Protecting the Soil
Soil erosion is a serious concern for most landscapes, especially during the summertime when dirt dries up and can be swept away by strong winds and torrential rains. The best way to prevent this from happening around your property is through an easy three-step approach:
- When planning and planting beds, be sure to take wind into account and design in mitigating measures ahead of time. Features like trellises or fences make for great windbreaks. Raised beds are also better at containing soil then if you are planting at ground level.
- Mulching often and mulching sufficiently is critical to the health of your garden bed soil, especially during the summer months. Mulch not only helps lock in moisture after each watering, but it also prevents your soil from burning and drying out in the hot summer sun.
- Plants in garden beds should be planted close enough to one another so that when they reach maturity, the plants are barely touching or “kissing” each other. You want to avoid overcrowding but eliminate space between plants to create natural shade for the soil.
Watering in the summertime is critical to maintaining the health of your grass and plants but watering smart is much more important than watering often. For lawns and other sections of grass, daily watering is not necessary as long as watering events are designed to penetrate the soil by at least 10 inches. This will keep the any grass’ roots adequately hydrated even during long hot days.
For garden beds, slow and deep irrigation using drip hoses will get you the best result with the least amount of water wasted. If you have sprinklers on a timer, be sure to adjust the watering times to early mornings during the summer and turn of the system if you experience a significant rain event.
While the garden or the lawn might feel like the priority each summer as you struggle to protect it against the heat and the sun, remember to take care of yourself during those hot summer days in the yard. Basic summer landscaping tips to help you survive sweaty days in your garden include:
- It is always best to cover up from head to toe when working out in the sun. Choose light natural material like linen or synthetic moisture-wicking varieties in long sleeves and long pants to prevent the sun from directly hitting your skin. Having on more clothes than less will also help you keep some of the moisture you are losing through sweat close to your body where it can actually cool you off.
- Hydration is important but the right kind of hydration is even more critical. You could be drinking gallons of water and still do yourself harm if you are not drinking electrolytes. When you sweat, your body loses salt which electrolytes replace. Think watered down Gatorade, Pedialyte, or even lemonade.
- Remember to take breaks and eat something salty while you are put in a long day outdoors. Trail mix is an excellent option and tasty!
Just because we are heading into the hottest months of the year does not mean that our backyard landscapes can not be enjoyed both as places for relaxation and meditation through landscaping.