Posts Tagged With: go green

Go Green – Plant a Living Privacy Fence

how and why to plant a privacy hedgeWe’ve all experienced it. The horrible view from our kitchen window staring straight at a neighbor’s hot tub. While they may be nice people, do you really want to intrude on their private time? Go green! Plant your privacy fence rather than building one. We’ve got a few suggestions to help you make it happen.

Hedges Add Interest and Privacy

If you want more privacy or to add interest to your landscape, a privacy hedge is the ticket. A living fence does much more than just shelter you from prying eyes.

A Privacy Hedge:

  • blocks noise coming from the street and neighborhood.
  • acts as a natural windbreak.
  • can be a snow fence, reducing snow build up around your house.
  • turns your garden into a secluded retreat.

Location Dictates Plants to Use

Starting a privacy hedge will take patience. While there are fast growing varieties of trees, shrubs and vines, none will reach the height or thickness you desire quickly. The location of your fence dictates the size and type of trees and shrubs to use.

Avoid Excessive Maintenance

An important consideration is how much time you want to devote to maintaining your hedge. In formal gardens boxwoods and other shrubs need to be regularly groomed to maintain their precise shapes. If this is not for you then select plants that give you the natural shapes you desire.

How to Plant a Privacy Hedge

  • Select the type of tree or shrub that works best for the location – Do you want it to provide a screen all year long (go with an evergreen)? Or do you want it to flower and give you privacy during certain times of the year?
  • Decide on the height – Set up a ladder to help visualize the approximate height of the plants needed. If you want a 6-foot tall fence, then planting a tree that grows 10-15 feet is only going mean more maintenance.
  • Determine the width – If you have limited space, select trees and shrubs that can be planted closer together. Some species need more room for roots to spread in order to thrive.
  • Density – If you want a thick hedge, plant several staggered rows, which will allow them to fill in.
  • Map it out – Don’t eyeball your planting. Mark off a row with paint or wooden stakes and string to keep your hedge straight.
  • Train your plants – Trim the tops and sides a few times a year after they establish. Keep the shape wider at the bottom than the top to allow sunlight to reach lower leaves.

Fast Growing Plants Can Often Be Invasive

There are many popular plants to use in making a privacy hedge. Most will take one or two seasons to fully establish. Be careful when selecting fast growing plants like bamboo and Japanese Barberry. Some varieties are considered invasive and may not be approved for use in your community.

Best Trees and Shrubs for Hedges 

  • Arborvitae
  • Boxwood
  • Flowering Quince
  • Sawara False Cypress
  • Japanese Euonymus
  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Privet
  • Oleander
  • Variegated False Holly
  • Korean Lilac
  • Hybrid Yew
  • Canadian Hemlock
  • Rose of Sharon

Vines Good Option for Privacy Screens

Use wire fences or screens that serve as supports for vines like Ivy, Clematis or Hops. Privacy hedges can also be used to hide compost bins or those large green power boxes.

Skip the Bland Privacy Fence and Go Green!

A living privacy hedge is a great way to add color and texture to your garden while providing the privacy you crave. Before you get out the post hole digger and invest in a bland white fence, think about the eco-friendlier option. Soon the sight of your Speedo clad neighbor stepping into his hot tub will be a distant memory.

Expert Advice

From wheelbarrows and shovels to trimmers and tillers, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY home project. Looking for other Fall gardening projects? Our blog, Landscaping Ideas to Create a Fabulous Fall Yard, has some great suggestions for ways to spruce things up around your home. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Categories: DIY Projects, Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Excuses! Start Composting

You read and research a lot of material on how to start composting and still you are hesitant. “It’s too hard; it costs too much; is it worth it?” are a few of the same excuses you told yourself at the start of your last DIY project. You successfully tackled those challenges and with our help you will master the art of composting as well. Time to get started!

The Importance of a DIY Compost BinWhy Should We Compost?

  • Our landfills are running out of room. Twenty-five percent of the garbage in the U.S. is yard trimmings and food scraps. That is nearly 60 million tons of organic materials that we could be turning back into nutrients for our soil.
  • It saves money. Instead of spending funds on manmade compost and fertilizers, making your own is just common sense…and cost-effective, too.
  • It helps you create a healthier, thriving garden by suppressing diseases and pests.
  • It reduces greenhouse gases. Landfills break down anaerobically (without oxygen) which produces methane gas. These emissions are far more toxic than CO2 gases.
  • It reduces the chemicals entering our rivers and lakes as water runs off from the land.
  • It eliminates the toxic elements that are created in landfills that seep into our ground water.

Composting is Easy

If you can expend the energy to gather yard waste in the first place, then you are halfway to composting. Simply deposit the waste into a compost bin or pile and there you have it. There are plenty of DIY compost bin designs on the internet for you to build. If you’d rather keep it simple – start with a compost pile. Find a semi-shady spot in your yard where the pile will get some sun but won’t dry out. The pile needs to be able to get enough rain to keep it damp but not completely wet. Keep your pile away from the base of trees so that the tree roots will not be affected by the decomposition process of the pile.

For more information on composting check out our previous blogs, Go Green: Create a Compost Collection Pile and 10 Good-Sense Tips for Building a Compost Bin.

Invite the Bacteria and Bugs In

Compost is good for your yard and the environment. Bacteria, bugs, worms and fungi will soon be enjoying the fruits of your labor and helping to break down the waste into usable humus or nutrients for your lawn or garden. Using compost in your garden helps plants to grow stronger and produce higher yields. It will also help suppress diseases and pests.

No Odor? No Problems

Still concerned that an open compost pile will give off noxious smells and attract pests? Only compost done wrong stinks. Too much water or not enough air flow through a pile can often be the culprits. Turning your pile regularly with a pitch fork helps break up the clumps of material that may be too wet.

Bury the Food Scraps

Noticing flies buzzing around your pile? They are after the food waste. Always bury your food scraps under a layer of grass clippings or other vegetation. This will also help keep rats and other rodents from being a problem. You can sprinkle lime or calcium over the pile to neutralize odors and help speed up the decomposition.

Start Your Compost Pile Off Right

Layering the materials in your compost pile is the best way to start it out on the right foot. Start with a layer of organic material (leaves and grass clippings) followed by animal manures, fertilizers and starters. Finish up with a layer of top soil. Keep layering until you get a good base for your compost pile. You do not need to layer materials after this. Just sit back and let the magic happen.

Composting – Good All the Way Around

Think of composting as organized garbage removal. Besides being good for the environment and your wallet, it is completely beneficial to the health of your yard and garden. So quit making excuses and get busy composting. You’ll be happy you did.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your composting projects. From wheel barrows and shovels to rakes and other landscaping tools, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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