All in Landscape Techniques
Learning how to save water in our gardens here in Southern California is vital. Water is a scarce and precious resource that all living things need yet we use 60% of our drinking water in our landscapes, and even on dry days, millions of gallons of water are wasted due to inefficient irrigation. When it does rain, we throw it all away into our storm drains where it picks up trash and pollution and ends up at our beach and in our ocean killing wildlife and risking human health.
The world’s most efficient irrigation method is the Olla. An Olla is a clay pot that is porous. The roots of the plants only take as much water as they need: no more, no less. Bury the olla to its neck in the soil. Fill up the olla with a few gallons of water once a week or if it is very hot a few times a week.
Healthy soil behaves like a sponge, holding onto water until it is full, and then releasing the excess. Healthy soil locks up carbon, removing it from the atmosphere. Healthy soil protects against floods and drought. Healthy soil is crumbly, allowing for pockets of oxygen that is vital for the soil organisms. Healthy soil is teeming with life. Millions of microbes in a single teaspoon of soil, all working with the plants to create a beautiful, easy care landscape.
There seem to be two schools of thought on rain water. One is that it is our enemy and needs to be removed from our property as quickly as possible.
The second is that water is our friend, and we need to capture it and let it sink back into the soil. Clearly, moving it away from the house is important, but shipping it out to the storm sewer system causes problems in the ocean and wastes a natural resource.
This is probably your number one priority, since your plants will do so much better once you have this in place. Your garden is a natural system, so it will create a living soil on its own, but only if you have 100 years to spare!
At The Yard Fairy we use decorative pots in the landscape frequently. Sometimes its just the pot we want to see, other times we grow beautiful plants in them too. If we are wanting to grow plants in them, we need to consider how they will get water. Often we will run a micro irrigation tube up through the bottom and then run a circle of micro drip around the circumference of the pot. Other times, we can count on the existing sprinklers to give us just enough water to keep plants like succulents going.
Beautiful walkways, patios and seating areas replace the need for high maintenance turf grass
We currently offer three types of service:
- A Landscape Consultation service which helps you take stock of your yard and assess the next steps for particular problem areas
- A Garden Coaching service which helps you improve your gardening skills and develop your yard
- A 'Do It Yourself Landscape Design' service which offers a virtual design service that you can then install yourself at your leisure.
The nonliving parts of a landscape such as walkways, patios and patio covers are considered hardscape, and they make up a key component of your landscape. Hardscape is the hard stuff, the inanimate parts of the garden that include woodwork and masonry. This even includes the lawn gnome sitting outside your door. As long as it ' s not living, it can be considered hardscape.
Spring has sprung once again and every flower imaginable is blooming. Your local plant nursery has lovingly placed everything from orchids to pansies in a stunning display. By the time you come home your car is loaded to the brim with gorgeous plants, and soon your garden will be in full bloom. Yet, by the time summer rolls around, everything seems to be wilting. What happened!?
On Saturday, I took part in the very first Green Gardens Group Lawn Be Gone Hands On Workshop (HOW) funded by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
A group of 36 attendees transformed a less-than-attractive, water wasting, pollution generating, carbon negative suburban front yard in Los Angeles into a watershed wise landscape in which rain from the roof, via an inexpensive rain barrel, is captured, filtered, cleaned and stored in a living soil sponge. Between the plants and the microbes, carbon from our atmosphere is converted into pizza to feed the a rocking soil party.