We pick up where we left off a few weeks ago... breaking down the design process into more manageable steps. Up to this point, we have defined our spaces, what they will be used for, and how big they need to be. We have also given some thought to minimizing the non-native lawn in an effort to increase biodiversity and reduce our carbon footprint.
The exercise of defining spaces has led to the incorporation of hardscapes and transitions, the sculpting lawn lines with recycled tree chips, and the pinpointing areas for additional trees. If we look closely, we have naturally delineated smaller areas with which to work and can begin to pick our plant combinations based on sun, wind and water exposure.
The next step is to select three to five different plants for an area without yet deciding on how many of each or the physical layout. For example, for the first area, we might decide to use Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen', Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope' and variegated Hosta. Notice how we've combined a large-leaf, gray-green plant with a small-leaf, light green plant with a large-leaf, variegated herbaceous plant. Using the size, shape and color of the leaf along with mature height of the plants, we have developed a certain level of contrast with this combination of plants. Done. We move onto the next area and name the next combo. Right now, the goal is to simply identify interesting combinations of plants for each segment of the landscape, bearing in mind that repeating certain plants or colors will tie the design together.
Next time we'll talk about how to weave a beautiful layout with plants.
The local media here in Virginia is paying lots of attention to ticks and Lyme’s disease with good reason. The disease, which is spread by deer ticks, is on the increase and it’s a serious disease. The lab tests are not yet definitive and the symptoms can be debilitating. Many cases are left undiagnosed for months and, in some cases, years.
We were living in the northwest part of New Jersey before moving to VA. At the time, that part of NJ had the highest rate of Lyme’s disease after Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first discovered. We had an out-of-control population of deer, the preferred host of the deer tick.
As a landscaper and parent, I was obviously concerned for my well-being and that of my family since we like to play outside a lot. Spraying ourselves with pesticide on a daily basis was not an option nor did I want to kill all insects by spraying the yard. The mosquito companies, such as Mosquito Squad and Mosquito Authority, are rendering our backyard ecosystems sterile which has rippling effects on the environment and, ultimately, all of us. Don’t allow these companies to frighten you with their advertising.
To prevent tick bites and Lyme’s disease in NJ, our family had one simple, hard fast rule. If you put a toe in the yard, you showered before bed. No questions asked, no excuses. Ticks crawl around the body for a very long time before they attach, up to 12 hours. By showering and washing within that timeframe, ticks end up down the drain. They also have to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit disease. A shower at the end of the day and frequent body checks kept us tick-free in NJ and now VA.
Welcome to my journal. For over 20 years I've created original landscape plans to help homeowners increase property value and really enjoy their yards. I approach every project as an unique opportunity to develop a work of living art, one that will require minimal care and age beautifully with time. In this journal, I will share some of my field experiences and tricks of the trade with you. Feel free to email questions. Thanks for visiting.