This past weekend the Bloom’n Gardens Team got some much needed face-to-face time with potential customers at the Spring Atlanta Home Show. It was great fun talking with everyone, allowing the homeowners to use us as a sounding board for all of their landscape issues.  People came with pictures in hand to get some creative ideas to fix those ailments and our staff enthusiastically gave out advice, or scheduled appointments to see the offending landscapes in person in hopes that we can strap on our Super Hero capes and come to the rescue.  Many times the homeowner feels alone in their problems, but I am here to tell you that there were definitely some common themes to the issues we are facing in our home landscapes.  The TOP 5 most sought after landscapes solutions, according to our Atlanta Home Show Audience are as follows:

Poor Drainage

Problem: “My backyard turns into a lake when it rains,” said one Dunwoody homeowner.

Explanation:  Clay soils hold moisture and do not drain well because they are made up of very fine grain particles that create very small pore spaces when stacked next to each other.  The smaller pores prohibit, or at least, reduce the flow of water through them causing the soil to get waterlogged.

Solution:  Increasing the size of the pore space through amending can help but it is difficult to create a hospitable environment for long term growth. A better solution is to install a French drain or a dry stream bed that takes the water from one location to another, preferably to a moving water source, another area that perc’s, or storm water source.

Hillside Erosion

Problem: According to one Smyrna resident, “I am loosing the hill in my back yard.”

Explanation: The geographical area we live in is the Georgia Piedmont. It is characterized by low rolling hills and narrow valleys which mean that many of us are not blessed with a flat lot unless we live in a much older home.  So invariably, we are bound to have hills either above us or below us to contend with.  When vegetation is removed from the hills there is little to hold the soil and prevent them from falling to gravity.

Solution: The best way to minimize erosion is to slow the flow of water. You can do this by installing a plant barrier, a fabric barrier or by terracing to reduce the pitch of the hill.  In general, dealing with an eroding hill is not an inexpensive proposition, but in many cases it is very necessary.

Changing Landscape Conditions

Problem: I had one Douglasville resident tell me that she used to have a beautiful landscape when she moved in 12 years ago, but now the trees are so big that everything has died.

Explanation: A landscape is a living, breathing entity in some respects.  Plants grow and age and compete for precious nutrients, sunlight, and water.

Solution:  You need to re-evaluate your landscape as it changes. You may find that overtime, a tree gets large and creates a shadier space beneath it, but in the same light, it may one day need to be cut down and then it will again be sunny.  Allocate time and money every few years to update your landscape to keep it fresh, healthy and enjoyable to use.

Garden Lacks Pizzazz

Problem: Sandy from Atlanta said “I want to add more color to my landscape”

Explanation:  Color in the garden most generally comes from flower blossoms that grace the plant material.  When there is not enough variety in the plant material than the garden can seem lack luster for much of the year.

Solution:  Take the time to plan out your seasonal blooms.  There are plants that bloom in all four seasons of the year; incorporating plants from each of these lists will ensure that you have a wide variety of plantings. Another trick is to not buy all your plants at the same time. Nursery’s stock what looks good and is currently sellable.  If all of your plants are bought at the same time simply because they all look good you are potentially facing a one dimensional garden. By shopping throughout the year you can create and interesting collection of plants that will provide year round interest.

Pet Issues

Problem: “Help my dog is ruining my backyard, is there anything I can do. I want to like her again.” This came from one very funny Mableton homeowner.

Explanation: Pets in our landscape can be fairly detrimental to the overall look especially if they are given free rein.  One distinct problem is the urine spots on the grass. Urine is high in uric acid and unless immediate flushed from the surface will cause brown/yellowing of the turf. Not to mention Fido typically goes for the same spots time and again. An additional issue your pet may be causing is compaction in the soil by running back and forth, excessive digging, or pulling up plants.

Solution: The most ideal solution is to create a pet friendly area of the yard by fencing off an adequate section.  This allows your pup to enjoy the outdoors even if you are not there to monitor his every move.  If this is not feasible, you could add an area of gravel to act as the “Doggie Bathroom”, install non toxic plants and, quartered off bed areas with waddle or some other low fence to keep Fido out.

Hopefully, you have found your solution to your Vinings, Smyrna, Mableton Garden landscape problems.