Friday, February 14, 2020

Project Highlights 2019

Highlights from Seven Winds Landscaping for the year 2019:
Thank you to all the homeowners who entrusted us with your garden, deck, fence or patio project!
We have lots of before and after photos to share.

Before and After: This Bolton Hill entrance needed an old concrete walkway (which was quickly becoming hazardous) removed as well as some tired old yew bushes and ivy. We replaced it with a bluestone walkway and fresh landscaping. 

An existing deck with a solid substructure is given a makeover with trex transcends decking and railing. 

 Underneath the deck a lattice screen with access door creates a storage space and gives the deck a clean finished look. An ample quartzite patio allows for space for outdoor furniture and relaxation.

Before and After: A very old deck is replaced with a split level pressure treated pine deck which allows for both a large deck on level with the kitchen as well as room underneath for a shady shelter on hot days and access to the basement door. 

The split level was necessary to allow adequate space below. 

Old concrete sections were heaving and sinking. We replaced the fence, created a curved patio to break up the linear lines of the yard, and planted a texture rich shade garden.

This garden, which is a multiyear project, had drainage issues, due to a low water table and not much grade to work with. A dry river bed with raised planting areas on either side has solved the problem while adding a great aesthetic feature.

The dry river bed continues around a fire pit patio, ending under the fence at the alley.

This garden had a drainage issue. The neighbor's pool would overflow in rainstorms leading to chlorinated water draining into the neighbor's yard, impeding the growth of plants along the back fence. We created berm and rain garden effect planting salt tolerant species such as Sweet Bay Magnolias and native irises.

Another area of the garden pooled water after rainstorms.  We created a swale and river bed to direct runoff into a rain garden planted with shade tolerant native plants.
Before and After: This Towson deck was not up to code with regards its railing and it lacked various important bolts in its substructure. Additionally its steps were steep, rickety and awkward. A redesign directed the stairs to come down directly to the gate. Everything was brought up to code.
The redesign created a much more usable and attractive garden space. This was augmented with a flagstone walkway and a new back fence (replacing a preexisting chain link one), and a clean up of an overgrown back.

Before and after: A front courtyard has  a broken AC cover/ table and a couple cracked concrete slabs. Our solution was to replace only the broken slabs with brick (to match home) and build a new AC unit cover and new gate (not shown).
 Before and After: The removal of a large (dying) tree and old brick patio (with incorrect drainage) left this garden in a shambles. Since the garden had no shade or privacy, we created a shady garden retreat with metal roof (for that beautiful sound of falling rain!). A bluestone patio drains water to the alley. A new fence in back and privacy plantings on the side create a fun garden space. 

Before and After: This old porch had two very steep rises and not much room on either the porch or the narrow concrete path. We replaced this with an elegant curved set of three rises and wide bluestone walkway. Brick rises and treads on the porch tie into to the brick on the home, while the bluestone on the porch connects to the bluestone walkway. New plantings reflect the classic style with a more contemporary flair.

Before and After: The forest (mostly weed species) was encroaching on the back deck. Removal of the weed species and pruning back of desirable species allowed for a mass planting of hay scented fern. The hay scented fern will spread and suppress future weeds as well as look great.

Before and After: Steep backs are difficult to landscape as they tend to be very dry and too steep to comfortably garden on. A concrete unit wall created a nice terrace for perennial plantings and what is left of the bank will be planted with vinca minor (periwinkle).

This replacement cedar fence is built to the specifics of the homeowner association. It unusual zig zag pattern creates a nice architectural feature for a small front courtyard.
This replacement strawberry bench has been made with a base of wire and landscape fabric to prevent rotten boards. The previous one had rotted out below and needed extra support for the weight of the soil. Since edible plants cannot be grown in pressure treated wood, this redesign will prolong the planters life.
It is not glamorous, however it is highly functional... these widow well covers are heavier, more durable and attractive than the plastic covers found at the local home improvement store. They will keep leaves and water out of window wells. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2018 Project Highlights

Happy new year to gardeners, and all those who love gardens.  We always take a moment during the cold and wet winter to put together a blog post reviewing some of the previous year's projects.  The photos shared here are by no means exhaustive, but show some of the highlights of 2018.  Thank you to all of our new homeowners, as well as those homeowners who we see every year or two to continue to expand on and improve their gardens!

The projects shared are more or less in chronological order from early spring to later fall 2018.

We begin with the completion of a two year project.  This project completely transformed an urban backyard with new fences, shed, deck, pergola, patio, wall, and two water features.
Fountains are up and running: Overflowing Urn with Wall of Water Fountain create the relaxing sounds of flowing water.

The Wall of Water makes efficient use of a fence to add a water feature to this urban garden.

A built in bench with planters on the deck pair with the local quartzite wall to create a serene gathering space around the overflowing urn.  An overflowing urn is a great water feature to add to a front entrance or smaller garden where space is limited.

BEFORE: It was time to refreshen this patio.
AFTER: Bluestone graced a new patio and to add more elegance we covered the concrete steps with bluestone as well.  This relatively simple upgrade polished this great little nook.

Hamden, Baltimore is on a hill, and many of the home entrances feature steep banks, often covered with ivy.  Terraces or retaining walls is a great way to create a level garden.  A native plant garden attracts local pollinators, monarch butterflies, and is visual delight.
BEFORE:  Too much green!  This garden had an overwhelming amount of pachysandra with straggly shrubs and little visual interest.

AFTER: Drift roses, Catmint and Lavender now create color and texture, brightening the garden.
BEFORE: This shabby bank held together with rotten railroad ties retained the driveway.
AFTER: Two timber terraces create a clean outline for the driveway and a new garden bed.
Around the side of the same home, a new set of timber steps, filled in with river gravel curve around the home.
BEFORE (during): Demo begins on the existing front porch.  It was sinking in the middle, it had outdated terra-cotta tiles and needed some railings.

AFTER: White vinyl railings and quartzite flagstone makes this porch unrecognizable.
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Another view of the front porch. Quartzite flagstone is a great choice to brighten a shady space.  It is also very hard, durable stone.
BEFORE: The steps jutted out awkwardly into the garden.  We designed a reroute to use the little used space to the left. 

AFTER: The new steps now effectively use a previously unused space, allowing for a large patio and convenient grill area. A landing and turn allows a more comfortable climb or descent.  Trex decking and railings are a great low maintenance option for remodeling decks.
BEFORE: These two porches were definitely the original ones, as we discovered concrete blocks rather than brick behind them. This unwelcoming garden needed a radical change.
AFTER: A spacious bluestone patio, sitting wall, and pergola begin the process of allowing this garden to reach its potential. Two retractable shade canopy allow a passing shower not to ruin a summer BBQ.
A fire pit patio with decorative and functional drainage gully, further develops this great garden.
BEFORE: This garden had not seen an upgrade in years.
AFTER: We removed the unused parking pad next to the garage to create a more spacious garden with a better flow.  This allowed ample room for the fire pit patio as well as a more green space.  
BEFORE: While ivy is an effective ground cover, it has a tendency to climb and strangle trees, as well as be susceptible to plant diseases which render it very unsightly.  Additionally this slope was very steep and difficult to manage.
AFTER: A small retaining wall gives a crisp definition to the slope as well as providing a less steep gardening space.
BEFORE:  Several stages of decking add ons had outlived their use and were preparing to rot away.

AFTER: The new design reused the existing bricks and new bluestone to create a ground level patio with a set of masonry steps.  The new patio visually created a larger space.

A new composite deck replaced an oversized wooden deck as a first step in creating a new outdoor living space.
Trex decking and railings are a great low maintenance option.

Thank you again to al those homeowners who have entrusted their gardens and outdoor spaces to Seven Winds.  We look forward to another year, bringing new beauty and function to familiar gardens, and creating new ones!