arlington_ma_side_x_side.gif

Landscape Articles

Helping Plants Survive Times of Drought and Extreme Heat

For an environmentally conscious gardener, managing your garden during a drought is a constant battle between needing to conserve water and keeping your parched plants alive. Drought is often paired with heat waves which can further complicate keeping your garden from drying out completely.

Fortunately, many species of plants have mechanisms in place to help them survive less than ideal conditions. Between those mechanisms and a human helping hand, we can help plants survive the dry spells.

What's great to know about sustainable lawns and lawn care

Home lawn care has been a subject of human interest since around the 11th century, with the Japanese sodding areas around their gardens with turf grasses taken from livestock fields. Since then, with the introduction of exotic grass species from all over the world and modern lawn equipment, our lawns today are a long way from where they began all those years ago.

What was once a mix of replanted native grasses and weeds has become monocultures of imported and genetically modified grasses. In their defense, these carefully curated grasses look great to the human eye, but all wildlife sees is a desert.

Hacking Nutrient Cycles for Vibrant Plants

When it comes to plant care, chemical processes are the main element of whether plants wither and die, or survive and thrive. But more often than not, these processes are watered down into three categories; light, water, and the ever ambiguous “nutrients”. A deep understanding of these processes is not necessarily vital to success, but being somewhat familiar with the chemical needs of your plants can make the path to a thriving garden far easier.

Rainwater Collection for Landscape Maintenance

Maintaining a home garden can sometimes require a significant amount of water to maintain. Of course, from time to time that’s supplemented by rainfall, but what about the rest of the time? For most people, this extra water comes from a municipal water supply, which can add up fast on the water bill. Luckily, there are ways to collect rainwater that would otherwise evaporate or seep into the ground, and use it to water your garden. Humans have been collecting and diverting rainfall for thousands of years, so why stop now?

Organic Gardening to Offset Rising Food Costs

Supply chain shortcomings are topping news headlines left and right lately, and it’s not just the latest cars and electronics being affected. Food shortages and price increases are becoming the new normal, and many people are beginning to look for places outside of the grocery stores to source their food.Luckily, you don’t have to look any farther than your backyard. Organic gardening can be a great way not only to decrease your reliance on grocery stores, but also trim your grocery bill, and decrease your carbon footprint all at the same time!

How to Attract Bats for Sustainable Pest Control

Although insects are vital to a sustainable landscape, an excess of the annoying ones like mosquitos can be a deterrent to enjoying your outdoor spaces. Chemical pesticides can be effective, but are indiscriminate and can cause harm not only to other wildlife, but also to you and your family. So what’s the responsible solution? Bats. Bats survive on a diet of insects, and some species are known to consume their body weight in mosquitos and other bugs on a typical summer night. That’s a lot of bugs that won’t be bothering you anymore!

10 Easy Ways to Rewild Your Backyard

Rewilding is not a new idea, but it has grown in popularity over the last several years. The modern homeowner is becoming more aware of how even small choices they make in their backyard affects the bigger picture.

As we understand the relationship between us and nature more, there are several changes we can make in our backyards that will help the environment and the critters who we share it with. The beauty of these changes is that they are not expensive—in fact, some of them are even time and money-saving because they hinge on us doing less!

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.

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.

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.

Search

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Recent Posts

    10 Common Gardening Mistakes that Hurt the Environment
    8 Essential Elements of a Spectacular Outdoor Living Space

    Popular Posts