Espalier: Creating Art With Trees and Shrubs



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Espalier, a unique outdoor design idea, can help transform your garden into a work of art. Espalier is the process of training shrubs, bushes, trees, or woody vines to grow against a wall. The process can also work against a fence or a trellis. The end result is beautiful and the process is surprisingly easy.

You should begin by planning the pattern you would like for the growth and then select the location. Make sure to choose a location with a sturdy wall, plenty of room, and adequate light. Determine which plant you are going to espalier by selecting a variety with naturally spreading leaves similar to the pattern you desire. Before you plant, you must prepare the supports by running wires between nails in the wall creating the horizontal lines you desire. Plant a foot in front of the wall, position it so at least two branches run along the wires, and trim back so only two shoots are on each branch. Over time you should remove side shoots and keep branches trimmed to limit the amount of new shoot growth.

To learn more about espalier, or other unique design ideas,  contact the professionals at Marvin Gardens.

Ideas for Turning an Unsightly Side Yard Into a Beautiful Walkway

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Your front yard is gorgeous, filled with lush plants and a carefully manicured lawn. The back yard is the perfect oasis for relaxation. The side yard? Unfortunately, it’s usually home to an air conditioning unit and needs some attention. The time for your side yard to fulfill its potential has arrived, and it is time to create some beauty that will connect your front yard with the back.

To maximize the potential for your side yard, consider:

  • Hiding the air conditioning unit. Strategically wrapping the unit will reduce its prominence in the space and make it less of an eyesore. Make sure the unit is still accessible and the wrap allows for proper operation.
  • Planting low maintenance plants. Many side yards are hard to grow in. They either rarely see shade or never get a glimpse of direct sunlight. Determine if your area needs heat loving or shade loving plants and choose low maintenance varieties.
  • Adding a surprise. Beautiful potted plants along the house, stepping stones to the air conditioning unit, or a trellis all provide visual interest to the space. Add a surprise to make the space feel special.

If you’d like to learn more about designing an outdoor space, visit Marvin Gardens today!

French Garden Inspiration for Your Home

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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

Add a touch of sophistication to your home by letting French influence inspire your garden design. You can’t go wrong with the French when it comes to elegance.

As a start to this project, think about the quaint outdoor cafes France is known for, concrete balustrades, cast-iron seats, porcelain tiles, and topiary shrubs come to mind. Throw in birdbaths, fountains, and glazed pots to complete the mental picture. It’s perfect for an afternoon outdoor tea party, isn’t it?

But what makes French design so distinctive? There are two main elements, and these are geometry and water. Patterns are geometric: big and bold, whether they’re on the pathway, on the gate, or on the table. But even in their boldness and size, they are delicate. This is because water is often incorporated into the landscape to soften the otherwise hard edges.  Combining these two elements in perfect balance is the secret to having a beautiful French design.

Don’t want to take chances with your garden? We, at Marvin Gardens, will be happy to turn your ideas into tangible results. Call us at 203-544-2020 and ask us how we can help you achieve your dream garden.

Decorate the Mantel of Your Outdoor Fireplace

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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

Decorating the mantle on your indoor fireplace is a great way to establish it as a focal point within the living space. However, can you do the same with your outdoor fireplace? Of course you can! There are a few different ways that you can decorate the mantle on your outdoor fireplace that will help to create a focal point in your outdoor living area. The following are a few ways to do just that:

  • Natural Elements – Because your outdoor area is visibly surrounded by outdoor elements such as trees, plants, sky and more, the fireplace may stand out more than you want it to, especially if your whole outdoor living area is more of an extension of the indoors. By decorating the mantle with flowers, plants or even stone sculptures or pieces, you’ll help add balance to the space by complementing the surrounding environment.
  • Contrast – You can also go the opposite route by making your fireplace mantle stand out. For example, add bold colors, such as red or yellow, in the form of vases or other decorations in order to draw the eye.

Be sure to contact us at Marvin Gardens USA for garden design accessories today.

Great Low-Maintenance Plants for Your Northeastern Garden


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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

Low-maintenance plants enhance your landscape, require little attention and allow anyone to keep up a garden. Even seasoned gardeners need low-maintenance plants to balance the landscape. Below are a few plants designed to withstand the heat and flourish in your New England garden.

  • Ornamental grasses are ideal for a long, hot summer. The grasses blend well with other flowers and shrubs and evoke the wistful openness of the countryside. Maiden grass and feather reed grass are great options to consider.
  • Create shade with a grape-covered pergola. Grape vines are hardy and actually require an abundance of sun to grow and flourish. King of the North is a white grape that suits the Northeastern climate.
  • For water-friendly low maintenance plants that can flourish near streams or meadows, consider purple cohosh which adds a stunning violet hue to the meadow.
  • Many perennials are made to withstand droughts and hot sun. Russian Sage is a popular perennial.
  • For late-blooming flowers that brighten the transition to fall, consider the Japanese Anemone. The plant is known for blowing gracefully in the wind and also providing generous amounts of foliage.

If you would like assistance planning your garden, contact our team at Marvin Gardens.

Consider a Cottage Garden for Lush Beauty

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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

A cottage garden might not be a term you are familiar but I’m sure you’ve seen them on a regular basis. The proper definition is an informal garden design created with traditional materials, dense plantings, complete with a mixture of both ornamental and edible foliage.

  • Most people just assume it takes years to get that aged mature look. That’s not always the case. Try adding vintage furniture and antiques, plant moss around scarred walkway stones or use weathered wood to build raised flower beds or an entrance trellis. These are all easy weekend projects that create the illusion of timelessness.
  • If financially possible, add several mature shrubs, trees or an privacy hedge. Most nurseries provide this service or work with a landscaping firm that does. These older, fuller plantings gives your garden additional shade and permanence.
  • Don’t be afraid to over plant your annuals. Doing this from the beginning gives your garden a look of fullness. Just remember to use caution if doing this with perennials since they need more room to grow and absorb nutrients.

Marvin Gardens has everything you need to get started planning your cottage garden today!

Hate to Mow? Consider a Low-Maintenance Backyard Design

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Source: Marvin Gardens Facebook

While almost everyone loves the look of a neatly manicured lawn, I really don’t know too many people that actually enjoy mowing. But mowing might just become a thing of the past if you decide on one of these great outdoor design ideas.

  • Grass isn’t always necessary. Perhaps your yard is heavily treed and growing grass has always been an exercise in futility; if that’s the case, stop trying and replace with trailing vines, decomposed granite or low maintenance drought resistance plants and shrubs.
  • If you still want grass, consider installing a no-mow lawn. The thick sod grows to have an almost shag rug appearance. Mowing isn’t necessary but can be done for a more manicured appearance.
  • Fill in your yard with evergreens and perennials. These are for the most part, very low maintenance, with just a bit of trimming to do once or twice a year. The evergreens stay green year round while the perennials add a touch of color during their blooming season. Consider staggering your perennials so you have something blooming during all the seasons.

Please visit Marvin Gardens online or give us a call today 203-544-2020 for all your landscaping needs.

Understanding Container Soil


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Container gardening is gaining popularity at Marvin Gardens. Knowing what goes into container soils can determine the success or failure of your plants.

Different potted plants require different kinds of container soil. Annuals and perennials do best with an all-purpose mixture. Cacti and succulents need a more well-drained blend. Carefully read labels on potting soil bags to select the right type. More experienced gardeners with big projects ahead may want to mix their own container soil. Taking the time to blend your own potting soil can assure great success for your plants.

Container plants need both organic and inorganic material to flourish. The most common organic matter includes peat moss, manure that has been composted for a year, ground up pine bark, or crushed coconut hulls (coir) – excellent for retaining water. Perlite, vermiculite and coarse sand are inorganic materials that improve drainage in the container. Finally, decent garden soil should be mixed in – be careful that it is disease and pest free. A basic potting soil mix would include equal parts of all three components mentioned above.

Contact us at Marvin Gardens for all your gardening and landscaping needs.