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SEASONS GARDEN DESIGN LLC
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GARDEN RENOVATION ADVICE

There are always tasks to be done to renovate a garden - beginning from clearing out the space entirely to moving sprinkler heads or changing the irrigation type, painting fences, fixing arbors, changing or adding lighting, fixing or adding new furnishings, inserting or repairing a water feature, or just moving plants around. You get the idea. No matter what, you will be as busy as the bee in the above photo. This advice page is to help you make it easier. I'm starting this page with what to do about existing plants. They will either stay, be removed, or be relocated. If they stay - no worries. Maybe it's just a little tidying and pruning. If they are removed - not to worry. They go into a compost pile. But if they have to be relocated, I have plenty to say about that.

I plan to add advice as I have time and as DIY clients have common issues that need resolution. Stay tuned. Also, there is a terrific blog that I follow that offers a plethora of practical, organic gardening advice. Check it out:
A-Way-To-Garden_Organic gardening and landscaping how-to from Margaret Roach

PLANT REMOVAL OR RELOCATION

NOVEMBER MOVES: Most plants prefer to be relocated in the misty, cool days of November. This includes grasses, perennials (with exceptions noted below), woody shrubs, evergreen shrubs and trees (typically less than 4" caliper).

EARLY SPRING MOVES: Plants that need to wait until after the worst of winter is a memory, are usually woody perennials (like lavender, sage, etc.) and plants that are borderline hardy (like Grevilleas & Callistemon, etc.)

AND THEN THERE ARE THE TIMES WHEN YOU MUST MOVE PLANTS DURING THE SUMMER: To do that, dig the plant – with as much of their roots as is humanly possible and put them into a container that fits those roots or is slightly larger. Do this in the evening, after the temperatures begin to go down. Never, EVER, do it on a really hot day. Fill the pot with good organic potting soil to cover the roots. Water thoroughly and SOAK the pot in a kiddy pool overnight. Move the pot into the shade for at least the next 3-4 weeks to let the plant get adapted to the pot. Water it faithfully, Every. Single. Day!! When you can see a little bit of new growth beginning to happen, the plant has adapted and can be planted into the ground – with plenty of water for the remainder of the summer. Don’t drown it, but make sure the soil stays moist! And cross your fingers.

LAWN
RENOVATION

POOR DRAINAGE: If your lawn has puddles during the winter or even after irrigating, then it is likely due to a soil issue. First, determine where the water is coming from and whether it needs to be diverted. If it is coming from your neighbor's property, offer to help alleviate the situation if you can. If that isn't practical, then you will need to decide other methods. Drainage is a tricky issue and it's best to keep stormwater on your property rather than sending it to the curb. Do the elevations of your property make it practical to move the water to another location on the property? If so, one method is to disperse it to a rain garden. But increasingly, a better method is to improve the drainage overall. Frequently the issue for lawns is soil compaction which doesn't provide good drainage. Soil compaction often occurs when the soil microbiota have been killed or reduced so they can't do their proper job: microscopically rototilling your soil. This is usually the result of using synthetic, chemical weed-killers and fertilizers (NPK # is greater than 20). One of the best ways to solve both drainage and soil tilth is to add 2" of organic compost (with mycorrhizae) to the lawn after you have mowed it very short. Then add 1-2" of either quarter-ten gravel or a product from Turface Athletics. I prefer the natural conditioner that is about the same size as the quarter-ten gravel. It is a bagged product that will help level out the lawn, absorb extra moisture, and then release it when the soil is dry.This not only improves drainage but makes it easier to walk on the lawn during our wet winters. Grass will grow right up through this. If this doesn't help, you are possibly in a traditionally soggy wetland area. Then you may need to modify elevations to create a wetland bog into which your property drains and plant it accordingly.

REDUCE IRRIGATION: The best way to reduce lawn irrigation is to change the type of grass, Replace your existing lawn with a drought-tolerant grass that is suitable for your growing area.

REDUCE MOWING/FERTILIZATION/WEEDING: To reduce mowing, change the type of grass to a low-mow, short grass suitable for your growing area. If you don't want to mow at all, consider a more natural look (like what we did in our garden - see our blue meadow). Native grasses or sedges or non-natives that act like natives require little fertilization, if any. If you plant plugs (2" x 2" x 5" size plants) closely, this will cover the area faster and reduce the amount of weeding required. Over time, weeds can still be a problem, but if you are willing to accept some and keep a weeding tool handy for the others to keep up on a regular basis, then you stand the best chance of a decent lawn. Perfection is truly not required. Accepting a more naturalized look is better for everyone - you AND Mother Nature.

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REVISED: 2APR2019