Home & Design

While updating a McLean property, Surrounds, Inc., replaced a mundane pathway and stair with a curved version clad in Pennsylvania bluestone and bordered by natural boulders. Photo: Judy Davis

Checklist: Landscape

Surrounds, Inc., brings a modern approach to your outdated garden

Over the last three decades, landscaping styles have evolved. “A new aesthetic has exploded in popularity during the last 10 years,” says Surrounds, Inc.’s Barry Schneider. “It utilizes more native and perennial plants, color and layered materials.” Below are more tips from Schneider on modernizing your landscape.

  • Boxwoods and hollies planted close to the house should be placed farther away where there’s more room to grow.
  • Old-style landscapes feature straight lines with plant material hugging the borders of the hardscape or foundation. In modern gardens, beds are laid out in loose curves that allow plants to breathe; soften the edges between plantings and hardscape; and enliven the composition.
  • Ground covers and dwarf varieties don’t block windows or take over walkways—and they work well with larger, free-flowing planting beds.
  • Plants don’t fall out of fashion if they are used correctly. A plant that isn’t in a logical spot may be relocated to give a more suitable plant the spotlight.
  • Consider new cultivars, which adapt well to site conditions and come in multiple sizes, textures and colors. They allow for a landscape that looks great all year.

Four-Season Fun
New plant varieties have been cultivated that are versatile, low-maintenance and visually appealing even when their foliage has dropped. The following deciduous shrubs contribute to seasonal interest:

Red twig dogwood—Orange, yellow or red branches are stunning during the winter.
Paperbark maple—Reveals beautiful peeling bark after the leaves drop.
Winterberry holly—Brilliant red berries stand out all winter.
Ornamentals—The dwarf filbert tree, ornamental grasses and some ground covers show well in winter.
Fothergilla and gardenia—Add pops of early-spring color.
Drift roses—Bring color without taking over.

Hardscape Help

  • An old-style hardscape often meant a utilitarian concrete walkway close to the house. Today, stone walkways sit farther away with perennial beds in between; the hardscape softens the transition between landscape and house.
  • While aspects of your old hardscape may be worth keeping, a new hardscape design might be needed to facilitate a modern landscape plan.

Pro Tips

“We balance evergreen and deciduous plants. Boxwood hedges can provide winter interest and also help define a space.”
—Joseph Richardson, PLA, ASLA, Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture

“Native plants are naturally attuned to an area’s rainfall, soil composition, temperature ranges and even pests. They thrive with the most basic level of care.”
—Michael Yeomans, Through the Garden, Inc.


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