Top Landscaping Tips to Beat the Summer Heat

Know the signs of plant dehydration, landscaping precautions and how to water properly can make all the difference during the intense summer heat.

You know the drill. You spend the glorious months of springtime digging, planting and admiring your outdoor landscaping creations, only to see them suffer in the brutal heat of summer. We’ve got some good news: it doesn’t have to be that way.

We know it can be challenging to maintain your yard and flower beds as the temperatures rise. But if you take certain precautions, it’s possible to keep your landscape and lawn looking nice and fresh over the next few months. We’re here to help.

Signs of Dehydration

It’s pretty simple: when your soil becomes hard and dry, most forms of plant life won’t grow. Therefore, as the summer takes on its usual hot and humid form, soil dryness will lead to lost plants, flowers and shrubs. Therefore, it’s all about water and taking precautions. Knowing – and paying attention to – the first signs of dehydration in your plants can save you that landscaping heartache down the road. Here are the things to look for.

Dehydration signs for fruit, trees and plants:

  • Wilting
  • Stunted growth
  • Yellow or yellow-green leaves
  • Thinner tree canopy
  • Gummy textures on tree branches, twigs or trunks
  • Cracks in wood and bark (more than normal)
  • Twigs or stems begin to die from the top and outer parts of the plant
  • Fruit falling prematurely

Leaf dehydration signs are when they:

  • Are smaller than normal
  • Being to curl up
  • Are misshapen
  • Turn brown from the outside in
  • Are dull (instead of shiny)
  • Turn blue-green, yellowish or brown (depending on the type of plant)
  • Don’t detach from the branches

Your flowers might be dehydrated if:

  • They do not open fully
  • More weeds appear than normal
  • They decrease in growth

Lawn dehydration signs include:

  • Brown spots
  • Shorter than normal
  • Thinning patches

How to Water the Right Way

If you haven’t already, implement a regular watering schedule as soon as you notice that your lawn or garden is suffering from dehydration. Start by knowing your community’s water restrictions. Follow any suggested or enforced watering days and times, and be aware of and respect any of your city’s water-shortage guidelines.

In addition, remember to water first thing in the morning or as the sun is setting. Here are additional watering rules-of-thumb:

  • Lawns need about an inch of water each week.
  • For plants, water once a week applying about one gallon of water for each square foot.
  • To ensure the roots are getting soaked, apply water around the base of your flowers, herbs or vegetables.
  • If you can see footprints across your lawn for an extended time, water more often.
  • If a handful of your soil holds together when you grasp it, it’s properly hydrated.
  • Aerate your lawn once a year.
  • Avoid watering at night to avoid mites.
  • Keep up on weed removal, as they steal nutrients and water from your plants.
  • Mulch regularly to prevent weeds.

Let Us Help

Creating a beautiful landscape and keeping it healthy is our specialty. Whether it’s starting from scratch, or maintaining a lawn and existing gardens, we can make sure you’re able to enjoy your outdoor living space for months to come. Give us a call and let us come take care of everything.

Five DIY Kid-Friendly Summer Landscaping Ideas

Our top five kid-friendly landscaping ideas might be just the ticket for enhancing your outdoor living space – and keeping your family busy over the summer.

As Alice Cooper famously sang, “School’s out for summer.” Or at least it’s almost out for summer, depending on your school district. Which means millions of young people everywhere will be looking for something to do, and “Go outdoors!” is a common solution – at least from a parent’s point of view.

We’ve got some solutions too, in the form of do-it-yourself landscaping projects that are easy, fun, and are perfect for the whole family. Are you ready? Check out some of our favorite ideas especially for you. Good luck – and happy summer!

Bring on the birds. If you want to create an outdoor learning environment for bird-lovers, think food and fresh water, beginning with a bird bath or fountain. But don’t assume you have to go out and buy one. There are plenty of options for making your own bath, but keep in mind that it needs to be shallow with a slightly rough bottom for traction. Add some bird feeders strategically placed in your yard, and you have a bird sanctuary right out the window.

Add butterflies to the mix. Butterflies aren’t just for looks – they help pollinate flowers. Get your kids involved in planning a garden that will serve to attract these beauties while sprucing up your yard. Best bets? Flowers in purples, oranges, pinks or reds – but make sure they’re suitable for our region. We can help you with choosing the right types of blooms. Since butterflies prefer their meals in the sun, make sure your garden is designed accordingly.

Build a fire pit. There’s nothing quite like roasting marshmallows and hotdogs during cool summer evenings, and a fire pit can bring wonderful memories right to your back yard. There are several DIY designs that are family friendly, but make sure you choose one that is safe, and a site that’s not too close to your house. If you want the perfect fire pit or fireplace to enhance your outdoor living space, but this type of project seems a bit daunting, give us a call. We can design and install one that incorporates and compliments the homemade plans you already have in the works.

Think vegetables. Sure, choosing seeds, preparing the bed and watching edible plants grow can be a prime educational opportunity. But the bottom line is that it’s just plain fun! Get the whole family involved in each process, or let your kids do all the research and planning. There’s nothing quite like preparing a meal using ingredients that came from your own yard. Make sure you pick out the best vegetable types for your region, soil and sun exposure. For more information, here’s a list of gardening resources from Purdue Extension. And check out this recipe  for fresh salsa made from homegrown tomatoes.

Take a load off. If you don’t have a nice, shady place outdoors for your family to just relax in and enjoy, challenge your kids to come up with solutions. Perhaps you have a spot that’s perfect for a hammock, covered swing or Adirondacks. Have them figure out a design and a plan for action. Garage sales are aplenty this time of year, where you might score gently used lawn furniture or hammocks. Have your kids research outdoor seating ideas, and encourage them to consider rock sculptures, stepping stones and any other decorative elements to enhance the space.

Ready to get started?

While these outdoor landscaping ideas are good starters, we know there are plenty more. Do you have some kid-friendly outdoor projects to share? We’d love to hear about your favorites – include pictures if you have any! In the meantime, for your larger outdoor landscaping needs, give us a call. We’d love to help you create your dream outdoor living space.