Are you tired of looking at your yard not knowing where to begin? Let me give you 10 great reasons to call me for an educational landscape consultation.
- 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: I will teach you to design your own space using basic measurements and the plant selection we compile during our visit.
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 any bids you need to know what you are biding on and what you truly need. An educated consumer is a bad businesses worst nightmare. 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..
10. I can save you thousands in costly mistakes: Since I am not selling you anything, my only goal is to educate you on your landscape. I help you stay in your budget, save money on unnecessary plants and materials and offer alternatives to costly hardscape finishes.
Before a consultation…
After the design consultation
Before: Desolate post-construction, outdated landscape in serious need of some love.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.
Add the best plants for our Central Texas planting zones 8a and 8b, education on soil and care and you are set for success!
Consultations are really fun and informative. They should be required for every home owner! I provide Online Landscape Consultations through Zoom 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 $295 for a 30 minute educational “walk and talk” followed up by a write up, concept sketch and edited plant list for you to use throughout your space.
Should a full design or sketch concept be needed, the consultation cost goes towards the cost of a sketch or design. The average design sketch ranges from $375-500 (less for small or builders beds) and a full, in color design ranges from $750 to $2000. Please check my list of services for more information.
A design consultation is a conceptual idea or plan of action with a write up of the details we discuss and my professional recommendations for your property, including photo evidence as needed. You will receive an edited plant list for your property and light needs, you will also receive a list of organic protocols, watering instructions, general lawn and tree care, planting instructions as well as timing and a list of materials I recommend.
A design sketch includes a full plan for a small space, (great for courtyards and builders beds) and a full design covers large areas like a full front and/or back yard including plants in color and to full scale.
Landscape consults are scheduled Monday – Friday mornings from 8:00 to 12:30. If you would like to contact me to schedule your landscape consultation, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you!
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
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.
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’s Landscape & Design (“like” me on Facebook!)
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
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Personally, I’m not a big family of the summer months and I never have been. I most definitely am a fall and spring girl as that is when gardening is most abundant and there is work to be done, and that quite frankly gets me excited about the new season and the new year. However, summer maintenance is unavoidable and for those of you who prefer the hot months and enjoy being out in your space, mosquitoes are a real pain in the ass to put it bluntly. Particularly in Texas where we like to grow them big and hungry. I have had my share of experience in the Central Texas landscape and apparently, I am delicious.
Garlic chives, evergreen and perennial
Garlic Chives are an excellent Culinary plant to use as both a repellent and an edible. They produce a beautiful purple spiked flower and long green leaves that stay evergreen all year. The garlic and onion smell they produce are a real turn off for mosquitoes and planted around your seating area can be a great deterrent as well as others in the Allium family.
The leaves can be cut all the way down to the base of the plant and used for mosquito repellent in your pocket or person, and it will probably repel vampires as well. Maybe even other people if they don’t like the smell of garlic.
Assorted thyme is not only a great edible perennial for Central Texas but it’s a great mosquito deterrent as well. Placed on your person, and a taste while you’re at it. Crush it into your palm and spread all over your clothes or skin.
Basil is so nice I’m covering it twice, and I could list 5 different kinds that will grow in zone eight alone, but the Sweet and Thai basil are for sure my favorites, and they are powerful mosquito repellent’s as well as digestive champions.
Cilantro is a cool weather plant for Austin Texas. It may actually start to come back late fall and early winter, and they produce all the way until it starts to get into about the 80s. This makes an excellent potted plant as well, so if you don’t have room in your beds to throw some seed in the fall, you can always buy the plants and stick them in some pots for fresh Cilantro and a convenient mosquito repellent. As you see above when they do go to seed they produce beautiful white flowers that are a huge butterfly attraction and if you collect the seeds you can have them for years to come and sometimes you’re really lucky and it reseeds itself and free money grows in your soil.
Spearmint is a power house herb but it can also take over your space. Mints are best planted in contained beds or container gardens. Full to part sun and very low water once established. Must be crushed to deter pests but who doesn’t enjoy the fresh smell of mint? Oh yeah, Mosquitoes.
A culinary delight amongst other things, the upright or trailing rosemary is deer resistant (as are most herbaceous plants) low water and very low maintenance. It produces lavender flowers in spring and summer and makes a great evergreen hedge that doesn’t require trimming.
Citronella (above) is a fickle plant in Central Texas landscape because it really doesn’t tolerate a hard winter. By keeping it in a pot or in a protected area we can sure make it to the next season, but it’s one of those plants that’s worth re-buying every year because it’s not only beautiful but incredibly fragrant and an excellent mosquito deterrent. I keep them by the doors so when my doggies go out and in they rub against it as well. It’s a must have for me.
Having been raised in a predominately Italian family, then marrying into a Mexican one, Oregano is a culinary given in our family. But most people don’t realize what an excellent groundcover herbs like oregano can be. Spicy Greek oregano outstanding room cover that can take full sun all day and minimal water. Each variety presents its flowers and unique ways delicious, medicinal and mosquito repellent.
Pungent plants in the mint family all have mosquito repellent properties and should be used throughout the space as well as I pots where you spend the most time.
Basil isn’t only delicious, it’s also an excellent deterrent to pests and the oil is toxic to mosquito larvae, so even planting it around your bird bath or pond can be a deterrent from laying eggs. Basil is also effective as a mosquito repellent by crushing the leaves and rubbing them on your skin, putting them in your pockets, or just by chewing them for that matter. By chewing them not only is it good for digestion and refreshing your breath, it also hides the CO2 mosquitoes used to find you from as far as 75 feet away.
Below is an article I wrote several years back for “First for Women” magazine, it demonstrates quite beautifully how you can use potted plants in clever ways around your patio and seating areas to create not only a beautiful visual, but chemical free mosquito solutions that are safe for our families and pets.
No matter what part of the country you live in this is a problem and clearly chemicals are just making it worse. We could be growing mosquito repellent plants, but this is only the beginning. We have to keep water from sitting in stagnet birdbaths, kiddie pools and plant saucers to name a few. A mosquito needs only a spoonful of water to lay eggs. Wildlife safe mosquito dunks and water management are essential
Lemon grass and Lemon Balm (above), both work beautifully as well. Lemon Balm is one of my favorite plants to design with in the sun to shade garden, lemon balm has the most beautiful bright green leaves all year long, and the fragrance is exquisite. A lemonade, almost astringent quality that is very calming and effective.
Having raised two boys with autism, we had a lot of sensory issues including smell. Having an herb that could serve as a calming mechanism as well as a mosquito repellent is a win-win in my book. We need to go back to nature for answers. That being said, plants are still plants and some people will be allergic to the oils, so use sparingly at first until you see that your skin does not react to any of these plant remedies. The best way to test an herb or leaf is to rub it onto the inside of your wrist. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes without issue and you should be good to go, but on the safe side you can always just or stick them in your pocket, handbag, or anywhere on your clothing to prevent exposure to skin.
Below is the Beloved Bee balm, touted for its medicinal value, it is also a valuable tool in the mosquito repelling arsenal. The theme here is form and function.
If you’re as tasty as I am, you will want to create a setting of Clay pots filled with mosquito repelling plants, plants these in beds around your patio or seating areas, create a raised bed specifically for this use and start a new tradition and how you use your space.
You can see clearly that not only will you get beautiful flowers from these various herbs, But many of them are medicinal and edible as well. So if you’re sensitive to chemicals like I am, this can be a great tool for your next outing. Don’t get discouraged, it may take a few tries to see what really work best on you and for you. I find that I really love the citronella leaves, Because not only do they work well for me but I get compliments on what fragrance I am wearing. Anyone who knows me knows I am no fan of perfume, but that is a compliment I will take.
Now go get your mosquito repelling garden on,
Lisa’s Landscape and Design
”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
White flowers play an interesting part in our landscapes in that they are most often fragrant, but delicate which causes them to fade out into a “antiqued” version of themselves. With a variety of sizes and textures, there are lot of low water, low maintenance white flowering plants and trees for hardiness zone 8a/b.
White is elegant and lovely on its own, but it’s also a great contrast with color and is especially interesting at dawn and dusk, or a Moonlight Garden.
Moonflower Duranta is night blooming and incredibly fragrant which attracts Hummingbird Moths, or Sphinx Moth for a floor show at dusk.
Below is a fabulous Kidneywood Tree that is not only a beating display of tiny leaves in a silvery green, but white flower spikes that are so fragrant they permeate the entire space.
There is a variety of plants and trees with white flowers and sometimes an interesting contrast Like red, orange or yellow centers, the white flowers can be a stand alone or a backdrop to an array of colors and textures that are complimented by the use of white or silvers.
Texture plays really well in dappled light or shade, so white can be a great accent or planted in mass for affect.
White is not technically a color, but a shade. This plays beautifully with variegated plants as they are void of color where the white stripes begin.
The Anacacho Orchid is also deer resistant as are each of the plants live listed here, but anyone in Central Texas knows, if deer are hungry, they’ll eat anything in a hardship.
Much like the Anacacho, the next plant (below) is another fragrant flower that fills the space with a scent somewhere along the line of vanilla or gardenia.
Another super aromatic tree is the Little Gem Magnolia. Shown below as an espalier, the tree form reaches 15 to 20 feet in height and 8-10 feet wide. Best of all, it’s evergreen!
Flowers like the white echinacea (below), white Plumbago, white mealy Sage or Salvia Greggi, you won’t be short on choices.
Many herbs have white flowers like sweet basil, cilantro and onion, which when allowed to bloom make beautiful specimens in the appropriate season.
Combinations of variegated leaves and white flowers can also make for a striking combination. Many varieties are evergreen as well which makes them equally desirable in the landscape.
White can also add drama. Shapes, texture and shades of green all create a story. To tell the story of your life, do your homework on the native and adapted plants and trees for your area. Austin Texas is in hardiness zone 8 a/b so always look up a plant you like, before your buy.
I love crepe myrtles and this Natches is one of my all time favorites because it is disease resistant and lightly fragrant, and it sports beautiful fall colors and amber bark during growth periods.
Each plant attracts different pollinators, blooms at different cycles, provides seeds or berries for food and remains evergreen or sleep briefly for a recharge. They are all perfect for the Xeriscape garden and provide years of happiness.
If you were struggling to find plants for your space and are ready for an educational landscape consultation or complete landscape design you can reach out to me at Lisalapaso@gmail.com.
Lisa’s Landscape and Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time “
The well known Pride flag was originally designed with 8 colors, each with an intention and was created to invoke emotion. Much like a landscape design, tapestry or any work of art, color is used to add context, to draw attention and to provoke empathy, understanding, enlightenment and idealism.
Much like the flag of the United States, certain colors raise emotions, inspire memories, yield caution, authority, royalty or wealth.
Wealth to my mind is the colors of the rainbow. A celebration of all of God’s many gifts of arrays the human eye can adore, but more importantly, attract wildlife and pollinators from a distance. This combination of color celebrates the uniqueness each color represents as does the Pride Flag for its celebration of the unique tapestry of people that make our country and community a whole.
when designing your space, choose colors that represent you and experiment with opposing colors to create drama and interesting contrast. Express yourself in a wash of color, texture, scent and structure. Our individualism is what makes each space so special. We are fortunate to have colors in hardiness zone 8 a/b that range from pink, red, orange, yellow green, silver, variegated, blue and purple.
Down the line of colors from the original design, we celebrate Hot Pink. This color was chosen to represent sexuality and nature is certainly celebrating it, so why shouldn’t we.
Red was used to celebrate life, and there isn’t a single person or flower that doesn’t deserve that.
Orange is the symbol of healing. Our world is in more need of that than ever before and it’s good to be reminded that it begins with us.
yellow is the color of sunlight, which without, rainbows wouldn’t be possible.
Obviously, green is the color of nature. My favorite color since I was a kid (along with red). Mother Nature was very clever to give each plant a unique color and texture to identify the many layers of green in nature and the landscape is a perfect place to embrace them all.
The original Pride flag also included turquoise (art), indigo (serenity)and violet (spirit). Variations of blue/green, lavender, purple, light to dark blues and these colors represented as creative, peaceful and heavenly colors.
All together they create the most magical spaces where each color is as unique to itself as the collaboration is work of art.
Sometimes our rainbows are doubled and they are blessings worth counting and celebrating. 🌈 ❤️♥️❤️
Lisa’s Landscape and Design
“Learn the ropes or work with dopes”. That’s mine, but you can steal it, and I hope you recite it to memory. If I save one person with this blog from an unscrupulous contractor, or self proclaimed “landscaper” who delivers the wrong plants for the right job, or pulls the “bait and switch” method of bidding, I’ve done my job for the karma police.
The chicken scratch bid above is the least you should expect from anyone working in your landscape. Even this bid is vague however, because it doesn’t list specific plants or trees, it also doesn’t state the length of the job or the starting date.
Before you hand over a check, card or any cash, this is what you ask for:
1) Every deal is in writing and there are no exceptions.
2) Every bid must include detail of materials needed to complete the job. You should have the linear footage, tons or approximate yards of each material, or pallets to be used on your property, and of course, wo/man hours. You should also see a specific list of plants including mature size and sunlight requirements, and they should be native perennials or real close to it. This is also where you account for deer resistant, evergreen, etc.
3) Ask for samples of all of the materials to be used.
4) study the samples over the course of a full day. Colors of materials can change wildly from sunrise to sunset so check the choices against the house and adjacent Hardscapes before it’s too late…
5) Get a starting date and hold them to it, but don’t be impatient. A hurried client is a vulnerable one so let them think it’s no big hurry, let them set a date, then expect them to be on time and professional.
6) Get a completion date and get this in writing. If weather is an issue you can expect delays, but if the contractor is lazy, you can refer to your contract for details and negotiations.
7) Use a trusted contractor in the first place. This should be a solid referral from a friend or colleague or someone whose phone number and business are public. Check the online feedback, look over their past work and ask a lot of questions when needed for clarification.
8) Finally, but this is really number 1, start by educating yourself on each process. Rather it’s with an Educational Consultation or Landscape Design like I offer, or an online design program, blog source or YouTube channel, do your homework first. literally start from the ground up and my blog and many others provide a wealth of free information on how to do just that.
A little due diligence up front, you can create both a lovely relationship and a lovely space which all any good designer/contractor could ask for. Remind them that you are “Happy” to give them a great review on their page right up front, and that lets them know that you will also leave a bad one, because you’re savvy like that.
Now go take on that project like a boss,
Lisa’s Landscape and Design
”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time “
Religion is a topic most businesses steer clear of and frankly, I think religion is very personal and should be treated as such. Landscape Design is also very personal and now that we’re in our yards more than ever, our space should reflect who we are and allow space for prayer, meditation or simple appreciation of the healing powers of nature.
Rather it’s a space on your deck or a tiny spot in the landscape, You can take a lot from a few moments outside, surrounded by nature. As more of us are home and feeling the stress of the world, it’s as important as ever to build a garden for food, a patio for prayer or meditation, or a simple space to experiment with pots and textured plants.
Many people envision meditation spaces to look like one, while this is true, it can also look like this…
It simply requires space for reflection. Small or large spaces with color and symbolism, or even a simple collection of pots can be a place on your patio for meditation and appreciation. Gardens are healing and I know this to be true firsthand. I’ve raised two boys with Autism who are young adults now. I couldn’t have survived without my garden and a little thyme…
Both literally and figuratively, the tranquility of water can create a space of reflection, conversation or meditation.
Small water features are pretty low maintenance and highly rewarding in the way of sound and plant profile.
Above, momma bunny is munching the oregano while her babies take a dip in the small water feature.
Below, an attached water feature that is low maintenance and a work of art.
Finally, create paths and seating areas. Allow space to meander and view life from a new perspective as different seasons present different visual opportunities.
Start small and work your way to success. Stay with native and adapted plants and trees only, visit them often and who knows what new friends you could make?
Spending time in nature is spiritual. It’s is a reconnection with our true selves and the life sources and sounds we take for granted. Make time to give thanks in a space that shows appreciation for the gifts in our world.
”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time “