Jul 7

This month, I sat down with one of our award-winning designers Jill Zimmerman, and asked what she feels when designing a xeriscape.


“It’s an opportunity to show the art of plantings. Using them in clusters, the plants stand out more. Similar to what you see in the wild, with meadow-like areas punctuated by larger upright plants and structural elements.”

Creating a xeriscape is like curating a living collection. There are options on all sides, an array of plant choices for the desired effect. She illustrates how beautiful the selection and arrangement can be, because it mirrors nature.


Designing with native and adapted plants can embody a full spectrum of visual aesthetics. Jill highlights the stunning diversity we find in natural landscapes, mirrored in the design process where each plant and placement is selected with care.

“…different foliage shapes and textures. With pockets of plantings there is more variety in the landscape, each planting has their own color, style and contrast. It becomes an art piece.”


Lawn is often used as a filler, a shortcut for design by way of blanketing a space in turf grass with higher water requirements instead of using alternative grasses. Xeric design does not mean that we must compromise our entire personal style, or that no plants are included – quite the opposite.

“give space, allow plants to do what they do naturally”

Most envision a traditional landscape and start with the expected. In the Greater Austin area we are establishing a new cultural practice. The only difference is, the results are unexpected.


Can you see your future xeriscape? Reach out to us here, let’s bring it into full view.

For more images from the projects displayed above see the full portfolio entries below:

Brentwood Oasis

Brentwood Burle Marx Tribute

Brentwood Family Escape

Native Modern Mueller

Zilker Native Chic

Barton Hills Modern Xeriscape

Travis Heights Modern Bungalow

Read more
Jul 7

Personal Space. There are few things more precious than having a private space to relax, stretch out in, breathe in, and just be yourself. 

I caught up with two of our designers, Erin Spencer and Jill Zimmerman to display some Native Edge favorites for creating a green retreat that suit your space, are responsible for the landscape, and can match your personal style.


One of the most popular and visually interesting choices for privacy is the trellis. The sturdiness of a custom metal frame creates the backbone for wide variety of vining plants. There are non-flowering choices for a consistent living wall, or for those who enjoy seasonal pops of color, there are plenty of options like crossvine, Carolina jessamine, coral honeysuckle, star jasmine and more!

Another great opportunity is to plant tall growing shrubs, like Italian cypress, junipers, viburnums, cherry laurels and the like! Pride of Barbados flowers add a bright touch of color to a lush poolside space.

For the adventurous or those looking to add to preexisting structures, there is also the option to blend more than one privacy element.

The right plantings and planning in a landscape can turn an open space into an intimate enclosure. The jewel of privacy also comes with a design opportunity, ways to preserve the openness of an outdoor living space and create a personal haven for the homeowner.


Ready to turn your landscape into a private oasis? Contact us to get started!

For more images from the design elements displayed above see the full portfolio entries below:

Brentwood Oasis

Brentwood Plunge Courtyard

Ridgetop Modern Makeover

Rustic Crestview Backyard Escape

Midtown Commons Lounge Courtyard

Read more
Jun 2

Container gardening adds versatility to large gardens and is an ideal choice to add character to smaller spaces. Container plantings lend instant color, provide visual interest, and can even bring the architecture of the house into the garden.


Container gardening can be enjoyed for one season, or designed to last for years. A nice feature of container plantings is you can plant almost anything in a container so long as the plant has enough water, light, and nutrients.

Single, large containers can be used for outdoor decoration, and arrangements of various sized pots can create a unique and personal focal point.

Planting with a blend of different species in the same pot are fun to put together and offer almost limitless possibilities. Experiment, and if one plant doesn’t work out, try something else.

A pair of identical containers to frame a walkway can be an inviting welcome! Combining upright and trailing plants, or edible herbs with flowering choices uses the different foliage to create visual and colorful interest.

Container gardening can also be a practical choice. If you are short on space, using containers on a deck or patio brings color and ambiance to different outdoor areas.

Almost any vegetable, flower, herb, shrub, or small tree can grow successfully in a container. Large containers hold more soil, which resists fluctuations in temperature; spread a layer of mulch as you would in the garden to help retain moisture and insulate your plants from the heat.

When making plant selections, choose varieties that suit our climate and the amount of sun or shade the container will receive.

Light-colored containers will keep the soil cooler than dark containers and keep in mind that container plants will need thorough watering and regular feeding in their routine. How often will depend on many factors such as weather, plant size, plant varieties, and the size of your pot. Whichever container style you spring for, drainage holes will be essential.


For containers to remain attractive all summer long, look for warm-weather annuals that bloom all season or have foliage that stays engaging. Whatever your personal style is, there is a container choice and plant option that matches your aesthetic!

Ready to liven up your landscape with container planting and pottery arrangements? Reach out to us to get started!


To see more images of projects with container plants please check out the portfolio links below:
Barton Hills Contemporary Curb Appeal
Barton Springs Cottage Community
Boulden Creek Retreat
Brentwood Plunge Courtyard
Hyde Park Adaptable Landscape
Midtown Commons Lounge Courtyard
Oak Hill Country Estate

Read more
Jun 2

Similar to finishing an attic or remodeling a basement, building an outdoor room in your landscape makes the best of space you already have.


Think about your home and all the places inside. Each room serves multiple functions and can be arranged to suit the occasion. The same principle extends into your landscape. The back porch where you drink your morning coffee and enjoy a quiet moment is the same place that you can entertain guests with music, games and laughter.


A wonderful opportunity in landscaping is the ability to amplify what is already inside – and bring it outside. Experience your home in new ways and create an additional space to share for seasons to come.

Expand your hosting potential this year! Reach out to us to build a room fit for making memories!


Click here to explore our portfolio for more images of these outdoor room projects!

Read more
May 5

The path is one of the oldest forms of design, an escort for the new, a guide for the lost, a practical direction in and out of a space. It’s an instruction manual with no words. Go this way. That is the influence of spatial design.


My favorite aspect of design is that everything, every little thing – is an opportunity for influence. The pathway is a pivotal part of creating an atmosphere, it serves your purposes, it takes your guests where you want them and returns them to where they have already been. How do you want them to feel? The amount of space a person has at their disposal can open or cut off their imagination of what is even possible to do.

Think back to the last time you were in a field. That wide open expanse allowed you to relax and envision a wealth of possibilities; “we can play a game, we can toss a ball, we can lie down, we can sit and eat, we can spread a blanket…we can, we can, we can”.

Now think about the last time you were in a shop that had a few too many shelves, the aisles were too tight – you wanted to get out of there. The same thing happens when we walk on a path; a shared sidewalk ten feet across simply feels different than the regular width of five, even though the concrete may be identical.

When our designers plan a space; access, transition and purpose all contribute to the final layout. The height of your steps, the spaces between stones, the width of a strip, the angle of a turn, even the “shape” of your walkway all comes into the design. We want to provide our customers with a functional space that works not only for the landscape, but the goals each homeowner has for using it.

 
Ready to change your path? Reach out to us to for a new way to navigate your landscape!


To see more images from the projects above please check out the portfolio links below:
Barton Hills Contemporary Curb Appeal
Barton Hills Modern Xeriscape
Brentwood Plunge Courtyard
Oak Hill Country Estate
Travis Heights Modern Bungalow

Read more
May 5

Wildflowers are one of nature’s most exuberant participants. Producing entire fields of seasonal color, their explosive entrances mark one of the most lovely – and in Texas the toughest – times of year.


Wildflowers are a perfect illustration of the Texas landscape: it’s hot, we’re here, and we will be back. We have the privilege of witnessing them carpet the forgotten places, blanketing the empty zones we pass on obligatory commutes – another call from nature to remain grateful even when things are temporary. They remind of us of color, the season, and how to enjoy the little things.

Color has the distinct ability to impact our mood – to lift our spirits, soothe, energize or welcome. Little pockets of vibrancy in your landscape can enrich a space, without overpowering it. The Texas Department of Transportation knows this; every year they have an annual program that buys and sows over 30,000 POUNDS of wildflower seed across our Texas highways.

Who doesn’t love a field blazing full of Indian Paintbrushes, winking Blackfoot Daisies, elegant stalks of Purple Coneflower, or the tender welcome of pink Buttercups? These tiny clusters of color withstand the wind, the rain and the heat and they make all the difference for drivers who see their prolific blooms. You can enjoy the same seasonal impact at your home!

A favorite for many pollinators, saving a space in your landscape for wildflowers can also bring very pretty guests to your doorstep. Spread the love and bring wildflowers into your landscape! They are usually grown from seed, but with options in both annuals and perennials you can create a colorful space that can change and grow over the years. Explore local wildflower options and have fun selecting your own bursts of color!

Buy local wildflower seed and when your flowers bloom, wish them well!


References: Potter, Anna. The Flower Fix. (White Lion 2019); Darcey, Cheralyn. Flowerpaedia. (Rockpool 2017) “Wildflower Program.” Texas Department of Transportation, www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/maintenance/wildflower-program.html. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

 

Read more
Apr 9

Continued Closure Statement – Updated April 2020

:: This is an update of the previous statement. Please see NativeEdgeLandscape.com/Shelter for the most current Native Edge status ::

Good Afternoon,

First, we hope that you and your family have been doing well during this tough time.

As we know well at this point, the City of Austin and Travis County have been placed under a Shelter in Place Order since Wednesday March 25, 2020. 

At Native Edge, we have taken this very seriously, and although we had been using extreme precautions before the Order, we have continued these precautions by working from home, limiting crew interactions, having only one crew member in the vehicle at all times, and postponed all of our consults and any customer meetings.

This has allowed our employees and their families to stay as safe as possible during this tough time.

As of today, Thursday April 9th, 2020, the City of Austin has not announced continuing or extending the Shelter in Place Order past Monday April 13th, 2020. However, at Native Edge, we feel it is necessary to continue to practice social distancing and keeping our employees and their families as safe as possible for as long as we can.

Native Edge will continue to practice the directions of the Shelter in Place Order through Thursday April 30th, 2020. Our office staff will continue to work from home, crew interactions will continue to be limited, max crew members per vehicle, etc.

During this time, Native Edge will begin to phase back into conducting certain aspects of business we previously put on hold.


Previously, Native Edge postponed all onsite meetings, consultations, presentations and site visits.

As of Tuesday April 14th, 2020, Native Edge will resume all meetings with strict stipulations. The stipulations will require all customer face to face consultations and site visits be conducted in such a way that we keep our employees and their families safe, as well as you and yours. We ask that there be no physical contact, such as hand shake greetings, passing of business cards or hard copy documents. We ask that you wear a face mask or shield, or bandana of sorts, as well as gloves when necessary, and our staff will be doing the same.

We imagine that our consultations will happen in a fashion of greeting at the entry way per usual, with a safe 6ft distance of course, and our team be allowed to roam the property as needed. We ask that for your safety and ours, you comfortably remain near your door during the duration of the meeting – or wherever else may be practical for safe distancing. This will allow our staff to get the photos and measurements they need in order to create a successful landscape for you!

Design Presentations will be allowed at this time. However, we will ask that you follow the CDC’s recommendations of face coverings or masks, as well as gloves through the duration of this meeting. Though this does not lend itself to the standard warm and welcoming presentations we have become accustomed to, we strongly feel it is better to be safe at this time. These stipulations will also include no beverages being offered, and limited hard copy documents being brought to the presentation. We will be prepared to email all small detailed documents prior to the presentation, and only bring with us the physical copy of the design. Though design samples may be brought with us, we ask that there is limited physical contact with each sample.

After each presentation, our design team will be sanitizing all materials and samples brought to the presentation to do our part in ensuring the safety of our community.

During this time, we will continue to offer our virtual presentations as previously announced.


Our installation and maintenance teams will continue to practice the cleanliness and distancing we have put in place for the last two weeks. If any interaction onsite is absolutely necessary, we ask that we maintain safe social distancing, as well as wear face masks or covers as noted before. We will unfortunately continue to have a few extra vehicles onsite during the duration of April as we will also continue to have a minimum of team members per vehicle for safety and precaution. 

If you are in the process of scheduling an installation or new maintenance contract with us currently, we encourage you to continue communication via email and all new schedule emails will be sent out upon our return to business as usual.

This continued communication will allow us to continue securing dates on our calendar with no additional delays for the year of 2020.

As we have previously stated, if you would like to move any meetings, installations or pause your maintenance services for additional time we are happy to plan accordingly as best we can to accommodate everyone in a timely fashion.

At this time, Native Edge will not be offering any refunds as we will continue business as normal as soon as we are fully back running. Please advise us of any medical emergencies for you or your family and our owner will reach out directly.

Our team will begin making contact the week of April 13th to resume any postponed previously scheduled meetings. We ask for your patience during this time as our team becomes adjusted and makes the shift to create a safe meeting space.

We encourage you as a valued customer to reach out to us and let us know if you have any questions or concerns as we will be happy to address them.

We all look forward to a safe return to our lives as soon as possible, and hope to have your support in upholding these safe practices until then!

Please stay tuned to our newsletter, social media and direct correspondence for updates regarding a firm reopening date! You can also check out our website for additional details at: NativeEdgeLandscape.com/shelter

Thank you for your dedication and support during this time!

Rodney Stoutenger

Owner

Read more
Apr 6

Standing water can create a breeding ground for pests, and a lack of solutions for draining excess water can encourage gullies and erosion. So how do we create a remedy for both?

Enter: The Rain Garden

Living in the Greater Austin area can provide homeowners and landscape professionals with interesting challenges concerning large amounts of both sun and water. On one hand, our lovely city is drenched in heat and light for months on end; then twice a year almost like endcaps, we get waves of rainstorms that give us our much needed water – just all at once. These rhythms make drainage and grading even more pivotal in your landscape. 

Usually designed with a berm, an inlet and an outlet, the rain garden can take advantage of rain water in your yard and simultaneously prepare ways to disperse any overflow. A wonderful way to serve visual and practical purposes, rain gardens help drain water from places it naturally gathers and provides an unconventional focal point for viewers. On the design side, rain gardens grant additional opportunities within the layout of a space and ways to create even more diversity in the planting plan. For example, our designer Dillon mentions Little Bluestem: native to Texas and beyond, is often under utilized in our area despite it’s attributes. A great feature of Little Bluestem is that it changes color throughout the seasons and has upright stalks that remain visually interesting after many other grasses have begun to die back. Being seasonally versatile, Little Bluestem has drought and flood tolerance, so it can handle a rain garden placement in full or partial sun.


Another drainage solution is the dry creek. For instance, the homeowners at the top were backed up against the greenbelt and as geologists wanted a functional design that mirrored the natural processes of this slope with native plants and rockscape. This design not only gave the homeowners something interesting to look at, but also mitigated issues with runoff and washout. A smaller example is the image above, where the main concern was placing a water route from the storm gutters out of the recreational common areas. So you see, there are plenty of options that can be customized to each space and your needs as the homeowner.

If you have drainage issues, reach out! We would love to turn a problem into a project!

Read more
Apr 6

This month I had the pleasure of chatting with one of our designers Dillon Tuttle about his take on using ornamental grasses in a native planting design. I would like to share a summarized version of some of what we discussed.


In design, native ornamental grasses are one of the most versatile plantings in a landscape. They vary in structure making them primed for visual and spatial impact. While ornamental grasses may be comparatively understated next to showier floral displays, they have an effortless quality to them – long elegant blades swishing with every gentle breeze. Ornamental grasses are ideally suited to give you a palpable representation of wind in a landscape, like the Firecracker Fountain Grass shown below. Lush spaces that are designed not only to stand, but to move. Seas of grasses swaying calmly in the wind…it can be transportive. And after a long day at work, or gritting your teeth through daily hassles, fantasy may be exactly what the doctor ordered.



Mexican Feathergrass is a good example of movement with its flowing tresses sweeping back and forth, but its gentler structure can almost melt into the ground during winter. Rigid grasses like our native Little Bluestem, hold their vertical position much longer and it changes color throughout the seasons. Another added benefit of grass is it’s multifunctional nature; it can be grown for the color, the cushion, the texture, and even as a wind break, giving you the added benefit of a soundtrack to the space around you. For this, Dillon recommends another lovely local grass: Big Muhly. A large perennial bunchgrass that spouts up and spills over like a fountain with feathered silvery seed heads waving at the top. Not only is it local to Texas, it’s originally from this area; and “it doesn’t get more native than that”. Big Muhly is tall enough for privacy screening and is soft textured unlike other non-native grasses such as Pampas which has serrated blades.

The beauty of designing with natives is you don’t have to look far or change much to accommodate stunning diversity in size, shape, and stature. Sedges make great teammates in a bed: they play well with others, can handle shade, and are evergreen – making them a perfect tufted spine throughout the seasons. Creating a meadow-like installation with multiple grasses and perennials weaving between each other can bring a textural diversity to your space and a sense of reverence for the resilience of nature. A community, sharing space and thriving together even in difficult circumstances.

When you’re ready to start your next outdoor project, reach out to us about incorporating native ornamental grasses into your landscape!

Additional References: Skip Richter, Texas Gardener Magazine, https://www.texasgardener.com/pastissues/julaug08/Grasses.html; Potter, Anna. The Flower Fix. (White Lion 2019)

Read more
Mar 23

:: There is an updated statement here. Please see NativeEdgeLandscape.com/Shelter for the most current Native Edge status ::

Good Afternoon,

First, we hope that you and your family are doing well during this tough time.

As the City of Austin, Travis and Williamson County have moved into the Shelter in Place order as of midnight, Tuesday March 24th we have a few changes we will be making around Native Edge to adapt accordingly.

For the health and safety of our employees, our customers and the Austin community, we have made the decision to temporarily close our offices and work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Coronavirus). 

This temporary closure will last for the duration based on health and medical recommendations by the CDC and City of Austin, currently through April 13th, 2020. Although we were already taking extreme precautionary measures, we must do the right thing as a community to stop the spread of this virus as swiftly as possible. We hope you join us for the sake of our communities’ health in staying home for this time, if not longer.

As a local business, this decision did not come lightly, as our work is our livelihood. As a company, we have offered our employees additional paid time off in hopes to continue supporting our family here at Native Edge and we are working non-stop to continue supporting our team through this – financially and otherwise.


Our Design Team will continue to create and produce award winning designs during this closure, and will be available via email for any questions or new ideas for your space. We ask that phone calls be scheduled via email to ensure our Design Team is not overwhelmed during this time. Your Designer will reach out to you directly to reschedule any currently scheduled meetings on the calendar. If you are interested in continuing with your currently scheduled presentation, we are offering virtual presentations via video conference, all documents will be shared via email in PDF format, and final payments will be due as scheduled at time of presentation. Your Designer can schedule the details with you accordingly. Otherwise, all presentations will be rescheduled when face to face meetings are able to resume again.

Our Installation Foremen and Maintenance Account Managers will reach out accordingly to let you know of new dates, and projected rescheduled start dates. 

If you are in the process of scheduling an installation or new maintenance contract with us currently, we encourage you to continue communication via email and all new schedule emails will be sent out upon our return to business as usual. However, the queue will remain the same in scheduling on a “first come, first serve” basis.

This continued communication will allow us to continue securing dates on our calendar for no additional delays for the year of 2020.


If you have a current installation and construction or maintenance contract with us, Paragraph 6, Section F, ix states that safety and sanitation are important to keep maintained.

In our industry – keeping walkways and properties clear of debris falls under safety, and keeping lawn and weeds at bay falls under sanitation to keep pests and rodents out of the yard. Regularly scheduled maintenance contracts will continue as scheduled until otherwise advised by City officials or requested by our customers per Code Enforcement.

Current properties that are under construction will be completed to the point of being safe to enjoy during the Shelter In Place order; this does not necessarily mean the project will be fully completed at this time unfortunately. 


During this time, all meetings, presentations and new contracts that are not in-progress will be temporarily suspended for the time period of being on the Shelter In Place order. Our calendar will shift accordingly; meaning – if your project or meeting was scheduled for the 26th of March, your new date would move back by a little over two weeks, on the 14th of April; all scheduled in chronological order as they were. Should the closure need to continue beyond two weeks, we will just continue to adjust our calendars accordingly; however updated firm dates may not be available to us until a reopening is scheduled. We greatly appreciate your patience with the situation during this time.

As we have previously stated, if you would like to move any meetings, installations or pause your maintenance services for additional time beyond the Shelter In Place order, we are happy to plan accordingly as best we can to accommodate everyone in a timely fashion. Please allow our team a little additional time as we settle in with our families to coordinate with you for scheduling new dates for all meetings, installations and maintenance services while we all adjust to this major life event.

At this time, Native Edge will not be offering any refunds as we will continue business as normal as soon as we are back running. Please advise us of any medical emergencies for you or your family and our owner will reach out directly.

Please stay tuned to our newsletter, social media and direct correspondence for updates regarding a firm reopening date!

In the meantime, stay safe, stay sanitized, and enjoy this time in your own space with your family! And be creative – get gardening! 

Rodney Stoutenger, Owner

Read more