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Category Archives: Diana Digs Dirt

Diana Digs Dirt Landscape Design Process

Every landscape designer works a little differently and my process is thoroughly explained below for Piedmont Triad homeowners and small businesses.

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A wealth of information is obtained during our one hour consultation. When the scope of your project is somewhat larger where a consultation just isn’t enough, we move onto developing a landscape plan or recipe for your property. At this point a signed contract and retainer is required to commence work on design. It is helpful, but not needed if a survey is provided. Measurements of any structures, walkways, decks, trees, etc will be plotted on vellum. Information from the consultation, existing measurements and my design ideas are combined to create the most ideal outdoor space for you, your family or small business.

On the landscape plan/recipe (drawn to scale) lists plant sizes to be installed, location, hardscapes, woodwork, lighting, etc. My plans take anywhere from 2-3 weeks for completion because inspiration does not happen immediately. The landscape plan/recipe will take at least an hour to present, is very thorough and all homeowners should be present if possible. During the presentation you will receive a finished rendered plan (with color). To help with visualization, color copies of suggested plant material, arbor/pergola/trellis design, paint swatches, wood, stone or brick samples, drains and/or water elements from my library are shown. This plan can be used for my company to install or for those who don’t mind getting a little dirty.

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From the time of our initial consultation to the time where we actually break ground could be anywhere from 6-12 weeks depending on if a landscape plan is needed. A shorter time for smaller projects if a consultation will suffice. Phases or steps can also be suggested to span over 2-4 years.

Possible Steps or Phases

  • Landscape Plans- June to September
  • Drainage, grading, plant removal, outdoor electrical, new beds- Sept to Nov
  • Stone, brick, wood (eg. outdoor kitchens, arbors/pergolas/trellises, decks, walks, walls- Dec to Feb
  • Irrigation, plant installation, containers, low-level lighting, grass improvement- March to June (plant installation can be divided between spring and fall with trees and shrubs planted first)

There are various services offered for smaller projects, just click here and don’t forget about all the goodies at Cornerstone Garden 414 State St, open Thursday-Saturday from 11-3:30.

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Landscape Designs, Plans or Recipes Save Money

Many homeowners enjoy outdoor living areas and take pride in doing the work themselves. Within time, it is realized that incorrect plants are used, drainage issues were not addressed or high maintenance plants were installed. Planting your landscapes correctly the first time would save money and hard work.

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Professional landscape designers are well-educated with a great knowledge of plants, drainage and hardscapes. Just like interior design, landscape designers apply design elements and principles in order to create an aesthetic and cohesive landscape. Some of the elements and principal include; unity, focal point, repetition, color, texture, balance and proportion.

The best part of a landscape design or recipe is the suggested phases. Usually homeowners cannot afford to implement the entire plan, so the design would offer affordable phases to be completed within one to two years.

plan2-c Landscape Plans include; plant key, phases (the sequence of implementation), lighting, materials and other notes specific to the project.

Some suggestions from a landscape designer could be installing deciduous trees with height that is proportionate to the home and within the southeast area providing shade during the hot summer days. Tall evergreen plant material could be installed on the northwest side of the home to act as a wind break from cold winter wind. If you plan to sell your home in the near future it is a good idea to install 75% evergreen plant material in the front foundation bed. This ensures your residence will have curb appeal during any month the home goes on the market.

A good landscape design should incorporate family wants and needs, provide year round interest, address existing site conditions and apply design elements and principals for an aesthetic and livable landscape.

Come meet Landscape Designer Diana Digs Dirt at 414-B State Street in Greensboro Thursday-Saturday from 11-3:30 or she can be reached at 392.4031.

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Favorite Flowering Shrubs for Greensboro

I have several favorites and Limelight Hydrangea and Wine and Roses Weigela are two of them. In order to make the list of favorites I look at overall form, length of bloom, pest problems,water requirements and general maintenance.

For larger properties, Limelight Hydrangea is a must have in the landscape.

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Limelight Hydrangeas grow to 8 feet around in part sun and prefer some shade from afternoon sun. Chartreuse cone-shaped blooms fill the plant in mid-summer and remain on the shrub until autumn when the color changes to a pinkish rose. If planted in good composted soil, once established, requires minimal water during dry periods. It makes a great specimen plant or hedge. This shrub is mostly pest free,  but if insects are noticed, just spray them with a powerful dose of water.

Wine and Roses Weigela is a smaller shrub growing 4-5 feet around with great impact. It blooms from April to June with deep fuchsia pink flowers that hummingbirds love. When planted in full sun the foliage retains its deep purple coloration and is a pest free plant. The stunning foliage combines well when planted adjacent to light green colored plants like Emerald n Gold Euonymous or Golden Barberry.

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This shrub has a round upright growing habit and works well towards the rear of a perennial bed or in a mixed shrub border.

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cornerstone-garden1 Visit Cornerstone Garden by Diana Digs Dirt 414-B State St from Thursday through Saturday 11-3:30. Diana is a certified landscape designer providing landscape plans, installations and consultations.

 

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Longest Blooming Landscape Plants

Who doesn’t like plants to bloom for weeks on end. Here are some of my favorites.

Best Blooms for Your Buck-Top 10 Plants  

All plant material have their place within our landscapes, but some yield more than just long flowering periods including winter interest, fall color and other ornamental value. Below is a list of plants recommended with more value for Triad gardens of zone 7.

Perennials are those plants coming back year after year being planted only once. Clara Curtis Mums are a delight for informal landscapes with soft pink blooms from spring until late summer. They are drought tolerate, deer resistant, attract butterflies and a great cutting flower. Walker’s Low Catnip has violet spiked flowers with a mounding habit ideal for rock walls. They do well cascading over planters, are drought tolerate and rabbit resistant. Gaura or the common name, Whirling Butterflies is extremely drought tolerate with its delicate flowers resembling small butterflies. This plant does not like to be transplanted and will be happy in full sun in the back of perennial borders with pink or white blooms swaying in the breeze. Heuchera, or the common name Coral Bells are for shady gardens and planted mainly for its undulating foliage with various colors of purple, green, chartreuse and variegated. Because of their coarse texture, blend well with ferns, sweet woodruff or creeping jenny. Angelina Sedum does not have a bloom but is worth planting because of its chartreuse color. It is drought tolerate, deer and rabbit resistant, great groundcover is sunny areas with poor soil and turns burgundy in the winter.

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Oakleaf hydrangea is a large shrub for the partial shade garden where their extremely large white blooms illuminate darker portions of the garden. They make great cutting flowers, have wonderful red fall color and the exfoliating bark is very ornamental for winter interest. Encore Azaleas are relatively new in the landscape world and offer two blooming periods in spring and fall and only grow to four feet in diameter. Knockout Roses will bloom from spring until frost and only require six hours of sunlight. Kleim’s Hardy Gardenia is perfect for part shade gardens and covered in highly fragrant white blooms for about a month in spring. This shrub is small in size and the foliage is glossy dark green all year long. It will bloom again if prune immediately after its flowers have faded.

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The annual called Potato Vine, even though doesn’t bloom, the foliage comes in several colors and is a quick groundcover for the partial shady spots within landscapes. It does well in vases and will root within days for you to plant elsewhere in the garden. They can also be trained to climb other plants or structures. The foliage is dramatic and this one may come back the following year. Chartreuse colored potato vine planted with dark purple Heuchera is a fabulous combination.

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Diana Digs Dirt is a landscape designer located at 414-B State Street in Greensboro Thursday-Saturday 11-3:30 and can be reached at 392.4031.

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Greensboro Curb Appeal Ideas

4 Fundamental Factors for Fantastic First Impression Curb Appeal

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  1. Mailbox Area
  2. The House Exterior
  3. The Front Door
  4. The Landscape

 Mailbox Area– This is how we are finding the address.

  • clear and visible numbers
  • use same material/paint on house and mailbox-creates cohesion
  • remove bee attracting flowers
  • remove shrubs higher than 3 feet-hinders car views
  • add colorful annuals-use 1 variety of the same color

House Exterior– should be pressure washed, shutters hung straight, cracks in mortar are fixed. Debris like leaves or small trees removed from gutters. If there are trees overhanging the house, suggest removing.

  • leaves in gutters
  • creates mildew on roof-holds in moisture
  • easy access for ants and other unwanted creatures
  • ice on branches-damage home

The Front Door– view from a visitor’s perspective

  • fresh coat of paint
  • shrubs cut back-no higher than 2-3 feet
  • add color-pots, annuals, wreath (use same annuals as front door plantings)
  • make sure it is visible from the street (inviting and safe) 

The Landscape– does the overall look of the front landscape appeal to buyers?

  • grass areas- turn slopes and patchy grass areas into plant beds
  • foundation plants- 75% should be evergreen plants
  • driveway and walkway to front door- cut back any overhanging trees and shrubs and remove those with thorns
  • condition of trees and shrubs- remove any dead or dying plant material. Do not shear broad-leafed evergreens
  • plant beds- create a manicured edge with a spade. 1 bale of pine needles will cover 5 x 5 square foot area

Problem Issues

  • remove runway lighting-purchase a lighting kit for under $100 including a few path lights and uplights
  • erosion problems- hide the soil with mulch if downspouts are eroding soil
  • remove personal garden art-pink flamingoes, gazing balls, flag poles, fences without purpose, etc.

Landscape Designer Diana Digs Dirt is open Thursday-Saturday from 11-3:30 414-b State Street in Greensboro

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Landscape Stone Lasts Forever

Unmortared stone used in walkways, patios, edging or as steppers should be dense, at least 1 ½ inch thick and set within a tamped base of stone screenings. Taking these measures will ensure a stable under footing. If the stone is set on soil alone, over time they will sink due to decomposition.

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Pennsylvania Bluestone and Tennessee Craborchard are two types of stone very dense in nature. This is important because of freezing and thawing which cause other types of stone to break and flake when used as flooring or on the ground. Pennsylvania Bluestone comes in shades of blue and pallets can be selected with more mauve, blue or green striations within the stone. Tennessee Craborchard stone contains colors of beige, brown, pink, mauve and rust. Again, pallets can be selected with the preferred color striations.

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When choosing the stone, keep in mind the color of your home, other outbuildings, and color of adjacent flowers to create a harmonious landscape. Stone can also be used in conjunction with brick to create a more formal landscape. There are several different cuts of stone, for example; tumbled, which provides a soft rounded edge, irregular provides random edges, cut stone is sawed with a blade for a straight edge and lastly the flamed edge provides a rustic textured edge after the stone has been sawed into its desired shapes.

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There are two options for filling in the joints after stone has been set; addition of another finer stone grade or installing creeping plants. Some suggestions for dry sunny areas are; sedum acre, georgia blue veronica or wooly thyme. Ideas for shady areas are; corsican mint, scotch moss, ajuga or leptinella.

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Stone will enhance your landscapes creating functionality.

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Stop on by Cornerstone Garden by Diana Digs Dirt to meet designer Diana. Thursday-Saturday 11-3:30 if not snowing or raining, 414-B State Street in Greensboro. Let’s talk stone!

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Upcycled Potchen-Outdoor Kitchen/Potting Garden

 

Diana Digs Dirt and also wood. Designers love to design anything and everything. The challenge was to incorporate the many discarded items found and create an outdoor kitchen/potting area that was functional and aesthetic, to look as though the treasure was meant for the space. You want to make sure you have a good carpenter on hand too.

 The idea for the space came from cut stone, serving as the countertop and a frame was then constructed. 3 different sections were built for interest and size variation and also if they had to be moved. Much of the wood came from torn down houses and fences.

  What is an outdoor kitchen without a sink. Perfect for potting plants or serving as an ice chest for garden parties.

  Spoons were used as latches, table and chair legs used to provide more detail and texture as with the finials.

  The gate is a door sawed in half and other doors served as cabinet doors. Other discarded items upcycled or recycled were; windows, table and chair pieces, a crib, shelving units, fence pickets, wood moulding, bed frames and a screen door.

  This garden area is perfect for parties, potting or just relaxing. After a year or two several vines will reach the top to provide additional shade and beauty. Many thanks to my carpenter for creating this beautiful potchen. It has already been in use by potting up plants for Cornerstone Garden on State Street.

Think about incorporating an outdoor room in your landscape………Diana Digs Dirt will gladly help.

 

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