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Grand Landscapes in Compact Spaces

Do you have a small space to landscape? That doesn’t mean you can’t think big. Many homeowners today find themselves working with smaller lots and bigger houses, often leaving them with relatively tiny areas to landscape. Frustrated by the lack of space, some simply give up thinking that they can turn their property into something fun and functional. Others, faced with a compact space, settle for a boring solution because they mistakenly believe that only rich people can afford to turn an uninspiring space into something beautiful and usable. Neither attitude could be further from the truth.

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes

First 6 Steps to Create the Garden of Your Dreams

If you love the outdoors and growing things, I’ll bet that, at one time or another, you’ve dreamed about the perfect garden – what you’d plant, how it would look – and then you thought “how would I ever manage to maintain something like that?” It’s easier than you think.

In fact, it’s possible to create the garden of your dreams that is both beautiful and manageable. However, it’s easy to make just a couple of mistakes that turn that garden of perfection into a garden of woe.

There are six landscape basics that come into play with the perfect garden and when they are addressed, maintenance becomes totally manageable:

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes

Understand your landscape by breaking it down into layers

Your landscape can be a confusing place. As spring’s thaw gradually reveals its details, it can be difficult to comprehend all of the aspects of your gardens and landscape. However, there is a way that you can simplify and categorize it that will make understanding it significantly easier.

I like to break down the landscape into five main layers or niches as a way to organize my thinking. It’s helpful to understand these niches before you go out to do any landscape assessments – say, after winter or a storm to uncover the damage done or before you do a big project and want to use your assessment as a basis for discussion with a landscape professional.

These layers/niches will help you categorize information and plan for the work needed to best maintain your landscape and to make the best decisions around changing it.

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes

Three Expert Steps To Assess Your Spring Landscape

March 20th is the first day of spring and each first day of this season can be wildly different from the year before. We’ve had years where we’ve been tucked under six feet of snow and others where the crocus are forcing their way up and out of the soil and the forsythia are threatening an explosion of yellow flowers.

This time of year is hard on gardeners and garden lovers because we are itching for some color in the garden and warmth on our backs and faces. The March winds (and snow in the northeast from the blizzard named Stella) can still be blowing strong, the temps still a little bitter and the ground a bit frozen, but boy are we ready. 

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes Seasonal Garden Interest

3 Tips to Design Your Landscape While Complying with Local By-Laws

If your property is in an environmentally-sensitive area, especially one that abuts a watershed resource, getting a landscaping project approved can be tricky. As we discussed in our previous blog posts about Mass DEP and local conservation commissions, there are a number of rules and regulations in place to protect the environment and community natural resources. In fact, local conservation commission by-laws can be stricter than state conservation guidelines. So what can you do to get your landscape project designed and approved with minimal hassle?

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Designing Gardens and Landscapes

Case Study: Straw Hat Park, Medfield, MA

Turning underutilized public space into a green-oasis “pocket park”

Urban blight is not just a problem for major cities. Smaller communities across the nation are also faced with abandoned and forgotten properties, some taken over by municipal governments. For many community planners the problem is in knowing how to convert an underutilized parcel of public land into a useful and engaging space, like a vibrant pocket park for public use and enjoyment.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Designing Gardens and Landscapes

Tips for Choosing the Right Size Tree for Your Landscape

Deciduous trees are a versatile, attractive and dynamic element for use in any landscape design because they are powerful players in the environment. These are the trees that have a trunk below and a canopy above. They lose their leaves in winter and go through several changes over the seasons. They create habitat, define space, and offer screening and shade. They build character to the landscape with their many different textures and colors. There’s a wide variety to choose from in any planting zone allowing you to match size, shape and compatibility to your location and project.

Topics: Horticulture In The Garden Designing Gardens and Landscapes

3 Secret Confessions of a Landscape Professional

When you have worked for a number of years in any profession, there are stories you could tell, mistakes you've made and, yes, even some things to confess. With all of them comes hard-won knowledge and experience that can serve you well if you pay attention.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Designing Gardens and Landscapes Landscape and Garden Maintenance

Learn How to Choose the Best Planning Lead Time for Your Next Landscape Project

We New Englanders have a tendency to stumble out of our homes after a long, hard winter, blink in the bright sunshine like bears emerging from their dens and say, “Man, the yard looks terrible! We need to spruce things up, maybe think about some new gardens, a tree or even an updated patio…” 

The problem is that people don’t think about landscaping until the weather takes a turn toward warmer, blue-sky days and they feel comfortable outside. And that’s exactly the WRONG time to start in on planning a landscape project.

Topics: Home Landscape Ideas Designing Gardens and Landscapes

7 Characteristics of the Best Designed Environmentally-Friendly Landscapes

Property owners who abut public property face a unique set of challenges when it comes to getting a landscaping project approved. Instead of having to contend with just one or two immediate neighbors, you’re potentially faced with the entire community which becomes, in a sense, neighbors and can have a say in what you can and cannot do with your landscaping project.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Designing Gardens and Landscapes