Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vegetable Gardens

Surrounded by timbers and filled with compost rich soils a raised garden bed brings your vegetable garden to you. Imagine, fresh vegetables with little stooping, and easy digging and if the width is only two times the length of your arm you can harvest with out climbing into the bed and compacting the soils by easily walking around the garden. Sounds good?

We have been building raised gardens for a number of clients and Landscape Architects. The area needs to receive a minimum of 6 hours full sun - all day is best – for great crop results. We use a special blend of sandy loam enriched with compost and nutrients. And for clients who live where gophers, moles or other burrowing critters are a problem: the bottom of these beds can be lined with a layer or two of steel mesh Today’s trends in home vegetable gardens lean towards ORGANIC gardening—which really means using less or no chemical additives or pesticides. Depending upon your interests, the home gardener can create their own compost to feed the garden using vegetable matter from left over table scraps ( just make sure to not add animal tissues or fats to your compost pile). But compost piles may sound like a lot of work… luckily there are special organic blends of compost that you can purchase by the bag at the local home improvement store to keep your garden nourished.

A New Leaf crews use DR. EARTH products on our gardens with really superior results. This one for vegetable gardens is 100% natural and organic blends of fish bone meal, kelp, beneficial soil microbes. And DR. EARTH also markets Organic insecticides including a Fruit and Vegetable spray to control Aphids, Mealybugs and Scale.
Gardeners relied upon nature to repel insects prior to the development of commercial pesticides. Some of the easy garden tricks are to plant Marigolds which repel many insects, including the bright green tomato horn worm. The kitchen herb Basil is know to repel white flies and a few other winged insects. To rid your garden of Snails or Slugs, an excellent organic pesticide is Diatomaceous Earth. This powder created from ground up shells of diatoms won’t harm you or visiting birds but destroys the soft bodies of slugs and snails.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Edible, Artistic, Living Walls for Vertical Spaces

Wondered how to make the narrow walkway that your dining room window looks out upon look more interesting? How about an edible art piece? Living wall technology has taken a leap forward. In these installations, modular wall trays are installed upon waterproofed walls and utilize drip irrigation systems.

Not really interested in dealing with an herb or veggie garden? Decorative annual flowering plants such as pansy for viola or longer living perennials, ferns or even succulents are options to consider. Designs can be completely customized.

Living walls are even perfect for the interior courtyards of many homes in Southern California. With appropriate lead times, your custom wall can be fully grown for you and ready to be installed upon delivery.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Your Garden 'Horrorscope' - Rose Rust

We have observed in our clients and our own gardens that a moist spring can create conditions ideal for rust development on roses. Rust flourishes when the temperature is between 64-70˚ F and moist foggy conditions. The life cycle of rust is 10-14 days, so repeated treatment to get rid of it is necessary.
Rose with Rust on the Leaves
First, remove as many of the infected leaves as possible. This includes fallen leaves.

Then, start a 10-14 day spray cycle of either an organic or synthetic fungicide. Follow the directions carefully to make sure you are using it properly.

As the weather warms and there are less foggy mornings, the conditions will become less hospitable for rust.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Prepare for Hot Weather: Sprinkler System Tips

Here at A New Leaf, we can't believe it's already April! And that means that summer is creeping up on us quickly. We wanted to start to get you prepared for the hotter weather, so we compiled this list of tips for making sure your sprinkler system is in tip top shape!

When it is hot, and you (or your Gardner) are running the sprinklers for longer periods, system problems may become more evident.

6 Signs Your Sprinkler System May Have a Problem

  1. Unusual wet spots on your pavement or dry spots on the lawn.
  2. Weak water output, which may mean there is a clog, leak or break somewhere in the sprinkler system.
  3. The lowest sprinkler setting leaks constantly. This is not really a problem with the sprinkler, but with the valve: it's not shutting off all the way.
  4. Your water meter is always running. If the meter moves when everything is shut off, you have a leak. Check the toilets and all faucets as well as your irrigation system.
  5. Wet or muddy spots that suddenly appear may signal a broken pipe or riser
  6. Valve boxes are filled with water. This could be caused by sprinklers directly hitting the box, or because of California's heavy clay soils directing water along the sprinkler trench lines. However, if the water does not drain away it could be indicating a faulty valve.
If you notice these issues, or if your yard is ready to be freshened up, give A New Leaf a call! You can visit our website for more information, and reach us by phone at (562) 690-1492 for Los Angeles County or (949) 298-4446 for Orange County.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Santa Monica Contemporary Landscape Design - Progress Update #3 - Two Weeks Away from Completion!

The last time we updated you on our Santa Monica Contemporary Project, we had just finished installing a beautiful Jacaranda tree. Jump forward a few weeks, and we are only about two weeks away from finishing the whole project!

We've filmed three new update videos since our last post about this project -- check them out!

Installed Turf Pavers

We installed roll-style poly turf pavers in this project. Each of the cells were filled with soil and were planted to create great ground cover that you can actually drive on!

Completed the Grading

The grading is done and a majority of the plant materials are in the front!

Two Weeks Away!

The backyard is close to being done, with the turf area ready to go. We have a beautiful deck that is inset right into the paving, and a great series of bamboo against the pool wall. The backyard has a great Japanese style garden with Colorado moss rock and a sunken private viewing garden for the office space.

Stay tuned for our next update!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Featured Landscaping Project: Rubeli Residence

This is a project called the Rubeli Residence in Sherman Oaks, CA. The garden is a strong statement with bold textured drifts of drought tolerant plant materials.

The Palo Verde trees were individually tagged by A New Leaf in the desert to accomodate a perfect look to the main element of trees. A New Leaf provides quarterly maintenace for this project and the owner is happy to take referral calls.

The Landscape Architect is Kathleen Ferguson with Kathleen Ferguson Landscapes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Landscaping Your Orange County Real Estate

Curb Appeal...

We all know the term. Real estate agents tell us many of their buyers do not even get out of the car if the home lacks curb appeal. So, if a buyer will not exit the car, how are they going to see that kitchen or bath you remodeled? While a kitchen renovation may decrease the amount of time your house is on the market it frequently does not recoup your costs in the sale price.

Not so with Landscaping...

Studies show that a well-landscaped property can add as much a 10% to the market value of your home, as well as speed up the selling time. While you may not wish to reinvent the hardscape design (walls, walks, patios) of your property prior to selling it, many improvements (some dramatic) can occur with improvements to the softscape (plants, irrigation and low-voltage lighting).

  • Shrubs can decrease negative views or be used to balance or accentuate architectural details otherwise overlooked.
  • The addition of decorative pottery, when well-planted, can create welcoming entrances where previously none existed.
  • Low-voltage lighting not only improves safety but can be added to showcase a particularly attractive aspect of your property.

Maybe your yard over the years has deteriorated into a jungle. Corrective maintenance may be able to turn back the clock and restore the landscape to a functional and appealing accent.

  • Cutting back and artfully pruning old plantings may open up new views or reveal the handsome form of mature trees and shrubs - one of the biggest advantages of a mature landscape.
  • Transplanting existing shrubs and perennials can be thought of as creative recycling and result in a much improved embellishment of your home.

Avoid the mistakes of adding a few quickly placed flowerpots purchased from the local home improvement center, and thinking that will hide the lack of care that a poorly presented landscape suggests.

Let the crews from A New Leaf give you assistance in preparing your property for a successful sale.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Santa Monica Contemporary Landscape Design - Progress Update #2 - Installing a Jacaranda Tree

In the first week of February, we took a big step forward in the progress of our Santa Monica Contemporary Landscape Design project: installing a beautiful Jacaranda tree.
We took a few videos showing the progress of getting this 10,000 pound tree in place. You can see all of those below!

Tree Planting

We keep an eye on detail for the plant pits to make sure that all of our trees drain correctly.

Prepping the Crane

A flatbed holds the tree on its side, in a 72-inch box, while we prepped the crane to flip over the wall and into the yard.

Uprighting the Tree

This is the hardest part of doing this work -- getting a tree of this size to stand up straight!

Securing the Tree

Our team takes a lot of care to make sure the tree doesn't sustain any damage while we prepare it to be picked up by the crane.

Setting the Tree

And finally, the most exciting part of the job -- seeing the tree take its place in our design.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pre-Spring Garden Fixes

Spring is just around the corner -- is your garden ready?

It is time to cut back woody shrubs to stimulate lush new growth and prevent them from becoming leggy or scraggy looking. A layer of mulch to improve the appearance of the garden beds washed out by our heavy winter rains can do a lot for the health of your garden as well as help against those spring time weeds.

Maybe it is time to get your low voltage lights working again or even a new system installed. Your garden and home is looking a bit dark since the Christmas lights were removed, isn't it?
SPJ Fixture

For a more dramatic flair, how about a Garden Makeover? The A New Leaf crew has been busily working with several Landscape Architects bringing their designs to life for our mutual clients' enjoyment.

Is it time for you to consider a more major restyling of your garden? We can help you: visit our website for more examples of our work and for all of our contact information.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Santa Monica Contemporary Landscape Design - Progress Update #1

It's time for an update on the progress we've made at our Santa Monica project. We've got two new videos to share with you.

This first video shows that the forming is progressing nicely, and the planters have gone in along the house. We're also working on forming the opening for a wood deck that will go in.

This next video shows the newly planted bamboo hedges, which really soften the edges of the walls. It also offers a look at the small Japanese garden area, which is starting to take shape.

We're really happy with the progress of the project, and we're happy to have you along for the whole process! See you next time!