When we first headed out to her home, this client had a great foundation for a gorgeous landscape. They had well-built rock walls and a patio in their backyard and a lovely brick path leading to their front door. We didn’t need to hardscape at their home, but they were looking to create big gardens throughout the property with color, color, color.
We created a variety of perennial beds in the front and back part of their property with varieties that bloom from spring to fall. We also go to their home each spring to plant long-lasting annuals to the garden beds to make them feel more full and to help extend that big color throughout the season. We went out there a couple of weeks ago to capture the beauty in the late summer. We hope you enjoy the gardens as much as we do!
One of our crews was fortunate to spend most of the late summer at a lakefront property in Colchester with spectacular views. We created an outdoor living space for the clients with various stonework and gardens, as well as made a grand, natural stone stairway that connected the home with the dock below.
The job itself was a big undertaking; it involved community planting along the steep hillside, blueberry sod, a bluestone walkway in back, foundation plantings, a permeable paver driveway (to help prevent runoff into the lake), and sod in the front yard.
The Client’s Goals:
The clients primarily wanted to have easy access to their dock on Lake Champlain, which was down a very steep cliff from their home. They also wanted to have a back yard where they could enjoy time outside, which they didn’t have before.
They were tired of tracking gravel into the garage from their driveway, so they wanted a permeable driveway. With smooth permeable pavers, they don’t have to worry about tracking anything into the home. A bonus benefit with this type of driveway is that with rainstorms — or even when they wash their cars — the water won’t runoff into their yard or the lake below.
The biggest challenge on this specific project was ledge. Because the home rests on a cliff, the ground was pretty much completely made up of hard rock. To remedy this situation and create the backyard they were hoping for, we brought in a huge excavator and hammered out portions of ledge to create a level space.
Our biggest success on the job was also part of our biggest challenge. The hardscape crew, led by Erik DesLauriers, did an amazing job working with the ledge to lay the steps. The result is a completely natural — and easy to navigate — stone staircase that winds down the cliff gradually to the lake.
The clients couldn’t be happier with the finished product and are already looking for reasons to have us back next season! Because we finished the job in the fall the pictures don’t do the plantings justice, but we’ll head back in the spring to take more photos of everything in bloom.
Last season we partnered with S E Group, a landscape architecture firm, to create a stunning landscape at the newly-built Bartlett Brook Apartments in South Burlington. A combination of retaining walls and thousands of perennials, shrubs, and trees all came together to help reduce stormwater runoff into the nearby Bartlett Brook (that feeds into Lake Champlain). The landscaping also softens the new construction and makes it feel like a private oasis for residents, even though it’s right off of Shelburne Road.
The Rain Gardens
We installed two large rain gardens in the back of the property by the parking lot to help retain stormwater and reduce runoff into the Bartlett Brook, which feeds directly into Lake Champlain. In just their second season the gardens are fantastically full and make a big impact as soon as you drive up. A variety of native grasses and perennials, including Black Eyed Susan, Joe Pye Weed, Daisies, are paired with pollinator-friendly Sedum and low maintenance Daylilies to create a season-long display of color. Tall Pampas Grass lines the walkways to the building, creating year-long interest and whimsy. Shrubs and trees bring the height of the gardens up and create privacy for residents.
The Pool And Sitting Gardens
A pristine pool and outdoor sitting area frame the front of the property, lined with texture-rich grasses and low maintenance perennials to soften the new construction. A mass planting of Pinky Winky Hydrangea edges the front fence to the pool, offering up sweet color and plenty of food for local pollinators. Pool-goers feel like they are in a private oasis surrounded by flowering perennials and grasses inside the pool fence.
A large stone patio hosts a fire pit and chairs for residents to enjoy a summer fire and this area is framed by tall grasses and low maintenance daylilies. Dozens of trees add privacy to this area of the property and again make it feel like a private oasis, even though the main road is just hundreds of feet away.
Challenges Of The Project
This project was done in the early summer last season, right at the peak of the dry, hot weather everyone in Vermont experienced. The biggest challenge for us on this job was to keep the thousands of plants and newly-seeded grass areas healthy and vibrant. As this was a new construction, there was no water on-site for us to use so we had to haul in our own water on a daily basis to keep everything looking good. Putting in as much time watering as constructing the walls and other parts of the project paid off; even with the extreme heat, almost everything we planted last year made it through the season and came back strong this year.
Another challenge — as is typical with commercial jobs — is that the landscaping is usually the last thing to come together at the end of a new build. Even though we started later than expected and had a tight deadline, we were still able to bring the project in on time by having the ability to ramp up our production with several crews and equipment.
As you can see by the photos taken in August this year, the project is looking colorful and most importantly doing its job by reducing stormwater runoff and providing a comfortable, private space for residents to enjoy time outdoors.
I’ve been a landscape designer for over a decade now and yet I still have some friends and extended family that have no idea what I actually do. They always just assume that I only do plant layout for foundation beds or small residential gardens. So when I show them photos of my projects that are full of not only plants, but walkways, patios, walls and lighting they seem genuinely shocked. ‘You really designed all that?’ or ‘I had no idea you did that!’ Are common responses that always makes me laugh. As a landscape designer knowledge of plant material is very important, but so is knowledge about different hardscape options, drainage, lighting and construction practices. All of these elements are important aspects of a well thought out landscape and a great reason to hire someone who specializes in landscape design to help you design your dream outdoor space!
Working here at di Stefano landscaping means being a part of a full service landscape design and build company. We offer the broad spectrum of landscape services from landscape design, to installation of hardscapes and gardens, as well as maintenance of planting beds and lawns. We take landscape designs and make them a reality! Often when meeting with a client for the first time to discuss a project, the most frequently asked question is ‘Why do I need a landscape design?’ The answer to this question is that there are many reasons why having a plan is helpful when thinking about a landscape project for your home or business. The first being that a landscape plan shows the overall look of what the space is going to be like when the project is completed. You will be able see where walkways or patios will be situated, how garden beds will help to create spaces and nestle hardscapes into the landscape and how each outdoor space corresponds with not only each other but also the building and the surrounding environment. Having a plan is especially helpful if you are thinking about a multi-phase project. The reason for this is because everyone involved in the project can see the long term goal of what you want to accomplish with your outdoor living space. Smaller projects within the whole can be picked off one or two at a time over a span of months or years.
Here is a helpful list that we keep in our office, it mentions some of the many reasons other reasons why a landscape design can benefit you. This list also highlights some of the many things that are taken into consideration when a professional landscape designer is working with you on your project.
Why Landscape Design?
The Arrival Experience:
How does your landscape make you feel when you arrive home?
What do you see first and is this something you want to change?
How can we maximize the outdoor living spaces for our needs?
Where will dining, play, entertainment or work take place?
How are each of the desired spaces defined?
Are there views that need to be highlighted or blocked?
Do you need wind screens or plantings to help muffle the sound of traffic?
Grade / Site Challenges:
Can slopes be turned into assets?
Drainage concerns and where to direct/handle the water?
Housekeeping and Functionality:
Screening of existing utilities, panels, septic or AC units?
Location of new utilities, panels, septic or AC units in correspondence to the desired use of the outdoor space.
Where will chickens or other animals fit into your landscape?
Where will wood, boats or RVs be stored?
Can we conserve resources by limiting lawn spaces or adding shade trees to help cool the house?
How can we create a truly one of a kind space for the homeowners to enjoy?
How can we incorporate all the elements that the homeowner is looking for, like specific plant material both new and transplants, pavers or stone for hardscapes or raised beds for vegetables?
What can be done to enhance curb appeal?
How can we maximize the resale value / marketability of the home?
How does the project provide value for the client? Does it purely make them happy to spend time in their landscape? Does it provide comfort or safety by installing a new front walkway and steps or do they see that there will be a financial return when they go to sell their home?
Let us know if you have a landscape project you would like help with and we would be happy to create a landscape plan for you!
Here are several of our recently completed projects!
At this Burlington, Vermont residence we installed a bluestone walkway and landing, as well as granite cobble edging. Plant material for the foundation beds is a mix of flowering shrubs and perennials. The clients asked us to re-use their stone mulch to control the weeds, which gives the beds a unique look.
This Williston, Vermont residence now has a multi-level thermal bluestone patio for entertaining and a more functional bluestone front walkway. There are also plantings of mixed flowering and evergreen shrubs, as well as perennials with varying bloom times. There are stone planter boxes and sitting walls with lights incorporated into them on site as well.
This beautiful irregular bluestone and brick walkway now leads to the front door of this Plattsburgh, New York home. Foundation plantings consisting of mixed shrubs, perennials, groundcovers and a weeping Crabapple were also part of this installation. Riding the Grand Isle Ferry made for a great way to start the day!
A cedar trellis for screening the neighbor from their new patio was installed at this South Burlington, Vermont residence. The homeowner is planning to plant a mix of flowering vines on it in the spring.
To see more photos of completed projects and ones we are working on check out our facebook page!
From new front walkways, creating cozy backyards with split rail fences, to adding some color to iconic Vermont tourist destinations, we have been keeping busy working all over Vermont this summer. Here are a few projects that were recently completed.
Our crew has been busily installing hardscapes, softscapes and lighting all throughout the state of Vermont this spring. Here are a couple of the projects we want to share with you! To stay even more updated on the projects we have going on Like our Facebook page.
Barre, VT Residence:
The crew was busy at this residence installing patios and walls early this spring. There were even a few days that the snow needed to be cleared out of the way so they could get to work! As things warmed up a bit the trees, shrubs & perennials were planted and the lawn was graded & seeded. We are all looking froward to seeing this landscape mature over time!
South Burlington, VT Residence:
We started this project late last fall and were able to get the wall, walkway and staircase installed before the snow fell. This week our crew completed the installation with plantings of trees, shrubs perennials and ground cover. Low voltage landscape lighting was also installed. We can’t wait to see what this project looks like in the evening hours!
Great project in Shelburne for a longtime client. Full landscape makeover to go along with a very extensive remodel and addition on the house. Several terraces, gas fire pit, seat walls, plantings and a butterfly garden!
Fun Job for a longtime customer. One that reminds us of the great relationships we have built along with all of the landscapes! Fieldstone retaining wall and fieldstone and bluestone stoop. Boxwood, Salvia, Rudbekia, Astilbe and Serbian spruce will add interest all year.