October 24, 2011

Changing Landscapes in New Jersey Gardens

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 5:04 am

Landscape changes over the years.  As plants grow, the overall look evolves from sparse to lush.  Trees cast cool shade where the sun used to shine.  Shrubs and hedges grow tall and dense enough for privacy.  Perennials and ground covers spread to form colorful patches of foliage and flowers.  And along with plant growth, structures and fences gain the patina of age.

Constant change over the years sometimes rapid and dramatic and sometimes slow and subtle – this is what the joy of landscaping is all about.  Live Oak Landscape Architects and Garden Designers know the growth rate of every tree and shrub that is planted in your landscape.  When some of the do-it-yourselfers go to the nursery, they look at the tag of a small tree and think it will never get as tall as the tag says….that’s exactly when they should contact Live Oak Landscape! Landscape is our business and we are professionals who know what your landscape will look like in its first year of growth, five years of growth and ten to fifteen years of growth.

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October 17, 2011

Fall Cleanup for New Jersey Landscapes

Filed under: Landscape Maintenance — admin @ 6:01 am

We are now in the middle of the fall foliage and because of the rainfall this summer, we still have many green trees—but wait!  Trees will be turning red, range and yellow overhead and roadside grasses dry to shades of russet and tan.  Perennials such as asters, chrysanthemums and Japanese anemones provide fresh looking flowers in the fall garden.  Pretty soon, we will have our first hard frost which will kill tender plants to the ground signaling the time for fall cleanup.

Live Oak Landscape Maintenance crews are now starting cleanup for this important time of the year.  Please call to make an appointment soon because  the days are flying by fast.  Our staff is the best in the business and we look forward to working with you.

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October 10, 2011

Lawn Reseeding in New Jersey Landscapes

Filed under: Landscape Maintenance — admin @ 6:19 am
re-seeding lawn 1Garden and outdoor maintenance is a task that never ends. With every season comes a new set of gardening chores and outdoor projects. Late summer and early fall provide  the most ideal conditions for turfgrass establishment and seeding.  Generally, this timing will allow adequate grass growth prior to winter.  Cool evenings and moderate daytime temperatures, along with anticipated fall precipitation are conducive to rapid seed germination.  In addition, many weeds including crabgrass are no longer germinating, reducing competition in the new turfgrass plantings.
Live Oak Landscape Maintenance is now in the process of  reseeding and aerating lawns that have had a very stressful time during this summer’s drought and excessive hot weather.  Please give Amanda a call at 732-752-8030 ext 103 to schedule this important service.


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September 28, 2011

Improving Your Landscape Design

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 7:39 am

At some point in time, trees and shrubs planted decades ago become oversized or tired looking.  This is the time for a rejuvenation of your landscape.  Live Oak Landscape Architects and Garden Designers have the answers for your garden.  We know which trees and shrubs can be saved and those who will need to be removed. Pruning re-shapes the trees and adding new plants will complement those survivors in color, texture and growth habits.  Ripping out and starting over takes courage but we can give your landscape a whole new lease on life.

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September 23, 2011

Autumn Maintenance for New Jersey Gardens

Filed under: Landscape Maintenance — admin @ 7:17 am

First day of Autumn, finally!  It’s been a long hot summer!  We’ve had earthquakes, violent thunder storms and Hurricane Irene and it should be time to start relaxing – almost!  Autumn is the time to do many things before putting the garden to bed.  Transplanting is not difficult but it does require a certain amount of skill.  Live Oak Landscape Maintenance crews have this skill to correctly rearrange your landscape.  This is the best time to transplant, after the summer heat has past and autumn rains are beginning.

All of the best planning and careful planting can be negated without the proper follow-up.  A few simple maintenance tasks can make all the difference in achieving an attractive, healthy garden.  Please call now for our yearly fall maintenance service.

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September 14, 2011

Landscape Designs Tailor-Made For New Jersey Gardens

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 6:50 am

Tricks of perception, beautiful plants framing spectacular views, and well placed structures screening unsightly ones will help enlarge and enhance landscape spaces.  Our landscape architects and garden designers at Live Oak Landscape Contractors design the area so that it also serves your life style.  With a healthy mixture of imagination and common sense, we create a garden more satisfying than the grounds of the largest estates because it has been designed specifically for you!

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September 11, 2011

Gardening in Small Spaces for New Jersey Landscapes

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 6:49 am

Most owners of small gardens view the space within their boundaries as fixed and limited…and are they wrong! Our landscape architects and garden designers at Live Oak Landscape carefully choose and place masses of plants, ornaments and architectural features such as pergolas, fences, steps and walls so that they manipulate the space within the garden to give a sense of intimate enclosure or to visually expand it beyond the edges of your property.  Often it is desirable to do both in the same design.

We create a feeling of enclosure through a uniform design.  In general, the constructed framework of the garden should be simple.  Our use of  edging for paths and planting beds tie the composition together and defines separate areas in the garden.

To tie the garden design to the house, we construct features that will provide privacy as well as a sense of space.

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September 4, 2011

Sitting Areas in New Jersey Landscape Design

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 7:45 am

The ultimate outdoor sitting area has every comfort; sun and shade, warmth, privacy, a view, shelter from wind, cozy furniture and candlelight and mood landscape lighting.  Our landscape architects and garden designers, along with April Showers, our lighting company, can create the garden you have been looking for.  We design sitting areas by looking for a site that is warm and sheltered from the wind, enclosed enough to feel intimate and private, yet open to a view, either out of the garden or to an interesting feature within it.

Sitting areas adjoining the house are convenient  because you can easily transport iced drinks and cushions back and forth.  But a patio away from the house offers restful place to go to get away from the telephone and everyday chores.  The fact that you have to go some distance to it, even if it’s just around the corner, makes the garden feel larger.  Consider having both kinds of sitting areas.  Perhaps there is space off the master bedroom or bathroom that is large enough for a chair and gets the morning light or a corner in the garden where there is a lovely view of the sun setting over someone else’s trees.  Explore the side yard, the front yard and the backyard for possibilities.

Once you have decided on a spot, we can make the space more defined and roomlike by growing a low hedge wall, setting an arch at the entrance ,tall potted plants around the perimeter, or erecting screens.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to enclose an area too  much, we can design just a “ceiling” by building an arbor, planting a small tree with a broad canopy or installing a garden umbrella by your chair.  A ceiling will define the sitting area, as well as block views from above.

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August 25, 2011

Traditional Landscapes for New Jersey Gardens

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 10:45 am

Interest in traditional gardens has grown greatly in recent years.  Many people have realized that these gardens are based on principles that have evolved over hundreds of years and are relevant and inspiring today.  Also, the increased appeal of preserving and restoring older homes has led to a desire to create appropriate period landscapes.  Our Landscape Architects and Garden Designers at Live Oak Landscape are professionals who have studied in detail the architecture of the house to design beautiful gardens to enhance that architecture.

Most traditional American gardens reflect both geometric and naturalistic elements.  Many of the great garden designers of the last century were masters of both schools of design and knew how to combine and apply the principles of each as the situation required.  Gardens in the early 20th century were often influenced due to a variety of newly available plants.  In particular, the perennial flower border was raised to new aesthetic heights by the English garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll.  Her compositions were masterpieces in color, texture and shape.  In collaboration with the great architect Edwin Lutyens, Jekyll created some of the most inspired and beautiful gardens in western civilization.  They have the order and structure of geometric gardens, the sweeping irregular lines of naturalistic gardens and the exuberance and vitality of original designs.  Jekyll’s work was widely appreciated and continues to have wide appeal and charm today.

Traditional gardens rely on constructed features as well as plants to create harmonious effects.  The largest and most important features are the found plane itself which can be manipulated through grading and the house, which may be linked to the landscape by an appropriately designed porch or patio.  In successful designs, view from major windows and doors and access between indoor and outdoor space are carefully considered and Live Oak Landscape Architects and Garden Designers are specialists.

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August 18, 2011

Japanese-Style Gardens in New Jersey Landscapes

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 7:09 am

The tranquility and harmony that are sought after in Japanese gardens can be very valuable to sooth problems of stress and pressure.  The Oriental message that less can be more is very comforting. Japanese style gardens are understated suggestions of natural scenes that in addition to being decorative, are meant to encourage contemplation and meditation.  Relatively few elements are included, and emphasis is placed on the natural beauty of each rock, plant, or structure as well as on the harmony of the scene as a whole.

While the Eastern philosophy of garden design may seem unusual to Westerners, the plants themselves are often familiar because the Japanese climate is similar to that in many areas of the United States.  Mosses, bamboo, hostas, irises, many types of ferns and azaleas are commonly used, as are the  many plants whose English common names indicate their origin, including Japanese maple, Japanese holly, Japanese forms of white pine, flowering cherry, and wisteria.  Evergreens are heavily relied on, often pruned or trained to appear old because maturity is valued by the Japanese.

Landscape and architecture are inseparable in the Japanese tradition of garden design.  Live Oak Landscape Architects and Garden Designers have studied the traditions of the Japanese garden and can design a space of any size to create feelings of tranquility.

The refreshing simplicity of a Japanese garden is not difficult to achieve, but it does require careful thought about perception and scale.  We create the illusion of space by placing large plants or objects in the foreground and decrease their size toward the back of the garden.   There are several styles of traditional Japanese gardens.  In the hill and pond garden, one of the oldest styles, the hills and ponds are man made, shrubs are shaped to echo the undulating forms of mountains and clouds and the trees are pruned to look old and windswept.  In the tea garden, there is a stepping-stone path, representing a mountain trail, leading to the ceremonial teahouse.  A stone lantern and water basin are usually included and the plants are mostly subdued evergreen.

A stroll garden features stepping stones, stone lanterns and often a teahouse or pavilion, but its main feature is an irregularly shaped pond with islands.  A courtyard garden is a variation on this theme, including a few carefully placed plants and perhaps stepping stones and lanterns, as in the tea garden.

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