|Sustainable landscapse are created by carefully considering compatibility with local micro-climates and ecological
compatibility between plant species while achieving both functional and aesthetic objectives. Cost effectiveness of various
plants, both initial cost and long-term maintenance cost, also influences sustainable landscape design.
We are not using dead ‘bricks & mortar’ here. Landscape design works with living things that grow, change, have a
lifespan, are sensitive to solar exposure and micro-climate. They are very much like people - they need proper amount of
nutrients, care, and the right environment to thrive.
We apply these principles of sustainable landscape design and horticultural knowledge of plant materials in design,
installation and maintenance to achieve clients goals.
DESIGN PRINCIPLES & ELEMENTS:
Effective landscape design is created through the appropriate application of design principles. Design principles drive plant
selection and organization to achieve both functional and aesthetic objectives. The design process applies principles from
concept to reality.
There are often many plants that will fulfill design objectives. Long experience, an ‘eye’ for the landscape and horticultural
knowledge to select harmonious blends of plant species, texture, color, dendroform, growth rate and ecology are essential
ingredients to creating sustainable landscapes. Following are selection criteria that we use in selecting the right plant for the
PLANT MATERIALS SELECTION CRITERIA:
Our mission of being good Earth stewards has led us to discover ecologically compatible methods of controlling pests. We
offer, as an option to the environmentally conscious, biological pest control and pest control using Essential Oils that are
non-toxic to people, pets or plants.
In addition, we offer organic lawn-care products (fertilizers etc.) that are free of synthetic chemicals, completely
biodegradable and have no adverse affect on people of the environment. Composted, pelletized chicken manure provides
not only NPK but a host of micro-nutrients essential to insure plant health.
FAQ’S – LAWN & LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE:
Why maintain your landscape organically?
It saves you money, protects the environment and creates a beautiful landscape you, your family, friends and neighbors
can safely enjoy. Organic methods create an environmentally balanced landscape greatly reducing pest problems.
Naturally managed landscapes are also more drought tolerant.
Why not use chemical fertilizers?
There are millions of highly beneficial organisms living in the soil. They play a critical role in assisting plants obtain moisture
and nutrients while helping to combat insect and disease pests. Chemical fertilizers harm or destroy these vital beneficial
organisms. Chemical fertilizers do not take into account the natural soil fertility. This usually results in the use of
inappropriate fertilizer ingredients creating nutrient toxicities and deficiencies.
Most chemical fertilizers are fast acting which can burn plant roots and sometimes kill them. Fast release chemical
fertilizers generate rapid, deep green leaf growth that may look very attractive. However, the fast growth results in weak
imperfectly formed leaves that are very susceptible to pest attack. This often results in pest damage and the need for costly
pest control treatments.
Our organic fertilization program uses the proper combination and amounts of natural fertilizer materials custom designed
to improve and enhance the fertility of your soil. The result is a more fertile soil and healthier pest resistant plants. Organic
fertilizers release nutrients slowly. They are not harmful to plant roots. The growth of beneficial soil organisms is stimulated
and plant growth is at a normal rate assisting in natural pest resistance.
Are lawn and landscape pesticides safe?
The health and environmental safety of pesticides is unknown. Agricultural chemicals (in particular pesticides) have not
been adequately tested. Ninety percent of the pesticides registered for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) are missing safety tests required for registration. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) claimed that 32 out of
the 34 most widely used products on turf are lacking health and safety data required for registration. Anne Bloom of Public
Citizen stated at a U.S. Congressional inquiry, "Of the 40 pesticides that compromise over 95% of the chemicals used by
commercial lawn care firms, 12 are suspected carcinogens, 21 have been shown to cause long-term health effects in lab
animals or humans, and 20 have been shown to cause short-range damage to human central nervous systems."
Chemical lawn care firms claim the materials they use are safe. Are these claims justified?
No! The U.S. General Accounting Office believes the chemical lawn care industry makes inappropriate safety claims in
advertisements and verbal communications with the public. (i.e., "Practically non-toxic," "Safe to use", "Our products are
practically non-toxic"). At a congressional hearing associate director for GAO, Peter F. Guerrero, testified, "We believe
that the public should be protected from pesticide advertisements that convey the impression of safety... The (lawn care)
industry continues to make advertising claims that its products are safe or non-toxic while federal enforcement actions
against such claims remain limited."
Many landscape care companies state the chemicals they use are approved by EPA. That is deceptive and untrue. EPA
does not approve any chemicals but only registers them. Registration is by no means a statement of approval or of safety.
Are pesticides necessary to maintain a healthy, green lawn and landscape?
No! A properly managed, totally organic landscape maintenance systems typically do not require the use of pesticides!
Increasing numbers of university studies from around the country are confirming that a properly designed organic
fertilization and management program can prevent many lawn and landscape diseases while choking out weeds. Healthy
plants living in a soil with an abundance of beneficial organisms are better able to resist insect pests.
ORGANIC LANDSCAPES ARE WATER CONSERVING:
Many landscapes and gardens are having to survive with less water. Horticultural experts around the country are making
similar recommendations on how to keep your yard green with less water. It is not difficult, in fact organic growers have
been utilizing these practices for years. The plan includes soil improvement, mulching, and appropriate maintenance.
Soil improvement is best accomplished with additions of organic matter (i.e., compost or composted manures). This
loosens and opens the soil allowing better water penetration. It also increased the water holding capacity of the soil.
The improved soil stimulated beneficial microorganisms to assist plants in obtaining additional moisture, and fertilizer while
naturally fighting off pests. In established lawns aeration would proceed the application of organic matter allowing the
material to penetrate to the turf root zone.
Mulching conserves a great deal of moisture in the landscape and garden. It reduces evaporation from the soil surface,
cools the area around the plant reducing the amount of water used by plants. Mulch also reduces weeds that compete for
soil moisture. When organic materials are used as they break down they release nutrients that can be utilized by plants and
beneficial soil microbes.
Appropriate maintenance encompasses mowing and fertilization. As the temperature rises the mowing height should be
raised. For most cool season turf 2 to 3 inches is recommended. This allows the turf to mature and serve as a living mulch.
Under drought conditions it is vital to encourage slow steady plant growth. Organic, natural fertilizers (i.e., Ringer Lawn
Restore, Sustane) release their nutrients slowly over time resulting in steady plant growth. The use of chemical fertilizers
stimulates a flush of green growth increasing the plants water requirements.
There are many advantages to utilizing an organic landscape maintenance services. It is environmentally sound, and
provides beautiful landscapes that are safe to humans and the environment. And what is important is it conserves precious
water. Utilizing organic horticultural practices will conserve water even before you adjust and turn on your irrigation system.
SOIL ANALYSIS – THE KEY TO PEST FREE PLANTS:
A successful landscape or garden maintenance program strives to create a fertile soil. The goal of a sustainable fertility
program is to activate a favorable environment for plants and millions of beneficial organisms. These microscopic critters
assist plants in obtaining moisture and nutrients. Many of these creatures help resist drought and fight off a variety of pests
including weeds, diseases, and insects.
A soil fertility program should feed the soil not the plant. By creating a fertile soil you will grow healthy, pest resistant plants.
As a result, the need for costly pest control services is reduced. Specialty fertilizers (e.g., lawn food, rose and flower food,
vegetable food) are designed to only feed the plant and ignore soil fertility.
To achieve a fertile soil the manager must first determine what nutrients are in short supply or are out of balance. The soil
pH must be examined to make sure it is within a desirable range (6.3-7.0 for most plants). The organic matter content must
also be checked. Soil testing is the only effective method to determine the condition of your soil and achieve a fertile living
soil that will be able to provide the best environment for your landscape and garden.
There are two basic methods of soil testing. The first is to do it yourself by purchasing a soil test kit from a local nursery,
hardware store, or mail order garden catalog. Kits test for the three major nutrients used by plants (nitrogen, phosphorous,
potassium) as well as pH. The directions are simple and included with the kit. Making your own recommendations is not so
A much more effective method of soil testing is to send your soil to a testing laboratory for analysis. It is more expensive,
but the additional information obtained is worthwhile. In addition to nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, and pH, the lab will test for
items such as micro-nutrients, percentage of organic matter, cationic exchange capacity, and others (e.g., testing for lead
in vegetable gardens is often available). They will also make recommendations on how to correct any problems found.
It is important when choosing a lab that you find a reputable service that can provide you with recommendations you can
understand and that utilize organic management techniques. This should include recommendations on soil fertilizers, cover
crops, management techniques and necessary additions of organic materials.
Information provided from a quality testing service assists the landscape and garden manager in formulating a custom
fertilizer blend for your garden or landscape. Utilizing these custom fertilizers will yield a fertile soil with abundant beneficial
organisms that is capable of growing healthy, pest resistant plants.
Annual Gardens: Gardens that need to be replanted each year because the plants are not cold hardy. Annuals are
frequently chosen for their intense flowering and often become focal points in the landscape.
Clients: Anyone who hires an individual or company to provide landscape service or a product, such as a homeowner who
hires a nursery to landscape his/her property.
Commercial Grounds: Commercial grounds usually surround a business, townhouse complex, or an apartment building.
Completed Landscape Design: A completed landscape design in plan view. This plan has all the information necessary to
install the landscape.
Concept Plans: Initial drawing of how the spaces in the landscape will appear. This drawing evolves from the shapes
developed in the bubble diagram.
Cost Effectiveness: A satisfactory return on investment from money spent on landscape design, implementation, or
Easements: An interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment.
Environmentally Sound: A landscape that does not harm the environment, soil, water, and air. An environmentally sound
landscape is less dependent on pesticides, fertilizers, and water to maintain the desired appearance.
Functional: Any part of the landscape with a specific purpose for its location other than just aesthetics. Functionality is
associated with uses of the landscape.
Hardscaping: Features in the landscape other than plant materials. Examples include walks, fences, and retaining walls.
Graphic depictions of the finished landscape. Typically we use digital imaging that starts with a digital photograph of your
project and adds digital landscape elements to provide a photo-realistic preview of the installed design.
Landscape Architect: A licensed professional who plans and designs landscapes. Landscape architects are usually
educated in planning, design, engineering and architecture, including the environmental sciences of horticulture, biology,
ecology, geology, dendrology, and botany.
Landscape Designer: A non-licensed person who plans and develops landscapes, usually at a residential or small
Landscape Design Program: What the client desires to accomplish with the landscape - what activities he wants supported,
what features does he want to have, what look does he want - for example, formal vs. non-formal, shade/sun, colors in the
plant materials, vegetable garden, herb garden, annual and perennial garden, water feature (waterfalls, pond, stream, lake),
patio, gazebo, walkways, swimming pool, deck, attract birds, create habitat for forest fauna, recreation spaces (badminton,
tennis, boccie, horseshoes, ball field, basketball), horses, barns, other out buildings, screening, fences, etc.)
Maintainability: The ease with which a landscape can be maintained.
Perennial Gardens: Herbaceous plantings that can tolerate the cold and will come back each spring. Perennial gardens
provide seasonal interest for a longer period of time than annual gardens.
Plan View or Plan View Drawings: Aerial view looking straight down on a project from some distance. The completed
landscape design is done in plan view.
Bird’s Eye View: Aerial view of the area being designed and angle as a bird would see it.
Principles of Design: Process that defines and ties all individual components together to create unity within a design.
Example of principles of design would be simplicity, variety, balance, emphasis, sequence, and scale.
Public Grounds: Public grounds include public property owned by a city, state, or the federal government. Examples
include parks, schools, and any other public recreational areas. Maintenance is usually performed by personnel hired by
the city, county, or state.
Relationship Diagram: Bubble diagrams consist of a series of circles or rounded shapes drawn on paper to show what the
areas in the landscape will be used for. The areas may represent a various land use areas.
Scale: Scale is the relative size of one part of a landscape to another. Scale may be the proportion or ratio of size to other
components in the landscape.
Screen Plantings: Plantings used to screen an area to provide privacy, block a poor view, or as a natural boundary or
Seasonal Interest or Color: Seasonal interest and color are created by the colors that we see when we look at a plant. Color
is the element that is often first noticed about a plant. Color is often used in a landscape to provide interest throughout the
entire growing season. This is often referred to as seasonal interest. Seasonal interest is simply the time of the year that a
plant provides a special characteristic such as flowers, fall color, fruits, etc.
Site Analysis: Compiling the information found during the site survey and the family or client interview to be used in the
development of the landscape plan.
Site Plan: A drawing that illustrates the elements on a site.
Site Survey: A drawing that shows property boundaries, topography, easements, rights of way, buildings, hardscape
elements (roads, streets, sidewalks etc.), utilities, water elements (streams, lakes, rivers etc.) and major trees.
Specimen Plants: Specimen plants can be part of a larger planting, but usually stand alone in the landscape. Specimen
plants provide specific seasonal interests or color through flowers, fruit, or leaves.
Texture: Coarseness or fineness of the plant. Texture in plants can be created by leaves, branches, bark, or other plant
parts. It can also be created by rough or smooth looking surfaces, thin or thick leaf set, or by darkness or lightness.
Unity: How well the entire design comes together to form one landscape. All aspects of the landscape should complement
one another rather than compete for attention.
Variety: Mixing up the form, texture and color combinations in a landscape to create extra interest without sacrificing the
simplicity of the design.
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|Edible Organic Gardens
We'll Design/Build & Maintain them for you!
All you have to do is enjoy
the fruits and vegetables of our labor!
Providing NON-GMO and NON-HYBRID seed plants.
These are a-la-carte menu options
to be chosen by the customer.
We use true organically grown seeds grown from 100% certified organic crops from High
Mowing in Vermont.
Grown in soil that's never had chemicals or artificial herbicides and fertilizers used on
them and were irrigated with pure water. (95% of all 'organic' growing crops are grown
from seeds raised with herbicides and pesticides & synthetic chemicals.)