Show Notes

In this episode we talk about what you need to do before starting a project.  How to plan yard projects properly so you work less later!


  • Design Principles
  • Think big picture
  • How project fits into greater landscape
  • Better to plan first than to plant first
    • Easier to correct planning mistakes
    • Difficult to correct planting
  • Planning tips
    • Find right time of year for planting
    • Plan for growth
      • Spreading habit
        • Seeding
        • Runners
      • Root growth
        • Utilities
        • Foundation
        • Driveway/paths
      • Top growth
        • Eaves
        • Power lines
        • Other trees
        • Too close/crowded
    • Check local codes
    • Call for utilities marking
    • Avoid digging/planting on or near utilities
      • Consult local planning committee on what you can do
    • Avoid waterway disruption
    • Know water availability
      • Rainfall – quantity, time of year
      • Site conditions
        • Where it pools
        • Where it runs off
        • How much soaks in
    • Know soil pH, type, organic level, depth
      • Local county extension office
    • Plan grading first, planting later
    • Plan to take longer than you think
    • Get friends to help out
      • Food first, then work, then food + beer
    • If big project, may be worth hiring designer
      • Talk about long term maintenance
      • Discuss intent for garden, as well as long term
  • Starting your project
    • For planting trees
      • com/treeplanting
    • Properly prepare space
      • Kill previous growth
        • Chemical
        • Non-chemical
    • Amendments
      • Fertility
      • pH – caution
  • Planting
    • Plan on getting as much done, as quickly as possible
    • Treat roots gently
    • Proper depth
      • Root crown
      • seeds
  • Post planting
    • Plan on being around for a while
    • Water properly – not too much, not too little
    • Check for signs of stress
  • Long term
    • Maintenance mode
    • Hopefully not much!

Links for today’s episode:

this is the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

I’m Ben Hale your virtual design guide

to help you and your family have a

healthy beautiful landscape with less

work what’s up and welcome to episode 6

of the aesthetic ecosystems podcast I’m

glad to have you here today we’re gonna

be talking about some fun stuff of

course as usual and I hope you’re having

a beautiful day right now it’s kind of a

cloudy day it’s kind of cold still but I

tell you what I can’t wait till spring I

don’t know if you feel the same way if

you’re listening to this

soon after this comes out but right now

it’s still winter time time of year when

I get a little bummed or whatever at

with the cold weather but but man I just

love being outdoors and having a

beautiful yard so I hope you do too our

yard could could stand a lot of positive

movement towards becoming a beautiful

yard and I really hope to take you along

the journey of transforming our yard and

I hope you can do the same at your place

as you look toward of having a beautiful

landscape that hopefully doesn’t own

your life with how much work you have to

do but yeah

right now it’s a little chilly a little

windy kind of a cloudy day but you know

I’m trying to live out what I tell my

little boys every time we wake up in the

morning we come down the stairs and have

them look out the window at the Sun

rising and we say good morning world

looks like a beautiful day and you know

what today is a beautiful day regardless

of the weather

it’s always nice just to see you know

the wind blowing through the trees and

kind of rustle in the grass and stuff so

I hope you’re having a great day and

let’s get right into it today so today

we’re gonna be talking about what to do

before starting a project this is the

perfect time to be thinking about this

because as we get into these warmer

months you know the spring growth takes

off like crazy you know everything’s

going bonkers you’re getting tons of

growth the plants you love also the

plants you don’t like the weeds and

stuff start going crazy too you’re out

there cutting the grass

it’s growing like crazy in the the wet

warm season so before we get into that

crazy mode this is the best time of year

the winter is in the late fall and early

you know right before spring are the

best time speed planning your next year

in the landscape planning for what

you’re gonna do how you’re gonna

maintain it and what projects you want

to do maybe that the big picture vision

stuff and actually getting plans onto

paper really makes a huge difference so

I hope you’re considering what changes

you might be making to your yard this

year and hopefully changes for the

better to free up time in your life

while increasing the beauty of your

landscape so that’s what we’re talking

about today what you can do with your

landscape before you even start your

projects so how to properly plan it how

to think about everything make sure you

check all the boxes of what you need to

do so you don’t make some big mistake

later on sometimes we get so excited to

get out there and get started

put the shovel on the ground start

planting plants or go to the nursery and

just start you know buying some pretty

looking plants and that’s definitely a

very fun part but without the proper

planning in place you can make some

really big mistakes some really costly

mistakes in both time and money if

you’re getting the wrong plant planting

at the wrong time in the wrong place or

whatever so that’s what we’re talking

about today is how to do things properly

start off on the right foot

before you even at the nursery before

you’re even putting the shovel on the

ground or stepping out into your yard

and putting your gloves on I guess you

know one other thing I’m thinking about

here is is it the same goes for you know

before you even going to hire a designer

or and you know a maintenance crew to

kind of put something in quick or you

know a designer that that is going to

plan the process for you as well before

you even thinking about hiring designer

you need to think about what you want

out of your landscape and make sure you

communicate that clearly to the design

you’re working with because they have

their own vision but they don’t if

you’re not clear with them on what you

want out of your landscape whether it’s

a low-maintenance beautiful landscape or

a specific type of function out of your

landscape or design they’re not going to

know that they’re gonna design what they

think you want which might be the

totally wrong thing so this podcast if

if you’re planning on hiring this out

this is a very important one to listen

to too because it’ll help you understand

what you want out of your landscape as

well as what to properly communicate to

the designer and for the parts that

you’re hiring out also understanding the

process that they’re going through so

you can better understand what you need

to talk about all right hopefully that’s

clear than high organic matter fertile

soil and let’s get right into it then

we’re gonna be talking about a few

things here I’m kind of kind of put it

in sequentially in order of kind of how

you should think of things but if you do

this a little bit out of order as long

as you’re not actually going to take

action until you do some of this stuff

that’s ok it’s really good to have a big

overall comprehensive picture so in

general yeah this kind of should be done

in order but not necessarily has to be

done that way so first let’s talk about

design principles I’m not going to

really talk a whole lot about this today

because we’ve really drilled down on

this in the past couple episodes so I

just want to highlight those episodes if

you haven’t listened to specifically

episodes 2 3 4 & 5 those are really good

comprehensive episodes to listen to and

listen to in order to design your

landscape properly to be a beautiful

landscape but also a low maintenance

landscape at the same time a lot of

times people especially with the beauty

part they’ll get the beauty part but not

the low maintenance part or more rarely

sometimes people have a nice low

maintenance landscape but it’s not

always the most beautiful so what we’re

talking about is is merging these two

concepts together to have a beautiful

landscape that doesn’t take so much work

for you and that’s what I really want

you to get today so episodes 2 & 3 go

through defining a lot of the elements

the basics of what makes a low

it’s landscape design so if you haven’t

listened to those episodes I really

recommend you go back and listen to them

to get all the bits and the good

elements of that show to really

understand what elements we should be

talking about when we’re planning our

own landscape or hiring a designer as

well episode 4 talks about how to save

time in your landscape and the first

half of that podcast episode talks about

the design itself so I really recommend

you go back and listen to that as well

it kind of builds on the whole low

maintenance landscape episodes but

specifically about the the time piece

and how precious time is and how that

kind of plays out in your landscape

design as well as maintenance routine so

so check out episode 4 as well and

episode 5 talks more about the design

piece the basics of design from an

aesthetic perspective so that’s where we

get into the beautiful part so

understanding what makes a good

beautiful landscape design is really a

good foundation for your design work and

secondarily then thinking about the low

maintenance piece so so the design

itself gives you the composition of your

landscape if you will how do how to make

it look properly to where it’s a

pleasing landscape and a happy place and

something that’s welcoming to you and

your guests that come into your yard so

having a good beautiful design is

actually really important to how people

perceive your landscape in your home as

well and how you experience it and other

people experience it so so that good

design mindset coming into the whole

process is really important to think

about the whole big picture of your

landscape so make sure you check back at

Ephesus 2 3 4 & 5 because those episodes

are really important to this whole

having the right design principles

before you go in to plan your your

project and even if it’s a small project

if you’re just working on a little

garden space maybe it’s like a front

yard garden right next to your front

door this still matters to think about

the big picture first how it all fits

together is really really important

even if it’s a small piece because if

you have a small piece that doesn’t fit

in with the rest of your landscape or

your long-term plans for your landscape

it’s gonna look really out of place so I

strongly encourage you to think about

that as you’re moving forward and just

again to really drill this home you want

to think big picture so what are your

goals for your landscape

what is your whole landscape so when I’m

talking about big picture I’m actually

talking about kind of some of the dreamy

stuff like what do you want what’s your

ideal situation and then once we start

kind of getting those teasing those

elements out of how you want your space

to feel and how you want to be in your

space how you want other people to feel

when they come to your landscape how do

you want to experience it when you

understand those bits you can kind of

really start to drill down okay here’s

what I want to experience this type of

feeling or this type of experience so

that’s what I mean by thinking big

picture but also I mean thinking big

picture physically so think about your

whole landscape how does your project

whether it’s one small garden or your

whole landscape how does it all fit

together and that’s really important

when you’re thinking about your design

and also how does your landscape design

fit into the bigger picture of your

community or your area does it is it

gonna look really out of place do you

want it to look really out of place how

does it fit into the the general feel of

other landscapes in your area and do you

want it to be kind of similar or

strikingly different those are things

you want to constantly figure out right

now before you go in and actually start

putting in a garden or a project okay

the last point I want to make here with

the design stuff is it’s better to plan

first than to plant first and what I

mean by this is it’s really easy to

correct planning mistakes as you’re

going through the thought process of

your design and I really strongly

encourage you to put stuff on paper as

well when you’re doing this

writing down your goals going through

actually drawing out a plan of what you

want to do physically even if you’re not

an artist it’s it’s something you can do

planting planning out general areas of

where you’re gonna put things how it’s

gonna look and getting in just a few

very rough sketches together makes a

huge difference at picking out potential

mistakes and understanding if you’re

really gonna like what something looks

like so it’s easier to correct planning

mistakes it’s different difficult to


planting mistakes so I want to make that

really clear you know a plant’s not

actually a really a mobile piece once

you plant it and it becomes established

you’re really disrupting that plant if

you have to move it it’s a lot of work

on your part it’s a lot of work on your

plants part as well so make sure you

plan properly to avoid costly mistakes

in time and plant health and in money as

well further down the road by making a

mistake that you didn’t want to make

okay so let’s get into some planning

tips some things that you really need to

think about before you actually go and

start your project a lot of these things

are really really important so if you’re

gonna get anything out of this episode

well I I don’t know personally I think

this whole episode is really important

right the design is important these

planning bits are really important too

so if you miss one of these you might

actually have to rip out your landscape

or something that’s why I’m saying this

section is very important as well I

don’t want you to have to you know go

and start a project and then realize for

whatever reason you have to tear it up

or change it or whatever that would be

you know a huge waste of time and just

not a fun experience and it’s definitely

happened before for a lot of people so

that’s why I’m really trying to make

this clear so let’s get into it so first

I want you to look into finding the

right type of year for planting and if

you’re planning a garden with multiple

species there might be multiple stages

to this you know it might not be ideal

to plant everything all at once so make

sure based on the plants you’re putting

into your project that you have the

right time of you and

even goes for your lawn there’s

definitely ideal times to plant your

lawn I’m being very general here because

this is this greatly varies based on

what plant you’re considering and what

area you live in as well you know if

you’re talking about something in

southern Florida it’s gonna be

drastically different than a design

you’re putting in in northern Wisconsin

and same goes for you know Western

California you know if you’re on the

coast or not so all these things or you

know think about something in Denver you

would you would expect it to be quite a

bit different than something on coastal

California right so make sure based on

what plants you’re selecting and the

region you live in what the best time of

planting for that plant is and and do so

accordingly because that can really

change how successful your landscape is

how much death you have with the plants

you establish it’s a good rule of thumb

to always plan for some some death of

plants you’re transplanting or sowing

from seed as well it’s pretty much

inevitable that you know you’re

disrupting the how the plant naturally

grows so it’s it’s kind of a good

expectation to have that not

everything’s going to be a hundred

percent successful you might have to

redress some of your establishment and

after you know a few months or a few

years so just something to keep in mind

there as a bit of an aside but yeah so

finding the right time of you for

planting is really important there is a

really good resource for this at least

with native plants and some exotics is

plants dot USDA dot-gov this shows you

the the growing range for most plants so

you can see if it’s kind of a natural

space for it or not in addition a lot of

them have little tip sheets it’s not the

easiest website to navigate but you can

find little tip sheets on growing stuff

there and the other suggestion I would

have is to go to the Missouri Botanical

Garden website I’ll try and put it in

the show notes but also just Google

Missouri Botanical Garden they have a

ton of plants at least for you know the

the eastern two-thirds of the US that

can grow in most conditions and it’s a

really good resource for a lot of plants

that you find in your garden and they

also list a lot of tips there as well so

check both of those resources out I’ll

try and remember to put these in the

show notes for you and yeah I recommend

those when you’re thinking about your

plants make sure you plan for growth you

know plants are a living material right

naturally speaking they’re meant to

propagate to grow as tall as they can as

quick as they can and is as robust as

they can so they can carry on their

species and reproduce and and continue

growing as long as possible that’s

basically how plants are designed of

course yeah different plants are

designed with different life cycles and

different growth heights they fit

different habitat niches in the natural

world but all together that’s the goal

of every you know every species you’re

putting in your garden is to propagate

itself and to carry on itself so it’s

really important when you’re you’re

designing a garden that you take this

into consideration especially with a low

maintenance landscape because you don’t

want to be constantly hacking away at

plants as they’re spreading or growing

taller or whatever just because it was

you know a pretty looking plant but it

doesn’t really fit the mold that you’re

trying to put it in so so make sure you

plan for growth and there’s a couple

elements here that you really need to

consider so first is the spreading habit

so this by what I mean by this is how

does it the plant naturally propagate

does it propagate by seed does it

propagate by runners or both running

running or suckering or whatever that is

basically vegetatively through its root

growth or or low stems coming through

the ground there’s those are the two

most basic habits for propagation for

plants and so think about like some

extreme examples here so some plants

propagate by seed right there’s this a

popular landscape plant is the pear tree

a Bradford prayer for example is a

common land

scape tree that propagates by seed now

this plant unfortunately has become very

very dispersive where it’ll grow all

over the place in the eastern US because

birds eat the seeds and then when they

drop their droppings they’ve dropped the

seeds as well and they’ll they’ll start

growing in these new areas especially in

lawns and untouched grassland type

naturalistic areas and they become kind

of a nuisance so you want to really

consider that we have them popping up in

our lawn actually these these pear trees

so if we weren’t mowing our lawn you

know on a semi frequent basis these

trees would be become a real problem and

actually our our little know mowed lawn

patch where we have our variety of grass

that we only cut about twice a year I

have to go through the and about once a

year pull up these little tiny seedlings

that come up of these little pear trees

so that’s an example of the seed

dispersal a good example of the root

dispersal is is bamboo right bamboo is a

popular kind of border type planting

that provides a really good screen makes

a beautiful sound when the wind blows

through it and in the right location and

the right design it’s a great plant but

you also have to plan for its dispersal

pattern so it grows really aggressively

by root growth and and roots occurring

so it sends out these long runners and

that’ll shoot up and grow into new

stalks and that’s how the clump of

bamboo spreads and so if you don’t plan

for it properly or establish it properly

with the right type of barriers this

peak can become a real problem so I

strongly encourage you to plan for that

spreading habit also plan for root

growth so I’m not talking about the

spreading here but the the the way the

plant grows and this is specifically

true for trees so often you see trees

where they’re planted really close to a

foundation or really close to a sidewalk

or a driveway and they become a huge

problem because they’ll push though

they’re actually strong enough the roots

are strong enough to push up huge pieces

of concrete or

you know footpath stones and and they

turn what is a beautiful you know hard

scape element into something that’s kind

of a nuisance or even a hazard and you

know it’s a costly error by doing that

so making sure you understand how your

trees roots grow or even shrubs how

their root patterns grow can greatly

influence the long term maintenance and

the long term plant or problems that you

may encounter likewise with your

foundation the roots can actually cause

either settling or disruption of your

foundation so by sucking up so much

water on a certain part of your

foundation it can cause settling or the

roots can actually penetrate through

some of your foundation so again make

sure the roots aren’t going to cause

problems with some pretty serious things

and likewise your utilities that you

have around the access points to your

house make sure you know where those are

and and whether or not the roots are

gonna disrupt those when you’re thinking

about top growth again this is

especially for trees or even shrubs or

sometimes you know if you’re thinking

about climbing plants how far are these

climbing plants going to grow are they

going to grow onto your house and cause

problems but with trees and shrubs are

they going to hit the eaves of your

house which can cause a lot of issues or

whatever structure you might have around

a shed or whatever make sure you’re not

planting too close to these structures

where the branch growth is going to

either cause a long-term maintenance

thing where you have to continue

trimming it and pruning it or going to

cause structural jamb damage same with

powerlines and other trees that it grows

near so you see powerlines

have the you know the power company has

to come by and prune trees and obviously

often they they look pretty unsightly

once they have to be pruned like that so

something to just keep in mind I was

just reminds me I was driving down the

street just the other day and it’s all

these trees that were just recently

planted them

have been planted you know earlier this

fall and so it looks like there may be

you know a two year old tree or three

year old tree so a pretty small trunk

just to be on sapling age right now and

they were planted right underneath the

power lines of this yard where if they

were set back just another 10 15 feet

they wouldn’t have been a problem at all

but because they’re they’re put they

were put right next to the edge of their

property right underneath the powerlines

they’re gonna be this huge maintenance

nightmare and the the trees will

probably end up just needing to be

removed because they’re going to be so

unsightly in about about 10 years so

really make sure you consider that it’s

a really common mistake okay so enough

about the planning for growth piece the

other things I want you to consider are

make sure you check your local codes so

this is your HOA codes if you live in an

HOA if you’re not familiar with an HOA

you probably don’t live in one so don’t

worry about it your zoning codes as well

so this could be your city or your

township or town if you live in a

municipality type area if you live in an

unrestricted area or an unincorporated

incorporated area you might not have to

deal with your the local level of of

codes but just make sure you try and

check because if you happen to fall

under some jurisdiction and you’ve

you’ve installed something you might

have to pay some pretty steep fines or

even remove something so just make sure

you keep that in mind also check with

your county if based on the size of

project you might have to get out some

permits or whatever so make sure you’re

checking on this again if it’s

discovered later that you did something

that required a permit you may be fined

for that so just make sure you look into

that okay so next we’ve got utilities I

kind of touched upon utilities when

you’re planning for a root growth but

you you at least need to know where you

do your utilities are so check your yard

for utility markers but

more importantly what you need to do is

is most power companies now offer a free

utility marking service because the

utilities themselves the companies are

they want to prevent having problems

costly mistakes and problems occur with

their utilities so they usually offer

this free service where you can call

your local provider and they’ll have

somebody come out within a short period

of time and actually mark where your

utilities are so it’s very important to

do just for a safety standpoint and also

try and understand the depth that your

utilities are marked as well so if you

can figure that out that’s really good

it can go a long way to preventing

issues down the road with your house

okay next we want to talk about your

property borders as well this is really

important when you’re planning for

setbacks so most properties you require

a certain amount of setback from your

property line that’s gonna you’re gonna

figure that when you talk to your local

codes or your county but if you don’t

know your border to begin with you’re

kind of lost so make sure you get a

surveyor out and mark your property

lines so you know where they are and

once you do it you’ve got it so make

sure they put a permanent marker in

place if you can and that’ll help you in

the future when you have any further

projects you’ve already got this step

completed you might already have markers

in place on your property so it’s good

to check you know where you think your

border is especially at the corners

there’s usually if it’s been surveyed

before there’s usually some sort of

marker that’s already there and it could

be that it’s submerged under the ground

a few inches sometimes there’s a

magnetic type marker that can be easily

found underground by a surveyor so if

that’s the case it might be you know not

as a costly thing if you instead of

having to get new markers put in for you

so see if you can find them yourself if

you can’t you might be able to get a

relatively inexpensive survey done if

they’re already there so check out the

survey and make sure you property lines

are marked I’m gonna kind of try and

speed up here

cuz I’m realizable we are we’re already

at 26 ish minutes into this episode and

I’ve got a pretty big list in front of

me so I’m gonna try and go fast here

cover some good things but you know this

stuff’s all really important so let’s

get through it alright so next we want

to avoid digging or planting near the

utilities we just marked so it’s

important to kind of check with your

local planning committee so this could

be your Zoning Commission or your county

office to give you kind of

recommendations on on what you can plant

near your utilities and how close so

some stuff you can put right over the

top it’s not a big deal because the

roots aren’t going to disrupt your

utilities but you need to know the right

depth of your utilities the depth of

root growth so your local planning

offices can probably help give you

guidance here so it’s good to check if

they can’t give you guidance it might be

good to talk to a local designer maybe

you can do a short consultation call

with them or something for a pretty low

cost just to give you guidance on your

design and specifically ask about that

as well so but it’s again it’s a really

important thing to check because it

could really influence your whole design

if you don’t have it done properly on

top of utilities next let’s talk about

waterway so whether you know it or not

your site your property might be located

on some sort of waterway protection area

or the border of your property might

have a protection zone on it so I

actually did a design recently where the

back property line was a drainage and

even though it looked just like a little

drainage ditch it was on a waterway

drainage easement that was protected

under Ohio waterways so that really

influences your design you have to know

how far you can plant how close and and

also whether or not you can disrupt any

sort of water flow so that’s really

important make sure you check this out

because again it can influence your

design and if you don’t do it properly

you can get

in trouble for it you might have to get

fined or might have to remove part of

your project so check that out make sure

you’re good there while we’re on the

topic of water make sure you know your

water availability so when I’m talking

about water availability the first thing

that comes to mind rightfully so is

rainfall so make sure you know the

quantity of rainfall you’re gonna get on

your site as well as what time of year

you’re gonna be getting that so if you

have a plant you know that actively

grows in the early months of the year

but most of your rainfall is in the

later months of the year that plant

might not be well adapted to the site so

you really really have to know what are

you rainfall patterns what are you

rainfall quantities because that can

influence the plant selection process

next what about the site conditions for

your water availability so where does

the water pull up on your landscape

where does it run off quickly that can

influence what plants again you put

there it can also influence the access

points you know you don’t want to be

walking through somewhere that’s going

to be perpetually wet through certain

times of the year because it’s going to

turn into a mud pit and likewise parts

that are always dry you don’t want to

have you plan to have this lush lawn of

a really dry spot that’s gonna get a lot

of traffic because it’s going to turn

into a Dust Bowl so make sure you

understand how the water flows through

your landscape as well as how much soaks

in so if you live in a really clay

landscape or soil the water might take

forever to soak in so you might end up

with these kind of stagnant pool areas

that you have to plan for appropriately

either through drainage engineering type

techniques or with the right planting

likewise you might live in a sandy

location where the water just kind of

sinks down right away and you need to

know how far it’s gonna sink down how

fast and if it’s if it’s just kind of

sink it now a little bit and sitting

underneath the soil or if it’s kind of

pretty much going all the way through so


are all really important things to

consider because it influences the types

of plants and the types of structures

you put in certain places so the next

thing you need to know is the your soil

itself make sure you know the

characteristics of your soil this is

your pH the your soil type the organic

level organic matter content in your

soil the depth of your soil so how far

down to the bedrock those things all

really influenced your design again so

it’s important stuff to know if you

don’t know this stuff or don’t know how

to figure it out your local County

Extension Office so your agriculture

Extension Office can help so each county

should have some sort of Extension

Office where you can call and talk to

them and they can give you some general

advice without even having to do a soil

test that’ll go a long way to helping

you but it’s it’s also very very helpful

to have a soil test done on your site

and it’s usually relatively inexpensive

to you know send in a sample have them

come back with a report that really

helps you and ideally you would want to

have if you have kind of different

conditions across your site ideally have

multiple soil tests done to really

understand it okay so aside from the

soil let’s get into some other stuff so

grading if you have any grading you’re

gonna be doing this might be kind of you

know something yours and equipment to do

heavy equipment or it might be a smaller

thing where you kind of just you know

sculpting out your garden you have to do

that first it kind of makes sense but

sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and

get a little excited and go buy our

plants but we don’t have the grading

done and that’s really important to get

done first because you might run into

problems that might delay your project

or you might even have to change up your

planting scheme based on some stuff you

kind of discover or change your mind

about during the planning and grading

process so it’s it’s really important to

get that done first okay so once you

have your grading done you want to also

plan to take longer than you think it’s

going to take this kind of just goes in

to your general expectations at least

for me I get excited about a project I’m

like oh yeah well this let’s bang

this out on a weekend and then it turns

out this this project we thought was

gonna you know go pretty quick something

comes up or just for whatever reason we

underestimated something or there’s a

delay and it gets stretched out over

maybe a couple weekends so make sure you

just kind of plan for that ahead it’s

gonna make the process a lot more

pleasurable it’s a lot more fun to think

that you’re ahead of schedule then to

think you’re behind schedule and it

really removes a lot of the stress that

comes along with things and adds a

little bit more enjoyment to the the the

design and the establishment process

when it comes to putting in your project

try and get some friends to help out

that really can make things move along

but if you do this make sure you have

planned projects that you can delegate

and kind of designate to each friend so

you can really have them help move

things along make it less stressful for

you when they’re asking what to do

it can already be decided so make sure

it’s planned out beforehand and so

they’re not disappointed by just kind of

standing around watching other people

work or or you’re not disappointed by

being overstressed by thinking of who

can do what job and you know I can I

think this kind of goes without saying

but when you’re thinking about friends

make sure you plan with a good way to do

it is food first and then then get to

work make sure there’s plenty of water

around and and then you can have the

food and the beer so keep the beer till

the end it’s good for people to have you

know feel wet well-fed but uh and well

hydrated but well hydrated with water

and and then get the work done

bang it out have a motivation with you

know a little bit of food some thank

yous and and a little bit of beer at the

end is a it’s pretty good pretty good

way to do it so if it’s a really big

project it might be worth hiring a

designer so you know some people get

caught up that you know that process is

more expensive but think about the time

you save and the value of the time you

save by having somebody that really

knows what they’re doing

professional that’s well trained in

doing these types of projects going out

having them come in and help you whether

it’s just for advice or to do the design

or to do the design and implementation

piece whatever process you want there

whatever you can afford it might really

be worth the time you save and the

enjoyment you might gain out of having a

professional do it

that really knows what they’re doing and

do it the right way with the right

process so it’s just worth considering

if you do that make sure though you

might not be you know their conventional

customer because let’s face it most

landscapes people want a pretty

landscape something that looks nice and

and that’s it and what we’re talking

about here is something that looks

beautiful but also doesn’t take a ton of

work so this might be some new space for

your designer but it’s really important

to talk about this up front so make sure

they focus on what’s the long term

maintenance plan for your landscape how

can we reduce that maintenance plan to

to fit your lifestyle what types of

plants could we consider that don’t take

tons of work that will grow into fit the

space you’re talking about and not

require long term pruning and just

general maintenance questions that you

can talk to the designer to really get

them thinking about saving your time in

the long run so you don’t have to be

spending time or money to maintain your

landscape discuss the intent for your

garden as well as you know the long term

intent what do you want the space to be

for you what type of feel do you want

kind of some of those design questions

we were talking about even if you’re not

doing as your own design it’s important

to convey what you want to the designer

so they can try and come back and give

you what you want in the best way

possible okay next let’s talk up talk

about starting your project whoo-hoo all

right this is the time to start your

project to get out there to get the work

done right well again there’s a lot of

things we need to consider here here’s

the top couple things that we really

need to think about when we’re starting

a project first if you’re planting trees

as part of the

new project I really strongly recommend

you to check out an article I’ve written

on this over at aesthetic ecosystems

calm slash tree planting again that’s

aesthetic ecosystems calm slash tree

planting all one word there so I have a

link in the show notes as well and it’s

worth the read because it goes through

covering what you need to do with your

trees so you prevent massive problems in

the future and ensure that they get a

good start which is really important for

trees for your space make sure you’re

properly preparing your space so this

means so a lot of times this means

killing previous growth and I’m not

going to get into a lot of details here

this will be something for a future

episode otherwise we’re gonna be going

like three hours here which I know you

guys love hearing me talk but I don’t

know if I’ve got it in me to keep

talking for three hours so anyway so as

far as removing the previous growth

there’s two tactics you can do it

chemically or you can do it not in

chemically that’s what I’m gonna break

it down into there’s benefits to both

but there’s also drawbacks to both so in

the future we’ll talk about this more

completely my preference to be honest is

the non chemical plant removal piece

it’s generally more work potentially

more time consuming or more costly but I

it’s generally safer as well so when

we’re talking about healthy healthy

landscapes the non chemical process is

my preferred one but again there’s more

work involved so the chemical piece

which is your typical doubts everything

with Roundup get it out there and keep

moving which again it’s a lot easier but

I generally don’t recommend it because

it could lead to future problems as well

but it’s also much less healthy so

that’s the bit in the nutshell there

we’ll get into that in the future for

another time but that’s your choice as

far as amendments go once we’ve killed

everything we need to make sure our soil

is properly prepared so here you want to

know about

what fertility you need for your plants

as well as how fertile is your soil

already so if you’ve done the chemical

removal piece you probably need to do a

lot to enhance the fertility of your

space especially the biological life so

there’s a lot of different amendments

you can go out there and get the general

the easy ones are top soil and compost

kind of mixed 50/50 that’s a huge broad

generalization there so I’m not saying

this is right for everybody’s yard and

everybody’s garden the way they’re

planning it but it’s important to think

how fertile is your soil before you’re

establishing it and this is even if

you’re establishing a lawn

putting a little bit of crop top

dressing of compost or for people who

have access to it some compost tea or

even just a little bit of topsoil can

really influence how well your lawn

establishes and also how many weed

problems you have in the future so it’s

important to think about amendments when

it comes to adjusting the pH of your

soil a lot of times horticulturalists or

gardeners or agricultural coaches will

recommend you adjust the pH of your soil

and I’m gonna caution this here because

when you have to adjust the pH of your

soil it’s something you’re going to have

to do again and again and again because

that your soils pH is influenced by what

plants are growing around you as well

and more importantly as the type of soil

you have in the bedrock that underlies

your soil and so if your mineral soil is

not adapted to the pH of the plants you

want it’s better to consider a different

plant and did not have to continually

adjust your pH than it is to adjust your

pH so you can have the plant you want

even though the soil is not properly

conditioned for it so just something to

really consider there that it’s going to

be long-term work if you have to adjust

your pH to to fit a certain condition

okay when it comes to actually planting

plan on getting as much as you can done

at once as quickly as possible without

rushing the planting process so in other

words get as many people to help you to

do it properly

and block out as much time as you can to

do it all at once so that way everything

is at the kind of the same phase you can

kind of nurse everything at the same

time get everything established at the

same time and not have to worry about

kind of phasing things out to where

you’re at multiple stages at multiple

times this will just really help with

the work overall and the establishment

phase the most time-consuming piece of

any establishment to me is the

maintenance phase after you plan the

early maintenance phase because you have

to make sure your plants are well nursed

well cared for you can spot any problems

during that time and that takes time

unfortunately so when you’re planting

make sure you’re treating the roots

gently to where they’re not disturb too

much you’re not cutting them you’re not

Criss crossing them too much and when

you’re planting make sure you planted

the proper depth especially for trees

and shrubs if you cover the root crown

the the root flare the the piece that

kind of starts to bulge out on the trunk

if you cover that up you can actually

kill your tree so you want to make sure

you have it planted at the right height

where it’s not plan to do deeply too

deeply or you’re going to have problems

when you’re considering planting from

seed make sure you’re also getting the

right depth on your seeds and having

good soil contact because a lot of seeds

don’t even sprout unless they have good

soil contact okay after planting I know

I just skipped over the fun part right

after planting let’s plan on being

around for a while so don’t you know put

in your garden and go on vacation

because most problems can be taken care

of in the early phase right after

establishment so if you see something

that’s getting sick you know figure out

why hopefully and take care of it you

can also be around to water when it’s

needed but not water when it’s not

needed and that’s very important so make

sure you’re around the place for a while

you’re not going to be putting in your

project and heading off on vacation and

come back from Aruba with dead plants

everywhere so I just check on that

make sure your watering properly so this

means both not too much and not too

little water so make sure

what your plants need they’re getting

and you’re not giving it too much and

just continue to check for signs of

stress so this is you know wilting

yellowing discoloration in general those

sorts of things make sure you’re

checking for that and figuring out why

it’s happening when you’re looking at

the long term you’re kind of going into

maintenance mode right so you want to be

getting your plants off of the the high

maintenance schedule and kind of getting

them into the general pattern of your

landscapes and so so after you know the

first few weeks the first few months

depending upon what plants you’re

talking about

you want to get into that low

maintenance mode hopefully where your

plants are coasting along they’re taking

care of themselves and they’re feeling

happy and healthy that’s of course if

you’re if you’re designing a low

maintenance landscape that’s hopefully

how it’s going to go so I really hope

you consider that you know that long

term maintenance needs of your plants

before and in that way you can kind of

sit back relax and enjoy your landscape

that’s pretty much it guys that covers

you know 90% of the things you’re gonna

have issues with the last bit I want to

share here before you know we can talk

about our our awesome launch party here

is if this sounds like just crazy

overwhelming to you I get it there’s a

lot that goes into here and fortunately

for me I I love this stuff this is this

like gets me going you know like I so

excited about coming up with design

ideas and actually planting stuff and

watching it grow so if this isn’t your

thing you know you’re just here to save

time but you want to have a beautiful

place any beautiful beautiful right have

if you want to have a beautiful place

and save time then but at the same time

you’re not overwhelmed or what am I

trying to say here guys if you’re just

feeling totally overwhelmed by all this

stuff I can help with that so check out

aesthetic ecosystems calm slash

consulting if you want to get one-on-one

with me at least you know while we’re

recording this podcast I’m still

offering these as a option so take

advantage of a while you can

and get one-on-one with me I’ll help

understand what you want with your

landscape and we can digitally talk

about some ideas and how to get you

started on this right foot so you can

have your beautiful landscape the other

option to is if you want some direct in

person one-on-one stuff find a local

designer that focuses on low-maintenance

landscapes and really get involved with

them to get you what you need and how

you want it so you can get to enjoying

your landscape without taking tons of

time working on it okay now it’s time to

talk about the launch party guys excuse

me not party but partay the launch party

is for the first two months of the show

from March 11th through May 11th 2018 I

want to have some fun to help spread a

wart spread the word about the show I

really appreciate your enthusiasm and

interest in this show and I want to get

you guys involved and have some fun

while we’re doing it so this is a chance

to have some fun too for us to get

connected to win some prizes and let’s

talk about the prizes before we talk

about what we’re doing so what are the

prizes weekly I am offering a free

consultation with me Ben Hale which is

normally a $99 value so one person each

week that gets involved in the launch

partay gets a free consultation I’m also

giving away a free offer for one of my

ebooks ten ways to get more beauty with

less work which is the $19 value next

the grand prize there is only one of

these we’re giving away through this

whole launch party so at the end of the

launch partay the organic lawn care

manual by Paul Tookie so Paul Tookie

himself has offered to give away one

free book to a lucky winner that’s

getting involved in this launch party

and this book is all about how to manage

a healthy lawn from anything from a golf

course style on to your low-maintenance

lawn which of course is something I

prefer here on this show

right I own this book I’ve read this

book multiple times I’ve given it away

it’s a kind of a tattered and worn

version that I have and I use some of

these practices in my own lines so I

love this book and I highly promoted as

well and you’ll hear me talk about it

throughout the show

but Paul Tookie has been kind enough to

offer a copy of his book as a grand

prize and there’s also a special

surprise for everybody that’s going to

be getting involved in the launch partay

the rolling river nursery out of

California has offered a special

surprise for everybody that’s involved

the rolling river nursery is a USDA

certified organic nursery so I went

online and I looked around for nurseries

that have online availability ship

through the continental US and have some

great offerings and rolling River

nursery is being kind enough to become

involved with our launch party and

they’re not only are they online

availability but they also are certified

organic which means they don’t use any

harmful herbicides or pesticides that

you have to be concerned with your

family about and so what you’re getting

is a safe and healthy plant they also

offer a ton of edible plants and trees

and shrubs cacti and succulents so they

offer several trees and shrubs that are

adaptable throughout the most of the

United States so definitely worth

checking them out and in addition these

guys are also involved with a non-profit

in Southern California to help local

food movements called planting justice

org so if you want to learn more about

them you can go to rolling River nursery

com and I also want to give a shout out

to Paul to Kies website for his organic

lawn care manual and his other works is

Paul to keep calm PA UL t uke Y and to

sum up guys okay you want to learn how

to get involved with this launch party

go over to aesthetic ecosystems calm

slash pod launch and that’s p OD lau nch

there’s a link in the show notes and

that’s that’s going to give you all the

instructions on how to get involved

there’s two ways specifically to get

involved one is through sharing with

your peeps on Facebook and the other is

through leaving a review on iTunes both

of these are going to help spread the

word about the show and get other people

other friends listening to it as well

and I sure appreciate your help here and

and likewise this is gonna be a fun time

so so go on over and to aesthetic

ecosystems comm slash pod launch to get

involved again check out the show notes


the links we talked about and if you

want to save time right now maintaining

your landscape without making any

massive changes design changes you just

want to change some habits I have a

awesome guide on how to save 27 hours on

your landscape right now this season

without making any massive changes so go

on over and check it out it’s at

aesthetic ecosystems calm / – 7 hours

that’s – 7 hrs and you know what if you

type in the word hours I think I got

that link directing to it – so so

whatever you wanted however you want to

refer to hours aesthetic ecosystems calm

/ – 7 hours make sure you hit that

subscribe button guys get cool updates

on new episodes coming out will be

cranking these out about once a week so

make sure you’re subscribing to get

those episodes and hey if you like the

show go over to iTunes or stitcher or

whatever your favorite listening pieces

and leave a review is really helpful it

helps me a ton it gets us in front of

other people that are like you and want

to save time have a beautiful landscape

so go leave a review and I’d really

appreciate it so with that thanks for

tuning in and make sure you live with

passion make tomorrow better than today