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Our favorite landscaping projects of 2016

For those of you who tuned into my blog last season, I’m really sorry to leave you hanging for so long between posts!  It’s a testament to how busy we were as a company in 2016, but at least we have some really cool landscaping projects to show for it.  So many really, I’ve had a hard time narrowing down my favorites which is what I’ll attempt to do here.   So, without further adieu (drum-roll please), our Top 10 Projects in 2016:

Landscaping Project #10:

Paver driveway by Garden City Florascaping

The paver stone driveway, which I wrote about already in another post here.  I chose this because a year later, I’m still impressed with how it turned out.  George and Sherry have been driving on it all summer, fall, and winter long, and not a hint of settling.  It still looks great!

Landscaping Project #9:

This project, the architectural slab patio pictured above, started life as a 30 year old rotten concrete patio.  After about two days of concrete removal and filling in a large void that had developed beneath it (we think it was an old cesspool), we installed Mutual Material’s Vancouver Bay architectural slabs for a more modern twist on your standard paverstone patio.  At about 1000 sq. ft., this patio really renewed the feeling and enjoyment Sandi gets from the area.  She told me after it was all finished, she had to go out and buy new patio furniture and a new grill to put on top on of it!

Landscaping Project #8:

Outdoor kitchen by Garden City Florascaping

This was our only outdoor kitchen of the year, so automatically that makes it our favorite. In this case the homeowner wanted to be involved with the build as much as possible, partly because he is really a do-it-yourselfer kind-of-guy at heart. However, he has a “real job” that seems to keep him busier than he’d like.  He also wanted to save as much money as possible by doing some of the work himself.  So, Justin the homeowner worked with Justin the landscaping guru to develop a solid design for the project and got to work building the framework for the kitchen island.

My talented crew followed him and applied the stone veneer then added the custom built concrete countertops.  Next, we installed the appliances. Finally, the custom cedar pergola was stained and constructed.  Look for an in-depth write-up of this project in the coming weeks.

Landscaping Project #7:

Clay paver patio by Garden City Florascaping

This landscaping project improved this backyard tremendously!  When it began, most of what you see above was grass and overgrown shrubs.  A small walkway wound it’s way through the jungle and out to alley.  The homeowners, Nick and Camille, both work stressful jobs and needed a place to sit, have a beer, and unwind.  They also love entertaining and spending as much time as they can outdoors.  Nick contacted me and asked if I could design a space that would fit their requirements (tranquil and intimate yet suitable for entertaining).  We settled on a classic red clay brick/paver in a herringbone pattern.  The classic look and feel really of the brick compliments their colonial-styled home in the University District.  The gazebo was a Costco find and provided by the homeowners.  What a great place to spend a summer evening in Missoula!

Landscaping Project #6:

Playground projects don’t come along very often in Missoula, so when the opportunity to work on this project came along, I jumped at it.  I LOVE building playgrounds!  Go take a look at this one, it’s in Greenough Park on the east side, right off Monroe Street.

Landscaping Project #5:

Stone patio by Garden City Florascaping

This project made the landscaping list for 2016 because at Garden City Florascaping, we love natural stone!  It’s texture, color, and feel is hard to beat and can’t be duplicated.  And in certain settings, it’s just the right material to use.  This home in Potomac is a great example.  All the material choices reflect the homeowner’s desire to live with their surroundings and blend into them: from the color of the paint to the rusted steel panels and exposed timber framing, right down to the natural stone patio we installed for them in October.  And At approximately 500 square feet, they’ve got plenty of room to set a table and chairs out, relax, and enjoy the view!

Landscaping Project #4:

Custom deck by Garden City Florascaping

This combination patio/deck project started life as a crumbling slab of concrete disguised as a patio and a rotting deck that rendered Pam and Rick’s backyard nearly unusable.   We removed the offensive culprits and replaced them with a new elevated paverstone patio and enlarged deck area.  The pavers are Belgard Urbana in Victorian Blend.  The decking is Timber Tech and the railings are Fortress aluminum with tempered glass panels.  This project made the list for 2016 because of what happens after the sun goes down.

The railings have lights hidden in them!  This detail REALLY improves the ambience and increased the enjoyment one gets from the area.  The railings light up white, yellow, or blue as pictured above.  Cool!!

Landscaping Project #3:

New landscaping by Garden City Florascaping

This project was part of a new home built by Mast and Co. Builders here in Missoula.  Their work is incredible.  It’s only fitting that the best landscaping firm in town put the finishing touches on it.  (Shameless self promotion).  Kris and Tim approached us at Mast and Co.’s recommendation, and we worked with them to develop a solid, sustainable design that included edible landscaping, a great big garden placed in front of the home to take advantage of the southern exposure and sunlight, permeable paving surfaces, and a water-wise irrigation system.

All paving on the project was done using a combination of recycled (from their previous landscape) and new Mutual Materials Paleo pavers.  Pictured above is the back yard, where we kept turf grass to a minimum.  Additionally, aluminum edging separates the garden beds from the lawn.  Furthermore, low maintenance and deer resistant plantings like ornamental grasses, lavender, and echinacea were used throughout to ensure Kris and Tim can spend their time enjoying their yard and not working in them constantly.

A paver walkway welcomes guests in front, too.  The irrigation head in the lower left corner of the photo uses Hunter’s water efficient MP Rotator nozzles for even water distribution and lower precipitation rates than a standard irrigation nozzle to reduce runoff and water consumption and create a healthier lawn.  Not shown is the generous use of decomposed granite in the garden area for a cost effective, simple, and attractive natural surfacing.  Project cost: >$20,000.

Landscaping Project #2:

Deck by Garden City Florascaping

This project, or perhaps I should call it a transformation, began several years ago when we did some work for the next door neighbor.  Jack and Marci were impressed with what we did to transform the small yard of their neighbor’s townhouse (each yard is approximately 25′ x 25′). They contacted me to see what we could do for theirs.  At the time, they were simply trying to make the yard more “usable”.  The changes we discussed were mostly functional – adding some stone steps to navigate a built up area surrounding their concrete slab out the back door.

Fast forward to 2016.  The city removed a large tree that used to shade their west-facing back yard the previous year, rendering their already small patio nearly useless in the hot Missoula summers.

First of all, Jack and Marci wanted to spend less time mowing grass and more time relaxing.  So, they called me back and we hatched a plan:  Remove all the grass on the property (front and rear yard), enlarge the usable space out back by adding a deck, and add some shade with a pergola (and an outdoor fan to keep the air moving!).   In addition, we acid stained the concrete slab out back to match the deck for a seamless look.  Furthermore, we built a custom shed to disguise utilities and provide storage for yard tools and grilling items.

They also requested a pathway from the front to back and a drip irrigation system to keep the new plants happy and well watered.

Project cost: >$25,000

Landscaping Project #1:

And finally, our top project of the 2016 season.  This project is so extensive it probably deserves it’s own post (so look for one soon!), but we’ll begin with the highlights here.  In fact, to encourage your curiousity, I’ll simply leave a before and after photo of the front yard here…

Landscaping renovation by Garden City Florascaping

This is what we started with.  The existing landscaping screamed 1970s.  The lawn had been abused for years, consequently leaving nothing but patchy grass and highly compact soil.   The earth was slowly consuming the sidewalks.  The caragana hedge was overgrown.  Even the front porch had settled and was separating from the house.  And that was just the front yard.  It all had to go!  Hailing from the Portland area, Joan was not familiar with our climate and what works well here in terms of landscaping plants, hence she hired us to design a gardener’s paradise for her.  We brought in the equipment and removed everything.  All the grass, all the shrubs, and all the concrete.  In fact, we even dug and installed an egress window for her to help bring the outside to the inside.

Highlights include:

– Custom fencing in front.  The pickets (all 300 or so) were designed after an existing fence in the backyard and custom milled onsite.

– Egress window/custom window well.

-New decks (3 of them).

-New irrigation system.

– Paverstone walkways in front and back.

– Landscape lighting.

– Custom built shed in backyard.

– New turf.

– Site specific plantings guaranteed to flourish in the Missoula Valley.

Stay tuned for more on this project.  Project cost: >$40,000.