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GardenSMART Episode

Show #45/6606. Back Yard Makeover

Summary of Show

Vision For The Project
Eric would like for Mark to talk us through his VISION FOR THIS PROJECT. When looking at this backyard, listening to the concerns of the homeowner, how do you put all this together? First you start off with the homeowner, find out what kind of plants they like or dislike. Definitely some homeowners and customers just hate certain colors. A lot depends on how shady the area is. That was one of the things they faced with this backyard, there was a lot of shade.
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Design Specialist
Early on Mark got Christine, their DESIGN SPECIALIST, involved. She went to the University of Georgia where she got a degree in horticulture. Christine met with the homeowner, sat down with them and figured out the plants that they liked or didn't like. She took into consideration plants that could work back here due to the shade and the moisture in this backyard. To ensure success with the garden, it really comes down to planting the right plant in the right place.
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Homeowner Input
One of the most important steps in creating a successful design is spending time with the HOMEOWNER to discover what it is they ultimately would like. Often times their vision is not super clear at the beginning but as designers they need to discover how the homeowner would like to ultimately use the space, their preferences in texture and color, as well as the overall feel of the space.
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Challenges - Shade, Drainage, Grading, Pathways
As mentioned one of the early challenges was the amount of shade they were dealing with in this yard. They knew that certain trees would need to be thinned or removed.
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Specifics Of The Tree Work
Let's talk about the SPECIFICS OF THE JOB. A number of things have been mentioned that had to get done here. First walk us through the things they were thinking about the trees that need to get limbed up. What should one consider to make sure we're taking care of the tree and that that job goes just right. Agriculturally they try to cut within 20% to 25% or less when trimming. With the Leyland's they were just elevating the canopy to about six feet to get some light for the future plants underneath.
For More Information Click here

Taking A Tree Down
Eric would like to talk about TAKING A TREE DOWN. He's fascinated every time he watches someone remove a large tree. It is an art but there's a lot of science to it as well because you're dealing with something that's very top heavy. And, in many cases it will have a tremendous amount of weight to it. Walk us through the process of removing a large tree. On this site they identified three or four large pines that needed to be removed. So what they did as far as rigging was they set ropes and pulleys to control that wood on the downfall. They used a lot of rigging on this site.
For More Information Click here

Stump Grinding
One of the finishing touches in tree removal that Eric thinks is so important is don't try to save money by leaving that stump there. It's very important that you get in there and GRIND THE STUMP. If that is not done it's just hard for the next generation of plants to really get established, if you've got that big, heavy stump in place. Brian’s team did stump grinding on this project because there was going to be turf there.
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Supply Chain Issues
Eric and Mark continue talking. On projects of this size and scope, there are so many different things that have to all come together at the right time. Behind the scenes oftentimes there can be SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES that slow things down, but you guys kept this one moving.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

L.D.C. Landscape Design
Home | LDC Management Groups

AKA Tree Service
Tree Removal & Trimming Professionals | Atlanta, GA - AKA Tree Service

Show #45/6606. Back Yard Makeover

Transcript of Show

GardenSMART landscape makeovers are so much fun. Eric loves the creative process that goes into transforming a piece of land into a beautiful and inviting garden. From ideation, to design, to installation the vision becomes reality and is molded into the perfect piece of paradise that the homeowner has imagined.

There is so much work that goes into the artful transformation and we wouldn’t do the garden justice to leave out all the important steps. In this Episode we meet some of the team that really helped bring this project together. We first meet Mark Cohea from LDC Management Group who orchestrated the many moving parts of the design and installation of this project. It's been amazing seeing this whole project come together, there was so much thought and planning that went into this transformation.

Eric would like for Mark to talk us through his vision for this project. When looking at this backyard, listening to the concerns of the homeowner, how do you put all this together? First you start off with the homeowner, find out what kind of plants they like or dislike. Definitely some homeowners and customers just hate certain colors. A lot depends on how shady the area is. That was one of the things they faced with this backyard, there was a lot of shade. So they had a lot of trees removed. And the site work was a big consideration. For example the retaining walls. Basically getting everything set first to make the outdoor space what it can be, is a very important part of getting this right.

Early on Mark got Christine, their design specialist, involved. She went to the University of Georgia where she got a degree in horticulture. Christine met with the homeowner, sat down with them and figured out the plants that they liked or didn't like. She took into consideration plants that could work back here due to the shade and the moisture in this backyard. To ensure success with the garden, it really comes down to planting the right plant in the right place. That is 99% of the challenge. Another concern for this area is wildlife. There are certain plants that deer and rabbit love to eat, so Christine also had to take that into account.

One of the most important steps in creating a successful design is spending time with the HOMEOWNER to discover what it is they ultimately would like. Often times their vision is not super clear at the beginning but as designers they need to discover how the homeowner would like to ultimately use the space, their preferences in texture and color, as well as the overall feel of the space. With this design the homeowner wanted a diverse landscape that featured bold, primary colors. They also love entertaining and have a few pets so having a nice lawn area was going to be important. They also learned that a fire pit was a must-have and decided to make that a focal point of the design.

As mentioned one of the early CHALLENGES was the amount of shade they were dealing with in this yard. They knew that certain trees would need to be thinned or removed. There was a mature row of Leyland cypress that flanked the back of the property that needed to be addressed. Instead of removing them entirely they were limbed up to allow more light in and a row of thuja green giant were planted in front of them which will eventually take their space in the landscape.

Next they needed to address prepping the space. Drainage was something Mark and his team were very focused on. In order to have beautiful turf they needed to install drain pipe to move the water from the downspouts from the home to a natural low area where it wouldn’t create problems for the grass.

To make everything come together the way they wanted there was quite a bit of grading that needed to happen. They needed to reduce the overall slope of the yard to create a more level, usable space for the turf and landscape. This meant building a retaining wall and moving in fill dirt to level the yard out.

Next it was important to consider creating pathways that visitors could use to navigate the garden. For this design it was ideal to use natural stepping stones to create a walk from the lawn area to the back gate as well as a walk way from the back patio to the outdoor kitchen space. These hardscape touches, while small, break up the plantings and add additional layers of interest to the overall design and importantly also provide a practical solution for foot traffic through the landscape.

Drainage was also something they were very focused on. In order to have beautiful turf they needed to install drain pipe to move the water from the downspouts on the home to a low natural area where it wouldn't create problems for the grass.

To make everything come together in the way they wanted there was quite a bit of grading that needed to happen. They needed to reduce the overall slope of the yard to create a more level usable space for the turf and the landscape. This meant building a retaining wall, then moving in fill dirt to level the yard out.

With the plans drawn up and the design finalized everyone will be on the same page and our new landscape goes from dream to reality. And, the heavy lifting begins.

Oftentimes when looking at taking on a new space, part of making that plan work is having to take some trees out. The decision is - "do we want the shade or do we want to garden?” Sometimes when trying to make all this happen, some trees have got to go. And tree removal was actually a pretty meaningful part of this installation. Especially in the back area they wanted to have a nice fire pit and a good area to hang out. But there were a lot of smaller pine trees that were struggling.

Not every tree removal service is the same and it really is important to find qualified arborists to do this work. One definitely wants to make sure to get a professional arborist to come out. Mark used AKA Tree Service. Lee and his guys are very well trained they have the proper insurance needed. One never wants to skimp when it comes to getting trees removed, it's a dangerous job. Even surgical in many ways. For example, making sure not to do any damage to the structures or to other trees they want to keep. And don’t forget people, you don't want anybody getting injured as well.

Eric next meets Brian and Lee from AKA Tree Service. They did a wonderful job getting this site right and ready. Eric points out that there are a lot of things to consider when looking at a tree service. The overall job is to make sure this gets done right. Removing trees can be a dangerous job, a lot of people get hurt and that's why hiring professionals matters. Eric comments that AKA did a wonderful job. Please start by talking about this project, how do you figure out your game of attack? With this particular job, after looking at the plan and plant list they realized some trees needed to be limbed up. And there was a cluster of big pines in the middle that were going to cause an issue for turf as well as the shade plants. So they knew right off the bat, those needed to go and needed to limb up the Leylands. They’re going to limb up a poplar and just do some dead wooding on the lower canopy for aesthetics. By just looking at the plan Brian knew right off which trees needed to go and which ones didn't if the homeowner was going to have success with this landscape.

Eric has been been involved in a lot of projects and one thing he knows for a fact is, it's important to hire the right tree removal service. This is a big project, some trees need to come down, some need limb ups. What are the things that consumers need to look for when they're shopping for the right tree service? Brian believes one definitely wants to find a certified arborist. In terms of insurance, you want to make sure they have the proper insurance. Those are some of the things that one should look for right off the bat. As one dives deeper into the company that you're looking to hire, you want to do your homework and make sure that they use proper techniques, not only to protect the property, but the workers on site.

Let's talk about the SPECIFICS OF THE JOB. A number of things have been mentioned that had to get done here. First walk us through the things they were thinking about the trees that need to get limbed up. What should one consider to make sure we're taking care of the tree and that that job goes just right. Agriculturally they try to cut within 20% to 25% or less when trimming. With the Leylands they were just elevating the canopy to about six feet to get some light for the future plants underneath. That really wasn't an issue with the Lelands but if working on a big mature oak or something like that they would definitely want to be sure they're trimming the proper amount and within the ratio so they don't shock the tree. Otherwise in the future too much trimming could very likely cause it harm.

Eric would like to talk about TAKING A TREE DOWN. He's fascinated every time he watches someone remove a large tree. It is an art but there's a lot of science to it as well because you're dealing with something that's very top heavy. And, in many cases it will have a tremendous amount of weight to it. Walk us through the process of removing a large tree. On this site they identified three or four large pines that needed to be removed. So what they did as far as rigging was they set ropes and pulleys to control that wood on the downfall. They used a lot of rigging on this site. You're basically just starting from the top, you climb these trees to take them out. The first thing the climber's going to do when he goes on the site is check the tree to make sure it's safe to get in. And all of these were. Then they set their rigging and their ropes and ascended the tree. On the way up, they remove limbs to basically get to the top, then work their way down. Everything was controlled and low impact and everything was done on ropes and rigging. It's rare that one would, with a large tree, just straight fell it, you would have to have a lot of space to do that. And in urban landscapes, most of the time they don't have the space to fell a tree. So they're going to have to be brought down, controlled and that's where the rigging comes in because there's often stuff around and below the tree that needs to be protected. Once the tree is down you've got to move a lot of wood material out of the yard, in this case there was a decent distance to go. So they utilized a bobcat and plywood to get the big wood out. Taking wood out by hand can get expensive and time consuming so the bobcat just allows them to move material and process it quicker.

One of the finishing touches in tree removal that Eric thinks is so important is don't try to save money by leaving that stump there. It's very important that you get in there and GRIND THE STUMP. If that is not done it's just hard for the next generation of plants to really get established, if you've got that big, heavy stump in place. Brian’s team did stump grinding on this project because there was going to be turf there. Of course, you can't have the stump existing so they ground it and went below grade about six inches to a foot below so they could come in and top dress the soil and prep it for the new turf and plants. Especially if dealing with pines those stumps will take two to three years to naturally rot. And when you think about all the tannin that is in a pine stump it's going to be very, very difficult for the next plants to establish. So some grinding provides a huge leg up and especially going in with turf, you've just got to take it out. Don't skip that step. Plus the stump is an eyesore and also a trip hazard in a landscape so it's always best to get it removed, when you can.

Eric asks Brian is there anything else that our viewers should know when it comes to the whole process of tree removal and making sure the job's done right? He would just say, make sure you're hiring the right professionals. A lot of folks in the industry are arborists, but they're not certified. So that's important, especially if you're dealing with tree health, plant healthcare and that kind of stuff. Just make sure you're hiring the right company with the proper insurance to not only you protect yourself, but the company as well.

Eric and Mark continue talking. On projects of this size and scope, there are so many different things that have to all come together at the right time. Behind the scenes oftentimes there can be SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES that slow things down, but you guys kept this one moving. Yes they did. Fortunately Randy Moody, Mark's rep at SiteOne, one of their suppliers, was able to track down a lot of the materials that they were struggling to find due to the pandemic and certain freight situations going on. The material for the wall was hard to get, paver patio materials were hard to get. But SiteOne came through in a big way. Even down to plants oftentimes it can be hard to find the right size plants plus any kind of building materials. It's been a tough year not just with residential jobs, but commercial jobs are also having a big boom and LDC does both. The supply chain issue has been a major setback this year.

A very important part of working with landscape professionals is making sure that every project is executed well, on time and on budget. And that’s what Tom and SiteOne do. In following this project Eric has noticed they have been able to aggregate an incredible amount of high quality materials and make sure that they were delivered to the site on time, the quality is assured and the customer gets exactly what they want. Tom agrees, that's what they do. SiteOne is the largest landscape supply distributor in the country, they're designed specifically for the landscape contractor. They are to a landscape contractor, what a big box store is to a homeowner. They have associates working at their stores that help and advise landscape professionals on projects, such as this. Organizations like SiteOne work behind the scenes, homeowners don't oftentimes see the impact of their work. It's so important, especially nowadays, where it's not as easy as it once was to get everything that you want. They’re dealing with tons of different growers and different suppliers. One of the tricks is making sure that all the material is there and that the quality's there. It’s important to have industry professionals who are able to make sure that what's in the specs is what’s delivered. It makes a huge difference in the execution of the design. Tom and SiteOne assure the quality and make sure it's delivered in timely manner when the customer needs the job for the install. Eric would like for Tom to provide a sense of the scope of the work that SiteOne does. What kind of materials do you touch? They do irrigation products, agronomic products, nursery products, hardscape products. They do everything from a to z, from when a landscaper gets on the job site to what they would need to complete a job. SiteOne had a lot to do on this design, Tom worked extensively with his coworker Randy on it. To provide a sense of what SiteOne was able to supply for this project - they were involved with all the hardscape parts - the pavers, the rock. They were involved with the plant material and all the amendments. They were involved with the lighting as well. They supply all the lighting and everything that goes with the lighting as well as the proper installation of the lighting. It's pretty much anything that a landscaper would touch for a job. SiteOne saves a lot of time with just the logistics of pulling all these things together. Once you've got the design and you've got the contractor that is there to install it, having everything arrive when it needs to arrive, is so important. SiteOne sees themselves as a partner with their landscape contractors, they're just as involved as they are in jobs like this to make sure that they're successful.

Eric thanks Tom, it's great getting a peek behind the scenes at part of the machine that makes great design and a great install work. You and your team did an incredible job here, the material looks fantastic it's just wonderful seeing the whole transformation of this backyard. You found materials needed for this job when oftentimes sourcing those materials was next to impossible. Thank you for your input. Tom thanks, Eric. It's always great to get out here and see the end product instead of being at a store or looking at a computer. He loves getting out in the field and actually viewing what their customers do. And this project looks fantastic.

LINKS:

L.D.C. Landscape Design
Home | LDC Management Groups

AKA Tree Service
Tree Removal & Trimming Professionals | Atlanta, GA - AKA Tree Service

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