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Landscape Articles

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.

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.

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. 

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.

A Beginner's Guide to a Massachusetts Vegetable Garden

Growing your own food is healthy, reduces your environmental footprint, and can even reduce stress and improve your mood. But before you jump into buying supplies for a vegetable garden, you’ll want to do some planning. Not only will you have to decide what you want to grow, you’ll need to plot your garden, acquire the right tools and supplies, and protect your seedlings.


Here’s a quick primer to help you start planning your garden for the warm growing season:

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