Tag Archives: western 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.

Autumn Landscapes in Asheville

As we start to experience the signs of autumn in Asheville, do you have visions of a beautiful fall garden? Now is a good time to plant.

Those of us who reside in western North Carolina are blessed in many ways. Not only do we live in one of the most beautiful areas of the world with a vast diversity of plants and people, we can successfully install most plants year round. Autumn offers optimum conditions.

There are great benefits for planting in autumn. The temperatures are cooling and the days are getting shorter, so there is less moisture lost to transpiration and evaporation. We also experience more rain during the cool months. This results in less supplemental watering of the new plants and less use of this valuable resource.  Even drought tolerant plants need about a year to get established. The plants have several months of establishing their root system in their new home before focusing their energies on leaf and flower production in the spring.

In Asheville, we can successfully plant herbaceous plants, such as perennials and groundcovers, well into October. Depending on the plant, you may even enjoy some flowers or fall color before they go dormant for the winter. By planting in the fall, you’ll be on your way to enjoying spring and summer flowers next year as these plants can’t be put in the ground in the spring until after the danger of a late frost, which is in May. Autumn is also a great time to plant trees, especially large trees that are dug in the field and balled and burlapped.

October is the best time to plant spring bulbs. Don’t let this once a year opportunity pass by you or you will miss the beauty of these spring harbingers next year.

At Terri Long Landscape Design, we can handle your autumn landscape needs from creating a design to enrich your life to the actual installation of the landscape. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

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