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Tips and Tricks

Helping Monarch Butterflies

by Rowan Marney / August 6, 2022

The Monarch Butterfly was recently added to the endangered species list which means helping them out is more important than ever! In this blog we will discuss plants and other items you can easily add into your landscaping to provide food, water, and shelter for these important little butterflies!

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Corten Steel: Your Next Custom Project

by Rowan Marney / June 4, 2022

Corten Steel can give your space a rustic yet modern feel while lasting for years. 

Living in Austin, you’re bound to see Corten Steel incorporated into landscaping. Not only does it look nice, it lasts longer than any other material you could use for raised planters. Let’s take a look at all the benefits, as well as view some examples where Corten steel has helped elevate a space.

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Fall in Austin: Time To Plant & Winterize

by Rowan Marney / November 9, 2021

We sat down with the experts over at Garden Seventeen to create the ultimate planting and care guide for your landscaping this fall and winter! The specific products we discuss will link to their online store where you can place online orders for curbside pickup. For any and all help with landscaping upkeep, seasonal planting, and other general maintenance, contact us today! We would love to help your landscaping look great year round.

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Winter Damage Control

by Rowan Marney / March 2, 2021

After Austin’s hard freezes and power outages, you may notice that some of your plants are looking a little sad. Before you throw them away, we have a few tips and tricks so that you can try and bring them back to life!

For Tropicals, Cacti, Succulents, and other indoor plants:

  1. Check new and old growth for damage. Damage can present itself through wrinkling, browning, yellowing, or wilting.
  2. Feel if stem is solid or soft. If it feels soft, cut back to where the plant feels to be most solid. The inside of the plant should be completely green. Any browning or discoloration  means that you need to cut back further.
  3. Fertilize using SUPERthrive or Rose Glo, as well as using liquid seaweed at the next watering cycle will help the plant drastically. Biomatrix also works to help stimulate roots and encourage new growth.
  4. Play the waiting game to see if the plant bounces back this spring. If new growth appears healthy, the plant should be in the clear!

For outdoor landscaping and potted plants:

  1. Cut back shrubbery by no more than 1/3 of the plant’s overall size and fertilize.
  2. Cut perennials down to ground level and fertilize.
  3. Trees that began to bud before the storm may not bloom again this spring (Mountain Laurel, fruiting trees, etc)
  4. For younger trees, any branches that are still bent after the ice melts should be removed.
  5. To check to see if a woody plant is alive, carefully scrape the bark with a knife. If it shows green, the plant is still alive.
  6. Container plants that were left outside most likely took on a ton of damage. Cut back damaged areas and water using a fertilizer. Then it’s a waiting game to see if the plant will grow back this spring.
  7. Fertalizers we recommend are Microlife 6-2-4 for perennials, trees, and shrubs. Rose Glo or SUPERthrive for annuals, vegetables, herbs, container plants, houseplants, cacti, and succulents. And liquid seaweed for anything and everything!

Instead of looking at the situation as a loss, try and see it as a blank slate to try something new. All of these products and more can be found at Garden Seventeen! Let us help get your landscaping and plant collection back and better than ever!

Warmest Welcome: Gathering Around A Fire

by Rowan Marney / October 15, 2020

Adding a fire pit to your space provides an eye-catching focal point while increasing the value of your home.

Nothing says “welcome” like a fire pit. They provide both an optimal location for hosting guests, and a relaxing sanctuary for a romantic night in or a quiet evening with the family. The beautiful dancing flames draw you in, making the rest of the world disappear, even for just a moment or two. Fire is also a wonderful way to add a glow to your space without having to install harsh lighting. It adds a certain elegance while also proving a warm atmosphere to unwind in.

Highly customizable from their size, to type, to function, there are endless possibilities when choosing the right fire pit to fit your lifestyle. There are portable pits for those who want to have the option of moving their gathering space around. Customizable built-in pits leave room to create a cohesive look and flow within the space. Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes that allow you to choose exactly what size will work for your needs and space. Wood-burning and natural gas fire pits both have their added benefits and harbor different uses, so thinking about the type of experience you want is important.

Wood burning fire pits provide guests with a nostalgic and traditional experience. Humans have been making fires this way since the beginning of time so why shouldn’t you? There’s something about the smell and warmth of a wood burning fire that allows us to relax and reminisce. This type of fire pit needs to be built and placed safely to ensure the flames and sparks won’t travel outside the pit. Raised pits and the use of gravel or rock around the area can provide a safer environment to light fires.

Natural gas fire pits provide all the benefits of having a fire, without the smell or mess. There is no soot or ash to clean up, no smell left on your clothes, and they cast less emissions when burning. Natural gas pits work by running a gas line to a metal fire pit ring. This ring is placed on top of river rock to provide drainage, then topped with lava rock which absorbs some of the heat. Glass rock can then be added on top to finish the look and give your space that “wow” factor. Natural gas fires do not have sparks that fly out from the flames, making this option the safer of the two.

Now that the bulk of the summer heat is over, the best place to enjoy the expansive, Texas starry-night sky is next to a fire. Give yourself, and guests, the ultimate space to enjoy a drink or toast marshmallows as we head into our cooler season!



The Native Allure

by Erin Crespo / October 6, 2020

Image from Hyde Park Modern Retreat – Front Yard

A well-planned landscape can foster community not only for ourselves, but for our landscape as well.

Natives. Most often looked to for their durability and natural stamina in our climate, but a delicious benefit that can be overlooked is the relationships they nurture with wildlife.

Image from Oak Hill Country Estate

Curating a palette of native plants can invite some of our most beloved guests into our gardens. Tubular, nectar-rich flowers can attract hummingbirds flitting from snack to snack. Flat rocks and a wide arrangement of blooms lure in butterflies for rest and sustenance.

Image from Hyde Park Adaptable Landscape

Tiny tree houses, feeders and soft flowing water appeal to many kinds of birds and Fall is a wonderful time to witness an array of them on their annual migration. These are the guests to our homes that fill us with surprise and wonder.

Image from Barton Springs Cottage Community

The restorative quality of nature is a treat that can be integrated into your landscape. Our choices in design can draw or deter desired wildlife to make a seasonal refuge in our gardens or venture elsewhere.  With the right combination of plants and placement, you can become a steward to species that bring you peace and joy.

Image from Boulden Creek Retreat

Another beautiful part of using native and adapted plants is it’s an excellent way to stay connected to our environment. There is an aesthetic to our local plant palette that is unique to our area and it’s creatures.

Everything has a purpose, everything plays into the whole. When crafting a space where plans and plants come together in a unique and complimentary goal we get to experience the seasons through their interactions within our landscape including blooms and wildlife.

Image from Zilker Native Chic


The Virtue of a Bouquet

by Erin Crespo / February 3, 2020

I truly love the art of gift giving, whether it’s a celebration, a random day of the week, a passing thought turned into a trinket – or an even a bashful apology wrapped in satin ribbon. Gifts spread joy. When it comes to floral surprises (because let’s be honest – even when customary, flowers are always a surprise) here are a couple of my favorite tips:

Inspire Playfulness:

Table arrangements are perfect for a family home, a filled vase can spark curiosity, imagination and creativity. The perfect antidote to a chilly winter, a floral arrangement can spread seasonal cheer. Allow yourself creative freedom, loose expressive designs are just as fun as organized ones. To your left, we have soft cream-colored hydrangeas, which mean “perseverance, understanding, and interconnectedness”, a wonderful theme for a martini-mixer we were invited to garnish with plant decor. Remind others of joy with festive exuberance!

Meaningful Color:

Include a ‘Meaning Card’. Not everyone speaks the language of flowers, and certainly no one knows them all. Here for example, to your right we see Anthuriums –  which mean “hardworking, hospitality, ‘think of me’, and welcome”.  A wonderful display for our event with Equality Texas.  A quick note about what the flower is, and the meaning you’ve placed behind it for that particular occasion, turns a temporary gift into an immediate, intimate experience. You thought of them, show them how. 

In celebration of love, friendship and Valentine’s Day,  what does a bouquet mean to you?

References: Potter, Anna. The Flower Fix. (White Lion 2019); Darcey, Cheralyn. Flowerpaedia. (Rockpool 2017)

Time Is Money

by Erin Spencer / November 1, 2018

Plants are living things, and just as we grow throughout our lives, so do they. Aside from the rewarding experience of watching your yard begin to flourish, planting immature plants is a cheaper and more effective way to acclimate your plants to their surroundings. However, this should come with the understanding that your landscape may look more barren than you were hoping for during the initial stages, and THAT’S OKAY!

Take, for example, one of our projects pictured above. The picture on the left is right after the plants were installed in February and the one on the right is seven months later in August. In only a half year’s time, areas that had no discernible plant life are now almost fully grown and lush.

Before a plant is established they need to be attended to and watered properly, so they can develop their root system. It’s important to not water them too little or too much, both of which can kill your new plants. After they are established they should require less. If you are wondering when your plants have become established you can follow these general rules.

  • Perennial plant roots are established after about a year. 
  • Annuals can be established as quickly as six weeks.
  • Trees typically take one to two years to establish.

These are general timelines to help you anticipate how much to water. Some plants may establish quicker than others. You’ll know if a plant has become established when you give it a slight tug and it stays in the ground or it starts showing  new growth.

Happy Planting!

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Keep Calm and Leave the AC On

by Erin Spencer / June 4, 2018

As the summer sun slowly starts to peak over the horizon, many Texans will be traversing  indoors this year to experience that little bit of modern magic we like to call air-conditioning.

AC isn’t just a luxury it’s a life-saver, especially in urban settings. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some downfalls. Aside from their contribution to green house gases, old filters and inefficient machines can actually make you sick, and paying for your AC can be expensive, especially when you’re cooling down an entire household. However, there are ways to improve the quality and affordability of your AC system without changing a thing about it. Just add plants!

Plants Improve Air Quality

There are so many benefits plants have on our health and well-being. They can decrease stress, increase happiness, improve our mental health, and improve the quality of the air we breath.

We all know, from grade school, that plants convert CO2, water, and light energy into sugars leaving Oxygen as a byproduct. But, you may not have realized all the air pollutants that get filtered out along the way. In a clean air study published by NASA in 1989 they conducted research on over a dozen tropical and subtropical plant species to see their affect on the levels of harmful organic compounds commonly found in household air. This included trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia. The experiments proved to be a great success. Nearly all the plants were shown to remove at least 10% of a given chemical within a 24 hour period with some removing as much as 80%.

AC units filter particulates out of the air like pollen, dust, and dirt. However, they limit our use of outdoor ventilation and can allow for a buildup of indoor pollutants. By utilizing plants natural processes, house plants can be used in conjunction with clean air filters to considerably improve the quality of the air we breath.

If you need house-plant suggestions check out these two links, The best air-cleaning plants according to Nasa, and 17 Amazing Houseplants that Clean the Air.

Plants save you money

Improving the landscaping on the outside of your house can decrease the amount of money you need to spend cooling it. You just need to know what kind of plants to grow and where.

Through various studies complied by the EPA, shading and evapotranspiration provided by trees were shown to reduce the surrounding air temperature by 6 degrees Fahrenheit cutting cooling costs by 7-47%. To accomplish this you should plant trees on the east and west side of your building to direct southerly summer breezes towards the house. To get the most shade plant deciduous trees with a high crown on the east side of your building and deciduous trees with a lower crown on the west side. Ideally, the trees should be slow-growing with a max height of at least 20 feet. Deciduous trees with a high crown block more sun from above in the morning, as the sun begins to set a lower crown is better to block the hot afternoon rays. Because the trees are deciduous, they will create shade in summer and allow the sun to heat your home in winter. Evergreen shrubs and trees are great to use as a wind break and can be planted on the northern side of your home to block cold fronts from making things too chilly.

Plant smaller plants, trees, and shrubs around pavement, patios, and walkways to create even more of a cooling effect. Shading your AC unit directly can increase its efficiency,  but don’t plant anything within a 2 foot radius, otherwise you have the potential to disturb the airflow and make it run less smoothly.

If you need additional help feel free to give us a call, or contact us through our website! Our designers are available to create the perfect landscape for you that is energy/water efficient and beautiful at the same time.

Pollen: Pest or Pleasure?

by Erin Spencer / April 2, 2018

Here at Native Edge we love Spring! However, we know we’re not alone in saying sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Pollen is one of the most common allergens in the United States and aside from taking allergy shots, or antihistamines, the best way to diminish symptoms is to avoid the allergen altogether. That’s why we’re giving you the tools to help pinpoint your pollen problems, so you can get back to enjoying the things you love most: plants!

Given that the weather changes plants’ behaviors from year to year it should be of no surprise that it also changes how much pollen they release. A mild winter can indicate an earlier pollen season, where a late freeze might reduce the amount of pollen that year. Large amounts of dry wind will spread the pollen faster and rain can help drive it from the air.

Determining when and how much pollen will be in the air at any given time can be complicated and similar to the weather can’t be predicted too far in advance, but trends can be made. That’s why KXAN, our local news station, has an allergy report they push out every weekday to help you determine what’s bad each day.

Another important thing to consider is figuring out what you are allergic to.
There are many different types of pollen out there, and unless you are extremely unlucky, you are likely not allergic to ALL of them. If your allergies are bad enough, consider going to a doctor and getting a skin test to see what you can narrow it down to. Once you know what they are you will be better equipped to handle what comes your way.

Check out this Austin Allergy Calendar to see the types of pollen that dominate in Austin and when they are typically at their worst.

Finally, we know that at a certain point it’s impossible to avoid all allergens in the air, and you can’t stop your busy life just because of a little pollen. However, when you are at home simple things like buying an air cleaner or conditioner with CLEAN filters can do wonders to control your allergies.