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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: Landscape Site Analysis

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: Spring Garden Landscape Site Analysis

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: Sustainable Design Landscape Site Analysis Understand DEP Regulations Environmental Landscape

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 landscape renovation Landscape Site Analysis

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: Eco Friendly Landscape Landscape Site Analysis Understand DEP Regulations Environmental Landscape

How much sun does your garden have?

To understand the available sun in your garden, map your shade.

Mapping the shade in your landscape is a very useful tool in landscape design. If you want to succeed in your garden endeavors, you are going to need to know where you have sun and where you don't.

Topics: home landscape ideas Garden Design Right Plant Right Place Landscape Site Analysis