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Piedmont Triad Commercial Landscaping Projects

Landscaping companies are still installing landscape plans in this down economy. Are commercial and institutional properties taking the time to look at maintenance, mature size of plant material, or what this plant needs to survive? Study the landscape plan now before the $$$ leave your pocketbook. Check out Better Homes and Gardens on this issue.

Many, many projects are re-design. Why, plants have overgrown their spaces because the landscaping company did not know how this particular plant grew or what cultural requirements were needed to thrive (sun, shade, protection from wind, water, water and more water).

It is our job as landscape designers being able to identify plant material in the winter months. This is necessary when there are existing plants on the property and designing with keeping their integrity in tact.

We look at the shape of the buds, size, color, if they are alternate or opposite, like the one above. Also analyze plant form, bark (texture, color, lenticels or exfoliation), branching habit and seed pods, fruit or cones of the plant like the Fig Tree below

The nandina shrubs (planted very close to the sidewalk), will grow to 6 feet tall and spread to 4 feet, with the added nightmare of suckering where plants are not needed. A better selection would have been dwarf nandina, where no shearing or pruning is needed.

Designing the landscapes for commercial and institutional properties are looking at budget. It might look like a good idea to save the money up front, but in the long run, you will pay more. The property below has increased maintenance due to the column and post.

 It will take more time to trim the grass than it would be to turn it into a bed and install no maintenance evergreen groundcover. Remember, 75% of your public landscape should be evergreen. A better selection for this area could have been creeping sedum.

Landscaping companies don’t always consider the aesthetics of the landscape plan.  Below rip rap was used on a slope. This is used to stabilize the slope from erosion. We hope that they come back to install evergreen groundcovers, covering this utility rock.

Wendover Avenue is a highly visible with a large amount of traffic, not to be landscaped properly.

If you think hiring a landscape designer before calling a local landscape company will break the bank, look at all the future maintenance adding to he overall monthly costs. Do it right the first time.

Happy Planting!
DianaDigsDirt
Landscape Design and Installation
 

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Greensboro Birds and Snow

Nature enthusiasts must consider bird habitat when designing their landscapes. Bird watching can occur outdoors or even better, inside the warmth of the home year round.

Creating a bird buffet close enough to enjoy inside is easy to do. They need a bird feeder, a branch, and a protected landing area not far from feeder (for example, an evergreen shrub or tree enabling them to scope the area for predators before landing).

I personally like the larger birdfeeders. More the merrier. This particular bird feeder has 2 suet holders. I need to make more of these tasty treats.

If you have received oranges during the holiday season, think about adding within your landscape as bird feeders.

If you do not have your window identified for the birds, you may want to place stickers, tape or another obvious hint.

There are several landing places for the birds.

Bird watching is very calming.

We had several visitors including, a woodpecker, sparrows, cardinals and chickadees.

When designing your landscape, do not forget about the winter months of enjoyment by placing a bird buffet by your window. Since birds are not the neatest of eaters, remember to consider the area below. You may have corn or sunflowers sprouting where not wanted. Crushed stone or another aggregate is a good solution. Mulch can cover landscape fabric as another option.

 Have a wonderful February and don’t forget the birds.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation

 

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To Hire a Landscaper or Landscape Designer?

If you want your landscape to work for you (provide a function) and install plants only once, I would highly recommend hiring a landscape designer. Even if you are a do-it-yourself-er, a one hour consultation will save money, your back and you will do it right the first time.

I would say 50% of my projects are re-design. The one below is an example. The grading work has created a ditch for water to collect in the grass and rip rap rock was used to border a plant bed (this is not decorative, it is used for drainage purposes adding no value to the landscape).

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This landscaper for the project below choose to use anchor plants (corner plants) that will exceed 50 feet in height. Not only is this disproportionate for the house, it will pose a safety hazard for those walking to the front door.

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This landscape company installed foundation plants where mature height would completely cover the windows.

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Landscape Designers take into account your lifestyle, your family, existing site conditions, hobbies, and with their professional experience, make appropriate plant recommendations. The initial cost to hire a landscape designer is more than landscaper fees, however, in the long run will save you money on your investment.

There is at least two reasons why I select plants for their location and a great deal of this process is based on location and the homeowner. For example, 8 pink knock rose shrubs were planted to provide an intimate secret garden area, flowers from May until frost and the petals will be used by flower girls.

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Most landscape designers absolutely love their profession and love plants. Combine the two and it is bound to create something spectacular for you to enjoy for years to come!!

Happy Planting!  www.dianadigsdirt.com

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation

 

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Non-Profit Day at Greensboro’s BNI Diamonds Chapter

The BNI chapter, “Diamonds” had their first successful non-profit day. Several organizations came to our weekly meeting to promote their groups and meet the “Diamonds”.

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It was standing room only with 10 visitors joining us on a rainy afternoon. We extended invitations to many non-profit groups hoping to introduce and make connections. Each non-profit organization were allowed a 2 minute commercial to educate and ask for their perfect referral.

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Some on the non-profit organizations that attended were:

  • Our Children’s House
  • NC Cooperative Extension
  • Hand Up Home-ownership Initiative, Inc.
  • United Way of Greater Greensboro
  • UNCG Spartan Club
  • Housing Greensboro

In addition to a lively lunch meeting, our networking group inducted 3 new members.

  • Roberta Pearson with Create a Cake Catering
  • Marty McFarling with Ameriprise Financial
  • Joe Smith Sole Proprieter of his Masonry Company

Our group is growing rapidly and the number of referrals and closed business is also on the rise. Seats we are currently interviewing for are:

  • CPA
  • Interior Designer
  • Re-modeler
  • Banker
  • Exterior Painter
  • Roofer
  • Photographer
  • Health Insurance Provider

Our weekly meetings are held at Anton’s on Battleground every Thursday from 12-1:30 in the basement. Please email me if you can attend-diana @ justacloudaway.com.

We also had a toast for the new year. Our networking group will ban together and beat the recession. Giver’s Gain is our philosophy.

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Happy Networking!!

Diana Gardner-Williams  www.dianadigsdirt.com

Landscape Design and Installation

 

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Greensboro Restaurant needed for BNI Networking

The Diamonds chapter of BNI in Greensboro, NC is seeking a new location to hold networking meetings on a weekly basis. We are growing our networking chapter and now looking for a new restaurant to accommodate this growth.

The Diamonds would need: 

  • a private room seating anywhere between 30-50 people
  • every Thursday from 11:45-1:45 with lunch being served at approximately 1pm
  • a sit down lunch
  • the cost of lunch between 10 and 12 dollars including tip
  • a small area to keep our supplies
  • preferably the same waiter or waitress each week
  • option to change menu every several months

The BNI “Diamonds” chapter is a word of mouth referral networking group based on the philosophy of “Givers Gain”. The more referrals given, the more referrals gained. The BNI “Diamonds” chapter strives to support one another through building strong, long term relationships between members.

We are looking for a Greensboro restaurant with an uplifting ambiance promoting our enthusiasm in beating the recession. The “Diamonds” chapter is a high energy networking group who meet on a weekly basis to encourage, educate and pass referrals to members.

If you know of a Greensboro restaurant owner interested in talking to the BNI “Diamonds” chapter, please contact Diana Gardner-Williams at 392.4031 or diana@justacloudaway.com. We are a team will discuss the options for our new networking lunch venue.

Thank you for your interest in serving the #1 BNI Networking chapter of the Triad, the “Diamonds”.

Diana Gardner-Williams  www.dianadigsdirt.com

Landscape Design and Installation

 
 

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Greensboro BNI Chapter-Casual Networking

Unfortunately, BNI “Diamond” chapter weekly meetings fell on both holidays this year. That did not stop some of the members from gathering in a casual setting to network. By doing so, a few one to one’s were completed over appetizers and cocktails, provided by BNI.

The members that attended were

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Networking is an art that the “Diamonds” chapter of BNI are trying to perfect. During this holiday networking session we were given clues on how to provide referrals and given a little more information of the products and services provided.

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House condition, location and price were stated by Ann Hardee of Remax 1st choice as being the 3 reasons a house will sell or not. If one of the 3 are lacking, it must be compensated for elsewhere. Vicki Honeycutt provided us a networking opportunity at our local college which has great potential for creating increased awareness of our products and services without the heavy price tag of print advertisement.

Tonya Zimmerman of Alltel Wireless Solutions stated that the Blackberry product offered by her company is a big hit, providing efficiency for serious networkers.

John Haskins, Your Friendly Neighborhood DJ is number one in the wedding market, but eventually wants to participate in corporate events. By golly, why not. He is amazing to see. Check him out at the new Underground in downtown Greensboro.

Steven King of  The Talking Phonebook is new to our group and we are delighted to have him  You can tell networking is not work for this gentleman because of the ease in talking to people.

Diana Gardner-Williams, Landscape Design and Installation, this would be me, held the BNI”Diamonds” informal networking session for those going through networking withdrawal. My Landscape Company offers one hour landscape consultations, master landscape plans, installation and speaking to groups interested in the landscape world. I touched on one of my specialty gardens, Memory Gardens. These types of gardens are very popular allowing bereaved families to nurture a part of their landscape dedicated to a loved one passed.

If you are interested in joining our chapter please email me your profession and contact information, diana (@) justacloudaway.com.

Network Network Network

Diana Gardner-Williams  www.dianadigsdirt.com

Landscape Design and Installation

 

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Affordable,Free Christmas Decorations at Home

Yes, it is true, affordable and free. Along with quirky to some. Let’s take a look at the holiday surprises you and your family can create this Christmas season.

First is the holiday sock and stuffed animal display. I had to borrow the socks from Aunt Ronda because I gave mine to Goodwill (sorry Mom).

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Wine bottles and can good containers were used to slip your holiday socks onto. I like  the different heights of the bottles for added interest. Stuffed animals were placed into wine and pilsner glasses, vases and other see through containers.

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Also keeps the stuffed animals rather clean.

Next is the wrapping paper decor. I have so much wrapping paper and because of this bleak economy are exchanging less these days. Take a piece of cardboard, painting canvas or anything flat and wrap it up with holiday wrapping paper to provide added color for your room. Another suggestion would be to use as an affordable tablecloth.

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You could even wrap up your framed artwork hanging on your walls and adorn them with ribbon and bows.

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Another easy and affordable holiday decoration is taking your old 80’s style belts or new ones and belting up your holiday throw pillows. I used black belts in my old world style living room. It gives me a feeling of the nostalgic Saint Nick. The belts also offer a place to position holiday bows.

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I absolutely love this last decorating idea because of the history behind it. We have several Christmas books passed down through the generations and I use them as art in my old world style living room. They have memories and provide a sense of warmth within the room that nothing newly purchased could offer.

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I love everything about these books and the placement is perfect, 7 feet verticle, away from my 4 year old’s hands.

 

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I am sure you have some books stashed away somewhere. Even if they are not “old” books, there is an easy way to distress them with scrapbook ink or paint. That will be another post.

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I hope these affordable and free Christmas Decoration ideas help you and your family have the best holiday ambiance ever.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams  www.dianadigsdirt.com

Landscape Design and Installation

 

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