Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Plant Feature: Columnar Eastern White Pine

Physical Description
Botanical Name: Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’
Foliage: Gray-green
Flower: Does not flower.
Sun: Full sun
Water: Water regularly, especially when topsoil is dry
Size: 25’-40’ tall and 10’ wide
Zone: 3-9

General Information

The Columnar Eastern White Pine is a narrow evergreen that has characteristic gray-green, silky smooth foliage. The needles are approximately 2”-4” long and appear in clusters of 5. Cones hang vertically from the branches and are 6”-12” in length. The evergreen foliage provides year round interest and does great as a specimen planting. Additionally, it works well as a barrier, hedge and privacy screen.

Care | Propagation | Pests
This fast growing, easy-to-maintain evergreen attracts birds and is resistant to deer. However, this white pine has difficulty with white pine weevils, which tend to lay eggs within the tree and cause permanent damage to the tree's structure. Other types of pests include bark beetles, sawfly larvae and pine needle miner larvae. Similarly, it does not tolerate heavy pollution, specifically that common to urban areas. Ideal conditions consist of moderate water application and acidic soil.

Contractor Spotlight: Green Lawn Care & Landscape

Green Lawn Care & Landscape is an established, 20 year old company offering complete services in all phases of your landscape's life cycle. From the initial consultation to construction to the routine care and upkeep of your property, they pay strong attention to detail and listen to your needs.

Green Lawn Care offers commercial property management to help owners maintain property value, attract business and increase resale value. Residential maintenance programs allow for quality time enjoying the yard and making life easier.

  • Mowing, trimming and edging
  • Weeding and flower bed maintenance 
  • Turf aeration 
  • Gutter and window cleaning
  • Christmas/Holiday decor and lighting
  • Tree care and pruning 
  • Fall leaf clean up

Enhancements & Small Projects
Green Lawn Care can also help update or add those finishing touches to the yard.

  • All sizes of plantings
  • Annual flower beds
  • Drainage solutions
  • Topsoil placement, fine grading and skid steer/bobcat work
  • Freshen up beds with new bark mulch
  • Erosion control

Residential & Commercial Construction
Green Lawn Care can also help with large construction projects. They install various products including:

  • Trees and plants 
  • Topsoil
  • Landscape lighting
  • Driveways, walkways and patios of concrete, brick pavers, natural stone and wood
  • Fountains, ponds and waterfalls
  • Retaining walls 
  • Pools, spas and hot tubs
  • Outdoor kitchens and amenities
  • Shade structures, fences and trellis
  • Bark mulch, decorative stone, curbing and weed barrier

Irrigation Services

  • Full system installations
  • Repairs, maintenance and 24-hour emergency service
  • Watering management and seasonal watering adjustments
  • System turn on and blow outs
  • Backflow testing
  • Five-year parts warranty and two-year labor warranty for systems maintained by Green Lawn Care

Fertilization & Spraying
Whether it's keeping a green lawn or a professional diagnosis and customized program, Green Lawn Care can help create a property the neighborhood will admire.

  • Licensed applicators
  • Lawn and plant fertilization 
  • Insecticide and dormant oil spraying
  • Spider barrier spray
  • Preemergent

Winter Snow Plowing & Ice Maintenance 
Green Lawn Care provides the equipment and manpower to provide timely curb to curb clearing of any size area. They serve local hospitals, major retailers and small businesses as well as individual homeowners.

  • Dependable 24/7 weather monitoring and service
  • Truck mounted plows and sanders
  • Liquid and granular deicing spray trucks
  • Public and private sidewalk maintenance

A residence installed by Green Lawn Care & Landscape in 2010

Another home installed in 2014

Green Lawn Care & Landscape is Better Business Bureau accredited, licensed & insured and staffed with friendly and professionally licensed personnel.

Boise North End Residence

BEFORE: Existing Deck Area
This project in Boise’s North End involved the renovation of an existing rear yard into an outdoor room that would serve as an extended living space. The clients, Bronco fans with professional ties to BSU, wanted to create an area where they could entertain friends while watching football games right in their own backyard.

AFTER: Expanded Stone Patio with Outdoor Kitchen/Living Area
The plan called for a large patio area, an overhead structure to provide filtered shade, and a custom fire pit. Specialty furnishings included outdoor couches, a secure weatherproof cabinet for storage of the large flat screen TV, and an outdoor grill with kitchen components. A two-person hot tub shaped to fit into a corner helped maximize space.

Wood structure to provide filter shade over game viewing area
The master plan focused primarily on hardscape patio areas for dining and entertainment. Plant materials were concentrated in raised planting beds whose wall heights had been elevated to better function as informal seating. Materials included natural stone and concrete pavers, and also a stucco finish on the planter walls to tie into the existing house.

BEFORE: Existing Planters in Side Yard

AFTER: Raised Planting Beds in Side Yard; New Concrete Pavers

Fire pit with Bronco colors!
Stone and concrete paver interface with water feature

Vendor Spotlight: Hunter

Hunter’s focus is to develop innovative, professional products for efficient irrigation. Hunter’s proven water-saving products combine efficient water use with sustainable design, allowing the products to last for years in outdoor environments. In the hands of the professional contractor, Hunter products will help save water, no matter what type of landscape is being irrigated or where it’s located.

Interested in learning more? Visit their website at hunterindustries.com

Sign up to receive emails from Hunter including special promotions, new product releases, industry news, and more.

How to Add Winter Interest

In the short winter days that leave Boise with a flat grey sky promising snow, the landscape often appears bleak and desolate. If this gets you down, consider the following options for adding color and visual interest to those dreary winter days. While a bit less showy in the peak of the growing season, these plants possess unique characteristics such as berries, bark, or winter flowers that stand out against the grey of winter.

Try Ilex verticillata ‘Spriber’ (Berry Nice Winterberry Holly, a 7’h x 4’w deciduous shrub that features bright red berries through the fall and winter), or Viburnum prunifolia (Blackhaw Viburnum, a 12’h x 8’w deciduous shrub that holds blue-black berries and attracts wildlife), or Symphoricarpos ‘Bokrabright’ (Bright FantasySnowberry, pictured above, is a 4’ x 4’ deciduous shrub with showy white berries that carry through the winter).

Colorful bark like Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood, a 7’h x 12’w deciduous shrub with bright red stems), or Betula nigra ‘BNMTF’ (DuraHeat River Birch, pictured above, is a 40’h x 20’w deciduous tree with exfoliating pinkish-orange winter bark) add color and interest to a drab winter landscape.

There are even flowers that bloom in winter like Hamamelis mollis ‘Pallida’ (Pallida Chinese Witch Hazel, s 15’ x 15’ fragrant shrub of yellow flowers with red cups that appear in the winter on otherwise bare branches).

Evergreens also add color and form that stays consistent through the change of seasons like Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’, (Hoop’s Blue Spruce, pictured above, is a 30’h x 15’w spruce tree with a blue hue), Tsuga canadensis (Canadian Hemlock, a 40’h x 25’w confier that adds green and pyramidal year-round interest), Iberis sempervirens (Evergreen Candytuft, a 6”h x 1’w evergreen groundcover with green foliage that blooms with white flowers in early spring), or Aucuba japonica ‘Serratifolia’ (Sawtoothed Aucuba, a 4’h x 6’w evergreen shrub with dark green, glossy foliage that produces red berries in the fall).

Utilizing form and texture through bark, branching and ornamental grasses is an additional way to make your garden more exciting in the winter months.

Branching plants like Rhus Typhina ‘Laciniata’ (Laceleaf StaghornSumac, a 10’ x 10’ upright, multi-stemmed form adorned with red buds), Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ (Contorted filbert, pictured above, is a 10’ x 10’ twisted branching form with yellow catkins that add color to the winter landscape), or Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ (Corkscrew Willow, a 30’h x 20’w contorted deciduous tree with year-round interest that attracts butterflies) become artwork in the landscape.

Ornamental grasses like Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ (Black Mondo Grass, a 1’ x 1’ purple-black grass that adds a stark contrast to the garden), Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’ (Adagio Maiden Grass, a 5’h x 3’w grass that turns golden in the winter months), or Helictotrichon sempervirens (BlueOat Grass, a 3’h x 2’w evergreen grass with a blue-silver hue) add texture and color to the winter garden.

Consider adding boulders and garden art to create ongoing visual interest. Art may include sculptures or bird feeders/baths that have the added advantage of attracting wildlife.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Harris Ranch Residence

This East Boise residence involved the rethinking of a combination side yard/courtyard space that had been previously used (and overused) by the owners’ dogs. According to Landscape Architect Chuck B. Edwards, “The dogs had all but eaten the trees.”
Belgard Patio Pavers | Central Fire Pit | Annual Color Pots
New landscape concepts aimed to maximize the livability of this long narrow space, and create an inviting outdoor room for people and pets that would be functionally dog-proof. The plans featured a contemporary aesthetic in terms of materials and site furnishings, and included concrete pavers, raised planters and a central fire pit. A custom fabricated screen buffered the proximity of the neighboring residence by adding artistic interest, and interplay of layers to create depth and shadow, especially when illuminated. Natural-wood fencing provided textural interest and warmth, as well as screening for the trash can area.
Fire Pit | Custom Screen
Natural Wood Screen
Plant materials were shade-loving, with an emphasis on foliage interest, as opposed to blooms.
For non-hardscape areas, synthetic turf provided a more durable play area for the canines.  Versions of this product have seen a vast increase in quality as well as a ‘reality factor’ in recent years.  Not only does synthetic turf now provide a friendly feel underfoot, some products offer subtle color variation and even a thatch layer that helps it appear more natural. With careful attention to subsurface materials and drainage, the turf is permeable and easily cleaned—in short, an ideal product for pet-heavy areas like small yards, dog parks, and dog runs.
Synthetic Turf

What Have We Been Up To?

Breckon landdesign is proud of our recent work on a number of public projects.  If you visited the Western Idaho Fair this year, you may have noted the new entry plaza and landscape design we completed in conjunction with Hummel Architects.  
But the projects we’re most excited about involve conceptual designs for future parks in the Meridian and Boise areas.

Golda Harris Nature Preserve
Mayor Bieter presents the designs for the Golda Harris Nature Preserve
We recently completed a conceptual plan for this 3.6-acre future park on the Boise River near the Parkcenter Bridge and the new Marianne Williams Park in east Boise. Our landscape architects will continue to work with LeNir LTD and Boise Parks & Recreation staff to further refine this plan for development into a natural riverfront park.

Proposed amenities include walking paths and gathering places for education, wildlife observation, and meditation. The plan also calls for enhancements to existing vegetation to strengthen the landscape’s habitat value, as well as interpretive signage, and integration of art pieces that key into the history of the area and the significance of the Boise River to our community.

Our staff attended an on-site dedication ceremony on Monday, October 19 where plans for the park were shared with the public. Members of the Harris Family also spoke about the park’s namesake and her love of the area. Both the Boise Weekly and the Idaho Statesman covered the dedication.

Meridian Parks & Recreation Master Plan

Kim Warren of Breckon landdesignalongside Meridian Parks and Recreation Director, Steve Siddoway, 
presents the design for the South Meridian Regional Park
For much of 2015, our staff has been working with GreenPlay LLC on a Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the City of Meridian. The project began with a thorough inventory and assessment of Meridian’s existing facilities along with a rigorous community input process involving interviews, stakeholder groups, and a community survey. This helped determine and prioritize need for Meridian’s Parks and Recreation Facilities and Programs. 

Our role focused on designing the preliminary master plans for three proposed regional parks: South Meridian Regional Park near South Eagle Road and Lake Hazel; West Meridian Regional Park at Cherry Lane and McDermott Road; and Margaret Aldape Park northwest of Linder Road and Chinden Blvd.

Margaret Aldape Park, a 60-acre parcel donated by Sherrie and John Ewing, will have the distinction of being Meridian's first riverfront park. It will be developed as a passive-use natural area with walking paths, ponds for non-motorized boats and water recreation, as well as areas for community and cultural events. Plans for the park will preserve and enhance habitat for a variety of wildlife species on site, including deer, elk, turkey, Great Blue Heron, and fox.

In additional to the three proposed park plans, our team also worked on an update to the 2010 Meridian Pathways Master Plan and developed strategic objectives for the Urban Forestry department to ensure the continued growth, health, and longevity of Meridian’s Urban Forest.