Posts Tagged ‘#keepingupwiththejoneses’

Landscape Design in Winter with Salient Landscaping

Winter Landscape Design sounds like something you would do in Antarctica but it’s actually the way the smarter folks plan their spring projects  A $50k plus landscape design and installation can take months to complete, and several weeks to months to plan and stage.

If you have landscape design and installation work that you would like plan for the upcoming season, believe it or not, winter is the best time to get the design and planning accomplished.  Using satellite imagery, survey data from your mortgage, design software, and a little ingenuity, we can estimate, plan, and fully design and stage your entire project while there is snow on the ground.

By working on the creative side of the project in the winter, your landscaper can hit the ground running in the spring so you can enjoy your new landscaping this summer and fall.

3D Landscape Design

I’m sure everyone has seen all of the DIY shows with twin brothers turning torn-up houses into open concept beauties and husbands and wives flipping houses.  They use sophisticated 3D software that allows their clients to see what their houses will look like after the renovations before they raise the first hammer.

We use the exact same type of software to show our clients exactly what their properties will look like after the new landscaping is installed in gorgeous 3D.



Quick Video Overview of this summer 2016 project from Salient Landscaping

2016 Landscape Renovation Before

Mr and Mrs O hired us to completely renovate their fixer upper in June of 2016.  They renovated the entire inside of the house with everything from custom built-ins to heated floors to high end appliances and everything in between.  They were ready to move to the outside after finalizing everything on the inside last spring.


  • Driveway Paver borders
  • Demolish the “sunken garden” either filling it in and landscaping/paving over it, building a lower paver with walls and stairs along with a fire pit and seat wall, lighting and planting features, or lower entire landscape and rebuild a low elevation landscape.
  • Remove side patio, construct a new side patio and install electrical throughout.  Bring in a 6 person hot tub along with lighting, and potentially a heated pathway so one could walk barefoot outside even in the winter to your outdoor oasis.  Add planting beds, plants, trees, irrigation and electrical outlets.

  • Demolish and dispose of old rotted deck, install either a Trex, composite, or cedar deck replacement OR build a raised paver patio, and/or a lower patio, or a decorative concrete patio of whatever elevation makes sense.  In a project like this, a lot of determinations will be made after demolition begins.
  • Spade out two twin side pear trees and move them to the center of the new, expanded landscape feature.  Install a full, outdoor kitchen with granite counter-tops, gas, electric, and water as well as a custom made, 10′ x 4′ 1000 LBS chunky white oak dining table with heavy communal benches. Build a huge pergola.

Fifth Revision Design Rendering – 1 Dimensional Drawing

After several redesigns, and one napkin drawing from Mrs. O, we settled on this as the concept we were going to execute on.  We would fill in the sunken garden, and build a small raised patio to transition the higher elevation of the current kitchen.

Once we all settled on the 1-dimensional version of the project, we had our designer bring it into the 3D world using Google Sketch-up.  This is done to make sure the client is going to really like the project.  In this case we were looking at a $140k project after all of the upgrades and changes.  The worst thing in the world would be to complete the whole project and have an unhappy client!

2016 Finished Product


Winter Design Process

If you or someone you know is hoping to make major changes to their landscape or has a new construction landscape project they would like to get completed this spring, have them contact Salient Landscaping at 734-337-3261 or text 734-260-4340.  You can also contact us at

Some items to have ready to speed the process up:

  1. Plot plan/mortgage survey – either a scaled copy or a digital file you can email
  2. Any photos, pins, screenshots, or brochures with things you like and hate
  3. Budget numbers if possible
  4. Time to meet in person to tour the property and discuss details and projections

Budget Study After the first meeting, we will come up with a Budget Study that gives a broad range of costs in order to establish the budget.  Budget studies are helpful because we can determine a comfortable budget for the customer and discuss any unforeseen potential contingencies.

Design Contract, Detailed Proposal, and First Design will be delivered shortly after the budget study process – usually within a week or two depending on how involved the project.  At this time the design contract is signed and paid in full.  These can rage between $400 – $4000 depending on the size of the project and will be discussed at the time of the budget study.

Revisions, 3D Design Delivery, and approval occur next assuming minor changes need to be made.  The project deposit occurs now with usually a small 10% deposit to start the 3D process.  After this, the project is scheduled.

Oversight and Supervision Weekly and/or daily updates are made to the client via phone, text, email, or whatever means is most appreciated.  As contingencies – unforeseen problems, customer upgrades, and midstream changes come up. (as they always do during large projects) Salient will check in with the client at each opportunity to keep them up to speed with changes in the project as they come up or are discovered.

At the end of the project, the updates will be more frequent and may require meeting onsite a few times as the finishes are completed.  At the end of the project, we will walk the property with you and make sure everything is up to par with your expectations.  At this point, we will deliver the final invoice, and the plant maintenance manual.

Happy designing and planning!



The 5th Driest June in Ann Arbor – 2016
The remains of a tree lie over cracked ground at the almost dried out Maria Cristina reservoir near Castellon, July 25, 2014. Spain's south-east is suffering the worst drought after the driest winter in 150 years, according to local media. REUTERS/Heino Kalis (SPAIN - Tags: ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE SOCIETY) ORG XMIT: HJK01

Everything is dead

The average rainfall in Ann Arbor in the month of June is 37.55 inches.  We had 3.66 inches of rain in June this year.  Do the math people.


The soil is dry.  Our plants are struggling.  The grass is brown.  Our water bills are high as hell.  The news is talking about “drink more water” and “wear sunscreen” like we haven’t been through this before.  The real answers to the real questions are here.


How much should I Water my Plants and Lawns?

If you are a lawn and/or plant nerd like me, you should be watering like crazy right now.  What does “like crazy” mean?  A minimum of 30 minutes per zone per day in lawns and 20 minutes per zone every other other day in plant zones.  If your lawn is “drought stressed” (brown and crispy) water as directed and DO NOT cut the grass until it starts greening up and growing again.  If 30 minutes per zone per day doesn’t work, increase to an hour.  Don’t give up.  Your lawn isn’t going to die from thirst, but it’s not going to be healthy once it recovers.  Don’t freak out.  Your lawn turns brown as a defense mechanism. As soon as the grass plant doesn’t have enough water, it stops sending water and nutrients to the blade.  It goes into survival mode and shuts off water and sugar transport to the grass blade: the part we cut every week.  All water and nutrients that are left in the world are reserved in the roots to keep the plant alive.  Grass plants can live without water for beyond 60 days but don’t tempt fate.  If you can afford it, and there are not watering restrictions, please water your lawns as directed in this post.


Plant watering

I happen to LOVE hydrangeas as many of you may or may not know.  HYDRangeas are (you guessed it) water hording plants.  It makes it easy for airheads like me because they LOOK like they are dying when they get thirsty.  Check this out:

hydrangea thirst

Annuals and other plants can be equally obvious.


80114291These New Guinea Impatiens are water loving animals.  They SCREAM for water if you don’t keep them hydrated.  This photo above shows you the same plant ten minutes after being watered.  All plants aren’t that obvious so you probably need some guidance.  Annuals, like every year, need 10 minutes two to three times per day.  Keep this in your mind: every landscape is different.  If your lawn and plants look like they need more water, increase it.  If they look like they are drowning, decrease it.  If you don’t know what the hell you are doing, call me.  I will come to your property and hold your hand and walk you through this.  Salient is here for you.  734-337-3261  We care about everyone’s plants and will do whatever we can to help you keep yours alive.



What do the experts say?

In the meantime, I called on an unnamed expert to see what they recommended and about fell out of my seat at his response.  “I water my plants 2-3 hours per day and it’s not enough”  I am not a horticulturist but I KNOW that is wrong.  I have a thriving garden and flowers and am watering as directed in this blog post.  I have directed all of my clients to follow my watering instructions and we have had no dead plant or lawn fallout concerns.

Thank you for reading and happy watering!  Here’s to a wet July!!

What if we have an early spring?

It has been one of the weirdest winters of my life this year.  Almost no snow, record high temperatures, and what seems to be probably an early spring.  I found myself asking “is there anything I can do to get a jump on spring?”

Start your spring cleanup early


As soon as we have had a dry stretch of maybe a week or so, and you can stand to be outside, start your spring cleanup.  Get a leaf rake through your lawn areas, identify anywhere that is now bare soil, and topdress with 1″ of potting mix or topsoil and sprinkle with grass seed and seed mulch.

ezmulch-Bag-600x384Seed mulch is not cheap, but it’s so handy and effective.  It is pelletized ground paper and usually some sort of fertilizer mixed in.  It’s activated by water.  It breaks down and protects the seeds from blowing away.  It also keeps the moisture and nutrients between the seeds and the soil where they need to be.pellets


Clean out your beds  Get into your landscape beds and remove any weed skeletons, cut back any perennials you may have missed in the spring, lightly rake and cultivate your mulch, pull leaves and debris out of your beds.  Be very careful not to kill or damage any young, newly emerging bulbs.  spring-garden-snowdrops-rake

If you have grasses you left up over the winter, now is a perfect time to cut them back.  A gas hedge trimmer is a fast and easy way to do this.  Tie the grasses together with twine or string of some kind just above the ground.  Run your gas trimmers between the grass and the ground being careful not to cut into the soil.  Dispose of the top in your burn pile or in your garden waste bags.  The closer to spring you cut them back, the bigger and fuller they will be be in their full glory in summer.cutbackandfreshlymulched

Edge your beds and rake the mulch from the new, clean edge so that the surface is smooth and the grade slowly floats to the top of your bed grade. Install 2-4″ of fresh mulch making sure not to allow mulch to touch the base of your trees.  This can cause disease and suffocation to your trees in the long run. freshly mulched mulching-794901

It’s too soon to start cutting your lawn but in the next 2 weeks, a balanced rate of all mineral or organic fertilizer wouldn’t hurt.  As soon as the temperatures are consistently over 45 degrees F, and as soon as you want to start weekly grass cutting, go ahead with your first cut.  I recommend cutting a little shorter than usual, raking up the clippings, and cutting again.  After that get ready for quick green-up and lush, green grass sooner than all of your neighbors!

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