Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturalist Kevin Prall discusses 5 great perennials in 2 minutes.
contact Kevin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The idea: “biophilia hypothesis,” suggests that we love nature because we evolved in it. We need it for our psychological well-being because it’s in our DNA. Nature helps us to relax and feel comfortable in a space. This is why we put such high importance on the landscape surrounding our homes and outdoor living spaces. I think this also explains why so many people favor natural stone patio and wall materials to the pre-fab manufactured concrete type. There are some manufactured materials out now that look very much like the real thing, but they just do not give us the same felling. Seems like the biophilia hypothesis is very difficult to fool! Despite the huge selection of manufactured products on the market, natural paving materials are more popular than ever. The Video below shows several types we have on display The Outdoor Living Studio in Millvale. I consider Pennsylvania blue stone and our local sandstone to be the blue jeans and khakis of the choices. They are tried and true, durable, and go with just about anything. There are other great materials in between. These can be a little trickier to work into a design as some have strong colors are only available in certain sizes but can be perfect for that specific niche application. Choose wisely and your Biophilia will be going through the roof!
We have 51 outdoor lighting fixtures. Each one can be show individually so you can see many combinations of landscape lighting. You simply can not get more lighting ideas and examples anywhere else. Come see us! email@example.com
COR-TEN steel -sometimes written without the hyphen as corten steel is a group of steel alloys which were developed to eliminate the need for painting and form a stable rust-like appearance if exposed to the weather for several years. We show you how to make this happen much faster!
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We recommend checking the grates of your box drains and the gravel of your French drains (with gravel to the surface) regularly and remove any debris. Check drains more often in the fall or other times when debris can quickly cover your drain. Debris over a drain can make your drain ineffective and cause major water problems.
Box drains are designed to allow debris to settle into the bottom so it does not clog the drain pipes. This is why you may see a small amount of water remain in a bottom of a drain after a rain event. This debris should be cleaned out 1 – 2 times per season depending on how much debris you have moving into the drain. Open the grate of each box drain (this usually involving taking out a few screws) and clean out any debris that may be in there. A wet/dry shop vacuum can help because it can reach further than your hands to remove more debris. Next, flush the drain with a garden hose. Put the hose in the drain box and a few feet into the drainpipe if you can. Allow the water to run for about two minutes per drain. If your drain system has a clean out remove the top of the clean out and flush the pipe with hose water. If you are uncertain about any of this please contact your Eichenlaub consultant or project manager.
We can maintain your drains for you as part of your landscape maintenance program.
Scott Rudolph is a water feature expert at Eichenlaub:
The growing season is fast approaching. The local big box stores will soon be bringing in myriads of plants for sale. It is very typical that these plants show up forced in bloom and ready to be nabbed up by customers weary from the cold, dark colorless days of winter. My advice; be cautious when impulse plant buying.
Many of the plants on display are early spring blooming and once the warmer weather starts later in the spring many of those plants tend to burn out or head into a summer dormancy period and not look great again until the next year. Sure you can buy them if you like, just realize many of those plants will be a “Flash in the Pan” bit of color and then nothing the rest of the growing season.
Best advice is to have a well thought out plan before you go shopping and make sure to address all seasons to be sure your garden looks good at every point of the growing season. This might mean buying plants with just a few scant leaves early in the spring. Have faith and know these plants will come into their own when the season is right for it. In the early spring when you are tempted to buy only what is in color you will probably end up with one season of bloom. A good example of this is Hibiscus moscheutos, the Rose Mallow. This is a hardy form of perennial Hibiscus most noted for its very large (up to 12”) red, pink, or white blossoms. The Rose Mallow at that time may just appear as a container with a small amount of cut off, dead looking stems. Rose Mallow usually doesn’t start growing actively until well into May so if you just shop the dazzling color on display early in the spring you will miss planting for late summer and early fall, the season when the Rose Mallow is at its finest.
This is just one of many, many examples of plants that may not look like anything when you are eagerly plant shopping in the spring especially when you are comparing them to the early spring flowers of Ranunculus, Phlox and Rockcress.
Plan and do the research, better yet work with an experienced professional who knows about plants and design. Do not be afraid to by the pot full of dormant (but healthy) looking stems or buds it may surprise you later!
Eichenlaub can help you design, install, and maintain plants that you will love all season! If you have any further question about selection and design of an “All Seasons Perennial Garden” just let us know!
– Kevin Anthony Prall
Kevin Prall is a landscape consultant at Eichenlaub with a degree in ornamental horticulture from Colorado State University.
Water features can be rewarding enhancements to a landscape. Before breaking ground, consider these 5 common mistakes people make when installing a water feature. Here is what we found after many years:
Lack of Proper Filtration: Inadequate filtration can lead to disappointment in water quality. Sometimes this shows up in the form of “pea-soup” water. Many times this causes pond owners to overcompensate with chemicals; this can be costly and will ultimately throw the ecosystem “out of whack”. Do-it-yourselfers and “part time professionals” sometimes purchase inadequate filters or will purchase components “a la carte.” It may be cheaper to purchase the items piecemeal, but it’s challenging because different manufacturers use different fittings and they need to be modified to work together versus having everything matched and designed to work as a unit. Efficiency and simplicity will create a better system for your pond.
Wrong feature type: Nowadays there are many different water features to choose from. It is not one size fits all. Different water features have different levels of maintenance. Sometimes people choose to install a pond without understanding that it will require ongoing maintenance. If you have a busy lifestyle, either you can choose to have a professional maintain your water feature, or you can consider a lower maintenance option. For example, a pondless waterfall looks like a natural waterfall but it does not have the pond or fish that require a higher level of ongoing maintenance. Always think through your maintenance plan when designing your water feature. Eichenlaub can help you with this.
Poor location: Start with a well thought out design. Ponds are too often placed in an unused area of the property or in a low spot that collects water. Both of these locations cause problems. Unused areas of the landscape are unused for a reason and it is a waste to put a key feature in an area that will not be seen regularly. Out of sight, out of mind … meaning nobody will care for it or enjoy it. Low spots that collect water are challenging to build in (high water table) and water quality can suffer from too much runoff and pollutants entering the pond system.
Too Small: A small pond is easier to construct (less digging and rock placement) but it is actually harder to maintain. A small feature is less stable than a larger volume of water and most people end up reconstructing the water feature to make it larger because they not only love it, but their plants and fish outgrow a small feature. A well-designed water feature really needs to fit the space! Eichenlaub can help you design a water feature that will be right the first time.
Improper Use of Rock and Stone: A typical feature will use several tons of stone to give it the desired naturalistic appearance. That can be a lot of wear and tear on the family minivan! Many do-it-yourselfers will decide this to be too much effort and they will choose small, manageable stones that are easy to move and place. This is also where many landscaping companies will cut corners and miss the mark. While the work might be easier, this results in the pond falling short on aesthetics. In addition, the pond loses the structural importance provided by the larger, more difficult-to-move boulders. In some cases, the novice pond installer will just eliminate the stonework altogether. This can look artificial. Without rock and gravel, the system fails to function properly because stone not only lends to the aesthetics of the feature, but it also functions as a habitat for colonization by a variety of organisms from bacteria to crustaceans -all critical to the success of the feature.
Many people underestimate the amount of thought and labor that it takes to build a water feature. I cannot count how many times we have been asked to finish a pond where the homeowner has dug an unfinished hole in the ground or to re-work a water feature when a novice landscaper has come up short. Eichenlaub has the experienced professionals who will help you design install and maintain a water feature that will look great and function long term.
Contact us with questions!
Scott Rudolph: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Rudolph is the water feature specialist at Eichenlaub.
The biggest mistake we see people make when ordering outdoor furniture online or even when purchasing from a store is buying the wrong size! The last thing you want is a dining table that takes up the entire patio space. It is critical to take accurate measurements when selecting furniture and to be very clear on the dimensions of the product you are buying. Rule of thumb: Measure twice, order once!
The second biggest mistake is underpaying or overpaying for furniture. It is important to buy a high-quality product that will last but you may not need to pay for a fancy brand name or from an overpriced store. It is important to work with someone you trust. Someone who will help you make the right choice for your needs.
Finally, if you plan to sit or lay on your furniture, make sure it is comfortable! This might seem obvious but it is not uncommon at all to buy a beautiful outdoor couch online, then when it arrives, you cannot bear to sit in it. You should be enjoying your outdoor living space in comfort. If you must order something online, be sure to read the comments. If it is uncomfortable, people will usually comment about it.
Eichenlaub can help you with your outdoor furniture selection. We will make sure your furniture fits your space and you get a good value. You can “test drive” some comfortable furniture pieces in our Outdoor Living Studio. Email us with questions or to set an appointment to come see us: