Rolling out the Green Carpet

Hey there, home heroes! Fancy giving your yard the ultimate makeover? You know, the kind that makes your neighbors do a double take and strangers stop to snap a picture. No, we’re not talking about adding a gnome or two. We mean the big leagues: a landscape revamp! This isn’t just about impressing the Joneses, it’s about improving your curb appeal, jacking up your home value, gaining privacy, creating your own shady oasis, and even creating a haven for kickback and party time. Ready for a well designed landscape? Let’s get our green thumbs on!

Landscaper unrolling fresh green turf for a lush lawn installation.

Professional Landscaper Installing New Rolls of Natural Grass Turfs.

Beauty Bump: Your Yard’s Cinderella Moment

Want your property to go from plain Jane to absolute showstopper? The magic lies in top-tier landscape design. Imagine lush greenery, blooming flowers, trees casting dappled shade, and carefully placed hardscape elements like rustic pathways and cozy patios. Together, they create an eye-catching symphony of color and form that screams ‘Home & Garden cover star’. Welcome to your home’s Cinderella moment – and trust us, midnight’s nowhere in sight.

Lush backyard landscape featuring an artificial well surrounded by a stunning array of vibrant flowers.

Small garden in a rustic backyard with fake well surrounded by potted flowers.

Cash in the Attic: The Pricey Perks of Landscaping

Time for some serious real talk, folks! Your landscape isn’t just a pretty face—it’s a bona fide money magnet! If the day comes when you’re ready to sell, a stellar landscape could be the silver bullet that convinces buyers to loosen their purse strings. The promise of sun-drenched lawns, stately trees, and swanky landscaping touches might just start a bidding war. Ka-ching! Your humble garden is more than a feast for the eyes—it’s a banquet for your bank balance.

Practical Magic: The Secret Superpowers of Landscaping

Don’t be fooled! A well designed landscape doesn’t just sit there looking pretty—it’s a workhorse with secret superpowers. Had enough of nosy neighbors? Strategic landscaping throws up nature’s own privacy screens. Melting in the summer sun? Your leafy trees have got your back, dishing out shade like it’s their day job. Your yard isn’t just a silent beauty—it’s your reliable sidekick, ready to solve your problems in style.

Fun House: When Your Yard Becomes Party Central

Why escape to a resort when you’ve got paradise in your backyard? With thoughtful landscaping, your outdoor space can morph into a rollicking playground. Picture twilight barbecues on your deck, marshmallow roasts by your fire pit, or pool parties that become the stuff of legends—all from the comfort of your own home! From entertaining guests to weekend chill sessions, your backyard isn’t just a space—it’s an experience!

Group of friends enjoying outdoor backyard barbecue and good company.

Group of friends have barbecue in the backyard.

Wrap Up: Landscaping – Your Home’s Best Wingman

Time to call it a wrap! A knockout landscape is more than a fancy home upgrade—it’s a multi-tasking maestro. It gives your home a glam makeover, fattens your wallet, gifts you privacy, provides cool shade on hot days, and turns your yard into a hotspot for fun. All said and done, quality landscaping is like a reliable wingman for your home. So, what are you waiting for? Roll up those sleeves, get the right team on board, and get set to transform your yard into your personal Eden! Ready, set, landscape!

A Toasty Gathering Spot: The Cozy Fire Pit Area

Hey there, neighbor! Imagine kicking back under a star-dotted sky, a warm fire crackling away, and all your favorite peeps snuggled around it. Totally dreamy, right? You can bring this magic right into your backyard, transforming it into a variety of outdoor living spaces! Just grab a fire pit, some comfy outdoor chairs, and hang up those fairy-like string lights. And, don’t forget to always stash some cozy blankets for those chiller nights. You’re welcome!

Grubbin’ Al Fresco: The Outdoor Kitchen

You know how everyone loves a good BBQ party, right? Well, get ready to have your mind blown! We’re talking about turning part of your backyard into a rockin’ outdoor kitchen – yeah, that’s right, a grill, sink, the works! Then, pop a dining area right next door. It’s all the comfort of being indoors, with the added bonus of fresh air. What’s not to love about outdoor living spaces?

A Tranquil Escape: The Garden Oasis

Who doesn’t want a little piece of paradise right in their backyard? Create your very own tranquil retreat, part of your fancy new outdoor living spaces. Picture winding paths, benches for quiet moments, and soothing water features. Add in a bit of lush greenery and vibrant flowers and voila – you’ve got yourself an oasis! You might even see a butterfly or two!

Living It Up Poolside: The Poolside Paradise

And the pool – let’s not forget the pool! Let’s turn the space around it into a comfortable seating area with an outdoor kitchen. Oh, and throw in some umbrellas or a pergola to keep things cool. Crank up some tunes from outdoor speakers and, boom, you’ve set the mood! Your outdoor living spaces are shaping up to be pretty sweet, huh?

Sky-High Chillin’: The Rooftop Lounge

Got a flat roof? Perfect! Time to turn it into the ultimate chill-out spot. Arrange some comfy seating, set up a slick bar, and sprinkle in some potted plants for a bit of green. Whether you’re soaking up cityscapes or catching sunsets, this is going to be your go-to spot for relaxation.

Relaxation Station: The Covered Patio

The patio deserves some love too! Make it an inviting space with comfy seating, a cozy outdoor rug, and a couple of potted plants. It’s the perfect balance of indoor comfort with the freedom of outdoor living spaces.

The Youngsters’ Kingdom: The Play Area

Got kiddos? Set them up with their own kingdom! A play area with swings, a slide, and a playhouse will keep them busy for hours. Add some picnic tables nearby, and snack time’s sorted too. This is what we call fun in the realm of outdoor living spaces!

Movie Magic Under the Stars: The Outdoor Movie Theater

And now, for the grand finale – who’s up for movie nights under the stars? Get that popcorn popping because we’re setting up an outdoor theater! A screen, projector, comfy seating – we’ve got it all covered. And don’t forget the snacks. It’s gonna be movie magic!

Caught the outdoor living space fever yet? You betcha! Remember, your backyard is a canvas waiting for your creativity, and we’re here to help you paint it with life and fun. As seasoned landscape designers, we’ve got the toolbox and know-how to transform your outdoor dream into a living reality.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s bring those epic outdoor visions to life. Shoot us a message, or send a carrier pigeon, whatever floats your boat. We can’t wait to get started on your next great outdoor living space adventure!

Permaculture: The Whole Shebang

Hey there, green thumb! Meet permaculture – your one-stop-shop for creating sustainable systems that are in total harmony with nature. Born from the brainy world of ecology, it’s all about being besties with every organism and their environment. From plants and animals to us, homo sapiens, permaculture wants us all to thrive together. Groovy, right?

Permaculture Isn’t Just For Your Veggie Patch

Heads up, city slickers and community crusaders: permaculture isn’t just for farmers and garden enthusiasts! This eco-friendly philosophy is all about connecting the dots between different elements of a system. The result? Strong, resilient, and sustainable environments – whether it’s a high-rise, a commune, or even your personal relationships. So, it’s not just about growing tomatoes, it’s a whole lifestyle change!

Rocking The Boat With Diversity

Diversity isn’t just cool, it’s critical. Imagine an ecosystem as a rock band. You wouldn’t want all drummers, right? Similarly, a healthy mix of plants, animals, and insects can ward off pests, survive diseases, and handle any curveballs the environment might throw. That’s why farms aren’t just seas of corn; they’re eclectic eco-parties!

Natural Systems: Permaculture’s Muse

Next up on the playlist is natural systems. These bad boys like forests, meadows, and wetlands are the rockstars of sustainability. They’ve got complex rhythms, but boy, do they know how to jam efficiently! Permaculture designers, like the ultimate fan club, learn and mimic these natural patterns to create kickass sustainable systems. It’s pure rock ‘n’ roll, baby!

The Renewable Energy Fan Club

Permaculture is all about loving renewable resources and hating on waste. It’s time to swap the fossil fuels for solar, wind, and hydro power – the unsung heroes of the energy world! Plus, when it comes to water, it’s all about that conservation life, with rainwater harvesting, greywater systems, and composting. So, let’s all get in tune with conservation!

All Hail Local Resources and Decentralization

Permaculture is a massive fan of thinking global and acting local. It promotes using local resources and knowledge, while also embracing small-scale and decentralized systems. It’s about finding independence and reducing reliance on distant resources. In a nutshell, it’s sustainability with a sprinkle of self-sufficiency!

Permaculture: The Ultimate Community Builder

Last but not least, a good community vibe. It’s all about banding together, sharing resources, and learning from each other. You can see this in action in permaculture communities worldwide, where folks live and work together in a sustainable symphony. Now, doesn’t that sound like a smashing hit? So come on, let’s make Mother Earth dance to the rhythm of permaculture!

Materials Matter: Choosing the Superman of Outdoor Furniture

Let’s get real, your quality outdoor furniture needs to be tougher than a Marvel superhero. It’s going to face everything mother nature throws at it – be it sweltering sun, relentless rain, or wild wind. To stand the test of time, you need materials that don’t mess around. We’re talking aluminum, teak, cedar, or synthetic wicker. These champs aren’t just hardy; they’re impervious to rot, rust, and quick deterioration. So, if you fancy furniture that can flex its muscles against the elements, then these materials should be on your radar!

Solid Build: Your Furniture’s Got to Have Backbone

We’re talking about sturdy construction methods here. Imagine your outdoor furniture is a building, and the mortise and tenon joints are the structural steel. These joints are like the secret handshake of the furniture world, providing your pieces the strength and stability to hold up the most well-fed of your relatives at the family barbeque. Remember, good outdoor furniture is not about bending and breaking. It’s about standing tall and proud, year in and year out!

Lush backyard retreat with aged wooden bench across from a wooden table set for four people, featuring individual chairs.

Lush backyard oasis: Aged wooden bench and table set for four, providing serene outdoor seating.

Comfort is King: No Numb Bums Here

Quality outdoor furniture is like a trusted friend, always ready to offer a comfy shoulder (or seat). The best outdoor furniture should beckon you to sit and relax with features like padded cushions, contoured seats, and adjustable backs. Imagine soaking in the sun on a lounge chair that feels like it was custom-made for you. Sounds divine, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the kind of comfort we’re talking about!

Poolside relaxation: Long outdoor couch set with open umbrella, perfect for lounging and enjoying the sun.

Poolside comfort elevated by Root and Branch Landscapes: Long outdoor couch set with umbrella, offering relaxation in style.

Timeless Design: Because You Want Your Furniture to Age Like George Clooney

The finest outdoor furniture is a masterstroke of functionality and aesthetic allure. It carries a timeless design that blends seamlessly with different styles of outdoor spaces and is unfazed by shifting weather conditions. Think of it as that favorite t-shirt you can’t give up – it fits perfectly, it’s comfortable, and no matter how many new ones you buy, you always reach out for it.

Outdoor chairs flanking a hand-painted tile fountain featuring a bronze buck head centerpiece, creating a captivating and artistic outdoor setting.

Serene Outdoor Furniture Oasis: Chairs, Hand-Painted Tile Fountain, Bronze Buck Head.

Brand Reputation: Go for the Beyoncé of Furniture Brands

A great brand reputation is like the golden ticket in the world of outdoor furniture. You want a brand that hits all the high notes, much like Beyoncé rocking the stage. This means looking for brands that not only produce top-notch furniture but also value customer satisfaction. Scour through customer reviews, check out their after-sales service, and don’t forget to look up their warranty policies. Choose a brand that treats you like a VIP!

Warranty: Your Safety Net Against the Unexpected

Quality outdoor furniture comes with a safety net, something we like to call warranty. Much like a reliable friend, a good warranty has always got your back, covering your product for a specific period of time and providing protection against those unforeseen defects and issues. So, when you invest in outdoor furniture, make sure it comes with a warranty that has you covered. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

In the grand scheme of things, quality outdoor furniture is a combination of robust materials, solid construction, comfortable design, aesthetic appeal, reputable brand, and a dependable warranty. So remember these key points, and you’re sure to find outdoor furniture that not only suits your style but also stands the test of time!

Understanding the impact of landscape remodeling on your home’s value is crucial when you’re considering home improvements or planning to sell your property. A well-planned, appealing landscape not only enhances your home’s aesthetic appeal but can also significantly boost its market value. This general overview will delve into the key factors that contribute to this increase in value, and go over some important considerations when undertaking such a project.

Boosting Curb Appeal through Landscape Remodeling

First and foremost, landscape remodeling is the best way to enhance curb appeal. Potential buyers are often swayed by their first impression of a property, which is the view they see as they drive up to the open house. A well-designed and maintained front yard can help your home stand out to prospective buyers.

Newly remodeled front yard landscape, transformed into a lush oasis, enhancing curb appeal

Oasis transformation: boosting curb appeal with a lush, redesigned front yard.

Functional Benefits of Landscape Remodeling

The benefits of landscape remodeling aren’t merely aesthetic. Good design serves a functional purpose, playing into the correlation between landscape improvement and house pricing. A well-designed landscape aids in reducing energy costs by providing natural cooling and windbreaks. It assists in managing stormwater runoff and preventing erosion, essential for safeguarding your home’s foundation.

Expanding Usable Outdoor Space with Landscape Remodeling

One of the most delightful aspects of landscape remodeling is the creation of a usable outdoor space. Imagine an outdoor living room nestled in your backyard, a haven for entertaining guests, relaxing, or simply savoring the great outdoors. This appealing feature could be a major draw for buyers who value outdoor recreation and entertainment.

An expanded outdoor living space following a landscape remodel, enhancing the home's exterior functionality.

Expanded serenity: A landscape remodel blending natural elegance with outdoor living.

Balancing Design and Value in Landscape Redesign

It’s crucial to remember that not all investments in landscape redesign will yield an increase in home resale value. Overly intricate designs may not resonate with all buyers and could even act as a deterrent. Landscape remodeling should strike a harmonious balance between aesthetics and functionality. Maybe consider incorporating hardscaping elements like patios and walkways, a variety of plants for visual interest, and functional features such as outdoor lighting and irrigation systems.

Overhead shot of hands drawing out a new landscape remodeling design

Skillful Hands Craft Landscape Redesign.

Understanding the Costs of Landscape Improvement

Now, let’s get down to business. What’s it going to cost? A typical remodeling project can range from $5,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on various factors. These factors include the size of the project, materials used, labor costs, site preparation, and any add-ons like water features, lighting, or an outdoor kitchen. Remember, a higher cost does not always guarantee superior quality. So, make sure to do thorough research when choosing a landscape designer. This is to ensure a satisfactory return on your investment.

Landscape Remodeling’s Impact on Home Value: A Summary

To summarize, the impact of landscape remodeling on home value is significant. A tasteful, well-maintained landscape can greatly enhance your home’s curb appeal, provide functional benefits, and create inviting outdoor spaces. Conversely, neglect or poor landscaping can negatively impact your property’s value. Always plan your landscape remodeling thoughtfully, keeping in mind your local climate and the maintenance requirements of your chosen plants and features. Happy remodeling!

As a Property Manager or board member of an HOA, do you ever catch yourself wondering if the maintenance crew is really using the best practices in maintaining the landscape? Effective landscape maintenance must consider plant health first and foremost. Longevity in your community’s landscape requires a multi-prong approach, including specific pruning methods, well-planned irrigation systems, and consistent soil amendment applications. Unfortunately, these important practices often get overlooked in so many communities.

The Pruning Paradox

Ever watch a maintenance worker sculpt shrubs into odd geometric shapes that mother nature never intended? Yeah, me too. Although seemingly orderly, this practice strays significantly from a successful landscape management. It might be visually appealing, but this ‘Edward Scissorhands’ style of pruning, while fascinating, causes damage over time. This leads to jagged cuts that mutilate the plants, resulting in unnecessary stress over the lifetime of the plant, and making it more prone to diseases and pests.

photo of boxed shrubs along a sidewalk, an example of improper landscape maintenance.

Botched shrubs, improper landscape maintenance

The Leaf Blower Misconception

The dreaded leaf blower, a tool often misused by landscapers and middle-aged fathers alike. Routinely they are directed to blow every loose bit of plant material and leaf litter out from below the shrubbery, then they bag it and haul it to the dump. However, next time you witness this, let your landscape company know that leaving a bit of litter in place to act as natural mulch would be far more beneficial. This approach not only discourages water evaporation, but also enriches soil health and provides a conducive environment for beneficial insects to thrive. Just remember, mother nature has been doing fine without us for millions of years.

Irrigation: A Crucial Element

Irrigation is an indispensable facet of optimal plant health maintenance. Alas, the subtleties between different sprinkler systems frequently go overlooked. Each watering station should be managed individually, taking into account the plant type, age of the plant material, and the specific irrigation needs of the area. Understanding the different watering requirements of various plants is a critical component of effective landscape maintenance.

A landscaper adjusting the length of an irrigation hose with clippers, seated amidst vibrant garden foliage

Mastering garden tech: shaping the future of irrigation

Overcoming The Neglected Schedules Hurdle

Furthermore, a widespread issue many HOAs face is the disregard of regular schedules for fertilization and treatment applications. To circumvent this problem, it’s essential to demand monthly reports from the landscape crew leader or a landscape company representative. Staying on top of these schedules is vital, as most of these procedures are time-sensitive.

Photo of a Gardner dispensing fertilizer via hand. Another great example of effective landscape maintenance.

Gardner Cultivating Growth with Fertilizer.

When to Seek Professional Help

Lastly, if the responsibility of managing these aspects of effective landscape maintenance feels overwhelming, please consider a qualified landscape consultant. With our assistance, you can efficiently oversee maintenance practices, aid with RFP processes, and coordinate the efforts of multiple landscaping vendors, ensuring that your landscape remains vibrant and healthy.

Well, summer has arrived and so have the drought restrictions, a regular part of living in Southern California!

The Summertime

Our local water municipalities are good at reminding us to water on certain days of the week. But we at Root & Branch wanted to give you some information and tips to make sure your landscape makes it through the season.

Not to get to science-y, but when a water agency tells you to water early or later in the day, it’s because of evapotranspiration which, in a nutshell, is the rate of which a plant and the soil lose moisture through evaporation. The factors that affect the rate of evaporation are solar radiation, temperature, humidity and wind.

Studies by the Universities of California Davis and Riverside all conclude that watering early in the day is better than watering your gardens in the afternoon. And by early in the day, we mean between 4 AM and 6 AM, when there’s less wind, soil temperatures are cool, and plants’ roots are most able to absorb water.

You might also have heard it is better to water less often but for longer periods of time. Turns out, there’s really good science behind that too. A plant’s root system typically reflects what we see of the plant above ground. Meaning short plants have shallow roots (think grass) and tall trees have large, deep roots.

So if you are watering for a short period of time you’re only getting water just below the surface. This provides water to roots within the top few inches of soil, which isn’t how most plants grow.  Watering for a longer period of time will allow the water to get to the roots at greater depths.

This provides water to the plant, of course, but also encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil. This then acts as an insulator to the root system in high temperatures.

Grass is a terrific example of this! It should be kept longer in the summer – 2 to 3 inches is good, 4 inches even better. Not only does it shade the ground from the increased blade height, but it also encourages the roots to grow deeper. Also, again, a longer run time less often will encourage those roots to go deep, insulating them from the heat while the blade is insulating them from above. So, tell your gardeners to change the height of the darn mower!

If possible, consider upgrading your irrigation controller to a “smart” one.  Controllers now have moisture sensors and some can now connect to a local weather station and automatically make watering changes based on environmental conditions. As we mentioned, the water needs of plants are affected by sun, temperature, humidity and wind.  These smart controllers do calculations that take into account all these factors, as well as the type of plants they are watering, to make sure you provide the exact amount of water needed, and not a drop more!


If that’s not in the budget, consider at least using a water meter. Actually, if you have a garden you should have a water meter. This is the time of year when they are worth their weight in gold. See our blog post about water meters for more information on that topic.

Hopefully you and your garden can beat the heat this summer. A few adjustments – and maybe some tools – are all you need to make it happen for your plants. As always, feel free to comment below, we really enjoy your insights!

Shopping for succulents, especially at first, can be overwhelming with all the fanciful shapes and amazing colors. But how do you know if the plant that’s caught your eye is a healthy one that you want to bring home to add to your garden or collection?

First, does the plant have nice, fat leaves? Many succulents have leaves that are water storing machines, so they almost look juicy.

Choose Healthy Succulents:

Are the leaves droopy or are they nice and perky? If a plant has drooping leaves is that how it should look? Or does it have leaves that are shriveled? Both of these on the wrong plant can be an indicator that it has not received the necessary care it needs.

Mushy leaves are something to avoid on succulents. This is a sign of over watering. Also look for dark brown leaf tips, this can be a sign of both over AND under watering. How can you tell which it is? Break out your trusty water meter! (I’ll write a blog on my ABSOLUTE must-have garden tool soon!)


Check under the leaves for signs of insects. They love to hide, especially in the heat of the day. Signs of insect infestation include webs, tiny black/brown spots (if they shake off, it could be poop) and of course, the little buggers themselves. Also look into the base of the plant, another insect favorite spot. If you spot them and you want to be helpful, let the nursery staff know what you found.

Who doesn’t Love buying from the Sale Rack? It can be great fun and the discounts can make a plant lover swoon. It does help to know what you’re buying, but let’s be honest, who can resist a pretty plant on sale! Follow the steps above to be sure you’re not bringing home a problem.

If you’re in Southern California, here’s a few succulent-specific nurseries to add to your shopping list:

  • OC Succulents

  • Cactus Ranch

  • California Cactus Center

Author: C.J. Crockett