Ecology + Design

Landscape and Grounds Maintenance – Gardening, Lawn, Tree and Shrub Care – Westchester County

Many homeowners, businesses and institutions (both public and private) spend a considerable amount of time, money and resources in an effort to present an attractive appearance by investing in landscape services.

This may be by hiring a professional Landscape Architect, Landscape Designer, Contractor or Nursery to improve the appearance of the landscape. The intention and motivation is to make the property or site more appealing to the eye of the beholder. Whether this is to increase property value (which it should), curb appeal, encourage traffic and interest in the business or place or simply to enjoy the view, there is a qualitative difference between a professional premium service provider and a sub-par amateur result or performance.

I have often said: “good design is not priceless, bad design is… priceless”. That said, once the landscape is installed, renovated, rehabilitated or enhanced, the next most important part is maintaining it. Who’s going to do it? Do they have the necessary skills, knowledge, education and resources to provide the level of service required to maintain the landscape to reach maturity and beyond? Will your expectations be met? Will communication be necessary or will work be performed on a regularly scheduled basis according to what is truly required (i.e. proper pruning of plants when they should be pruned according to horticultural principals)?

There are great resources at your disposal. When it comes to landscaping and gardening services there are many local, national and international organizations, that serve designers, contractors as well as the public and private consumers. Organizations, I like are; Ecological Landscape Association, Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program(they are an independent non-profit). I am also a member of The New York State Turf and Landscape Association. To be honest, I have an issue with that organization because they refuse to list members on their web site, which makes me question what do they actually do for contractors, homeowners or their communities.

For horticulture you can’t beat the Cornell Cooperative Extension. This is your tax money at work. In addition to community and education programs they offer services such soil testing, plant disease and insect problem diagnosis etc. There is actually a human being you can speak to if you call your local office and ask for the horticultural agent. I particularly like their Master Gardeners program. If you want to know what to prune and when, the bible is Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Plants.

As always, I highly recommend hiring a qualified professional to maintain your beautiful and valuable landscape.

May your landscape bring you peace and joy…always.

Jay Archer, President


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