Tag Archives: landscape

Spring Beauties in your Asheville Landscape


Spring is my favorite time of the year. I’m always excited to see the new growth emerging after the winter’s rest and the cheerful colors of blooms and the lime green of new foliage.  There’s a sense of new possibilities and anticipation in the air. What a great time to start something new- hence, the beginning  of a blog by Terri Long Landscape Design. I hope that you find it interesting and useful. I look forward to your comments and questions.

Spring bulbs are one of the first harbingers of spring. Some even bloom in late winter, so with a variety of bulbs you can introduce flowers into your landscape early and for a long time. You can create or emphasize curving lines with large sweeps of flowering bulbs. Mass plantings of bulbs are a great way to add fast color to a young landscape and also provide a source for cut flowers.

We all know daffodils, tulips, crocus and grape hyacinths. Daffodils and crocus are pest resistant, so you don’t have to worry about them being damaged by squirrels, chipmunks, voles and other critters. As some of you know, I moved into a 70s neighborhood in  Asheville last year. I’ve been delighted to see the spring bulbs that were planted by previous homeowners appear and bloom. Although tulips are unreliable and short lived in the south, I’m happy to see buds emerging from the foliage and am eagerly awaiting the flowers to mature and bloom. I don’t even mind the grape hyacinths and violets in my lawn, since they add purple into a sea of green and really shouldn’t interfere with mowing. They’re not for those who like a perfect lawn, since the grape hyacinths seed themselves with abandon, even from well-maintained perennial beds.

Other bulbs that you may not have considered are Squill (Scilla), with beautiful blue or white flowers which are deer resistant, and Snowdrop (Galanthus), a white, bell shaped  flower that combines nicely with Hellebores. Both of these are good for naturalizing. For those bulbs that are prone to critter damage, you can plant them in wire cages or, better yet, plant them in PermaTill-Vole Bloc, which is made from expanded natural slate by a North Carolina company.

For native plants, look at Trout Lily and Spring Beauty, which are corms, and Crested Dwarf Iris, which are rhizomes rather than bulbs. Trout Lily and Spring Beauty are spring ephemerals, so they are visible for only a short time. The foliage of the Crested Dwarf Iris will last through the summer, except in very dry summer conditions. These natives look great in woodland and rock gardens.

The National Native Azalea Repository at the North Carolina Arboretum (www.ncarboretum.org) is an excellent place to see masses of trout lilies in the spring. Their mottled foliage resembles trout (not surprising that they are called trout lilies). Their small yellow flowers are a good reason to bend down to get a better look at their flowers and foliage, slow down and get in touch with nature.

You can see Spring Beauties at The Botanical Gardens of Asheville (www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org), along with a multitude of common and rare native plants of our region.

Now is an excellent time to look at your landscape and see where you would like to add early spring color with bulbs. Planting bulbs is also an easy way to improve your curb appeal if you are considering putting your house on the market next spring. Take notes so that you’ll know where to plant your spring bulbs in October. Or better yet, contact me to evaluate your landscape, make suggestions, and we’ll come back and plant them for you in October. You’ll have more time to enjoy the wonders of spring and have something new to look forward to next spring.

Happy Spring!

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty


Asheville, North Carolina

North Carolina Mountains Provide Design Inspiration

The scenic beauty and native plants of Western North Carolina are a continuous source of inspiration. You will see elements from local surroundings in the design for a new home for one of my clients at The Cliffs of Walnut Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. These include a dry creek bed flowing under an arched stone faced bridge leading to the front porch.

Front bridge in progress

The bridge designed by the architectural team of Christopher Rose Architects is reminiscent of the tunnels of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’ll be like having a reminder of the parkway upon approaching their house.

The conceptual design of the architects included a dry creek bed to manage and direct the storm water runoff away from the front of the house. Although I’ve incorporated dry creek beds in other projects, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to integrate it with the architecture in this way. Rather than collecting water in catch basins and piping it away in drains resulting in a generic, sterile look, the use of the dry creek bed becomes a natural looking feature with a functional purpose and a green solution.

We were excited to be invited to go to the actual source of the native stone and be involved in selecting them. Our first stop was to a stone yard where the supplier brings in different types of stones for sale. My client was able to see many different types of stones and identify what was appealing to her. Even better than the stone yard, we were going to be able to select the stones from their natural setting.

Creek Inspiration

We then went to a creek on the way to the rock bar where we were able to hone in on the look, type and arrangement of stones that will be used for her dry creek bed. Although our constructed creek bed will be narrower and sunny, this creek will be the inspiration.

After soaking up the sounds and sights of the water, mossy rocks and identifying several wildflowers, we went on an adventurous ride up the mountain to the rock bar. I’ve been to stone yards numerous times, but that doesn’t begin to compare to actually seeing the stone in its natural setting before it is harvested. Unlike anywhere that I’ve been on hikes, the site was naturally covered in stone of all sizes and shapes. Now, when we see these stones after they’re installed, we’ll remember the trip to the rock bar and from where they came.

Rocks in natural setting

The natural boulders were delivered this week . These boulders will be used for a low boulder wall and as natural looking outcroppings on each side of the driveway entrance. The stones for the dry creek bed will be the type found in creeks and will be delivered on another day.

Boulder delivery

Native Boulders

Stay tuned for updates as the installation begins.

Creating Your Ideal Landscape

Do your outdoor spaces enrich your life? If not, then start dreaming. Don’t hold yourself back. Let your creative side run free. Look at photographs in magazines and books. Think about homes and gardens that attracted you. What is it about them that you like?

Outdoor fireplace

Is it a feature, such as a water garden, outdoor fireplace or colorful flower garden?

Water feature

Is it a certain style- natural, formal, cottage gardens?

Relaxing stone bench

Envision yourself in these spaces. How would you use them? How would they enrich your life? What kind of activities would you do? What kind of feelings do they evoke- peaceful, happy, joyful? Are you starting to get a picture of what your ideal outdoor spaces would be like?

I know that some of you may be thinking, that was fun but how am I going to make it happen? I don’t have the space, time, money, etc. What I’m suggesting is to start off without regard to your perception of reality. We’re not going to duplicate these features, styles and landscapes that appeal to you. They’re the inspiration in creating your ideal landscape. Without inspiration, vision and desire, you may end up with a pleasing landscape that is more about appearances than enhancing your life. With inspiration and vision, you can have outdoor spaces that you love to be in and enjoy with your friends and family.

There are many ways to create your ideal landscape. A large water feature may be reinterpreted into a small pond or fountain that reflects the sky and provides you with the soothing sounds of water.

Outdoor dining spaces

If this idea excites you but you feel overwhelmed and still don’t know where to start, contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation for your home in Asheville. This complimentary consultation will take about 45-60 minutes, and we’ll review your site, desires and dreams. If you decide to work with me, we’ll create a vision of your ideal landscape. I’ll guide you every step of the way in creating your design and turning it into your personal oasis. Click here to get started on creating the ideal outdoor spaces for your home in western North Carolina.

Protecting Your Spring Blooms from Freezing Temperatures

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday I was weeding in the hot sun with temperatures over 70 degrees. Today, the temperatures kept getting colder as the winds blew in.  There’s currently a mix of rain and snow. It looks like the weather forecast for Asheville and western North Carolina may be accurate.

You can protect your most highly prized plants by covering them with either freeze blankets or bed sheets. Secure the edges of the blankets or sheets with rocks, bricks or landscape staples so that the winds can’t blow your protection off of your plants. Pillow cases can be used over smaller shrubs and trees and secured around the base of the plant. You will need to remove these coverings during the day or open them to allow air circulation to prevent the rising day temperatures from burning your plants.  Although  this isn’t practical to do for your entire landscape, it’s a very effective way to prevent or minimize cold damage to your most vulnerable plants, especially from the cold winds. Select the most important and expensive plants, such as Japanese Maples and shrubs that may be flowering or have tender new growth emerging.

It’s also a good time to create a floral arrangement with some of your flowers from bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, and flowering shrubs. At least you’ll be able to enjoy them in your home. 

If you see damage on your plants, be patient. Don’t start pruning until after giving the plant a chance to recover and see the real extent of the damage.

I’m hopeful that we won’t have much damage and will be experiencing warm weather the beauty of spring here in the mountains of North Carolina in just a few days.

Happy Spring!

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty


Asheville, North Carolina