Drainage and slopes

One of the most important elements for the success of a garden is water. Yet, water can also be a nuisance and create countless problems such as flooding, damp, paving staining, skidding hazards, etc.

Therefore, when we create our garden we have to think of water-related solutions and consult a professional. This mainly concerns runoff water (after rain showers or irrigation) but even irrigation can create problems if not applied correctly.

Generally, water travels from a high point to a low point. So first and foremost, you need to ensure that all the garden slopes, whether paved or ground, lead away from the house. Thus, the paving closest to the house will always be higher than the paving further away.

If the garden area is entirely paved, one should make sure to install a large drainage pipe and drain opening to prevent flooding in the event of a short but heavy rainfall.

Controlling water direction is not a substitute for a good and thorough sealing of house walls and foundations. Another important thing to consider about the excess water enclosures:
If planning to plant in pots, it is recommended to plan, beforehand, where these will be concentrated and to install drainage pipes under the paving. Thus you can avoid excess water flowing over the paving and staining it, or alternatively having unsightly drain pipes running across it.

Land Preparation

You finally got the keys to your house, the renovation is over and you have moved in. Now you want to plant some trees and grass and enjoy the garden.

Now, hold on for just a minute. What is your rush? Do you want your garden to thrive and flourish? You should learn a little about preparing the ground for planting.
Land preparation includes: all the operations we perform and materials we add to and above the ground. Have you ascertained that your contractor has filled the garden area with soil suitable for planting?
From our experience, most contractors tend to fill the area with construction debris and then cover it with a minimal layer of gardening soil. These construction materials contain substances such as lime and limestone which may impair the normal development of plants. In the future, when the plants roots deepen, they will hit these substances in the soil.
Therefore, it is important to demand and ensure that during the renovation and construction, the contractor will take care to remove these materials from the area.
The soil depth is also important, especially for trees and shrubs which require a minimum depth of 0.5-1 meters of land to develop a deep, stable root system.

The soil type dictates the type of work and irrigation that will be applied in the future. In general, you should use the appropriate soil for your geographical area. For example, for a garden in the mountain region we use Terra Rossa, which can be found naturally in the mountain region, and not Red Loam, which is soil originating from a different geographical area.
Soil is a living and dynamic thing, it contains life: microorganisms and many seeds that could germinate under suitable conditions. Therefore, it is recommended to induce their germination, by sprinkler irrigation, and then spray them or otherwise remove them mechanically.
This does not mean that weeds will not grow in the future, though you will have eradicated most of them.

A garden’s secret to success is the compost. Compost is an organic material that has undergone decomposition. Its properties are many, among them: soil ventilation, improving the hold of the ground water, addition of microorganisms, essential for soil health, and mineral supplements. Required dosages are between 30-35 liters per square meter. Be generous with the amounts.

After we spread compost, the ground has to be worked, and mixed well. Compost concentrates that were not mixed in well into the soil may damage the roots of plants.
If you want rockeries or a combination of stones in the garden, now is the time.
Although the process of preparing the soil takes a while and can be expensive, it will prove itself as essential to establishing a stable, healthy and flourishing garden over time.

Proper Irrigation

One of the common questions about watering gardens is: "How long I should water for"?
If anyone tells you that about a half hour is good for watering the lawn and forty minutes for the drips, then you know that this person hasn’t the foggiest about irrigation.

Irrigation amounts for gardens is a very complex issue, even for many people who deal with gardening.

The amount of water required for irrigation depends on a number of factors such as geographic region, soil type, plant type, time of year, the type of irrigation equipment, flow rates, etc.

There are calculation tables (which we will not go into here), that can indicate the amount of water that will be returned to the ground. What is important for you to know and is relatively easy to implement, is the need for separate and uniform irrigation for each type of plant.

Plant Type: For home gardens, this refers to similar plant groups in terms of their irrigation requirements, such as trees, shrubs, seasonal plants, grass, etc. With proper irrigation, each group is assigned a separate irrigation line through which one can distribute the correct amount of water required for the same group of plants.

It is inconceivable that trees and potted flowers share the same irrigation line. Even watering intervals and duration are completely different and would cause damage to one of the plant types and a waste of water.

The operative conclusion for you: make sure you have a computerized irrigation system which can operate several taps and separate lines of irrigation according to plant type. While a computer managing a single line is cheaper than a four or six-line computerized irrigation system, in the long-term, saving water and distress caused when plants die is worth every penny.

Protecting plants in snowy weather:

In our parts, snow in winter is not a rare event. Although in December 2013 we experienced a snow fall of unusual magnitude which caused considerable damage to gardens. Trees collapsed, branches snapped and plants froze and were badly damaged.

Here are some tips for protecting your garden against irreversible damage during winter.

A. Selection of suitable plants: When you plan the vegetation for your garden, always bear in mind that winter in a mountainous region can be accompanied by frost and snow events. Therefore, it is advisable to select plants that are resistant to hot and dry summers as well as tough winters.

Do not be tempted to purchase in midsummer delicate nursery plants that look exquisite but are not adapted to mountainous areas. There are many lovely plants which are also durable and adaptable and which can survive the winter in these areas.

The importance of selecting suitable plants is reinforced when it comes to garden trees. It takes a long time for a tree to grow until it is large enough for you to rest in its shade. The damage caused by the collapse of a tree takes years to overcome, as years will go by until a new tree you plant will reach the same dimensions as the first. So it is crucial to insist on a suitable type of tree for your garden.

As a rule, fast-growing trees will be less resistant to a heavy load as result of snow.

In any case it is recommended to consult a gardener or professional landscape planner about the correct choice of tree.

B. What to do when it snows:
Most of the snow-related damage occurs for two main reasons:
1. The load and weight of snow added to the plant causes the plant –or parts of it – to break, bend, or even collapse.

If garden plants are important to you, you need to shake the snow off them every now and again to prevent breakage and bending.

2. The Freezing of plants: We are accustomed to snow conditions lasting one or two days before melting. What happens if these conditions are of longer duration, as in winter 2013?

In such a case, low plants and lawns buried under the snow for a week or more may freeze and incur irreparable damage.

You can install sprinklers and/or a portable sprinkler, and adjust the computerized irrigation to turn on every so often. The water will melt much of the snow and prevent its accumulation on the plants.

3. For particularly delicate plants: Do not hesitate to bring them into the warm protection of your home in order to save them.