Landscaping 101 / April-May

The first step in the landscape process is to define goals and purpose. Are we making significant changes to the property such as expanding the home, adding a pool or new driveway or creating a new landscape? Style should be considered- traditional to tropical and everything in between. A landscape drawing should be done and it should be a flexible plan. Prioritize how much landscaping to be done at one time- be prepared to break the process into phases if time and budget are factors. This is a good time to work out obstacles that might make the project difficult including accessibility, time available, season and budget.

Dusty miller plant

Once the preplanning and planning have been done it is time to implement the landscape design. Eight steps are required for a smooth landscape installation. First, the site must be cleared- trees trimmed or removed, and old landscaping and sod removed. Clean down to bare soil. This establishes a rough grade for all the work to be done.

Second, drainage issues should be addressed. Gutters, underground pipes and drains should be fixed. I like to install large trees at this time since it may require heavy equipment and more accessibility.

Third, hardscape features should be built. This may include a pool, fence, fire pit, gazebo, or driveway. This is time consuming, but sets the framework for your new landscape.

Fourth, the irrigation system should be designed and installed based on the landscape drawing. Once the plants are in, the irrigation system can be fine tuned. It is important to pre wire and pre pipe anything underground.

The fifth step is to plant the landscaping- shrubs, small trees, groundcovers, sod and flowers. I bring in potting or top soil and plant with a light fertilizer. Water the plants as you go. I might fertilize existing plants we are keeping in the design. The final grade is established here.

Sixth, if landscape lighting is used it is now designed and installed now. These systems are either low or high voltage depending on budget and personal preference. Today, most landscaping lighting is low voltage since it is cheaper and can be installed quickly. If the budget is lacking, pre wire a system to be installed at a later date.

The seventh step is mulching. All beds should be watered, cleared of debris and the soil should be graded. Pine bark and cypress mulch are the most common types. Mulching is important to keep moisture in and weeds out. After mulching is complete plants should be watered again.

Our final step is follow up and maintenance. Is everything is alive and thriving? Is the irrigation system working? New plants should be fertilized twice a year and sod should be maintained, fertilized, and sprayed for pests regularly. Proper maintenance and follow up is an important step to protect your investment. Landscapes by Randy Lee, Inc. can help you with all of your landscape needs.

April/May Checklist:

  • Major pruning should be done in April

  • All plants, trees, palms and citrus can be fertilized

  • Lawns should be fertilized before the summer rains

  • Herbs and vegetables grow well at this time

  • Use Spring flowers such as purslane, salvia, marigold and dusty miller

  • Remember the heat begins and the weather is dry during these two months