March 30, 2011

Formal Herb Garden in New Jersey Landscapes

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 7:59 am

In the traditional manner of the Formal Garden, a boxwood or yew border would be sheared into round or rectangular forms.  These formal lines help to create a balance and structure to a garden that is attractive to the eye.   Formal lines also make it easy to maintain the garden design.  Mirror images, symmetrical, simple lines define a formal garden. 

Herbs are among the most gratifying plants to grow because they often have multiple purposes – flavoring food, scenting the air and pleasing the eye. Herbs are so often used in kitchens that it pays to consider ways of having them available fresh all of the time.  Herbs add zest, scent and beauty to otherwise ordinary dishes.  Simple salads, for example, acquire amazing flavors when a few fresh herbs are tossed in.  Some invaluable fresh garnishes for salads include parsley,  chives, basil, thyme, tarragon and dill, either chopped fine, mixed as an herbal vinegar or prepared as an herbal dressing. 

Many aromas of herb that we find pleasant, insects find distinctly unpleasant.  Lavender and chamomile are among insect-repelling herbs.  They can be rubbed on the skin to repel mosquitoes and gnats or placed in sachets in drawers or closets to deter moths.  Garlic and chili peppers are both potent insect repellents that can be planted as companions in flower and vegetable gardens to keep away damaging pests.  Other good herbs to consider for insect repelling properties are lemon thyme, lemongrass, pennyroyal, peppermint, pyrethrum, and tansy.

Another great use of herbs in the garden is to make potpourri.  Before the introduction of air fresheners, herbs placed in bowls  were sprinkled over floors as deodorants and were valued for the use in masking unpleasant household odors.  Some herbs, such as rose scented geraniums and sweet Annie will deodorize a room by themselves.

There are many herbs to be considered and Live Oak Landscape garden designers have an extensive list for your consideration.

March 28, 2011

Formal Garden Landscapes in New Jersey

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 11:05 am

Formal gardens begin with the concept of ordered space and end as serene beauty created through carefully proportioned and balanced geometric landscape designs.  The formal garden is treated as an architectural extension of the house building  along a central axis oriented to the house.  Minor axes may intersect the central axis and decorative features such as an urn or pool can punctuate these axes.  There may be an oval or rectangular garden “room” at the end of an axis, lined with a lawn or gravel paving , with walls composed of stone, clipped hedges or a line of narow trees.  The symmetry of lines and features establish balance.

The choice of plants in a formal garden and the way they are cultivated reflect the consistence of line and effect typical formal landscape design.  The variety of plants is kept to a minimum.  Geometric shaped beds are outlined by carefully clipped hedges.  These can be filled with densely spaced annuals to create solid blocks of color or with a variety of other plants.

Simplicity, restraint in the use and number of colors and carefully orchestrated geometry, characteristics of all formal gardens, are the keys to a successful plan.  Live Oak Landscape Architects and Garden Designers are well known for designing beautiful Formal Gardens.

March 23, 2011

Cottage Garden Landscapes for New Jersey

Filed under: Landscape Design — admin @ 7:02 am

Live Oak Landscape  is going to start a series of garden talks about different garden designs.  When we first meet with clients, we listen to their ideas, look at pictures of gardens they may have been  or places that they have visited  It is then our task to put all of these ideas on paper.  One very popular garden design is the Cottage Garden.

The cottage garden combines beauty and utility.  Traditionally, colorful flowers fought for space with aromatic herbs and vegetables.  The garden provided much of  the needs of those who lived there: food, medicine and plants for dying cloth.  Today’s cottage garden has evolved away from these utilitarian plantings but remains a garden of both beauty and use, offering a harvest of simple delights: a fragrant bouquet, edible blooms, dried flowers for a winter wreath.

While the cheerful tumble of flowers in a cottage garden looks casual, the effect takes planning and that is why it is important to use our landscape architects and garden designers.  The mix of annuals, biennials, perennials and woody plants produces a colorful tapestry that peaks in early summer. The design also includes flowers that self-sow from year to year creating ever changing color combinations producing the  summer garden that offers something new to anticipate throughout the growing season.

A plant list may include:  bachelor’s button, sweet William, foxglove, Siberian iris, lamb’s ears, nasturtium, hollyhocks, English daisy,shrub roses, delphinium, peonies and clematis, just to name a few.  Our garden designers at Live Oak Landscape will be happy to help you with your Cottage Garden plans.

March 15, 2011

Spring Maintenance For Your Landscape

Filed under: Landscape Maintenance — admin @ 7:01 am


Spring is finally here and  after our long hard winter, you should start thinking about tuning- up your landscape.  Maintenance is critical for healthy plants and for a beautiful landscape.  Real estate studies have shown that a beautiful landscape can add as much as 10% value to your property.  Below are some tune-up tips:

Weed Pre-Emergence: Were you overcome with weeds last year?  Consider an application of Planting Bed Weed Pre-Emergence.  Live Oak can treat all of your planting beds and tree rings with a broad spectrum weed pre-emergence to greatly reduce the growth of unwanted and invasive weeds.

Plants need Nutrients: Live Oak also offers Planting Bed Fertilization.  A slow release formula is applied to all planting beds designed to stimulate root growth, maintain plant vigor, and enhance leaf color.

Ornamental Tree and Shrub Care: Steps can be taken to ensure that your ornamental trees and shrubs are protected from invasive insects which can cause considerable damage.  These applications include spring dormant oil, spring and summer applications, to control leaf chewing insects such as scale, aphids, and control of mites and a fall dormant oil or anti-desiccant application to prevent leaf dehydration.

Mulch Installation: Mulching your planting beds serves a number of purposes.  Aesthetically, your yard will look great with a fresh coat of mulch in the beds.  For trees and shrubs, mulch helps maintain a more consistent soil temperature, aids in the retention of water,  suppresses some weeds and adds nutrients into the beds as the mulch breaks down over the year.

March 14, 2011

Hellebores, Spring Flowering Perennials

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants,Shade Gardening — admin @ 1:26 pm

Finally!  We may have our first signs of Spring coming up in our gardens and they are most welcome!  After this long, cold and dreary winter, hellebores are now poking their beautiful little heads up through the remnants of snow and cold mud.  They are the earliest of all spring flowering perennials and certainly the longest lasting.  Once upon a time, they were mainly a plant for collectors and were expensive and slow growing.  They have come a long way down in price and full sized plants are now quite affordable.

Like many other slow growing perennials, hellebores are little troubled by insects or diseases and most  herbivores avoid them.  Light preference is partial shade to shade and prefer humus rich soil, moist and well drained soil.  Hellebores can be used as edging, groundcover, mass plantings, rock gardens, woodland gardens and along paths.   Live Oak Landscape Maintenance will be delighted to introduce you to these amazing plants.

Warning:  Hellebores are poisonous in all of their parts, especially the roots.  Some people even break out into a rash by simply getting sap on their skin.  Wear gloves if you are subject to skin irritation.

March 8, 2011

Landscape Lighting Transformers

Filed under: Outdoor Lighting,Video Blog — admin @ 11:58 am

Live Oak Landscape Architect, Mike Sidlowski and April Showers  Irrigation Manager, Scott Sokerka ,talk about outdoor lighting transformers.

March 7, 2011

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Low Voltage Lighting

Filed under: Outdoor Lighting,Video Blog — admin @ 1:08 pm

Live Oak Landscape Architect, Mike Sidlowski and Scott Sokerka , Irrigation Manager, April Showers Sprinkler Company discuss the value of low voltage lighting.