Landscaping is form of art work utilizing the land, trees, shrubs, and flowers to create a beautiful landscape design that enhances a home or property.
We can't create beautiful landscapes without beautiful plants. We take pride in our plant material that we sell and install. We spend hours looking for the best material, from several different growers and states. We bring in several hundred trees, shrubs, and perennials each year. We select our plant materials by our experience and knowledge and select varieties that thrive in our region and climate.
In Winchester / Frederick County, VA we live in a plant hardiness zone 6. Plants grow in certain climates and regions, a plant hardiness map indicates the zone in which we live. Each plant has a hardiness range in which it will live and thrive. When selecting plants it is important to know what zone you are in and the zone range of the plant. Plants also are subject to microclimate factors such as: soil conditions, sunlight, wind, and rainfall levels.
In the Northern Shenandoah Valley we have rocky, clay soils that are usually alkaline. Clay soils hold water when wet, and when clay dries it is very hard and compact. The soil usually has a pH of 7.0-7.6, which is alkaline (7 is a neutral soil). Both of these are important factors when planting in this soil type. Acid loving plants like Azaleas, Rhododendron, Blueberry, and Holly may not tolerate our clay, alkaline soil, without help from fertilizers that lower pH. Most acid loving plants like the soil pH to be between 5.8-7. A soil test of your soil will identify your soil type and pH level. Virginia Cooperative Extension offices offer this service.
Many areas in the Valley are subject to strong winter winds that will may cause problems for some varieties of evergreen plants (plants that hold leaves in the winter). For example, Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) zone 6-10, do not tolerate windy sites in zone 6. In the winter the wind will dry out the leaves and the plant will not be able to pull moisture from the ground since it is frozen and the plant will defoliate (lose its leaves), and will severely injure the plant, this is called Winter Desiccation. Hollies, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and some varieties of Spruce fall under this category.
Sun requirements are also a very important factor in plant growth and success. Many plants like full sun, but there are also many plants that prefer partial or full shade. Make sure you know what your plants sunlight requirements are before you plant.
In our climate we usually have a wet spring and fall, and usually a dry summer and winter. It is important to choose plants that will tolerate dry sites and drought, unless irrigation will provide supplemental watering during the times of drought.
One of the best sources for plant information is, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael A. Dirr. I also like to "Google" information about plants, however you always have to be careful what you read on the internet. Usually university websites or state extension offices have great information about plants. There are also several grower's websites that have good information.
Water features are a relaxing focal point that bring nature right to your backyard. All of the water features that we install are custom designed to fit into your landscape. We use professional grade liners, pumps, and pond materials by AquaScape. Water features are a beautiful feature in your back yard, however they are not always maintenance free. Most of our customers love the water, but want low maintenance, so we have found an answer.
The IonGen is an water clarifying device that cleans the pond water without chemicals or harm to wildlife. The IonGen is adjusted by a manual controller, which is installed near the pond. The probe must be replaced once per year, compared to normal chemical applications of once a week. This is an easy add-on to an existing pond or can be installed during a new installation.
Water pots are great for clients that want the sound of water but do not want the maintenance of a pond or have the space needed for a pond. Most ceramic flower pots can be modified to create a custom water pot. Take a look at some of the water pots we have installed to get ideas for your project.