One of the many satisfying ways of utilizing your outdoor space is by entertaining your family, friends, and neighbors. Hosting gatherings in the garden that you care for throughout the seasons can be fun and very rewarding.
One of the many satisfying ways of utilizing your outdoor space is by entertaining your family, friends, and neighbors. Hosting gatherings in the garden that you care for throughout the seasons can be fun and very rewarding.
Adding plants with different heights, textures and colors can be an excellent solution to adding depth and natural beauty to your garden, but many plants with interesting colors and textures often come with a significant level of care and may be non-native or even invasive. Fortunately, North America, and specifically New England, is home to many species of amazing grasses that are not only attractive to the eye, but also incredibly sustainable and easy to care for.
When most people think of a fall yard cleanup, they envision transforming their yard into a spotless lawn and garden beds full of perfectly manicured grass, without a single leaf in sight. This may be a nice image for a postcard or television set, but it’s not what a yard tended to organically should look like. If you’re looking to have a yard that facilitates healthy plant and animal life, preserves the natural environment, and still looks great, consider the differences between a traditional fall cleanup and an ecological one.
Spring and summer are by far the busiest times in the garden, but just because the weather has turned cooler doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up those gardening gloves just yet. There are a lot of tasks that can be undertaken in the fall to set up your lawn for the coming seasons.
As we find ourselves making our way through the dog days of summer, you may think, "Why didn’t I plant some more shade trees this spring? Or the last 10 springs!"
Hosting backyard cookouts is one of the premier perks of suburban living. Whether it's a large gathering for a special occasion, or just showing off your latest fancy burger recipe to a few friends, it can be a great way to share and enjoy your outdoor spaces. A well-designed outdoor cooking space will have you wanting to cook every meal outside. Here’s some ideas to make yours great.
“Save the bees” is a phrase that has been repeated endlessly over the last couple of decades. We know how important it is to support our pollinator population, and have learned many ways to care for bees as they do their incredibly important work.
Gardening provides us with many joys, but there are, of course, hurdles to jump. The fact of the matter is that you can’t have a garden without garden pests. You can spray for them if you want to take care of them quickly. Or, if you can’t bear to kill them them, you can let them run wild and eat holes through all of your beautiful produce.
Many of us are seeking calm moments throughout our increasingly busy days. Not only should our homes provide us with peace and comfort, but we should also find that tranquil balance in our lawns and gardens, the natural extension of our homes.
Mushrooms play a very important role in many different ecosystems. The fruiting bodies are a source of food for many different species, not just humans, and on a smaller scale, the mycelium digests and decomposes organic matter that may not be able to be used by other organisms.
But even more important, is a relationship called mycorrhizal symbiosis. In this relationship, the fungus grows around the roots of a vascular plant, and passes water and mineral nutrients to the plants in exchange for complex sugars created through photosynthesis.
The most common type, arbuscular mycorrhiza, is found in at least 70% of all plant species, including many crop species such as wheat and corn that humans rely on for survival. If you have nearly anything growing in your garden right now, you can thank mycorrhizal fungi for making it happen!
Adding compost to your lawn and garden is one of the best, easiest, most natural ways to get happy, healthy plants. Compost can be bought at lawn and garden centers, farmers markets, and sometimes even from zoos. But making your own compost is relatively easy, and is great for the environment.
Food waste is a major problem in the United States. It’s easy to forget about the bag of apples on your counter, and since one bad apple spoils the bunch, once they start to go, it can be hard to catch them before they all get mushy.
This time of year, walking out to fetch the mail may be one of the only ways you're scratching the itch to spend some time outdoors. These short forays to the front stoop or the end of the driveway don't allow us to get a whole lot of fresh air, but what's inside the mailbox might be bringing you a little of the sunshine you crave. In the gray winter months, few things brighten a gardener's path quite like the surge of catalogs that find their way to our doors. From seeds and sprouts, to trees and tubers, the handful (or dozens!) of enticingly colorful magazines that are delivered to our homes really kickstart the desire to get a jump on the growing season.
Before the mass adoption of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and mechanized farming equipment in the early 20th century, people had to rely on more natural methods of cultivating plants. Prior to these changes, gardening and agriculture changed relatively very little in the previous 10,000 years or so since humans first began cultivating plants. These methods have made a major resurgence recently as the damage done by chemical pesticides and fertilizers during the past 80 years has become more and more clear.
Watching your garden erupt in the spring, flourish in the summer, and change and fade in the fall is thrilling. There is so much beauty to observe and so many fulfilling tasks to complete to help your garden be as gorgeous and healthy as it can be.
But what about winter?
Twiddling your thumbs and turning calendar pages until spring warmth returns aren't your only options. There's plenty that can still be done in and for the garden during the darker and colder days of the year. Getting out and working outside isn't only great for the health of next season's garden, but the fresh air helps to stave off any serious cases of cabin fever. Below are 5 ideas to help get you on the path to enjoying your garden even in winter.
For an environmentally conscious gardener, managing your garden during a drought is a constant battle between needing to conserve water and keeping your parched plants alive. Drought is often paired with heat waves which can further complicate keeping your garden from drying out completely.
Fortunately, many species of plants have mechanisms in place to help them survive less than ideal conditions. Between those mechanisms and a human helping hand, we can help plants survive the dry spells.
Home lawn care has been a subject of human interest since around the 11th century, with the Japanese sodding areas around their gardens with turf grasses taken from livestock fields. Since then, with the introduction of exotic grass species from all over the world and modern lawn equipment, our lawns today are a long way from where they began all those years ago.
What was once a mix of replanted native grasses and weeds has become monocultures of imported and genetically modified grasses. In their defense, these carefully curated grasses look great to the human eye, but all wildlife sees is a desert.
When it comes to plant care, chemical processes are the main element of whether plants wither and die, or survive and thrive. But more often than not, these processes are watered down into three categories; light, water, and the ever ambiguous “nutrients”. A deep understanding of these processes is not necessarily vital to success, but being somewhat familiar with the chemical needs of your plants can make the path to a thriving garden far easier.
Maintaining a home garden can sometimes require a significant amount of water to maintain. Of course, from time to time that’s supplemented by rainfall, but what about the rest of the time? For most people, this extra water comes from a municipal water supply, which can add up fast on the water bill. Luckily, there are ways to collect rainwater that would otherwise evaporate or seep into the ground, and use it to water your garden. Humans have been collecting and diverting rainfall for thousands of years, so why stop now?
Supply chain shortcomings are topping news headlines left and right lately, and it’s not just the latest cars and electronics being affected. Food shortages and price increases are becoming the new normal, and many people are beginning to look for places outside of the grocery stores to source their food.Luckily, you don’t have to look any farther than your backyard. Organic gardening can be a great way not only to decrease your reliance on grocery stores, but also trim your grocery bill, and decrease your carbon footprint all at the same time!
If you’re a homeowner who has been discouraged about gardening because your property is partially or even totally shaded, take heart. Gardening in shady areas is not only possible, it also can be very rewarding – if you understand the various ways shade’s disadvantages can be overcome.
Of course, shade gardening can be challenging. Growing plants successfully among aggressive tree roots and matching the right plants with variable light conditions can take a little more effort, but it will be well worth it. The rewards include creating unique plant settings and textures that constantly evolve with the changing light and bringing color and interest to a part of your property that otherwise would be dull and monotone. In fact, shady spots in your yard, such as under a tree or beside a building, can be every bit as beautiful as brighter areas of your landscape. The key is choosing plants that thrive in low-light conditions.
Good landscape design is much more than simply sowing seeds and plunking a row of shrubs in the ground. There is much detail involved in landscape design that requires trained professionals who have knowledge and experience in many areas of the construction trades. Homeowners who don’t fully understand the complexities of an installation project can start a DIY project thinking it will save them money only to run into unknowns that can cost considerably more than they anticipated. Starting with a well-thought-out plan from a professional landscape designer can reduce both headaches and unnecessary cost.
There are few better feelings than getting outside and getting lost in your garden. No matter what the task at hand involves, from pruning and weeding to ensure your beds look beautiful, it’s an amazing feeling to create something beautiful, productive, and alive -- but like all great creative endeavors, you need the know-how to do it well.
Although insects are vital to a sustainable landscape, an excess of the annoying ones like mosquitos can be a deterrent to enjoying your outdoor spaces. Chemical pesticides can be effective, but are indiscriminate and can cause harm not only to other wildlife, but also to you and your family. So what’s the responsible solution? Bats. Bats survive on a diet of insects, and some species are known to consume their body weight in mosquitos and other bugs on a typical summer night. That’s a lot of bugs that won’t be bothering you anymore!
Rewilding is not a new idea, but it has grown in popularity over the last several years. The modern homeowner is becoming more aware of how even small choices they make in their backyard affects the bigger picture.
As we understand the relationship between us and nature more, there are several changes we can make in our backyards that will help the environment and the critters who we share it with. The beauty of these changes is that they are not expensive—in fact, some of them are even time and money-saving because they hinge on us doing less!
The pandemic has forced many homeowners to spend a lot more time at home, contemplating their property and thinking of ways to improve it to add both value and enjoyment. For some their yards have become a refuge from the stress and anxiety of these uncertain times, and they’re considering how to make their backyards an oasis of calm and a more comfortable place where they can relax with family and friends.
Whether you’re looking to make changes to your home to make it a more enjoyable place to live or you want to make it more attractive for resale, there’s a lot you can do to add curb appeal without breaking the bank.
Pollination has recently become a hot topic in part because a fatal disease has been killing honeybees, threatening the ability of commercial farms to produce an adequate supply of the fruits and vegetables we all love – not to mention honey. Pollination by bees, hummingbirds, moths, bats, butterflies, flies, and beetles ensures the continued existence of millions of plant species, and in turn, of most animal species, including humans – in fact, one of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on them.
As efforts to combat climate change become increasingly urgent, one term that is gaining visibility and popularity is “sustainable landscaping.” But what exactly is it and how can it help us protect the environment?
Sustainable landscaping is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of landscape design, construction, implementation, and management practices utilized for both residential and commercial landscapes. Essentially, it is a strategy for making full use of the environment to provide natural key elements that a healthy landscape requires. As part of sustainable development, it preserves limited resources, reducing waste, and preventing air, water and soil pollution. Growing the right plants in the right places; utilizing compost and mulch; employing natural fertilization, weed and pest management; and implementing effective moisture control are all components of sustainable landscaping.
Gardening in general and organic gardening specifically are growing in popularity as an increasing number of homeowners are becoming aware of the benefits. The pandemic, economic uncertainty, and the rising cost of food coupled with a desire to help the environment while spending time outdoors engaged in a fun, stress-reducing activity all have contributed to an interest in planting and raising flowers for beauty and fruits and vegetables for the table.
There’s no question about it – New England can be a tough place to garden. Whether it’s flowers or vegetables, pleasure or produce, New England’s soil and weather can take a toll on both the garden and the gardener. So what’s the best approach to minimize risk and toil and maximize growth, blooms, and gardening pleasure?
The pandemic has brought about a number of widespread changes in how we live, eat, and thrive. Gone for now are the days of carefree eating out. Tightened budgets often mean tightened belts as more and more Americans look to save money as their incomes take a hit with reduced working hours, furloughs and, in the worst cases, lost jobs. The silver lining to all this grim news is the growing interest of many people in growing their own food. However, substantial numbers of home gardeners find themselves challenged for space and turn to flexible, versatile container gardening to raise both food and flowers.
While summer may be long gone, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an active yard during the colder months and throughout winter. The key is creating an attractive, sustainable winter ecosystem that not only provides year-round beauty, but acts as a winter feeding habitat for the kinds of wildlife you’d like to see and nurture.
By helping sustain wildlife during the harsh New England winter months you’re also helping maintain a healthy, balanced environment. All life is interrelated and dependent upon each animal and organism doing their part, however small. Insects and microbes break down organic matter into nutrients; those bugs feed small animals that help keep plants in check; they, in turn, feed larger animals that, when they die, feed the insects and microbes and help nourish the soil. Every organism plays a critical role in the cycle of life.
The pandemic has had some unusual positive effects on people, and one of them is the upsurge in home improvement projects. Homeowners everywhere have gotten busy putting in new patios, firepits, walkways, gardens and other landscape features as they’ve spent more time at home, looking more closely at their property.
Truly successful landscaping starts with sustainability, which is built on a foundation of ecology -- really just a fancy word for the relationship of all organisms to each other and their surroundings. By understanding how each element of an environment is in balance with all the others, we can learn how to create beautiful and harmonious landscape designs that can thrive with minimal interference. That’s sustainable landscaping in a nutshell.
In part one of our series comparing ecological cleanups with traditional ones, we discussed the differences between ecological and conventional landscaping. In the second part, we reviewed some of the specific processes of ecological landscaping.
For the final installment in the series, we’ll take a closer look at the overall benefits of ecological fall cleanups and the cost considerations of embracing a more environmentally-friendly strategy. At first blush, this approach may seem counterproductive and “messy” – a lazy person’s excuse for avoiding more aggressive and vigorous traditional cleanup tasks. Also, many people believe that preserving nature through organic landscape techniques is more costly than conventional methods. Neither of these are true.
Nothing improves the beauty of a yard and the curb appeal of a home more than the right plantings. Color, texture, size, and shape combine to create a unique and attractive environment that adds value as well as beauty to your property.
Unfortunately, many homes suffer from less-than-stellar plantings as the result of neglect, disinterest, and just plain old lack of imagination. You can spot some of these homes from a mile away by their plop-and-drop, contractor-special shrubs scattered around the house in cookie-cutter beds. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If your yard is suffering from poor plantings, this post will provide you with what you need to know to quickly upgrade your beds.
It seems intuitive that we like to spend time outdoors -- we’ve all craved nature at one time or another -- but science has now identified some of the reasons we actually need to spend time in a more natural setting. In fact, there is a term for this, Ecotherapy, that refers to the various physical and psychological benefits of being outside.
Gardening and garden landscaping to many people invokes images of beautiful flowers or rows of healthy fruits and vegetables. But gardening is so much more than that. Modern garden design encompasses a wide range of landscapes and locations – from sunny, open areas to shaded woodlands, from residential patios to commercial courtyards – filled with plants and features not even dreamed of just a few years ago.
Many garden landscape designers today, including Moodscapes, have embraced a modern, sustainable, and environmentally-based approach – ecological gardening. Instead of relying upon manmade solutions without regard to their environmental impact, ecological gardening emulates nature’s processes and promotes biodiversity, sustainability, soil health, and plant health. It’s gardening designed to restore and enhance both the environment and your wellbeing.
As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, we’re hearing a lot about test kits, treatments, vaccines, and ventilators. And while all of these are crucial to the COVID-19 fight, many people don’t realize that there’s a lot of help to be found in a surprising place: nature.
The restorative benefits of nature, many health experts believe, can lower blood pressure, boost immune function, and reduce stress. Communing with nature is a full mind-body experience that is good for your well being and soul. There are no special requirements, just a willingness to spend some time outdoors, ideally doing something physical, such as gardening, mowing, trimming, or other landscaping tasks.
According to the American Society of Landscape Architects climate change is rapidly growing as a significant factor in landscape design. Raising temperatures, more frequent and severe droughts, and increasing damage from bigger storms are all taking their toll on both the natural and built environment.
If you’re a property owner considering a new landscape project it’s important to be aware of the following five major factors that can have a significant effect on your landscaping plans:
Organic landscaping is both a process and a strategy for creating a beautiful, dynamic landscape while supporting a low-environmental-impact installation and maintenance approach. And while organic landscaping may not be the least expensive or fastest method in the short-term, over time it will prove less expensive, healthier and more sustainable than more traditional techniques that depend on manufactured fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
Lawn care chemicals have been around for decades. But only in recent years have we started to become aware of some of the damage that can be caused by these compounds. There is a lot of hype and misinformation out there about certain products and whether they are safe to be used on your yard. Understanding the toxicity of popular lawn care chemicals is an important first step in choosing the right products for your yard.
In recent blog posts, we have been discussing the key differences between organic and conventional landscaping. While conventional gardening tactics may be more prominent, we believe that organic methods are better for the environment, more cost-effective in the long run, and safer for humans and animals.
To close out our series on organic gardening, we’re offering four guiding principles of organic gardening that we believe will make any landscape healthier. At Moodscapes, we strive to follow these guidelines on every landscape maintenance project we take on.
In our previous blog post, we provided an overview of the difference between conventional and organic landscaping. We explained the ultimate goal of organic landscaping: to use gardening and lawn care methods that create an outdoor environment in harmony with the natural world. Organic landscapers focus first on building the soil to nurture plants to ensure that they thrive.
Now that we’ve explained what organic landscaping is, in this post we will elaborate on a few benefits of choosing organic techniques instead of traditional methods.
We live in a time when humans have a tremendous impact on the environment with agriculture and industry. This is especially true in developed countries – according to research by the University of Michigan, we would need 5 planets to support the Earth’s current population if everyone had the environmental footprint of the average American citizen.
At Moodscapes, we believe in designing the landscapes we install and maintain to emulate the processes of nature instead of interfering with them. We refer to this as organic and sustainable gardening. The creation and nurturing of an outdoor space that fits seamlessly with nature will enhance the environment around your home as well as your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Our approach to organic gardening relies on a few guiding principles:
Pruning is one of those gardening techniques that many people overcomplicate. While pruning does help a plant grow strong, healthy, and in the proper direction, that doesn’t mean it has to be a complex undertaking that requires a lot of skill and years spent gardening. With that said, pruning mature plants and trees effectively and consistently does require skills developed over time.
The most important thing you need to prune successfully is an understanding of the natural form of the plants you’re working on. Below is our advice on how to learn enough to be able to prune your garden so that the plants in it grow as healthy as possible.
A common misconception we see among homeowners is that it takes tons of time and effort to build and then maintain a yard that provides enjoyment. Many people mistakenly believe that they don’t have enough spare time to make their landscape into a relaxing sanctuary.
While it will take some effort to create and then keep up this kind of natural landscape, it’s not as challenging as you might think. With the following tips, you can make your yard a low-maintenance space to unwind around nature and keep it in great condition all year.
While we may be firmly in summer’s grasp here in Massachusetts, as locals know, this weather won’t last forever. Although we are now seeing more extended runs of high temperature thanks to climate change, our area has traditionally had distinct cold and hot seasons.
But that doesn’t mean you only have to enjoy healthy blooms in your yard for a few months out of the year. Not much will grow in the bitter cold of the New England winter, but with some planning and careful selection of the right species, you can have a garden with color and blooms for nearly the entire year.
Here are our three best tips to extend your yard’s bloom time:
One of the nice things about maintaining a healthy landscape is the aesthetic appeal. We believe that fewer things are more beautiful than an environmentally-friendly yard that forms a natural part of the local ecosystem.
Beyond that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to colors, types of plants, and arrangements, but some techniques have broad appeal. Here are 6 of the most popular ways to make your yard more beautiful:
A skilled builder can add features like decks, hardscaping, and other attractive structures that make your home better both aesthetically and functionally. Ideally, you want your home’s construction features to complement a healthy, natural garden. However, there may be times when the work of a builder or contractor interferes with your yard.
Poor landscaping techniques can have a negative effect, but landscapers will often unintentionally damage the health of your yard as well. Here are five simple steps to overcome the problem:
With the warmer weather of summer now here to stay in Massachusetts, homeowners will soon start seeing sprouts and seedlings from their early season plantings, if they haven’t already. As your yard grows, it’s important to maintain it properly so that plants can stay healthy and provide beautiful blooms for as long as possible.
Pruning, or trimming certain parts of a plant, can help make it last longer and increase its blooms. But we see some good-intentioned gardeners making pruning mistakes that can actually damage the health of the yard.
Here are some of the most common mistakes we see homeowners making when pruning their yards, and how to overcome them:
Everyone loves having a healthy yard that is capable of growing many types of interesting, vibrant shrubs and trees. Unfortunately, the presence of unsightly weeds is one of the drawbacks of having a yard that can sustain plant life.
A lot of homeowners feel that their otherwise-attractive yards are ruined by stringy, snaking weeds that tend to pop up this time of year. In some cases, weeds can actually be harmful for your yard, draining it of valuable nutrients that could be going to the plants you actually want to grow.
But most of the time, weeds are a relatively minor issue. Following these four tips will help you free your landscape of weeds:
Now that we’re into June and the summer solstice is only a few weeks away, it’s time for the Earth to show us its natural beauty in the form of colorful, vibrant shrubs and trees.
Yet we’ve found that this is also a time of year when many homeowners in the greater Boston area are most frustrated with their yard. They expect a lush garden and get disappointed when plants don’t grow the way they want.
Luckily, most of the mistakes we see being made in yards around Massachusetts are relatively easy to fix. Here are the top three reasons we see plants failing to grow, and some quick tips to correct them:
After battling the forces of winter into the early part of May, it appears to finally be time for consistent warm weather here in Massachusetts! We’ve been dealing with the cold longer than normal this year, which can make it challenging to get your garden ready before the bloom season hits full swing.
Using organic methods to take care of your lawn isn’t just better for the environment - it may also be safer for human health. This past summer, a terminally ill former groundskeeper in San Francisco was awarded a $250 million settlement from Monsanto, the company that produces the Roundup brand of weed control products.
These lawn treatments use glyphosate, a chemical herbicide that has been linked to cancer by multiple studies, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. Dewayne Johnson said he was instructed to use Roundup 20 to 30 times a day working as a school groundskeeper in a San Francisco suburb. He blames the weed killer for the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma he was diagnosed with in 2014, which has made him terminally ill and left lesions on 80% of his body.
Let’s look at some of the data on glyphosate and the latest developments in the Johnson vs. Monsanto case.
As the name suggests, biennials are plants that take at least two years to go through their entire lifecycle. With multicolor bloom phases and interesting shapes, these plants make an ideal addition to any yard. Some of the best biennials in Massachusetts are hardy, growing best when they can set roots early in more mild fall or winter seasons.
Below are some of our favorite biennials suitable for the New England climate. Remember that some plants classified as biennials can last longer than two years.
In the fall, changing leaves bring the year’s last few splashes of color as flowers, shrubs, and other plants start to become dormant for winter. Even though spring and summer are the main bloom times, there are many maintenance tasks to do in your yard during the fall. The cooler weather in Massachusetts provides great opportunity to work on the foundation of your lawn.
One of our favorite things about landscape design is the amount of personal expression it allows. Most people associate landscape with flowers and shrubs, but there are many different styles of plants that can thrive in your garden, depending on your tastes.
People sometimes forget about ornamental grasses. They often don’t take as central of a role in your garden as flowers and vegetables, but these grasses can still add a nice touch to your yard. Grasses are also great because many of them bloom in colder weather, which can help your yard look attractive even in the offseason.
Here’s what you need to know about planting ornamental grasses in the fall.
Growing vegetables and other edible plants is one of the most rewarding forms of gardening. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labor - literally - with fresh food, spices, and herbs that can be used in delicious meals.
As the calendar gets closer to the cool fall season, it is time to harvest many popular fruits and vegetables. But harvesting isn’t the only fall activity you should be doing to maximize your garden’s return and ensure it is a healthy, vibrant part of your yard all year.
Here are three lesser-known yet important tips to improve your vegetable garden as the weather cools down:
Now is the time of year when cold weather approaches and spring blooms are mostly gone. But just because it’s not the beginning of the season doesn’t mean you have no interest in your yard to look forward to. With some thoughtful planning and selection of the right plants, you can maintain a vibrant garden with great aesthetics all year.
With Labor Day now behind us, it’s time to wrap up summer and start preparing for autumn. Though the hot weather is still hanging around right now, before you know it the temperatures will drop and you’ll need a jacket to go outside.
Many homeowners and even some landscape professionals believe that once the warm weather is over, life in your yard will cease until the next bloom season. While it’s true that your yard probably won’t be as active in the fall as it is in the spring and summer, that doesn’t mean it will be completely desolate of plant and insect life. There are still ways you can maintain a healthy, vibrant yard well into October and November.
In our previous blog post, we touched on methods to choose, arrange, and support healthy shrubs and trees in your yard. For this post, we will be talking about ways to maintain your yard over the long run. We’ll also address how you can use vegetation to make your home more energy efficient, thereby reducing your overall environmental footprint.
People with sloped yards often feel like they are unable to get a yard to look as good as a more level outdoor space. This isn’t the case - while a sloped yard does require some specific care and may not be best for all types of plants, there’s still a lot that you can do to create a relaxing environment.
Here’s what to know to design a peaceful, inspiring outdoor space - even if your yard is at an angle.
Before the wind and early snow take away the rest of our fall foliage, make some time to appreciate the variety of color New England has this time of year. Plants that have phenomenal fall foliage colors are important to consider when designing landscapes. A few of our favorite fall beauties are: Diane Witch Hazel Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane', Little Henry Virginia Sweetspire Itea virginica 'Sprich' and Paperbark Maple Acer griseum.
In recent years, there’s been a large push to educate homeowners and commercial landscapers on how to conserve the environment. More and more home and business owners are realizing that poor landscaping practices will not only hurt their plant life, but also negatively impact the greater environment.
In this blog series, we will discuss everything you can do to mitigate harm to the environment through your landscaping practices. The first installment will cover how to choose, arrange, and take care of plants in a way that reduces negative effects on the natural world.
In a July 2018 meeting, the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force declared that the state of Massachusetts was free of drought conditions. This is a sigh of relief for residents of the state who remember the lengthy drought between March 2015 and May of 2017.
Even though we may not be currently facing a drought, the task force did mention that water and precipitation levels have gotten worse since earlier this year. This fact, combined with lower-than-normal precipitation expected for the rest of 2018, means people still need to be aware of their water consumption.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your impact on the environment, using less water is an excellent start. Below are three tips for conserving water that you can incorporate into your current gardening and landscape practices.
A short, neatly-edged expanse of sprawling green grass is the ultimate idea of the American lawn. Unfortunately, the “perfect” lawn is more reminiscent of a chemically-treated golf course than a healthy yard that supports the environment around it.
Without large amounts of watering, pesticide and herbicide use, and constant application of fertilizer, those pristine green lawns are impossible to maintain. These lawns are not environmentally-friendly, nor are they a healthy place for children or dogs to play on. Follow the advice below to create an organic lawn that is both safe for your family and good to the natural world.
Homeowners often place lots of emphasis on creating a garden with beautiful flowers and shrubs that bloom majestically in the spring season. Unfortunately, focusing on beauty for a single season can leave your yard lacking during the rest of the year.
With some careful planning and a bit of creativity, you can create a garden that will keep your yard in color and wonderful smells for all four seasons, even during the warm months. Use the pointers below to create a garden that will delight your senses all year.
Summer is about getting together with friends and family in a fun celebration of the season. Unfortunately, this is a tradition that is often interrupted by uninvited pests like mosquitoes. These insects can make happy guests itchy and miserable and leave them wanting to stay inside instead of enjoying the outdoors.
A mosquito problem is certainly an issue that needs to be solved before the season of summer parties comes into full swing. Don’t rely on Roundup or other chemicals to rid your yard of pests, as pesticides can be harmful to you and your family and contaminate the local water supply. Here are five organic methods to use to keep mosquitoes away from your summer gatherings:
There’s nothing like hosting a summer get-together in your backyard to celebrate the season. Spending quality time with friends in your outdoor space is the epitome of summer, and it’s time to prepare for upcoming BBQs and yard parties. Get your yard ready by updating patio furniture, adding new fixtures, and taking preventative measures against annoying insects. Follow the steps below to guarantee fun and successful gatherings in your outdoor space throughout the summer.
Every yard will eventually face pest problems. Caterpillars stripping leaves in your new vegetable garden and fungus that causes root rot in flowers and shrubs are only a couple of examples of the extensive damage that pests can cause. It can be tempting to use a chemical approach like Roundup to rid your yard and garden of pests, but organic methods can work just as efficiently, without the harm that chemicals present to your family and the environment.
Throughout the past few years it has become a very popular trend for designers to create a native plant garden design, and for good reason. The benefits of using native plants in your home garden can be extensive. Some of them are:
Once summer hits and you’ve finished all of the work you had planned for spring, it can be tempting to spend your free time enjoying the sun and letting your yard do its own thing. While your yard doesn’t need as much upkeep in the summer, you do need to handle some maintenance tasks that will help maintain it for the season.
Here are a few tasks for your yard this summer to keep up that healthy springtime glow until the fall:
When looking to achieve a balanced, peaceful yard, remember that hardscaping is just as important as natural features. These man-made components, such as walkways, patios, and divider walls, are an important part of the perfect outdoor living space. Hardscape elements can add a great complement to your organic space, but creating them comes with a whole different set of concerns than building a vegetable garden or flower bed.
Here are the top four elements to consider before you commit to a hardscaping project:
Soil, seeds, and sunlight may be the foundation for a healthy and fruitful garden, but without proper care and attention, you won’t be able to grow the beautiful shrubs and flowers you want. With the right tools for taking care of your garden, you’ll be much more likely to find success with landscaping.
But just because tools for your garden are important doesn’t mean choosing them needs to be a complex matter. Picking the right type of supplies from the right vendor will not only give you a healthier yard, it will make your own gardening efforts much easier.
Here’s what you need to know about selecting and taking care of gardening tools:
Everyone loves the family pet, a companion that kids and adults appreciate having around. But as homeowners with dogs and cats know, there are some parts of your residence that you can’t share with your furry bundle of joy, and outdoor areas aren’t always the exception.
It’s great to have an outside space for your pet to run or play in. But if you plan on growing food, creating a peaceful garden for meditation, or simply want to keep your dog or cat safe outside, you have to consider the elements that could cause them harm.
Here’s what you should know when it comes to making sure your pet is safe while enjoying time in the yard:
Landscapes that have been properly and professionally designed, installed, and maintained have a pleasing and consistent appearance. Of course the visual will change with the seasons, but it will always be inviting, regardless of the season.
Eastern Massachusetts homeowners that have invested in organic, sustainable landscapes with native plants appropriate to the area do well to employ professionals to take care of their landscape maintenance so as to protect their investment. However it is still important for the homeowner to be engaged with what is going on. Let's take a look at some top landscape maintenance tips:
Healing gardens are not new, although they have garnered a lot of recent attention. While most notably found in hospital settings, home gardens are also gaining in popularity. They come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, generally catering to their owner's specific needs.
Unlike a typical garden, healing gardens are places of refuge which are specifically designed to promote better mental and physical health. They typically include space for walking, sitting, and features are added with a calming effect in mind. These gardens have been proven to have multiple benefits, including the following:
Say the word “bees” around most people and the first thing that comes to mind is a black-and-yellow menace that terrorizes children and summer get-togethers.
But that’s an unfair and incomplete picture of the importance of honeybees to the world around us. Bees pollinate more than 400 different types of agricultural products, including many common fruits and vegetables. In 2010, honeybees helped produce $19 billion worth of crops - and that’s in the U.S. alone! They also produce one of the most common and delightful treats consumed by people today in many forms: honey.
Like every other state, honey bees are common in Massachusetts, both in nature and in beekeeping colonies. Whether you are a honey bee enthusiast thinking about starting a colony, want to attract them to pollinate your garden, or are looking to protect your property from bees, here’s what you need to know.
Growing your own food is healthy, reduces your environmental footprint, and can even reduce stress and improve your mood. But before you jump into buying supplies for a vegetable garden, you’ll want to do some planning. Not only will you have to decide what you want to grow, you’ll need to plot your garden, acquire the right tools and supplies, and protect your seedlings.
Here’s a quick primer to help you start planning your garden for the warm growing season:
The timing of your garden is much more complex than simply thinking about planting, growing, and harvesting seasons. You must also think about the lifecycle of the plants in your yard. With a bit of planning and foresight, you can create spaces in your yard that are welcoming, relaxing, and colorful all year.
One of the best things about the outdoors is its ability to rejuvenate the human spirit. After a tough day at work or a difficult experience with a friend or family member, it’s nice to be able to get home to a tranquil yard to let nature sooth you.
If you’re building a space in your yard for this purpose, you need the right flowers, shrubs, and trees. Here are five of our favorites for a meditation garden in Massachusetts:
The arrival of March means we are just weeks away from consistently warm weather here in the Massachusetts area. While we’ll certainly see some colder days, it’s also time to start preparing for the spring season. Beginning in mid to late April, homeowners in the region can get back into a consistent routine for gardening and landscaping.
Below are four tips you should follow to ensure that you transition smoothly into the warmer season and set up your garden and yard for a fruitful growing season.
Growing your own food has many benefits. Not only does it help you establish a more organic space in your yard, it allows you and your family to eat nutritious foods that are natural and healthy.
But creating a thriving garden for fruits and vegetables requires more than just putting seeds in your soil and waiting for them to mature. In fact, much of the work involved in growing your own food happens upfront. For best results, you should have a plan to follow before planting a single seed.
Here’s what you need to know before you can create a healthy, fruitful garden:
Think you can’t garden just because it’s cold outside? Think again! While you may not be able to put in the long, peaceful afternoons in the yard like you can in the summer, there are still plenty of things to be done to prepare yourself and your garden for the coming warmth.
Here are four steps to help you get ready for spring before it gets here:
Soil is the foundation for a great yard. Without the right soil, you’ll never be able to create a thriving outdoor environment that gives you relaxation, attracts beautiful wildlife, and supports the local habitat. Yet too many people neglect the process of evaluating their soil before looking to create or modify their plan for an organic garden.
Here’s what you need to know to ensure your soil is ready for an organic garden, and a few steps you can take to help it get that way if necessary:
If you’re in the process of creating a new landscaping plan and want a garden that is not only beautiful but good for the environment, you may be thinking about organic methods. There’s an entire movement focused on these principles, known as ecological gardening. This type of landscaping is based on organic methods and designed to not just avoid harming the ecosystem but actually improve it. This guide will help you understand the differences between organic and ecological gardening, the advantages of the latter, and how to get started.
Water conservation is important: it helps preserve limited natural resources, conserves energy, and saves you money. A properly engineered drip irrigation system can give your plants the exact amount of water that they need to thrive. With a lot of products available on the market, purchasing a new system can feel daunting. These four tips will help you know where to start.
Perhaps you just bought a new house and want to be sure you maintain your yard sustainably, or you want to transition to organic landscaping to reduce your environmental footprint. Before you start, read this guide to learn what steps you should take. It doesn't need to be an overwhelming process, but you should have a good plan.
Organic landscaping may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be — all you need is a good plan and the ability to stick to it. Once you’ve decided to start an organic landscaping project, these are the first five steps that you’ll want to take:
Organic lawn care is not only better for your yard, it improves the environment and human health. But what are the differences between chemical and organic lawn care products? Is there ever a time to use chemical products?
It depends. There are certain times when chemical products can be effective, but generally speaking, these only give you a short-term solution. Organic fertilizers and care products can be more expensive up front but will help you create healthy, long-lasting landscapes that require less water in the long run.
Are you looking for the best possible fertilizer for your lawn and unsure what to pick? Wondering if investing in organic fertilizers are even worth it? Organic supplements and fertilizers are not only better for the environment, they create long-lasting, healthy, and vibrant lawns. Check out these five reasons why organic fertilizers are the right choice for your yard:
We all know how important it is to take care of the planet, but you may be wondering what you can do to improve your practices. One easy step is to use organic landscaping methods.
Adopting these habits is much simpler than it may sound. The foundation of organic gardening is learning about your property, the kind of soil that you have, growing conditions, and what your yard needs to flourish. These six tips will help you easily use organic landscaping tactics for a healthy yard with minimal environmental impact.
Stones are a beautiful addition to any garden — they evoke a feeling of permanence and strength. By uniquely arranging rocks and boulders in your landscaping, you can enjoy not only the aesthetic benefits but also the healing, grounding nature of rock’s mountain-like properties.
Here are some interesting ways to incorporate stone hardscapes into your property:
Being outside, interacting with nature, and actively gardening are beneficial for both emotional and physical health. Simply being in nature can enliven your well-being, and is a welcome break from a sedentary workplace with harsh, artificial lighting.
These are six health benefits to help motivate you to get outside, get your hands dirty, and enjoy your garden:
The way you design and plan your meditation garden is a matter of individual preference. There are many factors that may go into deciding how to create your own space to relax and unwind. Here are some features that have both proven to be both popular and effective in creating a tranquil meditation space in your backyard:
Fountains, birdbaths, and ponds add a soothing and relaxing element to your landscaping — but they can be expensive and difficult to engineer. This short guide will give you an introduction to picking out the perfect water feature for your yard.
Picking the right plants for your gardens not only makes your landscaping look beautiful, they can add pleasurable, relaxing scents. Choosing flower smells you enjoy is important because they can have a positive effect on your mood after a long, hectic day at the office.
Before you head to your local nursery or hire a landscaper, think about what scents you like. Some people like bright, sweet, and fruity smells, while others like more subdued, spicy, or herbal smells. From there, pick plants that have long bloom times and complement other flowers in your garden.
Here are eight popular types of flowering plants:
Is your garden just a garden, or is it providing you with a place to escape and find rejuvenation? With some careful thought, you can create a beautiful place where you’ll find rest from a busy world. These five tips will help you landscape in a way that is relaxing and remedial.
Living in a busy urban area often disrupts enjoyment of your backyard. The sounds of cars driving by and loud neighbors can interrupt socializing with friends or quiet, post-work meditative time. Fortunately, with some well thought out landscaping, you can help muffle these sounds and create a more tranquil space in your yard.
These three tips will help you soundproof your backyard so that it is more enjoyable, even if you live in a dense, populous neighborhood:
Gardens are a great option for creating an area that is both soothing and good for the environment. When landscaping, you need to consider your personal preference and the effect the plants you choose will have on the environment.
Creating vivacious landscape designs can be challenging, given New England’s intense four seasons. Massachusetts weather ranges from bitterly cold nights in the middle of winter to hot and humid summer days. This extreme variety of temperatures can put stress on plants. The four tips below will help you create a beautiful landscape in New England’s fickle climate.
Picking out the right permanent plants will give your landscapes great color throughout the year. They will complement your house and the flowers you chose for the rest of your garden. That’s why many considerations need to go into choosing the foundation plantings that work best for your yard. Here are some things to think about before you start planting:
After a busy day of work, you want to come home to a beautiful landscaped yard — without worrying about hours of weeding, pruning, fertilizing, and watering. How can you design a stress-free garden? These three rules can help guide you through creating and maintaining a yard with minimal effort.
The front of your house is the first thing that people see. What does yours say about you? Creating a warm entryway makes your house feel welcoming and gives a great first impression.
A home with great curb appeal isn’t just for guests or neighbors to enjoy. When you return to your house after a long day at work, a well thought out and intentionally designed entry will make you glad to be home. Here are five ways you can create a beautiful front yard.
Entering your yard should feel like coming home to your own little sanctuary from the world. How can you do this naturally? A fence may seem like an easy solution, but there are other ways to give your backyard some seclusion that will be efficient and better looking than iron or wooden planks.
Fences can feel cold and impersonal. In crowded, suburban and urban areas, sound and light is still carried over them. They’ll also interrupt the expansive, picturesque views that you want to enjoy.
Instead of a fence, here are five simple and natural ways to help you create privacy, diminish light and sound pollution, and give your yard a warm and welcoming feel:
If you’re in the process of landscaping your property, you may not be sure where to start. You know hardscapes can add value to your home — but maybe you’re struggling to figure out exactly what features to include. These eight questions will help you make a plan to create your ideal yard.
Playing outdoors and learning to love nature are integral parts of growing up. Perhaps you have fond memories of playing whiffle ball with your siblings, going on neighborhood adventures with your dog, or rolling in the grass and staring up at the sky looking for shapes in the clouds.
You probably want the same experiences for your children, but how can you create a space for them that is enjoyable, yet safe?
These five tips will help you assess options available in your area and give you some great inspiration for helping your children make memories like the ones you enjoyed.
You’ve spent time, money, and energy making your house a home. You’ve got the right furniture, the perfect paint colors, and the best setup for the kitchen, and now you're ready to tackle your outdoor living space.
Perhaps you’ve tried to grow plants before with mixed results, or you wanted to start a flower bed and got overwhelmed by all the descriptions of what each flower needs. Here are some ideas for how to create an outdoor space that you’ll never want to leave:
Most people want to know that they are a vital part of their home improvement projects, even if they choose to hire professionals to carry out the heavy lifting. It is important for homeowners to understand what is happening on their properties, and that the job is done professionally. In order to get great landscaping services, you must create a viable landscape budget. By understanding what is a reasonable cost for your plans, researching local services, planning for investment potential and asking for professional guidance, you can create a design that will improve your property and fit your budget for your landscape project.
Two of our favorite native perennials to plant in Eastern Massachusetts are Kim's Knee High and Bridal Veil False Spirea. The Echinacea purpurea 'Kim's Knee High' is a compact version of Purple Coneflower. It is covered in 3-inch rosy-pink flowers that have drooping petals. This Coneflower will begin blooming a week or two the other Echinacea's. It is the ideal addition to a small landscape design where birds and butterflies can access it. All Coneflowers have such good root systems that they are known as "clay busters", tough enough to handle difficult clay soils. They grow best in full sun and are known to attract birds and hummingbirds, while keeping away deer due to their rugged texture.
Your garden is a reflection of your personality as well as the personality of your home, and it can be quite challenging to find a professional landscaper who can take your personality and translate it into an outdoor area that you will love. A good professional landscaper will take your needs into account, but will also ensure that the landscape works in terms of choosing the right plants for your area, having buildings placed sensibly and ensuring that the garden is as easy to maintain as possible. Finding the right designer for you can be quite tricky, so here are a few tips that will help you make your decision.
In Eastern MA, there are many different types of gardens that will grow and thrive, even in the finicky coastal MA weather. A few garden types you might want to consider planting are:
More information on Patio Materials! The least expensive patio material to buy and install is pea gravel, also know as pea stone.
Are you looking for a new landscape design this season? All landscape design jobs- backyard designs, garden design plans, and front yard landscape designs, require a consultation with a professional landscape designer as the first step.
Being from New England I have seen many snow and ice storms come through. It’s important to keep in mind both personal and public safety with winter weather. State workers and highway departments take care of snow removal and sanding/salting for all public roads, but most sidewalks, walkways and driveways are the property owners’ responsibility.
Regarding your own personal sidewalk, walkway and driveway there are two routes you can go: do it yourself or hire a professional.
Many gardeners choose perennials to plant in their yards to add color and create a low maintenance garden space. Perennials are great because they have color that pops in the spring, summer, or fall, then die back for the winter and repeat the next season.
Anyone who has installed an impressive landscape of any size knows how much work it can be to keep it up properly. The fact of the matter is that few of us have enough time to get the work done and then have time to enjoy it with family and friends. Landscape maintenance involves much more than simply mowing the lawn on Saturday morning. To compound the situation, anyone migrating from a chemical to organic program will have a steep learning curve. Luckily, professional landscape maintenance services are available to come to the rescue. So, what services are available?
A great backyard landscape design makes all the difference in how you and your family enjoy your outdoorspaces.
Massachusetts has some of the best summer weather in the country, and you want to make sure you get the most out of everything.
When you're planning your design, you want to make sure it works well for your lifestyle, your family's needs, and looks great.
There are a myriad of options available to homeowners when it comes to residential landscape design. This is great, but it can be difficult to find the one that suits your needs. You may have an idea of what you want, but run into difficulties finding a company that can get the job done. You may find yourself having to hire multiple companies for hardscape installation, planting and maintenance.
While you may love the idea of a do-it-yourself yard, you may not have the hours to pour into planning and executing your vision. This is where a residential landscape design expert can help. Design can make the difference between a yard that is nice and a yard that is breathtaking.
Landscaping can be broadly defined as the changes you make to the land around your home in order to make it more aesthetically pleasing. It covers everything from the plants that you choose to the extra structures that you can fit in your garden. Landscaping helps you create usable spaces for any outdoor activities you want to engage in and can create a safe and secure outdoor space for the entire family.
There are plenty of options for what you can do with the space around your house. You can create a perfect balance between plants and man-made structures, or create a sustainable area that feels more like a wilderness than a sculpted garden. Some people want to have plenty of indoor amenities, and outdoor dining rooms and kitchens are becoming more and more popular. Some people want water features that contain exotic fish, while others want natural fencing grown out of plants.
Choosing what sort of landscape design you want is the first step to creating a space that suits your needs and will keep you happy for years to come.
Each client we work with presents new challenges and unique experiences. Our mission remains the same: create inspirational and harmonious landscapes by infusing the client's practical needs and aesthetic desires within the existing nature of the landscape.
This is the story of one client's personalized landscape design. British homeowners wanted a formal feel in their front and backyard and they hired Moodscapes, which has more of natural style of landscape. Working together we were able to integrate a structure landscape that was elegant but also had warmth with a natural flare to it.
When it comes to relaxing in an environment that you find peaceful and inviting, few places can hold a candle to being on your own property and in your own home. Even if you travel to exotic locations and have seen fantastic gardens and yards, your own yard and your own land can give you a sense of satisfaction and completion you can't get anywhere else. And, if you're the outdoors type, one feature you can use to add softness and vibrancy to your landscaping is to take advantage of moss.
An elegant, well-landscaped backyard is a joy to behold when looking out your kitchen or living room window; however, if you are like most homeowners, you want your backyard to serve many purposes. When landscaped properly, your yard should function as a retreat that appeals to many senses – a visual palette of color and movement, a soothing place to relax, and a setting for fun with friends and family.
With the help of a professional landscaping company, you can design an outdoor haven that multi-tasks to meet the needs of you and your family. To create an elegant backyard, keep the following tips in mind:
Green doesn’t have to mean spacious acres of immaculate lawns. Many homeowners are embracing environmental trends, including landscape design. Whether you are dreaming of a zen-like private garden area to meditate, or an inspirational yoga-friendly space, going green in your yard supports your values.Consider incorporating environmentally focused elements such as:
When you need to give your patio a makeover, you might be tempted to do it yourself. After all, you can save a lot of money on labor if you do not have to pay a professional. But, when you want a beautiful patio that will stand the test of time, you need to seriously consider how hiring a professional makes the process easier for you.
You must have the skills to build a good foundation for the patio, grade it properly, choose the right material and ensure solid work. In the long run, an expert will give you the best investment. Here's four reasons why you should leave your patio remodel to the professionals:
Many people think that they can replace the work of a professional without a lot of effort. Sometimes, this is true. But, in other cases, you are almost always better off hiring someone who can do the job right the first time. When you want professional landscape design, there really is no easy way to skimp on costs or services. If you treat your property like the treasure it is, and arrange for professional landscaping design and maintenance, your land will be beautiful and useful for many years to come.
Tackling landscaping of your New England property is a daunting prospect. With the help of our qualified, experienced and professional landscape designers, you unlock the full potential of your lot. A great landscape design plan utilizes every positive aspect of your property, which increases curb appeal and your ability to enjoy the outdoors for its beauty and exterior living capabilities.
Gardens can be time-consuming and difficult to manage, especially if you have a large plot of land at your disposal. One of the trends that is becoming more popular with people who have large trees or unused wooded areas in their yard is to start up a woodland garden, which has the benefit of being more natural and less manicured than more traditional gardens.
Learn about 3 of the most common customizable characteristics of patios while deciding what you are looking for in your yard. Professional landscape designers are trained professionals to help you get the most out of your space and money, but it is important for you to understand how they can custom design a patio for your home.
One of the best ways to create an ecological garden is by planting more native plants. Planting native plants enhances and supports your local ecosystem which has more benefits than we can imagine. When selecting plants think about companion planting. Many native plants have evolved along side each other and grow more naturally together. The following are two great examples of companion planting:
Home owners are more aware of the beauty and ecological benefits of an edible garden, and some are hiring professionals solely for their help with adding a variety of edible trees, shrubs, and perennials to their landscape. Edible gardens can be used to perform many functions in the landscape while achieving design and practical goals. For example, to reduce erosion and out-compete weeds, creeping herbs can be used as ground covers.
Many people think to have an edible garden (a garden with fruit and vegetable plants), it has to be in a large, fenced in section of their backyard. This is not only false, but far from the truth.
An unspoken rule of thumb for living in New England, is that, when it is nice outside, you stay outside.
Last summer homeowners in Newton, Massachusetts were connected to the city sewer system which left their backyard looking like the picture to the left, a complete mess. They wanted a redesign of their entire backyard with new plantings, some type of hardscape for entertainment space, as well as a swing for leisure and relaxation. The property is surrounded by many trees making the backyard a natural woodland setting with privacy.
Above is a picture of a natural field stone walkway and front garden bed our team installed last year. Plants, trees, and shrubs are growing well together and the field stone walkway adds an element of elegance and simplicity to the front yard design. To view this yard last year, read, Natural Field Stone Walkway.
Professional landscape designers often use water features as a focal points for the landscape design. Above is an example of a water feature surrounded by plants and pea stone pebbles to emphasis the calming affect of the water fountain.
A personalized landscape design in Winchester Massachusetts to lead guests into their new backyard. Our team customized a wooden arbor to lead the way along a paver walkway and along side the newly planted perennials and shrubs. The plants were selected to enhance the walkway during all seasons with various bloom times, colors, and textures.
Clients in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts presented us with a very challenging situation in their back/ side yard.
This is a photo from a design and installation job we did last summer of their beautiful front yard garden design in full bloom! The colors and textures all work so nicely next to each other and compliment the style of the house and neighborhood as a whole. The stand out purple perennials are Salvia and will bloom from about June to September. The two corners have trees which add height to the garden and compliment each other with the deep red/purple colors. The Heuchera Coral Bell ground covers are slow-growing perennials that will continue to get larger and add texture as well as pick up the red color from the trees. Some of the shrubs have not yet bloomed and will do so later in the summer to add late summer and early fall color to the garden bed.
The colorful garden combination above is from a front yard garden design in Arlington, Massachusetts. The homeowner wanted colorful blooms combined with various textures and flower shapes and sizes. The pink shrub is an Anthony Waterer Spirea which blooms throughout the summer and even attracts butterflies. The blue shrub placed slightly behind the Anthony Waterer Spirea is an Endless Summer Hydrangea. This specific hydrangea needs to be planted in well-identified soil because the bloom color changes with elements found in the soil. The Endless Summer Hydrangea has a blue bloom in more acidic soil and a pink bloom in alkaline soil. The perennial in the front is a Hillside Black Beauty with dark purple, almost black leaves and creamy white flowers in early fall. The three plants next to each other makes this yard noticeable to anyone passing by as the colors compliment each other while allowing for each plant to stand out in a unique way.
A new trend is starting with homeowners in Eastern Massachusetts- circular patios. Homeowners are looking for custom patio designs that give them space for a table and chairs and lawn play space. The solution professional landscape designers across Massachusetts are designing for their clients are circular patios, which can be built with almost any patio material. The below patio was designed for a client in Lexington Massachusetts who wanted a shaded patio tucked away in the corner of her property.
Add creativity to your backyard with a personalized landscape design plan to incorporate all of your outdoor needs. Our clients wanted a small paver patio just large enough for a few adults to sit and relax on while the children had the rest of the backyard to play. In order to have space in a small backyard for both a patio and grass we designed the circular pattern to fit nicely in the corner. Plantings were added to the existing trees and shrubs around the patio for color and fragrance as the flowers bloomed.
Create an elegant and easy to follow path in your side side by choosing a natural field stone walkway. Flat field stone is the most natural looking stone and when installed correctly, can become a smooth surface to follow along. Often times field stone comes in varying heights and widths and therefore finding the correct stone is very important for creating a smooth, safe walkway. It is important for side yard walkways to be continuous from the front to back yard without imposing on the look of either space.
When deciding on a new garden landscape, there are many types of garden designs to choose from. Depending on your needs and existing conditions, gardens can be made for privacy, relaxation, entertainment, play space, etc. The garden pictured below is a mature shade garden designed and installed in Lexington Massachusetts by the Moodscapes team a couple years ago.
WHAT IS A SOIL TEST?
Clients in Roslindale, Massachusetts had very specific ideas for how they wanted their backyard sitting room to be designed and installed. Our designer worked closely with them to infuse her expertise into their desires.
1. GOALS AND MATERIAL- Clients wanted a fairly sophisticated and formal outdoor entertainment space that would extend their house and add outdoor living space. They wanted it to be formal, but provoke their senses at the same time. We added a water feature, various fragrant plants, and outdoor lighting surrounding the patio to allow nighttime enjoyment. The patio material was a carefully selected, formal blue stone, which created a structured layout. The nooks and sitting wall were added for additional space and enjoyment.
2. PLANTS- Plants were carefully chosen according to their textures and subtlety of the blooms' colors and smells to enhance the formality of the space. The plants soften some of the space by adding lighter color, but there is still a lot of structure in the plantings as well as the hardscape. We kept it simple.
3. COMPLIMENTED THE EXISTING CONDITIONS- The design mimicked vertical lines found throughout the yard as a whole. The fence gate especially mimics the railings coming off the steps. There are also a lot of square and vertical lines, which creates the complete formal setting they wanted for entertainment and privacy.
We were approached by a family in Winchester Massachusetts to design and install a new front and back yard that encompassed three very specific needs. The family wanted to use their yard to entertain family and friends, access the outside directly from their house, and enhance their new front entrance and porch.
Every home, landscape, and family is different. When deciding to redesign your landscape, choose a landscape design company that will create a personalized landscape design and installation to work within your existing yard conditions, as well as meet your personal and aesthetic desires.
A landscape design/build company is responsible for all aspects of the project from initial consultation through design and installation. Some companies also provide long-term maintenance. The company starts with a consultation with the potential customer in order to gather all information necessary for the job in terms of goals, budget, and schedule. After the proposal is agreed upon, a design plan is drawn up and a schedule is set for installation. Some clients wish to have long-term maintenance services, which is why many landscape design companies have started year round maintenance services.
Here at Moodscapes, we approach new projects differently than other companies. As our mission statement states, we work hard to create inspirational and harmonious landscapes by combining the clients practical needs and aesthetic desires within the existing conditions of the landscape. Our team offers personalized landscape services from start to finish. We take pride in our detailed design process and continuous conversation with the client from the start with consultations, to the end of the installation. In order to create a personal landscape we take extra steps throughout the consultation, design process, installation, and even maintenance if a client chooses.
Watertown residents wanted to enhance the front of their home with a walkway that would invites friends and family into their beautiful home. In collaboration with the homeowners, Moodscapes designed a paver walkway with a variety of pavers to increase curb appeal and aesthetics. We used Millstone Vineyard Blend quarry pavers, edged on the inside with a standard cobblestone. A half circle was designed right before the steps to mimic the architecture of the circular patterns on front porch and throughout the house. This enhanced and complimented the unique features of the home while increasing their front yard curb appeal.
Homeowners in Watertown Massachusetts contacted us to redesign and install their front yard. They wanted to remove the overgrown shrubs and replace with something more appealing. Our design team shaped the existing garden beds to soften the front yard. We also added more beds to the front for warmth and enclosure. The plants installed were carefully chosen to include various textures, colors and bloom times. The new garden beds, trees and shrubs will increase curb appeal and property value for the owners. When redesiging your front yard, consult with your local garden center or a landscape design company in your area.
Clients in Watertown Massachusetts wanted to make their backyard more usable by reducing the size of their deck. The existing deck was too large for the small backyard space and prevented easy access to the lawn. Moodscapes was able to redesign the deck allowing space for a bluestone patio and beautiful fieldstone wall with granite steps to the lawn. The clients are extremely satisfied with their custom built deck and new blue stone patio which they can now sit, relax and entertain on.
At our client's home in Watertown, Massachusetts, a beautiful arbor design is complimented by an existing Hydrangea paniculata 'Pink Diamond' Tree. Well designed front entry walkways connect the front yard to the back yard in a fluid manner. This particular side yard design has field stone steps surrounded by plants as you walk through to the back yard.
When designing your backyard, make sure to include space for both adults and children to play. Creating a backyard oasis for entire family is easier than it may seem. An adult space can consist of a patio made of any material just large enough for a grill, table and chairs. Surrounding the patio should be organic lawn for a swing set or a simple space to run and play. Moodscapes loves to create kid friendly backyard designs centered around the adults requests. Download our design process guide to learn about hiring a landscape design professional.
One of the most versatile trees for almost any garden in New England, Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) exists in a multitude of forms that provide an endless choice of colors, sizes, and shapes. The most recognizable feature is the hand-shaped leaves, especially with its fall foliage colors of reds, purples, and greens. It varies in size from large shrub to small tree, but all have similar trunks that look great even in the leafless months of winter.
Field stone walkways create a natural, elegant, and easy to follow front yard entrance way. Flat field stone is the most natural looking stone and when installed correctly, can become a smooth surface to follow along. Often times field stone comes in varying heights and widths and therefore finding the correct stone is very important for creating a smooth walkway. Front entry walkways are very important for curb appeal and adding an edged garden bed with various plants and shrubs will enhance the natural look of field stone.
One of the most important factors that play into landscape design is understanding the light conditions of a front, back or side yard. When selecting new plants to add to your yard, or moving existing ones around, it is necessary to fully know and understand the light patterns before starting.
Hydrangeas are one of the easiest shrubs to identify throughout Eastern Massachusetts. They are superb garden plants with an enormous diversity from evergreen climbers, to small deciduous trees with splendid masses of flowers, to lovely alpine shrubs covered with flowers with fall color. In general, hydrangeas are summer bloomers, easy to grown and maintain, and suitable for all kinds of soils. They come in a wide range of shapes and colors and have long lasting bloom times.
For many homeowners here in the Northeast, having enough space for entertaining guests can be a bit challenging. A good cost-effective alternative to full-scale home additions or remodeling is creatively extending your entertainment space outside.
Through professional landscape design and master planning, common yards can be transformed into both practical and highly aesthetic entertaining areas, ones that compliment the look and flow of your existing home.
Regardless of how big or small your yard space may be, an inspired, well-conceived design plan can determine the most effective and attractive use of your space.
Something as simple as a walkway made of pavers, and a bench, can be used to create a quiet garden retreat. Or resurrecting that long neglected lawn into a thriving, safe organic grass play area for your family and pets.
Outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular, offering an enjoyable combination of grilling space and garden beds. Space heaters can extend the use of these areas well into the fall months.
There are a wide variety of design elements to choose from to create a relaxing space that is uniquely your own and reflects your individual lifestyle. From plush gardens and blue stone patios, to decks and arbors, your yard can become the envy of the neighborhood!
Whether you do the work yourself or have it professionally done, begin with a design plan that is custom-tailored to your specific needs and desires. To better understand the design process, please download our free guide.
If you're looking to install a paver patio in your backyard, the process is limited only by your imagination. Once you've decided what kind of pavers you want to incorporate in your patio design, it simply becomes a matter of installing everything step-by-step.
A patio is an investment not only in the value and outdoor appeal of a home, but also an investment in the quality of life for the homeowners that live there. A quality outdoor patio material and of the right size provides the perfect environment for kids to play, entertainment area for your friends, or just to kick back and unwind at the end of a long day. One of the many considerations that goes into a new outdoor patio is simply "how big should it be?". If a patio is built too small it will feel crowded by the time the furniture, grills and planters are put on it. If it's too big, you'll lose that intimate feel that patios can provide. Feel free to use these ideas when deciding on just how big of a patio space you or your family may need.
Welcome to our 2nd blog series on Choosing Paving Materials- Understanding How Much Patio Materials Cost.
One of my favorite aspects of living in New England is being able to watch the seasons change and plants adapt with seasonal interest. Most plants have one or two seasons of which they bloom or have bright foliage, very few are considered all season interest plants. Evergreen shrubs are one of the few plants put into this category of having all season interest.
Winter sun, wind, and cold temperatures can damage bark, injure or kill branches, flower buds, and roots. Snow and ice can break branches and ruin entire trees. Winter food shortages force some rodents and deer to feed on bark, twigs, flower buds, and foliage, injuring and potentially killing trees and shrubs. All is not bleak, however, as landscape plants can be protected to minimize some of this injury.
5 Quick Tips for Selecting Plants for Your Yard!
February is halfway over!! This means it's time to start looking for early signs of spring! There is nothing I love more than looking out from my home office window and seeing a glimmer of hope for warm weather radiating out of the snow covered garden. The following are just a few examples of plants that start budding in the early spring! Keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful buds as they start appearing.
Over the years, many close friends, colleagues, and clients have asked me, "Why Moodscapes?" I put together this brief explanation for our followers and hope everyone enjoys getting to know me better through this article.