Annapolis Landscape Design
24 Nutwell Rd, Lothian,
MD, 20711
Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm
26 Oct 2016

6 Must-Dos in Your Garden this Fall

After a wonderful September, fall is finally in the air.  There is a chill at night, the sky looks different and the garden is coming to a halt for the season.  It is easy to begin to look towards other projects around the house, but do not neglect your prized outdoor space. Just as gardens are opened up for business in the spring, they need to be closed down in the fall.

The following 6 tips are must dos in your garden this fall:

  1. Cut Back, Divide, and Replant your Favorite Perennials.
    • Serious spring gardeners know this work done will pay high dividends in the spring. If you’re perennial garden has not been divided in the past 4-5 years or ever, now is the best time to maximize your investment after a high growing season due to all the rain.
  2. Take Soil Samples.
    • Is the color of your garden as rich and vibrant as you imagined? Your soil may be depleted of the essential nutrients that produce the color and growth you envision. Whether it is your vegetable, small fruit or flower garden, it is important to take the appropriate soil samples. One of our professionals can take a proper soil sample and have it analysed by a reputable lab that will provide a detailed analysis of what to do next.
  3. Fertilize.
    • Applications of slow release fertilizers will work into the soil profile. Here, the roots are growing and storing essential nutrients for early spring growth. An organic slow release nutrient will work with the natural soil biological organisms to enhance the growth potential in your favorite garden flower beds next year.
  4. Insecticide Applications.
    • Azalea, Rhododendron, Pieris, Cotoneaster, and Amelanchier are fantastic early spring bloomers that require special attention now. Susceptible to the Lacebug insect, this insect uses its piercing-sucking mouth to suck sugars throughout the summer leaving a whitish stippling cast to the leaves. Plants in full sun are prominently more affected than those in shaded areas. Treatment this fall can protect your investment for up to 2 years. Make applications that will result in enhanced color and performance on these favorite spring bloomers.
  5. Stop Overwintering.
    • Fall is a critical time to inspect small shrubs and trees for scale insects. Indian Wax Scale, Magnolia Scale and Hemispherical Scale are prevalent now. Mature females are protecting eggs underneath her coverings. Treatment now can interfere with overwintering of the young and allocate essential within the plant the systemic pesticide activity to protect growth next year.
  6. Boxwood Damage Control.
    • English Boxwood is a favorite among gardeners. Unfortunately, the insect Boxwood Leafminer Larvae has probably already infected your plant. Eggs laid in June are developing into larvae that are eating the interior layers of the plant leaf cells producing a blistering, off-yellow color look. Treatment this fall is critical in control to kill larvae that will feed through the winter into early spring. Adults hatch in May/June in the Maryland area, which can be reduced by a fall application of Imidacloprid soil insecticide now.

Still yearning to spend time outdoors?? If so, we would suggest the installation of a patio and fire pit. We believe there is no better way to spend cool fall evenings than beside a fire! So, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 410-956-1344! We would love to meet with you and discuss some great ideas for your outdoor living spaces!

By: Corey Childs, Business Development

28 Sep 2016

Fall Maintenance for Your Turf & Landscape

As the summer wraps up and fall begins, you may not be thinking spring flowers just yet. However, NOW is the time to prepare your turf and landscape for successful seasons next year. Many of the services we do during fall maintenance have a direct impact on how your landscape performs in the future.

One of the most common mistakes we see homeowners make is pruning their trees, shrubs, and perennials at the wrong time of year. If plants are pruned too late in the growing season, new growth does not have time harden off before the winter becoming susceptible to injury and dieback.

Landscape beds should be cleaned out and any tired perennials, flowers, or grasses should be cut back and removed. Existing mulch can be cultivated to allow for air and water movement during fall maintenance (see photo below). Additional mulch may be needed to properly insulate the roots and protect them during the cold winter months. New mulch adds color to your landscape and will look fresh for the winter.

Refreshed Bed after Cultivation

Throughout the fall and the winter, leaves need to be removed from the beds on a regular basis. Any leaves that are left in the beds create a breeding ground for disease and an excellent over-wintering location for insects. These leaves should be composted or chopped up and dispersed throughout the yard to provide vital nutrients. If you do have a lot of trees, we would suggest to remove and dispose of offsite.

Your turf needs special attention as well.  As discussed in my earlier post, now is the time to aerate and over-seed your lawn. Aerating will reduce compaction, help eliminate thatch, and allow for the proper exchange of water, nutrients, and air.

During the fall and early winter, your turf is working hard to rebuild its root system and stock pile energy for next year. Fall fertilizers provide nutrients to fuel this regrowth. It is also important to remove leaves and debris from the turf to help prevent disease.

With proper planning and maintenance during the fall, you lay the necessary building blocks to maintain a healthy and vibrant landscape all year long.

Contact the professionals at Exterior Image to step up a consultation and plan for your landscape this fall.

By: Corey Rill, Maintenance and Garden Manager

08 Sep 2016
Shade Garden Plant

So How Do You Garden in the Shade?

As you look around your landscape to decide which areas to focus on this fall, don’t neglect the shady spots.  Although planting in the shade can be challenging, shade gardens can add color, depth, and beauty to your landscape.

Shade gardening requires one to forgo some of the traditional garden elements, such as sun-loving perennial flowers, in favor of focusing on variations in texture, structure, and foliage color.  In addition, you must pick plants that can survive the conditions and use different planting techniques.  Fortunately, there are many options.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you design:

Plant Layers:

A dynamic shade garden includes at least two—and usually more—layers of plants.  For example, a background layer may include 5 large Oak leaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea q.), a middle layer could consist of 9 Fothergilla shrubs, and a front layer may consist of 13 Japanese Fountain Grass (Hakone), 13 Hellebore, and 13 Coral Bells (Heuchera).










Dense Plant:

Use large quantities for the most part and plant them slightly closer than the tag directions call for.  Since plants in the shade tend to grow slowly, close planting will not only create a lush garden look, but also help to shade out weeds, cutting down on garden maintenance and competition.

Add Structure:

With all those plants and textures filling up your shade garden, it is wise to consider adding a structure to give the space a focus and allow the eye to rest.  This can be a large container, fountain, sculpture, or other man-made object, but it can also be a large shrub or small tree with good strong lines such as a Dogwood (Cornus fl.), Redbud (Cercis c.), or Witch Hazel (Hamamelis).










If you would like your shade gardens to be professionally designed by Exterior Image, contact us today for a free consultation!

Happy Gardening!!

18 Aug 2016

Landscape Maintenance Tips for the Fall Season

If you are like most homeowners, your lawn is showing signs of the long, hot summer.  We have had over 35 days at or above 90 degrees, which is much higher than normal.  As a result, your lawn is probably thinning and/or turning brown in areas, which is allowing weeds to germinate.  If you do not have an irrigation system, your lawn may be turning brown because it is going dormant.  With the cooler temperatures of fall on the way, your lawn may recover on its own, but in order to have the best turf possible, a fall landscape maintenance plan needs to be developed and implemented.  Exterior Image, Inc. is now scheduling fall maintenance including aerating, overseeding, and fertilization programs.

Lawn at Exterior Image home office after a HOT summer

Aeration & Overseeding

One of the most important landscape maintenance practices in the fall is aeration and overseeding your lawn.  Aeration has many benefits that improve the growing conditions and overall health of the turf.  This process opens the soil allowing for proper air movement, helps break down the organic layer at the surface, reduces compaction and provides good soil to seed, contact to promote seed germination.  Proper seed selection is important to make sure the right seed is used in the right location.  Some seed does much better in full sun and some does better in shade.

Aeration reduces compaction and allows proper air movement in turf

Lawn Fertilization

Fall is also the most important time of the year to fertilize your lawn.  Fertilizing in the fall promotes a full stand of turf and encourages a deep root system, which will help your turf stand up to the summer stress next year.  Included in fall fertilization is an application of lime.  Lime helps to maintain a proper soil pH.  If the pH of soil is too high or low it can affect the availability of nutrients to the turf.

Contact the turf experts at Exterior Image, Inc. to schedule your free onsite consultation to develop a plan to rehabilitate your lawn.

Mulch Cultivation

Is your mulch looking tired and worn out?  Have weeds started to germinate and take over your beds?

Tired Mulch Bed
Refreshed Bed after Cultivation









Fall mulch cultivation can refresh the appearance of the mulch and this is also a great time to weed your beds.  Cultivation breaks down a matting that naturally occurs throughout the season, improves water and air penetration, and aids in the natural decomposition of the mulch which provides vital nutrients to the plants. Mulch cultivation is a landscape maintenance service that is sure to make your garden plants flourish this season and for seasons to come.

A ‘light’ mulch top-dress is recommended after cultivation to insulate roots as we head into the winter months.  The additional mulch will also improve the aesthetics of your plant beds.

Don’t wait! For best results, it is recommended that your fall landscape maintenance is completed by mid to late November!

Contact the landscape experts at Exterior Image, Inc. to schedule your aeration & overseeding, fertilization, mulch cultivation, fall clean-ups and more!

21 Jul 2016

Try a Potager Garden

Do you love this?

Beautiful and ripe tomatoes

But hate this?

Tomatoe mess









What is a potager garden? It’s a French word for a kitchen garden and it looks as good as it tastes. Often perennial or ornamental plants are mixed into the beds or surrounding areas. Although the French layout was traditionally formal, it’s not required.

Exterior Potager Garden











Above is a formal potager garden designed by Exterior Image, Inc. many years ago that is in the process of being spruced up. This formal garden was fenced and included a sitting bench. The space was planted with traditional boxwoods, low shrubs, cutting flowers, herbs, and vegetables, to create a contrast of foliage texture and colors. Adding fencing to a formal layout, will help keep bunnies and deer away from your salad plate. Pathways can be lined with brick, crushed stone or traditional pavers. Fountains and sculptures can be easily incorporated as focal points or accents to the space.

You can have one of Exterior Image’s designers create a Potager garden for you.

Beginning stages of potager garden creation
Beginning stages of potager garden creation














Here raised beds were designed and installed, by Exterior Image, Inc. with stone pathways and stone steps leading to and from this formal garden layout. A Pennsylvania bluestone paving edge lined the entire perimeter of the garden to tie into the existing patio paving.


This client chose raised beds, which extend the growing season, create a neat appearance, and are easier to tend.

Beds can be constructed from stone, brick, metal or wood.

For ease of tending a bed should not exceed 4’ in width if it can be tended to from both sides or only 2’ feet if it can be accessed from one side.

These beds were filled onsite with a special mix of organic locally composted (Veteran Compost) material, peat moss, and vermiculite. The mixture is light and helps to create quick and strong root structure.

Native pollinator plants were placed nearby to help encourage beneficial and pollinating insects (see our other blog).

Aronia arbutifolia, Viburnum nudum, and Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberries).

If you’re limited on space and would like to have Exterior Image help maximize your garden potential in Annapolis or it’s surrounding areas, give us a call today!

29 Jun 2016

How is your Lawn Reacting to the Heat?

Summer heat and dry weather have arrived.  With the change in the weather we are seeing a lot of lawns suffer from the lack of moisture if there is no irrigation system in place.  In irrigated lawns, we are also seeing turf suffer from over-watering or improperly adjusted systems.  An irrigation system that is not set up properly will over water areas and/or not apply enough water in other areas.  Too much water is often times more harmful to turf than not enough water.  If you over water, you are not only wasting water, you are welcoming diseases that will kill your turf.  This damage is expensive to repair and may require a complete renovation.

Turf and all plants for that matter, need air space in the soil to breathe (exchange gases) and if these spaces are filled with an abundance of water (from over watering)  the plants suffocate and die.  One extremely important component of any irrigation system is the rain sensor.  This sensor will shut off the system during a rain event to help prevent over-watering.

How do you tell if you have problem with your system not watering enough or not working properly?

If you see small areas of your turf in circular patterns turning brown you may have a sprinkler that is out of adjustment or clogged.  If a large area is brown and the rest of the lawn is green you may have a problem with one of your valves.  If your entire lawn is brown you may have a problem with the controller or rain sensor.

Burn spot on grass from lack of watering
Burn spot on grass from lack of watering

How do you tell if your system is watering too much?

If after your irrigation system runs you have standing water or water comes up around your feet when you walk on the turf you are putting out too much water.  Your turf may also feel soft and spongey if it is too wet.  Areas of your lawn turning yellow or thinning out could be a result of too much water.  If areas of your lawn begin to rapidly decline and die it is most likely a disease that could be caused by too much water.

Over-saturated lawn due to an excess of watering
Over-saturated lawn due to an excess of watering

Spongy, wet turf due to leak in irrigation system

Spongy, wet turf due to leak in irrigation system

It is extremely important to properly maintain your system to promote and maintain a healthy landscape.  The experts at Exterior Image are equipped with the knowledge and tools to adjust and maintain your irrigation system at its optimum level. Contact us at 410-956-1344 to have your irrigation system check scheduled today.



09 Jun 2016

What’s a Rain Garden?

Wow! Exterior Image’s rain garden was certainly put to the test in May! Installed in 2008, our 800 square foot rain garden has grown to a mature state and is thriving in it’s environment. As the garden has matured, it continues to do it’s job time and time again. (See how it’s grown in the photos below).

DSCN2449    DSCN2453

What’s a rain garden? Well, a rain garden is a sunken garden that receives water runoff from a roof, driveway, walkways and other impervious areas. Instead of having all this water sent to the bay carrying all the pollutants, salts, waste, etc., have that water retained on your property and allow it to enter the groundwater system which naturally filters out the dangerous pollutants that infiltrate our bay and tributaries.

To see various garden designs, click here.


Exterior Image used a host of wetland edge vegetation for the job. Most of these plants are native because they generally don’t require fertilizer, and are tolerant of existing climate, soils, and water conditions. The plants will also help absorb excess moisture before returning into the soil.


If you would like to install a rain garden to help in the preservation of the Chesapeake Bay, and our environment, give us a call at 410-956-1344 to schedule a consultation and design. We will then price your job for a professional installation that will not fail in its task of preserving our natural resources.

Some plants we use in rain gardens:

Rain Garden Plant Selection

Perennials: Aster novae-angliae- New England Aster; Baptisa australis – False Indigo; Carex muskingunmensis – Palm Sedge; Eupatorium maculatum- Joe Pye Weed; Hibiscus moscheutos – Swamp Mallow (Hibiscus); Iris pseudacorus – Yellow Flag Iris; Iris ensata – Japanese Iris; Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida – Black Eyed Susan; Solidago rugosa

Shrubs: Itea virginica – Virginia Sweetspire; Cornus sericea –Redosier Dogwood

See more local natives on our Trent Hill Nursery website

23 May 2016

The Pros & Cons of the Crazy Weather

What effect does all the recent cool, wet and cloudy weather have on the landscape? How do plants react to that? In general, you would expect a slowing of growth and development. Flowers may be delayed. Size may be less than normal. The good news is that these effects will be mitigated by the abundance of rain. More good news is those plants and trees in flower have retained them much longer than normal. In the nursery our hybrid and Kousa dogwoods, as well as some viburnum, still are in bloom.

You can expect more fungal disease due to the cool and damp. We have seen cedar apple rust and cedar quince rust. Molds and mildew might also appear.

Insect development and activity is also retarded. You may have noticed the absence of gnats—a real treat. Insects that carry disease, like the ambrosia beetle, have been less actively flying and thereby not spreading disease. The same applies to lilac borers.

Seasonal affective disorder notwithstanding, be grateful for all the moisture and coolness. It will soon be hot and dry.

06 May 2016

Pollinator Paradise

Planting season is finally here! As you look at your gardens and make plans to add on or renovate, keep in mind that you can create a garden that is not only beautiful to look at, but also beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife.

These gardens don’t have to be large. Pick a sunny spot on the edge of your lawn that isn’t used or where the grass just doesn’t grow well. Dedicating even just a small portion or a few plants in each part of your landscape to bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects can make an impact.

In deciding on plants and layout for these or any garden area, keep in mind a few things:

• Mix trees, shrubs, and perennials to create a dynamic look
• Choose types of plants that bloom in different seasons to ensure something is always going on for you and the pollinators
• Mass perennials in large groups to make an impact
• Choose plants that don’t need a lot of help and can survive on their own once established

Here is an example of a small pollinator garden design for a sunny spot to get you started.


Garden Plan

13 Apr 2016
Plants Gardens Gallery (Image 26)

Spring Maintenance Tips

Reminders and Helpful Hints

Mowing Schedules: Spring is typically a rainy time of year. We do all we can to stay on a weekly schedule. If we receive a day or two of rain, we may need to push the schedule 1 or 2 days up or back to help us return to the originally scheduled mowing days as quickly as possible. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Watering: Irrigation systems are not the singular solution to your watering needs. Remember, if we receive several days of rain in a week, you will need to adjust your system not to run. Too much watering can lead to other problems as the season goes on. In short, the irrigation system needs to be monitored according to weather conditions to avoid problems with fungus, root rot and other diseases. The proper use of automatic sprinklers on turf and plant materials is essential to the health and vigor of each. The importance of proper watering practice is critical due to nutrient management programs and the desire to conserve water. Less water is often better for both plants and turf. We offer a “water management” service to optimize use.
Weeds: Weeds can be an issue, especially in the spring. Our two spring applications of pre-emergent controls and fertilizer will help control weeds and crabgrass to a large extent. On most lawns there will be a need for post-emergent treatments. This would involve spot spraying with selective herbicides, as temperatures permit.
Summary: With proper mowing on a regular schedule, proper watering and fertilization treatments, your turf will start this spring healthy, strong and looking great. We look forward to a great season. Please call with any questions or concerns.


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