A Summer Oasis – From Beginning To End

Well it’s official, summer has finally come to an end! Wanted to share with anybody a project that started from a very raw beginning and turned into a great summer oasis.

If you’re having trouble visualizing what you can do with your landscape, call Unique at 404-691-9310. Let us bring your landscape to life.

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Freshening up an old landscape project

This landscape renovation project started in 2008 with a total hardscape renovation of the front landscape. After the hardscape project was completed Unique came back in and landscape to accent the architectural of the home and the new sidewalk area.

Over the years the landscape has matured and this spring we went back and did little bit of touchup of the original project to further extend the life of this landscape.

If you need a makeover or an update of your existing landscape call Unique (404-691-9310) and let our creative and experienced staff bring your landscape back to life.

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Combinations and colors for year-round interest

With all this rain we’ve had the last couple of days, it’s amazing how our landscapes can come back to life.

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A textured, colorful landscape installation
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Plan for a year-round landscape with a combination of ingredients

 

This colorful landscape installation is a combination of perennials, annuals, conifers and flowering shrubs. Balancing structure, color and texture are important ingredients when planning a year-round landscape. From a formal planting to a more eclectic relaxed landscape installation plant selection is important to bring you the year-round interest.

Here are some great links for finding out what plant might work best for your landscape:

www.Monrovia.com
www.southernlinvingplants.com

Fall soon will be approaching and another ideal planting season will be upon us. If you want to bring some color back into a tired landscape by renovating – or if you’re just starting from scratch, Unique Environmental can help. We bring the ideas and the creativity, along with the planning and execution for any sized project.

So put us on your to-do list for this fall.

Add a pop to your landscape with these dependable perennials

If you have full sun in your garden here are some great perennials and ornamental grass to brighten up the landscape and some. We incorporated these perennials in with the spring seasonal color for the entryway of this subdivision which added a further layer of summer color.

Perennials

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia f. Goldstum)

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Summer Perennials

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Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicfolia)

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Summer Perennials – Little Bunny Dwarf Fountain Grass (Pennisetum a. “Little Bunny), Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicfolia), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia f. Goldstum)

 

These are the perennials you see in the photo:

1.Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia f. Goldstum) this is the orange flowering perennial.
2. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicfolia) this is the bluish flowering perennial.
3. Little Bunny Dwarf Fountain Grass (Pennisetum a. “Little Bunny)
We also incorporated in some dwarf conifers and accent boulders to carry the perennial bed through the winter months giving it some interest.

Other perennials, we recommend for full sun that take very little care:
Shasta Daisy: (Chry. x Becky)
Coreopsis: (Coreopsis v “Moonbeam”)
Coneflower: (Echinacea) “Big Sky Series”

So if you want to add a pop to your landscape, think of adding perennials!

Irrigation Tips For This Hot, Dry Summer

lawnsprinklerwaveThe weather is heating up quickly here in the Atlanta, and it appears that we are going to be in for a very hot and dry summer.

My gardening friend Walter Reeve has put together some great tips on how to manage your irrigation and be compliant with local regulations as far as watering. He has included links to the most up to-date drought and watering rules for the state of Georgia, which state that:

“Persons may irrigate outdoors daily for purposes of planting, growing, managing, or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants only from  4 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.”

Alongside these important rules, Reeve’s list of valuable information includes a Georgia Drought Map, and detailed information on watering trees, shrubs, flowers and lawns during the summer season.

Contact us at (404) 691-9310 if you have specific watering or irrigation questions or concerns.

Is there a perfect plant for your landscape?

Well there’s never perfect plant but at Unique Environmental, distylium photo 2we think that the Distylium shrub is almost there. Distylium is an evergreen shrub that offers three varieties – Distylium Vintage Jade, which is the low-growing variety, Blue Cascade is mid-sized and Emerald Heights is the tallest.

When you are planning your landscape, you need a canvas to get started, and Distylium serves as a fantastic canvas. Distylium is the type of shrub you would use when planning out a foundation planting and looking for consistency in your plant palette. For example, Vintage Jade is a great substitute for using hollies and junipers as it can grow in full sun and partial shade. Blue Cascade and Emerald Heights are a little taller variety which still works when you have a need for a taller foundation plant.

What makes this plant almost perfect is its flexibility in sun or shade, and its drought tolerance. It also has a small flower in the spring that adds a unique look to the shrub. At Unique Environmental, we have been using this plant for almost two years in our landscape plantings, and we have monitored its growth and flexibility.

We have great confidence that this will be a staple in foundation plantings in areas where you just can’t find the perfect plant.

To get more information on the varieties, and also read some great articles about its performance in the landscape, check out the links below.

http://www.firsteditionsplants.com/vintage-jade-distylium

http://www.caes.uga.edu/extension/cherokee/mastergardeners/documents/newsletterAprilMay13.pdf

http://gardenersconfidence.com/plants/blue-cascade-distylium

http://gardenersconfidence.com/plants/emerald-heights-distylium

Your landscape will not last forever

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Many homeowners believe once they complete an installation project, they will never have to do any more planting again. The truth is, even the best designed and installed landscape will need tweaking as it ages, and as the horticultural plant life cycle comes to an end.

A well-designed landscape can typically grow and mature for about five to seven years before things need to be adjusted. This timeframe depends on the size of the material planted during the initial installation.

What can you do you extend the life of your landscape?

The first couple of years are critical to the long-term growth of the landscape. A landscape that has longevity requires three elements – proper hand pruning, fertilization and managed irrigation.

Hand pruning

Hand pruning is just that – use your snap-cut handsaws, loppers, and hand pruning tools to prune plants as they mature. In the first couple years, it may just be tipping the shoots of new growth to create balance in the plant canopy. As years progress more aggressive, technical pruning will be needed to manage the plants’ growth.

If you have specific questions about a particular plant in your landscape, send us a photo of the plant, and we can assist you in managing it.

Fertilization

A balanced tree and shrub fertilizer spread throughout the entire planting area is important for establishing long-term plant health. Soil tests are also very helpful, and should be conducted at least once every three years. Soil tests allow you to monitor your pH and check for the presence of the basic nutrients in your soil. In southern states, such as Georgia, iron deficiency is a problem for a variety of plants and shrubs, including azaleas. (If your leaves are yellow, the plant either needs iron or is getting way too much water.) A supplemental, trace element fertilization product can help with nutrient issues.

Irrigation management

The death of any good landscape is overwatering plants. On initial installation, watering frequently is critical, but as the landscape matures, plants need less moisture to maintain healthy root growth. Selecting plants that are more drought tolerant and following proper planting techniques can help plants use less water over time.

That said, there are some plants in the landscape that need additional water. Having your irrigation system evaluated and adjusted to meet the needs of a maturing landscape is very important. Conduct an irrigation audit of your system every three years to make sure you’re not overwatering or wasting water in your landscape.

Upgrade your landscape at the end of its life cycle

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Once you’ve reached that seventh year, some plants may begin to tire out and some may have outgrown their space. The original small tree that was planted in the front yard is now a larger shading tree, and the bed line needs to be adjusted to compensate for the decline in sunlight on the turfgrass. This is common and is hard to avoid. Planting a balanced landscape with a strategic plant selection can reduce the need for major plant renovation.

Eventually, the time will come to refresh your landscape. Like any renovation, changes to your landscape can be exciting and rejuvenating. If you feel that your landscape is starting to outgrow itself, contact us at (678) 500-9867 for a consultation.

 

 

Maximizing Unusable Space

A before and after gallery of our project

Before: View of existing deck before renovation. Note the stair location in the closed in under deck space.
After 1: View of relocated step in staircase and updated deck work. Pivoting the steps out opened up the space below
After 2: View of expanded open entertainment space under the deck. Rotating the staircase out allowed for a better overall patio layout

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Before: The view of the hillside area under Oak tree. Note that the water flow came to the left side of the tree into the backyard. Very unusable space
After 1: View after patio in landscape was installed. Grades were changed to manage the water flow to help expand out the patio area.
After 2: Dry Creek bed running down the side of the house and redirecting the flow to the bottom of the hill.

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Some more after pictures showing off the expanded patio area, fire pit, and landscaping

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Creativity Meets Water Management

A before and after gallery of our project

Before: Backyard area as pool contractor finishes up before landscape work begins.
After: View of backyard area after stone sidewalk and landscape is completed. Note the garden gnome that was a gift by a good friend that was incorporated into the landscape. Even garden gnomes have a sense of humor!


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Before: View of backyard after pool contractor was completed before landscape work begins. Note large Evergreen Leyland’s on left side that dominate the space. Hydrangeas in photograph were transplanted to new location
After: View of area after pruning and limbing up of existing plant material along with the installation of new landscaping.


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After

Before: Area behind pool cabana where water is pooling with nowhere to go.
After: Area bar behind pool cabana after drainage was installed. Create a natural stone pathway that incorporates a dry Creek bed and added a circular stone patio to view up into the upper yard. Even though the space is not seen from the upper deck area It expands the overall landscape view of the yard


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After

Before: View of the side yard area and entryway from the front yard to the backyard pool deck.
After: Evergreens, were installed to screen off adjacent property and dry Creek bed was installed to manage water flow
between the two properties


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After

Pathway from front driveway that leads to pool area in back.


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Accent pots were added to the landscape in Midsummer to frame the steps from the pool deck to the upper house


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Refreshing an Old Landscape

A before and after gallery of our project

Before: View of sinking front step that was replaced with a curved radius step.
After: View of new paver sidewalk with circular paver pattern which is a focal point and replaced front step.

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Before: View of existing crumbling and heaving sidewalk and tired and unbalanced landscape plantings.
After 1: Same view of new paver sidewalk in landscaped plantings
After 2: Different angle of the front sidewalk planting areas after landscape was completed

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After

Before: View from right side of driveway of existing tired landscape.
After: View from same location right side of finished landscape.

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Before: View from left side of property of existing tired landscape
After: View from same location left side of finished landscape

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Fire Pits and Fireplaces

An amazing set of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits

‘Best in Show’ Winners

Two decades of Southeastern Flower Show and Atlanta Home Show

Unique Environmental Landscapes took the top award for medium size booths at the Atlanta Home & Garden Show held at the Cobb Galleria March 20-22, 2015. Unique’s eye-catching garden was a popular spot all three days of the show, attracting the attention of landscape design/install seeking residential patrons. Highlights of the garden included a custom built natural waterfall pumping 4800 gallons of water per hour, a wood burning fireplace, Coral Bark Japanese Maple which was beautifully accented with uplights. A good deal of the plant material in the garden was selected from the Southern Living Plant Collection, a favorite in Unique’s plant palette for the Atlanta landscapes. To finish off the garden, Unique placed beautiful (and comfortable) furniture from Casual Image on Belgrade’s Lafitte Rustic Slab paver patio so patrons could picture themselves enjoying this beautiful landscape garden.

Relax in front of the fireplace in Unique Environmental's garden at the Atlanta Home & Garden Show.

Relax in front of the fireplace in Unique Environmental’s garden at the Atlanta Home & Garden Show.

A peek into Unique Environmental's garden.

A variety of shrubs, trees, and flowers used in Unique Environmental’s garden.