(Client’s) Garden design 

I couldn’t wait to get back to blogging after a hectic Christmas weekend. It’s good to be stationary after a travel filled few days, especially since the Northeast is in the middle of our first deep freeze of the season. It is -13 degrees outside with the wind chill and my furnace is having a hard time keeping up. With that being said, I’m hoping all of you had a memorable holiday, full of new memories and lasting impressions.

Okay let’s warm things up a little bit and talk about spring. A good problem for any landscaping/exterior company to have is a full upcoming schedule in the spring. It’s never too early to plan ahead to make your time as efficient as possible, because efficiency saves the client financially and puts money in your pocket. It’s important to have a plan of what jobs to start first because frankly every job is different. For example; Urban yardology has been hired to completely restore a front yard with all the bells and whistles. Another job requires us to add a new color palette to an already existing very large unorganized Island. Now in April, especially the beginning of April wouldn’t be the right time to start putting flowers into the ground (Frost) being that I operate in zones 4 and 5. So common sense tells me, the yard restoration would become priority number one.

Now let’s move forward to the garden design job scheduled for late April. Keep in mind, I’ve already had the walk through with the client and I know what their looking for as far as color, height, run, impression and maintenance difficulty. At this point I could easily go dormant and not communicate with that client any further until a few weeks leading up to the start date, but I don’t want to do that. It’s important that I get these flowers and this design right for the client, so what works for me may not work for them. Now I don’t want to bombard my client with emails overwhelming them, but I want them to feel like they are part of the process. So for example the first email will give me the foundation needed to move forward. Meaning they liked the theme I presented but might not have liked some of the color choices. Believe it or not, I’ve had some clients that love orange but just not that shade of Orange. This process usually happens two more times before I feel the client is satisfied with what will be the final result. Now I have the information in hand, so when the time comes all we need to do is go to the garden center and pick up the materials needed, saving me time which in the end saves the client’s money. What I’ve learned by doing this, it keeps the client involved, it makes them happy to know that there needs are being met and it also uplifts their spirits through this cold time of year, it gives us something to look forward to……. so it’s a win-win really.

I personally choose (Proven Winners) as my resource guide to the client. For example; when I do send floral suggestions it looks like the picture below showing a beautiful image along with the basic growing details.




Landscaping + advertising = (Caution)

As a small business owner, I know in order to succeed you need to advertise. Potential clients and leads don’t often just fall in your lap, unless you have a top notch website, knowledge of SEO, and know how to put it to work for you. Otherwise, you need to pound the pavement as they say.

The off-season most know is the best time to get your name out there and a lot of people turn to Craigslist to do so. Through experience I can say that it is not a bad route to take because it’s free, but there are some risks that everybody should be aware of.
I’m going to use my own experiences to hopefully shed light on how to successfully post a Craigslist ad without dealing with those shady people out there that just want to steal from you.
Now, when I say steal from you I mean that literally, they want to steal your time and they want to steal by actually taking money out of your pocket. Do I have your attention yet?


Last Summer, I got a text message asking if I work on fences. I took time out of my day to reply, yes I can rebuild or replace a fence. Soon, I get a reply back from this potential customer who then gave me the address of the potential job location. The next phase of the conversation is where the red flags started flapping in the wind . He goes on to tell me that he just purchased this property and will not be able to be there due to illness and was wondering if he could wire the money to my business account .
Hmmmmmmm…… keep in mind I already knew this person was wasting my time and had a criminal agenda. How do I know…… because I already looked up the address he gave me. (Thanks to Google) The address existed and yes, the house was on the market. So……I contacted the realtor, again wasting my time to find out that there was no pending sale. So you see there are people out there who have nothing better to do then prey on business owners or anybody else for that matter who do not take the time to investigate.

Now do I know exactly how this would have played out and where or how I would have lost money…. kinda, but the bottom line is I didn’t allow it to get to that point. Now, this wasn’t the only scenario, but it’s a prime example of what can happen if you post to Craigslist and leave a contact number for people to reach you. If you  have a website put that on your Craigslist ad, link them to your website, many websites, such as  mine has an info page for customers to fill out what they’re looking to accomplish on their property. Now if you don’t have a website just be vigilant and Be prepared for scams!

Check this link out scams

Things I look out for:

  1. Broken English
  2. Misspelled words
  3. Aggressive
  4. Wont meet in person
  5. Doesn’t reply to all your questions

“Black”…. in the (Garden)???

I work on hundreds of gardens throughout the season and I have to say with 100% certainty, I don’t recall one black flower in any of them. In fact, when hired to create a garden space for a client, I never think of adding black to the landscape. Shame on me!!!

Now lately I’ve had plenty of time on my hands. (Shoulder surgery) I must say when you research black flowers, you’d be surprised to see how many different varieties are available. They even have a coleus with black foliage……… who would have thought!!!

A new Twitter friend of mine just mention Dahlia’s. Yes, they have a Black Dahlia, or as I like to call it, a very deep purple Dahlia…..but they do classify it on the list of black flowers. Tulips, roses, petunias, and pansies are also on this list, which again blows me away. In order to be considered a legitimate blogger, it’s obviously important to blog about facts. If I throw out a bunch of unfactual garbage it won’t be long before I have zero followers. With that being said I need some answers, I need to be educated. So if anybody out there has the answers please feel free let me know. My questions are as followed.

  • How many actual black wild flowers are there?
  • From what region are these flowers located?
  • How many commonly used flowers were scientifically modified black?
  • Are these black flowers maintenance protocols different?

I always try to provide a link for my readers so they have direction regarding topics I choose to write about. Feel free to check out this site below, I got something out of it and I’m sure you will too.

info/black flowers

Please feel free to leave a comment, I’m always interested in hearing from you.

A (Pesticide free) landscape

Yes, there are products out there that will give you that instant gratification in regards to ridding pests from your garden. Spray a little chemical here, spray a little chemical there and voila…. beautiful flowers, stems and hardy leaves. I’m going to ask you not to do that. There are lasting effects from these types of practices, and only now are we understanding them and the consequences.

When the term “everything leads to the ocean” is used, it’s a factual one and not some made up mythical saying. Creeks lead to streams, streams lead to rivers and rivers lead to Lakes and oceans. Picture your soil as a sponge and everything you put on that soil gets absorbed into that sponge. Then as you water that soil whether that be from your own garden hose or the sky above that sponge then slowly releases that chemical. It then finds that path of least resistance which 9 times out of 10 leads to some type of water source. See picture below.

I know what some are thinking. We are just a small percentage of the problem, so why put in the extra effort. That is true…..a single property won’t change the outcome, but thousands of properties will. Communities, towns and cities will make a difference. There’s alternatives to chemicals, and yes it may take more time and work for the results your looking for but the rewards are well worth it.

UrbanYardology has been and will continue to operate as a pesticide-free company. There are natural solution other than chemical use out there which we educate all our clients on. In fact in 2018 we plan on incorporating Rain gardens to our list of construction options. What’s a Rain garden you might ask. Well, a Rain garden is a landscape impression that receives storm water runoff from either your roof structure, or other elevated spots on your property. The purpose of these gardens are to allow nature to step in and help by removing some of the pollution that would otherwise rush into storm drains causing an instant harmful effect. I posted a link below that is full of helpful information in regards to the Rain Garden process.

Rain garden

Take the pesticide-free pledge and let’s take back our planet!

The buzzzzz about (Bees)

There is nothing like looking throughout a garden’s landscape to see these little remarkable machines at work. Their attention to detail and work ethic are unmatched, but sadly their under attack.

According to the USDA, pesticides play a key roll in their demise, as do the Varroa mite, bad weather and starvation. The good news is statistics are showing progress in the right direction. Key factors to this positive news is education. By collaborating with farmers and educated them when to use pesticides has helped bee colonies become less stressed which studies show gives the bees a Fighting Chance.

The Varroa mite, which is a blood sucking parasite that can wipe out a colony in weeks has been a thorn in beekeepers side for decades now. Positive steps have been made in figuring out ways to defeat this little monster, and it starts at the hives entrance. Check link below to see how this process is being accomplished.

http://beecare.bayer.com/media-center/videos/detail/a-new-solution-for-healthy-honey-bee-hives
Bees play a huge role in the economic development of not only our country but the worlds. Farmers across the globe rely on these little workhorses to pollinate crops to ensure a successful bounty at the end of the growing season.

It is my hope that after you read this, you understand the importance that bees play in our ecosystem and that you stop and appreciate them a little more the next time you look through your garden. I end with a resource of trees, plants and shrubs you can incorporate into your landscape to ensure a healthy bee population.

Preparing for Fall and Winter

With summer wrapping up, now is the time to start planning for fall.

Some areas to keep in mind for this fall:

Aerating your lawn and feeding it will help the water and nutrients reach the soil for a healthy lawn come spring.

It is also a good time to plant new shrubs and cut back the perennials. Planting shrubs in early fall gives the plants a head start at establishing roots in the season’s cool, moist soil.

Don’t forget your walkways and patio’s!
The fall is an important time to fill in cracks and ensure that your walkway will hold up through Maine’s harsh winter.

UrbanYardology will prepare your yard for fall and winter. We also do seasonal garden design. Weather you want a fall theme or holiday decorations, if it is outside, we do it all!

Landscape Maintenance – Pruning

IMG_8313

Pruning helps direct plant growth to where you want it. It helps plants grow taller, wide and stronger, ti can also prevent awkward stems and branches from getting out of control while inhibiting disease.

When you are dealing with a hedge you want to time the pruning process with the natural growth surge in late spring, midsummer and early fall. Stop the process when winter is at least six weeks away to avoid damaging new growth by the cold, in this way you will avoid brown tips throughout the winter.

Spring blooming plants generally develop their buds in the fall when they become dormant. You should not prune until flowers fade in the late spring to early summer so the plant has time to develop.

Early summer bloomers including roses often benefit form a light fall prune to thin the branches. Mid and late summer bloomers are prunable anytime they become dormant and often benefit from a thorough prune in the late winter to early spring, which will lead to a heavy set of flowers.

Shrubs

image of a rhododendron




Shrubs are what I call the workhorse of the garden. They define space, direct foot traffic, create privacy and mask trouble areas. When designing I always take into account that every well dress property includes a foundation shrub which visually anchors a site. Like magic a foundation shrub creates a textured transition between lawn and home.

When you are selecting shrubs, take all four seasons into account

  • Colorful Stems
  • Branch Patterns
  • Foliage Color
  • Flowers and Fruit

The natural shape of a shrub is called its “form”.

Round and upright create structure and are used generally to create screens and backdrops or visually anchor the corners of a home. yew

 

 

 

Cushion/mounding shrubs naturally grown into mounds so they are ideal for foundation plantings where neatness is a priority.

dwarfboxwood

Open and upright are a fine accent plant because they usually are deciduous plants with showy blooms, ideal if they are weaved in with evergreens. rhode.gif

 

 

 

 

 

Spreading shrubs have a low horizontal pattern so they can be used almost like ground covers.
creeping juniper

Fountain shrubs provide amazing fireworks when in bloom. They are used to accent corners, anchor large flower beds or define boundaries.

 

 

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