We have used many concrete paver products over the years, but today it’s all Techo Bloc paver projects. We find that Techo Bloc paver is the cutting edge of both design and quality. The Techo Bloc company is a leader in contractor support. They provide annual training seminars and the customer representatives are very accessible. And our local supplier AB Stone is a valued partner. The display paver patios and walkways at AB Stone help our clients pick the right Techo Bloc product for their project.
The project in this article uses three types of Techo Bloc pavers. The pavilion and outdoor kitchen are arranged over a Techo Bloc Travertina slab. The pavilion is a custom designed project with 18′ spacing between the posts. This allowed for a more flexible space to accommodate outdoor living. The Travertina patio has an outdoor kitchen by GenSun.
The steps from the home are Techo Bloc mini creta bloc. The treads are made with Techo Bloc Piedmonte caps. This wide set of steps allows for versatile access to the landscape project. A raised patio is placed adjacent to the house. This was required because of a root cellar below. But the constraint lead to a unique design outcome. The rocking chairs make cozy patio for two.
Steps lead down to the causal patio with Techo Bloc Eva pavers. The permieter of that patio has Antika pavers. The contrasting pavers make a unique patio. This one is not like any other. Techo bloc offers a very wide and unique range of products. That allows for this sort of custom patio. The range of paver products gives the homeowner and landscape designer options. And Techo Bloc products have some of the best colors and textures available.
Techo bloc continues to innovate. And their new products offer exciting options. Check out the link above to review all the products and ideas. Then call us to design and install your Techo Bloc paver projects.
Are you thinking about installing a paver patio and searching the web for information? Want to know how to install paver patio? Do you want some knowledge and experience from professional paver patio contractors?
What are the pros and cons of a paver patio versus my other patio contractor choices? Paver patios are installed on a compacted layer of modified stone. The benefit is flexibility to move with larger ground movements. But, no matter how perfect your paver patio installer can be, over time a paver patio will move, settle and migrate to some degree. But, since the concrete pavers are dry set on a stone base, the fix is not difficult or expensive. If you install a paver patio, plan for a restoration project in about 10 years. Concrete pavers don’t usually age all that gracefully. The top finish wears off and they can become dull and unattractive. This is less true with each new product that improves on the older technology, But if you want to keep the pavers looking their best, you should pressure wash and apply a sealer every two or three years.
Can an untrained homeowner install a paver patio? Yes, if they are experienced in related types of landscape construction. It’s hard work, but it is not rocket science. You will need some specialized tools to install your own paver patio. You can rent those hardscaping tools. First big challenge is where to put all the soil once you dig out for the stone base. You need to big out about 12″ deep and until you reach virgin compacted soil. Then you’ll need to get the modified stone delivered and compacted in place. Proper compaction is essential to a quality paver patio. You must have a mechanical plate tamper with appropriate psi compaction rates. The next big challenge is to create a level setting bed. Paver patio contractors use steel pipes and screed boards to make sure the patio is smooth with a slight grade for drainage. If you can get that fer, you done the hardest technical part. Now the hardest labor part of setting each paver. The up and down on the knees. The lifting and the hauling. the repetitive motion is tough on bodies that don’t do professional landscpae contractor work each day. You will need to rent a stone cutting saw to cut paver as needed. That is a dusty and dangerous job. Finally, when sweeping in the polymeric sand make sure and get it precisely in the cracks. Make sure that you rinse the paver tops absolutely when wetting the sand into place. If not, polymeric sand residue will stain the pavers. You can probably teel we think it best that a professional paver patio contractor do the work.
Many of our new clients call because they want a paver patio. In Allentown, Emmaus, Lower Macungie and the Lehigh Valley, paver patio is the the most common request for outdoor hardscaping projects. Garden Design Inc. are paver patio contractors specializing in Techo bloc pavers for landscape design and landscape contractors projects. You can review our paver patio ideas on Houzz.
Why go through the cost of mulch installation every year? Mulch makes our landscapes and gardens look more attractive with that uniform and tidy ground layer. More important, landscape mulch helps the soil retain moisture, it decomposes to release vital nutrients to the soil, and mulch installation helps the soil structure. What type of mulch is best for your garden? When should you do the mulch installation? How much does mulch installation cost? How much mulch should I install? What other garden services are best done with the mulch installation?
Triple ground, natural hardwood mulch is the highest quality common mulch installation. It is the best mulch for the health of your landscape plantings and the soil. It has a natural brown color and it does fade to a brown grey. It is not treated with chemicals or dyes. Shredded bark mulch is an even better option. But, it is much harder to find and more expensive. If you have base, alkali high PH soils, acidic pine straw mulch is a great option where available.
Dyed mulch installation is a popular option because the color holds up better, longer. Some people like that black or dark brown, or even red mulch aesthetic. The dyes used are chemicals, so this would not be a good option for the organic gardening folks. The chemical dyes may also harm the soil micro-organisms. But dyed mulch is likely still better than not mulch for the nutrients added and the water retention.
Stone mulch is popular for people who believe that it will be a lower cost and less maintenance option in the long run. Some people also like the appearance of stone mulch installation. This is probably OK for ‘zero-scape’ minimalist, drought tolerant and Mediterranean gardens. But for regular garden, it does have drawbacks. The stones get hot in summer and heat the soil and thus the plant roots. Stone mulch installation reduces the amount of water penetration into the soil. And stone mulch does not provide and nutrient or soil structure benefits. In the long run, stone mulch silts in with debris and looks dirty. Then it needs refreshed. It is also challenging to weed. Overall, I don’t believe the long term cost of stone mulch is any less than the ongoing annual costs of wood mulch installation.
Mulch installation is commonly completed in the spring during the garden clean ups. It is easiest to install mulch before the plants push out the new seasons growth. But mulch can be installed at any time during the season. Some people like to clean up and cutback gardens in the fall, then mulch before winter. This does help moderate the soil temperature and retain moisture through the cold dry winters.
The cost of mulch installation varies by the type of mulch, the thickness installed and the regional labor costs. In our area, labor costs seem to range between $40-$50 per hours for general landscape labor (we bill $45/hr.) We generally install about 1 cubic yard of mulch for every 100+ square feet of garden bed. If the garden is simple with generously spaced shrubs, we can install about 1 cy of mulch in just over an hour. For a more fully designed garden with detailed shrub and perennial arrangements, we take about 1.5 hr. to install 1 cy of mulch. Those are average times. If we can back a truck right to the landscape beds, it will take less time. If the gardens are in the back, through a gate, and up a hill, it will take more time. In 2017 we will change $35/cy for triple ground hardwood mulch delivered. So our cost can range from $80 per cubic yard to $120 per cubic yard for mulch installation.
We typically do a range of additional horticultural garden services when we install mulch. First we prune shrubs and trees and cutback the perennials. This facilitates efficient mulching times. We also add organic fertilizer so it is down under the mulch. Finally, we spread a pre-emmergent herbicide to help minimize weed growth.
What is your spring landscape maintenance plan? We all want to get our landscape gardens off on the right roots so we can enjoy a healthy, thriving and vibrant landscape through the spring, summer and fall. Spring landscape maintenance plans start with general plant and bed maintenance, followed by shrub pruning, perennial cutbacks, fertilizing, mulching and edging beds. Garden Design Inc. offers full service Spring Landscape Maintenance and ongoing landscape services for Allentown, Emmaus and the entire Lehigh Valley Landscape companies.
March – April Landscape Maintenance
Overview: Plants begin to break dormancy. Work done now sets tone for remainder of season. Good Garden Hygiene will reduce needs for excessive pesticide and herbicide throughout the season
General Plant Maintenance:
Cut back and cleanup dead and decayed perennial growth from prior season
Prune any dead branching from woody shrubs and small trees
Weed removal – winter weeds bittercrest, chickweed dandelion etc.
Check for Scale and treat with Horticultural Oil
Divide Perennials – where appropriate to fill in and encourage healthier growth.
Exposed lighting wire or irrigation tubing – dig and bury
Check lighting systems, replace bulbs as needed, adjust timer as needed
Check downspouts and drains for clogs or other issues
Inspect hardscapes for heaving – repair lifting or shifting paving
Inspect general garden drainage and resolve any washout problems
Mow Liriope, Epimedium and other appropriate cutback groundcovers
Hand groom Fern, Hellebore, Bergenia, Geranium (semi-evergreen perennials)
Uncover plant crowns and ‘press down’ from winter heave
Cutback and Divide Grasses
Rejuvenate Pruning – on heavy bloomers – Roses, Spirea, Hydrangea, Weigela
Selective Pruning – to Form/Shape larger woody flowering shrubs i.e. Viburnum
Reduction Pruning – Reduce 1/3 old wood past seasons i.e. Red Twig Dogwood
Rejuvenate Pruning – form oriented shrubs i.e. boxwood and ilex
Selective Pruning – Remove dead and damaged wood
Disease & Pest – Inspect and treat Scale and psyllid (boxwood)
Selective Pruning – Remove dead/diseased wood and prune minor to good form
Remove reversions, scions and root sucker growth
Perennials – Fertilize around the crown, not on it
Shrubs – fertilize 3-5” around the drip line, not inside or beyond
Trees – Fertilize 6-12” around the drip line. Deep plug fertilize every 48”
Cut bed edges – Check work order for specification Hand Edge vs. Machine
Note prior over mulching and remove/spread out before new mulch
Install mulch between plants – do not ever dump onto a plant!
Move mulch around plants, never closer than 1” to crown or trunk
I attended the Techo Bloc contractors showcase 2017 last week. They always put on a great show highlighting new products and techniques. It is a service to the contracting community making us all better professional hardscape contractors in Allentown. With that, lets talk a little Techo Bloc Pavers Reviews. What new pavers are available, new landscape walls, new permeable paving options, and a bit about our favorite Techo Bloc pavers for Allentown Landscape Projects.
First, which and how do new Techo Bloc products apply for Emmaus landscaping projects? Or any of our landscape services areas of the Lehigh Valley. The Techo Bloc borealis paver and the borealis wall are products generating positive attention with landscaping clients in Emmaus and Allentown. The Borealis paver and wall line simulate a natural wood appearance. The main benefit is that this line offers a distinctly different look in landscape hardscapes. The Techo Bloc Borealis line can be effectively combined with the Techo Bloc BLU to create dynamic patio hardscapes. The Borealis wall has the look of the old landscape timbers. I am not a fan! I do like the dimensions and creative oportunies that the size of the Borealis Wall offers. But I think the product will become outdated, out of landscape style. It is not a timeless landscape product.
The new Techo Bloc Para Slab collection does introduce a new hardscacpe option with a timeless style. This new patio paving option has contemporary, clean styling. Para Slab is available in both a smooth and a polished finish. Though contemporary, it will still work well for the older homes of an Emmaus landscaping or Allentown Patio project.
Paver Pete of Techo Bloc fame was very excited about the new Ocean Grande Slab. It is an innovative landscape paver product, but I don’t see it working in most Allentown Landscaping or Emmaus Patio projects. The texture of the Ocean Grande Slab is dynamic and eye catching. But it will be outdated before long. Maybe it would work for Urban, Miami or California projects, but not for most Lehigh Valley Landscaping or Allentown Patio projects.
Techo Bloc Pavers Reviews can not discuss all of the options the Allentown Hardscape Company offers. We at Garden Design Inc. are big fans of the Techo Bloc Eva paver for a value oriented option. The new Techo Bloc Valet offers creative patio design options for Emmaus landscaping projects and Allentown Patio companies. The larger Aberdeen and BLU Techo Bloc Patio options create classic landscaping for larger patio projects. For permeable paving in the Lehigh Valley patio, the Techo BLU is out favorite option.
If your interested in more of our thoughts on Techo Bloc Pavers Reviews and the Techo Bloc hardscape products for use in Lehigh Valley landscaping projects, give us a call. We are glad to share our thoughts. There are a number of other lehigh valley landscape contractors who also have opinion about Techo Bloc for landscape patios and landscape walls. Of course, we want you to hire us to build your Allentown Landscaping or Emmaus patio project. But regardless of who you choose to work with for landscape design and landscape contracting in the Lehigh Valley, check out the Techo Bloc product. If you want a neutral summary, talk to John or Jared at AB Natural Stone. They carry Techo Bloc landscaping products and other options.
When and how much should I be watering my Plants?
That can be a tough landscape question. Hard to know sometimes, and there is not always a right answer. Varied factors need to be considered. Does the plant require moist or dry conditions? Has it rained or been dry and windy? How long has the plant been established? Confusing, under-watering can look like over-watering. Leaves wilt, wrinkle and turn brown. But, when plants are under-watered, the leaves are dry and crispy. When over-watered, the leaves are soft and loose. Over-watering will eventually lead to root rot and plant death.
The best test for watering needs is to regularly check the soil for moisture. The easiest test is to insert your index finger into the soil near the roots. Put your finger 2″ into the soil. If soil seems damp and moist, should be fine. Check it again the next days. If soil is dry then water. For trees or larger plant material, check for moisture with a sample using a soil probe. Insert the probe as far as you can into the soil, twist and remove the ‘plug’. Check the soil moisture profile and water accordingly.
Always water deeply at ground level to avoid getting water on the leaves and flowers. Water deeply and less often. Get that moisture deep into the soil so the roots go searching for it. That builds better plant roots more able to withstand drought. Always best is best to water in the early morning. This lets the water dry off any leaves, lets it soak in and doesn’t leave moist soil overnight when bacteria may grow.
General Watering Instructions
Annuals planted in the ground
Annual flowers are shallow rooted plants. You will need to water more often, every two or three days in hot summer. It is especially important to water early in the morning to let the plant dry before sun hits the flowers.
Annuals In Pots Of Baskets
These plants also have shallow roots and need more readily available water. Container plants need more frequent watering since the soil is lightweight and there is not a whole lot. Watering is best every day to every other day. If hot and windy , you should check them twice a day because they can dry out quickly. On hanging baskets, you can lift them from the bottom to ‘weigh’. That will give you a good idea of how well watered the plants are by how heavy the pot is.
Water annuals around the base, even flooding the bed. Try to avoid overhead watering. Overhead spray watering could damage flowers and foliage. Use a moisture retaining fertilizer to help keep soil moist. Annuals generally prefer to be on the more watered side as they are a more fleshy and herbaceous plant.
Perennial gardens need about 1″-2″ of water a week. That depends on the types of perennials. Native and drought tolerant perennials can go with much less water. IN fact, many perennials prefer dry conditions. Make sure and design your perennial garden with the plants watering needs in mind. A lavender plant that likes it dry would not be happy by a ligularia that likes it wet.
Trees And Shrubs
You will absolutely need to regularly deep water your new shrubs and trees for the first year after planting. This means at least once a week setting the hose on a trickle and letting the ground get deep soaked. Set the hose near the base of the plant and leave it on a slow trickle for about 1 to 3 hours. A drip hose or drip irrigation system can take the place where the new planting is more extensive than can be managed with a hose. Water deeply and less frequently. Watch out for the Autumn mentality when people think plants don’t need water because it is cooler. Autumn can be the driest time of year and w2e see more plants die of neglect in the Autumn than any other time.
Watering your new landscape plantings is an art. It requires getting your hands into the soil to check soil moisture. It requires getting to know your plants and the signs of thirst – wilting and dry leaves. For Allentown Landscaping and Lehigh Valley Landscaping, each summer brings a new weather pattern. What worked for watering your landscape plants last year, may not work next year. Get to know your plants up close and personal.
A variety of landscape business options are available for landscaping Allentown pa. How do you choose which landscaping companies to call? If you have an extensive landscape project in mind, you first priority is the landscape designer. Look for a landscaping company with a highly regarded landscape designer. Review their landscape plans for other projects. Are you looking for patio designs or landscape gardens? How well does the landscape designer know landscape trees and shrubs? Ask to see before and after pictures with the landscape plans. Landscaping Allentown pa requires a qualified landscpae designer first.
Allentown Landscaping companies range in quality of their tradesman. When choosing an Allentown Landscaping Company, ask the following questions. Are the installers skilled and certified landscape professionals? Are they certified landscape technicians? Do they attend educational seminars? How long have they been with the Allentown Landscaping Companies? Are they generally clean cut and professional landscapers? Landscaping Allentown PA is best served by skilled landscape professionals.
Lehigh Valley Landscaping Companies can be evaluated by how long they have been in business. Do you want a company landscaping Allentown PA who just bought their first shovel yesterday? Many people think that landscape gardeners may not need to be experienced. They think landscape gardeners just pull weeds. But professional landscapers must be trained horticulturalist who know plant cultures, diseases and proper pruning techniques. An Allentown Landscaping company that has been in business over 20 years proves they are qualified landscape professionals.
Read the reviews! Landscape company reviews are spread across today internet, Just look up Landscaping Allentown PA and reviews to find information from your friends and neighbors. These reviews are your most important tool in determining the quality of an Allentown Landscape Company. Good companies have lots of good reviews. For example, Garden Design Inc reviews at Google, Facebook, Houzz & Yelp. You can try the internet sites that claim to review local contracting companies, but overall these are just money making ventures that don’t accurately represent quality landscape companies in the Allentown landscaping market. But of them all, Angie’s List is probably the best.
Perhaps you are here wanting the names of specific companies to call. Of course, we want the potential Landscaping Allentown PA customer to give us a chance at Garden Design Inc. But there are other very good choices. Plantique is the oldest Allentown Landscaping Company. They have skilled craftsman and quality landscape designers. Western Lehigh Landscaping has been around a while and I’ve always been impressed with the quality of their work. These are the most established three companies, most award winning, most skilled landscape designers generally best know for custom residential landscape projects. There are a handful of Allentown Landscaping companies, who do good work but are not as well known for the quality of their landscape designs in the specific Landscaping Allentown PA market.
Architectural Landscaping Containers add character and interest to patio landscaping projects, front entry landscapes or as accents in landscape planting beds. I was recently at the Maryland Nursery and Landscape Trade Show in Baltimore Md. (MANTS) where each year I am excited by the many new and old options of architectural pottery and landscape containers. The manufacturers keep improving the technology for attractive, quality finishes. I want them all for my landscape, but let’s be smart about this. Each type and style of landscape containers has a unique fit in the gardens.
One of the most classical Architectural Landscaping Containers is the metal urns as in the picture above. These fit especially well in more formal gardens with architectural plantings and classically designed patios. Iron fluted landscape containers are popular at either side of a front door in the front of house landscaping. The extra large metal urn pictured above would sit well within the landscape plantings. The large scale makes a focal point statement int the gardens.
For a less formal, more organic landscape, clay pottery may be an ideal fit. The architectural pottery shown above has lovely antique finishes that would accent a casual paver patio and backyard landscape project. Combine a few sizes in close proximity to develop more dynamic container gardens. The balance of three is especially pleasing aesthetically (small, medium and large). Not the longer, more trough type containers on the right. Combine those in an arrangement to create even more landscape interests.
The Versailles Box style container offers an especially substantial architectural interest for landscape spaces. These are commonly planted with larger specimen shrub or tree options. A ‘standard’ form of hydrangea tree would be an appropriate scaled specimen for these Versailles boxes.
How much does a paver patio cost ? A standard concrete paver patio cost in the landscape client anywhere from $14 per square foot to $25 per square foot in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. If you want a specific price and not a broad price range for your patio project, go to one of the many HomeInfo type websites. They will give a very narrow price range for the question ‘how much does a paver patio cost’. But, they aren’t accurate and don’t account for the broad range of landscape design and landscape construction factors of each unique patio landscape project. Those sites list prices at least 20% less than built project pricing. If you want to understand the more complex factors of a paver patio price and why the range is so broad, keep reading. This first article will focus on the cost of landscape labor in relation to the price per square foot for a concrete paver patio in the Allentown region.
First let me qualify my experiences and knowledge base with regard to these price ranges for concrete paver patios. Those price per square foot price ranges are based on over 30 years of real world professional experience in four different states across the country. It is also based on conversations with other professional associates in this hardscaping industry; professionals who practice in California, North Carolina, Maryland and more diverse locations. Finally, it is based on conversations with concrete paver manufacturing companies who are knowledgeable of the range of landscape contractor pricing for paver patios in Allentown, Macungie, Emmaus, Coopersburg and Bethlehem.
This discussion is specifically about paver patio pricing in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. And more specifically it pertains to paver patio pricing in Allentown, Lower Macungie, Emmaus, Coopersburg and Bethlehem area landscape projects. When combined, the Lehigh Valley is the third largest metropolitan region in Pennsylvania after Philadelphia and Pittsburg. Location affects labor costs which are the first factor in paver patio pricing. Though the discussion of landscape labor costs relate specifically the Lehigh Valley, the principles can be applied anywhere.
Labor is the most significant and most varied cost involved in a paver patio project. The skilled landscape labor force in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton is competitive since the areas unemployment is low. This means landscape labor costs are higher than many other regions. Local business owners report that finding qualified labor is the biggest landscape business challenge. Average wages for a hardscape professional are high compared to other moderately trained physical labor. Not only is labor is the most significant cost in the price of a paver patio, it is also the most significant factor for the quality of the patio when completed.
Labor cost variations influence the range of the square foot price for a concrete paver patio. Landscape clients can hire a patio landscape company from the Allentown area who will build a paver patio for $14/sf. Those companies will pay their employees the lowest wages and thus generally have the least experienced installers. They are likely younger, less experienced and unsupervised. They may have high employee turnover and a work culture of ‘who cares’ because they are just there for now and will move on to a better job soon enough, with higher pay. The cuts will be less accurate, the joints less tight, and the base less well compacted. An established, reputable landscape company in Allentown may charge $18/sf for the same patio. Such a landscape company will have employees who have been with the company for some years and are loyal because they are treated well and paid fairly. Employees who are dedicated to a company are also dedicated to a quality product because they realize the employee and the company survive and grow together. Reputable, established companies take the time required to ensure high quality so that the patio lasts. Supervision, safety and benefits all help the professional patio installer create a better quality patio. You may pay more up front, but in the long run you will save money by note having to repair and replace. When picking a company, ask about the employees. How long have they been with the company? What benefits are offered? Get to know your landscape contractor and the company culture. Then you can find that balance of price and quality with regard to labor costs and what the employees are paid.
The cost of overhead is the next labor factor in the price of a patio. The least expensive overhead is often a company where the owner does the paver patio installation along with a helper or two. They may operate out of the owner’s home property further reducing overhead costs. The owner likely wears all the hats with the help of a part time bookkeeper/accountant. Design is seldom as creatively and thoroughly addressed up front as the creativity can happen during the process with the owner hands on. That has many draw backs, and some benefits. This owner/operator is less often trained in business or landscape design, but may have a unique natural ability in those areas. But be careful, a company like that can be more expensive. Since the owner is out doing the work, that on the job labor cost is high.
The highest cost landscape patio companies are front office heavy with an owner(s), a business manager, a designer and a bookkeeper. They tend to have larger property and equipment overheads to manage and thus employee fleet managers and yard staff. They will tend to be at the most expensive end of the paver patio price range because all those indirect labor costs must be covered in your paver patio price. They tend to leak money at all the edges, duplicate tasks, and have bloated payrolls. In theory, this can be overcome if the company can maintain high volumes of sales and create an economy of scale. My experience and observation is shows that to be the rare exception.
Somewhere between the owner/operator and the corporate large company is the tightly run professional landscape design build company. The owner may have a college degree and be a capable business man, landscape designer and people manager. She runs a tight ship, works lots of hours and wears many hats well. The client has a direct personal relationship with the owner during the entire design and construction process. And there is a clear line of responsibility for quality. These companies can have a ‘family’ type work culture resulting in the highest levels of loyalty and dedication to quality. Generally, this scenario yields the best price to quality ratio. In the Allentown, Emmaus, Coopersburg and Lower Macungie areas, paver patios may cost in the $18 to $22 per square foot for a small professional landscape company where the owner wears many hats but does not do the actual construction.
These generalizations are intended to share a framework of thoughts regarding the general price range of a paver patio in the Allentown region. If you are considering a landscpae project, ask the salesman ‘how much does a paver patio cost’. How they answer will shed light on the type of company you are dealing with. There are exceptions to the three categories. I know of large corporate companies, small owner/operators, and landscape design build companies that all build a quality product at a very competitive and similar price. This discussion of landscape labor in relation to paver patio pricing is intended to encourage the potential patio buyer to research a company’s labor culture. Ask how long employees have been with the company. Ask the companies philosophy about labor. Does the employee work for the company or does the company work for the employee and the client? Get to know who will build your patio. Are the landscape technicians polite, neat and organized, reputable and safe? Do they respect the company, like working with the company, plan to stay? Focus first on labor quality and costs in the process of determining the cost to value balance in paver patio pricing.
Sun versus Shade – Landscape Guide for proper plant choices
What amount of sun is full sun, part sun or partial shade? And how can knowing these specifications guide plant choices?
Each landscape plant has a preferred range of sun exposure. All shrubs, trees and perennials need sunlight. And it is often more than one would think. But each plant has specific sunlight preferences relating to the quantity of light, the quality of light, and the time of day it receives that sunlight exposure. These specific light exposure preferences are easily found with sources such as http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org with their PlantFinder application. This source provides a detailed range of landscape specifications for virtually all ornamental landscape shrubs, trees and perennials.
The majority of landscape trees, shrubs and perennials prefer over six hours of full sunlight. This is considered a full sun preference. Within the full sun plant category, there are many nuances that are less easily understood. For example, many Hydrangea varieties are listed as a full sun plant. However, Hydrangea does not like hot, late day sun. Therefore, Hydrangea should be located where they get good morning sunlight into early afternoon. That would be on the east side of buildings or larger shrub and tree groupings.
Few landscape plants are truly adapted to blazing full sun throughout the entire day. Mediterranean plants like roses, Hypericum, lavender and succulents all tolerant full, hot, all day full sun. They are also a group of plants that tend to be drought tolerant. They in fact prefer the dry soil over too much water. Thought the standard is at least six hours of sunlight, this group may be best classified as a full, full sun grouping and prefers at least 8 to 10 hours of sunlight to be healthiest. This landscape category also tends to tolerate the sandy or clay soils with little organic components.
The full sun, part shade landscape plants is a category that includes plants that prefer at least 3 hours of full sunlight. They will tolerate more if available. But this category of tree, shrub and perennial often prefers relief from late day sun or full summer hot sun. These plants will tolerate mildly filtered sunlight if direct, unimpeded sunlight is not available. But don’t expect as optimal plant health if placed in filtered light.
Part shade plants are a group thrives best in filtered sunlight. For example, a loose tree canopy above the landscape gardens will allow dappled sunlight through to give a sequence of sun and shade to each plant. These plants are the types that tend to wilt and burn easily if exposed to direct sunlight any time after morning. They are also a group of plants that tend to prefer rich, organic soils because they have evolved in the hummus of a forest floor.
The full shade plant category is by far the most limited with regard to options and choices. Not many plant families or species truly prefer full shade. At least not many that are commonly used in the ornamental horticulture and landscape trades. We struggle to find plant options when a garden is especially shady. And often those garden tend to be dry in the urban and sub-urban landscape posing yet another level to the plant choice challenge. Plants like Rhododendron are often thought of as full shade plants, but that is a misconception. The plant will tolerate full shade, but it will not be as healthy and grow as well as it would in a part shade setting.
Landscape plants and plantings have preferences, but will often tolerate a little less or a little more sunlight than generally specified. They may not grow as well, but sometimes we just have to put a certain plant in a certain location because we love it there. This means we may need to water the plant and fertilize it more, take a little extra care. But don’t be afraid to try and to learn. That process is the joy of landscaping, the journey not the desitnation.
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