Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Landscape Design and Consultations, Austin

Are you tired of looking at your yard not knowing where to begin? Let me give you 10 great reasons to call me for a landscape design or consultation.

1) Lawn Care

Whether you want to remove your lawn completely or learn why your lawn never seems to be happy, I can help you come up with a solution, watering schedule and fertilization.

2. Plant selection 

From full sun to full shade I know plants. Low water, low maintenance, native and adapted plants and  trees are my specialty. I can also teach you how and when to trim.

3. Outdoor living space

 Allow me to create additional living spaces with clever solutions including stone options and installation details.

4. Privacy

 Have a neighbor you would prefer not to see, or a noise issue that makes being outside unpleasant? Let me show you some plant and design selections that can address your needs with style.

5. Trees

 Oak Wilt is epidemic in our area so I teach you how to properly trim Oaks and all trees, as well as when to do it.

6. Water conservation

 We all have to do our part and I provide valuable money-saving information on water conserving plants, designs and rain barrels.

7. Organic pest control and

fertilization

 I am certified in organic gardening and have. Whole host of great ways to control or improve just about everything. Why use chemicals when there are organic solutions to almost every problem?

8. Design

With my Landscape Consultation, I will teach you to design your own space using basic measurements and the plant selection we compile during our visit. (I can also design your space for you)

9. You can do it yourself or

take educated bids

If you are the type of person who really prefers to do it yourself and just need some direction, a landscape consult is a perfect place to start. I give you step by step instruction including timing and where to purchase the materials you will need. If you plan to have the work done or take bids, you still need to know what you are biding on and what you truly need. An educated consumer is a savvy consumer. My job is to talk you out of “up sells” and unnecessary materials by showing you “all” of your options, not just the most profitable ones for me.

10. I can save you thousands

in costly mistakes

 Lastly, my landscape designs and consultation aren’t to “upsell” you. My only goal is to educate you on your landscape. I help you stay in your budget, save money on choosing the wrong plants and materials and offer alternatives to costly hardscape finishes.

Landscape design and consultation, Lisa LaPaso

Before a consultation and design…

Landscape before my design and installation

Before, you cannot see the huge porch and the windows have no natural light from the crowded, over sized bushes.

After the consultation and full design

After my landscape design and installation

After. Open, inviting, updated! Ready to enjoy, or sell for a premium.

Before: Desolate post-construction, outdated landscape in serious need of some love.

After: A Hill Country landscape indicative of the architectural aspects of the home and the beautiful Texas Hill Country topography.

Xeriscape landscape design, Lisa LaPaso

IMG_0883

Xeriscape landscape design, Lisa LaPaso

Leader limestone saw cut stepping stones.

For the best result, I use only native and adapted plants for our Central Texas planting zones 8a/b. You need to add loads of compost and mulch and ultimately, you need to know how to care for your plants properly so you are set for success.

Best of all, Consultations are really fun and informative. They should be required for every home owner! I provide Online Landscape Consultations through Zoom for $225 for Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Austin, Buda, San Marcos, Driftwood, Wimberly, Kyle or anywhere in Hardiness Zone 8 a/b.
Depending on your area, an in person consultation is $325-$375 for a 30 minute educational “walk and talk”. This service is followed up by a concept sketch, an edited plant list and information packet for you to use throughout your space. 

In the end, should we determine that a full Landscape Desig is needed, the consultation cost goes towards the cost of a detailed sketch or design. The average bed design ranges from $375-500 (for small or builders beds and a consultation) and a full, in color design ranges from $750 to $2000. Please check my list of services for more information.
Xeriscape design, austin, Lisa LaPasoi

Ultimately, a design consultation is a conceptual idea or plan of action with a write up of the details to include my professional recommendations for your property. Additionally, you will receive an edited plant list for your property and sunlight needs.
 You will also receive a list of organic protocols, watering instructions, general lawn and tree care, and planting instructions. Examples of recommended hardscape materials are also provided. 

So you know, Landscape consults are scheduled Monday – Friday mornings from 9:00 to noon. My afternoons are scheduled for drawing. If you would like to contact me to schedule your online or in-person landscape consultation, please send me an email and photos of your space to lisalapaso@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

 

Beneficial Bugs “Get to know your friends”

Lizards, frogs and many beneficial insect eat the destructive pests in your garden. You need to be able to recognize who is who...Amphibians are hyper sensitive to chemicals so always use organics whenever possible.

Lizards, frogs and many beneficial insect eat the destructive pests in your garden. You need to be able to recognize who is who…Amphibians are hyper sensitive to chemicals so always use organics whenever possible.

Beneficial insects play a very important role in our biological warfare. One of the best reasons to employ the bug world  to fight your pest fights is that chemical insecticides in the form of a broad spray or granular broadcast kill the good guys and can make matters worse.  It has also been shown that destructive insects are actually becoming immune to chemical pesticides do to the gross over use in tremendous volume, which is obviously counterproductive in a large number of ways.  Chemicals destroy not just the pests, but people, water and soil too.  It is very important to get to know your friends and foes in the garden.  When you know who is actually working for you, you can make better choices in the way you tackle a potential pest problem.  For example, spraying a pesticide over a large area kills your bees, lady bugs, spiders, lizards and any other soft bodies creature who comes in contact with it.  Do you really want your children and pets around that?  Best part is (not really the best part…being facetious) is that when the destruction is done on land, it dissipates into the air as well…lose, lose.

You can order many bugs online to add to your arsenal, and others like Ladybugs, beneficial Nematodes and Praying Mantis can be purchased at local nurseries and released in your yard.  (How cool is that!)  You can also order them online at The Bug Lady and some natural pesticide at Planet Natural online. Many of your local nurseries will carry much of this as well so always support your local business whenever possible and if they do not carry these items, ask them to do so!

Lady bugs eat Aphids, in fact, an adult Ladybug can eat up to 5000 Aphids in its lifetime. While you may easily recognize a

These are the Aphids being munched on by Lady Bug Larvae...This is why it is important to know who your allies are!

These are the Aphids being munched on by Lady Bug Larvae…This is why it is important to know who your allies are!

lovely Lady Beetle, you may not recognize its eggs that are attached to the bottom of a leave in a yellow egg cluster, or that it’s larvae, that can eat a good amount of Aphids themselves, looks like a tiny ugly alligator (photo right). This is why it so important to know who your allies are.

One example of a pest or visitor I don’t mind sharing with is a caterpillar that will some day be a butterfly. Swallow Tails (caterpillar shown below) love dill and every year I plant plenty so they can have their fill.  However, the Tomato Horn Worm is another story.  While the  Horn Worm will become a Sphinx Moth (Hummingbird Moth) they are voracious and should be controlled as they can eat an entire tomato plant or Penta overnight.  I choose the pick and flick method. Yes, it is just how it sounds, I pick them off the plant and flick them off my property, or I escort them down the road to a field away from my house if my son catches me as he believes you should find them a new home ( and he is right), but  you may choose to employ the Trichogramma Wasp.  This wasp lays it eggs in the caterpillars and many other pests and when the eggs hatch, they feast on the host. Pretty gross really, but after you have lost enough food to the critters…it feels more like tit-for-tat  ;-/  The variety of wasp depends on your location and you can ask for the ones for your area when you order them.

I will be a beautiful Black Swallowtail one day. Please protect me so I can pollinate your flowers later.

I will be a beautiful Black Swallowtail one day. Please protect me so I can pollinate your flowers later.

Now maybe you’re not the buying bugs type, so at the very least you need to get to know who your friends are. There is a list of beneficial bugs you can find on-line, there are plenty of books, and you can find a short list of both good and bad bugs on a handy laminated single page you can buy at any bookstore for about $6. You can keep the page somewhere convenient and when you see a bug you don’t recognize, you can identify if it is a friend or a foe.  If it is a friend, thank him for his kindness ;-), if it is a foe, you will know who it is and you can learn how to attack it. (organically of course )

Now, say you have found a huge breakout of Aphids, (which by the way can be controlled by a hard spray of water from the hose) you can get your Lady Beetles and set them free on that plant/plants, and they will go right to work.  If it is a pest you identify but are unable to locate a beneficial bug to “sick on it”, you can be sure your Praying Mantis will take on the job. They are ravenous and vicious and while they will make good work on the bad bugs, they aren’t choosy and will eat anything in their way, including good bugs or her partners head after she has mated. Ugh

However, if you locate a certain bug and realize that the infestation is too great and or aren’t going to purchase bugs, and you think you need to rely on chemical warfare, than you will know what you are treating and can treat only the affected plants, not the whole yard. You begin of course with organics, but  if the problem persists, you go to the chemicals as a last resort. There truly is an organic remedy for just about everything, so taking a daily stroll through the garden is not only therapeutic, but helps you see there is a problem before it is too big for an organic solution.

If you are on Facebook, please ck out my” Lisa’s Landscape & Design” Page and by pressing the “like” button you will get daily updates about all sorts of great info including pics of beneficial bugs and what they are hungry for.  Here is also a list of the good guys from the Mater Gardeners website.

Happy Gardening !!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design   (“like” me on Facebook!)                                                                                                                                                                 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Check me out of YouTube!

Top 20 Native and Adapted Shade Plants for Austin

Of all the landscape designs I’ve created in last 20 years, shade gardens in Austin are by far the most challenging. I’ve compiled some of my favorite native and adapted shade plants for Austin. We have very little color for shade so it’s Important to use a lot of texture with a splash of color where you can find it.

1)Tropical Salvia 

Tropical Salvia

From sun to shade, low to moderate water. Hummingbirds love it. 

2)Dwarf Ruellia 

Dwarf Ruellia

Another great plan from sun to shade, low water, low maintenance.

3)Soft Caress Mahonia 

Soft Caress Mahonia

Low to moderate water needs, beautiful texture and yellow flowers.

4) Japanese Aurelia 

Japanese Aurelia

Japanese Aurelia

With low to moderate water needs, this interesting plant does beautifully in deep shade to part sun.

5) Possumhaw Holly Tree

Possumhaw Holly with berries

Possumhaw Holly Tree

Thriving in sun to shade, losing its leaves in the winter, exposing the bevy of berries for wildlife. 

6) Fire Bush

Flowering Firebush

Firebush

Deciduous and low water, this is a great way to attract butterflies and hummingbirds in the shade to part sun garden. 

7)American Beauty Berry

American Beauty Berry plant with berries

American Beauty Berry

 

Wildlife love the berry buffet. Low maintenance and growing to 6’, it’s worth every foot and does great in deep shade to part sun.

8) Japanese Maple Tree

Garnet Japanese maple with lemon Balm ground cover, shade plant

Japanese maple varieties for zone 8 can be super hardy in deep shade to part sun. Sporting interesting texture and fall color. 

9) Purple Oxalis 

Flowering Purple Oxalis , shade plant

Purple Oxalis

Lovely purple leaves and lavender flowers cover this low mounding perennial. It’s short stature makes it a great border plant.

10) Blue Plumbago 

Flowering Blue Plumbago

Blue Plumbago

The bright green leaves and glow in the dark blue flowers are spectacular in shade to part sun. 

11) Jerusalem Sage

Blooming Jerusalem Sage

Jerusalem Sage

Yellow flowers, like crowns along the stems. With true sage colored leaves with silver undersides, this plant is an all around winner from sun to shade. 

12) Foxtail Fern

Foxtail Fern

Fortail Fern

I love this funky plant in pots and the landscape from sun to shade which makes it an incredibly versatile plant. 

13) White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset

White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset

White Mistflower

Incredibly fragrant, with fuzzy white flowers and uniquely shaped leaves. It’s a great choice from part sun to shade. 

14) Flax Lily Dianella 

Flaxlily Dianella, shade plants

Flax Lily Dianella

This variegated plant is striking as a border plant or in mass. Producing delicate orchid like flowers, it’s great from shade to part sun. 

15) Liguilaria, Leopard Plant

Flowering Liguilaria , Leopard Plant, shade plant

Liguilaria, Leopard Plant

Loving a wetter soil, this deep shade plant is perfect for a low spot or where drainage is a challenge. 

16) Turks Cap

Flowering Red Turks Cap, shade plant

Turks Cap

I love Turks cap for its ability to thrive in full sun to deep shade with little water and low maintenance. 

17) Dwarf Pittosporum 

Dwarf Pittosporum

Dwarf Pittosporum

Dwarf Pittosporum is an evergreen, low mounding shrub that has bright green, new growth with a deep green background. White fragrant flowers in the spring, low water, low maintenance. 

18) Mountain Laurel

Flowering Mountain Laurel

Mountain laurel tree

Most people don’t realize how well Mountain Laurel do in the shade, but it’s true!

19) Giant Liriope

Giant Liriope, shade plant

Giant Liriope

Unlike its wandering little cousin, the Giant Liriope is a superstar, low water beast in the shade. 

20) Twistleaf Yucca

Twistleaf Yucca

Twistleaf Yucca

Native, low water and light reflecting. 

These are just some of the many beautiful shade plants for Austin and the surrounding area. If you would like help with shade plant selections or a thoughtful landscape design for shade, contact me at lisalapaso@gmail.com!

Examples of My Shade Garden Designs

Shade garden. Landscape Designer, Lisa LaPaso

Shade plant landscape design, Lisa LaPaso,

Shade garden design, Lisa LaPaso, landscape Designer, austin

Deer resistant, shade garden for Austin, landscape designer Lisa LaPaso

Shade garden for Austin, landscape designer, Lisa LaPaso

Shade garden for wet soil, Lisa LaPaso, landscape designer

Xeriscape garden with dry creek bed

I hope you’re ensured to try some of these great plants no to explore the many native and adopted options for our region.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

”Saving the Planet One Yard at Time”

 

Evergreen Plants for the Austin Landscape

While in the middle of a Central Texas “winter”, you’ll quickly notice a pattern of freezing/thawing/hot/repeat. If you think it’s confusing for you, imagine how your plants feel. Evergreen plants for Austin are more interesting than you may think. 

It’s especially frustrating when plants are in full bloom, then we get a hard freeze and you notice that half of your landscape looks dead and it’s 78° again. This is a good time to reevaluate your landscape and add a balance of evergreen and deciduous for all year impact. 

The good news is that there is a plethora of beautiful evergreen plants for hardiness zone 8 a/b and they’re low water and low maintenance.

Evergreen shrubs

Cotoneaster, 4 x 4+,sun to part shade

Texas Sage, 4 x 6’, sun to part shade

Dwarf Pittosporum, 3 x 3’,sun to shade

Upright and Trailing Rosemary, 3 x 4’ / 2.5 x 2.5, sun

Dwarf Japanese Boxwood 3 x 3.5’, sun to part shade

Dwarf Burford Holly 8 x 8’, sun to part shade

Blooming Perennial Plants

Dwarf Ruellia, 1 x 1’, sun to shade

Blackfoot Daisy 2 x 2’, sun

PInk Skullcap, 1.5 x 2.5, sun

Loropetalum ranging from 2 x 2’ – 6 x 8’, sun to part sun

Texas Betony 2 x 2.5’, sun to part sun

Pink Yarrow, 2 x 2’ , sun to part sun

Purple bearded iris, 2 x 2’, sun to part shade

Four Nerve Daisy, 1 x 1’ , sun

Pink Creeping Phlox, 6” x 1’, sun

Salvia Greggi, 3 x 3’, sun

Gopher Plant

Gopher Plant 2 x 2’, sun

Trailing Lantana

Trailing Lantana, 8”x 2’, sun to shade

Interesting Textures

Texas Sotol

Texas or Grey Sotol, 4 x 4’, sun

Japanese Aurelia

Japanese Aurelia, 5 x 5’, shade

Yucca Rostrata

Yucca Rostrata, 4 x 6’+ , sun

Leatherleaf Mahonia

Leatherleaf Mahonia, 3 x 4’, shade

Paddle Cactus

Paddle Cactus, 5 x 5’ , sun to part shade

Foxtail Fern

Foxtail Fern, 2 x 2’, sun to shade

Soft Caress Mahonia

Shades of Green/Grey

Mix it up with a variation of silver/grey to blue, and texture can help break up the space or define the layout.

Globe Mallow

Agave and Paddle Cactus 3 x 3’ – 5 x 5’ ,sun to part shade 

Powis Castle Artimesia

Powis Castle Artimesia 2 x 2.5’ , sun to part shade

Jerusalem Sage

Jerusalem Sage 3 x 3’ , sun to shade

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller, 2 x 2.5 ,sun to part sun

Russian Sage
Russian Sage, 3 x 3’ , sun to part shade

Twistleaf Yucca

Twistleaf Yucca 2 x 2’+ , sun to shade

Vines and Roses

Evergreen Wisteria

Evergreen Wisteria 20+‘, sun to part shade

Cross Vine

Crossvine ,15×15’, sun to part shade

Peggy Martin Rose

Peggy Martin Rose, 20 x 20’, sun

Drift Rose

Peach drift rose and the Drift Rose series, 3 x 3’, sun 

Flowering Trees

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel Tree, up to 30’, sun to shade

Little Gem Magnolia

Little Gem Magnolia Tree, 10 x 20+’, sun to part shade

I Can Help!

If you’d like help with your evergreen plant & tree selections, contact me @ Lisalapaso@gmail.com for an online or in person Educational ConsultationEducational Consultation or complete Landscape Design.Landscape Design. 

I can assist you with xeriscape, deer resistant plant choices that are native and adapted, low water and low maintenance. There are also many great selections right here on my blog!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Landscape Design for Austin and Zone 8

Right off the bat I want to say how exciting it is for me to have provided Landscape Consultations and Landscape Designs for 20 years in Central Texas. My work never gets boring with such a diverse native and adapted plant pallet. I love creating Landscape Designs for Austin and all of zone 8.

Xeriscape landscape by poolside

Over the years I’ve found that there are solutions for just about every landscape situation. However, challenges like topography, deer and low annual rainfall make it even more important to know where to begin.

This is Xeriscape 

Low water, edible and perennial landscape

Xeriscape means low water landscape, it doesn’t have to mean cactus. Planting like the rainforest with thoughtful layering is what makes a landscape lush and drought tolerant. 

Xeriscape gardening and design

Deer Resistant 

With a unique body of both edible and floral plants and trees, we’re not all locked into a particular look. I like the opportunities to introduce as much plant diversity as I can without creating a need for more maintenance and there are some simple rules to follow to make the most of the plants you choose. 

Deer resistant landscape design

Deer resistant landscape, Austin

I designed the space above for both deer resistance and evergreen properties. This is a predominantly shady/part sun  spot so it’s also important to plant for the correct sunlight. 

Interesting Plants for Sun to Shade

Below, I designed this garden for deep shade and deer resistance as well as low water and low maintenance. Low maintenance means you’ve properly chosen the right size plant or tree and placed it in a suitable space that allows it to grow to maturity. 

Xeriscape Landscape design for shade

Take photos of your space at various times of the day to see exactly how much sunlight your space gets. Full sun plants need at least 6 hours of sun, part sun generally prefer morning sun and shade means shade or filtered light only. 

The space below is half sun and half shade. The goal here was to marry the whole space with plants and hardscape.

Low water, xeriscape design

Privacy

Below is a narrow space in need of privacy. This is where a knowledge of plants and growth habits are crucial for success. Hiring an educated Landscape Designer for challenging spaces is a huge asset over all. 

Evergreen landscape design for privacy

Structural interest should be enhanced by the landscape, not taken over by it.

Functionality 

Landscapes in Austin often require clever solutions and they need to provide feature as well as function. Using primarily local stone and native plants allow us to quickly tie into the Hill Country landscape that makes Austin so special. 

Rock and stone landscape design

Cantilever Bridge suspended on Metal Poles give the illusion of floating steps over a dry creek bed.

Clever design requires clever solutions that make sense for the client and the home. Our topography requires a lot of drainage solutions and they need to make sense with the home and the landscape. 

Landscape design for drainage

Design to the Style of the Home,

With an Eye Towards the Future

Xeriscape design for Texas hill country

Modifying a Mid Century home, with a modern, I Hill Country Design brings this beautiful space back to life. 

Modern Landscape Design

Unique Plants and Trees

I use my 20 years of experience in the Texas landscape to design with the most unique plants and trees for sun to shade. I design with only native and adapted plant for the best chance at success.

Desert Willow Tree for low water

Desert willow, 

Examples of My Designs

Who am I?

Lisa LaPaso, Landscape Design and educational Consultant

I am a Master Gardener, certified Designer, and water conservationist who is well versed in the Central Texas landscape. Not only do I know the plants, I have worked with them through 15 years of installations and my full service maintenance service. I love what I do and it shows. 

Contact Me

If you’re interested in a thoughtful, educational forward Landscape Design for Austin and the surrounding area, contact me at Lisalapaso@gmail.com, or text or call me @512-733-7777.

I look forward to hearing from you, 

Lisa LaPaso

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

5 Best Gardening Resolutions for the New Year

The new year signals a fresh start and many of us make promises we hope to keep. That being said, I have some easy solutions to positive gardening changes that will be fail safe accomplishments for the new year.

Xeriscape landscape design Austin

Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse

More than ever, it’s important to stop the garbage train. We need to find long term purpose for everything we buy and be creative to keep them from the landfill. Sustainable gardening isn’t just about protecting the earth with organics, it’s also about making the most of our garden with practical choices. 

Xeriscape landscape design, Austin

Retire an old headboard.

Patio and landscape design Austin

Buy limestone and local river rock which are cheaper to buy and haven’t been trucked across the country. Salvage old patio furniture by repainting it to last for years.

Xeriscape, Design, Austin

Make a bench from unused stone

Xeriscape, Design, Austin

Buy or make metal gates and trellis that can be used to add interest to the landscape and last for decades.

Patio and seating area

Recycle used furniture by painting new colors and using it in interesting ways.

Drought, tolerant, garden, and meditation. Space

Collect used materials that can be found for free on Craig’s list or neighborhood groups to design small spaces.

Go Organic

Organic fertilizers and treatments

Buy only organic fertilizer, weed killer and treatments of just about anything. These can be found at any big box store or local nursery. They’re cheaper and safer for you and the planet.

Organic weed and grass killer

There are many convenient, no mix solutions.

Organic weed control

To save money, but the solutions that need to be diluted.

Horticultural molasses organic fertilizer

Mycorrhizal fungi loves the sweet stuff and your garden can’t live without them.

Liquid seaweed organic fertilizer

Keep this on hand at all times as it’s an excellent all around fertilizer and cellular strengthening tool. 

Hasta Grow for plants, liquid feed

There are well balanced organics for lawn, trees, plants and pests, so pass by the chemical isle and seek them out. 

Compost, Compost, Compost 

Compost bins

You don’t have any excuses here because there are a slew of compost bins that can be purchased or hand made. 

This is your simple way of keeping food scraps out of the landfill.

Healthy soil amended with compost

In return for a little effort, you create this chocolate gold.

Bulk, organic compost

Compost should be used everywhere. If you don’t make your own, buy some from the local nurseries.

Bagged, organic compost

Reduce the Lawn

You need to expand your garden every chance you get. Reduce water hogging lawn and replace it with low water native and adapted plants and pervious cover.

Drought, tolerant, landscape, design

Remove all the grass or leave more intentional lawn space. 

Drought, tolerant, landscape, design

If you have shade and grass won’t grow at all, that’s your cue to convert to xeriscape beds. 

Xeriscape garden for shade

Reduce lawn by enlarging existing beds.

Xeriscape garden for poolside bed

Expand outdated beds with more creative solutions. 

Create sitting spaces that take up grass without the expense of plants. 

Xeriscape garden design

Buy ONLY Native and

Adapted Plants and Trees

Stop buying plants because they’re cute. It’s time we do our homework and everyone has a phone. Next time you see a plant, Google it! If it’s not for your hardiness zone, pass it up.

Edible and perennial landscape design

Perennial plants and edibles can create a landscape with all year interest. 

Flowering gopher plant

Gopher Plant

Make sure your plant choices are for our zone and are perennial which is far more sustainable.

Potted plants

Native and adapted plants make great potted plants too.

Flowering Century Plant

Century plant flower

There are a myriad of interesting plants in all shapes and sizes from sun to shade.

Flowering Shrimp Plant

Shrimp Plant, Lisa LaPaso

Shade plants can be lovely too. 

Fireman’s Cap Coral Bean, flowering

Fireman’s Cap Coralbean

Look for unusual plants and trees instead of the same, ol’ same ol’.

Kidneywood Tree in bloom

Kidneywood Tree

Native Flowering trees feed local bees and wildlife. 

Mountain Laurel in bloom

Mountain laurel tree

Grow More Food

Herb gardens don’t have to look like one. 

Harvest of assorted tomatoes

Tomatoes are abundant in the Central Texas garden and you’ve never tasted a better one than the one you grew yourself.

Harvest of pomegranate, apple and pears

Fruit trees do very well in Central Texas as long as they are for your hardiness zone, and chill hours. 

Assorted Pepper harvest

A typical fall crop of assorted peppers from as few as 3 to 5 plants

Try planting peppers, cruciferous plants, cucumbers, peas, beans, grapes and berries to name a few. Some will work and som won’t, but it will be fun trying. 

So, now you have some great ways to commit to positive change in the New Year. Not only are they simple, but they are powerful and effective in saving the planet one yard at a time. Cheers to new journeys in gardening and to making the new year better frost everyone. 

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

 

Central Texas Winter Gardening Tips

Most people who garden for passion or exercise are always looking for a winter project, but whether you’re an average gardener or a nut job like me who can’t wait until spring, your plants will benefit from you being on pause.

Here are my top 5 reasons to let your plants relax over the winter and you could chill too.

Leave the Leaves

Unless you have hard, Live Oak leaves which take forever to break down, you should leave most of the dried leaves in your beds and simply mulch over them making sure to expose tree and plant roots from suffocation. 

Wait Until Spring to Cut Back Your Plants

Wait until after the last frost then check for green before you trim. Scratch the surface of your woody plants to test for life. Keep heading up the stem until you see yellow or brown and cut back at that level after the last frost. This prevents unnecessary cut back.

Watch for new growth

Once you see the telltale signs of your re-emerging babies in early spring, cut back the brown and throw it in your composter or compost bags that are picked up by the City of Austin. Over the winter months, this brown cover protects your replant roots until warmer weather, so leave them be.

Wildlife Is Counting on The Shelter

Don’t remove winter protection too soon because lizards, bees, bug and insect eggs are holding over here and the debris protects the roots of the plants in heavy freeze.

Search for Problem Weeds and Junk Trees

Above, the green patch in the lawn is POA weed and needs to be removed as it appears. You can faintly see the seed head on this small patch and it becomes a monster quickly. Educate yourself on the weeds you see and use the free phone apps to learn the good guys from the bad ones.

Look for uninvited plants and trees over the winter that should be removed before the next growth period. 

Free Food for Wildlife!

Lastly, the seedpods left behind on dried winter plants feed birds and wildlife who provide a show in return. 

Top 5 Things You Can/Should Do Over the Winter

Watch and address the water patterns.

Address your drainage issues and be sure to keep the runoff going in the same direction as the existing grade. French drains and gutters are a great winter project.

Check the Mulch Level on Your Trees

This is an example of what your berm or tree ring should NOT look like. All tree rings on mature trees should be completely flat and away from the trunk allowing the bell shape at the base to be clearly seen. 

Mulch rings around mature trees should be perfectly flat and allow the base of the tree trunk to expand .

Create New Beds for Spring!

Prepare new beds or remove sick or dying trees, shrubs or plants that have been more work than pleasure. Give yourself a clean slate for the spring. 

Winter Is a Great Time for Hardscapes

Winter is a great time to install hardscapes such as patio, pool and stones or metal. 

Limestone patio, river rock sidewalk

Dry creek beds can add both feature and function and they’re great winter projects for Central Texas. Above, the river rock will serve as a new sidewalk along the driveway and below, the rock will serve as drainage. 

Dry creek beds

Plant Trees, Roses and Berries.

Winter is a great time for trees, roses, berry bushes and for preparation of spring veggie beds. 

Peggy Martin Rose

Thornless Blackberry

Check the Welfare of Your Shrubs and Plants

Trim trees, shrubs and plants that have broken or down facing limbs.

In conclusion, there is something to do all year in the Central Texas garden, but the important take away is to know when the proper timing is most effective. 

Embrace the winter garden for its seeds, structure and diversity of wildlife. Sit back and restore your energy for spring planting or choose the cool weather for some rock work and preparation. Either way, spring will come when it’s ready and there will be plenty to do then. 

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design 

“Saving the Planet One yard at a Time”

 

%d bloggers like this: