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.

Atlanta Landscaping: How to Prune Your Roses

Valentine’s Day means much more than just a card and box of chocolates here at Unique Environmental Landscapes – it also means it is time to prune your roses! Todd has a few tips to share with our Atlanta metro area commercial and residential customers about how to best prune those roses to ensure a beautiful outcome later this year.


Atlanta Landscaping Tip: It’s Time to Lime!

unnamedEven when your Bermuda and Zoysia turf is dormant, there are things that can be done over the next couple of months to prepare your lawn for a beautiful spring green-up.  In the Atlanta metro area, we recommend applying lime during the fall and winter months because it will treat the soil, not the grass.

Applying it now allows it to break down and change the soil pH for the warm spring days to come just when your grass starts to break out of dormancy.  Waiting until later in the spring could possibly burn actively growing grass.

We are in the process of sending out Lime Proposals to our current clients. If you haven’t received one and would like more information, please contact Michele at (404) 691-9310 or michele@uniqueenvironmental.com.

Thinking about Scalping Your Lawn?  Please don’t just yet. 

With the warm days that we’ve recently had in the metro Atlanta area, you might feel that temptation to get out and scalp your Bermuda or Zoysia turf in preparation for spring. Please don’t.  Scalping it too soon could cause it to green up prematurely, leaving it susceptible to cold damage when February and March roll around. Lightly mowing over the top to even out the turf is okay, but wait until late February or early March before you get to the point of lowering the turf to the ground.


Unique Environmental Wins Prestigious GA Urban Ag Council Awards

UELawardsThe Georgia Urban Ag Council has recognized Unique Environmental Landscapes with a number of prestigious awards for their work on residential and commercial (HOA) landscape projects throughout the Atlanta metro area. We are thrilled that the judges recognized the value of our work.

Entry Category: Residential under $50,000 Design/Build/Installation
Award EarnedGRAND
Entry Name: Residence
Comments: Turned challenges into positives. Excellent handling of drainage, all stone matches, makes you want to walk through – KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK.

Entry Category: Residential under $50,000 Design/Build/Installation
Award Earned: GRAND
Entry Name: Residential Project
Comments: Raised property values – landscape is not an asset. Nice contrast of circle shapes with square. Not just good from stree, good from inside. Well-told story, good narrative.

Entry Category: Residential $50,000-$150,000 Design/Build/Installation
Award Earned: GRAND
Entry Name: Residential Project
Comments: Concrete and terrace level created a destination. Love the redo of the pickets, matches the house. Spaces for all ages to enjoy, very inviting.

Entry Category: Small Space Design/Build/Installation
Entry Name: Residential Project
Comments: Nice evergreen structure. Japanese Maple echoes brick color nicely. Huge difference from start to finish, raised property value.

Entry Category: Seasonal Color – Commercial/HOA Design/Build/Installation
Award EarnedMERIT
Entry Name: The Ridge at Vinings Estates

If you’d like to have an award-winning landscape design, contact us today!

Atlanta Landscaping: How to Prune Your Crape Myrtle

One of the most common questions we receive revolves around the proper maintenance and pruning of crape   myrtles, those workhorses of the Atlanta landscape. We’ve prepared some simple guidelines to follow for
pruning your crape myrtle before it breaks out of dormancy:
* Start at the bottom and work your way up the tree.
* Prune off small sprouts from the trunk.
* Limb up the tree by pruning any branches that are coming out of the side of the trunk.
* Remove any smaller branches that may be  growing towards the inside of the tree.
* Trim out the cross branching and dead limbs. Finally, thin out the crown or top of the tree by
removing any branches that are overcrowding other ones until you achieve the shape that you like.
There are other various techniques that can be used, depending on the surrounding landscape.
You’ve probably noticed some crapes being chopped to their knees each year. Although crapes are
resilient and bounce back from this abuse, we do not recommend it as it can cause weak branches, less flowering, powdery mildew and aphids. For more information on landscape maintenance, contact us today.

2014 Fall Seasonal Color Blends Announced for Atlanta Area

Our picks for the 2014 Fall seasonal landscape color blends are here! Call us today.

Fall#8 Fall#7  Fall#5 Fall#4 Fall#3 Fall#2 Fall#1Fall#6_Page_1

Unique Environmental Wins Award at Fall 2014 Atlanta Home and Garden Show

Unique Environmental Honored for Outstanding Landscape Design

Unique Enivronmental Landscapes won ‘Best in Show’ for Landscape Garden at the 31st annual Fall 2014 Atlanta Home and Garden Show held September 7-9 at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, GA. This prestious award recognizes the best of the best in demonstrating gorgeous landscape design and unique materials within the exhibition area. We are thrilled that our work has been recognized. 

Other news from the Home Show:

Todd Guilemette, owner of Unique Environmental Landscapes and a top metro Atlanta area landscape professional, also spoke with Ahmed Hassan from Yard Crashers on HGTV on stage twice, cementing his place as one of the Atlanta area’s premiere designers. Additionally, Walter Reeves aired live from the Home Show and referenced Unique/Todd, as well.

Yes, it’s good to be recognized as the best of the best, but it’s even better to bring that design, installation and maintenance experience to your home or business. Give us a call today!

Man + Landscape Equals Truelove

Landscape Maintenance Really Can be a Passion

Author Kurt Vonnegut once said that one of the primary flaws of human character is that “everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. “ While that is certainly true of many, it can’t be said of Mark Truelove, the director of landscape maintenance for Unique Environmental Landscapes, which provides expert landscape maintenance, as well as design and installation, throughout the metro Atlanta area.  He and his certified crew handle every aspect of residential, commercial and HOA landscape maintenance, including seasonal color, pruning, fertilization and more.

In fact, you could say that Mark has a, well…true love, for getting the installation picture-perfect and then keeping a landscape picture-perfect, no matter the age of the landscape or the environmental conditions. “Each plant and every tree has its own, unique calendar,” says Mark. “Everything we do is timed for the plant’s or tree’s individual growth cycle. That’s why both design and maintenance are so important and closely related.”

During the design process at Unique Environmental, every plant or tree is carefully selected for not only the aesthetic beauty of the landscape, but also with a careful understanding of how the plant or tree will mature in the landscape and the type of maintenance it will require. “Very few landscape professionals pay such close attention to the plant’s or tree’s calendar, but we do because we want thriving landscapes for the longterm,” adds Mark.

It’s no surprise that Mark has such a passion for keeping plants, trees and shrubs healthy and gorgeous. He started early. By the tender age of 18 he was working outside and can remember the smell of the outdoors. “Being outside and working with living things is a full sensory experience,” says Mark. “Every season has its own smell and sound. I’ve been doing this for 33 years and never tire of being outside. It reminds me of those younger days and good times!”

It is precisely Mark’s considerable landscape knowledge and extensive horticultural experience that makes him, his crew and Unique Environmental the best in the Atlanta-area landscape business. “The best landscapers know that it takes vision, honesty and integrity to design and install landscapes that will stand up longterm,” Mark says.  “You have to get beyond the ‘developer mentality’, which focuses on the easiest and the cheapest plant material, and give consideration to maintenance needs, functionality and maturity. That takes experience, planning and preparation.

In fact, because of dramatic innovations in machinery, technology and even plant materials, Mark and all of the staff at Unique Environmental continually stay abreast of research and routinely update equipment.

“Many innovations in the landscape maintenance industry have been dramatic,” adds Mark. “I tell my guys all the time things are so much better now than in the past! It’s a great time to be serving homeowners, homeowner associations, and commercial clients with the highest quality landscape maintenance.”

While it is evident that Mark and Unique Environmental Landscapes go the extra mile, not all landscape professionals think about maintenance that way, Mark says. “You know, professionalism, work ethic and taking personal responsibility for the landscape and the plants really sets Unique apart. We run across companies in the landscape design, installation and maintenance industry who do not treat this as a professional endeavor and the clients suffer. They are left with poorly designed areas not well suited for the site or climate. Or, worse even, the maintenance company fertilizes or prunes for ‘efficiency’, not according to the plant’s or tree’s calendar. As they say, everything has a season and we work with that. We are totally transparent about how we do what we do and why we do it. That really sets us apart. We are proud to be upfront about how your landscape will thrive when Unique Environmental maintains it.”

Mark points out that Unique Environmental sets the bar for the landscaping industry – and it’s all based on passion, knowledge, mutual respect and understanding.

Mark does have a true love for landscaping maintenance and design – and it shows.


If you’d like to put Mark and his team’s passion for maintenance and landscaping to work for you, contact us now.

Interview with Unique Environmental Landscapes Owner, Todd Guilmette

toddUnique Environmental Landscapes owner and founder, Todd Guilmette, always loved to get dirty, and he came by it naturally. In fact, his creativity and intimate understanding of plants, design and environment was honed at the hip of his mom and grandmother, both of whom were master gardeners.

“I was definitely digging in the dirt at an early age, and I had an appreciation for the outdoorsy kind of thing. Both my mom and grandmother were masters at this and passed that on to me,” Todd says. “It was really quite magical.”

Growing up, Todd’s family lived in Europe and that experience exposed him to every type of garden, both historical and contemporary. “Yes, when we lived in Europe that definitely influenced me,” he says. “How can you not be fundamentally touched by Holland in the spring when all of the bulbs are in bloom. You see exactly where those bulbs originate and it is, literally, miles of blooms. It’s like looking at a living painting.”

European gardens also provided the budding horticulturist with a view of how gardens evolve over time. Historical gardens at Versailles, which have been maintained over hundreds of years, helped him study how plants and landscapes can be updated and renovated, yet still maintain their historical integrity. “Looking at the grand historical gardens in Europe helped me understand what makes a design truly timeless and how meticulous standards can elevate a space from ordinary to extraordinary,”  Todd explains. “How can they continue to function in this way for so long? I wanted to learn more about that.”

European use of space also intrigued the young gardener. For example, in Germany, he learned creative ways to maximize the use of minimal space, viewing amazing gardens and landscapes in or around multifamily properties, townhomes, brownstones, village centers and apartments. He learned an important lesson early: it’s not the size of the space that is important, but the quality of the design. He applies this concept quite often in small spaces that he designs today. With houses getting larger and yards getting smaller, it’s a common request for landscape designers in the Atlanta area.

Growing up, art was also an influence, Todd says. “We were fortunate to visit the great museums of Europe and see the works of Monet, Renoir and others, all of which inspired me. How did he paint with color and texture? I also learned about history and style. All of these things influence landscape design.”

Later, photography also intrigued him, with its use of light and dark to create atmosphere . “Photography tells a story visually. Just as photography tells a story, a homeowner’s story informs landscape design, too. What am I seeing when I look outside from the inside? How about when I’m sitting outside in the space and looking in? Or looking around me? What physical objects do I see? How do I study the surroundings? It’s all a story.  Here at Unique Environmental Landscapes, we like to help our clients tell the story of the their family and showcase the family’s personality. Looking through their window into the outdoor space we want them to see their story reflected – like a painting or a great photograph. That’s what we try to develop during our design process.”

That design process has been honed over more than 25 years of design, installation and maintenance of amazing landscapes in the Atlanta metro area. Homeowners, HOAs and commercial or business owners benefit from Unique Environmental Landscape’s experienced staff.

“Our design process really does focus on story, personality and function,” Todd shares. “We collaborate together internally as well as with the owners. Everyone sees it differently. This design collaboration refines the end product. Even though you have a plan, there must be some ebb and flow to further refine the design. The outcome is always amazing.”

The genesis of each design process begins with questions – lots of questions, Todd says. “We want to know about the space, its intended use, the likes and dislikes of the owners. Many concrete questions are asked and we offer visuals to stimulate the creative process. Our goal is to always design and install the outdoor space of their dreams. Sometimes we have to help them articulate exactly what that dream might be.”

These days, Todd continues to gain inspiration not only from Unique Environmental’s many projects, but by taking time to visit the Botanical Gardens in Atlanta, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Show , gardens in Birmingham and visiting all sorts of nurseries – both on and off the beaten path. “It’s never-ending for me and I love it,” Todd says. “I’m constantly going to nurseries, tradeshows and even scouring the Internet to look at plants. Plants inspire landscapes; landscapes don’t inspire plants. Plants drive my creativeness. A wall is a wall, but the design and plants will make it unique and beautiful.”

Yes, at Unique Environmental Landscapes you receive more than just a design. It’s truly an expert collaboration of art and nature married to function.

For more information about Todd, the design process or to request a consultation, contact the landscape and maintenance professionals at Unique Environmental today.

Home and Garden Inspiration (VIDEO Collage)

Your summer and fall design inspiration starts right here at Unique Environmental Landscapes. Our booth at the 2014 Atlanta Home and Garden Show was wildly successful and hundreds of people from Marietta, Kennesaw, Decatur, Atlanta, Douglasville, Vinings and everywhere in between stopped by to say hi and to “ooooo” and “ahhhhh” over the gorgeous landscape.

You can have this, too! Give us a call after you are inspired.

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.