In today's world, where environmental consciousness is on the rise, planting a pollinating garden has become a popular and responsible trend. By creating a habitat that nurtures our local pollinators, we not only help them thrive but also contribute to the overall health of our ecosystem. There are a few valuable insights I want to share on how we can make our gardens and landscapes more welcoming to pollinators, and I’ll be emphasizing the importance of focusing on the right food sources, trees as host plants, and year-round considerations. So let's dive in and discover how we can play a crucial role in supporting our local pollinators.
Today we’re going to talk about how to pick a good contractor for your next outdoor home project and what possible red flags you should look for before hiring someone to fill that role.
To make sure we didn’t miss anything, we sat down with our supplier, Jacob, from Yorktown Materials. Jacob works closely with contractors and homeowners alike, so he has a unique view of the industry and had a lot of great information to share!
Our goal is to educate others about what to look out for and what questions you should ask before hiring a contractor for your outdoor space. After all, you’re about to invest your hard earned money into a space that YOU have to live in, so you need to choose the right person to get the job done!
Are you landscaping around the ugly parts?
It’s not uncommon to have something in the yard you want to hide. Utility boxes, telephone poles, fire hydrants, maybe a power box. Unfortunately, these are often in the middle of the yard, creating an unsightly feature in a place where you are trying to relax and enjoy nature.
For a lot of people, the prevailing wisdom might be to plant a group of bushes around these utilities to hide them. Some use a clump of flowering drift roses or maybe some low Ligustrum, I even see some grasses with a boulder and river rock placed around unwanted yard elements.
I usually discourage from this practice. Even if the plants add beauty to the yard, placing them right next to the object you are trying to hide often draws even more attention to it. Sure, there might be a beautiful bed of white roses...but you'll also notice the power box behind the bush as you enjoy your flowering plant. Even worse, in the winter, flowers and bushes are often bare, which creates layers of objects that you'd rather draw attention away from instead of highlighting them!
So the question reminds: how can you hide ugly parts of your yard or installations that you wish you could move? My vote might surprise you: just leave them alone! Instead, spend time and effort creating an amazing landscape at the front of the house. A welcoming entrance and landscaping can pull attention to your home, which in turn draws the eyes away from those yard elements that you wish would just disappear.
Here are a few examples of some homeowners who did just that using outdoor lighting, beautiful landscaping, stunning patio designs, and more!
Recently, Micah got to appear on the Hampton Roads show to talk about all the various options for outdoor lighting. He covers everything from the type of lights we use (low-voltage lighting that takes no more power than a cell phone!) to the surprisingly small number of lights we typically use and how these lights compliment water features that we install.
Watch this short video and let us know what surprised you about the segment!
Welcome to southeastern Virginia, specifically the Tidewater region! We love our sandy soil near the coast, but a little further inland, the easy digging can come to an abrupt end when you hit clay or a clay blend. Planting in the clay soil that Hampton Roads has to offer is difficult, and establishing plants is even harder. I hear many friends say they have a black thumb and then give up. In reality, they are just dealt a poor hand.
Spring is in the air! It's time to plant grass!
Actually, it's not.
[Did you hear the sound of that record scratching?!]
To clarify- you can definitely plant grass in the spring, but you may not get the long term results you're hoping for. The best time to plant cool season grasses (fescue) in the fall. The cooler temperatures we have during the fall months allow the grass to germinate, establish, and build strong roots through the winter.
When grass seed is planted in the spring, however, your new lawn can’t catch a break before the summer heat kicks in. The grass seed will look great and fill in well, but because the roots aren't fully established, the heat will stress the new fescue plants. The density of the grass will then fall off during the summer, and patchy areas can form, requiring more seed.
Growing a lawn takes time, so don't give up when you don't see immediate results. If you're starting from scratch, be ready for it to take 18-24 months to fully establish. If you already have some existing healthy turf, expect about a year to get it built up. Here are some ways to ensure that when springtime comes, your yard is looking its best.
This article is intended to bring attention to local pollinators, and show how focusing on honey bees does not solve "the bee problem".
Managed honey bees are not in decline.
Most people know the danger that honeybees face, and I have been wondering for years if honeybees are in danger of extinction. I'll preface this by saying- I’m not a scientist or a botanist. These are my observations from studying this situation over the years. The bottom line is, from the research I have found, honeybees are not in true danger of becoming extinct.
I have a chart below documenting the total number of colonies in the United States. It does indeed indicate fluctuation in the number of national colonies, but not with enough variance to support colony collapse disorder (CCD) as a widespread threat. It actually shows an increase in the total number of colonies. I believe that the continued awareness regarding pollinators as a whole has been beneficial, but could also have the potential to be used for other agendas. Again, the net publicity has been good- but it can also have some side effects (which I cover a bit later on).
I often get asked what goes into creating a landscape design. Honestly, it's a hard question to answer. Every space has so many variables! The terrain and soil composition can vary wildly from property to property. There is a dizzying array of plant and tree options, as well as material choices. The way the sun hits each spot in the yard must be taken into account when selecting plants, as well as considering the drainage situation in each area. Some slopes bring moisture to a space, while others take it away. Additionally, existing structures and trees will need to be incorporated into the new space.
Even after considering material options and environmental variance, there is then the question of personal preference. Just as every landscape designer has their signature trees, shrubs and perennials, most clients also have their own favorites. All these variables aside, there are still some general rules of thumb for landscaping that I apply to just about every space I design.
Are you struggling with what to plant in your pond, pondless waterfall, or fountain? The right plants can take an ordinary water feature and make it simply extraordinary. They can take a basic water feature and turn it into an oasis!
The best part? The benefits of adding plants go beyond simple aesthetics. The right plants can keep your water crystal clear by absorbing excess nutrients in the water.
How is a koi pond actually installed in a yard? Here's a timelapse covering a half-day installation of an aquascape feature, including excavation, adding the liner and skimmer, and more. If you want the ultimate YouTube pond installation idea, look no farther!
Corrugated pipe vs. PVC pipe: which one is better for drainage?
Pros of corrugated pipe:
It is cheap, very flexible, comes in large rolls, and requires no adapters to install.
Cons of corrugated pipe:
Ridges on the inside allows debris to easily clog the pipe.
Pros of PVC pipe:
It is smooth and does not easily clog.
It is typically the better choice between corrugated pipe and PVC pipe.
Cons of PVC pipe:
It requires adapters to get around bends, it only comes in 10-foot segments, and it is more expensive.
So which one should you choose? Watch the video below for our conclusion, and tips on installing corrugated pipe and PVC pipe for drainage!
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About Easton Outdoors
We started out as the neighborhood lawn boys – a group of high school friends trying to make some pocket change. It soon became more. We realized how much we enjoyed landscaping. Over the years, we've transformed hundreds of properties, beautified countless landscapes, and made many homeowners proud. This has become our passion!