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Archives for February 10, 2013

Leaf through books

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    People ‘think spring’ at Home Show

    WATERLOO, Iowa — With spring just around the corner — at least by the groundhog’s prediction — some people are thinking about building projects.

    The 62nd annual Eastern Iowa Home and Landscaping Show started Friday and continues from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

    Exhibits include new home contractors, remodeling experts, home entertainment, landscapers and kitchen specialists. Other professionals are on hand with energy-saving solutions and creative options for the home. Consumers can shop for lighting, plumbing, real estate, painting, flooring, windows, doors, siding, fireplaces, sun rooms, grills, lawn care equipment and more.

    “It’s a place to talk to lots of contractors, get ideas,” said Barb Miller of Iowa Show Productions Inc. “If you’ve got a project in mind, you can talk to several different contractors all in one place. The same way with landscaping.”

    The event, sponsored by the Waterloo Exchange Club, is estimated to draw 6,000 to 8,000 through the weekend, she said.

    Joe and Janel McGovern of Cedar Rapids were invited to the show by friends. Janel picked up a packet of plant food, though she isn’t exactly a gardener — yet.

    “I’m going to be,” she said. “I’m from Florida where nothing grows, but everything grows here. I’m going to have flowers and vegetables.”

    The couple is always looking to upgrade their home and had checked out granite countertops and outdoor brickwork.

    Nearly 175 exhibitors are mostly from Black Hawk County and surrounding areas. Some began setting up extensive displays Tuesday, according to Miller.

    Dan Foss of Matthias Landscaping said the company’s 20-by-20 customized space took two days to construct. Matthias collaborated with Deckworks Cedar Valley in Cedar Falls, positioned in the neighboring booth, to show the transition between a deck and landscaping.

    Block and paver brick were hauled in for the Matthias display by Marquart Concrete Products, a distributor. All of the plants — even a small tree and annual flowers — are alive, and a low-voltage lighting system was installed throughout. Several people were drawn to a basalt stone fountain kit, a centerpiece feature that has been on the market for a few years. However, more recently LED lights were added to illuminate the water, Foss said.

    “It shows off our craftsmanship and our design ability,” he said. “It helps give people different ideas. That’s what they come here for.”

    Others, like Theresa Tiffany of Waterloo, dared to dream. The 17-year-old still lives at home, but that didn’t stop her from checking out a few hot tubs.

    “We’re probably not getting one,” she said, laughing.

    Seminar topics today include “Wildlife in the Garden” by Jamie Beyer, noon, which will discuss good and bad critters in the garden and how to attract the good and deter the bad; “Bathroom Remodeling Steps” by Katie Bell of the American Society of Interior Designers, 1 p.m.; and “Water Gardening Features,” also with Beyer, 2 p.m.

    Beyer is the past president of the Central Iowa Water Garden Association, owner of Midwest Waterscapes and co-author of the Ortho book “All About Garden Pools and Fountains.”

    Admission is $6 for adults and free for youth 12 and younger.

    Article source:

    Alternative résumés a good idea

    Q I’m a professional ready to make a move in the job market. My traditional résumé is ready to go, but I’ve heard about adding a “présumé,” a creative résumé alternative that jumps to life on a digital screen. Good idea? — L.N.

    A Yes. Incorporating a présumé (an alternative and dynamic online presentation of who you are and what you offer employers) shows that you’re not falling behind in a fast-moving world and are open to new ideas.

    Présumés are Web-based, animated slideshows that can be stunning additions to your stable of job search materials, but keep in mind, they don’t replace traditional résumés and may even include static résumés.

    The power of an online présumé — with its multimedia look and feel — is hard to capture in words alone. The quickest way to grasp its power is to see a few examples in its natural habitat: the digital screen.

    Présumé software is offered by a number of companies, the biggest of which are, and (which coined the term “prezi” for their online presentions) encourages you to use their basic product for free after you register. To visualize what’s possible, search for “job search présumés” or “job search prezi examples” and see what turns up.

    Once you’re on board with trying a présumé, consider these several helpful suggestions from the team:


    You need not reinvent the wheel. When constructing a présumé, don’t give up if you’re not a top-notch designer. By using’s free customizable template feature, any public presentation can be copied and repurposed to fit your needs. Cool!

    Don’t go overboard in flashiness. While good design and an innovative approach helps you stand out from the crowd, it’s a mistake to allow dazzling graphics to distract from your qualifications and accomplishments.


    Presentation platforms offer opportunities to tell your unique story beyond the mere facts of your education and job track record. A rainbow of your talents can shine through on enriched media presentation platforms.


    A présumé link to your professional website or Twitter handle can help showcase your personality and make you memorable. But tread lightly; you may appear shallow if you seem to be plugged in 24-7 and use social media only to promote yourself. While social media is important in today’s job market, you offer much more than just the sum of your followers.

    Q You often mention that job hunting has changed and that we need to become more aware of and use the right new tools. Which are the most important tools? — C.T.

    QNo one knows more about the most effective new tools than Alison Doyle, job search guide for She wrote the first book on the topic several years ago. For a quick personal tuneup, search online for the article “Job Search Tools, Widgets, and Gadgets” by Alison Doyle.

    Check out more of Doyle’s up-to-the minute search advice by also browsing for her “Ten Steps to Find a New Job.”

    Q I interviewed at a small but profitable landscaping company where the owner asked me to submit a plan to restore native habitat. He offered no pay. I agreed but later realized that the assignment will take hours and hours, and I’m rethinking the whole thing. Is it common practice for small companies to make such outrageous demands? — V.S.

    A Demanding free work samples is an old game, but it’s not only small company owners that play it. In the future, if the freebee issue comes up, just offer previous work samples of your designs and projects, explaining that your work is meticulous and that you view new projects as too important to a company’s success to volunteer to create new samples on the fly.

    For your immediate problem, short-cut your ill-advised landscaping agreement by providing the owner with a very small sliver of your promised plan, one that requires no more than eight hours of your time to prepare. And if you do land the landscaping job, I’d start boning up on how to get pay raises because they won’t fall in your lap.

    Email career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at; use “Reader Question” for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.



    Article source:

    Brown Elementary School receives $2500 Lowes Grant

    Last year’s dry spell killed the plants and landscaping in the front of Brown Elementary School in the Hazelwood School District (HSD). But now the school officials have funds to put towards a fix.

    Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF), a charitable division of Lowe’s home improvement retail stores, selected the elementary school to receive a 2012 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant.

    The company is giving the school $2,510, according to HSD, that will be used to landscape the area in front of the building by replacing dead trees and shrubs, as well as installing a watering system to prevent future damage. A portion of the money will also be used to create affirmation signs in the schools  ‘Character Courtyard’ that are intended to remind students of expected character traits.

    Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) has helped more than 1,000 schools across the country create reading gardens, build playgrounds and implement other improvement projects that help strengthen their schools and their communities, according to its website.

    Article source:

    Grafted tomatoes become super producers

    Tomato producers using the grafting process are hoping to demonstrate that the extra cost and work is worth it.

    Tomatoes, the kings of U.S. home gardens, are undergoing a revolutionary change, according to breeders and growers.

    Producers are grafting disease-resistant and insect-resistant roots onto familiar heirloom and hybrids, and seed catalogs are featuring a varied selection of grafted plants for the first time this year. Tests in the U.S. have shown that even notoriously stingy but good-tasting tomato plants become super producers when grafted to more vigorous roots.

    “It is the biggest thing to happen in gardening, probably in 20 years,” says John Bagnasco, host of “Garden Life” radio show and president of the Vista, Calif.-based GardenLife, which sells the grafted “Mighty Matos” on its web site. He is in a partnership — called “SuperNaturals — that sells through several popular seed catalogs and hopes to triple sales over last year, to more than 1 million plants sold in the USA this year.

    Andrew Mefferd goes further. A self-described “talent scout for plants” and the technician in charge of tomatoes at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a global supplier based in Winslow, Maine, Mefferd calls grafting “the single biggest thing to advance tomatoes, I would say, since tomatoes were first hybridized” over a century ago.

    The grafting push comes at an intersection of economic, environmental and health trends. Some home-garden wholesalers and retailers have had robust years during the economic downturn because more people are growing their food to take pressure off household budgets. Meanwhile, health-conscious consumers are seeking more naturally home-grown products, but have limited garden space.

    The National Gardening Association’s annual survey found that while overall gardening activity, which includes everything from landscaping to potted plants, fell from $36 billion in 2008 to $29 billion in each of the last three years, vegetable gardening sales were up by roughly 20%, to about $1.7 billion annually.

    “It’s really an economic and an environmental story,” says Alice Doyle, a grafting pioneer in the U.S. and co-owner of the wholesaler Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, Ore. “There is a triple bottom-line profit — more yield, less expensive chemical usage, no environmentally negative outputs.”

    Grafting involves attaching the top of a popular plant onto a root that has demonstrated resistance to the diseases and microscopic pests, called nematodes, that have killed many a home-grown tomato.

    Some home gardeners have reported double or triple yields from grafted tomatoes that bear longer and in greater volumes than normal heirlooms or hybrids. Vines can shoot a dozen feet or more. Because grafting is labor-intensive and requires special growing conditions, grafts are pricey, going for $7.95 or more a plant, twice the price of normal plants. They are also fussy growers and must be carefully planted.

    But producers are hoping to demonstrate that the extra cost and work is worth it to farmers’ market producers, outdoor tomato farmers and urban gardeners. Besides tomatoes, grafted eggplants and peppers are showing up in this year’s seed catalogs.

    Grafting vegetables has been common for decades in countries where land is scarce and where soils have become disease-laden over centuries of farming. Commercial growers have grown them for years in this country, but this is the “roll-out year” nationally in the home-garden market, says says Mary-Kate Mackey, who writes a garden blog at

    Doyle was introduced to grafted plants during a trip to Crete in 2000, and she began working on getting them more widely used in the U.S. Bagnasco had been working separately on the same idea, and the two ran into one another at a gardening symposium in Dallas a few years ago.

    They formed SuperNaturals wth Tim Wada, president of the Vista, Calif.-based Plug Connections, which grafts most of the tomatoes sold under the Mighty Matos label.

    Dick Zondag, the president of Wisconsin-based J.W. Jung Seed Company, says his company tested the grafted tomatoes last year and decided to feature them this year.

    “That was my first question — ‘why would you even consider paying seven or eight dollars for a tomato plant when you can plant a seed that costs 10 or 15 cents?’ ” Zondag says. “The reason you do it is because the yield is sometimes 3-4 times as much. The fruit comes earlier. … Some of these really tasty heirloom varieties can really take off.”

    Heirlooms are often the tastiest tomatoes, but can be prone to disease and meager producers. Hybrids can boost production, but often sacrifice taste. Grafting is a detour around both challenges.

    Nature “never gives it all” in the quest to boost production, Mackey says. “It holds back something, and the first thing it often holds back is taste.”

    But with grafting, she says, “you get yield, you get taste, and you get disease resistance.”

    Harry Olson, 69, a retiree from Salem, Ore., last year conducted a grafted vs. non-grafted test on five tomato varieties in his community garden. All five grafts produced more, and he says his grafted Brandywines had three times the yield of their non-grafted step-cousins.

    The self-described “Doubting Thomas” says he saw a “profound difference” resulting in plants that produced weeks after normal plants and from root systems that were 10 times larger than non-grafted ones.

    “People would just stand there and look” at his prolific plants, he says.

    Jim Myers, an Oregon State University horticulture professor who specializes in developing plants that can thrive in the Pacific Northwest, created a purple tomato high in anti-oxidants called the Indigo. Last year, he and graduate assistants tested grafted vs. non-grafted Indigos, and the grafted plants produced three times more.

    Grafting “could make heirlooms very productive,” he says. He predicts that the price will come down as demand grows, as producers seek more rootstock, and if grafting becomes more mechanized.

    Article source:

    Maine Gardener: Progress (or not) on pest front

    1:00 AM

    Maine Gardener: Progress (or not) on pest front


    The hemlock wooly adelgid is progressing farther in Maine, but the damage has not been as severe here as it has been in warmer regions of the country, state horticulturist Ann Gibbs told the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association in January.

    The presence is limited to coastal areas from York to Sagadahoc counties.

    “In Maine, it is not killing trees really quickly,” Gibbs said. “It’s really been killing trees in the Smokies. It’s a sad sight.”

    The pest — an aphid-like insect that leaves white, wool-like wax filaments under the hemlock’s branches — can be controlled quite easily on home landscapes, but chemical treatments are not practical in the state’s forests, Gibbs said. 

    “With the milder winters we have been having, it has spread fairly quickly along the coast,” she said.

    She said that the state has released two biocontrols — beetles — that might control the adelgid. The two beetles are Sasajiscymnus tsuga from Japan and Laricobius nigrinis from the Pacific Northwest.

    Gibbs said they both have survived since being released in Maine, but it is too early to know if they are having any effect on controlling the adelgid.

    Hemlocks also have a new problem: elongate hemlock scale, which can harm fir trees as well. This scale causes a yellowing of the needles, scale coverings on the underside of the needles, and premature needle drop.

    The scale was found in southern Maine and probably came in on nursery stock from the Carolinas.

    “When it works with the adelgid, it is three times as bad as when there is just one of them,” Gibbs said.

    THE EMERALD ASH BORER, Gibbs said, is getting closer to Maine, with the beetle showing up in several towns in Connecticut, and one beetle showing up in one trap in Massachusetts — although scientists could not find an infested tree.

    The emerald ash borer has just about wiped out ash trees around Michigan, and is spread mostly by moving firewood. Maine has banned bringing firewood into Maine.

    The state will again set out traps trying to catch the emerald ash borer, with the effort supported by the state and federal governments as well at the Maine Indian tribes.

    “The tribes are very concerned, because the ash is a sacred tree to them, very important in basket making,” Gibbs said.

    THE ASIAN LONGHORN BEETLE, which feeds mostly on maples, remains in the Worcester, Mass., area, and has not been spreading. But the state has some concerns about trees downed by Superstorm Sandy being chipped and sent to Maine.

    The beetles supposedly cannot survive if the chips are cut 1 inch or smaller in at least two directions, but Gibbs said people might want some more research conducted before allowing such chips in Maine for use as fuel.

    THE WINTER MOTH, which a year ago was a problem in Harpswell and Vinalhaven, was reported in 33 towns in Maine late last fall and earlier this winter.

    While the moths show up from November through January, the worms hatch out in the spring and will damage a wide variety of leaves.

    The pest will stay in the soil all summer, and will be moved in pots or when people do transplants. Some biocontrols are being studied.

    BOXWOOD BLIGHT has hit Maine, but it has been learned only recently that the blight also will damage pachysandra, part of the same plant family and a popular ground cover in Maine.

    Impatiens downy mildew was another topic, but I covered that two weeks ago.


    ROBERT BANGS of Windswept Gardens in Bangor won the Al Black Award for 2013, given by the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association for outstanding contributions to the horticulture industry.

    Bangs started his company in 1972 as Robert Bangs Landscaping, and has expanded to include a full garden center as well as full landscaping. He has a regular television segment on WABI-TV in Bangor, and has been active in MELNA operations and committees.

    Jake Pierson, nursery manager at Pierson Landscaping, a wholesale nursery in Dayton, won MELNA’s young horticulturist award. He lives in Portland and is the son of Dale Pierson, the nursery founder.

    Sara Tryzelaar of Greenbush won the Donglin Zhang Scholarship for students studying horticulture at the University of Maine, and Paul Bronder won the scholarship for students at Southern Maine Community College.

    THE PORTLAND FLOWER SHOW, which will be held March 6-10 at the Portland Company Complex at 58 Fore St., is looking for volunteers.

    Some are needed to put up posters before the show, but most volunteers are needed in four-hour shifts March 7-10. The shifts start as early as 9 a.m. and run as late as 7 p.m.

    If interested, contact Kerry Ratigan at 615-6271 or

    Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth and can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:

    Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

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    Gardening Tip of the Week- 9th February

    Gardening Tip of the Week- 9th February

    09/02/2013 , 8:51 AM by Peter Riley

    Are you a beginner when it comes to veggie gardens?
    The bare foot gardener has given us his best tips on how to kick-start your very own veggie patch. Take a listen below for his advice on what veggies to start with.


    You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

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    Hell of a good show: Secret allure of the shady character in your garden

    Hellebores have made a real comeback among the gardening community over the past 20 years. I’m one of their biggest fans and the garden here at Glebe Cottage, especially on its shady side, is full of them. 

    Each day, I have a quick wander to see what has opened and to lose myself in their pristine beauty.

    What is it about hellebores that makes them so alluring?

    Part of it is to do with when they put on their best show. Perhaps if they flowered in the midst of summer they might go unnoticed? They are not tall plants and none of them could ever be accused of being flamboyant.

    Their “flowers” are composed of sepals rather than petals, which is why they last for months and all fade to a subtle green. The range of colour when in flower is staggering, from immaculate white to almost black and in between through pinks, purples, clarets, yellows and greens. Some have the subtlety of a wood pigeon’s breast, others the depth and strength of the best red wine.

    They hang their heads demurely so that all you can see at first is the back of their flowers. This is what makes them so mysterious and unpredictable. Half their charm is this secrecy and everyone who grows them understands the joy of gently turning up their flowers to appreciate the subtleties within. 

    Winter wonder

    Sometimes there are spots and blotches arranged in symmetrical patterns, sometimes subtle shading with perhaps a picotee edge. At their centre, all have a breathtaking arrangement of nectaries and a boss of golden stamens topped with pollen-rich anthers.

    The reason the flowers hang their heads is to protect this pollen from destruction by wind and rain. After all, these are flowers at their peak when the weather is at its most deplorable.  

    Looking at some of these magnificent clumps, loaded with buds, you can hardly believe that a couple of weeks ago they were covered in a thick blanket of snow. A plant which braves such inhospitable conditions must earn our respect but it also earns our thanks for giving us such a display and transforming our gardens at a time when they could be worse than discouraging.

    A further attraction is that hellebores are easy-going plants that fit in with the modern gardening ethos. 

    They lend themselves to naturalistic schemes and informal plantings. Not only are they easy to place, they are also easy to grow – providing conditions are right, their successful cultivation needs no special skills and anyone can propagate them. Every year at this time, we try to help create new hellebores, transferring pollen from the anthers of one plant’s flowers to the stigma of another. The cap of a black biro is the most efficient -tool to pick up the pollen and transport it to the mother plant. 

    If you rub it on your sleeve or the knee of your jeans, this creates static and the pollen grains almost jump on to the lid of your pen. Gently pull back the sepals (petals) of the mother flower and transfer the pollen to its stigma.

    Good breeding 

    We mark our pollinated flowers with different coloured threads and keep a record of them in a notebook, recording which plants were the fathers – the pollen donors – and which the mothers, receiving the pollen and yielding the seed from which new plants will grow.

    In the garden, unless they are -religiously dead-headed, established plants are soon surrounded by hordes of seedlings. Without their prompt removal, these children can overwhelm their parents. They can be dug up and transferred to other parts of the garden. Although each one will be unique, the chances of them being exciting are negligible. 

    As time goes on, they are liable to descend to the lowest common denominator. But it’s a shame to put up with second best when breeding your own is so simple. If you decide to grow your own, the only requirements are two really good hellebores and a large quota of patience. If your plants are mediocre or you just don’t have any, treat yourself.

    Choose two quite different ones or if you want to concentrate on a particular characteristic or colour, choose plants which display these features. Select the mother plant, the one to be pollinated which will bear the seeds, for its vigour and a good, even flower shape. Choose the father plant to supply the pollen for its colour and the shape of its flowers.

    Plants can be pollinated in pots under cold glass or outside in the open ground. It’s warmer work in the kitchen or -greenhouse but pollinated flowers are more subject to rotting indoors.

    Article source:

    Fine Living: Mill Valley designer Sessions gets kudos from Houzz – Marin Independent

    Click photo to enlarge

    INTERIOR DESIGNER Hilary Sessions says she is honored to have learned that she won a “2013 Best of Houzz” award last month, and she’s already reaping its rewards with more calls from potential clients.

    Sessions isn’t even sure why she was chosen by the online platform for residential remodeling and design.

    “I think it’s determined from the number of five stars I got from my clients who reviewed my work for them on Houzz,” she says.

    She’s right. According to Liza Hausman, vice president of community for, the awards are based on a survey of its 11 million monthly users either for great customer service or for great design. Sessions was recognized for her “exceptional customer service as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes,” Hausman says.

    Houzz claims to feature the world’s largest residential design database that includes information on more than 1.5 million design professionals worldwide, design articles and product recommendations.

    Houzz helps homeowners identify not only the top-rated professionals, such as Sessions, but also contact professionals directly through Houzz and read their responses to other users, Hausman says.

    Sessions asks new clients to visit Houzz to get inspiration for their projects. She also directs them to her online portfolio there and later asks

    them to review her completed project.

    The Mill Valley resident and principal of Quarry Hill Design: Home Styling and Eco-Design started out staging homes a decade ago, but three years ago branched off into primarily residential design.

    “Because of my staging background, I specialize in working with people’s existing furnishings and reworking their spaces,” she says. “I also do a lot of work with families; I have children and get a lot of referrals from other parents. And, I help people who have smaller budgets.”

    Sessions also has launched Quarry Hill Pillows, her own line of handmade throw pillows using select fabrics from fine fabric houses, and sells them online at Etsy. The pillows are made in the United States, hand-finished with custom welting and hidden zipper closures, removable covers for easy dry-cleaning and come in a variety of sizes. Prices start at $95 without a down pillow insert and $125 including the insert. Custom orders are welcome using the customer’s own fabric or fabric sourced by Sessions.

    For more information, call Quarry Hill Design at 385-7855 or go to

    About dogwoods

    Wildwood Farm in Sonoma County is offering “Introduction to Gardening with Dogwoods” with a choice of dates — March 9 or 23 — to help gardeners choose the best varieties for their garden.

    Elegant dogwood trees have much to offer in the landscape, says Sara Monte, a former San Rafael resident.

    “You can plant a dogwood in your garden that will bloom once in the spring and a second time in the fall,” she says.

    The class, which starts at 1 p.m., is free and includes a tour of Wildwood’s nursery and gardens, which grows more than 30 dogwood varieties native to the East or West Coasts of America, China or Korea.

    “We’ll discuss the broad characteristics and differences among these groups and the basic requirements for growing these spectacular trees,” she says.

    Wildwood Farm also is offering its sixth annual “The Art of Tree-shaping” class at 1 p.m. March 3, 10 or 17 for $25, taught by experts Joseph and Ricardo Monte. It includes a Japanese maple tree that participants shape and then take home. Class size is limited to 10; reservations and your own clippers are required.

    Wildwood Farm is at 10300 Sonoma Highway in Kenwood. Rain cancels classes. For more information, call 707-833-1161 or go to

    PJ Bremier

    writes on home, garden, design and entertaining topics every Saturday and also on her blog at She may be contacted at P.O. Box 412, Kentfield, CA 94914, or at


    What: “Introduction to Gardening with Dogwoods”
    When: 1 p.m. March 9 or 23
    Admission: Free
    What: “The Art of Tree-shaping” with Joseph and Ricardo Monte
    When: 1 p.m. March 3, 10 or 17
    Admission: $25; reservations required
    Where: Wildwood Farm, 10300 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood
    Information: 707-833-1161;

    Article source:


    Bargain advice

    Nan Sterman and her APLD colleagues are offering 30-minute garden design consultations for $30 at the Spring Home Garden Show, March 1-3, at the San Diego County Fairgrounds.

    Consultations are a first-come, first-serve basis. Bring photos, garden plans, and whatever else you have to help with the discussion. Sign up for a time slot at

    Which of these sound familiar?

    • Your garden is looking a bit shabby, but redoing it yourself is overwhelming.

    • You’ve moved into a new home whose landscape is tired and worn out, or just plain old and ugly.

    • You’ve brought home plant after plant from the nursery, but, somehow, your garden just doesn’t look the way you envision it.

    • Your water bill is skyrocketing and you keep looking at the sprinklers watering the lawn, thinking, “Do I really need that?”

    • Your children have grown and you need help creating a “grown-up” garden.

    If any of these applies to you, it’s time to call a landscape designer. Professional landscape designers are the wizards of garden design. They transform tired out, obliterated or greedy gardens into spaces that give you joy.

    Working with a landscape designer is like working with any design professional. The more you understand what they do and how to work with them, the more successful your project will be.

    According to Pamela Berstler, president of California chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, “landscape designers are the people who work with homeowners to design their landscapes. Landscape design involves client consultation, research, planning, analysis and design with an emphasis on water conservation and pollution prevention. We create design drawings, do cost estimates, and offer our clients coaching and support.”

    Before you hire a landscape designer, do your homework.

    Notice gardens and plants you like, and even those you don’t like. Since design is visual, collect photos, take snapshots and browse the Internet as well.

    Keep in mind that your garden should complement your home’s architecture, and work in your location. A Japanese garden, for example, fits a Craftsman style home beautifully, but looks out of place with a Mediterranean home. Similarly, thirsty plants don’t mix well with drought-tolerant ones; shade-loving plants fry in a full-sun garden, while full-sun plants fade away in the shade. Creating well-matched combinations is one reason your garden designer might steer you away from some favorite plants and toward new ones.

    If your household has multiple decision makers, know each other’s dreams, hopes, and desires for the new landscape, not that you all have to agree. Your designer might find an elegant way of fulfilling what seem to be conflicting desires.

    Develop a realistic target budget. Like remodeling, much more goes into landscape than you might expect. In addition to design costs, there are installation costs such as labor, demolition, hardscape, plants, soil, mulch, lighting, irrigation, and sometimes permits. Share your project budget with the designer so he or she can adjust the scale of the project; your contractor will develop detailed installation costs.

    Article source: