Landscaping Ideas


Lately it has not felt like a cold Winter here in NC; but looking at our plants outside you can clearly see a change has taken place. Leaves have fallen off our deciduous plants and some of our perennial foliage has withered. Not to worry, this is our plants way to survive Winter by going dormant. During dormancy, all plants will slow the growth process down and certain plants will shed its foliage. All of our plants and grass will store nutrients in their root systems and conserve energy needed for the upcoming warmer months ahead once growing season starts again.

During the month of January; Fontaine will be busy protecting our plants with selective pruning, applying a protective coating of mulch and pine straw and treating the soil pH level for our lawns with a lime application.

Mild Winters can allow for the eggs of problematic insect pests such aphids, scale and mites to over-Winter. Then once growing season starts these pests will damage and eat tissue of our plants which harm them. Following Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles; Fontaine will be protecting our plants with inspections and the use of organic horticultural oils to aid in smothering over-wintering pests and their eggs.

IPM is a highly regarded practice that takes into account common sense and scientific principles as part of being a licensed commercial pesticide applicator for the state of NC.

  • Routine Inspection and understanding weather patterns and its effects on plants
  • Knowing micro climates, soil compaction and how plant stress will increase the chances for pests for a particular plant
  • Using knowledge about the pest’s habits, life cycle, needs and dislikes
  • Using the least toxic methods first, up to and including pesticides
  • Monitoring the pest’s activity and adjusting methods over time
  • Tolerating harmless pests, and
  • Setting a threshold to decide when it’s time to act before harm can be a factor for  the plant

Beautiful plants and grass comes down to proper selection, placement and its care. At times it can be an easy fix by simply replacing the poor performing plants which are high prone to pests with a better cultivar or transplanting plants to a better spot in the yard to reduce stress. Using better plant varieties that are hardier

Fontaine is dedicated to sustaining and improving your exterior environments. If you would like more information regarding IPM, Lawn Care, Mulch or any other services please do not hesitate to call us (919) 380-8286 or info@fontainelandscaping.com

Choosing the right plant for an area can be tricky. One must take into account many aspects like exposure, water requirements, drainage, and oh yeah; how large will the plant grow at maturity. We have seen way too many plant choice mistakes in regards to not having the proper space available for the plant chosen. Crape myrtles and jap maples are popular plants often planted too close to homes.

Take the Weeping Willow for example, the Salix babylonica. Beautiful, majestic shape, likes alot of moisture, grows quickly and oh yeah it will grow to over 40′ wide and tall. You wouldnt want this tree up close to a home or in a tight spot right? Well apparently not all of us got the proper plant memo. Here are a couple of pics taken from areas while we were out and about this week. Scary just scary!

Mature weeping willow

Mature weeping willow

Where is the House?

Where is the House?

Landscape Architect Fail

Landscape Architect Fail

L300dpiWhen you want to add a walkway, patio, steps, or retaining walls to your landscape, you have a choice of concrete or stone. Which one do you choose? It’s more than just cost or what looks better. It’s also durability and longevity.

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One thing to take into consideration when choosing a material is how much traffic the item will see. Driveways, for example, may develop potholes or cracks due to its constant use. It would be easier, and less expensive, to replace a few stones versus an entire concrete drive. If your steps are in constant use, you may find that concrete can crack and create a hazard. The same can be said for patios and walkways.

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A retaining wall’s height and drainage all play into what type of material would be best for your landscape. Anything over 4 feet will need permits and a civil engineer to install due to safety issues, such as stability. Both concrete and natural stone are good for lower walls, but concrete blocks are better for larger, longer walls.

Service Van (Large)
Natural stone has many benefits, from looking beautiful and more traditional to no need for special connections or mortar to hold them together and a natural solution for inherent grade transitions. Of course, it is more expensive and quite labor intensive to install, but the end results are especially stunning. If you’re going to invest in your landscape, do it right from the start.

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Stone pavers are better when it comes to rain as they tend to soak up the water and drain it into the ground while concrete allows for pools to form. This can also be dangerous when it comes to ice and snow—another reason why concrete can degrade faster. While both concrete and stone pavers will be stained by oil from a car leaking, the removal and replacement of a couple pavers will be infinitely cheaper and easier than replacing your concrete.

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When deciding what kind of patio, walkway, driveway, or retaining wall you would like, think of your budget, what will help your home’s resale value, and what kind of maintenance and future repair you will have. Talk with your hardscape installer about what would work best, what the cost options are and weigh the pros and cons before deciding. Don’t forget that your landscape is just as much of an investment as your home is.

contest

Do you live in the Triangle, NC area? Do your neighbors cringe when they look out their window at your yard? Are you embarrassed to have anyone over during the warm weather because your landscape is so horrendous? Well then, have we got a contest for you!

Fontaine Landscaping is looking for a few good bad yards. Send us your ugly, your barren, your muddy, your plain old eyesore. Well, don’t actually send them to us, just submit their picture through our facebook contest page. Garner yourself the most votes and be crowned the proud owner of the Triangle’s Ugliest Yard!

What will you get in return for such humiliation? How about a free landscape make-over by Kevin Fontaine or a landscape design? Yes, our expert in landscape can get your yard from a dud to a *cat-call*. (Note fine print here—he cannot make over people or animals; that is entirely someone else’s job. Sorry!)

Submit your photo today by clicking here. Get your friends, family, neighbors, and strangers you meet while out shopping, to vote for your yard. At the end of the day on August 1, 2014, we will close the voting. The picture with the most OMG-I-just-screamed-in-terror-at-the-sight-of-your-yard votes will win!

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You have a light on the front of your house and the back. That’s enough, right? For some, maybe, but for those who want more out of their landscape and use of the outdoors, lighting is a very important thing! Not only is outdoor landscape lighting a great safety feature, it also enhances your home’s architectural features and adds a sense of drama to your landscape.

Do you have an outdoor area that gets no use when the sun goes down? This is where good lighting comes in handy. Obviously a flood light will illuminate a large area, but perhaps you’d like something more intimate? By adding lights to your deck posts, you can create a great place for dining and late night hanging out. Why should the dark send your friends home when the conversation is just getting started? And if you have a pool, not only would the lights be a safety feature, but also a way to extend the use of it well into the night. (If you’re a parent, when will you get use of it other than after the kids are in bed!)

Pool Lighting

 

Lefort 0487 with pool (Medium)

Let’s talk boundary lighting. If you find that your friends and family tend to stay close to the house, you probably have some dark spots out in the yard. By adding lights to your property’s boundary area, you expand your yard’s usefulness and will draw people further away from the house. This is especially helpful if you have another seating area in your yard, such as a pergola and bench or gazebo.

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If you have invested in a landscape design and installation, you should get the most bang for your buck. By adding lights that highlight trees and plants, you can make the most of your landscaping at all times of night and day. Instead of staring at drapes or blinds, or out a black window, wouldn’t it be nice to see your yard while having dinner or relaxing in your living room? (Do keep in mind though that you will not want too much light to seep into bedrooms, so plan your outdoor lighting accordingly.)

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Of course there’s always the aesthetic value that outdoor landscape lighting brings. Dramatic lighting can increase the appeal of certain areas of your landscape. You can focus on a fountain or pond, highlighting the water’s movement. Plants with interesting shapes, such as “weeping” branches, or colorful flowers bathed in light will bring more value to your investment. The illumination further makes your house stand out by boosting its curb appeal at night.

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peak

It goes without saying that landscape lighting is one of the best security and safety installations you can do. By lighting up usually dark areas of your yard, you prevent prowlers and intruders from having a place to hide. A well-lit area is no friend to someone who wants to break in unnoticed. Lit pathways not only look good, but they decrease the chance of someone tripping on them. One thing a homeowner does not want is a friend or neighbor breaking an ankle on his or her property!

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With many options out there, choices can be overwhelming. To help you, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Where are the dark areas of my yard?
  2. Where would I like friends and family to spend time outdoors at night?
  3. What are potential hazards for my friends, family and visitors?
  4. What would I like a focal point to be in my nighttime landscape?
  5. What architectural features of my home would I like to highlight at night?

Attention people of the Triangle, NC area!
U think u got a nasty yard?! Overgrown, things dead or dying, no grass, do u give it nicknames like my death valley or the Abyss?
Are u proud of it? Well u should be by now- let’s see that bad boy on our facebook page!

Then promote that puppy to all your friends, get the most likes by May 31st.

The somewhat lucky winner gets a free landscape makeover from yours truly and some brief humiliation.

Go to our Facebook page now and enter- Good Luck!

Fontaine Ugly Yard Contest

We want your input & questions! Tell us your experiences or question u may have about soil, mulch, plants or any general landscaping feedback. We will respond & cover these in our upcoming video blogs w/ Adcocks Nursery & The Mulch Masters of NC, Inc. Post them on our Facebook Page- https://www.facebook.com/FontaineLandscaping

Kevin & Layla

Kevin & Layla

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