Jun 29, 2020
by Roger Raiche David McCrory, Planet Horticulture
July is the peak time of year for outdoor living. For those who need more motivation to spend time outdoors, the COVID 19 virus provides even more incentive. While it is still transmissible outside, open spaces reduce risks significantly when sharing with people outside your immediate family units. As more people are working and staying at home, expanding living spaces outdoors naturally makes sense.
Many changes don’t need to be seen solely as a pandemic response and can serve us well into the indefinite future. Add convenient amenities to your social spaces like power and water. Making your outdoor spaces multi-seasonal extends their use. Space for play, games, sports, and are an asset.
Food. Add more edible plants in your landscape. Planet Horticulture designs almost always integrate edible plants into landscape designs. Different crops will require thoughtful siting, but every yard has space for something you could enjoy harvesting. While our County has fantastic food resources from farmer’s markets and local markets, specialty growers, and the like, it’s nice to go out and pick your own. Bigger spaces are perfect for orchards, grapes and berry crops, but these can also be mixed into tighter plantings too.
Trails. Turning your yard and property into a series of easily connected spaces linked by a simple path or trail system is an excellent way to open up unused space, and add more enjoyment to your land experience. Enhance larger parcels by creating trail systems. Trail systems are another Planet Horticulture specialty. You can use trails to get to remote areas, take advantage of a unique view, or seasonal specialties such as wildflower areas, sunrise/sunset spots, seasonal creek, or a shaded grove of trees.
We avoid building stairs so that you can focus on the landscape, not on your steps. It also means importing fewer materials. Using switchbacks is almost always preferable to stairs to achieve elevation gain or loss, it avoids safety hazards that steps inherently have, and works with the natural topography more gracefully. Poison oak removal along trails is often required to make them safe for human use. The removal of exotic plants helps the ecology. Trail systems are macro-gardening with nature. Trail systems don’t require irrigation systems or new plants. You can expand your safe space often exponentially.
Fire. If the pandemic wasn’t threatening enough, we also have the 2020 fire season to consider. It’s time to clear away excess vegetation from our landscape and property. Both the County and Cal Fire have online and printed recommendations on how to make your home and property safer. Planet Horticulture works on managing vegetation as part of our overall integrated property management planning. Begin by mowing dry grasses and removing anything dead or dying. Evaluate what’s close to your structures and whether they can be reduced or eliminated. Remember, when a fast-moving fire occurs, you evacuate. So, you won’t be around to protect your home yourself; you need to make it easier for fire personnel to do so for us.
Enjoy the best months of the year, and keep gardening and making your home and property help you enjoy your life at home.
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