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Do’s and Don’t when planning your landscaping

When beginning your landscape from scratch or reconstructing,  simply walk out into the yard in the far back corner and stand. Give yourself some time and just imagine what the best look.  Be sure to take in account the size of yard you have, what the neighbors may have done, what you have done in the past, or if you need to keep it clean for the kids. Take notes of ideas from others you know and professionals. Look on the internet. Look on the TV. Look into magazines, coffee shops, home depot, etc. A few meditative minutes could save you hours of frustration.

 

Taking away lawn and putting in a large patio or brick surfacing will be easier to maintain.  A fun yard is a soft yard when asking children. There is no substitute for grass. It is hard to put in, but once it is there, the maintenance really isn’t that bad. A lawn is a much better choice than gravel or pavement. Excessive gardens and small pathways will actually create more mud because the grass will be so trodden on that it can’t grow back.

 

Define what the focal point is in the landscaping design. It is an element in the yard that draws the attention of the eye. A good example of one is a fountain, or small pond. The focal point will be different for every yard. A bad example would be a yard with nothing but a lawn. No matter how flat and fluffy the lawn is, it won’t be talked about by the neighbors unless you have a focal point feature such as a fountain or a fire pit. But don’t go overboard. A nice little pond never hurt anyone.

 

You most likely have an idea of how much you want to spend on your landscape project. Be sure that whatever you put in your yard, you are going to use. An example of this is the expensive outdoor kitchen that gets used once a year. There are all kinds of appliances that appear to be necessary for a decent yard. Remember that you have a kitchen in the house. Spend the money where it counts and don’t get carried away.

 

Mixing and Matching is harder than it looks and must be done. Designing a landscape is a lot like writing a musical composition. Playing the same note isn’t very exciting, but adding sharps and flats here and there, with multiple instruments, creates a feel for the listener. It is the same with landscaping. Use tall and small trees. Plant violet and yellow flowers. Stay away from the sameness look. It does get more complicated, but it is well worth it. Mixing and matching is great with color and objects, but the style must stay the same, or else you will be spending a lot more money on Tylenol to get rid of those headaches.

 

Much like mixing and matching, the style you choose must be consistent and appealing. The best way to get ideas on style is to go on a Sunday afternoon drive. See what other people have done, or haven’t done. By looking at others strengths and mistakes, you’ll be able to make an educated decision on which style will look best for your home. Once again, speaking with the professionals at Blade and Petal Landscaping won’t hurt. Once you pick a style, stick to it. If you mix the wrong styles, you won’t have one.

 

When treated the right way, lighting can be used to your great advantage. It is a chance to focus on the items in your yard that you cherish the most, such as a lit up fountain. Not only does lighting provide a pristine look, it also provides security, safety and a higher electrical bill, so be careful not to buy the high energy light bulbs. If you plan on spending a lot of time on your back patio sipping ice cold beverages next to the fire, give your guests something to look at. Some good ideas for lighting would be lighted paths, fountains or flowerbeds.

 

The hardscape of a yard adds character. You will want to leave room for the lawn, walkways and such, but you ought to consider adding patios and steps. This gives you an opportunity to add accents to Mother Nature in your yard. Good hardscaping leads you through the landscape and gives you a sense of what the designer was trying to capture. You will also want to provide a spot where you can sit and look at your landscape. Don’t make the only view the one from the window. It may be the most difficult thing to design, but it will be the most beneficial feature to your yard.

 

The best investment you can make for your yard is picking the best plants from a local, professional grower or nursery.  Speak to a local plant nursery and ask them for their advice. They will know what plants do the best, and they may even try to sell you some. The look of your yard will also be dependent on how well your plants look in relation to surrounding houses and parks. You don’t have to be the same as everyone, but you ought to be a quite similar.

 

The most important decisions you’ll make will hardly be noticed with the naked eye. You must have proper drainage, a solid deck foundation and the pond must have the appropriate amount of sand and gravel underneath. Another important decision is the hardware, or sprinklers. Be sure to get your sprinklers done properly and no shortcuts. If you let anything slide, you may be digging your yard up a few times a year to make repairs that should have been done correctly the first time.

 

We at Blade and Petal Landscaping hope this information has been helpful.  You know what you like and dislike.  We are here to help you sort through your ideas to create that landscaping that your friends talk about.  Homeownership pride begins on the outside.


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Flower Beds

 

For more details about designing and installation, please go to the “Services Offered” at the top right

 

 

When it comes to flower garden design, Blade and Petal can assist and listen to your thought and plans. Sure, it’s important to do a good job of soil preparation and carefully match plants to the site. If you ignore these imperatives, your results will likely be disappointing. Columbia has a great environment to support a large selection Annual and Perennial flowers. A beautifully planned flower beds is the compliment of a professionally maintained lawn.

The aesthetics, however, are more a matter of personal preference. You might prefer a formal look with straight edged beds and plants in orderly patterns. Or you might prefer a more natural look with sweeping curves and irregular clumps of plants. The styles you choose are up to you.

The tips below avoid as much as possible the prescriptive “shoulds” that dominate advice about garden design. Instead, they’ll point out the aesthetic consequences of different strategies. Remember that, in most cases, there is more than one way to arrange plants, and that many of the “rules” of garden design were made to be broken.  Blade and Petal listens to your ideas and builds on our professional experience to create the perfect flower beds.  We know that what’s important is that your garden to exceed your expectations.


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Shrub, Hedges and Bushes

Trimming hedges is one of the least enjoyable gardening jobs. Apparently, its right down there with weeding and composting as people’s least favorite chores, with most clients rating it a tedious job. Blade and Petal Landscaping utilizes the right equipment and knowledgeable crew.

A hedge becomes thick as a result of regular trimming where each cut gives rise to a branch. Hedges need more than just annual trimming — you must pay attention to watering and feeding, and to the control of pests, diseases and disorders if they are to remain healthy and attractive.

Watering is necessary during dry spells in the growing season — hedging plants are generally spaced much closer than other garden plants and so their roots compete heavily for water. You can use a garden hose or sprinkler, but the most effective method is to lay a seep hose along the base of the hedge. Apply enough water to saturate the top 15cm (6in) of soil — equivalent to 2.5cm (1in) of rainfall — at each application and repeat whenever the top 2.5cm (1in) of soil is dry.

Mulching annually with forest bark around the roots of a hedge will help to prevent undue water loss from the soil.

Feeding should be carried out regularly. Apply a general-purpose fertilizer, such as bone meal, at the rate of a generous handful per sq m/yd in spring as a soil dressing. Treat a strip up to 90cm (3ft) wide from the base of the hedge and hoe the fertilizer into the surface 2.5cm (1in). Water it in if the soil is dry.

If the root run of the hedge is under turf or paving, then apply nutrients as a foliar feed from a pressure sprayer. Use a liquid fertilizer which is rich in nitrogen for leaf growth. Repeat whenever the foliage appears dull and lacking vigor. Foliage sprays can also be applied as a mid to late season back-up to the main spring soil dressing.

Weeding Around the Bottom of Hedging Plants

Eliminate weeds from the base of a hedge using a draw hoe, by hand or with chemical sprays. Weeds compete with the hedge for nutrients, water and light so remove them before they begin to accumulate.

Water-soluble diquat and paraquat weed killers are effective against most weeds under a hedge, but avoid wetting the leaves of the hedge. Glyphosate in liquid or gel form is ideal for killing persistent perennial and annual weeds.

Cutting out dead wood is another vital task. Branches often die out in the center of an established hedge. These should be pruned away since they can harbor diseases such as coral spot which soon spread through the entire hedge. Make clean cuts with secateurs back to healthy wood. This is best done during the growing season when live wood is clearly visible.

If a whole plant dies out within a hedge, grub it out and replace with a young specimen after first preparing and conditioning the soil as for planting a new hedge.

Pests and diseases should be treated as for other garden shrubs and trees. Healthy plants are resistant; use chemicals with care and discretion.


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Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is one of the few warm season grass varieties that will grow a little further north into the colder climates —  see the adaptation map below. It will turn brown at the first dip in temperature though. More cold tolerant and high quality varieties are being developed constantly  — such as Yukon Bermuda grass seed. In the more warmer tropical south, during average rainfall years, Bermuda will retain a beautiful green color all year round. This grass can be grown on low to high maintenance schedules depending upon the usage. Lawns planted in Bermuda grass can attain full lawn coverage in one year. It is not uncommon for seeded Bermuda lawns to be established within 60-90 days.

Annual Maintenance Schedule

March Through May Mowing: Bermuda grass performs best when mowed between ¾ and 1½ inches. Begin mowing as soon as the lawn turns green in spring. Always leave the clippings on the lawn in a practice called ‘grass-cycling’. Grass clippings decompose quickly and do not contribute to thatch. If prolonged rain or other factors prevent frequent mowing and clippings begin to clump, they can be collected and used as mulch. For more information on mowing, refer to HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns. Fertilizing: Apply ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen (N) per 1,000 square feet several weeks after complete green-up. Submit a soil sample to determine nutrient and lime requirements. In the absence of a soil test, use a slow-release, complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) turf fertilizer with a 4-1-2 ratio such as 16-4-8. Apply lime if suggested. To determine the amount of product needed to apply 1 pound of N per 1,000 square feet, divide 100 by the first number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 16-4-8 fertilizer, divide 100 by 16. The result is 6.25 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet (100/16 = 6.25 of 16-4-8). For more information on fertilizing lawns refer to HGIC 1201, Fertilizing Lawns. Irrigation: As a general rule, irrigate when 30 to 50 percent of the lawn shows sign of wilt. Probe with a screwdriver to ensure the top 4 to 6 inches of soil are moist following irrigation. Do not irrigate again until the lawn shows sign of wilt. In general, bermuda grass needs a total weekly application of about 1 to 1 ¼ inches of water. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering, for example, ¾-inch of water every third or fourth day. For more information on watering lawns refer to HGIC 1207, Watering Lawns. Weed Control: Apply pre-emergence herbicides to control summer annual weeds when forsythia or red buds are in full bloom. Apply post emergence herbicides in May as needed to control summer annual and perennial broad leaf weeds. Be sure that the product is labeled for use on bermuda grass. Post emergence herbicides are applied when weeds are present, and at least three weeks after the lawn has greened up. For more information on weed control refer to HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm Season Lawns. Thatch Removal: Vertically mow in May to remove the thatch after the lawn becomes green, but only if the thatch is more than ½-inch thick. After de-thatching, irrigate with ¾ to 1 inch of water. Fertilize with 1 pound of N per 1,000 square feet if the lawn has not already been fertilized. Renovation:Replant large bare areas using sod or sprigs (3 to 5 bushels per 1,000 square feet). Common bermuda grass can be seeded using hulled bermuda grass at 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Do not seed hybrid bermuda grass lawns with common bermuda grass. Use sod or sprigs of the existing hybrid instead.

June Through August

Mowing: Bermuda grass performs best when mowed between ¾ and 1½ inches. Fertilizing: Apply ½ to 1 pound of N per 1,000 square feet every 4 to 8 weeks. Irrigation: As a general rule, irrigate when 30 to 50% of the lawn shows sign of wilt. In general, bermuda grass needs a total weekly application of about 1 to 1¼ inches of water. Insect Control: August is the best time to control white grubs because they are small and close to the soil surface. Mole crickets will begin to hatch in June. Use a soap flush technique to determine if mole crickets are present. For details on the soap flush technique, see EIIS/TO-1, Mole Cricket Management for the Home Lawn. Weed Control: Apply post emergence herbicides as needed to control summer annual and perennial weeds. For more information on weed control, see HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm Season Lawns. Thatch Removal: Vertically mow to remove the thatch if it is more than ½ inch thick. It normally is best to vertically mow in spring whenever possible.

September Through November Mowing: Mow the lawn between ¾ and 1½ inches until several weeks before the first expected frost. Raise the mowing height by ½ inch as winter approaches if the lawn will not be over seeded. Mowing height is usually raised in mid to late September in the Piedmont and early October in other areas. Fertilization: In September, if a soil test reports deficient potassium (K) levels, apply 1 pound of potash (K2O) per 1000 square feet, using muriate of potash (0-0-60), potassium sulfate (0-0-50), or Sul-Po-Mag (0-0-22). Irrigation: Irrigate when 30 to 50% of the lawn shows sign of wilt. In general, bermuda grass needs a weekly application of about 1 to 1¼ inches of water. Dormant bermuda grass may need to be watered periodically when dry, warm, windy weather prevails. Weed Control: Apply pre-emergence or post emergence herbicides as needed to control winter annual and perennial broad leaf weeds. Pre-emergence herbicides are most effective when applied as nighttime temperatures drop into the upper 50s. Preemergence herbicides do not control existing perennial weeds. Apply post emergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Do not apply herbicides designed to control annual bluegrass if the lawn is to be over seeded with ryegrass. Insect Control: Continue to monitor for white grubs and control if necessary. Overseeding: Overseeding with ryegrass for winter color should be done in mid September in mountain and Piedmont areas, and early October in coastal areas.

December Through February Mowing: Mow over seeded bermuda grass at 1 inch before the grass gets taller than 1½ inches. Do not collect the clippings unless they accumulate heavily on the surface. Dormant bermuda grass that has not been over seeded need not be mowed. Overseed Fertilization: Do not fertilize bermuda grass that has not been over seeded. Apply ½ pound of N per 1,000 square feet in December and February to over seeded bermuda grass. Irrigation: Dormant bermuda grass may have to be watered periodically to prevent desiccation, especially when warm, windy weather prevails. Watering is particularly important for lawns that have been over seeded. Weed Control: Apply broad leaf herbicides as needed to control winter weeds such as chickweed, henbit, and hop clover. Selective herbicides can be applied in November or December to lawns that have not been over seeded to control annual bluegrass (Poa annua) and several winter annual broadleaf weeds.

 


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Centipede grass

For a maintenance schedule for Centipede care, visit our “LAWN CARE” at top of page.

This creeping perennial is well adapted to the sandy, acidic soils of low fertility and requires low maintenance. It spreads by stolons and has a coarse texture with short upright stems that grow to about 3-5 inches and requiring less mowing, survives in mild cold temperatures as long as there aren’t several hard freezes since it doesn’t go into a true dormancy and with light freezes will turn brown but as soon as the temperature rises it will recover and re-greens.

Centipede grass is a slow-growing, apple-green, coarse-leaved turf grass that is adapted for use as a low maintenance, general purpose turf. It requires little fertilizer (one to two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year), infrequent mowing, and will tolerate moderate shade if it receives at least four hours of full sun, daily. It does not tolerate traffic, compaction, high phosphorus soils, high pH, low-potassium soils, excessive thatch, drought, or heavy shade. Centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) was introduced into the United States from seed found in the baggage of Frank Meyer, a USDA plant explorer who disappeared on his fourth trip to China in 1916. It was initially used for low-maintenance cemeteries and eventually for lawns during and after the Depression and is sometimes referred to as “lazy man’s grass” or “poor man’s grass”. It is well adapted to the climate and soils of the coastal plains and lower Piedmont areas of the southern United States.

Centipede grass is a low-growing and medium-textured naturally yellow-green colored perennial turf. Its low fertility requirements result in slow growth and reduced maintenance. Centipede grass’ natural color is Granny Smith crab apple green. Over fertilizing to obtain an unnatural dark green color reduces its cold tolerance and usually increases long-term maintenance problems. Centipede grass is currently the most common home lawn turf grass in the South. Centipede grass is adapted to infertile soils. It spreads by stolons, producing a medium-textured turf. Maintenance requirements are low when compared to other turf grasses. It has fair to good shade tolerance, good drought tolerance, and can be established from seed or sod. Since it only produces surface runners (stolons), centipede grass is easily controlled around borders of flowerbeds and walks. Centipede grass is highly susceptible to damage from nematodes (especially ring nematodes) and ground pearl insects. Nematode damage limits centipede grass’ use in deep sandy soils. It exhibits iron Chloris (yellowing) and produces a heavy thatch if over fertilized. It has poor salt tolerance and forms a loose turf that is not very wear-resistant, so it will not withstand heavy foot traffic. Stolons from centipede grass have high lignin content and do not decompose readily, thus developing a thatch layer. The rate of thatch accumulation is a direct result of management practices, which provide excessive vegetative growth. When over fertilized, the subsequent growth means new runners are soon several inches above the soil surface and exposed to the wide fluctuations of temperatures normally experienced in late fall and winter. Within several years, large brown dead patches form in early spring. This die back is collectively referred to as “centipede grass decline.” Following proper management techniques can prevent this problem: Avoid over fertilizing (e.g., 0 to 2 lbs N per 1000 sq.ft. yearly) Prevent thatch accumulation or remove thatch when it exceeds ½-inch in thickness Irrigate during drought stress, especially in the fall and early spring Maintain a mowing height of 1½ to 2 inches.

Improved varieties of centipede grass are available, including Centennial, Oaklawn, Tenn Turf (formerly, Tennessee Hardy), Top Quality and TifBlair. The improved cultivars have better cold tolerance than common. However, these must be vegetatively propagated and are selected specifically for their improved cold tolerance. Centennial will perform a little better on alkaline soil than common centipede grass. The centipede grass seed and sod produced in most Southern areas are a mixture of red- and yellow-stemmed grasses.


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Columbia, SC Landscaping Service

Our Clients are the reason for our success!

Not many people actually have the time or patience to tend to their landscaping either at home or work.

Blade & Petal is here to help.

We offer expert, professional landscaping craftsmanship to both residential and commercial clientele.

Our upscale service occurs before entering your property. We are licensed by the counties we serve. A $2 mil commercial liability insurance is always enforced on our employees, equipment and vehicles. All employees are US citizens and undergo both a criminal background check and periodic illegal substance testing. Blade & Petal knows the importance of protecting you, your family and property from harm and liability before, during and after your service.

Highend landscaping service provides annual care and maintenance in a timely manner to guarantee the success of your lawn, flowers, hedges and trees with the proper fertilization, weed and insect control, hedge trimming, and de-thatching and mowing. Installation and repair of plants, flowers and irrigation systems, #1 grade pine needles or mulch, and bed retaining walls are some of the other services we provide. Bush hog mowing and tractor work is available for heavily overgrown vegetation.

If you are serious and particular about the care and maintenance of your landscape, Blade & Petal, with our professional and careful service, could be the solution.

Whether you want to maintain your lawn for that upcoming
“Yard of the Month” contest, barbecue or create a professional, manicured look for your office building, put our experienced team of landscape professionals to work for you.

Our services include:

•Lawn mowing & De-thatching
•Sod installation and over seeding
•Maintenance for irrigation systems
•Tree and shrub care
•Landscape design
•Fence/rock wall construction
•Mulching beds and Pine needles
•Fertilization
•Bush Hog and tractor work
•And more!

A beautiful landscape is just a phone call away. Contact us today!

(803) 254-0818

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