Best Machinery for Efficient Lot Clearing

Lot clearing is not for sissy’s. Contractors run into bee hives, snakes, ticks and skunks. If you have an area that is overgrown and it’s bigger than one man can handle, consider the capabilities of an experienced landscaping crew with the right machinery. Eliminate unwanted vegetation in a matter of hours or days with a forestry mulcher and chippers.

Mulching Head Attachment for Lot Clearing
When big jobs are encountered, the forces are brought in. The vegetation that is advantageous to the environment and that lot clearing-forestry mulcher-wood chipperwill give the overall property an aesthetic appeal is preserved. These specimens are marked to preserve them from harm. We then, start to eliminate the vegetation and trees that are in danger of falling or invasive. Lot clearing is done with our Terex mulching head specifically for the CAT 299D XHP. This CAT 299D XHP is the most powerful skid loader in its class at 110 HP and a hydraulic flow of 40 gallons per minute!  The machine weighs 12,000 lbs. and the head itself weighs 2500 lbs.  It is capable of taking down and mulching up to 10″ diameter soft wood trees such as pine and poplar.  The machine can clear between 1-3 acres in a day depending on terrain and thickness.  Brush, bramble, briars, small saplings and such on flat ground it could do 3 acres in 8 hours pretty easy.  But burning 6 gallons of fuel per hour, and touting 34 carbide teeth that cost $120 each to replace. This forestry mulching machine has a price tag of $130,000. It operates at $300 per hour but is well worth it for the right project!

Lot Clearing Made Easy
This forestry mulching machine can eliminate a lot of man-power in a single day by being done by one person operating it. This CAT 299D XHP can clear more acreage than a five-man crew can using hand tools and a chipper. This machine is flexible enough to move around preserved specimens and eliminate undesirable underbrush and debris. Not only is it lot clearing-mulching-land clearing-forestry mulchernibble, it carries a low ground pressure, creating less ground disturbance for sensitive areas. With the stick-arm, it can attack vegetation from higher areas.

And bonus! The mulched materials are left on-site to create a mulch material, help eliminate more weed growth and add nutrients as it decomposes back into the soil.

Eliminate Disposal Concerns

When felling trees, a wood chipper can reduce the brush, limbs and disposal concerns by chipping the unwanted and cleared vegetation into smaller pieces that will deteriorate faster. This chipped debris can be dumped in a compost to deteriorate and later be used for soil regeneration.

 

The overall low impact to the environment by using forestry mulching machinery will create a healthier and sustainable property.

If you are considering clearing the view, give us a call for a consultation today.

Curb Appeal to Increase Your Real Estate

curb appeal-driveway-real estate

What is the first thing seen when you drive into a driveway? A potential buyer (if your home is on the market) or a visitor will notice the cracks and broken pieces around the driveway or walkway leading up to the house. Curb appeal gives a better impression when all the eyesores are repaired and tidy. How to increase your real estate sell is the focus of any seller. Let’s look at the options available.

If you are planning on selling your home or investment property, arrange in advance by observing curb appeal-driveway-walkwayproblem areas. Walk around and notice all the problem spots from a buyer’s point of view and take notes. If the driveway needs consideration, will there be repairs or replaced entirely? Contact a licensed contractor to give advice and make recommendations for the best options to enhance the curb appeal of the home.

Enhance Curb Appeal with Repairs & Replacements

If an asphalt driveway is cracking, consider patching it. Cracks can expedite the deterioration if not filled in and repaired. Repairing a concrete or asphalt driveway may take up to 2-3 days. If installing a new concrete driveway, it won’t be ready to drive on for seven days, so planning is prudent. Otherwise, crushed stone or gravel can be installed in a day’s time. Pavers are a great alternative and can last upwards of 100 years or more. There are many varieties of pavers with patterns that can be laid to enhance the entrance to your home. These pavers can be tied into the walkway entrance with the same pattern.

Walkways and porches are areas that will be noticed by a visitor or a potential buyer. Concrete is usually a material used by default but also consider all your options. In some spaces, pea gravel with spots of large flagstone as stepping-stones can be used with the appropriate style of home. Brick and flagstone or decorative pavers add curb appeal and a favorable response welcoming friends and family.

If you are ready to add some curb appeal to your home, we can help with the best approach to your budget. Give us a call and let’s discuss.

Stormwater Runoff and Soil Erosion

stormwater runoff-soil erosion-drainage-Asheville-landscape ideas

Stormwater runoff is an ongoing problem in the mountains. The heavy pelting of raindrops causes compaction in the soil thereby causing more stormwater runoff not to be able to absorb into the ground. Taking measures to help the soil to be more permeable will prevent soil erosion. Let’s keep our natural resources in our yard and not migrating to the neighbors!

Add Organic Matter & Mulch

First, the soil must be aerated and conditioned to absorb the water and retain it. In WNC, most of the soil is clay. While clay contains rich nutrients, it may be too acidic or too alkaline. Working in organic matter and aged manure to the top 3 inches of the soil will lighten the heavy clay and enable the plants to absorb the nutrients they need. Clay holds water and drains slowly. Too much water on the roots of your plants can cause wet-logged roots and rot. Oxygen-poor soils will also contribute to plant decline. To prevent stormwater runoff and erosion, also add mulch to the beds to prevent soil from being impacted by strong downpours. The slow breakdown of mulch will also feed organic matter into the soil and help with water absorption.

Redirect Stormwater Runoff: Gutters, Rain Barrels, Rain Gardens

stormwater runoff-french drains-drainage-AshevilleCapturing stormwater runoff and redirecting starts often with the roof and gutters of the home or building. An adequate guttering system that holds the amount of water coming off the roof and directing it into the gutters and downspouts is the first step. Rain barrels can be set up at the exits of downspouts for later use in the garden. If working in clay soils, rain gardens can be installed and be amended with sand, topsoil, and organic compost to help with adequate permeability.

Redirect Stormwater Runoff: Swales, French Drains, Catch Basins

Filtering the stormwater runoff before it moves downhill is advantageous to neighbor properties and the health of rivers and streams. To do this, create broad, shallow swales that water can run over while soaking into the grassy surface. If water is moving at a faster speed and erosion is a problem, install a French drain below the surface. A French drain is lined with landscape fabric, dug 18-24 inches deep and wide with 6 inches of a gravel base. A 4-6 inch perforated socked pipe will sit on this surface, and backfill of gravel surrounds the pipe diameter and provides support against lateral pipe deformation under heavy loads above the surface. The surface will be lined with landscape fabric to prevent silt buildup, and topsoil and turf applied or a decorative rock placed on the surface to mimic a dry river rock bed. Transits are used to drop the pipe 3 inches every 10 feet. Measurements will ensure the water exits at the proper flow.

A catch basin has up to three inlets. This collection box redirects surface runoff and directs water to pass through to a solid, buried drainpipe. It is buried at the lowest point so that the rainwater can naturally route into it. The exiting drainpipe under the surface would deposit the water to another location or outlet that carries the water to rivers and streams.

These are some of the ways stormwater runoff can be captured and filtered, leaving the best assets of Mother Nature in your garden and lawn. If you need help identifying what you may need in your landscape, give us a call. We are a Certified Stormwater BMP Inspector and will give you the best possible solution.

Watering Plants Correctly & Thoroughly

watering-plants-landscaping ideas-Asheville

With hot weather comes our share of dry days and lack of rainfall. This can cause potential stress on your landscape and plantings. Supplemental watering will help the survival of your investment.  Take these notes on how to adequately water leaving all plants thoroughly satisfied.

Observe for Adequate Moistures

Make observations in the garden. Take a look at the leaves of the plants. Are they wilting? Are there brown leaves at the base of the plant? Scratch beneath the soil’s surface with a small trough to see if the soil beneath the surface is holding water or how dry it is. Dig several inches down to the root system to tell if there is any moisture. The soil should be moderately damp but not soupy wet. If there is moisture, skip watering. If not, get out the soaker hose and curl around the base of the plant or throughout the planting area. If a drip irrigation system is set up, the emitter can be added to adequately water at different gallons per hour.watering-plants-landscape ideas-Asheville

Watering for Penetration to Root Systems

If watering by hand or spot watering, first water until there is some runoff. Water each plant lightly using the rain dial on the handle instead of the hard pressure jet spray. A slow, steady stream is best to give a good drink to each plant. Water will slowly penetrate better instead of running off the surface of the mulch and away from the plant. After ten minutes of watering, brush away the mulch around the plant and dig down to see how much in inches the water has penetrated. This will give you a good understanding as to how long to continue watering. If setting up the sprinkler in the yard over a period, place a small bucket in the vicinity of the plant. Measure the amount of water obtained in the bucket and how long the sprinkler was running. Check the root system around the plant to see the depth of penetration and follow up accordingly.

Watch the weather forecast each week and observe the health of your plants by taking a daily walk through the garden. Any stress to the plant, whether it is drought, the wind or other conditions can make it susceptible to diseases. Enjoy your plantings for years with regular fertilizing and a water regiment.

 

 

 

Landscape Calendar—How to Keep the Garden Healthy and Blooming

Landscape Calendar

Everyone has a calendar on their phone or computer with appointments and reminders of important events but do you have a landscape calendar? If you’re as busy as a bee, you have to schedule it on the calendar or you’re liable to forget! That’s when a landscape calendar comes in handy. From year to year, we forget what the chore list is and when we’re supposed to get the job done. To keep your investment in the ground growing and not wilting or dying prematurely, we have listed a comprehensive garden task list that will keep the bees buzzing as well.

Landscape Calendar:

January:

  1. Clean, condition, lubricate and repair garden tools.
  2. Cut back ornamental grasses
  3. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  4. Buy summer blooming bulbs.
  5. Get the lawn mower serviced before the rush!
  6. Organize tool shed and gardening tools.
  7. Inspect garden chemicals and make a list of things to buy.
  8. Look through seed catalogs and make a list for purchase.
  9. Look at your landscape while the leaves are off. Are there any spots that need filling in or additions, changes? Make notes and startpruning limbs-landscape calendar
  10. Prune out dead, damaged and diseased wood in trees (not fruit) and shrubs to prevent bark tearing and damage to the plant.
  11. Fill bird feeders and keep clean.

 

February:

  1. Add manure, compost or fertilizer around shrub roots and trees before mulching.
  2. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  3. Add soil conditioners to the soil such as gypsum and Calcitic lime if needed.
  4. Sow seeds under lights according to germination directions.
  5. Cut back dead perennial foliage.
  6. Spray early season dormant spray if needed.
  7. Removed dead wood off rose bushes, seal cuts.
  8. Order summer bulbs.
  9. As hostas emerge, spread broken eggshells around the base to prevent slugs and snails.
  10. Fertilize bulbs at the first sign of emergence.
  11. Prune butterfly bushes to 1 ft. from the ground. Prune back summer and flowering shrubs for new shoots (i.e. Beautyberry, Caryopteris, Rose of Sharon)
  12. Prune roses.
  13. Mulch all beds before perennials emerge to keep the mulch at 2-3 inches in depth.

 

March:

  1. Cut back and prune dead shoots, damaged and diseased limbs on trees (fruit trees too) and shrubs.
  2. Plant and/or fertilize the pansies and voilas.
  3. Spread pre-emergent herbicide (corn gluten or Preen) on your garden beds to prevent weeds.  Caution: do not spread of flower seeds are germinating.
  4. Fertilize the perennials with slow release fertilizer or compost that are emerging out of the ground.
  5. Spread mulch around perennials as they emerge if not before to provide protection and prevent weeds from germinating.
  6. Clean up the leftover dead leaves and flower heads at the base of plants and shrubbery (i.e. Camilla’s)landscape calendar-watering plants
  7. Fertilize shrubbery with a slow release fertilizer or compost.
  8. Examine shrubbery and trees for pests and treat.
  9. Apply Early Spring Pre-emergent Crabgrass Control
  10. Add soil conditioners to the soil such as gypsum to soften the clay soil and add calcium.
  11. Begin to weed all areas of the garden.
  12. Mulch all beds to keep the mulch at 2-3 inches in depth.
  13. Blow off and remove leftover leaves and debris before mulching and dispose of in compost pile.
  14. Cut back died perennials that were not tended in February.
  15. Do not trim spring flowering shrubbery until after blooming has ended.

 

April:

  1. Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer on summer bulbs.
  2. Cut back dead stems on bulbs or foliage on any lingering perennials.
  3. Set out annuals after last frost day (usually Mother’s Day weekend in WNC)
  4. Walk through the garden and watch out for any pests
  5. Propagate tip cuttings of herbaceous perennials. Divide or transplant before blooming begins.
  6. Watch rose bushes for mildew and fungus and treat.
  7. Prune flowering hedges and shrubs after bloom.
  8. Weed the garden after a soaking rain. It will make it easier to pull up the roots if thoroughly soaked.
  9. Prepare container gardens by washing out the pot, filling with drainage material and new soil and fertilizers.
  10. Treat lawns with middle spring fertilizer and broadleaf weed control.
  11. Seeding and overseeding, thatching and aeration can be done this month. Don’t overseed if pre-emergent has been spread.
  12. Finish mulching all areas that have not been mulched to this point.
  13. Soil tests can be taken and sent to the NC state extension office.
  14. Spraying herbicide on poisonous and invasive weeds can be started once the temperatures reach 70°F.
  15. Finish the fertilization of all trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.

May:

  1. Water plants and containers assuring each plant have the needed amount. Check the soil to assure the water is penetrating down into the root system after several minutes of watering. Note how long it took to get this deep penetration.
  2. Weed and monitor for pests.
  3. Stake tall perennials that become floppy with grow-through supports.
  4. Plant seeds after all threat of freeze are over.
  5. Plant summer-flowering bulbs (gladiolas, dahlias, caladiums)
  6. Deadhead tulips and daffodils (Do not remove foliage until it turns yellow.)
  7. Apply Late Spring soil builder and broadleaf weed control. Add iron.
  8. Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering.
  9. Stake and secure perennial vines for support. Remove dead stems on clematis and shade the root zone.landscape calendar-perennials-deadheading
  10. Pinch back asters and mums for fall flowering.

 

June:

  1. Order spring bulbs for fall planting.
  2. Fertilize perennials and deadhead.
  3. Weed the garden and water in needed places.
  4. Record observations in the garden for record keeping. i.e. How much mulch was ordered? What was planted? What pests to look out for in the garden?
  5. Pinch back numerous perennials to make stems/buds: Artemisia, Asters, Mums, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Russian sage, Phlox.
  6. Propagate perennials to multiple.
  7. Fertilize containers and deadhead.
  8. Replace spring annuals with summer plants for coverage.
  9. Start early summer fertilization and weed control.

 

July:

  1. Water and fertilize flowering containers.
  2. Deadhead perennials.
  3. Divide irises and daylilies after bloom.
  4. Watch and monitor roses for disease and pests and treat.
  5. Sit and enjoy your garden in the shade!
  6. Start summer fertilization and broadleaf weed control application.
  7. Add compost over summer flowering bulbs for an extra boost.

 

August:

  1. Water and fertilize flowering containers.
  2. Deadhead perennials.
  3. Do no pruning or fertilizing of shrubs this month.
  4. Add to and fluff tired container gardens. Water and fertilize.
  5. Remove all dead limbs and debris from summer storms.
  6. Overseed lawns.
  7. Edge the lawn beds this month to maintain a distinction between the lawn and the garden beds. container garden-cobblestone pavers-landscape design-Asheville

 

September:

  1. Apply bulb fertilizer to daffodils and tulips.
  2. Plant spring bulbs. Divide daylilies and distribute.
  3. Weed and water.
  4. Check for garden pests and treat.
  5. Clean up garden as perennials die.
  6. Record notes in a garden journal.
  7. Cut back lavender to ½-1/3 after blooming. Avoid cutting woody stems.
  8. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials to get their roots established during the fall and winter season.
  9. Plant winter containers with evergreens and berries.
  10. Seed, overseed, thatch and aerate.
  11. Add soil builders to the lawn. No weed control for germinating grass seed.
  12. Remove leaves from the lawn and dispose into a compost pile.

 

October:

  1. Divide perennials.
  2. Mulch perennial beds and water deeply.
  3. Clean garden and cut back and dispose of debris in a compost pile.
  4. Plant spring flowering bulbs. (crocus, daffodils, snowdrops, grape hyacinths and tulips)
  5. Plant pansies and ornamental cabbage for annual color and display.
  6. Water thoroughly before the first freeze.
  7. Add the fall and pre-winter fertilization application to the lawn (no weed control)
  8. Add the required amounts of lime to the lawn.
  9. Take soil samples and mail to the state extension service.
  10. Weed as needed.
  11. Remove leaves from the lawn and dispose into a compost pile.

 

November:

  1. Drain, disconnect and store hoses and timers. Winterize watering system. Protect outside faucets with covers.
  2. Clean, sharpen and repair garden tools.
  3. Apply the last fall and pre-winter fertilization application on the lawn if it wasn’t completed in October.tulips-spring garden chores-landscape calendar
  4. Plant spring flowering bulbs to a depth equal to 4 times the bulb height.
  5. Remove all fruit from under bushes and fruit trees on the ground.
  6. Remove leaves off the lawn each week and dispose of.
  7. Remove dead, damaged and diseased limbs before winter.
  8. Water containers and plants consistently to prevent desiccation from cold temps and the wind.

 

December:

  1. Fertilize annuals sparingly in the garden with calcium nitrate.
  2. Spread mulch over any barren spots in the garden beds.
  3. Finish the last clean up and dispose of debris in the compost pile.
  4. Cut perennial grasses back.
  5. During heavy winter snowdrifts, sweep off heavy loads off shrubbery to prevent limb breakage.

 

 

Hopefully, the bees will be buzzy in your garden as you create a little movement of your own. Before long, your plants will be flushed out, blooming and the bulbs will be multiplying. And while the blood, sweat and a few drops of water are shed, we are certain your garden will grow with this consistent landscape calendar! If you have thrown away your work clothes and need help in the garden, give us a call and a regular maintenance contract can be set up. It will give more time to stop and smell the roses!

Landscape Care After an Installation

The plant material has been carefully chosen for the environment (soil and light conditions) that it’s best suited and you are sitting and watching it all grow and bloom! To keep those blooms coming back year after year, follow a few landscape care tips in order to give your investment a healthy start.

landscape care

A Rain Bird table guideline for how long to run your system (Note: watering times are based on using 1.0 GPH Emitters).

Landscape Care:
Deep Watering Regiment

It will depend on the size of the plant, but it’s recommended to do deep watering instead of a few minutes of hose spray. Install drip irrigation around all your shrubs and trees and connect with a multi-outlet faucet attachment. A timer attached to each outlet (use hose extensions) and attached to the irrigation hose will save time. Set the timer to water 3-4x a week in hot weather, 2-3x a week in mild weather and 1-2x a week in cooler weather. The size of the plant will determine which emitter you choose and how long it’s watering. Also, the number of plants hooked up to one hose will decrease the amount of watering flowing to each plant. Watch this video for more details about how to set up this system.

Watering consistently and deeply is the key. After the first watering, dig down beside each plant to see how far the water penetrated. If it’s not hitting the root area, plan for a longer interval next watering or continue the watering currently for another 15 minutes until the root depth has been reached. Back off the timing, if water is puddling or extremely wet. Too much water can also drown a plant and deprive it of oxygen.

This chore will be one of the most important to be concerned with after the plantings are in the ground. For the best use of water, time your watering during the early morning hours. Late evening hours tend to create mold and mildew conditions after the sun goes down.

Landscape Care: Fertilizing Regiment

We plant our shrubs, trees, grasses, perennials and annuals with soil amendments, compost/organic products and root enhancers containing the sufficient nutrients for the growth needs of the plant for the first year of getting established. The landscape carefollowing spring will be the next time fertilization is necessary.

Landscape Care: Mulching Regiment

Each spring, mulching is necessary around your plantings for a number of reasons. It retards weed growth and also holds in the moisture for your new establishing plantings. It also protects the base of shrubs and trees from weed-eaters and other equipment that might get too close to the base and damage it.

Landscape Care: Weeding Regiment

Weeds deprive new plantings of moisture. Therefore, keep the garden area weed free. Hand pulling after a good soaking rain will make it easier and more efficient after the ground is moistened. Pull from the base of the weed to ensure the inclusion of its roots.

Landscape Care: Pruning

Dead, damaged and diseased limbs and branches should be removed from the plant. Pruning is normally done in the fall to late winter or early spring while in dormancy. Throughout the year, small pruning cuts can be made but too late in the season can promote new growth, which could get damaged in the first frost. Also, certain flowering shrubs get pruned right after flowering so as not to ruin the flower buds forming for the following season. Pruning is best left to a professional or one can take training classes at the NC Arboretum to successfully learn the basics.

As the winter breaks and daylight savings time gives more hours to our days, we venture out to see what’s blooming or growing. Often times we hear that “my plant has died and has no leaves!” Some deciduous plants take longer to form leaves. The earth

landscape care-new plantings

New leaf growth will look lighter in color or varied from the older leaves on the plant.

warms and gives a signal to the plant. Look closely at the branches to see if new buds are forming. Break off a small branch in an inconspicuous spot to observe green growth. If so, the plant isn’t dead. It’s just prolonging coming out of dormancy. Mother Nature will wake it up when it’s time.

New growth will emerge on the tips of the plant and be tender to the touch. New growth is usually lighter in color or a varied color for that particular plant. New growth is a good sign that your plant is receiving the necessary nutrients and watering needed.

If these instructions are followed, the plantings will do well under normal circumstances. Unusual circumstances could occur when there is abnormal rainfall or a drought condition. Making adjustments in the water schedule and assuring your drainage is adequate around the beds will ensure healthy plants. Severe cold and wind can take a toll on plants and cause either winter or freeze damage.

Keep an eye on your plants and enjoy your garden!

Hillside Gardening: Steep Slope Maintenance & Runoff

Handling Maintenance on a Steep Slope

Walking up a steep slope demands perseverance and stamina. Making it easier to access is key to maintaining your steep slope if there’s any hope of gardening on it. While aerobics might not be palatable, there are a few ways to access with some pre-planning and not skin your knees in the process.

steep slope-hillside gardeningTerracing your steep slope is an option with retaining walls. Depending on how steep the grade, will determine the height requirements. Retaining walls are a big plus in accessing more room to garden and for increasing usability in your space. As gardeners in the mountain, we try to find every ounce of flat land we can to make it easier and accessible. Having terraces can make it easier to access and give more flexibility in your planting palette. Terracing can also relieve rainwater runoff and slow the water down to soak into the leveled areas on the terrace. This prevents erosion and gives the gardener a reprieve in the daily chore.

In smaller gardens, gardening from the edge of the pathway or terrace will suffice. In bigger gardens, paths, steps and walkways along the grade can be built for easier gardening.

Rainwater Runoff on a Steep Slope

Rainwater runoff can be a problem if not tackled alongside planning the garden. Along with terracing, winding river rock into a natural forming creek bed is another solution. Creating a creek bed down the slope, gentling grading the hillside toward this area can be an attractive and useful resolution. The water is slowed down and allowed to soak into the bed. A rain garden can be added to the base of the creek bed for an additional filtering of water and to take advantage of more gardening space.

Once the water has reached the bottom of the hillside, installing berms and French drains that will direct water away from the foundation and entertainment areas is the next step. This ensures water isn’t eroding away your home and assets.

All of these different aspects can be addressed when planning your hillside garden area. Taking advantage of the many options with a customization plan in mind is what we do. We access each area of your property and determine the best solutions for your property. Give us a call to set up a consultation.

 

Landscaping on a Steep Slope

Landscaping can be a challenge on a steep slope. What plant is right for my hillside gardening? Let’s look at a few and how to make the proper selection for your hillside. The selections will also keep your erosion under control and the soil in your yard instead of washing away to the neighbors!

landscaping-steep slope-erosion controlOne of the considerations all horticulturist teach is ‘right plant, right place’ for its longevity and survival. Observe which direction the slope is facing. How much sunlight will your plants be getting?  Three hours versus eight hours? Eastern light versus western light will play a part in the selection of plant materials.

Since plants will be on a steep slope, drought tolerant varieties are highly suggested since irrigation may be at a minimum. On steep grades, the drainage will be more rapid than on a lesser grade surface.

Ideal Plants for Steep Slopes

Select conifers we recommend for sunny locations are: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’ or Pinus thenbergii, Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert,’ Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’.

Evergreens for partial shade are: Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’, Microbiota decussate, Tsuga canadensis ‘Jeddeloh’, Magnolia grandflora ‘Little Gem.’

Other Shrubs: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, Viburnum, PJM Rhododendrons, Cephalataxus, Pieris Japonica, Chaenomeles speciosa, Ilex verticillata

Grasses: Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbush’ (Switch Grass), Muhlenbergia capillaris, Schizachryium scoparium (Little Bluestem), Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Groundcovers: Rubus calycinoides, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Delosperma cooperi, and Dianthus

Steep Slope Planting & Irrigation

When landscaping for a steep slope, do not plant vertically out of the hillside. It will look like the leaning tower of Pisa and will not perform well. Prepare a mini terrace for each plant. The bottom part of plant’s soil base will need to be built up in a half well to support the plant. This method helps retain moisture to soak deep into the root system.

Irrigation has to be maintained the first 2-3 years for the best survival rates. Installing a drip irrigation might help with consistent watering schedules and be a timesaver for the homeowner. Place plants with more watering requirements at the bottom or halfway down the slope. The plants at the bottom will have more of the accumulation of water from drainage. Once your plants are established after the third year, continue to monitor for water needs and adjust according to the weather.

Hillside gardening can be a challenge if you don’t know which plant material works best. Ryan Houston is an NC Plant Professional and an NC Licensed Landscape Contractor and can give you the best solutions to your hillside gardening needs. Give us a call for a scheduled consultation. We will go over your options and suggest a customized solution for your landscape.

A Landscape Collaboration Across Continents

Long distance relationships can be hard if you don’t have willing partners to accommodate and communicate well. In this instance, there was full cooperation. The homeowners live in London, England and travel to their landscape-Leicester-mulch-paver patio-driveway-drainage-stoneworkinherited homestead a couple times a year. The premise around this installation was to finish the exterior renovations that had started from the inside out. The homeowner wanted to resurrect this old home that her Grandparents had lived and give it all the tender loving care that preempted her proprietorship.  The couple had great ideas to incorporate into the landscape layout.  The finished product would be installed just in time for the pair’s post-nuptial celebrations in the states with family and friends.

Months of communicating went back and forth over email with preliminary drawings sent via Google drive to establish borders and planting material suggestions.  Clear descriptions of plants and photos helped the homeowners to envision the finished landscape.  Once a final drawing was established and agreed upon, installation began. But not without major hindrances of weather and water to hold up production. A deluge of March and April showers as well as discovering a spring in the midst of the area being installed set installations back to a point that the crews had to work overtime and weekends to meet the deadline for the wedding celebrations.

Old trees that had overgrown their welcome and had become a hindrance to safety were removed.  Drainage was installed to remove excessive water pooling in places and grading was done. Once the infrastructure was established, a foundation was installed for a concrete paver patio. A concrete paver walkway and driveway were included along with a custom built native stonewall around the perimeter of the patio.  A BBQ roasting pit was the focal point for those big family gatherings.

Farmhouse and farm equipment artifacts were dug out of the barn and repurposed in the landscape to remember ‘days gone by’ and the loving hands that had first established this old homestead. The new and old merged to create a splendid collaboration that moved across continents. Grandma and Grandpa would be proud!

If you need to collaborate on a new landscape addition, we are just a phone call away at 828.712.1590.