2013 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Installation by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Residential Hardscaping ($60,000 and over)

Silver: A Warm Invitation

Remarkable… in a high-end neighborhood defined by the everyday, typical landscapes this discerning client really wanted the new landscape to not only be functional but also stand out as something very special and personal.

With a large family and a very busy lifestyle the clients dreamed of having a wonderful spill-over space to accommodate the everyday needs of the family as well as provide a comfortable living space to entertain office associates on occasion.

Before the transformation began the clients entertained outdoors primarily under cover of the existing porch adjacent to the family room.  The desire was to expand the living space and add an outdoor fireplace.  Initially the clients were thinking of attaching the fireplace to the perimeter of the existing porch; upon further discussion it was proposed to be moved further out into the yard.

The first challenge was to establish a new grade for the patio on an existing slope which was sloping away from the patio in two different directions.  To achieve this grade change a retaining wall was needed.

The use of natural stone was paramount in the design as the clients felt it lends a timeless quality to the overall look.  With this in mind it was important to keep the wall and other features made of a natural material.  The main structural wall to manage the grade was made of dry stacked 3-6-9 cut Limestone and capped with Limestone.

The expanded patio space was made of dimensional cut Bluestone set on a concrete base. The clients wanted a more fluid design to the patio but yet did like the clean lines normally scene in a more formal layout.  The arc-tangent design marries those two styles beautifully.

The seat wall and the fireplace are made of concrete block construction and veneered Pennsylvania Fieldstone.  The seat wall bookends both sides of the fireplace and follows the same arc-tangent design of the patio.  The fireplace is also equipped with a natural gas starter for burning firewood.

The second challenge was the desire to design and build an intimate outdoor space in a backyard with many of the native trees removed and no privacy fencing in place.  The placement of the fireplace as well as a strategic location of an Arborvitae gives the overall sense of cozy enclosure.  The Boxwood hedge located in the planting bed on top of the 3-6-9 Limestone wall defines a sense of security and safety by defining a natural railing to the elevated Bluestone patio.

The added, painted, cedar arbor also lends itself well to defining the space and giving a greater feeling of the cozy intimate feel the clients were seeking.  We added a niche light in the arch which lights the two limestone steps that brings the clients off the patio and down to lawn grade.  The paint of the arbor matches the trim of the house perfectly.

There are also a few copper path lights and well as a brass well light illuminating the Redbud tree.

Bluestone stepping stones on the opposite end of the patio from the arbor allows access to the backyard lawn areas as well complete the design.

All of the plantings had to be deer resistant, require low maintenance and provide seasonal interest throughout the entire year.  Another requirement was the size of the patio to allow for the client to have plenty of spaces to accommodate annual container plantings to bring in the seasonal interest they desired.

Client expectations were exceeded and they have noted on more how much more time they spend outside.  They truly think of their new outdoor living space as remarkable!

2012 Housing Excellence Awards by Builder’s Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh
Best Outdoor Living Project (Existing Home)

A Warm Invitation

Remarkable… in a high-end neighborhood defined by the everyday, typical landscapes this discerning client really wanted the new landscape to not only be functional but also stand out as something very special and personal.

With a large family and a very busy lifestyle the clients dreamed of having a wonderful spill-over space to accommodate the everyday needs of the family as well as provide a comfortable living space to entertain office associates on occasion.

Before the transformation began the clients entertained outdoors primarily under cover of the existing porch adjacent to the family room.  The desire was to expand the living space and add an outdoor fireplace.  Initially the clients were thinking of attaching the fireplace to the perimeter of the existing porch; upon further discussion it was proposed to be moved further out into the yard.

The first challenge was to establish a new grade for the patio on an existing slope which was sloping away from the patio in two different directions.  To achieve this grade change a retaining wall was needed.

The use of natural stone was paramount in the design as the clients felt it lends a timeless quality to the overall look.  With this in mind it was important to keep the wall and other features made of a natural material.  The main structural wall to manage the grade was made of dry stacked 3-6-9 cut Limestone and capped with Limestone.

The expanded patio space was made of dimensional cut Bluestone set on a concrete base. The clients wanted a more fluid design to the patio but yet did like the clean lines normally scene in a more formal layout.  The arc-tangent design marries those two styles beautifully.

The seat wall and the fireplace are made of concrete block construction and veneered Pennsylvania Fieldstone.  The seat wall bookends both sides of the fireplace and follows the same arc-tangent design of the patio.  The fireplace is also equipped with a natural gas starter for burning firewood.

The second challenge was the desire to design and build an intimate outdoor space in a backyard with many of the native trees removed and no privacy fencing in place.  The placement of the fireplace as well as a strategic location of an Arborvitae gives the overall sense of cozy enclosure.  The Boxwood hedge located in the planting bed on top of the 3-6-9 Limestone wall defines a sense of security and safety by defining a natural railing to the elevated Bluestone patio.

The added, painted, cedar arbor also lends itself well to defining the space and giving a greater feeling of the cozy intimate feel the clients were seeking.  We added a niche light in the arch which lights the two limestone steps that brings the clients off the patio and down to lawn grade.  The paint of the arbor matches the trim of the house perfectly.

There are also a few copper path lights and well as a brass well light illuminating the Redbud tree.

Bluestone stepping stones on the opposite end of the patio from the arbor allows access to the backyard lawn areas as well complete the design.

All of the plantings had to be deer resistant, require low maintenance and provide seasonal interest throughout the entire year.  Another requirement was the size of the patio to allow for the client to have plenty of spaces to accommodate annual container plantings to bring in the seasonal interest they desired.

Client expectations were exceeded and they have noted on more how much more time they spend outside.  They truly think of their new outdoor living space as remarkable!

2012 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Residential Maintenance ($15,000 to $30,000)

Silver: Beacon Street Residence

Located in a prime location within a prominent City neighborhood, this high end client demands a highly detailed landscape management program.  Our proactive management approach combined with a full service program of lawn, and plant maintenance delivers service that exceeds this client’s expectations.

The seasonal maintenance program begins in early March at this private residence.  As weather allows, we begin by clearing winter debris and treating plant material with horticulture oil.  By mid April, once the entire site has been cleaned, all beds will be edged and a fresh application of double shredded hardwood bark much will be applied to the tree and shrub areas.  Compost will be applied to all perennial and annual planting beds.  Pre-emergent weed control will be used at this time as well as proper slow release fertilizer.  All landscape debris collected throughout the year is removed from the site and recycled by another local agriculture company.

Weekly lawn mowing begins in April and continues through November.  All lawn areas will have the clippings collected and all edges will be trimmed with each visit.  The various hardscape areas are blown clear of debris with the completion of each visit leaving the site crisp and clean.

Detailed pruning is a priority throughout the year at this property.  Formal hedges are maintained surrounding the front terrace, driveway, and main entrance.  A natural screen from the busy street is maintained with both a formal yew hedge and an informal mix of viburnum, fringe tree, and holly varieties.  These plants are trained with selective pruning to provide a tall screen and dense foliage throughout the year for private entertaining at the front of the home.  Pleached linden trees are maintained creating a welcoming allée leading down the driveway.  Woodland gardens that surround the lawn area are delicately pruned to maintain a natural appearance while promoting plant health.

Bi-weekly site visits are made during the growing season by our experienced field staff to provide maintenance and proactive care to the landscape.  While the property may be small in size, in contains several separate gardens and a very diverse plant palate needing expert care.  Typical duties include perennial and annual flower maintenance, transplanting, selective pruning, chemical and organic weed control, pest inspections, irrigation monitoring, etc.  As a result of routine pest and disease inspection, proper integrated pest management applications are then completed for trees and shrubs on a specific basis.  Annual soil tests are also collected from numerous locations throughout the property and then used as a tool for our trained field technicians to provide proper turf and plant care applications during the growing season.

Weekly communication with the client is necessary during the year.  The account manager and client exchange feedback and recommendations on both improvements that need to be completed and quality of the service that has been provided.  Scheduling is a priority to accommodate the homeowner’s daily schedule and also to coordinate with frequent special events hosted at the property.

2011 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Residential Maintenance ($15,000 to $30,000)

Gold: South Drive – Fox Chapel Residence

This spectacular English Tudor home located within a prominent Pittsburgh suburb requires a complimentary management plan to maintain an equally spectacular landscape.  Our seasonal program focuses on plant health and proper maintenance while providing a beautiful setting for the client to enjoy their private oasis.

Preparation of the grounds begins in spring with lawn and bed clean up, bed edging, and pre-emergent weed control.  Old plant material is removed and pruning is completed to correct winter damage.  All tree and shrub beds are top dressed with a layer of double shredded hardwood bark mulch, while perennial and groundcover beds receive an application of fresh compost.

Through monthly maintenance visits, the staff is able to maintain all details of the site and provide proactive care utilizing integrated pest management to control potential insect, disease, or environmental problems.  We do not practice a ‘blanket’ application of material on the property.  A physical inspection is done by the applicator and only the specific material that requires an application will be treated.  Therefore, the inspection may or may not include a treatment.  A soil test is done every other year to monitor the pH and other nutrient needs.

Within the expansive site there are several priority spaces, each needing attention to detail for the plant life to succeed while serving their purpose throughout the year.  Encompassing the pool and spa are formal privet hedge maintained for privacy, while the interior garden is manicured with knockout roses, lush turf and Southern Magnolia.  Growing slightly outside of their desired zone, the magnolias are specially cared for with extra mulching, supplemental watering, and anti-desiccant application.  Annuals such as angelonia, salvia, and calibrachoa planted in raised urns surrounding the pool add wonderful color to this entertaining venue.

The front terrace blends perennial hosta, iris, and hellebores with boxwood and hydrangea to create an intimate café seating area.  The wall fountain creates a focal point to the space and summer color is achieved once again with hibiscus, ageratum, and begonias.  All plants are cared for with routine feeding and deadheading, as well as selective hand pruning to stay within the confines of the space.

The rear outdoor living space is complete with a full kitchen, fireplace, and dining table.  Softening to the impressive hardscape are potted basil plants, hydrangea, and bougainvillea.  Our goal is to provide a space as clean as one would expect on the inside of the home.  Plants are tended to by hand for deadheading and dead leafing creating a comfortable dining space for the client to enjoy.

Formal meets informal throughout the foundation plants where boxwood and privet hedges are maintained along with hydrangea varieties.  While frequent pruning is completed on the hedges, selective pruning and fertilization is focused on the flowering shrubs to provide needed color during the season.  Outer areas of the property are maintained with the purpose of creating a natural setting to be viewed from the living spaces.  Pachysandra is allowed to fill in beds underneath American Holly, Oak and Elm.  Spirea, ilex, and viburnum are allowed to grow naturally while maintained for proper growth and plant health.

Several fall clean up visits are made to remove leaves and discarded plant material from the property. All debris is composted at a local agricultural facility.  Seasonal planting containers are emptied and stored to avoid winter damage.

2010 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Installation by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Commercial Hardscape Installation (up to $15,000)

Silver: The Compassion Garden at Forbes Hospice

Having a family member in hospice care is a very difficult situation for loved ones.  The Hospice’s goal was to provide a space for family members to rest, talk, and reflect while visiting their loved ones.  The outdoor space was very limited and was at the front door area and flanked on one side by a busy road.  Close attention was paid by the designer in how elements can enhance or sooth emotions.  “Sitting boulders” and wooden benches configured in the zip-zag pattern, not only allow visitors to focus on nature, but also provide two separate sitting areas that blend together nicely in a very tight space.
From the designer, “The flagstone sets the garden apart from the sidewalk and street, yet combines the natural and human-made to relax and reassure.  Boulders and thick wood benches offer stability and strength, while soft plantings evoke healing, calmness, and connection.”

As far as environmental concerns, we had a busy street on one side and we needed to provide privacy.  A soil mound was installed to help provide this privacy.  The boulders not only acted as a wall to support the soil mound, but also a base for the benches.  As you can see from some of the photos there are some mis-matches pots with bonsai evergreen plantings.  These were placed by a volunteer who helps with the garden maintenance and who also lost a loved one that was a resident.  Several functions are held during the year where family members can bring small bags of soil from their loved one’s garden and add it to the garden.  Much, if not all, of the plant material was donated from the yards of the family members and chosen by the designer on what was to be installed.

The garden was a very fulfilling project for us to be involved in.  The name given to the garden by the Hospice – “The Compassion Garden” speaks for itself why it is such a special project.

2009 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Installation by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Residential Hardscape Installation ($15,000 to $30,000)

Gold: Squirrel Hill Residence

While constructing a new addition to his home, the homeowner had a concept for a new patio in the rear yard. He sought us to help him with the details of the patio project.

The client had two specific requests:
1. utilize materials salvaged from the house during the construction of the addition and
2. all new materials had to be manufactured, quarried, or grown in Pennsylvania.

Locale
Being nestled in the heart of Squirrel Hill, which is located east of Downtown Pittsburgh, the homeowner recognized the value of creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor entertaining area. This neighborhood is one of Pittsburgh’s most popular, with a variety of ethnic restaurants, delis, bakeries, old fashioned grocery stores, as well as chic new eateries, trendy boutiques, movie theaters and upscale shops. Homes in Squirrel Hill range from high-rise apartments to sprawling brick mansions. Squirrel Hill’s culturally diverse population includes a harmonious mix of families, affluent older homeowners, young singles, and students.

Materials
Pennsylvania bluestone was used to supplement the stone salvaged from the original patio. The walls were built from sandstone. Both the bluestone and sandstone were quarried locally. Bricks removed from the house were used as accent details in the new patio. The curbing along the driveway was constructed with curbing stone that was salvaged from the original sidewalk in front of the client’s house. Only native plant material was used in planting beds that surround the patio. Special care was taken to ensure that everything down to the water feature and landscape lighting was manufactured/produced in Pennsylvania.

Construction
The bluestone and accents are mortared on a concrete base. The sandstone walls and steps are dry stacked and hand faced during installation. Electrical and gas lines were run for the grill and water feature.

2009 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Residential Maintenance (up to $15,000)

Silver: Montini-DeGiovanni Residence

This private retreat is located in a bustling urban area near downtown Pittsburgh. The courtyard, which is the only green space on the property, is flanked by 2 exposed brick walls, the multi-level house with plenty of windows and a multi-car and storage bay that flanks the rear alley. Access from the garage to the house is through the 2 man-doors at either end of the garage. The owners walk thru the garden and trellis structures daily as the come to or leave their home to access their vehicles. The exposed walls on either side were retained from an original building from the late 1800’s that was located on the site and demolished.

Our client’s requirements for the project were:
1. Maintain the landscape lighting, drip irrigation and fountain systems
2. Provide 3-4 site visits per year.
3. Maintain the health of the plants and the original design integrity.
4. Train the client’s to do some of the maintenance in-between visits.

To accomplish these goals, we initiated the following guidelines:
Mulch materials —Compost is used in the perennial, groundcover and annual areas. Areas are mulched 1 time during the season in the spring.
Pruning — Hand pruning is done on all plant material to allow light, air movement and provide a more natural appearance. The Climbing plant material is to be trained onto the various lattice structures and kept in control.
Edging — The “edging” in this garden is confined to keeping the plant material in a “natural” state, but not allowing it to become too invasive onto the various paths.
Weed control — Prior to mulching, a pre-emergent herbicide is applied to all beds, Round-up herbicide is used as a post emergent. Hand weeding is also performed.
Perennial maintenance — We cut back all perennials in the fall during the final fall cleanup visit. The Grasses are left and trimmed back in the early Spring. During our early and mid-summer visits, we do cut back slightly the fall flowering sedums to ensure a more rigid plant, along with miscellaneous deadheading of the other perennials. The client’s provide maintenance in between our visits via instructions and guidelines given during at least 1 site “training/review” session.
Seasonal color — The seasonal color is provided only by the palette of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees on site. There are no annual plantings used.
Tree & shrub maintenance — All material is fertilized in the late fall. Pruning times will vary depending on the plant material. The trees are pruned in the late winter or early Spring with monitoring of the canopy to accommodate foot traffic and site lines.
Turf Maintenance/Mowing —There is no turf on the site.
Insect and Disease management — Provided only if a problem is serious. So far, in our 2 years at the site, no applications have been necessary.
Seasonal leaf & material removal — All debris is removed from the site and taken to a composting facility. The compost used in our seasonal beds is purchased from the same facility.

2009 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Maintenance of a Unique Garden (Type of Garden- Mausoleum)

Silver: Eternal Tribute

This unique opportunity, to maintain a mausoleum garden, has been under our maintenance program for about 7 years. The Boxwood gardens are an integral part of the project and provide not only an architectural compliment to the mausoleum itself, but also private places for the family to reflect. The site is located in a private area of the cemetery, so the gardens are strictly for family purposes and not for public viewing. The site requires constant trimming and maintaining of the Boxwood to keep it within the confines of the original design, but also not to overtake any of the grass paths and spaces.

Mulch materials — Dark, double shredded bark mulch is applied 1 time per year, along with necessary touchups to maintain a 2” depth.

Pruning — A combination of hand pruning and mechanical shearing is done on the Boxwood to allow light, air movement and also provide a very structured formal appearance. The Parrotia tree “hedge” is pruned 1 time per year to provide a formal rectangular backdrop and “privacy wall” at the back edge of the Boxwood garden.

Edging — The edging is a combination of black aluminum and natural spaded edge. The edging is touched up weekly after the mowing.

Weed control — Prior to mulching, a pre-emergent herbicide is applied to all beds. Round-up herbicide is used as a post emergent. Hand weeding is also performed.

Seasonal color —There are no annual plantings used. Color is provided by the few flowering Hydrangeas, Butterfly Bushes, and Rose of Sharon.

Tree & shrub maintenance —The Boxwoods are sheared as needed to maintain a formal look, We did a major restoration of the Boxwood in the winter of 2006-2007, about 5 years after planting to provide more inner growth and also to maintain the width of the paths. All plant material is fertilized in the late fall. The Parrotia tree hedge pruned in the late winter or early Spring.

Turf Maintenance/Mowing — Soil samples are taken every 3 years. Using the results of the soil samples will dictate any necessary changes in our program. Our lawn program includes 4 fertilizations, a crabgrass control, 2 weed controls, insect control, liming based on soil tests, and yearly aeration. Mowing is performed weekly.

Insect and Disease management — Weekly inspections are performed during our site visit and applications made only if necessary.

Seasonal leaf & material removal — All debris is removed from the site and taken to a composting facility.

Irrigation maintenance — The site is on a fully automated irrigation system. Our maintenance program includes the monitoring, servicing and winterization of the
system.

2008 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Installation by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Water Feature (up to $15,000)

Gold: Hillcrest Residence

Our client contracted a landscape architect to create a design during the construction of their house. Upon completion of their house, our client decided the intended design was much too formal for the natural surrounding of the home. Our task was to create a naturalized area which encompassed sound and perennial color. This area would serve as the focal point of the large rear patio which is used for entertaining family and friends. By incorporating boulders and river gravel into the design of the pond and streambed and including accents of woodland, wetland, and meadow-type plants, our client’s goal was achieved.

Our biggest concern for this project was plant selection. While this area was an ideal location for the main focal point of the patio area, it did not provide much shade for the woodland-type plants we intended to incorporate. We solved this challenge by using various sun tolerant woodland plants such as the hay-scented ferns as well as by strategically placing plants requiring shade “in the shadows” of boulders, newly installed plants, and the existing magnolia tree. Along the edge of the pond, irises were utilized for their sun tolerance while creating a wetland feel. Meadow-type plants were used on the rear-side of the pond to create a back drop to the pond as this area receives full afternoon sun. In creating this naturalized environment, we wanted to give the illusion of the stream rambling onto the property from a distance. The bio-falls were positioned behind the existing magnolia tree in among strategically placed boulders and a dwarf hemlock so that the source of the stream could not be seen from the primary vantage points.

2007 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Installation by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Residential Hardscape Installation ($60,000 and over)

Gold: Mross Residence

The project started simply enough with the client’s request that the landscape architect provide a design to modify an existing walkway to the house entrance which had just been reconstructed in a magnificent manner. To the extent possible, existing hardscape materials were to be salvaged and incorporated in the new work.

The existing access featured octagonal terrace areas with angular pathways. In keeping with the round elements of the new entry, the architect proposed circular terrace areas and walks. Limestone steps were incorporated to differentiate those elements from the terrace areas and walks. An existing Peter Calaboyias fountain sculpture was relocated to highlight the entrance experience.

The client also wished a more formal appearance for the property as viewed from the street. Curvilinear walls were incorporated into the design so the front yard could be elevated and leveled. Stone was selected as the material in keeping with gentry-esque nature of the neighborhood.

Curvilinear stone walls were also included in a re-make of the rear yard, tying the two areas together.

Environment:
This home is located in a residential neighborhood, on a steep slope up from the street. Due to the limited space, there was little room to stock pile materials. The job had to be planned so that salvaged materials could be re-installed efficiently and new materials could to be delivered as needed. A temporary roadway was installed to access construction areas. Also, the homeowner wanted the rear lawn to be completely level; a system of French drains was installed to absorb water and move it to a dry well.

2007 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Residential Maintenance (up to $15,000)

Gold: Bigelow Boulevard Residence

The residence is located within the campus of the University of Pittsburgh along a main road traveled from downtown Pittsburgh to the city district of Oakland. This makes the site highly visible to pedestrian and motor traffic. These passersby are rewarded with a fantastic view of a highly maintained landscape that is the vision of the home owner and provided by our staff.

The small scale of the property makes all areas highly visible to the client at any time of the year. The homeowner’s unique attention to detail and clear vision of the property create a project where each aspect is a high priority.

Through weekly proactive maintenance and biweekly mowing visits, the staff is able to maintain all details of the site and provide proactive care utilizing integrated pest management to control potential insect, disease, or environmental problems. We do not practice a ‘blanket’ application of material on the property. A physical inspection is done by the applicator and only the specific material that requires an application will be treated. Therefore, the inspection may or may not include a treatment. A soil test is done every other year to monitor the pH and other nutrient needs.

The formal appearance the property is achieved by shearing all hedges at least three times a season. This is followed by selective hand pruning of the hedges to provide for a more natural look and to keep the plant open in structure for light and air circulation. All other plant material on-site is maintained by selective hand pruning as necessary.

Seasonal flower displays are installed to add vibrant color using the formal evergreen landscape as a backdrop and are rotated three times throughout the season. Plant material is chosen in advance between the home owner and account manager. All material is contract grown by a local greenhouse and bulbs are shipped directly from a wholesaler. Planting beds are amended with compost and slow release fertilizer prior to planting, and irrigated by pop up sprinkler heads. Annual beds are mulched with compost after planting. All plants that are removed are disposed of at a local agricultural recycling center.

2006 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Commercial Maintenance (up to $25,000)

Bronze: The Ryan Newman Catholic Center

The Ryan Newman Catholic Center is a Campus Ministry that serves the students, faculty and staff of three local universities. The staff sponsors various programs and retreats and meets any needs that might arise from personal or academic concerns. The exterior and interior of the building is scaled to give the feeling and comfort of a home rather than just a large institutional building.

We have been maintaining the landscape since the installation in 1994.

The goal given to us by the owners was to provide a calming, peaceful, vibrant retreat in a bustling city environment. They want the students and faculty to feel very comfortable in stopping by at any time with the feeling that this is like their second home.

The site landscape is very limited and accommodates not only the building but also off street parking and a drive and garages for the residents. The owners have stressed that every detail from the plant material to the type of mulch used is an important factor in this small space.

Another challenge is security. We need to monitor the plant material to be sure that lighting or visibility is not blocked as the students use the facility in the evenings.

To accomplish these goals, we adhere to the following practices:

Mulch materials
A double shredded dark bark mulch is applied in the spring and in the late fall following the final leaf cleanup in time for the holidays. Compost is applied to all seasonal color beds.

Pruning
Hand pruning is done to all plant material to provide for a more natural look and to keep the plant open in structure for light and air circulation. To keep the Yew hedge surrounding the facility in shape, the hand pruning is followed by several visits of light shearing.

Edging and weed control
A pre-emergent weed control is applied prior to mulching in the spring and is followed by bi-weekly visits of both manual and chemical weed control. The edging detail is handled monthly.

Perennial maintenance and seasonal color
In addition to maintaining the plant material, a key component of the landscape is the seasonal displays. A spring bulb and pansy display is exhibited in the spring followed by annuals in the summer and Chrysanthemums in the fall. A meeting is held in late summer to review the selections and make any changes for the following year.

Tree and Shrub maintenance
The ornamental trees and shrubs are maintained using hand pruning methods. Dormant pruning on select material is done in February or March. Gas shearers are used to maintain the yew hedge. The larger trees on the property are maintained by a local tree company.

Turf maintenance and mowing
The turf is mowed weekly and bagged using a small walk behind due to the small size of the property and narrow turf areas. A turf maintenance program consists of one Crabgrass control, four fertilizations, one insect control, two weed control applications, one lime application and a yearly aeration. A soil test is done every other year to monitor the pH and other nutrient needs.

Insect and Disease Management
Our program for Ornamental trees and shrubs includes a dormant oil application in the spring, three insect and disease inspections during the season and a late-season fertilization. We do not practice a ‘blanket’ application of material on the property. A physical inspection is done by the applicator and only the specific material that requires an application will be treated. Therefore, the inspection may or may not include a treatment.

Seasonal leaf and material removal
At the end of the growing season and each seasonal display, material is removed from the property and composted. This material is later used as the compost mulch for the seasonal display beds. All of the pruning material and grass clippings are also composted.

The above programs are continually monitored to be sure that they meet the needs of the owners.

2005 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Maintenance of a Unique Garden

Gold: Pittsburgh City Floral Display

Grant Street is located in the heart of the city of Pittsburgh. It is the street address of several Fortune 500 companies, the City-County Building housing most of the city services, many smaller corporations and legal firms. When the street was reconstructed many years ago, it was paved with clay pavers and the center strip between the two inbound and outbound lanes was raised with concrete planters to provide a home for trees and seasonal plantings. The planters were raised high enough so that passing motorists could view them from their car windows and also the pedestrians on the sidewalks would have a raised view.

Installation and maintenance of the planters provide a constant challenge. Grant Street is one of the busiest streets in the city and the constant traffic and parking challenges need to be dealt with during installation and maintenance visits. The city requires the annuals to be installed by the first Saturday in May to coincide with the running of the Great Race. If a late frost is predicted, it forces us to cover all of the plantings to avoid damage. However, the beauty of being so close to the traffic and having the opportunity to provide this great display in the heart of the city are the constant favorable comments and feedback from the people that work in the city.

The actual design and selection of the annual plantings is done in-house with only a budget provided by the City of Pittsburgh. The design and selection is changed yearly usually utilizing our previous successes into the new planting for the following year. The plant material is selected in December and ordered prior to January 1st. It is then contract grown specifically for this project. We use a minimum 4” container for the annuals to give the plantings a fuller look soon after installation. The tropical plants are grown and transported from Florida to Pennsylvania and are usually ordered in 6” to 14” containers. Each year we use over 40 different types of annuals, tropicals and perennials.

The following is a list of practices that we follow:

Prior to planting– All of the beds for annual plantings are irrigated by drip tubing or bubblers. The beds are amended with compost and a mix of slow release fertilizers.

Mulch materials– All beds are mulched with compost after planting.

Pruning– Minor pruning and deadheading are done every 2-3 weeks.

Weed Control– Pre-emergent weed control is applied prior to mulching. Manual weeding is performed every 2 weeks. Pre-emergent is applied again in mid-season.

Insect and Disease Management– A treatment is done only if absolutely necessary and using the least toxic material available due to the large number of people in the area.

Material Removal– Since the city currently does not have a fall display, the annuals are usually left in place until the first threat of frost.

2004 Awards for Excellence in Landscape Maintenance by Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association
Commercial Maintenance ($60,000 and over)

Gold: Mellon Financial Corporation

Our client’s requirements for the project were demanding. The empty lots next to their buildings in one of the most populated portion of the city was landscaped and opened not only to their employees, but also to the general public. They wanted constant seasonal color changes including some plant changes in the featured fountain area within the current seasonal display. The cascading fountain creates a lot of visual excitement, and the landscape had to reflect the same. In addition, the client’s towering offices were on two sides of the landscaped area and were under constant scrutiny by management.

To accomplish these goals, we initiated the following guidelines:

Mulch materials– To enhance the color of the plant material, we used the darkest of materials available. Double shredded fine bark mulch is used in the shrub and tree planting. Compost is used in the perennial, groundcover and annual areas.

Pruning– Hand pruning is done on all plant material to allow light, air movement and provide a more natural appearance against the rigid city lines. The extensive boxwood hedge is hand pruned once per year and lightly sheared to maintain a neat appearance.

Edging– A combination of mechanical and hand edging is done twice per season. String trimmers are used for touch up.

Weed control– Prior to mulching, a pre-emergent herbicide is applied to all beds. Round-up herbicide is used as a post emergent. Myrtle groundcover beds are maintained with a reduced mix of Round-up used as an overspray.

Perennial maintenance– Weekly deadheading and cleanup of the perennials and annuals is required. Perennials are fertilized along with the initial mulching and followed up with fertilizer about every 6 weeks.

Seasonal color– The season begins with a combination of over-wintered pansies and an extensive display of spring bulbs. At the end of this display, the bulbs and pansies are completely removed and followed with the annual plantings and established perennial displays. During the mid summer, additional pots of tropical plant material are strategically placed within the flowering beds around the fountain area. Plaza planters are filled with a combination of tropical plants and annual flowers. In the fall the Chrysanthemums are displayed and then followed with the pansy planting.

Seasonal leaf & material removal– All debris is removed from the site and taken to a composting facility. The compost used in our seasonal beds is purchased from the same facility.

Insect and Disease management– We follow a constant monitoring program with the appropriate material applied only if needed. Due to this downtown location, the spraying is done only at night.

Turf Maintenance/Mowing– Soil samples are taken yearly. Using the results of the soil samples will dictate any necessary changes in our program. Aeration is performed every other year. Mowing is performed weekly at a minimum and the frequency increased during the heavy growing seasons.

Tree & Shrub maintenance– All material is fertilized in the late fall. Pruning times will vary depending on the plant material. The trees are pruned in the late winter with constant monitoring of the canopy to accommodate foot traffic.