Tag Archives: irrigation

Save Water In The Yard This Summer

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I came across this excellent info-graphic about how we use water and some excellent tips on how to save it this summer, which will help our drought situation and could save you a good amount of money on your water bills. It’s well worth taking a look at and I have turned it into a downloadable PDF so you can print it out and post it where it will remind you about being “WATER WISE.” Click HERE to download.

In addition, here are three truly informative links:

Water-Infographic_TLC-magazine

Water Conservation Can Be Beautiful

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While this is probably not news to most of you, I believe it’s well worth repeating and considering. Last year, 2013 became the driest year on record in California; San Francisco had the least amount of rain since record keeping began during the gold rush of 1849, and here in Southern California, Downtown Los Angeles saw the driest calendar year on record.

Sustainable Water-Wise Garden

We have had virtually no rain this winter (our rainy season) and on January 17, Governor, Jerry Brown, declared a statewide drought emergency. He has urged a voluntary 20% reduction in the use or water saying, “We ought to be ready for a long, continuous, persistent effort including the possibility of drinking-water shortages. I think the drought emphasizes that we do live in an era of limits, that nature has its boundaries.” The department of Water and Power has announced that water rates will be going up and inspectors will soon be on the street checking to see that the thee-day water rationing is being respected and that sprinkler systems are in good working order.

I have written a number of newsletters and blogs about our diminishing water supply with ideas and suggestions on how to deal with it; I even have a page of my website devoted to Sustainable Green Landscape Design. Should you want to read what I’ve had to say over these past three years, here are their links.  There is a lot of valuable information in them on how you can save money and help protect your home from fires, which is also of serious consideration, since the Santa Ana winds are now blowing year round.

Creating A Beautiful, Water-Wise Garden

A drought is a perfect opportunity to change habits by re-conceiving your yard or garden as a landscape that reflects the reality of the environment we now live in.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

How to Repair Bare Patches of Grass in Your Yard

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bare-patches-grassWith summer coming to a close and kids returning to school, now might be the time to consider dealing with those bare spots of grass in the yard. A yard is an eco-system unto itself and the reason behind the bald patches of grass need to be dealt with before the replanting or re-sodding begins.

What’s Causing the Spots?

There may be a number of causes: lack of water (irrigation is broken or not properly calibrated), rocky or non-draining soil, grubs, dog urine, disease, shade, and compaction. Before you waste time and money you need to figure out what’s causing the problem, deal with it and then proceed.

If your problem is too much traffic, consider rerouting traffic or laying stepping-stones to discourage stepping on the lawn. If shade is the trouble, select a shade-happy variety of lawn seed or sod. If your dog’s urine is the problem, take it for a walk.

Available Alternatives

In addition to planting grass seed there are several alternatives to restoring your lawn:

InstallingSodStep1_300x242.ashx_Sod

If you don’t want to wait for the grass to grow, re-sodding the area is always an option. Home improvement superstores sell sod by the piece and it’s relatively inexpensive. The ground should be properly prepared, fertilized and leveled before cutting the sod to fit the exposed area.

Seed Pads

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time fixing up the lawn, there are some great products that incorporate seeds and a mulch-like covering in one easy application. These products work very well because the shredded paper and pulp that is mixed with the seeds is very effective at keeping the ground moist and the birds at bay. The filling is usually colored blue or green so you can easily see if you have the entire area covered.

Soil Preparation

The health of your lawn and new plantings depend upon the soil in which it is planted.

  • Dig up and remove the grass in the problem area. Remove the top layer of remaining turf and soil
  • Turn over the soil using a spade shovel (has a rounded or pointed end). Be sure to go down  4″ in depth. This breaks up soil compaction making it easier for your new seedling’s roots to grow deeper with more ease. Remove any stones, roots or other plant materials that may hinder the growth of your new grass as you work.
  • Amend the soil by placing compost or a commercial bagged product from your garden center into your loosened topsoil. This can greatly improve the growing conditions for your lawn’s roots. The darker the color of the soil more organic material and nutrients there are in it. Work the organic material into the soil using the spade and or garden rake.
  • Level the surface by using your garden rake to level and create a smooth surface. The soil surface should be the same level as the surrounding soil (or slightly higher to allow for settling). If you are using sod, the soil should be 1″ lower to allow for the depth of the sod’s soil and roots. Take care the surface is even with no low or high spots. This will create a lumpy end result and depressions can collect water, which may lead to disease.

Spread the Seed

Pick a quality grass seed that matches both the type of grass currently growing in your lawn and the requirements of the area it is to grow in.

With the soil prepared, lightly sprinkle the grass seed over the exposed area. Be sure to spread it at the rate as described on the seed packaging. Rake a thin layer of soil over the seeds. Apply a starter fertilizer to assist with jumpstarting the seed growth and ensuring strong roots.

Apply Mulch Covering

Cover the seeded area with a protective layer of mulch. Typical materials include straw, peat moss, or other commercially available products made of recycled newspaper, which conserve moisture and contain starter fertilizer. The covering used is not as important as what it does: conserve moisture, increase turf density and minimize weed seeds from finding your freshly prepared fertile soil.

Keep Soil Moist Until Seeds Sprout

Lightly water the seeds every day, multiple times a day if it is warm, sunny or windy. Keep them moist until you see the seeds germinate and begin to root into the soil, then reduce the frequency of watering. Allow your grass to grow and fill in before you mow. Mowing it too early or too short can damage the grass and possibly uproot it.

Grass Alternatives

Grass consumes an extraordinary amount of water and there are so many alternatives to its use that I suggest, before you spend time and money trying to maintain a perfect lawn, you consider replacing your lawn or a considerable portion of it with drought-tollerent, sustainable native plants and succulents. I’ve written a number of blogs on this subject including my last post, Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn. Help save water and save money by re-thinking how your garden grows.

Green Walls & Woollypockets

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Garden-of-Eva-1I recently completed creating a green wall in downtown Los Angeles for the building that houses the Department of Homeland Security.  No, I didn’t have to be frisked or the plants patted down, but the piece to your right did stir up some interest.

Green walls are definitely stirring up interest and they’re popping up all over the place since all you need is a wall, some sun and a little water, particularly if you’re creating a wall out of succulents, which is what the wall I created consisted of.

What holds all these plants in place is a living wall planter made by the company, Woollypocket. They specialize in providing vertical gardening systems that can be used anywhere and you would be amazed at the range of products that can hang on a wall.

So if you’re interested in hanging plants on a wall that will grow and thrive, check them out, www.woollypocket.com. If you go to their Professionals & Case Studies, you’ll see their products in situ and learn what was involved in their creation including Overview, Pockets, Plants and Irrigation.

Go Green!

Garden of Eva-2img_3933_1 wgw-splendid-store-suthi-picotte-hires1_1 Green Wall

Help Save Water and Save Money

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While I have written about the importance of saving water, “Southern California’s Most Pressing Problem”“Water – Water – Everywhere … So Where Did It Go?”, the reality is that this very serious problem threatens Southern California’s very existence and it isn’t going away! In fact, it’s getting worse. And as we are already in “fire season” (“Firewise Your Landscape“) I thought I would bring to your attention some of the money and water-saving programs and approaches currently available.

Water Conservation in Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles recently implemented Phase II of its Water Conservation Ordnance, which requires the following:

Summer Fun

  • Outdoor watering with sprinklers is restricted to three days a week with different watering days assigned to odd-numbered and even-numbered street addresses.
  • Customers with odd-numbered street addresses – ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 – are allowed to use their sprinkler systems on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Customers with even-numbered street addresses – ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 – are allowed to use their sprinkler systems on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
  • Watering with sprinklers is limited to one eight-minute cycle per watering day for non-conserving nozzle sprinkler systems (typical residential system), or two 15-minute cycles per watering day for conserving nozzle sprinkler systems.
  • All outdoor watering is restricted to hours before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m., regardless of the watering day.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Best Landscape Designers in Los Angeles

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I was both stunned and thrilled when I was notified that CBS Los Angeles, as part of their Latest Best of LA series, had chosen me and my company as one of five Best Landscape Designers in LA.

It may not be an Emmy or an Oscar but it is nice to be recognized for what you love to do! So, if you’ll allow me this moment in the sun—because that’s it … that’s all you get—I’ll be back down in the dirt tomorrow.

The following is part of the article, if you’d like to read it in its entirety, click here.

Best Landscape Designers in LA – June 15, 2013

A recent survey sponsored by a national landscaping trade association known as PLANET revealed a rising trend among consumers increasing their investments on outdoor living spaces, including patios, decks, walkways and other specialized services such as lighting and irrigation systems

Surprisingly, it’s mostly digitally-connected homeworkers under the age of 35 who are placing priority on outdoor entertainment areas. Most Los Angeles homeowners hire a professional landscaper because they either don’t have proper landscaping equipment or because they simply lack the know-how to do their own landscaping. Luckily, some of the best landscapers are based in Los Angeles.

Garden of Eva Landscape Design Group

Garden of Eva Landscape Design

Described as the Julia Child of Los Angeles landscape design, Eva Knoppel and the Garden of Eva Landscape Design Group comes highly recommended for her experience, integrity and Eco-friendly, low-maintenance gardens.

This full-service landscaping design and maintenance company has built more than 100 gardens in both commercial and residential areas. Knoppel is most known for her work creating a “garden in the sky” at LA’s Perch rooftop bar and lounge.

Related: Building A Garden In The Sky.

 

Landscape Design – Balcony & Container Gardening

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Lemmon TreeWith Summer upon us and life moving into the out of doors, I’ve had a number of clients ask what they can do to make their balconies more attractive. Of course, as a landscape designer and contractor, my obvious answer is … “add plants!”

While there are many other things you can do to improve the look or view of a balcony, including furniture, outdoor lighting, umbrellas and a whole host of soft goods, as well as water features, the thing that will brighten up a balcony faster and more economically than anything else, is a well thought out selection of plants.

Balconies, regardless of their size or the amount of sun they receive, can transform a view from the same old building you’ve been staring at since you moved in, into a charming vista. And while it would be ideal to sit out on one and enjoy the view, a view isn’t required or even room to sit.  A simple “Juliet Balcony” (an ornamental stone or decorative iron enclosure outside a window) or even a window ledge is more than enough space to create landscape magic. Of course, the larger the balcony, patio or roof garden, the more creative you can be.

However, before you rush off to the garden store, there are a few things to consider. Balconies, patios and rooftops are often micro climates that present different conditions from the ground below. Spend time during the day observing the space where you intend to garden. And please consider the following:

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

The Monthly Gardener – August – Living Is Easy

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While August may be the “dog days of summer” to some, to me, it’s the time to enjoy your garden to its fullest and if you’ve planted vegetables, a lot of delicious produce.

Other than maintenance and watering, which I have written about extensively over the last couple of months and guarding and spraying against insects, there’s not a lot that you have to do. So sit by the pool, have a barbeque or enjoy our cool summer evenings with friends, family, a pitcher of lemonade or, my preference, a frosty gin and tonic.

However, if you must busy yourself in the garden, do it in the early morning or early evening so that you and your plants aren’t stressed out by the sun and the heat of the day.

Can’t Stop Gardening?

If there are beds that still need to be tended or areas that cry out for help, and if you live in a costal zone, it’s still possible to plant:

and to fertilize:

  • roses, fuchsias, tuberous begonias, tropicals, ferns, water lilies, cymbidiums, warm-season lawns and succulents growing in containers

Pests & Diseases

Scale, spider mites, and thrips may attack during summer months. Mist plants frequently to increase humidity and reduce stress. Treat plant infestations with insecticidal soap, following label instructions or with a neem oil product if the infestation persists.

More Information

If you want to know more about what to do in the garden in August, check out Pat Welsh’s “Southern California Gardening – A Month-by-Month Guide, or Google, “Southern California Gardening August.”

5 Water-Conserving Tips for Summer Gardening

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If you haven’t give much consideration to the way you water, here are five suggestions that will save you money on your water bill by using water wisely and efficiently. If you’d like to read four additional tips, check out the source for this blog on Popular Mechanics.

1. Choose the Right Tool

A standard garden hose and nozzle is the least efficient means of applying water to plants because so much water is lost as mist, runoff and evaporation. Use a soaker hose or a sprinkler wand.

2. Water at Widely Spaced Intervals

With your lawn and perennials, it’s better to give them larger amounts of water at longer intervals than it is to apply small amounts of water frequently. That’s because shallow watering encourages shallow rooting. In very hot weather, a ballpark range for watering is every other day for perennials and every three to four days for shrubs. Again, make sure to monitor the soil moisture.

Water annuals and container plants as needed. Since container plants can’t draw moisture from surrounding soil, it’s crucial that their soil remain moist (but not wet).

3. Water in the Morning

If you water while it’s (relatively) cool outside, water can soak in before it evaporates on the surface. And if you do it in the morning, that helps the plant to take up the water during the day. Watering at dusk or even during early evening is OK, but you run the risk of fungus formation, because these organisms love dark and damp places. Plus, the darkness can make it hard to see what you’re doing (and, as noted, precision counts even when watering your plants).

4. Don’t Waste Water

Don’t soak the plant’s foliage; it does little good. And don’t apply water outside a shrub’s or a perennial’s root zone. A shrub’s root zone is roughly 1 to 3 times the diameter of its canopy, and keeping the water inside this radius will allow it to soak down to where the plant’s roots can reach it.

If you see water puddling or running off, stop; let the water soak in before resuming. Likewise, water that runs off your lawn or off the top of a flower bed onto paved surfaces does no good. The same applies to running lawn sprinklers: Water your lawn, not the side of your house or the driveway.

5. Use Cool Water

Don’t use a hose that’s been coiled up, filled with water and sitting in the sun all day. That coiled hose can act like a water heater, and hot water stresses sensitive plants. Store your hose in the shade. If you can’t, at least run out the heated water before giving your plants a drink.

Water – Water – Everywhere . . . So Where Did It Go?

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You can’t have a beautiful garden if there’s no water to water it with. As I have written here before, and I will repeat again today, WATER IS A FINITE RESOURCE!  Without it, not only will our gardens dry up and blow away, but we will as well.

US Drought Areas
US Drought Areas

This may sound dramatic, but as I write this, millions of Angelenos are watering thousands of acres of unnecessary grass using antiquated and inefficient methods, which will waste millions of gallons of water – never to be replaced. This reality is bad enough in the best of times, but we don’t live in the best of times, we are now living with a natural disaster that has been declared the worst in this country’s recorded history.

Worst Drought on Record

As reported on July 14th on examiner.com and in the New York Times today, the United States has declared a natural disaster in more than 1,297 drought-stricken counties in 29 states. The declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), includes most of the south-west, which has been scorched by wildfires, parts of the mid-western corn belt, and the south-east.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News