Landscape, Plants, Hardscape & Decks

The Grass Menagerie
Despite water usage concerns, grass remains a mainstay in both commercial and residential landscapes. Working with grass, explains Mike Logsdon, usually requires some level of moderation and a knack for knowing how to ply the multitudinous types of grasses for the greatest effect, based on client expectations and anticipated grassy needs. 
Discovering Xeriscapes
The word xeriscape is one of those terms that most everyone has heard but few truly understand. When we think of xeriscapes or xeriscaping, most people immediately visualize a dry almost lifeless desert landscape with rocks and cactus. Because the "x" is pronounced like a "z" the word is often mistaken for a fancy way of spelling zeroscapes, which implies that it has no plantings or uses zero water. Neither is true. Working in the arid climates of the Texas hill country, I've embraced the xeriscaping concept as a way to create sustainable and inviting landscapes with minimal irrigation, but again, that does not
Feeling Right at Home
'My daughter and I just returned from our annual trip to visit family in Connecticut and used the occasion this time to travel all over the northeast,' wrote Stephanie Rose in opening her Natural Companions column for November 2004.  'I'm never disappointed by the beauty I find in that part of the country.' 'What I find most beneficial in travel
#34: Synthetic Grass
If you'd asked me 20 years ago if I'd ever consider using artificial grass with one of my high-end pool projects, I would've looked at you like you had two heads and three hats: There was just no way on earth that would've been a possibility. A lot has changed in the past few years, however, and it's getting to the point where I'm working with fake turf on a surprisingly number of projects - including
Now You See It
'Some people seem to believe that designing is all about reinventing the wheel every time they go to work on a new project or need to create a new detail of some kind.  Truth is, however, that most great design ideas and details are derivative of things that
#33: Flagstone Decking
Of all the videos in this series, this is one in which I covered almost all of what I had to say about flagstone decking while on camera - a fact that doesn't leave me as much as usual to write about in this introduction. But as always, I've spotted a few areas worth additional comment. One small point needs more emphasis than I gave it, for example, and that has to do with
Planting Pains
'Early in the history of garden design - dating back to the earliest days of civilization in Sumeria, Egypt and China - plants took center stage in garden spaces.'  With that observation, Bruce Zaretsky opened his On the Level column in February 2009, then added:  'Terraces and hanging gardens were built not for their innate ornamental qualities, but rather to display the plants they contained.  Always, the prized plant was
In Service of Trees
'All of us at one time or another run up against trees that are very much in the way - and our clients simply won't let us remove them.  To be sure, working around such prized specimens can be a real pain,' wrote Bruce Zaretsky in his January 2009 On the Level column, 'which is why so many in the construction trades have passive-aggressive attitudes about them and just wish
Hard Choices
'If I were to ask the average watershaper to name the most versatile element in any landscape,' began Stephanie Rose in her January 2004 "Natural Companions" column, 'he or she would probably reply by talking about water or plants or some other equally prominent component.  If you asked me the same question, however, I'd almost always say
It’s Always Something!
'In all my years as a landscape designer,' began Stephanie Rose in her Natural Companions column for November 2003, 'I've always told my clients that nobody can know ahead of time how a plant will adapt to or behave in any given situation.''Most plants, of course, really are somewhat predictable when you place them in a client's yard . . . as long as you