Living in sunny California is luxurious and beneficial in many ways, however when it comes to your landscape there are several challenges that you may face as a homeowner. Primary issues include soil type, drought, and erosion, most of which are being exacerbated by the effects of climate change. To protect you and your home from increasingly extreme weather patterns, we suggest employing strategic landscaping. The combination of intentional design tips and products will help make your California landscape more resilient to nature’s ever-changing conditions.
Turn your California gardening challenges into opportunities that will counter the negative effects of climate change by applying one or all of the following tips. Note that several of the applications can be beneficial for a variety of reasons which go above and beyond this article. With that in mind, we’ve included several links to additional informative posts that will help guide you through the process of designing your landscape into a beautiful, bountiful, and protected space.
1. Add Garden Soil Amendments to Sandy or Heavy Clay Soils
Depending on where you live, your soil may be too sandy or composed of too much clay to support plant life. Although sandy soils are light and free draining, they lack in organic matter and do not retain water when needed. Clay soils, on the other hand, are typically rich in minerals, however, they are easily compacted which prevents drainage and air from reaching the roots.
Soil amendments are an excellent way to improve the physical properties of your soil. They help affect plant growth indirectly by improving water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration, and structure so that roots have the ability to penetrate the soil more easily to access available nutrients. For example, Garden Compost is an excellent amendment for sandy soils in that it helps add more structure to the soil to make it richer in nutrients, and Redwood Sawdust can be used to help break up heavy clay so that the compacted soil is more aerated. To learn more tips on modifying your California soil with amendments click on the link within this text.
2. Xeriscape and Create a Beautiful Hardscape to Counter the Effects of Drought
Xeriscaping and focusing on your hardscape are two ways to counter the effects of drought. Both utilize rocks, sand, gravel, decorative pebbles, and path fines in a way that creates a beautiful and functional landscape that either reduces or eliminates the need for water. By adding more elements to your hardscape, aka the non-living elements of your landscape such as a patio, walkway, retaining wall, etc., you can provide more functional space and even design a way to harvest rainwater through the use of a collection system. With a little extra pre-planning you can turn your home’s exterior into a water-saving oasis.
Path fines, also known as crusher fines, are finely crushed rocks that make up your hardscape as an alternative for patios, pathways, and driving surfaces. They provide an aesthetic that is rocky, natural and promotes a minimalistic design. When applied evenly across the designated space the surface compacts to form a hard layer that feels more like concrete than rock.
Black Basalt Fines and Taffy Fines are two options that give very different looks. The black basalt is much darker in color and will complement just about any landscape that has the vibrant colors of vegetation. Taffy fines are rhyolite and felsite fines that have a buff, orange, and pink hue to them which is very attractive in the desert or alongside an adobe-style home.
Some more ideas on how to utilize decorative landscaping rocks can be found with the attached link, as well as ways you can create a year round aesthetic that adds value to your property. Both resources focus on the application of a variety of rock types to provide visually intriguing rock gardens, pathways, and more.
3. Use Mulch to Promote Water Retention, Minimize Erosion, and Prevent Weeds
Mulch promotes water retention, helps minimize soil erosion, and prevents weeds from taking over the space. Whether you utilize an inorganic or organic covering, mulch keeps valuable rainwater on site so it can return to the aquifer versus becoming a part of runoff. When combined with vegetation, it acts as a stabilizer on moderate slopes as well as an anchor to resist wind. Mulch made from grass, hay, wood chips, wood fibers, straw, and tree bark can be placed on exposed or recently planted soil surfaces needing temporary protection. If 2-3 inches are put down, it will also act as a natural weed barrier that blocks weed seeds from access to sunlight. Over time it will decompose to become an organic soil amendment that feeds and nourishes your plants.
Premium Arbor Mulch is 100% clean tree trimming from local urban forests that contains a conglomerate of bark, wood chips, and some leaves. Depending on the grade, it holds well in moderately sloped areas and is excellent for Sheet Mulching applications.
Strategic Design Tips and Products that Will Make Your California Yard More Resilient
As weather patterns continue to trend towards the extremes it is important to consider how your landscaping can be more resilient to soil type, drought, and erosion. With intentional design and products it is possible to create a beautiful, functional, and optimized landscape that withstands nature’s elements.
If you have further questions or need assistance contact us at Lyngso. Our trained staff will help you make your California landscape more resilient to the negative effects of climate change.