After: An Exterior Makeover

Stone path
Photograph by Eric Tadsen

The project we introduced to you in May is complete, and the warmer season’s life at the home is greatly changed because of it.

The kids can now run along the glacial smooth stones. Flowers and food fill the paths, offering many beneficial insects to view and vantage stopping points. The dog runs circles in the enclosed space, under and around the high-flying tumblers on the trampoline. Mom calls out from the back porch door for a lemonade count as she eyes the grill and patio space thinking of the evening dinner. A passing neighbor offers a greeting through the circle gate as a new set of tumblers parade in. The gate closes seamlessly on its own, keeping the dog in place.

The front stoop is now home to a game of cards, and a visiting grandma quietly reads just inside the screen porch, observing it all. Grandpa and dad will return with the grill items, and the family will gather for an outdoor meal as they plan their Saturday together. Mom’s on the phone and back at the sink, and enjoys taking a few moments here. Just outside the kitchen window, a flowering vine climbs the screen, blocking traffic, and there stays a hummingbird feeding.

Small moments of peace, fun, solitude, and joy are all to be had within outdoor spaces. Look for yours and love your yard!

Karina Mae is the designer and team leader at Garden Search & Rescue.

Garden Search & Rescue
Madison, WI 53704

From Karina: “Many thanks to John Leonard of Star Valley Landscapes, Bob Matty of The Madison Handyman, Jason Higbie of Higbie Perfection Painting, and the amazing team at Garden Search & Rescue.”

Landscaping Tips for the Fall
Fall is the best time to soil build. Add natural plant debris, untreated lawn clippings, and leaves to the beds. If starting a new bed, lay paper down first. Leaves can be up to three inches thick and don’t need to be shredded. They’ll break down, providing essential nutrients and minerals to the plants throughout the winter, and they can be combined with chopped plant debris, such as hosta leaves, lily leaves, and other plant matter.

We generally operate on a slash and drop method for cleanup of soft herbaceous perennials: slash the plant matter in several inch pieces and leave it lay. This process will increase the number of beneficial insects and provide nitrogen and other nutrients back to the soil. Come spring, cover it up with a hardwood shredded bark mulch and you’ll never know it’s there. You’ll have less weeds that are easier to pull, and you’ll water less because of better soil. It’s important to remember to pull any debris away from the base of all plants by May.

Don’t forget the water! Fall is a critically important time to water trees and shrubs, including, and especially, evergreens and other conifers. Trees and shrubs can suffer a type of frost burn if they go into winter too dry, and larger trees love the added boost to gather and store for the long haul.

Roots follow the path of water, so be sure you water the way you want your roots to grow. Water deeply every couple of days instead of lightly more often. The optimum goal is to reach deep roots, not a lot of surface or shallow roots. Moisten the ground prior to the heavy water to allow for more absorption, and use rainwater to your benefit. Damp or wet ground holds a lot more water than dry ground.