Darren Williamson of North Star Landscaping Design and Installation in Cassopolis offers spring landscaping tips.

Landscape your sanctuary

Published 6:01am Sunday, March 25, 2012

No longer is it enough to just have a nice, well-kept backyard.

Just ask Darren Williamson, landscape architect and owner of North Star Landscape Design and Installation in Cassopolis.

Extravagant waterfalls, ponds, rain gardens and even outdoor kitchens are becoming more in demand, he says.

“People really want to create their own sanctuary in their backyard,” he said. “They want to be able to have a glass of wine, look at a fish pond with the sound of a waterfall in the background.”

Williamson’s goal as a landscape architect is to help to make people’s backyard dreams a reality.

“It’s really neat to create their dreams and have them come to life,” he said. “It’s fun creating something from nothing.”

One of the more unique trends is the outdoor kitchen, which can include kitchen appliances, barbecue islands, beer taps, pizza ovens, cabinets, counterspace and an element for shade.

Water elements, like fish ponds, fountains, water wheels and waterfalls, have also been gaining in popularity for a while, according to Williamson.

Williamson said water features allow for the property owner to use some creativity.

“There are big waterfalls, small falls, deep ponds, shallow ponds, a huge variety of plants and fish,” he said.

North Star Landscaping, which Williamson started in 1982, helps in every stage of landscaping from design to installation to maintenance.

Among the services North Star offers are water features, retaining walls, patios, fire pits, naturescapes, seeding and sod, irrigation design and landscape renovation.

Williamson says maintenance help is becoming more common among his customers.
“What I’ve realized over the years is how important maintenance is,” he said.

He said sometimes he will design and install a beautiful display, only for it to become rundown after a few years due to lack of maintenance.

North Star’s maintenance package offers three to five visits a year to do trimming, apply fertilizers, herbicides, remulching and a host of other projects.

Williamson added that North Star employs integrated pest management, meaning they try to use the most minimal amount of pesticides and herbicides to treat a pest problem.

Here are some ways people can maintain their yards in March and April, courtesy of North Star:

• Lawn and bed cleanup

• Cut back ornamental grasses before new growth appears

• Rake mulch away from bed edges

• Re-define bed edges

• Identify winter annual weeds and remove or spot-kill before they flower or produce seeds

• Transplant dormant plants and bareroots before they leaf out.

• Prune out dead winter branches from trees and shrubs.

• Divide perennials

• Re-mulch beds

• Apply crabgrass preventer to lawn and bed areas

• Apply pre-emergent herbicides to planting beds to control annual weeds

• Apply slow-release fertilizers

North Star offers services within a 50-mile radius of its headquarters in Cassopolis.
For more information on North Star Landscaping, visit northstarlandscape.net, call (269) 445-9100 or by email at northstar@beanstalk.net.

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