You are an artist and your plot of land is your canvas. What will you create this year? Something beautiful? Functional? Sustainable? The better you define your priorities at the start, the more you can tailor your landscape to meet your needs and desires.
Train small trees, shrubs and vines to grow up a trellis or wall. Certain trees and shrubs—including some apple and pear tree varieties—can be trained in the espalier style, growing in a pattern against a wall or weaving in and out of a trellis. There are many vegetables that grow well on a trellis, including varieties of cucumber, squash, indeterminate tomato, and even a perennial climbing spinach vine. Vertical gardening is a great option for small spaces or places that could benefit from a living privacy screen.
Xeriscaping is landscaping with a focus on water conservation. Limiting turf areas, choosing drought-resistant plants, installing strategically positioned shrubs and trees, and incorporating turf alternatives such as rock gardens all have a place in xeriscaping. When correctly installed and fully established, this landscape style is very low-maintenance and does not require excessive fertilization or attention.
Install a raised bed next to a patio or along a pathway to add a new dimension to your landscape. Raised beds can be a good place to contain certain flowers or plants that you enjoy but that have fairly aggressive spreading tendencies. Raised bed gardens drain well and their height makes them easy to weed and tend to. Consider wood frames, cement blocks, or brick, or think outside the box with reclaimed materials. Fill the beds with compost or organic fertilizer before planting, and select varieties that contrast and complement each other in height, color, texture and shape.
Herbs make a fragrant and flavorful addition to your garden space or landscape border. You may be surprised how many interesting and colorful variations of well-known herbs you may find, such as lemon basil and chocolate mint. Perennial herbs come back year after year, while some annual and biennial herbs “seed themselves.” You can interplant herbs with flowers for a beautiful effect, but be sure to remember which plants are okay to eat and which ones are strictly ornamental.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is deeply rewarding. With some research, practice, patience and a little bit of luck, you can grow some of the best produce you have ever tasted. If you are interested in growing your produce organically, limit synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and find out how to cultivate a mini-ecosystem in which plants, soil microbes and beneficial insects all help each other flourish. If this is your first attempt at vegetable gardening, start small, prepare the soil, and plant at the right time. Also, make sure to double-check how large the plants will grow–you don’t want a melon plant unexpectedly taking over your yard!
Installing native plants in your landscape have several major benefits. Many native species are so well-adapted to our climate that they require little additional water during our extreme St. Louis summers, so they are easy on resources. Native plants and flowers provide nourishment and habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and other local wildlife. Choose plants that flower at different times or that produce colorful berries so that you have color for three seasons of the year and you keep a steady supply of food for your garden’s little visitors. There is something very comfortable and homey about bringing native plants into your yard—it gives your landscape a very “Missouri” feel.
We are happy to offer your home or business our expertise and professional installation skills. Call our office at 314-657-7050 or email email@example.com to request a free initial design consultation.
At Quiet Village Landscaping, we are passionate about thinking green. Even small changes in your yard or business property can make a big difference for your local ecosystem. If you want to make a positive impact this spring, here are some big and small projects that can help your yard be more sustainable and environmentally friendly:
Rain gardens are attractive and functional additions to every landscape. Designed to absorb rainwater so that runoff is reduced, rain gardens are green solutions to lawn drainage problem areas. We incorporate low-maintenance native plants that benefit birds, butterflies, and other local wildlife.
Reduce, reuse, recycle your rainwater. No need to send more runoff downstream. Conserve water to use for your landscape via rain barrels that attach to your gutters.
Install a permeable paver driveway, patio or pathway to allow water to seep through into the ground. Not only does this reduce runoff–it increases the groundwater for your landscape, positively impacting nearby plants and trees. Additional groundwater can be a valuable asset for your lawn during our hot and unpredictable St. Louis summers when we often receive little precipitation.
Trees provide habitation and food critical for your local ecosystem. Restore native species of trees on your property to restore woodlands. Talk to us about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to attract more birds to your landscape? Do you need more shade trees? Are you interested in installing fruit trees or flowering trees? There are so many possibilities.
Great news—the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s initiative “Project Clear” offers small grants to help improve water quality through rainscaping! As MSD announces on their website, they “will invest billions of dollars over a generation in planning, designing, and building community rainscaping projects, system improvements, and an ambitious program of maintenance and repair.”
Residents of participating St. Louis County municipalities can now apply for a rainscape rebate to establish a rain garden, amend the soil, or install permeable pavement, rain barrels, or even a green roof on their property. Find out if your property is included in the grant program focus area.
Quiet Village Landscaping can design a rain garden that adds beauty to your landscape while improving your property value. A rain garden is a great solution for existing drainage problem areas in your yard that hold water for hours—or even days—after a downpour. If your lawn has sections where turf refuses to grow and always looks patchy and weak, a rain garden may be just what you need.
By creating a shallow depression planted with a variety of attractive native plants, rain water can be held and properly absorbed by the soil to replenish groundwater supplies. This prevents rainwater from streaming off of your property to pollute and flood neighboring creeks and waterways, and it also provides food and refuge for native wildlife like butterflies and birds.
The 2014 Green Homes Festival at the Botanical Gardens on June 7th was a great success! Yes, stormy showers eventually chased us inside, but the event was fabulous nonetheless. Despite the rain, a grand total of 3,781 people attended the show, which included over 70 exhibitors and vendors all focused on some aspect of green living.
Some of the highlights included local food, live music from Eco-Elvis and Wack-A-Doo, the Green Marketplace, activities for kids, and the great variety of educational opportunities for sustainable living.
Our booth got a lot of attention because we were one of only two landscaping companies participating in the event. It was a great opportunity for us to educate others about the environmental benefits of permeable paver patios, walkways, and driveways.
If you would like more information about installing a permeable paver patio, walkway or driveway in your landscape, give us a call to set up a free initial consultation. And, if you didn’t make it to the Green Homes Festival this year, put it on the calendar for next year! We’d love to see you there.
This article was printed as a special “Green Scene” section in the Ladue News on March 28, 2014. Reproduced with permission. Written by Julia Christensen.
Thumbs aren’t the only green things you’ll find at Quiet Village Landscaping. From reusing office supplies to recycling plant debris, the company is focused on eco-friendly practices both inside its office and out on the field.
“The primary thing we’re trying to go after is sustainable landscape designs for homeowners,” says Quiet Village owner Dennis Evans, who says that from rain gardens to hardscaping, there are a multitude of ways to take an area that may be physically green and make it metaphorically ‘green.’ “Traditionally, standard landscaping used a lot of non-native plants, and they are plants that required heavy irrigation and chemical applications–they just don’t succeed and thrive in our environment. Eco-friendly landscaping incorporates the native and lower-maintenance plants.”
Not only can native plants help to cut back on chemical applications, but often they can withstand extreme conditions that may wither other plants. Through a practice called xeriscaping, Quiet Village can create drought-resistant landscaping, which often uses native plants that are accustomed to the weather.
For homeowners hoping to maintain eco-friendliness in their landscaping, Evans recommends incorporating as many native plants as possible. “They’ll require no irrigation after established, and they’ll be resistant to disease and insects in this area.”
Quiet Village’s ‘green’ responsibility doesn’t end there. As Evans says, the business is committed to recycling materials whenever possible. Lawn debris from clients’ homes is brought to a facility to be turned into mulch, for example, and plastic pots are melted through Pots to Planks program to create plastic landscape timber.
Currently, Quiet Village is working with the Deer Creek Watershed Alliance as a preferred contractor to perform the rebate-supported landscaping work. “In certain municipalities, they’re trying to reduce the amount of water run-off that goes into the Deer Creek Watershed, so we’re creating rain gardens and installing permeable pavers to allow the water to slow down and go back into the ground,” Evans explains. “It’s a cleaner, better way to do it.”
Quiet Village is involved in a multitude of other eco-friendly organizations, including St. Louis Green, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Horticulture Co-op of Metro St. Louis and the National Wildlife Federation. “One of the big things for us is to give back to the community and share the success that we have,” Evans says. “We encourage our employees to give back and, organizationally, we like to lead by example.”