All design, installation and maintenance services are charged at the rate of $55 per laborer hour and $75 per manager/owner hour.
At our first meeting, we’ll walk your property and talk about your vision. We might look at photographs and/or books to get a sense of the garden you have in mind, and the type of garden you desire. I will probably poke and prod, and even smell the soil. A tour of the inside of your home is very helpful – allowing me to see your unique style and color preferences, and to see the garden from different vantage points inside the home. We will discuss budget considerations, times of year you expect to be using your property, and any other variable that could affect the scope and the timing of your project. I may take photos of the prospective garden sites during this visit, , or I may return at another time for not only photos and measurements, but also to see what types of wildlife visit your property, and to just sit and let ideas and visions unfold.
Each design is a unique creation – specific to your site’s sun exposure, wind exposure, soil drainage, soil analysis, your style and color preferences, the length of your season at the residence, the way you plan to use the garden, and your budget. It takes a tremendous amount of time to search out the best nurseries and research the most interesting, the best suited, and the healthiest plants for your site. (For all of these reasons, most design work is best performed during the winter months.)Next, The photos taken at your property are put on a design board, measurements are entered into the design database; and your information, i.e., name, address, job site, are put into the estimating database. All areas on your property – whether it is a wildlife habitat garden, a native garden, a container garden, a vegetable or herb garden, a perennial border, or an entire property – are custom designed and estimated, and upon your approval, all plant material is pre-ordered, paid for, and reserved.
Wholesale growers of annuals sell out completely very quickly, often by the beginning of March. If these deadlines are missed, we must often buy re-wholesale or even retail, which raises the price of annual plant material substantially. This is another reason why designs are completed during the winter months. This is not to say that it is not possible to design a garden in the spring, summer, or fall. It is possible – just a bit more difficult to find some annual plant material.
Installation – Flowerpots
Pots are set up and filled prior to planting time to facilitate a quick planting when the time does come. In mid April, we set the pots out; fill them with Pro Mix potting soil, mixing the soil by hand to break up clumps. Then we add compost, top soil, Plant Tone, and Mineral Dust to bring the soil to life. We then level the surface, and wet it down completely to the bottom of the pot. (Pro Mix is very airy and will fly away if not saturatedcompletely.)
2) Planting Time
Plants are delivered at the appropriate time, growers’ labels and containers are removed, and roots are untangled. The plants are then arranged in the pots, planted carefully making sure that soil levels are equal, and watered in. We clean up and remove all debris including Pro Mix bags, excess Pro Mix and roots, tags, and containers.
Installation – Garden Beds
1) Site preparation
We use design rope to mark out the areas designated as the garden beds. We then use spray paint to mark alongside the rope. When the rope is removed, the shape of the bed is revealed. Now the bed is ready to be cut and edged – using spades to remove all sod or other vegetation.
2) Soil preparation
We use any combination of the following amendments based on laboratory soil testing, manual soil analysis, and the requirements of the designated plant material: Compost, Mycorrhizal Fungi, Flower Saver, Plant Tone, Bulb Tone, Bone Meal, Tree Tone, Healthy Start, and Mineral Dust. We deliver the amendments, spread and mix them on the surface of the garden bed, incorporate them into the soil by double digging and mixing or rototilling. We then rake the surface free of debris, level, and edge the bed. Finally, we clean up and remove all organic and inorganic debris
Perennials, trees, and shrubs can be delivered and planted at any time the ground is not frozen and water is available. We remove all containers, fabrics, baskets, and tags, untangle the root balls of all plants to encourage faster acclimation and growth, give every plant the “hundred dollar hole” by adding compost, mineral dust, and plant tone to the surrounding soil, plant the plants, and create watering wells around each plant (to ensure even and sufficient watering). ( We don’t’ create watering wells around small annuals.) We then “water in”, clean up, and remove all organic and inorganic debris.
Mulch keeps soil moist, prevents soil erosion, keeps weeds at a minimum, adds organic matter to the soil, and gives a unified, finished look to your garden – allowing the forms, colors, and textures to burst forth. We use only the finest triple-shredded mulch which is delivered by truck, and then taken by wheelbarrow to all garden beds where it is dumped and spread very carefully so as not to cover the crowns of plants. (Mulch volcanoes kill plants!)