As autumn approaches with more appealing temperatures, it is a reminder to spruce up our outdoor living spaces for better enjoyment. Plants and lighting can make a major difference in how much time you spend in your yard. Scott Brokaw, owner of Innovative Landscape Design (ILD) in Florence, shares a few tips on how to make our spaces fit our lifestyles, and educates us on planting techniques and maintenance.
Scott recommends the upcoming fall months as the best time to plant for the best results. “While some plants can tolerate the stress of summer planting, the majority of plants have most of their root development through the fall and winter. The longer they have in the ground to acclimate to their new environment, the better they will do,” explains Scott. Planting in the extreme heat of summer is generally not recommended because it places undue stress upon a plant. “We live in a world where people expect instant gratification, but waiting until fall will give you much better results in the long run.”
Additionally, amending existing soil with compost prior to planting is very important. “We have seen excellent results when we add two to four inches of compost and till the entire planting area. You can also add compost directly to the planting hole. The plant itself is as important as the soil you place it in.” Scott explains that the number one cause of plant failure is planting too deep. He suggests digging a hole a minimum of twice the width of the root ball, but no deeper, and setting the top of the root ball even with ground level. This will allow better airflow and root growth. “I would rather see two inches of root ball out of the ground than see dirt on top of what came from the nursery. When a plant is at a nursery, it is usually living in optimal conditions. It has food, water, and air. When you take it away from that nursery and put it in the ground, you take at least one of those key elements away. Air. When a plant can’t breathe, it will suffer.” In addition to not adding soil on top of what comes from the nursery, watering the plant well after initial planting is key.
Lastly, outdoor lighting can make a major difference in the appearance and functionality of outdoor spaces and is one of Scott’s favorite parts of his business. Scott explains, “There is much more to it than just pointing light at a house. Lighting is meant to provide security, safety, and beauty. When done correctly you can achieve all three.” He explains that the type of fixture, lamp selection, and the location are all crucial to good lighting. He also suggests that a professional install it. “Aside from what you see, correct installation will ensure a safe system that will last a long time,” says Scott. “A lot of what you can buy at retailers isn’t meant to last more than a few years at best. We almost exclusively use CAST Landscape Lighting product. CAST Manufactures solid bronze fixtures that carry a Lifetime Warranty. I have systems dating back to 2003 that are operating as well as the day they were installed.”
ILD has served the Florence area for over 10 years and specializes in landscape design, irrigation, lighting, hardscapes, water features and maintenance. If you want your dream yard or landscape, they can bring it to life! Scott explains that both form and function are qualities that make a great outdoor space. “Just like people, every space is different,” says Scott. “What someone wants out of a space is pivotal in determining exactly what makes a space great.” ILD works with each individual customer to make their vision a reality and strives to provide creative solutions and high-quality professional service. Scott’s fundamentals are simple and have grown the company to what it is today. He believes in hard work, honesty, and doing things for the right reasons.
Scott may be reached at 843.230.1036.