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Book Launch: Stop Landscaping. Start Life-Scaping.

I am excited to release my new book out into the world with its official launch on this special day. March 23rd is my mother’s birthday and it’s been two years since her passing. She was an instrumental guide and teacher throughout my writing journey, editing my very first printed newsletters and encouraging me to find and own my unique voice. 

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes Building A Better Landscape Business

The 5 Steps in Thinking through Your Life-Scape

Here’s a simple but crucial piece of information that anyone interested in their landscape needs to remember: landscapes are living entities. They are complex, integrated ecosystems comprised of plants that sprout, grow and eventually die; of creatures large and small that live on, in, and around those plants; of rocks, soil, and minerals that retain moisture, dry out, erode, and transform. That’s why I refer to landscapes by the more realistic term, “Life-Scapes”, to remind us of this fact. In short, they are highly dynamic and should not – cannot – be thought of as static set-pieces.

Topics: Gardens With A Theme Designing Gardens and Landscapes

Why Systems Thinking Makes a Better Landscape

The landscape conversation is pretty common nowadays. Certainly, every homeowner will consider their landscape at one point or another. Mainstream media and the popular DIY movement has worked hard to keep things simple. Mostly, that dialogue seems to take its cues from the construction industry, integrating design with labor and materials to complete a project – a project with a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes Landscape and Garden Maintenance

Upgrade Your Landscape Maintenance with Fine Gardening

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to fall out of love with their landscaping. Often, life seems to get in the way and doing “yard work” falls by the wayside as other things capture our time and attention. At best, some homeowners fall back on what we call “landscape maintenance” – completing only the most basic tasks necessary to keep wild and untamed nature in check.

Topics: Horticulture In The Garden Designing Gardens and Landscapes Container Gardening

The Landscape Revisited - My most valuable lessons of 2018

The 2018 growing season is coming to a close. Thanksgiving is behind us and the next holiday season is closing in. In Massachusetts, we’ve already had eight inches of snow dumped on us. At my company, as we’re valiantly struggling to keep working through the snow, rain, frost, and mud, I realize the mixed blessing that garden making is for me, my staff and our clients. Full of ups and downs, successes and failures, working in the landscape and with nature is not a task that anyone should take on if they expect a predictable, repeatable work environment. That isn’t a good description of the outside work life...at least not where I live.

Topics: Designing Gardens and Landscapes

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