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Location and site selection are key to having a successful landscape

Location, Location, Location!

So you just had your Father’s Day cookout, and realized your yard wasn’t nearly as attractive as you remembered. There’s crispy perennials in the hot sun, spindly shrubs in the shade, and that overgrown tree 5 feet from your house. You water the flowers every day, load the shrubs with fertilizer, and trim the tree every year, but nothing helps. What gives?!

Location and site selection of the plant material you use are key to having a successful landscape.

Site selection can go beyond a shady location and a sunny spot. There are many factors to consider when designing your landscape. Here are just a few.

-Soil: Get a soil test kit from any Fairfax County Library. (There is a small fee of $10.00) You can analyze the soil composition, and pinpoint exactly what you need for specific plants. Beyond the chemical composition, you should look at the physical composition as well. Is it compacted clay with poor drainage with little oxygen, or is it sandy/rocky with great drainage? Certain plants can tolerate wet roots, others will not.

-Mature Size: How large will the plant be at full maturity? It’s important you check the size a plant will be once it is fully established, so it doesn’t overtake the plants around it. Simply pruning a plant every year to maintain a certain size is time consuming, and detrimental to the health of the plant. (Unless your plan is for a Bonsai Garden)

-Sheltered: Are you planting in a location that is sheltered from strong winds? Even on a cloudy day, your plants can lose water through transpiration when there is a constant and strong breeze. If you are landscaping in a windy location, try using plants that are drought resistant. Look for leaves with waxy cuticle, typically characteristic of a rigid shiny leaf. Plants that have smaller or less leaves also help, because the decreased surface area reduces water loss.

There are several more factors that go into a proper landscape, but we will discuss those later.

For now, keep these in mind and it will limit the maintenance of your landscape, as well as increase its overall health. Healthy plants are better at fending off and surviving infections and insect attack.  Less maintenance means more time to enjoy life!

If you want an established professional to do the work for you, contact Grigg Design of Northern Virginia at (703)368-7539 to design and install your landscape!

BACKYARD SAFETY TIPS FOR MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer. It brings in barbeques, pool parties, and late night festivities with your friends, family, and neighbors. It’s one of our favorite times of the year in northern Virginia! And after you’ve spent several weeks sprucing up the backyard or building your new patio, it’s time to really celebrate in style. But when planning your big kick-off celebration, make sure you take these following safety tips into consideration, so the fun isn’t put on hold to address an emergency situation.

  1. Keep your grill on a level surface and away from your house, garage, mulch and other flammable objects. You want the fire to stay where you put it, not destroy your home!
  2. While grilling, consider an apron to keep grease off your clothes, and use utensils with long handles. Keep these out of reach from small children or guests who’ve maybe had a bit too much to drink.
  3. If using charcoal, properly extinguish the flames once you’re finished grilling. Break up the embers with a long stick or grilling tool and cover the grill to cut off the oxygen supply. You can also slowly sprinkle small amounts of water on the coals to put out the flames.
  4. Always use goggles or protective sunglasses when using lawn power tools to clean up the yard. Put away all tools in a shed or closed off area, so the temptation to play with them is eliminated.
  5. If you need to dig a hole in the backyard to install a deck or fence, or for a planting project, call your local utility company to ensure you won’t inadvertently hit an underground gas or power line.
  6. Consider installing a fence around your in-ground pool for optimal safety. Most safety experts recommend the fence be at least four feet high and have latches out of the reach of children.
  7. Put away any toys or trippable objects that may be around the pool so no one takes an accidental dip.
  8. Always have adult supervision when children are swimming.
  9. If you do not have a fence, and want to keep people out of the pool, look into purchasing a sturdy pool cover.
  10. Inspect any playground equipment for protruding nails or screws, as well as wood rot and loose anchors. Make any needed repairs before the party.

Have ample sunscreen, bug spray, and water on hand. The summer temperatures can climb quickly, causing burns or dehydration. Simple preparations can keep the party going long after the sun goes down.

Northern VA Hardscape Designer Showcases Striking ‘Living Wall’ at Capitol Remodel + Garden Show Last Weekend

We’re excited to say the Capitol Remodel + Garden Show (held last weekend, February 26–28, at the Dulles Expo Center) was a rip roaring success. As northern Virginia’s hardscape designer, this event is something we look forward to every year — twice a year — where homeowners gather to find innovative products, new ideas, and practical advice from home improvement and remodeling professionals the region over. (And this year, from Jeff Lewis, too!)

Event attendees who visited the Grigg Design booth were treated to… well, quite the treat! Showcasing a beautiful flagstone patio, a custom-built fire pit, and a water feature, the true highlight here was this:

The introduction of a vertical garden wall

“What we wanted to do was show specifically what you can do in a small space — with what Steve [Grigg] calls vertical landscaping — or as an alternative to just putting up lattice as a screen,” said Juanita Grigg of this striking architectural element that had people stopping to photograph, or ask questions about all weekend. With this sort of vertical landscaping, any plain wall or fence can be turned into a ‘living wall’; it’s a trend that’s all the rage.

Perhaps we saw some of you there. We talked hardscaping, and landscaping too; you walked away with a lot of great ideas — and now it’s time to put those ideas into action! You know who to call:

Call Grigg Design to schedule a consultation, and let’s get to work creating the best northern Virginia hardscape design for your yard.