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Choose the Right Plant for the Right Place in Your Landscape

One of the most basic mistakes made in the garden, especially by those just starting out, is selecting plants based primarily on whim: “Ooo, that’s a nice flower, or that smells so good, or I really like this color or texture of foliage. I’m gonna buy a few and plant them in my yard!”

Topics: Home Landscape Ideas Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes

The Importance of Understanding Available Sun for Your Garden

Sunlight – like most critical gardening elements – is highly dynamic. The sun is constantly moving throughout the day, as well as from season to season. Add in human-influenced elements such as buildings, walls, and other plantings, and you’ve got a surprising number of factors that all need to be considered when accurately determining the amount of sunlight your garden gets at different times.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Seasonal Garden Interest

A Fine Gardener Digs into the Truth About Soil

It’s tough for soil to get any respect. To most people, it’s just dirt. But the truth is, soil is a miracle, a universe unto itself right under our feet. It may seem weird at first, but the soil is essentially a living thing, teeming with bacterial life (mostly in a good way) and tiny critters that enable plants to thrive in a wide variety of conditions and environments.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Landscape and Garden Maintenance Seasonal Garden Interest

Top 3 Season-Extending Gardening Tips

If you just love gardens with WOW-Factor, the season always seems to come to an end way too soon. Trees, shrubs, and perennials are traditional favorites for creating layers and lots of landscaping interest, but there can be a periodic lapse between flowerings that may cause things to go a little dull.

Topics: Home Landscape Ideas Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes

The 411 on Tree Conservation By-Laws

After much of New England lost its forests in the early 19th century to agricultural clearing, shipbuilding, and fuel gathering, the region has seen remarkable reforestation and now boasts a substantial forest-to-developed-landscape ratio in favor of forests. Today, many people don’t give too much thought to trees as a general resource that can benefit both property owners and the public.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes

Marketing Your Landscape Design Project: 5 Ways to Gain Public Support

You’re a commercial property owner or developer and you’ve just spent several months and a significant amount of money developing a landscape project to set your property and business apart from the competition, beautify the neighborhood, and win the hearts and minds of customers and community residents alike. The only problem is, the public isn’t as thrilled with your plans as you are.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Commercial and Public Landscapes

Preparing for Dept. of Environmental Protection Enforcement Orders: 3 Tips to Minimize the Damage You’ve Done

Property owners undertaking landscaping projects adjacent to watershed resources or other public property without first making application to the local conservation commission often unwittingly run afoul of environmental regulations. Often the property owner is simply unaware of the rules and regulations governing land development in their community.

The lucky ones are those who may have not gone too far with their landscaping project, or who have done work (which may be “damage” in the eyes of the conservation agent or conservation commission), which can be undone or revised to meet by-laws and satisfy the agent or commission. The truly unfortunate ones are those who may have cut down trees that are viewed as vital to protecting water resources or some other environmentally sensitive feature. So how can you minimize and manage the damage you’ve done and still try to keep your landscaping project on track? 

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes

Legacy Landscapes: The Art of Preservation and Conservation

There are few places in the United States with historical landscapes as rich and diversified as New England. Over the centuries since Europeans first set foot in the New World, the landscape has changed dramatically – from the pre-European open woodlands carefully maintained by the Native Americans to nurture biodiversity for food and shelter, to the thousands of miles of stonewalls and variety of cultivation of the early European settlers, to the recreational and residential landscapes of a growing middle and leisure class.

Today, virtually every New England community has landscapes connected to the past. Old farms from the 18th and 19th centuries, with their meadows, orchards, walls, and shade trees. Estates and facilities from the late 1800s featuring elegant drives and walkways, stately trees, and colorful gardens -- all elaborately designed to showcase the prosperity of the new industrial era.

With increasing environmental awareness there has also come a growing interest in preserving and conserving natural resources and landscapes. Wait a minute, you’re thinking, preserving and conserving? What’s the difference? The short answer is, plenty.

Topics: Ecological and Sustainable Landscapes Horticulture In The Garden

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