How to SmartScape

Your Smart Scape project can be done either completely by yourself, or with the help of a professional. No matter what level of involvement you want to take in the transformation of your yard, it is important that you do some planning to start it off right and make sure that the final product is exactly the design that you want.

Grass Removal

Grass removal can be as simple as turning off the water and waiting for it to die. Use a sod cutter or a shovel to cut the sod where you want to remove it. Dig out the sod, roll it up and dispose of it in your yard waste container or other yard waste recycling service.

Installing Irrigation

A Smart Scape can be irrigated efficiently by hand or with an automatic sprinkler system. If you’re installing a sprinkler system, it’s a good idea to plan this at the same time you design the landscape. Zone turf areas separately from other plantings and use the irrigation method that waters the plants in each area most efficiently. For grass, low-pressure, low-angle sprinklers irrigate best. Drip, spray or bubbler emitters are most efficient for watering trees, shrubs, flowers and groundcovers.

If you water by hand, avoid oscillating sprinklers and other sprinklers that throw water high in the air or release a fine mist. The most efficient sprinklers release big drops close to the ground. Water deeply and infrequently to develop deep roots. Never water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to reduce water lost to evaporation. If you have an automatic sprinkling system, adjust your controller monthly to accommodate weather conditions. Also, install a rain sensor to shut off the device when it rains.

Installing Hardscapes

Begin your hardscape installation with grading and contouring. Start by correcting slopes or building 
 up areas as needed.

Build retaining walls and plant bed perimeters.

Run a PVC “sleeve” underneath fences, patios or other hardscape areas where irrigation lines or outdoor 
 lighting wires will need to cross.

Install any rock or hard surfaces such as walkways, patios or boulders

Installing Plants and Mulch

Plants can be installed at any time of the year, but spring or fall is the preferred time and most likely for the plants to survive. Plants should be purchased as you need them. Store them in a cool, dry place and water daily to ensure survival before you plant them.

Steps to planting your new plants:

  1. Dig a hole about three to five times wider than the plant’s container, but no deeper than the plant’s root ball.
  2. Tap the sides of the container firmly with a trowel to loosen the root ball. Gently extract the plant taking care not to damage the roots. Always handle plants by their roots and not the branches or foliage.
  3. If roots are circling the bottom of the root ball, make vertical cuts to score the root ball and loosen roots. This allows the roots to spread out and grow.
  4. Mix your organic amendment materials with the soil you removed when digging the hole. Evenly distribute soil around the new plant without packing it down until the crown of the plant is completely covered.
  5. Water the plant thoroughly.

Spreading mulch

Use a layer of 1 to 3 inches of mulch, depending on your preferences. For best results, use your hands to spread the mulch and avoid layering mulch too thickly as it can affect plant health. Don’t allow mulch to make direct contact with the plants, forming a ring about 2 to 3 inches around plants instead. This will help avoid disease problems. When finished, water down the mulch to give it moisture and help it settle into place.

New Landscape Maintenance

New plants need extra attention and watering as they get established in their environment. You will need to water your new plants every day or two for the first few weeks to get established. As the weeks pass, you will be able to wean your plants off of the frequent watering, and water them only once a week or even less.

Monitor your plants closely for signs of stress. The environment in your yard can vary from location to location due to differing conditions such as amount of available shade, exposure to wind and sun, and slope. As your plants begin to mature, you’ll learn which areas often need a bit of extra water or special attention.

Deep watering is more important than the frequency, so check the soil for moisture and adjust watering times accordingly.

Incorporating existing trees into your new landscaping.

Your existing trees may be suitable to your new landscaping plan. If the tree is healthy, can survive the stress of construction around it, fits the design, is compatible with the new environment, has compatible watering needs with the lower watering allotment for its zone in your new plan, and provides useful shade, then the tree is worth saving and incorporating into your plan. If you plan to move the tree, take care to preserve all of the major roots in transport, provide adequate water, and maintain moisture that the tree needs in its new location.