Unique Environmental Displays Excellence At 2010 Flower Show


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     The 2010 Southeastern Flower Show has come and gone and we hope you were one of the attendees, because it was definitely worth the trip to the Cobb Galleria.  Unique Environmental built a beautiful 900 square foot garden with the theme “Come on over!!” calling out to all who strolled our way.

      There were a number of fine gardens on display, each with its own flavor and style.  Unique’s was designed to offer a feeling of comfort and casual elegance, with lushly planted backdrops framing a lower terrace, with boulder accents and specimen Japanese Black Pines.  Stone steps led to an upper seating area, which showcased a truly unique water feature, fire pit, and, of course, more lush, yet subtle plantings.  A privacy fence protected the rear of the garden and was adorned with window boxes overflowing with trailing nasturtiums, variegated ginger lilies, fleabane, Princess plant and glacier ivy.  This garden was a great example of the style of landscaping for which we are known- comfortable, colorful and, well, unique!

      Aside from inquiries about the garden itself, the most frequently asked question was “how long did it take you to put this together?”  Well, here are some figures on that:  actual production time at the show took approximately 400 hours, which accounts for set-up and break down.  Add to that the design process, the pre-construction time building stone columns, the privacy fence and so on, collecting the various components and plant materials, transportation, time in the garden during the show and finally, relocating the plants and materials back to our facilities and you can add another 200 hours or so.  Whew!!!  Quite an undertaking!

      Was it worth the time and effort?  Along with meeting thousands of very nice folks during the show, Unique also won a number of awards for their efforts, including the MALTA (Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association) Trophy, the Ann Lyon Crammond Trophy, the Georgia Lighting Company Trophy, the “Best Maintenance” award, and perhaps the most gratifying, The People’s Choice Award which was determined by the votes of the shows’ attendees.  Yes, a ton of time and effort but many fine memories and most importantly, a feeling of satisfaction knowing that we were able to showcase our style and flair and capability to produce a truly Unique landscape.

Unique Receives Distinguished MALTA Awards for 2009

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At the MALTA Awards banquet on January 19th 2010, Unique Environmental received three awards for Installation and Green Innovation. The Design Team of Todd Guilmette, Matt Cofer and Erik Rieffel lead the Koushel and Howell Projects.

MALTA is metro Atlanta and Georgia’s premier landscape organization for professionals involved in the landscape design, construction, and maintenance industry.

Every year entries are submitted in early November for projects completed that year, Unique Environmental has been grateful to receive an award every year thus far. This year however, Unique Environmental received the highest honor of Judges Choice Award for Landscape Installation Under $75,000. The project, led by Matt Cofer, was for the Koushel Family and turned out magnificent. 

The Unique Environmental Team will carry this momentum into the Southeastern Flower Show in two weeks!


Koushel Residence (photo taken by Laura Guilmette)

Unique Environmental used the ideas of Mr. Koushel and added our blend of plant texture, and color, as well as hard scape design and installation to create this picturesque and functional landscape.

-Jesse Edmondson

Unique Environmental Ad

Rich’s Winter Recommendations


What will this toe numbing, water pipe-busting, shiver-inducing weather do to our vulnerable southern plants? The weather is anything but predictable as we all know, but the last few years have really been doozies when it comes to extremes!  Drought followed by ridiculously heavy rainfall and now freezing weather hanging around for over a week.  What is a landscape to do? 

Let’s deal with the latest extreme, the arctic express of January 2010.  It’s not that the temps have been disastrously low; they’ve certainly been lower and more disastrous in past years.  That they are staying below freezing for an extended period of time, however, is cause for some concern. 


So what can you do?  The harsh reality is that in many cases the answer is nothing.  People tend to use plants that are borderline hardy, (and some that just shouldn’t be considered at all) and harsh conditions such as these remind us that perhaps we should choose plants more discriminately while planning a landscape, or when we replace them, as will be the case with many this year I’m afraid.  In most instances it just isn’t practical to try to cover all those tender plants for extended periods.  Tent cities of plastic and multi-colored blankets over those poor plants look ridiculous on so many levels, and frankly, they’re still going to be damaged.


What then can you do?  You can plan ahead and contract with qualified, experienced landscape professionals like those at Unique Environmental who will design landscape areas using plants that will survive these extremes.  You can make sure your plants are well mulched before the cold weather arrives.  Once the weather warms, make sure that your plants are hydrated, especially in planters or raised beds, as these cold, windy dry days will desiccate a plant in no time flat.  Deadhead your pansies and give them a drink (straight up, NOT on the rocks!) and perhaps remulch those perennials, hostas and other more shallow rooted plants that are exposed to these decidedly northern conditions.  Should you notice damaged leaves on your evergreens, refrain from cutting them back until it is apparent they have died back, later this spring.


Beyond that, know that this is but a passing event and we’ll soon be warming again.  Join us at the Southeastern Flower Show at the Cobb Galleria Centre, February 4th through the 6th, enjoy our garden and those of others, and dream of sunny days and sultry nights.


Southeastern Flower Show 2010 presented by Southeastern Horticulture Society

Flower Show
are weeks away from participating in our 12th Southeastern Flower Show at the
Cobb Galleria . The show is celebrating its 23rd annual event put on by the
Southeastern Horticultural Society. Come out and see creative landscape gardens
, educational displays and floral designs that bring spring to life in the
middle of winter .


 your arrangements to step out of the cold and visit with Unique
Environmental staff at this year’s show. Our garden theme is, “Come on Over”
and we have created a place for your neighbors and friends to come visit
with you and enjoy all the pleasures of your backyard living space.

-Todd G.


For more
information about the show please visit www.sehort.org

Or Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/#/event.php?eid=236753473615&ref=mf>


Unique Really ‘Digs’ Irrigation – Small to Large Leaks

100_0721 As shown in this photo, Unique really ‘digs’ into irrigation repairs – large and small. This ongoing leak was detected when the system was reactivated this summer after an extended shut down due to the drought restrictions of the last two summers. Extended dormancy of irrigation systems create a higher frequency for repairs and it’s be best to get an audit before irrigation ‘start-up .'

Irrigation audits will:

1.   Ensure that you are getting proper coverage and there is no mainline or value box leaking. Undetected leaks on larger properties can become costly when you're paying for all this extra water.

2.   Examine how much water each zone is using and allows for  proper recommendations of changing heads to give each more effective application of water to the turf or shrub areas.

3.   Balance the irrigation needs of the landscape between the turf and shrub areas. This can be done by using the more efficient irrigation heads and integrating drip irrigation as well as updating the irrigation clock . Quite honestly, turf takes the largest amount of water but at different periods of the year, while annual beds may require a higher frequency over a short period of time. An updated irrigation clock allows the technician to set different runtimes and different frequency times to balance out the efficient use of water in your landscape.

After your audit is complete, follow the recommendations made by the irrigation tech and maintenance manager. It may be best to water twice a week for the recommended period of time than small frequencies every other day. Deep roots keep plants thriving in drought conditions. Monitoring during the irrigation season is recommended. We suggest at lease once per year on residential homes and HOA properties and 2 to 3 times per year on commercial properties depending on size. Click here to learn more about the irrigation services we offer in the metro Atlanta area.

What should an irrigation audit provide:

1.   A complete mapping of your system that indicates boxes, mainline and clock locations.

2.   Gallon consumption per zone to inform you of water consumption on your property when the system is running.

3.   An itemized list of recommended essential repairs and alternativ solutions to making your system more effective.

Therapeutic Garden at Wesley Woods/Emory Hospital Nears Completion

We are approaching final stages for the serenity courtyard garden at Emory University’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia unit. During this process we have completed most of the elements that make up this garden, together with the challenges and unique twists that make this project innovative. The pergola was built to meet a certain height requirement to ensure the safety of the patients at Emory.  The bubbling urn fountain, which will provide aesthetic beauty and a soothing environment, went in without a hitch.  Yet, now we have the challenge of not only affixing the boulders and river stones to be immovable to prevent patients from grabbing and launching the stones through windows, but also to make it look as natural and imbedded as possible. In the final tests leading up to the completion of the rain cistern and drip irrigation system, the efficiency in using rainwater will add great assistance to the watering of the plant material.  This will save Emory expenses in irrigation, as well as contributing to a “green” environment.


Much careful thought and planning was put into the construction of the railing surrounding the walkway throughout the garden.  The completed railing turned out to have a natural, unnoticeable feel versus an institutional look and will be painted a flat soft brown to further blend with it’s surroundings. An interesting challenge in completing the handrails was the need for on-site welding. A generator and welding machine had to be brought into the courtyard to make all cuts and welds on-site. The twist to this challenge is the fact that the courtyard is surrounded by first and second floor windows from both the Alzheimer’s/Dementia units as well as the Physical Therapy units. The pergola had to be temporarily turned into an enclosed welding room to prevent eye exposure of bright, burning flashes from the welder.  Through these challenges, Unique was able to construct a railing that will blend into the natural look of the garden, while still providing the safety feature to assist patients in maneuvering through their peaceful courtyard.

We are excited about completing the final phase of the garden.  Finalizing the garden will consist of installing the last of the plant material, stone, mulch, planter box and cedar screen to screen the rain cistern. The planter box is being constructed at an angle to allow easy wheelchair access to the residents at Emory, not at all as easy as setting four vertical posts, I assure you!  These last touches seem to be simple final items to execute, but here at Unique are the most important. We pay very special attention to the details and even more so in the final installation and touch up. The final look will be what makes this garden one of a kind and an amazing space.


As you can see, Unique is able to provide a place of relaxation and comfort to Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients by designing and constructing an exquisite therapeutic garden.   Think of your patients and their needs…if you can imagine it, Unique can make it happen!   Click here to see more pictures of the therapeautic garden, and to learn more about this Atlanta Landscaping Company.


Unique Goes Green

P8190122 Approximately one year ago, Unique Environmental contracted Greenco, a food/yard waste recycling company, to manage our maintenance and landscape debris. Everything ‘natural’ from grass clippings, shrub pruning and limbs had previously been sent to landfills to decompose, using landfill space. Now, we store it on our property until ‘chipping’ day. Unique’s first ‘chipping of the pile’ generated 122 tons of reusable compost and Unique expects close to 200 tons this fall preventing almost 400 tons of waste from being dumped in local landfills. After the debris is chipped and ground into fine particles, it’s sent to south GA where it is composted and sold. Of course, Unique then purchases this product (we buy our own waste!!) and uses it in landscape and seasonal color beds. Our first delivery will be this fall when we will complete the circle of recycling. 

Unique has definitely chosen this process for its long-range affect on the environment over its budgetary savings. Basically, we have redirected almost all the annual expense of disposing of the waste to recycling it.  Then we repurchase the composed organic material. Unique views the process as being good stewards and it’s just part of our contribution to the environment and community. We have to start somewhere for the future.

Wesley Woods at Emory Hospital Therapeutic Garden Project

In early July, we will break ground on a unique and revolutionary courtyard garden at Emory University’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia unit. The courtyard consists of a tranquil and soothing bubbling urn fountain, pergola, planter boxes, patient assisting handrails, a very precise and specimen plant pallet, rain cistern with drip irrigation and other unique elements.

These features have been ‘uniquely’ designed for a serene and peaceful environment for the Alzheimer and Dementia patients, as well as to follow very specific measures to ensure the safety of the patients. For example, every piece of material used on this job has to be immovable, thus protecting the patients from self harm or harm from others. Even the stones used for the fountain area must be affixed to the ground. The specific plant pallet, while being specimen plants, also must be non-poisonous and edible for safety from ingestion. The pergola will be built with un-reachable height, yet designed to provide a certain percentage of shade. All of our projects are unique in their own elements and as you follow this project with us, you will see our team create an amazing serene garden.

Are you in the market for some upgrades to your existing green areas? If you are intrigued by our Emory project and want to know more, follow our blog as updated on this and other projects. We offer a wide variety of hardscapes with specialties in waterfalls, outdoor fireplaces, unique landscaping designs and more. Now is the time to turn your backyard into an outdoor living space. We welcome your questions and comments. Learn more about Unique Environmental, a Landscaping company in Atlanta.


Jeremy V. Green,
Landscape Operations Manager

Unique Environmental Landscapes