Category Archives: Planting

Bayscapes Summer Bulb Planting Guide

There’s A Big Pay-off to Planting Summer Bulbs Now

It’s the most wonderful time, of the year! As we hang mistletoe, place our perfectly bright red poinsettias around the hearth, and fill the home with the sweet aroma of holiday dishes, we are also thinking of another important holiday tradition  – planting summer bulbs!

Wait? What? Planting summer bulbs?!

Gardeners across the US baffle at the fact that over here on the California Coast, and even up through parts of Northeast, NOW is the time to plant those bulbs. See, our ground (rarely) doesn’t freeze! You may see morning frost on your car windows, but throw on some gloves and head to the garden this afternoon. Take a few minutes to get those bulbs planted and enjoy a beautiful gift of dynamic and healthy blooms in just a few short months. Your summer garden will thank you!

 

This wouldn’t be a complete article without a  list of summer bulbs to plant in the San Jose area, so here it goes:

 

Agapanthus
Amaryllis
Begonia
Calla Lily
Dahlia
Begonia
Poppies
Peruvian Daffodil
Persian Buttercup
Jacobean Lily

 

And what  bulb arrangement will you follow? Here’s our favorite DIY design ideas for summer bulbs:

 

  • Plant bulbs in clusters. Bulbs give the biggest impact of color when in one concentrated area. Bulb stalks can be thin, so when planted alone, they won’t have as much aesthetic effect. 
  • Try “stacking” bulbs. Choose a small and large bulb that flower during the same period. Plant small bulbs in a layer right on top of large bulbs. This will create a layer effect when the bloom. Like Bayscape’s seasonal color program, you could try staggering the bloom time by planting mid- and late-season bloomers together, creating a display that blooms in succession, for a whole season of amazing color to your landscape!

 

So, throw on your scarf, head out to the gardening or home improvement store, then grab your gardening spade. There are many reasons that summer bulbs make the world a more colorful, happier place to be (we even wrote a blog about the versatility and benefits of bulbs). As you are spreading the holiday cheer this time of year, spread some cheer into your garden and receive the gift of beautiful blooms next spring! Visit our website to learn more about how Bayscape Landscape can help you with your seasonal bulb color arrangements.

The 411 on Green Roofs for Your Home

It’s not always possible for people to take extended breaks from modern life, but more and more people are looking for ways to bring elements of nature closer to home. One of the ways homeowners are looking to create financially and environmentally viable living spaces is through the installation of “green” roofs.

So, what is a green roof, and how do you know if might be right for you?

1. What is a Green Roof?

 
A green, or living roof, is essentially an installed rooftop garden that generally consists of a waterproof membrane, draining layers and insulation, and soil and plants. Though the appearance, style, and composition can vary widely, there are both extensive and intensive varieties. Extensive green roofs are generally less accessible but also lower-maintenance, featuring shallower soil and plants like succulents and other drought-resistant varieties (or sometimes grasses or pre-vegetated mats) that require little more than rainwater in the way of watering. Intensive green roofs are more accessible and utilize more soil. The distinctions between these two affect everything from cost and labor time to structural requirements.

2. What are the benefits of a Green Roof for my home?

 
The benefits are numerous, and both tangible and more abstract/subjective. Green roofs reduce greenhouse gases, energy and insulation needs, stormwater pollution and runoff, and flooding potential. They can increase (sometimes drastically) the lifespan of your roof, beauty and curb appeal, and the availability of habitats for wildlife from birds to butterflies.

3. What are the requirements for a residential Green Roof installation?

 
There are structural requirements for any green roof, thus it’s advised to first consult with a structural engineer. Flat roofs, or those angled up to about 30 degrees, are usually good candidates. The structure also has to be able to support and hold the weight of a green roof, which can be substantial (about 20 lb./sq. ft.). The roof should also be in a generally sunny area. Many cities and towns have permit and other requirements for green roofs.

4. What are the costs for a Green Roof for my home?

 
 Costs vary widely, from $12-45/sq. ft. installed. The cost is dependent on many factors, like whether you are installing an extensive or intensive roof (extensive are generally less expensive upfront), size of the structure (some homeowners actually start with green-roofing a smaller structure like an outbuilding, shed, or even doghouse) and whether the gardening and maintenance portions or handled through professionals or DIY. Experienced green roof professionals are always recommended!

5. How much maintenance is required for a Green Roof?

 
Maintenance is generally low, but also depends on whether you’ve invested in an extensive or intensive garden. Plant types also determine how much is required in the way of watering and weeding.

Green roofs can be an incredibly beautiful, earth- and pocketbook-friendly way to bring nature closer to your home. Contact Bayscape if you don’t want to do it alone, we are happy to help and guide your process?

Bayscape Landscape Management

Bayscape Landscape Management

Green Roofs for Commercial Properties: is it the Right Choice for my Facility?

 

You’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz about green roofs on commercial properties, and perhaps seen the impressive photos of green-roofed buildings from Chicago’s City Hall to the United States Department of Transportation Headquarters. The idea is gaining attention, but it’s not exactly brand-new – there are green roofs on U.S. government buildings in Washington, D.C. that have been in existence since the 1930s.

But would a green roof work for your commercial property? Here are a few things you need to know:

 

What is a Green Roof?

 

A green, or living roof, is essentially an installed rooftop garden that consists of a waterproof membrane, various layers of draining and insulation, and soil and plants. Though the appearance, style, and composition can vary widely, there are both extensive and intensive varieties.

Extensive green roofs are generally less accessible but also lower-maintenance, featuring shallower soil and plants like succulents and other drought-resistant varieties (or sometimes grasses or pre-vegetated mats) that require little more than rainwater in the way of watering. Intensive green roofs are more accessible and utilize more soil. The distinctions between these two affect everything from cost and labor time to structural requirements.

 

What are the benefits of a Green Roof for my Commercial Property?

 

The benefits are numerous, and both tangible and more abstract/subjective. Green roofs reduce greenhouse gases, energy and insulation needs, stormwater pollution and runoff, and flooding potential. They can increase (sometimes drastically) the lifespan of your roof, beauty and curb appeal of the property, and the availability of habitats for wildlife from birds to butterflies. In urban areas where many commercial properties exist, green roofs can also help to minimize “urban heat islands,” pockets of urban areas that collect more solar radiation and heat than those surrounding them – due in part to reduced vegetation.

In some cases, when combined with other requirements (such as water-efficient landscaping and reduced site disturbance), green roofs can also help your commercial property qualify for LEED credits.

 

What are the requirements for a Green Roof install?

 

There are structural requirements for any green roof, thus it’s imperative to consult with a structural engineer. Flat roofs, or those angled up to about 30 degrees, are usually good candidates. The structure also has to be able to support and hold the weight of a green roof, which can be substantial (about 20 lb./sq. ft.). The roof should also be in a generally sunny area. Many cities and towns have permit and other requirements for green roofs.

There are so many possibilities for commercial property green roofs! Dive deeper into the requirements and benefits with the city of Chicago’s free rooftop gardening guide, and the United States General Services Administration’s free guide exploring the “Benefits and Challenges of Green Roofs on Public and Commercial Buildings.”

Here at Bayscape we are always ready and willing to discuss your landscape installation plans! Give us a call if you think a Green Roof for your Commercial Property is a right fit for your business and employees.

 

Bayscape Landscape Management

commercial property landscape design

To Plant or Purchase? When is a Planting Contract Beneficial?

There’s an undeniable trend of “doing it yourself” sweeping the country these days – from YouTube tutorials to Pinterest boards to home-renovation shows, there’s a guide available for almost anything you want to do yourself. There’s even a DIY television network!

This surge is a great thing, allowing DIYers to save money and flex their creative muscles. But in most disciplines and industries, there are still situations and circumstances when you may want to consider bringing in a professional.

In the landscaping industry, one of those instances is when considering whether to plant and maintain yourself, or whether to bring in a professional. Planting contracts are one popular way to do that. So, how do you know when a planting contract might be advisable for you?

Check out some of the things that might signal that a planting contract would be a good fit:

  • You lack access to a diverse or large selection of trees, shrubs and plants, or to the size (think mature trees) of some plants that you’ll need, due to geographic area (or any other reason).
  • You don’t have access to good pricing – for example, a local and well-stocked wholesale nursery.
  • A professional and/or polished look is important for your landscape. If you’re comfortable with or able to embrace a whimsical, “rough,” or otherwise unconventional style, you may be able to do it yourself. But in many professional situations, like for an HOA landscape maintenance plan or a high-end office building property, the landscaping may be need to be streamlined, professional, or even formal.
  • You don’t have experience with planting and maintaining the plants and trees you’re using. If you’re an experienced gardener or green thumb, you may be able to handle it on your own.
  • You need the services of a person who can balance aesthetics with sustainability. Professional landscaping companies should be able to find a healthy balance of aesthetics and sustainability, and have substantial experience with concepts like smart irrigation.

 

If any of these situations fit you, you might be a good candidate for a planting contract with a professional landscaping company. Visit our portfolio to view our planting projects, or call us for a consultation!

Bayscape Landscapes Top 5 Blogs

Best of Bayscape: 5 Blogs to Prepare Your Landscape for 2016

In the midst of the holiday hustle, it can be easy to forget that landscaping needs and projects will be on you before you know it! Wise homeowners know that setting aside just a little bit of time to map out the year ahead can help them plan (and budget) accordingly.

Check out this brief recap of the best blogs from Bayscape and Arbortek in 2015, and think about what landscaping projects are on your 2016 docket.

Why Smart and Savvy Landscapers Plant in Fall

Smart landscapers know that this is actually the ideal time to start planning your next fall garden – especially with oxygen-producing, shade-giving, earth-loving trees! They also know that California-native and California-friendly trees can offer a surprising bounty of fall color. Read this blog if you would like to plant trees or shrubs in fall of 2016.

When Planting Bare Roots Sends You Running for Cover

Planting dormant bare-root plants and trees can help homeowners save money and establish them in new soil more easily. Check out this quick, easy primer for readying roots, priming soil, and introducing bare root plants early in the year!

Five Ways to Save 20 Gallons

The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s rebate funds may be depleting for the year, but it’s more important than ever to keep water usage in check. This blog contains several helpful ideas for saving water, from lawn removal to selection of California-native plants and installing drip irrigation systems.

Annual, Biennial, Perennial – Do I Even Care About the Difference?

There are lots of common landscaping and gardening terms floating around that some homeowners may not even know how to distinguish. Learn the difference about annual, biennial, and perennial flowers and plants with this easy reference.

Preparing Your Trees for El Nino

As El Nino is predicted to last well into 2016, homeowners should be preparing their trees and maintaining their health all year long! Large trees (especially those near roofs) should be pruned, and newer trees should be fortified. Check out this blog to make sure the trees on your property are weather-ready.

Why Gutters Could Be the Demise of Your Winter | Bayscape Landscape

Why Gutters Could Be the Demise of Your Winter

California isn’t exactly known for blankets of snowfall in the winter, save for some mountain towns. Even so, residents of the sunshine state often cherish winter’s milder temperatures and the opportunity to indulge in “sweater weather.”

Unfortunately, the season can also be rough on homes if residents don’t take the appropriate precautions before temperatures drop and precipitation arrives- especially with a record El Nino on the horizon. Make sure that your winter remains happily full of hot cocoa, warm boots, and cozy sweaters by tackling one very important part of home maintenance right now: rain gutters.

There are a few reasons that rain gutters can be a threat to your home’s well-being in winter:

1. They are out of sight, and out of mind.

Unlike major aesthetic parts of your home – a huge stone fireplace, for example – gutters are a part of the house that most people don’t spend much time looking at. The problem is that, much like a healthy heart, things that you can’t see or just don’t look at still need to be maintained so that they can keep functioning. Gutters need to heave a clear path in order for rain and snow to work their way through the system, and fallen leaves and other debris can cause substantial blockage in that system.

2. El Niño is coming.

As meteorological coverage of El Niño events increase, it’s clear that this winter has a higher chance for much, much more precipitation in California – even some deluges. This isn’t standard winter fare for the state, so thinking “I didn’t have problems with gutters last year” could be a big mistake. If those gutters are backed up with debris, in any state of disrepair, or not the appropriately sized or fitted, those downpours could equal extensive, expensive water damage outside and inside your home very quickly.

3. California is still in a drought.
Sometimes the fall is just still hot in the Western states, and when people are looking at parched creek beds and brown or nonexistent grass, it’s easy to think rain gutters are not important right now. But this is actually the perfect time to inspect and clean them, or even better, have it done professionally. Don’t fall for the “it’s bone dry” line of thinking – get ahead of the weather and save yourself a huge amount of time, money, and effort when those gutters are needed

If you are ever in doubt or need a hand on your property to help maintain the landscape, never hesitate to contact Bayscape Landscape Management!

Annual Biennials Perennials Definition, Bayscape

Annual, Perennial, Biennial: Do I Even Care?

If you can’t keep your Symplocarpus foetidus straight from your sphagnum, you’re in good company.

The gardening lexicon ranges from obscure Latin names to the I-should-probably-know-that-but-I-don’t, and whether you’re looking to start a backyard veggie garden or convert a green lawn to a drought-tolerant landscape, you’re likely to come across some vocabulary that needs defining.

Some of the most common gardening terms are those related to plant type: annual, biennial, and perennial. And while the words themselves are ubiquitous, they’re not always commonly understood – as in, “Hmm, is ’bi’ twice a year or every other year?’

Here, a quick review of these oft-seen gardening terms:

 

Annual: One and done! Everything about this plant happens in a single season, from its initial growth and taking root below to its producing and flowering on top. Lots of vegetables, like corn, peas, and lettuce qualify, as well as flowers like marigolds, geraniums, and zinnia.

 

Biennial: It takes two – seasons, that is. The lifecycle of a biennial plant will begin to flourish in its first planting season, and complete in its second. After the growth and flowering in season two, the plants will die. Common examples? Parsley, carrots, cabbage, and Black-eyed Susans. (Check out this quick and helpful video from MIGardener to see how onions are a great example of a biannual – and for a good review of all three terms!)

 

Perennial: Keep on keepin’ on. These plants – like Peruvian lilies, roses, oregano, blueberries, bananas, and avocados – bloom, appear to die in winter, and make an appearance again the next season (and the one after that!). One thing to note with perennials: they can be sensitive to climate zones. So, a perennial plant that fares well on the West Coast may, in fact, need to be replanted seasonally by a gardener in Wisconsin.

5 Steps to #Save20Gallons and Even More Money

Everybody understands that California’s water shortage is a serious issue facing the state, but Santa Clara Valley residents may not all realize that our water district has undertaken a great public program to reduce water usage in the county – Save20gallons.org.

 

Not only is this good news for the environment – it’s great news for Santa Clara Valley Water customers.

Why? Because the program offers fantastic rebates when you follow a handful of steps. They even produced some informative videos to help you get started saving water and money. (Bonus: Look for appearances by our Bayscape Landscape Crew in the “Step 2 – Lawn Removal” video and also in the “Step 4 – Drip Irrigation” video!)

 

Check out the step-by-step instructions for participating in the Save 20 Gallons rebate program here:

 

Application Process: The first step will include filling out an application, which SCVW says is a pretty straightforward process. They need some basic customer information and an overview of your project, such as what kind of landscape design you’re doing and the plants you’re considering. There will be a pre-project inspection, and they are always available to walk you through this and any part of the process (including resource lists for accepted plants, irrigation controllers, etc.).

 

Lawn Removal: According to Bayscape President Tom Ellington, there are two main types of removing an overly thirsty lawn: using a lawn cutter to remove a thin layer of grass and soil, and employing sheet mulch. Lawn cutting is faster, and sheet mulching is more involved but also more economical. Both are effective for reducing weed growth, and eliminating weeds means that the drought-tolerant plants get more of the water meant for them.

 

Plant Selection: One criteria of the rebate program is that customers must use plants with low or very low water usage. SCVW has a list of qualifying plants. There are lots of good California native plant options, as well as non-native plants that can adapt to and thrive in our Mediterranean climate (dry, hot summers and cool, wet winters).  SCVW will require you to have at least 50 percent plant coverage.

 

Drip Irrigation: To qualify for the rebate program, SCVW requires customers to remove all overhead irrigation. Hand-watering is accepted, though drip irrigation can be an efficient way to reduce water use. Pop-up sprinklers need to be removed (and preferably marked ahead of time with flags). Sometimes functioning/non-leaky valves from overhead irrigation can be salvaged – thus, avoiding digging up all pipelines and throwing out usable materials. In that case, it’s important for a pressure regulator to be installed to the existing valve.

 

Post-Inspection: The final step in qualifying for the rebate program is the post-inspection, when SCVW will send out interns to make sure that all terms and conditions are met. They’ll measure the site and make sure the appropriate square footage of lawn was removed, as well as check the irrigation system and ensure that there is 50 percent plant coverage and 2-3 inches of mulch where needed (wood bark mulch, gravel much, and cobble all qualify).

You’ve seen how Bayscape helped the customer in these videos qualify for their rebate program – give us a call today and see how you can start saving money, and water!

Smart Irrigation by Bayscape

Why Smart Irrigation Controllers are the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

California’s drought is now more than a regional story: coverage of the emergency conditions – and our response to them – spans from international news outlets to this week’s TIME magazine. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), almost 9 billion gallons of water is used every day in the United States for residential outdoor water use, primarily for landscape irrigation. The agency estimates that 50 percent of that water is wasted due to overwatering.

Fortunately, there are relatively simple measures you can take to save water that are friendly to the earth, healthier for your plants, and easy on your wallet. One of the newest technologies available to smaller-scale landscaping systems is smart-controlled irrigation systems. 

What are smart irrigation control systems, and how do they work?

Though smart-controlled irrigation systems have been used for many years on larger scales – like sprawling, 18-hole golf courses – the technology has recently become available for smaller properties and homeowners.

There are two types of smart controllers, climate-based and sensor-based, and they utilize your area’s weather and site conditions to manage irrigation needs. Instead of relying on you, or a programmed timer, to regulate your landscape’s irrigation needs, smart controllers customize water flow and frequency based on data like weather changes, soil moisture, slope, wind, and plant type.

How effective are they?

The Irrigation Association, which conducts third-party testing of smart controller irrigation products, says that pilot programs have shown a 20-40 percent annual savings over properties that utilize standard sprinkler systems. And the EPA, whose Watersense labeling program monitors and certifies smart controllers for efficiency and effectiveness, says the water savings amount to 8,800 annual gallons per household. The agency puts a big-picture perspective on the issue: if each household in the United States using traditional irrigation made the switch, we’d look at a $435 million and 120 billion-gallon savings nationwide. 

It’s important to have your smart irrigation system installed and maintained by professionals, so contact us today to learn how you can get started.

Planting Bare Roots Bayscape

When Planting Bare Roots Sends You Running For Cover

 

February – the season of Valentine cards and chocolates, presidential birthdays, and Girl Scout cookies.

 

The second month of the year may be known for its holidays and special occasions, but it’s also still a great time to plant bare root plants and trees.

 

Bare root plants, whether the fruit trees, berries, or flower varieties, are dormant: they’ve been taken out of the ground and are free of soil but have been kept moist. Because of this, they’re generally able to adapt to and thrive in their new soil more easily, and are also often less expensive to ship (and thus, happily for the consumer, they’re less expensive to purchase).

Don’t be intimidated by planting bare root plants if you’ve never done it before. There are just a few basic steps that will allow you to enjoy all the benefits this type of planting has to offer.

 

  • Ready the Roots

Gently loosen and untangle the roots, trimming away any dead or broken segments. Depending on the plant, its roots will need to soak in water from one hour to overnight. Whatever the needed soak time, make sure they don’t dry out.

 

  • Prepare the Soil

Dig a shallow, wide hole – approximately three feet in diameter – removing grass and loosening the soil all around it.

 

  • Introduce the Plant

Arrange the roots horizontally in the hole, with the top of the plant inches above the soil. Refill the soil, so that it is firm but not too compact. Water generously.

 

  • Nurture

Water consistently in the coming weeks, making sure to water more if you’re not getting much rain. Fertilizer and/or mulch can eventually be added at the base of the plant, but it shouldn’t touch the base of the plant (or trunk of the tree).

 

And if you’re still scared of taking on this job alone, contact Bayscape!