Landscaping Articles

Whether you're looking for general landscaping tips or ideas, or want some specific information on landscaping a specific part of your yard or property, RVG has the information you're after.

How to create a wildlife friendly garden

As we all know, gardens come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes ranging from those that cover many acres to window boxes on the railing of a front porch or high-rise balcony. Today we’re going to examine how to turn your garden of any size, type or bent, into one that is a bit more wildlife-friendly by following a few simple tips. All the comforts of the garden for human use, such as your garden table and chairs, can be retained and the result will be a beautiful and natural garden that is a welcome habitat to a range of animals and insects as well as being a joy to view.

What is a wildlife-friendly garden?

A wildlife-friendly garden is much more than simply a garden that has gone wild (surprise!). In many ways, a wildlife garden has much in common with a nature reserve.

Wildlife-friendly gardens, also known as habitat gardens, feature particular flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants, along with water features and coverage areas that encourage the local wildlife to visit and settle down, but also entices the migratory birds and butterflies to stop by. A variety of examples can be found here.

Oh, the efficiency and convenience of an in-ground sprinkler system. For our hot Southern Oregon summers, it's practically a necessity for folks with a garden or lawn of any substantial size (unless you happen to be one of those superior individuals with military-grade discipline who's out watering at 5 am on summer mornings). Lawn sprinkler systems can be installed by commercial lawn care or landscaping companies or you can install them yourself, and in most cases, save yourself a boatload of money.

sprinkler

Prices of sprinkler systems vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of sprinkler system, the size of the area to be sprinkled and whether the sprinkler system is manually turned on or automatic. If you have a "complicated" lawn, with lots of different zones and varied watering needs, it's extremely likely that you'll be able to save money if you're wiling to put in the time of tailoring your system to your exact specifications.

If you are using a company to install your system, clarify ahead of time whether the quote includes the work necessary to repair your lawn once the plumbing for the sprinklers is in place. If you're doing it yourself, keep in mind that once the system is in, the work's not over.

DIY Lawn Sprinkler System
If you're relatively handy, have a decent selection of tools and are in shape enough to do a little digging, you can install your own sprinkler system.

First, you need a plan of the area you want to cover with your sprinkler. The goal is to cover the maximum area effectively with the least amount of digging and piping material. The source of water (and electricity, if you are installing an automated system) will determine your starting point. The design needs to take into consideration the type of area you are going to cover…lawn areas, gardens, flat areas, treed areas and what kind of sprinkler heads you are going to use as these conditions all contribute to the distance and spread of the water. Normal home water pressure will drive most systems. It's worth noting that when preparing a landscaping plan, you should think about sprinkler placement as well.
Materials

Whether you're a new homeowner needing that first lawnmower, in the market for an earth-friendly option (traditional gas-powered mowers pollute four times as much as car engines), or reluctantly re-embracing yard work to trim your budget, a few advancements in lawn mower technology make it worth considering a non-gas-powered model.

lawnmower
There are three alternatives available today: Electric, battery-operated and "push" reel mowers.

Electric Slide
Electric mowers don't have any fuel issues and start buttons eliminate that back-wrenching springtime tug-of-war to get a gas mower purring. They're best for smaller yards without a lot of complicated landscaping to entangle the cord. Though a cord can be cumbersome, it does provide a consistent power source to finish the job.

big_tree

There's something special about a big tree: a massive trunk, a shadow that fills the yard, leaf dump of near-biblical proportions each fall. A tree like this is where forts are built, knees are scraped while climbing, and allowances are earned while raking. It's what you look at fall mornings while sipping your coffee, admiring the bright foliage. Properly placed, it will keep your whole house a few degrees cooler in the summer with its shade. If you're in the market for a giant tree, the Rogue Valley Gardener has a few suggestions that'll do well in Southern Oregon's Zone 8 climate.

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Did you know that there is a free source of mulch and fertilizer, likely nearby, and almost limitless this time of year? It's true, and a lot of people consider this wonderful commodity to be a pain. So they bag it up and leave it near the street. This fabulous garden commodity is is fall leaves, and we recommend you gather yours and use them in your garden. Dry leaves are good for a few things.

Fall leaves
Istockphoto

Composting
Chopped-up leaf matter is perfect for your compost pile. Compost requires a mixture of greens (fresh stuff like kitchen scraps and grass or garden clippings) and brown (dead leaves, compostable newspaper or brown paper bags). Green provides nitrogen, brown provides carbon. Compost piles need 2 to 4 times more brown than green, so keeping your bagged dry leaves to use throughout the year in your compost pile is a good choice.