While fall may be a time when much of your yard and landscaping turn brown and dormant, we also know that fall is a time that brings out brilliant colors. Let’s discuss some ways to utilize these beautiful fall plants in a landscape design tailored for the autumn season.
Mums The Word
You can’t go to a pumpkin patch or farmer’s market in the fall without tripping over a planter of mums. While they are a beautiful and classic flower that comes in a wide range of colors, there are plenty of other fall plants to choose from that can help add color and beauty to your yard in the fall!
Do Some Planting
Many people aren’t thinking of long term landscaping ideas because of the cold weather that’s just around the corner. Early fall, before the ground freezes, is an excellent time to plant new trees and shrubs. Cooler weather and the rain that often comes during this time of year means these young plants undergo less stress than the hot and dry weather of summer. Plus, many nurseries are actively trying to empty their shelves, so you may be able to find great plants at a dramatic discount.
Bring Out The Decoration
Fall is the beginning of the seasons when many people add decorations to their front steps or door. Pumpkins and mums are a traditional fall decorating trend that can take you through Halloween all the way to Thanksgiving, eliminating the need to swap out your decorations after just a few weeks. To put a modern, and somewhat glamorous, take on it you can go with a more monochromatic look with white and gold decorations instead of the typical fall colors. Gourds of varying sizes and colors or a basket of apples are more along the lines of the traditional decorations, but provide a way to step outside of the expected fall decorations.
Adorn Your Flower Beds
If you have flower beds that have flowers that are no longer blooming you can add pumpkins or gourds to the flower beds to add color without having to go to the trouble of planting new plants or completely changing your landscape plan for that bed. Cornhusks or stalks and hay bales are also a great way to add texture to either flowerbeds or your entryway. Flower garden ideas do not always have to include flowers!
Think Beside The Box
If you have a mailbox at the edge of your yard you can utilize that space to add some fall decorations or fall plants. Your mailbox is likely visible from the street and some mums, pumpkins, or corn stalks can give it a festive look for the season.
If you have a small space rather than an expansive yard to decorate, or you are looking to add some plants and color to a smaller area a planter is a great way to do that. Garden planter ideas include not only the fall flowers to plant, but also what you are going to plant them in. You can utilize more rustic items, such as a galvanized bucket, rusty pail, or a wooden planter.
Rake Those Leaves
It may be tempting to ignore the leaves that have fallen from the trees; autumn is all about falling leaves, right? Leaves that have fallen can trap moisture on not only your lawn, but also on your driveway and sidewalks, making for a potentially slick situation. Leaves that are left on your grass and trapped under snow can cause harm to your lawn by promoting mold growth. When spring arrives and the snow melts, you will be especially thankful to not be dealing with wet and moldy leaves that have been sitting on your lawn for months. If you do want to utilize those fallen leaves you can make a couple passes over them with a lawn mower. Once they are cut into small pieces they can be utilized as organic mulch that your flowers will love!
If you are making some fall landscape plans that fall outside of what you can handle yourself call Second Nature and we will help bring your vision to life, call us today!
There is nothing better than enjoying ice cold lemonade on your back patio and taking in your beautiful flowers on a hot summer day. Keep your plants happy and make sure they have some relief from the heat with these six tips on how to maintain a garden in summer.
Mulch is a great option when you want garden sun protection for several reasons. Not only will it insulate the root systems in your plants in hot weather, but it will retain water and keep the ground damp for a longer period of time. This will help stretch your daily watering and keep your plants from overheating. Usually, you want at least a 4-6” layer of mulch and there are plenty of free and natural mulch options available. These include dry grass clippings, seaweed, alfalfa, and even newspaper.
We all know water evaporates in high heat. Therefore you should avoid watering your plants in hot weather. Instead, it is best to aim for early in the morning or in the early evening to ensure the water actually reaches the root systems. If you don’t enjoy the idea of waking up early just to water your plants, set your sprinkler or irrigation system on a timer and schedule it to turn on when it is still dark outside. This way your plants can reap the benefits of an early watering and you can stay in the comfort of your own bed. Avoid over-watering your plants as too much water can cause root rot and other plant diseases. If you are worried about the heat killing your plants, always check the soil before giving your plants an extra dose of water on exceptionally hot days.
Every plant is different and needs different amounts of sun exposure. Some plants like lavender and coneflower love direct sunlight while others will thrive when they have a break from the Sun. Always make sure you are familiar with each plant’s desired sun and shade levels and arrange your landscaping and garden accordingly. Creating shade covers for plants is a great way to provide a better environment for them.
Shade cloth is a manufactured material that is resilient and resists rot and mildew. If you choose to use a shade cloth, make sure your plants have plenty of room to allow proper airflow so they can still breath. This keeps them from suffocating, lets them continue growing and allows space for pollinators like bees and butterflies to move around. Also if you use a shade cloth too close to your plants, you will trap the heat under the cloth, defeating its intended purpose.
If you would rather provide shade structure for plants by working it into your landscaping design, manufactured shade can be achieved with a trellis or other plant shelters. These allow for partial sun and plenty of airflow. You can even choose a temporary plant shade umbrella to help during the hottest months of the year.
If you are planting annuals or a vegetable garden, a great precaution is to plant them deeper in the soil than you normally would. When you plant your seeds an extra inch or two deeper, the root system has a greater chance of thriving and not getting dried out when direct heat would normally dehydrate the topsoil.
An easy way to avoid having your plants get overheated in the summer is to choose plants that are hearty enough to withstand the heat. There are several vegetable plants that love heat including peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. Supplement your garden with hearty herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, and lemongrass and you will be well on your way to a summer filled with delicious meals.
If you are more interested in flowering plants that can withstand the warmest temperatures of the year, consider these annuals as heat-loving options that will add an aesthetic flair to your garden and landscape design.
There are plenty of perennials that love the heat as well. Just be sure you lay down mulch to protect these recurring plants during the winter’s colder months. Here is a list of a few full Sun, heat loving perennials.
Transplanting young plants into your garden is a difficult task, especially during the heat of the summer. A great way to ensure your new plants have plenty of shade and access to healthy soil is to plant them near some of your established plants that share the same sun/shade preferences. Your existing plant can act as a shade cover for plants to your burgeoning beauties, keeping them from overheating. Remember your new plants still need some sunshine to maintain their growth, so avoid planting them near an established plant that will provide complete shade.
If you feel overwhelmed when trying to DIY shade for plants in your landscape design, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The professional team at Second Nature Outdoor Living & Landscaping offers exceptional landscape maintenance services. We can help you with everything from mulching and seasonal planting, to finding a landscape design that will ensure your plants and garden get enough shade to beat the heat this summer. To learn more about our landscape maintenance and design services, contact us at 816-844-7733.
Today we have some awesome backyard landscaping pictures to share with you! We want to highlight a recent landscape design we completed for Scott and Lisa. They have a beautiful home that was not being showcased due to the overgrown beds in the front of the house. They also were not fully utilizing the beautiful setting they had in their backyard with a wonderful lake just a few steps out their back door. They had a number of landscaping ideas, but were unsure of how to execute them, which led them to Second Nature, one of your premier local landscaping companies in the Lee’s Summit area. Our team of designers worked with them to create a custom landscaping plan with one of the best backyard desks we have seen in a while!
Before, the front of the house had visually been taken over by the out of control bed.
After, the bed will complement, not compete, with the house. We also added a new retaining wall.
Before, the back deck area was overgrown and almost unusable. It was a dark and uninviting area that was mostly used for storage.
After, we implemented some of our best deck design ideas to create an amazing space for Scott and Lisa to relax, enjoy their hot tub, or entertain friends! With their outdoor living area they now have an outdoor kitchen, seating area, and fireplace. With the area around the patio and deck cleared out, they now can enjoy the serenity of the lake while they are relaxing outside.
Before, the back of the house was completely obscured by the overgrowth surrounding the deck.
Now you can see the house, the deck, their amazing outdoor living area, and the expanded deck we built, which were all key components of the backyard landscape design we created for Scott and Lisa.
Before, the beds along the house were overgrown and undefined.
After, now Scott and Lisa have beautiful beds along their home along with a new and defined walkway that gives them easy access to the backyard!
Here are some additional photos of the final result of Scott and Lisa’s deck landscaping project.
If you are ready to make some changes to your home’s landscaping call us at Second Nature, your local landscapers in Lee’s Summit, MO! We would love to discuss all your backyard ideas and help you create deck landscaping or landscape design ideas and plans!
The entryway of your home plays a key part its overall design. Most of the time the entryway is visible from the street, so enhancing your entryway will also enhance and improve your overall curb appeal. An appealing entryway is also a great way to welcome guests into your home. Looking for some easy ways to update your front yard landscape design entryway? Keep reading..
Garden Ideas For Your Entryway
When you’re considering landscaping ideas for your front garden beds make sure you are planning to use plants that are appropriate for the soil type, light conditions, and climate. Even if a plant has the exact design element to complete your landscape plan it will not work if it requires full sun and your entryway is shaded for the majority of the day. If the plants are not in their ideal conditions they will not thrive, which means they won’t look their best! It is also a good idea to consider plants that match your lifestyle. If you have a busy lifestyle and find it hard to devote time to upkeep you may want to look for plants that are low maintenance.
Match The Design Elements
When considering your front yard landscape design you want to make sure that the design elements of the front garden design match that of the design of your home. If you house is modern with clean lines you may not want to fill your garden beds with romantic wildflowers. You also need to ensure that the plants within the beds complement each other and share design aspects.
Accent Your Front Door
Painting your door a unique color that complements the design of your house is a great way to enhance the look of your entryway. Flanking the doorway with flowered plants and planters that coordinate with this color is a great way to update the entry of your home and enhance your front yard landscape design.
Add An Arbor Or Trellis
Adding an arbor or trellis is a landscaping idea that can complement your entryway to invite your guests to your home. An arbor or a trellis is a great way to add a vertical component to your front yard landscape design. A trellis covered with vines can add interest to a boring wall provide the perfect space to display hanging plants.
If you have an area near your entry that isn’t well suited for plants or grass you can easily turn that into a small patio. With the patio you can add landscaping ideas such as a potted plants, a small seating area, or other decorative touches.
If you are looking for further direction on how to cultivate a more inviting and welcoming entryway please contact our design experts at Second Nature!
Summer is the time for your yard to shine, but it is also a season that can be tough on your lawn and can leave it looking less than ideal. Follow these summer lawn care tips and you’ll have a lawn that will be the envy of all your neighbors!
Are you mowing your lawn correctly?
Mowing the lawn seems like a pretty simple endeavor and the most basic item of summer lawn care, but there is much more involved to it than simply cutting your grass.
You need to make sure your equipment is ready for the task. You need to have a sharp mower blade. When the blade gets dull instead of cutting the grass it tears the grass. This can result in grass that is ragged with brown edges, which not only looks bad, but also provides an opening for disease organisms. A good rule of thumb to help determine how often to sharpen your blade is to do it after 10 hours of mowing time. It can be helpful to have a second mower blade on hand so that you can always have a sharp blade ready to go.
It’s best to leave your grass a bit longer throughout the hottest part of the year. Ideal grass height is dependent on the type of grass you have. Taller grass helps combat evaporation, which means you have to water less and it can also help to prevent weed seeds from germinating in your yard. You should mow your yard often enough that you are never removing more than one-third of the leaf surface at a time.
The yard care professionals at Second Nature would love to handle all of your lawn care needs, leaving you time to fully enjoy your summer and all of the fun activities that come along with the warm weather. Call us today for a price quote on an individualized lawn care package tailored specifically for your needs.
Are you treating your lawn appropriately?
There are a number of chemical treatments that can be applied to your lawn as a part of summer lawn care. You want to make sure you are applying them at the right time to maximize effectiveness.
The best time to apply fertilizer depends on the type of grass your lawn is composed of. Warm-season turf grows heavily during the summer and needs the nutrients from fertilizer. Cool-season lawns need fertilizer applied during the cooler weather of either the spring or the fall.
Applying weed control in the late summer/early fall you can help control any existing weeds and help prevent new weeds. But, if you plan to seed or overseed you should not apply pre-emergent herbicide in the fall.
Japanese beetles, June bugs, and European chafers lay their eggs in the grass in early to mid-summer. Those eggs hatch into grubs in mid-to-late summer. To help you determine the best time to apply grub control you can contact your local Cooperative Extension office.
We understand there are a lot of specific rules for chemical lawn care applications; you can let the summer lawn care experts at Second Nature handle all your chemical applications. Call us today to get a price quote.
Are you watering properly?
Watering your lawn deeply and infrequently leads to the healthiest lawns. Your local water authority can recommend an irrigation schedule or you can contact Second Nature, we can assist you with all your summer lawn care needs, including a watering schedule.
Are you picking up after your dog?
Your dog’s urine, or other waste products, can cause dead spots within your lawn if not disposed of properly. If your grass is dying because of your pet’s urination you should flush the area with water to dilute the urine. Solid waste should be picked up frequently and disposed of properly. The ideal solution to prevent your pet from having an adverse effect on your lawn you should train your pet to use a mulch or pebbled area for their bathroom breaks.
Don’t Bag Your Lawn Clippings
If you are cutting your lawn frequently enough you will be able to leave your grass clippings on your lawn. This practice is known as grasscycling and is helps to save you time. It also is beneficial because the grass clippings can act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
Stay Off The Lawn
Driving or parking on your lawn is never a good idea as it leads to soil compaction which can further lead to dead grass, among a number of other problems. During times of drought or excessive heat it can also be wise to limit even foot traffic on your grass, which could lead to damaged turf crowns.
While summer lawn care seems like a basic skill it can involve a lot of different aspects of lawn care. Second Nature can take care of all aspects of summer lawn care for you. Beat the heat this summer and have Second Nature handle your summer lawn care for you!
Call us today to discuss your lawn care needs and get a price quote.
Everybody has a different idea of what they want in a backyard. As you begin to plan and design your backyard think about what your perfect yard would look like in order for you to truly enjoy spending time in your backyard. It is a good idea to start with the overall design you are striving to achieve and then move to the smaller details that will really make your backyard design stand out.
If entertaining is a big part of how you want to spend time in your backyard some backyard design ideas you may want to incorporate might include an area for al fresco dining, an outdoor kitchen and backyard bar, an outdoor living room, a built in fire pit, or a dedicated area for games such as washers or cornhole. When choosing furniture for your outdoor dining and lounge areas make sure you are keeping comfort in mind. Even the best-looking sets won’t be utilized fully if they are not comfortable!
If you are more focused on how your family, and small children, are going to use your backyard you will be interested in a different set of backyard design ideas. If you have small children some elements you might want to be sure to include would be a dedicated play structure area, an area for sand/dirt play, lots of open space for running or playing ball, and a paved track around the exterior edge of your backyard can be great for riding bikes or other wheeled toys. Children’s play areas can be traditional with a cedar play structure, or you can think outside the box with an old canoe filled with sand or dirt, rather than a traditional sandbox.
While some people desire entertaining or recreation space some people dream about a beautiful and lush backyard filled with ornamental and flowering plants to soothe their senses. For these people, backyard design ideas may include a wide variety of organic and ornamental flowers, meandering pathways they can use for wandering through the garden, and water features. When planning the types of plants you will want to take into consideration the mature height of the plants, you want to make sure to use plants of varying heights so everything is not on the same level. It is also a good idea to use plants of varying colors and that flower and bloom at different times throughout the growing season. Using plants that are native to your local area will make it easier to grow the plants because they are already adapted to the temperatures and rainfall that your area typically receives. A water feature or fountain not only makes a great focal point, but can also add a musical note into your garden.
Not everybody has the space available for a lush and sprawling lawn and garden. Even with a small space there are a number of ways to incorporate beautiful ornamental flowers or useful vegetable plants into a garden plan.
A great small garden idea is a raised planter; with a raised planter you can maximize space but still have a supply of vegetables throughout the growing season. Raised planters can be purchased or easily made yourself.
If you are looking for a small garden idea be sure to think outside the box of plants that you typically see in gardens and yards. For example, colonnade apple trees grow upright and are extremely narrow. This gives you the benefit of having an apple tree that doesn’t take up massive amounts of your small yard.
Square foot gardening has gained a lot of popularity recently as a small garden idea. They are typically a bit larger than a raised planter and gives you more flexibility in the variety of garden plants you can grow.
A trellis can be a stand-alone element in your small garden or it can be attached to the side of the house to even further maximize the space available. Ornamental flowers that grow up the trellis can make any vertical space in your yard more beautiful.
Small garden ideas can be as simple as a couple of stacked pots. Depending on the size of the pots they could be set on the edge or corner of a patio, or even on your front step to add a splash of greenery as a greeting to all visitors. Herbs grow especially well in stacked pots like this and have the added benefit of being useful in the kitchen as well as ornamental!
If you do have room in your yard or garden space an arbor is a great small garden idea that allows you to take advantage of more of the vertical space in your yard. You can grow squashes or melons on an arbor, as the melons grow in size you will need to reinforce them with nylon strips to support the weight of the melons. Or, you can stick with ornamental flowers on your arbor.
Many people think if they have a small garden or lawn area there isn’t room for trees, but a small garden idea can absolutely include trees! There are a number of varieties that don’t take up a lot of real estate and still provide ample shade and added beauty to your garden. Crepe Myrtle, citrus trees, and Japanese Maples are just a few examples.
For further guidance on specific plants, trees, or more small garden ideas contact your local landscape design company. They can assist you with a design plan and implementation of that plan in your yard.
Are you one of the many people out there that is overwhelmed by the concept of taking care of and maintaining your landscape design? Rest assured that you are not alone! The good news is that there are a number of ways to plan a landscape design that is low maintenance to help minimize what you have to handle on a regular basis.
Use What You Have:
One of the first keys for a low maintenance landscaping idea is to take advantage of design elements that are already present in your yard, but modifying them to be simple and easy to care for.
If you have foliage or plant life growing on your existing hardscape structures, like mailboxes, pergolas, or arbors, you should remove it. This foliage requires continual care and trimming to keep them looking neat and can quickly become an eyesore if you are not caring for them properly. Once the plant life is removed you can repaint or stain the hardscape items to give them a new, clean, and more stream-lined look.
Clean Up Your Beds
For a low maintenance landscaping idea you want to make sure that the flowerbeds in your yard are requiring minimal upkeep. Typically flowerbeds require extensive work and continual weeding, especially if they have natural groundcover, like mulch. By replacing mulch with stone or gravel and eliminating plants that spread quickly or require constant trimming you can minimize the amount of time you spend in your yard to keep your flowerbeds from looking unruly. When you install stone or gravel groundcover but sure to use an underlayment of weed barrier to further inhibit weed growth in the flowerbed. Creating a crisp border on the edge of the flowerbed by installing timbers or other hardscape edging materials can help to prevent weed growth and create a definite line between the lawn and the bed.
When choosing plants for the flowerbeds choose non-fussy flowers. Also, choosing perennials means that you aren’t replanting flowers each spring.
Your Path Is Clear
A low maintenance landscaping idea also extends to the walkways in your yard. An overgrown pathway can quickly have your lawn looking messy and unkempt. Replacing stepping stones with either concrete squares or flagstone laid in concrete helps you avoid weeds and unwanted grass growth between steps or on the pathway. By eliminating weeds you eliminate the time needed to battle them!
Match Your Design With Your Home
The final point of our low maintenance landscaping ideas is to make sure the style of your landscaping matches that of your home. If your home is more traditional you can create structure in your yard with symmetrical plantings of low-maintenance plants. A more contemporary or modern styled home can more easily go further minimalistic and use concrete, wood, and metal elements. These create cleaner lines and fewer headaches and upkeep for you!
If the thought of designing your yard with these low maintenance landscaping ideas is still overwhelming for you, contact your Second Nature Outdoor Living and Landscaping for assistance in both design and execution.
Summer heat in the Midwest is vicious for everyone to bear, but your lawn undergoes the most damage from the heat. With infrequent rainfall, heavier use from people walking on it, and mowing mistakes, your lawn can become dry and dead by mid-July. When you know what care your lawn needs during the summer months, you can prevent dead brown grass during your summer get-togethers. Learn from our Midwest summer lawn care guide.
This is the rule all year long, but especially in the summer you should not mow more than 1/3 of your grass blades at a time. Mowing only 1/3 of your grass height will keep your blades healthier and stronger throughout the heat of the summer.
During the summer it is also important to raise your mower blades up and try to keep the grass a little bit longer. Not only does lush grass feel great on barefoot summer feet, but leaving blades a little long will help the grass grow drought-tolerant and deeper roots. This helps grass survive the lack of rain during the summer and prevents weeds from germinating. Lastly, the blades on your lawnmower should be sharpened regularly to cleanly cut grass without stressing the grass. The general rule of thumb is too sharpen blades every 10 hours of mowing.
There are many myths surrounding watering your grass during the summer months. Generally speaking, it is important to give your lawn at least one inch of water per week and to water early in the morning so the water does not evaporate. In addition keeping your grass long, it is better to water deeply and less frequently to make your grass more tolerant to long periods of droughts that come with summer.
The most important thing about watering is not to waste it if your lawn has already turned brown. Once you grass dies, it is done for the season and will regrow during fall. Trying to over water to bring it back will only increase your water bill.
If you are still fertilizing this late into summer, stop! For the best results, you should stop fertilizing your lawn 30 days before summer temperatures arrive. This is because adding fertilizer during the heat of the summer will actually burn your lawn. It can be tempting to try to fertilize a brown lawn to bring it back to life, but like watering this will do you no good.
There are a few other actions that can stress your grass during the summer months. Here are some other summer lawn care guide items that you can add to your lawn care checklist.
June is National Fresh Fruit and Veggies Month! Not only are home grown vegetables delicious to munch on, they can also provide depth and character to your landscaping. Creating a vegetable garden design is a fine line to walk, however, when it comes to your landscaping. Gardens can quickly get an overgrown look that clashes with most homeowners’ landscaping design. To avoid that, here are some of our tips for making your vegetable garden complement your landscaping.
The simplest and most common way to blend your vegetable garden design into your landscaping is to create a distinct, separate area for the garden. This blends as you are scanning your landscaping since the eye will recognize that area is separate from the rest of the design. Place your separate vegetable garden either in a yard corner or in the back center directly across from your patio. To help define its separation, create an archway or doorway of some kind with a short fence, retaining wall, or pallet boards lining the edges.
With a little more planning, you can completely integrate your vegetable garden design into your landscaping design. Many people like to create pathways with their landscaping; instead of filling these pathways with bushes or trees, you can use stone masonry, brick pavers, or wood beams to section paths with gardens. You can also use a garden as a border for your patio instead of accent bushes or create a sprawling courtyard with gardens as your feature plants. It takes a little creativity, but you can replace many of the traditional bush and tree landscaping pieces with vegetable plants in a streamlined and beautiful way.
Many people love utilizing raised beds to add dimension and depth to their landscaping. Often this space is used for a soothing water feature or a dynamic bush and floral design. But the strategy of raised landscaping beds can also be used to integrate your garden into your landscaping.
Decide how much space you will need for the plants you want to grow and have a landscaper create the raised bed for you based on that size. To make it blend into your landscaping better, plant the smaller vegetables around the edges of the bed and increase the size of the plants as you go back until your tall vine plants are at the back of the bed. Try to add some herb plants to give it that landscaping look without sacrificing the practicality of your garden.