Learn from the Experts: Petro Design Blog


Kathleen Litchfield President of Petro Design/Build, Inc. Kathleen Litchfield
President of Petro Design/Build Group, is one of the Washington area's leading landscape and garden design experts. Her insightful advice on landscape design, construction, and practice has been published and quoted innumerous regional and national magazines. She has developed and taught accredited courses in horticulture and has lectured for garden clubs, the National Association of Remodeling Industry, the Landscape Contractors Association, the Smithsonian Educational Series, the George Washington University landscape design program, and the Washington Design Center.

Kent Richard Abraham, Principle Architect with Abraham/Petro Kent Richard Abraham,
Principal Architect with Abraham/Petro a division of Petro Design/Build He is a member of the US Green Building Council 2006. His education includes Bachelor of Architecture, 1970, University of Nebraska, With Honors (Cum Laude),Awarded the Faculty Award, Outstanding Senior Student; Master of Architecture, 1971, University of Pennsylvania, Studio of Louis Kahn. He has served as Chair, Thesis committee school of Architecture and Planning, The Catholic University of America Washington, DC since 1978.


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Fall is the Time for Planting

fall is the time for plantingIf you thought Spring, the time of natural renewal, was the best time for planting, you might be surprised!   FALL…. is actually the best time to let roots take hold and give your new garden time to develop and grow.  The parts above the ground may have to deal with the cold onset, BUT the roots will continue to grow and prosper till the soil below starts to freeze, well into winter.  This gives the plant months to “take root” versus trying to immediately acclimate and produce leaves/flowers/etc.  in the hot Spring and Summer months.

Currently, Petro has several great planting jobs in progress, including a job along the water in the Mount Vernon, Virginia area.  This planting features native buffer plantings, framing beautiful veiwsheds to the water.  Species included native grasses such as Panicums and Carex, tolerant perennials such as Salvia and Rudbeckia, and, beautiful roses.   A second plant installation nearing completion is located in woodlands outside of historic Ellicott City.  Specified in this project are unique natives like Winterthur Viburnum and Mahonia, better known as the Oregon Grape Holly.

If you are thinking about new plantings, now is the best time.  Contact Kathleen to schedule an appointment.  Or if you are looking for planting ideas, visit a botanical garden.  Petro recommends Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Northern Virginia by Wolf Trap or Brookeside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland.

Lechuza Self Watering Planters

PETRO RECOMMENDED PRODUCT OF THE MONTH: LECHUZA self watering planters

lattice wall with flowers

 

Form meets function in this innovative growing system by LECHUZA. LECHUZA self-watering planters feature a sub-irrigation system that allows appropriate self-watering for up to 12 weeks depending on the plant type, planter size and location. In addition, LECHUZA planters include removable drainage plugs and an interchangeable plant liner to be used indoors or outdoors.

This delightful product includes simple elements such as a water level indicator, a supply shaft to make watering and adding fertilizer quick and easy, and a separator, which forms and separates a water reservoir within the planter. This system makes at home plant care simple and carefree for frequent travelers or those who simply can’t find extra time in the day to exercise their green thumbs.

The secret to LECHUZA planters doesn’t lie solely in the mechanical pieces, but in the plant substrate used in place of soil. The plant substrate, called LECHUZA-PON provides optimum watering and supports root aeration. Nutrients are stored and released only as the plant needs them and unlike soil, LECHUZA-PON does not compress by itself. The mixture is reusable and adjusts ph-value as well.

 

Petro has successfully installed self-watering LECHUNZA planters for multiple residential projects. These planters are high quality, durable products that are UV and frost resistant and will maintain their appearance for years. Below are photos of design projects where we’ve used self-watering planters to provide aesthetically pleasing outdoor accents to private homes. 

For more information regarding LECHUZA self-watering planters and related products, please visit the LECHUZA website at http://www.lechuza.com.

Petro has on staff LEED AP!

Landscape Architect, Colleen Bathon is LEED AP certified! LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is an internationally recognized certification system highlighting the importance of green building and sustaining our environment.

The program was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and provides building owners with a framework for implementing and measuring practical green building design, construction, maintenance, and operations. Using the LEED process will help promote sustainable design, buildings and development.  This certification can be applied to both residential and commercial building types. LEED aims to achieve high performance in several areas of human and environmental health including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and environmental quality.

If you are interested in how your home/building could apply for LEED status, OR interested in learning more about sustainable applications for your site contact us.  info@petrodesignbuild.com

For more information on LEED, visit www.usgbc.org.

Petro designers and production teams like to think LOCAL!

Petro designers and production teams like to think LOCAL! 

patio

We promote the use of Low impact materials.  These are materials that require less energy for production, transport, and operation than NEW products OR those that come from outside of the local or regional economy.  They have lower impacts throughout the product life cycle, including production, use, and disposal.

It also helps to choose products that will not be damaging to your health and to the environment!

Let us guide you in choosing products that can be recycled or deconstructed and can be reused on-site or at nearby sites rather than disposed of in a landfill.  Using shade constructed surfaces with structures or vegetation to reduce heat islands and effects on microclimate and wildlife habitat are also helpful.  Additionally, choosing paints, sealants and other related products that contain reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which contribute to air pollution, are better for you and the environment.

Petro uses low impact materials in several of our projects currently in the works. Shown in the photos below, recycled stone was used for several wall structures at a residence in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Low Impact Material Baker Fountain Stone