Sunday, March 26, 2006

Members Picture Gallery

The new member project picture gallery is starting to get quite a few hits.

While I'm hoping for more activity in the future, one gentleman has posted several wonderful waterfall, pond, and sculpture pictures for you to enjoy and get ideas from.

Go take a look and post some of your own stuff.

member project pictures gallery
My offline company, S&S Designed Landscaping, will be going through some major changes this year.

Just this last year, two of my main competitors left the scene. And while this is a blessing, it can also be quite a burden at times. With 5 projects waiting at any one time and 12 designs to create sitting on my desk, I believe I've committed the ultimate contractor sin. Making more promises than I can keep.

So the first change is that we're not accepting any more large landscaping projects unless the client is willing to wait at least six months.

The second is that all design work will require an up front non-refundable deposit. Most of our work is referral and our clients want us specifically. These are no problem. However, no more free hours spent for bid getters and looky loos.

We will be focusing on small projects, sprinkler repairs, waterfalls, and the creation of our new nursery and retail outlet.

Here's to a better year and regaining my sanity.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

User Image Gallery

Here's where you can help me help you and all the other visitors to the site.

I've just created a new picture gallery at where you can view and comment on other do it yourselfer projects.

However, even better than that, you can post your own project pictures, before pictures, or whatever and get advice and comments on them. It's basically a picture forum.

I'm very excited about this new addition and hope you'll take advantage of it. I'm still tweaking on it but it is totally functional. Go to, create an account and let us see what you got going on.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Pre Planned Gardens

So what about pre-planned gardens for do it yourself design?

It use to be that anything that didn't require some thought or hard work was somehow less than professional or truly creative.

However, as I get past my irrational artist syndrome ego, I guess it's o.k. to admit that these garden plans are as close to professional as paying a designer to come up with something for you. And cheaper. And Easier.

But just remember, that while they are a much cheaper way to go, there's also a trade off for economy. It will take part of the season to become a part of the landscape. A little patience is required.

Most folks do a pretty good job of choosing the right plants for a project or entire landscape. Even still, most people just feel more comfortable having someone tell them what kind and where to put them. Whether it's better than you could do yourself or not, it somehow just feels safer. And that's one of the reasons they've become so popular.

And while pre planned garden designs are already much cheaper than a designer, a wise homeowner can find ways to make them even more economical.

In the first place, I wouldn't recommend doing your entire landscape with them. Create some simple mature displays with local commercial stock. This will help to create some establishment. Then use the preplanned gardens as a very professional looking and planned filler. This can save you a lot of money for a professional look.

Next, keep in mind that most of these gardens are perennial plants. Most can be divided and propagated easily next season. However, for now, you can get a little more bang for the buck by spreading the garden a little further than recommended. Remember, they'll multiply.

Since pre-fab garden plans are becoming so popular, several design firms have come about that offer pre made gardens to the general public. We're even planning this for our own greenhouses in the near future. However, until then.....

I've tried several different design firms without any real bad experience. I can't say anything bad about any of them. However, I am a bit partial to the designs of White Flower Farm and Spring Hill Nurseries. Between the two of them I have enough selection to fit almost any application from shade to sun and everything in between. And so far they've consistently had far better quality of plants.

Don't be afraid to give this simple resource a try. And especially if you're horticulturally or color challenged. Try it in one area. If it works for you, you can get more to fit the different applications of your landscape design.