ABC Blog

How To Start an Herb Garden

an herb garden

An herb garden makes a beautiful, fragrant and useful addition to any yard. If you don’t know how to start an herb garden, it can seem like a daunting task. But starting an herb garden is actually a perfect project for beginner gardeners. There are many herbs that are very easy to grow and care for. You can use them in cooking, making delicious drinks or even in homemade flower arrangements. Here are the basics of starting an herb garden, to get you started on your gardening journey.

To start your herb garden, you’ll need just a few basic things: a space for the garden, sunlight, soil that is good for growing herbs and seeds or starter plants. Yes, it really can be as simple as that!

You can grow herbs right in the ground, or in an existing garden bed. Whether you’re building a new herb garden or using an existing … Read Full Post »

When to Trim Crape Myrtles

a crape myrtle bush

Crape myrtles are popular trees because of their beautiful flowers that bloom in spring and hang on through warm summers. Their leaves are stunning in the fall, and even their vase-like shape and bark have their appeal in the winter. The question on many homeowners’ and landscapers’ minds is “When is the best time to prune them?”

Depending on the climate of your area, pruning should take place in late winter or early spring. It should definitely happen before the first blooms start to grow. It is important not to go overboard when cutting back the tree’s pretty branches. Many people cut their crape myrtles down to a nub, which is an eyesore in more than one way.

Not only does it look like a horrible accident, but such a severe trim stops the interesting, mottled bark from forming. Why buy and plant such pleasant trees only to remove all that beauty? … Read Full Post »

When Do Crape Myrtles Bloom?

a crape myrtle with blooming flowers

Crape myrtles make a beautiful ornamental addition to any yard or garden. There are small, medium and large crape myrtle varieties that can fit almost any space or aesthetic. They boast delicate bloom clusters in colors ranging from white to pink, red, lavender or purple. Best of all, once established, they do just fine in hotter, drier areas without a lot of extra coddling. So when do crape myrtles bloom? They bloom during the hotter months, and can bloom again and again throughout summer.

Many types of crape myrtles bloom first in May, while others wait until mid-summer to show their first flowers. It depends on the type of crape myrtle, but other factors also come into play. Crape myrtles that are planted in too much shade won’t bloom as soon or as often. These trees do best in full sun. They also do well in partial shade. Crape myrtles in … Read Full Post »

Types of Crape Myrtles

a miami crape myrtle which is a type of crape myrtle that is tall

Throughout late spring and summer, you may notice trees with multiple slender trunks that have smooth bark, green leaves and branches bursting with clusters of frilly blooms. These trees are crape myrtles, and they add gorgeous splashes of color to any landscape. There are many different types of crape myrtles, so their flowers can range from white to blush pink to cranberry red and even vibrant purple.

These trees also do well in small, confined spaces. They can thrive even when planted in a small strip of yard between the sidewalk and the street, for example. Their versatility makes them a great addition to almost any outdoor space.

In some yards, crape myrtles look more like bushes or shrubs than trees. This may be because they are still young, but it could also be due to the particular variety. The different types of crape myrtles grow to varying heights, ranging from just … Read Full Post »

The Best Ornamental Grasses for Texas Yards

muhly grass which is one type of ornamental grass in Texas

Temperatures are inching up, and spring is on the way. That is the time when homeowners’ minds turn to freshening up their landscaping. Maybe you’re considering new plants or shrubs to make your yard look like new. In years past, creating the perfect landscape meant crafting a carefully manicured lawn with trimmed and shaped shrubs and blankets of flowers in neat sections. All this took a lot of time and water to maintain. But there is a new way of landscaping these days.

Before you go out and buy a lot of things that might work in our climate, you could think about the trend of using native plants. Instead of fighting the Texas climate, homeowners are planting things like ornamental grasses. These grasses are suitable for the soil and temperatures here and don’t require an excessive amount of watering. As a bonus, these grasses add a natural beauty to your … Read Full Post »

Bermuda Grass Versus St. Augustine Grass

bermuda grass

Lush lawns are a homeowner’s dream, a beautiful green canvas that not only frames the home but also provides a soft setting for recreational activities. As we all know, such lawns don’t just happen. They take regular maintenance and care—even throughout the winter months.

The amount of upkeep a lawn requires relies in large part on the type of grass used. Two common varieties used in lawns across the nations are Bermuda and St. Augustine. Each has its own set of needs in order to keep it looking its best in a variety of weather conditions. A landscaping professional can answer specific questions about how either variety would be likely to perform in your area.

Let’s look at the qualities of each type of grass, how it works as a lawn grass and any special needs that each type might require.

Bermuda

Bermuda grass, pictured above, is known for being a tough variety that … Read Full Post »

How To Keep Grass Out of Flower Beds

a yard where someone has successfully kept grass out of flower beds

Homeowners work hard to make sure their yard looks as nice as their home. They often spend precious nights and weekends picking out the right landscaping and taking care of their lawn. When you have dedicated hours trying to keep everything looking nice and tidy, it is so frustrating when grass suddenly pops up in your flower beds.

If you are having this problem, there are several methods you can try to get rid of grass in your flower beds.

Pulling Grass

This is the most obvious method that you can do by yourself and with no or few tools. Homeowners often put on garden gloves when pulling grass and other weeds to help make sure they get a good grip on the plants. If you choose this route, keep in mind that it is important to pull out not only the grass but also its root system. Otherwise, it is likely this … Read Full Post »

Landscape Lighting Around Your Pool: Expert Tips

A yard where a homeowner has recently updated their landscape lighting around the pool

Well-placed lights around your pool area can enhance the beauty of your backyard and help you get the most out of your investment, day or night. In addition, installing landscape lighting can illuminate walkways to help your swimmers find their way from your back door to your pool more safely. Some common options include lights next to a patio, pergola, seating area, walls or perimeter. Additionally, lighting on water features, trees, plants, garden beds, decorations or statues can help create a welcoming atmosphere and accent certain areas of your property.

If you’re considering adding to the aesthetics and function of your pool area through lighting, you’ll want to keep some other considerations in mind. For instance, if you choose lighting that’s too bright or harsh, then you can inadvertently ruin the casual and serene atmosphere you’re probably trying to achieve. In some situations, low-voltage LED lighting can effectively provide the extra … Read Full Post »

Texas Evergreen Shrubs: Which Are Best?

A Japanese boxwood shrub which is considered a Texas evergreen shrub

Homeowners often choose to add bushes to their front yards to add height and texture, enhance security and improve the aesthetic appeal of a landscape. If you are considering making this investment and you live in the Lone Star State, you probably want to learn more about Texas evergreen shrubs, particularly since you want to make sure your new plants survive in our hot and dry climate. Usually, your best bet is to consult with a landscaping professional to recommend which species would work best in your yard, given not only our climate, but also your soil type, sun exposure and watering preferences. If you’d prefer to go the DIY route, however, we have a few suggestions for you.

Yaupon Holly

Whether you’re looking for an evergreen hedge or a topiary plant, yaupon holly is a popular choice in residential areas, and for good reason. This evergreen shrub is easy to trim … Read Full Post »

Is Hiring A Landscape Designer Worth It?

A backyard with a fireplace and a gray couch

You have been scrolling through gardening blogs and tearing out pictures from magazines, collecting ideas that will refresh the look of your outdoor living space. Lush plantings and meandering pathways, a front-gate arbor with climbing roses, a formal courtyard with a water feature are all on the table. Perhaps you have your heart set on an outdoor kitchen and covered patio? The good news is that thinking about your outdoor space, and determining how you want to use it, is the first step to making a change—whether your project is large or small. The not-so-good news is that implementing those ideas is not always as easy as it seems, and it can, in fact, be quite overwhelming when you get beyond the research phase. When it comes to really getting started, many homeowners wonder if it is worth it to hire a landscape designer or if it makes more sense … Read Full Post »