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Retaining Wall Utilization

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Retaining Wall In Your Garden Landscape

With Atlanta’s varying topography, we are frequently asked, how can we create and maximize usable space in the outdoor environment.  How can we add additional space for our families and friends, to get outside and really enjoy Atlanta’s great climate.

It is all too simple to just recommend adding a retaining wall.   Many contractors will look at a site, determine the property boundaries, and simply proceed to raise all corners to the same height, and bring in the soil.

While this may maximize the amount of level area, it gives no thought to the aesthetics of the space, and awkwardness of tall walls.

At Gibbs Landscape, our Landscape Architectural staff approaches the site with concepts and themes that will keep the retaining walls in scale with the planned us of the space.   Many times, two walls, verses one tall wall, will help to create a comfortable scale, and still provide a substantial increase in level space.    This approach is typically more cost efficient as well.

We feel it is important to allow the retaining walls to blend with the site vs dominating the topography.  The use of a low retaining wall, maybe 18- 24” in height, can easily serve as additional seating.

Once we have determined the optimum location for the retaining wall, it then becomes important to select a material that will complement the existing architectural details.  Stacked Stone, Brick, Natural Boulders, and Concrete Modular Block, are all great materials that will give longevity to a retaining wall.   All these materials are easily adapted to both straight more formal designs, and at the same time be used with natural more flowing curves.

Very Simple Wall

Very Simple Wall

More Elaborate Wall

More Elaborate Wall

 

 

As winners of over 275 awards, Gibbs Landscape Company offers a proven track record of creative, quality landscape design and maintenance. Our team of highly trained, qualified Landscape Architects and horticulturalist can design and maintain a landscape that will add value to your property for years to come. You deserve the best in landscape design/build and maintenance…you deserve Gibbs Landscape Company.

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2014 Consumers’ Choice Award

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

We are proud to announce Gibbs Landscape Company has won the 2014 Consumers’ Choice Award for Business Excellence in the category of Landscaping. Gibbs has won this prestigious award  11 straight years in a row. We would like to thank all of our clients for the privilege of serving them. We would also like to thank everyone in Atlanta who has seen our award winning work and voted for us.

Please let us know if we can help you with your lawn care needs, new landscape architectural projects, or anything associated with your exterior landscape.


summer 09 662Himot 0310CCA2014

It’s Time to Design Your Dream Outdoor Living Space

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

As residences of the Atlanta Metropolitan Region, we have a climate that allows for maximum us of the outdoor environment. Over the past 10 to 15 years, many homeowners have discovered the enjoyment that a professionally planned outdoor space can provide.

While we have always enjoyed the use of decks, patios, and seating areas, the introduction of a fire pit or fireplace, outdoor kitchen and grill area, bocce court, paver patios, and synthetic turf areas have created many additional activities to enjoy in the outdoor environment.

In the fall of the year, it has become very common for football fans to have friends over to watch the game on an outdoor screen, while enjoying the atmosphere created by the great outdoors.

The combination of elements, along with plantings, grass and year round seasonal color and containers, help to create added living space for any residence.

So while January may force us to stay curled up inside with the remote, or tablet, just remember March is just around the corner, and now is the time to get a jump on planning your project for this spring.

By designing and installing paver patio areas, fireplaces, and outdoor kitchens, a beautiful and entertainment friendly space is created.

Before ShotOutdoor KitchenOutdoor Fireplace

Fall Garden Chores

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

In Georgia during October and into November, both air and soil temperatures are cooler, making the prospect of working in the garden a welcome one. October and November is an ideal time to clean up your garden and to evaluate your successes and failures.

Armed with this information you can then decide which new plants to add to your landscape or which ones would benefit from dividing. With a bit of luck there will also be some slow gentle rains. What follows is a list of chores for October-November, according to the type of plant:

Annuals
• Pull out summer annuals that have finished blooming or are scraggly.
• Plant pansies, violas, snapdragons, dianthus and stock too. For the best results, prepare the soil by digging in or rototilling a 2 inch layer of organic matter. The soft soil (make sure it’s well drained too) will make it easier for plants to grow well. Space plants on 6 to 10 inch centers, depending on how quickly you want to have a full established planting. These colorful annuals tolerate frost and cold weather and bounce back on warmer sunny days. Fertilize after you plant and then once every four weeks with a “pansy booster” or comparable fertilizer. Planting your pansies in October and November will give them adequate time to establish a good root system before cold weather.
Bulbs
• Plant spring flowering bulbs including daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and crocus once soil temperatures are 60F or cooler. This is usually done in November and December.

Perennials
• Cut back spring-blooming perennials now. Just tip back lantana and wait until spring to cut it back hard; the same is true for Artemesia. Wait until spring to cut back fall blooming perennials.
• Add some fall bloomers to your garden like asters, sedums and chrysanthemums.
• Remove old mulch and then add a fresh layer of mulch. Keep it away from stems and trunks. Dispose of any diseased leaves in the garbage. This will cut down on the potential of overwintering pests and diseases.
• Plant peonies or divide existing peonies. Do not plant them too deep.
• Dig a hole that is 1 ½’ wide and 1’ deep. You should be able to see the buds (eyes), barely cover them with soil. Fertilize established peonies with something like 8-8-8 or a comparable fertilizer.

Lawn
• Spread pre emergents to suppress weeds next spring including Chickweed, Poa annua and hairy bittercress.
• Aerate and over seed fescue seed before soil temperatures cool off too much which will result in uneven germination. Fertilize after you plant.

Roses
• Transplant roses.
• Tie up climbing roses that have escaped.

Edibles
• Plant strawberries in October and November. Space them 12 inches apart in a raised bed with a moist, well-drained soil. Site them in full sun or part shade. You can also plant them in containers. Look for varieties suited to the South including Apollo, Cardinal, Delite, Earliglow, Sunrise, and Surecrop.

Shrubs and Trees
• Plant shrubs and trees, both evergreen and deciduous types.
• Remove old mulch and reapply a fresh layer of mulch.
• Water new plantings on a regular basis. Once a week if there is no rainfall.
• Prune and remove dead limbs or twigs.

Fall is for Planting

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Fall is for Planting

japangarden

One of the great things about fall in the South is the weather. The “dog days” of summer have passed and cooler temperatures make working in the garden an appealing option. Fall is also an ideal time to add plants to your garden, including trees, shrubs, perennials and spring flowering bulbs. Whether you have a small city courtyard or a large suburban lot, the possibilities are unlimited.

Start with a Plan

drawing
If you don’t already have a landscape plan for your garden, Gibbs Landscape Company can create one tailored to suit your property and life style.

The Framework: Trees, Shrubs and Perennials

Seasonal Color

If you have taken photos throughout the growing season of plants that you like, or made notes about favorites, now is the time to add these to your garden. Remember, you are investing in a root system. When adding trees and shrubs, consider what they will look like in every season and which perennial companions will complement them.

Be sure to include a mixture of both evergreen and deciduous types. This way your garden will offer interest throughout the year.

Beyond blooms, choose varieties with interesting texture, colorful bark, brilliant berries and fragrant qualities. For screening and hedging, plants like fragrant tea olive, Osmanthus fragrans, offer bold evergreen foliage and sweetly scented flowers.

Don’t forget the Bulbs

flower blubs

Once the soil temperatures are cooler (November through December) it’s time to add spring flowering bulbs. For easy to grow perennial bulbs, daffodils are a good bet. Pair them with daylilies or hellebores which will help mask daffodil foliage, after they have flowered and as it ripens next summer. Because daffodils are poisonous, deer will avoid them. (Once 1/3 of the foliage has turned yellow you can cut it back).

Smaller species bulbs like the tulip ‘Lady Jane’ or Ipheion ‘Rolf Fiedler,’ with its fragrant lavender blue flowers, are ideal for tucking into the flower border or under established shrubs and trees. Unlike the giant hybrid tulips, both of these varieties will persist in the garden, delighting you for years to come.

Instant Color with Container Gardens

picture-683

 If your garden space is limited or you just want to add a burst of color, containers are a quick and easy fix. Don’t limit yourself, combine perennials, shrubs and trees too. Evergreens and small conifers like dwarf selections of hinoki cypress, Chameacyparis obtusa are good candidates that offer year around beauty. For more color, leave room to add annuals that you can replace, depending on the season.

Don’t forget to water your new plantings on a regular basis until they become established.

 

For more ideas on how to transform your Fall garden, contact Gibbs Landscape Company and one of our award winning landscape architects would be happy to assist you.

As winners of over 275 awards, Gibbs Landscape Company offers a proven track record of creative, quality landscape design and maintenance. Our team of highly trained, qualified Landscape Architects and horticulturalist can design and maintain a landscape that will add value to your property for years to come. You deserve the best in landscape design/build and maintenance…you deserve Gibbs Landscape Company.

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Transform Your Shade Garden

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

As spring approaches and trees begin to leaf out, is your shady landscape looking lackluster? Or, maybe where once you had sun, trees have matured and now you have shade. With the right plants and a creative design, shade can be an asset and your garden an oasis, on those hot summer days we experience in Georgia. This can be accomplished by including a variety of plants with interesting textures, colorful foliage and even blooms!

Pair Foliage and Flowers

Shade Garden WalkwayWhen you select a shrub for screening or an evergreen backdrop, think about what you will pair it with. The tough yet elegant Florida Leucothoe,Agarista populifolia, is ideal for screening unsightly views and has a graceful fountain shape. By planting a small Japanese maple in front of the Leucothoe and adding a landscape boulder, you have created a lovely scene that offers interest for months. A clump of iris adds colorful flowers and a vertical accent even after it blooms. Another plant that makes a good companion for Florida Leucothoe is the oakleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia. The white flowers open in early summer and last for weeks. The ornamental bark, dark brown to cinnamon, looks good year around. And, you don’t have to prune this hydrangea unless it gets too big for the spot you have it growing in.

Variegated Solomon's Seal and CephalotaxusSmall anise tree, Illicium parviflorum, provides bold foliage and grows in sun or shade. With a span of 8 to 10 ft. high and wide, Anise is perfect for an evergreen screen or an informal hedge. It provides the perfect backdrop for shrubs like Annabelle hydrangeas, which bloom in June with large white delicate blooms (4 to 6 inches across and up to 12 inches in diameter). This hydrangea produces flower buds on current season’s growth so each year you should get an abundance of flowers, provided you provide a moist, fertile soil and regular fertilization. For summer color that persists for months, Variegated Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum,’ brightens even the darkest corner with its variegated foliage (leaves up to 6 inches long), soft green leaves edged in creamy white. This perennial will grow in shade or part sun. Other blooming perennials that are happy in the shade include Fringed Bleeding Heart, Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’. With its cherry-red flowers and blue-green delicate looking foliage, this is a good performer.

Right Plant, Right Place
For a foundation planting that won’t require constant pruning to keep it in check,
Japanese plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata,’ offers dark green needled foliage. This shrub grows 1 and ½ to 2 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide, ideal for in front of windows. For a contrast, add some autumn fern and you have an elegant duo that won’t threaten to obscure your view (from inside your home looking out to your landscape). For even more color, add Hellebores and early daffodils.

Go Vertical
Whether you train them to frame your front door, or cover an arbor that welcomes visitors to your garden, vines will add vertical interest. There are a number of evergreen vines that thrive in the shade including Carolina Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens, with glowing yellow flowers in spring and Confederate jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Madison,’ also blooming in spring but with white fragrant flowers.

For more ideas on how to transform your shade garden, contact Gibbs Landscape Company and one of our award winning landscape architects would be happy to assist you.

Don’t miss the world’s Largest Daffodil Display in full bloom now at Gibbs Gardens

It’s Time to Plant

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

It’s mid-February in the Atlanta area and although spring doesn’t officially start until March 20th, some daffodils and a few trees and shrubs are beginning to flower.
While the weather can be unpredictable and early blooms may be nipped by frost or turned to mush by a late freeze, conditions during February and March are ideal for planting hardy trees, shrubs and some perennials. (Wait until mid-April to plant your summer annuals.)

By getting a jump on the season, you will put less stress on your plants and your budget. The benefits of adding plants to your garden now are that with the cool weather, plants won’t require as much water as they will once the temperatures begin to heat up and leaves desiccate quickly. Think of it as an easy way to save money on your water bill.

If the structure of a deciduous tree or shrub (the framework without the foliage) looks good now, just imagine how it will enhance your landscape once the leaves appear in a month or so. Remember, you’re investing in a healthy root system, in other words, the underground parts that you don’t see are as important as what you do see.

Tree Pruning
Before you plant, take several photos of what your landscape looks like now.
Ask yourself what you like about your garden and note the changes you would like to make. Make notes too about holes in your landscape where the addition of a shrub or tree would make a difference. Consider not only shrubs and trees but perennials that will complement them. Utilizing an experienced landscape architect will insure the proper textures and combinations for your new garden.

This is also a good time to evaluate your hardscape including paths, edging for planting areas, patios, walls, fences, etc. An effective way to tie your garden to your home is to use materials like the materials that your house is constructed of: brick, stone, wood, etc.

Below are a few combinations of shrubs, trees and perennials that make good garden bedfellows.

1. Mophead hydrangeas and perennial Carex ‘Evergold’ as a groundcover. Hellebores also make a good groundcover for hydrangeas.

2. Dogwoods with hydrangeas and Japanese plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonia var. prostrata an evergreen groundcover.

3. Oakleaf hydrangeas with white flowers and white Japanese roof iris, (Iris tectorum ‘Alba’ ) half-shade is ideal, good evergreen foliage contrast and white flowers.

4. Camellias with Coral bells (Heuchera) planted in front of them.

5. Japanese maples under planted with sedum (Sedum tetractinum ) evergreen groundcover hugs ground.

6. Perennial to brighten the shade garden, combine with ferns and hostas- variegated Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’).

7. Perennials for full sun to plant with roses and iris, Arkansas blue star, (Amsonia hubrichtii)offers great texture.

8. Limelight Hydrangea, Russian Sage , dwarf crape myrtle and coneflowers-summer color

Shape Up Your Shrubs and Trees

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Shrub PruningA common question that many homeowners ask is “When is the best time to prune ornamental trees and shrubs?” The answer depends on the individual plant and whether you are pruning to maintain health and vigor, control the size and shape or to encourage flowering or fruiting.

Winter is a great time to prune and thin out many of your shrubs and trees in the South. To encourage the most flowers with summer blooming trees and shrubs that bloom on current seasons growth, such as Crape myrtles, lindens and certain hydrangeas like PG types (Hydrangea paniculata selections), prune these in late winter or early spring, before the leaves emerge or, in summer, after they bloom. The best time to prune spring blooming shrubs and trees like azaleas and crabapples is after they bloom in springtime. Wait to prune roses until buds begin to swell, usually late February to March, depending on the variety and weather conditions in your garden.

With established deciduous trees, January is a good time to perform annual maintenance pruning. Not only is the structure of the tree visible (the trunk and branching), making it easier to see where you need to prune, without foliage there will be much less debris to clean up. Below are a few tips for pruning in general:

Tools
*Use sharp tools, making sure to oil and sharpen blades each season.
*Use a quality pair of bypass pruners (with scissor-like action) instead of anvil pruners. These make clean cuts and cause less damage to bark and branches.
*If you are pruning branches larger than ½ inch in diameter, use loppers or a small folding hand saw, which makes it easy to access tight areas.
*Pole pruners (most have a cutting blade and a saw) are effective for reaching tall limbs.

What and How to Prune
*For large trees, hire a professional.
*Remove any dead, diseased, broken or dying limbs at any time.
*Remove limbs that grow down towards the ground and get in the way of clearance.
*Cut dying branches back to green wood.
*When removing diseased branches or stems, make your cuts a few inches below the diseased area.
*Remove branches that grow back into the tree or shrub or rub and cross other branches. This will help reduce potential sites for disease or insect problems.

Tree Pruning*Remove suckers (vigorous shoots which are usually at the base of the trunk and come from underground roots) as they emerge. Remove water sprouts too. These usually grow along the main branches of trees. Not only are they unsightly, they can starve trees of much needed nutrients.

*If shrubs are sheared (tips are cut back) on a regular basis (this is common with certain hollies), new growth occurs near the tips of branches and sunlight can’t penetrate the dense foliage. Because of this, the interior branches may become sparse and leggy. This is when thinning is a good idea. Use hand pruners to selectively remove branches back to a lateral branch. As a rule-of-thumb, remove only 1/3 of the shrub at a time. Not only will you reduce the size of your shrub but it will have renewed vigor.
Please let us know if we can help you with your pruning needs.

Time to Plant

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

We are currently in the prime planting season. When you plant your new trees and shrubs in the winter months you allow the new planting to focus on root development. The new plantings will establish their new roots and will begin to store nutrient reserves for next year. The water requirement for new plantings this time of year is substantially less as well. With the increased cost of water that can make a huge difference to the actual cost of a new landscape project. If you are interested in a new landscape design for your property please call us today. Gibbs will have one of our award winning landscape architects develop a beautiful landscape design for you. Call us today at 770-432-7761 for a free consultation.