Click to see more photos of:
             Overlook at Marietta Country Club

Smart Budgeting

Jump to: Budget Checklist | Five Steps to a Smart Budget
Fall Plantings Bring Spring Surprises | Customer Spotlight

Budget Checklist

NatureScapes knows that time is money, and we want to help you save both by simplifying your landscape budget process.  To estimate your landscaping budget for 2011, check off the following items as you add to or update your plan.  These items are good starting points for your budget and are in order of the recommended service timeframe.  See Five Steps to a Smart Budget for more tips on how to manage your landscaping dollars.

Irrigation Start Up:  Your irrigiation system will be prepared for the watering season, and any necessary repairs will be made at this time.  

Major Tree Work or Removal:  Spring is the best time for major tree work, including the removal of trees or shrubs that have outgrown a space.  Walk your property and take note of the number of trees and shrubs that will need work beyond normal pruning.  To budget for major tree work, review last year's numbers or contact NatureScapes for an estimate.

Seasonal Color Planting:  Color will be designed to look good from April through September.  To budget for spring planting, review last year’s numbers and adjust your numbers accordingly if the sizes of your annual color beds have changed.

April – May
Pine Straw, Spring/Summer Application:  NatureScapes recommends two rounds of pine straw application, once in the spring and once in the winter.  To budget, review last year’s numbers and adjust your numbers accordingly if your pine straw beds have changed in size.

May – July
Irrigation Audit:  NatureScapes will perform an audit of your irrigation system to ensure that it is running efficiently.  To budget for potential repairs or upgrades, such as a new clock to increase efficiency, use last year's numbers for repairs and contact NatureScapes for estimates on potential upgrades.

Seasonal Color:  Color will be designed to look good October through March.  To budget for the fall planting, consider any anticipated changes to the sizes of your seasonal color beds, and adjust your numbers accordingly.

October – November
Landscape Improvements:  Fall is the best time for improvements such as planting new trees and shrubs.  NatureScapes can help you prioritize them and/or provide project estimates.  To budget for landscape improvements, include the cost of new trees, shrubs, and the redesign or addition of color beds, if needed.  (See Step 1 and 2 below.)

Irrigation Shut Down:  NatureScapes will winterize your irrigation system to minimize the risk of damage to your system due to remaining water freezing in the pipes.  To budget for potential repairs at this time, review last year's numbers and take into consideration the age of your system.

Pine Straw, Fall/Winter Application (or mulch):  NatureScapes recommends applying pine straw two times a year, or one time a year if using hardwood mulch.  To budget, consider any landscape improvements that will change bed sizes and adjust your numbers accordingly for pine straw or mulch.

Five Steps to a Smart Budget

  1. Analyze:  Conduct a walk-through of your property and assess its current situation.  Are there any trees that are declining or getting too large? Is your irrigation system in good working order? Are you planning on adding any plant or flower beds?

  2. Prioritize:  Make a list in order of priority of all the maintenance and any needed or desired upgrades that you observed in step 1.  

  3. Schedule:  Plot out a rough calendar for all the items in your list.  Remember that certain types of maintenance and installations have to happen at particular times of the year.  For instance, if you need an irrigation system upgrade, you'll want to plan that for late Winter or early Spring to be ready for the heat of Summer.  Big upgrades, like tree planting, should be planned for Fall.  The Budget Checklist items above are in order of recommended service timeframes.  

  4. Dollar Cost Average:  If your budget comes up over the target goal, consider spreading out the cost over several years.  NatureScapes can help you come up with a three-year plan that will maximize your budget in the short term and help you achieve all your landscaping goals in the long term.  

  5. Get help:  Take advantage of free community resources.  NatureScapes offers budgeting assistance with every free estimate.  We will help you assess your property's needs, conduct an irrigation audit, and put together an annual budget.  Fill out the Free Estimate request form above to get help now.  

Fall Plantings Bring Spring Surprises

After a long, hot summer, seasonal color beds are starting to look a little tired.  The good news is that it is now time to replace the vinca with violas and other annuals that are hardy enough to last October through April.  Not only is fall the optimal planting season for trees and shrubs, it is also the time to plant seasonal color beds that will produce surprising and cheerful color in the spring.  Here’s what you may – or may not – find in your seasonal color bed:

New to NatureScapes
Look for more traditional autumn colors showing up in beds this fall.  A newer viola variety – Rocky Tangerine – is a favorite for its deep, bright orange color and hardiness through the winter temperatures.  In general, these petite flowers put on a showier display than their pansy cousins because there are many more blooms per plant.

Accent Plants that Serve a Purpose
A couple of months ago when landscape design was discussed, we mentioned planting with a purpose.  This concept is also applied to seasonal color beds, for instance plants being selected to keep deer out of the beds and blooms on the flowers.  The scent and/or taste of Dusty Miller, pictured left, Creeping Golden Thyme, and Carex keep deer away – as well as add visual interest when mixed into a bed of violas or pansies.  

Plants that Surprise
Bursts of spring bulbs and plants that suddenly bloom after acting as an accent plant for months are happy surprises in the spring.  Annual dianthus is one of these “surprise” plants.  An example is pictured below.  On the left, yellow and blue violas provide color through the winter against the contrasting bright green foliage of annual dianthus.  On the right, the surprise burst of pink dianthus blooms giving the bed that extra punch of color to welcome spring.  


Spring Bulbs
Traditional daffodils and tulips produce magnificent displays when planted en masse (about five bulbs per square foot) and in the cooler fall weather (for tulips, the soil temperature needs to be around 60 degrees).  While tulips can be found in seasonal color beds, daffodils are typically planted in natural areas where they can be left to multiply year after year.  Tulips are treated more like annuals because the bulbs usually do not survive in the clay soil or are tilled up when the beds are prepared for the next planting season.  Also, while these flowers add a definite “wow” factor to seasonal color beds, they are not as cost effective as a viola program.  Why?  The viola color is present for months, while tulips bloom for only a few weeks, and a rain storm can shorten that time even more.  

If you have any questions about your seasonal color plan for the fall,
contact Seasonal Color Designer Shelley Threefoot Cowan at 770.923.7023.

Customer Spotlight:
Overlook at Marietta Country Club and Winterfield Court

“The Overlook at Marietta Country Club and Winterfield Court landscaping looks immaculate
at all times thanks to NatureScapes’ attention to detail and proactive customer service.”

-Iraci de Queiroz, CMA Property Manager