Gallery: Coastal Buffer Installation

In 2013, a client in Cambridge asked us to help with the renovation of their beach house, located in an environmentally sensitive site between the shore and a wetland. We assisted with permitting for invasive plant management, consulted with the architect on the system to recapture and use 100% of the house’s roof water, and designed hardscape and plantings to tie the new house to the landscape. This week, one of our crews installed the second…

Gardener’s Journal for May

Gardening, done well, is at least 50% preparation. Once you realize what you should have done, it’s probably too late for this year. So, having a garden journal is invaluable to for successful planning for next year. Here are a few things to look out for this spring, and steps to make next year even better: A Blank Slate – By fall when the bulb catalogues arrive, it’s easy to forget where you planted what. Take…

10 Favorite Evergreens for Mixed Screen Planting

When space permits, we like to screen views with a mixed evergreen planting, rather than a boring arborvitae hedge. Here’s a list of favorite evergreen trees in more compact sizes. All prefer full sun and grow 10’-20’ unless otherwise noted. Abies koreana – Korean Fir Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ – Weeping Alaskan Falsecypress – elegant upright leader with weeping branches; tolerates some light shade Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Filicoides’ &  taller C. pisifera cultivars – unusual, thread-like foliage texture…

Spoiler Alert: Boston Flower and Garden Show 2013 Preview

This year, exhibitors at the Boston Flower & Garden Show at the Seaport World Trade Center were charged with creating designs around the theme “Seeds of Change.” Installations feature local stone and hardscape, native plants to greater and lesser degrees, and some innovative solutions for rain water, small spaces, and modern homesteading. Chickens and vegetable beds mix with clipped boxwoods and colorful forced plantings.

Bulb Lasagna: A Recipe for Lasting Spring Color

This weekend promises to be beautiful weather for some final gardening chores. Guarantee yourself weeks of spring blooms by making “bulb lasagna.” Line the bottom of a 14″ or deeper container with gravel for drainage. Then layer potting soil and bulbs in 3 layers, starting with the largest bulbs on the bottom. Choose bulbs which will flower at different times to make your planting really work.  Keep in mind that there will likely be some…

Porous paving solves storm water problems

Which of these photos shows permeable interlocking concrete paving? Both! A concrete grid system (left) was once the only permeable option.  As municipalities have increased pressure on developers to minimize storm water runoff, a number of attractive permeable pavers like Permea (right) have come on the market.  These concrete pavers look like cobblestone, brick, or traditional pavers, but spacers allow water to flow between them, when filled with a fine, clean aggregate. Much of the flooding in urban and…

“A-Maze-ing” Anniversary Present for Girl Scouts

Update: Nice coverage of this installation and more about the Cedar Hill camp from the Waltham Daily Tribune. This week, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts receives a very special gift for its 100th anniversary:  the revitalization of a portion of the former maze at Camp Cedar Hill in Waltham.  A Yard & A Half Landscaping, a woman-owned business based in Waltham, is providing the design and installation services for the project at no charge. The…

What is “Sustainable” Landscaping?

In a recent Customer Advisory Board meeting, someone mentioned that “sustainability” has become a meaningless term.   If we are to say that we do sustainable landscape design, construction, and maintenance, we have to define our terms.  To that end, here’s an inventory of our sustainable practices.  In developing these standards for ourselves, we have drawn from the Standards of the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Organic Landcare Committee, the 2009 Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI) benchmarks– it’s kinda like LEED for landscapes —…

Beautiful permeable driveway option

This peastone driveway is dressed up by a granite cobble apron. We used a new product, a polymeric stone dust, in the joints of the cobbles. I’m very happy with how it is holding up after the winter, with no wash-out that we would see in such wide joints filled only with stone dust. The whole drive is permeable, making it a great option for sites needing to offset the impervious area of an addition…

Plant List: Sensory Garden

The CSA where my family gets our veggies and dairy, Brookfield Farm, is expanding their accessible garden.  I wanted to share the starter list of plants for a sensory garden, which I compiled to spark their creativity at their first planning meeting.  Some of these plants would also be fun in a garden for children, because they appeal to senses of touch and smell, as well as having eye-catching, bright colors. Enjoy! Unless otherwise noted,…