ABC Blog

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 »

Landscaping With Drought Tolerant Texas Plants

A shrimp plant which is a drought tolerant texas plant

Living in Texas means dealing with blistering heat during the summer months and, let’s face it, often during the spring and fall as well. Many regions in the state also face harsh weather conditions in the winter, which means any Texas yard or garden must be as hardy as Texas homeowners themselves. This is why landscaping with drought tolerant Texas plants has become so popular in landscape design.

In addition, due to the size of our state, not every plant is adapted to every area. Depending on where you’re located, here are a few options for drought resistant plants that will thrive in your yard:

  • Central Texas: Black and blue sage, pink salvia, oregano, carpet rose, mint and rosemary.
  • North Texas: Hot lips salvia, lamb’s ear, rock rose, Mexican bush sage, beautyberry and St. John’s wort.
  • South Texas: German red carnation, yarro, oxblood lily, Mexican heather, indigo spires salvia and firebush.
  • East Texas: Baby’s breath, … Read Full Post »

Landscaping Spring Cleanup: Advice From The Experts

a hat, gardening shears and gloves to get started with spring landscaping cleanup

As the temperature starts to warm up and the first signs of spring appear, homeowners quickly turn their attention to their yards, as many grasses and plants go dormant during the cooler months of the year. When considering your landscaping, spring cleanup can consist of:

  • Clearing all debris, including dead leaves, fallen branches, pet waste and other clutter.
  • Planning your mowing, fertilizing and watering schedule, or signing up for a lawn service to take over these regular tasks for you.
  • Dethatching any dead roots or leaves in your lawn that may prevent your newly growing plants from getting the nutrients they need.
  • Pruning trees and shrubs to encourage healthy growth.
  • Take a blower to patios and decks to get all dust and other particles off of your commonly used spaces
  • Giving your lawn and landscaping some breathing room by planning to aerate.
  • Re-edging your flower beds.
  • Beginning a regular watering and weeding routine to encourage new growth of … Read Full Post »

Pruning Salvias: How To Care For These Ornamentals

When it comes to pruning, salvias known as scarlet sage don't require too much work

Salvias are popular ornamental plants that provide a pop of color in your yard and can withstand extreme temperatures. There are over nine hundred different species of salvias, each with different flowers and smells. Salvias thrive in warm climates and don’t need much water, making them a relatively low maintenance plant in Texas and other southern states. Pruning salvias can enhance their appearance and help these plants stay healthy throughout the year. There are three main categories of salvias, and each should be pruned slightly differently.

Deciduous Herbaceous Salvias

Deciduous herbaceous salvias are shrub-like and have soft stems. These salvias include:

  • Pineapple sage, also known as tangerine sage
  • Mexican Bush sage
  • Waverly sage
  • Bog sage
  • Gentian sage

These types of sage are relatively easy to prune. In the winter, older, soft stems will die off or freeze, so you’ll want to wait until the spring to do your pruning. Any old growth that is left on the plant … Read Full Post »

When To Stop Feeding Hummingbirds For The Year

When to stop feeding hummingbirds

If you are like many homeowners, you love hummingbirds. Watching them flitter and flutter around your yard is captivating. Seeing them hover in place as they enjoy the nectar you’ve left out for them is even better. Their speed and size and almost unnatural presence are awe-inspiring.

So, when your neighbor told you that you were stopping them from migrating by leaving out your feeders in the fall, your first instinct was to rush out and take them down. After all, you don’t want to do anything that could possibly harm these beautiful creatures.

Luckily, you decided to do some research first. Smart move on your part.

Why?

Because what your neighbor told you is a myth, and it’s one that lawn technicians hear all the time.

Leaving feeders out does not stop migration. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you leave a hummingbird feeder out while these birds are migrating, you’re actually providing these … Read Full Post »

Texas Landscaping Plants: Landscape Designer Picks

Texas landscaping plants

Depending on the source, Texas has either four, five or even seven geographical regions, each with its own distinct features and climatic conditions. Whatever the number, we can all agree that different areas of the state are host to varying plant species based on unique patterns of hot and cold weather, seasonal rainfall and other factors, all of which affect the types of Texas landscaping plants that gardeners can choose from to elevate the aesthetic of your outdoor spaces.

Soil composition also varies from one region of Texas to another. Many portions of the state feature rocky or sandy soil, which won’t support certain popular varieties of plants and trees without much careful intervention on the part of the gardener. Converting dry, well-draining soil into something that will support plants not well suited for the region involves complicated and expensive processes of soil building, heavy watering and more.

Instead of fighting against … Read Full Post »

How To Keep Deer Out Of Your Garden For Good

How to keep deer out of garden

Many people think of deer as sweet, beautiful and adorable animals—Bambi, anyone?—yet many homeowners in both urban and rural areas view deer as pests. This is because these animals have an irritating habit of munching on rose bushes, trees and other plants and flowers that people cultivate in their gardens, and leaving a tattered, raggedy mess in their wake. Interested in how to keep deer out of your garden for good?

The first and most important thing to remember is that deer are intelligent animals with acute senses and a highly adaptable nature. This means that whichever repellent method you try, the deer that are plaguing your plants are sure to learn and adapt quickly—and then it will be time to try a new technique.

So when it comes to repelling deer, what works and what doesn’t? Which techniques are the most effective for keeping deer away from your yard and … Read Full Post »

Central Texas Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide

Central Texas gardening

Look around Austin and the Texas Hill Country and you can see that this area is teeming with plant life. Trees like the Texas Ash, Cedar Elm and Arroyo Sweetwood. Shrubs like Bottlebrush and Pineapple Guavas. Flowers, yuccas, ornamental grasses and vines.

So why is it so hard to grow anything in your own yard?

Flowers wilt. Veggies never seem to get started. Even those bushes you planted in the front several years ago have barely shown any growth.

Yet somehow, your neighbors’ plants are doing just fine. It’s embarrassing. What are the secrets to Central Texas gardening?

First off, take a deep breath and stop beating yourself up so much. Setting up and maintaining a garden in and around the Hill Country is tough.

That lush plant life you see around the area? Mother Nature had to work hard for that, carefully helping plants to adapt to the rugged Central Texas landscape. And your neighbors? … Read Full Post »

How To Fix Water Pooling In Yard And Other Drainage Issues

How to fix water pooling in yard

Maybe you traded in your old home for a new one and didn’t notice the issue until after the first hard rain. Perhaps you took up gardening now that you have more time and the extra water you’re using seems to have led to a problem.

Whatever the reason, there are parts of your yard where water just seems to sit. You’re not quite sure why. You definitely don’t like the way it looks and also don’t like the idea of wasting water. You want to avoid having mud tracked into the house by pets or kids. Most importantly, you really don’t want your yard to become a mosquito magnet.

No one wants random, unsightly pools of water marring their yard. Here in the south, it’s an even bigger deal because our warm weather means longer mosquito seasons. Plus, when water won’t drain out of pockets in your yard, you are at a … Read Full Post »