My absolute favorite herb and there are so many healthy reasons to love it!
Beautiful flowering Basil
Basil was found growing around Christ’s tomb after the resurrection, and it has been used in the preparation of holy water in the Greek Orthodox church. Pots of basil are kept around the church alters. In some cultures it was feared that scorpions…
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Yeah, I said it, it really does suck sometimes. How many times have you planted the wrong plant in the right place, or waited for the perfectly ripe fruit that was wiped out overnight by some damn critter who bit most of them and left them on the ground when the dummo realized it didn’t like what it was pilfering? How about spending a weekend laying out crushed granite then watching it roll down the street during a hard rain 3 days later?
I like to think of gardening as a science experiment. There is a famous quotes that says “To plant a tree is to have faith in the future”, and that is so true in all things gardening. It is basically a study in faith and hope but one you can curtail a bit to your advantage if you have the right tools and information. while you cannot predict that your squash will be wiped out by borers or that a rain event will drown your cactus and a rogue winter freeze will MURDER YOUR MEYER LEMON!, you can prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
So now on to the good part…change is good. Death makes room for life and evolution happens whether we like it or not; so take back that bed of weeds and turn it into something special. Plant cover crops like Zinnias or Cosmos to keep weeds at bay in beds.
Build a creative cover to keep the critters off of your prized crops, like this great idea from Pinterest!
Then, if your once sun garden is now completely shaded by the trees you thoughtfully planted all those years ago, embrace your new space and create a shaded paradise with some new plants you can now include in your list of favorites, believe me, there are many…
Or maybe you cut down some sick trees and you now have only sun…DONT GET ME STARTED! Here are a couple off of the top of my head, but there are hundreds!
So yes, gardening can suck sometimes, but the rewards are endless. The return from gardening organically, while using the right plants, adding compost every spring, staying away from chemical fertilizers and weed controls at all costs and finding the right plants for the job, then spacing them properly will give you the most reward from your investment.
Find inspiration online or at your local bookstore. There are thousands of clever ideas just waiting to happen and remember, less is more. There is no need to fill the beds up. Leave open space for a bird bath or bench, a path to walk though the space. Gardening is not a one and your done situation. It is ever-changing and a beautiful process if done thoughtfully.
However, if you are finding your yard to be more of a challenge than a treat, there is another solution that can be a very helpful tool and that is a Landscape Consultation. A landscape consultation or “garden coach” who is proficient in native and adapted plants and trees, deer resistant plants and organic protocols can teach you how to care for your space with the most efficient, cost-effective and purposefully planted and “planned” manner with the least effort and the greatest return.
So whether your goal is to make an oasis where you can get away from it all, looking for creative solutions to problem areas, or to just make your life easier in the landscape, give me a call at 512-733-7777 or email me at email@example.com to schedule your landscape/ educational consultation. Prices range from $100 – $150 an hour depending on your location (or distance from me) and I promise it will be the best money you have spent on your garden so far!
Now go get your garden on!
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time!
To leave or not to leave, that is the question and the answer is yes, and no. Timing, type of leave, depth of beds and so much more dictate the benefit of leaf matter in your beds. Stiff hard leaves like those below take time to break down and should be thrown in your compost pile.
In Central Texas one of the most popular trees are the Live Oaks and as beautiful and stately as they are in the landscape, they can also be a pain in the hiney when they decide to drop all million leaves over the course of a few days. It can be a tremendous amount of work to keep a lawn alive or beds from drowning in the ocean of leaves that drop.
A common question about live oak leaves is what in the world do you do with them. Unfortunately, the answer is they have to be removed and bagged for the city recycling program or added to your compost pile. A mulching lawnmower can also be a huge help in breaking down these hard leaves that can take years to decompose otherwise. The same is true for huge leaves that cover too much of the lawn or beds. If you have especially course leaves, acorns, leathery or oversized leaves on your lawn, you will need to remove them to avoid suffocation of plants and lawn. If you don’t have a compost bin or pile, make one. You Live Oak tree owners will have a LOT of valuable compost over the years or a whole lotta bagging up to do.
However, if you have smaller leaves like fruit trees , crepe myrtles, Spanish oaks or any soft leaved trees and plants, those can be worked right into the soil over the winter months. These leaves will decompose by the end of the season and be ready for planting in the spring. If your beds are void of mulch, spread the soft leaves across the tops of your beds and mulch over the top to cover. Water well and keep moist for about week or soil to encourage the microbes to get eating then you will be well on your way to better soil. Earth worms also love leaf matter as do other beneficials so they will be working for you while you’re snuggling through the winter.
Large leaves and oversized bark mulch can steal more nitrogen from the soil to break down than the nutrients they provide. Adding compost each spring and amendment your soil throughout the year with items you may use every day like egg shells, coffee grounds and banana peels is an excellent way to promote microbial growth and micorrhizal fungi. Decaying leaf matter provides layers of food broken down in various stages for a ready nitrogen and carbon source. Nitrogen is the green stuff and carbon is the brown stuff. Also know as compost, which can save the world 😉
So don’t be in a big hurry to remove every little leaf from your yard. Your lawn may not appreciate being covered with leaves, but your beds will really benefit from it and so will the planet when they don’t end up in a land fill. Recycle, compost and regenerate those leaves into beautiful new soil when you can. If you have hard or waxy leaves create a compost pile to break them down so you can use them as compost at a later date and you will be creating a natural environment for your garden just like Mother Nature does.
if you live in Austin or the surrounding area and would like help with your landscape care, organic solutions, plant choices and so much more, contact me for a Landscape Consultation/ Garden Coach service at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 512-733-7777.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design (like me on Facebook)
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
So several years ago I am feeling particularly defeated and getting really frustrated with my scope of work and the Consult’s I was getting; I had a jag of chemical users who were mad when I got there because they didn’t realize I would spend an hour and their money telling them to stop using them. Turns out, some people aren’t interested in the facts as to why their landscapes were failing. Organic fertilizers, native plants and compost amended soil is the only way to have a successful landscape in Central Texas and I needed to figure out a way to reach the right people or make sure THEY would find ME (because I knew you were out there)!
My husband who is filled with great ideas tells me I should start video taping my garden and plants I love to share and I think for a moment; this is a great idea. BUT, how will I look on camera, will anyone care what I have to say? A blog goes out into blogosphere and though you can see your stats, it is not the same as seeing your actual face and no one commenting or responding so I think to myself “I’ll need to be on my best game”. Flash forward I get all cutied up for a garden tour on video and once I had finished I take my husband and son to my office to show them my first cut I am pretty pleased with and ask them what they think, but there is silence…Finally my husbands says, “You look really angry”.
Youch! I rewind and play over and over and he was right; I had a pretty wicked resting bitch face even though I was actually happy about what I was doing. While I thought I looked good from the inside, I didn’t look good from the outside. I needed to work on my smile and attitude in what I portrayed to the world. Sometimes, It is hard for us to see what is right before our eyes.
We can use that same analogy on our yards. Everyone who owns a home should stand at the street and see what their yard says about them. What do your neighbors see, does the landscape match the home? Is your landscape appropriate and proportionate to the height of your home? Would you like privacy or trees and have none, are your existing trees and shrubs a problem for your neighbors? Does it look inviting, taken care of and nurtured and is it a space you can care for that is not a burden to you? If not, it is time for a change and your landscape may be due for an updated happier face.
The best way to begin your landscape update is to address and remove the plants you know aren’t working. Even if a plant is healthy it is not wise to keep it in an undesirable space. You know who I am talking about; the ones you spend too much time trimming to keep off of the sidewalk or lawn or those that have taken over your windows and eve, as well as the plants that always have bugs, need too much water or never flower like they should. Remove those and find the right plants for the job.
There are so many stunning plants for the Central Texas landscape; Though choosing the right plants requires some homework or a professional educational consultant to help make the right choices for your space. Be sure plants chosen are for your hardiness zone, (we are zone 8) sun or shade and require little water. Make sure your native and adapted perennial plants and trees are properly spaced so you don’t end up with a blob in a few years. You can find several great plant pages for sun and shade on this blog or my Facebook page at Lisa’s Landscape & Design. There are also excellent recourses for central Texas native and adapted plants online from Grow Green Austin, TX A&M, or the Wild Flower Center website.
It is a new year and new opportunity for change and growth so take some time for your own space and give it a little facelift. update and/or reduce lawn, water hogging plants and problem areas to create a space you can be proud of and enjoy for years to come. Just like people, landscapes evolve and require occasional tune ups so if you are feeling at a loss give me a call at 512-733-7777, or email me at email@example.com for a Garden Coach/Landscape Consultation, or visit the hundreds of pages, Pinterest, and do it yourself videos or blogs like mine for daily inspiration.
Your yard is the picture frame of your life. Simplify, update, and educate yourself on your land and make the most you can of it for yourself and those around you. Better yards increase real estate returns, set a standard for the neighborhood and invite “you” home with a smile.
Now go get your garden on,
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a TIme”
This is an oldie but a goodie. Be sure you are trimming for the right reasons at the right time.
This is a question I hear often and it is has an important answer. There seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to Fall /Winter trimming and I know from my own experience that most trimming done in the Fall/Winter is not done for the right reason.
Landscape companies have little work off-season, so they want to convince you that you need to cut back and mulch in the Fall/Winter months. While the mulching part is accurate the trimming part is simply not true. I have been doing gardening/landscaping both professionally and personally for over 20 years in Central Texas and I can tell you most Fall trimming is a bad idea. The only reason you would trim deciduousperennials (returning plants that go dormant in the Winter) in the Fall is for aesthetics, for example, most commercial properties and HOA’s do not leave dying leaves and plants untrimmed…
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Central Texas and Austin in particular is growing by leaps and bounds. This constant influx of people has a huge impact on our water source and it is everyones responsibility to conserve whenever possible. This doesn’t mean you install a yard full of rocks and cacti. If you are looking to conserve water in your yard with the least amount of effort I have laid out these 5 easy steps for you to follow.
The photo below is my previous yard and I never used a single chemical in 9 years. There is no irrigation, only rain barrels and hand watering. I had 10 fruit trees, blackberries, raspberries, food everywhere, herbs, flowers and interest in every season.
1) Reduce lawn and replace it with low water landscape such as native and adapted plants. Native plants are used to the Central Texas landscape and the drought conditions in general which mean long periods of dry followed by monsoon. Plant your trees, shrubs and perennial plants with enough room to grow. Proper placement is key to the success of a mature garden as well as controlling maintenance and disease issues later on. Nobody wants a landscape that eventually turns into a blob.
2) Add feature and functionality with river rock or stone paths to lead you to the next space or seating area. One of the worst design mistakes you can make is to seclude your living space to one area. No matter how small your space is you can always create different vantage points which carry you through the space making it feel larger. This always creates areas with pervious (water can soak through) and impervious (cannot penetrate, such as concrete or stone) cover so be sure you are up to code in the city limit or you could be in trouble later. Loose material like river rock, granite, mulch or gravel and pavers can be a great alternative for water absorption in an area that requires no water to look good.
3) Create larger existing beds and seating areas. Simple as that, increase your existing bed size by a coupler few feet. Most older homes have overgrown beds anyway so why not embrace it and add some depth. Throw some low plantings in front, clean up and mulch and the whole bed and call it a day. Another great option is to lose the overgrown front shrubs that are eating the house and replacing them with a very simple low profile garden with step stones to take up space. Feature and functionality. Updated, low water, low maintenance and a very easy do-it-yourself project.
4) Rain barrels are an easy way to conserve water on your own property and you will be amazed by how quickly they fill up even in our Texas droughts. A 2000 sq ft house can collect as much as 30,000 gallons a year. No matter how you do that math, free is free all day and the barrels pay for themselves the first season. Many cities have rebates and free barrels, all they require to work are gutters on your house. There are tons of how-to YouTube videos on set up and general maintenance which is basically nothing at all. Plants prefer rain water always to city water and it is comforting to know you always have a back up just in case. Just be sure your barrel has never been used for chemicals of any kind.
5) I definitely saved the best tip for last…ORGANIC ALL THE WAY IN EVERY WAY! This means you ditch the blue stuff, swear to never use “Weed and Feed”again, and make “Round Up’ the nasty words that they are, then you are well on your way.
Compost your entire property including lawn, beds and trees each spring. Mulch your beds each fall and fertilize with corn meal, corn gluten, molasses, liquid seaweed and rock minerals like green sand, granite sand and lava sand. Mixing these dry products together at the right time of year can be used on your lawn for an organic weed and feed and recipes can be found all over the internet. Purchase ladybugs, praying mantis or Trichogramma wasps and beneficial nematodes as your organic allies. Learn about companion planting. For every single problem there is an organic solution. Chemicals kill your soil, can kill your plants and harm our planet. Why make bad choices when we don’t have to? This also includes mulch. Make sure you have a nice depth of mulch to hold in moisture and keep soil temperatures at a safe place for frugal growth. Never used chemical treated or colored mulch. Only native shredded mulch like hardwood or local shredded Cedar will do.
Compost removes previous chemical damage, retains more water in the soil and feeds the healthy bacteria and beneficial fungi your plants need for success. Chemical fertilizers kill the soil, make the plant reliant on you for food, need more water and are more vulnerable to pests and disease. Think of the forest and the natural break down of materials. Compost can save the world.
For more great information on conservation and water saving plant selections please contact me for a landscape consultation or garden coach session in the Austin and surrounding area at 512-733-7777 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design (check me out on Facebook)
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
Hummingbirds are one of my favorite magical creatures to find in my garden. They are so swift and elusive it feels like a gift each time I find one and they are so spectacular to see drinking from a flower. We also happen to have the same favorite color which is red. They are attracted to flowers by color which is why artificial food is red. That being said, there is a huge advantage to adding these plants to your garden space. Long tubular orange and red flowers are a sure invitation for hummingbirds throughout the season.
Of all the birds that have visited our gardens, I still get excited every time a hummingbird graces us with its presence. We have some amazing hummingbird species in Austin and the surrounding area. Because they are so quick and fleeting, you really have to position yourself to be in the right place at the right time to see them at work, but you can create a perfect space that attracts them to make the sightings more common. Be sure to place seating areas throughout your space so you have different vantage points throughout the year. Here is a guide to central Texas hummingbirds.
Lily’s of all kinds are also great for hummingbirds be there are many to choose from. So for the next spring or faIl season add some of these beautiful plants to the landscape or pots close to a window or patio where you can enjoy the view and the hummingbirds too.
If you are in Austin or the surrounding area and would like a landscape design or educational consultation to include theses and many more beautiful native and adapted plants, shrubs and tree to your landscape, call me at+15127337777 or email me at email@example.com.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
First of all, thank you to those of you who have followed and supported me through the years. It is a huge honor to share my passion with all of you.
I am very excited to announce that LL&D will be changing gears to a full-time design, consulting and home owner education firm. I have been installing landscapes from $5000 to $50,000+ for the last 15 years in Austin and I have been a professional and personal gardener for over 20 years. The flora of central Texas is stunning and I have made it my mission to know the best plants and trees that are successful in nearly any space. My specialty is full sun to full shade deer resistant, low water gardens. If you are in the market for a large or small landscape project, wouldn’t I be of great use to you BEFORE you hire another professional? Or worse, someone who calls themselves a landscaper but doesn’t really know what they are doing, but you don’t know the difference? I can save you thousands on costly mistakes and up sells by telling you how things should really be done, what materials you could use based on my years of design experience. I can help you choose the right plants for the job; not the plants or stone contractors make the most mark up on. My average consult fee is from $100-$150 per hour for the greater Austin area and that small amount of money now can save you thousands later. Take what I have learned from working with sub contractors over the last 15 years and use that information to be an educated consumer when shopping for the right crew. Here are some examples of my designs that have been completed.
If you have recently purchased a new home and need to know what plants and trees you have and how to care for them, you would like to begin a garden of your own or need trimming instruction, soil, sod, trees, plant and shrub selection or design instruction and organic gardening techniques a Garden Coach or Educational Consultant is an excellent tool for the do it yourselfers. I LOVE Educational Consultations because it is such a gift to be able to teach people to live a symbiotic life with their own space while creating an extended living area where everyone in the home gets what they need. We can use the hour to fill in empty spaces, draw a quick sketch for new bed or improve your overall landscape. Should we decide that what you really need is a design (some projects are too big or complex for one hour) The cost of the consult goes towards a design. An average design ranges from $500-1500 plus tax.
Design planning is a personal experience. You need to know that the person who is designing your space understands your needs. I provide a design anyone could follow so they are well suited for the do-it-yourselfer over the course of several years, or to those who plan to bid the work out. With a well thought out design you can take multiple bids on the same product instead of confusing “free” Consultations where each is selling the items they make the most money from. How do I know this? 10 years of Subcontractors… I have done it all from brick laying, to fire pits, patio, water features,organic gardening, plant and tree installation, trimming to full maintenance on estates in the Austin area. I want to share those years of experience with you so we can create the space that suits you best while staying on budget and addressing the needs of your specific property. This is a large 1 acre design I finished recently. Each design is hand drawn, each plant is listed and planting instruction, timing and materials are discussed at the final meeting.
I also provide a plant layout service. If you have an educational consultation or design and have your beds prepared, I can have your plants delivered and lay them out on site. This is a great way to be sure the best plants are selected and the layout is perfectly spaced for optimal success. Once I provide you with a consult or design you have access to me by phone, text or email indefinitely to ask follow-up questions about maintenance and general care to be sure you have optimal success.
So let me help you plan the space of your dreams; simplify your life by reducing water need, maintenance and ensure that the money you spend going forward is well spent. I provide consults and design work for the greater Austin area including San Marcos, Wimberly, Buda, Kyle, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Cedar Park and Bastrop. Please call me at 512-733-7777, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your landscape design or consultation appointment. I have appointments available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m depending on your area.
I look forward to creating with you,
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
If you are in Austin, Pflugerville, Leander, Cedar Park, Buda, Kyle or Wimberly Texas and you would like to be trained to care for your landscape by a professional on your own property, a Garden Coach (or Landscape Consultant) can be a great value to you.
If you are a new home owner looking to plan, I can provide you with design ideas, plant suggestions, timing and instruction from beginning to end. If you have purchased a home with an established garden and would like plant identification and maintenance instruction, or have an overgrown landscape that has become too much to handle, a Garden Coach can help navigate the plants to keep, and those to give back to Mother Nature. If you are selling your home and want to make the most of your landscape and curb appeal, I can help.
I am a Master Gardener, Certified in Organic Gardening (including food crops and trees), Water Conservation and Oak Wilt and I specialize in native and adapted, low water, low maintenance lush landscapes from hard Texas sun to full shade. I have work with Central Texas flora for over 20 years and have owned and operated my organic landscape business for over 15 years. I provided installation of hardscapes, plants and trees as well as design and consult for projects ranging from $6,000 to 60,000 but in the fall of 2016 I decided to use my experience to your advantage. I now only provide designs and consultation and I love every part of the process. Best of all,when we are done you will be very prepared to take on your space. You will also have access to me for follow up questions after the sale.
A session is typically spent talking about your entire landscape from soil to trees, general maintenance and plant ID as well as “fill in” plant options, watering, organic pest solutions and much more. Sometimes we have enough time to make a quick sketch though additional hours can be purchased for this as well. I am also a great resource for information on patio design, hardscapes, installation and materials.
A one hour consultation with me runs from $100 to $150 per hour depending on the area (one hour minimum) and can save you thousands on costly mistakes. This is a great tool for the do-it-yourselfers or for those wanting to have the work done, but do not know where to begin. Honestly, a landscape consult from an educated Garden Coach can make all the difference whether you only want lawn, tree and shrubs or an elaborate garden design.
I also provide a series of coaching programs though the seasons. This is a great way to work through a project with a clear vision and steady access to a professional. If you are interested, rates vary according to need.
This service is hugely popular and appointments are limited during the peak seasons so call me today at 512-733-7777 or email me at email@example.com to get on the schedule to create the space of your dreams.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design (“like” me on Facebook!)
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
For those of you who know me and have followed my blog it is a no brainer that I would be excited to be featured on the local PBS station KLRU for my low water, minimal maintenance, mostly edible garden. I actually fueled my passion for gardening here in Central Texas by watching this show faithfully each Saturday back in the day to educate myself on some of the spectacular plants that thrive in Central Texas. As I became more water conscious I decided to specialize in low water , lush designs (not a fan of cactus), I realized that I had become addicted to the flora of Texas.
This past weekend CTG featured my previous home garden built by my husband Cavin Weber and my little old self on a real family budget one plant and rock at a time. The only help we had was with the patio, the rest of the space was entirely planted, composted, rocked and cared for by our 4 little hands and backs. Like many of you, we live on a budget so everything could not be done at once, but over the course of about 4 years we managed to create a sanctuary for ourselves and our family to escape from everyday life and to meld into nature.
We picked hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of food from this small North Austin yard and we shared thousands of beautiful memories, laughs and tears. This is the space where I worked though my youngest son’s fears and sensory issues related to Autism. This is where my eldest son came out to us. This is where my husband and I sometimes argued, made up and got back to work on our grand plan. Just like any other family, we had to work hard for what we have and this space gave us solace from the daily grind.
I want to thank my beautiful husband Cavin Weber for all of his support through the years as I could not be who I am today without his unwavering support and faith in me. I started this business as one girl with a shovel and a mission to “Save the Planet One Yard at a Time” and over the last 14 years, that is just what I did though I still have a lot of yards to go! So call me at 512-733-7777 or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your one hour landscape consultation and let’s get you started in the right direction!
Central Texas Gardener is a great resource for local plant selection and excellent organic gardening remedies. Watch it each Saturday on KLRU at noon and 4:00 or subscribe online to catch all the action!
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”