year!

California Spring Tips

Landscaping Tips for Spring in California

There is no better time to get out and enjoy what is the most welcome and inviting season than to plan for and execute a Spring landscape. From the soil to the topography to the touches of your own charm and whimsy, here are some useful California landscaping tips to help you get going:

It All Starts with the Soil

Take the time to evaluate your soil to understand how to water and what plants to buy. Sandy soil holds less water and therefore needs more frequent watering. Heavy clay soil holds more and needs less water, but that means it also holds more of the salts. This can inhibit growth. Plan to compost all your vegetable matter so you have a free method of revitalizing your soil’s health naturally. Once you get started composting, it can be compelling and well worth the effort.

Picture It

Whether you have an existing landscape garden or are looking at open space, picture the space and how you can make the best use of it. As part of your Spring garden tips, it is wise to arrange your plants in a way that works for you rather than making you work harder. Consider the zones in shade and in direct sunlight. Notice how the sun moves through the day leaving areas either in shade or in prolonged daylight exposure. This can affect your plants and how you decide where to put them.

Scale Back Your Pruning

Pruning is necessary to keep growth in check. However, pruning also tends to promote growth. Plan your pruning strategically to give your plants, shrubs and trees the most attractive and natural appearance. If you want to promote growth, prune accordingly. If you want your plants to be less maintenance for you, there are ways to prune for stability and less growth.

Often, when you see square-cut shrubs, they may have an attractive symmetry, but they also have a regular landscape gardener coming out to tend to them. It can take less time to cut them back that way, but it also means a more regular effort to keep them square. Conversely, it is possible to select the right branches to remove that will give the garden a properly sculpted look that you can sit back and enjoy rather than feeling as though you need to get up and grab the clippers.

Irrigation, Soakers or Mulch

In California, you don’t really need to be concerned with irrigation schedules. Then again, you could plan your own in terms of making the most of what your plants and trees require. For some plants, you can have a system of soakers that dribble out the water using less over time. You may also want to allow deep soaking if your soil hangs on to the moisture. In such a case, you are watering less often. Try a mulch in your beds to help hold the moisture and to suppress the growth of weeds. You can also get mulch in colors if that adds to your garden charm.

While it is possible to plant drought resistant plants, a Spring landscape tends to contain more flowering plants for their color and beauty. You may also enjoy fruiting plants and trees since it is the season for most of these. Explore the markets and decide if you want to include plants that feed you.

You can either plant from seeds or from cuttings. You can also start a wide variety of edibles from what is left over such as onions, lettuce, celery, avocado, watermelon and so much more. These plants provide yet another aspect of your Spring Garden tips that can get you hooked on producing your own vegetables and fruits. Just take the time to learn their different planting times.

Companion Plants that Work for You

If you do decide to plant fruits and vegetables, there are companion plants you can locate properly to help mitigate the pests while adding beauty to your Spring landscape. Companion plants add significant benefits including:

  • Maximizing your available space
  • Increasing productivity of your plants
  • Conserving water
  • Pollination
  • Creating a habitat for beneficial insects
  • Making the best use of your soil

Polyculture borrows from the principles of cottage and forest gardens. It is a way to provide compounds to other plants making the most of their symbiotic aspects such as bacteria and nutrients within the soil. For example, a plant with longer roots draws up the nutrients from deep within the soil that shallow roots would otherwise never reach.

Your list of Tips on California Landscaping would not be complete if it did not include suggestions on using your imagination. You can add your own touch of whimsy and charm with a few garden items. The local garden shop and craft stores are stuffed with garden charm. From gnomes to wind chimes to glass orbs, you may want to add one or two items to your garden.

Further, consider making use of the uneven ground or make some of your own. A raised patch upon which to plant some grass gives you an inviting knoll. Strategically situated under a shade tree gives you your own park. There are endless ways to introduce your own brand of magic.