Annapolis Landscape Design
24 Nutwell Rd, Lothian,
MD, 20711
Mon-Fri: 7am-4pm
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).

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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).

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

Happy Gardening!!

21 Jul 2016

Try a Potager Garden

Do you love this?

Beautiful and ripe tomatoes

But hate this?

Tomatoe mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try a POTAGER GARDEN.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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!

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.