The homeowners wanted low-maintenance landscaping, so on the various patios, designers added planters with a mix of colorful annuals. They can be changed out seasonally and are irrigated, so watering is a snap.
Semi-miniature trailing African violets, like ‘Linda Darnel’ (P. Tracey, hybridizer), grow about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Use room temperature water when you’re watering your plants, and avoid using soft water. African violets actually need some chlorination, but if you can smell the chemical in your chlorinated water, it’s too much.
You don’t need fancy equipment to water based on weather. Keep track of rainfall with a simple rain gauge so you can avoid watering when storms have provided sufficient moisture. For most landscape and vegetable plantings in average soils, about an inch of water per week provides enough moisture for strong growth.
Winds tunneling through high rises and neighborhoods can be damaging and drying. Adjust watering as needed and provide supports for tall plants or decorative fencing/screening as a wind break, says Melinda Myers, an urban gardener.
The water collection basin for the vanishing edge, usually a forgotten space, was instead revamped to create a visually appealing water feature that can be seen from the lower seating area in the vineyard. Designers used individual ledger pieces to create ledges for the water to dance over on its way to the lower collection basin.
Depending on where you live, most outdoor spaces aren't complete without a fire. Add a fireplace or fire pit to extend the seasonality of your outdoor room. Fire and water elements can even be combined; think of the beautiful reflection of flames on still water.
Water plants effectively and efficiently by testing different irrigation methods and learning how well your soil holds water. Don’t judge when to water based on wilting leaves. Some plants naturally wilt under the midday sun, and plants also wilt when soil is too wet. Before watering, shove your finger into soil as far as you can and pull it out. If it comes out dry and clean or you can’t even shove it into soil, you need to water. If soil sticks to your finger or feels moist, don’t water. When watering, deliver water directly to soil to reduce the amount lost to evaporation. Soaker hoses, drip irrigation, micro-irrigation and bubblers all deliver water directly to soil. If using a traditional sprinkler, make sure it’s not watering surrounding grass, sidewalk or driveway.
Rake and remove leaves to avoid damage to grass. Doing so also can protect water quality. In winter, freezing and thawing can cause leaves, dead grass, plants and other organic debris to release soluble forms of phosphate (and nitrates). If these chemicals run off frozen ground during spring snow melt and early spring rains, they can end up in surface water.