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Prepping Garden For Makeover

Prepping garden for a makeover involves removing old getting the ground ready before planting. These three items go hand in hand when doing any type of a landscape make over. The task at hand is understanding the techniques in taking out your old shrubs or trees. If you are thinking of removing trees with this project, consult a professional before beginning.

This article will talk about the proper techniques in removing old shrubs, preparing your ground and soil, and proper planting and care of your new plants. There are two ways to remove shrubs from the ground. Take a look at a couple of suggestions to think about. Do you know how long the shrubs have been in the ground? Are you planning on transplanting the shrub, or throwing it out?

If the shrub has been in the ground over five years, there is a chance you could damage the mother root and the smaller main roots. When on a job site I always talk to the client about the chances of survival after five years. Some people want to save the shrub for another area. If the plant has a sentimental value, and is still healthy, save it and put your new shrubs around it.

Walkway Before And After

Walkway Before Make Over
Walkway After Make Over

The first choice you have in prepping is removing the shrub by hand. You can do this for saving or for throwing away any shrub. Take a shovel and dig around the base of the shrub. Insert the shovel a little at a time around the entire base. Continue to dig down deeper until you can feel the underneath part of the shrub. You are at a critical point in lifting up the plant. I actually get on the ground and look to see if there are any attached roots. Take a closer look and you will usually be able to see a fatter root, this is the mother or tap root. In the article below transplanting trees and shrubs, there are some basic techniques for moving your plants.

If this is a bigger shrub or small tree, have another person with you. During this prepping time, he or she can take the shovel at an angle and loosen the dirt more so the roots that are attached can be freed. Once the roots are released from the soil, put your shovel underneath the shrub and lift it up carefully out of the hole. It is important if you are transplanting the shrub to another area, do it as soon as you can. Most plants after transplanting will go into a little shock for a couple of weeks. Don't panic, water every other day if your in a dry season, for a week, and then monitor the moisture content for the next three weeks. Your goal is to get the roots re-established in the ground. Herbee gives you some tips if your tree or shrub goes into shock below.

The second method of removal is when the shrub or small tree is old and large. There are shrubs that are four to six feet wide, and four feet high, that will have big trunks and root systems. A pick up truck with a chain works best when you have large plants. I have used my truck several times removing shrubs.

A couple words of caution, use a heavy chain and realize, this method could be dangerous. Make sure both ends of the chain are secured tightly on the stump and truck. This will also save you a lot of back breaking work, and it is worth it to borrow a truck if you don't have one. You will not be able to save the shrub doing it with a truck.

The advantage to using a chain, it will pretty much guarantee you getting all the main and deep roots out. It will also help you in the prep phase.

Move your truck as close to your work area as you can. Attach the chain to a secure location on the back of your truck. I use my trailer hitch to attach the chain to. You will still have to dig around the shrub as describe in the first method above. You won't have to manually loosen the roots. Your main focus in on loosen the dirt and make enough room to wrap the chain around. Put the truck in drive and slowly move the truck forward and you will feel the shrub or tree move out of the ground. It may take a few tries, to break the roots free on a older shrub.

Makeover Along Foundation


Front Of House Before Make Over


Front Of House After Make over

Prepping the soil can be done by hand, small tools, or with a tiller. If you till the area, till it over two or three times. Even though you have had existing plants in the area, you want to re-work the ground and loosen all the dirt and remove debris, such as rocks and sticks. Rake out the soil level throughout your entire project area. Herbee recommends throwing mushroom compost over the entire surface and rake the compost into the ground. Depending on the depth of the soil, you may want to bring in some good top soil to fill in low spots. Making the ground level and working the soil, will provide a good atmosphere for your new new plants.

Once you have removed the old, and the prepping is done, it is now time to plant your shrubs, small trees or flowers. A couple of reminders.

  • Design with odd numbers

  • Tallest plants in the back. If you are planting next to your house, allow one to two feet away from the foundation to plant a shrub. Never put a shrub right against the foundation, as the roots will have no where to go but under your home.

  • Use your imagination and plant a few shrubs and intermingle them with some perennial or annual flowers.

  • Plant a straight row across, or stagger your shrubs across the bed.

  • Add some simple outdoor features to accent the plants.
New plants need a good start with proper watering. Proper watering techniques are as important as prepping the soil. Take the necessary steps to ensure a healthy start to all your new plants. Above are two small make over jobs in the front yards along the foundation. They were not expensive projects, but each client wanted something a little different. Both the after pictures were taken immediately after we planted. Everyday people making a welcome change.

Herbee's Favorite Lopers And Makeover Book

Ah, Herbee has been using these Lopers for years. Great pruning or trimming your shrubs and trees. Well worth the money and investment.

Talk about a detailed fantastic book. George Kay writes,"Approaching landscape design with the philosophy that style and harmony are equally important, this book covers basic design concepts through photographs, plans, and insightful text on how to create striking yet practical landscapes." Great addition to your resources, or give that special gardener a wonderful gift.

Your makeover can be anywhere in your yard. The front, back, sides, by decks, or pools or an open bed area. Take these steps and use them properly and you will have shrubs lasting as long as you live in your home.

Herbeee Sends More Landscape Insights Your Way.

Gallery Front And Sides --- Backyard Landscape Ideas

Around The Deck And Patio --- More Tips On Planning A Garden

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