Using COVID-19 downtime to get productive in your Northern Nevada Lawn & Garden
If you’ve been stuck at home during the coronavirus quarantine, then you’re probably looking for excuses to move around the house and get outside. Why not pick up gardening? With so much extra time spent at home, cultivating a garden on your Northern Nevada property will help you pass the time, feel healthier, and beat the coronavirus blues.
With a little bit of elbow grease, any Reno-Sparks homeowner can pick up these DIY garden and landscaping ideas. Let’s explore Northern Nevada’s diverse terrain and start redesigning your lawn and garden.
Why Garden During COVID-19?
First, you might be wondering why you should spend your quarantine gardening. If that’s the case, you might be surprised to learn that gardening will help you overcome some of the negative emotions you’re feeling during the pandemic.
Among other things, gardening is associated with boosts to both your immune system and your overall happiness! A daily gardening habit gets you moving in the sunlight and helps cultivate a positive mood. Additionally, if you grow your own produce, you get the benefit of healthy foods that aren’t exposed to unhealthy preservatives.
Finally, gardening can help offer a sense of purpose and direction. Even if you’re working from home, many of us stuck inside are struggling to find meaning in the madness. Tending a garden gives us meaningful work with measurable outcomes, offering a sense of stability and productivity.
Landscaping & Gardening in Northern Nevada
Before we offer some simple DIY projects to jumpstart your garden, it’s important for you to understand Northern Nevada’s climate and terrain.
Northern Nevada has a semi-arid climate, meaning it receives less-than-average rainfall but still experiences the four seasons. As a result, you need to plan for a garden that requires less water and can stay cool in the summertime. You also need to plan for the winter, as many palms will not survive the snowfall.
Additionally, Northern Nevada’s soil and terrain can be hard to work with. Much of the soil around the Truckee River is clay and alkaline, resulting in nutrient-deficient soil that larger plants won’t thrive in. As a result, many homeowners are encouraged to sod and nutrify their soil manually, as well as to garden organically and reduce nutrient runoff.
With these considerations in mind, it’s time to cultivate your garden!
DIY Gardening Projects for Northern Nevada Homes
To get the most out of your lawn and backyard, we’re including DIY projects for both gardens and landscapes.
Northern Nevada Landscaping Projects
Xeriscaping is a broad definition for any landscaping and gardening practice that conserves water. A well-xeriscaped garden involves both hardscape and softscape elements, but the intent is always to garden sustainably and use water efficiently.
For a simple landscaping project, start with xeriscaping your soil. Northern Nevada’s terrain doesn’t trap moisture very well on its own, but adding some texture to your garden will help keep water in. Placing gravel or mulch on top of dirt will help retain moisture and reduce evapotranspiration in your garden.
Additionally, adding levels and using vertical space can help retain water in your garden. Hanging plants and leveled planters can provide much-needed shading from the hot summer sun, and building wall planters will also help retain moisture from evaporating.
Build Shading Structures
Too much direct sunlight will dry out your garden quickly, leaving your backyard sustainable for cacti and not much else. Wall planters are a great way to reduce evapotranspiration in your garden, but you can also have fun building other structures.
For example, an ivy trellis will also capture evaporating water and provide shading directly beneath itself. The same thing can be accomplished with structures much more central to your garden, such as a pergola or arbor. These structures will create shade and provide additional spaces for foliage, improving both the appeal and biodiversity of your garden.
Build Your Garden’s Focal Point
A great lawn has a great focal point – a centerpiece that attracts the eye from anywhere around the space. Make yours a DIY project!
Common focal points for gardens in Reno include a fire pit or a gazebo. These spaces stick out in the lawn’s landscape and provide opportunities for both shading and planting. You can also have fun with your space and build a sculpture or other three-dimensional structure, but play with your space, and plan your garden accordingly.
Add Grading and Sloping
Gardens don’t need to be flat, including yours. Adding some steps, slopes, or layers can help provide shade to lower levels of the garden while also creating a unique walking space.
This kind of terraforming is certainly an extended project and requires a lot of digging and structuring, but for a textured and layered landscape, you can’t go wrong with adding some grading.
Laying down new sod will help your lawn feel fresh and vibrant. Sod can help any lawn feel green and healthy, though the beginning weeks of new sod will be higher maintenance.
In general, you want to allow 2-4 weeks for sod to take root on your property. You also want to make sure you use grasses that adapt well to the climate. Still, sod can introduce nutrients to your lawn and jumpstart a fresh new feel!
A biodiverse lawn is a well-adapted lawn. Too often, Reno homeowners rely on one kind of plant for their garden – perennials, cacti, shrubs, palms, etc.
In reality, a healthy garden relies on all types of plants to complement each other. For example, palms can help shade your shorter plants, cacti can help conserve water, and ivies can help reduce evapotranspiration. Let your garden tend to itself through biodiversity.
Pruning and Topiary
Playing around with shapes can give you a great project to brighten up your garden! If you have leafy plants, especially shrubs, bushes, and shorter trees, you can prune and shape your garden to whatever makes the space feel happier.
A simple pruning job will make your hedges and bushes equally flat and rectangular, however, you can also cultivate unique shapes using a topiary. Over time, topiaries can make your plants look like animals, geometric forms, or other unique shapes. Have fun with your garden – it’s yours to cultivate!
Convert to Organic Practices
Organic gardening practices will help improve the health and wellbeing of both your garden and your family. By avoiding toxic chemicals and relying simply on the Earth, your gardening will feel much healthier and more sustainable.
Organic practices avoid the use of unnatural chemicals, but they also seek to conserve water usage and nutrients in the soil. Organic gardening yields plants and produce that are healthier and safer for the family, without exposing anyone to harmful sprays or substances! Organic gardens often require extra work, but the work pays off for the health benefits.
Gardening During COVID-19: Cultivating a New Normal
Finally, gardening and landscaping projects can help you regain a sense of stability and control in these uncertain times. The above gardening projects will help give you a sense of accomplishment and foster improved well being among yourself and your family; additionally, there are many other projects out there that you can adapt to your Reno property.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start your next home project. Go forth and cultivate your garden!
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