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Native Plants: The elegance of Western North Carolina

Utilizing more native species and natural look in home landscape designAs taken from our article in Fine Homes & Design magazine for Western North Carolina Spring edition.

For over 27 years, we have been working with our clients on developing landscapes that embrace their personal needs, as well as what is best for the property and surrounding environment. The area of
Western North Carolina offers it’s own geographical uniqueness, one of elegance and beauty. It’s those ecological characteristics of this area which led to the growth of our company, and is the backbone of who we are today.

For us, natural landscaping can also be looked at as a spectrum. Think of one end of the spectrum as a land that will grow and develop into what resembles an untouched landscape. Overtime, it will cycle through stages that can only be replicated by letting nature take its course. Utillizing native species and design to help contol drainage issues.

The opposite side of that would be one that completely manipulates the land to show no signs of native species or geographical characteristics specific to that region.

When choosing to incorporate native plant communities into their landscape, one must have an understanding of how those species work together with the geographical features of the land. The slopes of a mountain side would have different plant characteristics than that of a flatter valley location. All are equally important to the ecosystem, as well as you as a homeowner.

Natural landscaping is way to incorporate native plants and geological features in a way that mimics the ecological characteristics of pre-settlers. It’s utilizing the plants that have thrived in this region and applying that to a functional landscape design that is environmentally conscious, low maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing.

Environmentally Conscious

Utilizing native plants on your property has multiple benefits. From an environmental perspective, they fit perfectly into the ecosystem of that area. They have been evolving with those particular insects, animals, and other geographical features for thousands of years.

Utilizng flowers that can thrive in Western North Carolina. Native plants allow for the success of pollinators, birds and other animals in the area who have adapted to thrive off those regional plants. Birds, for example, utilize certain shrubs and trees of native plants to stay safe from predators, while at the same time use certain plants as a nutritional supplier with either the plant berries or the insects that prefer the native plant as well. Hummingbirds are provided a significantly more amount of nectar from native plants of the region in comparison to non-native or hybrids to the area.

The roots of many plants from this region are deep and can absorb extra rain water. As a property owner, this is vital to help run off from working against your home foundation or surrounding properties. For the rivers and streams, those plants help provide a filter which can then supply clean water for our community.

Finding the optimal balance between functional areas, such as turf and places of high use, and spaces for untouched native plant growth can reduce your carbon footprint. Letting nature take it’s course means less work and resources.

Low MaintenanceLow Maintenance and beautiful

Think of it this way, if a native plant is thriving and filling up the space provided, then there is less room for weeds and other plants to grow. Understanding the land and what plants can be successful there will allow for easy maintenance down the road.

For example, in shady areas that need plants that grow in low light, certain native shade plants will thrive and need less attention. Species such as the Northern Maidenhair Ferns are beautiful plants that can grow up to 2 feet with long lacy fronds, which creates less space for additional growth and therefore needs less maintenance over time.

Using a more natural landscape with native plants will require less time, money and energy in maintaining the flow of the land.

Aesthetically Pleasing

In creating an individualized landscape, it is important that it is aesthetically appealing to the people who living there. We are an advocate of utilizing your natural surrounding, so functionality and aesthetics are incredibly important. If you don’t want to spend time in your landscape, or enjoy it, than it can’t benefit you to the fullest.

Many people often think that native plants aren’t going to provide them the aesthetics they are looking for or they will be full of weeds. Nothing could be further than the truth! In fact, by using plants that thrive in this area, you can plan out a landscape that provides color and beauty all year long.

When you are taking on the journey of utilizing a more natural landscape, you are finding the perfect harmony between functionality and the natural world around you.

 

 

Landscaping, Personal, and Professional Growth

For the past year, Snow Creek Landscaping has been working with Path to Synergy’s Michael Diettrich-Chastain. As a company, we have been utilizing his coaching expertise to help better our personal and professional growth as a company.

Even after 27 years, we are constantly looking to improve in areas that can help our client experience, as well as team development. Whether it be learning new ways to communicate in a group setting, one on one, or learning how to respond to our own feelings and emotions – we can always improve.

Like our landscapes, we are always developing, strengthening, and responding to our own environment.

For the majority of us in this industry, being outdoors also holds a certain therapeutic quality to it. Whether it’s the relaxing bubbling of a stream against the sound of wind whistling through the trees, or the feeling we get when we work with our natural surrounding. Nature can be grounding on a deeper level.

Some could say – and we do – that nature is the ultimate stress reducer. :)

We often work with clients who just need a place to relax. To escape the every day hustle through the natural environment. That’s our purpose as a company – our mission. We want to enrich our clients lives through creating an outdoor living space that promotes health and wellness.

As a landscaping company in Asheville, North Carolina, we are incredibly fortunate to have a thriving economy and amazing community to work with. We are always meeting new clients that have either grown up here or one day found themselves buying a home in these beautiful blue ridge mountains. With each client, we focus our attention to working with the natural landscape and native plant species, while incorporating what each client is looking for in a design.

Learn more about Path to Synergy and how Michael can work with you on achieving those personal and professional goals through stress reduction and skill building.

If you decide you need a relaxing outdoor environment to do that, you know how to reach us!

-Team Snow Creek

New Year, New You: Landscape Edition

DSC_3545We originally wrote this article for Fine Homes and Design magazine, which you can find around the Asheville and Western North Carolina area.

With the days becoming subtly longer and the energy of the holiday season fading down, we now have time to focus on the newest addition to our daily routine – 2017.  For many home owners, the colder air offers a feeling of relief. Less time doing outdoor projects means more time spent on the indoor ones that were set aside during the warmer weather.  The winter months are the ideal time to spend reflecting and planning for a landscape that brings you joy – long before the planting, maintaining and hard work begins.

In our personal lives, many of us also view the end of the year is a time for self reflection and planning for the year to come. We see the fresh calendar as another opportunity to reach new and exciting goals. Here at Snow Creek Landscaping, we always encourage our clients, friends and family to include your own personal development with the planning of your landscape. We firmly believe that the outside of a home can greatly affect one’s happiness.

Have you ever felt unattached when you pull up to your house? Too often people unconsciously feel agitated or disconnected because their landscape doesn’t fit what they internally envision their home to be like. Whether it was designed for previous owners, unkept because of a busy work schedule, or it just doesn’t match the person you have become throughout the years – all of those can affect your personal life.

Steps to a job in the Asheville area.
What Makes You Truly Happy?

As we focus our attention in the outside of the house, it is extremely important to understand what makes you happy. So many people focus solely on creating a personalized space on the inside of their walls. For us, the outside of one’s house is just as important as the inside. Then, if the outside of our home is truly an extension of who we are as a
person, surely it should include things that give us joy.

To start off, we suggest writing down characteristics of what your ideal yard is. What is it that makes you stop and stare in appreciation at other homes? Is it a clean cut and simplistic design that just makes you feel comfortable, or are you drawn to a more organic and natural looking yard? For some, functionality and maintenance plays a big role, while others may be initially drawn to certain smells, colors and textures of specific plant species.

Creating a list doesn’t mean that everything on there has to be completed, so think of it more as a brainstorming session. Some yards wouldn’t be complete without statues, stepping stones and waterfalls – extras that are tailored specifically for the owner. Get creative and follow your instinct. A container garden on the rooftop of a building in downtown Asheville

Imagine your ideal outdoor environment and put it into a list. Again, write down what makes you happy. You know what brings you joy better than anyone.

Once your characteristic list is complete, compare it to what you already have. If your perfect yard is well trimmed with not a weed in sight, but your current situation is the opposite, that could potentially be a source of frustration for you.  For those who are in the process of building – knowing what will make you feel satisfied is a crucial part of the planning process.

Priority Work

While the overall goal of owning a home is to create a place that makes you happy, there are unfortunately going to be certain ’unflattering’ aspects. If with each storm you are worried about a seemingly dead tree falling over or water flooding into the driveway and neighborhood, those should be a priority for the new year. Take time to make a list of all the things that need to be fixed around your yard before taking on new projects.

Examples of priority items on your property:

Unhealthy or dead trees
Incorrect drainage of water
Obstacles in the way or unsafe pathways
Dim lighting making it hard to see
Anything that could promote structural
damage

As a company, we value our clients. We want the natural environment around you to be thriving and healthy, while at the same time creating a safe place for you to live. Our arborists, production and maintenance crews are trained to make sure both plants and clients are happy. When you make your plans for the next year, we ask that you please take the time to look at your property and identify the landscape jobs that need to get done to ensure your safety and well-being. We also offer environmental assessments in our packages. Are your trees on your property safe to be around?

Making a Plan

Obtaining the perfect yard, most of the time, can’t be achieved overnight. Nature needs time to grow and settle into it’s place. Like our personal goals, preparing and planning can lead to those successes. Consider the following when tackling projects in the new year.

What is your budget for the next couple of years? Investing in landscape projects often is multi year project that increases property value and overall happiness. Start with priority items, then move towards the preferred projects. If contacting us for our tree service to remove a dead tree is an urgent need, budget that as soon as possible. After those are done, figure out what is left for those extra projects that you been wanting to have around the home.

How is your landscape going to be maintained? Creating your backyard oasis is just the first step.Watering and general upkeep is key to having a flourishing yard. If currently you cannot maintain your yard, then let’s work out a plan with our maintenance and gardening crew before new projects are installed. Remember, if you know that a clean and healthy yard is what makes you happy – let’s work on getting that for you!

What is your timeline? Sometimes giving yourself a deadline to get things accomplished by is a great way to take that first step. Using an upcoming family reunion or graduation party as a deadline is a great way to start the design and installation process. We often have clients come to us with a specific date they would like the job to be completed by. This helps us make suggestions and create the best timeline for completion.

A landscape that brings you joy and happiness each time you come home is something that we want all of our clients to experience. As a local landscaping company in Western North Carolina, we strive to promote beautiful and healthy habitats that are both native and environmentally friendly. Give us a call and let’s see how we can help you grow in 2017.

 

Commercial Landscaping: From Outside In.

While most people try not to judge a book by it’s cover, the majority of us gravitate towards relying on our gut feelings. With that, includes how a business looks on the outside. As a company, you may have the best biscuits in town, but if it looks like a scene from the x-files – people may drive right on by. Commercial landscaping and presentation, we believe, is a way that a company can take itself to the next level.

Snow Creek crew member mowing the grass at a commercial property.There are many benefits to having professional landscaping at your business. We feel the following areas are reasons enough to invest:

  • Your impression on the world
  • Community and Property Investment
  • Working with the environment

First impressions

We aren’t saying everyone needs an elaborate waterfall, stone walkways, and native flowers (though, it would be cool!). What we are saying is that each business has an opportunity to instantly impress their potential customers. Rarely can a business get away with looking like a dump but offering 5 star service.

Landscape to your brand

When investing in a landscape to enhance your business, be consistent with your brand. Not everything has to be taken to an elaborate level, but instead it should focus on the environment you want to create. First impressions can emphasize the feel of your brand, from a clean and open space with accent plants, to a more rustic and organic landscape.

Keep it looking good

The upkeep of your landscape is what keeps people continuously feeling the effects of its beauty. Not many people enjoy having dead or messy plants around, so make your plan of action to include maintenance.

Sometimes it’s best to let others be in control of your landscape and invest your time elsewhere. After all, that is the point of owning a business. If lawn care isn’t your cup of tea (or brew – since this is Asheville), let someone else take care of it.

Thinking of the property and community

Commercial landscaping can help  you financially, as well as help your presence within the community. Recognize where you are located and what that means with surrounding property value and local trends. DSC00511

Property Investment

Owning property as a business owner can bring a lot of joy and financial gains. With proper landscaping, you can increase the property value and create happy neighbors. Preventing tree damage or developing rain gardens are also ways to help decrease potential property damage – and save money.

Community Relations

For some business owners, such as hotel or housing developers, the landscape can keep customers happy and feel settled. For businesses within the community, take time to recognize your role. Enhancing the look of your business has a dramatic effect on the local community members, other businesses, and even the local economy.

Work with the environment

With environmentally friendly designs, your business can look good and benefit the environment. Utilizing native plants with intentional designs can help promote water retention, soil erosion, as well as supporting your local plant species. Specific plant placement can also save you on electricity bills through reducing or conserving your heat buildup.

Take it insideContainer gardens used in commercial landscaping, like the ones snow creek planted at the Asheville Outlet Mall, can help promote a relaxed environment.

Did you know that an increase of plants inside can be directly related to happiness and productivity with workers? Imagine what that does to your customers. Simple container gardens placed around can help with that transition from the outside in.

Need help with commercial landscaping?

Are you a business owner in the surrounding Asheville area looking to invest in landscaping for your company? Let’s see how we can help achieve your branding through the natural environment. We offer a full range of services from design, installation, maintenance and are committed to helping you reach your visual goals. Our goal is to create headache free service for local businesses that support all their commercial landscaping needs.

Fall Landscaping – Reflection, Planning and Preparation.

The summer has come and gone, leaving many of us questioning why we live in a state with four distinct seasons. With fall, comes colder weather, pumpkin spice everything, and the annual fall foliage production that some of our trees put on for us. While we are checking out the local fall activities and trying to figure out when to turn the time back (the answer is at the bottom), let’s not forget about our personal favorite thing to do – fall landscaping needs!

A fern during the month of October in Western North Carolina, as the weather gets colder.Once a yard starts to loose color, production or overall aesthetics, a lot of people’s interest in maintaining their landscape starts to dwindle. We get it – it makes sense.

What if we told you, however, that fall is actually the most important part of having a successful, and potentially stress free, year-round landscape?

To make this easier, let’s break it down into three areas to work on in the next few months –  reflection, planning, and preparation.

Bonus: You can also apply this plan to your personal life goals. :)

Alright, let’s go!

Reflection:

Fall is the best time to reflect on what worked and didn’t work. Did your dream of a lush backyard oasis turn more into an inner city sidewalk with a few plants – a forgotten one at that – or did your DIY patio project turn more into an abstract art piece on the side of your house? On the other hand, maybe you had one of the most successful summers, which has earned you a green thumb title among your family and friends.

You have had months to get comfortable with your landscape. You have had time to see the growth, colors and movement of your yard with this years weather. Now it’s time to ask the questions to help solidify your needs and wants for next year.

  • What worked and what didn’t?  Be specific. Think about plant location, productivity, colors, personal preference, plant type, and functionality of every aspect of your landscape. Did your okra not grow in the back right hand side of your garden?  Did you find out halfway through summer that you have severe drainage issues near the driveway? Maybe your grass wasn’t as vibrant as you hoped, but the hydrangeas were absolutely fantastic. Write. It. Down.  Make a detailed list, check it twice, then do another walk through outside.
  • Did you get everything done you wanted? We all have those projects!
  • What did you see elsewhere, that you really liked? Did your best friend have a flower garden that brought all the bees to the yard? Or did you become slightly obsessed with rain gardens at the beginning of summer but never had a chance to pursue it any further? For some, this is where pinterest comes in handy.
  • How much time did you spend in your yard? While this may seem irrelevant at first, it is actually one of the most important parts of having a successful landscape. Be honest. Be realistic. It will help you during the next step of planning.

Take your time answering these questions and researching solutions to your problems. For example, if you could not get this one section of ferns to grow, do some research on what allows success with that particular species.

A native plan of the Asheville area during the fall months.

Planning:

Now is the time to take those detailed answers to the above questions and figure out a plan of action. This is your massive plan towards having the best looking yard on the block, a garden that could feed a family of 10, and/or that backyard oasis that gets you out of the house and in touch with nature.

Try setting SMART goals to help make sure your plan is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. This is really where our reflection questions come into play. Especially that last one.

Here are some key pointers that can help the planning process.

  • Personal commitment and abilities – How much time can you legitimately spend on the upkeep and success of your landscape? Do you need to bring in help for projects outside of your knowledge, abilities or time commitment? Look at what you completed this year and compare that with the time you spent doing it.  If you were on track and crossing of your to-do’s – perfect! If not, can that realistically change next year and if so, what are you going to do differently?
  • Budget – How much can you put aside for yard accessories, additional plants, or projects that you want to get done.  If you can invest in landscaping, now is a great time to make commitments.
  • What do you need to do now? – While you check out our preparation section below, make notes as to what applies to you. This will help you with the chores you need to do this fall, to ensure a healthy and successful spring. Waiting until right before spring can sometimes delay your spring goals, and create more obstacles for your yard.
  • Creating a timeline – Once you have your master plan, make different tasks for each month. Yes – even in December you can do something. Whether that is buying clearance yard tools, outside furniture or setting up an appointment with our sales team during the winter months to help achieve your needs – it all can be done!

Plan now and be ahead of the game when spring comes. Don’t wait for a New Year’s Resolution project. Start now and help avoid the winter blues and distractions.

Preparation:

During the fall, you need to continue doing maintenance on your landscape, even if you are personally feeling over it. If you decide to press pause now until the beginning of March or April, then you aren’t preparing your landscape to be the best it can be during the winter, spring, and following summer. In fact, it could all go to waste – creating more work for you!

Sometimes looking at a task from a different perspective can help bring new life or spark a new interest.  Instead of looking at all of this as fall maintenance, think of it more as a preparing for the future. We can’t run a marathon without training (ask our supervisor Michael Poole about that one), so don’t expect to have an award winning backyard without preparing during the less “fun” seasons in some way or another.

Fall in Western North CarolinaDo you now see how all of this can relate to your life goals? 

Here are our main suggestions for preparing your landscape for next spring. Combine the relevant ones into your plan of action. Simple, right?

  • Understand your soil, then aerate, seed, and fertilize as needed. This is a great time to determine pH and nutrient availability in your soil. Healthy soil plays such an important part in the success of your landscape. Once you have tested your soil, now is the time to aerate and seed your lawn, especially the areas that have been overly used and/or struggling.
  • Keep track of the rain and your watering. If it isn’t raining, don’t forget to water your plants. Keep making sure your plant life gets regular water until the ground freezes and the trees have lost their leaves. You want strong hydrated roots during the winter months, not dry and weak ones.
  • Mulching. Check your mulch out. See if you need to add additional mulch or pine needles, while at the same time turning – fluffing it up – the already present mulch. This will help with water absorption, as well bring to light any diseases that may have developed over time.
  • Tree, Shrub, Bulb, Perennial Planting. This goes along with your overall plan of your yard. If you need to purchase new plants to help reach your landscaping goals, this is definitely a time when you can do that. Make sure to research what you want, find the correct times to plant, and follow the rules.
  • Leaf control – There are a lot of options with handling your fallen leaves. If it easier focus on leaf Leaf foliage turning different beautiful colors during fall. removal, then you will want to work in a plan on how that is going to get done and when. Many people, however, utilize their leaves to put nutrients back into their garden bed soil. Leaves are nutrient dense organic matter that, if used properly, can help fertilize your garden soil for the next year. You can either get a leaf chopper, or pile up your leaves and run them over with a lawn mover (things can be fun!), then disperse into your garden. Plan accordingly, as leaving them all until the end can really take away from one of your fall activities.
  • Irrigation Winterization. With fall and then winter, comes freezing weather. You will want to make sure that you understand the irrigation system that you have, and find out the proper way to winterize it. Check out these detailed instructions at over at Hunter Industries.
  • Container Maintenance. We all love how container gardens look during the spring and summer. What we don’t typically like are dead plants during the winter. It’s like emphasizing sadness in those containers! Remember to take in your container plants that can’t survive outside during the change of seasons, especially the plants not native to this area. Again, this is a time to plan on what you may want to plant next year in those containers.
  • Divide Perennials. Do you have those large, well established perennials? Take the time to really look at what has grown throughout the years, and divide the overgrown and clumped. If not taken care of, they can die out in the middle, produce smaller flowers, and/or become more susceptible to diseases. This also becomes a chance to share with friends or to make additions to other areas.
  • Dead removal.  Getting read of the dead matter will help everything flourish during the spring time. Those that are dead limbs or plants can be used as compost, firewood, or simply discarded. Ask yourself whether it is dead, dying, diseased or damaged. Remember, diseased plants such as tomatoes affected by the blight will need to be removed completely off premises – don’t set yourself up for failure next year!
  • Tree and Shrub pruning. You will want to do this lightly, but it can be done during the later fall for trees and shrubs. Understandably, larger trees can be intimidating, especially if near your house – or neighbors house – so make sure to reach out to us if you have any concerns beyond your capabilities. Our master arborist with his team can give you the information you need to help preserve your trees, as well as keep you and your property safe.
  • Put away your tools and equipment. This is a great time to put all of your yard equipment away, and even doing a little organization. It is much easier to start spring off on a good note, instead of having to pick up after last seasons forgotten items.

Let us know if we can be of assistance with any of the projects you decide on, or if you realize you need help maintaining your landscape’s needs. By the way, if you didn’t know when to turn the time back, it’s Sunday, November 6!

Cheers,

Team Snow Creek