Types of Plants and Sod Grass
A professional landscaper will be experienced in the plenitude of annuals, perennials, shrubbery and trees that are opportune for your yard, water usage, soil quality and style of living. If you want a drought-forgiving yard, a professional can create a landscape that suits that need. If you have pets and are concerned about poisonous shrubbery and plants, or want an organic garden but don’t have the time to construct one, a professional can easily find the solution for you. Very often a homeowner wants to remove existing plants and trees during a renovation. An experienced landscaper can advise you about potential run-off or erosion issues and offer applicable solutions.
Plan, Design, and Permits
If you are a newbie, then it is always good to seek the help of a professional, who can advise you properly. The expert will plan out the different designs and layouts that suit your taste and budget. He or she can also help you get the best materials and service available. Depending upon your local zoning laws and building codes, there may be certain projects that require a permit. Experienced landscapers can advise you regarding the variety of permits needed as well as file the permit (which may require additional drawings) on your behalf. Providing that your project is completed to code is crucial: if it is not completed to code and a permit hasn’t been filed, you are at risk of receiving a stop-work order.
Adding a small duck pond or water fountain may be a good do-it-yourself project for those who are handy and want a intimate project. But introducing a large water feature, waterfall or duck pond may be more of a perplexing project than most homeowners want to adopt. There is a lot of excavation that goes into installing a perfect system and a lot of transporting of large boulders, rocks and hardscaping materials. Landscapers or landscape designers do much of their work underground, assuring that the pipes are well-insulated, leak-free, and will drain properly for eventual maintenance.
Many homeowners like the architectural challenge of a deck or patio installation but all to often this type of project is left to the pros. A decking contractor will understand the basic engineering requirements of the deck and can walk their clients through the assorted types of materials on the market. A concrete contractor will have the tools and machinery to remove old and damaged material, remove it properly, and have the knowledge and know-how to create a new patio. Expert concrete contractors also understand run-off and drainage problems and can properly angle the materials to establish that water runs away from the home’s foundation. In some cities and towns these type of projects may require a permit. A professional landscaper can advise you on the permitting requirements and register the paperwork on your behalf.
If your lawn is small, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem planning and installing your own sprinkler system. However, if you do not want to do-it-yourself and want a low-upkeep irrigation system, it may suit you to hire an irrigation professional. They can design and plan for the most economical system and work with you to create a timing system that works with your style of living. They can also advise you to which spots of your yard may need systems that are different than the rest of the lawn. Be sure to look for a pro who understands the slope and nature of your landscape and can advise you of water-saving techniques.
If I were to install sod, how do I go about it? I get this question often by many do-it-yourself types. Sod installation is a landscaping project that many people can do themselves. You'll need to start preparing a few weeks before you're ready to lay the new sod, as you will need to get your yard prepped and have fresh rolls, or pallets of sod on hand the day of installation. Be sure to plan the project for a day when the weather forecast will be clear, because rain can surely delay your efforts.
Measure Your Ground
Before beginning, measurements of the ground should be done so you know how much sod to order for the project. Landscaping is normally measured in square footage and the easiest was to calculate the space is to walk the area. The average human step is approximately three feet. So, pace the perimeter and multiply the number of steps by three to determine the length and width. Multiply those two numbers to find the square footage.
Prepare the Soil
New sod cannot be placed over existing grass or other plants, so to prepare your lawn, kill all the weeds and stray plant life. You can do this by watering your yard and spraying a herbicide over the planned plot. Vinegar is an all-natural, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional herbicides. Then, lay compost on top of the lawn and let it sit for a few weeks to fully suppress the soil. Once the existing plant life dies, till and rake the ground to loosen the terrain and unearth any buried rocks. Lay fresh topsoil if needed and fertilize the ground so it has the nutrients it's gonna need and ready to receive the new sod. Test the new ground using a soil test kit to make sure the pH and minerals levels are ideal. These normally come color coded and have a chart for easy reading.
Start along a straight edge in your yard like the driveway, patio or fence and unroll the first row of sod. Rake the soil as you lay the sod to clear any bumps that will be under the surface of the sod. After you’ve laid the first row, smooth out any areas that have wrinkled or bunched up. Then, carefully pat the sod into the ground with a shovel to remove any air pockets and encourage the sod to take root. Finish unrolling or placing the new sod one row at a time until you've completed. You can use a knife to cut pieces as needed to make sure they are laid flush with each other. Don't forget to pat each newly laid row into the ground to remove the air pockets and make sure you've cut out an opening for your sprinklers.
If your lawn is on the larger side, use a roller to smooth out the new sod after everything is laid neatly. This will help your sod to take root in the soil your prepped beforehand. Your new sod should be watered as soon as possible after installing. Then water it daily for about a week, preferably in the morning, and avoid walking on it as much as possible. After the first week, you can start watering it every other day, then twice a week when the sod takes root. Once your grass has grown to approximately three inches, it's time for a mowing. We recommend using a push mower because the new patches of grass will still be fragile. Finally, fertilize the lawn after you mow it to add nutrients back into the soil.