Working Together: Landscape Maintenance & Landscape Design
Our landscape designs have transformed Northern Virginia homes from Leesburg to Arlington. Even though we get a lot of attention for our design work, there is something else that contributes significantly to the success of our landscape projects: landscape maintenance.
What is the connection between landscape maintenance and landscape design? We see the two as interdependent. Strategic garden care and maintenance is a natural extension of design because it fulfills the design intent.
All gardens need fine tuning over the years. Plants grow and change and then need adjustment… small adjustments to achieve maximum results.” Chad Talton, Registered Landscape Architect
Finessing the Design: Landscape Maintenance
Landscape Architect Chad Talton says it is important to have landscape maintenance specialists who are sensitive to design because a newly installed landscape will take up to three years to fill out properly. There are aspects of a finished landscape that must be finessed in order to achieve the look and feel as envisioned by designer and client.
When a landscape is first installed, plants are spaced in a way that anticipates growth because they are going to fill out and cover a particular area over time. During that “fill in” period the landscape maintenance team is caring for that design by tending plants and guiding their growth patterns to complement hardscaping and open air structures.
We are at the service of the clients. By discovering their likes and dislikes we can help them to personalize the landscape, to make it their own.” Tom Kniezewski, Garden Management Team Leader
Bringing Out Greatness
The landscape architect helps the client articulate their thoughts and desires—then synthesizes those ideas in the design plan. Once the landscape is installed and everything is planted, landscape maintenance begins. A talented garden management team can help a homeowner make landscaping and gardens reflect their personal wishes with fine workmanship and intricate detailing.
Garden Manager Tom Kniezewski says that the landscape design determines the style of landscape maintenance. The selections of plants, the groupings, and the geometry of the site plan set the course for the maintenance to follow. Fine tuning the landscape by adding color displays or perennial groupings, and by making small adjustments (cutting back, growing out, relocating), is what brings out greatness. Aside from the aesthetic benefit, skillful pruning stimulates growth and longevity by allowing air and light into the interior of plants .
Plants can be manipulated with pruning and other measures to keep them in their designed state—which helps in regard to how they fill out.” Chad Talton, Registered Landscape Architect
In essence, the landscape is a work of art made of natural materials and living things that are constantly changing. The landscape design is not “finished” when our construction and landscape installation crews pull off the site. That is the beginning. A garden needs constant care to reach its full potential.
Our job is to know the plants and to know how the client likes us to keep them. That’s where our expertise really comes in.” Tom Kniezewski, Garden Management Team Leader
Proactive and Holistic
Kniezewski doesn’t like the term “landscape maintenance” because: “What we do is actively manage all aspects of gardens and landscape features.” He prefers the term “garden management“. This includes pruning, mowing, weeding, irrigation, fertilization, pest and disease management. His crews take a proactive and holistic approach: “We really get to know the plants and landscape features so that we do only what we see is needed on each visit.”
Purchasing the right plant material from a form perspective and then pruning correctly makes a very big impact.” Chad Talton, Registered Landscape Architect
When tending formal gardens, we use shearing techniques to maintain straight lines in the beds and along walkways. We may also trim boxwoods into formal shapes. Some clients want us to let their yard grow out naturally. They enjoy seeing flowers hanging over walkways or ground cover growing in the cracks between stepping stones.
The hardest thing is to keep a property looking pristine but at the same time looking natural. You never want the landscape to look trimmed. That’s the hard part—to keep plants at the desired size but retain their natural form and beauty.” Tom Kniezewski, Garden Management Team Leader
The Art of What You Don’t See
The art of truly great landscape maintenance is that you don’t see it. You don’t see the intricate workmanship that brings out the intricacy of the designer’s vision. You feel the effect of it. You experience the thrill of viewing a landscape that looks terrific.
We take great pride and pleasure in maintaining the landscapes we’ve designed. We enjoy seeing them develop as much as our clients do. And, our garden management team can apply that same design savvy approach to maintaining landscapes designed by others. So, please feel free to contact one of our garden management specialists if you’d like to find out how we can give your landscape the kind of care and attention it deserves.