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Four Simple Tasks to Greatly Enhance Your Relationship with Nature this Summer

For us as local landscapers, the spring and summer are the busiest seasons of the year. We’re making the most out of these long and sunny days, making sure each project is successful and every client comes home to a healthy and happy landscape.

Interestingly enough, even we need simple reminders to help us stay connected with the natural world around us. You can be surrounded by it every day and still need gentle reminders to appreciate its complex natural beauty.

So for this summer, we want everyone to really embrace nature through these simple, yet super impactful ways to experience nature. Whether you’re new to understanding your authentic relationship with natural world, or a seasoned naturalist, we can all benefit from more intentional connections with the world around us.

Get Creative with a Container GardenContiner Garden Ideas Asheville NC

Study after study reveals that gardening has such a positive impact on our overall physical and mental health. From giving us a sense of responsibility, to allowing us to truly connect to the cycle of life – it creates an opportunity to enhance your relationship with both the natural world and your authentic self.

While the sound of a container garden seems rather restricting, it’s actually very much the opposite and leaves plenty of room for creativity. Growing plants exclusively in containers, instead of the ground, also allows everyone to experience gardening at any scale regardless of one’s access to ground space.

When choosing the perfect plant, make sure to understand the proper temperature and lighting it will require. Whether it needs shade, partial or full sun, the placement of your container is key to your plants success. In any home and garden store nowadays, it’s easy to find the correct potting soil and species of plants that can grow successfully together.

Additionally, think outside the box – or container – and don’t restrict yourself to the more common containers found at the store.  Depending on your decorative styles, you can really incorporate colors, textures and shapes into your space. From old boots and sinks, to wine barrels and common house hold objects – the opportunities are truly endless. Whatever you choose to use, however, make sure it has the proper drainage and space to allow the roots of your plant to be happy and healthy.

Spend 20 Minutes a Week Really Noticing your Relationship with Nature – without Technology

A genuinely hard skill to learn is being in the present in the moment. To focus on the world around you, while letting go of the past or worrying about the future. For some, this can be a skill that requires attention and practice with a daily routine.

One of the best tools to help you be in the moment is to allow nature to assist in calming your mind and body. To focus your senses on the natural world around you – embracing each one and moving on to the next. Take to really think about the relationship each organism around you has with its ecosystem, from the bees pollinating the flowers, to the wind moving each individual leaf.

Want to truly enhance your experience with nature? Try it without your phone or any technology

There are so many wonderful advances that technology has given us – that’s without question. Even though one can find thousands of nature-themed apps that promote the environment and our experiences, it still doesn’t compare to embracing and giving your full attention to the natural world around you. With any technology, we should always ask – does it enhance our relationship with nature, or pull us further apart?

So for 20 minutes, whether in your backyard or local park, be present with nature this summer. It’s the perfect time of year to experience the colors, growth, smells and sounds that make up this beautiful earth – so enjoy it!

Grow Something You Can Eat

It’s truly an experience to grow your own food and we think every person should experience that feeling at least once in their life. As a landscaping company, we are constantly suggesting and moving clients to
incorporating a more edible landscape into their home. Whether it’s a specific area for a vegetable garden, or enhancing their yard with herbs strategically placed throughout more floral arrangements – the end results are always overwhelmingly positive.

For example, our own office located in Arden, North Carolina, has blueberry bushes located throughout the property. It’s easy to take a break outside and simply reach out for a sugary treat – straight from the source. It’s the small things in life.

Growing your own fruit, vegetable or herb can also really help you understand and appreciate the origins of your food. Depending on your dedication, it may even help you make better lifestyle choices about what and how much you consume. What started with a simple herb garden, may turn into a growing vegetable garden with each season. Start simple and learn to grow with your experiences.

On another note, if it doesn’t work – that’s okay. We often try to control everything around us, which has been ingrained into our daily routines since an early age. When it comes to growing any plant, you sometimes have to accept and embrace what nature has to offer. Take time to really
understand the process of it all.

Watch the Sunset

Western North Carolina is home to some of the most amazing views in the country. From the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the many mountain top trails, you can find amazing views while still being minutes from the energy of Downtown Asheville.  In the past decade, many of the buildings in WNC have been opening up their spaces to allow outdoor areas where people can embrace the beautiful mountains that we call home.

One of our top requests we get from clients, is to have a space where they can relax and watch the sun go down. To be able to stay within the comforts of their home, but experience one of nature’s greatest light show. It’s a small but powerful enhancement to their home.

There will always be something special about watching the sunset. Whether with friends, family, or alone with the universe above you – it’s one of the best ways to end your day. Another reason that summer has such meaningful sunset experiences is because by the time the sun does go down, it genuinely aligns closely with your natural sleep schedule.

Whether from a rooftop, mountain top, or your cozy backyard, this easy activity is also one that is
completely unique to just you. From your view, location, and time – it’s all yours. There will never be another just like it, so embrace it.

While these tasks are simple, they can have such a large and positive impact on your physical and mental health. It’s the small things in life that we learn to appreciate and hold close to us as we get older, so make sure to include the natural world around you in those day to day activities.

Our new fleet vehicle with the new brand.Looking for a landscaper in the Asheville area? We’ve been around for 30 years, enriching the lives of our clients with award winning landscape work. From landscape management to installation, we are able to support all of your landscaping needs. Call our office today to set up an appointment with our one of our team.

 

Understanding the Growth and Change around you: Landscapes and Asheville

By Snow Creek Landscape Services

 

 

 

It’s no secret that Asheville and the greater Western North Carolina is growing. The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains are calling – and people are listening. As a local landscaping company that turns 30 this year, we’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of that growth. Rolling hills have turned into developments for both residential and commercial properties, which in turn house the relationships that have strengthened our community.

Change, however, isn’t always that simple. Things that were once established, may be altered or even removed, which in turn create new experiences and emotions. It’s a complex dance that can be a wonderful thing when done correctly.

As landscapers, we see the world through a different perspective. For us, that complex dance really comes down to the relationship we have with our environment. Whether you’re actively involved in changing your environment, or just watching Asheville grow around you, use these helpful reminders to make the best of your situation.

Fully Understand What’s Already Established.

Every area is unique to it’s regional climate and topography, as well as soil types and conditions. Regardless of whether you’re building an entirely new home or revitalize an existing landscape, you’ll need to understand what’s already been growing on the property. As we know, established roots of existing grasses, shrubs and trees literally hold the soil in place and play an important role in its current ecosystem.
Understanding this is vital when changing one’s environment. Not understanding what’s established, will often lead to long term issues with erosion, drainage and home foundations.

With any new additions to the environment, it’s best to understand what’s already there. Once you do that, you can make informed decisions that take into account both the environmental and cultural impacts it’ll have.

Utilize the Existing Foundation to the Fullest.

In the last few years, we’ve had the opportunity to watch properties grow and develop. New homeowner’s love the home, but not the yard, while at the same time developers are utilizing the space they are given to create the best experience for their clients. Just recently, we had the opportunity to work on the new Foundry Hotel in downtown Asheville, which has both revitalized and utilized a building that has a rich history to this area. By embracing the original buildings, which formerly manufactured steel for the Biltmore Estate and other Asheville structures, they have built upon the history and subsequently incorporated it into the growing beauty of downtown Asheville.

We often suggest using established features and designing around them whenever possible. This continues to help strengthen the foundation of your environment, while at the same time bringing additional changes to your life.

Consciously Embrace the Change.

Working on a sod job at the the Grove Park in.We don’t have to always agree with change, but acknowledging it’s current form can help you respond in the best way. Whether you chose to initiate change in your landscape, or it stumbled upon you – embrace it as best as you can. More often than not, many of our clients need to alter than environment because of changes near them. For example, trees are often taken down on another person’s property that directly affects the neighboring homes. This sudden change creates sunny areas that were once shaded, or new views that aren’t as desirable. In this case, a person is left with the choice to overcome a new challenge to the best of their abilities.

When the shade of a fallen tree is no more, new growth and beauty can begin to shine. Whether using the new sun to create an edible garden, or plant new shrubs and trees, we can focus our energy on something positive and beautiful. As Asheville continues to grow, we are also gifted with new experiences and relationships that we can
embrace to better ourselves.

Plan for Growth.

Planning ahead is key to any successful change in life. Whether it’s staring a new home or business, we want to try and glimpse into the future as much as possible. When building any new landscape or altering the environment, we want to plan with the
understanding that the natural world grows. This is why you’ll often see smaller shrubs placed further apart, with the intentions that they’ll grow closer together and fill out.

Whether you work with our designers, or design your own landscape, make sure to really think about the long-term plan. Think about where you and your yard would like to be in one, three and 10 years down the road.

As always, our team is incredibly thankful and committed to serving the community of Western North Carolina. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’re both reflecting on our history and looking towards the future growth that we’re ready to embrace. Let us know how we can help you with your landscape project this year.

Landscape Trends to Get You Ready for Spring

Landscape design trends of 2019

Originally written for Fine Homes & Design Magazine.

It’s that time of year again, where the cold air becomes the normal and the leaves that once clustered our tree tops are slowly breaking down back to soil.The holiday season events came and went out with the welcoming of a new year, while everyone hustles to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. It’s that time where we turn our attentions back to ourselves, as the winter months are great for reflection and planning. As a local landscaping company of 30 years, we always use the winter months to embrace and plan for the warm rush of spring.

We invite you to see winter as an opportunity to assess your home landscape and really dive into what really makes you happy. Be intentional and choose wisely to really get the most out of your outdoor living area. If you find yourself inside escaping the cold weather, check out our quick list of landscape trends for 2019. These are comments, questions and projects that we see increasing

First, always figure out your main reasons for wanting – or needing – an
outdoor living area. A few questions to ask yourself initially are:

What can we have that will make us use our space more?
Is it just for us or guests?
How can I make each of my five senses happy in my landscape?
What materials do I want to use?
What is our budget and long term plan?

While there are many more to ask, these can get you started with intentionally planning your dream outdoor living area.

“I saw this amazing style here, but really resonate with this one area there, while at the same time…” says every person who ever started a new landscape project. We all learn from our experiences, whether new or old. It’s what makes unique and can ultimately lead to building our true happiness. When you see something you like, take a picture and really think of what about it makes you feel good.

Be efficient and effective with your needs. Get the most out of your yard.

Think of your landscape as a multi-tool. It can be your personal space away from the busy world, while at the same time host the party of the year. The herbs you grow smell amazing, look beautiful and bring flavor to your life. Trickling water in the distance relax you, just as much as the outdoor sound system. If you want an outdoor kitchen, plan ahead to really figure out what you would need to satisfy your cooking and hosting needs.

Don’t settle for a slab of grass with a few shrubs that don’t bring you joy. If you can’t get all your needs done at once – rate them by priority and availability.

While a great landscape is an extension of the home, it’s also a part of the natural world. Be conscious of where the water is going, what plants serve multiple purposes for both us and our pollinators, as well as maintenance practices.

Going native.

Using native plants is one of the biggest trends, and rightfully so. We’d say 90% of our clients come to us with wanting to know what plants are native and how they can be incorporated into their design. It’s a smart decision that helps keep our natural environment in balance, while at the same time allows for a higher success rate with our installed plants. It has adapted to this environment for good reason – let’s take advantage of that.

The common misconception is that going native is bland on the design, which is furthest from the truth. A vibrant landscape just takes creative planning and an understanding of what’s considered native to that area.

Edible landscapes

Growing your own food can be a wonderful experience, whether it’s a small hobby or main source of your meals. It also creates a great life lesson to truly know where your food comes from, which is a topic that we should all be very aware of.

In the past, we have had people shy away from the idea of edible landscapes – just like native plants – due to it being not aesthetically pleasing. Combining edible and non-edible plant species can produce a whole new design element that will bring an interactive piece to your home.

Get creative with materials, colors and art.

Just like interior designs and trends, we’re seeing so many people opening up their color palettes and choice of materials to individualize their space. Copper and brass accent pieces, such as railings and lighting, are really starting to be used both in interior and exterior spaces. Geometric patterns are being incorporated in many outdoor rugs and cushions, while custom furniture is becoming more and more popular. You get what you pay for and people are starting to realize that!

Asheville is an area that is full of craft and people showing the world their skill. Seek out an artisan who creates a specific structure or piece of work that will be long lasting and accent your home. Hand made items that show craft, just like the initial landscape, are on the rise. Items like these really emphasis being in touch with the community and our roots as humans.

Reuse and reduce.

Thrift and antique stores are abundant, especially in the Asheville area. Festivals and events, such as the Flea for Y’all are dedicated to celebrating materials that have already been produced and lessening our waste. This use of material is a great way for design expression and to stand out.

If you haven’t yet, browse through past previous generation trends to get ideas for your outdoor area. All trends come, go and return in time (whether or not they are liked by all). At the end of the day, your home is what makes you happy and gives you joy. Make it different – make it yours.

Curb appeal is important, regardless of if you’re selling.

Whether or not you are in the market for a new home, curb appeal is important to the growth of a neighborhood, as well as personally feeling good upon coming home. The main side of a home has been pretty consistent in trends, in the sense that simple yet elegant pathways are easy to maintain and can be modified if the house were ever have to go onto the market.

Adding seasonal containers and hanging baskets, as well as scented and flowering plants along the entry way are simple ways to help your home stand out. You’ll want to be sure the colors really match the home and are full of life, but simple enough where they can be changed if needed.

There are multiple ways to design a landscape that tailors to your specific wants and needs. Our team is dedicated to understanding what makes you happy and working towards achieving your dream landscape. Whether it’s a new project, renovating old looks or estate management – we are here to help you.

Let’s work together in enriching your life, naturally!

Investing in your well-being Through landscaping:

Just because the leaves are falling in WNC, doesn't mean you have to give up on your landscaping dreams.

*As seen in the 2018 Fall edition of Fine Homes & Design, Asheville’s Luxury real estate homes and design magaizine in the WNC area.

**NOTE: We have a End of 2018 Opportunity promotion for any contracts that include hardscape work and are signed by the end of the year! **

The Top 5 Reasons to Keep Projects Going All Year Long.

If we know the natural world is beneficial to your well-being, and we know that many of us struggle with lack of energy and connected-ness during the winter months – why do we decrease our connection with nature seasonally? Or better yet, why do we stop our outdoor projects in an area that support our relationship with nature? It was once said, ‘if a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.’ For us – we keep our shades open all year long!

Right now, Summer’s energy is still hanging around, with fall activities and holidays starting to bring a new kind of excitement. For many people, however, the increase of colder and shorter days will enviably loosen their personal connection to the environment around them.

One thing we like to tell clients, is that Western North Carolina is a ‘mostly’ year-round climate for your landscaping needs. We can get snow in October, then be in t-shirts during Christmas. We have four seasons, they just don’t have a set schedule.

Snow Creek Landscape Services end of the year sale for your landscaping needs

Snow Creek Landscape Sales for the end of 2018.

Want to avoid those winter month blues? Ramp up your landscape projects through planning, organizing and implementing – regardless of whether you need an additional layer. We have many clients that work on their hardscapes work during the winter, and can barely contain themselves when spring starts emerging from their home. They earned the right to really embrace their outdoor living area when spring begins its new growth.

Here’s our top 5 reasons why your home landscaping isn’t just a seasonal project.

The natural world has significant healing qualities to help your overall mental and physical health.

We all have the winter blues. For some, it lasts longer than others, as the days continuously get shorter and colder. Others are able to embrace the seasonal change through activities that embrace our natural change. We can all agree, however, the months after the winter holidays seem to last forever!

Our relaxed four seasons climate is the reason we are able to continue to work on most landscaping projects all year long. Our clients are able to keep the excitement of their outdoor projects all the way through to spring, then really embrace the growth as it warms back up.

Whether you are working on outdoor projects – or just getting outside – it’s the experience that matters the most. Embracing the cool mountain air and embracing the seasonal change around you is sure to lower your stress level significantly.

Learning and development are enhanced through the natural world – so learn more about your yard.

Take the time to really get to know the land around you. It’s a simple but rewarding process that many take for granted.

So how does one learn about the natural world during the Fall and Winter? For each homeowner, it can be spending a few hours a week learning about the plants that make up their yard. Or better, yet, working on the projects they want to have in the future through planning, organizing, and calling the help they need to get it done.

Here are some ideas fall and winter projects to help you learn about the natural world around you.

  • Leaf identification: Collect them all before they fall to the ground, then learn to distinguish which tree produces what leaves by the bark, shape and color of the tree.
  • Deciduous VS coniferous: Do you know the
    difference?
  • Garden and Landscape design – Take the time to understand what you liked and didn’t like about your yard this summer.

 

Accessible outdoor areas generally promote healthier lifestyle activities.

If you don’t spend a lot of time accessing the outdoors of your home during the colder months, but want to, then figure out what’s stopping you. These are all
projects that can be answered through the right design – and on any budget.

In Asheville, it is very common to see restaurants have year-round outdoor seating with heaters. Our climate allows that to a certain extent. For your home, we suggest accessible areas that can be heated, but also enjoyable through comfortable outdoor furniture. There is nothing better than a nice blanket on a chilly Fall evening on a back porch or patio. The air is just so crisp and inviting.

If you find yourself sitting inside more during the Fall and Winter months, then maybe it’s time to invest in an outdoor area that can promote getting outside more. Even if that does mean a couple of layers and
ingredients for s’mores. Remember – moderation is key on that chocolate!

Quality landscaping can help improve the overall health of the environment.

The Asheville area is booming with new construction and developments. We find, however, that during the rainy summer months, people are constantly looking for us to help with their drainage or structural aspects of their landscape, but wait until Spring to work on it. Didn’t get it done during the warmer months? No worries, let’s get ready for those May showers ahead of time!

Depending on the temperature with the Winter months, most projects can be completed all year long
hardscapes, drainage and plantings.

Beyond directly working on projects on your home, take time to think about your environmental impact for the new year. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  •  How is our water usage as a home?
  • What species of plants do we have that help the natural world to the fullest?
  • Do we want to start planning a vegetable garden? If so, what can we do?

Functional and inviting outdoor living areas can increase social interaction.

The Fall and Winter months have so many reasons to celebrate our family and friends. Whether it’s an evening fire celebrating the new year, or being with your loved one gazing at the winter stars – they are memories to last a lifetime.

Take your hosting game up to a new level by creating a seasonal outdoor area, fit with the ability to tackle most weather. Whether it’s planning during the winter months, or implementing the basics, make 2019 the year of the social butterfly.

Outdoor cooking area.

Work on your cooking skills outside this year.

Note: If you know a special someone who wants a Grill for Christmas, you’ll want to make sure the grill has a home of it’s own!

As we bring on the Fall months, tackle the low energy and spirits of the colder seasons by increasing your landscape projects at different stages. Our landscape has an
important role to play with our mental and physical health, so don’t let spring and summer be the only time we invest in it.

 

The Art of Aging with Your Landscape

One of the biggest challenges we face in our lifetime is mastering the skill of being present during the process of growing old. Our aging body is the physical representation of the experiences that make us each unique and different. We become aware of what makes us feel most at peace, such as the fragrance of honeysuckle or the sounds of a creek, and tend to want to surround ourselves with those experiences. For those who find comfort in the natural world around them, the thought of losing that connection with nature becomes one of the hardships of growing old. Thankfully, through mindful designs and a focus on aging at home, the accessibility to the natural Landscape design and professionalismworld is easier than ever.

For our area, Asheville is constantly being suggested as one of the best places to retire, including the most recent Forbe’s 2018. We find that the majority of people retiring here tend to be drawn to the beautiful mountains that have been providing natural therapy for hundreds of years. Located in the heart of national and state parks, the Western North Carolina region provides the services and needs of a larger city, but allows for easy access to the natural environment that more urban cities can’t provide.

We already know that gardening and being out in nature is good for the soul and body. The difficult part comes when the body has a harder time dealing with the various elements and activities associated with an outdoor experience. Often, the changes to our physical body as we grow old become the most predominant change. The key, however, is understanding each individual’s limitations and adapting the home’s outdoor environment to support those needs. For us in the landscaping industry, we want to focus on designing and building a landscape that provides a meaningful outdoor experience that is accessible for every individual, regardless of age or disability.

The most important aspect of designing a landscape that supports the journey of growing older, is one that allows a person to feel confident. If you aren’t able to feel comfortable in your outdoor environment, you won’t be able to appreciate the things that make you happy. The fear of injury or being in an environment that lacks personal preferences won’t make any experience enjoyable.

To help the transition of growing older, we suggest taking these design aspects into consideration.

Multi sensory landscape opportunities:

Our senses are often the first to lose there sharpness as we grow old. Whether it’s the day you realize you need glasses to see the birds in your backyard, or noticing that the spring blooms just don’t smell as powerful as they once were – it happens. That being said, your yard can be modified in a manner that focuses on the senses in which you have always loved.

Through positioning and careful planning, you can bring the natural world around closer to fit your needs. Environments that safely house birds and other critters will make sure you can embrace the natural sounds around you. This also can work with blocking out the unnatural sounds from neighboring noises with natural fencing. Focus on your favorite scents in container gardens by strategically placing them around the property.

For more information on creating a multi-sensory garden, check out our blog on developing and harnessing the natural world around you.

Pathways and areas that are accessible and visible:

One of the main challenges of aging is mobility. We learn to embrace experiencing the world around us at a slower pace, often with the help of mobility aids. Pathways should be large enough to be handicap accessible and without large gradients, while also taking into account surface area for traction. Slippery surfaces and an excess of steps may discourage users because of safety and accessibility.

Well lit areas that don’t bring any surprises are incredibly important, especially in the areas that right outside of the home and most used. Whether aesthetically pleasing or a floodlight – make sure everyone can see where they are going.

Places to sit:

Whether places to rest for a moment or relax for hours in the refreshing mountain air, comfortable and accessible places to sit are extremely important for elderly individuals to gain respite and enjoy the natural area. These areas can often have their own unique natural elements such as container gardens or sculptures that really enhance the setting. A water feature, at any size or shape, can enhance any place to relax for hours. We know, as our office bench is right next to our water feature and is constantly being used!

Shade and weather sensitivity:

While places to rest are important, the condition of that area is even more important. As we age, we often become more sensitive to the temperature of our environment. Sitting out in the direct sunlight can be overwhelming for anyone, especially the elderly. It’s important to think about having access to either shade or warmth in your outdoor area. By providing pergolas or shade structures to block out the direct sunlight, or fire pits that produce heat with ease, we can easily control the temperature.

Container Gardens to Support Growing Old Container or wall container gardens:

Shelly McKinney, our sales and operational manager suggests using higher container gardens such as VegTrugs from Kingsman gardening supplies. By creating a higher level container garden, you are able to continue the joys of getting your hands dirty – without the bending and stooping that can be tiresome or even painful for some. With properly positioned container gardens, playing in the dirt is only a few reachable feet away. Plus, everyone can benefit from home grown veggies at every age.

Safety First:

Along with looking at the pathways and accessibility to different parts of your garden, individuals looking stay in their home as they age will need to assess the safety concerns of their yard. Just like inside the home, the outdoors needs to be an area of comfort and ease. A once small ledge can create severe harm to someone elderly, especially to someone who already has an injury or disability. The same goes for uneven grounds, sharp objects or lack of strong support aides around the area, such as railings or support beams. From material to design – each aspect of a landscape really needs to be processed with the user in mind.

Growing together

Designing with maintenance in mind.

A simplistic design of a landscape has multiple benefits. In this case, a less complex landscape can benefit an older homeowner as it means less maintenance to keep it looking its best. The ability to maintain one’s landscape, whether financial or physically, should directly correlate to the design. Understanding one’s limitations, or soon to be limitations, should be one of the beginning steps in designing a landscape for someone who is looking to age in place. Depending on the region, various low maintenance plants can be strategically placed to allow for a very low maintenance schedule, without taking away from the aesthetics that one may want. Need help maintaining it? Our team of gardeners are personable and dedicated to their clients – learn more about our estate management by clicking here.

Are you or your loved one’s looking to begin the process of aging in place? Let our team develop an outdoor environment that will keep you enjoying your own outdoor living area regardless of age or ability. Bring the joys of all your experiences to your backyard, and continue to make memories with each coming year.

-Team Snow Creek