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Archives for October 26, 2013

Vegetable Garden For Working People: Tips

Having a vegetable garden requires tactical planning and if you’re basically a working person then you need to also spend time to maintain it. However it is not as difficult as it seems to be. Growing vegetables and fruits in your garden can be a great joy and accomplishment but it can only be achieved with appropriate planning and garden maintenance. Once you have established the vegetable garden, the next essential step is maintaining it. For most people gardening is a passion and they love to see their garden grow in an appropriate way.

A thriving vegetable garden can be created only if the growing conditions are precisely maintained for the complete growing season. Optimism and creativity are mandatory for maintaining your garden. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account for maintaining your garden. Always try to ensure that the young plants are regularly watered so that your garden can provide you a bountiful harvest.

Vegetable Garden For Working People

Moreover gardens also need to be guarded based on the erratic climatic conditions and from recurring pest problems. The most essential elements that are required for the development of a garden are water, sunlight and nutrients. It is definitely a pleasure to walk into your own garden where you grow mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber and lemons; however the most important job of a gardener is to make sure that the basic health and vitality of the plants are retained to make them produce more. If you start abandoning your garden it can definitely lead to lower yields because of the pest problems or weeds which can rob the essential resources that plants need to grow.

The more time and effort you incorporate in your vegetable garden, the better the end result that can be expected. If you are a working person, make sure to at least spend a little time in your garden on a regular basis to get huge returns from the fruits of your labour. Remember that more time spent on maintaining your plants will help turn vegetable garden into a high yielding and delectable one.

Here are some useful tips on how to maintain a vegetable garden for hectic working people.

Water your vegetable garden consistently
Regular watering should not be taken as a chore. Water your vegetable garden with several different techniques like creating simple furrows and basins. Watering with a hose is also the best technique for individual or large plants. Try to regularly water the vegetable bed and also sustain even soil moisture so that plants don’t dry off. If the soil is dry about 3 to 4 cm down, then it needs watering. Watering erratically can lessen the required yields in most vegetables that it will start to taste bitter, especially vegetables like cucumber and lettuce. Even soluble fertilizers will be oozed out from the soil.

High temperatures and sun can lead to evaporation of water, so the ideal time to water the plant is when the air is still, either do it in the early morning or late evenings.

Fertilise frequently
For strong growth, the vegetable garden should be noshed with nitrogen fertilizer at least every 6 weeks. However never try to overstuff the plants with fertilizers as they could reduce the vegetable produce.

Make sure to keep the vegetable beds mulched by applying 3 inches of organic matter applied over the roots of your vegetable plants to keep the soil cool. Mulch has the tendency to seal the soil moisture and they also try to stifle weed growth. There are many types of mulch available. Mulched gardens make the garden healthier and drought resistant than unmulched gardens. Organic mulch like straw or composted leaves helps to prevent gusty winds to other areas of your yard. Organic mulch picks up the soil texture and keeps the soil underneath it cool hence it is best not to use them until warm weather.

Suppress weeds
Even though your garden is mulched, still weeds would always grow. Sometime mulching can help however some weeds need to be potted and then removed with hand. A passionate gardener needs to be on his toes routinely to check the plants’ progress and to remove some weeds from growing. Weeds try to deprive the vegetables of water, nutrients and sunlight, thus this could eventually reduce the yields.

Control insect pests
Keep a complete eye on the insects and try to shield your plants by applying a solution that can be used on vegetables. Even the smallest pests can do damage to your vegetable garden. To keep away from creeping pests lik snails and caterpillars try to spread egg shells completely underneath the targeted plants since this would make them difficult to move along.

Harvest regularly
Some vegetable plants like peppers, green beans, tomatoes and cucumber will not produce if they are not harvested on a regular basis. If you don’t like to eat them frequently then try to share with friends or neighbours. Always make sure to keep a basket to pick up vegetables that have been ripened. It is better to take them away when they are ripe so as to help the plant produce more.

If you are looking for a perfect garden try to spend an hour everyday from your busy schedule to make your vegetable garden have a bountiful harvest. Follow these simple procedures to make your vegetable gardening venture successful and productive

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Tips: Garden art, Fourth Friday, Red Rose City Chorus

Garden Art … Saturday
Before time spent in the garden becomes just a wistful, warm-weather memory, salvage artist Diane Levenson is opening up hers for a final seasonal hurrah.

An Art in the Garden Open House takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Levenson’s four-acre property called Hydrangea Hill Farm, 5944 River Road, Conestoga.

The gardens will be peppered with the artist’s sculptural metal creations. “Garden art gives structure to a garden and adds elements of whimsy and surprise,” Levenson says on her website,

She should know. Levenson spent 20 years designing landscapes. In fact, it was her frustration with not being able to find the perfect piece of art to set off a garden that spurred her to start creating her own.

She took a welding class and went to work.

Levenson creates everything from whimsical sculptures to practical — but beautiful — benches and planters.

“When I make something that touches someone, my time as an artist is well spent,” she says.

Fourth Friday
The Rivertowns Fourth Friday celebration promises visitors a hauntingly artistic evening.

Art is on the agenda, as always, and new exhibits include Jonal Gallery’s showcase of emerging artist Eric Lease Morgan, who will also be performing music at the reception happening from 5 to 9 p.m.

Jonal, 653 Locust St., Columbia, will also be holding a silent auction to benefit the Columbia Food Bank. Up for grabs is a body of work that came out of last month’s interactive exhibit titled “U.B. the ARTIST.”

The silent auction will continue on Saturday.

Across the river in Wrightsville, Weavings, INK invites visitors to come in costume and enjoy their Halloween themed (but family-friendly) exhibit titled “The Devil’s in the Details.”

The gallery, 208 Hellam St., Wrightsville, will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 340 Locust St., Columbia, will display the talents of its congregation in an exhibit they titled “Every Day Saints,” Friday beginning at 5 p.m.

The visual arts theme will give way to artistic movement at 7:30 when Dance Mosaic presents “Dances from Around the World.”

If you’re looking for a little scare, venture over to the historic Mount Bethel Cemetery on Locust Street between dusk and midnight for some “Graveyard Ghost Stories.” (Admission by donation.)

Normally the celebration ends around 9, but if you finish at Garth Gallery, 22 S. Second St., Columbia, you can stay for a Halloween celebration that continues to the witching hour. Come in costume!

For details on these and other Fourth Friday events, visit or call 684-5249.

Happy Harmony … Sunday
The wonderful thing about the women in the Red Rose City Chorus is they sing like angels, but they have a devil of a good time doing it.

They take their singing seriously, mind you, but they serve it with a smile.

Case in point is their upcoming fall production, “Show Business,” being staged at the Ware Center Sunday at 2 p.m.

The show revolves around a group of singers who can’t come up with a theme for their annual performance.

The result for audience members is a diverse array of musical selections from American anthems and Christmas classics to rock ‘n’ roll and modern country.

The two-act show, spiced with lavish and at times outrageous costumes and lots of laughs, also features chapter quartets and special guest quartet American Idle.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students.


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Spring Street beer garden plans hit a design snag

The Charleston peninsula will soon be awash in beer gardens, but one of the planned new drinking establishments, at 63 Spring St., might take a little bit longer than the others to open. At Wednesday night’s Board of Architectural Review meeting, the board voted to allow the demolition of a vacant building on the site but unanimously shot down the owner’s plans for a new building there.

The property is owned by Frederick Fields, but architect Dan Sweeney says the business owners are a group led by local business broker Marc Williams. Williams could not be reached for comment.

The proposed design included two buildings with a glass walkway connecting them and an open courtyard in the back, away from the street. The two buildings are one-story but include tall gabled roofs to meet the area’s 25- to 50-foot height restrictions.

Opposition to the design began during the public comment period. “We feel it’s much too suburban, sort of barnlike,” said Robert Gurley, director of advocacy for the Preservation Society of Charleston. “We don’t believe that it fits in the context of the neighborhood.” City architect Dennis Dowd piled on, critiquing the building’s “rural character” and saying that a two-story building “would better serve the area and would be more in spirit with the zoning code.”

The board previously had rejected another design for the beer garden, so the owners switched to Sweeney of Stumphouse LLC to create the second draft that was submitted and rejected Wednesday. Stumphouse’s other design credits include Oak Steakhouse and renovations at The Alley, and he says the design he presented Wednesday was “not emblematic of our work.”

Sweeney said the important thing Wednesday night was that the BAR approved demolition of the old building, which previously contained a shop called Books, Herbs, and Spices and had fallen into disrepair while vacant. “We were locked into a corner from budgetary constraints and trying to utilize the old building,” Sweeney says. Moving forward, Sweeney says he will look for inspiration from the historic auto-mile buildings along the Spring and Cannon corridor. He says the design will likely remain one-story, though.

“I look at that as a minor setback in what has been a long road, but it’s going to be a very cool little addition to Charleston’s FB scene,” Sweeney says.

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Master-planned community comes to Kaysville

Kaysville • In the latest sign Utah is easing out of the housing bust, one of the state’s leading homebuilders is unveiling a 100-acre new master planned residential development in Kaysville.

Carved out of a prime piece of homesteaded farmland, Hill Farms will feature an array of home and lot designs aimed at fostering a sense of close-knit community, with liberal use of green space and unconventional house floor plans and architectural touches drawn from turn-of-the-century homes in Kaysville and Salt Lake City.

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Hill Farms Opening

The public is invited to tour model homes at Hill Farms, a new master-planned community along Kaysville’s 200 North Angel Street. Dignitaries will gather Friday at 2 p.m. to mark the opening of the unique 100-acre development. On Saturday, builder Destination Homes will offer free family photos to visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 315 N Angel Street. Go to for more information.

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Layton-based home builder Destination Homes will open two model units in the subdivision along Kaysville’s 200 North Angel Street for tours this weekend, starting with a gala event on Friday.

“You’ll see something that looks different, not things that you normally see in a traditional Utah neighborhood,’’ Destination Homes president Brad Wilson said. “Lots of open space, walking trails that connect the different neighborhoods, lots of front porches, lots of landscaping and people living out in the open space.’’

Homes in the four-phased, pre-sold development will be reminiscent of those built 80 years ago in Utah, Wilson said, drawing their “iconic” design elements from historic properties in downtown Kaysville and Salt Lake City’s Harvard-Yale, Sugar House and Avenues neighborhoods.

And as currently proposed, the North Davis Corridor would bring highway access to just west of the development.

Selling prices in Hill Farms will range from low $300,000s to the high $500,000, depending on a variety of features and square footages. Buyers can choose from four basic home styles and then customize specifics at a Destination Homes design center in Layton.

“It’s a kind of Disneyland for home buyers,” Wilson said of the center. Homes will then be completed within 90-100 days, he said.

Hill Farms is part of recent surge in Utah home construction, after a nearly six-year lag due to the economic recession. The 12-month period ending in September saw a 30 percent gain in housing starts over the year before, according to data from Metrostudy, which tracks housing markets nationally and in Utah.

The communities of South Jordan, Lehi, Herriman, Saratoga Springs and Layton all approved construction of hundreds of new homes in that period, data shows.

Destination Homes alone has launched two other housing projects over the summer, both in the South Jordan master-planned community of Daybreak. If fully built out, the Creekside and more upscale Lakeside developments would add as many as 200 new homes to the Wasatch Front.

On another level, the Hill Farms development may also represent key lessons learned from runaway housing speculation in the early 2000s and the ensuing housing crash, especially for Davis County, where land open for development is rapidly disappearing.

Members of the Hill family raised dairy and beef cattle on the acreage for several generations prior to selling it, according to Brent Hill, whose grandparents were among the area’s early settlers. They entertained offers from at least six developers. Destination Homes didn’t have the highest bid, Hill said, “but their concept and their ideas intrigued us.”

“We felt strongly that we wanted it to be a legacy to the Hill family, and different and special from everything else that was out there,” he said.

Hill’s own home borders on the subdivision and as many as eight extended family members plan to buy homes in Hill Farms.

The project also took three years to plan, a process that included a series of public workshops and negotiations with Kaysville city officials over the development’s housing density.

Though the city’s land-use plan for west Kaysville called for two homes per acre, the new development pushes that ratio to about 2.6 or 2.7 homes per acre, according to Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt. Some residents also raised concerns about initial plans for multi-family units, the mayor said.

“Most of the people engaged in the process really felt the developer went the extra mile to address those concerns,” Hiatt said. “A typical developer would have balked.”

More generally, the mayor said, the old-fashioned home styles in Hill Farms will help preserve Kaysville’s historic look and feel and reinforce its heritage and community values.

“It’s one of the more unique developments in all of Davis County,” said Hiatt. “It’s a pretty exciting moment.”

Twitter: @tony_semerad

Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The Globe’s stars and dogs for this week: A rough ride for Caterpillar investors

A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week

  • Caterpillar

    Oct. 25 close: $84.77 (U.S.),
    down $2.57 or 2.9% over week

    Ladies, looking for the perfect holiday gift for the special man on your list? Consider a backhoe loader – perfect for weekend landscaping jobs around the house. Or surprise him with an asphalt paver – and say goodbye to those potholes on your street. With Caterpillar slashing its full-year forecast following weak third-quarter results, now’s the time to negotiate a deal on the machine of his dreams.

  • Whirlpool

    Oct. 25 close: $146.18 (U.S.),
    up $12.75 or 9.6% over week

    Your appliances say a lot about you – especially if you leave them on your front lawn. But Whirlpool investors don’t have to live in the seedy parts of town now that the stock has nearly tripled in the past two years. With the U.S. housing market improving and Whirlpool’s third-quarter earnings rising 51 per cent on higher sales and margins, the appliance maker is cleaning up.

  • NQ Mobile

    Oct. 25 close: $10.63 (U.S.),
    down $14.29 or 57.3% over week

    The two words most feared by Chinese companies? Muddy Waters. The research and short selling firm that brought down Sino-Forest has turned its sights on NQ Mobile, alleging that the Chinese mobile Internet services company is a “massive fraud” and the stock is a “zero.” The company swiftly rejected the charges, but judging by the collapse in the shares, investors are fearing the worst.

  • Canadian Pacific Railway

    Oct. 25 close: $150.04,
    up $14.67 or 10.8% over week

    Trains are a great way to transport all sorts of goods, from grains and automobiles to steel and, um, crude oil. As any CP investor will tell you, trains are also a great way to transport large sums of cash into your wallet: Shares of the railway operator surged to a record after third-quarter earnings jumped 45 per cent, lifted by booming volumes of petroleum products. At least the stock hasn’t derailed.

  • Wi-LAN

    Oct. 25 close: $3.25,
    down 91 cents or 21.9% over week

    Shareholders of Wi-LAN, a well-known patent troll, er, intellectual property licensing company, might have to start living under a bridge after its latest court defeat. The Ottawa-based company lost nearly one-quarter of its market value after a Texas jury found that Apple did not infringe on a patent related to wireless technology. You might say the stock came in for a hard Wi-LANding.

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Bergen County NJ- Pool & Landscaping Ideas Wins Company Awards

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This year the Bergen County, NJ, based Cipriano Landscape Design won several awards for their pool landscaping ideas, including the coveted “People’s Choice” Award, for its design and implementation of a violin pool in Bedford, NY.

Bergen County, NJ (PRWEB) October 25, 2013

On October 18th 2013, the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) held its annual awards dinner where they acknowledged the past years projects of pool designers and builders from New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. This year the Bergen County, NJ, based Cipriano Landscape Design won several awards for their pool landscaping ideas, including the coveted “People’s Choice” Award, for its design and implementation of a violin pool in Bedford, NY.

The Violin pool is a meticulous replica of a 1700’s era Stradivarius violin, and its design plan was requested by the homeowner, who is himself an amateur violin player, and collector. The complexities of the design and application of the violin pool were numerous, but its finished product is outright dazzling. The pool houses almost 500,000 translucent glass tiles, with a custom gradient blend that transitions from every direction. Typically, the gradient blend only transitions in one direction. In order to achieve this outstanding effect however, the Cipriano Landscape Design landscape architecture office had to map out every single sheet of tile on the pool floor. Then, during the installation, one of the firm’s tile installers had the solitary obligation of ensuring the proper color correction of each sheet of tile as they transitioned from the center of the swimming pool out to the pool walls, which helped to certify the tiles groundbreaking, and mesmerizing effect.

Further, among many other incredible features, the pool houses a 12-person perimeter overflow spa, as well as two artistic fish-filled koi ponds. The perimeter overflow spa is located where the chinrest on a genuine violin would lie, and is completely outfitted in jet-black glass tiles. The koi ponds, which were designed to resemble the bow of the violin, are viewable at “the neck” of the violin, where the sides of the pool are composed of transparent acrylic panels. This gives the swimmer the under-water illusion that they are swimming together with the koi fish, when in all actually the two are completely separated. After dark this connection becomes even more incredible, with the bather able to view the 250 twinkling fiber optic star lights on the floor of the pond from inside the pool.

Winning the “People’s Choice” Award, struck a special chord with all the staff at Cipriano Landscape Design, but especially with its President, Chris Cipriano. “The honor of being recognized by our peers is truly appreciated” Cipriano said regarding the award. “Every award that we win is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, and it pushes us to work harder to ensure that our customers continue receive the very best that outdoor living has to offer.”

About Cipriano Landscape Design:

Celebrating over 24 years in business, 14-time international award winner Cipriano Landscape Design distinguishes themselves from all other swimming pool landscaping companies with their extensive experience. The Mahwah, NJ company provides more than just a pool installation. As a recognized national leader in custom residential commercial landscaping, masonry, swimming pools and water features, the NJ firm has been offering complete estate transformations since 2001. With a design office headed by 15-year-veteran, Certified Landscape Architect William Moore, the Cipriano team has won 75 awards of excellence since 2006 and in 2013 was named By Pool And Spa News to the “Top 50 Pool Builders”.

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In the Garden With Urban Harvest: Less can be more in seasonal landscape

As seasons change, gardeners receive information from many sources advising them about items that should appear on their seasonal to-do list. Often, what ensues is a frantic notion there exists a small window of opportunity for completing the tasks lest our gardens suffer.

The horticultural rebel in me takes the position that sometimes less is more. Therefore, I would like to share with you what I will not be doing in my garden now that we are past the autumnal equinox.

Because my landscape is dominated by shrubs, vines and perennials, I do not feel the urge to have a continual display of seasonal fall color, as it were. Preferring to appreciate perennials that bloom in their own time throughout the year,

I relish the anticipation of observing Gulf Coast penstemon with its lavender-pink, spring blooms resembling tiny bells; and the late-summer, velvety purple, arching spikes of Mexican bush sage. You will not see large plantings of cool-season annuals such as pansies or snapdragons in my landscape. I will not succumb to the orange, yellow or rust-colored chrysanthemums that seem to dominate every big box and grocery store’s outdoor display.

It is not that I dislike these plants – I cannot think of a species I actually hate. But I find their scent to be rather obnoxious, and their blooms too short-lived. They could be transplanted into the garden, but there is just so much room I am willing to dedicate to them.

In the past several years, edible ornamentals such as Swiss chard and kale have popped up in garden beds and planted in containers along with seasonal flowering annuals. These, too, have become overused, but at least one could eat them.

When our English forebears arrived in the New World, they brought with them their landscaping rulebooks. Included was the opinion that gardens remain tidy, especially in the formal estates of the emerging American aristocracy. Hence the need to trim shrubs to conform to geometric shapes – round as a lollipop, square as a box, or triangular as a pyramid or cone.

Any spent blooms or leafless branches were quickly removed. Lawns were carefully trimmed to resemble the emerald carpets to which we aspire today. For many the perception remains that at the end of a growing season a garden must be cleared of any lifeless vegetation.

Recently, I drove past a home whose landscape was cleared of its messiness. Sadly, the rather barren garden beds were left with only the stick remnants of chopped perennials.

In my yard, I will leave seed heads on the purple coneflower and brown-eyed Susan and allow the arching stalks of inland sea oats to keep their dangling seed clusters, all the better to fill the bellies of hungry migrating birds. The native grasses will continue to display their golden-tan luster and give shelter to beneficial insects.

I will not jump to prune late summer and fall blooming shrubby perennials such as white mist flower, but rather wait until late winter or early spring. Should I choose to prune spring blooming shrubs now, flowering will be reduced or eliminated. Cutting back will occur once the blooms begin to die.

Landscape designers speak of a garden’s structure or its “bones,” the unchanging structural framework that works to organize the shrubs and perennials.

Once plants are dormant and deciduous species lose their foliage, it is a good time to assess the landscape’s overall appearance. Perhaps taller shrubs might be incorporated to one side or a tree added near low-growing vegetation to add interest and balance to the view by varying the heights. An area might benefit from assorted built structures such as a trellis or arbor.

Cooler temperatures and less mosquito swatting enable more garden evaluation as I decide to leave behind many typical fall landscape chores. I marvel at the plants that made it through our dry spells with minimal watering, make note of the “bully” habit of firespike that expanded to shade out the cobalt blue hue of black and blue salvia, and give thanks for the reseeding purple coneflower. Had I been too quick to tidy up last fall, I would have missed the coneflower’s pink polka dots of color that now punctuate my garden border.

Chris LaChance is WaterSmart Coordinator for the Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Sea Grant. WaterSmart is funded by a grant from Houston Endowment Inc. Contact Chris at This column is sponsored by Urban Harvest. To find out more about community gardens, school gardens, farmers markets and gardening classes, visit

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Tips For A Profitable Landscaping Department

Out of Eden Garden CenterLandscape manager David Foss joined Out Of Eden Garden Center two years ago after a successful career managing landscapes for large estates. His “always leave the customer happy” philosophy has helped build an already-successful landscaping department at Out of Eden. We asked Foss for some tips on working as the go between for his customers and the garden center and providing a service that benefits both.

Today’s Garden Center: What’s the best method to work with customers on a landscape design? How do you earn their trust to do a job that’s good for both the customer and Out Of Eden?

Foss: Our philosophy is that every time I do a job for a customer, it’s phase one. When I walk through and make recommendations for the customer, I plant seeds for the next phase so we have that relationship going.

Developing a relationship, putting the customer at ease, is really important. Usually the first five or 10 minutes of the consult, you get to know them. Find out if they have kids, grandkids, dogs or cats. The first thing I do when I get back in the truck is write everything down. The best sales tactic you can have is to make sure you remember the dog’s or the kids’ or grandkids’ names.

Next, I feel out their lifestyle before I start putting out designs. I find out if they want a sitting area, a fire pit or a water feature. Take note of any plants they say they like, or any they hate.

Once I have that, I say, “Here’s what I would do. I would do this and this and this.” Confidence sells. Your best friend is a paint wand with turf marking paint. Just walk through and make everything look effortless. Mark out the bed lines. Draw a circle to show how big a plant will be at maturity. Then draw a smaller circle and say, “This is how big it’s going to be when I put it in.”

Ninety percent of the time, if the customer lets me follow that plan, I’m going to sell the job at a good margin. They see you have your vision and your plan. You know what it costs to do what you want to do. They have faith in your confidence that you can come in here and get it done. If you can do that within 30 minutes, you can sell a job with your eyes closed.

Today’s Garden Center: How do you work with the customers’ budgets? Do you try to stretch above what they say they want to spend?

Foss: I find out what the budget is and I make it very clear to them, just because they give me a $3,500 budget does not mean I’m going to spend $3,500. I usually try to come in a little under to ensure they don’t feel like they’re being pushed. That’s another thing that keeps the relationship solid. Depending on the job, the difference between $3,500 and $4,000 really isn’t that much difference in your profit margin, so if they give me a budget of $3,500, I try to stick with it.

You do want to give them the option to spend more. For example, you say, “I can do this for $4,250 but to stay within your budget we’ll have to eliminate this and this and this.” They may tell me to take that extra stuff out, but they may say to go ahead and keep it.

Make sure that last $750 you’re adding is at a higher margin than the rest of the job so if they do say, “Yes,” you’re benefitting. If they stay at $3,500, you’re still making the margin you need to make on that job.

Today’s Garden Center: How much do your designs take existing garden center inventory into account?

Foss: I had to adjust, but I have learned to expand my palette to use what the garden center has in stock and use low-warranty items. In my previous job, I worked on a lot of formal gardens and was always big on boxwoods, groundcovers, rhododendrons and camellias. When I came to Out Of Eden, in the beginning I was ordering all these boxwoods and rhododendrons and camellias. Then I realized those are among the highest warranty items in my market. I have been trying to use those plants less often.

The biggest thing you can do is manage inventory. I have 20 customers a week and in the beginning I was driving our nursery manager batty ordering a lot of stuff for all of these jobs. Now I really focus on using what’s in stock to alleviate all the delivery fees. Our nursery manager can continue to turn his orders and his stock. And it keeps the labor down on pruning, feeding, spraying and watering.

Today’s Garden Center: What tools do you use for designs for the customer?

Foss: I still use pencil and graph paper. I go out to the house, and nine times out of 10, I’ll just draw it out right there on site. I know what I have in inventory at the garden center. There’s always something you have to order here and there, but we’re not Walmart. We’re not doing a set pattern. You can go out and paint it out on the ground and then measure it out on graph paper. They’re usually so confident in you when you’ve done that, you don’t have to come back and do a full architectural rendering.

We can do a rendering if they want one, and I might charge $75 an hour for that. But my initial consultation is $45. I get out there and in an hour, sometimes an hour and a half, I can draw it out on paper, paint it out on the grass and price it out for them sitting in the truck. If I come back with an architectural rendering, even though I’m charging $75 an hour, I have to go back to the store. I have to meet with them to go over it and spend another hour with them. We’re not making any money on that. I’d like to be out working on another job.

Today’s Garden Center: What advice would you offer to a garden retailer looking to build out a landscape service?

Foss: Under promise and over deliver. If the job is $5,000, I leave myself about $500 of wiggle room so I can give them some extra material and say, “This is for you, you guys have been fun to work with.” If it’s a $10,000 job, I’ll price it out at $9,000. I’m leaving an extra $1,000 in there for labor and extra deliveries and special plants. After the job is done, I can send one guy out there the next day with maybe a Japanese maple and some extra groundcover to say thank you to the customer. That builds relationships and gets great word of mouth recommendations. Doing things like that is paying returns tenfold.

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Lecture on sustainable landscaping planned

Gone are the days of the superficial landscape. Modern gardens must provide much more than aesthetic value. Gardens also improve the environment by filtering water, providing habitat for native fauna, and absorbing greenhouse gases.

Learn how your home garden can perform such feats, and how the green industry is becoming more “green” through programs like the Sustainable Sites Initiative. 

At 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4, at Bemis Hall, Mark Richardson, the newly appointed director of horticulture at the New England Wild Flower Society, will talk about the new standards in sustainable landscaping with examples from public gardens as well as our own Lincoln properties.  Richardson has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Urban Horticulture and has lectured at Longwood Gardens and Brookside Gardens.

The public is invited to this event, which is co-sponsored by the Lincoln Garden Club and Greening Lincoln. Those who attend are asked to carpool and park on Old Lexington Road or Library Lane, as parking is limited. To learn more, visit and

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