5 tips from a Connecticut Landscaper

It’s been 24 years since i graduated college and I’ve been behind the wheel at Designing Eden llc.  Over that time we’ve created a bunch of successful landscapes as well as some that were not so successful.  I’ve definitely learned some things over that time period about people, plants, landscape maintenance and gardens in general.  Although this is not a fool proof plan and it, by no means, is a complete list, it’s a good starting point for creating a successful landscape.

Know your site conditions.  How much sun or shade does the garden receive? What type of soil is currently there? How quickly does the soil drain? What hardiness zone is the garden located? Knowing as much about the existing site conditions will lay the groundwork for a successful landscape.

Blue Spruce planted as an understory tree is not a good choice!

Work from some type of plan.  Whether it’s a design on a napkin or a fully rendered landscape plan, going through the process of designing a landscape usually results in a better garden.  When designing your landscape or garden, think about flowering times, plant heights, sizes and shapes and how all the plants will relate to each other.  Once you have an idea about the above, find plants that fit those requirements as well as your site’s environmental conditions.

A quick sketch of a potential garden layout
A master plan for a Litchfield County property

Avoid Temptation!!! I see this from homeowners, clients and professional landscapers all the time.  For some, a nursery or garden center is similar to a child in a toy store.  Some lose all sense of judgement when they get into a nursery.  I’ve witnessed people loading plants into their trucks while asking simple questions about the plants they just purchased.  They buy plants without regard to the cultural requirements of the plants.  Most often, a leaf or flower is the culprit for the impulse purchase. You just can’t start buying plants without an idea of where each plant will fit in to your current garden.  Right plant, right place goes hand in hand with knowing your site conditions

Buy enough plants to fill an area: If you can’t afford to fill an area, work on a smaller area.

Use a quality mulch.  Mulch is just like anything else.  It comes in all different qualities and price points.  Using cheap mulch can cause a host of issues from robbing plants of nitrogen, introduce all types of weed seeds and even cause artillery fungus, something you don’t want! I prefer bark mulches, which has very little wood chunks present.

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Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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