Gardening tools inside garden shed

Contrary to what the name suggests, a garden shovel is not the only type of shovel for gardening. You need different types of shovels for various gardening tasks, from digging deep holes and trenches to removing plants and transplanting seedlings.  Choosing the right shovel for each task will not only make gardening a lot easier but will also help avoid injuries.

There are various types of shovels but, regardless of the type, all shovels have three main parts: the grip, the handle, and the blade. The blade, which is the wide part at the bottom, can be of different shapes and sizes. Outlined below are the types of shovels to choose for different gardening tasks.

1.     Garden Shovel

This shovel is the all-purpose shovel that every gardener should have handy. It is heart-shaped with a slightly pointed tip and is useful for a wide range of gardening tasks, including digging, lifting and transplanting. However, it is limited in the workload it can handle.

2.    Digging Shovel

A digging shovel is the specific type of shovel for cutting through the soil. It usually has a curved, scoop blade and a pointed tip. The two main types of digging shovel to have are the round point shovel and the garden trowel. The former is suitable for digging large holes in tough soil, and the latter for digging in soft soil and transplanting seedlings.

3.    Scoop Shovel

This type of shovel has a broad blade and rounded or squared tip, which makes it perfect for scooping and moving materials, such as manure, mulch, dead leaves, soil, and even snow. However, because the tip is not pointed at all, it is not suitable for digging.

4.    Trenching Shovel

This shovel has a long blade with squared sides, and a slightly sharp pointed tip, that enables you to dig narrow holes with minimal disturbance to the surrounding soil. Thus, they are suitable for digging and clearing compost or irrigation trenches, just as the name suggests. They can also be used to remove weeds with deep roots.

Understanding these different types of shovels and their uses will help you choose the right shovel for your gardening tasks. If you need help with any of your gardening tasks, you can reach out to us at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping today!

dried eggplant, pepper and bell pepper. dried to cook in winter

Here’s a great idea to consider for what to do with all the fresh edible bounty you’ll harvest from your Pacific Northwest garden when you’re making your general gardening plans, especially during spring. Sometimes, even after consuming them, selling at a farmers market, and giving some away to friends and family, you still have more than enough left.

Well, you don’t have to force yourself to eat more fresh fruits and salads, or try to invent new ways to include vegetables in your sandwiches. There are numerous ways to preserve them for later use, including freezing, canning, drying, and pickling them. In this article, we will be sharing the steps for preserving your garden’s bounty through drying.

How to Preserve Your Fruits and Vegetables through Drying

A lot of fruits and vegetables can be dried for long term storage and later consumption. Dried fruits and vegetables are just as tasty and nutritious as fresh ones, so you don’t have to worry about a loss of taste or nutrients. They also have the advantage of being lightweight, and they take very little space compared to canned and frozen food.

Dried produce also lasts very long, so you can be sure to have them long after they are out of season. After drying, your fruits and vegetables can be stored in plastic bags or jars, and then kept in a cool, dry space for weeks.

There are different methods of drying, including using a dehydrator, oven drying, sun drying, or room drying. The method you use depends on you and the type of garden produce.

4 Steps for Drying Your Fruits and Vegetables

Outlined below are the four general steps to effectively preserve your garden’s bounty through drying, so you can enjoy them later.

Step #1: Preparation

You have to prepare the fruit or vegetable by thoroughly cleaning to remove debris or dirt, as well as moisture. After washing, simply drain and blot dry with a lint-free towel. After excess moisture is removed, cut away unwanted parts such as pods in beans, rinds in winter squash, and stems in vegetables. Finally, cut vegetables like tomatoes or peppers into slices.

Step #2: Blanching

Just like if you were freezing the produce, you need to blanch your vegetables, by briefly immersing them in boiling water. This blanching step destroys enzymes that would otherwise survive the dehydration process and cause the food to decline in quality over time. However, your fruits should not be blanched because that will change their taste. After blanching your vegetables, cool with ice water, drain, then allow to dry.

Step #3: Drying

This is the most important procedure. We recommend drying with your oven. However, ensure that you set the oven to the lowest temperature setting (usually 170 degrees Fahrenheit). Place the fruits or vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet, then insert in the oven and keep the door slightly open. Drying with your oven can be done within 2-24 hours depending on the produce.

Step #4: Storage

After you are done drying, the next step is to pack the fruits or vegetables away and put them in airtight containers. You can also use zip-top plastic bags or glass mason jars if you like. You must ensure that you use containers that are about the same size as the produce. to keep their flavors for as long as possible.

With these steps, you can dry and preserve your fruits and vegetables, so your bounty does not go to waste. Remember to always monitor your produce during the drying process, as they could become too dry if you let them stay in the oven for too long.

If you need help preparing your garden to yield a bountiful harvest, you can contact us at Levy’s Lawn and Landscaping today!

Garden maintenance in spring doing the mulching of the flowerbeds to keep down weeds and retain moisture in the soil

It is every homeowner’s wish to have a beautiful and well-designed yard in their homes. While it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve such a yard, it is also considerably expensive. For people who do not have the fortune to spend on landscaping to beautify their homes, this can pose a problem.

Top 5 Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

Although landscaping can be expensive, the good news is that if you have the time and energy to pour into maintenance, you just may be able to pull off the perfect garden without spending so much. There are many low maintenance landscaping ideas out there that you can try, that will not only give your home the perfect appeal but also require little from you. The following are five low maintenance landscaping ideas you can try.

1.     Plant Perennials

Although annuals make for great landscaping, their cost of maintenance is a little on the high side. A great alternative is to use perennials instead. By making use of perennials, you are invariably cutting out the costs of annual cultivation, pesticides & herbicides and a host of others supplements they do not require. Some low maintenance perennials you can use for your landscaping include Coneflower, Perennial Geranium, and Catmint.

2.    Make Use of Mulch

Filling your flower bed with mulch is another way to reduce the cost of your landscaping. This is because mulch does not come with the regular maintenance associated with soil, like weeding, for instance. You can even decide to use rubber mulch to further reduce the cost of maintenance, as the former does not require yearly replacement. Using rubber mulch is also a great way to use recyclable products.

3.    Grow Evergreens

Evergreens, unlike most landscaping staples, look great all year round, meaning that they will not require as much maintenance as the seasons change. They are known to maintain their leaves regardless of the time of the year while other plants lose their foliage. However, evergreens cost more than regular plants, but because they do not require as much attention, they make for great low maintenance landscaping.

4.    Consider an Artificial Lawn

Lawn mowing, fertilizing and regular watering are a must if you have a lawn. These are factors which can significantly raise the cost of maintaining natural lawns. Artificial lawns, on the other hand, do not require any of these costly measures, and they are known for providing almost the same aesthetics. In fact, a lot of people are unable to tell the difference between a natural and an artificial lawn.

5.    Place Plants in Pots

Using potted plants in your landscape is also a great way to keep the cost of maintenance at bay. Potted plants are versatile, do not require so much care and can be moved from one place to another easily. Also, potted plants make it easy for you to add a variety of colors to your garden, by simply changing/designing the flower pots to suit the season.

These are some of the low maintenance landscaping ideas you can use for your home. With a little creativity on your part, you can create an awe-inducing landscape, your neighbors will be envious of! If you need help with any of these ideas and more you can Contact Levys Lawn & Landscape today!

Wooden cart on green grass with blooming flowers in different colors

As the season changes from the hot and long days of summer to the cooler and shorter days of fall, you may find yourself wondering what to do with your planter garden. Planters are one of the best ways to garden small spaces like a deck or patio. However, they can also be used in large gardens, where they make for great features.

Top 3 Fall Planter Ideas for Your Garden

Planter gardens are usually put together during spring because that is the season where they bloom beautifully, grow lush, and even overflow their planters. Also, during this time is when planters can be styled using various plants and flowers. The following are some planter ideas that make for a beautiful garden that will bloom all through fall, and possibly, into winter.

1.      Green Hues

This fall planter idea incorporates soft textures and bright tones, which light up whatever colored planter you have. It consists of four different flowers which bring unique qualities to any garden. The first flower is the Restio multiflorus, which is a wispy grass-like plant that grows about 3-4ft tall and produces brown seed heads during winter.

Then, the second flower is the Liberta peregrinans, known for having warm tones of narrow leaves, reaching about 2ft tall. The Coleonema pulchellum and Euphorbia amydaloides robbiae are the other flowers that complete this fall planter idea. The former is a foot tall plant that has rounded green leaves, while the latter consists of green and gold foliage that glows in the autumn light.

2.     Lime with a Twist of Chocolate

In this planter, you combine the willowy burgundy Agonis, with the lime-colored Grevillea and Heuchera. For that perfect fall garden look, they should be planted in egg-shaped pots and placed behind a wooden background to create a rustic vignette. The Agonis flower produces burgundy foliage, while the Heuchera introduces ruffled plum-toned leaves which grow in a mound of about a feet and a half tall. Lastly, the Grevillea which is a slow spreader matures into a shade of lime over time, although it initially starts out as coppery saw-toothed leaves.

3.     Tinge of Bronze

Foliages of bronze and chartreuse mingle in this single fall garden planter idea. You can use the Pieris Forest Flame, which is a red flower that fades to pink and later dark green upon maturity. The other flower can be the Dryopteris erythrosora, which blends a variety of colors such as copper, gold, and pink. At their peak, these flowers can tower to a height of about 16 inches, depending on the size of the planter used. Another flower to include in this beautiful fall planter is the Little John Azalea, which is largely made up of bronze leaves that can reach a height of 6ft and above.

Towards the end of summer and the beginning of fall, flowers start to wither and look a bit tired, leaving homeowners at a loss for what to do with them. However, with these great fall planter ideas, which you can incorporate into your garden, deck, or patio, your landscape is guaranteed to look beautiful all through the fall season. For more fall planter ideas or to help you set it up, you can Contact Us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscape today!

Neighborhood beautification, hiding underground powerline and telecommunication boxes with giant ornamental grasses in the neighborhood

Many of the landscaping ideas you see around town typically involve trees, flowers, and shrubs of all shapes, colors, and sizes. However, while these are a great addition to gardens, there are other plants that you can use for landscaping. For instance, grasses can add a unique element to gardens, which trees and shrubs cannot provide. If this is something you will like to try, here are some great ways you can landscape with grasses.

1.     Soft Landscape

Planting grasses along the edges of hard waterways, pathways, and decks can make them appear softer. However, to achieve this look, you have to choose a grass that can adequately hold its form. This landscaping idea is great for larger areas, and they provide a mounding effect that arc over the edge of hard landscaping.

2.    Colorful Chaos

Another way to landscape with grasses is by planting different groups of colorful grasses together. Not many plants can top the beautiful display that comes with colorful grasses like the Japanese blood grass, purple fountain grass, and Indigenous Melinis nerviglumis. For best results, grasses should be positioned in a way that allows the sunshine through the leaves.

3.    Emboldened Sculptures

Grasses can also be used in other ways apart from the regular landscaping ideas you are used to. They can be used to accentuate garden sculptures in very interesting ways. One of such ways is to pair long grasses with bold garden sculptures like the stalking eagle. Fine-leafed grasses like the Aristida junciformis can be used to soften and frame garden sculptures.

There are many ways to landscape with grasses, and these are only a few of them. Try them out today or experiment using resources at your disposal, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the results! You can Contact Levys Lawn & Landscape today to get any of these ideas and more professionally done for you.

Luxury backyard fire pit

In the past, most backyards were decorated using different deck designs. These days, however, we have moved on from wooden decks to interesting ideas such as flower beds, outdoor kitchens, ponds, and fire pits. Fire pits are becoming a popular landscaping choice due to the soothing ambiance they offer, as well as the warmth a fire pit provides during the cold months. If you would like to build a fire pit in your backyard in the Pacific Northwest, here is a step-by-step guide that can help.

  • Step #1

The first step to building a fire pit in your backyards is to pick a spot in it and dig a hole. Depending on how wide you want the pit to be, the hole can be anywhere between 1.5 – 3” deep and 5 – 10” wide. When digging, ensure that the bottom is as flat as possible.

  • Step #2

Next, line the freshly dug hole using firebricks. The firebricks should be enough to make a complete circle of your desired fire pit. The circle formed should be lined by standing the firebricks on end and placing them next to each other.

  • Step #3

Using concrete, clay, cob or fire-resistant materials, solidify the ring. You can do this by using any of these materials to join the bricks together, into a solid ring. Whatever material you use for this should be allowed to dry before proceeding.

  • Step #4

Fill up space outside the circle with debris, so that the ground is leveled with the edge of the brick. Next, fill the center of the pit with river rocks, and your fire pit is ready for use. If you like, you can add a decorative edge to it for more beautification.

If you’ve thought about having a fire pit in your backyard but never seen it through, now you can! With these few easy tips, you can beautify your backyard with a fire pit, and enjoy some warmth sitting out. If you need help building your fire pit or landscaping your backyard, you can Contact Us at Levy’s Lawns & Landscape today!

You could plant the best flowers and shrubs in your garden, but if your soil quality is low, these plants will hardly thrive. Therefore, you need to amend your soil before you grow your plants. Soil amendment is vital as it balances the soil pH, improves soil nutrient and structure, as well as encourages beneficial microbes. All of these are important factors for the growth of your plants.

Although the benefits of soil amendment can never be overemphasized, it’s often quite expensive. Thankfully, some household materials can be beneficial in soil amendments. While these materials may not fix your soil quality completely, they’ll amend your poor soil to a large extent.

Outlined below are five common household materials which are ideal for soil amendments.

  1. Coffee Grounds: Composted coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen for your soil. If you don’t make your own coffee, you may want to consider getting coffee grounds from your local cafe to add to your compost pile.
  2. Eggshells: You may hardly go a week without breaking one or more eggs in your kitchen. Gather the shells, crush them and add them to your garden to improve your soil calcium content.
  3. Epsom Salt: This offers the right amount of sulfate and magnesium to your soil. Gardeners who like to amend their soil organically often go for Epsom salt.
  4. Bananas: Just like you like bananas, your garden soil craves the peels. When you toss banana peels into your garden, they help your shrubs and flowers grow healthier and fight against aphids and some other pests.
  5. White Vinegar: When mixed into water, white vinegar serves great acidic purposes. It works best when your soil pH is too high or basic. A tablespoon of vinegar mixed in a gallon of water works well.

You don’t have to break the bank to improve your soil quality. Try these common household items to achieve a better soil structure, texture, and nutrient that is perfect for your plants. If you need more help with garden problems, you can reach out to us at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping today!

If you have only a small plot available for gardening in your pacific northwest home, you can still garden all year round. Succession planting is a style of planting that enables you to make use of the small plot judiciously. It entails growing various plants in the same space sequentially, in the same planting season. It could also involve the planting of the same type of crops in different portions of your garden at different intervals.

Unlike crop rotation, succession planting allows for continuous harvest. It also allows the planting of the same crops in the same land portions for at least three years. However, when practicing succession planting, you should avoid planting crops of the same botanical family in same land portions, successively.

A good approach to succession planting in the Pacific Northwest is to know which crop to plant, when to plant, and how to space them. Basically, when it comes to succession planting, it’s better to think of crops and their windows, and not just an individual crop. An example of how you can practice succession cropping in the Pacific Northwest is explained below.

Cool weather crops such as early beets, beet greens, early cabbage, etc. can be planted early on in the planting season. Then, warm-weather crops such as beans, eggplant, pepper, or tomatoes can be planted after the cool weather crops.

Afterward, cool-weather crops that mature during autumn, such as chard, Chinese cabbage, kale, lettuce, and mustards can be planted after the warm weather crops have been harvested. In order to gain more time, later crops can be planted among the first crops to be harvested at a later time. This process is known as interplanting or intercropping.

Step-By-Step Process For Succession Planting In The Pacific Northwest

  • Compile a list of all the crops you want to grow.
  • Have the basic knowledge of days in the growing season. This will help you make better planting decisions.
  • Know the number of days it will take you to harvest the crops you plan to grow.
  • Decide on whether you will extend the growing season during spring and autumn.
  • Sketch the growing space for the beginning, middle, and end of the growing season.
  • Be flexible, and make provision for unforeseen events during the growing season.

With succession planting, growing different plants in the same space simultaneously, no matter how little, can be very successful. If you have a small plot for gardening in the Pacific Northwest, you can contact us at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping to help you get the best of your small garden, with succession planting.

perennial garden pacific northwest levy's lawns and landscape

The weather is a natural phenomenon you can’t control, which can affect your Pacific Northwest garden. However, with a couple of perennial flowers, you can make your garden stand out and withstand weather effects. There is a vast array of blooming perennials that you can grow in your garden. But then, you wouldn’t want to pick up any plant to grow in your garden – be choosy!

Basically, your choice of perennials should be one that is quite drought tolerant as the summer months are characterized by little or no rain. And, the plants should be fungi-resistant and able to grow under regular winter rain falls. Outlined below are some of the best perennials that are ideal for your Pacific North-West garden.

  1. Shasta Daisy – This blooming flower with crisp white petals and a yellow center is ideal for creating charm in your garden.
  2. Dahlia – This flower comes in various colors and texture. But all are quite beautiful, and you’ll have much more difficulty choosing one than growing it.
  3. Solomon’s Seal – This charming plant flaunts bell-shape flowers, and easily forms colonies. It will recreate your landscape beautifully.
  4. Sword Fern – This plant, with its rich, evergreen color and sword-shaped fronds is ideal for a low-maintenance garden.
  5. Wild Ginger – This plant, which is native to the Pacific Northwest, has a ginger smelling root and shiny flowers that will add color to your garden.

Several other perennials abound, which can give your garden in the Pacific Northwest the best look. You can contact us at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping for more suggestions, or if you need help planting a beautiful Pacific Northwest garden landscape.

Decorative koi pond in a garden pacific northwest

Outdoor ponds are an amazing feature in any landscape. However, not all fishes thrive in outdoor ponds, and the Pacific Northwest regional climate could be hard on your choice of fish. Thus, there are several things you should consider before choosing a fish species for your outdoor pond. Some of these factors include:

  • Pond Fish Capacity – It’s pertinent to check the number of fishes your pond can accommodate. This is a significant factor for choosing fish species that will live in your pond.
  • Oxygen Requirement – All fishes are not the same. While some require more oxygen and space, others can survive in environments with restricted amounts of oxygen. For instance, Goldfishes can survive in ponds with a lower oxygen level than Koi.
  • Cold Water Fish – When you think about outdoor ponds, you should consider cold water fishes mainly. Since outdoor ponds are located outside, where the element is mostly uncontrolled, cold water fishes can survive easily.

Here’s a list of fishes that have proven to survive in outdoor ponds:

  • Goldfish
  • Koi Carp
  • Crucian Carp
  • Chinese Barb
  • Peppered Corydoras
  • Flagfish
  • Red Shiner

Selecting the best fish species for your pond is the most important factor of owning an outdoor pond. You can choose any of the fishes listed above for your pond, as they are some of the hardiest fishes that are ideal for outdoor ponds. If you need help installing your outdoor pond, you can reach out to us at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping today!