Tips to Prepare Your Landscape For Spring: Yard Clean Up Checklist

Can you finally see spring coming around the corner? Springtime can be a joyful time of year and it is also prime time to prepare for the season ahead. This article focuses on how you can get in just before spring and get your landscape ready for those sunny days. Think of this as getting a headstart on the gardening before the spring and summer seasons arrive and you want to spend more time outdoors! Our top spring yard clean up checklist can be found below!

Spring Yard Clean Up Checklist

Start Maintenance and Cleanup

I know, it’s probably not the job you get excited about. When spring is approaching, that means winter has well and truly had its impact. Wherever you live, in whichever climate zones, the chances are conditions are different over the winter. This means you will have to clear away the debris left.

Sweep away the leaves, get rid of deadheads on plants and tree shrubs and start weeding the garden. Weeds are hardy and they will have grown even through colder months. Get rid of them. Pre-spring is a good time for yard cleanup. Anything that has died or becomes tired over the winter can be cleared out ready for your spring landscaping ideas.

Spring Yard Clean Up Checklist

Prepare Your Soil

There are lots of things you can do to get your soil ready for spring, when you may want to plant more. You can test it to check the PH levels and quality of the soil. If it is healthy soil then you can just use a little fertilizer and you should be ready to go!

If your soil is struggling a bit, add some compost or manure. You can clear out remains of old plants or crops and try your best to bring more vibrancy and nutrients to the soil using products such as plant feeds and fertilizers.

Prepare Soil

Fertilize Lawn

The lawn may have stagnated in the winter (or if it is warmer where you are, it may have overgrown). Firstly, you can mow the lawn. Secondly, you should fertilize the lawn. There are lawn feed products designed specifically for this kind of fertilization, and these are slow release so they can last into the spring.

Fertilize Lawn

Refresh Mulching

Mulch can be used in plant beds to help irrigation and the release of nutrients into the plants, it can even prevent weeds. But like anything in your yard, it might need a top-up or rotation. You should use this period of time as an opportunity to clean up and refresh your mulch. You can add more to the beds in your garden ready to plant more in the spring (you might already be planting seeds or bulbs). Mulch can get dried out or disturbed, you may simply need to add some here and there.

Pruning

Pruning is important but you need to get in there before the spring. Find dead heads rather than take away any buds that may be coming in the upcoming spring. This item is the one on our spring yard clean up checklist you need to be most careful with. Make sure you don’t go too far with your landscaping tips for spring and prune away this year’s flowers.

It will be obvious in some cases that some pruning is required. Trees, shrubs and more can get out of control and you might need to prune them back. In some fast-growing plants, you might even want to prune all the way back so that they are a fraction of the size.

Yard clean up checklist: pruning

Control Weed

Weeds are the bane of the life of a gardener. Weed control is very hard, and if you have a lot of weeds it can take its toll on your spring landscaping ideas.

The ground is likely to be softer and moister naturally at this time, meaning it will be easier to pull out weeds. Be sure to get the roots or they might come back even worse. Unfortunately, other than following basic lawn and garden control tips, there’s not a great deal that can be done about weeds and weeding might be a constant part of your spring landscape maintenance. Being proactive before they have the chance to take over can be the best way to go about your landscaping.

Yard clean up checklist: weed control

 

Check Your Irrigation System

Test and check your irrigation system, especially if you have sprinklers. Whatever method you use to properly irrigate your lawn and your bedding and plants should be thoroughly checked. If it involves pipes, these may have become damaged over the winter, as they can freeze, or the temperature can cause them to expand and contract.

This isn’t the most fun of the landscaping tips for spring but it is essential. Make sure that all areas are getting the moisture they need, and will desperately need when the weather gets warmer.

Our clean up checklist for spring is universal, these are tips to help you to ensure you’ve covered all the bases. However, your landscape might be a bit different. Think about where you live, what the temperature has been like and which of last year’s plants can be gotten rid of. If you have landscaping ideas for spring then you will have an idea of areas you need to clear before spring, ready for your landscape to flourish in the season ahead.

 

Irrigation System check

Cacti Has Been Highlighted As one of the Best Landscapers in Las Vegas

For the second year running, we have received the accolade of  “The Best Landscapers in Las Vegas”. Expertise.com recognized the excellent level of service that Cacti delivers to its customers, day in day out. 

Cacti Landscapes is a tropical, traditional, and desert landscaping company for home and business owners in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. The president and CEO Bret Utter has always prioritized service as one of the key foundations of this business. In fact, he started the company back in 2002 from noticing a serious lack of proper service from the other landscaping companies within the local industry.

From this point, the company has gone from strength to strength, and awards like this from Expertise.com give credence to that.

We offer a wide range of services for our residential and commercial customers, including the designing and installation of unique landscapes as well as a whole host of extra services that go above and beyond the expectations for a landscaping company.

Some of the services that we offer include:

From Strength to Strength

Since we were founded in 2002, Cacti Landscapes Inc. grew from a company that had 2 employees and 1 truck to a workforce of 25 employees and 25 trucks to service their wide range of clients.

In that entire time (17 years), we have never received one single complaint with the contractor’s board. We currently service all areas of the Las Vegas Valley, including Summerlin, Aliante, Mountains Edge, Southern Highlands, Anthem and many other areas.

The owner, Brett Utter admits that his own service may not be the cheapest, but you won’t find service anywhere near as good as theirs for the same price point.

High-quality customer service, highly skilled workers, and honest work are what we find important in our job.

How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil

Are you struggling to grow things in your garden? Worried about the soil quality on your property? It’s really easy to forget that many things make an impact on the soil characteristics in your area, and certain crops you can plant may even make an impact on the soil for the next season.

In this article, we’re focusing on soil quality and how you can fertilize garden conditions to ensure good soil quality. Healthy soil can have a huge amount of benefits and lead to a flourishing garden, whereas the poor quality of soil can mean that you struggle to grow anything at all.

Soil Texture And Structure

The texture and structure of soil can be tough to change. If you have dry clay style soil then it can be tough to make it more porous, or if there is sand in the soil it can be hard to get it to keep water in long enough for the roots of plants to take it in. Some people are totally unaware that soil has a structure and texture. What it is made out of depends on where you are in the world, the environment, what has previously been planted there and much more.

The benefits of soil being excellent quality are clear for your backyard. You can grow fruit and vegetables, improve plants and flowers growing and much more. Luckily there are things you can do to make the soil flourish, and keeping healthy soil will benefit your home for many years to come.

How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil

 

Soil Building Strategy

Building the soil quality is a long term task, but you can make changes to the soil in order to improve it. This is called a soil building strategy, rules you can stick to and methods you can use to improve the soil. So, how do we go about it? What should your soil building strategy look like?

Build Organic Matter

Organic matter is the healthiest thing for your soil. It can help plants with nutrients that tend to get soaked up by the microorganisms that sit in the soil. Adding organic matter and building this up within soil, specifically in areas such as plant beds where you want to plant things, can be the best way to improve the quality of the soil. It doesn’t have to be difficult, either.

Organic matter and waste products remain can bind with clay and sand types of soil to improve drainage and make sure the soil stays wet for longer, allowing the roots to get the nutrition they need to grow.

Adding organic matter can be as simple as adding some compost that you have bought, or manure that you have sourced, these can fertilize garden soil easily. You can get your hands on these from nurseries pretty much anywhere, they’re truly garden essentials so not difficult to find.

You can also get treatments and soil conditioners to create good soil for growing in your yard. These are designed for specific types of soil and can vastly improve the quality. You can target the type of soil you have (whether it is full of sand or otherwise).

How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil

 

Soil Management

Building soils that are suitable for your gardening is fantastic, and organic garden soil is the key to growing some excellent crops. However, it won’t mean much if you don’t know how to manage the soil to maintain healthy soil quality.

Soil management can be simple or complex. On a big scale such as farming, this is a huge job, but in your backyard, it doesn’t have to be too difficult or time-consuming. You should try and till the soil if you can, but one thing you can do is crop rotation. If you plant vegetables and fruit then plant them in different places each season so you don’t end up always planting the same things, this can have a negative effect on the quality of the soil. Varying the dying organic matter goes a long way when improving soil quality.

Soil and plant treatments being used regularly, even things as simple as nursery bought plant foods, can make a huge difference and form part of your soil maintenance.

How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil

 

Cover Crop

This is a clever and ages-old way of improving soil quality. A cover crop is something to keep the soil active and growing. These can be planted with the purpose of managing the fertility and quality of the soil without ever intending to be harvested. If you have lots of crops in an area then when they die they become organic matter within the soil and this can then become the basis for future crops. Having cover crops can stop issues like soil erosion, and manage pests and diseases as well as create a good diversity within the yard.

Common Lawn Problems and Solutions

If your garden has any sort of lawn then you should prioritize keeping it looking healthy and vibrant. Lawn problems can be a nightmare to deal with, they are sometimes difficult to get rid of and let’s face it, they look bad. The rest of your garden can look amazing, but if you have dry grass, patchy grass or other lawn problems then it is likely that this is what people will notice. For a vibrant lawn, we’ve listed some common issues and their solutions, so you can get to the root of the problem and get rid of it!

Inadequate watering

The simplest of the issues is the first we are dealing with. Inadequate watering. This is very simple and easy to fix. You’d be amazed how much this can cause issues, however, and how common it is. Many of the dry grass issues can stem from not watering thoroughly or not allowing your grass to get water. Sometimes, people forget that the grass needs water as well.

You can be as simplistic or high tech about getting enough water to your grass as you want to be. Check your sprinklers as it could be a great way to do things, but if not, you can just keep an eye on rainfall and manually water the grass if there is none.

Lawn diseases

There are some fairly common lawn diseases out there. Some are fungi, some cause rings or dry patches. Lawn repair, in this case, can be as simple as finding the right product. There are “patch repair” products to allow you to kill off the disease, and these can be bought from nurseries.

The important thing is to work out which disease you have. If you have a red tinge to the grass you might have “Red Thread”. This occurs with a lack of nitrogen. You can buy lawn treatments and nutrient products to fix these issues. Establish what disease your lawn might have and find the right product to apply to your grass to treat it.

 

Pests

Pests can include grubs in lawns and some types of insects. Pesticides can be used to treat these issues. You can find generic pesticides and even ones that are safe to use and don’t have negative impacts on the environment.

If grubs in lawns are the issue you can use trichlorfon or carbaryl. You need to use rubber gloves and irrigate the lawn before applying, this will kill off grubs and larvae.

Only use pest control products that are good for your lawn!

Pet damage

Pets can enhance our lives but they can be a pain to deal with, especially when it comes to lawn care. Dogs and cats can both enjoy digging in your grass, and their urine can also kill the grass. The urea in the urine is actually a type of nitrogen, and it isn’t bad for the grass in small amounts, but urine isn’t a small amount.

You may be able to train your dog to go in one place. Alternatively, make sure that after your dog has been you apply water, this can help dilute the urea. It’s not an ideal method. Taking your dog for regular long walks can be a good way to avoid the issue.

If it’s the neighbor’s cats, there are products you can buy to try and stop them from coming into the yard.

Compacted Soil

Compacted soil is when the soil isn’t porous enough, and the air doesn’t get in. Treatments are simple, you need to aerate the soil. You can do this with machinery, but the simplest way is to treat the lawn with a rolling aerator which will simply create loads of holes in the soil to bring air into the compacted area.

Heavy Thatch

An aerator can also be used to treat heavy thatch. This is when the layers of dead grass build-up and weave in with the healthy grass. You can get attachments for your aerator, and rolling these over will help to get some of the thatch out of the grass you have. A little won’t be a problem, but too much can start to kill the grass and damage the soil.

Grub Damage

Grub damage doesn’t have an easy fix, but looking after your lawn and properly maintaining it will help the lawn recover. To get rid of grubs, some pest companies use predatory nematodes. This will reduce the number of grubs in your garden, but won’t fix the damage.

Regular watering, fertilizing and raking and aeration will be key to healthy roots and improving the quality of the grass overall. All lawns have grubs, and they can be an issue for anyone, but they can become a lot to handle.

Patchy grass

Patchy grass can be caused by pretty much any of the issues above. The key is to learn how to fix it. Fertilizing the grass could help, and you may even need to put some grass seed in the patchy areas to stimulate growth once more.

The key is to prevent the patchy grass and make sure it doesn’t occur again. This comes from good lawn repair and lawn maintenance just as much as it does any sort of grass treatment.

Underground Obstructions

If you have underground obstructions such as drainpipes, this can interfere with some of the roots of the grass. It is unlikely that this will cause major issues with your lawn, but it does mean you have to properly maintain the lawn to ensure that no issues and patching in these areas occur. It can happen faster due to the interference with the roots.

Whatever the lawn problems you are dealing with, the key is to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Following tips to maintain healthy soil and a healthy lawn can stop a lot of these problems from ever happening in the first place. Your lawn problem probably isn’t uncommon, and there will be something you can do to treat it!

Using Rocks in Your Landscape

Landscaping gives a huge amount of possibilities, wherever in the world you plan to do it. We are covering landscaping with rocks in this article. Rocks are a popular way to improve your gardening or landscaping. The options that rocks provide can give you a decorative look, and in certain parts of the world, rocks are more efficient for use in your landscaping design.

In this article, we’re looking at landscaping ideas with rocks. Whether you are looking to give ideas to your Las Vegas Landscapers or you want to try your hand at landscaping yourself.

Advantages of Landscaping with Rocks

Rocks may not help the plants in your garden to grow, but they have a lot of other benefits when compared to mulch and other materials you might be thinking of using for landscaping. Mulch degenerates and decomposes so it will need to be replaced every couple of years. If you are landscaping with rocks they might cost more upfront, but they will last so much longer.

advantages of rock over mulch

There are some other benefits including the fact they’re not flammable. If you live somewhere you can get wildfires then you might want to think about landscaping with rocks to stop fires from growing.

Decorating with Rocks

Rocks also give a whole load more options for landscaping. They are rigid and unlike mulch, you can use them to create some interesting patterns and even separate areas of the yard. They can be used as building blocks. You can also create amazing and interesting patterns with rocks, knowing that they will last for many years and you don’t have to worry about them degenerating over time.

Whether you want to create a ‘stepping stone’ look or an organic feel to make beds for planters, you can do so with rocks. They are incredibly versatile.

Using Centerpieces

You can use rocks to create a centerpiece in a flower bed or planter. This is a low-maintenance way to create an interesting look, plus you can experiment with types of rocks. In hot backyards, rocks can look great, and the fact they don’t dry out in the sun can be a big benefit to using rocks as a centerpiece. There are so many landscaping ideas with rocks if you start to look at images.

Flower or Plant Beds with Rocks

Rocks can be used to separate different areas in the garden. It is definitely worth using rocks to separate out the different areas of the garden, it gives an interesting look with less of a “man-made” feel to it. It’s also a resourceful way to use rocks for landscaping.

using rocks in landscaping

You can use rocks to create edging or bedding areas to plant things, to separate trees or just about anything else! You could even create a vegetable patch cordoned off with some rocks.

Rock Constructions in Gardens and Ponds

One of the great things about how hardy rocks are is that you can use them in conjunction with water. I love the inventive look of rocks in ponds to create a trickle-down effect, a bit like a mini waterfall. You can also use them to create a decorative center for your pond or as edging around the pond itself. Why not create a path around the pond and lead the way with rocks or stepping stones?

Types of Rocks Used in Landscaping

Rocks occur pretty much everywhere in the world as a natural phenomenon, so there is no point in getting them shipped halfway around the world. Unless you are creating a specific look, go for locally sourced rocks. If you are decorating your garden or looking to get into landscaping in Las Vegas, look for landscaping with rocks in Las Vegas. What is available locally?

Wherever you are in the world you will find that landscaping with rocks isn’t too difficult to come by. There are stores where you can buy them but don’t forget that these rocks also occur naturally, you may have some in your land already.

Pebbles, stones, and rocks can all be used for different looks. You can even look at gravel to fill large areas. Don’t forget, this is an excellent route to a maintenance-free yard.

Rocks and stones can sometimes be turned into stepping stones in order to allow for specific use as a pathway. Also, you can often buy rocks sorted into specific sizes and designs which can give a much more uniform look to your garden.

It’s easy to see why rocks are commonly used in landscaping. They’re simple and relatively easy to use to create either temporary or permanent designs in your yard. Rocks also need virtually no maintenance and can withstand all weather. Whatever type of landscaping you are involved in, rocks should create a key part of your list of tricks.

Best Ways to Prepare Your Backyard for Winter

As wintertime approaches you might want to start to think about how you can keep your home and backyard in the best condition even as the weather takes a turn for the worse. There are a lot of things you can do to prepare for the winter. Some of them are designed to keep the home in good condition and ensure that when the spring rolls around your home hasn’t suffered.

There is a lot of lawn and garden care that can be necessary, from cutting the grass before winter to preparing perennials for winter. We’ve addressed loads of the ways you can prep gardens for winter in this guide to landscaping maintenance through the winter months.

Clean Pavers

The paving slabs in your yard can be susceptible to the conditions in the winter. The mud can be a big issue! As the wet and snowy environment creates mud and dirt it will likely get left on the pavers. Clean these with pressure washers for the easiest process.

Lawn Care

Yes, the lawn still needs your attention through the winter. Go through your normal lawn care routines and utilize lawn feed even in times when it gets cold. This will mean a far better lawn in the future, and you won’t be trying to salvage some sort of garden the following year.

Mowing

You need to make sure you still mow through the winter, otherwise when the spring rolls around the condition of your yard is likely to suffer. Weeds and other unwanted additions can be more of an issue if you don’t mow the lawn from time to time through the winter.

Luckily, if you’re in an area where there isn’t as much sunlight, the lawn will probably grow far slower in these cold months so you may not have to do this job as regularly. Cutting grass before winter is not the most attractive job, it may well be very cold out there, but you’ll be delighted that you did.

Aeration

Strictly speaking, aeration doesn’t have to take place in the wintertime. However, aerating the turf involves plugs in the soil, and these don’t feel good to walk over. This means that it’s worth doing in the fall or start of winter because you won’t be walking on the turf as much. Manual aerators can be bought online and these are a lot of work, but you can get power tools for this job, too.

Fertilization

This is another job you’ll be glad you did before the winter. Knowing when to winterize lawns can be tough, but the earlier you can get to it in the winter, the better. The turf needs to be kept as strong as possible through the winter months. Fertilizing is quite a tough job and you should make sure that when you are looking into preparing the lawn for winter you should make sure you are using the right fertilizer for the zone and area in which you live.

Perennial Weed Control

It is important to think about preparing perennials for winter as well. Luckily, perennials will come back year upon year and this means you don’t have to worry a huge amount about the need to buy new plants each year. It’s far better for your bank balance and for the environment to keep plants alive.

There are ways you can ensure weed control and pest control are carried out through winter, and it doesn’t take too much work. Weed them before the winter season and use an organic herbicide as there are perennial weeds too that can keep cropping up through the winter. To properly prep your garden for winter, surround shrubs and perennials with mesh and wiring to stop pests being able to get at them.

Landscape Lighting

Make sure your lighting is plentiful for the winter, especially if you plan to still spend time out in the yard through the winter. It will be likely to get a lot darker in your yard, and with fewer hours of sunlight, you should try and make sure your solar lights are excellent quality, and even supplement them with a few non-solar options.

Furniture

As well as lawn and garden care, you need to think about the other item in your yard. It would be terrible to ignore this and then your furniture gets damaged.

Furniture should be covered through the winter, or stored away, especially if it is made out of materials that are likely to be susceptible to winter conditions. Strong woods may be okay, but generally, a lot of rattan and wicker backyard furniture will be damaged by rain and snow, and fabrics definitely can be! Put these in a place where they are sheltered, whether that means a garage or storage unit.

Pool Heater

If you are lucky enough to own a pool, with a pool heater, it is important that you prepare it for the winter otherwise it can get damaged. A process of “winterizing” means covering up the heater and making sure it is protected from extreme temperatures or freezing water.

Conclusion

If you are looking to prep a garden for winter then our guide will help you a lot. It’s vital that you consider the elements and the weather that you are likely to experience. If you live in Canada, your winter is going to be very different from if you live in Vegas, and preparing for winter could be a different prospect entirely.

How to Draw Landscape Design Plans

Landscape design drawings can feel pretty intimidating if you aren’t an experienced gardener or haven’t got the tools and skills of landscape design experts. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get involved! In this guide, we’ve talked about how to draw landscape design plans, and given something of a beginner’s guide to this.

We’ve aimed it at absolute beginners and those who aren’t experts in the yard, the kind of people who might struggle with weed removal! The truth is that landscape design drawing doesn’t have to be hugely accurate for most home projects. If you are being employed to work on a commercial project then you should probably have the latest software and be up to date with how to draw a landscape plan professionally, but if it is just for your own reference then you can possibly take a few shortcuts.

What is Landscape Design

In basic terms, landscape design is anything relating to modifying or designing the features of a yard or garden, or another outdoor area for either an increase in looks and aesthetic appeal or for more functionality. Or both.

A landscape designer is generally someone who plans the design of outdoor spaces such as gardens. Landscape design is a profession and there are some highly professional landscape design experts out there. Our basic guide is merely a starting point.

 

How to Draw a Landscape Design Plan

landscape design plans

Once again, we want to make sure we’ve made clear that this is aimed at a beginner, or someone wanting to practice their landscape design at home. Many landscape design principles and rules can be found here.
There are a few steps you should take when drawing a landscape design plan. You may choose to draw out the plan on squared paper or plain paper, it is a matter of personal preference.

 

  1. If you can get your hands on the original plans for your home, or anything offering a birds-eye view, make a copy of this by either tracing or photocopying. If not, the blank paper will have to do.
  2. Decide on a scale. Do you have a yard that is 20 feet x 20 feet? Maybe you should use a 1cm to 1ft scale to help you to keep everything in proportion. It is vital to understand scale so that you can create a design that is useful. Otherwise, things will not fit when it comes to actually make the changes to the landscape.
  3. Measure things. A lot. You may even need a hundred ft tape measure to measure the length and width of your yard.
  4. Draw in existing features that are going to stay. You need to measure these too and stick to the scale. For instance, a patio might be staying. Measure this and use your scale to replicate it on the drawing.
  5. Create multiple copies at this stage. There’s always a chance of something going wrong and having more than one copy will allow you to fall back on your original landscape design drawing.
  6. Start planning. You can plan beds of plants, even outdoor furniture. Use the measurements on product descriptions to see if they will fit and where. Use a pencil as you never know when you may want to change things. You might even want to cut out shapes using your scale and play around with positioning before committing them to your landscape design plans.

You can use software for landscape design drawing too. If you are technologically inclined this may well be a decent option.

3D-design

Types of Landscape Design

When learning how to draw landscape design plans, you will realize pretty early on that there are some different types of landscape design. You can use the work people have done on these types to help when creating your own. Knowledge is power.

Types of landscape design include Xeriscape design to maximize areas where there isn’t a lot of water. The oriental design uses lots of water features and rocks, and an English Garden where the outer walls of your home are included in the design. Formal and informal design are also types and categories you may hear described. Formal means more uniform planting and symmetry whereas informal is a bit more of a scattered design. It has a more casual feeling and is perfect for unusual backyards or for the casual gardener who doesn’t want to be too precise.

Landscaping Tips for Fruit Trees in Nevada

Landscaping with fruit trees makes perfect sense, whether in Nevada or elsewhere. Knowing fruit trees that grow in Las Vegas can be a challenge. It is notoriously tough to get the right landscaping design and find things that grow properly in this climate. Certain fruit trees in Las Vegas will grow whereas others will not.

In this guide, we look at fruit trees that grow in Las Vegas as well as some top tips for using them in your own garden. Landscaping with fruit trees is a way to create fresh fruit and veg and add some beautiful nature to your garden, even in areas where growing other plants and trees can provide a real challenge.

Choosing Fruit Trees

Naturally, the first step is choosing fruit trees that grow in Las Vegas and Nevada to ensure you aren’t setting out on the wrong path from the very outset. Vegas can be unforgiving and you need to pick fruit trees to suit. You aren’t too restricted, though, as long as you pick the right types of trees. For instance, you can grow apples, but you should look for Golden varieties. Oranges can grow, but Valencia orange trees will grow far better in the area.

One of the simplest and most successful fruit trees in Las Vegas is the Peach Tree. Loads of peach trees are grown in the state of Nevada and you can have a lot of success planting these types of trees here. Apricot trees are also favored as they work well in the climate around Nevada.

Other trees that can work are citrus fruits including Lemons and Grapefruit trees. If you plan to work with a landscaping company, make sure they know the needs in the area and let them advise you on which types of trees will work.

Planting

One of the keys to planting fruit trees is to give them adequate space and plenty of access to sunlight. However, irrigation solutions in Las Vegas are just as important. This is an area where rainfall is at a premium, and where it is vital to give trees and plants a little help by providing the right forms of irrigation.

Landscaping with fruit trees doesn’t always work in Las Vegas if you have disregarded the needs of the specific tree species. You should spend some time considering these species and make a point of reading up on the trees you have chosen to plant.

Pruning

Pruning should be done when you plant your fruit trees. It helps to keep them under control. You should also look to prune in early spring before the new buds have broken. You can cut the stem from 25 to 30 inches high and then remove side shoots which may cause the tree to grow out in weird and wonderful (and inconvenient) ways.

If you spend a long time without doing any pruning then your fruit trees can go utterly wild.

Threats to Fruit Trees

The threats to fruit trees can vary depending upon the type of tree. Some will be endangered if the temperature drops at all. Many of the Vegas trees need heat all the time. Others will need some time out of the sun, so it is important to make sure the sun doesn’t beat down on them all hours of the day. Fruit trees in Las Vegas may also be susceptible to pests. There is every chance that bees and wasps can get attracted to the fruit and you may end up with whichever fruit you have planted getting half-eaten by the time you get to it.

The dry weather means that you need to keep adequately watered at all times and have a good irrigation system in place.

Arguably the biggest threat to your trees is neglect. You should be aware of any signs the tree is too dry, not getting enough sunlight or at risk of pests. There is always action you can take to prevent things happening to your crops, so keep a close eye on your fruit trees for the best results.

Using fruit trees for landscaping is a wonderful way to get some produce from your garden as well as keeping it looking great!

Complete Guide to Xeriscape Landscaping

Xeriscaping is a word derived from the Greek word “Xeri” meaning dry. Xeriscape landscaping is something that has been popular for decades now in certain areas. Lots of places in the USA, or elsewhere in the world, are becoming more susceptible to droughts, and having plants that are resistant to this can help you to have a thriving garden.

Xeriscape landscaping

What is xeriscape landscaping?

Xeriscape landscaping is designed to minimize the amount of irrigation you need in your garden. Saving water is essential, and this method is recommended in certain areas by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Office.

It uses certain types of plants that don’t require a huge amount of water, and therefore don’t require regular irrigation. These are recommended to be planted in a xeriscaped garden. Also, other methods such as the way you plant your trees and plants can make the most of the limited rainfall and ensure the garden thrives without being demanding on water use.

The process can be done yourself, or landscaping companies in Las Vegas and other warm states which are susceptible to droughts, can be brought in to advise you on the best way to treat your space.

What plants to grow and what plants to ignore?

There are certain plants that are ideal for these circumstances, and others which will stand no chance at all. You will often find the appropriate plants advertised and referred to as ‘xeric’ plants. These have low needs in terms of water and can put up with droughts.

There are quite a few different options for trees, shrubs and ground coverings which can fit the bill and work nicely for your yard even if you live in a dry area. Trees such as Sunburst Honey Locust, and shrubs like the Red Bird of Paradise can be examples of the sorts of flora that can grow well in xeriscape landscapes.

How to organize plants?

For xeriscaping, there are a number of ways to organize plants. Firstly, make sure you don’t put plants in high traffic areas as these can get worn. Certain types of xeric grasses may be appropriate for this. Don’t use ‘thirsty’ types of grass.

Opt for raised bedding areas if you wish, and combine these with rock garden areas, which are a good way to maximize the limited water supply.

Always be sure to group plants together which have roughly the same requirements when it comes to light and water irrigation. Put them in the right area for their light level based on the shade around your garden through the day.

Irrigation System

Xeriscape landscaping - Irrigation

You should use some form of an irrigation system, and even though the purpose is to minimize the amount of water you need, you still need some form of water to get to the plants. When working out how to do xeriscape landscaping, establishing the amount of water needed is vital.

When you do water, you can do so manually or using sprinklers. However, you should make sure you water infrequently but deeply so that the plants get deeper roots and this helps them to grow in a xeriscaped landscape. Don’t water during the day, this can cause the water to evaporate and not have the full effect.

Soil

The choice of soil will be utterly vital to a properly xeriscaped garden. It is likely that you will need to treat and amend the soil that is already in your yard.

Most xeric plants will get far more out of compost than the soil already in your yard. The soil can retain water better if it has been treated in this way. Depending on where you are located and which plants you have chosen, the desert plants may like gravel soils more.

Once you have chosen your xeric plants for the xeriscape landscaping, it is vital that you do some research on the conditions they need and ensure you match these up in your yard.

Mulch

Mulch is another essential aspect of xeriscaping. It is one of the most useful tools. You can use a lot of different types of mulch like wood grindings or bark, and a few inches of coverage will help a lot. This becomes a lot more resistant to wind and rain.

The amazing properties of mulch include keeping the roots of your xeric plants cool, avoiding crusting and generally keeping the condition of your soil better, and stopping some water from being evaporated by the heat.

Try not to use rocks too much as these can make it a lot hotter and this can cause evaporation of any water.

Conclusion

Xeriscape landscaping is a must in certain areas. If you are looking to keep your Vegas yard in great condition and even save money on water, Xeriscaping can be your new best friend.

Composting in Nevada: Is it a good idea?

If you live in Nevada, you may be wondering whether composting can be a good way to make more use of your waste and even improve the quality of your yard. Does the climate lend itself to composting or is it too hot and arid? Are there too many pests and will compost attract them? There are lots of things to consider when evaluating if composting is a good plan for your compost home.

What is Composting?

Put simply, composting is the process of recycling your unwanted organic trash and waste, turning it into a soil which can be rich in minerals that plants need to grow. By creating a specific area for all of your organic waste to compost together, you can ensure that only useful soil is created. This waste will decompose over time and turn into compost or soil that you can then use in your gardening.

Composting Methods

There are a few different ways that you can start to compost. You can use an open area for green and brown waste which is known as open air composting. This can be done by setting aside an area and wiring or fencing it off, then simply collecting the materials there. Over time, compost will form.

You can use direct composting which means putting your old scraps straight into the soil and waiting for them to decompose, this can take a long time and can also mean that vermin can get attracted to the waste you’ve buried.

Other methods include tumblers which are containers which can be turned regularly to help regular composting, you can even get compost starter products to speed the process up.

Some people have turned to worm composting, too. Worms can digest anything you put in your compost pile and then turn it into minerals that can be used as fertilizer and compost when they excrete it as waste. You can get specific compost bins which are designed to contain worms and help the process.

Where to start?

The best way to start is to get some sort of tumbler or compost bin. Have one inside and one outside, this can allow you to collect kitchen scraps that you know can be transferred outside at a later date. Collecting organic matter is the main thing. Check what can be composted so that you aren’t putting items in which will never decompose.

Mistakes to avoid when composting in Nevada

Don’t attract pests! The main mistake people make is leaving food scraps in an area where rats may want to get to them. If you can, create your compost in a sealed bin or tumbler so that vermin can’t get to them. The same applies for direct composting, avoid this method as it might attract creatures you don’t want.

Compost smells can also smell! This depends partially on what you plan to put in your compost pile, but you should keep this in mind when you are creating your composting area. Don’t place it straight under a window that is always open! You can very quickly start to notice a nasty smell, especially if the composting method is open air.

What you can and can’t compost?

There are long lists of specific items to show you what can and can’t be composted. Generally, kitchen scraps and anything which could be consumed (or offcuts from your food) can be composted along with paper, leaves and other organic matter. Green and brown things are often compostable, but always check if you are unsure.

Is Nevada’s climate ok for composting?

Yes, the heat is good for compost and helps it to decompose quickly and turn into usable compost. What’s more, the area can be short on this kind of quality soil. The need for composting is often much higher in dry spaces, if you live way out in the desert you may know how difficult it is to plant certain vegetables, fruits and flowers. Often, compost that you have created yourself is the best way to make sure you are getting the nutrients to things that you want to grow, and increase your chances of a beautiful garden or fruitful crop.

How to water your backyard correctly

Watering the yard may seem like one of the most simple tasks you do on a day-to-day basis. It may not be rocket science, but actually, there are ways to make your watering more effective to promote lots of healthy growth in your backyard, ensuring plants and trees flourish. This is especially important if you live in a dry area, but it is not something to ignore no matter where you live. Keep in mind that every resident of the Las Vegas Valley must follow their assigned mandatory watering schedules and restrictions.

Not Often But Deeply

Some people think you need to water plants every day. This isn’t the case, and moisture can keep being used by the plants for photosynthesis for many days after you’ve watered assuming you’ve done so deeply enough. The trick is to ensure there is plenty of water. You should be aiming for moisture at least 2-4 inches deep in most places. Remember that it isn’t the plant’s leaves that needs the water, it is the root. There is a ball of roots within every plant, and this is the area you should aim to ensure has plenty of moisture.

If you do the watering process properly, 2-3 times a week is sufficient in most areas. Daily watering is overkill.

Find The Best Time For Watering

Depending on where you are in the world the best time for watering your backyard might be different. If you are looking to get the most out of your water (so that you don’t have to use more than is necessary) then it is important to stop lots of it from evaporating. If you water in roasting heat and when the sun is high in the sky then it can mean that lots of the water on the surface evaporates before it has had any chance to be of benefit to the plants. Many people opt for a cool part of the day, such as first thing in the morning or after or during sunset.

Get a Timer

A timer can connect directly to your water source and you can set it to water as often as you like. The duration the water is set to flow can alter, and some even have sensors to do the watering at either dusk or dawn. As well as this being a good way to conserve water and only use what you need, it also protects against forgetting! If you are away or just happen to forget to water in the backyard then a timer on the water supply can cover you.

Avoid Waterlogging

It can be easy to use too much water thinking it can’t do any damage, but the plants need oxygen too, and waterlogging can mean that it is much harder for the roots to get the oxygen they need. Though it is important to be thorough, if any area starts to puddle or look sodden then you may have gone a little too far.

Spread the Water Evenly

This is why we have sprinklers and sprinkler heads on top of watering cans. Water can get concentrated in one area or even flow away from the roots if you are focusing too much on one specific area. Though you only really need to worry about the area that the roots are growing, you still need to water evenly in this area.
Use Mulch and Quality Compost on Plants
If you’re planting within beds, you should make sure you use the right ingredients to give your plants all the nutrients they need, besides just watering. A good quality compost is essential, and one which is clay-rich can reduce the chances of water running off and not getting used properly by the plant’s roots to grow.

Mulch can be useful too, this reduces the chance of water running off from the area where it is needed and can also prevent the sun from evaporating a lot of the water before it has had time to be absorbed and provide nourishment to the plants.

Conclusion

Water is one of the keys to ensuring your backyard thrives. Follow our tips to make sure you aren’t making any errors which could be hindering the growth of your garden.

Insects in your Garden: Friends or Foes

Are garden insects good or bad to have around? If you want to protect your garden from pest infestation, know what insects should go and what should stay. Later, we’ll also discuss how to protect your garden from the bad ones as well.

Beneficial Insects

Also known as beneficial bugs, these insects are great to be around in the garden because some aid in pollination and others work as natural pesticides. In addition, they can increase a garden’s ecological diversity and defend your crops and plants from harmful and dangerous insect pests.

A few of them are the following:

Bees

They collect and carry pollen from a flower to another, aiding in cross-pollination important to produce more seeds. With them, more plants and flowers will grow and you will end up with a productive garden.

Praying mantis

Mantis, which is a slow moving and solitary insect, can catch a prey with its front legs and eat larger grasshoppers, beetles, crickets and other harmful garden insects.

Ladybugs

Also called lady beetles, the adult ladybugs can get rid of crop pests, such as mealybugs and aphids. Their eggs, which they lay among pest insects, later become larvae that feed on the harmful insects, too.

Braconid Wasps

The female adult injects its eggs into moths, caterpillars and aphids, among other harmful insects. Later, the larvae feed inside the hosts that eventually die once the larvae become adults. Bring them into your garden by planting nectar plants, such as wild carrots and dill.

Lacewings

The larvae and adult lacewings feed on harmful insects, including mealybugs, caterpillars and aphids. A few other preys for these insects include the sweet alyssum, cosmos and whiteflies.

Harmful Insects

Some garden insects have to go away – and these are the harmful insects that pose a threat to a garden’s vitality or a danger to plants and animals. Some of them include the following.

Spider mites

These vicious insects can injure the plants badly within a short span of time. They feed on them by piercing their leaf surface to extract fluid and leaf cells.

Aphids

They’re some of the most harmful pests in the garden because they come together and suck on the fluids of plants that the latter need for nourishment and growth.

Cabbageworms

You must get rid of these insects especially if yours is a vegetable garden of cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage. These insects can eat the bases of these vegetables without you noticing until the crops die. They also feed on foliage, leaving plants only with large veins and stems.

Dangerous Insects

These garden insects can injure and damage the crop. Some can also cause pain or injury to humans, such as carpenter or black ants that can sting, leading to discomfort when it injects its formic acid into the skin. A few of these dangerous insects also include the following.

Venomous spiders

They can bite when feeling threatened, which can cause skin swelling and irritation. Examples of venomous spiders are the black widow and brown recluse, which venom is considered more lethal than that of a rattlesnake.
Immediately, venomous spider bite can cause severe itching, breathing difficulty, nausea, muscle pain and vomiting.

Wasps

You won’t like these insects around that sting when disturbed while looking for food. They also do sting several times, unlike a bee that does it only once, when defending their nests. They do it by injecting their venom into the animal or human skin using their stinger. Unfortunately, a sting can be serious for allergic people.

Scorpions

They can sting and cause discomfort, swelling and other symptoms, yet some can be lethal, too. If their population becomes uncontrollable, you should call up a professional pest control company that knows how to eliminate garden scorpions effectively.

How to Protect Your Garden

There are many ways to protect your garden from pests. One is to attract beneficial insects, including ladybugs, lacewings, bees and praying mantises, into your garden. In addition, you should get rid of sickly plants, which are ravaged either with a disease or by harmful insects.
However, DIY efforts might not be enough if the pests’ population becomes uncontrollable and have the tendency to move into your home.

For the best results, you should seek the help of a pest control company that can get rid of different types of garden pests using proven and customized approaches. They can use either or a combination of chemicals and baits to get rid of garden pests.

Hiring the pros also eliminates the guesswork on your part. There is no trial and error for them because they’re trained and experienced in identifying different pests and proper ways to get rid of them.  They can also provide a quicker result rather than you trying to eradicate the pests yourself can.

Overall, professionals can ensure the maximum effect of a pest control method or treatment by also detecting the main infestation source.
There you have what to know about beneficial, harmful and dangerous insects in your garden. There are some worth keeping and some should be eradicated.