Tag Archives: landscape maintenance

Why Schedule a Landscape Design Appointment

DianaDigsDirt Landscape Consultation Process

After the client answers a 25 question survey, an appointment is set. Diana prepares for a brief presentation with ideas generated from the questions and may bring color copies of appropriate landscape spaces from analyzing questionnaire.

If after a 1 hour landscape consultation, notes are taken by DianaDigsDirt and given to client. If we feel a design is needed because of the scope of work, the consultation fee is subtracted from the landscape plan.


 The landscape plan can start immediately after the consultation by plotting (taking measurements) of your house (if homeowner cannot provide a survey), existing trees and plant material to remain, outdoor structures, driveways, and usually takes another hour.

Diana returns to the office and begins drawing the base map on vellum, for which the design will be drawn from.

The utility companies are called, locating underground lines and marked with various colors of spray paint. She then takes a quick drive by to ensure design stays clear of underground lines.

Design is drawn reflecting mature size of plants, blueprints are made and plan is rendered. Upon presentation, additional color copies are presented giving homeowners a better feel of the final vision. In the general notes section, phases are suggested if the entire project cannot be completed in one season. The general notes section could include wood stain/paint colors, weed prevention plan, bulb planting, etc. These details also help if homeowners will install themselves.

Landscaping companies have their place in our community as do Landscape Designers. Most designers have gone through schooling of plants, design, construction, ecology and history. The plant education alone is very intense, where landscape designers can identify plant material in the winter months, hence designing can begin in late winter.

A one hour consultation by a landscape designer will save money in the long run, as stated by The Home and Garden Television Network. They educate homeowners on selection of plant material appropriate for the space, whether an erosive location, drainage issue, sun or shade, privacy, safety and so on. They also add the factor of aesthetics into the equation. 

Landscape designers look at underground utilities, family life, pets, wildlife problems and determine plant material to be installed conducive to hours per month the family would like to “work” in their landscapes. 

Call for a consultation and save yourself money one can spend elsewhere (consultations are $100)


Diana @



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Piedmont Triad Landscapes-Preventing Weeds

February is the time to apply an application of pre-emergent herbicide (like Preen). This product kills any annual weed seeds from germinating, like chickweed. It works for about 3 months, so another application in May and another in July/August, because different weeds grow at different periods.

First, determine your enemy and then find the solution. If you have perennial weeds such as horserope or poison ivy, this product will not work. Hand pulling or the use of an herbicide like Round-Up need to come into play.

Annual weeds are plentiful in the Piedmont Triad Area. With a nice 3-4 inches of mulch, weed seeds will have a difficult time reaching the sunlight for photosynthesis. Another option is planting non-invasive groundcovers like, mazus, iberis, or creeping phlox, to name a few.

Purslane  in an annual weed growing close to the ground in the summer.

Below is another weed called spurge, with a more radiating growth habit, both are summer annual weeds.

Sorry to say, dandelions are perennial weeds and need to be hand-picked.

There is another solution! Hire someone to do it for you, 360 Landscape and Lawn Maintenance.

If you have a natural area in an open exposed location, weed seeds will want to put down their roots. Make sure it is mulched and incorporate some groundcovers. Don’t forget the pre-emergent herbicides for February, May, July/August (we know you are on vacation) to ensure weed-free beds.

Remember-What is weed is to some, may not be to another (consult the women of the home before eradicating please).

Happy Pulling and we’ll see you at the “Celebrating Mother Earth” Event in April

Diana Digs Dirt

Landscaping Design, Installation, Consultations and Speaking Engagements

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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Landscape Maintenance, Weed Prevention


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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!
Landscape Design and Installation

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English Ivy Can Cause Problems-REMOVE

Here in Greensboro, NC, English Ivy is prevalent in all established neighborhoods like Fisher Park and Irving Park, and is taking over. Let’s look at the damage this beautiful evergreen groundcover can cause and where it can be used safely.

Groundcovers are a great way to cut down on the surface area of your property to be mowed. Established neighborhoods have an abundant amount of English Ivy because that was the trend, like boxwoods. Is your English Ivy planted at the foundation of your home or at the front entryway? If so, this should be removed. This groundcover will climb your home and destroy the mortar or paint. It is a RAPID grower, especially if planted in part shade or shade. We have problems with Copperhead snakes in Greensboro and English Ivy planted by the front entryway serves as a nice cool hangout and potential danger.

English Ivy should never be planted in a natural area where trees are also planted unless a regular landscape maintenance program includes removing from tree trunks. Mentioned above, English Ivy grows very fast and will eventually grow into the canopy of trees and smoother foliage in need of sunlight for photosynthesis.

English Ivy makes a great addition to outdoor pots. It provides evergreen interest with foliage cascading over the edges.

English Ivy is perfect for shady slopes where mowing on an incline is almost impossible. The slope below is perfect for the groundcover.

English Ivy is perfect for large natural beds in shady locations without trees or shrubs within. With Piedmont Triad properties having large outdoor spaces, natural beds reduce maintenance.

English Ivy is wonderful for front landscaping because of its manicured and evergreen growing habit. Remember, 75% of your front landscaping should be evergreen to provide year round curb appeal.

Love the fact that English Ivy is a great addition to centerpieces too.

Happy Planting and Removing! Here is a company I recommend for the English Ivy Removal, 360 Landscape and Lawn Maintenance



Posted by on January 3, 2011 in English Ivy


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Leaf Removal Maintains Healthy Grass

Why are we spending time and money to remove leaves from our lawns and grassy areas in the Piedmont Triad? Because we have an abundance of annual weeds ready to germinate and reproduce at an explosive rate. Leaves not removed from grass areas are also destroying any healthy turf beneath. Proactive measures will save homeowners time and money in the long run.

  • Get the leaves off the ground quickly to provide your lawn with  crucial sunlight.  Leaves can accumulate and get wet, leading to mold growth and attracting pests.
  • Schedule a professional lawn care service at least a week in advance of when you want the leaves raked up. Most leaves should be down by late November or early December, call 360 Landscape and Lawn Maintenance. (they offer neighborhood discounts)
  • If your yard is near a street-side storm drain, check that area for leaves. Clumps of wet leaves after a heavy rain can prevent drainage, which can flood your yard, street or even a neighbor’s property.
  •  Raking is strenuous activity that can leave you with a sore back. Pace yourself and take frequent breaks.

An “annual” is defined as a plant that germinates from seed, grows to maturity, produces seed and dies within a 12 month period. Most annuals only live for half a year at best, with a few exceptions.

Annual weeds will either be “summer annuals” or “winter annuals”. Most winter annuals will germinate in late summer or fall, survive through the winter and grow quickly in the spring. The will produce seed and die by late spring or early summer.

Annuals die each year and must come back the following year from seed. To ensure their survival, most annual lawn weeds produce an enormous amount of seed. They are quite successful since annual weeds are some of the most abundant weeds on the planet.

Most lawn weeds don’t like competition, so a thick lawn turf is your greatest defense against weeds. Focusing attention on weed control without building a thick turf is a sure thing you will have continued weed problems. For lawns currently in poor condition, it may take a couple of years before you see a major reduction in lawn weeds. This is a process.

Homeowners want this

Not this

Happy Planting

Diana Digs Dirt

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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Landscape Maintenance, Leaf Removal


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September Landscaping Ideas for Greensboro

September is here and so are the cooler temperatures. So there are no excuses why a few hours cannot be dedicated to your lovely landscape.

Your grass may be looking a little on the brown side. It is OK if you did not waste the Greensboro water supply to keep your lawn lush and green. Grass is the most affordable sacrifice. The shrubs and trees are where the water needs to be applied. Aerating the lawn will break up the soil surface allowing oxygen and water to enter the compacted soil. Once aerated, the fertilizer will be able to reach the grass roots with ease.


If you are struggling with the same patch of lawn that refuses to grow grass, turn it into a plant bed. Why fight it.

While you are fertilizing, purchase a fertilizer high in Phosphorus (middle number on the bag) for your garden mums and Helleborus.


Mums are blooming now and Helleborus will bloom in winter when little is happening in the landscape.


Helleborus are the cream colored flowers pictured in the front. They bloom from February to April.


September is also the perfect time to plant perennials because the temperatures are cooler and there is plenty of time for roots to establish.

Keep harvesting your basil. this herb will produce leaves until the first frost.

reseed 006

This is the time to select your spring blooming bulbs for planting next month. Have a plan first because these are definitely show stoppers and a breath of sweetness after a long winter.


Apply compost or another organic fertilizer (bonemeal, bloodmeal, fish emulsion) along with the bulbs for a grandiose flower display come spring.


September is a great month to play in the garden.

Happy Planting!!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation

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Posted by on September 8, 2009 in Greensboro Gardens, Landscape Design Ideas


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Greensboro Landscaping Tips-February 09

Roses, dividing/transplanting perennials, composting, edging, and weeding. See, there are so many things we could be working on before spring. Just think of all the free time you will have if you get started with  landscaping tasks now.

This is the time to order roses from your favorite catalogs. Dormant roses will be shipped ASAP, usually between now and mid-April. Make sure you have a location for your rose plants before purchasing.  When the rose arrives, it needs to be planted within 3 days. In North Carolina we have a serious Japanese beetle problem and they love roses. When selecting roses look at the bloom times. Japanese beetles are only present from June to July, so choose roses that DO NOT bloom at this time. Roses need 6-8 hours of sunlight, great soil, and water. A good rose for our region is the knockout rose, blooming from May until the first frost. Knock roses put on a really good show.


Dig up some of your perennials and divide to install in other parts of your garden. Some perennial plants I will be dividing are: coreopsis, iris, soapwort, garden phlox, black-eyed susan, hosta, plumbago, aster, creeping sedum and salvia. You may even swap some perennials with your friends at this time.

Composting is an affordable way to create soil your plants will flourish in. Check out the link on how to do this.

If your bed lines are no longer crisp, get out your spade and start edging. Here is a link to help you.


Weeding plant beds can also be completed or started now. Many winter perennial weeds are showing their nasty faces and we don’t have to look at them. After removing weeds a weed program can be set up to eliminate these problems by applying a pre-emergent herbicide, like Preen.

Have fun or hire someone:)

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation

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Posted by on February 22, 2009 in Greensboro Gardens


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