So You Want An Eco-friendly Yard
A low-maintenance, eco-friendly yard sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want a beautiful lawn, gorgeous plants, and a shady paver patio to sit and soak it all in without worrying about the environmental impact?
Good news! If you live in the Walled Lake or in one of the surrounding communities, J&S Landscaping can help, you can have an eco-friendly yard and more. Whether you are a beginning gardener or you’ve been doing it for many years and are looking to change things up, this blog is for you.
We put together a list of tips and ideas that will put you on the path to having the yard or green space of your dreams. As we wrote it, we realized we had enough information for a series. So make sure and subscribe to our blogs if you haven’t already, you don’t miss out on part two, coming out in September. If you’re a business owner in search of commercial lawn care, August’s article will be for you!
Planning and Zoning (the fun kind)
Most of the time, when people state they don’t have a green thumb, it’s because they’ve suffered through a few plant losses and figure they just don’t have the knack. The truth is, just like keeping pets and raising kids, good plant care is really a matter of educating yourself, planning, and paying attention to what they need.
Flying by the seat of your pants can be fun sometimes, but it can also be expensive. If you’re like many people, you are inclined to buy plants and trees first and ask questions later. Then when you get home, you plant it in a likely looking spot, give it some water and walk away. OR you read the tag that tells you it needs shade or full sun and realize you don’t have enough of one or the other. So you’re stuck with either returning it or planting it anyway and hoping that it works out. Some plants and trees are tolerant of less than perfect conditions. Others get sick and die. You don’t want that and we don’t want it for you either. So let’s talk about how to prevent this.
The first thing you’re going to do is grab some paper and a pencil (with an eraser) Or open up a document on your PC, phone, etc. Scribble down or type up a list of the plants you think you’d like to plant. Then do some homework.
- If you have children and/or pets, where you plant and what you plant matters. There are a number of beautiful plants that are toxic to pets (like lilies, for instance), but even more that aren’t. And if you have children, you might consider raised beds built from attractive pavers to prevent small people from running through your flower beds and damaging your beloved plants. Besides being a landscaping service, J&S Landscaping builds beautiful retaining walls, raised beds, and outdoor living spaces. Contact us when you’re ready for a quote.
- Know your pests! The best policy for having an eco-friendly yard is to avoid plants you can’t grow in your area without resorting to pesticides. There are lots of organic solutions available in today’s market. But not all of them work for all pests.
- Educate yourself about organic solutions to common gardening problems, especially related to the plants you’re considering. This is an important aspect of having an eco-friendly yard. And be aware that some solutions at your gardening center will advertise themselves as being environmentally friendly, but in reality, aren’t.
- Look up the light, soil, and watering needs (also make sure they will grow in your gardening zone). Check their hardiness. Some plants and trees take more abuse than others. Try to choose those that fit your lifestyle.
- If the plants you think you want will not work—for whatever reason—don’t get discouraged! Sometimes you can find a variety of the same plant that will. Or you’ll find another plant entirely that will grow beautifully in your yard, create the look you want, and be safe for children and/or pets.
Wait! Don’t run off to the gardening center just yet. Grab another sheet of paper. Head outside and draw a primitive map of your yard (this does not have to be pretty and the only one it has to make sense to is you).
- Next, you’re going to establish how much light hits your yard, when it starts, how long it lasts, and when it ends. Most yards have different “zones.” Sections that are in full shade (in the shade all the time) and other sections that get at least some sun (in shade a portion of the time) or are in full sun (sunny all the time). Or perhaps you have a yard that is in full shade nearly all the time. You’re going to go outside several times throughout the day (or different times on different days), and note when and where the sun hits. This will be important when you go to the gardening center. The tags they put on those plants that tell you what they need? That’s not a marketing ploy. It’s important information.
- You will also need to take a look at the geography of your yard. You may have sections where water accumulates when it rains and sections that seem to remain high and dry no matter how much rain you get. Maybe your entire yard is on a slope and at the bottom of that slope it’s often soggy and wet. Or only part of it. Make note of the places that stay damp and those that don’t.
- Study the current health of your yard. Are there yellowing or bare spots in your lawn? Do you know why? What—if any—trees do you have? What condition are they in? You don’t want to add a young tree to a yard if there are diseased older trees. They either need to be treated or removed. And the same goes for unhealthy plants. Perhaps you have roses that have black spots on the leaves. Or bulbs that come up, but don’t bloom (probably just crowded).
- Knowing your soil type will save you a lot of trouble. Sandy, loamy, or heavy soils each provide different benefits and challenges. This will help you choose plants and trees that flourish where you plant them. You may need to amend your soil and it’s important to know what you need to add. If you don’t know, you can ask your local extension office for a soil test.
- Are you considering putting in a water feature? Do you have an outdoor living area like a paver patio? If you do, you’ll need to consider how how foot traffic will affect where you place any gardens. If you don’t have a paver patio, do you plan to add it soon? What about paver pathways? If so, then where do you want to put them? You don’t want to plant something, only to have to dig it up in a few months. If you are thinking about adding one of these features and you live in our area, give J&S Landscaping and see what we can do for you! Not to toot our own horns (okay, we’re tooting—but we have reason to!) Our hardscaping crews are the best and we build some of the most beautiful outdoor living areas in Michigan. And we understand the importance of planning. We are also extremely aware of the importance of having the kind of yard you want—and that includes an eco-friendly yard.
Need More Help?
Need more help planning ? Or maybe you’ve decided it will be easier to let someone else do the planning? Call J&S Landscaping! Our landscaping architects are ready to help. We are a full-service lawn care and outdoor living space company. We can do as much or as little as you need, whether it’s adding or updating your paver patio, adding a fire pit, or a paver pathway, we’ve got you covered.
Our staff can provide any combination of services for you: help you plan it and choose the right plants; provide lawn care so you can focus on just the aspects of gardening that you enjoy; build your outdoor living spaces, paver paths, or water features, and even power wash your home. We let you concentrate on what’s important to you!
We hope you’ve found some useful tips in this article! J&S Landscaping is here for you! We stand behind the quality of any plants, shrubs, or trees we plant on your property by providing a one-year guarantee for replacement if needed. And we are proud members of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association and abide by their standards.
J&S Landscaping is proud to serve as the premier landscaping company for the people of Wall Lake, Commerce Township, and surrounding areas. With our highly experienced, bonded and insured professional crews, and top-of-the-line equipment, we can meet all your landscaping and exterior maintenance needs.
All of our installation crews have completed training and testing by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute. We are certified to install paver patios & walkways, brick paver driveways, retaining wall blocks, and more. J&S Landscaping is an authorized contractor for Belgard and we’re so confident of our work that we certify it for two years.
J&S Landscaping is a member of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. We provide a one-year guarantee for any plants, shrubs, or trees we place on your property.
Call today to learn more about what our company can do for you!
If you’d like more information about our landscaping services or are thinking about adding an outdoor living space, paver pathways, or water feature to your yard, give J&S a call so we can come out and show you what we can do for you!