Nashville Meets South Beach

Balcony landscape in nashville bamboo

I was honored to have been called out to a rental property in downtown Nashville where the owner was looking to take the atmosphere up a notch by adding certain design elements which one might find in the bold surroundings of South Beach Florida.  After our designs and concepts were approved, we set out to add a little flare to the already impressive balcony which possessed multiple sitting areas, a sun deck, custom pool, hot tub, and the most breathtaking view of downtown Nashville.


We removed a clumping bamboo previously planted and opted to install Bamboo 'Bissetts' in the large stainless steel inset planters.  The client was instructed that this running style bamboo would need regular pruning and thinning to ensure it didn't overtake the container in the coming years.  With a little maintenance, there simply is just no substitute for 10' bamboo on a rooftop.  The large wall helps to protect the bamboo during storms and winter temps.  Other plantings included Mahonia 'Soft Caress' and Bignonia trumpet vine which were installed in a shady area on the balcony.  Both plants are tough performers in these challenging areas, either on a balcony or in a garden.  The trumpet vine is a native which will be trained up the wall and allowed to partially climb up the spiral staircase.  Red Yucca was planted for its architectural appeal and red summer flowers.  Since these planters were not irrigated, drought tolerance was also an important consideration.  Asparagus fern, Cordyline 'Red Star', Silver Licorice, and Wax Begonias round out the container plantings on the property.  These plants can take the demanding heat and wind exposure commonly found on roof top balconies.  With a little feeding and trimming throughout the season, they'll be sure to perform well into the fall.

Balcony landscape and design in nashville

Glass Mulch

To up the wow factor a little more, we opted to design and install a recycled glass mulch, both around some of the plantings and on the rubber membrane covering part of the lofts surrounding rooftop.  After installing a geotextile formulated to protect the rubber membrane, the glass mulching was installed at a 2-3" layer depth, or 14lb per square foot.  The mulch installation brings a level of design no other material could offer. The clients were thrilled and so were we.  

Landscaping with red yucca

Overall the landscaped balcony proved to be a success with the potential for other areas to be designed as well.  Balconies are a fantastic retreat for city dwellers to find their retreat, this one being no exception.  Special considerations must be given to the plantings as sun and wind conditions can be challenging for many plants.  Choose your plantings and soil type well, and you're sure to have success.  

White containers on balcony with asparagus fern

For more information regarding the rental of this unit and others within the building, visit

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Backyard Landscape for Play & Edibles

We recently finished a backyard landscape which will be featured on Volunteer Gardener later this Summer.  The backyard belonged to a traditional ranch style home in East Nashville.  For more videos that inspire, visit

The backyard pitched down away from the home.  Good for drainage, a small challenge for patios.  Along with patio and fire pit, the homeowner was looking for a design that incorporated edible gardens, berry bushes, fruit trees, mulched in playset, under deck storage and privacy fence.  Though the original plan exceeded the homeowners budget, we were able to work within her priorities to arrive at a final plan.  

The patio was constructed out of a Belgard wall and paver patio.  Colonial block and Dublin cobble pavers to be exact.  To construct a fire pit on top of a patio, the professional route is to build the floor out of fire brick and mortar only half in.  Fill half of the 1" joints with gravel to allow rainwater to filter down to a corrugated pipe underneath patio to drain out of the side.

Nashville landscape, before and after

Liberty apple trees, a great variety for the southeast, rabbit eye blueberries, thornless blackberries made up the bulk of the berry/ fruit installation.  Two large cedar raised beds were installed around the patio giving quick and easy access.

For the playset mulching, a 4x4 pressure treated timber border was installed after the sod was cut around the playset.  At least a  4" installation of play soft mulch was used which is specifically manufactured for such an area and is widely used in commercial/ residential playgrounds around the country.  For more information, visit

Overall the homeowner was thrilled with the transformation of her backyard space.  Such a transformation will not only create many years of enjoyment, but will also look to increase the overall value of the home.  Of course, as always, we were honored to be entrusted with the confidence to construct another dream of a happy client.

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BIG & BOLD...Nashville Lawns and Landscapes

Nashville lawns and landscaping

Some in Nashville want a beautiful, picturesque lawn for their landscape, and some do not.  It is simply a matter of taste and budget.  Regardless of your preference, a recent job that our landscape company installed emphasizes the importance of healthy soil and laying sod at the right time of the year.  

Though sod can be laid during most parts of the year, fall and early spring really are optimal times The temps are cool and the moisture is high.  Along with proper timing, a good foundation of graded compost and microbiologic fertilizers help get the green stuff off to a booming start.  We suggest a 1" under layer of premium compost and granular fertilizer per application rates.  Liquid natural fertilizers can also be applied throughout the seasons to help keep turf at its finest.
Nashville landcape contractorDr. Earth and Espoma brands carry some of the best products we've come across.  We stress natural at all times in order to feed the soil biology, which in turn, feeds the plant.  Yes a few weeds might pop up from time to time, but like life, it is our view that lawns shouldn't be perfect.  Too many chemicals and too much frustration is required to maintain.  

Nashville Irrigation Company

Fescue, which stays green all year, needs consistent moisture during the summer, and possibly an over seeding in the fall to stay thick.  Smart irrigation practices are always encouraged as overwatering can cause just as many issues as under watering. Fescue can perform in the sun, however, part sun conditions really are optimal.  Too much shade and the thickness begins to wain.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Zoysia and Bermuda grass.  These brown in the winter, however, are very tough and can withstand periods of drought and plenty of foot traffic. These varieties perform well in sunny to part sunny areas.  The more shade they receive the more thin they become. Bermuda and Zoysia GrassAs long as the turf is healthy, Zoysia and Bermuda do not require an irrigation system nor fall over seeding or multiple fertilizer applications.  Definitely low maintenance.  These varieties can be sodded in early spring through summer as they thrive in warmer temperatures.  Seeding and plugging are a cheaper option but best practices with these techniques really should be followed as it can be a bit trickier.

Whatever direction you choose to go, it's always good to know best practices.  Ensuring your life and turf grow exceptionally well!

 Citation: (image of Zoysia front lawn)

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Prepare for your Fall Landscape

Prepare for your Fall Landscape

These last few weeks of summer, we can let our land and bodies rest. But we can also prepare for fall, which starts Sept. 22. 
Scattered thunderstorms should refresh our yards soon. The following ideas can make our Middle Tennessee landscapes more natural and sustainable:

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Weed Like a Professional Landscaper!

Looking for an organic method of weed control in your garden or landscape?  Let our professional landscaping company show you how to cut your weeding time in half!!  Matt Kerske explains the tools that quickly get the job done in this quick 3 minute clip.  And remember friends, try and always use a mulch when possible to reduce the spread of weeds in your landscape.  Not only will it help to reduce weeds, but if it is wood based, it'll also help hold moisture and break down into organic matter.

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Infuse Organic Nutrients into Soil with Cover Crops

Check out Matt Kerske's latest video for a quick tutorial on how to use buckwheat and cowpeas to organically enrich your soil on the cheap! 

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Landscape Design: Seven (+3) Tips for Beginners

Every now and then I'm asked for  landscape design tips.  I came across an article in Better Homes and Gardens and thought it worth sharing.  For those starting out in this wide world of exterior artistry...welcome to the rest of your life.  Once this bug bites you, it usually doesn't let go, at least for not for awhile anyways.  It can be a blessing, however, since instead of itching and swelling, it can cause your property value to increase.  Imagine that.  Plus, if you do some of the landscaping yourself, you'll be burning calories, reducing stress, and coming home to a more beautiful setting.  Not too bad eh?

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