Many people are low on time, money, and water these days, but that shouldn’t prevent them from having gorgeous landscaping. The upkeep a regular grass lawn requires can be exhausting, but there are alternate groundcovers that can make your landscape look manicured, beautiful, and interesting – all with little to no maintenance.
The Impact of a “Green” Turf Lawn
Having a green, healthy lawn is a source of pride for many homeowners. However, considering the pesticides, herbicides, and gallons of water that go into keeping the green grass green, it isn’t very green. In the United States, landscape irrigation consumes nearly 9 billion gallons of water per day. Inefficient systems that dump water onto the curb or street waste as much as half of this water.
Herbicides and pesticides aren’t healthy for the environment, and neither are the emissions a gas-powered lawnmower gives off. Choosing an alternate type of groundcover not only saves you time and money but also helps your home be more eco-friendly. If more people opted away from typical turf lawns, it would help America regain control over the current water crisis.
Many groundcovers and innovative grasses require little to no watering or mowing, keeping the Earth a little greener. Reduce your reliance on expensive irrigation systems, leave the pesticides behind, and enjoy an impressive lawn without the need for grass. Some of the most beautiful landscapes opt for no grass at all – instead using colorful flowers, creeping perennials, or patchwork techniques to cover the ground.
Finding the right groundcover for your home’s landscaping requires knowing all your options and choosing the one that best fits your yard’s aesthetic. Groundcover can be drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, sun-and-shade friendly, durable under foot traffic, and work as a barrier. The goals you want your landscaping to meet will help you decide which groundcover plant is best for you.
Spreading and Creeping Groundcovers
Most popular groundcovers are of the spreading or creeping variety, covering large areas of landscape quickly and easily. Many groundcovers can creep up fences, creating barriers between you and your neighbors. Others are ideal for filling in gaps in a walkway or in places where grass won’t grow. English ivy gives your home a rustic, lush look with bountiful green leaves. This popular vine is ideal for shady areas and can cover walls or fences.
Vinca is a coarser option that prefers partial sun. It spreads quickly, has blue flowers in late spring, and is relatively drought-tolerant. Ground-hugging creepers like creeping raspberry are tough and can survive foot traffic. Golden creeping Jenny is a beautiful alternative to green groundcover, but thrives best in moist environments. Blue star creeper can grow in full sun or partial shade, is tough and easy to grow, and has tiny, delicate, sky-blue flowers.
Many groundcover plants need minimal watering and can withstand periods of draught or high sun – while retaining their vibrant colors. Grass lawns turn brown if they aren’t the right temperature or don’t get enough water, but many alternatives to grass can stay green without the need for an irrigation system.
There are drought-tolerant groundcovers for sun, shade, or both. Creeping varieties of thyme can withstand full sun or shade, well-drained soil, and moderate foot traffic. Thyme is aromatic, and it can cover the ground with tiny, fragrant leaves and flowers. Some forms of creeping thyme grow less than three inches high, resembling a lush moss that’s perfect in between stone walkways or in rock gardens. Other forms are taller and resemble green or silver carpets.
For dry, shady areas, there are many groundcovers that have flowers, such as creeping myrtle, creeping mahonia, and sweet woodruff. For sunny areas, drought-tolerant groundcovers include rockrose, snow in summer, moss phlox, and winecups. They all have colorful blooms that appear throughout the year.
A main reason homeowners choose groundcover plants instead of typical turf lawns is to enjoy year-round color without having to use complicated and expensive irrigation systems. Most groundcover plants are evergreen, including brass buttons, Mondo grass, lamb’s ears, variegated liriope, and Asian jasmine. Brass buttons come in shades of bronze, purple, gray, and black. They have yellow-green blooms in spring and summer and maintain a feathery, textured look year-round.
If you’re looking to add a bit of color to your lawn, one landscaping technique is to build a manmade incline and cover it in florals. Floral groundcover comes in almost any shade you can imagine. Low-growing flowers are popular for homeowners who want to add variety to green landscaping without the extra maintenance.
Verbena “homestead purple” is a vibrant purple shade that blooms from spring to frost. It can cover a bank and is heat- and drought-tolerant. Pink Chablis is great in mixed sun and shade, with elegant pink blooms and lots of greenery. For groundcover that draws attention, opt for shrubs such as Japanese Picta, a groundcover plant full of bright yellow blooms during multiple seasons. This plant also gives your lawn a bit of height, with branches that reach the ground. Colorful groundcover roses are a classic, beautiful choice for a spring garden.
If you can’t decide on just one groundcover plant, a patchwork-style design is the perfect compromise. This landscaping technique uses different types of groundcover in geometric blocks to achieve a look similar to fields from up in the air. Groundcover patchwork uses silver, gold, and shades of green groundcover, divided by boxwood hedges. Patchwork doesn’t require extensive watering or upkeep, and it looks stunning and unique.
Whether you want your landscape to be reminiscent of an English garden or a lush, green getaway, groundcover plants are a viable, Earth-friendly, and low-maintenance solution. Spend your summer enjoying your gorgeous landscaping instead of pulling weeds and struggling to keep grass alive. As more and more homeowners turn away from typical turf lawns, groundcover is quickly becoming the new grass.
Precision Landscape Management’s Turf Care service program provides superior weed control throughout the year. To keep weeds at bay, we use a mix of pre- & post-emergent weed control throughout the year. Your lawn can be green and weed-free with Precision Landscape Management’s 7 round treatment plan. However, a good tree surgeon can help speed up the process.
In addition to our standard Turf Care, we offer disease/insect control treatments for both turf & plants.
It would be nice if plants received all the nutritional benefits they needed from the soil beneath them but this is seldom the case. Accordingly, most all plants can benefit from fertilizer as it enables them to reach their full potential in health, beauty, and bounty. Proper fertilization is not an art; it’s a science. There’s a lot to understand to fertilize correctly.
Fertilizer Basics: Understanding the Numbers
All fertilizers are labeled with a guaranteed analysis. Three numbers are prominently displayed on the bag. The first is the percentage of nitrogen by weight; the second is the percentage of phosphate and the third is the percentage of potassium. The only way to absolutely know what your soil needs is to have it tested to determine the level of these nutrients in the soil of your lawn. Most soils are generally rich in phosphate and so the second number on the bag should be lower than the other two, usually 0% to 3% (having said that, you may indeed have a phosphate deficient lawn that needs a lot more). As a general rule, the first number should be 1.5 to 3 times the third number. So you may be looking for analysis such as 20-0-11 or a 29-3-12. You should avoid products like 13-13-13 or even the most common recommendation of 16-4 8 unless you have soil test results that recommend that much phosphate. In some states, it is illegal to apply phosphate fertilizer without a soil test recommendation, so in these cases, the middle number should be 0. Confused yet? While this information is helpful, it also likely reinforces the importance of “getting it right” as your landscape relies heavily on the foundation of soil health.
The Complexities of Nitrogen
Take a close look at the ingredients statement on a bag of fertilizer. It lists the sources of nitrogen nutrients the product contains. Words like nitrate, ammonium, and urea indicate rapidly available nutrients that will create quick greening and growth. Sources such as sulfur or polymer-coated urea, methylene urea, urea-formaldehyde, and organics are slow-release sources that last longer and green more slowly but are less likely to damage grass if over-applied. The ingredient statement will also list the percentage of nitrogen that is slow release and the percentage that is rapidly available. If you are not experienced applying fertilizer you should purchase a product with 30% or more of the nitrogen in slow-release forms, since you are less likely to burn your lawn if you make a mistake. Experienced professionals have a wider variety of options available to them as they are trained in the best product application for the job at hand.
We are proud to announce that we have been voted Athens Best Landscaping company for the second year in a row! Thank you to all of our loyal customers and supporters. We are excited to continue our exceptional level of service in 2015.
Spring is right round the corner and that means it’s time to start planning your landscaping projects for the year. Our seasoned landscape design professionals would love the opportunity to help you plan and design a landscape that you can enjoy for years to come. We work hand in hand with all of our customers to insure that their landscape vision receives the appropriate professional advice and is turned into a final product they just can’t take their eyes off. Call us today for a free consultation 706-354-5807.
As January approaches here are some steps for keeping track of your landscaping inventory to ensure a healthy green lawn for the Spring and through the Summer:
Round 1 January-February
Our first application of the season includes both pre-emergent weed controls and post-emergent weed controls to aid in the prevention of broadleaf weeds and annual crabgrass. We also apply high potassium fertilizer for root development. Grassy weed controls are applied as needed.
Round 2 February-March
Our application of high nitrogen fertilizer will help ensure a quicker green up. A second treatment of pre-emergent and post-emergent weed controls will be applied on this application.
Round 3 April-May
With the onset of warmer temperatures, we will apply a granular slow-release fertilizer to enhance the color of your lawn. Grassy and broadleaf weed controls are applied as needed. This is a good time to core-aerate your lawn, landscape design services are a must if you want a nice landscape.
Round 4 May-June
To help all warm-season lawns maintain color and growth, we apply another granular slow-release fertilizer. Grassy and broadleaf weed controls are applied as needed. Proper mowing and watering are the keys to good landscape maintenance and a green, healthy lawn during this time of the season. This is why we always recommend keeping an eye on any sprinkler system repair needs you may have, you need to make sure your water sprinkler is properly working so that there is always a uniform distribution of water in your lawn. You can also get a lawn aerator rental for your mowing work and begin the process of improving your lawn.
Round 5 July-August
Heading into the end of summer, we apply another granular slow-release fertilizer mixed to maintain the color and feed the roots of your turf. Grassy and broadleaf weed controls are applied as needed.
Round 6 September-October
This application consists of both pre-emergent and post-emergent weed controls to aid in the prevention of annual winter weeds. We also apply high potassium fertilizer designed to strengthen root systems. This treatment is also designed to help minimize the possibility of winter damage.
Round 7 November-December
Our last application of the year is palletized limestone. This treatment will condition the soil and help balance the pH level so that your turf can use our fertilizers more efficiently. Grassy and broadleaf weed controls are applied as needed, and that is why it’s advisable to hire a good lawn mower professional.
This design build for the Ryan’s in 5 points included:
– Grading front and back of property.
– Pouring a new driveway and parking pad.
– Font and back yard irrigation systems
– Sod installation
“Top notch quality at a reasonable price! Chad, Zack and their crew completed everything efficiently, professionally and with the attention to detail that every homeowner in need of landscaping would want. There is no question that the value they added to our home was well worth it. We were very pleased and would recommend them to anyone.”
– David and Katie Ryan
Stone paver walkways are the most common because they are a great way to beautify your landscape. They are perfect for accentuating entrances and other priority areas. Paver walkways work great in gardens or other backyard planting areas. Here are the steps we take to install top of the line paver walkways that last:
1. First, we work with you to lay out the walkway and determine the dimensions.
2. Next, we prep the site for installation.
3. The third step is to install the base layer which usually consists of gravel and sand which you can purchase from a gravel supplier.
4. After that we install the stone. Make sure to mark the steps. We don’t want anyone to fall on an unmarked step.
5. The second to last step is securing or binding the stones in place.
6. Finally we clean the work area so you can begin enjoying your new walkway.
Fall is here and the leaves are beginning to drop. Here are some reasons why fallen leaves should be removed from your landscape
– Removing fallen leaves will give your landscape a neat uncluttered appearance.
– Accumulation of dead leaves can suffocate/damage your turf.
– Dry leaves can be a fire hazard.
– Leaves of certain trees can increase acidity in the soil and be damaging to plants.
– Fallen leaves can be ground up with mowers and used as healthy organic matter for your turf and plants.
PLM includes leaf removal in all our yearly maintenance contracts. Call us for a free estimate 706-354-5807!
EXPANDING NIGHTTIME LIVING SPACE
When it comes to lighting outdoor spaces, most tend to think of simply illuminating the exterior of a structure or property. One of the most underestimated aspects of landscape lighting is that it can actually extend living space physically as well as visually. However, before one takes up the decision of lighting up their house, it’s advisable to carry out a technical survey.
When light is brought to a dark back or front yard, it visually pushes the boundaries of a house. The more elements that are lit, the more people will push the edges of where a person will tend to gravitate to beyond the interior of a house.
Pushing this boundary creates a visually striking look for the outside of the house, especially when the interior lights are turned off. You can also add Spiral Piers and put lighting on it for your outdoors to look even better.
Another practice for expanding nighttime living space is boundary lighting. Many people have a fence or shrub line that represents the end of their property line. This section can be illuminated with wall wash fixtures and lighting that can be overlapped to create a continuous wall of light that will subtly show the edges of a yard. You can use bollard lights for they are one of the most attractive lighting options available to homes for landscape lighting.
PLAN FOR THE OUTSIDE AS WELL AS THE INSIDE
In the process of designing a new residential or commercial lighting plan, remember to include what will happen on the inside of the house or building, especially in the main areas that look outward.
If the living or dining room is in the back of the house, shifting the balance of the entire lighting plan to better represent the most trafficked area may be a desire of the homeowner.
Opposite to this, if the bedroom is in a particular area that has a lot of windows, the design may require extra care not to put too much light into that area.
Discussing the specific needs and desires during the planning phase with the client will give great direction to the specific topic of indoor viewing. Ask about safety, utility, and what areas, plants or even stones are the favorite of the client. You can also add a retaining wall to make landscape lighting more attractive.
It is very important to properly winterize your irrigation system. Winterization is a relatively easy and quick process. Here are four simple steps in this process:
1. Turn off the water to the irrigation system at the main valve.
2. Set the automatic irrigation controller to the “rain” setting.
3. Turn on each of the valves to release pressure in the pipes.
4. Drain all of the water out of any irrigation components that might freeze.
If you have any questions about this process please feel free to call PLM, we are always happy to help!
hardscaping is a great way to create functional and beautiful outdoor living areas. Our clients enjoy outdoor patio areas, grilling areas, firepits, walkways and entertaining areas. Hardscaping is an investment that shows great return in the value of your home and can be enjoyed worry-free for years to come.
Custom stonework and masonry from Precision Landscape Management adds natural beauty to your landscape and outdoor living settings. We offer a wide variety of natural stone selections and brick pavers, giving your landscape a breathtakingly original edge.
If you enjoy the outdoors and want a beautiful place to enjoy and entertain guests at your home, check out our Hardscaping page for more info.
Using a seasonal color plan will dramatically enhance your landscape. Traditionally more commercial properties use seasonal colors, but more and more residential homes are seeing the benefits of adding color to their landscapes.
Seasonal color plans give you great flexibility to add colors and styles. You can use existing flower beds, pots, or other designated areas. We have a huge array of flowers and colors to choose from. For more information and to view the colors available, be sure to visit or Seasonal Color Plans page.