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Energy Efficient Landscaping 101

Energy Efficient Landscaping 101

Have you ever sat under a tree in the summer in order to escape the heat or stood behind a wall in the winter to avoid the chilling wind? While it maybe second nature for us to take advantage of landscape or hardscape to help control our body temperature, did you know you can do the same for your home? Your landscape can take advantage of these same benefits, making your home more energy efficient. Today we’re going to talk about some energy efficient landscaping facts and tips!

Energy Efficient Landscaping Facts

  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s efficiency studies show that shading under trees close to ground level can reduce surrounding air temperatures by 25 degrees compared to air temperatures above nearby blacktop paving.
  • A shade tree can save up to 25% of your home’s energy for cooling.
  • Landscaping that creates windbreaks can cut winter healing by up to 30%.
  • Computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of only three trees will save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually.

Energy Efficient Landscaping Tips

  • Dense windbreaks such as evergreens can block wind speed by 85%. Plant them so that they block northeast winter winds.
  • Use hardscape and other plantings near your home to create dead air space, which can act as an insulator for your home.
  • Maximize summer shade with large trees, especially  in a way that provides shade to roofs, walls, and windows.
  • Add lattice with climbing vines to areas in direct summer sunlight.  These vines can help shade your home and allow cooling breezes.
  • Use hardscape such as patio made of stone or concrete – it will soak up summer heat and reflect it during the winter.

How energy efficient is your home? Have you ever thought about the benefits of landscaping for energy efficiency? Is your home naturally shaded by large trees or did you have to plant your oaks and evergreens?

If you would like the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC to help with any of your landscaping or gardening needs, give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Posted in: Gardening Tips, Hardscape in Hattiesburg MS, Hardscape Installation Hattiesburg MS, How To: Hardscape, How To: Landscape, Irrigation in Hattiesburg MS, Landscape Design in Hattiesburg, Landscape Design Tips, Landscaping Tips

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Landscaping Tips for a Shaded Lawn & Garden

Landscaping Tips for a Shaded Lawn & Garden

Does your lawn or garden have large shaded areas? Have you been trying to figure out what to do with these areas for months or even years? While many people think nothing except moss, lichen, or a foliage garden will grow in these areas, that just isn’t the case! There are plenty of grasses, vegetables, plants, and flowers that can grow in shaded areas. Keep reading to learn what types of greens grow best in the shade and how you can grow them to their fullest potential.

1 ) Growing Grass in the Shade

While most all grasses prefer sun, some tolerate the shade more than others. If you have large shrubs or trees that are blocking sunlight, try to thin them out as much as possible, allowing the maximum sunlight to reach your grass. Your goal should be allowing at least 4 hours of sunlight to reach your grass each day. Using the adequate amounts of fertilizer and watering properly will also help to ensure your grass is healthy, even in the shade.

Best Grasses for Shaded Areas:

  • Rye
  • Fescue
  • Bluegrass

2 ) Growing Vegetables in the Shade

Most vegetables will need three to six hours of sunlight each day or consistent, dappled sunlight throughout the day. While not all vegetables (especially fruits/roots) will grow properly in the shade, there are still plenty of vegetables that you can grow in shaded areas. There are even benefits to growing vegetables in the shade such as: less frequent watering, crops like lettuce and spinach may grow longer without too much heat, and adding a garden in a shaded area will give you more room to grow something else in sunny spots of your lawn!

Best Vegetables for Shaded Gardens:

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Endive
  • Cress
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Radishes

3 ) Growing Plants & Flowers in the Shade

Plants and flowers that grow well in the shade are usually better protected due to nearby trees and shrubs that blockout summer heat or winter winds. Even better, you don’t have to rake up leaves that fall on or near your shaded plants. The leaves will provide a natural mulch that both enriches the soil and helps prevent weed growth.

Best Plants & Flowers for Shaded Areas:

  • Impatiens
  • Torenia
  • Bloodroot
  • Viola
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Gardenia
  • Dogwood

Do you have a vibrant garden growing in the shade? What are your favorite plants, vegetables, or flowers to grow in the shade? Leave us a comment below or tell us on Facebook!

If you would like the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC to help with any of your landscaping or gardening needs, give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Posted in: Fall Lanscaping Tips & Ideas, Gardening in Hattiesburg MS, Gardening Tips, Landscape Design Hattiesburg MS, Landscape Design Tips, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping Tips

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5 Tips To Save Money On Your Landscape Design

5 Tips To Save Money On Your Landscape Design

Landscaping improves the overall look of your home and can provide hours of outdoor relaxation. How can you have the best looking landscaping in the neighborhood without breaking the piggy bank? If you love the outdoors, gardening, and working in you yard, but don’t have a huge budget for landscaping, we’re here to help. Today we’re going to look at 5 simple tips that can help you save money and still design beautiful landscaping.

1 ) Use Native Plants – Some foreign plants can be more expensive and may have a harder time flourishing. If you’re not sure which plants are native, ask a expert like your local garden center. Not only can they help, but shopping locally also supports your local economy.

2 ) Time Your Buying – You don’t have to purchase all of the plants, grass, and trees for your landscape at once. Plan your buying around your budget. Likewise, you can often save money by purchasing certain types of landscaping materials in their “off months.” Read more about fall landscaping for NEXT summer.

money saving landscaping tips3 ) Cheaper is Not Always Better – Many home improvement stores sometimes offer cheaper prices on common plants. However, they may not offer the same quality, selection, and service that you receive at local garden centers or specialty stores.

4 ) Team Up With Neighbors – Save money on that DIY project by sharing the expense with friends or neighbors. How? Plan a weekend where you both need to rent landscaping equipment and share the cost. Have a large landscaping project? It’s important to remember that, often times local landscaping professionals can actually save you money and time.

5 ) Use H2O Intelligently –  The EPA has done studies that show that 20% of total home water use is actually outdoor water. Choosing plants that don’t require as much water, as well as installing an irrigation can save water and save you money in the long run.

What money-saving landscaping tips do you have to share with us? Do you compost to save money on fertilizers? Use seeds and trimmings to grow new plants? Leave us a comment below and share your own tips!

If you would like the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC to help with your landscaping or gardening, give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Posted in: Garden Center in Hattiesburg MS, Gardening in Hattiesburg MS, Gardening Tips, How To: Landscape, Irrigation in Hattiesburg MS, Landscape Design Tips, Landscaping Tips

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5 Landscaping Tips to Help Sell Your Home

5 Landscaping Tips to Help Sell Your Home

 

It’s no secret, homes just aren’t selling as fast as they once did. If you are trying to sell your home, your  landscaping could be your best advertisement. If potential buyers are initially drawn in by your home’s curb appeal, you will be more likely to  get them inside to tour your home and eventually make an offer. Here are 5 inexpensive tips to increase your home’s curb appeal and help you sell your home!

1 ) Add a few outdoor containers- Container plants, such as large tropicals, add considerable appeal doorways where potential buyers enter and exit the house. These displays also show the endless possibilities for designing with container plants.

2 ) Keep sticks and leaves picked up- Don’t make a potential buyer look at or walk over grass clippings, leaves, branches or pine cones. The tidier your home’s landscaping, the easier it will be to sell your home.

3 ) Trim- An easy way to spruce up your landscaping is to prune up any overgrown trees or shrubs near the home. This will not only make your home look nicer, but it can also highlight the architecture.

4 ) Plant some instant color- Seasonal colors can really makes the landscape pop, and flats of annuals are also relatively inexpensive. The experts at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC can help you decide whtehter several colors or a more monochromatic scheme fits in with the look of your home.

5 ) Clean and touch-up driveways, sidewalks and patios- Potential buyers notice things like dirty dirty patios, sidewalks with moss growing over, and cracked concrete. Pressure-washing driveways, patios, and sidewalks before putting your home on the market can increase your chances of selling. If you have a little extra budget, consider patching large cracks in sidewalks or driveways.

If you need any help preparing your landscape before you put your home on the market, the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC are here to help with any landscaping or gardening needs. Give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

What improvements have you made to your home that’s on the market? Have you recently sold a home after touching-up your landscaping? Leave us a comment below and tell us about your success stories!

Posted in: Garden Center in Hattiesburg MS, Hardscape in Hattiesburg MS, Irrigation in Hattiesburg MS, Landscape Design in Hattiesburg, Landscape Tips for Selling Your Home, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS

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Halloween Landscaping Tips and Ideas

Halloween Landscaping Tips and Ideas

Does your family like to go all-out decorating for holidays? Do you enjoy creatively landscaping your yard? If so, we’re here to help. Today we’re going to provide a checklist of Halloween landscaping plants and provide a few ideas for bringing everything together. There are hundreds of ways to decorate for Halloween and all of them are not listed below, so please leave your favorite Halloween landscaping ideas in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.

Halloween Landscaping Checklist

1 ) Mums – When it comes to Fall, mums are the most popular in bringing Fall and Halloween colors to your yard.

2 ) Pumpkins – Who doesn’t think of pumpkins when thinking about Halloween? Don’t forget to carve your favorite jack-o-lantern!

3 ) Grapevine – Create a Southern or even scary look on your porch or throughout your yard with grapevine. With a little creativity, you can also make some great looking Halloween wreaths from grapevine.

4 ) Gourds – In the video below, you will learn about making shadow boxes from gourds. Be sure to email us pictures of your shadow boxes!

 

5 ) Cornstalks – A great addition in a basket with your other Halloween decorations, or on top of your hay pedestal.

6 ) Pinestraw/Hay – Pinestraw and hay can be used to help craft a scarecrow,  or as a pedestal for your pumpkins, gourds, or other decorations.

7 ) Dead Flowers – When combined with a pile of dirt, dead flowers can make a “graveyard” area in your yard!

8 ) Lights, inflatables, and other retail merchandise – There are several local stores in which you can purchase additional Halloween decorations that will provide some flare or scary elements to your yard. If you decide to purchase these items, design around them in a way that can make them the focal point of your yard.

Remember that landscaping for Halloween can be a fun family activity that shouldn’t break your pocket books. Most of these decorations can be used for the entire Fall season. Be sure to re-use old supplies that you have in your garage or shed such as empty planters by filling them with some of the Halloween supplies listed above. Decorate your shrubs and tree limbs with spider-webs, lights, and hanging ornaments from your local garden center or party supply store.

Many of the items on our list can be picked up from Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC such as: gourds, pumpkins, mums, and straw just to name a few. If you need any help preparing your landscaping for Halloween, the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC are here to help with your landscaping or gardening needs. Give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Posted in: Garden Center in Hattiesburg MS, Halloween Landscaping, How To: Landscape, Irrigation in Hattiesburg MS, Landscape Design Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS

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Fall Landscaping Tips & Ideas

Fall Landscaping Tips & Ideas

With the Fall months upon us and Summer officially over, how can you prepare you landscaping for the next season? Should you care for your lawn and garden any differently as the weather begins to cool and leaves begin to fall? We’ll answer these questions plus give you some ideas for landscaping your lawn for Fall!

1 ) Prepare for a freeze – While in South Mississippi the weather won’t start getting extremely cold for a few more months, a little early preparation sure couldn’t hurt anyone!

2 ) Overseed your lawn – Usually the word “over” in front of another word is not a good thing, but when it comes to your yard this time of year it can be a great thing. Overseeding your lawn is a method by which you simply sow seeds over your existing grass to help fill any bare patches.

3 ) Mulch your garden – Yes, even in the Fall you should mulch your garden – once all your plants and vegetables have been harvested or have died. Before mulching you should first remove any plant debris and take care of any weeds (they will come back in the Spring)!

4 ) Aerate the yard – Aerating your yard can create pockets for air, water, and nutrients to enter the soil and roots. For smaller yards, a yard fork will do the job perfectly well!

5 ) Trim your perennials – Working your flower beds this Fall will result in healthier beds this Spring! Remove dead annuals and anything that feeds on them such as slugs, which breed in the Fall. Trim your perennial foliage down to the ground which will send the energy to the roots, strengthening them for next season!

6 ) Plant new shrubs – Planting in the Fall?? Yes! Often times planting new shrubs in the fall will give them a jump-start establishing roots in the cooler weather.

Remember that the Fall is a great time to prepare your lawn and garden for the next growing season. A little work now will produce much bigger results next Spring, so pull up your sleeves one more time, crank that mower up a few more times, and prepare your landscaping for the Fall! If you need any help preparing your landscaping for this Fall, the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC are here to help with your landscaping or gardening needs. Give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Do you have other Fall preparations for South Mississippi or other climates such as the Northeast? Tell us about your Fall preparation habits in the comments below!

Posted in: Fall Lanscaping Tips & Ideas, Garden Center in Hattiesburg MS, How To: Landscape, Irrigation in Hattiesburg MS, Landscape Design Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS

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10 Basic & Essential Gardening Tools

10 Basic & Essential Gardening Tools

 

While you can spend hundred or even thousands of dollars on the latest gas-powered super tools for your garden, these types of tools aren’t necessary to have a fruitful garden. Today we’re going to focus on the basics and look at 10 essential gardening tools. If you are new to gardening, it maybe best to start with these tools, learn how they work best in your garden, then move up to fancier and more expensive tools.

1 ) Scissors – A simple pair of scissors will be one of the most used gardening tools in your toolkit. From snipping herbs, harvesting small vegetables, opening a bag of potting soil or a seed packet, scissors will come in handy all the time!

2 ) Water Hose – You have all the plants and vegetables that you ever wanted to grow planted, now the most important thing is keeping them healthy by watering them regularly. While an irrigation system is more optimal, gardens are often added “after-the-fact” and a simple water hose will often times get the job of watering done.

3 ) Shovel – Before you are able to plant anything in your garden, you will first need to be able to dig a nice, deep hole for them! A small garden shovel will work best here, as most of your holes won’t need to be as big as a regular hole for larger plants and shrubs.

4 ) Rake – Just like shovels, some rakes work better than others. For gardening, a shrub rake will typically work the best as they are smaller and will fit into tighter spaces than larger rakes used for removing leaves from your lawn.

5 ) Gardening Hoe – A gardening hoe can not only remove roots from the top layers of your soil, they also serve the purpose of mixing compost or fertilizer in with the top layer of soil.

6 ) Sunscreen – Being out in the sun for hours at a time on a regular basis can help with a tan, but can also lead to skin cancer. To help prevent any skin damage from UV rays, applying sunscreen before gardening is essential to staying healthy!

7 ) Pruning Shears – Like scissors, pruning shears can serve many purposes from pruning woody perenials to pruning back flowers and fruit-bearing plants. Pruning will ensure you get a healthy yield from your garden.

8 ) Wheelbarrow – If you have a large yard, carrying top soil and other heavy garden accessories can put a wear on your back. Purchasing an inexpensive wheelbarrow can make your gardening experience easier on your body and more enjoyable!

9 ) Weeding Tool – Weeds, weeds, weeds…they always seem to pop-up in your garden and if not taken care of, can choke out the flowers and vegetables that you have been working so hard to grow. A weeding tool can make getting weed of weeds much less painful.

10 ) Gloves – Nothing hurts worse than a handful of blisters. Wearing gloves while gardening can protect your hands from blisters and thistles alike. We recommend buying a pair that fit comfortably, but snugly so that your hands can still be as nimble as possible.

 

Do you have a favorite gardening tool? Maybe a specific type or brand that you find works the best in your garden? Leave a comment below and let us know!

If you would like the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC to help with your landscaping or gardening, give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Posted in: Garden Center in Hattiesburg MS, Gardening in Hattiesburg MS, How To: Landscape, Landscape Design Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS

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3 Steps to Repair Problem Spots In Your Lawn

3 Steps to Repair Problem Spots In Your Lawn

Does your lawn ever have that ONE problem spot that always seems to give you trouble? Maybe your lawn has lots of problem spots and you’re just not sure how to repair them. Today we’re going to tell you how you can repair the problem spots in your lawn in 3 steps!

brown spots in lawn careEquipment & Materials Needed:

  • seed
  • fertilizer
  • water
  • rake
  • shovel

1 ) Prepare the soil – Remove any dead grass and soften any hard soil in the problem spot.

2 ) Seed the problem spot – To ensure the seeds will grow properly, you can try an all-in-one mix of seed, fertilizer, and growing material. You should water the seeds twice each day until it has fully grown.

3 ) Fertilize properly – Start fertilizing the new grass approximately 6-8 weeks after seeding.

So in 3 simple steps we’ve fixed the problem areas in our lawn with relative ease. Remember: Prep, Seed, & Feed! Of course, you can find all the materials & equipment needed for this project and any other lawn project at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock & Garden Center LLC.

 

Does your yard have one spot that drives you crazy? Maybe your yard is the opposite and has one green spot? If you have any questions or would like to join the conversation leave a comment below or post on our Facebook wall.

If you would like the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC to help with your landscaping or gardening, give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Posted in: Garden Center in Hattiesburg MS, Gardening in Hattiesburg MS, How To: Landscape, Landscape Design Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS

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5 Steps to a Successful Garden

Are you new to gardening? Maybe you’ve been gardening for a few months without much success – and that’s OK. The old saying “practice makes perfect” definitely relates to gardening as well. If you’re looking to start a new garden, or improve your current garden, follow these 5 simple steps  to a successful garden!

1 ) Crawl Before You Walk – One sure-fire way to not enjoy gardening is to over-burden yourself with an oversized and overcomplicated garden. Start out with a small garden (maybe 80sq ft) with a limited number of plants.

Gardening in Hattiesburg MS2 ) Mulch, Mulch, Mulch – Do yourself a huge favor and use mulch over your entire garden. One simple and cost effective form of mulch is a using a compost pile. If you can’t create a compost pile, use wood chips, leaves, or another type of organic matter.

3 ) Keep Your Soil Healthy – Using compost is a great start to maintaining healthy soil. Organic matter like compost provides structure to sandy soils and softens harder soils. Also try to limit the use of pesticides, avoid walking on the soil in established gardens, and try not to work the soil when it’s too wet.

4 ) Water Deeply – Instead of watering your garden for a few minutes each day, deeply soak your garden each time you water. These “deep soaks” are best during the morning,  allowing leaves to dry out during the day.

How successful were you when you first began gardening? Did you watch gardening shows, read books, or just go for it? Leave us a comment below and let us know about your first gardening experiences!

If you would like the professionals at Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC to help with your landscaping or gardening, give us a call today at 601-264-2886 or email us at thesteppingstone@live.com.

Posted in: Garden Center in Hattiesburg MS, Gardening in Hattiesburg MS, How To: Landscape, Irrigation in Hattiesburg MS, Landscape Design Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS

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Preparing Your Yard For A Storm

Preparing Your Yard For A Storm

With everyone on edge about Tropical Storm Isaac rapidly approaching, we thought it would be good to go over a few safety tips for your yard before the storm hits! These safety tips can help to prepare your yard for any storm including any major flooding, strong winds, hurricane, or other type of storm. Please remember that these safety tips should be completed in advance of any storm.

Image from www.weather.com.

1 ) Use wood stakes to support any garden plants that could break in strong winds.

2 ) Be sure to close and lock (boarding up if necessary) all doors for your shed, barn, green house, and garage.

3 ) Bring in and secure any porch furniture, flags, pottery, wreaths, and other un-secured yard decorations.

4 ) Cover your pool and double check that everything is tightened down on the pool cover.

5 ) Harvest any garden flowers/plants that are mature enough to be picked.

6 ) Cut down any weakened trees or limbs that may fall on your home.

7 ) Verify that roof drains and gutters are free of debris.

8 ) Securely anchor any equipment on your roof such as satellites.

9 ) Follow any local authority warnings, evacuation plans, or other government issued warnings.

After the storm passes and it is safe to leave your home, it is important to remove any debris that maybe on your yard. Debris left on your grass or other plants may end up killing it.

 

*These tips will not ensure the prevention of any damage that may occur during the storm. Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, LLC is not liable for any damage caused while following these tips, during or after the storm. Please consult your local authorities for all safety tips.

Posted in: Landscape Design Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping in Hattiesburg MS, Landscaping Storm Preparation, News

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