Why You Should Garden with your Kids

By Clara Beaufort

Most children love playing in the dirt, so gardening could be just the solution to getting them outdoors and exposing them to a new activity. Check out these tips to help you get started.

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Let them get dirty. Encourage your child to dig in and get a little dirt on their hands by letting them participate in some age-appropriate gardening. Watching a seed sprout into a full grown plant will seem like magic in the eyes of a child, and they’ll enjoy getting to eat the fruits and veggies grown from their very own gardens. Gardening is also an excellent way for children to develop a positive relationship with their food, which is good news for all the parents of picky eaters out there.

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Make it kid-size. Children will naturally want to use your tools, but adult-sized tools will be difficult to use. To avoid frustration, invest in some tools made specifically for small hands. Let your child pick out their own set of tools, and turn it into a learning process as you teach them how each tool is properly used.

Give them their own space. Make the process even more special by giving your child their own special spot to start their garden. It will instill a sense of independence, and give them the freedom to garden as they please. They can decorate their area with pots, stones, or toys. Your child can walk around barefoot or even lie down and sing to their seedlings. With their own plot, the possibilities are endless.

Children are natural explorers, so let them discover what dirt, water, and sun can do by planting their own garden. You’ll get to spend quality time with your child and watch as they discover what a little hard work can do.

Can I Really Grow Vegetables at Home?

Admit it, you’ve thought about having your own garden to grow vegetables and herbs. Who hasn’t? In a city like LA any opportunity to get back to our roots (pun intended) and enjoy Mother Nature should be taken; not only for our physical but our spiritual health. It’s no secret that most city-dwellers spend the majority of our days indoors, but studies have shown that just 15 minutes of sunlight can boost creativity and concentration.

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So, if you consider your local farmer’s market a “haunt” and would like an excuse to get out even more often, perhaps it’s time to graduate to home-grown fresh produce. 

Almost any sized yard can be utilized for a vegetable garden. In fact, a plot of about 16X10 feet is enough to feed a family of four for one whole summer. To get started, you’ll need ample sunlight and few simple tools and materials. Here are the simple steps to get your garden started.

TOOLS

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LOCATION

First, plant in a sunny location. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The more sunlight they receive, the greater the harvest, the bigger the veggies, and the better the taste.

Next, you must plant in good soil. Plants’ roots penetrate soft soil more easily. Enriching your soil with compost provides needed nutrients. Proper drainage will ensure that water neither collects on top nor drains away too quickly

DIG + PLANT!

Dig and turn the soil with a shovel to break up any large chunks of dirt. Remove any stones and roots with a sod cutter, then mix in fresh garden soil

Prepare the hole with a hand trowel, making sure it is at least two times deeper and wider than the plant container. 

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Use the trowel to position the plant into the soil. Read the instructions on your seed or seedling package for the correct depth. 

Lightly cover the base of the plant with the surrounding soil. Do not mound or pile on extra dirt.

Make sure you give each plant enough space! Directions on spacing should be on the seed or seedling package.

Water your plants only when the soil is dry 1/2 inch deep.

 

Stand back, and admire your work. Congrats! You will soon have a delicious vegetable garden to share with your family and friends.

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Ideas for a stylish backyard on a budget

Ever look at your backyard or patio and think it's a bit... blah? While overhauling it with professional landscaping may not be in your budget yet, here are some great (very affordable) accessories that will uplift your home instantly.

Pots & Planters

Nothing says natural beauty like some fresh foliage. Whether you're limited to a small patio or you've got a large backyard to play with, planters will add instant dimension and style with almost zero effort. Not into plant-care? Artificial plants will also do the trick! 

 Norah Pots - $3.99 each

Norah Pots - $3.99 each

 Succulent Letters, Numbers, and Hearts - $29.99

Succulent Letters, Numbers, and Hearts - $29.99

 Hanging Planter Orb - $38.00

Hanging Planter Orb - $38.00

Outdoor Friendly Rugs

The oft omitted area rug plays a much bigger role in designing a space than one might think. They can tie together all the elements of a room and make it feel complete. Here are some of our choices for an area rug that will transform your patio or pergola.

 Alicia Hand-Woven Area Rug - $23.99

Alicia Hand-Woven Area Rug - $23.99

 Diamond Hand Woven Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug - $34.40 

Diamond Hand Woven Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug - $34.40 

 Safavieh Natural Fiber Area Rug - $50

Safavieh Natural Fiber Area Rug - $50

Lights!

One of Flores Artscape's most frequently requested styling options are outdoor string lights. These beauties positively dominate Pinterest and for good reason, they add an etherial glow to any space when used properly. A quick Google search will find a plethora of options but here are some of our first choices.

 Outdoor Party String Lights - $18.40

Outdoor Party String Lights - $18.40

 Celestial Globe String Lights - $27

Celestial Globe String Lights - $27

Happy decorating!

Privacy Hedges: Advantages & Some Popular Types

 Podocarpus Privacy Hedge

Podocarpus Privacy Hedge

Advantages               

               Adds beauty & definition

·              Reduces noise & pollution

·              Provides more fresh air

·              Shades & cools areas

·              Protects tender plants

·              Can create curves with

·              Acts as privacy screen

·              Stops strong winds

 Ficus Privacy Hedge

Ficus Privacy Hedge

Some Popular Types

·               Podacarpus

·               Ficus

·               Hopseed

 

Planting hedge plants two feet apart is the usual, but they can be placed a little closer so they’ll fill in faster.

 Hopseed Privacy Hedge

Hopseed Privacy Hedge

Fences: Tips & Types

Below you can compare the advantages of some popular types:

WOOD

 CUSTOM REDWOOD FENCE--Dark Stain

CUSTOM REDWOOD FENCE--Dark Stain

  • Most popular
  • Sense of privacy
  • Attractive
  • Natural look
  • Warm & welcoming
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Long lasting
  • Can be stained or painted for different looks
  • Redwood is one popular choice

VINYL

  Custom Vinyl Fence

 Custom Vinyl Fence

  • Strong & flexible
  • Maintenance free
  • Easy to clean
  • Long lifespan

WROUGHT IRON

 Custom Wrought Iron Fence

Custom Wrought Iron Fence

  • Beautiful & decorative
  • Durable & strong
  • Fits well with certain styles

We have many years of experience designing and installing all types  of custom fences.

Should You Talk to Your Plants?

But seriously.

We've all seen it: some folks have the magical power of imbuing their gardens with some kind of plant "immortality" whereas others can't even keep a succulent alive more than a week!

Now, it's safe to assume that our poor friends with brown thumbs are really making an effort. If you use the right amount of water, soil and light, that should be it, right?

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Testing the myth

The notion that our gardens my have feelings is certainly not new. German professor Gustav Fechner proposed the idea way back in 1848. And while no scientific societies have put the subject to bed conclusively, many studies have suggested that plants do respond positively to sound exposure.

In an experiment run over a month, the Royal Horticultural Society played the voices of 10 different people (men and women) to 10 different tomato plants, with two plants growing in silence as control. At the end of the month, the plants “listening” to female voices grew an average of an inch taller than the rest.

On the popular show Mythbusters, 60 pea plants were grown in three separate green houses. Further, they played two different soundtracks to the plants: one of loving praise and the other cruel insults. The growth of the plants was charted over 60 days with surprising results. The silent greenhouse produced most poorly of the three, while both the kind and cruel soundtracks seemed to have positively effected the pea plants.

Whether you believe the myth or not, it may be worth chatting up your plants this weekend.

Garden Walkways: Tips and Types

 FLAGSTONE & GRAVEL WALKWAY

FLAGSTONE & GRAVEL WALKWAY

Some of the most popular choices for garden walkways:

FLAGSTONE

·         A popular choice

·         Different shades & sizes

·         Durable

·         Has a unique look

·         Can use with gravel & decomposed granite & ground cover

 PAVER STONES & CONCRETE PAVERS WALKWAY

PAVER STONES & CONCRETE PAVERS WALKWAY

PAVER STONES & CONCRETE PAVERS

·         Come in various sizes, shapes & colors

·         Some paver stones interlock for easier installation

·         Very strong & durable

·         Fits almost any landscape

·         Concrete pavers work well with gravel or river rocks

 DECOMPOSED GRANITE WALKWAY

DECOMPOSED GRANITE WALKWAY

DECOMPOSED GRANITE (DG)

·         A soft natural appearance

·         Dog & kid friendly

·         Easy to clean

·         Drains well

·         Installed right reduces weed growth

 RAILROAD TIES & RIVER ROCKS WALKWAY

RAILROAD TIES & RIVER ROCKS WALKWAY

RAILROAD TIES

·         Has an interesting rustic look

·         Long-lasting

·         Works well with river rocks & gravel

GRAVEL

·         A variety of colors, sizes and shapes

·         So can fit most landscape styles

·         Needs an edging to hold its shape

·         Sizes around ¾” normally easier to walk on

·         Works alone or with paver stones, concrete pavers, flagstones or railroad ties

With over 12 years of experience in designing and installing garden walkways, we’re here to work with to find the material and style that fits your landscape & aesthetic.  

To see some more examples of walkways we've done click here.

We Won the 2017 Angie's List Super Service Award

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A press release announcing our award was published yesterday.  We're very happy to receive this award as it shows our commitment to both giving our customers a great landscape as well as a great overall experience.   We enjoy working with you to come up with a landscape design that fits your style & aesthetic while increasing your property value at the same time.

A copy of the press release is below: 

LA Landscape Design & Installation Company Wins Angie’s List Super Service Award

Los Angeles, California, January, 2018 – Flores Artscape, a landscape design & installation company, is proud to announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA). This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2017.

Flores Artscape has been honored with the Super Service Award four times.  This year they won in these four categories: Landscaping, Stone & Gravel, Lawn Irrigation as well as Landscaping-Hardscaping & Pavers.  This is due to their expertise in a wide range of custom outdoor services from drought-tolerant landscaping to fences, patios, decks, pergolas and driveways.

“The service providers that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award demonstrate the level of excellence that members have come to expect,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros are top-notch and absolutely deserve recognition for the trustworthy and exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year and overall.”

Flores Artscape has been in business since 2004.  But Rumaldo Flores, the owner, has over 25 years’ experience starting with gardening in his teens, and then moving into landscaping design & installation. He’s been interviewed by voyage LA, quoted in the LA Times on drought-tolerant plants & landscaping and featured on a TV program in Mexico on Channel 22 called “Successful Mexicans”.  Most recently he was interviewed on Telemundo for a nationally-televised segment called “The Hard Journey from Gardener to Successful Entrepreneur.”    

Rumaldo in speaking of Flores Landscaping said: “What sets us apart is our communication with our customers and our willingness to help our clients with their needs. It’s the integrity and responsibility we have as a company regarding the delivery of a good service that results in us having satisfied customers. We do that by working as a team. It’s our knowledge and experience that shows in our completed projects. Our goal is to bring landscapes to life.”

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 Flores Artscape, a Los Angeles landscape design & installation company established in 2004, received the 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award for the 4th time.  Besides drought-tolerant landscaping, other services they provide include custom fences, patios, decks, pergolas & concrete work.

Artificial Turf Advantages

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What are the benefits of artificial turf?

  •    Save water
  •    Save maintenance time & cost
  •    Keep that green look all year·       
  •    No fertilizer or gas-powered tools needed
  •    No mud
  •    An eco-friendly alternative
  •    Safe for kids and animals
  •    Versatile in its uses
  •    Durable & long-lasting

We’ve installed artificial turf in a wide variety of situations.  And would like to work with you on a landscape design that fits your aesthetic and needs.

We were highlighted in this Houzz article

Click on our photo (the backyard one with the globe lights & sail cover) & then on Flores Artscape aka Flores Landscaping & you can check out some of our many projects that we've posted there.

Low-Maintenance Landscaping: Decomposed Granite (DG) & Flagstone Walkway

We did a special project in Sunland with a Buddhist symbol made from gravel.  Surrounding it are various colored smooth stones.  Also there is a long flagstone walkway over a  large decomposed granite (DG) area.

Retaining Walls: What material is best for your situation?

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Wood

  • ·         Fairly quick installation
  • ·         Fits in with most styles
  • ·         Tends to blend into the landscape
  • ·         With proper waterproofing it can last for 20+ years
  • ·         Best for walls under 4 feet tall

Pavers

  • ·         A wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes
  • ·         Can make fit with almost any landscape
  • ·         Very durable
  • ·         Strong & can be built into custom shapes

Poured Concrete

  • ·         Unfinished it works well in modern landscapes
  • ·         Can color it or face it in various ways for other aesthetics
  • ·         Very strong
  • ·         Can build high walls with it

Cinder Blocks

  • ·         Can be faced for different effects
  • ·         Stucco is one look that works well
  • ·         Sturdy
  • ·         Durable
  • ·         Can build high

Bricks

  • ·         Works well in traditional styles
  • ·         Strong
  • ·         Durable

Stones

  •           Has a distinctive aesthetic that many love
  •           Comes in different colors and shapes
  •           Very strong
  •           Can build high walls with it

With over 10 years of doing landscape design and installation jobs in Los Angeles that include retaining walls, we have a wide range of experience using all the above materials.  

We won Best of Houzz in 2017 for both Design & Service

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Flores Landscaping aka Flores Artscape, a Drought Tolerant Landscaping & Hardscape Design Company in Los Angeles receives Best of Houzz Design & Service awards in 2017

The above is part of what Houzz said about us.  We are proud and honored to have received these awards.  We do a lot to ensure each of our clients is well-taken care of and happy with the results.  We like working with you to come up with the design that meets your needs and aesthetic.  On our profile on Houzz we have a wide variety of pictures posted that highlight a number of our services.   For example:  "Custom Fences & Gates",  "Sod & Artificial Turf",  "Drought-tolerant Landscapes" and "Patio Installations".  

California Drought

12/27/2017 Note:  Turf removal rebates from the state for Los Angeles residents are no longer available, but there are still some locally, depending on the city, for up to $2.00 per square foot.  The link to find out more about how to apply for this, and if your city has this is:  http://www.socalwatersmart.com/?page_id=2967

Weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown called for the removal 50 million square feet of lawn in the state, water agencies said that they were well on their way to meeting the goal.

Since July 1, 2015 the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has paid just over $34 million in turf removal rebates. It has given the go-ahead to an additional $120 million in turf removal applications. The agency offers a rebate of $2 per square foot, which many cities have supplemented with their own rebate programs.

The DWP offers one of the highest rebates in Southern California — an additional $1.75 per square foot for residents and $1 per square foot for businesses.

About 2,600 Los Angeles residents have ripped out their lawns, along with nearly 60 companies.

The MWD has created a tool on its website to let you know if you qualify. You can also enter the square footage of your project for an estimate of the amount of the rebate, depending on the rate available from your water agency or city and the size of your project.

(If you don’t qualify, check with your local water agency to see if it has its own program.)

The next step is figuring out if your lawn meets specifications. First, you must have live grass in your yard. Homeowners who let their turf die off are not eligible.

This may change. In January, the Los Angeles City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee approved a motion urging the full council to change that requirement to include homeowners with dead or dying lawns.

The MWD has to approve any replacement project before it begins. You will need to fill out an online application and submit five photos of the turf you plan on removing as well as a copy of a recent water bill. Approval takes about two weeks.

Most programs allow only one rebate per property, even if you remove more grass later.

How long will these programs last?

That remains to be seen. Mark Gentili, a DWP water conservation supervisor, said the program is “geared to be supported to the end of the fiscal year.”

What are my options for replacement?

Most programs require drought-friendly plants. The DWP requires that 40% of the area contain plants (once they reach maturity) and materials used for pathways must be permeable, such as mulch or small rocks.

The MWD has an online resource that allows users to browse images of renovated lawns, learn about plant types and find local nurseries.

Rumaldo Flores, owner of the Glassell Park-based Flores Landscaping, said lavender, rosemary, salvia and succulents are some of the most popular replacement plants.

How soon must I complete the project?

The MWD allows 120 days. If you need more time, many agencies, including the DWP, allow for extensions.

Flores, the owner of the landscaping company, said the service generally takes a week or longer, depending on the size of the yard and the complexity of the design.

Talk to your landscaper, or do some research, so you can be realistic about how long it will take.

How much does it cost?

Price depends on the size of the yard, landscape design and ease of access (for example, a home on a hillside may cost more than a level lot).

For a yard of about 2,000 square feet, Flores said, lawn replacement can cost about $6,000, or $3 per square foot, which includes removal, installation and irrigation. That means depending on the size of your lawn, a project could cost $2,000 to more than $10,000.

Click here to read the full article which includes answers to the following questions:

What about artificial turf?

How much money will I get in return?

How do I claim my rebate?

Here is a more recent article on the subject:

Emergency 25% cut in California cities’ water use approved

Every Drop Counts! Top Story: LADY GAGA JOINS SAVE OUR WATER EFFORT WITH PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

PSA Kicks Off Save Our Water Campaign Asking Californians to Take Extraordinary Measures to Conserve

Sacramento, CA – In partnership with the State of California’s drought awareness program Save Our Water, international pop superstar and five-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) asking Californians to join the effort and take extraordinary measures to save water during the drought. The PSA is available on SaveOurWater.com, a new site designed to help Californians find ways to conserve at home and at work every day.

The Lady Gaga PSA also marks the launch of a new public awareness campaign from Save Our Water urging Californians to join the effort to undertake extraordinary conservation efforts. The first creative from the campaign stresses that ‘Brown is the New Green’ and asks Californians to let their lawn go brown by cutting back watering to twice a month. Additional campaign materials will be released by Save Our Water through the end of the month, including digital and social media ads, lawn signs, billboards and radio ads.

“We’re thrilled Lady Gaga has joined the effort to Save Our Water,” said Mark Cowin, director of the California Department of Water Resources. “Conservation has always been a Californian value, but in this drought regular conservation isn’t enough — we must take extraordinary measures to save water.”

Save Our Water’s campaign comes as the State Water Resources Control Board voted to adopt mandatory water conservation measures for urban water users and suppliers, including prohibitions on outdoor irrigation more than two days per week, washing hardscapes, sidewalks and driveways with water and using hoses without shutoff nozzles to wash cars.

“This is no ordinary drought and Lady Gaga is no ordinary superstar,” said Tim Quinn, Executive Director of Association of California Water Agencies. “With our new campaign and spokespeople like Lady Gaga, we hope to reach every Californian with the important message of conservation."