‘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.

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.

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 Plants and Unique Landscapes: Tips for Atlanta

Unique has created many award-winning landscapes in the metro Atlanta area using a wide variety of plant material. We would like to introduce you to three spectacular plants that you may want to consider for a truly unique landscape.

1. Golden Boxleaf Honeysuckle: This is a colorful, mounding small shrub ideal for partially shaded areas. It accents well with hostas, perennials and is an interesting eye-catcher in rock gardens. It will create color accents from spring through winter with its form and cascading foliage.

golden_boxleaf_honeysuckle_1 golden_boxleaf_honeysuckle_2

2. Blue Star Creeper: One of our favorite ground covers, the Blue Star grows in partial shade to full sun. In the late spring it displays a beautiful soft blue flower and continues to grow until winter when it goes dormant. Wouldn’t this look beautiful on your walkway to your outdoor living space?



3. Limelight Hydrangea: Last, but not least, look at this gorgeous hydrangea! These pictures were taken in my own yard and as you can see, the blossoms are plenty and huge. This is a mid to late summer flowering plant that does best in full sun to partial shade. Be sure to give it plenty of room to grow!

LimeLight Hydrangea 1       LimeLight Hydrangea 2

Are you ready to elevate your outdoor living space to something truly spectacular, and then let the professionals provide maintenance so it looks great all year long? That’s what we do best at Unique Environmental. Contact us today and let’s get started on a great project.



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.

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.

Common Landscaping Mistakes

Marietta Landscaper Tips - Atlanta Garden MistakesAvoid The Biggest Landscaping Mistakes

HGTV recently shared some of the biggest landscape mistakes and we thought we’d summarize some of our favorites – and add our expert comments, as well. Remember, the best way to avoid a landscape disappointment or disaster is to simply give us a call. A professional landscaper understands how to design, install and maintain an outdoor area that thrives.

Mistake: Using Excessive Lawn Ornamentation

We agree with the HGTV experts! Homeowners often over-accessorize, just as one can add too many rings or scarves to an outfit. Too many decorative items can distract from the beauty of the natural landscape. When we have completed a landscape, you can be assured that it has just the right look and feel. But, if you feel compelled to add something, ask yourself why are you putting it there and how it fits into the context of your overall design. It’s best to stick with one crisp choice. One little whimsical statement has impact, but several – not so much.

Mistake: Not Recycling

If you conduct the yard maintenance yourself, do you recycle? We do and are careful to ensure that your outdoor area is left clean and pristine. HGTV points out that yard projects tend to produce a good amount of waste, which most people don’t realize when they set out to do the work. They suggest that instead of tossing out the branches, clippings and other debris, dispose of them in an eco-friendly way. You can create a compost pile and return those elements to your beds later on. In fact, you can contact us for rainwater harvesting and other irrigation needs. 

Mistake: Adding Plants to the Wrong Area

Understanding sunlight, drainage and aesthetic beauty are key parts of how we ensure your landscape looks gorgeous year-round, but many people who add plants or attempt to landscape on their own do not take into consideration the proper sunlight and exposure for their plants. If you are compelled to start your own garden or add a favorite plant, be sure to pay attention to the little tag that you get when you buy the plant. Also consider the final size of the plant. If you have made some planting mistakes and your area looks overgrown or disheveled, be sure to give us a call. We are experts are  revitalizing and making over existing landscapes.

Mistake: Not Keeping a Room with a View

One of our favorite suggestions from HGTV is to remember the view of the landscape from all angles. Your landscape should be designed to provide joy not only from the street, but from the inside of the house, too. What does it look like from the guest bedrooms or the kitchen window? In addition to our design, you can contribute to color at every angle by creating containers with some of our seasonal color suggestionsPlace your containers where you want them, and then go inside and look look through every major window to see what they’ll look like before you plant.  

Create a Garden That Thrives in the Marietta GA Area

marietta landscape maintenance companyBrilliant flowers and hearty landscapes with plenty of year round interest are two of the spectacular benefits of gardening in Georgia. Giving your yard a touch of your own personality is important in every season, but you can really express yourself in the spring and summer with all that color and fragrance has to offer. You may have missed the beautiful early spring bulbs, but you can start planning both for this summer and for spring of next year! (NOTE: If you are ready to get that outdoor living space project moving, remember that Unique Environmental Landscapes serves Marietta, Atlanta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Vinings, Decatur and the surrounding areas. We are here to help.)

In fact, your summer planning should include stress-free perennials, such as Alyssum and Candytuft, and gorgeous native plants that are ideally suited for a southern yards. Often these native selections combine stunning flowers with amazing fragrance, as well. Understanding the climate in in Georgia is paramount to correct plant selection, because we certainly go through a real hot spell – or two. We advise trying out some extra tough varieties that do not require a lot of your TLC to thrive, and our experts have some gorgeous suggestions for you: Click here to view our 2014 Seasonal Selections

About Georgia’s Plant Hardiness Zones & Georgia Landscaping Ideas

Georgia’s USDA plant hardiness zones range from 7 to 9. This varied range means gardeners in this area of the U.S. can plant an assortment of plants, but you need to be aware of your zone and take into consideration recent fluctuations. Here are a couple of gardening ideas to get you off on the right “green thumb” if you’d like to add a thing or two to your landscape.

Use the Spring Bulbs (Start planning for next year)

Spring bulbs tell you spring has arrived! Daffodils are spectacular and will bloom early to mid-spring. Most of them are yellow in color, but you may also find them in a cream color, orange and even pink. tulips are another great selection and they bloom from mid- to late spring in an array of colors. Or, maybe irises are more your style. They bloom in late spring in outstanding yellows, blues, violets and white. Even with a Unique Environmental-installed landscape, you may receive bulbs from family or friends as “pass alongs”. Don’t be afraid to include them in your garden.

Consider a Perennial Wildflower Bed

Georgia really does have the best of both worlds for landscapers. Our winters are mostly mild (as along as the polar vortex doesn’t come along!) and the summers last a while. Lots of perennial plants do very well in Georgia. Here at Unique Environmental, we understand the Atlanta, Georgia climate, the range of weather and how plants will respond to it. We also work hard to determine YOUR individual style. If you like more of a cottage garden feel, let us know during the consultation and design process .

Whether you choose to add plants to your landscape yourself or you partner with the design experts at Unique Environmental to create the Atlanta landscape of your dreams, we’ve got you covered and look forward to talking with you.

Want More? Check out these landscape design resources.

The eNews Archive – Filled with useful expert tips, specials and more! Sign up today.

The Atlanta Landscape Show on BTR – Hear Todd talk the unique needs of north GA landscape design and landscape maintenance.

Find us on Pinterest for even more inspiration!