(Special note: As of June, 2015, this entire blog was closed and all of our offerings were moved to our new home in a secluded valley north of Corvallis, Oregon. All of the following services are still available, but only to residents of Corvallis and nearby towns. A new blog has been started to serve our new community. If anything you see in this (now closed!) blog sounds interesting to you, please click over to the new blog and see what’s been happening since our move.)
All of the wonderful garden features we like to add to deep nature gardens are also available separately.
We are always open to new ideas! Ask if you don’t see what you desire.
Here are some of our favorite garden upgrades:
Why do we add decaying wood features? Not only are they beautiful, they offer lots of shelter for an incredible variety of life forms, ranging from critters that love the moist, protected spaces beneath them to carpenter bees who dig tunnels into the undersides of dry branches in which to lay their eggs. Decaying wood is a veritable bonanza of critter shelter!
We don’t just toss the logs in a big pile. Everything is carefully shaped. We might add soil, eco-mix, rocks, or sand in some places, or roughly bust up the surface of the wood. Then it needs to be cared for, watered and loved while it grows in. Artistic thinning may be needed from time to time.
Every part of a deep nature garden needs to be accessible to human hands for regular maintenance. But we do not step directly on the ground in any garden because that compacts the soil, which is bad for the ecosystem. Our solution is to install stone walking paths around and through the garden, combined with individual stone step points carefully placed within the garden. We also like to add stones simply for their sheer beauty.
While we don’t insist on any particular kind of stones for these purposes, we do have some recommendations. We like naturally shaped flat stones with moss and lichen for the walking paths and some step points, with various sizes and shapes of non-flat rocks and stones in other places for less frequently used step points and for simple decoration.
In every deep nature garden we also like to add (or adapt!) one or more large, mossy, lichen-covered feature stones, as large as we can practically install. A big old irregular rock can be one of the most beautiful elements in a deep nature garden.
There is one more very cool stone feature we can add, if there is room for it. A dry or moist rock pile is an exceptional critter shelter, with lots of oddly-shaped protected spaces where many kinds of animals can take shelter. Do you have one in your garden?
We use EPDM pond liner, natural rocks with moss and lichens, various non-toxic commercial sealants, submersible pumps and tubing, and water-wise automatic micro-sprinklers as needed to keep the system full and moisten its edges. Water features can include waterfalls, marshy places, rapids, deep pools, and other elements.
Small cool-water fish are used to control mosquitoes. Goldfish or koi can also be present, along with special critters like native crawdads, water snails, or turtles. Other critters like damselflies, dragonflies, water striders, and other insects are very likely to appear.
Many garden upgrades are wonderful attractors of all kinds of interesting critters. Read more about using garden upgrades to attract animal life.
other garden upgrades
- birdhouses, bat boxes, bee boxes, and on-ground critter shelters of stone or wood
- new plants in any place, whether or not it is a deep nature area
- rock piles, dry wood piles, plant debris piles for various kinds of critter shelter
- custom-built mini-gardens in beautiful, durable containers in suitable locations
- invasives removal in any place, whether or not it is a deep nature area
- special pruning jobs for specific plants
- got any ideas? How can we improve your garden?