- What type of plants can I use with a large deer population?
There is a big plant palette that can be utilized when dealing with a deer populated area. It all depends on what you’re looking for. There are forms of perennials that come in different colors and sizes that produce flowers throughout all of the seasons. It really just depends on what colors and styles you desire. The same goes for shrubs and trees, both evergreen and deciduous. As landscape designers it’s our job to design a plan while also being conscious of deer.
- I only have a limited amount of sun in the front yard but it’s almost complete sun in the back, what type of plants will thrive in those conditions?
All plants require different environments in order to properly thrive. Some plants can deal with both the shade and the sun while others will either become scorched or wilt over if they are placed in direct sunlight. On the other hand if full sun plants are placed in shady areas their growth rate will become decreased and overtime they’ll die because of the lack of nourishment needed from the sun.
- If my soil is constantly moist are there any types of plants that will adapt to these conditions?
Yes, some plants love moist conditions and need the soil to be constantly wet if they are to properly survive. If these plants don’t receive the proper amount of water they’ll eventually die back from the lack of nourishment. There are also plants that will die from diseases from having too “wet of feet” meaning that their roots are essentially rotting because of the overabundance of water. The excess water won’t allow the roots to breathe or gather nutrients and the end result is a deceased plant.
- I enjoy a mix of plant life when it comes to seasonal interest, can you incorporate both evergreen and deciduous plant life into one design?
Yes, all plants of all sizes from ground cover to trees come in both evergreen and deciduous forms. A successful landscape will incorporate both of these types of plants to have an all seasonal interest landscape.
- I want a nice landscape plan but I don’t want it to be too crowded or over grow to the point that maintenance becomes an issue. Are there any plants that look nice but that don’t need that much attention?
It all depends on how many plants are used in the design and how close they are installed in relation to one another. Some plants require constant maintenance to keep their form and from becoming “leggy” or wild. On the opposite spectrum of plant life there are some that once they are planted they’ll only need water, some occasional pruning if need be and even some optional nutrients.
- I have a major water issue from my sump pump discharge, what are some solutions to deal with the water once it exists from the side of my house?
One of the easiest and most effective ways to deal with excess water are drainage pits. This is a process that involves excavating the soil adjacent to the house. The closest one should excavate next to a house foundation is 10 feet to ensure nothing will damage or unsettle the foothold of the house. The excavation space should be roughly 80-100 square feet and four feet deep. A piping system will then come off the house and be angled down into the pit. The pipe should enter the pit from a little above the halfway point of the side of the pit. A larger, perforated, vertical pipe will then be placed in the middle of the pit and eventually stick out of the ground with a cap. This is done so the homeowner can unscrew the cap to check if the pit is properly filling with water. Once this has been completed the inside of the hole will need to be wrapped in landscape fabric, both on the bottom and the walls to ensure none of the soil escapes into pit. The final process involves “clean stone” being placed into the hole until the pipe from the house is covered. NOTE: Use large enough rocks that the negative space will be sufficient enough for the water to escape from the pipe coming off the house. Re-apply the soil in layers while also compacting it to lessen the settling effect of the soil. Grass seed and water is the final step and the end result is a functioning water solution.
- I have an existing patio that I’d like to extend but I don’t know where to get the same material. What are some ways we can incorporate the old with the new material?
As landscape designers it’s our job to be problem solvers and for something like this there are multiple ways of successfully completing this task. We would come out to meet with you and discuss what exactly you would want done. The next process would be color matching and finding the appropriate material that would best match the existing material. A sailor or solider border of pavers could be installed around the existing patio that would run into the proposed patio making it seem like it was almost meant to be that way. Paver accents such as shapes, symbols and even the mixing of old and new pavers would also sufficiently work.
- I’m very limited in space due to the steep topography on my property. What are some ways to develop/construct more usable space?
Constructing terraces are the easiest and most effective ways of transforming steep sloping spaces into flatter more usable spaces. These terraces can be made from railroad ties, large rocks, retaining walls and even large pieces of concrete. All of which range in price from affordable to very expensive but they all will end in the same result. The steeper the property the more terraces may become necessary and an engineer may even need to become involved if the slope is too great. In extreme circumstances large rebar rods may be used to anchor down into the ground to reinforce the retention wall.
- I really like the formal feel of certain gardens such as Longwood Gardens. What are some options to successfully design formal spaces?
Plants really help to shape the overall feel of a design. They come in all shapes and sizes and are used in different circumstances to achieve certain goals. Installing the same plant at different corners of a house, preferably something with a decent amount of height works well to start a formal design. The repetition of the same plant along a line or row and mirroring it on the other side such as a walkway is a great way to design in a formal fashion. The use of manicured and more structural plants also helps in this regard. Constructing columns at entrance points such as driveways, walkways, doorways and different spaces on a property will also give a sense of formality. Repetition is always a great way of thinking when it comes to formality.
- I live in a wooded area and would like to redesign my backyard but in a naturalistic way. What are some ways this can be accomplished while also complementing the wooded areas?
The easiest way to complement a wooded area is to use a native plant palette to strengthen what might already be existing there. Aside from the various native plants there are also plants that mimic the same qualities. The main thing to keep in mind is wildlife and how the plants will fair from the traveling and curiosity of animals.
- I’d like to have a private place to get away, how could this be done on a low budget with the use of pre-existing evergreen shrubs?
It all depends on where you would want to have this space constructed. Transplantation is always an option but the more mature the tree or shrub the less chance of survival it may have from disturbing the roots. In order to successfully create a private space, evergreen plants must be used or else the space will be completely visible during the colder months. Arborvitaes are great for this because their on the cheaper end and they can grow together to form a “green wall” that would be hard to see through. The use of rocks and soil can also accomplish this feat. Creating berms or mounds of soil with rocks or vegetation on top of them will greatly increase privacy and give your property a more natural feel.
- We enjoy seeing birds, bees, and butterflies on our property, are there any design strategies to encourage them to stay? A possible food source?
There are different plants that attract different forms of wildlife. Coneflower or Echinacea will attract golden finches for their seeds. While plants such as Black Eyed Susans and Asters will attract bees and butterflies. The Butterfly Bush is called that for a reason, when in bloom they can be seen coved in butterflies of all types. Lavender, Veronica, Honeysuckle, Lilac, Roses, Blueberry Shrubs and even Hollies will bring all forms of wildlife your property from bees, squirrels, rabbits, birds and even more!
- We live on a large hill in the valley and have picturesque views that we’d like to keep, but we also want a large privacy screen and a fireplace, how can all of these desires come to fruition?
The best way to preserve these views are the frame them. This essentially means to build around the view, to place structures, objects and plants around the view. For example, if you have a view of the valley from atop your property, build what you want to the sides while also keeping them fully functional and accessible. Every property is different and everyone wants something a little different from the previous client. The most efficient way to “frame your views” is to have a designer come out or send pictures of your property and describe what you want done.