Landscaping Pros and Cons of Rocks vs. Mulch

Mulch is very beneficial to your soil and plants, and it can also be used as a decorative material when landscaping plants and trees. But how do you know what kind of mulch is best for your landscape? You have a variety of different options, largely split up into organic and inorganic mulch. Rocks are an example of inorganic mulch – materials that don’t rot and break down like traditional mulch.

So, which one is right for you? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of rocks and mulch.

Why should you use organic mulch?

Organic mulch like bark, leaves, and grass cuttings break down over time and add nutrients to the soil it is covering. This is beneficial to your plants, shrubs, and trees because it feeds them and helps them to grow faster. A study even found that mulching can almost double the growth rate of your plants.

Mulch also helps your soil health and plant growth by stopping weeds from growing, so your plants have less competition for all the nutrients and water in the soil. Plus, the barrier mulch provides prevents the water in the soil from evaporating, leaving more available for your plant roots to absorb. This means you won’t have to water your plants as frequently.

Mulching is important over winter, too, because it helps to protect your soil from frost and raise its temperature. At the same time, it helps to keep it cool in the summer, so your plants should also be at the optimum temperature.

Why should you use rocks?

Rocks have many of the same benefits as organic mulch. The main difference is that they do not add nutrients to the soil and, therefore, don’t aid the growth of your plants. When it comes to raising the temperature of the soil, rocks can also do this too much and cause the soil and plants to overheat.

One benefit of rocks over mulch is that they will rarely need replacing. Organic mulch will need replacing every one or two years due to decomposition, whereas rocks don’t have this problem. This can also make them more cost-effective. Although rocks can be slightly more expensive to buy, they will last much longer.

If you live in an area where wildfires are common, then rocks also have the added advantage of being inflammable, as opposed to organic materials like grass and leaves.

Rocks are popular not just for benefitting the soil, but also for decorative purposes. Rocks are perfect for around water features and statues, and for creating rock gardens and fire pits.

Depending on what you’re using mulch for, rocks can be a great alternative, and there are lots of different varieties to choose from. You can browse our selection of natural stone at Stratford Landscape Supply online.

What Kind of Gravel Is Right for Your Project?

Landscaping your garden isn’t all about plants and statues. Natural stone makes a great addition to your yard in the form of gravel. There are lots of ways in which gravel can be used and just as many variations of the stone. So, in this blog, we’ll help you through your latest landscaping project by helping you choose the right kind of landscape gravel based on your project.

A garden path

If you’re going to be walking over gravel, then you need something that will be soft underfoot and that compacts easily. If your gravel doesn’t compact, then you’re likely to kick it around your yard as you walk across it, creating untidiness. Most gravel with a diameter of ¼ inch or less will be well-suited to pathways. Smooth edges will be preferable over jagged ones as they’ll be more comfortable underfoot.

Drainage stone

Gravel can be used to prevent your garden and soil from becoming waterlogged in heavy rain. It helps to control the drainage of water and to prevent it from forming puddles on the surface of soils and paths. Crushed rock is a good option for drainage. River stone and shell gravel can also be suitable options.

Supporting fence posts

Gravel can be placed around garden fence posts to keep them upright and stable. Many find this to be a more attractive option than placing them in concrete. Pea gravel is a popular material for landscaping projects like this one for their appearance and stability. Combining pea gravel with sand can produce an even more secure base.

Mulch for plants

You can use lots of different types of gravel as mulch around flower beds and the base of trees or shrubs. The type you choose for this will largely come down to your preferences of appearance. Other than this, it is best to go for a medium-sized gravel because smaller stones can be blown away more easily in the wind.

Decorative features

Gravel doesn’t just have functional uses in landscaping, but also decorative ones. You can create rock gardens using gravel or use it to accentuate things like water features and concrete statues. Again, this will mostly come down to aesthetics and your own tastes. Some popular types of gravel for their appearance include pea gravel, marble chips, river rock, and beach pebbles.

If the project you’re undertaking isn’t listed here, then you can always get in touch with Stratford Landscape Supply for further advice. We’re happy to answer all your landscaping questions and provide you with the supplies you need. We also provide landscaping services around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

The Art of Deadheading

Why deadheading is important

It might seem counterintuitive to cut away at a plant to help it grow, but that’s exactly what you need to do if you want your plants to grow to be big and beautiful. Regular pruning, trimming, and deadheading is essential for a healthy and attractive landscape, but knowing when and how to do it can be confusing.

In this blog, we’ll look at deadheading and the whys, whens, and hows of it.

Deadheading refers to the practice of cutting dead flowers off plants and shrubs that are still growing. This must be done to allow new buds to grow in the place of the previous flowers. Even before the new flowers bloom, deadheading a plant makes it immediately look better because it doesn’t have those brown, shriveled up flowers hanging from it. Removing the deadheads ensures that the plant continues to bloom for as long as it can.

When do you need to deadhead?

When you need to start deadheading and how often you need to do it will vary slightly from one plant to the next. Generally, you should start deadheading as soon as it is necessary – when the flower first blooms and its flowers become “spent.” Keep an eye on your plants throughout spring and summer and deadhead them whenever needed.

You should continue deadheading into the fall, but stop when the weather starts to get colder. At this point, when growth starts to slow, leaving the spent flowers on your plants allows them to reseed themselves ready for next spring. During the colder seasons, you can use materials like gravel and natural stone around your flower beds to protect your plants and keep the soil in good condition.

How to do it right

You’ll want to deadhead your plants properly without doing any damage to the plant itself. You should use a pair of small garden clippers rather than trying to deadhead plants by hand. Cut the stem carefully beneath the flower head without going past the first set of healthy leaves. Do this for any dead flowers on your plants. There will likely be multiple deadheads per plant.

Deadheading properly and often will ensure that your garden continues to bloom beautifully. Get in touch with Stratford Landscape Supply for help with your landscaping or product you need in your garden, from plants, to mulch, to landscape stone, and more.

How To Choose Landscape Gravel

Gravel is an extremely versatile material to use in your landscaping. It can be both decorative and functional, can be used for paths, flower beds, and around water features, and you can easily move or remove it if you want to add a new feature to your garden or alter its design.

If you’re looking to add landscape gravel to your garden, here are a few popular choices and some tips on how to choose the right kind.

Pea gravel

Pea gravel is an attractive choice, made up of small, smooth, multi-colored stones. People often choose it as a decorative material, around flower beds or stone features, for example. It can also be an effective mulching material.

However, pea gravel may not be the best choice for pathways. It doesn’t compact, so small fragments are likely to spread around your garden as you walk across it. This also means the gravel doesn’t provide a solid surface to walk across, making it difficult for wheelchair users.

Chipped rock

Chipped rock is great for adding texture to your landscape because it is not smooth like pea gravel. Chipped rock literally comes from larger rocks that have been chipped into smaller pieces, meaning they have rough edges and less uniform appearance. Chipped or crushed rock is also available in different colors.

Chipped rock is a better choice for pathways than pea gravel, but it still doesn’t compact completely to create the ideal walking surface. It is a great feature for around flower beds and potted plants.

¼” minus

This type of gravel is made up of small stone pieces that are ¼” or smaller. They even include fine particles like sand. This helps the gravel to compact better, making it ideal for pathways and patios. Even wheelchairs, wheelbarrows, and high heels can navigate ¼” minus gravel with few problems.

This type of gravel allows water through but is good at suppressing weeds, so it also serves well in flower beds. When laying a path with this kind of gravel, be wary about tracking it inside on your shoes as it can damage hardwood floors.

Decomposed granite

This is a similar material to ¼” minus, but is formed from weathered granite. It has a similar structure of small stones and finer particles, making it a good pathway gravel. But, again, it can scratch hardwood floors when tracked in underfoot. The main difference between decomposed granite and 1/4” is the price, as granite tends to be a more expensive material.

If you need landscape gravel or any other landscape supplies, then we have lots of options online at Stratford Landscape Supply. You can also contact us for more advice or for landscaping services in North Carolina, around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

7 Ways to Maintain Plants During Winter

Your garden can really suffer during cold, icy, and snowy weather. Winter isn’t the best time to spend hours out in the garden tending to your plants, but there are still some important things you should do to help maintain the health of your plants during this cold season. Read on for our tips on maintaining your plants during the winter.

Prune summer-blooming plants

Any summer-blooming plants in your garden will be lying dormant all winter, and it’s a great time to prune them. If you don’t cut them back, then they are likely to become diseased over the winter season.

Leave spring-blooming perennials alone

While summer-blooming plants can benefit from dormant pruning in winter, spring-blooming plants are better left alone. You can trim them a little, but if you prune them too much you could be removing their buds. You can leave them to continue collecting nutrients until they’re ready to bloom next spring.

Cover delicate plants

Plants that can’t handle the cold temperatures and frost should be covered in order to shield them from the cold. Something as simple as a blanket can be used to cover your plants, making sure it is tied down so that it doesn’t blow away.

Clear your lawn of leaves

Your lawn needs caring for over winter too, as soggy leaves left on it will stop it from getting the oxygen it needs. Rake your lawn or hire a professional to take care of it for you so your lawn can breathe. You can even turn the leaves into mulch once you’ve collected them. You should also clear your yard of any debris left behind by dying plants.

Spread more mulch

Speaking of mulch, now is a good time to spread more of it around your plants. Mulching the soil around your plants with organic mulch will help them to get the moisture and nutrients they need to survive winter, and it will also stop weeds from germinating.

Bring plants indoors

Some plants in your garden may be suitable for potting and bringing indoors, allowing you to grow them as houseplants over winter. This will help them avoid the harsh winter weather and continue to thrive over winter. Make sure you still look after those houseplants properly over winter.

Store summer blooming bulbs

Bulbs left in the ground over winter are unlikely to survive the season, so you should dig up tender bulbs and store them away safely. First, let them dry out after you’ve dug them up, and then store them in a cool, dry place. Labeling them will help you to know what everything is next spring.

Are your plants ready for winter? Stratford Landscape Supply can provide any materials you need to protect your plants over winter, as well as providing landscaping services across North Carolina, including Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

Winter Landscaping Tips for Curb Appeal

Everything starts turning a little darker and less colorful when winter arrives. And once the brightly colored lights and decorations are put away for the year, this lack of color can really take away from your home’s curb appeal. If you’re trying to sell your home in the new year or if you just want to brighten up the sight you come home to every day, there are still lots of landscaping tips to follow to add curb appeal in winter.

Start with the basics

Before you think about planting anything, there is some simple maintenance you can do to improve the look of your front lawn. Make sure the grass is trimmed and any surviving plants, trees, and shrubs are pruned and trimmed. Get rid of any dead plants and clear fallen leaves from your lawn.

Cold-hardy planting

Not all plants are unable to survive in the dead of winter. If you choose carefully, you can still have some colors blooming away throughout the season. There are lots of annuals and evergreens that you can add to your yard, like holly, heather, pansies, and Helleborus. The red bark of dogwood provides a stark contrast against the white snow in winter.

Most winter blooming plants are best to plant in spring or fall in preparation for winter. If your ground has already frozen, you can still buy potted plants that are fit for cold weather. Placing these around your front door and garden path can really brighten up the front of your home.

Add color to your soil

Colored mulch is a great way to brighten up your lawn while keeping your soil nourished throughout winter. Red dyed mulch, for example, helps to brighten up a dying lawn and adds to the Christmassy color palette. Placing colored gravel around pathways and garden features is another idea for adding more color to your landscape.

Add decorative features

Water features and concrete statues can add interest to an otherwise bare lawn. You can use these to draw the eye towards certain parts of your garden and away from others. A moving water feature also adds some life and movement to your front yard.

Add some curb appeal to your home this winter with these landscaping tips, and make sure you’re prepared for the spring ahead where you can really bring your garden back to life. Stratford Landscape Supply have everything you need to get your yards looking attractive.

Landscape and Garden Tips for November

November may not be prime gardening season, but there’s still a lot of work and preparation you can do in your garden during this month. Preparing it for the colder weather to come can be especially important in areas that freeze. This blog contains lots of landscape and garden tips for you to follow in November.

Keep feeding and watering your plants

Your garden might not need as much watering and fertilizing as it did in the summer, but these are still important practices to keep up at this time of year. Keep watering your plants and lawn until the ground freezes, but doing it less often can help to strengthen your plants’ roots. Fertilizing now will also help your garden survive through winter and come back stronger when spring arrives.

Planting in November

While a lot of things won’t survive if you plant them now, there are still things you can add to your garden in November. Planting evergreen trees at this time is popular because it adds some color to your garden as everything else starts to die or become dormant. Trees like the Brazilian Pepper or the Tipu Tree are good choices.

Some bulbs can also be planted in November so that they are ready to bloom come springtime. Tulip bulbs can be planted now, for example, and will add some wonderful colors to your landscape in a few months’ time.

Your winter vegetable garden

The other things you should focus on planting in November are winter vegetables. As less needs doing in the garden over winter, it is good to have a winter vegetable garden to tend to, and you’ll reap great rewards for your kitchen. Here’s a list of the top 10 vegetables to grow over winter. They include broad beans, garlic, spinach, and spring cabbage, but there are lots more that are suitable for winter growing.

Make sure you look after your season vegetables properly. You should water your winter veggies regularly throughout the season to keep them thriving. Leaving them to dry out between watering them can help to strengthen the roots, though, so don’t water too often. Fertilizing your winter crops once a month also helps to feed their growth.

So, don’t stay out of the garden just because the weather’s going cold. There is still plenty you can be doing to make your landscape look even better. You can find all of your landscape supplies from Stratford Landscape Supply, or get in touch for landscaping services around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

The Best Fall Seasonal Color Options for Your Property

Fall is here and the leaves are already changing, bringing beautiful colors all around us. This should inspire us to add touches of color to our own gardens and landscaping efforts, especially with darker winters on their way. There are lots of plants and shrubs you can choose to brighten up your garden and create a beautiful array of colors.

Let’s look at some ways to add seasonal colors to your property.

Shrubs

There are lots of shrubs you can plant to create a rainbow of colors. Lots of them display vibrant red leaves in fall, such as the Boston Ivy and the Oakleaf Hydrangea. The Witch Hazel is another great option with foliage that turns from yellow, to orange, to red through the seasons. The Spruce has pulled together a more comprehensive list of colorful shrubs that work well for fall landscaping.

Trees

As leaves turn through fall, trees planted in your yard will create a fiery array of colors. Then, when the leaves fall, you have perfect materials for organic mulch and composting. For bright yellows, the Gingko is a beautiful fall tree, while the Sugar Maple produces a range of colors from yellows to reds. Sumac also produces nice bright, rich reds and almost purples throughout the fall season. Find out more colorful trees for your fall landscaping.

Flowers

Flowers are the obvious choice for adding color to your yard, but it’s important to choose those that will flower brightly throughout fall, rather than relying solely on spring and summer blooms. Brightly-colored pansies and violas are strong choices for color, and the celosia brings wonderfully traditional fall colors to your landscape. Check out this list of 15 flowers to bring you fall color inspiration.

Mulch

Mulch doesn’t just have to be used to improve the health of your garden. It can also add decorative touches to your garden and even add color. You can use different kinds of wood chips, for example, that create different hues around your flower beds, from the lighter color of pine needles to darker-hued tree barks. Dyed mulch is also a popular choice to add color, with red dyed mulch for example.

If you need to buy any landscaping supplies or are in need of landscaping services for your fall garden plans, get in touch for more support, with services available around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

Seasonal Prep for Cold Weather Vegetables

A lot of people love spring gardening for its new beginnings. It’s a time where you can do all your planting and look forward to what will grow in the year to come. But, wouldn’t it also be great if you had some exciting crops to harvest at the beginning of spring/end of winter? Cold weather vegetables can give you this, and fall is the perfect time to plant them.

Which vegetables are best to plant in the fall?

Here are some of the hardiest winter-growing vegetables that you could plant this fall:

  • Spinach

  • Arugula

  • Kale

  • Parsley

  • Lamb’s lettuce

  • Garlic

  • Onions

  • Spring onions

  • Broad beans

How to prep your garden for planting these veggies

Once you’ve harvested all of your summer crops, it’s time to prepare your garden for planting those winter vegetables. First, you should completely clear your vegetable patch, so pull up any weeds from the roots and clear out your old vegetable plants for composting – summer plants like tomatoes and squash, for example.

You should then dig up the garden to turn the soil, using either a garden fork or a spade. This will help to aerate the soil and break up any clods of solid soil, making it a better texture for planting. At this point, you can also mix in any organic compost to improve the quality of the soil over the coming months by adding nutrients to it as the compost decomposes.

You want to make sure that your winter vegetable bed gets exposure to as much sun as possible over winter, so think about the positioning of your bed. You should manipulate the beds so that the soil is raised a few inches off the ground and slopes slightly to the south so that the soil and your crops get the sun. To maximize this further, you should plan your planting so that taller crops are on the north side and shorter ones are on the south.

Mulching your vegetable bed at this point can also help to retain more moisture over the winter months, which your vegetables will greatly benefit from. To protect your winter vegetable crops from the winter weather, you should also have plastic covers or quilts ready to protect your crops, and cold frames to support them.

If you need any more fall gardening tips, then check out our previous blog post. You can also contact us at Stratford Landscape Supply for all your landscaping needs.

Why you should fertilize your lawn in the fall

Best Practices for Fertilizing Your Lawn in the Fall


When you think about lawn care, spring and summer are probably the first seasons that come to mind. Fertilizing your lawn in the spring is really important to prepare it for the warmer weather, right? Actually, when it comes to fertilizing, the fall is the key time of year. This doesn’t mean you should only fertilize in the fall, but it should be your main priority.


Fall is the perfect time to prepare your lawn for the cold temperatures to come in winter, and fertilizing is a big part of this. It helps your lawn to grow healthier and stronger during this season, mitigating the damage that frosts and snowfall can do to it. The season also supports the fertilizer’s action thanks to the morning dew that will cover your grass. This moisture helps your lawn absorb the fertilizer.


Tips for fertilizing in the fall

Now let’s get to how to fertilize your lawn properly in the fall. The first thing you should do is check your local weather forecast. You shouldn’t fertilize your lawn before rain is expected, as the rainfall causes the fertilizer to run off your lawn, meaning it won’t be absorbed properly. You should also pay attention to when the first frost is due in your area. Fertilizing your lawn two or three weeks before this date is the ideal time to do it.


When you’ve chosen the perfect day for fertilizing your lawn, it’s time to choose what time of day you’ll do it at. You should try to avoid warm temperatures as much as possible as the heat can make the process less effective (another reason why fall fertilizing can be preferable to spring!). So, early in the morning or early evening are the best times to schedule your fertilizing.


It is a good idea to mow your lawn before you fertilize, and laying the grass clippings across your lawn can help the process, too. You should evenly apply a layer of fertilizer across your lawn. In terms of the fertilizer you use, The Spruce recommends choosing one with high levels of potassium and nitrogen, so check the ratios on the packaging when choosing you fertilizer. They suggest 1 lb. of soluble nitrogen or 1.5 to 2 lb. of slow-release nitrogen for every 1000 square feet.


Go forth and fertilize your lawn this fall so that its roots are tough enough to survive the winter and then thrive when spring comes around. Get in touch if you need any more support or advice for lawn care this fall.

Garden Without Leaving Home

Gardening and landscaping can sound like demanding tasks, but being able to have landscaping supplies delivered to your home takes a lot of the hassle and physical demand out of it. For those who are elderly or handicapped, these services can enable them to continue gardening, which can be really important for their ongoing health.

The benefits of gardening

Gardening has found to be beneficial to both mental and physical health. This goes for everyone but can be especially beneficial for groups like seniors and handicapped people. Here are a few of the ways gardening can help.

Stay active – Gardening is a good way to stay active without putting too much strain on the body. Even small amounts of physical activity can help to fight muscle and bone degeneration, help seniors to maintain a healthy weight, and keep organs including the heart strong and healthy.

Get outdoors – The fresh air and being surrounded by nature is also known to have impressive health benefits. It helps to stop you from feeling confined to one space, especially if you have mobility issues that make it difficult to get out of the house.

Fight depression – Having goals and meaning in your life is one of the best ways to fight feelings of depression. By gardening regularly and looking after plants, you are giving yourself a purpose. Those plants rely on you and you can set goals to achieve the garden that you dream of.

Reduce stress – Most people consider gardening as a relaxing pastime as it involves a lot of repetitive actions that don’t require too much focus. This can do wonders for relieving stress, which also makes it easier to rest and sleep at night.

The benefits of landscape supply delivery

Landscape supply delivery removes the need to go out to a physical landscape store and loading a car or trolley with potentially heavy goods. This reduces the strain put on those with mobility problems who want to continue gardening. They can order plants online as well as other supplies like mulch. This means that they don’t have to give up doing what they love.

At Stratford Landscape Supply, we provide a variety of items online and available for delivery, including mulch, bulbs, garden statues, annuals, and perennials. Take a look at our range to see what would help with your gardening projects.

How to Use Pine Needles for Landscaping

When it comes to adding some flair and interest to your garden, there are lots of different landscaping materials and design ideas you can choose from. One material that you might not have considered in this way is pine needles. Unsure of how you could use pine needles for landscaping? Read on for our best ideas and tips.

What to use pine needles for in landscaping

Pine needles are a great natural material to use in your landscaping. If you have a pine tree in your yard, then you’ve already got them there as a free resource. Just rake them up as the needles fall off.

One of the most common uses for pine needles in landscaping is as a form of organic mulch. Mulching your lawn or soil helps to retain its moisture and improve growth of grass of plants, also absorbing the nutrients from organic mulch like pine needles. Read more about mulching on our blog.

You can also use pine needles as a decorative aspect to your landscaping. They can add nice detail to your garden at the same time as providing nutrition to its plants. Unlike other forms of organic mulch, pine needles tend not to dry out in the summer heat, so they are left looking vibrant and full of life all year round and can last for years.

What to avoid

Remember that pine needles are sharp, so grabbing handfuls of them can cause lots of painful little spikes. So, it’s advisable to wear gloves when handling pine needles in large quantities.

You may need to avoid mulching with pine needles around plants that prefer alkaline conditions because pine needles are naturally acidic. This means they will add acid to the soil as they decompose. You can, however, use a fertilizer that helps to raise the pH of the soil if this becomes a problem. Some experts even argue that the acidity of pine needles is not enough to affect the soil.

How much do you need?

When using pine needles as mulch, it is recommended to lay it at least three inches in thickness. We sell pine needles by the bale, with one bale enough to cover a 30 square feet area. So, you just need to measure up your garden to figure out how much you need to buy.

If you’re looking for pine needles to add to your landscaping and you don’t have your own pine tree, then you can buy them from us online. Or, if you’d like more advice on how to use them, get in touch with us at Stratford Landscape Supply, serving North Carolina around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

How To Care for Your Garden in Late-Summer

Everyone is eager to begin gardening in early spring, but no one is ever ready to give it up. With proper care, your flower garden and other landscaping features of your yard can be healthy and beautiful late into the year. But only if you continue nourishing them. Follow these quick tips to help you master your late-summer garden.

Clean it up

The annuals and perennials you’ve enjoyed all spring and summer have run their course in terms of blooming. Bushes and flowering plants can be full of dead leaves or hanging onto dead and decaying blooms. To keep your garden heathy and neat, pull or trim the dead and dying pieces from the plant. Trim your hedges or trees to promote fresh growth and avoid an unkempt yard. If you’re ready to prune and divide your plants, now is an ideal time. Don’t forget to take care of the weeds that may have sprouted after heavy summer storms.

Plant late-summer bloomers

For those of us who want to enjoy color in our gardens as long as possible, you’ll know it’s time to plant your late-summer colors. Once you’ve pruned and dead headed the early summer blossoms, your garden may be looking a bit sparse (or just too much foliage). Ask the team at your local garden center which flowers will bloom through August and September.

Plant a tree

We know there are numerous benefits to adding trees and shrubs to your landscaping and if you’re looking to plant trees and shrubs, late summer is the perfect time. The soil has been softened by weeks of summer heat and rain, which means less work for you. Whatever you plant will still have time to root before winter comes.

Lay fresh mulch

The same heat and moisture that has made the soil more workable has also been breaking down all that mulch you spread months ago. To prevent the soil from drying out as we approach fall, apply a fresh layer. Remember to keep fresh mulch inches away from plant crowns.

Plan your fall garden

Speaking of the season change, in a couple months we’ll be enjoying our autumn gardens. Plan your fall garden now so you can order everything you need before it’s time to plant. It will be here before you know it!

For more tips on maintaining your landscaping at home, follow our blog or call to chat with the experts.

Best Landscaping Shrubs to Plant for Privacy

Do you have nosy neighbors and a garden that isn’t well covered? You want to be able to relax in your backyard, but it can make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable when it is so open for anyone to peer into. You don’t have to install a 10-foot fence around your garden – landscaping can solve this problem. Here are some of the best landscaping shrubs you can plant in your yard to improve its privacy and even block out noise.

Arborvitae

This class of shrubs is not the fastest growing on this list, so it may take some time to get your privacy hedge as tall as you’d like it, but they provide great coverage once grown and don’t require as much maintenance as other options. They’re evergreen, so they’ll provide a good coverage all year round. Heights differ from one species to the next, with the Emerald Arborvitae growing to around 10-15 feet and the Nigra Arborvitae reaching 20-30 feet. If you don’t have much space in your garden, then the Emerald Arborvitae is a good choice as it only grows to 2-4 feet wide.

Lilacs

Lilacs will grow to as much as 15 feet tall and add a bit of color to your garden with colorful blossoms in pinks and purples, for example. They grow well in warm, sunny climates. Lilacs are deciduous shrubs, which means they will produce flowers only at certain times of the year. They can grow to between 6-12 feet wide, so make sure you’ve got space for them.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas come in a wide variety of options, depending on what you want for your garden, but they can grow far and wide, making them perfect for privacy. The Nikko Blue Hydrangea is a fast-growing deciduous shrub that can reach 12 feet tall, so it’s a good choice if you want your privacy, fast. You can choose from hydrangea shrubs that flower in a range of colors to suit your garden.  

Hibiscus

Hibiscus shrubs typically reach 8-10 feet in height and are ideal for planting as privacy hedges. You can plant them in rows 2-3 feet apart from each other to give them plenty of space to grow and form a thick coverage for your garden. These shrubs also flower in a nice array of colors to make your garden brighter. They grow well in extreme heats and can cope without shade.

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to planting landscaping shrubs for increased privacy in your backyard, and these are just a few of the great options. Get in touch with us for more landscaping tips or to order shrubs for your garden.

Watering Plants While on Vacation

You’re all excited about your upcoming summer vacation, but what about your plants? Outdoor plants might be able to survive on forecasted rainfall, but this can be few and far between during the summer months, depending on your climate. Then there’s indoor plants that have nothing to fall back on. So, what can you do? Read on for some tips on keeping both indoor and outdoor plants growing well while you’re away.

How much water do your plants need

How much watering your plants require while you’re away will depend on the types of plants and shrubs you have planted. Obviously, if you’re growing a garden full of cacti, then you don’t have as much to worry about as they require less water. If you’ve got time to plant ahead, then here are some drought resistant shrubs that could go in your garden.

On average, typical garden plants require around one inch of water per week. If your yard is unlikely to get this much rainfall while you’re away, then you will need a solution for this, which we’ll cover in a moment. Of course, if you’ve got a friendly neighbor or family member who will offer to water your plants for you, then problem solved! If you’re only going away for a weekend or a few days, then it may be enough to give your plants a good watering before you leave.

Mulching

Mulching is one way to retain moisture in your soil while you’re on vacation. Covering your soil with organic mulch will help to keep the moisture in and prevent your soil from drying out in the heat. Make sure that the soil is well-watered and then spread a layer of mulch over the bed, especially around the roots of flowers and shrubs.

Drip irrigation

Drip irrigation is an effective way to keep your garden watered even while you’re away, and you can find the necessary equipment from a local garden center. A hosepipe will be laid across your flower bed and connected to the garden faucet. You can then apply a timer to your faucet to have it turn on at set times to supply your garden with a steady flow of water when it needs it. This can be combined with mulching for an even more effective and longer lasting solution.

Making sure that your plants are located in the shade as much as possible can also help to prevent the soil around them from drying out. If you don’t want to leave your garden up to chance, we also offer maintenance services for gardens around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville, so we can make sure your plants are looked after while you’re enjoying your vacation. Get in touch for more information or vacation watering tips.

Landscape to Protect Your Yard from Heavy Rains

Water is the lifeblood of your yard, and rain can be one of your greatest allies in helping your plants grow. However, it can also be a great enemy. Heavy rain can cause flooding in your garden, which can damage plants and ruin the viability of your soil. This doesn’t have to be the case, though, if you properly equip yourself and your garden against heavy rain. Here are our best tips for landscaping your yard to protect it from heavy rains.

Prepare your lawn

If your lawn is too compacted, then it won’t be able to absorb much water, meaning the rain water will sit on the surface, making your lawn waterlogged and potentially flooded. Properly aerating your lawn will improve its absorption, allowing water to soak down deeper into the soil. For especially heavy rain, spreading organic mulch over your lawn can help to stop it from getting too water logged. The mulch will absorb some of the rain water, reducing the amount that your soil and lawn have to handle.

Direct the rain water properly

You don’t want all the water pooling in one area. That area will flood and all the plants and flowers located there will pay for it. If part of your garden is located at the bottom of a slope, then try to level it off by placing top soil, so that the rain water spreads more evenly across the yard. You can also create run off areas to direct the water away from your plants, towards a drain or a water feature, for example, or just away from your home and garden.

The best plants for heavy rains

Planting in raised beds, around 6 to 12 inches above the surrounding soil, is a good line of defence for plants during heavy rain. But, are there certain plants that can cope better with this kind of weather? Plants that are suited to be grown in clay soils are better equipped to handle heavy rains than other plants. Buddleias, hardy fuchsias, hydrangeas, and hardy geraniums are all good ideas for planting. If your garden is sloped, then planting dense grass and shrubs along the slope will help to absorb some of the water along the way, reducing the amount that reaches and pools at the bottom of the slope.

If you need landscaping equipment to help protect your yard from heavy rains, check out the range of products we have available online or get in touch for more advice from our expert team. We serve across North Carolina, including Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

Deer Resistant Gardens

If you’ve spent a lot of time and effort making your garden look perfect, then the last thing you want is the local wildlife coming in and destroying (or eating) all of your hard work. In areas where deer are common, people often complain about the deer getting into their gardens and ruining their plants and shrubs. We want to help you avoid this situation, so read on to find out how to make your garden more deer resistant.

Strong-smelling plants

Plants and flowers that give off a strong odor can deter deer for two reasons. Firstly, if the odor doesn’t appeal to their senses, then they won’t want to eat the plants. Secondly, they are naturally put off going near strong-smelling plants because the smell might get into their fur. This can interfere with their ability to sense predators and find food in their natural environment.

Bitter-tasting plants

Plants like mint and lots of different herbs such as oregano are more than likely safe from being eaten by deer in your garden because they’re just not to the deer’s tastes. The bitter taste puts them off eating them, so they might try them once but then leave them well enough alone.

Spiky or spiny plants

Placing pine trees, for example, or any kind of tree or shrub that has spiky or spiny leaves can be an effective deterrent against deer. These shrubs can cause them pain if they try to eat them or even walk past them, so they’re likely to steer clear. Fruits such as gooseberries are another good example. Although they might taste good, they’re not pleasant for the deer to eat off the bush.

Toxic plants

Plants such as fern, daffodils, and poppies are actually toxic to deer, so will give them an upset stomach if they eat them. So, planting these in your garden can at least stop the deer from eating those particular plants.

Deer deterring mulch

The kind of mulch you spread across your lawn and soil can also act as a deer deterrent. If you mix anything strong smelling into your mulch, such as garlic or soap, this can help to deter deer. Anything that smells of a potential predator can also help, such as human hair or animal manure.

Visit this website for a more comprehensive list of plants and shrubs that help to deter deer. If you need supplies to help make your garden deer resistant, then take a look at the range of products we supply. You can also get in touch to find out more about the landscape services we offer for customers in and around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

Garden Mulch 101

Mulch and the act of mulching your garden is an essential part of ensuring proper growth. But what exactly is mulching and why do you need to do it? If you’ve ever wondered this along with any other questions you’ve had about mulch, then read on for the answers to some killer gardening questions.

What is mulch?

Mulch is any kind of material that you cover your soil with in order to improve its health and keep it well hydrated. It also helps to prevent weeds from growing around your plants and taking vital nutrients and moisture away from them, preventing them from flourishing. Mulch is placed over soil and around the base of plants. 

Different types of mulch

The majority of mulch falls into one of the following two categories:

Organic mulch – Organic mulch is made up of naturally occurring materials that were once living, such as grass, leaves, bark, and straw.

Inorganic mulch – Inorganic mulch is the opposite of the organic kind and can include plastic materials, stones and gravel, newspaper, and fabrics.

Organic mulch benefits the soil by adding its own nutrients as it decomposes, which can improve the fertility of the soil. Inorganic mulch, on the other hand, does not break down. This gives it the benefit of being long lasting, so it can block sunlight and keep in warmth for longer.

The benefits of mulch

We’ve mentioned a few already, but here are some of the main reasons that gardeners mulch their soil:

  • Regulates the temperature of the soil
  • Blocks out sunlight needed for weeds to grow
  • Organic mulch adds nutrients to your soil
  • Keeps the soil moist and well hydrated
  • Increases the activity of worms and insects in the soil that add nutrients

Basically, all of the benefits of mulch help to create soil conditions that allow the plants you’re growing to thrive.

When should you mulch your garden?

Now you know the basics about mulch, you need to know when you should spread mulch over your soil for maximum effect. Mulching is an effective way to prevent your soil from drying out during the warm summer months as it helps to block the sun and keep the moisture in. Mulch should also be spread in preparation for cold weather during the winter months in order to prevent the soil from freezing. You can read more here about mulching and other ways to prepare your garden for winter.

If you’re ready to start mulching in your garden, then check out the range of mulch we have for sale from Stratford Landscape Supply. We also provide landscape services for customers around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

Plant This in Your Garden to Reduce Pollen Allergies

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner, which is great news for anyone who loves to work in the garden. But what about those of us who suffer from pollen allergies and other allergies that rear their ugly heads in the springtime? Gardening just isn’t as fun when everything around you makes you sneeze.

So, what can you do to alleviate the suffering that pollen brings with it during spring and summer? Here’s a quick guide to what you should and shouldn’t plant in your garden to help relieve pollen allergies.

How the plant is pollinated

Pollination is the way that plants spread their seeds and create offspring, but not all plants are pollinated in the same way. Allergy sufferers should avoid plants that primarily rely on the wind for pollination, as these result in high levels of pollen in the air as it is carried by the wind. Less showy plants such as wheat, barley, and pine trees, for example, are pollinated in this way.

It is often the brighter, more attractive plants and flowers that are safer for those with allergies, although the sight of them makes you think of summer and allergies at their peak. These flowers attract insects to do their pollination for them, so they land on the flower and take the pollen away to another plant. This means less pollen on your plants and in your garden. Wherever possible, opt for female plants as these are less likely to give off pollen.

Evergreens

Evergreen trees and shrubs are a great investment for any allergic garden lovers. Evergreens get their name because they stay green all year round, meaning they don’t shed their leaves or needles. These means fewer irritants and allergens are released into your garden and the air surrounding it. Evergreen conifers only produce pollen for a short period each year, so these can also be a good investment.

The best plants for allergies

The following plants and shrubs are ideal for allergy sufferers to plant in their garden without worsening their symptoms:

If you’re looking for products to make your garden look great without forcing you to admire it from inside, then we stock a wide range of plants, trees, and shrubs that are ideal for gardens of allergy sufferers. Get in touch for more about our landscape products and services around Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

How to Use Landscape Stone

Landscaping your garden isn’t all about trees and plants. Landscaping with stones and rocks, also known as hardscaping, is a popular way to add an extra touch of character and texture to your garden. To help you craft the perfect garden, we’ve got some tips for you on what landscape stone can be used for and how to use it.

To protect your soil

Landscape stone can be used in the same way as mulch to protect your soil and the roots of your plants from harsh weather conditions. The benefit of this is that stones can be made permanent features, unlike mulch which will need regularly replacing. Landscape stones are also more attractive than mulch, so they can be used as decorative features while serving an additional purpose of protecting your soil.

As decorative features

The sky’s pretty much the limit when it comes to using landscape stone as decoration in your garden. You could choose a large boulder as a main centerpiece for your garden, or position smaller stones around a pond or flowerbed, for example. The color and texture of stones you choose can make a big difference in the appearance of your landscape. White stones can be used to brighten up a dark corner of your garden, while darker stones can produce a warmer, tropical look.

As a feature piece

If you’re looking for a larger feature to place prominently in your garden landscape, then rocks and stones can be the perfect building blocks (literally!). Here are a few ideas of feature pieces you can create using landscape stone:

 

  • Stone path

  • Fire pit

  • Stone wall

  • Stone furniture

  • Rock water feature

You can really get creative with rock and stone when landscaping your garden, so think about the different ways it would fit well in your garden.

Types of landscape stone

We sell lots of different types of landscape stone that are perfect for using in your garden. These include:

  • Slate

  • Flagstone

  • Riverstone

  • Fieldstone

  • Lava stone

  • Slabs

  • Tumbled block

  • Boulders

…and more! The type of rock you choose will depend on what you plan on using it for and the kind of style you want your landscape to have. This blog runs through some popular landscape stone types and the benefits of using them in your garden.

Ready to get started with landscape stone in your garden? Then we’ve got you covered. We supply landscape materials and services to cities in North Carolina including Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville. Get in touch to find out more.