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Vail Landscape Logic column: Try these mid-season fix-ups for flower containers on the fritz

By early July, it’s common to have patio containers that are a mix of thriving flowers and foliage as well as some stragglers that are less than lush.

Maybe you were on a trip or have been too busy to water, mix the fertilizer and dead-head the blooms regularly — it happens.

Fortunately, there are quick fixes that can get containers shaped up for the rest of patio season. Here are things you can do to restore your container ambiance.

Lackluster plants

If most of the plants are dead or droopy, then pitch them and pick up a ready-to-go planter filled with annuals from the local garden center. Another fast fix is a color bowl or hanging basket you can drop in to your existing container. Your do-it-yourself investment will cost drive time plus how long it takes to remove the old plants from the container and put fresh plants in it. The makeover will be instant.

Replacing a few plants

If only a few plants look scruffy, then remove them and drop in fresh plants in their place. But before you get replacements, try to diagnose what went wrong.

Was the failing plant a shade plant in too much sun — or a sun-lover placed in the shade?

Did you plant a lower-water plant next to a thirsty one? Plants with mismatched water needs can cause one of them to fail.

Once you have selected good replacements, it will probably not take more than five minutes per container to replant.

What about bare spots?

If plants got unevenly spaced at planting, or only one plant needs to be removed, then there are quick fixes that may not require adding more plants. Here are a few ideas:

A bare spot in the center of a container is a great place for a large candle and even to add a glass hurricane around it if there’s room. Once the hurricane is in place, but before setting the candle in it, fill the inside with enough clean white sand to cover the soil.

Use obelisks to add height and form in containers.

Dried branches with unique shapes can do the same. With a few more minutes, you can spray paint branches in metal tones or bright colors to fit in with your decor.

Other objects such as glass orbs, little sculptures, small animals or figurines made for gardens — or any artistic element that matches your style and decor — can quickly fill a bare spot. Even a little truck or tractor from the kids’ toy box can be a fun addition.

With minimal time and effort, slightly shabby containers can be dressed up and ready for the next patio party.

Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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Boca brainstorms how to improve 14 parks as part of waterfront plan …

By the end of the year, Boca may be ready to roll out upgrades to 14 of its waterfront parks, officials say.

Residents got to see design drafts for some of the parks Wednesday as officials look to revamp the city-owned properties.

“I’m just excited that they’re not only looking at a few parks, but they’re looking at 14 areas,” said resident Arlene Owens. “I’m very impressed.”

Some of the parks with significant proposed improvements include:

Should I hire a professional photographer for that?

woman photographs purple flowers in garden

Photo: Dark Dwarf/Flickr

When it comes to showing off the hard work you and your crews have done in photographs, it’s very tempting to take on that task yourself.

With advances in cellular technology and the popularity of point and shoot cameras, it’s easy to think that you have more than enough photographic talent to take your own high quality photos.

Even though you feel qualified to take project photos on your own, it may not be the best idea when it comes to selling your business via pictures. Professional photographers, many times, have high prices for their services, but when it comes down to it, good publicity is often worth the price of professional grade photos.

It’s a similar concept to having homeowners believe they have the talent and equipment to do the jobs you and your trained crew members do, even though they have no formal training. When in doubt, leave the professional-grade jobs to the professionals.

If you do decide to hire a professional photographer, take a look at a few important tips to keep in mind when picking out the perfect person for your projects.

Check qualifications

Before hiring a photographer to take on your project, be sure to meet with them and discuss what makes them qualified to shoot for you.

Talk about their training, the equipment they use and ask to see their portfolio, especially if they have previous work in the green industry. Carefully look over their photos to see if their vision lines up with yours, and be sure to find photographers who are on board with doing a variety of shots.

There’s a big difference between someone who’s shot portraits and someone who specializes in landscape photography, so take that into consideration when looking over resumes and portfolios.

Trust the photographer

There are very few people who enjoy being micromanaged, and photographers are definitely better left alone.

Once you find a photographer you trust, it’s important to establish trust with them so that you are free to continue your work while they handle photographing.

If it helps you both out in the beginning to go to project sites together, just to get a better feel for each other, that’s perfectly acceptable. But once you’ve seen their process and their work firsthand, let them do their job.

Many photographers will also take your opinions and suggestions into consideration, so if you or your crew members have ideas for creative photo ideas, let your photographer know. You never know what idea they will be able to make into an amazing picture.

Also consider having before and after shots done to ensure customers are able to tell a significant difference in what was there before and what your company can do.

What to include?

Along with having the rights to your project photos, which may cost extra depending on who you work with, discuss the editing process with your photographer. More often than not, editing costs are factored in to the overall price of a photo session, but be sure to bring that up when meeting with your photographer.

If your company does not own the right to the photos, you could ultimately end up having to pay for each time you decide to use one of the photos. Be careful with the photo rights once you do have them, though. Be wary of where you use them and who you let have access to them, otherwise they could end up somewhere they don’t need to be.


It’s difficult to calculate an absolute number when dealing with professional photographers, because a lot of different factors can add to the cost. Location can also alter the pricing of photographers, so remember that when shopping around.

Some photographers charge by the hour, some by the day and some by the project, but typical landscape companies have reported that photography services can run anywhere between $500-$2,000, depending on these factors.

Is it worth the money?

This question is one that professional photographers hear on an almost daily basis, and the short answer is: Yes.

Pictures truly are worth 1,000 words, and having the right photographer working on your site can boost your company’s appeal. Along with vamping up your website, these photos can be used on all social media sites and even on posters and more.

As landscapers, you are in the image business. You work tirelessly to make yards beautiful, and having photos that reflect that hard work is priceless.

In the visual media-based world we live in, having high quality photos can help push your business farther than you ever thought possible. People may scroll right by a social media post with just text, but they stop, gawk at and click on beautifully taken photos.

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MGI Landscapes: There’s still time to get it done!

Megan Gray, owner of 

MGI Landscapes

, says just because the 4th of July has come and gone, doesn’t mean landscaping season is over! There is still plenty of time to get your landscaping project done! 

 Megan Gray, MGI Landscapes, at KFGO Radio 

Gray has affordable cliff rock “icing on the cake” ideas (like outdoor kitchens waterfalls), how you might make a “safe space” for the dogs who reek havoc on your grass and more… 

Click here

to see more on their Facebook page. 

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Central Avenue Walkway project receives $37005 grant

The Central Avenue Walkway will soon have lighting and more landscaping.

Jessie R. Box

JASPER — The Hamilton County Beautification and Preservation Inc. received a grant of more than $30,000 for the Central Avenue Walkway in Jasper.

Jennifer Hand, president of the Hamilton County Beautification and Preservation said she approached Sabal Trail Transmission four months ago for funding to get started on the landscaping and lighting for the walkway.

Hand received a $37,005 grant at the end of May.

The grant will be used for old fashioned lighting, landscaping, benches, water fountains, trash receptacles and stretching equipment for the walkway.

Hand wants to see the walkway completed for Christmas this year.

Hand said she is excited to see the ideas for the walkway become a reality.

Currently there is the start of landscaping but more trees and flowers will be added.

The Central Avenue Walkway project is a collaboration between Hamilton County Beautification and Preservation and the City of Jasper.

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LAWN AND GARDEN: Create your own pleasant penninsula with a deck landscaping plan

A deck in itself speaks of privacy; being alone with a book, or a friend; having a family get-together or a place to sit with the neighbor next door. Yet they are not private, they are peninsulas that jut out from the back of your house with all three sides fully exposed to all who live around you.

I would like to give you some ideas on how to create a more private atmosphere, without hiding behind a wall of 30-foot arborvitaes.

Trees; be they flowering ornamentals like crabs and pears, or stately like maples and oaks, will strategically block out the other guy’s deck, window or yard. They don’t have to be right next to your deck, they just have to be “in line of sight.”

If your deck is at or near ground level, an eight-foot-tall barrier of some kind is all you will need. Flowering shrubs at your back property line like lilac, forsythia, sand cherries, or Rose of Sharon, will nicely screen out the onlookers. The other great thing about trees and shrubs is that you don’t have an ugly side; both you and they have something beautiful to look at.

If you are a bit of a snoop yourself, trees like honey locust and red bud have more of a lattice look to them — they screen out, but not totally.

This takes care of the neighbors, but what of the peninsula you’re sitting on; this “dock” amidst the green waters of your lawn? No problem, shrubs and plants will drag you back to a feeling of land.

The higher off the ground your deck is, the further out your plantings need to be in order to get a better “lumber to plant” proportion. In other words, if you have to lean over the deck to see the planting, you are still on a deck “on the high seas.” But if you can begin to see the shrubs from a few feet away from the rail, your plantings blend into the grass, thus making it look like you’re back on land again.

Your plant selection is endless on account of the nature of a peninsula; it is out from the shade of the house. If your house’s north facing wall is where your deck extrudes from, a shade-loving plant will need to be your choice in the area where the deck joins the house; from there out around the deck the sun abounds, and so does the plant choices.

When it comes to backyards, you should think summer; nobody shovels a path to the picnic table in the winter. So think color, think flowers around your deck.

In the back, where you don’t even go in the cold weather months, who cares if it all looks dead, you can’t see it anyway. I’m not saying don’t use any evergreens, they add a different dimension and look to the landscape. What I wish to get across is make it a flower garden; you have pretty much every plant at your disposal. This means every height, every width, every bloom time, and every color. It would be no trouble laying out a design that has something blooming somewhere in the landscaping all season long, from the end of April to the end of October; and, let me add, without the use of any annuals.

Other touches can be added; things like brick patios, berms, raised flowerbeds, ponds, waterfalls, arbors and trellises, fire pits, and, if high enough above the ground, a sandbox under the deck will keep the little ones out of the sun.

Decks can be a thing of beauty; be creative, do it in stages if you must, but just do it.

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Residents push North Knoxville development plan – WBIR

KNOXVILLE – A busy part of North Knoxville is set to see major changes. Residents are developing a plan called the North Broadway Corridor.

It stretches from Fifth Avenue to Interstate 640.

They’re concentrating on boosting walkability and safety near the Kroger.

“People get tired of Wendy’s everyday, of McDonald’s everyday, and they want to try something different,” said owner of Time Out Deli, Charlie Mubarak.

Mubarak is building something he says will be different on North Broadway in Knoxville.

“We have a big selection, so that gives them more choices to choose from,” said Mubarak.

The menu will be long at his new restaurant, Time Out Deli. If the name sounds familiar it’s because he’s run similar delis in the past.

“The hoagies, the Philly cheesesteak subs, the Reubens, the cheeseburgers—the Vol burgers,” said Mubarak. “It’s going to be a big selection.”

He and his son Eddie as well as grandson Charlie are waiting patiently for construction to finish in an area of town that’s hungry for a change.

“We are excited and waiting for the deadline really,” said Mubarak. “Hopefully, it will be helpful for the community and this area, and convenient for a lot of people around here.”

Time Out Deli is just the beginning of a change that could be huge for Broadway.

“It’s a mixed corridor,” said Leslie Fawaz, Studio Design Director at the East Tennessee Community Design Center. “It’s got a lot of residential directly feeding into all this commercial use.”

Fawaz helped envision a plan for the area.

“There’s tons of potential for those businesses and to make a pedestrian friendly, attractive area for Knoxville,” said Fawaz.

Residents went to the design center for help because they wanted a safer and better looking area around Cecil Road and Broadway.

“A potential is a bridge across or like at Tyson Park could you go under Broadway and access the Greenway to get to the shopping plaza,” said Fawaz.

The Design Center drew up crosswalk ideas and parking plazas, with a focus on landscaping and lighting, plus the possibility of easier transportation access.

“So you could have five bus stops, which are currently on Broadway, possibly located within the parking lot of the shopping center,” said Fawaz.

Now, it’s up to residents to show support.

“If the community backs it, it can happen,” said Fawaz. “It’s just a matter of getting it on the city’s budget list.”

Time Out Deli plans to open at the beginning of October.

Residents say some city council members have seen the plans, and they’ll continue to meet with business owners to grow the area.

© 2017 WBIR.COM

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Xeriscape Tour includes plant exchange

“Water Conservation … A Big Bear Way of Life” is the theme of the 15th annual Big Bear Valley Xeriscape Garden Tour, sponsored by the Sierra Club Big Bear Group Saturday, July 15. See landscaping ideas, discover drought-tolerant plants and learn how to save money on water bills, all while creating drought-tolerant gardens.

The tour includes Big Bear Lake Water Department’s Xeriscape Demonstration Garden on Fox Farm Road, a Big Bear Homeowner Expo and a free native and drought-tolerant plant exchange. Gardeners can exchange native and drought-tolerant plants with others.

Participants begin the free self-guided tour anytime between 9 a.m. and noon at Eminger’s Mountain Nursery, and have until 4 p.m. to complete the driving tour of the homes in Big Bear Valley. A tour booklet includes locations and directions for tour stops, and has helpful information on xeriscape gardening in Big Bear Valley.

Eminger’s Mountain Nursery is at 41223 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is at the China Garden Community Garden at 42050 Fox Farm Road, Big Bear Lake. For more information, visit or call 909-866-1067.

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Boca brainstorms how to improve 14 parks as part of waterfront plan

By the end of the year, Boca may be ready to roll out upgrades to 14 of its waterfront parks, officials say.

Residents got to see design drafts for some of the parks Wednesday as officials look to revamp the city-owned properties.

“I’m just excited that they’re not only looking at a few parks, but they’re looking at 14 areas,” said resident Arlene Owens. “I’m very impressed.”

Some of the parks with significant proposed improvements include: