Change the color of your living room wall, add a tabletop accessory, and move the location of your bedroom furniture. Sometimes a little change can go a long way to spicing up life, or for our purposes, a garden. I design landscapes for mostly clients who seek advice because they are not of the green thumb persuasion, or they don’t enjoy it, or the work involved in making sure they do it right, is not worth the time and money of doing it wrong. Here are a few tips to making small changes with big reward.
1. Forget singing in it, how about transplanting in the rain. Ok, maybe not in the rain, but on a cloudy morning with a hint of drizzle. Rule #1 is…Don’t mass transplant at the wrong time. I will often move plants around if it is worth saving, or I think it will survive, but being smart about transplanting can mean the difference in the look of your new garden. Move plants in the cool of the morning or an overcast day. No hose can do what a dose of real rain can, so timing is crucial. Spring can be a great time to transplant especially items that can be injured in the move. Hostas for example, can be easily split just as their shoots are emerging. Once they’ve leaved out fully they are cumbersome and if the leaves get broken they may look sad the rest of the season. Another great time is late summer to fall because most plants already look tired, are done blooming and the extra beating they take from transplanting is not important. However, if you have to transplant in the heat of the summer (and as professionals we will do it with stipulations) it’s all about the water. This is one of the times when it is ok to keep a plant continuously moist. Professional transplanting is an art form and harder than it looks. Our crews are able to put a large root ball on a plant to help save as many roots possible. Also, you have to be willing to sacrifice blooms, or even stems to accomplish a successful move. I will usually cut most perennials down about 6-12″ above the ground and plant the remaining “sticks”. They might look ugly, but you’ll never know next year.
2. Color me with Petunias. Or maybe Impatiens, begonias, or Vinca. Adding bedding annuals can help supplement during weeks where your perennials or shrubs are not in bloom. Impatiens are by far the most useful annuals as they provide bright color in shady spots. Shade is a difficult because there are very few long blooming perennials and I often get asked about adding color to shade and I love to use annuals to accomplish this along with foliage plants like Coralbells and Hostas.
3. From Concrete to Fabulous. A great way to add luxury in a small way is to cover an existing stoop with natural stone. A concrete stoop can get pitted over time, have hairline cracking, or look bland and dirty. As long as the structure is secure, sweep the unsightly under a rug of stone and no one has to know. If it is not in budget to use stone in abundance, using it in smaller areas like a stoop can allow you to add a special touch. Because stone is thinner than a paver. the capping of the stoop maybe able to be done without having re-pour any concrete to fix the heights of steps. Here is a before and after stoop.
4. Focus on the Obvious. An additional focal feature like a trellis, garden art piece, or small water feature can dress up a view that is previously not worth looking at. How about trying to bring down the size of a tall, stark wall on the house by adding some greenery. I also like to look out the windows of a house to see where the views are coming from the most and what will be seen out the windows where you spend the most time.
Just in case your change in hair style is boring you, make a few small changes to your landscape instead. Not all small additions will make a punch of impact, but take away a few idea to get you off in the right direction.