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D.I.Y. or NOT

When it comes to doing something myself; either for the adventure of it, as means to create a healthier product or just save some money, I’m interested. Sometimes my efforts and time prove to be worth it in the short and long term. Other times, things have not gone as smoothly as planned or promised and end up costing me much more in time and money. Because of these experiences, and what I have seen the average homeowner implement over the years, I’m more than happy to direct my clients on practices and/or projects that would make sense for them to do themselves. In landscaping and landscape construction, this means leaving the initial ground work and design to someone who has either the right conditioned muscles or design or horticultural experience. I believe that I have ‘fixed’ as many D.I.Y. projects for homeowners and property managers as I have implemented anew. Sometimes just having a new perspective by someone, not intimately involved with your site, can help you with the details and the whole picture. I’m always very careful about asking who was responsible for the existing work, as I know that I am sometimes dealing with embarrassment, pride and even…

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Beware of the “End-of-Season Nursery Sales”

The weather has cooled, after a record hot summer, and what a perfect time to get your yard back in shape.  It’s always the best time to plant (warm soils with cool air) and the nurseries are desperate to reduce their inventory before winter sets in.  The sales are irresistible! Nurseries are inspiring places and you can easily lose yourself in the end of season energy and crisp oxygen high. For some, finding something unique could be the very thing to enhance their; well… “I’m not sure where I’ll put it but "IT'S JUST SO COOL!”  Remember, plant material is not furniture or accessories.  They are living, growing and sometimes invasive, disease/fungal carrying, damaging long term additions to your real estate.   They are not something you can easily move to a different location or re-cover if you change your mind about their color to coordinate with the new color of your shutters. Landscape design is most cost effective when considered on paper first.  There are lots of questions to consider that start with your basic premise for wanting plants in the first place and end with how much maintenance you are willing to commit to.  As a rule of thumb;…

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Good Neighbors

Oftentimes the best neighbors are the ones that you get to see when you want to see them and who get to see you when you want them to see you. Not that we all want to be recluse but, after a long day at work, it would be nice to relax on your deck or patio uninterrupted by a nosey or even gracious neighbor.  Likewise, your neighbors may not want to see you in your back yard either and so, may also be uncomfortable seeing you relaxing in your yard. Leyland cypress trees were the big victims in this past winter’s snow.  Sure, they grow fast but they grow so fast that they don’t have the time to develop the substantial root system necessary to carry their weight.  This makes them short lived and ineffective as reliable/long-term screening trees. There are better options for evergreen screens or, depending on the height requirements and/or restrictions, consider framed panel screening. Particularly if you are on an elevated deck, the best screening is something built.  Considering this past heat; maintaining air circulation becomes critical; likewise with fencing.  An open screen not only allows air to flow but becomes a buffer, rather than an…

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Chicken Gardening – Sustainable Landscapes

What better way to ensure that you have fresh, organic eggs than to have your own hen house?  Today’s site development plans are no longer limited to vegetable and herb gardens, berry cages and compost bins; they include ‘designs’ for a family run hen-house. Yesterday’s hobby of water gardening is today’s producing chicken garden. Find landscapers in York County to make it a pleasant place for your eyes to feast on. As a child growing up on a few acres, my father raised 45 chickens, several ducks and honey bees, seemingly to help sustain our family of 11.  I’m sure, though, he enjoyed the challenge, variety and fun of this endeavor.  He even grew mushrooms in our cellar!   These practices have come full circle as families, again, try to sustain from within. It’s more than a personal interest;  reducing reliance on mass produced eggs and chickens reduces the waste run-off into critical waterways, eliminates the energy and fuel consumption necessary to transport and refrigerate, and sends a message about the cruel conditions that mass produced chickens are raised under. Hen house ‘designs’ can be stylish and fun but keep in mind that this is not a weekend hobby. They must include security,…

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Earth Day 2010

Happy Earth Day from Petro Design Build Inc. Branch out and celebrate Earth Day this Thursday!  April 22, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary.  Events, lectures, etc. will be taking place through the weekend in celebration.  We've listed a few below around the metro area we think would be great opportunities to "branch out". Thursday, April 22 2nd Annual Green Drinks for the Bay: 5:30pm, Severn Inn, 1993 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Annapolis AIA Spring Lecture Series: Jerry van Eyck, Narration of Urban Settings through Integral Landscapes, 6pm Brown Center, MICA, Baltimore Historic Sherwood Gardens is in full bloom with 80,000 tulips!  Absolutely breathtaking, a must see if you are in the Baltimore area. Chesapeak Ecology Center:  Volunteer Needed,  Orientation: 1-3pm, Chesapeake Ecology Center, 245 Clay St., Annapolis Saturday, April 24th Earth Day and Family, Music & Kite Festival: 10-3pm, Quiet Waters Park, 600 Quiet Waters Road, Annapolis 16th Annual Sierra Club "Earth Day" 5k: 8:30am Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis Sunday, April 25th MD House and Garden Pilgrimage: Tour Historic Guilford in Baltimore City, home of Sherwood Gardens St. Georges Day: PG Historical Society with gather at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upper Marlboro to celebrate the 314th anniversary of the establishment of Prince George's County. Earth…

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