Now what about proper handling and planting? We have strict guidelines for removing plants from the mulch, loading them on our trucks, tarping and protecting them in transit, unloading, and placement on job sites until planting pits are prepared. A plant may be handled 15 times from nursery to job site, so each time is critical to preserve the good work done in every previous step. Even if improper handling may not result in death every time, it will affect vigor, hardiness, and appearance of your finished landscape. Because of this, we take each of these handlings very seriously.

   Contrary to what you may think, plants dug from a nursery lose about 80-90% of their roots when harvested! Even plants grown in pots experience damage to their one-celled root hairs when planted. Doing everything we can to speed the re-growth of these roots is paramount to happy plants. We’re firm believers in digging wide holes that match the depth of the root ball, amending the soil, adding organic matter (compost, manure) to existing soil, mixing thoroughly and refilling the hole with this amended soil. Organic matter helps regulate soil moisture, holds on to nutrients, harbors beneficial microorganisms, and helps maintain proper soil acidity/alkalinity.

   Gently compacting backfill and a proper watering of root-ball and backfill finishes the job. Finally, proper facing and spacing can make a huge difference in the appearance of a newly planted garden. A well thought out landscape plan populated by great plants may still not live up to its potential if care is not taken to space and face the plants properly.

   In every case, small adjustments need to be made to plans to maximize the intent of the designer; adapt to small changes in walks, patios, and drives, avoid obstacles like down spouts, wellheads, utilities, and septic systems. Just as importantly, all plants have sides- fronts, backs, high sides, low sides, good sides, and even not-so-good sides (very few of these in our case!). Paying attention to primary viewing angles and facing these plant sides accordingly can make a marked difference in the final overall look of a garden.

Next > Brick and Stone Paving

Plants and Planting
Brick and Stone Paving
Retaining Walls
Landscape Design
Finish Grading and Lawns
 Customers often ask where you get your plants? Each year we purchase from between 40 and 50 different nurseries! We go to this trouble because we just can’t get the quality that we want- every plant, every time from local nurseries. Our plants must do more than merely make the grade. We want our landscapes to look lush when we leave the job and for years to come. Consequently, we travel to, inspect, and purchase from what we consider to be the best sources for each type of plant material- evergreen trees, evergreen shrubs, deciduous trees, ornamental trees, deciduous shrubs, and perennials.

   Our goal is to stock the best of each type that we can find. By purchasing all of our plants directly from nurseries, we can stock top notch plants while keeping our prices competitive for comparable material. Over the last 25 years, we’ve built relationships with the finest nurseries in the country. They understand our need for quality and will often call us with inventory that has not yet been released to the wholesale market. In effect, we get first pick in these cases. All these nurseries are in the northern tier of states. Not only do we buy from quality northern nurseries, we purchase only plants which can survive a normal Midwestern winter.

   While we continue to monitor new introductions, we are careful not to jump at the latest new plant varieties which may not perform as claimed.