Hiring a Landscape Professional
The Reasons Why
Landscape design is a process with an end-result of a finished product that will be aesthetically pleasing, functional in respect to your family’s lifestyle, and creates long-lasting value
Ask for Credentials
During your initial meeting with the prospective contractor ask for their experience and credentials. Certainly experience is important but credentials are more important. Credentials demonstrate a commitment and continuation in education - the sign of a professional. Look for certifications in landscape design, horticulture, as well as hardscape certifications such as ICPI (Certified Concrete Paver Installer). I also recommend looking for a class A contractor. This would especially important on larger projects. Screening your contractor in the beginning will save you big headaches later on.
The designer you chose needs to show a genuine interest in your family and how you enjoy your outdoor space. This is very important so that your finished design and installed landscape is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.
A seasoned professional will study your property in detail and offer solutions to fit your needs, your taste and your budget. We alway consider soil conditions, how the sun and shade moves through the day and pay a lot of attention to details how you use your outdoor living area. The details will be the difference between a dynamic landscape and a ho-hum landscape. A newly installed landscape is like an addition to your home. Properly done it will add value to your home. Landscapes create great curb appeal. Promoting outdoor living as long as you own your home.
The Design Process we use at Artscapes
Site Analysis: inventory of existing conditions and analysis of client wants and needs. Examine property from an architectural and horticultural perspective to create a customized master plan for the specific site.
Design Concepts: Formulate specific design concepts by dividing the property into usable portions or functions. All circulation routes are considered during this phase.
Plan Formulation: After considering and discussing all general requirements with the client, it is time to start the finished master plan. Here we select specific plant material, hardscape materials, etc. All elements of the landscape are tied together effectively in a unified design that is aesthetically pleasing.
Installation and Maintenance: As a landscape design/build company our job is not over upon completion of the master plan. We will personally select your plant material and professionally install it. The same attention to detail we used in the design process is applied to the hardscape features. All material will be professionally installed and maintained to assure a sustainable long lasting landscape.
I hope this article has been of interest and was helpful. I would like to invite you to experience working with the professionals at Artscapes.
Let us make your home the envy of the neighborhood.
Grow your Own
As food and gas prices continue to rise in a world of uncertainty, it makes sense to grow some of your own food such as vegetables. When I was growing up, almost everyone on our street had a vegetable garden. There is nothing like picking a fresh tomato right off of its vine and slicing it up for sandwiches or biting right into it. This article helps you with useful information about how to grow your own tomatoes this year.
Tomatoes prefer light fertile soil with a content of organic matter. High nutrient levels such as nitrogen will reduce fruit yield. Adding chopped leaves in fall or compost in spring will increase the organic nutrient content of the soil making growing conditions ideal. A week or two before planting cover each row with black plastic. This will warm the soil to reduce shock or stress when the young plants are installed. Some gardeners prefer to germinate their own seeds. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on transplanting young tomato plants purchased from a nursery.
Do some homework on what varieties are available on the market near you. Buy the tomatoes that will best suit your needs. When purchasing plants from a nursery or retailer is is important that you buy young plants preferably in 4" pots. Buying your tomato plants early in the season will assure you the best selection while giving you control of the watering and feeding until the plants are transplanted into the garden.
Your tomato plants should be planted after the last frost date. In our zone 7A that is typically late April. Plants should be no older than 6-8 weeks when transplanted. Planting older plants may result in shock or stress to the plant.
When transplanting your tomatoes the spacing will be dictated by the variety you are planting. Typically 2'-3' apart is optimal. Since tomatoes are native to South America, the growing season there is much longer than here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Planting healthy young plants and using a few tricks can prolong the growing season. Tomatoes can grow large. Therefore they need plenty of the right nutrients what can be found and accessible for the plant in compost and manure. Adding mulch to your plants will help trap moisture below the surface.
There are many varieties of tomato plants. However, they typically have one of two typical growth habits. First is Determinate. The other type is Indeterminate.
Determinate plants are bushes rather than vines. They reach a predetermined size, flower, then produce fruit. This type of tomato can be grown without additional support. Pruning is not necessary.
Indeterminate plants are vines. They grow and produce fruit continuously. These plants can grow quite large. The more favorable tomatoes are indeterminate. These tomatoes require constant maintenance to grow such as pruning and training.
There are several ways to train tomato plats. You can use cages, but the indeterminate types will benefit better using a tall stake with twist ties used to loosely tie the vine to the stake. The best way to train the vine tomato is to build a simple trellis with a grid of twine suspended from it.
I hope this article will inspire you to grow your own tomato this year. One thing is certain, the tomato you pick from your vine later this summer will taste better than any tomato you ever purchased at your grocery store.
Snake is on a job...
Interesting video taped on one of our job sites back in 2006. Black snake discovers a bird nest and eats what it finds there.
You can find the footage at the link above.