In this “Landscaping 4 U” series, my mission statement is to illustrate the many ways to enhance your great outdoors. You may be looking for landscape installation, landscape design, landscape maintenance, trees, turf, shrubs, or hardscape. No matter what your needs, there are the right steps to take and many wrong steps to take.
In the process of bidding your landscaping, we should have plenty of questions for each other pertaining to function, size, color, texture, cost, etc. The scope of work is often overlooked by the client. It’s the preparation that makes the final look “jump.” In the case of tear-out and re-install, it’s the mounding soil, stump grinder, edging, weed mat, etc., that don’t show until you don’t do them.
When you consider plant selection, I would show you the portfolio of prior landscapes we had done design/bid. There you would see tree/shrub/perennial color, size, and texture.
What you don’t see is their insect and disease resistance or low maintenance. You don’t necessarily see their age, drought, or swamp tolerance either. This is why we converse as we look at the portfolio.
While I’m on site, I’ll take some pictures and make a few notes. Normally, within a week, I would return with a color rendering and some price options.
These options would be priced individually and presented to you for your approval. This way we know how to get it to the budget we’ve previously discussed. It will be done based on your priorities now or later. This is common to do it all at once or in phases.
When we’re talking spec’s on plants, height and diameter are standard on trees, while shrubs usually go by height, diameter, and container size.
As we orchestrate the installation, we would build the bed, install soil, weedmat, mulch, and plants. We would install the trees first, shrubs – second, and perennials – third. There’s a method to the madness and it goes deeper than “enjoying digging in the dirt.”
When we think of low maintenance, we should think from the bottom- up in our planning. Good, fertile mounding soil makes for good drainage and easy rooting. Dwarf or semi-dwarf plants are going to need less pruning. Weedmat will prevent weeds and stone mulch doesn’t go away and doesn’t absorb water that needs to get down to the roots.
As we choose color in the landscape, think of four seasons. Bloom is usually worth two weeks. Stagger the flowering plants into various seasons. Fall color is also to be considered. Deciduous plants often leaf one color, harden off into a second color and then have a third fall color. This is more bang for your buck with any given selection. You don’t have to get thorns to get red or gold leaves in today’s horticultural market.
With evergreens, they don’t have to be green. In today’s market there are many everblues and evergolds also. This is another reason why Kermit the Frog might say, “It isn’t easy being green.” Just being green isn’t enough these days, for landscapes either – boring.
If we are to think outside and outside the box, we need to consider the aforementioned factors of design. There’s a lot out there and it’s an ever-changing market when you’re “buyin’ bushes.”
Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be contacted at 740-820-8210.