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.

Landscape Design Ideas to Save Time on Garden Upkeep

A low maintenance landscape can be lovely and filled with imagination along with extraordinary beauty. Simplify your life and ensure that you have a lovely landscape to enjoy all year long by trying low maintenance landscape tips. You can enjoy some extra leisure time when you incorporate organization with a low maintenance landscape plan. You will be able to surround yourself in your lovely landscape in a simple way with the some good tips and useful ideas. Keep in mind, you are meant to enjoy your landscape because it is intended to be an oasis for everyone in your home to enjoy. Some useful landscape tips will simplify your life in remarkable ways.


Tips to Save Time and Money on Garden Upkeep

Saving time and money while lightening up your workload can be done with some good tips in your pocket and ingenious ideas in place. You do not need to spend hours on end trying to keep your landscape well-tended because it is possible to simplify your life without skimping on quality. You do not need to make your landscape a full-time job because lovely landscapes are maintained with ease by incorporating the following tips and ideas:


Have a Plan in Place

Measure your landscaping area and make a good plan for the entire space. Draw up a little sketch of creative ideas. Incorporate clear paths and draw in the plant beds. Be sure to have some fun creating unique ideas for your customized landscape area. Assess any shady areas and plan ahead for the larger areas of sun and plant according to their needs.


An Organized Tool Shed

Be sure to keep your tool shed organized because organization will cut your work time in half. All of the gardening tools can be hung up properly in order to offer easy access and added convenience. This is an excellent time-saving technique worth completing because in the long-run it is going to prevent wasteful searches for needed equipment. If you do not have a tool shed, you can hang an ordinary peg board up and keep all your needed gardening items hung up on the board for easy access. Get creative with your organization!


Less Lawn Mowing and Extra Growing

Consider mowing your lawn less and allowing your grass to get a little longer than usual. This can give your landscape a natural appeal to it. A few less mowings during the month will give you some extra leisure time to enjoy. Many landscapes look very natural when the hedges are pruned less too. This is done in order to offer a fuller and healthier appeal with less clipping and pruning to take up your time. Less mowing and more thought into the hedge choices can really make a difference in terms of the overall maintenance of a landscape.


Make Mulch Work for You

Mulch is an excellent material to place over the soil and the surfaces in your garden area. It can come in many different forms. It will retain moisture and suppress the weeds as they try to take over. It will keep the soil cooler and improve the fertility if it is an organic form. Mulch can even add a touch of color to the landscape and make it stand out from others while reducing your weeding time.


Limit Impractical Plants and Consider Water Wise Plants

Choose plants that are drought tolerant and avoid lavish impractical plants. A water wise plant needs less water during the growing season. Save time and save on water with drought tolerant plants.


Always Carry a Bucket or Tote

Keep a reusable bag, bucket or other useful item with you when you are doing any work on your landscape. Never go out without having some type of container and be sure to put it to good use. This will keep you organized while gardening in style. Keep all your needed items with you and reduce your steps by keeping everything handy as you work on your landscape.


Consider Including Companion Plants in Your Landscape Mix

These will help with pest control and assist in some prevention while they add beauty to the entire landscape. This will maximize space while increasing crop productivity. The idea is to group compatible plants together as you conserve water and make better use of the soil.


Composting Will Add Health to Soil

Be sure to add compost to the planting beds. Do this on an annual basis. This will make the soil more resilient to diseases. It will help your soil to retain extra moisture while increasing the soil fertility in a natural way.


Added Creativity and Less Work

These landscaping tips will add much organization to your entire landscape while providing you with more leisure time to fully enjoy your surroundings. You will have less work on your landscape with a low maintenance garden. Don't forget to add a dash of extra creativity and have the landscape of your dreams. A low maintenance landscape can be filled with creativity and you will enjoy less work.


Santa Cruz Curb Appeal

Upgrade Your Santa Cruz Home’s Curb Appeal 

The exterior of your home, including the property surrounding your structure, makes an impression to everyone who views it. There are several ways you can boost your home's curb appeal by making changes to the landscaping or by adding decorations. Try some of these tips if you believe it is time to give your home a Santa Cruz curb appeal pick-me-up.


Add A Burst Of Color

A property without the incorporation of color will appear bland to those who pass by. Consider adding color to your property to give it a healthy appearance. A garden full of festive flowers or some whimsical garden signs will draw attention to featured areas with ease. For the home itself, painting your front porch door a contrasting color from the rest of the structure is an easy way to add a splash of color without costing a lot to accomplish the task.


Tend To Landscaping Regularly

Failure to keep on top of landscaping maintenance will quickly lead to a property that appears unkempt. Make sure to routinely walk around your home and check for foliage in need of a trim. Regular lawn mowing sessions will also keep your property looking its best. Some Garden ideas California homeowners use include using small fencing pieces around the perimeter of a vegetable garden or flower bed or using pavers or sidewalk pieces for those who wish to walk through their yards to check on their foliage at their leisure.


Provide A Resting Area

When you add a bench or chair to your property within view of the curb, those who view it will instantly be reminded of relaxation. A wooden or iron bench or outdoor furnishings gives people a comfortable place to sit back and enjoy the surroundings. To top off the look, invest in some pillows or cushions to dress up the furniture in the color and theme of your choosing. You will find this spot becomes a favorite for those living in or visiting your home. Add a table if you intend on using the resting spot for reading, eating, or drinking so you have a readily-available spot to rest your items.


Tend To Your Driveway

Your home's Santa Cruz curb appeal is not limited to the structure and surrounding property. Your driveway is equally as important in providing spectators with a favorable appearance. Consider lining your driveway with green foliage and sturdy plants with dimension. If your driveway is unpaved, consider using border stones to contain smaller rocks or gravel. If you have a dirt driveway, adding gravel or asphalt will improve its appearance tremendously. For those with already paved driveways, tend to any cracks or holes with sealant yearly. This refreshing darker hue will instantly improve your driveway's overall look. For something different, colored asphalt is always an option. 


Provide Illumination 

Your home's curb appeal can be improved not only during daytime hours but also when the sun goes down. Add forms of illumination to showcase featured spots as well as to provide safety and security. Floodlights work well at showing off your favorite landscaped features as well as illuminating target areas such as walkways and driveways. To give your home a festive appearance, use solar lights along your front walkway so you have a lit area right up to your doorway.


Add Porch Decor

The front door of a home is usually the area where the eyes are drawn when driving or walking past. In addition to using color to your advantage, adding decorations to your porch around your doorway will attract attention to this area. Try a festive wreath, an inviting welcome mat, or an interesting flower pot. Add a themed mailbox or hang a flag to attract attention as well. If you have a house number, consider purchasing metal or wood plaques to adhere to the exterior of your home near your front door or on your mailbox.


Use Santa Cruz Landscape Design Tricks

The addition of colored stones around the perimeter of your home is a wonderful way to help battle weeds and dress up the area without spending a lot in the process. These stones can be used around plants to make them more noticeable. Another trick landscapers use to draw attention to a property is the incorporation of different levels of features. Adding a flower bed or a retaining wall gives the property the appearance of a larger space, making them great ways to boost curb appeal if your plot is on the smaller side. For a natural garden appearance, use native California plants.


Install Fencing

The addition of a fence around your yard will improve your property's curb appeal while providing a definitive boundary. A fence helps to keep the property organized rather than spilling out in all directions. It also gives you peace of mind if security is a concern. Opt for a traditional white picket fence or an intricate wrought-iron barrier to add character to your property.


Tend To Your Home's Exterior

Changing the exterior color of your home is a quick way to give it a whole new appearance. Those passing by may notice your home for the first time simply because of a new paint job. Swapping out windows for newer designs also gives a home a newer, sharper appearance. If your gutter system hasn't been maintained, it could make your home's exterior look less than favorable. Tend to portions that sag or pull away from the home with a new set of brackets. Dripping gutters require repair or replacement. 


Add Decor To Your Yard

Your home's porch is not the only spot that can fare well with the addition of decor. Add an interesting statue, some poles for the hanging of colorful flags, or a splendorous fountain to your garden area. A birdbath is a great addition for those who want entertainment as well as decor. When selecting yard decorations, stick with one theme or color rather than adding different types of pieces. This could make the area appear cluttered rather than giving it a polished appearance. Be sure to add some of your own character to your selections for a personalized result.


2020 Garden Design

Top Garden Design Trends for 2020

We wish to keep our curb appeal up to date, providing a great view from the street. So, we scan articles like this one to learn what landscaping professionals expect to be most in-vogue in the new year. These garden trends and landscaping tips include thoughts of leading designers and others who predict upcoming garden designs for 2020.

As we’re not only starting a new year but a new decade, these simple tips will pertain for awhile. Also, it appears these landscape design ideas will be handy for years to come. Simplicity and low-maintenance are tips we can all appreciate and utilize and it appears they’ll be big this year.

This doesn’t mean we’ll tear out our already perfectly located plantings, but we might find inspiration for additions and new outdoor displays.


Belgian Design Landscaping

Described as luxurious simplicity, this planting style appears to be a favorite garden trend for the new year. This old-world type of landscaping includes repeat plantings and limited ornamentation. Landscaping tips for this simple style advise limiting ornamentation to single or well-coordinating pieces, possibly a baroque or old-world garden edging or a large weathered focal point. Less is more is a concept for the upcoming year.


Upcycle for the Garden

Repurposing for ornamentation with accessories that previously had another use is practical in the garden and also on an upswing for the coming year. Use your imagination as you encounter used items that no longer serve their original purpose.

Old tubs and buckets may become planters, as can old boots, shoes, drawers and other items. An oft-used item is an old tire, filled with hens and chicks or blossoming flowers. Old chairs serve as a display for the right size pot, while old windows and shutters can be repurposed as hanging displays. Some of these are painted, others are used as it. You’re only limited by your creativity when upcycling for the flowerbed.


Wildlife Friendly Garden Ideas

We all like the thought of a wildlife-friendly garden. And, in 2020, it appears more people will be planting to encourage local wildlife friends to make themselves at home in our landscape. Providing a steady supply of water and the foods they like is a great beginning. Nesting materials in the right location can make them feel at home as well.

If you wish to attract birds, place a few houses for them in spots where they prefer to dwell, such as hanging in a tree. Some birds repurpose for themselves, like rebuilding a nest left by another bird from last year.

Landscaping tips for planting to attract wildlife will include the use of native plants. Natives encourage pollinators to come, many of which are of a declining population. Plant lavender, milkweed and lilacs to invite the pollinators in. Some native plants discourage mosquitoes.

Frogs and toads in the landscape act as pest control, eating beetles, slugs and mosquitoes. Nighttime flowering plants and those that emit fragrance most heavily after dark invite another range of pollinators, like moths and bats. All pollinating species are great for the landscape.

Keep in mind, having wildlife in the landscape may necessitate extra protection for your vegetable crops and some ornamental plants. Deer, coyotes and even bears may feel invited. If your neighborhood is overseen by a Homeowner’s Association, they might look down on a wildlife friendly landscape. So might your neighbors. Animals won’t realize they need to remain in your yard only. A wildlife garden is appropriate for large landscapes without close neighbors. Consider both the pros and cons before you start planting to attract wildlife.


Edible Forest

Professionals see garden trends for 2020 bringing forage plants closer to home. This can go hand in hand with a wildlife garden and growing native plants. Most foraging specimens are edible and many more have medicinal uses. Plants listed below can easily grow in your home landscape for an annual harvest:

  • Yarrow
  • Mullein
  • Rose Hips
  • Dogwood
  • Wild Comfrey
  • Cattails
  • Cedar Trees
  • Walnut

Garden Ideas for Growing Vertically

Although we’ve become accustomed to seeing plants trained to grow upward, it appears this will be another popular garden design for 2020. If you haven’t already, get started with growing plants on a fence or trellis. Flowering vines, like morning glory, clematis, and cardinal vine grow quickly and have beautiful, long lasting blooms. The moonflower blooms at dusk and emits a delicious fragrance.

Some vines need a slender structure on which to scurry upward. A wire or cord addition can easily and inconspicuously be added to a fence or an arbor with large poles. Other vines will attach to any surface and continue upward, like some ivy. Be cautious of using these on lightweight fences or other supports that aren’t sturdy.

Incorporate these landscaping tips into your planting and design efforts when you revamp garden beds in spring. Keep them in mind as you upgrade your hardscapes and ornamentation outside and you can easily have pleasing curb appeal that extends through the decade.

Native California Plants

How to Design a California Native Plant Garden

There are many reasons why California Central Coast residents need to consider native plants for their gardens. Not only are many extremely beautiful, but they generally require less care. This allows you to wow your neighbors without a lot of hard work. Native plants also are more resistant to pests, and they thrive in our conditions. They also usually require less fertilizer and fewer pesticides, so they are healthier for the environment. Keep these landscaping tips in mind when designing your California native plant garden.


Know Your Soil

It is essential to know your soil type before planting your native garden as it will determine which types of plants will thrive in your California garden landscaping. Ranging in elevation from 20 to 400 feet, soil in the Pajaro Valley tends to be sandy or clay loams that run extremely deep. If you live west of Watsonville, then you have clay soil, often called Clear Lake soil, that often drains very poorly. If you live in Watsonville, Pinto, or Elkhorn, then your soil may be slightly acidic. 

Those owning a home around Sunset Beach State Park and Aptos have a sandy soil that often contains gravel. This soil allows water to drain very effectively, so you need to consider plants that have low water requirements when choosing your landscaping plants. As you move closer to Cowell Redwood State Park, the soil becomes better drained and is ideal for growing a variety of native grasses. 

Once you reach Santa Cruz Mountain and the northwest slopes of Ben Lomond Mountain, then the soil becomes sandier, and it drains very well. The topsoil in this area may contain many needles, so you may need to remove the top two inches before planting your garden. 

If you own one of the beautiful coastal homes, then you can expect slightly acidic and relatively deep soil. One of the most challenging areas to grow a native garden in is the Maymen area because of the thin clay soil that drains very well. Therefore, you need to choose plants that have shallow roots and like semi-dry to dry conditions.


Understand Your Moisture Levels

Across Santa Cruz County, moisture levels vary depending on location. If you live in the Pajaro Valley, or around Watsonville, Elkhorn, or Pinto areas, you can typically expect to receive between 25 and 28 inches of rain annually. The area around Sunset Beach State Park, Aptos, and Cowell Redwood State Park gets about 29 inches of rain annually. As you reach Santa Cruz Mountain and the slopes of Ben Lomond Mountain, you find moisture increases to about 48 inches annually. In the Maymen area, annual rainfall increases to about 50 inches.


How Many Frost-free Days will my California Garden Landscape Get?

Different areas of Santa Cruz County have varying amounts of frost-free days, and the temperature can vary drastically across the county. Considering these factors is one of the landscaping tips that are often overlooked. 

If you live in the Pajaro Valley or the Watsonville, Elkhorn, Pinto areas, or around Sunset Beach State Park or Cowell Redwood State Park, expect a mean air temperature of about 58 degrees and a frost-free growing season of about 260 days. 

Once you reach elevations between 400 and 3,000 feet in the Santa Cruz and Ben Lomond Mountains, you can expect the average air temperature to drop to about 55 degrees, and the number of frost-free days to drop to about 232. The Maymen area gets about 260 frost-free days annually with an average air temperature of 56 degrees.


Landscaping Tips for Putting It All Together

Now that you have a better understanding of the soil, moisture levels, and frost-free days in the part of Santa Cruz County that you reside, it is time to put it all together to create a beautiful native plant garden. Follow these landscaping tips:


Landscaping Tip #1: Choose the Right Plants

While you should have a better understanding of the growing conditions in your location, think about your landscape. The chances are that some areas of your yard get more sun than others. Likewise, you may have areas that stay drier than in other areas. Choose plants that thrive in these locations.


Landscaping Tip #2: Prepare Your Soil

The first thing that you should do is prepare your yard for your garden. If you have a layer of needles, then these generally need to be removed. Be cautious, however, to not disturb the soil any more than is necessary because this encourages weed growth.


Landscaping Tip #3: Add Nutrients if Necessary

Some soil may have been moved into your landscaping, which may not encourage native plants to thrive. Therefore, you may need to remove this topsoil before planting. On the other hand, you may want to work with a soil company that can match the natural soil if you need to add topsoil to your landscaping.


Landscaping Tip #4: Prepare Beds Early

Those living in Santa Cruz County are lucky because we get beautiful weather days, even in the winter. Use these days to prepare your beds as early as possible. Native plants usually thrive in beds that have been prepared two to three months before they are planted.


Using native California plants is an excellent way to landscape. Consider your environment and get started choosing the right plants. Call a professional California landscaping company today to