Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed.
Keller Williams Realty Boston Northwest | 978-580-9140 | team@stevezippin.com


Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 8/2/2016

If you were to look at a photo of a suburban neighborhood from the 1950s and one from today, you would notice many similarities. The houses have gotten much larger, but they still have perfectly manicured lawns and milky white fences. American culture has come a long way since the days of nuclear families. An emphasis on conservation and environmentalism has added recycling bins to many of our homes. But by and large our backyards remain mostly unchanged. Some people are electing to deviate from those norms to make their homes and yard more eco-friendly. Part of that change has been to adapt natural landscaping techniques that make your backyard seem less chiseled-out and more a part of its natural environment. With proper planning and care, natural landscaping can give your yard both a modern and natural look, and it won't look messy or overgrown. Here are some tips to get you started on natural landscaping in your backyard.

Native planting

A big part of natural landscaping is understanding your local plant life. Planting flora that is native to your area is not only helping your yard look more natural but also helping your local plant and wildlife. Often we bring in "exotic" plants and flowers without understanding the ecological issues that can arise from invasive species, both on other plants as well as on the local animals. So what are some ways you could alter your yard to house more local plant life? That depends entirely on your taste and on your local flora. If you live in a coastal, warm area, you might choose a sand or shell path in your yard that leads through tall grasses. If you live inland it might make more sense to choose stones or pebbles for your walkway and a variety of shrubs, flowers, and grasses for around the yard.

Lawn dividers

You won't find any white picket fences naturally occurring in the woods. But nature has its own barriers that can be adapted for use around your property. Vines, trees, bushes, and even rocks can all be used as natural barriers. People have used rock walls to mark of their property for centuries, and for good reason: they last forever (with some occasional maintenance) and they compliment the natural environment of your yard.

Make your lawn livable

Your lawn should be hospitable for your plants, your local wildlife, and for you. Using natural wooden benches, tree swings, and maintained paths will make your backyard look like the walkthrough gardens that we see in old English manor houses. But you should also keep in mind the birds, bugs, and other animals that will frequent your yard. By not using chemical insecticides or weed killers you're already helping your local wildlife thrive. But you can attract even more birds by setting inconspicuous feeders in the trees around your yard.

What's to gain from natural landscaping?

Aside from looking nice, natural landscaping has countless other benefits. When you're growing plants native to your area you know the plants are predisposed to grow well in your yard. That means less maintenance, watering, and less money spent buying replacements for dead plants. You'll be helping the local wildlife fit in, and you'll be helping yourself by giving your yard a refreshing, natural look.





Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 9/11/2015

Not only does it make your landscaping look good but mulch is important to the health of your plants.  Mulch is any type of material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering and is most commonly made of compost, bark, wood chips, leaves, seed hulls, grass clippings, nut shells, newspaper, cardboard, or straw. Besides improving the look of your landscape mulching has lots of other benefits here are just a few: -Helps maintain soil moisture. -Helps control weeds. Use a layer of mulch that is 2- to 4-inches to reduce weeds. -An insulating blanket for plants by keeping the soil warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. -Improved soil aeration and drainage over time. -Improve soil fertility. -Plant diseases can be inhibited. -Attractive look for landscaping. -Replenish nutrients for the soil. So go ahead and mulch away!  





Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 3/20/2015

If you have shady areas in your yard it can be difficult to find the right plants for that shady spot. There are several types of  plants that will thrive in a shady garden. Here are some plants and shrubs that will flourish in your shady spot: Leading the pack of shady perennial foliages that come to mind; hostas and heucheras. These two plants are shade-loving, leafy ornamentals. Hostas have large-leaves and come in a wide range of shades, including fragrant and variegated varieties. Heucheras, or coral bells, come in many shades of green and also have many great hues like bronze, red and pink. Small trees accustomed to growing under larger, spreading trees are a great fit for shady areas in your yard. Persimmon and pawpaws trees even add edible elements to your landscaping. You will also want to consider Paperbark maple, Eastern redbud and the White Fringe tree for the shade. Ornamental shrubs add a nice addition for shade gardeners. Consider using daphnes, mountain laurels and large and dwarfing rhododendrons. There are also many perennial flowers that love the shade. Some favorites include Lily-of-the-Valley, Bleeding heart, Astiblle, Columbine and the Crested iris. You can even plant some edible plants in your shade garden. There are some herbs, especially mint that loves shady spots. Mint will also bring a delicious smell to your garden. Plant the herb in urns or under large trees. Be careful to keep mint separate from other perennials, it spreads quickly and will choke out neighboring plants.  If your garden has some partly shady areas you can also plant lemon balm, bee balm or tarragon.  




Categories: Landscaping  




Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed.