HOW WE WORK
Our services fall into three basic categories, consultations, pruning, clean-up, and ongoing maintenance, and design and installation.
“For consultations, we charge an hourly rate, including travel time. Most clients have felt they have gotten their money’s worth and then some. The consultation fees are waived, for the initial consultation only, for projects where we will be doing further work, both for projects requiring design work, and those that do not. whether for pruning, clean-up, and/or ongoing maintenance, or for design and installation projects.
Normally, we would for projects involving work beyond a consultation, we normally begin by setting up a time to meet with you on-site for a consultation and preliminary site evaluation, where we can discuss the scope of the work. During this consultation, we can discuss your requirements, preferences, favorite plants, and garden features, the way you intend to use the space, things you wish to change, issues you may have with space, the types of gardens which would best for space, site requirements, maintenance options, and so forth. We are happy to offer ideas and suggestions, and the process is flexible, whether you wish to be very specific or would prefer to leave it all to us once we have an idea of what you are looking for.
Should we decide that we are a good fit, we will provide you with an estimate of costs. For projects not requiring design work, for example, such as pruning work, renovation of existing plantings, weed control, &c., cost estimates will usually be given as a range.
It is rare that a job takes less time and material than estimated, but when that is the case, we will charge only for the time spent. We do have some established clients for whom we work on a time-and-materials basis and can work on that basis if should you prefer. “
Generally, design work starts with conducting more thorough site evaluation, including taking measurements and photographs as necessary, possibly brief observations at different times of the day to determine where sunlight and shade fall, and sometimes taking one or more soil samples for analysis - particularly important for vegetables.
Then a to-scale plan view on paper of the area under consideration will be drawn up to include those structures, hardscaping, and existing plant material that is to remain, location of underground utilities if desired, and any new structures, hardscaping, and plant material to be installed. All new plant material shown on the plan will be labeled with the botanical name, common name, and cultivar (cultivated variety), if any. Existing plant material to remain will be labeled with botanical name, common name, and cultivar so far as known. Once the plan is complete, we set up a meeting to go over the plan, answer any questions and concerns, and make revisions as necessary.
Design fees will be based on the scope of the project, and we will provide an estimate of those fees. Covered under those fees will be the to-scale plan described above, a consultation to go over that plan, and one minor revision, should that be desired. Any further changes may result in additional charges. Fees for further revisions will be calculated on a case by case basis. We will require fifty percent of the cost of the plan as a deposit before proceeding, with the rest due upon final approval of the plan.
Once the plan is approved, and you wish us to do the installation, we will provide you with an estimate of those installation costs, usually in proposal form via e-mail. We will require fifty percent of the cost as a deposit before proceeding, with the rest due upon satisfactory completion of the project. Again, any changes once the plan is approved may result in additional charges. Upon acceptance of the proposal, we will schedule the work. Due to many factors beyond our control, Scheduling must necessarily be approximate. If we, or you, suspect there may be any underground utilities in the area of the project, we will call Miss Utility to mark them before digging.
We can gladly provide you an approximate cost for the project at the outset, but please bear in mind that such a figure will be very rough and is not to be considered a quote. We are always willing to work with you and your budget as the project develops. It is always very helpful if you can give us some idea of the budget you have in mind for your project. Once the garden is installed, we offer many maintenance options, according to the needs of your garden and to your time, needs, interests, and budget. As the saying has it, “A garden is never finished.” Nor is it, as another saying has it, ever as good as it will be next year.
With design and installation work, we frequently take photos to aid in design, and, if we have done the installation, take photos for our portfolio. We will not knowingly post a photo that includes your house number without your permission. Please let us know if you prefer we do not take photos.
It can happen with any project that there are time consuming unforeseen issues, necessary changes to the original plan, price fluctuations in materials, and changes of mind. So, while we make every effort to estimate costs accurately, the following conditions may make additional charges necessary:
Necessary or desired changes to a project.
Issues beyond our knowledge or control.
We will, to the best of our ability, alert you, the client, to any such issues as they come to our attention.
While we make every effort to select healthy plants, and every effort to plant and site them properly and appropriately, unfortunately, due to many things beyond our control, we cannot guarantee plant material.
Are you wondering what those plants in your garden are and/or how best to care for them? What ought to be trimmed or removed? Find out if your yard has a suitable space for a vegetable garden? What is ailing a certain shrub? Any other garden issues? Do you want to do the work in your garden yourself, but would you be more comfortable with some advice?
We can help. While we can’t promise to positively identify all the plants in your garden, or every pest or disease issue, we will do our best.
Do you have a space all or parts of which you don’t much care for? Are you drawing a blank on what to do with it or how to change it? Or do you know exactly what you want but need some assistance getting there? We can help you achieve a garden you enjoy, whether you want a design that you will install, or want us to do the installation as well.
Do you lack time and or energy to keep up with your garden? Are you unsure of the maintenance needs of the plants in your garden?
We offer individualized maintenance plans. For some clients, this is a once-a-year spring pruning, clean-up, fertilizing, and mulching, for others, seasonally setting up, monitoring, and putting away a drip irrigation system, and for others making sure things get watered when the client is out of town. We have one client for whom we prune the same five shrubs once a year.
Our most common plan consists of one visit approximately once every two weeks during the growing season, a spring clean-up, fertilizing, and mulching, and leaf removal in the fall. Typically, a visit will include weed control, pruning, trimming, deadheading, and neatening as appropriate, sweeping/blowing paved areas, and checking on any irrigation system we may have put in.
For clients with lawns that we mow, the usual interval for visits is approximately once per week during the growing season.
Pruning, Trimming, Renovation & Clean-Up
Overgrown shrubbery tangled in vines? Weeds growing like weeds?
We can take care of that. Sometimes we recommend removal and replacement of overgrown plants with something more suitable, but other times, clearing out the undergrowth and vines, combined with judicious, if occasionally severe, pruning will take care of the issue.
Many shrubs can be made easier to live with as well as more aesthetically pleasing with a good limbing up, and most respond much better to that than to an all-around shearing. Limbing up most often results in their requiring less maintenance overall. In some cases, we can also trim low hanging tree branches where appropriate, and where not, we can recommend a tree service.
Patios, walkways, walls & retaining walls in brick, natural stone or manufactured stone can add much interest to gardens, besides being practical. Hardscaping is especially useful in small gardens where some open space is desired, and a lawn would not be practical.
Arbors, trellises, fences & other garden structures can give definition to space, unwanted screen views, and help make a garden unique.
Preparation of Properties for Sale
Help your property look its best right from the time a potential buyer arrives.
We can do as much or as little as you want. It is best to do any serious pruning for size reduction as far ahead of the intended sale date as possible so plants can fill back out a bit. A year is not too far ahead. It is usually best to wait for new landscaping until any construction/renovation is completed. Short-term maintenance contracts are available for the time the property is on the market.
Is your garden, or part of it, shady, and nothing seems to grow there?
Gardens in the shade are often considered challenging, but there are many plants that thrive in the shade or even require it to prosper. Let us show you what can be done with that shady spot in your garden.
There is usually a way to incorporate at least some edible plants into a landscape. Kind and quantity depend upon the site. We are happy to advise you. For further information on edible landscaping, please click here.
For a bright spot of color or a glorious swath of it, there is not much that can do the job like seasonal annuals. Whether it is a single pot on the porch or front step, an accent in a perennial or shrub planting, or a large bed devoted entirely to annuals appropriate to the season, we can install it.
Vegetable, Herb, & Fruit Gardens
Delicious, super fresh vegetables and fruits right from your yard and truly fresh herbs from your own patch take meals from good to special. Vegetables, herbs, and even some kinds of fruit can be grown in anything from a simple pot or two on the balcony to an elaborate in-ground planting. We can tutor you, build and plant it all, or anywhere in between.
For further information on edible landscaping, please click here or see “Edible Landscaping” by clicking on the “notes” button at the top of the page.
Season Extension Set-Ups
Get an early start or extend your harvest - for both vegetables and flowers.
These are basically miniature, unheated greenhouses, and are made of PVC pipe and agricultural fabric. They can be easily disassembled for storage. These are mainly used with raised beds, but can sometimes be adapted for other situations. For more information, please click here.
Even a small container garden can bring a bright spot to most any space.
Container gardens can be of any size, from a small decorative pot filled with pansies or basil to an eight-foot diameter galvanized stock tank filled with shrubs, flowers, vegetables, or even a small tree. Containers are often a practical way to get around the issue of root competition from large trees.
A rain garden is a basin of soil with appropriate plants installed, constructed to collect runoff from a roof or other impervious surface, and allow the water to seep into the ground slowly, so it does not overwhelm storm sewers or carry pollution into our rivers. A rain garden, as it mitigates stormwater runoff, can turn an annoyance into an asset, and potentially provide a credit against stormwater fees. They can be of varying sizes, depending on the situation.
Treat yourself to unique and beautiful arrangements with fresh flowers and other cutting material from your own garden.
While many flowers can be harvested from a flower border without making it look depleted, cutting gardens are meant to give a plentiful harvest while leaving the flower border to look its best. In our region, cutting material may be had from early spring through fairly late fall by planting a range of species. Even without installing a dedicated cutting garden, flowers, and other plants for cutting may be emphasized in flower borders.
Butterfly & Pollinator Gardens
Help the environment while delighting your senses.
Flowers provide nectar sources for adult butterflies and other pollinators, and also help attract beneficial insects to your garden. Adding plants to feed butterfly and moth larvae also helps those species thrive. Even where there is no room for an elaborate garden specifically for butterflies and other pollinators, plants beneficial to them may be incorporated into most gardens. Please click here for images.
Many of our native plants thrive in local gardens, and we use them frequently
Drip Irrigation for Tree, Shrubs, Perennials, Vegetables & Fruit Bearing Plants
Optimum water for your garden, peace of mind for you. The systems we currently use are set up with an easily programmable timer off the hose-bib - no electrical work and only very rarely plumbing work required. Drip systems can be set up for container gardens as well. We also offer maintenance contracts for these systems involving seasonal set-up and shut-down plus monitoring during the growing season
Water Gardens & Water Features (Coming Soon!)
Few things add interest to a garden like a water feature.
Water features do not need to be large to be effective. A trickle of water flowing over a stone or a large decorative pot holding a water lily can change a small garden from pleasant to special
Raised beds can be an excellent solution for difficult soils, and can be built to suit your needs. Perfect for vegetables, herbs, flowers, and berries.