Plants & Soil
The spaces around our homes and businesses have the potential to be healthy and resilient ecosystems with diverse plant species. In our design and installation work, we put an emphasis on native plants that benefit wildlife and pollinators as well as trees and shrubs that produce edible fruit. While we do not offer most kinds of landscape maintenance services, we do take on pruning and clearing work, especially the removal of aggressively spreading “invasive” plant species.
The characteristics of the soil affect everything in a landscape, from the health of trees, shrubs and other plants to the behavior of stormwater and support of building foundations. Controlling stormwater runoff through management of soil texture and de-compaction, grading and engineering features such as pipes is a crucial part of any landscape design. For plant health it is sometimes necessary to amend or mechanically de-compact soils, and it is best for the top layer of soil to be protected and insulated by plant cover or a layer of organic matter such as leaves or mulch in order to reduce soil erosion and to retain moisture in the soil. When working with heavy machinery it is important to us to follow best practices for soil conservation. This means saving as much of the upper soil horizon “topsoil” as practical when digging and avoiding unnecessary soil compaction, especially in the critical root zones of trees. Compaction and damage to roots can be minimized by insulating soil from the tracks or wheels of machinery and vehicles with mulch or plywood.
Although almost any human designed landscape will require maintenance to avoid returning to natural forest or the overgrowth of aggressive plant species, we aim to reduce the need for future maintenance by addressing plant health through the full context of the plant. For example: uncompacted soils allow for healthy root growth and proper drainage. Appropriate plant selection for site conditions can avoid many potential problems. Appropriate placement of plants relative to each other reduces problems associated with overcrowding foliage and reduces the need for frequent pruning. Appropriate placement of plants relative to the grade avoids decay issues associated with buried root flares.