FAQ

Gardening Tips (11)

What are some low maintenance trees I can plant in my garden that will attract birds and wild life, and are somewhat small to medium heights?

Dahoon & American Holly, Japanese Blueberry trees, Little gem Magnolia wax myrtle. are just a few.

When should I trim my Crape myrtle?

It is best to trim Crape myrtles in Late Winter or Early spring while the tree is dormant.

What’s the most valuable information you would relay to one of your clients?

I would have to say the best tip I would give a soon to be gardener is do your homework, learn your favorite styles, walk through a nursery, search the web sites find out what inspires you & makes you want to sit & relax in that space & then apply it to your home. Then once a plan is in place, learn from your landscape find out what to expect from your new space, learn the best way to care for it. Make sure the landscape you have invested in works for you. This will ensure your short & long term happiness.

I live in Vero Beach, FL. When is the best time to plant?

Living in Florida, we are blessed usually any month of the years is a great time to plant although due to the recent frosts the best time to install your new landscaping is Late March to early July. The intense heat of August tends to make the plant & trees shock a bit & of course we are always on the look out for those bad storms. best not to subject a newly rooted tree to any heavy winds & rain.

When do I prune my plants? I hate to trim my plants back but if I don’t they get all woody at the base and overgrown.

I get this from a lot of my clients when I tell them to trim once per month they say well it was growing so good a blooming so heavy I didn’t want  to cut it back. Although that’s exactly the time to prune. Depending on the plant whether it set to be trimmed once per month or more often. Pruning and deadheading help promote new growth & lushness. If you do not trim often enough that beautiful green canopy will become a stalk at the base because the sun is no longer penetrating the center. I know it feels like a step backward when the plant has grown in & your cutting it back although set a schedule & stick to it. I promise you will appreciate the benefits.

Is it true that mulch can help to keep plants from freezing during the winter?

Somewhat, yes.  Mulch will preserve some additional heat to the root base & will help during a freeze although covering your plants is always the best measure. I do suggest that in the first month of winter to add an additional layer of mulch as just another preventative measure.

I want a very colorful tropical garden but what I don’t want is a mix of colors that look messy and not well thought out. What should I do?

When I am designing a landscape garden it is important that we maintain and preserve a balanced palette of colors. After meeting and discussing your likes and dislikes it will help me determine your style, it is important that the layout fit your personality for you to truly enjoy the space. Yes I love the layered tropical look & there are many blooming  plant varieties that harmonize well together & if textures are mixed to separate each grouping then it is easy to create mixed colors and combine every hue from the rainbow, there are actually endless possibilities.

Do I need weed matting fabric for my new planting beds?

Yes, weed matting Provides a strong defense against weeds while helping to promote healthy plants and shrubs. This rugged fabric is a quick, simple way to keep weeds from getting a foothold while allowing air, moisture and nutrients to permeate. Durable and easy to install.

My Canary Island Date Palm fronds are turning yellow. Why?

It sounds like you have a magnesium deficiency.  Fertilize four times per year with 14-14-14 & the problem will correct itself.

All the fronds on my Palm tree are brown from the freeze. What should I do?

Leave the fronds on the tree until the end of winter if we get another cold front the damaged fronds will help protect the center of the tree. Spray the bud ( center of the tree ) with a copper fungicide & respray 10 days after the first application.

I have such a problem with slugs and snails. How do I keep them off my plants?

Slugs & snails love new plantings; before the plant is established the pests attack.  There are a few remedies on the market, although I find that spreading spent coffee ground at the base of the new plants being attacked usually solves that problem. Slugs & snail hate caffeine, it dries them out so they will be deterred from the plants if coffee grounds are among the new crop.

Landscaping Services (16)

I am willing to do the planting, but can you come in and set the large trees? And do you offer a sketch or DIY landscape design for me to follow?

Yes I if you review my site you will see I work with a computer imaging program to transform your space into a completed landscape I use this as a type of preview in order to confirm the layout is something we are both pleased with prior to planting. I charge 199.00 without installation for the design although if there is a small phase involved with tree planting I will offer the layout at no charge. We also have a plant delivery option available that includes plant delivery to your home and plant placement to  make it very easy for a weekend project.

I am landscaping a courtyard, and it’s incredibly overgrown with a hodgepodge effect. I like many varieties of plants, but not sure if its the placement or the choices that are off. Can you help?

Yes, in my experience with a small courtyard the best approach is to use just a few plant options in some cases three or four groups although use each plant in quantity. Start with your top layer first & go from there. Use one or two accent points although reuse them throughout the other areas of the courtyard. So even if the space in not symmetrical the planting will flow nicely & Use containers for additional accents.

I live in a villa with a very small side yard that’s just wasted space. Is it possible to give it a small courtyard feel for outside entertaining?

Creating a design for a villa is a little difficult & takes planning for each space making just the right selections for every corner. I usually start with mixing hardscapes for instance a rock or gravel base to show off the soon to be seating area & then encompass three sides with a tall greenery maybe one side of the area make a two tier retaining wall creating tall grasses as the top backing layer, this really softens the space although nestles the seating area creating that courtyard feel. There are many ways to achieve this look even with the smallest space & with my computer imaging I can show you the proposed space in full.

I have a small backyard (practically a postage stamp!), but have always wanted a country garden. I have been told that design is based on large open spaces. Would it look messy if introduced to a small space?

Well, in part that’s true, creating a country garden includes gravel pathways which follow strong straight lines with wild flowers & a wide expanse of perennials & simply a sea of colors. Although a good design can incorporate that by dividing spaces with natural borders for instance use formal elements as your back drop upright very controlled plantings mixed with groups of perennials & use layers very important to mix dwarf material in certain areas of the garden to have as a second or third tier climbing those tall controlled plantings. Bring in a wood structure or two, nothing heavy maybe a single Arbor, just something large enough to possibly use over a small seating section, add hanging baskets to the arbor. Have a small stone seating area if possible as a formal country setting and then maybe a very small one with a wooden swing. Mix it up a bit.

Shade plants needed! My house is surrounded by big oak tree canopies and although I love them, nothing grows well.

Well, oak tree canopies can be tricky the acid the falling leaves produce can be hard on a great variety of plants, although there are may that will work & even many blooming plants that actually like the acidic soil they produce. its best for me to see the space & how much shade is overlapping and in the meantime speak with your maintenance company about blowing the leaves out of the beds & blowing them into the yard prior to mowing as long as he has a mulcher on his mower than that will help to keep your beds clean, without constantly raking them out. As for shade there are so many possibilities once the leaves are under control.

I want a ZEN garden although everybody translates that into a Japanese garden & Bonsai trees, can you create a Zen garden?

Sure!  Traditionally Zen gardens are composed of sand, rocks, different non-showy types of ground cover such as moss & different varieties of grasses & although it sound simple, just like any garden style and sometimes more difficult than most, constructing a Zen garden can be tricky.  This a very serene and simple type planting the focus point usually situated around some type of seating section surrounded by symbols of water, sand & rock & repeated patterns of those natural elements.

Can you give me a few helpful hints on laying out my garden design?

When planning out your garden these are a few guidelines I like to follow:

As for planting for an entrance way make sure to funnel the planting towards the front door although make sure that nothing obstructs the actual view of the doorway.

Start with bright flowers around the walkway & entrance & then deeper colors leading away from the house this will give your planting depth as it leads into the outer spaces of the yard. Make sure to plant in groups follow a theme although make sure to mix textures of plants some vertical groups mixed with some controlled compact plantings. As for color mix it up, I love to use colors in the loops  or curves of the planting  bed as well as the  corners.

Landscaping is a very rewarding task & while it is possible to create a very attractive garden without planning it out first it is much more efficient in saving money & time to make a plan for what your new space should achieve.

Can you help me create a Japanese garden in phases? I have a small boring backyard & want to add a calming presence & privacy.

Yes, Japanese gardens are becoming more & more popular because they seem to create a very soft & peaceful space although there is no singular design of Japanese gardens it can be interpreted in many different ways. One of the first principles of a Japanese garden is recreating nature, with a natural water feature & large canopy trees rounded beds curved paths.  The next step are incorporating wood structure, trellis & gates. Just as a natural space is needed so is an enclosed feel, Japanese gardens are known for their enclosures that keeps in the symbolic sense of seclusion. Then add your ornamentals.  It is important to work in detail with your designer or gardener to determine the look of the type of garden you want weather its big sweeping canopy trees or mainly ornamentals & exotic flowers or a fine mix of all. With my computer program I can help with some examples of transforming your back yard we can come up with a master plan & then work out the phases according to your budgets.

I want a tropical landscape design for my pool area although, more of a Mediterranean design for the front of the house to match the Architecture. Will these two themes work together?

My Landscape design styles include, English, Tuscan, Mediterranean, Modern design, Cottage garden, Asian & Tropical landscapes. I have had a lot of experience with these styles as well as overlapping them to accommodate many different spaces.

I am a “Do-It-Yourself” type of person – I don’t mind doing the work. Can I just pay a consultation or design fee for a DIY type of layout?

Yes, we can generate a Do-It-Yourself plan, leaving you with a three dimensional photo realistic image, measurements, and easy to follow instructions.  The costs for the design plans ranges from $150.00 – 400.00 depending on the complexity & size of the location.

I’ve browsed your web site and I’m impressed! Although I have a small space to work with & need a well thought out plan in order to maximize the space, do you have a minimum job size?

We work with all types of projects from small courtyard plantings to full yard overhaul.  We do have a minimum project budget of $600. With that minimum, offer all the services listed on website. Consultation is free as is the computerized three-dimensional imaging of the prospective landscape. I offer all my clients the option to work in phases.  This way we are able to create a master plan, working in sections throughout the year, in accordance with your budgets and goals.

I want to spruce up my old landscape. It needs help – it’s very boring and the theme seems to repeat itself over & over again using the same plant material. I like the base feel although needs some pop or a few focal points, needs color.

Yes, after seeing the landscape I can determine the style & feel for what you & the original landscaper was going for. Since you like the base layout & as you mentioned it repeats itself in which I here the word matchy match from people. Means that the landscaper designed in a very symmetrical style & balance & consistency was more important than interest. We can add a Asymmetrical look to your current planting this will give it some abstract or free form while still creating unity & balance. We can mix textures & bring in new elements that are pleasing to the eye but are not repetitious although create more of a natural transition.

Tuscan Landscape: My husband & I went to Italy last year & fell in love with the Tuscan style landscape, can you design a Mediterranean/Tuscan landscape for our yard?

Yes, the Tuscan theme planting is one of my favorites, because it consist of so many elements Obviously key plants are one of the main keys in really creating the atmosphere although then the door opens from there to Old Terra Cotta planters & mix of stone & wrought Iron statuary & fountains, the list goes on. Do a little homework & see if you like the formal Tuscan layouts or old-world courtyard – gardens.

Small garden ideas: I have a very small space & enclosed by three walls, although I think it could be a great Court yard type of look maybe create a seating section surrounded by tropical plants? Do you design & work with small spaces?

Well, small spaces seem to be abundant in Florida & I have come to enjoy the personal attention these areas need. In my experience when working with partially enclosed spaces the thing to keep in mind is what will enlarge this area & work from there. Always start with the outer layer the tall plants first make sure they are to the back of the planter or along the wall tall light colored grasses or some sort of soft textures plant leaving the more colorful planting as the lower tiers, this will create depth in any small area. Add curves if possible giving the look of extended space no matter if its a walkway or planting bed.  You also may consider raised beds creating different levels adds a lot of interest, possibly add a climbing fig along one wall & blend light colored accents among it or possibly a wall fountain.  Small spaces do not mean small landscape there are so many options to work with.

Can your company help with my homeowner’s association demands landscape drawings and such?

Yes. During our initial meeting, I will generate a color rendering of the space to be landscaped with descriptions & measurements. This allows your board to see exactly what the new planting area will look like before the first tree is to be planted. There is no charge for this service it is done with all of our clients in order to take out the guesswork & narrow in on the final layout.

What is the difference between a Landscape Designer and a Landscape Architect?

A Landscape Designer is someone who generally works with plants and small structures only in theory, while designing a landscape. A designer can provide you with a quite complex landscape plan although structural analyses and engineering specifications are generally not included.

A Landscape Architect is more inclined to provide very detailed information on the hardscaping, specifying details about the structure of the any hardscape as well as foundation planning & improvements. A Landscape Architect will provide a highly detailed plan drawn to scale including detailed specification.

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