Sep 20

 

Awesome News!

We made the short list for Austin Chronicle’s Best of Ausitn 2018 poll! But to bring home the prize we need you to vote again! So, head on over to the Austin Chronicle’s website and vote for us in the “Lawn Care/Landscaping” category for their 2018 #BestOfAustin list!
Comment below when you’ve cast your vote!

Click Here For The Ballot!

Below is a list of other local businesses and organizations we think deserve your support and love as well!

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Sep 19

Wanting to mimic some of their favorite downtown bars and patios, this customer opted to remove their huge obtrusive pergola that was already in disrepair. In it’s place, we designed three separate spaces that overflow into one another, divided and softened by borderless plantings and low raised planters and ornamental trees. To address major drainage issues, we utilized rain barrels to ease and redirect water captured from the gutters.
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Sep 12
Jill Zimmerman

Zilker Native Chic

By Jill Zimmerman | Leave a comment

This yard was transformed from a bland bilder basic to a fun and lush xeriscaped entry way. To make the yard feel bigger, we removed the driveway and used gravel from end to end, creating an open, borderless planting and patio space across the entire front yard. For extra security and privacy, a fence was added along the front, which features an automatic gate for easy use as they come and go. With the limestone facade being one of the customers least favorite features of the house, we planted fig ivy vines to grow and cover it.

 

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Aug 30

 

This project is another example of how to maximize small spaces. This customer’s small Brentwood yard was centered around their new plunge pool. However, the existing pavers and layout left much to be desired. We reworked the pavers to create usable spaces and clean lines, and a vines and lighting work with the custom pergola to increase the privacy and add a soft vertical element to encourage the intimate feel of the space. Two other structures block the pool equipment and AC compressor from sight. This reduces the visual weight of these areas and allows the eye to focus on the crown jewel of the space… the pool.

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Aug 22
Jill Zimmerman

Brentwood Oasis

By Jill Zimmerman | Leave a comment

Before we arrived, this back yard oasis had all of the water and none of the greenery! Installing a pool can be majorly damaging to your yard. To combat that we added raised planter beds with colorful plantings and fine textured foliage. To create a private space for the couple to relax in we also installed trellises and bamboo to soften the edges. Black star gravel and decomposed granite give it that beautiful and easy-going final touch.

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Aug 13

These customers thought their space was too small to utilize in the way they wanted. We introduced the idea of small spaces needing to be simple, yet impactful in every material and placement chosen. To make the space feel larger, we emphasized the visual height of the space with tall pottery, trellis work, and an herb planter wall, while taking advantage of unused space under the stairs to create storage. The large concrete patio pavers also assist with the illusion of a larger space. The entire space centers around a custom designed iron planter and fire pit combo for night time lounge entertaining.

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Aug 1

This couple had just built a new house on the outskirts of Austin and were in need of some new landscaping to go with it. For their large slopped yard they wanted limestone boulders to break up the space and keep it natural while a flagstone patio and fire pit could be the fun focal point to the design.

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Aug 1

Concrete is a material landscape architects are all too familiar with. Highways are built with it, downtown depends on it, even features that don’t have concrete as the main focal point will often use it somewhere for structural support.

However, I want to talk about concrete and its aesthetic achievements.  Long past are the days when a concrete patio was just a boring slab of stark white cement. Concrete can be natural or sleek, funky or futuristic, the only limit is your imagination!

Texture

One of the easiest ways to add visual interest to freshly poured concrete is to add texture.

1.Broom finish

Broom finish is as straight forward as it sounds. A broom is run along the surface of the concrete to create ridges. The thickness and coarseness of the hairs affects the amount of coarseness added. This can be done straight across or in swirls to create a pattern once dry. 

2. Salt Finish

Because salt dissolves in water, if it is sprinkled onto the surface of the concrete when still wet and left to dry impressions will be made in the concrete once water is used to wash it away. This creates a distinctive weathered look that is hard to achieve through other methods. Larger particles of salt will create deeper impressions and you can choose to distribute the salt evenly or unevenly depending on the look you want. 

Broom Finish with Salt Finish Border

3. Floating

A concrete float is a device used to smooth the surface of the concrete. This is the typical finish you will see on most public projects. A float can be as simple as a small hand tool, a long handle with a float attached, or a power trowel for more industrial projects. 

4. Polished

A polished concrete surface is not very typical for outdoor applications, but it is very popular indoors. The process is more labor intensive than the first 3 because the goal is to wipe away imperfections. It involves grinding the concrete down until the surface is even and smooth and then applying sealers and resin to give it a nice shine.

5. Sand Blasted

Sand blasting concrete involves using compressed air to shoot sand at high speeds at the surface once the concrete is already dry. This can help to remove paint or smooth a surface that has experienced years of weathering. However, done over a longer period of time it can create a coarser texture and expose aggregate in the concrete to create a brand new surface. 

Additional materials

For this category I’m referring to the addition of materials to concrete that affects the way the surface looks. 

6. Exposed Aggregate

Exposed aggregate concrete is created by adding aggregate like gravel, crushed stone, pebbles, glass, shells or even recycled plastic to the concrete and then washing away or using chemicals to remove the top layer (of concrete) to expose the aggregate inside. Exposed aggregate is highly customizable, but is typically associated with a more traditional look when used outdoors. When polished and cut, however, it can make a beautiful modern counter top. 

7. Mosaic

Although the finished look of exposed aggregate is very similar to mosaic the process is slightly different. Mosaic usually involves a more deliberate pattern that needs to be precisely placed after the concrete is poured. It can be created with pebbles, glass, plates, or terra cotta pots. It also requires the use of mortar (essentially a form of concrete without the larger gravel pieces) that is typically used to fill in the spaces after the pattern is set. Then the surface is cleaned, as before, to reveal the beautiful pattern below. 

Indentated

While, arguably, indenting into concrete is also adding texture I decided to single it out as its own category due to some of the unique ways this can be done. 

8. Board formed

When pavers, walls, or even pathways are built a wooden form is often used to keep the concrete in place. Once the concrete dries it can inadvertedly take on the pattern of the plywood being used. Eventually, people decided to exaggerate this effect by adding additional wood on the inside of the form to show the wood grain on the surface. The result is both a soft and sophisticated look. 

Board Formed Concrete Wall

9. Stamped

Stamped concrete is concrete that is patterned to look like cobblestones, flagstones, tile or wood using a stamp. This reduces the labor that would have been used to lay individual stones or tiles. Often times color is also added to help in the illusion. Over the past couple of years companies have been constantly improving on the look and believability of their products and it’s gotten so good that it can be hard to tell the difference. 

Stamped Concrete Midway Through

Color

10. Staining 

Nowadays concrete doesn’t have to be that boring grey/white color we are all used to. You can get concrete any color of the rainbow using pigments to change the color of the concrete itself, or by staining the outside. Staining is great because it can be applied any time after the concrete is cured and can be reapplied to make your floor look brand new.

So, that’s it! We encourage you to experiment with each of the finishes on this list and don’t be afraid to mix and match. The possibilities are endless.

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Aug 1

This past month as I was skimming through the vast catalogues of pinterest boards and  landscape portfolios I came across a simple, but wonderfully executed, blog called Drawn to Garden by Erin Lau.

After looking through her website I felt compelled to try out my artistic chops and create a perspective drawing (shown below) following the guide she laid out in her blog post “Garden Creation: How to draw a Perspective Sketch”.

I’ve never been good at perspective,  but overall I’m happy with the way it turned out! I encourage anyone interested in sketching and landscaping to try and follow her steps and see the results you get.

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Jul 2

If heat and drought weren’t enough to make you worry about your plants, never forget about those ruthlessly resilient, tiny and terrible, spider mites.

I hate spider mites. For the brief few weeks I’ve experienced their presence they’ve completely sucked the life out of my house plants, many of which I was already trying to nurse back to health. I’ve tried spraying them with water, soap, alcohol, until I finally settled on neem oil, which has seemed to do the trick, for now…

So, in the effort to save you from some of the headaches I’ve endured dealing with these aggravating arachnids here is a list of everything you need to know about spider mites, and hopefully how to get rid of them.

WHAT ARE SPIDER MITES?

First, I guess I’ll start by telling you what a spider mite is. Spider mites are members of the Acari or mite and tick subclass found within the larger Arachnida, or arachnid classification. They are tiny, less then 1 mm in size, and can commonly be found living on the underside of leaves. Some plants that are susceptible to mites are fruit trees, tomatoes, strawberries, roses, juniper, rosemary, and house plants. So, basically anything tasty, pretty, or fragrant…great.

The optimal temperature for a spider mite is 85-95 degrees fahrenheit, and they love dry heat, so they love our Texas summers. Under these conditions it can take as little as 5 days for a mite to reach maturity and live 2-4 weeks as an adult laying hundreds of eggs. This leads into the difficulty of getting rid of them, since not long after you’ve killed the adults more eggs begin to hatch.

Closeup of Spider Mite

 HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE SPIDER MITES?

Due to their size, it can be difficult to tell if you have a spider mite infestation until it’s too late. I was able to notice them because my plants are rather small, and I check on my plants every day. However, if you want to check your plants for mites you can take a piece of paper place it under the leaves and shake. If small reddish-brown speckles fall onto the paper you likely have mites. More dramatic evidence of mites include yellowing of leaves in a spotted pattern and webbing encasing leaves like that of a spider.

WHY ARE THEY SO DAMAGING?

Spider mites feed on plants by piercing the leaves and drinking the fluids inside, creating thousands of tiny holes. This vastly diminishes the plants’ ability to retain water and the attacked leaves slowly start to wither and die. Combined with the stress of summer, spider mites can kill a plant in the blink of an eye.

Spider Mite Damage

HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THEM?

There are several points of attack you can take towards getting rid of spider mites. One unfortunate solution is to immediately dispose of the infected plant to prevent them spreading. It may seem a little hasty, but if you have seen these pests before you know you can never be too safe.

If you catch them early enough and want to give it a go there are several pesticides recommend by the “austingov” website that will have minimal environmental impact if used. Rather than list them all I’ve attached the list here: spider mite pesticides

Like I mentioned earlier, I tried the  “spraying with a stream of water” solution to no avail, and my homemade insecticidal soap didn’t fair much better. Finally, I tried borrowing my mom’s neem oil and it seemed to do the trick. Neem oil is a vegetable oil collected from the neem tree, which is endemic to India. It’s an organic form of pesticide that can help control many different kinds of pests, as well as fungi and mildew. You should be able to find it in your typical home and garden store, but if you can’t I’m sure amazon would be your next best bet.

Whatever you land on, I wish you the best of luck, and don’t let those mites grind you down!

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