Behind the Scenes of a Great Design

Landscape design goes beyond just receiving that digital or printed copy of your landscape plan. Copious amounts of thought, research, ideas, and planning stand behind every great design. The question is, how does it begin and what is the process? Here is a simple list that designers (and homeowners) think about:

  1. Site Analysis: every location is entirely different. Whether you are in the same town, in the same neighborhood, or even on the same street, a design for your site is entirely unique. Many factors contribute to this statement, the major one being: microclimate. Designers note the ecological and environmental factors on site in order to determine what would be best to meet your expectations.
  2. Style: “What kind of feel are you trying to achieve here?” might be a question that a designer would pose to any homeowner. It’s important for a homeowner to know what kind of theme or style they are trying to accomplish before contacting a designer to come on site.
  3. Spatial proportions, orientation, and links: The task of uniting a site as a whole and keeping spaces proportionate is key to every great design. Deciding on spatial orientation and proportion stems from the site activities. What are you looking to do/see/experience in the space(s)?
  4. Water, structure, plants, and hardscape: these are all elements that tie into a design to achieve functionality and unity. In terms of residential design, designers frame their mind around the following: architects are the ones who create the house/structure. Landscape architects and designers are the ones who unify the structural living space with the outdoor environment to create a meaningful experience for the homeowner.
  5. Details: Focusing on certain elements on the site, using certain materials for texture and color, and other elements go into creating meaningful events that can be experienced on the site.
  6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Designers are challenged to think of sustainable efforts to help homeowners preserve their resources on the site for generation to come.January Photo

One key principle that our designer on staff lives by is “purpose”. If you question a designer about why a certain plant, structure, or element is used on site, ask: “What is the purpose of this here on the plan?” A great design is supported with elements that have a meaningful purpose for their existence on your site.

The winter months are a great time to prepare a design so that projects can begin first thing in the spring. Let us know if you have any ideas brewing!

Landscape design

I recently received a postcard in the mail from a competitor offering a $50 landscape design.  It made me think. While I admire the drive to get more work and there are many great programs on the market today that will produce high quality displays, a design is something that should evolve with time and effort. There are times when one would be foolish to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a landscape design. Simple foundation plantings where you are simply looking for a row of plants in front of your house or you have a bed or two off to the side of your driveway that just needs to be conceptualized you could get away with a cheap design or really no design at all.

The catch is that those designs are seldom exceptional, they sort of look generic or they are heavy with what is in the nursery at the time of year that you do your project. Again, there is nothing wrong with this,  but if you are looking to have an interesting, unique, seasonal garden or landscape it takes planning. What is your soil like? What are your lighting conditions? Are there acidic trees nearby? Does the wind blow particularly hard in the winter because you are so exposed? These are questions that can be asked, but a professional landscape designer or architect will want to see and feel the conditions. Designing landscapes is both an art and a science. When done well people notice.

It is much like buying a cheap production seashore painting at the mall or buying a unique one at a local art show. Yes they may both be paintings of the seashore, but they certainly are not the same. One is $5o and meant to hang in an office building or dorm room, the other may cost hundreds or thousands, but would hang in your home.

Time to build the patio!

Well another summer is racing bye. As we get back from our vacations, camps and general summer activities, it is a great time to focus on our landscapes. There is nothing like sitting around on a patio on a beautiful summer or autumn day! Whether the patio is constructed of Bluestone, Goshen-stone, brick paver, or any one of the great concrete pavers out there. A good patio installation contractor can also help you enhance your patio by adding features such as fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, water features, seat walls (whether stone or concrete segment), out door lighting, etc. There are many landscapers out there, we believe we are one of the best and our Angie’s List A rating is only one of the many referrals that we can produce to prove it.

So if you are in search or a landscape patio installation contractor, give us a call! And also, check out our website for pictures and ideas. The phone number or a contact page is on there as well.

landscape design and landscape architects

Did you know that a landscape designer is not automatically a landscape architect? Anyone can call themselves a landscape designer. And some of them are very talented, but just because someone has a landscape design graphics program does not mean they are good at design work. A well crafted landscape design takes shape in your yard. A landscape Architect goes through years of study and apprenticeship before they take a rigorous state exam.
Out landscape architects are exceptional at taking your thoughts and dreams creating a design that matches your site. But it does not end there, the design has to be properly installed by a reputable landscape contractor. again anyone can be a landscaper, but you need to look at their reputation and expertise before you choose someone for your project.
We can help you build a landscape to meet your dreams and needs. Whether it’s a stonewall, a bluestone patio or a beautiful planting, we have the experience and the reputation to exceed your expectations while building your dream landscape.

What type of Landscape Company are you looking for?

Summer Time!!

There are many types of landscape companies out there.  There are people who operate like a one man band. There are landscape companies who concentrate solely on maintenance, lawn care or design build.  There are national firms (the Walmarts of Landscapers) who can seemingly do it all.

Then there companies like ours who are small enough to understand you individually, yet big enough to be able to handle whatever your needs.  We have professionals (yes professionals) dedicated to  building and caring for landscapes.  Our mission is to provide you with peace of mind while creating and caring for your property.  Our staff consists of Licensed Landscape Architects, Certified Mass Horticulturists, Certified Mass Arborists, Licensed Lawn Care technicians. 

We have these designations because this is a profession to us, not just a job until the economy turns around.  You would be hard pressed to find a more talented caring Landscape Architect than ours.  She can turn a pile of rubble (if you look on our site at the lake house) into an exquisite, interesting place to enjoy the serenity of lake living.   

Likewise our certified horticulturists love tending and caring for plants.  We care for many of the areas finest perennial gardens and our annual displays are awe inspiring.  We cultivate and tend an organinic vegetable garden for The Harrington Farm Restaurant and event facility.   

The picture for the heading of this blog is a lawn that we have taken care of for over 10 years.  When we took over the lawn it was more weeds than grass and went dormant annually.  With our stewardship this lawn clearly thrives! Believe it or not this lawn is not irrigated or over treated with chemicals.  Drop us a line and we can tell you how.

I have yet to mention our crews who actually build our landscape projects.  They consist of people who have years of experience in grading, masonry, planting as well as just being great people to be around.  Many of our clients tell us they wish the project could go longer as they will miss having the contact with our staff.  I think that speaks as much to the quality of our team as the pictures on our site speak to the quality of our work.

There are many great landscape companies to choose from.  I obviously think ours is the best!  So if you are in the need of landscape services this year, give us a call so that we can provide you with the peace of mind that comes with hiring a group of caring professionals to be in your yard building, enhancing or caring for it.

Water or not

This is a dry stream bed.  This particular site is extremely difficult to access.  So our thought was to naturalize the area with ferns, Rubekia and assorted other ground covers to make it as low maintenance as possible.  While forming a great transition from a formal patio out-door entertainment area to the wood-line.

Summertime and the livin’ is fine

We installed the water fall and planting at this pool- completing a perfect back yard stay-cation location!!  It’s easy to turn your back yard (or any area of your property) into a great place to get away from it all.  From pool settings to fire pit areas to hidden gardens the possibilities are endless.  And your back yard oasis will always be there, while that get away comes and goes!

Another Back yard OASIS

A nice fire pit

Here is a fieldstone fire pit surrounded by a “Cracked Ice” Bluestone patio and boulder seating!  Great place to sit with your family and friends all year long. 

My family sat around ours last weekend, the best part was watching the fireflies dance in our yard while we were mosquito free!

Imagine this in your back yard!?!?

Back yard fire pit

new fire pit

In these uncertain times our back yards are the perfect place to get away from it all.   I have attached a picture from before and after in a clients back yard.  Although I think that before any work was done the yard itself was peaceful, there was no destination that called out for you to relax.  With the new patio surrounding a large fire pit the family has a spot to go outside and enjoy their surroundings even late into the evening.  As anyone who has one will tell you firepits are incredibly calming and relaxing to sit in front of.   They are also a good value. 

fire pit area before

Add value to your home with landscape project

This article ran in the Boston Globe over the weekend. Even in what some are calling “The Great Recession” you can ad value to your home by creating the proper landscape.
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2010/04/18/money_growing_in_your_garden/

The cool thing is that you can ad to your outdoor living space for your enjoyment now, while creating additional value to your property! We have a Registered Landscape Architect on our staff who could help you design your dream landscape that we could then help you build! Give us a call!! 978.422.0420