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Show #13/2713
Lake House Landscape Makeover - Part 3 - Landscaping A Difficult Site


SUMMARY OF SHOW

Why A Modular Wall System
One of the most significant components of this landscape is the MODULAR WALL SYSTEM that has been installed. Dan Kalar, with Pavestone, joins Eric. Dan is an expert in the field and educates people on how to correctly use these type systems. To the untrained eye the modular wall system looks like a bunch of blocks stacked up.

Click here for more info

Installing A Modular Wall System
Eric wants to know how one might PUT A WALL SYSTEM LIKE THIS TOGETHER. Brad walks us through the process. 1st Brad wants to make sure they have a good, solid foundation. That's the most important thing. Once the foundation is established, they compact the dirt with a jumping jack or walk behind roller. They then put in about 6 inches of crush and run, then the geo grid netting that the blocks lay on. The netting comes back into the earth approximately 100 percent of the ultimate wall height, as a rule of thumb. There is a 4 inch pipe that runs parallel to the bottom of the wall and they connect that to a water outlet in the wall approximately every 30 feet.

Click here for more info

Challenges Of The Site
This SITE PRESENTED MANY CHALLENGES. The biggest was the sea of concrete, the very large driveway and huge walls. Pamela wanted to do 2 things. 1 she wanted a "wow" factor, she wanted people as they come down the driveway and around the curve to see the landscaping and for it to take their breath away. 2nd she wanted a composition that was very attractive and something that softened the walls.

Click here for more info

Design Concept
Many who aren't garden design experts might look at a project like this and be confused as to how to APPROACH THIS INTIMIDATING SITE. It certainly has many challenges. Pamela's walks us through her process of tackling this project. First she addressed getting it down on paper, then implementing the plan. She used her 1, 2, 3 approach to landscape design. This means she divided it in her head and on paper into 3 different sections.

Click here for more info

Why Containers
Eric wonders why she used CONTAINERS in this design as opposed to putting plants in the ground. Pamela felt the project needed more interest, it needed architectural accents. She needed something really, really strong to anchor her sections. She believes that if she had just put plant material here it would have had nowhere near the strength of the giant containers.

Click here for more info

Plant Material
Pamela and Eric next talk about the PLANT MATERIAL. Pamela has used a lot of different colors, a lot of different textures and they go a long way in unifying the design. The first thing she needed to do with plant material was she needed strong vertical accents. Again, the wall is this long ribbon like feature and she needed to break it up. So she used tall accents that were in scale with the wall itself. Then it became easy because she was then just putting plants around each of her focal points which are the same.

Click here for more info


Plants In The Containers
They next talk about the PLANTS IN THE CONTAINERS. In many sections Pamela wanted a tall plant in the middle container. For those she chose a very tall vertical element because she is trying to break up the wall. Then on either side of those center containers she has used plants in the surrounding containers whose leaves are very different from the plants in the center container. Eric likes the diversity of plants used.

Click here for more info

The Upper Tier
On the UPPER TIER Pamela faced some fairly significant challenges. She had to overcome the very steep terrain, plus in many places it is wide open, thus full sun. Pamela found planting this area fairly easy. She has blocks of color that line up with her sections on the bottom wall. She alternated colors working with plant selections that re bloom. The homeowner wanted a lot of color and easy care so she chose things like roses, lilacs that re bloom and quinces that pop in spring before anything else. So the homeowner will have color all season without too much maintenance.

Click here for more info

Shade Plants
There is some SHADE in this area and Pamela used Blue Nantucket and Moonlight, both Hydrangeas. And, both are stunning. The evergreen ornamental grass, Ophiopogon Crystal Falls is a plant Eric particularly likes. He has it in his garden, it is probably one of the best evergreen ornamental grasses. When most think about mondo grass they typically think about a grass that gets about 6 inches tall, has a fairly nondescript bloom and outside of their green foliage are just not that interesting from an ornamental standpoint.

Click here for more info

Irrigation
Pamela wants to talk a little about WATERING. Once you've gone through all the work of putting in a landscape like this it's really important that the plants get the correct amount of water. She likes drip irrigation and that is what has been installed here. The plants get the correct amount of water and the water is delivered directly to the roots of the plants. The irrigation tubing goes underneath the ground, it has little holes and the water just drips out. In this installation they put the irrigation tubes up through the drain holes in the pots.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford
Easy Garden Color

Proven Winners Flowering Shrubs
Welcome to Spring Meadow Nursery

Monrovia
Monrovia.com - Monrovia Distinctively Better Plants & Flowers

Blooms of Bressingham
Welcome to Blooms of Bressingham®

Costa Farms
Costa Farms - The leader in houseplants and bedding plants

Ball Horticulture
Welcome to Ball Horticultural Company

 

Containers:
Pottery Land
Welcome to Pottery Land USA!

Jam'n Designs
Home - JAM'n Designs

 

Brad Smith - North Georgia Earth solutions
North Georgia Earth Solutions Residential Modular Block Retaining Walls

Pavers - Pavestone
Pavers, Paving, Edging, Retaining Walls, Patio Stones | Pavestone

Stovall Supply
Welcome to Stovall & Company, Inc.

 

Plant List

 

13/2713 - Lake House Landscape Makeover - Part 3 - Landscaping A Difficult Site
Transcript of Show

No two lots are the same but the design principles that make a garden beautiful are universal to even the most challenging sites. In this Episode GardenSMART tackles the challenge of designing with retaining walls. Many homeowners live on steep lots, others more level lots but still lots that need terracing. Retaining walls or terracing allows one to better use the space in your yard. The most common materials used for these walls are landscape timbers or railroad ties. But, there are some great new products on the market that make the job much easier, that are much more environmentally friendly and, importantly, last longer. In this Episode GardenSMART visits a residence that has undergone a massive transformation. We look at retaining walls, learn how they work and how to landscape and design with retaining walls.

One of the most significant components of this landscape is the MODULAR WALL SYSTEM that has been installed. Dan Kalar, with Pavestone, joins Eric. Dan is an expert in the field and educates people on how to correctly use these type systems. To the untrained eye the modular wall system looks like a bunch of blocks stacked up. But there is a lot more to it than that. Dan fills us in. These concrete products are manufactured in a facility, then brought to a site where workers create a system. A lot of drainage aggregate is placed behind the wall allowing water to move into the aggregate, then away from the wall. This procedure means pressure is reduced on the wall and that's one of the huge benefits of using any kind of modular system.

Many homeowners are electing to stay in their homes because moving has become economically challenging. If old retaining walls are failing that certainly dictates a new solution. Another reason for installing this type system is because many times they provide more usable space in a yard. There are many different types of systems and many different color choices. The trend is to emulate the stone look, or a more natural look. One certainly doesn't want their yard to look like a commercial site.

In this application they're using a rear lip system. One just sets down the block, slides it forward and it locks in place. The caps have a tumbled look because the face is distressed.

In the past many used landscape timbers or railroad ties but there are numerous advantages to the new modular systems. The move away from wood in this application has been nationwide. That is because there is a push nationally to remove creosote dipped railroad ties from landscapes because creosote is a toxic chemical. Creosote was and is used to attempt to waterproof the wood. But landscape timbers have a life expectancy of 7 to 11 years. The main problem with any wood product is that it will absorb water during freeze and thaw, thus the wood will expand and contract, meaning ultimately the wood will break apart. Even though treated with chemicals the wood will just not last in a natural environment. So while wood is going to last a few years, the modular systems can last up to 50 years if drainage is properly directed. Although slightly more expensive, it should last 5 to 7 times longer.

Brad Smith, the general contractor, next joins Eric. Eric realizes that this is a big project and asks Brad for an overview. Brad 1st wants to express that this job came at a time when the economy was really down. And the homeowners have been great to work with, they've been a blessing.
Top

Eric wants to know how one might PUT A WALL SYSTEM LIKE THIS TOGETHER. Brad walks us through the process. 1st Brad wants to make sure they have a good, solid foundation. That's the most important thing. Once the foundation is established, they compact the dirt with a jumping jack or walk behind roller. They then put in about 6 inches of crush and run, then the geo grid netting that the blocks lay on. The netting comes back into the earth approximately 100 percent of the ultimate wall height, as a rule of thumb. There is a 4 inch pipe that runs parallel to the bottom of the wall and they connect that to a water outlet in the bottom of the wall approximately every 30 feet. After the grid is in they then stack approximately 3 more courses of block. They fill the inside of the block with 57 stone and fill 1 foot behind the block with 57 stone. As they're building up they continually test the surface with a probe rod to make sure they have about 95% or better compaction. When it rains or even just normal water perking through the soil can create a lot of pressure behind the walls. The stone behind the walls and in the blocks allows the water to flow through, not pool behind the wall. There is no mortar or anything non permeable, the blocks just stack on each other allowing water to flow through. What doesn't make it out the wall will go to the bottom and eventually out the pipe. That's what's great about this system, it allows water to filter and flow through, it can't be held behind the wall. And, importantly the wall is attractive.

This wall has a type of block called Diamond Cut Pro Series. It is a combo with 3 different sizes, a 6 inch, a 12 inch and an 18 inch block. The color is a blend of pewter and sandstone. Each block will have 2 different colors in each block. It's important that the seams don't line up. Eric notices here they're all offset. One wouldn't want the seams to line up because that would create a weak spot in the wall. Make sure all the seams are staggered. Eric thanks Brad for his insight and is off.

Eric next meets Pamela Crawford. Eric thanks Pamela for joining us on GardenSMART. Pamela is a landscape architect and the author of 10 amazing books on landscape design and tells us a little about herself. Her mom, who is English, was her initial inspiration. They grew up with gardens filled with very beautiful flowers. And, Pamela has learned and grown in gardening ever since.
Top

This SITE PRESENTED MANY CHALLENGES. The biggest was the sea of concrete, the very large driveway and huge walls. Pamela wanted to do 2 things. 1 she wanted a "wow" factor, she wanted people as they come down the driveway and around the curve to see the landscaping and for it to take their breath away. 2nd she wanted a composition that was very attractive and something that softened the walls. So she took photographs of the wall, ran copies of them, started marking them up, then drawing until she had a composition that she loved. Eric likes the end result and wants to look further.
Top

Many who aren't garden design experts might look at a project like this and be confused as to how to APPROACH THIS INTIMIDATING SITE. It certainly has many challenges. Pamela's walks us through her process of tackling this project. First she addressed getting it down on paper, then implementing the plan. She used her 1, 2, 3 approach to landscape design. This means she divided it in her head and on paper into 3 different sections. The center section lines up with the front door of the house. The 2 side sections line up with the sides of the house. Once you have it in small sections it then becomes easier. You then put a focal point in the center of each section and then put similar things around it.
Top

Eric wonders why she used CONTAINERS in this design as opposed to putting plants in the ground. Pamela felt the project needed more interest, it needed architectural accents. She needed something really, really strong to anchor her sections. She believes that if she had just put plant material here it would have had nowhere near the strength of the giant containers. This project has huge walls, very, very strong horizontal accents, tons of concrete, that was all one initially saw, but by adding these very colorful vertical accents it broke up that sea of concrete. The containers are very colorful and that color contrasts with the walls but as well breaks up the really hard horizontal lines and softens the walls. Hardscape is a very sterile, non-living thing and since there is a tremendous amount of it it's important to break it up with other vertical accents. Eric feels Pamela has done a great job with the containers

The containers are impressive. Pamela walks us through her decision making process for those. The number 1 factor was size because the wall is so large. Had she chosen smaller pots they would have been swallowed up by the size of the wall. Color was the 2nd consideration. She actually took pictures of the wall and matched those with the finish of the containers, put them next to each other to see what worked. 3rd she needed something that was frost proof because she wouldn't want to carry these large pots into the garage when it's getting cold.

Eric asks about what she fills these containers with because it could take a truckload of soil to fill these large pots. And potting mix is expensive. What Pamela does is fill the large containers about halfway up with plain mulch which is a lot less expensive than potting mix. She then fills the container to about an inch from the top with a high quality potting mix, not potting soil. Pamela has found this method to work well with containers. And, she has written 5 books on container gardening.
Top

Pamela and Eric next talk about the PLANT MATERIAL. Pamela has used a lot of different colors, a lot of different textures and they go a long way in unifying the design. The first thing she needed to do with plant material was she needed strong vertical accents. Again, the wall is this long ribbon like feature and she needed to break it up. So she used tall accents that were in scale with the wall itself. Then it became easy because she was then just putting plants around each of her focal points which are the same. She decided which plants to use on the sides by taking the many plants assembled on the driveway, putting them up along the walls and determining which ones she liked best. Pamela thinks it important for homeowners to trust their visual instinct once they have their design broken up into sections. Eric likes the way she has used color in this design. There are several things to keep in mind when thinking about where to put what colors. As we look at the side areas in some spots she has used a brighter, lighter color in the back, then darker colors in the front. This provides a sense of depth. Some of these tiers are very narrow so using the light plants in the back draws ones eyes into the back part of the garden providing a sense of depth. In another area Pamela has used dark colors in the back and lighter colors in the front. That provides a sense of closeness and intimacy. So, there are a lot of different elements to this design that make it interesting, that provide a sense of diversity and complexity. Yet they're all simple design principles.
Top

They next talk about the PLANTS IN THE CONTAINERS. In many sections Pamela wanted a tall plant in the middle container. For those she chose a very tall vertical element because she is trying to break up the wall. Then on either side of those center containers she has used plants in the surrounding containers whose leaves are very different from the plants in the center container. Eric likes the diversity of plants used. In one container Pamela has used an Ilex Christmas Jewel which is a perennial hybrid. Its a female that bares beautiful red berries, doesn't need a pollinator and is an excellent choice for containers. The feathery texture of the Cortaderia, Ivory Feathers with its beautiful white plumes is striking. Thuja Green Giant is a classic, it's a great container plant, can get very big but in a container this tree will stay small because of the bonsai effect. It will grow larger than its current size but since the roots are constricted by the container the tree will get only as large as its root system will allow. So there's a natural dwarfing effect that occurs in a container. There are also the big, lush tropical leaves of the Colocasia Illustris. It is one of Eric's favorite tropical plants. It's cold hardy, comes out with big purple leaves, then ends up as a modeled green and purple leaf. Pamela talks about some of the annuals she has used. They're wonderful compliments to the featured plants. The Wave Petunias are stunning. Pamela loves to use wave petunias because they cascade over the sides of the containers. She has used different shades of purple because she's trying to get some coordination going between the different accents in the landscape. They do add tremendously to the effect. These designs are fairly simple, in most cases just 2 plants per container. This shows one doesn't need to get overly complicated in design, particularly when you have beautiful large containers.
Top

On the UPPER TIER Pamela faced some fairly significant challenges. She had to overcome the very steep terrain, plus in many places it is wide open, thus full sun. Pamela found planting this area fairly easy. She has blocks of color that line up with her sections on the bottom wall. She alternated colors working with plant selections that re bloom. The homeowner wanted a lot of color and easy care so she chose things like roses, lilacs that re bloom and quinces that pop in spring before anything else. So the homeowner will have color all season without too much maintenance. The day lilies are going to keep blooming on and off all season long. Eric likes the way Pamela has used re bloomers but as well he appreciates the flowering shrubs. Some particularly excellent selections, in his opinion, are very compact. The Buddleia Lo and Behold 'Blue Chip' is a wonderful blue flowering Buddleia and it stays nice and tight so the owners won't need to worry about the Buddleia outgrowing the roses. The re-blooming lilac, Bloomarang, is one of the most impressive lilacs on the market.
Top

There is some SHADE in this area and Pamela used Blue Nantucket and Moonlight, both Hydrangeas. And, both are stunning. The evergreen ornamental grass, Ophiopogon Crystal Falls is a plant Eric particularly likes. He has it in his garden, it is probably one of the best evergreen ornamental grasses. When most think about mondo grass they typically think about a grass that gets about 6 inches tall, has a fairly nondescript bloom and outside of their green foliage are just not that interesting from an ornamental standpoint. But the Crystal Falls leaves will grow to 24 to 36 inches long and will have huge spikes of white flowers. It's an incredibly showy mondo grass, a super tough plant, a plant Eric would recommend to any gardener. Pamela has also integrated some variegated foliage into the design. They provide splashes of color in an otherwise sea of green. Variegated foliage is something one sees year round, the flowers may come and go, the foliage lasts year round. Pamela has used a nice variegated Abelia, Twist of Lime. But there are others on the market, Silver Anniversary, Golden Anniversary, that flower as well and, too, have great variegated foliage. Pamela wants to mention one last plant in this area. It's a pennisetum, a grass called Fireworks, it's pink and an annual grass. She particularly likes the way it accents the bottom of the aqua pot. There is a lot of diversity in this garden. Again, it's a fairly simple design, but very colorful and very interesting. Eric thinks Pamela has utilized some wonderful plant selections. This area will provide year round interest.
Top

Pamela wants to talk a little about WATERING. Once you've gone through all the work of putting in a landscape like this it's really important that the plants get the correct amount of water. She likes drip irrigation and that is what has been installed here. The plants get the correct amount of water and the water is delivered directly to the roots of the plants. The irrigation tubing goes underneath the ground, it has little holes and the water just drips out. In this installation they put the irrigation tubes up through the drain holes in the pots. One uses about half as much water as with overhead irrigation. Another thing Pamela has done is install a rain sensor that's attached to a controller enabling the homeowner to control how much water they use but importantly if there is a rain event it can turn the controller off so it's not overwatering. That is the advantage of a targeted drip irrigation system and its' little emitters. It saves a tremendous amount of water due to lack of evaporation as it's covered in mulch and also using a controller allows one to put the correct amount of water directly to the plants, when they need it.

Eric thanks Pamela for joining us on GardenSMART. She did a remarkable job on this landscape. Everything is beautiful. Great job Pamela. It was a pleasure working with you.
Top

 

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford
Easy Garden Color

Proven Winners Flowering Shrubs
Welcome to Spring Meadow Nursery

Monrovia
Monrovia.com - Monrovia Distinctively Better Plants & Flowers

Blooms of Bressingham
Welcome to Blooms of Bressingham®

Costa Farms
Costa Farms - The leader in houseplants and bedding plants

Ball Horticulture
Welcome to Ball Horticultural Company

 

Containers:
Pottery Land
Welcome to Pottery Land USA!

Jam'n Designs
Home - JAM'n Designs

 

Brad Smith - North Georgia Earth solutions
North Georgia Earth Solutions Residential Modular Block Retaining Walls

Pavers - Pavestone
Pavers, Paving, Edging, Retaining Walls, Patio Stones | Pavestone

Stovall Supply
Welcome to Stovall & Company, Inc.

 

Plant List

 


   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
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By InstantHedge, Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge

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