Category Archives: tips & tricks

supertunia vista bubblegum petunia annuals

Now is the Time to Add Cool Season Annuals

With temperatures dropping and staying cooler, many gardens lack color and life, but they don’t have to! LSU AgCenter suggests adding cool season annuals to your landscape during the winter to “enhance the quality of your garden, increase curb appeal and add color and dimension to a possibly otherwise barren landscape.” Not only will these varieties liven up an ordinarily drab garden, they will also provide much needed nourishment to nectar-loving migrating insects that are preparing to fly south for the winter. Supertunia Vista Bubblegum Petunia According to LSU AgCenter, the Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunia is one of the most talked-about petunias over the past three to five years, and one of the best petunias in landscape trials at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station. The clear, bright pink flowers have proven to be one of Louisiana’s most durable varieties. They can grow 16 to 24…

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grass field lawn photo by Photo by Fauzan Saari

Is Artificial Turf Right for My Landscape?

Guest article by Ali Sanderson. Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash. Why Faking the Lawn is Worth the Trouble New Orleans set a new record with a  temperature of 96 degrees in May 2018 according to the National Weather Service. Tending to your lawn in hot temperatures that come with humid warm air is not anywhere close to pleasant. However, people do spend several hours a week keeping their lawns immaculately manicured so that their grass is always greener than the other side. The reward  is people constantly pausing at front lawns just to take a look and some even bending to touch the grass. So it’s not hard to imagine why a “veteran natural lawn-maintainer” would look down on people who go the easy route with synthetic turf. Artificial grass is cheaper to maintain Artificial grass or synthetic grass is simply an outdoor carpet that looks…

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bee photo by Luke Schobert on Unsplash

Creating a Haven for Honey Bees in Your Garden

Guest article by Ali Sanderson. Photo by Luke Schobert on Unsplash. Planning and developing a beautiful garden is a very rewarding pastime. However, there is one aspect of a successful garden that many people overlook. That is the availability of pollinators. For those who hope to grow fruits or vegetables in their garden, having nearby pollinators, such as domesticated bees, is necessary for flowers to set fruit on plants. Thankfully, beekeeping has become an increasingly popular activity for people with gardens and yards of all sizes. You do not need to have several acres of apple orchard to keep bees. You just need a little planning to ensure you have adequate food resources available for your hive. Creating the Perfect Landscape New Orleans agriculture, plants, and wildflowers depend on pollination from bees. Thus, the fall season is the perfect time to plant and make your…

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southern-magnolia-tree

Adding Shade Trees to your Landscape

When is the best time to add a shade tree to your landscape? Beverly suggests fall is one of the best times to add shade trees to your landscape. The soil is still warm, yet the opportunity for rainfall and cooler temperatures allow the tree to establish itself before springtime. When selecting a shade tree for your landscape, a few considerations should be kept in mind. Size how large will the tree become once it’s mature where will it cast its canopy in your landscape, and how will its shade affect other plants Appearance what will the tree look like throughout the year will it fit in with your landscape aesthetic Ecological how your selection will benefit the local wildlife whether or not the tree be a host to destructive insects and disease pests Maintenance what maintenance will accompany your…

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Louisiana citrus trees | Exterior Designs, Inc | New Orleans, LA

Louisiana Citrus Season

Louisiana citrus season is here and for the next two months or so, you will notice an abundance of Louisiana tree-ripened satsumas, grapefruits, navel oranges and lemons at your local grocer and farmers’ markets. When it comes to Louisiana citrus, an ongoing trend is homeowners buying their very own citrus trees to plant in their yards. We consulted the experts at LSU’s AgCenter to find out what to look for and how to maintain a healthy citrus tree in Louisiana. A few tips include: Purchase your citrus tree from a certified nursery; this ensures the health and longevity of the tree. Allow your fruit to tree-ripen before picking. This allows the fruit to absorb the most nutrients from the soil resulting in a sweeter fruit. Do not let the root stock take over the tree. Doing so creates a thorny plant…

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butterfly garden

Landscaping Tip: Butterfly and Pollinator Garden

Often viewed as a symbol of resurrection and renewal, butterflies are a sure sign summer is on its way. In south Louisiana, we have approximately 55 species of indigenous butterflies, bumblebees, honeybees, ladybugs, as well as 12 species of hummingbirds. Pollinators are biotic agents, like bees, butterflies and certain birds, that move pollen from male to female parts of flowers. They are responsible for assisting over 80% of the world’s flowering plants and play a crucial role in the ecosystem. Without them, food would be very scarce! Why not build a garden to invite these important colorful pollinators to your yard? Size does not matter. Your garden can take up the entire yard or can be as small as a window box or few containers. The most important thing is to choose a mix of native annuals and perennials that…

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After-Storm-Advocate

Preparing your Landscape for Hurricane Season

 Is your yard/garden ready to withstand the storm?? Warm weather, outdoor BBQ’s, swimming, and Hurricane Season…all signs that the summer season is here in South Louisiana! The 2015 Hurricane Season is starting in mere weeks on June 1; is your landscape ready for a storm? With the recent thunderstorms, we got a little taste of what high winds and rain can do to the yard. Being prepared when a named storm blows through is the only way to keep your house and family safe. Below are a few tips on what to do to prepare: Start with trees; trim any dead limbs or branches that may fall in strong winds. Do not leave trimmings or clippings in the yard since they can easily become projectiles. *Remember the ‘6/40 Rule’ when putting yard and lawn trimmings out for pick-up: no pieces longer…

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new orleans landscape

Landscaping Tip: Mosquito Repellant Plants

As the weather warms up outside, we are not the only ones getting excited about the spring, so is our honorary state bird, the mosquito. There are several methods to deter these pests from crashing your outdoor party ranging from candles to repellent sprays, but we like to use plants! Not only will plants offer a natural, chemical-free, safe way to repel mosquitos; they add color and fragrance to your outdoor space. Here are a few of our favorite insect repelling plants that will also thrive down here in South Louisiana. Lavender With the exception of the hearty, but less fragrant Spanish Lavender, many varieties of lavender cannot withstand the wet soil, heat and humidity of South Louisiana. That is until the recent introduction of ‘Phenomenal’ which, according to Southern Living Magazine, is a version of the herb that can not only withstand the growing conditions here,…

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houseplants-for-beginners

Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality

As winter’s shorter days and cooler temperatures force us indoors to stay warm, the house can feel ‘stuffy’ and there is nothing worse than being forced to spend countless hours inside a house with stale air. More importantly are the adverse effects poor quality air indoors can have on you and your family’s health. With little or no fresh air coming in and running heaters all winter, it is no wonder that we suffer breathing problems, congestion and headaches during these colder months. By definition, indoor air pollution is chemical, biological and physical contamination of indoor air and may result in adverse health effects. This contamination can include pollutants from tobacco smoke, mold, allergens, bacteria, viruses, radon, formaldehyde, asbestos, mercury and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). How do we clean up the air in our homes? Some of these pollutants can be…

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hardscape-flagstone

Carpentry Services

For years, Exterior Designs, Inc. has offered carpentry to complement our landscape services. We have a professional carpenter on staff that specializes in small interior and exterior projects. Exterior Designs offers a wide variety of new construction or remodeling services. We will work with you on drafting a plan that allows you to visualize the finished product. In addition to our carpentry services, we also offer handyman services to New Orleans and the surrounding area. Some of our services include: Cleaning dirt, dust and cobwebs from your porch or outdoor room Painting or staining  to refurbish existing wood work Removing fallen tree limbs and branches Building and staining or painting shutters Pretty much anything else you can think to relieve the stress of those tasks you simply don’t have the time or energy to think about! Creativity does not have…

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