Thursday, October 22, 2009

Staircases in the Garden

Here are a few examples of staircases that we have designed for some of our clients. I know the gardeners out there will be disappointed for the lack of plants, but it is still nice to show a good foundation for a garden. I love stairs in the landscape because they give a person a destination. They can lead someone to a patio, a sunken fire pit, a water feature or simply another area of the garden. They can also frame a landscape as in the top photo and cause a person to pause and take in the view. They also offer so many possibilities as far as container gardens, lighting display and even a place to set the pumpkins in October.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Renovation Project

Today we installed a small ornamental grass and perennial garden at my parent's house. We ripped out several overgrown evergreens, various overgrown shrubs and shrub roses. Unfortunately, I didn't get before photos, but you can see one overgrown evergreen in the third photo from the top. (Ripping that out tomorrow). The large grasses will eventually grow rather tall and add some interest through the winter. We also had the challenge of hiding leftover stumps. The grasses and perennials that we chose should do a really good job of that. The yarrow will thrive and add a nice swath of color. We also chose a trial geranium, in the final photo, that has been tested to be hardy to zone 6 (we're zone 4/5) so we'll see what happens with that. I guess since it's my parent's house, I can get away with being experimental! Hopefully, we will luck out and they will do really well.

There are still some finishing touches to be done with this project. We will, of course, rip out the evergreen shrub at the corner and attempt to save the greens for my wife's holiday decorating. Then we will extend the yarrow around the corner and possibly add a unique, small evergreen which I have yet to choose. Any suggestions? We will also add some bulbs for spring color, a fresh layer of mulch and possibly a sculpture nestled somewhere in the grasses.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Landscape Photography Part 2

Here are a couple more of our favorite detail shots from our recent photo venture. It was nice to capture the impatiens in their final glory days. Look for these and many more new photos on our website soon!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Landscape Photography

My wife and I both really enjoy dabbling in landscape photography. We have been pursuing it more lately since she started working with me this summer. These are some of our most recent photos that we took for a local landscape contractor.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is it still Fall?

This has been an interesting fall so far. It has already snowed four inches. Today there was a little sleet and the leaves have only just begun to fall from the trees. A taste of an early winter is helping me to appreciate every morsel of fall that I can get. It's also going to help me get all the garden chores done quickly this weekend before it's too late! It's a little sad to see the annuals and vegetables die, but there is something to be said for getting a little rest from the garden for awhile. I hope you will be able to enjoy some of your favorite fall activities before winter weather takes over. Check out an aspen leaf painting by my wife if you need a reminder of fall.

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."
- Eric Sloane

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Three Phases of Landscaping

Phase 1: Landscape design. A landscape design helps a person visualize the potential of their outdoor space. Whether you hire a professional landscape designer or come up with your own plan, having it on paper will help you in the long run. The design can help determine the installation phases and the overall budget of a project. A comprehensive plan includes not only plantings, but also elements such as decks, patios and water features. These elements provide the backbone for a great landscape. A beautiful outdoor space can be accomplished in one season or over many years and can add a great deal of value to a property.

Phase 2: Landscape Installation. Having a landscape design will help you prioritize the phases of your landscape. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can chip away at it as time and money allows. If you choose to have it professionally installed, they can use the plan to estimate the different phases of your project. It is important to install the major landscape elements first, such as decks, patios, pools and retaining walls. Large elements, such as these, cause the biggest disturbance in a garden during the installation phase and provide a backdrop to all other elements. A good landscape company will implement the design while keeping longevity and function in mind. It is crucial to maintain proper drainage, quality craftsmanship and correct planting techniques.

Phase 3: Landscape Maintenance. Once you have installed your outdoor living space, there will be some maintenance needed to keep your garden looking its best. Decks need staining, shrubs need pruning and mulching will be needed at least once a year. Even the lowest maintenance garden will need some seasonal upkeep. In order to keep plants healthy, weeds will need to be controlled and the soil conditioned. Providing a fresh layer of mulch (three inches deep) will keep weeds at bay and provide nutrients for the soil. As a garden matures, plants will need to be divided and reorganized to prevent over crowding.

Olive Branch can help with all of your landscaping needs! Here at Olive Branch, we are passionate about the landscaping process and we provide landscape design services, installation and garden maintenance. We would love to give you a space worth coming home to!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nebraska Autumn

My wife and I like to venture out to get inspired by nature whenever we can. I always find that it helps my designs when I observe how things grow in nature. Here are some of our best shots after visiting a nearby lake last week. The prairie is really beautiful in the fall. I hope we can get out again!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fire Time

It is now officially cool weather in Nebraska. This is a fire pit area we created for a Street of Dreams home back in 2006. I was just thinking it looks like a nice spot to visit right about now. Not without marshmallows and cider, of course.

This is a really simple fire pit design. Sometimes simple is best. We were going for a really natural look, almost as if you stumbled upon it while walking in the woods. Wouldn't that be a nice surprise?

There is nothing better than a good fire during crisp autumn weather. Wish I could go build one right now.