The Benefits of an Artificial Lawn: The Grass IS Always Greener

Many people have questions about installing an artificial lawn as part of their Santa Cruz landscaping. They are attracted by the benefits, but they’ve heard rumors about synthetic grass that makes them a little nervous. One of the biggest ones is that it looks fake. The answer to that one is easy. Thanks to technology, a lawn made of artificial grass no longer looks “fake.” Indeed, a layperson would need to get very close to such a lawn to tell it wasn’t the real thing. But naturalistic looks aren’t the only things that make a synthetic lawn desirable.

Benefits of an Artificial Lawn

Everlasting Health and Beauty

Unlike real turf landscapes, synthetic grass is always lush and green. There are no diseases such as brown patch or snow mold that discolor natural grass and cause it to die in unsightly patches. Moreover, these diseases not only make the lawn unsightly but cost money to eradicate.

Weeds Can’t Grow

Some homeowners don't mind a few weeds on their lawn. Dandelions are pretty and good to eat, after all, but other weeds cause a natural lawn to become unsightly. Not only this, but after they germinate, many weeds are tough to get rid of permanently. Many have deep roots or propagate via stolons or rhizomes found deep in the ground. Homeowners find that a lot of weeds need to be eradicated before they germinate, which usually means chemical herbicides that might be hazardous to health. There is no need to pull or poison weeds with a lawn made of artificial grass, because any weeds are smothered beneath it.

No Pests

Artificial turf is usually made of polyethylene with a bit of polypropylene. Pests such as grubs, caterpillars and weevils don’t eat this material, and other creatures such as moles don’t like to dig into it. Therefore, no pests. As with weeds, if there are no pests in the lawn, the owner doesn’t have to bother with chemical pesticides that can not only kill unwanted bugs but very much wanted insects such as honeybees, ladybugs and praying mantids.

Doesn’t Need Mowing

Unlike natural turf landscapes, artificial turf doesn’t grow and therefore does not need to be mown. It always stays at the same perfect height, as well as the perfect color and texture. Because of this, the owner no longer has to buy or maintain a lawn mower.

No Fertilizing

Even as synthetic grass does not need to be mown because it doesn’t grow, it does not need to be fertilized because it doesn’t need nutrients to help it grow or stay healthy. Fertilizer can be surprisingly expensive, especially if the area is large. This is another way, besides not having to buy chemicals or keep a lawn mower in good working order, for the owner to save money.

Doesn’t Need Watering

Besides not needing to be mown or fertilized, an artificial lawn doesn’t need to be watered. This not only saves water, but stops puddles from forming as they would in lawns of natural grass. There are places where puddles can sit for days after a watering or even after a hard rain depending on the nature of the soil. When this happens, a habitat for mosquitoes, some of them carrying dangerous diseases, is formed. Because superficial grass doesn’t grow on soil and has a built-in drainage system, the puddles don’t form.

Watering the lawn also has complications besides puddles. The owner of a natural lawn has to wonder whether the lawn is getting too much water or too little. During a drought, some local governments forbid homeowners from watering their lawns on the pain of a fine. A person with a synthetic lawn can proudly and truthfully tell a nosy official sent out to check Santa Cruz landscaping ordinances that the reason their grass is so green is that it’s not really real.

An Artificial Lawn is Long Lasting

Real grass is a living thing, and like other living things it must die eventually. To keep a natural lawn looking green, the owner needs to reseed it from time to time or install sod, sprigs or plugs every few years. But, depending on traffic and other factors, artificial grass can last as long as a decade and a half with very little maintenance.


Though artificial grass is made of types of plastic, in the long run it is very eco-friendly. Exhaust from gas powered lawn mowers don’t get into the air. Chemical fertilizers and chemicals sprayed to kill weeds and bugs are not washed into bodies of water. These chemicals can poison aquatic life and contaminate drinking water.

Enhanced Leisure Time

People can spend a surprising amount of time tending to their lawn. However, if the lawn is synthetic, much of that time is reduced. This gives the homeowner more time to enjoy leisure activities, especially on the weekend. Not only that, a homeowner can go out of town without having to worry about who will take over lawn care duties while they’re gone.

Santa Cruz Landscaping

Contact landscape experts K&D Landscaping if you have any questions regarding artificial lawns, garden design, summer lawn care, heat resistant lawns, or landscape design ideas. There you will find everything you need to know about artificial lawns and more.

Everything You Need to Know About Landscape Lighting

As a homeowner, you want to make not only the interior of your home beautiful, but the outside eye-catching as well. Landscape lighting is one of the best ways to decorate your porch or yard in an aesthetic manner. Outdoor lighting can provide you with a number of benefits that you might want to explore.

Benefits of Landscape Lighting

With some great landscaping tips, you can easily incorporate lighting into your front lawn area or backyard. Your home is your sanctuary, so the sky’s the limit when you want to do this intricate type of decorating. There are numerous benefits of landscape lighting, including the following:

  • Illuminating your outdoor living space: When you use lights in your landscaping, you have a whole other place at home where you can relax and enjoy yourself with family and friends. You can host a barbecue or a party or simply spend leisurely time outside with your significant other and children. Illuminating your outdoor living space adds yet another place to kick back and have fun while at home.
  • Complementing your landscaping decor: When you use decorative lighting in your outdoor landscape, you can complement and highlight the landscaping job you already have set up. For example, while your lighting can light a walkway directly to your front door, it can also highlight the lovely flowerbeds or decorative shrubbery you have planted in your front yard. You can even use lights to serve as eye-catching barriers for areas you don’t want anyone to walk over. If you have a backyard water feature like a pond or fountain, lighting can beautifully complement it. However you choose to use outdoor lighting to showcase your landscape, it can highlight all the beautiful colors of your gardening in the dark.
  • Adds curb appeal and increases property value: You can increase the value of your property when you use lighting in your outdoor landscape. You get an immediate return on your investment. Potential buyers will be more likely to want to buy your home because of your lighting efforts. However, even if you have no immediate intention to sell your home, adding lights to your landscaping can add curb appeal and cause heads to turn anytime someone passes your home.
  • Safety and security: Using lighting in your landscape can add a layer of safety and security for your family that you might otherwise not have without it. In addition to lighting up a walkway to your door, lights can illuminate stairs and areas where the ground is uneven, which can prevent a potential fall and injury. You can also enjoy the security of criminals being discouraged from trying to burglarize your home with outside landscape lights. Intruders are far more likely to try to break into homes that aren’t as well lit.

Types of Lights to Consider

The best types of lights to use outdoors in your landscape are those that are those that use light-emitting diodes or LED bulbs. They are energy efficient and last longer than traditional CFL lightbulbs. You can also choose solar landscaping lights, which rely on the sun’s rays and use a rechargeable battery. Whichever option you go with, both are environmentally friendly and efficient. Low voltage lights are also preferable as they carry less risk of electrical shock and need less energy.

In general, you can’t go wrong with choosing a combination of low voltage and solar for your landscaping lights.

Design Ideas for Outdoor Lights

Ideally, you will want to plan your outdoor light ideas by situating fixtures around 10 to 15 feet apart. This creates adequate space for the light to effectively shine without overpowering things. It is also more energy efficient when you allow for this length of distance between lights.

You will also want to choose a good mix of lights to show off around your property. These can achieve the best overall design.

Specific Types of Lights for Your Landscape

When lighting your Santa Cruz landscape, you will want to mix it up. Certain types of lights achieve different effects. If you are looking for something that highlights certain points in your yard, you should choose a spotlight. Floodlights, on the other hand, are the best option if you are looking to light up an area with a lot of traffic such as a driveway.

In-ground lights are usually circular in shape and can be installed directly into the ground. They are effective at lighting up walkways but can also add a level of sophistication to your yard in highlighting garden features. These lights offer a dramatic atmosphere that can light up plants or yard structures. They often work best when coupled with spotlights.

Path lights are exactly as they sound: they are installed along a path in your yard or garden and add plenty of curb appeal to your property. They serve a dual purpose in providing much-needed light to walkways to make them safer and serve to highlight in an aesthetic manner. These lights tend to be around one foot tall and are made with materials that allow them to withstand everyday wear and tear.

The best way to use outdoor lights in your yard is to get creative and combine various options. Mix and match to come up with the best look for your outdoor space.

Does Your Business Lack Curb Appeal? You May Need a Commercial Landscaper!

Neglecting your business's exterior appearance can send the impression to prospective customers that your services or products are lacking, which can cause them to feel uneasy about supporting your business and instead seek out your competitors with good property upkeep and commercial landscaping.

Therefore, you want to ensure that your property's curb appeal tops the list of your marketing strategies, which experts say helps increase foot traffic as well as your sales.

Some simple ways to improve your curb appeal to attract more customers include:

Refresh Your Building's Exterior

Over time, your building can begin to show signs of wear and tear, which can cause it to look shabby and drab and cause people to wonder if it's still open.

However, there are some low-cost ways to revive the look of your building and send the right message to customers that you are still in business, including installing new trim on the exterior.

If your budget permits, you can also apply a coat of fresh paint on the outside of the building to update its look.

Meanwhile, if the door is dirty or has chipped paint, it could also send the wrong message to customers, so you should repaint or replace the door to also help project a professional image.

Check the Signage

Your signage also plays a role in whether or not customers feel inspired to enter your business; therefore, you want to ensure that it also remains in good shape.

Your signage should also be large enough and positioned where people passing your business via various routes can easily read it.

You can also use outdoor signage to alert customers of any deals you may be running, which will help attract new customers that may otherwise have not visited your establishment.

Fix Damaged Walking Areas

Freshly resurfaced walkways and stairs not only give your property a clean appearance, but it also ensures your customers are safe while traveling to and from your building on foot.

On the other hand, broken, cracked, or chipped walkways and stairs pose a safety hazard for customers, which will most likely discourage them from entering your business.

Therefore, to send the message to customers that you care about their safety, be sure to repair any problematic walking areas. It also helps decrease your business's liability risks.

Upgrade the Parking Lot

Like your walkway and stairs, a crumbling parking lot can also make customers reluctant to enter your establishment, and it, too, puts your business at risk of liability.

Therefore, be sure to maintain a smooth and even parking lot free of cracks and potholes, which also helps make customers feel welcomed.

It should also include clear parking lines and offer handicap accessible parking to further accommodate customers.

Hire a Professional Commercial Landscaping Company

Fresh greenery, such as shrubs, native California flowers, or even tree islands, strategically placed throughout your property, makes your business look more vibrant and lively, which also helps create an inviting atmosphere for customers.

If your property has no greenery, a commercial landscaper, such as Santa Cruz Landscaping, can help you choose the right selection of flora for your space and then also plant them for you to help increase the chance they will thrive as they should for the most appealing look.

A commercial landscaper can also maintain your new or existing greenery to help ensure it continues to grow for sustained business curb appeal.

Rock gardens also make charming additions to your property, and they are also cheaper and much easier to maintain than traditional gardens, so you may also consider this as an option to help beautify your property.

Meanwhile, light fixtures added to your property helps ensure your building can be seen at night, so it still looks inviting even during the evening hours. A commercial landscaper, such as a Santa Cruz Landscaping, can also work with you to incorporate the right lighting into your landscaping scheme to help set the mood you want.

Keep Your Property Clean

Once you have made all the necessary upgrades to your building and your property, you now need to keep it clean to ensure it remains attractive to customers.

This means regularly clean any trash from the property as well as the entryway, which helps display to customers that you take pride in your business. You should also ensure the windows remain clean because dirty windows make your building look run down, which can also cause customers to turn away.

If you have any window displays, they should also be dusted and cleared of any cobwebs frequently, and the display itself should also be changed every few months to help give your business a new look.

You can do this work yourself, or you may consider hiring cleaners to help save time.

Show Your Holiday/Seasonal Spirit

Adding seasonal decor to your business to celebrate the holidays or to welcome in the weather's changes gives your business a spirited look that not only adds to your business curb appeal, but that also makes your business look more friendly.

So don't be afraid to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for your customers throughout the holidays or seasons, just like you do for your family, so they feel they belong too.

As you can see, there are many quick and budget-friendly ways to upgrade your business's exterior, all which have been shown to help increase new customers for your business and, in turn, also your income, which is great for your bottom line.

Once you have found a look for your business that you are happy with, be sure to keep it up by ensuring it remains clean and refreshed, which will also help save money on more expensive upgrades later.

In the meantime, if you are interested in installing greenery or rock features on your property or you are in need of commercial landscaping for your current greenery, call us or visit our web site to schedule an appointment.

How to Achieve a Luxury Landscape

Santa Cruz Landscaping has been creating unique, beautiful and luxurious landscapes for homeowners for over thirty years. Many of the landscapes are fanciful in nature, bringing to mind the storybook cottage, fairy tale imagery, and functional landscapes that are delightful to behold. If you want to achieve your own luxury landscape, there are several elements to consider.

Features of High-End Landscaping

Features of high-end landscaping typically include a very well-manicured lawn, exotic or unusual inorganic features, and natural elements that enhance the terrain. These features include:

  • Tiered garden spaces to create a sense of elevation in flat areas
  • Colored stone gravel or colored mulch to add more color to a monotone yard.
  • Statuary or fountains as focal points.
  • Topiaries and hedges trimmed to perfection with shape and/or form.
  • Outdoor patio and entertainment spaces
  • Unique and decorative lighting solutions

One or more of these components are configured into luxury landscapes, with a focus on making a space very elegant and charming to behold.

Choosing Features vs. Giving a Landscape Designer Control

While you certainly can choose different luxury features to incorporate into your landscape around your home, most consumers prefer to hire a landscape designer. The designer is usually given total control over a project and allowed to take measurements and examine the terrain. Then the designer will create a couple of different designs from different viewpoints to help homeowners choose something that really speaks to them. It is akin to hiring an interior decorator, except that this designer works entirely with your existing outdoor space.

If you choose one of the designs or a few different aspects from multiple designs, the landscape designer then begins the task of creating what you selected. You never have to lift a shovel or scoop dirt or mulch. The landscape designer works as or with other landscaping professionals to create and complete the design features you want.

If you were to take on this project yourself, the results will be very telling. Not everyone has the ability to trim hedges into fantastical shapes or into a labyrinth. Not everyone can successfully add a Japanese water garden and make it look like it's a completely natural part of the landscape.

You are free to try, but the results may be mixed. Additionally, you would be doing all of the work yourself, and it is a lot harder to create tiered gardens than it looks. A professional designer can bring many of the elements you love together and make it look as though those elements have been there and been together all along.

An example of this is the "fire and water" types of landscaping, where an eternal gas burning strip emits dancing flames and a steady flow of small waterfalls lines the wall behind it. Santa Cruz Landscaping has created several of these exquisite features for both commercial and residential properties.

Creating a Sense of Balance

A luxury landscape should always be balanced, like a fine piece of figural and sculptural art. As such, you may want to consider a balance between quiet and serene and the functional and entertaining.

Think "cabana" versus outdoor BBQ pit with chaises. In the former, you might just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. In the latter, there is a lot of stimuli to take in, from the conversation with others sharing that space to the smells from the BBQ pit. If you have a lot of outdoor space, you might want both, but they should be on opposite ends of the yard.

Color using flowers is another example of creating a sense of balance. A lot of color should be balanced with minimal color. Your designer can show you how the effect of a lot of color in one area balanced with minimal color in another area "feels" right and looks perfect to the human eye.

An Infinity Pool as Part of a Luxury Yard

A pool is not typically considered luxury, unless that pool is equally as extraordinary and unique as the yard around it. An infinity pool with a waterfall, for example, is definitely a luxury. A standard in-ground pool usually isn't luxury unless the deck or yard around it makes the pool the focal point.

If you want a pool in the yard, but you don't want the pool to take over the yard, the landscape designer can find several beautiful options to incorporate this into the design. Select pool models and pool shapes help make this component more luxurious than most pools typically are.

Choose Santa Cruz Landscaping to Begin Your Fantasy Yard Project

The beautiful warm weather of Santa Cruz, CA means that you can be working on your luxury lawn all year round. Add different details until you finally achieve the amazing look you desire. A designer can meet with you and begin designing the yard of your dreams. Within a few weeks the approved plan goes from paper to ground. All it takes is that first step of contacting the company.

A Guide to Chemical-Free Weed Killing in Santa Cruz 

There are ways to keep a "green" chemical-free garden that uses household ingredients to kill weeds. They are easy to use as well as being budget-friendly. When doing your yard and garden weeding, keep these methods in mind.


Eco-Friendly Landscape


Having an eco-friendly landscape means that you are practicing policies that will not harm you, the earth, and the plants. Harsh pesticide and herbicide chemicals can leak into your earth, water and plants that eventually end up in you, your family, pets, and any animals you are raising to consume.


There are weed killing ingredients that you can make from products found in the home that do an awesome job, pennies to make, and non-toxic to you. Some of these solutions are basic common sense while others may surprise you.


Weed Killing In A Santa Cruz Landscape


You can practice the old fashion way of pulling weeds out of the ground. Remember not to put the weeds into the compost. Bagging and throwing them away or safely burning the unwanted plants are ways to discard them. Removing the whole plant including the taproot is the key to the success of the plant not growing back.


Some weeds you can control by removing the tops or flowers before they go to seed. If the plant is a perennial, they will come back, but removing the tops will slow down the spread of the seeds.


A nice three for one effort is using mulch. The mulch not only keeps the weeds down, but also helps retain water for the plant. Also, the mulch will eventually compost to add more soil around your plants. Make sure to use the correct pH material around the plants you are growing. You need about an inch deep of mulch around your plants for it to do the job properly. 


This no brainer solution is awesome for those pesky weeds that are in hard to reach places. Boil water in a medium saucepan and pour the boiling water over the plant that needs to go. You will get instant results. Just make sure to take safeguards when using this technique.


If you have the problem of weeds growing in the cracks of your sidewalk or driveway, a simple solution is to use salt. By spreading salt into those cracks, the unwanted plants will not only die, but new plants will not grow there for as long as the area contains salt. Do not use his method around the plants you want to keep as it will kill them also. 


Salt is a good way to create "plantless" borders along driveways and sidewalk where nothing will grow. Just less need for a weedeater, but expect brown borders where ever the salt is placed. Do not use this method if you plan to replant in this area.


Vinegar is another household product that is very effective at killing plants. The acid draws moisture out of the leaves of the plant and will destroy it within 24 hours. Unlike salt, the vinegar does not last as long, but will destroy anything it touches. This method works well for destroying large patches of unwanted plants when you want to grow later in that area.


The most powerful organic weed-killing mixture you can make is to combine a gallon of white distilled vinegar with a cup of salt and two tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap. Use a sunny, windless day to be sure it does not travel to the plants you want unharmed.


Rubbing Alcohol helps you when needing first aid but is deadly to plants if they come in contact with it. It works the same as vinegar, drawing moisture from the leaves, but has no lasting effect on the soil. For more stubborn or hardy plants, it may need a second treatment. Mix two tablespoons of alcohol to a quart of water to spray on the leaves.


All those of you who are not fond of mowing grass, you can just let the grass in your lawn do the work for you, By letting the grass crowd out the weeds with less mowing, your lawn may naturally do the job. If you let the grass go to seed before you mow in the spring, you can have a lush reseeded lawn the rest of the season.


Establishing a closely packed garden will discourage other plants from moving in due to lack of space to grow. You may have to do some weeding early on but close planting will pay off soon. Just like letting the grass grow in your yard, garden plants will do the work for you.


For those who are just starting a garden plot, livestock may be your quick fix. Goats or chickens can be borrowed to strip the plot of growth while providing organic fertilizer as well as aerating the soil. Just don't put them around plants you want to grow because they can't tell the difference.


Chemical-Free Garden


A chemical-free garden could be an edible garden, including the weeds. Before you discard the unwanted plants, you may want to check if they would make a good salad ingredient or tea. What you consider trash plants may have homeopathic properties that are traditionally known for healing or healthy nutrients. Take the time to do research before you toss out those "weeds".


Santa Cruz Landscape


To have a beautiful landscape in Santa Cruz does not require the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals. Remember that what you put on plants and on the soil will end up in you, your family, neighbors, and the local wildlife. Happy gardening! For other useful information about landscaping check out this blog site.


Beat the Heat: How to Keep Your Lawn Healthy in the Summer 

Beat the Heat: How to Keep Your Lawn Healthy in the Summer 


Summer is that time of the year that you want your lawn to look its best. It is that time when you need lawn care the most because your lawn undergoes much stress from the scorching sun and hot temperatures. These two elements of the summer weather are always a threat to your lush green grass. Additionally, your lawn faces another threat from the increased traffic by family, kids, and pets. All these stresses combined cause much wear and tear to the lawn, leaving your once sea of green gradually fading into brown. 


While it is quite normal for the summer to be hot and dry, it is not a must that your lawn turns brown. Some homeowners are comfortable with letting their lawns turn brown and going dormant over the summer. There is no problem at all as it is only natural that the grass would preserve itself until cooler temperatures resume. However, it is a better look for your lawn if it stays green all summer. Moreover, the process of keeping it green is not complicated in any way. It only requires some strategic summer lawn care practices that will allow you to keep your lawn lush all summer. 


What Causes the Brown in Your Lawn?


It is essential first to understand why your lawn loses its color before you know how to keep it green.  


Watering plays a vital role in keeping your grass green and lush. However, it is not always the reason why the lawn turns brown. The weather leading up to the summer is always cool and wet. But as soon as summer begins, the weather dramatically changes to hot and dry. Such a rapid change causes the ground to dry up quickly, and the plants become water-stressed. As a survival mechanism, the plants go dormant and turn brown to preserve themselves.  


As you can see, brown grass does not necessarily mean unhealthy grass. There is no need to panic when you suddenly see patches of brown in your yard. The grass has simply inactivated itself due to unsuitable climatic conditions. Once suitable conditions resume, it would quickly bounce back to life. 


Nonetheless, other factors that contribute to your lawn losing its color include:


  • Poor watering practices 
  • Poor mowing practices 
  • Insect or disease attacks 
  • Excess traffic


Keep Your Lawn Green with these Summer Lawn Care Tips


There are several steps you can follow to ensure that your lawn survives even the harshest of summer days. It is not complicated to keep a heat resistant lawn. Just make sure that you adhere to these tips with consistency, and you are guaranteed that your lawn will remain lush all summer. 


1. Plant the right grass


Ask any Santa Cruz landscaping expert and they will tell you that there are many varieties of grass that exist. Among these varieties, there are two distinct categories, cool-season, and hot-season grasses. The cool-season grasses perform well in the colder northern regions while the hot-season grasses are excellent in the warmer south. 


As such, the grasses behave differently when exposed to various temperatures. The cold-season grasses become stressed in high temperatures while the hot-season grasses are better equipped to cope in this weather.  


So the next time you are doing your landscape design, ensure you select an appropriate grass for the warm Santa Cruz weather. Should you select the cold-season grass for this warm climate, it would be much difficult to keep your lawn green all summer. 


2. Water Your Lawn Properly


Proper watering of your lawn is one of the obvious things that can keep it healthy for a long time. However, when the lawn is incorrectly watered, the grass is bound to lose its vibrant look under the summer sun. The following practices would ensure that your lawn receives enough moisture to remain healthy. 


3. Train Your Lawn


Your lawn must be properly trained for it to survive the hot summer weather. The training allows the grass to develop a deep root system that would enable it to tap water from a deeper level. To train your lawn, deeply water your lawn once or twice a week rather than short daily soaks. This allows the grass to develop a deep root system rather than a shallow one. 


4. Water in the Morning


Your lawn benefits more when it is watered early in the morning than at any other time. Mornings are always perfect because the temperatures are cooler and there is less evaporation. Avoid watering the lawn when the sun is scorching outside because the water evaporates before percolating into the ground. Similarly, avoid watering at night because the lawn becomes damp, which creates perfect conditions for diseases to develop. 


5. Keep Your Grass Longer


Mowing is an essential part of garden design and summer lawn care. Though as aforementioned, improper mowing practices could lead to lawns losing their lushness. There are two benefits of keeping your grass longer. It develops a deeper root system, and the longer grass blades shade the delicate root system from the harsh summer sun. This protects the grass on the lawn from drying up too quickly and thus remaining green. As standard practice, never mow your lawn shorter than three inches as to keep it healthy all summer.  


6. Fertilize Your Lawn


Your lawn needs a source of nutrients to stay healthy. It is essential that you replenish the nutrients on your lawn regularly for it to grow thick and healthy. Microbes take about six to eight weeks to process the nutrients, so fertilize your lawn after this interval. It is recommended that you use a low-nitrogen lawn fertilizer to prevent the grass from growing very fast.  


7. Keep Off the Grass


During the summer, your lawn is under much stress from traffic. Movement by kids, pets, family, or vehicles causes much damage to the lawn and the ground below. If you notice a discolored patch as a result of traffic, keep off the damaged area and give it a chance to recover. 


8. Control Weeds Early and Often


Santa Cruz landscaping professionals advocate for controlling the weeds early and often rather than spraying the whole lawn with a weed killer. To get rid of weeds, manually pull them from the ground or use a weeding fork. 


Santa Cruz Landscaping


Contact landscape experts K&D Landscaping if you have any questions regarding garden design, summer lawn care, heat resistant lawns, or landscape design ideas. There you will find everything you need to know about keeping your lawn healthy and green all summer long.  


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.