Organic Lawn Fixes for Late Summer

Is your lawn looking patchy? Mid-August to mid-September is the optimal time to renovate or establish lawns from seed. Here’s how: Shade? Add shade-tolerant seed such as fescue to thin areas under dappled shade. Crabgrass? Rip out crabgrass and add a blend of bluegrass and rye seed for heat and sun tolerance. Moss or rock-hard dirt? Aerate (poke little holes in the soil), add compost, and seed. If you’re facing tougher problems like grubs or…

“Sustainability” and business

  I usually listen to Chris Brogan‘s podcast because he has great stuff to say about being a human doing business with humans. But I have to share yesterday’s episode with you because he’s talking sustainability with John Blue of Truffle Media. Listen here. The real juicy part for me was around minutes 18-26, where John goes into some background on the National Organic Program, and the increasingly meaningless use of words like “natural”, “sustainable”, “local”, and “family-owned”….

What’s the definition of “organic” landscaping?

Every year, we attend trade and garden shows where companies peddle their latest, greatest green wares. There is often someone promoting their “100% certified organic” 4-step lawn service, and I have fun pretending I’m a homeowner and grilling them about their methods. Why? Currently, no agency “certifies” landscape or lawn care practices or companies as organic. So, how do you know that your lawn service is keeping your family safe and your landscape healthy? Here’s the…

Organic Maintenance Checklist

When do I prune this? How high should I mow my lawn? Can I cut back my perennials after they turn brown? Get answers to these and other basic organic maintenance questions by downloading this simple checklist. Then, go deeper with landscape tips and design ideas from our bi-monthly newsletter. Enjoy! Something we forgot to answer?  Give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll try to help.

Crabgrass and knotweed and grubs, oh my!

Mid summer is the true test of your landscape’s heath. Are layered planting beds, mulch, and turf thick enough to shade and cool the soil, withstanding drought and out-competing weeds, or are pests proliferating? If pests are getting the better of your lawn or garden, here are emergency and long-term solutions: Crabgrass is an annual weed that grows from seed each year. It loves hot, dry weather, and picks up steam just as fussier lawn grasses are…

What is “Sustainable” Landscaping?

In a recent Customer Advisory Board meeting, someone mentioned that “sustainability” has become a meaningless term.   If we are to say that we do sustainable landscape design, construction, and maintenance, we have to define our terms.  To that end, here’s an inventory of our sustainable practices.  In developing these standards for ourselves, we have drawn from the Standards of the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Organic Landcare Committee, the 2009 Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI) benchmarks– it’s kinda like LEED for landscapes —…

The Skinny on “Miracle Grass”

Today’s piece on the “New Uber-Grass” on WBUR made me pause at this busy time of year to weigh in on these branded grass blends that promise great results with minimal maintenance: I was tickled to hear this story on a day when we were reviewing lawn installation with our crews!  Having designed, installed and maintained many organic and sustainable landscapes using this and other products, I’d say that like many other high quality, weed-free…

“Isn’t it all just dirt?”

A prospective client gave me the opportunity to help him make sense of the various quotes he received today for lawn installation and bed preparation.  He’s a smart consumer, and not the source of the title quote, “Isn’t it all just dirt?”  But I’ve definitely heard the question before, even from others in the trade.  So, here are some excerpts from my reply to him: Loam (sometimes pronounced “loom” in MA) technically refers to soil…

NOFA Winter Conference, Jan. 16, 2010

Join me for Gardening in Small Spaces: Living densely has many benefits, but may come at the price of growing our own food or relaxing outdoors. Yet, we can nourish our bodies and souls using space afforded by a roof deck, patio, or small yard. Learn about small space design, edibles for containers, and vertical gardening, plus small-scale bioshelters, composting, and rainwater harvesting. Other workships of interest to the home gardener include: Organic Seed Starting…

November Events

As the landscaping season winds down, there are many opportunities to start dreaming and planning for next year.  Imagine a space that will nourish the body and soul, while reducing utility bills! Healing Spaces:  The Science of Place and Well-Being – Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. Trinity Church (Copley Square), Boston.  Ester M. Sternberg, M.D., National Institutes of Health, will explore how surroundings—a theme park, concert hall, cathedral, labyrinth or garden—can trigger or reduce…