Project Spotlight: Tiny Yards, Big Solutions

Beaverdale homes are known for their charm and their yards are no exception. As I stepped foot in this backyard last spring, I was in love with this quaint and cozy space. The yard had some great features with its charming garden shed, patio spaces, and whimsical art. With another growing season on the horizon, our clients had some current concerns with the landscape they wanted to address.

1. They had recently lost a tree next to the driveway and wanted to incorporate another one for additional shade from the west sun on the patio space.
2. With the maturing maple tree, the grass was having a tough time establishing in this area.
3. With the excessive root structure of the maple tree, it was a struggle to grow any plant material below.


1. We expanded the garden bed by the driveway to allow for a newly planted Japanese Maple tree and positioned it closer to the patio to provide shade from the afternoon sun. We accompanied the tree with ‘Limetta’ hydrangea. These will add lime green blooms to the garden in mid summer.
2. With the constant struggle of the grass trying to grow under the dense canopy of the maple tree, we decided to remove it and add in a limestone flagstone path connecting the garage to the garden shed. We softened the stone with a shade loving vinca groundcover. This will fill in to form a solid green carpet and have a periwinkle bloom in the spring.
3. The roots under the maple tree made it very difficult to grow any plant material. Instead of just adding more mulch, we created the look of a meandering stream by using blue trap rock and Mexican beach pebbles. This also brightens up the shady spot.

Urban Apples

Order yours today for May pick-up!


‘Tangy Green’ Urban Apple2-3′ Wide & 8-12′ Tall
Full Size Fruit
Zone 4-6
Ripens Mid-September
Pollinates well with ‘Blushing Delight’ Urban Apple
Lime Green Fruit
Tangy & Crisp



‘Blushing Delight’ Urban Apple2-3′ Wide & 8-12′ Tall
Full Size Fruit
Zone 4-6
Ripens Mid-September
Pollinates well with ‘Tangy Green’ Urban Apple
Green/Blush Red Fruit
Light, Sweet Flavor


Forcing Spring Branches

Flowering Quince
Photo by: Plant Life Designs at Plant Life Designs

Speed up spring by bringing flowering branches indoors!

Quince, forsythia, cherry, almond, crabapple, redbud, magnolia and pussy willow are all excellent plants for forcing branches indoors.

Follow these six easy steps!

  1. Choose a day above freezing to cut the branches as this helps with the transition from outside to inside.
  2. Select branches with plenty of buds, and preferably buds that are starting to open. Be sure to also select branches that are not critical to the overall appearance of the shrub.
  3. Cut branches at a diagonal and crush the end of the branch with a hammer to help with the uptake of water.
  4. Place branches in a vase with warm water.
  5. Keep branches in a sunny, cool spot . Be sure to avoid radiator heat. Keep the water healthy by changing it every few days.
  6. Blooms will appear in 2-4 weeks depending on the shrub variety. Quince typically take 3-4 weeks, whereas forsythia will only take 1 week!

Smelling Good

3 Ways To Maximize Fragrance In The Garden

‘Rosa At Last’
Photo by: Midwest Groundcovers
  1. Site fragrant plants close to your home, outdoor living space, or near a window you like to open during warmer temps.
  2. Site fragrant plants next to a south-facing wall as the reflected heat will make odors stronger.
  3. Site fragrant plants in an enclosed space such as a side yard or courtyard garden. The scent will be more contained and will be less likely to be carried away.

Turning Points

Photo taken by Plant Life Designs at a park in Brooklyn, New York

When two or more paths come together, using different stone patterns can signify a change. We often call these “turning points” in design. These can be places to pause and look around at your surroundings, as you decide where to go journey off to next. These can also be places to sit down, and take time to literally stop and smell the roses!

3 Examples to Bring Paths Together at a Turning Point:

  1. Utilize a completely different stone.
  2. Change the pattern using the same stone product.
  3. Add different shapes such as a circle, mixed with a linear path.

4 Benefits of Raised Garden Beds

Custom designed and installed raised garden beds by Plant Life Designs.
Product: Highland retaining wall stone.

  1. Soil Control. The luxury of importing good soil.
  2. Height Control. Beds at 18″ or more are less likely to fill with weed seeds as their seeds tend to travel in ground currents that raised beds are usually above.
  3. Temperature Control.  Raised bed soil tends to warm up quicker in the spring, allowing for earlier planting.
  4. Pest Control. Slugs and snails generally do not like to climb the walls of raised beds. Additional chicken wire beneath the garden beds prevents damage from moles and gophers.

More Garden Tips!

Plant cover crops such as clover, rye, or fava beans to fix nitrogen into the soil in the fall and then turn soil over in the spring.

When designing your edible gardens, it is also important to think of harvest and how neighboring plants might fill in the gaps after you pick.

Beet & Parsnip Salad

Serves Six:

Ingredients for Salad:

2 TBSP sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

3 medium beets, peeled and sliced into thick matchsticks

3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut crosswise into thin rounds

1 apple, cored and thinly sliced

handful of baby kale leaves

Ingredients for Sherry Vinaigrette:

1 TBSP sherry vinegar

1/4 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. mustard

salt and fresh ground black pepper

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt in the sherry vinegar and 1/4 cup of water. Add beets and toss to coat. Set aside for an hour to create a quick pickle. Drain beets and blot dry on paper towels.

On a pretty serving plate, stack the beets, parsnips, apples, and kale in alternating layers to make a good-looking heap.

Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the oil until emulsified. Add the shallot to the dressing.

Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette just before serving.

Recipe from: ’66 Square Feet’

The Marriage of Materials

The natural stone of the pillars, combined with the cedar pergola, coupled with the concrete dining table atop the carpet of unilock pavers, gives this outdoor space an exceptionally timeless look and is a beautiful marriage of materials. These elements not only look impressive now, but will also age to a distinct perfection.

By working with a Plant Life Design’s designer, we not only help you select the materials that start out looking beautiful, but will also educate you on how the selected materials will age in the years to come.