Tag Archives: landscape design

The Landscape in Winter

paperbarksnow

As I look out my office window on this blustery February day, I notice a few things that don’t normally stand out during the warmer months. The landscape looks much different this time of year, in some ways rather barren due to the lack of leaf and flower, but in other ways more beautiful in its austerity and stillness. The perennials and groundcovers are mostly out of view, covered by layers of snow. The visible now include evergreens, stone work within the landscape, and deciduous tree trunks reaching towards the sky. Just outside of my window reside several interesting elements that enliven what is otherwise an expanse of white powder. A Coral Bark Maple’s bright red branches provide a stunning contrast to the snow, and with the color lasting throughout the season, makes for an excellent addition to almost any landscape. Just to the side of the maple, a drilled stone column water feature bubbles all year long, providing motion in the landscape and a constant source of fresh water for resident birds. Native Eastern Red Cedars round out my view, the subtle color of their needles ranging from light green to russet to purple as they stand tall and do their best to protect the office from the wind. The view from my office window is actually quite interesting this time of year, and that is intentional, as a well designed landscape contains visual elements for all seasons.

There are two main factors to consider when evaluating a landscape in the colder months: winter interest and winter wildlife.

Winter interest, as the term implies, involves selecting plants that provide something visually interesting in the winter months. Examples include ornamental grasses, winterberry hollies with their clusters of red berries, red stem dogwoods, and the conifers that prove to us that all is not dead outside this time of year. Now is the perfect time to look out of your home’s windows and think about areas that could use some visual interest this time of year.

winterberryhollysnow

The other consideration is winter wildlife, and by that I mean considering where all of the creatures that inhabit the garden are going to shelter in the winter months, and how they are going to sustain themselves. The ecology and food web of your landscape are important factors in determining how much wildlife your landscape can support, and the diversity of species you will see throughout the year. Conifers provide shelter and protection from the wind and the cold during the winter, and also provide bird nesting sites in the summer. Vibernums, Virginia Creeper, and White Oaks all hang on to their fruit during the winter and can be a critical food source when heavy snow blankets the ground. Water features that run all year provide drinking water for birds and animals when many other sources of water freeze. The bubbling stone feature outside out side of my office window is regularly visited by our resident winter birds.

WINTERBIRDS

Keeping these factors in mind, a landscape can be designed or modified to provide year round interest along with being an important part of your neighborhood’s ecological diversity. Think about your landscape the next time you look out the window, and if you would like a few ideas to liven it up, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

For more information on landscaping with birds in mind:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1146&__hstc=75100365.0e65345ec63b7b3e7d5304b3145c77f0.1422465878022.1422465878022.1422465878022.1&__hssc=75100365.1.1422465878024&__hsfp=1081057303#_ga=1.55872043.1604949273.1422465877

MAHTS and Our Experience

After a few fun days in Atlantic City, Cedar Run Landscapes thought it would be great to share our experiences. Conferences like E. P. Henry’s MAHTS (Mid Atlantic Hardscaping Trade Show) are incredibly valuable to the landscaping business because these opportunities give companies like ours the chance to learn from the leading experts in the industry.

And it just so happens Cedar Run Landscapes President, Alden Zove, is one of those leading experts. Here he explains his experience at the conference as a lecturer and attendee.

“I had been invited by E.P. Henry to speak at MAHTS on two topics, the integration of our rainwater harvest and re-use systems with their new Coventry Eco Cobble, a permeable paving solution, and on the combination of water features with hardscape installations. I offered each seminar twice a day during the three-day show.

I was excited to see the number of attendees that where interested in what I had to present, with over 50 persons in attendance at each lecture. My Rainwater Harvesting presentation included a short video of our most recent addition to the display features at our office; here is a link to that video.  I discussed the many eco-sensitive techniques that we incorporate in our designs, and appreciated the interest that was shown by the audience in wanting to know how they could incorporate these techniques in their own projects.

My discussion on water features and hardscaping was also very well received. There were many comments on how the addition of water added excitement to our hardscape projects by providing an opportunity to engage the senses in the outdoor rooms we created. The educational aspect of water features was seen as a way to have the attendees customers get their children out of doors and away from the computer and television and become involved with the natural world that awaits them outside.

Some of my most memorable moments from the show where when I was on the trade show floor talking to the vendors that were displaying the new products they were offering. I was heartened to see how most of them were adopting the concepts of the green movement by offering more energy efficient equipment, more eco sensitive materials, and the inclusion of products designed to lower the carbon footprint of their customers. I see that the landscape industry is getting well aligned with the need to incorporate the tenants of the Triple Bottom Line. The concept of taking into account the effects of their business decisions on People, Planet and Profits, is beginning to make sense to these companies, and they are adjusting their mindset to include the TBL in their business plans.”

Here is what Bill, Cedar Run Landscapes Project Manager, had to say:

“I had an enjoyable and informative time at the MAHTS show this year.  On display were EP Henry’s brand new products along with new tools available to the hardscaping industry.  There were also educational seminars, Curtis, one of our supervisors, and I both attended the EP Henry Authorized Permeable Pavement Installer class where we were instructed in the proper methods and standards for building pervious pavement systems.  Attending off season trade shows helps all of us at Cedar Run learn about new concepts and stay current with continually changing building codes. “

The one thing that stands out the most at these conferences is the diversity of seminar topics to choice from. As the Landscape designer for Cedar Run Landscapes I had a difficult time choosing which seminars to attend. After careful thought I decided on Contract Writing, Professionalism in the Design Build, Leed in Hardscaping, and Pro Landscapes Fundamentals Training seminars.  My favorite out of these was Professionalism in the Design Build seminar. Joe Palimeno speaking for Vander Kooi & Associates touched on a variety of topics including how to understand the clients needs, develop presentations, and present proposals in a professional manor that will benefit both the company and the client.

All of us at Cedar Run Landscapes had a wonderful time at the event and look forward to the up coming season so we can begin applying all of the wonderful information we learned from this experience.