Great botanical garden to visit if you’re in North Carolina!

The Sarah Duke Botanical Garden in Durham, North Carolina is on the campus of Duke University. This garden was once a rock quarry that was converted into a beautiful plant exhibit. I would definitely recommend coming in early spring and again in the fall to enjoy the seasons of color and the many unique plants that offer a beautiful rolling landscape.

With terrace gardens, woodland paths, Japanese gardens, educational areas and other information, this easily takes a full day to experience.  Seeing mature plants in their natural setting is inspiring when designing or just enjoying what nature has to offer.

I also highly recommend taking the time to go to Duke Chapel. With its stained-glass and architectural features, it’s worth a stop.

For more info go to: or

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Unique has “Award Winning” Year with Urban Ag Council (UAG)

Unique is one of the longer standing members of the Georgia Urban Ag Council (UAG,) formerly known as MALTA. Once again for 2014 they had numerous award-winning landscape entries for their projects in the Atlanta and Georgia market. During the annual UAG awards banquet in February they took home:

  • 3 Grand awards, the top award presented by UAG
  • 2 Distinction awards
  • 1 Merit award

In addition, Unique was the winner of the environmental ‘Green Star’ landscape award, as well as the recipient of one of the prestigious “Judge’s Choice” awards.

Unique’s owner and landscape designer, Todd Guilmette, said it was one of the better years in Unique’s UAG history for award-winning projects. Unique feels their “unique” concepts in design have afforded them this honor.

One of their projects, pictured here, was the transformation of an unusable space below the homeowner’s deck. The yard sloped off and the deck steps  made the space pretty much ‘off limits.’ Unique says they receive an increasing number of calls for these situations. At this property, they modified the deck/stairs, extended level ground space and built a patio and fire pit as well as added a small water feature and extensive landscaping.

Please visit the gallery on our website for additional photos.

New Pins on the Unique Environmental Landscape Pinterest Account

With the warmer weather, we’ve been busy! Have you? Now is the perfect time to work with Unique Environmental Landscapes to create the outdoor living area of your dreams. Your friends and family can enjoy the bountiful Atlanta-area outdoor living in a safe and beautiful environment. Consider our design, installation and maintenance processes and you’ll see the difference. Our gifted designers will work with you to marry functionality, plant and hardscape materials to create the perfect retreat!

In the meantime, we are sharing fresh inspiration over on the Pinterest account. Check us out, follow-us and repin to keep the inspiration closeby:

Visit Unique Environmental Landscapes’s profile on Pinterest.

Amazing Water Features for Your Atlanta-Area Garden

Summer is right around the corner, so consider a relaxing and cooling water feature to bring sound and elegance to your outdoor living area. Unique Environmental’s Pinterest boards are full of landscape design inspiration for you, your homeowner’s association or your commercial common area. Follow us today.

Follow Unique Environmental Landscapes’s board Amazing Water Features for Your Georgia Landscape on Pinterest.

Spring 2014 Landscape Designer Color Combinations: 1

It may still feel like winter in the metro Atlanta area, but to landscape designers, it feels like a blank canvas ready for us to paint! Fresh color combinations can turn any area, whether home or business, into a showplace, creating a welcoming atmosphere and setting the stage for your visitors, family, customers, residents or employees to enjoy the outdoors.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some innovative and fresh spring color combinations that we can integrate into your home or business seasonal color beds. This week, feast your eyes on a color combination perfect for the Atlanta area because it’s suitable for sun and part shade, which is a common issue in our tree-heavy area. (Click on the image for a larger view of the custom PDF.)


Atlanta Landscape Designer on Pinterest

If you are looking for even more ways to experience Unique Environmental’s gorgeous designs and get inspired, follow us on Pinterest. We’d love to hear about your inspiration, which of our projects most inspired you, and what your greatest landscape challenges might be. Here in the metro Atlanta area, we experience a variety of conditions. That’s why we put a lot of time and effort into educating our customers. The more you know about how we design, install and maintain your landscapes, the more you’ll want to give us a call.

Happy pinning! We look forward to seeing you there.

Visit Unique Environmental Landscapes’s profile on Pinterest.

Atlanta Landscape Maintenance

Atlanta Landscape Designers 1

3 Atlanta Landscaping Trends for 2014 from Leading Atlanta Landscaper

2014 Atlanta Landscape Trends

The New Year is here and with it comes the opportunity to create the outdoor living area of your dreams. Unique Environmental Landscapes offers the experience and design expertise needed to ensure your project is exactly what you dreamed it could be! So, what are many Atlanta property owners hoping for in 2014? We’ve got the hottest landscape trends right here. Which is your favorite?

1) Paying attention to new plant introductions: Much of the trends are driven by the environment. We’ve now experienced the polar vortex, drought, floodingrain…Georgia experiences a wide variety of environmental conditions……and opportunities – if you know how to choose the right plants for the right environment. We have access to the best new plants and can help you make the best choices.

2) Experimenting with new palettes of landscape plants: The palettes of landscape plants in the Atlanta area have evolved, too, as the wishes of the consumer have evolved. Pantone color trends aren’t just for interior decorating! Homeowners and businesses are increasingly looking to their landscape professionals to be on top of the latest color and design trends. Unusual color combinations, well-suited to the aesthetics of your home, business, personality and neighborhood can elevate your outdoor areas.

3) Outdoor living continues to grow: In Atlanta we are truly blessed with a climate that allows almost year-round outdoor living. Our Atlanta homeowners and business owners continue to demand practical and beautiful designs that bring the outdoors and the indoors together, creating a seamless living experience, adding value, and providing unparalleled opportunities for social, resident (personal?) and family time. Our designs can integrate the latest in both design and technology, including:

  • Landscape lighting systems that are controlled with your phone or tablet
  • Outdoor firepits with gas systems that are remote controlled
  • High quality audio and video that allows virtually year-round viewing and listening to favorite programs

In conclusion, one of the wonderful things about the green industry is that change is constant. Here at Unique Environmental Landscapes we thrive on providing the best in industry design coupled with the most innovative and forward-thinking trends. Whether you are interested in traditional or classic design that includes the latest technology, or trendy color combos that will make your home stand out, we are here to work with you every step of the way. Our designers are not only gifted creatively, but exceptional horticulturists, as well.

Are you ready to take advantage of one or more of these wonderful landscape and outdoor living trends? Give us a call today and we’ll help you get started.

Check out these posts for additional inspiration:

Outdoor Kitchen Retreat

Backyard Oasis

Inspirational Design Video Montage

A Full Portfolio of Inspiration

Goshiki Osmanthus Plant is a Year Round Pleaser

Winter is a good time to assess just how colorful your landscape is! It’s very easy when planning a landscape to create a great spring and summer display, but the trick to creating year around color in your landscape is selecting from plants that bloom each season. I will try to lay out over the next couple weeks and months plants that you can add into your landscape that will bring it year-round interest and create focal changes as the seasons progress. A lot of these plants I’ve used for years in my landscape designs as well as my home landscape. Just walking around yesterday I realized how Yellow Twig Dogwood, Edgeworthia and other winter plants create an interest even on the dreariest of days.

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' is a tough, strikingly variegated evergreen shrub with five colors on each leaf which create an eye-catching display in the landscape.

Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ is a tough, strikingly variegated evergreen shrub with five colors on each leaf which create an eye-catching display in the landscape.

For starters, let’s look at Goshiki Osmanthus. This great mounding evergreen shrub has variegated foliage throughout the year with interesting color changes as the new foliage comes out and the later summer foliage matures. It is a slow growing shrub that loves to be pruned hard so it’s adaptable in small spaces and, if left untreated, can grow 4 to 5 feet tall, which makes it very adaptable for many areas in your landscape. For those of you who get creative around the holidays, its foliage works very well in Christmas wreaths and holiday greenery. Goshiki means ‘five colored’ in Japanese and refers to the various colors found on each leaf. The leaves will show off all five colors: cream, pink, orange, yellow, and white. Those colors will appear in attractive spots or swirls that combine together to create an eye-catching display!

Other notes:  Thrives in dry, hot climates, good container plants, drought tolerant, fragrant, low maintenance

Learn more about Unique Environmental.


Our Gift to You: Inspirational Landscapes and Atlanta Gardens

Happy Holidays to you from Unique Environmental Landscapes! We know that in this cold weather you dream of warmer Atlanta days and evenings or maybe taking advantage of beautiful, crisp evening by the firepit. Either way, we can make your dreams come true and we’ve put together an inspirational video of some of our projects for your enjoy.

It’s our gift to you – consider all of the wonderful possibilities right in your backyard!


Tips for Atlanta Cool Season Pots and Planters

2013 Fall Pots and Planter Blends2

Temperatures are dropping here in the Atlanta, Georgia area, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy beautiful flowers through the fall and winter! Our designers at Unique Environmental understand that there is a lot of misinformation in the marketplace about cool season annuals and how well they work in your pots and planters. We are going to tackle some of those for you in just a moment, but if you’d rather spend more time with your family and still have a gorgeous yard during the fall and winter months, you may want to consider the container planting or seasonal color bed installation that we provide. You can check that out here.

Ready? Let’s debunk some common DIY landscape ideas:

  1. Pansies For All: Yes, the great thing about pansies is you can find them in all different shades of colors, but have you considered violas? Violas bloom stronger and mix well with pansies. In fact, this precious flower was chosen as flower of the year by the National Garden Bureau in 2007. They can be the workhorse of pots and planters and are perfect for bridging the seasons in warmer zones, where they can remain in bloom throughout the winter.
  2. Chrysanthemums Last Forever: Mums, a gardener’s go-to for classic beauty, would also do wonderfully in your window box for a quick hit of color. Remember, though, typically the blooms will last about 4 to 6 weeks depending on temperature and then they are just a green plant, which can still provide a nice backround for other plants.  Just make sure they are spaced properly, watered frequently and have at least 4 hours of sunlight each day in order to thrive. You will need to update your pots and planters if using Chrystanthemums, so be sure you want to include them in your mix!
  3. Snapdragons or Bust: If you are looking for a tall, elegant flower for your window box, snapdragons may be the perfect choice for you – but they only bloom late September through early October- then they go through a dormant stage and will not re-bloom until late March or early April. This is an example of how your pots and planters can really look sad if you aren’t educated about the best types of plants and materials.
  4. All I Need Are Flowers: Spectacular, well-designed, awe-inspiring pots, planters and seasonal beds aren’t only full of flowers. There is a wide variety of accent material and accent plants that will make the color of the flowers pop and sing. Our generous blends of trailing pansies, variegated foliage, and coordinating uprights mean that the outdoor appeal of your living areas is strong – even in the fall and winter. Just give us a call.
  5. Plant and Go: There is no such thing as a maintenance-free planting – that is, unless we are maintaining it for you! Your pots and planters are only beautiful with the proper attention to soil/ fertilization and the general care necessary for prolonged seasonal color. It is not a one and done process. Even after the installation deadheading, fertilizing is critical to maintain long-term color. Beautiful pots and planters are within your reach

What about you? We would love to hear about some of your favorite cool-season plants! Stop by our Facebook page and share with our online community your go-to fall and winter flowers. If you have a picture – feel free to share that too! We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information about Unique Environmental Landscapes and the services we offer – give us a call at 404-691-9310 or visit us online.

Unique plants for your winter landscape

Does your landscape needs some interest this winter? Try incorporating in these two shrubs and an evergreen perennial into your woodland landscape plantings.

Daphne odora is a classic southern fragrance.

Every southern landscape needs Daphne odora to welcome in the fragrance of winter. This evergreen flowering shrub creates a unique feature to your winter landscape, flowering from late January to early March, depending on weather conditions. Its fragrance summons the thoughts of what spring will be.

Daphne is a great plant for a woodland or shade garden, growing only 3 to 4 feet tall on maturity. Mixed in with plantings of hostas and other later spring blooming perennials, it creates a great seasonal mix for your pathways and woodland garden.

Need a winter flowering fragrant shrub for your landscape?

Think of planting Edgeworthia (Paper Bush) shrub. Edgeworthia flowers in the winter months and is a great woodland plant for your landscape. Mix them in with evergreen ferns or heuchera to create nice woodland plantings that are seasonally interesting.

Upside down tulip? No, it’s Hellebores.

Sometimes that’s what Hellebores (Japanese lantern) look like when they bloom. This winter blooming perennial is quite interesting for a woodland garden landscape. The blooms with shades of pink to white make up the color array of this hardy evergreen perennial. Incorporating again Hosta, evergreen ferns and Heuchera along with other early spring and summery perennials creates a long-lasting array of seasonal interest in your landscape.

Christmas trees can go to good use after the holidays?

Here are some tips for re-purposing a de-decorated tree:

Re-decorate the tree with treats for wild birds. Leave the tree in its stand or stand it in a large planter with rocks or sand to steady it. Put it on a deck, porch or patio and decorate it with orange halves, pine cones slathered with peanut butter, suet cakes and small bird feeders.

The tree can also gives shelter to small birds on those cold winter evenings. Once the tree has dried up and turned copper, it makes great kindling for your outdoor fire pit.

Remember, it’s not recommended to use your cut up Christmas tree in the house fireplace, as the pine pitch can become a problem in the chimney long-term.