Gardening Tips for November

Planting 6' boxwood at the corners of a parking court.

Planting 6' boxwood at the corners of a parking court.

This warm autumn has made it easy to forget that November is when the winter weather truly starts to encroach upon New England. We've been enjoying an unusually balmy stretch of glorious days, but colder temps are inevitable and it's time to focus on putting summer to bed, and preparing plants for a long winter's rest. 

Plant and prune.

  • Plant evergreen trees and shrubs. Evergreen trees actively set roots when temps are cooler, and the nurseries are well-stocked with fresh material to meet the demands of this ideal planting season. As an added bonus, plants don't have to be watered as often when they're installed in the fall as when they're planted during the hot summer months. Call us for ideas on how to screen an unsightly view or add visual interest with some well-sited evergreen trees or shrubs.
  • Move trees and shrubs. You'll need a professional to move larger specimens; call us for advice and a quote. This summer, we moved a 4-ton weeping Japanese maple, and although it was not the best time of year for this task, not a branch was broken and the tree has adapted nicely. Check out our FB page for the story in photos.
Moving a 4-ton Japanese Maple

Moving a 4-ton Japanese Maple

  • Give the lawn a final cut. Grass is a cool-weather crop, taking in nutrients and establishing new root growth after high summer temps have given way to chillier days. Removing fallen leaves on a regular basis allows lawns to get the sunlight they need to flourish and remain strong through the dormant months. When the grass is cut one last time, make sure to leave it slightly higher to protect the root system from wide swings in temperature.
  • Prune hedges and shrubs so they're neat and crisp. Hedges and shrubs define your outdoor spaces, and provide structure for the winter, especially when dusted in snow. Unruly growth and broken branches, besides looking unkempt, can bend or break under ice and snow, leaving plants susceptible to even more damage. 
  • Get your bulbs in the ground. It's almost too late to plant tulips, but daffodils, crocuses and alliums can go in the ground right up until December. See our previous blog for bulb planting tips.  
  • Bring tender plants inside. Douse them first with a safe insecticidal product, making sure to saturate the soil. Spider mites, aphids and scale insects thrive in average home temps, and drier indoor air. Prune the plants before you bring them in, removing dead or damaged leaves and branches, and top-dress the containers with fresh potting soil.
  • Turn your compost pile, and add compost around the roots of new or tender plantings. When you're pruning, make sure that diseased material is disposed of, rather than tossed onto the compost pile.

Clean and store.

  • Water left in garden hoses can freeze, expand and crack the hose or fittings; drain the water, coil the hoses and stow them away. Remove pumps from water features, and clean the pump. If your water feature has elements that can crack in freezing temps, put those in your shed or garage, along with terracotta pots and garden ornaments. 
  • Clean out bird feeders and re-stock them; turn your birdbath over to prevent any water from collecting and freezing, which could lead to cracking.
  • Clean out your shed or garage.  Now is the time to rid yourself of those torn bags of fertilizer, expired sprays and old plant food.  Prevent rust on your tools by sharpening blades and oiling them lightly, and rinsing the dirt off shovels, spades and edgers.  Remember to bring your snow shovels to the front of the shed for easy access when the first storm hits.
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Relax and plan.

Once you complete your garden to-do list, sit back and enjoy the beauty of the waning season. Buy a pumpkin from a local farm stand bake a holiday pie.  Light a fire, find a comfy chair, grab a pencil and start thinking about how you want your outdoor space to look next season.

In our next blog post, we'll discuss the 5 things you should consider when planning your spring landscape projects.

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Strategies for planting fall bulbs

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My favorite time of year is fall, when the air turns crisp and our focus is on raking leaves, cutting back perennials, and putting our gardens to bed.  But I like to keep an eye on the spring by planning and selecting which flowering bulbs I want to appear after the dreary winter months.  Nothing says spring and rejuvenation quite like springtime bulbs, and with a little planning and foresight you can have a real splash of color in your garden starting as early as February.

The most important thing to start with is high-quality, healthy bulbs.  These types of bulbs are not usually found in the large box stores.  We purchase bulbs for our clients from Colorblends, located in Bridgeport, CT.  You can view their bulb varieties as a non-landscape professional on their website: www.springdisplays.com.  We highly recommend perusing their website and signing up for their mailing catalog so you can plan well in advance.

A few factors come in to play when you’re planning where to plant bulbs.  The first is light; bulbs need six (6) hours of sunlight per day – any less and they’ll be weak and thin, and may not bloom after the first year. Bulbs also need well-drained soil, or they’ll rot. Another factor is the flowering period.  You can create a great show by selecting bulbs with different flowering times, but make sure you don’t plant them behind large perennials that leaf out and hide the display. With thoughtful bulb placement, you can have a garden that pops when the rest of nature is just getting started.

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The most frequent question we get from our clients is how many bulbs do I plant?  That surely depends on your budget, and how much time you want to dedicate to planting. The biggest mistake homeowners tend to make is to plant too few bulbs, and place them too far apart.  We love to have a dazzling visual impact, so we plant more bulbs than one would think.  We plant in groups of 8 or 10 bulbs per hole, or dig trenches and line them with hundreds. Even if you’re only putting a few bulbs in the ground, group them together for maximum impact. The bulb planting on the left doesn’t have the same impact as the planting below, but would if all of the bulbs on the left were planted in two large groups on either side of the entry steps.

These bulbs were planted by digging a trench, placing the bulbs about four inches apart, and covering the trench with soil. The spring display is lovely, and continues for several weeks.

These bulbs were planted by digging a trench, placing the bulbs about four inches apart, and covering the trench with soil. The spring display is lovely, and continues for several weeks.

Bulb Square Footage Chart.png

We took this chart straight out of our Colorblends catalog, and we think it’s a good place to start when determining how many bulbs you’ll need. We often plant tighter than this for maximum impact. Not sure of the square footage of your garden or how to calculate it?  The best bet would be to call us and sit down with our Landscape Designer, Pat Lammers, and talk it through with her.  She has some ideas that can really make your springtime garden sing, and will have the neighbors talking about your garden all season long.

One of Pat’s ideas is to plant two types of bulbs on top of each other in the same bed.  Plant smaller bulbs such as crocus on top of larger bulbs, like tulips.  Dig the bed to the depth for the larger bulbs.  Plant those bulbs and cover with a thin layer of soil.  Place the smaller bulbs on top of that and cover with soil.  It sounds tricky, but it can be done, and you’ll have a longer flowering period.  Remember, crocus are the first bulbs to pop and signal the start of the flowering season.

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Another important fact to consider is that after your bulbs have finished blooming, the foliage has to remain intact for several weeks, to "ripen" and pull enough nutrients into the bulb for next year's flowering. Cutting the foliage down, tying it with rubber bands or braiding it hampers the flow of food and water to the bulb. The best solution is to place your bulbs in a spot where the ripening foliage will be hidden by emerging grasses, perennials or annuals.  In the photo to the right (taken in July), the bulb foliage is camouflaged by 'Hameln' grasses and annual Vinca.

Sometimes you don’t have the energy or time to plant fall bulbs; it’s a busy season for just about everyone.  Not to worry -- call Pat and she can design the placement of your bulbs in the garden, and have our crews out there planting before you can say Fall Bulb Planting!  Come Spring you won’t regret your decision, and when the neighbors ask make sure you pass our name along. Happy planting!

 

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Pavers: The New Stone

Pavers: The New Stone

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When people think of pavers, they mentally recall chunks of concrete-looking stones in unnatural colors: pinkish, orange, yellowy beige, blue. The word “pavers” brings to mind an undulating patio of odd little puzzle pieces, every joint sprouting with weeds. Well, in the last decade, pavers have come a long way, baby. They’ve migrated from the wonky trash can pad next to the garage to the stunning wrap-around terrace of a multi-million-dollar home. Pavers have grown bigger, more textural, and more versatile. They’re not just pretending to be stone, and why should they? The new pavers have a flair of their own, and a vast array of colors, styles and textures unmatched by natural stone.

Pavers go every place you want to be

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Pavers can take you everywhere, and I truly mean everywhere. Through the garden, across the courtyard, up the terrace stairs, into the pool – the applications are limited only by your imagination. You’ll find stunning paver solutions for retaining walls, outdoor kitchens and unique water features. Pavers can transform a common concrete foundation into a distinct architectural feature. They can create an impressive set of stairs with grand single slabs. They can turn an unappealing expanse of asphalt into an elegant entry that complements the style of your home. There are so many paver options on the market today, your only dilemma will be in deciding which one (or two, or three!) appeals to you the most.    

Texture, pattern, and color create remarkable spaces

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The huge array of paver textures and finishes spans the design palette from industrial to old world, and polished elegance to rustic casual. Imagine a clean, contemporary terrace in a long, grained paver that’s indistinguishable from wood, or a set of imposing entry pillars that appear hand-hewn from granite. Consider a sunken lounge with a boldly graphic paver rug, or a pool deck coolly accented with smooth, understated slabs. The wide selection of colors, textures and patterns also ensures that pavers blend beautifully with natural stone. Our recent paver projects combine pavers with natural stone to craft spaces that are a step or two beyond the ordinary.

See it for yourself

Paver work being done by DLTC.jpg

If you’re ready to enjoy the New Stone in a stunning driveway, patio or outdoor kitchen, give DLTC a call. Jon, Dave or Pat would be happy to walk you through a local paver showroom; we guarantee you’ll be amazed by the possibilities. Call us today, and let’s talk about a paver project that will make your outdoor spaces beautiful and enjoyable and be on the lookout for our blog post “Using the Winter to Plan Your Outdoor Space”             

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Gardening Tips for September

Sunflower Pic for Sept Gardening Tips Blog.jpeg

Gardening Tips for September

Each month brings special preparations, and September is no different.  This is a good month to take stock of your garden and start planning for the winter, and for next year’s garden.  With these easy tips, you can have a successful garden year after year.

Stop pruning & fertilizing.

Begin your fall clean-up of your garden by cutting back anything that is diseased or has finished blooming.

Herbs can be dug from your garden and placed in pots for growing indoors for the winter.

Spring bulb planting can start, except tulips.  Tulips should be kept in a cool, dark place and planted in late October.  We love Colorblends for their fabulous bulb selection, and they’re right here in Bridgeport.

Divide and move perennials.

Weeding, weeding, weeding. 

Fill in any gaps in your garden with autumn flowering annuals, such as Chrysanthemums, Pansies and Kale. Fall is also a great time to plant Peonies for next spring’s show of color.

Do you have a water element in your garden?  Like a pond?  Now is the perfect time to put a net over it to protect it from falling leaves.  You’ll thank us, I promise you!

September is a great month to plant new perennials.  The soil is still warm enough and you can fill any openings in your garden. Think Lavender, Salvia, and Asters – they’ll be in full bloom next year at this time.

Watch for early frost warnings and cover any plants that could be effected by it.

Photograph your garden (we recommend doing this all summer) and keep notes for yourself.  What plants worked in what area.  If you have a container garden, what flowers worked with what container in what spot.  Use your own photographs for inspiration for next year.  Or use the photographs to remind yourself of the frustrations you encountered.

September has shorter days and cooler temperatures; take advantage of the cooler temps to do some new planting, weeding, clean-up and planning for next year.  We love September.

In our next blog post we will discuss The Best Practices for Cutting Back Perennials, an important element to the success of your garden.

Why didn't my Hydrangeas bloom?

I’m asked this question every year, and some years, I’m asked dozens of times. There are many different kinds of Hydrangea, but in most cases, folks are talking about Hydrangea macrophylla: Mophead Hydrangeas – the large shrubs with big blue flowers. The most common cultivar is ‘Nikko Blue’. Here’s how the Mophead bloom cycle works:

Year 1: The Mophead journey to blooming starts with the emergence of a new stalk from the base of the plant in the spring. This stalk will grow to the height of the mature shrub over the course of the summer, but will not bloom. If you examine a Mophead shrub in bloom, you’ll see that half – or more – of the stalks do not have flowers. These stalks are maturing and building a bud for next year’s bloom.

Year 2: The stalks that had no bloom during the previous summer will produce a flower. The stalks that produced blooms during the previous summer will be dead, with no leaves emerging from the stalk. There will be new stalks with leaves that are building a bud for flowering in Year 3

If anything damages the stalk during the year it takes to produce a bud, there will be no flower. For instance, if the plant is pruned too low in the fall or early spring, the buds will be removed, and the shrub won’t flower. If an early spring cold snap kills the buds after they’ve begun to emerge, there will be no flower. If the shrub is transplanted and sent into shock, there will be no flower. You’ll know that your Hydrangea is not going to flower if the only new growth is from the base of the plant, and none of last-year’s stalks produce .

There are always a few exceptions to this rule; Hydrangeas near the Sound are in a more temperate microclimate than those north of the Merritt, so after a hard spring frost, the southernmost plants may bloom, and their more northerly cousins may not. You may see one or two flowers after a tough spring, because some stalks can bloom the first year. Some. Not many. And only in a protected area. The ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangeas, all the rage in the last few years, set flowers on first-year stalks, so theoretically, they should bloom every summer. I’ve not found this to be the case, and there’s been plenty of opportunity for observation, as three out of our last four springs have been brutal on Hydrangeas. Let’s hope for better this spring!

If you’d like to talk about ways to make your outdoor spaces more useful or beautiful, give DLTC a call. Ask for Patricia, Jon, or Dave, and let’s get started!              

 

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Landscape Trends

Landscape Trends for 2017

Like many other industries that are based on design, landscaping follows trends.  Perhaps the fashions in plants don’t come and go as quickly as those on the runway, but they certainly evolve.  Two decades ago, color was king, and landscapes featured lots of red, yellow and blue foliage.  Planting schemes relied heavily upon material that kept its foliage through the winter, and still provided spring or summer color.  Those plants tended to be stiff and unchanging, and were pruned to maintain the same shape season after season.  Today, ‘green’, ‘organic’ and ‘native’ are the new buzzwords.  After years of self-conscious formality, landscape design is embracing plants that change with the seasons, move with the wind, shelter birds and bees or even provide a meal.  Whimsy has snuck in through the back gate, and clients are requesting landscape features that are, well, just more FUN!  Here are three great concepts that we’re working into our landscape plans this season:

 

Go green with ‘Greenery’

Every year the Pantone Color Institute announces their Color of the Year, and for 2017 iiiiiiiiiii’s…. Greenery!

I’m thrilled, because landscape designers love green.  No matter how much color we’re asked to bring into a landscape, green is always the hue we rely on to tie the elements of design together.  With color a given, the more subtle attributes of plants can be explored and enjoyed.  Branching structure, growth habit, leaf shape, bracts, bark, seed heads – each of these can make a green plant truly extraordinary.  We’re happy to have clients who are asking for more from their plants than flower color, and are truly interested in all qualities of a plant and how those qualities will impact their outdoor spaces over time.

Many of the old-fashioned green plants that have been snubbed in recent years are making a triumphant return, and we happily recommend turning a patch of shade-weakened lawn into a dense and textural bed of Pachysandra.  It’s resilient, evergreen, deer-resistant, and is a surprisingly lovely cut flower, massed in a striking container.  The ubiquitous fern is also making a comeback.  Plant growers are offering cultivars for shade and sun in a wide array of sizes, textures and every color you can imagine, as long as that color is GREEN.  A colonized mass of ferns makes a beautiful border along the edge of a woodland, and requires no care at all.  This year, think about how much further you can go with Greenery.

 

Pots with a punch

Perhaps it’s the tepid offerings of the local big box stores, or the start-and-stop economic climate, but it’s been years since I’ve seen pots planted with exuberance and imagination.  We’ve come to rely upon the same petunias and geraniums for summer-long color, and while they do what’s expected of them, they hardly stop one in one’s tracks.  This year, I look forward to building container gardens that really sing.

One key to creating amazing pots is selecting plants that change over the course of the summer, and adding new plants to replace faded glory.  Herbs chosen for their purple, yellow or variegated foliage will often flower later in the summer, adding a surprising color to the mix.  Vegetables flower and then produce fruit; a potted tomato plant loaded with ripe, summer offerings is so much more exciting than a basket of begonias.  Underplant the tomato with old-fashioned nasturtiums that cascade over the edge, and you have a dazzling color combo that goes right into a salad bowl.  Then the tomato plants begin to wither, pop in some fiery peppers for fall interest.

Traditional house plants were a decorating staple in the 70’s, but their allure faded over the next few decades.  A pair of fiddle leaf figs flanking a shady patio can be very dramatic, especially with frothy Euphorbia at their feet.  The tiny white Euphorbia flowers add just enough sparkle to the green palette, and the large leaves of the fig are a stand-out.  Bromeliads are also show-stoppers, with wide leaves in rainbow colors.  There are so many choices for outstanding pots, if one is willing to look outside the box (store)

 

Big kid playgrounds

Following the trend towards more purposeful use of outdoor spaces, clients are re-imagining their yards and creating extravagant play areas – for adults.  Across the country, there’s a rise in the installation of bocce courts, ice rink, putting greens and elaborately constructed entertainment areas.  Much the same as the comfy old den has morphed into the sophisticated media room, backyards- excuse me, ‘outdoor living spaces’ – are taking on a polish and sheen.

And why not? Kids’ sports and activities have shifted from their own backyards, to become scheduled events on regulation fields.  The lawn, for many, is just the green swatch seen from the kitchen window, mown weekly and largely forgotten.  But oh!  The possibilities!  And if you want it, we can build it.

Your smartest first step is a consultation with one of our landscape designers.  We look at the whole picture, and we will work with you to properly site your new outdoor addition.  As designers, we stay mindful of all the important elements: transition spaces, focal points, privacy screening, views, placement of mechanical necessities and maintenance requirements, to name just a few.  Enhancement with plant material brings the project to life.

Whether you’re in the market for a fresher look from your current landscaping, or considering a major backyard project or simply want pots that transcend the ordinary, give DLTC a call.  Ask for Jon, Dave or Pat, and let’s get started!

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Cutting Gardens

Gardening, for many, is a hobby that offers the respite they’re seeking, and time spent out in the garden is an end in itself. Increasingly, however, gardens are being created to supply or enhance a different pastime, and specialty gardens are sprouting up all over. What is a specialty garden? Any contained group of plants specifically chosen to fill a particular need. Many of my clients have requested cutting gardens over the years, and here are a few things I ask clients to consider before I sit down at the design board:  

Choose the right plants

Photos of cutting gardens are so very enticing, featuring loads of heady blooms in a plethora of colors. The key to a successful garden is refining it to suit your taste and style, which means an artful curation of color, size, shape and bloom time. If you never buy giant yellow zinnias from your local florist, chances are good that you will not pick them from your garden, no matter how alluring the seed catalog photos are. You’ll be most likely to utilize your garden if it features 2 or 3 hues that work well with your interior décor. Think about the size and shape of the flowers; you don’t want to end up with all ‘filler’ material, or a plot full of spikey flowers. A combination of shapes that includes frothy or cascading, upright, and large-head allows the greatest arranging flexibility. Season of bloom is important, too. I like to include shrubs with flowers that continue for a long time, such as Hydrangeas, as well as perennials that peak in early-, mid-, and late-summer. Annuals play a pivotal role for two reasons: they can be changed easily from year to year as an inexpensive way to try out different shapes and color, and they bloom for a long period of time, daunted only by frost. Finally, don’t forget the other parts of the plant. Leaves, seed heads, and branches all make unusual and exciting contributions to an arrangement

Plant for good care and easy harvesting

Clients are often very surprised when they learn how much space a truly productive cutting garden requires. Each plant needs room to grow, and enough navigable space around it for grooming, watering, feeding and harvesting. A fair quantity of each type of plant is necessary to assure substantial bouquets all season long, and when one is considering bulbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs and perhaps climbers, the numbers add up. The most useful cutting gardens are laid out just like their vegetable counterparts: in rows, with sufficient walking space between the planting beds. It’s best to put the plants that require similar horticultural practices together. Bulbs flower in spring, and are fed once – heavily -- after flowering. However, their leaves must remain intact (no cutting, rubber-banding or braiding!) until the plant has processed enough food for next year’s flowering. In most cases, that means you’ll be looking at dwindling foliage until July. I like to plant bulbs toward the back of the garden, and pop in the taller annuals in June, between their ripening leaves. Annuals go through an entire life cycle in one season, and benefit from regular water and feeding. Use a liquid fertilizer so it’s absorbed by the plant quickly. Perennials come back year after year, and need room to spread their roots. They prefer weekly watering, and a nice deep drench, at that. Most perennials don’t need fertilization, but a springtime slow-release granular feed is considerate. Sun is an essential ingredient for a successful cutting garden, and ‘sun’ means at least 6 hours per day. While you can have a shade cutting garden, the flowers will be delicate and less bountiful, and it’s wise to plan for great foliage to add drama.  

Condition the plant material

One essential charm of the cutting garden is being able to dash out at a moment’s notice and grab an armful of your own flowers just before the guests arrive. However! If you want the longest possible life from your bouquets, there are a few simple tricks. The flowers should be cut early in the morning before the sun has warmed their faces, and preferably while still covered in dew. You should have a bucket of warmish water at the ready, and a pair of sharp pruning shears. I like to bring a tall plastic pitcher (not too heavy) with a wide enough base to sit on the ground without tipping over. Choose your flower, and – leaving as long a stem as possible -- snip the stem diagonally. Strip off unnecessary leaves, and plunge the stem into your pitcher. Prepare your vase by filling it with warm water, adding a bit of commercial flower food. Re-cut each flower stem, again on the diagonal, as you arrange. Theoretically, your finished arrangement should be stored in a cool dark place while the flowers rehydrate and get a little food in their systems, but who wants to wait for that? An exciting note about peonies: if cut while the buds are still in the soft marshmallow stage, they can be wrapped in damp paper towels and stored in the vegetable crisper for up to a month. When you’re ready to use them, cut the stems on the diagonal and put them in warm water in a cool dark place. They’ll open right up. This is an amazing thing, and actually works.     

 

If you’re in the market for a stunning cutting garden, or simply want to talk about ways to make your outdoor spaces more useful or beautiful, give DLTC a call. Ask for Jon, Dave or Pat, and let’s get started!              

 Note:  photos from Pat Lammers' personal cutting garden.  

Connect with Pat: design@dltcusa.com or 203.338.9696

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

DLTC wins Best of Houzz Award from Houzz Inc.

 

DLTC is pleased to announce that we are the recipient of a 2017 Best of Houzz Award from Houzz Inc. From the Houzz news release:

Annual Survey and Analysis of Community of Over 40 Million Monthly Users Reveals the Top-Rated Home Remodeling Professionals and Most Popular Home Designs

Houzz Inc., the leading platform for home renovation and design, today announced the community's picks for Best of Houzz 2017, a homeowner-to-homeowner guide to the top home builders, architects, interior designers, landscape pros and other remodeling professionals on Houzz from cabinetry or roofing pros to painters.

"We are so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals," said Lisa Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. "Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality." 

If you've never explored Houzz online, here's what they're all about:

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish -- online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals from across the country and around the world. With the largest residential database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality.

We're enthusiastic about being a part of the Houzz community, and we've been working diligently on our Houzz site to bring you lots of fresh, creative landscaping ideas. We're putting together Projects and Ideabooks that showcase the work we've done at your homes -- work we're very proud of.

Our gift to you

Most of our new clients approach DLTC based upon the recommendations of a friend, family member, or another professional contractor. That's why it's our goal to deliver the highest caliber maintenance services, design work and installation. And why it's so important that we know what you think. We'd love to hear from you on our Houzz site, so that other homeowners will recognize what DLTC has to offer. Your review of DLTC on Houzz will merit a special gift, or a credit toward your 2017 Maintenance Contract or next landscaping project. Call us for details! Here's a link to the review page on Houzz: https://www.houzz.com/writeReview2/cmd=r/n=dltcusa

We offer our profuse thanks for your participation!

We'd also be delighted to collaborate on a new project with you, and we encourage you to peruse our Projects and Ideabooks while you're on the Houzz site. If you have photos of projects that DLTC has done at your home, we'd love to be able to use them. We're busiest at the time of year when properties are looking their best, and often forget to take pictures.

Thank you for being a part of the DLTC family. We look forward to working with you in new and different ways this season!

Cheers,

Patricia Lammers

Connect with Pat - email: design@dltcusa.com or call her @ 203.338.9696

What's Trending in 2016?

Souped-Up Outdoor Spaces

Homeowners used to put up a screened-in porch or patio to upgrade their outdoor space. But today’s outdoor spaces have become extensions of the indoors with kitchens, fireplaces, and barbecue pits. Virtually, everything you can buy for your indoor space, you can buy for outdoors as well. Furniture, pillows, art work, and even flatscreen TVs are used to soup-up outdoor spaces.

 

 

 

Everything Old Is New Again

With DIY on the rise, vintage items like mason jars, picture frames, and crates are increasing in popularity for outdoors spaces. Thrifting is a great way to find antique decor without breaking the bank.

 

 

 

 

 

Lighting Is Everything

To maximize use of the landscape, lighting can transform into usable space at night. LEDs are now used for effect, style and design so the idea is not to try and get a huge amount of light. On the other hand, a reflector light is meant to cast lots of light. Mounting lights and ground light fixtures are used to showcase the structure of the trees and plants in your landscape. 

To learn more about making your landscape trendy, give us a call at (203) 338-9696.

DLTC is now featured on Houzz!

DLTC is now a Houzz Professional!

Houzz.com is the largest and most influential directory of remodeling and design professionals. Also, Houzz is an online community of more than 40 million homeowners, home design enthusiasts, and home improvement professionals-- across the country and around the world.

On our profile, you'll see our latest projects, featured services, and customer reviews highlighting our best in our residential portfolio.

Click the Houzz logo to see our page. Make sure you follow and leave a review!

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Managing Thatch, Aeration & Overseeding

THATCH
Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass blades, stems and roots that forms between the living grass shoots and the soil level. 

As long as thatch doesn't become too dense, it can insulate the soil against water loss, decrease compaction by cushioning the soil below, and protect the grass crowns from temperature swings.

When thatch becomes too thick, it can prevent water, fertilizer and applications from reaching the grass roots.  It can also block sunlight from the lower grass blades and weaken the lawn, and it can hold moisture against the grass blades, creating fungal and bacterial problems.

Thatch build-up can create an uneven lawn surface of high grass and scalped areas.  The best cure for thatch is to prevent buildup in the first place, and the best way to do this is through regular thatching of the lawn.

AERATION
During aeration, a machine known as a core aerator pulls plugs of soil from the lawn to break up compacted soil and create more room for air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots. This results in expansion of the root systems for thicker, healthier grass.

Aeration removes thousands of small cores of soil 1” to 3” in length from your lawn. These cores “melt” back into the lawn after a few rainfalls, mixing with whatever thatch exists on your lawn. The holes created by aeration catch fertilizer and water. Turf roots naturally grow toward these growth pockets and thicken in the process. Aeration holes also relieve pressure from compacted soils, letting oxygen and water move more freely into the root zone.

LAWN RENOVATION
All lawns, regardless of their condition, can benefit from some level of renovation every year or so. One of the best means of rejuvenating turf is to combine thatching, aerating, and seeding into one process known as lawn renovation.

Following up aeration and thatching with overseeding is a great way to thicken up a thin lawn. Good seed-to-soil contact is essential for seeding success, and the new grass seed will have an easier time growing in the holes left behind by aeration. Keep in mind that if your lawn has been seeded, the soil should be kept moist with light, frequent sprinklings until the new grass is well established.

Give us a call to get a free quote and get on the schedule for service -- you’ll be extremely happy with the results.

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Landscape Renovation

Many folks think that there’s only one solution for an old, tired or overgrown landscape: rip it out, and start anew. While that’s certainly an option, and sometimes an absolute necessity, there’s a much less drastic and more cost-effective alternative: renovation.

We all look around our homes from time to time, and suddenly realize that the shade we chose for the dining room is looking stale, and the lighting in the living room is growing dim. We know it’s time to paint, move things around, add a few new pieces and freshen everything up. The same holds true for our outdoor spaces. The Boxwood that so smartly lined the front walk when first installed may be tattered around the edges now, and the shady spot where we planted a favorite tree may be dank and mossy, and no longer a place that beckons when we step outside. There are lots of ways to bring your landscape back to life, and we’re happy to share a few ideas with you.

Remove/Transplant -- Like many other industries that involve design, landscaping follows trends. Perhaps the fashions in plantings don’t come and go as quickly as those on the runway, but they change nonetheless. In the nineties, excess was best and formality ruled. Landscapes featured layers of plant material in deep beds, densely planted borders with many varieties of shrubs and perennials, and dwarf evergreens staged everywhere as focal points. Now, simplicity prevails, and ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘native’ are the new buzzwords. It might be time to re-evaluate your planting beds with paring down in mind. Many of your existing plants can probably be grouped in new locations (and allowed to grow naturally!) for a cleaner, more unified effect. Other plants can be potted up and donated to a friend or local Garden Club. Even your prized Japanese maple can be relocated to a spot where it can stretch out and achieve its finest potential, unencumbered by smaller shrubs. Just transplanting and/or eliminating some of your plant material can go a long way toward helping your landscape look fresher and more up-to-date.

Re-imagine planting beds -- Take a hard look at your current landscaping, and ask yourself if it’s doing the job it was intended to do. Is it still screening an unsightly view? Allowing an attractive passage from one part of the property to another? You may no longer need that large expanse of grassy soccer field, and would get far more use from a beautifully sited, screened gazebo. Or you may never have developed a love for all of those flowering shrubs and perennials, and would much rather look out at a calming swath of ornamental grasses. Many times shrubs are planted under trees when all the material is young, and the shrubs begin to weaken and thin as the tree grows on. Those shrubs may take on a new attitude when they’re cut back and moved to a sunny spot, while the tree would be perfectly happy in a new, smaller bed, under planted with Liriope. Renovating your landscape is all about picturing how it can perform better for you. 

Add a bit of masonry -- No component of outdoor design can add as much punch to your landscape as good masonry. Whether it’s a new set of steps to your front door, two pillars framing an entrance, or a sturdy patio in a secluded spot, masonry provides the structure for landscaping. It supplies solid footing, lends a sense of permanence, and can sculpt more functional space from areas that may be unusable. Masonry also increases the value of your home. Well-designed stone work pays for itself by adding curb appeal and extending your living spaces, and it never has to be pruned, watered, or mulched! Click here to read our Masonry & Sitework page.

DLTC has been re-imagining landscapes for over 35 years. If you think you’re ready to renovate, we’re ready to share more ideas that can transform your current landscape into something fresh and up-to-date.

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

What kind of mulch should I use?

In order to make the best mulch choice, it’s important to understand why we use mulch at all. Certainly, mulch gives your planting beds a clean and well-maintained appearance, and contributes to your home’s curb appeal. It also prevents weeds from sprouting — not only from beneath the layer of mulch, but also from airborne weed seeds that are floating around, looking for the perfect patch of soil in which to germinate. Mulch also maintains soil temperatures. This is very important in the summer, when strong sun rays can heat roots systems and inhibit water absorption, and critical in the winter, when cold temperatures freeze the top layer of soil at night, and the sun warms and defrosts it during the day. This rapid freeze/thaw cycle can cause plant roots to swell and burst — not a happy thing for plants at all! 

Bark Mulch

Bark Mulch

Processed Wood Mulch

Processed Wood Mulch

The two most common mulches in our area are shredded bark, and processed wood. Shredded bark mulches are usually a blend of pine, spruce and hemlock. The color is a natural rich brown, and doesn’t fade through the season. It’s a little more expensive than processed wood because there simply isn’t as much bark on the outside of a tree as there is wood inside. Shredded bark mulches mat together to form a barrier against weeds, while allowing moisture to penetrate evenly. They’re not nearly as attractive to wood boring insects as processed wood mulches are, and when they eventually break down, they provide a rich layer of compost to your planting beds. 

Processed wood mulches are usually comprised of chipped wood, twigs and brush. The problem is that wood will turn gray fairly quickly, so wood mulches are nearly always dyed. The red, deep brown and black mulches you see in landscapes are fairly likely to be dyed products, which will fade throughout the season. While there’s no evidence that dyed mulches will harm your plant material, there’s plenty of research suggesting that they’re far more attractive to wood-boring insects such as termites and carpenter ants. Finally, wood mulches don’t form a protective mat like bark mulches do, which makes them less effective as a weed barrier, and not as reliable at water retention. 

At DLTC, we spread hundreds of yards of the best shredded mulch available every year. Yes, it may be a bit more costly than dyed wood chips, but the benefits of a good mulch far outweigh the detriments of a less-effective product. We also believe strongly that mulch should not be the star of your landscape — your plant material should. Mulches that are strongly colored steal the scene, and actually detract from your landscape’s appeal. We’re always happy to answer questions you have about mulch, or any other aspect of your landscape. 

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

ROAD TO 60

     Opened in 1957, Lime Rock Park's race track has been a destination for motorsports fans for nearly 60 years.  Located in Salisbury, Connecticut, the 1.5 mile track accommodates any type of racing. Skip Barber reached out to Jon Sweeney, the President of DLTC Landscape Contractors, to lead the improvement project "ROAD TO 60."

     With the 60th anniversary right the around the corner, the track is undergoing major renovations to help enhance both the spectators' experience and track safety. Fans will enjoy improvements to walkways, hospitality areas and restrooms, as well as updates to the spectator hill to improve viewing. The project is already underway and is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

     In the video above, Skip Barber takes you through the improvements that LRP and DLTC have done. Projects like Lime Rock make us truly unique from our competitors. DLTC is far from the 'mow and blow' operation Jon started nearly 35 years ago. Check out our Unique Capabilities page to learn more about large projects we have  completed.

Patricia Lammers

Pat has been an avid gardener throughout her adult life. Her education was in fine arts, with a further degree in commercial art. After a decade as an Art Director, Pat segued into landscaping, and has worked as a Landscape Designer in Fairfield County for the past twenty years.

Welcome to DLTC's Blog!

Hi there! Thanks for checking out our blog here at DLTC.

DLTC is in its fourth decade of providing high quality, reliable landscape services to residential and commercial clients. Our team of professionals would love the opportunity to connect with you. Meet Our Team here!

Whether you are looking for gardening advice or planning a major project, DLTC wants to be there to help guide you through all of the exciting options. We will keep you up to date on industry and DLTC news, teach helpful tips and tricks, and share advice about how to realize the amazing potential of your landscape.

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