Have you ran out of landscaping ideas for the Fall and Winter months? Then you might not have thought hard enough. Like most creative processes (and believe me, landscaping is a creative process), sometimes it’s tough to continue to come up with great ideas when you feel like you’ve tried them all. We’ll try and help you pull the cobwebs out and get you back on track.
Landscaping Ideas in WNC #1
One of the most commonly overlooked landscaping ideas for the Fall and Winter months is seeding grass in those bare and patchy areas of your property. Catching up on your flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants are necessary also, but let’s not forget about the most abundant plant in your yard, grass. Here in Asheville and Western North Carolina, there are certain types of grasses that take better to the soil during the cooler months of the year, and these are the most-popular simply because trying to seed your lawn during the Spring is more risky than seeding during the Fall. Generally speaking, and without going into great detail about the hundreds of new varieties of grass on the market today, a safe, beautiful and smart choice for grass in WNC is:
- tall fescue
- perennial ryegrass
- bluegrass (Kentucky bluegrass)
- turf-type fescue
There are other types of grasses that do well in North Carolina, but those other types like pure turf-type grasses, bermudagrass, and zoysiagrass are generally reserved for the Piedmont area, and the coastal plains. Check out some great information about grasses from NC State. When planting (seeding) your grass in the Fall, you’ll want to remember a few important things before getting started:
- Test your soil – Testing your soil before planting anything is recommended. You may need to apply some type of liquid fertilizer, or plant food at the same time as sowing your grass seed, if your soil test comes back as lacking some nutrients. We found a great video about how to test your soil here.
- Plant a mixture of grasses – When you mix your cool-weather grasses, they become stronger by helping each other resist diseases and other forms of pests. This increases their chances of survival, and ensures that the grass will do well both in the shade, and in the full-sun areas of your lawn.
- Check your seeding rates – Seeding rate is defined as the amount of seed of an individual species that’s needed to achieve an adequate stand. (Source: Department of Agriculture, 2009). Seeding rates for various types of bluegrass about about 1.5 – 2.0 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Any type of fescue blend should be seeding at about 6.0 pounds per square feet.
If you have any questions about how to correctly seed your lawn in the Fall/Autumn, please give us a call; we’re happy to answer your questions.
Landscaping Ideas in WNC #2
For over 34 years, Asheville has been a designated Tree City, USA; and with all those trees, comes a lot of leaves. Our next landscaping ideas for you is to gather up, pile up, vacuum up, mulch or blow your leaves away. There are approximately 653 different types of trees in Western North Carolina and with each variety of leaf comes a new challenge. We’ve found through our experience, that leaf removal in the Appalachian mountains is normally best performed around mid-to-late November because enough time has past that allowed most, if not all the leaves to fall to the ground. There are plenty of things that you can do with your fallen leaves, but here, we’ve named a few so that your memory will be jogged:
- Mow over them – This is the simplest and easiest solution to getting rid of the thousands of leaves that have gathered on your lawn, but beware, you might not be able to simply mow over them. In fact, we (Beam’s Lawn and Landscape Service) recently tended to a leaf removal job in the mountains surrounding Asheville (Fairview area) and there was no possible way to actually mow over the leaves. The driveway was so steep that a lawn mower would have barreled down the hill should we have tried that option. (Keep reading for other leaf removal options.)
- Compost the leaves – Composting first requires for you to gather up the leaves, somehow. Whether you’re blowing your leaves with a gas-powered blower, or raking them up the old fashioned way, get them into a pile first. Next, you can let them sit as they are, or add them to another composting pile on your property. Composted leaves have vital nutrients and minerals that are needed for soil restoration, and plant growth. It takes about three months to one year for a pile of leaves to compost completely, so make sure to read up about how to speed up the composting process here if you want to have nice compost in the Spring.
- Blow them away – In some cases, as described above, there’s no better solution that to simply blow the leaves away, down the hill, or into another embankment. You should weight your options when it comes to what to do with your leaves in the Fall because they’re can be extremely difficult to manage, and very very time consuming. In fact, most people opt for hiring a landscaping company once they realize how long it’s going to take just to deal with leaves. Who has eight hours to rake leaves up? Exactly.
There are a few risks in allowing your downed-leaves to gather in your yard, ditches, and gutters. Leaves can clog your culvert pipes around your property and cause massive flooding, and soil erosion which will cost thousands of dollars in the long run. Don’t get caught in the Fall digging out your gutters and ditches when the water coming down is freezing in the Fall. Also, large amounts of dry leaves are a very big fire hazard. If dry leaves have gathered next to your house in a corner, you’ll want to remove them as quick as possible to prevent an catastrophic event like this car that caught on fire after parking over dry leaves.
Landscaping Ideas in WNC #3
Our last and final landscaping ideas is not something that involves planting, seeding, sowing, digging, weeding, or anything else regarding plants. How is this possible? You didn’t think that we’d forget your lawn and landscaping tools would you? Taking care of your landscaping tools in the Fall is one of the secrets to having a successful lawn and property in the Spring. Don’t get caught red-handed come March when you’re looking for those pruning shears only to find that they’re rusted shut. Any serious landscaper or landscaping company takes care of the tools and equipment that they have, in order to ensure a great season. Here are some things to remember about your tools during the Fall months:
- Service your lawn mower – There are quite a few people and landscaping companies that remember to do this, but they don’t remember until the Spring. We all know how busy Spring is with outdoor yard work, so being smart and staying ahead of the curve means you should get your mower(s) serviced during the Fall/Winter. Servicing your lawn mower includes things like: changing the spark plugs, changing the oil, sharpening the blade, changing the air filter and some other things. If you’re not up for that, make sure to hire a professional landscape equipment service technician to take care of your lawn equipment.
- Clean your tools – Soil, mud and debris can actually cause your metal tools to rust during the winter months. Have you ever noticed that small crevasse on your shovel where the handle meets the metal? Dirt gets stuck in the area and without being removed, your wooden handle shovel is now coming loose only after a few seasons because you didn’t clean it. Use some steel wool and/or putty knife to clean your metal tools. Make sure to treat your wooden handles with linseed oil, or some type of wood moisturizer. Even something like Pledge works.
- Plunge your tools – Have you ever seen one of those over-sized outdoor pots that people often plant trees in? Get one of those and fill it halfway with sand. (Make sure it’s in a good location because it’s going to get heavy.) Then, take some type of liquid lubricant (we suggest Fluid Film) and pour enough in to coat the sand with the liquid lubricant. Toss the sand particles with a shovel. Then, jam the ends of your metal tools down into the most sand for the winter. Your hand tools will stay rust-free and clean all winter long.
It’s easy to forget landscaping ideas in the Fall when all you can think about is getting your kids to school, sports activities and putting dinner on the table. We sincerely hope that you’ve enjoyed some of the landscaping ideas that we’ve talked about here and let us know if you have any other landscaping ideas in the comments below. Happy landscaping!