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How the American yard came to be.

Photo by our very own Crew Leader Stephen

Since the birth the of the United States of America, social trends have been heavily influenced by cultures around the world. For one thing, take a look at the landscapes around you. With affordable landscape options, people in today’s America, for the most part, are able to get creative with the plant material and design of their outdoor area.

It wasn’t always this easy, however, for households to have a planned landscape that fit their lifestyle ‘wants’ versus their ‘needs’ for survival. From being a reliable and necessary food source, to solely aesthetics and enjoyment, the American yard continues to develop and morph into the ultimate holistic use of one’s natural world.

While we don’t know exactly the first garden ever created by humans, we do know West Asia is where people began to really think intentionally about the space around them. To close off the outside world and create a version of the natural environment through modifying a piece of land. This mindful practice of garden design, the origins of landscape architecture, eventually spread westward.

As early civilizations continued to develop around the world, historians can find records of outdoor areas that were designed purely for aesthetics. These early gardens and common areas were where scholars developed a sense of appreciation for design, native plants species, engineering, and water supply, as well as the importance of providing these spaces to the public.

Throughout history, however, the natural space surrounding one’s home has been a direct reflection of the lifestyle, financial status and stability of the economy. For most people throughout history, and still to this day in many parts of the world, the area around a home has been used in manner that fed and protected the individuals in the household.

In the early stages of the newly developed United States of America, people were settling in all areas of the country. Because of this, gardening close to the home wasn’t for aesthetics, but instead of practicality. For those relying on a sustenance packed property to survive, flowers and grassy areas became less of a priority.

Eventually, as areas became more populated and people specialized in agricultural practices, the general public became less dependent on their own land for nutritional value and able to look at the outside of their home with an aesthetic value. As people continued to immigrate from around the world, personalized landscaping began to emerge as more common trends in households. The economic growth and structure of many areas allowed for home gardening to introduce native plants beyond fruit and vegetables. Even more so, it allowed for individualization of home yards within the general public.

People began to look at all areas of the home, both front and back, as viable options to extend their living area. Lawns, which were previously a social symbol due to the labor costs, became increasingly available to all social statuses with the accessibility of grass seed and the introduction of the first lawnmower in 1930 by Edwin Budding. Landscaping design and develop became a viable trade for people to research and make a living off of. With that, brought more products for the typical homeowner to use, such as tools, pesticides and design options.

Downtown Asheville Rooftop Garden

Gardening Supervisor Amanda on top of one of our client’s downtown Asheville rooftop garden.

With World War II, once again came another big push for home gardening with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s solution to fighting food shortages. When the war ended, however, so did the interest in his ‘victory gardens’. In the 1950s, the first ‘cookie-cutter’ homes were being developed as new suburbs for
affordable living on Long Island. These original American suburbs, built by Abraham Levitt and his
family, were one of the first homes to include a lawn already in place when homeowners bought the property. Many included strict rules on the presentation of the property around the homes, which culturally projected the concept that the landscape of a home was just as important as the inside.

One major influence in our modern day view of landscapes, can be contributed to the environmental movements of the 1960’s, along with the creation of Earth Day in 1970. Since then, we as a society have been able to really take a look at our home landscapes in a more holistic approach. For many, mixing edible plants with ornamental again became popular in the home, along with the appreciation for public parks and community gardens for those living in more urban areas. Even in 2009, the White House introduced it’s first garden since WWII – showing American’s the yard can be aesthetically pleasing and functional.Steps are a great way to help reach areas of your landscape.

Today, the majority of homes are able to individualize their landscape to their specific interests because of the amount of easily available services and materials. The diversity in landscape styles and practices from around the world can be seen while driving through neighborhoods throughout the country.

With economic stability, as well as accessibility to landscaping materials and services, the landscapes of America have a future that is really dependent on the interest level of the homeowner. We are able to take the time and look at the environmental impact of a person’s yard along with identifying the various
colors, styles and dive into the relationship the person wants to have with the yard. Creating a countryside environment in an urban area, fit with the sounds and scents, is just as achievable as creating minimalist yard in the country. Your dream outdoor space can become a reality.

With each client we get, as a local landscaping company, we are able to ask them, “what will make you happy?” To be able to ask that question, really is something that we should all be thankful for. Just the fact that so may people can create an outdoor living space to connect with nature, is an opportunity that many take for granted. The next time you are you out in your yard or public park, give thanks to having this opportunity. For those moments are how we know we’re lucky to be able to do what we love.

To take advantage of this opportunity and build your dream landscape, give us a call at 828.687.1677!

Container gardens: 101

Amanda, our gardening supervisor, spends much of the winter months planning and getting ready for the colors and growth of the warmer months. We were able to catch up with her on the top of one of our client’s rooftop garden in downtown Asheville to grab some of her advice to homeowners on how to create a simple but powerful container garden.

Downtown Asheville Rooftop Garden

Gardening Supervisor Amanda on top of one of our client’s downtown asheville rooftop garden.

Her advice is ‘Thriller, filler and spiller’, as well as don’t limit yourself to conventional containers – get creative!

Thriller:

This becomes your focus point that grows upward, creating height that can be flowering, foliage plants or ornamental grasses. These can be placed in the back or in the middle, depending on how your container is going to be viewed.

Filler:

By creating a strong center of the container, you’ll be able to bring the different parts of the container together by surrounding the thriller and a space above the spiller. Typically more rounded or mound plants, they make the container feel full and lush, as well as can add vibrant colors.

Spiller:

The last component of a successful container garden design is your spiller, which flows out of the planter and creates depth and flow. Depending on the viewing side of the container, you will want to be mindful of where these will want to be placed, as well as how they will grow throughout the season.

Creative container garden here at the Snow Creek Landscaping office. Made out of old wood from a job site.

Remember to use potting soil, which is specifically designed to let your creation grow to it’s healthiest and fullest. The best potting mix is one that holds moisture, and is light and fluffy, which gives your plant’s roots the perfect balance of air, moisture, nutrition as well as stability.

Check out our recent landscape DIY video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y36UmUrTgQg&t=7s where Amanda gives our Asheville viewers some container garden advice. For folks interested in our landscaping services, give us a shout and let’s get either your containers or full landscape looking amazing!

 

 

Watching WNC grow for 28 years: A Quick Snow Creek Story

Tim Boone, owner and Founder of Snow Creek Landscape Services with his family and team. As quoted from the Asheville Citizen’s Time article on November 16th, 1997, Tim Boone, “found a niche in the market. And with the economy roaring along for the past several years, he’s done well”. That was just over 20 years ago, when Snow Creek Landscaping was coming up on it’s 9 year anniversary. Many locals can tell you that they have seen our trucks all around town, but many don’t know the rich history and dedication that the company has been involved in throughout the years. Since opening it’s doors in 1989, Snow Creek has worked hard in creating relationships in the community of Western North Carolina, as well as helped develop the face of this beautiful land for so many commercial and residential clients.

The story of Snow Creek is one that starts with the child of an agriculturally rich family, one that farms their food and takes pride in their environment. As a young boy, Tim Boone watched the world around him grow and develop. With each passing season, his curiosity transformed from a more agricultural lifestyle into more of a horticultural passion – one that brings that natural world to each individual. From selling his motorcycle to start his own pepper project at a very young age, to becoming an award winning horticulturist in his early years – the fascination of how things grow and develop had became less of a hobby and interest, and more of a career.Working on a sod job at the the Grove Park in.

For 29 years, Snow Creek has been depicted around Western North Carolina with the
image of the creek that started it all. As Tim grew both personally and professionally, he always felt a deep connection with the native land. His childhood memory of playing by the creek side on his family’s property never left him. That creek became the front and center of Snow Creek Landscaping.

As a creek grows and develops through the years, it carves away at the earth, leaving
behind its path and rich history. Rising waters creates new twists and turns, yet uncovers the beauty that lays deep within the earth. Stones are pushed from one side to the other, building a natural sculpture in the world that constantly changes, but never loses its beauty. Like the creek that influenced Tim’s passion, Snow Creek Landscaping has developed and left its mark in the community that all of its employees call home.

Like a creek, we have developed and strengthened over the years, with a story that is constantly changing and moving forward.

With each passing year, our company creates relationships both with the natural world and the people of WNC.  We help our clients discover the true potential of their properties, through hard work and creativity.

Our new fleet vehicle with the new brand. In 2018, we will be officially unraveling a new brand, one that defines us as a company, and continues to grow with the surrounding Asheville area. The saplings we planted long ago have developed into massive trees with deep roots, while hardscapes have become one with the earth and built memories that last a lifetime. The positive impact on both our relationships and the environment is what we do. We are doing it with a passion and will continue to do so for years to come.

When a company has been in business for as long as we have, it’s inevitable to have its ups and downs. We learn from each experience, which can guide us into the direction we choose to go as humans. As a mission, we want to go beyond just your typical landscaping company and transcend into a lifestyle. An experience that helps build a story. An opportunity to enrich lives, naturally.

Shelly McKinney, of Snow Creek Landscape Services, working on arranging and choosing the right material for a client. Meet Shelly McKinney:

When Shelly and Tim met, they instantly connected over their passion for creating intentional landscape designs. Ones that build a deeper relationship with the natural world. Originating from Florida, Shelly was able to create award-winning gardens for her
community, while understanding and promoting the native landscape of Florida’s warm, tropical climate. While her ecosystem has changed, her passion for creating true and creative landscapes remains the same. To build a design that lasts and sets the stage for years of memories.

With her award-winning landscape designs,
development and project execution, Shelly builds strong relationships with each and every one of her clients. This relationship centered landscape service is what makes her work reflect each client’s desires both in and out of their home. From interior and exterior design, she brings the joys and experience of nature to your home.

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.