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Landscape Articles

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:

The 4 Best Organic Weed Control Tips Gardeners Love

Everyone loves having a healthy yard that is capable of growing many types of interesting, vibrant shrubs and trees. Unfortunately, the presence of unsightly weeds is one of the drawbacks of having a yard that can sustain plant life.


A lot of homeowners feel that their otherwise-attractive yards are ruined by stringy, snaking weeds that tend to pop up this time of year. In some cases, weeds can actually be harmful for your yard, draining it of valuable nutrients that could be going to the plants you actually want to grow.


But most of the time, weeds are a relatively minor issue. Following these four tips will help you free your landscape of weeds:

The Monsanto Lawsuit - Is Roundup (glyphosate) Safe to Use in Your Yard?

Using organic methods to take care of your lawn isn’t just better for the environment - it may also be safer for human health. This past summer, a terminally ill former groundskeeper in San Francisco was awarded a $250 million settlement from Monsanto, the company that produces the Roundup brand of weed control products.


These lawn treatments use glyphosate, a chemical herbicide that has been linked to cancer by multiple studies, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. Dewayne Johnson said he was instructed to use Roundup 20 to 30 times a day working as a school groundskeeper in a San Francisco suburb. He blames the weed killer for the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma he was diagnosed with in 2014, which has made him terminally ill and left lesions on 80% of his body.


Let’s look at some of the data on glyphosate and the latest developments in the Johnson vs. Monsanto case.

Reducing Waste and Harm to the Environment Part 2

In our previous blog post, we touched on methods to choose, arrange, and support healthy shrubs and trees in your yard. For this post, we will be talking about ways to maintain your yard over the long run. We’ll also address how you can use vegetation to make your home more energy efficient, thereby reducing your overall environmental footprint.

Reducing Waste and Harm to the Environment from Landscaping in Massachusetts (part 1)

In recent years, there’s been a large push to educate homeowners and commercial landscapers on how to conserve the environment. More and more home and business owners are realizing that poor landscaping practices will not only hurt their plant life, but also negatively impact the greater environment.


In this blog series, we will discuss everything you can do to mitigate harm to the environment through your landscaping practices. The first installment will cover how to choose, arrange, and take care of plants in a way that reduces negative effects on the natural world.

3 Tips for Conserving Water in Your Home Landscape Design

In a July 2018 meeting, the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force declared that the state of Massachusetts was free of drought conditions. This is a sigh of relief for residents of the state who remember the lengthy drought between March 2015 and May of 2017.


Even though we may not be currently facing a drought, the task force did mention that water and precipitation levels have gotten worse since earlier this year. This fact, combined with lower-than-normal precipitation expected for the rest of 2018, means people still need to be aware of their water consumption.


If you are looking for ways to reduce your impact on the environment, using less water is an excellent start. Below are three tips for conserving water that you can incorporate into your current gardening and landscape practices.

How and Why to Minimize Your Lawn in Massachusetts

A short, neatly-edged expanse of sprawling green grass is the ultimate idea of the American lawn. Unfortunately, the “perfect” lawn is more reminiscent of a chemically-treated golf course than a healthy yard that supports the environment around it.


Without large amounts of watering, pesticide and herbicide use, and constant application of fertilizer, those pristine green lawns are impossible to maintain. These lawns are not environmentally-friendly, nor are they a healthy place for children or dogs to play on. Follow the advice below to create an organic lawn that is both safe for your family and good to the natural world.

Seasonal Planting for Year-Round Beauty and Environmental Support

Homeowners often place lots of emphasis on creating a garden with beautiful flowers and shrubs that bloom majestically in the spring season. Unfortunately, focusing on beauty for a single season can leave your yard lacking during the rest of the year.


With some careful planning and a bit of creativity, you can create a garden that will keep your yard in color and wonderful smells for all four seasons, even during the warm months. Use the pointers below to create a garden that will delight your senses all year.

5 Organic Mosquito Control Methods for Massachusetts

Summer is about getting together with friends and family in a fun celebration of the season. Unfortunately, this is a tradition that is often interrupted by uninvited pests like mosquitoes. These insects can make happy guests itchy and miserable and leave them wanting to stay inside instead of enjoying the outdoors.


A mosquito problem is certainly an issue that needs to be solved before the season of summer parties comes into full swing. Don’t rely on Roundup or other chemicals to rid your yard of pests, as pesticides can be harmful to you and your family and contaminate the local water supply. Here are five organic methods to use to keep mosquitoes away from your summer gatherings:

How to Get Your Massachusetts Yard Ready for Outdoor Gatherings

There’s nothing like hosting a summer get-together in your backyard to celebrate the season. Spending quality time with friends in your outdoor space is the epitome of summer, and it’s time to prepare for upcoming BBQs and yard parties. Get your yard ready by updating patio furniture, adding new fixtures, and taking preventative measures against annoying insects. Follow the steps below to guarantee fun and successful gatherings in your outdoor space throughout the summer.

The Top 6 Organic Pest Control Methods for Massachusetts Landscaping

Every yard will eventually face pest problems. Caterpillars stripping leaves in your new vegetable garden and fungus that causes root rot in flowers and shrubs are only a couple of examples of the extensive damage that pests can cause. It can be tempting to use a chemical approach like Roundup to rid your yard and garden of pests, but organic methods can work just as efficiently, without the harm that chemicals present to your family and the environment.

The Organic Gardening Guide to Summer Yard Maintenance

Once summer hits and you’ve finished all of the work you had planned for spring, it can be tempting to spend your free time enjoying the sun and letting your yard do its own thing. While your yard doesn’t need as much upkeep in the summer, you do need to handle some maintenance tasks that will help maintain it for the season.


Here are a few tasks for your yard this summer to keep up that healthy springtime glow until the fall:

Choosing and Caring For Organic Gardening Tools

Soil, seeds, and sunlight may be the foundation for a healthy and fruitful garden, but without proper care and attention, you won’t be able to grow the beautiful shrubs and flowers you want. With the right tools for taking care of your garden, you’ll be much more likely to find success with landscaping.


But just because tools for your garden are important doesn’t mean choosing them needs to be a complex matter. Picking the right type of supplies from the right vendor will not only give you a healthier yard, it will make your own gardening efforts much easier.


Here’s what you need to know about selecting and taking care of gardening tools:

Tips to Create a Pet-Friendly Organic Yard

Everyone loves the family pet, a companion that kids and adults appreciate having around. But as homeowners with dogs and cats know, there are some parts of your residence that you can’t share with your furry bundle of joy, and outdoor areas aren’t always the exception.


It’s great to have an outside space for your pet to run or play in. But if you plan on growing food, creating a peaceful garden for meditation, or simply want to keep your dog or cat safe outside, you have to consider the elements that could cause them harm.


Here’s what you should know when it comes to making sure your pet is safe while enjoying time in the yard:

What to Know About Honey Bees in Massachusetts

Say the word “bees” around most people and the first thing that comes to mind is a black-and-yellow menace that terrorizes children and summer get-togethers.


But that’s an unfair and incomplete picture of the importance of honeybees to the world around us. Bees pollinate more than 400 different types of agricultural products, including many common fruits and vegetables. In 2010, honeybees helped produce $19 billion worth of crops - and that’s in the U.S. alone! They also produce one of the most common and delightful treats consumed by people today in many forms: honey.


Like every other state, honey bees are common in Massachusetts, both in nature and in beekeeping colonies. Whether you are a honey bee enthusiast thinking about starting a colony, want to attract them to pollinate your garden, or are looking to protect your property from bees, here’s what you need to know.

Spring is Coming: 4 Tips for the Beginning of Gardening Season

The arrival of March means we are just weeks away from consistently warm weather here in the Massachusetts area. While we’ll certainly see some colder days, it’s also time to start preparing for the spring season. Beginning in mid to late April, homeowners in the region can get back into a consistent routine for gardening and landscaping.

Below are four tips you should follow to ensure that you transition smoothly into the warmer season and set up your garden and yard for a fruitful growing season.

How to Plan Your Vegetable Garden in Massachusetts

Growing your own food has many benefits. Not only does it help you establish a more organic space in your yard, it allows you and your family to eat nutritious foods that are natural and healthy.


But creating a thriving garden for fruits and vegetables requires more than just putting seeds in your soil and waiting for them to mature. In fact, much of the work involved in growing your own food happens upfront. For best results, you should have a plan to follow before planting a single seed.


Here’s what you need to know before you can create a healthy, fruitful garden:

Soil Guide for Organic Gardening: How to Ensure Your Soil is Ready for Growth

Soil is the foundation for a great yard. Without the right soil, you’ll never be able to create a thriving outdoor environment that gives you relaxation, attracts beautiful wildlife, and supports the local habitat. Yet too many people neglect the process of evaluating their soil before looking to create or modify their plan for an organic garden.


Here’s what you need to know to ensure your soil is ready for an organic garden, and a few steps you can take to help it get that way if necessary:

What is Ecological Gardening? 3 Simple Ways to Create Environmentally Friendly Landscaping

If you’re in the process of creating a new landscaping plan and want a garden that is not only beautiful but good for the environment, you may be thinking about organic methods. There’s an entire movement focused on these principles, known as ecological gardening. This type of landscaping is based on organic methods and designed to not just avoid harming the ecosystem but actually improve it. This guide will help you understand the differences between organic and ecological gardening, the advantages of the latter, and how to get started.

4 Most Valuable Tips for Installing Drip Irrigation System

Water conservation is important: it helps preserve limited natural resources, conserves energy, and saves you money. A properly engineered drip irrigation system can give your plants the exact amount of water that they need to thrive. With a lot of products available on the market, purchasing a new system can feel daunting. These four tips will help you know where to start.

Organic Gardening 101: Things Every Homeowner Should Know Before Day 1

Perhaps you just bought a new house and want to be sure you maintain your yard sustainably, or you want to transition to organic landscaping to reduce your environmental footprint. Before you start, read this guide to learn what steps you should take. It doesn't need to be an overwhelming process, but you should have a good plan.  

First 5 Steps to Create an Organic Landscape

Organic landscaping may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be - all you need is a good plan and the ability to stick to it. Once you’ve decided to start an organic landscaping project, these are the first five steps that you’ll want to take:

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