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Landscaping for Privacy

Your yard is your escape. It’s a vacation, without taking a vacation. And on your vacation, you deserve some privacy. Most backyards don’t come equipped with privacy in mind. Your neighbors can be heard talking in their own backyard, dogs wander through, and the dull roar of the highway can always be heard. Landscaping can help to alleviate all of that.

Use softscaping to reduce ambient sound. In your house, you walls are sound-proofed with filler between layers of drywall. Softscaping is the same basic idea. Through the use of trees, bushes , and other plants, the dense mass of leaves of organic material absorbs sound waves and reduces what you can hear in your backyard. The reverse is also true. The are another great landscaping trick. They absorb the noise that you create, keeping it quieter for the neighbors and more private for your conversations.

Decorative walls are fantastic landscaping additions that help visually screen your yard. In hilly Ohio, many yards are sloped. A low decorative wall topped with a small fence keeps prying neighbors from seeing what you’re doing and looks fantastic at the bottom of your yard. Similar retainer walls around decks and patios add to the privacy that you can achieve right outside your back door.

Enclosed patios and decks work on a few levels. Of course, they help keep your evening parties private by adding walls and a roof over your head. These also keep your parties private from insects and the annoying parts of being outdoors. Screened enclosures keep mosquitos, wasps, and horse flies where they belong: in the great outdoors. In the meantime, you’ll be safely enjoying yourself in the semi-outdoors.

Need a little more privacy in your life? Call TM Design at 614-738-4495 to set up a consultation today!

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Gardening for the Home

Local is all the rage, and what’s more local than your own garden? Many families are embracing the act of growing their own food and herbs. Most don’t do this exclusively, but supplement their weekly groceries with some of their favorite vegetables and herbs that are made more delicious by being grown at home. Rather than going full-on farm with their garden, many prefer to make their utilitarian growing space aesthetically pleasing, ala the idea of the French potager.

These types of gardens are laid out in a way to be visually pleasing and most-to-all of the plants grown in them can be used for the home. Here are a few of the things to consider including in your kitchen garden:

- Herbs. These are generally easy to care for and require very little attention. Most can be cared for simply by trimming what you need for cooking. With that in mind, it is best to only select herbs that you plan on using frequently. The young leaves are more tender and best for cooking. The plant is trained to endlessly grow at that point, so replacing trimmed leaves is simple. Common herbs include rosemary, dill, mint, thyme, tarragon, and basil. These come in many varieties, basil particularly. Some bushes of this herb can grow to be quite large and its flowers tract bees for pollinating the rest of your plants.

- Vegetables. Plan to rotate these seasonally. Some things need all year to grow properly (such as pumpkins, both pie and carving varieties). Some things will grow quickly, like peppers and cucumbers, leaving your fall open for colder-climate veggies like Brussels sprouts, kale, some squash, and snap peas. Be sure to move around where plants are in your garden each year so as to not deplete the soil of its nutrients.

- Flowers. Many of these are useful for kitchen gardens. Marigolds naturally repel some insects and can be used as an edible flower in salads. Clover is great for attracting pollinating bees and can be buried in the ground over winter as a green manure to enhance your soil.

Interested in growing your own food? Give us a call at 614-738-4495 to schedule your first consultation with TM Design.

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Gardening to Reduce Stress

Any regular gardener could tell you that playing in the dirt is good for their mental health, and it’s not just because gardening is an activity that they enjoy. Studies are showing that gardening has an amazing effect on our mental health and well-being. That includes everything from getting more sun and Vitamin D, to exercising our brains with the activity of maintaining a garden. Some studies have even shown that just looking at a painting of a garden helps to reduce stress. Actually gardening, a Norwegian study shows, reduces the level of cortisol in the human body (a chemical released by stress).

So what should you include your therapeutic garden? Many hospitals, extended care facilities, and out-patient centers have found great success as they’ve developed their own spaces. We can take a few tips from their success and see what works well for reducing stress:

- Perennials. These flowers will grow and bloom for at least two years. They need to be maintained, but they will continue to grow and flourish even when you aren’t able to tend to them. How great to see flowers blooming and your garden flourishing even without the standard annual labor required by most gardens.

- Animal life. Include plants that attract some of the local animals. Use tall, bright flowering plants to attract hummingbirds. Bushes that produce flowers are great for attracting butterflies. Both birds and insects will add a splash of color to your garden and the element of unpredictability. Koi ponds will add movement and animals to your garden also.

- Use sound in your landscaping. Gardens engage our senses of sight, smell, touch, and even taste when you grow vegetables. Make it all five and include the sense of sound in your garden. Wind chimes are an easy way to create a sense of something out of the ordinary. The gurgling of a pond is a very calming, as well as the simple crunch of gravel under your feet along a path. The sounds of your garden should be as varied and vivid as the plants in it.

Do you want a more therapeutic garden? Call us at 614-738-4495 to schedule your first consultation.

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Your Doggy Oasis

Dogs are a part of our families. They live with us and play with us, but they have their own habits too. Make your yard dog-friendly. After all, that’s like their room in the household. And it must have all the amenities that you, as a human, enjoy: bathroom, exercise space, and shelter. Don’t worry about sacrificing your yard for the dog, it’s easy to create a space that both of you can enjoy equally.

Start by thinking about how your dog uses the yard right now. What are his favorite spots? What features does he enjoy the most? Has he found something he loves at a doggy park that you don’t have right now? Designing your new yard may require some retraining. For example, creating a shaded area of soft dirt under some trees that you may intend for him to use as a bathroom, may not mean that he knows that right away. And if your dog loves water, getting him a shallow pool would be very kind. Then letting him know that it’s okay to jump in this one but not the ones at the park may take some work.

Dogs who spend a lot of time outside will have a doghouse. Finding where to build this should use as much thought and care as the builders had when deciding where to build your house. The door should open toward the majority of the yard so that they can watch for any intruders, but the door should not face the south or southwest. You want to keep your pup toasty in the winter, so keep his door out of the way of those nasty cold winds. For summer months, you may consider giving him some shade. Using a tall pine tree would give him shelter year round.

Finally, as you are landscaping the part of the yard that’s for you, still keep Rover in mind. The ASPCA lists many plants that range in their level of toxicity to pets. Some of these are even as common as English Ivy. Double-check before planting to make sure that what’s pleasing to your eyes will be pleasing to your dog’s stomach too.

Feeling a bit lost? Give TM Garden Design a call to set up a consultation for your backyard design. We’ll give you some tips and ideas of how to improve your landscaping, for you and your pup. Dial (614) 738-4495 today!

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Utilizing Planters in your Landscaping

The secret to creating an interesting garden is levels. This could mean many different things from walled gardens to garden tunnels to hills in your landscaping. Creating vertical differentiation in your garden design allows guests to absorb its beauty and inventiveness in smaller sections. These help to give your garden shape and make it appealing from a distance, not just up close. One of the easiest ways to give your garden shape is to use planters.

Find planters that evoke the spirit of your home. When necessary, you can turn almost any container into a planter. For example, if you enjoy wine and even make your own in the basement, turning barrels into planters will increase the overall beauty of your home immensely. Even though modern winemaking often does not use wooden barrels on the small scale, finding the spirit of the thing is what matters. Many urban gardeners choose to turn pallets and cinder blocks into herb gardens. Each home is unique and there are a wide variety of classically carved stone pots available to match.

The placement of your planters aids guests as they stroll through your garden. There are many methods for placing your planters as guideposts, but here are a few general rules. Use large planters to highlight features and focal points in your landscaping. Place several along steps, patios, or other starting points. You can also use large planters to line a pool or water feature. These planters help to integrate these areas into the rest of your design. You undoubtedly have pathways that bridge each area. Use small pots to show the way. Using pots of similar design on each individual path helps to make these paths more clear. When paths converge, use a large planter in the center. You can surround it with small pots for an added effect if you so desire.

Bear in mind that planters and containers are there to augment the beauty of your garden, not obstruct it. When placing containers on your patio or generally near each other, use them to frame a view. When sitting on your patio for breakfast, can you watch the sunrise? If so, place two planters just beside where the sun will rise. This helps focus the view down to the most beautiful section.

Contact TM Garden Designs at 614-738-4495 to set up a consultation today! We can tell you the most optimal places for planter placement in your unique garden.

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Green Thumbs Choose Better Soils

If you’re relatively new to gardening, you may not know about all the different types of soil and how you should use them. TM Garden Design has your back, with proper garden design! Many neophyte planters will just grab the cheapest soil and plant everything in it. That’s great for some things, but you want to help each of your plants thrive. Here’s the low-down on some of the most common soil types.

Different soil particle sizes retain nutrients and drain at different rates. Particles fall into three categories: Sandy, Silty, and Clay. Sandy soil crumbles to the touch, even when wet. This type has the largest particles of the three, and because of that it also has the best drainage. Depending on what you’re planting, this could be a very good thing. But for most plants, you’ll want less drainage because that also means more nutrient retention. Clay particles are on the opposite side of the spectrum as the smallest particles. These clump when wet and are difficult to break apart. This, of course, holds on to water very well. Clay soil also provides very little air space for your plants to grow and takes the longest to warm up in the spring. In the middle of the two is silty soil. These particles will ball up when wet, but would also cling to your skin if you were pass it from hand to hand. As you might guess, this type is average for drainage and nutrient retention. There is a way to take advantage of all three types at once.

Loamy soil is an even mix of the three types of particle. This gives you the advantages of each type and is very popular in gardens. You get the water retention of clay, the drainage of silt, and the early-warming sandy soil. However, having a garden full of loamy soil is a constant battle. Particle sizes naturally settle into separate layers. This type of soil will require annual upkeep to make it viable in your garden design.

Acidity also makes a big difference in plant growth. Most vegetation does well right in the middle of the pH scale (between 6.5 and 7.5). Frequently though, commercial soils are a little more on the acidic side of things. Peaty soil is a very balanced level of acidity. This dirt is filled with decomposing organic matter and so is full of nutrients. Decomposition also naturally creates more alkaline soil. If you can’t get peaty soil, just let your plants decompose in the garden each year and add kitchen compost throughout the season to add nutrients.

If you feel inspired and want to get excellent garden design that takes in soil composition, call TM Garden Designs today!

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A Landscape Architect Can Design a Summer Retreat for You

The summer season in Columbus begins with Memorial Day. It’s the first holiday of the season and a day off to spend with your friends and family. Which, of course, means it’s time for the first barbecue. After that, there’s a summer packed full of festivals, holidays, and reasons to celebrate. Each one being a great excuse to use your yard to the fullest.

How do you want to use your yard this summer? Will you be the host of a grand nighttime patio party, illuminated only by strings of LED lights? How about those Sunday morning brunches, now served under the boughs of your very own miniature arboretum? Or what about a shaded patio, for you to sip lemonade on while the kids play a game in the yard? Whatever you want out of your yard, TM Garden Design by a landscape architect has got you covered.

TM Designs offers garden consultancy, garden design, and full project management. You should only have to worry about what it looks like, not how to make it gorgeous. The first step is to call for a site assessment. After seeing what your current design scheme is and hearing about what you’d like to do with your garden, then the consulting begins.

To set the proper mood for your summer retreat, there are dozens of factors to think about. Designing a retreat for family, and designing one for friends will look entirely different. One is more intimate and the other requires an open design. That could switch depending on how many people you plan on having over. A space just for you is perfectly fine, too. Each design will take into account your aesthetic. Floral designs can evoke every mood and complement any space. You should also think about the practical side of garden design. Do you want plants that naturally keep bugs away? How about an herb garden conveniently located next to your grill?

There are many things that influence a garden and its design. Don’t be intimidated. Now is the time to create your space. You can get a whole summer out of your yard. Call TM Garden Designs and learn about the consultancy process.

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What is a Planting Plan?

All expertly designed and created lawns will have two very important things in common.  They will be functional and beautiful.  One feature without the other just would not be an inclusive and effective landscape design.

When you have a beautiful lawn, it will be a pleasure to look at.  Passersby will see it and want it.  Your yard will be easier to maintain because you will actually want to maintain it.

When you have a functional lawn, it will be a pleasure to be in.  You’ll be able to take advantage of incorporated seating and possible fire or water features.  If form and functionality are equally incorporated into a lawn, you will most likely get a lawn you absolutely love.

One of the most important steps in creating an attractive and practical yard is to start with planting plans.  By completing planting plans early in the process of a lawn remodel, you can be sure that your yard will be perfect for your property.  Planting plans help your garden especially when they are done correctly.

  • Create a basic idea of what you want your garden to look like.  You have many styles and themes to choose from in garden design.  It’s best to know early on what your expectations are.
  • Decide what materials you need and what materials you can get.  Some plants may look beautiful but might not be able to thrive in your yard.  Many plants simply cannot grow in some climates.
  • Allow leeway in your plan.  Despite anyone’s best efforts, plans can sometimes go slightly off course.  By building wiggle room into your plan from the beginning, you will be less likely to encounter irreversible problems.

 

A planting plan is one of the first and most important steps to take when designing your yard.  If you need the help of a professional in planning your lawn, call us today.

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5 Ways to Ready Your Garden for Spring in Ohio

It seems like just yesterday we were getting our first frost in Columbus Ohio, but spring is right around the corner.  Soon, all of your neighbors will have beautiful, lush gardens filled with blooming flowers and perfectly proportioned trees.  In order to keep your garden and lawn looking the best it can, there are a few actions you can take before spring has sprung.

  1. Plan out your plants.  You may love the look of massive oak trees but if you they don’t fit in your yard, it’s best not to force them.  It may take a keen eye, but determining which plants are right for your yard can be done to ensure you r garden is strong, healthy, and gorgeous.
  2. Loosen the soil first.  After these cold winter months, your turf may be a little tough.  Loosening the soil will also help in aerating the ground which it very much needs.  It will also make it easier for you once it is time to actually plant your plants.
  3. Look into irrigation systems.  The earlier you can install an irrigation system, the better.  The last thing you want is to realize you need a sprinkler system after you’ve already planted your garden.
  4. Learn about your location.  It may happen that your area naturally has a soil that is hard to work with.  By educating yourself on your surroundings, you can pick out only the plants that will work in your garden.
  5. Look into fertilizers.  This can be tricky because your lawn or garden may not need fertilizer.  However, an expert will be able to determine whether or not your garden should be fertilized.

Getting your garden ready for spring may seem like a daunting task but, it you take the right steps, it won’t be too hard.  For more tips on keeping a beautiful garden year round, visit www.tmgardendesign.com.

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Poisonous Plants Around Your Home and Garden

With winter exists a certain calm when it comes to lawns and gardens.  Plants and people alike spend a great deal of their time in a state of near to complete hibernation.  Because of the cold weather and the snow on the ground, there is very little motivation to go outside and even if there were, most plants are dormant during the winter anyway.

Because there are great restrictions as to what you can do during the winter, now is the perfect time to educate yourself and your family as to what plants in your area may be dangerous to yourself or your pets.  By preparing yourself and your family, you can be confident that your loved ones will remain safe through spring and summer.  Research these plants to see if the property around your home is safe once the snow melts.

  • Oleander: this infamous flower is widely known as being quite poisonous.  This beautiful plant typically has bright pink flowers potent enough to kill.
  • Daffodil bulbs: their harmless look is hiding a powerful and poisonous secret.  Daffodil bulbs can cause diarrhea and vomiting and may even be fatal.
  • Dieffenbachia: this common house plant can cause irritation and burning in the mouth as well as swelling which can block off the air passage to the lungs.
  • Monkshood: if ingested, monkshood can easily upset both the digestive and nervous systems.
  • Lily of the Valley: the leaves and flowers of this plant can negatively affect heart rate and can even cause mental confusion.
  • Iris: though not necessarily fatal, the stems of the iris can disrupt digestion.
  • Rhubarb: no, your rhubarb pie isn’t poisonous.  It is the sour, green leaves that can do damage.  If consumed in a large amount, raw leaves are fatal.
  • Daphne: despite their pleasantly scented flowers, the berries of the daphne can be very dangerous, especially when consumed by a child.
  • Poison Ivy: the most obvious plant on this list, a poison ivy allergy can be fatal if not treated.  Be sure your children know what this dangerous plant looks like before you let them go adventuring in the woods.
  • Wisteria: the seeds and pods of this plant can cause severe digestion problems and can have strong effect on children.

By learning about and recognizing these plants, you ensure safety for the spring and summer.  However, when maintained and used in the proper design, a few of these plants can be beautiful additions to any home.  If you’d like to learn how utilizing any of these plants could help you, give us a call.

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