Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Patios and Walks

We follow up today on two projects posted previously. One began as a renovation of space under a deck, and the other, a patio/walkway project begun in virtual reality.

As recounted in our previous post, we predominantly used beige stone as a soil anchor under the deck.

Since that post, however, we have installed a patio and added some border plantings.

Then our guys turned their attention towards the Lake, and constructed a walkway and a new patio sitting area.

On the virtual reality front, although there is still plenty of work to do, the improvements are really starting to take shape. Notice how the actual installation differs in certain respects from the early virtual proposal. This was due to owner decisions and input, which we strongly encourage in all phases of our work.

Early virtual rendition of the proposed patio/walkway

Monday, February 13, 2017

At The Nursery

While many trees shed their leaves for winter, there are others that cling to their summer form despite the seasonal change. These are the evergreens, the non-deciduous varieties that keep their color all year round. Herewith a look at some of our favorite evergreens at the Nursery.

These are Green Giants. No, not the vegetable, but Green Giant Arborvitae, the evergreen. Technically, these are Thuja standishii x plicata 'Green Giant', for those that care about such things.

And 'Giant' is right. These currently stand some 10-12' high, and can grow to 50-60'. Green Giants will also grow fast, upwards of 2' per year.

Its rich, green, dense evergreen foliage plus fast growth makes the Green Giant an excellent selection for a screen or hedge. But its natural conical pyramidal growth habit and the way it will darken and bronze slightly in the winter means it can be a striking specimen, all by its lonesome. 

We also have some Japanese Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica), which are currently larger than the Arborvitaes, some 12-14' high. Although not as dense as the Green Giants, Cryptomeria can be used as a screen, but its ornamental value is highly prized by many. In its native Japan, it is the national tree and used extensively around temples and shrines, and its dwarf variety enriches many a rock garden. 

To round out our survey of evergreens, we also have a few Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii). And I mean very few, what's called in the trade 'limited quantities available.' But these are beautiful trees, and someone out there (hint, hint) will be quite fortunate to add one of these to their landscape plan.

Almost as we speak, our guys are loading some of these evergreens for shipment to points north and south, as these photos attest.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Virtual but Real

Here in the 21st Century, you got either virtual or you got real. At Ben's Creek Nursery, we do both!

It's all part of our design process. All hardscape installations involve form and function; there is an existing topography and landscaping that must be taken into account, and then there is the final function or utility that the customer desires. In our design process, we incorporate both into an initial proposal for the customer.

What is cool is that we can sometimes reduce the proposal to a graphical virtual reality superimposed on the customer's existing structures.

These plan/proposal renderings incorporate not only the design of the structures we will build, but also the specific types of material to be used. This way, the customer can get a truer sense of the look and feel of the final product.

And, these renderings enable the customer to virtually 'walk around' the proposed build. For instance, here is a picture of the patio addition from the perspective of the deck:

In this particular case, these 'walk around' views helped the customer decide to make changes to the initial proposal, eliminating the forward columns and grill and substituting a side walkway into the final proposal.

Once the proposal is approved, however, the big question is: how do you get from virtual to real? The answer is simple: it takes men, materials, and effort … lots of effort!

Following are photos of our crews engaged in the hard process of bringing the virtual into reality.

By next week we should have final photos of this installation. Stay tuned!