Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why the Next 10 Years of Landscape Design Will Smash the last 10

"Landscape Architecture" was first loosely tied to the relationship between built and natural forms in the early 1800's. George Oskar redefined the concept in the mid 1800's through his design of Central Park in New York. Not only did it then become a professional title, but it now referred specifically to the composition of landform, paving, and construction. While we tie the title and more "scholarly" applications to this more recent history, Roman Gardens have been around since 60BC. Originally born of necessity, these gardens were a function of life providing water, food and shade. The aesthetic aspect of gardening advanced rapidly in Japanese and Chinese Cultures with substantially different takes on design process. Chinese Gardens continue to be designed as natural, reflective and interactive environments. While Japanese Gardens are often designed for a specific outside viewing points, Chinese Gardens are meant to be viewed from within with centralized structures. The Renaissance brought the use of proportion and line to the private garden. Not surprisingly, this formal use of spacing was furthered by the founder of analytic geometry, Renee Descartes. The rich history of landscape architecture has provided design theories which we still use today. What has changed is the methodology and materials used in today's landscapes.

Landscapes of the past focused heavily on growth while the future will focus on sustainability. The future of landscape design will also continue to focus on our ability to blend. We blend art and science, morphology, size, the built and the natural worlds. The use of new products and technologies are not only changing how we design and how we construct, but how we live. The last 10 years have brought the indoors out with the evolution of outdoor living. While this has been profoundly focused on entertainment and comfort, it has included more shade structures, shade trees, permeable paved surfaces, and has effectively created spaces where we spend more time outside in the fresh air rather than in indoor, air conditioned environments.

The next ten years are filled with aesthetic awe and functional regeneration. The line between structure and environment will continue to be obscured. Slowly, you are already seeing the evolution take place all around you. Whether you installed LED lights in your landscape this year, visited one of the many green roofs in Madison, or took notice of the changes in parking lot design of newly constructed stores in our area. Plant selection, island layouts, and rainwater capture are drastically different from parking lots constructed even 5 years ago!

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Shaping Up for Spring

As we finally begin our transition from winter to spring it seems the days of fresh mulch and budding plants are still all too far off. As the snow melts our landscapes are initially a fairly sorry site. We start winter off  welcoming blankets of clean white snow and we bid it farewell with black and gray snow sprinkled with garbage and unsightly turf.

If you spent some time planting last fall you might be enjoying some snowdrops or other early bulbs as the snow melts away. Hopefully you completed a thorough fall clean up which will make spring seem a little less daunting. While we might have to wait until late March to actually get into our landscape beds, you can rest assured the mess that lays before you will patiently wait for you! While you wait to tackle the beds and turf, now is the time for planning and equipment maintenance.

It's best to turn to the largest pieces of equipment first as they may require more substantial repairs. Typically, this means the lawn mower. Some items to address:
  • Clean or replace
    • Spark plugs, air filters, belts, oil
  • Sharpen or replace the mower blades
  • Check the tires & tighten any loose bolts
March is the best time for planning and designing new additions to the landscape as well. You are anxious for warm days and cool nights in the yard and you are spending a lot of time looking out the window anyway right? It might be time for some new or updated hardscaping such as a patio, fire pit, or outdoor kitchen. Or perhaps a new vegetable garden or additional planting beds are in order. While you consider your options and budget it is a good idea to contact a professional early at this time as professional contractors will book their season quickly. At Greenscapes, our construction division is typically already booked out 2 months by March 1st. If you are considering landscape additions this year contact us soon!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Madison Magazines Best of Madison

Discovering our superior customer service earned us the coveted Angie's List Super Service Award made for a fantastic February here at Greenscapes. To top it off, we were recently notified we also won the Madison Magazine Best of Madison Award. We are thankful to all of our customers who voted in the Madison Magazine Best of Madison Poll. Greenscapes is recommended by 97% of our reviewers and receives an A+ rating from 93% of our Angie's List Clients. 

Our staff is trained from their first day to treat every property as if it was their own. We have achieved rapid and sustained growth at Greenscapes for one reason, our staff. We believe you don't build a company and fill it with people. You build people by providing them the tools for success and, in turn, your people will build your company for you. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Greenscapes employees for taking ownership of their positions with us. Your continued dedication and commitment to being the best of the best in your field not only sustains our business, it inspires us to enjoy coming to work every morning and enables us to continue to raise the bar in our industry. A genuinely happy and enthusiastic staff fosters satisfied customers and allows us to continue exceeding their expectations. 

Thank you for your continued commitment and dedication to our vision!

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