Annapolis Landscape Design
24 Nutwell Rd, Lothian,
MD, 20711
Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm
05 Jul 2018
summer lawn care tips

5 Essential Tips for Summer Landscaping

Yard work doesn’t stop just because it’s Summer. Whether the warm season in your area is arid or humid there are a few tricks to Summer landscaping that will keep your yard in tip-top shape. We’ll show you how to work smarter not harder to get the most out of your landscaping efforts.

  • Take it Easy on the Lawn Mower!

During the Summer months, you should do a high cut on lawns. This means taking off just the top third of the lawn’s current height. Bringing up the cutting height will prevent the grass from becoming scorched and browned by the heat. It will also provide more protection for roots and will reduce weeds. You can also save yourself some work by leaving behind clippings for nourishment.

  • When Planting Bulbs Think Tropical

Tropical plants flourish in the summer months. It is a great time to plant Crinum, Elephant Ears, Canna and Blood Lilies. The sun and heat will help these shoot up while other garden varieties experience delays.

  • Water Deep in the Morning Hours

Use the cool mornings to maximize water absorption and to stay out of the heat. Water plants generously so that several layers of soil remain wet. Pay attention to the root areas to promote healthy root growth. Watering in the afternoon is a waste since most of the H20 will evaporate.

  • Use the Right Kind of Vegetables

One of the best tips for summer landscaping is to swap out your cold-season veggies for their hot-season counterparts. It’s in your best interest to maximize your gardening efforts by planting vegetables that excel in the heat. Most Summer veggies are also drought tolerant. Consider planting the following: broccoli, eggplant, okra, chard, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and cabbage. There are much more that will work as well.

  • Warm-Season Grass Should be Fertilized

Lawns containing warm-season grasses can benefit from fertilization in Summer. Grasses such as St. Augustine, centipedegrass, zoysiagrass and bermudagrass fall into this category. However, you should avoid fertilizing if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees. Also, make sure you don’t fertilize too soon into the Summer season; warm-season grasses are just coming out of dormancy at this time. It is best to wait after the third mowing to ensure the fertilizer doesn’t damage the lawn.

  • A Final Tip

These Summer landscaping tips will help you have a flourishing garden during the driest months of the year. One final tip is to pay attention to weather forecasts and any changes in your yard. Summer gardening can be unpredictable. Make sure you give your garden the attention it deserves!



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

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!!

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!

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

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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25 Mar 2016

Spring Planning Tips

IRRIGATION: TRANSITIONING FROM WINTER TO SPRING like a lamb? Although grounds are saturated, thanks to old man winter, don't forget about spring start up of your system. Have your system professionally evaluated, to check for damage and leaks. Call now to schedule your April or May system start.

Our in-house irrigation services include:

  • System design and installation
  • Water management
  • Repair services
  • Electronic controller installation and programming
  • Temporary irrigation systems for new turf and plants

Please contact us at 410-956-1344 to discuss all your irrigation needs.



Now that we have survived February and record snowstorms, hopefully as we move through March we will begin to see signs of spring sooner rather than later.

As much as we are ready for spring, it is seemingly difficult for everyone to begin planning with the lingering snow and cold weather, but now is a great time to start formulating your ideas and potential projects. Late winter allows time for the creation of your landscape plans and will ensure you an early spot on the schedule when the weather breaks. Feel free to call and set up a time for us to visit your property and listen to your ideas.

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Complete this form to receive our FREE Monthly Newsletter packed with Lawn and Garden tips and tricks to help you maintain a beautiful home landscape. You’ll also be informed of special offers, new products and services, and special events first, before the general public.

Don’t worry, we never sell or share your info with anyone.



01 Mar 2016

Spring Gardening Tips


Which is the correct way to apply Mulch?

mulch_shapeMulch should be applied in a "doughnut" shape in the drip zone of trees and shrubs, not a "volcano". Excessive mulching wastes money and eventually leads to distress of trees, encouraging surface roots to grow into the mulch as well as rot organisms and insects to invade the soften bark tissue covered by mulch.

The worst material you can use is fresh grass clippings, peat moss, sawdust, mulch that smells bad, ground up rubber, stones, pavers or black plastic. The best mulch choices include shredded hardwood mulch, organic mulch, recycled pallets, ground red pine bark and pine straw.

You should always be able to see the flare of the tree trunk. Our IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Certified Technicians at Exterior Image are here to visit your site and provide an analysis of symptoms/signs to give you the best recommendations. Please contact us at 410-956-1344 for more information.

Spring Pruning of Roses for Health and Beauty

As buds swell and growth begins in April here in Maryland, you should have a good idea of what tissue is dead and what is alive. Begin by pruning dead canes from a result of winter damage or fungal causing cankers. This wood will be white or tan and may have cankers with raised pimple like fungal spore structures present. Stems may be girdled and should be pruned well below the visible symptoms. Do not compost or chip these canes. Darker canes killed by cold temperatures are usually dark and can be pruned with debris composted or chipped.

Depending on the kind of rose, many species such as climbers and older hybrid roses bloom off side buds from the previous year's growth. Pruning can significantly reduce flower, so it is better to wait till the first flush of bloom to prune. Roses that have not been pruned regularly may need up to 20% of the oldest cane removed near the base of the plants. Ever-blooming roses which bloom on new basal canes can be pruned severely, thinned out to open up center and promote symmetry.

All pruning cuts should be above a swelling bud and at a 45 degree angle with the high side of the cut right above the bud. When possible, prune the can so the outward facing bud will direct new growth outward from the center of the plant. This allows for faster drying of canopy to reduce and discourage black spot and powdery mildew foliar diseases.

Perennial Plant of the Year - Baptisia Australis

BaptisaBlue false indigo grows three to four feet tall and three to four feet wide in an upright habit. This exceptional perennial grows across a wide range of zones and is one of the most adaptable native species.

Newly emerging shoots produce violet-blue, lupine-like flowers in erect 10- to 12-inch racemes atop flower stems extending well above the foliage mound of clover-like, trifoliate, bluish-green leaves. The spring flowers are present for three to four weeks. The flowers give way to inflated seed pods which turn charcoal black when ripe and which flower arrangers consider to be ornamental. The common name, blue false indigo, refers to the use of this perennial by early Americans as a dye.

Baptisia Australis is an excellent plant to anchor the back of the border. It is also valuable for cottage gardens, native plant gardens, and native area of prairies and meadows. It is best as a specimen or planted in small groups. Blue false indigo can be used with bulbs and other spring flowering perennials to make interesting combinations.

  • Light - Plants thrive in full sun. Plants grown in partial shade may require staking.
  • Soil - This North American native is easily grown in well-drained soil and is drought tolerant after establishment.
  • Uses - This spring flowering shrub-like perennial may be used to fill the back of the border or in the wild garden.
  • Unique Qualities - The combination of flower and leaf color is dramatic in the early blooming season. Flowers are followed by inflated seed pods that are useful for dried flower arrangements.
  • Hardiness - USDA zones 3-9
    (sited from Perennial Plant Association -

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Complete this form to receive our FREE Monthly Newsletter packed with Lawn and Garden tips and tricks to help you maintain a beautiful home landscape. You’ll also be informed of special offers, new products and services, and special events first, before the general public.

Don’t worry, we never sell or share your info with anyone.