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Landscape Articles

Judith Lipson- Rubin


Protecting Our Pollinators: Popular Pollinator Garden Ideas

Pollination has recently become a hot topic in part because a fatal disease has been killing honeybees, threatening the ability of commercial farms to produce an adequate supply of the fruits and vegetables we all love – not to mention honey. Pollination by bees, hummingbirds, moths, bats, butterflies, flies, and beetles ensures the continued existence of millions of plant species, and in turn, of most animal species, including humans – in fact, one of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on them. 

Why sustainable landscaping will protect the environment

As efforts to combat climate change become increasingly urgent, one term that is gaining visibility and popularity is “sustainable landscaping.” But what exactly is it and how can it help us protect the environment?

Sustainable landscaping is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of landscape design, construction, implementation, and management practices utilized for both residential and commercial landscapes. Essentially, it is a strategy for making full use of the environment to provide natural key elements that a healthy landscape requires. As part of sustainable development, it preserves limited resources, reducing waste, and preventing air, water and soil pollution. Growing the right plants in the right places; utilizing compost and mulch; employing natural fertilization, weed and pest management; and implementing effective moisture control are all components of sustainable landscaping.   

Organic gardening ideas the eco-conscious homeowner will love

Gardening in general and organic gardening specifically are growing in popularity as an increasing number of homeowners are becoming aware of the benefits. The pandemic, economic uncertainty, and the rising cost of food coupled with a desire to help the environment while spending time outdoors engaged in a fun, stress-reducing activity all have contributed to an interest in planting and raising flowers for beauty and fruits and vegetables for the table.

Top 10 beautiful spring gardening ideas for New England

There’s no question about it – New England can be a tough place to garden. Whether it’s flowers or vegetables, pleasure or produce, New England’s soil and weather can take a toll on both the garden and the gardener. So what’s the best approach to minimize risk and toil and maximize growth, blooms, and gardening pleasure?

Container Gardening Ideas You’ll Love to Know

The pandemic has brought about a number of widespread changes in how we live, eat, and thrive. Gone for now are the days of carefree eating out. Tightened budgets often mean tightened belts as more and more Americans look to save money as their incomes take a hit with reduced working hours, furloughs and, in the worst cases, lost jobs. The silver lining to all this grim news is the growing interest of many people in growing their own food. However, substantial numbers of home gardeners find themselves challenged for space and turn to flexible, versatile container gardening to raise both food and flowers.

Smart Tips for Creating a Winter Feeding Habitat

While summer may be long gone, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an active yard during the colder months and throughout winter. The key is creating an attractive, sustainable winter ecosystem that not only provides year-round beauty, but acts as a winter feeding habitat for the kinds of wildlife you’d like to see and nurture. 

By helping sustain wildlife during the harsh New England winter months you’re also helping maintain a healthy, balanced environment. All life is interrelated and dependent upon each animal and organism doing their part, however small. Insects and microbes break down organic matter into nutrients; those bugs feed small animals that help keep plants in check; they, in turn, feed larger animals that, when they die, feed the insects and microbes and help nourish the soil. Every organism plays a critical role in the cycle of life.

Landscape Design Ideas You'll Love to Know

The pandemic has had some unusual positive effects on people, and one of them is the upsurge in home improvement projects. Homeowners everywhere have gotten busy putting in new patios, firepits, walkways, gardens and other landscape features as they’ve spent more time at home, looking more closely at their property.

Working with the Land: Sustainable Landscaping and the Natural World

Truly successful landscaping starts with sustainability, which is built on a foundation of ecology -- really just a fancy word for the relationship of all organisms to each other and their surroundings. By understanding how each element of an environment is in balance with all the others, we can learn how to create beautiful and harmonious landscape designs that can thrive with minimal interference. That’s sustainable landscaping in a nutshell. 

The Difference between Traditional and Ecological Fall Cleanup Part 3

In part one of our series comparing ecological cleanups with traditional ones, we discussed the differences between ecological and conventional landscaping. In the second part, we reviewed some of the specific processes of ecological landscaping.

For the final installment in the series, we’ll take a closer look at the overall benefits of ecological fall cleanups and the cost considerations of embracing a more environmentally-friendly strategy. At first blush, this approach may seem counterproductive and “messy” – a lazy person’s excuse for avoiding more aggressive and vigorous traditional cleanup tasks. Also, many people believe that preserving nature through organic landscape techniques is more costly than conventional methods. Neither of these are true.

How to Pick the Best Foundation Plants for Great Curb Appeal

Nothing improves the beauty of a yard and the curb appeal of a home more than the right plantings. Color, texture, size, and shape combine to create a unique and attractive environment that adds value as well as beauty to your property. 

Unfortunately, many homes suffer from less-than-stellar plantings as the result of neglect, disinterest, and just plain old lack of imagination. You can spot some of these homes from a mile away by their plop-and-drop, contractor-special shrubs scattered around the house in cookie-cutter beds. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If your yard is suffering from poor plantings, this post will provide you with what you need to know to quickly upgrade your beds.

Personal and Environmental Benefits of Outdoor Living Spaces

It seems intuitive that we like to spend time outdoors -- we’ve all craved nature at one time or another -- but science has now identified some of the reasons we actually need to spend time in a more natural setting. In fact, there is a term for this, Ecotherapy, that refers to the various physical and psychological benefits of being outside.

The DIYer’s Guide to Garden Landscaping

Gardening and garden landscaping to many people invokes images of beautiful flowers or rows of healthy fruits and vegetables. But gardening is so much more than that. Modern garden design encompasses a wide range of landscapes and locations – from sunny, open areas to shaded woodlands, from residential patios to commercial courtyards – filled with plants and features not even dreamed of just a few years ago.

Many garden landscape designers today, including Moodscapes, have embraced a modern, sustainable, and environmentally-based approach – ecological gardening. Instead of relying upon manmade solutions without regard to their environmental impact, ecological gardening emulates nature’s processes and promotes biodiversity, sustainability, soil health, and plant health. It’s gardening designed to restore and enhance both the environment and your wellbeing.

Combating Coronavirus: The Surprising Benefits of Landscaping

As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, we’re hearing a lot about test kits, treatments, vaccines, and ventilators. And while all of these are crucial to the COVID-19 fight, many people don’t realize that there’s a lot of help to be found in a surprising place: nature.

The restorative benefits of nature, many health experts believe, can lower blood pressure, boost immune function, and reduce stress. Communing with nature is a full mind-body experience that is good for your well being and soul. There are no special requirements, just a willingness to spend some time outdoors, ideally doing something physical, such as gardening, mowing, trimming, or other landscaping tasks.

5 Ways Climate Change Impacts the Landscape and Growing

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects climate change is rapidly growing as a significant factor in landscape design. Raising temperatures, more frequent and severe droughts, and increasing damage from bigger storms are all taking their toll on both the natural and built environment.

If you’re a property owner considering a new landscape project it’s important to be aware of the following five major factors that can have a significant effect on your landscaping plans:

4 Important Characteristics of an Organic Landscape Company

Organic landscaping is both a process and a strategy for creating a beautiful, dynamic landscape while supporting a low-environmental-impact installation and maintenance approach. And while organic landscaping may not be the least expensive or  fastest method in the short-term, over time it will prove less expensive, healthier and more sustainable than more traditional techniques that depend on manufactured fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. 

What's the difference between an ecological fall cleanup and a traditional one? (part 2)

In our previous blog post, we discussed some of the problems with the traditional lawn cleanup methods that involve raking, bagging, and trashing or recycling leaves. Even when it’s cold outside, the leaves that fall on your lawn play an important role in sustaining life for the upcoming bloom season.

As we begin to transition into colder temperatures and areas of the state reach peak foliage, it’s important to know how to get your yard ready for winter. Now that you’ve learned more about why lawns are so important in fall, here are a few ecological tips to incorporate into your fall cleanup checklist:

What's the difference between an ecological fall cleanup and a traditional one? (part 1)

When most people think of a “fall cleanup,” they envision transforming their yard into a spotless lawn and garden beds full of perfectly manicured grass, without a single leaf in sight.

This may be a nice image for a postcard or television set, but it’s not what a yard tended to organically should look like. If you’re looking to have a yard that facilitates healthy plant and animal life, preserves the natural environment, and still looks great, consider the differences between a traditional fall cleanup and an ecological one.

For the first post in this series, we’ll examine the differences between a traditional cleanup and an ecological one as it relates to your lawn.

How toxic are lawn care chemicals and what are some alternatives?

Lawn care chemicals have been around for decades. But only in recent years have we started to become aware of some of the damage that can be caused by these compounds. There is a lot of hype and misinformation out there about certain products and whether they are safe to be used on your yard. Understanding the toxicity of popular lawn care chemicals is an important first step in choosing the right products for your yard.

4 Guiding Principles: Organic Gardening for a Healthier Landscape

In recent blog posts, we have been discussing the key differences between organic and conventional landscaping. While conventional gardening tactics may be more prominent, we believe that organic methods are better for the environment, more cost-effective in the long run, and safer for humans and animals.


To close out our series on organic gardening, we’re offering four guiding principles of organic gardening that we believe will make any landscape healthier. At Moodscapes, we strive to follow these guidelines on every landscape maintenance project we take on.

What's the difference between conventional and organic landscaping? (Part 2)

In our previous blog post, we provided an overview of the difference between conventional and organic landscaping. We explained the ultimate goal of organic landscaping: to use gardening and lawn care methods that create an outdoor environment in harmony with the natural world. Organic landscapers focus first on building the soil to nurture plants to ensure that they thrive.

Now that we’ve explained what organic landscaping is, in this post we will elaborate on a few benefits of choosing organic techniques instead of traditional methods.

What's the difference between organic and conventional landscaping?

We live in a time when humans have a tremendous impact on the environment with agriculture and industry. This is especially true in developed countries – according to research by the University of Michigan, we would need 5 planets to support the Earth’s current population if everyone had the environmental footprint of the average American citizen.

At Moodscapes, we believe in designing the landscapes we install and maintain to emulate the processes of nature instead of interfering with them. We refer to this as organic and sustainable gardening. The creation and nurturing of an outdoor space that fits seamlessly with nature will enhance the environment around your home as well as your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Our approach to organic gardening relies on a few guiding principles:

How to Prune Plants so They Thrive

Pruning is one of those gardening techniques that many people overcomplicate. While pruning does help a plant grow strong, healthy, and in the proper direction, that doesn’t mean it has to be a complex undertaking that requires a lot of skill and years spent gardening. With that said, pruning mature plants and trees effectively and consistently does require skills developed over time.

 

The most important thing you need to prune successfully is an understanding of the natural form of the plants you’re working on. Below is our advice on how to learn enough to be able to prune your garden so that the plants in it grow as healthy as possible.

Expert Advice for Creating an Easy & Enjoyable Landscape

A common misconception we see among homeowners is that it takes tons of time and effort to build and then maintain a yard that provides enjoyment. Many people mistakenly believe that they don’t have enough spare time to make their landscape into a relaxing sanctuary.

While it will take some effort to create and then keep up this kind of natural landscape, it’s not as challenging as you might think. With the following tips, you can make your yard a low-maintenance space to unwind around nature and keep it in great condition all year.

3 Rules for Beautiful Landscape Blooms All Year Long

While we may be firmly in summer’s grasp here in Massachusetts, as locals know, this weather won’t last forever. Although we are now seeing more extended runs of high temperature thanks to climate change, our area has traditionally had distinct cold and hot seasons.

But that doesn’t mean you only have to enjoy healthy blooms in your yard for a few months out of the year. Not much will grow in the bitter cold of the New England winter, but with some planning and careful selection of the right species, you can have a garden with color and blooms for nearly the entire year. 

Here are our three best tips to extend your yard’s bloom time:  

6 Fun, Creative Ways to Make Your Landscape Beautiful

One of the nice things about maintaining a healthy landscape is the aesthetic appeal. We believe that fewer things are more beautiful than an environmentally-friendly yard that forms a natural part of the local ecosystem.

Beyond that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to colors, types of plants, and arrangements, but some techniques have broad appeal. Here are 6 of the most popular ways to make your yard more beautiful:

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