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Archives for January 28, 2016

Dayton Nursery offering seminars

1/28/2016 – West Side Leader

By Staff Writer

NORTON — Dayton Nursery and Garden Center, located at 3459 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, will present the following winter seminars:

  • Jan. 30 — “People Trees: Threats to Urban and Community Reforestation,” with speaker Chad Clink, community forester for The Holden Arboretum: Urban and community forests are threatened by not only pests and diseases, but people too. Harsh urban areas become more walkable and livable, and parks more vibrant when healthy mature trees provide benefits like clean air, water, shade, and habitat for wildlife, according to organizers. Clink will discuss what urban and community forestry is, current threats to trees, ongoing reforestation efforts and how to become a steward for trees.
  • Feb. 6 — “Seasonal Containers,” with speaker Cynthia Druckenbrod, of the Cleveland Botanical Garden: The latest trends in creating colorful containers change with the seasons. Topics will include great new annuals, perennials, grasses and other surprises that will keep your containers looking great all year long.
  • Feb. 13 — “Ohio Wetlands Your Backyard,” with speaker Greg Snowden, a biologist with Davey Resource Group, a division of the Davey Tree Expert Co.: Snowden will present information on the importance of wetlands, including the types of wetlands in Ohio, Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers regulations and the management of invasive plants, waterfowl and its general habitat. He also will discuss plants that tolerate wetland environments in backyards.
  • Feb. 20 — “Renewing Your Landscape,” with speaker Tom Dayton, of Dayton Nursery: Dayton will discuss landscape revivals to address crowded front doorways and obstructed windows. He will share techniques to restore life to otherwise drab landscapes and present the newest shrubs to brighten up surroundings.
  • Feb. 27 — “Miniature Landscaping,” with speaker Mark Langan, of Mulberry Creek Herb Farm: Langan has been collecting miniature perennials for about 20 years. His creations are landscapes of culturally compatible trees, shrubs and groundcovers able to stand alone or embellished with benches, animals, trellises or fairies. He will explain how to maintain these landscapes and how these plants fit into bonsai, garden railroad and other hobbies.
  • March 5 — “Root to Stalk Cooking — How to Make the Most of Your Garden’s Crops and Reduce Food Waste,” with speaker Tamara Mitchell, of Dine-in-Diva: Participants can learn strategies to preserve parts of vegetables longer and recipes that utilize all the components of herbs and vegetables.
  • March 12 — “The Life Decline of the Monarch Butterfly,” with speaker Judy Semroc: This presentation is a photographic journey into the life and natural history of the monarch butterfly. It will include information about monarch migration and what to do to attract them to gardens.
  • March 19 — “The Best New Perennials for 2016,” with speakers Tom Dayton and Karen Martin: Thousands of new perennials are introduced annually, and participants will get a photographic view of the neatest and newest introductions in the world of perennials, chosen by the experts at Dayton’s.

All seminars will begin at 11 a.m. and include light refreshments. The cost is $8 each. Preregistration is required by calling 330-825-3320 or emailing


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EXTENSION CORNER: Try adding blueberries to your home landscape

Assuming the soil conditions and the amount of available sunlight are adequate, blueberries can be incorporated almost anywhere. The blueberry plant itself is adorned in spring with white bell-shaped flowers, and vibrant red foliage in the fall.

One attribute that makes blueberries fairly easy to grow is that it usually does not have any issues with insect pests. Their edible berries are another reason you should consider adding blueberries to your landscape or garden.


To achieve maximum fruit production, full sun is best when growing blueberries. A small amount of filtered shade, such as under pine trees, can be tolerated, but may result reduced fruit production.

The type of blueberry that is most commonly grown in the Southeast is the Rabbit-eye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei.) There are more than 10 Rabbit-eye blueberries varieties that have been known to thrive in Alabama.

“Various species of Vaccinium grow in differing regions throughout the United States,” said Bethany O’Rear, a regional Alabama Extension agent in commercial horticulture and home grounds.

According to O’Rear, blueberries do not tolerate nitrate forms of fertilizer. Rather, ammonium forms of fertilizer, such as urea or ammonium sulfate, are the best to use. Conducting a soil test will help you discover the amount required and help ensure that you are supplying your new blueberries with its essential needs.


Because blueberries require high levels of organic matter, incorporating compost, peat moss or finely ground pine bark into the planting hole is necessary. The actual planting hole should be about twice as wide as the blueberry plant’s root ball, but no deeper. Making the hole more shallow is not a bad idea to account for settling when the new plant is watered in. To finish planting, amend the soil from the planting hole with organic matter, then finish filling. Water the newly planted blueberry and apply a layer of mulch, which helps control weeds as well as conserve moisture.

“One other point to mention regarding planting — you must have at least two, preferably three different kinds of blueberries in one planting area,” said O’Rear. “This step will ensure cross-pollination between the plants, which is necessary for fruit-set.”

Planting time is dependent on the type of blueberry plant. If you are planning to grow blueberries in containers, they should be planted between October and March.

“Bare-root blueberries have an increased survival rate when planted between December and the end of February,” O’Rear said. June marks the harvest time for blueberries.


During the first year after planting, plan on watering the plants twice a week. A thorough watering is needed one or two times per week upon establishment of the plant.

“To encourage enhanced root establishment, watering the plant for longer periods of time rather than shorter ones is ideal,” O’Rear said.

An adequate amount of moisture is imperative when fruiting for successful fruit production. The plant will actually retract water from the fruit itself if its water levels are too low.

To allow the plant to focus its energy on establishment instead of fruit production, it is a good idea to pick the small fruit for two years after the bush is planted.

Once established, most landscape plants require less water per year than they did when first planted. Therefore, blueberries can withstand drier periods better as an established plant compared to a newly planted plant.

For more information on this topic and many others, contact the Etowah County Extension Office, 256-547-7936 or 3200 A W. Meighan Blvd., Gadsden. Amy Burgess is extension coordinator for the Etowah County Extension Office.

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‘Wise Gardening’ seminar at Tech Feb. 7

The North Central Louisiana Master Gardeners presents the fourth annual gardening seminar “Wise Gardening Practices, Principles for Easier Gardening,” Feb. 7 at Lomax Hall at Louisiana Tech University. Doors open at 8 a.m. with the program starting at 8:30 a.m. The seminar is jointly sponsored by NCLMG and the Tech Department of Agricultural Sciences.

Admission is $15 at the door. There will be door prizes, refreshments and vendors.

“Home Landscaping: Right Plant, Right Place” will be the topic of Greg Grant’s presentation. Grant is an award-winning horticulturist, author, and research associate at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He is author of “In Greg’s Garden – A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature, and Family” and co-author of “Heirloom Gardening in the South – Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens.” Grant has introduced a number of successful plants to the nursery industry including John Fanick summer phlox, Laura Bush petunia and Blazing Stars columbine. Grant lives in deep east Texas in his great-grandparent’s old dogtrot house, where he tends his terriers, a yard full of laying hens, a patch of sugar cane, a forest full of endangered trilliums, and 100 bluebird houses.

Frances Davidson, staff horticulturalist at the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, will speak on “Choosing Annual Color Effectively.” She is a native of Monroe, and received a minor in plant sciences from Tech. While employed at a landscape company, Davidson helped with landscape design and seasonal color for commercial and residential landscapes. At the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens she hopes to help create and perpetuate an interest in the plant world for all generations.

Dan Gill, author and associate professor in consumer horticulture with the LSU AgCenter, will speak on “Planning for Your Low Maintenance Garden.” He is the spokesperson for the LSU AgCenter’s Get It Growing project, a statewide educational effort in home horticulture utilizing radio, Internet, TV and newsprint. Gill is author of “Month-by-Month Gardening in Louisiana” and co-author of the “Louisiana Gardener’s Guide,” “Month-by-Month Gardening in Texas” and “Texas Gardener’s Resource”. His “Only in Louisiana” column appears monthly in Louisiana Gardener magazine, and his articles have also appeared nationally in Fine Gardening magazine.

Want to go?

What: “Wise Gardening Practices, Principles for Easier Gardening”

When: 8:30 a.m. Feb. 7

Where: Lomax Hall at Louisiana Tech

Cost: $15 at the door

Info:, email or call Lincoln Parish LSU AgCenter, 251-5134

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Gardening Tips To Grow Sweet Potatoes


If you want a vegetable garden, then growing sweet potatoes in garden can be a good option. Now, if you want companion planting, divide your field or space in parts and cultivate variety of potatoes like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams etc. together.Potatoes are such vegetable which is used in various ways. So, growing potatoes in garden with other vegetables can meet your need.Before that you need to know some benefits of sweet potatoes. It will come on the list of the healthiest foods for you and your children.

Your kid may not like potatoes, but the sweetness of these reddish skin potatoes will definitely attract them. Researchers say a sweet potato is a rich source of vitamin A and C and iron, calcium and potassium. The calorie level is also less than regular potatoes.Here are some gardening tips to grow sweet potatoes in your garden.

Gardening tips to grow sweet potatoes in your garden are:

1.Before Planting: Sweet potatoes grow from slips. Cut a ripe potato in half and keep in a damp pot and cover with moist soil in a way that those can get enough warmth. Within few days little roots and leaves will come out. Now they are ready to be planted on field.

2.Soil: For growing sweet potatoes, you need acidic soil as it enhances the growth of the vegetable. If the pH balance of the soil is between 5.0- 6.5, then it is ideal for growing sweet potatoes.

3.Temperature: This is one of the important terms before knowing how to grow sweet potatoes in garden. Actually, for good growth you need 4 frost free months. So, it is better to plant the vegetable in summer as the temperature is favourable then.

4.Sunlight: Full sunlight is a must necessity for growing sweet potatoes. The complete exposure in sun is preferable for their growth, but if you are planting in your house then partial shade will also do well.

5.For Planting: If you want good yielding of your hard work then follow the planting tips of how to grow sweet potatoes in garden. When the roots and shoots come out of slips, plant them on soil ridges. Make 8” ridges of soil so that it get warmth and drain water well.

6.Keep Space: The sweet potatoes grow in vine so they need enough space. Keep 12-18” space between plants and put them in 3-4 rows. Thus the leaves and branches of each plant will get enough space to grow and your garden will also look beautiful with lively green leaves.

Besides this, you must know that watering is OK at beginning but stop it before 3-4 weeks of harvesting. Also keep the area weed free for their usual growth. You may face the pest problems of wire worms or nematodes and rodents like mice also hamper the growth by digging and loosing up soil. Be careful and take immediate steps like rotational cropping, using pesticides etc. to get adequate crop you expected.

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Easy tips for looking after the wildlife in your garden

There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in your garden with a drink of your choice while watching wildlife go about its business. If you plant some easy to maintain shrubs and flowers you’ll not only reduce your workload, your plants will attract some amazing butterflies and birds during the day and at night the hedges will be rustling with hedgehogs.

Looking after the birds

It doesn’t matter whether your garden is a small square in the middle of the city or a vast expanse of land in the countryside, you can never do too much to help the humble bird.

You can buy the perfect shrubs or rose bushes online from Ashridge Trees, these will make ideal nesting places and also give you plenty of colour once they bloom.

You can have hanging bird feeders or boxes fitted to trees or even the side of your property. These will not only keep them fed during the cold winter months, but will also allow them to start nesting when the spring begins. Always make sure that the feeders and water baths are constantly topped up, as explained in an article in the Express. You can buy bags of seed from most shops and any that drop onto the ground might even grow when the weather warms up.

Planting for bees and butterflies

Bee 2 (PD)

Most flowers, trees and crops across the world depend on bees for pollination and also for the production of honey. If you have enough space in your garden you can set aside a wild area where you can attract bees and butterflies by planting wildflower seeds to produce a small meadowland. Another productive way to do this is to grow your own herbs. Insects love marjoram flowers and you can also use them yourself when cooking. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website has many great ideas for looking after wildlife in your garden.

Helping the invisible

Helping wildlife in your garden doesn’t just mean looking after the animals and insects you see on a regular basis. If you make your own compost you will be helping various fungi and soil bacteria that are necessary for other animals to survive on. They are all part of the food chain, so must be catered for. You will also end up with the perfect feed for your flower beds once the mixture is ready.

Water features and ponds

If you decide that you would like some form of water feature in your garden you could always start the easy way by getting an old sink or large plastic container and placing it in a hole.

You will be surprised how much life will appear over the first few weeks or months. Local frogs will find their way to it and once you start to enjoy watching their comings and goings you could then build something larger. It’s also good for wildlife if you lay out a rough rockery. You don’t have to be exact – just leave a pile of slate and stones in the corner of your garden. Insects love cool and shady spaces.

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Garden tips: Provide shelter for your backyard birds with a roost box

A roost box looks much like a structure birds use for nesting, but there are some differences: Interior rungs, dowels or scored surfaces so they can rest or cling; a hole close to the bottom of the box so rising warmth doesn’t escape.

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Saturday garden seminars planned at Graf Growers

1/28/2016 – West Side Leader

By Staff Writer

COPLEY — Graf Growers will present a series of informative garden seminars on select Saturday mornings through February. Each week a different gardening topic is covered and presented by a garden industry professional with visuals and inspiration.

Seminars will include:

  • Jan. 30: “Gardening from A to Z” with Maria Zampini, director of plant development for the HGTV Home Plant Collection and co-author of “Garden-pedia.” Industry expert Zampini will break down confusing gardening jargon and terms and cover important landscape practices. Participants can learn about trends like foodscaping as well as new plant introductions expected this year. Copies of “Garden-pedia” will be available for purchase.
  • Feb. 6: “Garden Design for the Modern Family” with Laura Deeter, professor at The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute. Deeter will showcase garden designs and help attendees create a garden that works for them.
  • Feb. 13: “Take Your Container Gardening to the Next Level” with Lisa Graf, of Graf Growers Garden Center and Graf’s Landscape Design. Graf will share her expertise in designing and maintaining container gardens.
  • Feb. 20: “The Best Perennials When Gardening in Deer Country” with Cynthia Druckenbrod, vice president of horticulture at Cleveland Botanical Garden. Druckenbrod will help attendees understand deer and how to live among them. She also will provide information on deer-resistant plants as well as tips to keep deer from destroying gardens.

In addition, Graf Growers will present a free seminar March 5 on “Thinking About a New Landscape” with landscape designers from Graf’s Landscape Design. Designers will present landscape designs and materials to complement a variety of lifestyles. They will share creative ideas for solving landscape problems as well as concepts for enhancing spaces and adding interest.

Seminars will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Graf Growers, 1015 White Pond Drive. Each seminar is $13.99, which includes refreshments served at 9:30 a.m. Preregistration is encouraged because of limited seating, although participants are welcome to stop by and attend as seating allows.

Registration is available at the garden center, by calling 330-836-2727 or at


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Home of the Week: Kim and Barbara Austin – Springfield News

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Kim Austin has always had his hands busy.

Back in 1976 — about a year after he met Barbara, who would become his wife — he began working on an old Chevy pickup he bought from his dad.

The couple married, had two kids and moved onto a piece of land near Nixa that would be their home from 1984 on. Kim would head out to the garage or what he called the “Little Shed” to tinker on auto projects or work with wood.

But eventually, his dreams grew bigger than those little spaces would allow.

In 2003, Kim decided to go all in and build a 2,000-square-foot metal outbuilding, complete with an office and bathroom. Still, it was on the humble side.

“It was just a plain old metal building with insulation on the walls and particle board on the office walls,” says Barbara.

From the outside, some nice landscaping aside, the structure still looks like your basic metal outbuilding.

But once inside, it becomes obvious that the interior has seen a wholesale transformation since its humble beginnings.

Yes, there is a two-story lift that comes in handy for pulling transmissions. And there’s a “war wagon,” a portable cart built by Kim and outfitted with every tool imaginable.

But the space has taken on a distinctive retro vibe. Kim says he would lie awake at night thinking about different things he could do with the “Big Shed,” or BS for short.

“Initially, I thought I would stop at the kitchen,” Kim says. The renovation began with the application of barn wood on walls and to build out a kitchen space. The Austins — who love to hit flea markets, garage sales and occasionally rescue items from the landfill — kitted the space out with a 1954 refrigerator, 1951 cooker, 1927 hot plate that still works and more. The trash can is an old fast-food trash can. Kim covered the garish plastic with barn wood and used an old license plate to create a new flap.

Little by little, Kim just kept going. He created a spotlight by repurposing an old hard hat.

He converted an old tailgate into a stereo cabinet — yep, there’s a working 8-track player in there — and installed surround sound. Kim has a corner where he can watch NASCAR or football.

A games area features foosball — he and Barbara are both big fans — and a pool table. Kim again used old barn wood to make a pool rack and shelving for the pool wall.

There’s space for that 1966 Chevy he’s been tinkering with since the ‘70s, his ’72 Honda, his 1969 AMC AMX and, of course, loads of space for parties.

Most recently, the couple threw a New Year’s Eve party, and they say gatherings are fairly common.

“Here we’ve got a big house, but everyone has to come to the BS,” Kim says with a laugh.

Barbara says that with all the neon signs and indirect lighting, the space comes alive for parties. “If you could see it at nighttime, it’s just beautiful,” she says.

Kim says he still gets new ideas, but suspects the over-sized man cave is probably finished. “Maybe I’ll do ceilings and stuff, but I think I’m pretty much done,” he says.

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Directional signs could be coming to Lake Worth — what colors to use?

The city is looking for a sign. Quite a few of them, actually.

Nearly two years ago, the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency started a project to improve signs throughout the city that direct residents and visitors to the beach, downtown, City Hall, historic neighborhoods and other desired locations.

+Directional signs could be coming to Lake Worth — what colors to use? photo

Thompson, Kevin (CMG-WestPalm)

Lake Worth is toying with concepts and colors for new gateway and directional signs. (Contributed)

Thompson, Kevin (CMG-WestPalm)

The CRA said the goal is to create signs that are clear, consistent, concise.

And there’s one more more thing.

“The city is lacking a brand,” said Chris Dabros, the CRA’s deputy director. “A consistent brand helps us improve our image and eliminates confusion. Visitors have been complaining about our lack of directional signs downtown.”

+Directional signs could be coming to Lake Worth — what colors to use? photo

Thompson, Kevin (CMG-WestPalm)

Some of the sign ideas a design firm the city hired came up with. The city would like to install up … read more

Thompson, Kevin (CMG-WestPalm)

The CRA tapped KMA Design, a Pennsylvania graphic designer, for a little more than $30,000 to come up with some ideas.

The plan is to create up to 130 new signs that would be installed throughout the city. But Dabros said the city can only install/replace that many signs if the project has more than one phase. The city would replace signs in the most heavily trafficked areas like downtown and the gateways.

Dabros said the CRA isn’t sure how much it will cost to replace and add the signs. That depends on which signs the city chooses. The larger welcome signs are more expensive than the smaller directional signs. Dabros said the CRA would like to begin installing signs in downtown later this year.

Barbara Martin, KMA Design’s chief executive officer, told city commissioners at its Jan. 19 meeting that there are some voids and inconsistencies in the city’s current signs.

“You want to highlight the community to make it a destination as opposed to a pass through to someplace else,” she said. “Signs should have landscaping… to announce you really have arrived in Lake Worth.”

The signs, Martin said, should also be brighter, featuring such bold colors as magenta and peach. She showed commissioners several design concepts.

“We don’t want the ‘Miami Vice’ color palette,” she said. “We’re looking for something unique for this city.”

Mayor Pam Triolo and Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, however, said they weren’t big fans of magenta.

“We all have different taste,” Triolo said.

Added Maxwell: “Those colors don’t do a doggone thing for me. We need to find something that’s going to pop. In the sunlight, (the letters) will blend and won’t be crisp enough.”

While Commissioner Christopher McVoy said he liked the idea of having better signs, he said the community should be more involved in how they look.

“It’s important in a community this diverse that there is some buy-in (from residents),” he said. “There is no shortage of artists here.”

Dabros said residents’ input is always welcomed.

“We welcome members of the public to provide critical feedback,” he said. “We take their comments very seriously.”

Have a Lake Worth issue you’d like to see The Post tackle, or a story idea? Contact Kevin D. Thompson at 561-820-4573 or

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Everyday Faith: Drawing the big plans, Part II

Editor’s note: This is the second part in the author’s quest for designing the perfect dream yard for her family’s home.

Snow covers the yard and thoughts of mowing, weeding and green landscapes are buried under a blanket of white.

Winter may be the perfect time to get a jump on some of those big ideas you have for that yard of yours! Or maybe you are more like us, brain cells stuck in frozen tundra — void of the creativity and horticultural knowledge needed to draw up functional landscaping designs. The kind of ideas that are going to take more than just a lawn mower and some hedge clippers to bring to life.

But with snow still on the ground, get a jump start and consider hiring a landscape designer like we did when we sat down with Jayson King at Landform Design Group of Salt Lake City. What an amazing experience it was to meet Mr. King and hear the story of how LFDG was born. From Jayson’s extensive experience in the family business and obtaining a degree in landscape architecture, he created a unique design studio to help clients design, think, communicate and create one-of-a-kind landscaping spaces for real living. The blessings of using a full landscaping architectural studio like LFDG meant as clients we had both a high end of luxury and practical menu of services. King often shares with homeowners, “It’s our job to know the answers — sometimes even before you know the questions. We see the soul of a space; its potential.”

* * *

What is the big plan?

There is a lot to consider when formulating a design plan. Weather, budget, slope and preferences make landscaping a complicated business. Just like when building a home; owners start with plans, then decide the details like carpet and colors, finally ending with the actual building. Landscaping should be thought of in the same way. This step by step approach ultimately saves clients’ money and time. The plan in hand allows clients to pace their projects and know where they are headed months or years down the road instead of wasting time tearing out and starting over.

LFDG offers the following service packages for clients to work within:

The ESSENTIAL STARTER PACKAGE includes a design discovery meeting where you can talk through wants, needs and priorities with Jayson personally. Your property is assessed so land conditions and a budget can be considered in creating the perfect to-scale color design concept. Some clients stop at this point. They use the design created and eventually find their own contractors to implement the plans. Regardless of what package is purchased, every client gets to meet personally with Jayson. He does all the design work personally.

The DO IT YOURSELF PACKAGE includes construction documents that take the initial concept design and then take those drawing and design clarifications to a whole new level. The designs are tailored to the clients’ needs and provides the essential elements from the Starter Package, including plant designs, lighting and any adjustments of measurements and details that are needed for construction.

The prime dessert choice, on the Landform Design Group menu, is the PEACE OF MIND PACKAGE. This worry-free experience allows the Landform studio to not only design the details of the property but to move in to a competitive bidding process, site supervision and overseeing of administrative duties. Full supervision of the contractors during construction really is catering to the client needs and daily management. This supervision of your customized yard is where the Landform studio professionals have created a unique experience for clients all along the Wasatch Front.

The majority of landscape studios can only design help and don’t provide any administrative management of the completed process. It matters not if homeowners work with Landform or not, what King believes in most is that “we don’t build homes without a plan, so why do we landscape without plans.” LFDG services help homeowners take ideas, Pinterest pins, differing opinions of spouses and budget concerns all into consideration.

Phase 1

We were so excited to meet with King in his beautiful downtown studio and share all of our dreams. We talked through wants, needs and generalities. The personalized approach of LFDG didn’t end with the welcome we received on that first meeting.

The next step came when King came to our home and helped flesh out the personal needs of our family, the hopes of us individually and details of the personal plan that would best serve. We weren’t overwhelmed when meeting with King, or anxious with all the details. He was there to answer our questions and take all the guessing and hoping, and translate it into real life. His wealth of experience and knowledge about soil, weather zones and plantings provided the fuel for a productive in-house brainstorming session. We could see from the onset that King and LFDG were really our partners in every sense of the word.

Meeting with King felt like registering for our wedding gifts 25 years earlier. This was the phase to dream with some guidance. He talked about the pros and cons of garden boxes, fence materials, swing sets that grow with teenagers and helped us consider how often we entertain guests. King knows every detail about design, care and lighting. Like which built-in bbqs are within our price point and where drains help with slope concerns.

This first meeting was just to get all our ideas on paper. King really values this time to get to know his clients and their personalities. It helps him create the quality plans that come from a boutique approach to landscaping.

We discussed and considered the stage our family is in now and where we will be in the next five to 10 years. No questions are too silly. Maintenance concerns, water sensitive planting materials, and overall design statement. With our craftsman home and modern interior design feel, the discussion, at this phase wasn’t plant detail specific. Some of our ideas were already very clear and there was still a lot of fuzzy uncertainty. My 11-year-old daughter still wanted a place to swing. Our 18-year-old son loves fire pits and basketball standards. I wanted modern clean design with a lot of water-friendly grasses incorporated into the landscape. BBQ and water slope of the yard was forefront on the mind of my husband. Brainstorming with King felt comfortable and natural. We discussed everything and considered the time commitment and budget we had to work with.

Phase 2

After our initial on-site meeting, an architectural and land assessment was done by LFDG at the home. State-of-the-art tools were used to measure, map and assess the home plot. Information about sun exposure, scale and slope aided in creating a computerized image of the plot.   

After the land surveys and our brainstorming planning session with LFDG, King’s team got to work creating two beautiful front and back yard design plans for us to consider.

We met at LFDG’s Salt Lake City urban office. We saw an inspiring 3D model of our home and yard. With King at the controls, we took a virtual tour of two potential yards. In this virtual “walk thru” we experienced all angles of retaining walls, walked the walkways and explored the garden and planter boxes. Trees can be added and deleted with the push of a button. We were given the time to ask all the questions we had. King has lighting, furnishing and plant samples at his fingertips so his customers are provided with an amazing real life phase two planning meeting.

At the end of this meeting we were given full construction size colored renderings of the options King and his team had created. LFDG also provided budget documents so we could take everything home and plan, discuss and consider what we liked and didn’t. And plan financially accordingly. Going home with planning information gave us the power. We could see where we were going before even digging.

Phase 3

With plans in hand and a budget spreadsheet to play around with, my husband and I had the time to consider and dream. King’s two different design options were amazing. He had taken all of our needs and wants and created two slightly different landscape renderings. Over the following weeks, our couple brainstorming continued. LFDG gave us all the time we needed to decide. Rep were always available via email or phone call with new questions or concerns that came up.

Option A gave us some great front yard ideas and Option B had some new unique backyard changes. We loved everything King had created. It was as if he had read our minds. The work and research LFDG had done was evident in every detail. Landscaping plans are like maps for a road trip with variations of routes that could be taken … to the same destination. As clients we got to ask, “How long will it take? What will it cost? What feels the most comfortable?” All before committing to anything.  

Phase 4

After trying on all the yard ideas, much like new prom dresses, it becoming clear in our minds what we wanted to tweak and change and what we didn’t want. At this point in the process King met with us again. He wants his clients to feel like friends and King and his team make extra effort at each step of the process to really support homeowners into finalizing the big plans.

Phase four is when all the final large scope decisions are made. The details of plants choices, lighting and materials come in phase five. King compares phase four as finalizing house plans. Decide where closets and bathrooms will be. Choices of placement of windows but not paint colors and faucets. Questions of walk ways, sitting areas and gardens but not which lights or types of shrubs.

In the end we decided on a combination of both option A and B. We moved the swing set to a somewhat unusable area. Garden boxes went to the north east corner of the yard where the slope and water would naturally drain, adding in irrigation. Instead of the three seating areas, of Option B backyard, we incorporated the two seating area of Option A while considering a free standing industrial umbrella instead of a more expensive pergola. Another great suggestion from King. In discussion of the front yard, we cut some cost, in keeping one portion of the retaining walls but didn’t do all of them. King advised that if we used the right planting choices we wouldn’t miss the larger planting wall. We simplified the backyard and discussed specific feelings about shed, garden boxes and the requirements from our HOA covenants.

Phase 5

This is the beginning of the end, so to speak, when King finalizes construction documents for his clients. King emailed us plant choices, color preferences and lighting goals. Finalization of the landscaping plans included collaboration with his team. The perfect measurements and drawings for installation gave us everything we needed. Clients may or may not have the budget to hire King and LFDG to manage the completion of their yard. Regardless, LFDG empowers its clients to have all the information needed to complete a dream yard all at once or do it in phases.

As the specific planting details, lighting selections and color schemes started to materialize, we continued to be amazed at the personalized attention our project received. At one point we questioned a tree selection and asked for an alternative to be presented. Within a day we had pictures and specifics of additional shrubs and ground cover. This is just one example, over months of collaboration, where LFDG proved to be that boutique design experience we had been told we would have.

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The benefit of working with LFDG is the long-term relationships the company establishes with all its clients. No matter the budget or size of the projects, King and his firm give VIP treatment to everyone. Our family will need to phase the creation of our yard. Having such well-researched and professional landscaping plans in hand gives us the tools we need to quickly or slowly build the yard of our dreams! A client may not be able to choose the PEACE OF MIND PACKAGE but with LFDG, in your corner, I am confident plans ultimately save money, time and stress. Professionals help us build our homes and fix our cars. Plans allow us to do more with less, so why do homeowners skip this step.

It was no surprise when on Christmas Eve, I found a package. Hand-delivered full design plans for our dream yard. Just like King — the extra touch needed to make us feel like we were his only clients.

No matter how long our yard takes, we have the information and plans we need to make our Christmas present dream designs into a reality. Peace of mind comes when, instead of walking the aisle of Home Depot and pinning for hours Pinterest pics, hoping we know enough to make it happen, King and LFDG have supported and guided us closer to creating the yard perfect for our needs and wants.

King is the map maker that can lead homeowners to the yard of their dreams. Utah is privileged to be the home of such an innovative design firm. Design firms around the country have started to take notice of what King has been doing so successfully in our own state.

I hope Utahns will take notice and make this beautiful state even more spectacular, one yard and home at a time, no matter the season, by working with the very intelligent and creative King.

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