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Pergolas: A Perfect Fit For Any Outdoor Space

by Rowan Marney / December 29, 2020

Pergolas are a durable and low maintenance option to help define your outdoor space.


Pergolas are an extremely popular feature for outdoor spaces. Not only do they add value to your home, they are affordable, versatile, and easy to install in any space. Pergolas can be built out of many different types of material such as wood, metal, and plastic. They also can be fitted with a canopy, retractible or not, to add a bit more shade. Pergolas are structured to be durable and low maintenance so that they’re ready to be used, no matter the weather.

Nicer to look at than other shade options such as awnings, pergolas can create a cohesive look with the home while adding a sculptural and architectural aspect to the space. They provide extra privacy as well as shade and temperature control, making relaxing under one during the heat of the summer a breeze. Pergolas can be a simple structure, or contain added features like a canopy or moveable beams to create added shade. Pergolas can be simple in design or complex with added features, making them completely adaptable to the space they fill.

Not only are pergolas nice for homeowners, they are great for plants that couldn’t normally survive direct sunlight. Pergolas do not completely disrupt sunlight or air flow, creating optimal growing conditions for plants. They also provide a great opportunity to add vining plants to the base of the structural beams, giving them plenty of room to grow vertically.

If your backyard has been lacking that certain something, try looking into having a pergola installed! These highly customizable structures help define outdoor spaces while adding a bit of extra shade. Pergolas can be built to fit just about any space, making them a top choice for a landscaping structure.

 

The Native Allure

by Erin Crespo / October 6, 2020

Image from Hyde Park Modern Retreat – Front Yard

A well-planned landscape can foster community not only for ourselves, but for our landscape as well.


Natives. Most often looked to for their durability and natural stamina in our climate, but a delicious benefit that can be overlooked is the relationships they nurture with wildlife.

Image from Oak Hill Country Estate

Curating a palette of native plants can invite some of our most beloved guests into our gardens. Tubular, nectar-rich flowers can attract hummingbirds flitting from snack to snack. Flat rocks and a wide arrangement of blooms lure in butterflies for rest and sustenance.

Image from Hyde Park Adaptable Landscape

Tiny tree houses, feeders and soft flowing water appeal to many kinds of birds and Fall is a wonderful time to witness an array of them on their annual migration. These are the guests to our homes that fill us with surprise and wonder.

Image from Barton Springs Cottage Community

The restorative quality of nature is a treat that can be integrated into your landscape. Our choices in design can draw or deter desired wildlife to make a seasonal refuge in our gardens or venture elsewhere.  With the right combination of plants and placement, you can become a steward to species that bring you peace and joy.

Image from Boulden Creek Retreat

Another beautiful part of using native and adapted plants is it’s an excellent way to stay connected to our environment. There is an aesthetic to our local plant palette that is unique to our area and it’s creatures.


Everything has a purpose, everything plays into the whole. When crafting a space where plans and plants come together in a unique and complimentary goal we get to experience the seasons through their interactions within our landscape including blooms and wildlife.

Image from Zilker Native Chic

 

Night View: Bringing Light into your Landscape

by Erin Crespo / September 3, 2020

See your landscape at any time with the addition of landscape lighting


Lighting can quickly create a sense of drama in your design. Good landscape lighting can highlight the existing design and show off plant features from new angles. Quantity, spacing and placement of your light fixtures have an effect on the mood and function within a space. You have the option to create a sense of wonder, security, and modern practicality with the installation of lights in your landscape.

A good rule to follow when exploring where to place lighting is fixtures should not be noticeable during the day, or distract from the feel of the space. There are the traditional options of white or warm light, and there are also colored choices like pinks, blues, and purples for backyard spaces that can add an eccentric touch to the color palette.

Plants that have an architectural feel like yuccas, agaves, and cacti, or any that you simply love the look of, can become a new focal point with the assistance of lighting. Smaller and softer lights scattered around the landscape can also provide privacy and security; instead of a large single porch light focusing on one area, the dispersed light allows you to see your environment, enjoy the design, and not be centered in an outdoor spotlight.

Available light plays heavily into the perception of a space and will influence the ways you interact with your outdoor decor. Additionally, incorporating lighting is a sensible way to install safety into your outdoor areas. If your design has walkways, corners, or a meandering path, using light as landmarks is a practical choice that will ensure you and your guests can see their way in low light or at nighttime.


Ready to illuminate your space? Contact us to get started!

Fall Glow: Warm Colors in the Garden

by Erin Crespo /

Making space for flowers that bloom at different times of year can enhance the passing of time.


Color is emotional. Whether it’s sprinkled around an open space or encouraged into a full color explosion, color has an impact on our mood and influences our perception of a space.


When thinking about your landscape, consider the areas you would like to call attention to and in what way. Yellows and oranges add a bright burst of color and instantly grab attention while pinks and whites can inspire a soft romance or feeling of lightness.

Color choice can be guided by multiple reasons. Selections can be made based on tones that will compliment the exterior of a home or personal preference. If you have a favorite color or combination, that’s always a solid place to start. Another classic jumping off point is to consider a feeling you want to inspire, especially if you are creating your own private retreat.

The shape and texture of foliage in a design can be highlighted by blending colors. Deeper tones like the images above, can add an intriguing contrast against greens and integrate a more muted richness; the distinction punctuating an otherwise monochromatic bed.

Once your plants are selected, they can be placed singularly for a visual focal point or arranged and dispersed across different beds to blend a larger space into a more cohesive color palette. Play with seasonal changes and make your landscape a living self-expression! Happy planting everyone!


Ready to add color to your landscape? Contact us to get started!

For more images of the projects shown above, check out the full portfolio entries:

Brentwood Family Escape

Brentwood Burle Marx Tribute

Brentwood Plunge Courtyard

Oak Hill Country Estate

Zilker Native Chic

 

Personal Space: Planting for Privacy

by Erin Crespo / July 7, 2020

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

From the Ground Up: How Pathways Move

by Erin Crespo / May 5, 2020

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

Best of Houzz 2020: Design

by Erin Crespo / February 24, 2020


Hello Everyone! We are so excited to share that Native Edge Landscape won Best of Houzz 2020 for Design!

Thank you to all our customers for inviting us into your homes and letting us share in your story. You are all so unique and our designers love working with each of you to create a space that expresses who you are and matches your expanding lifestyles. We continue to look forward to new design adventures and hanging out in your new yards!

We could not have done this without you!

From The Inside Out

by Erin Crespo / February 3, 2020

– – –

Designing a landscape is more than just being outside, it’s creating a view and a feeling that carries into your house. As the season brings us warmer weather, invite us to come join you and create a space that can transform your home for years to come.

Are you ready to extend your home? Contact us to begin creating a new room that brings the inside – out!

The Virtue of a Bouquet

by Erin Crespo /

I truly love the art of gift giving, whether it’s a celebration, a random day of the week, a passing thought turned into a trinket – or an even a bashful apology wrapped in satin ribbon. Gifts spread joy. When it comes to floral surprises (because let’s be honest – even when customary, flowers are always a surprise) here are a couple of my favorite tips:


Inspire Playfulness:

Table arrangements are perfect for a family home, a filled vase can spark curiosity, imagination and creativity. The perfect antidote to a chilly winter, a floral arrangement can spread seasonal cheer. Allow yourself creative freedom, loose expressive designs are just as fun as organized ones. To your left, we have soft cream-colored hydrangeas, which mean “perseverance, understanding, and interconnectedness”, a wonderful theme for a martini-mixer we were invited to garnish with plant decor. Remind others of joy with festive exuberance!

Meaningful Color:

Include a ‘Meaning Card’. Not everyone speaks the language of flowers, and certainly no one knows them all. Here for example, to your right we see Anthuriums –  which mean “hardworking, hospitality, ‘think of me’, and welcome”.  A wonderful display for our event with Equality Texas.  A quick note about what the flower is, and the meaning you’ve placed behind it for that particular occasion, turns a temporary gift into an immediate, intimate experience. You thought of them, show them how. 

In celebration of love, friendship and Valentine’s Day,  what does a bouquet mean to you?


References: Potter, Anna. The Flower Fix. (White Lion 2019); Darcey, Cheralyn. Flowerpaedia. (Rockpool 2017)

Why Do Plants Prefer Rainwater?

by Erin Spencer / May 3, 2019

The reasons in which plants benefit from rainwater are vast and at times complicated, to the point where one could write a dissertation on the subject. Seemingly, the basics are simple, but if you are the curious type this article may leave you with more questions than answers.  

Hopefully, not too many questions. 

Nonetheless, here are my top three reasons why plants prefer rainwater, and (some) of the science behind why this is.  

Side note: Many people complain about the apparent differences they experience in tap water from city to city and state to state in taste and hardness level. Logically, it follows that if tap water is different from state to state the rainwater is too, even without considering human involvement. Not only does rain water change from place to place, it changes from shower to shower, and season to season in the SAME place (1). So, when you go through my list below just keep this in mind. 

1. Rainwater deposits vital nutrients 

Rainwater itself is a chemical cocktail that includes particles from local origins as well as particles that are transferred from elsewhere by the wind. To dive into some chemistry for just a moment, technically, “rainwater is a mixed electrolyte that contains varying amounts of major and minor ions” (1). The list of these ions is very long, but some of them are none other than potassium, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, nitrate, nitrite, and iron (2).  

This is partly where we get the term “water hardness” from. Water hardness is describing the amount of dissolved minerals (specifically magnesium and calcium) that are found in water.

Tap water is, generally, more hard than rainwater. In efforts to reduce tap water hardness salts are occasionally added. Salts can be found in many things, including fertilizers. However, with repeated watering from tap water that has been “softened” salt can accumulate in the soil and negatively affect the soil structure and decrease the plant’s ability to take in water through osmosis. On its own, hard water is ok for plants; however, the amount of magnesium and calcium in hard water can begin to exceed what is a useful amount.

Nitrogen, is a vital nutrient for plants and is taken up by plants through nitrogen fixation. Nitrates and Nitrites are limited in our tap water due to concerns with diseases. In addition, chlorine and fluoride are added to tap water, among other things, to give tap water a higher PH. A high PH can reduce the plants ability to take up nutrients in the soil, but more on that later. 

2. Rainwater is more acidic. 

Pure water or H2O has a PH level of 7.0 which is neutral. Anything higher than that will be more basic, anything lower more acidic. Rainwater, generally, has a PH of about 5.6, so it’s on the acidic side (3).

The reasons behind this can be found by looking up. The natural presence of Carbon Dioxide, Nitric Oxide, and Sulfur Dioxide found in the lowest layer of our atmosphere reacts with water in the air resulting in a more acidic compound. “Acid rain” is the result of industrial activity pumping out these gases at excessive rates and lowering the PH to harmful levels of 3.0 or below (3).

Austin soils are, generally, high on the PH scale due to the high level of limestone. An alkaline soil can be detrimental to plant growth because it doesn’t allow the nutrients to be in their most available state. “Availability” in this case is not referring to the quantity or amount of a specific nutrient found in the soil, but if that nutrient is in a chemical form that is accessible to the plant. The ideal PH range for a soil to receive the most nutrients is if it’s in a slightly acidic or neutral state. Thusly, rain’s more acidic nature helps lower PH, at least temporarily, and gives plants the ability to take in more nutrients than tap water. 

 

 

3. Rainwater (usually) penetrates deeper and distributes more evenly. 

Last but not least, rain is beneficial because it’s free! It falls from the sky over large areas, usually watering your entire yard for the same amount of time at the same rate, if we assume we are dealing with a flat plot of land with no elevation change or obstructions of course. Drip irrigation, while beneficial for saving water, can suffer from leaks, or human error may result in plants not being watered very deeply. When a plant is watered often, but not deeply, the roots are trained to remain at the surface and not search downward for water. If you forget to water, or we suffer from a drought that prevents you from watering, the plant is at risk of dying because the roots won’t be deep enough to collect water below the soil’s surface. 

I hope that I’ve answered some of your burning questions on why rain water is preferred over tap water and if nothing else peaked your interest to go and explore the subject more. So, this month as we move into our flood season you can at least stay positive that your plants will enjoy the rain a little more than you will.

 

(1) Carroll, Dorothy, 1962, Rainwater as a Chemical Agent of Geologic Processes-A Review, United Staes Government Printing Office, Washington, G-2 p.

(2) Hutchinson, G. E., 1957, A treatise on limnology, v. 1, Geography, physics, and chemistry: New York, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1015 p. 

(3) Casiday Rachel and Frey Regina, Acid Rain: Inorganic Reactions Experiment, Department of Chemistry, Washington University, Missouri, 1998. http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Water/FreshWater/acidrain.html