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Meet our Landscape Supervisor – Sam Lewis

Landscape SupervisorWant to work hard and get to the top? Be like WNC native, Sam Lewis.

Sam came to Snow Creek with one thing on his mind – to work up the ladder. To put his experience and education of landscape design to use. Those of us who work with him, know that it worked!

We were able to sit down with Sam to ask him a few important questions on life and his general experience at Snow Creek Landscaping. His time, both in the field and in the office, has allowed him to see the greater picture of what is needed to help run a successful landscaping business. As a company, we are always glad to see our folks move up through the ranks and utilize their talents.

To get to know Sam just a little bit more, we sat down and asked him a few standard interview questions. To really let the community know who they are working with.

Snow Creek: “So Sam, here is the most important question – how do you spend your time off?”

Sam: “Playing golf, traveling, fishing, and attending sports events.”

SC: “Where are you originally from?”

Sam: “Born and raised in Candler, NC.”

SC: “Ahh, an Asheville native – rare these days! So what do you like about being in the landscaping industry?”

Sam: “Being able to see a project evolve into a clean and well maintained landscape. That something comes from an idea and is made into a place that people can enjoy and be one with nature.”

SC: “Serious question – If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three things you would bring with you?”

Sam: “Multi tool, water purifier, and 1000’ 550 para cord.”

SC: “And how did you end up on the island?”

Sam: “The fishing boat sank, so I floated to the island on raft”

SC: “Very straight forward! Alright, So how long have you been at Snow Creek Landscaping?

Sam: “ I started working in the summer of 2011 and became full time in May of 2014.”

SC: What is some advice you would give to someone – either in landscaping or just in life?

Sam:” Always be willing to work hard, get your hands dirty, and always look to see what you can be learning”

SC: Lastly, what is your favorite place in Western North Carolina?

Sam: “Anywhere out in the country, or just in the woods away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

SC: “Agreed!”

And there you have it, folks. Sam Lewis of Snow Creek Landscaping. Want to meet more of him? Conveniently he can be found working with our crews on the production side of our company.

The Five Senses of Landscape Design

Really taking in your natural surroundingOur perception of the world is built around the use of one or more of the five senses – touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. We use this multi-sensory system to help us make instant decisions on whether something is good or bad for us. If a loud mysterious noise comes barreling towards us, our instinct is usually to be concerned, where as a bakery’s fresh aroma will make most of us feel comforted and unexpectedly hungry.

How we respond to our senses makes up much of how we go about our daily life. For example, we probably wouldn’t fill our home with unwanted scents, ugly or uncomfortable furniture, and we certainly wouldn’t purchase food items that we find repulsive. As a local landscaping company, we are often challenged by clients to create an outdoor living environment that transcends the walls of their house and makes them feel comfortable. In doing so, we believe that designing the outside of your home should be approached just as holistically as how you would do so on the inside.

For the most part, when creating a customized landscape, we have the ability to incorporate specific characteristics of the natural world that make us feel good. With so much room for creativity, we should all be able to compose a yard that stimulates a positive response to each of the five senses. By adding these different elements, we open up an opportunity to mindfully absorb all aspects of a landscape. For people who have full or partial loss of one or more of the five senses, enhancing other areas can also help access new ways of experiencing the natural world.

To build the ultimate multisensory experience in your backyard, let’s look at ideas in each on of the five senses.

Sight:Getting close to your landscape

For most people, aesthetics is usually the number one factor when designing a landscape. The outside of the home, like the cover a book, becomes a visual representation of the owners. That being said, most people want to be presented by a well maintained and welcoming landscape – one that seemingly describes the owners in some way or another.

Ideas:
– What colors, styles and shapes attract you the most?
– Understand what plants will look like during each season for a more comprehensive look all year long.
– Are you planning on maintaining your yard or do you need someone else to help?
– For instance, a messy yard may become a subtle frustration or haunt you on the days that should be spent relaxing outside.
– What additional sculptures or features can you add that will bring you joy?

Blueberries in your backyardTaste:

While most people aren’t grazing on ornamental shrubs, it can be an option to design an edible landscape that produces the same colors, shapes and aesthetics as those that don’t provide some form of nutrient (to you). Right now, it is said that roughly 60 million Americans grow edible plants of some kind during the year.

The use of fruit plants, veggies and herbs can be both functional, pleasing to the eye, and doesn’t necessarily have to be contained in a garden specific part of your yard. For example, growing blueberry bushes throughout the more ornamental ones can provide that touch of color with a seasonal treat each time you go outside.

Ideas:
– What are your favorite fruit or vegetables that you feel confident in growing, maintaining and harvesting?
– Will you want edible plants that will return every year with little maintenance, or will you be planting seasonal ones that need more attention? Or both?
– How can you utilize edible container gardens throughout your yard for more enhanced greenery? – If you love hanging baskets – did you know strawberries can be grown in a hanging basket?

Smell:

Imagine walking towards your home and being greeted by a variety of smells, from blossoming flowers and herbs tucked in all corners of your yard. Adding certain kinds of thyme in between pathway stone can bring a welcoming new dimension as you release its fragrance each step of the way. For many, the scents of spring and summer flowers are enough to make any day seem more refreshing.

Smelling the dogwoodsDid you know that researchers from Rockefeller University were able to conduct a test which showed that the nose can smell at least one trillion distinct scents? Smell really is a powerful way of understanding our environment.

Ideas:
– If you notice odors that you don’t enjoy in your yard, how can adding or subtracting items dampen it’s smell? For example, if you don’t like the smell of mulches, try working with more ground cover or no mow grass instead.
– Research the scent of plants before installing, and be sure to strategically places them around your yard for the most effect. Container gardens with herbs, such as rosemary, can give wonderful aromas throughout your yard – plus handy for cooking or specialty drinks!

Sound:

Are you the kind of person who feels energized by the singing of distant birds, or one who is soothed by the sound of trickling water? All of us have our ‘go-to’ preference. Unfortunately, many homeowners struggle with unwanted sounds that take away from being able to enjoy their yard.

For those those looking to dampen neighborhood sounds from cars or other activities, they can benefit from installing a natural wall of trees or large shrubs. Not only can trees absorb carbon dioxide, prevent erosion, and create shade, they can also significantly reduce unwanted sounds. Plus, they can really bring together any landscape design. Remember, even a quiet environment is an important personal preference.

Ideas:
– Adding the right amount of native shrubs and trees, such as hollies, can help encourage bird species to nest or feast in your yard, creating many opportunities hear and see them.
– If there is no natural steam nearby, an installed water feature can provide you with the constant sound of trickling water.
– Additional features such as wind sculptures can help bring natural tunes to your backyard.

Touch:DSCN7426

One of the many reasons we create individualized landscapes is to help fill the need of having an outdoor living space for easy and private access. Within the confines of our home, we can walk barefoot on the grass, soak up vitamin D from the sun, and have a space to get our hands dirty. At the end of the day, the landscape of your home should entice you to spend quality time outside.

Ideas:
– How are you going to want to spend time in your yard? Whether you need a place to sit, relax or even lay in the grass – is that currently possible?
– Do you want a personal garden to get your hands dirty? If so, will that be a container or designated spot directly in the ground?
– A customized fire pit can get you outside, even on those cool evenings.

Understanding and implementing a multisensory landscape allows you to be more in tune with your outdoor living environment. Creating a space that makes you feel good, while tailoring to your needs, should be the top priority when either constructing or renovating the landscape on your land. We suggest writing down each one of the five senses and brainstorming what comes naturally to you. At the end of the day, a more individualized landscape, tailored to your needs and likes, creates a higher chance of spending more time outside. We think that makes the investment worth while, and for some, it just makes scents.

Backyard fire pit: Intentionally bringing it all together.

backyard fires

The most common characteristic among our clients is the need for a memorable outdoor landscape. One that produces years of stories with their friends, family and neighbors, while constantly reassuring them that their investment was worth it. For those looking to spend a larger portion of time outside, we often suggest designating an area with a backyard fire pit to help create those memories.

Whether a permanent installation or portable fire pit, backyard fire areas can enhance your landscape tremendously. It also creates positive social, personal and financial aspects into your life as a homeowner. Throughout history, humans have gathered to feast, tell stories, and connect with others around the safety and warmth of a camp fire. On a personal level, there is something meditative about the crackle and glow of the open flame. Many of us will always remember those special nights, captivated by the blaze.

Backyard stone fire pitHaving a self contained fire becomes such simple, yet meaningful experience right in your backyard. Remember, there is also no age limit on making s’mores!

As a homeowner, it can be difficult to invest in landscape renovations. If you’re trying to make this decision, consider the following reasons why adding a fire pit to your design can help enhance your overall life.

It’s a place to gather.

Your family, friends, and even the entire neighborhood will appreciate having a backyard fire pit as a place to come together. Imagine the kids catching fireflies in the distance, while the adults enjoy their time around the light of the fire. If you have younger children, this creates a great opportunity to teach them about fire safety, while also providing the ultimate setting for a classic family camp out.

This cross generational activity is what will make your home stand out as the preferred place to gather among your close ones. Did you know that there are many studies that suggest our complex social behaviors and connections developed around a camp fire? Social interaction and being outside are both extremely beneficial to our body and mind. Provide a place for that to happen and you’re destined to feel good about your decision.

Get personal with yourself and your family.

From quiet evenings with your family, to extra special moments by yourself – an evening fire can be an extremely therapeutic activity. Imagine being tucked under the summer stars with your favorite book and beverage, or telling your family tales of your own experiences.

We’ve all felt some form of satisfaction while watching a perfectly placed stack of logs burn. Whether you like to sit back and hear the tiny noises that accompany the flames, or find pleasure in the building and maintaining that inherently comes with having a fire – it all brings a kind of calmness and inner peace. It can truly be a satisfying experience that many people treat as a mindful way to relax. In fact, studies have shown that being around a campfire can dramatically reduce your blood pressure.

backyard stone fire pit small in a alandscape designEmbrace and enhance your backyard.

If the landscape is truly an extension of your home, then you should feel comfortable being out there during each season. Creating a fire pit area gives a perfect opportunity to have an outdoor area to relax at all year long, which can be just as welcoming as your living room. In this day and age, most of us are constantly connected to technology. Instead of your evening routine spent inside, try replacing it with a relaxing session next to the fire on your own property. Truly learn to appreciate the time spent outside and embrace the natural world around you.

Depending on your preferred style, the design and layout of your landscape can create a seamless transition from the inside of your house, to the open outdoors. Some may prefer to have their fire pit be the focal point of their landscape, while others may choose to create an additional seating area for guests to enjoy privately. Don’t just step outside – step into another part of your home.

a fire pit on an outdoor patio of stone.Increase your property value.

It’s impossible to predict the future. Creating a functional and enhanced area of your landscape, such as an outdoor fire pit, brings your property value up if you ever decide to sell. It’s always an added bonus when you can enjoy an addition to your home, while at the same time knowing there is a return on your investment.

There are going to be many ‘to do’s when you own a home. Make the next one bring fire to your life.

Is 2017 the year you decide to make your backyard a true addition to your home? With any added landscape, whether a fire pit, waterfall, or general landscape upgrade, homeowners get the opportunity to feel good about their entire property. If you want to create memories, increase property value, and feel good about coming home – reach out us. We’re your top local landscaper in the Asheville area, and we’re ready to make your outdoor dreams come to life.

-Team Snow Creek

10 tips on properly watering your yard this year!

Hose attachement watering new landscapeOwning property with a customized landscape can be a lot of work to maintain by yourself.  Out of all the chores to be done, we can’t stress enough the biggest and most basic one of all – watering.  Check out these 10 watering tips that will help your landscape thrive this year.

1. Newly installed plants need more frequent watering than established ones.

Persistence is vital in those early stages. Follow these general rules to make sure you are supporting the proper root growth of your new plant installations.

1 Gallon plant = 2 to 3 gallons of water
3 Gal. plant = 5 gallons
Tree = 15 Gallons
Generally speaking, your water spigot will put out 5 gallons per minute.
How often should I water my plants?

Water daily during the first week (14 days for sod and seed).
Every 2 to 3 days for another 3 weeks.
Every 3 to 4 days for the rest of the year.

2. Water evenly and thoroughly.

Make sure that you are providing enough water so that the soil isn’t dry an hour or two after you are finished. On the other hand, if it’s super soggy, then you are over saturating the soil, which can be just a bad. While your watering, make sure you are hitting the entire surface, 360 degrees around the plant. This promotes even and stronger root growth.

Just remember – deep and consistent watering sessions promote healthier root systems. In this case, less is not always more!

3. Choose the right tools for your property and schedule.

If you can’t get outside to water when it’s needed, invest in an automatic irrigation system or, at the least, a manual sprinkler set up. If you are able to get out there yourself, find the right attachments that works best for you and your yard. We recommend something like this to help soak the base of the plants, but getting a sprinkler system for larger grassy lawns. Take it easy and make watering enjoyable for you.

4. Let the soil lightly dry out in between each water.

If your plant has water, it doesn’t need to be watered again – let it have time to breathe.  If you continuously over water, you run the risk of drowning the plant, which means it isn’t able to the get oxygen it needs. Creating this cycle will help promote the roots to absorb nutrients, water, and oxygen so that the plant stays healthy.

Outdoor living area on patio in western north carolina.5. Utilize mulch and check it seasonally.

Mulch on the surface helps reduce evaporation and retain in the soil. This alone is great when working on increasing your water efficiency and root development. Did you know it can also also slow down weed growth and reduce diseases? At the same time, mulch is an easy way to make your yard look clean and inviting.

There a lot of ‘wins’ when mulching correctly. That being said, it isn’t a simple solution.  Overloading the mulch near the base of the plant can actually increase your chances of diseases, while not using enough on your yard can decrease those benefits. Be aware of what your doing with mulch and listen to what your plants – and soil – are telling you.

6. Watch your water efficiency.

We really can’t tell when we are going to get a drought – it just happens. At the same time, we don’t need to be wasting water and our resources even when we do have a rainy year. Being efficient with your water saves the environment, as well as your pocket.

A simple way to not waste water is to be aware of where it’s going. If it’s puddling, it’s not being used efficiently. If your sprinkler or irrigation system is spending more time watering your pavement than your yard – adjust it. Be mindful of how much water you are using, while at the same time making sure all your plants are getting exactly what they need.

7. Containers are different than the ground.

Be aware of the soil in your container gardens or potted plants. The soil in them may be on a different cycle then the rest of your yard, so it’s best to treat them separately.

8. Not sure about your soil? Stick your hand in it!

It’s simple – get down and dirty with your soil. The more you understand about how your soil responds to watering, the quicker you’ll know how to serve each plant in your yard. Higher clay content in your soil (ahem…western North Carolina) means it can’t absorb water quickly, however it does retain water longer than sandier soil. The more you know, the more efficient you can be.

Remember, always check one to two inches below the surface when checking soil moisture!

9. Know your plants and where they are.Landscape at the front of the house

Become more educated in the needs of your plants, as well as their current placement on the property. Most likely, you have shady plants in the shade, and plants that need more sunlight in open areas. That being said, you will want to water accordingly to their specific needs. It may not be necessary to water equally throughout your yard, especially in shady areas that don’t see much sunlight.

10. Really watch the rain.

Summers in the Asheville often have quick afternoon showers. At the time, these showers may seem like they’re helping your landscape, but they may not be getting water deep into the soil. Pay attention to how much it rained, not just the fact that it did. If you aren’t sure, go outside and check your soil. Often times you’ll find that the soil is still dry and hour later!

Just remember, the more you know and are involved in your yard, the more it will provide you a beautiful outdoor environment for years to come.

Looking for more information on what to do with your new landscape? Check our beginner’s guide page!

-Team Snow Creek

Updating our look: Spring 2017

New Branding to our vehicle for the spring/summerSince 1989, we have been serving the community of Western North Carolina with a full landscape service that reflects and supports the rich history of this region. It’s the impact that our work has on each client that keeps us coming back. Every day. Each season.

We know that a lot of people pass our work and just appreciate it for it’s beauty. For us, however, it’s the stories of how they came to be that makes them even more unique. We see the couple that bought their first home together or the business that wants to have less of a negative environmental impact. With the passing of each season, we are incredibly fortunate to see our work and relationships grow.

We’re the folks that like to get our hands dirty. To have our environment look healthy and welcoming. To come to work and enrich the lives of our clients… naturally.

Spring is a time of growth. Since it’s also one of our busiest times of year, we wanted to make 2017 even more special. This spring and summer, we’re blossoming a new adventure of our own. It’s the same Snow Creek Landscaping, but with a whole new to look tell our story. We want to take this time to introduce a new brand for our clients, family, friends and the community of this area.

Stay tuned for more updates, giveaways, and the newest adventures in the story of Snow Creek Landscaping.

Cheers,

Team Snow Creek.