Wednesday, 31 August 2016 00:00

100 Years of National Parks

This month, our National Park Service turns 100!  Artist George Catlin was the visionary behind the idea of creating a national park after witnessing the destruction of wildlife and culture within Great Plains in California.  He felt that these areas should be protected with the help of the government.

Catlin’s vision was not fully adopted until the passing of the Antiquities Act of 1906 designed to protect public lands with antiquities and scientific interest by creating National Monuments.  Theodore Roosevelt signed the Act on June 8, 1906.  The first designated National Monument was Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.  On August 25, 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed an Act that created the National Park Service to manage the National Monuments and Parks throughout America.

Today, many vacations include a visit to one of our 58 National Parks throughout America.  There are 6 National Parks right here in Florida!  These include the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve near Jacksonville, the Canaveral National Seashore just south of Daytona Beach, Biscayne National Park near Miami Beach, the Dry Tortugas National Park at the end of our chain of Keys, Big Cypress National Preserve just out our back door in Naples, and Everglades National Park at the southernmost tip of Florida.  Plan a weekend, or even a day trip to one of these Parks for a fun and awesome experience!

Published in Blog
Monday, 22 August 2016 00:00

Roberto Burle Marx

Roberto Burle Marx, the most famous Brazilian landscape architect, and a world-recognized designer, has been the topic of many conversations surrounding the olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  Born in San Paulo in the early 1900s, he brought a unique style to the world of landscape architecture and to the country of Brazil. 

Working on many residential projects during his early career, his most famous and most visited project is the beach promenade at Copacabana.  The modernist pattern runs down sidewalk adjacent to the famous beach for nearly two and a half miles!  Burle Marx used the traditional Portuguese paving pattern but added his own style, creating a unique texture that, the most famous section, resembles waves.  In some areas the pattern becomes a series of abstract shapes, but remains black and white. Burle Marx also loved native tropical plants, using them throughout the promenade for pops of color.  

Here in Florida we use Philodendron Burle Marx, named after the famous Landscape Architect, on many of our projects.  The bright green plant grows 1’-2’ in height and spreads two to three times its height, allowing it to be used as a shrub or groundcover.  While it is native to Brazil it is used anywhere from in pots indoors, to mass plantings throughout the Naples area.  The unique heart-shaped leaf and waxy appearance help it stand out in the landscape. 

Burle Marx Philodendron

Published in Blog
Monday, 15 August 2016 00:00

Your Guide Self-Contained Water Features

Water features are a great addition to a garden.  They can transform an outdoor space by adding calming white noise, interest to the garden, and can even be a focal feature.

People often ask about self-contained water features for courtyards and small garden areas.  We can definitely understand why.  They are affordable, work well in small areas (because their pump equipment is typically within the water basin), and they are easy to install.  Plumbing is not required all you need is a level area and power.  

Here are a couple things to keep in mind when locating a self-contained water feature.  Their compact pumps do not have filtration or chlorination, which can lead to build up and issues with the pump.  Also because they do not require plumbing they do not have an auto fill.  You will have to periodically check the water levels and fill as needed from evaporation.   

Self-contained water features do require a little more maintenance, but if you are a hands-on gardener and don’t mind replacing the water and periodically checking the fountain it can be a great addition to your outdoor space!

To ease maintenance, run an irrigation drip to the fountain.  When you plants get watered so will your fountain!  

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 00:00

Contemporary Residence in Naples

Outside Productions had a blast designing the exterior of this contemporary home in the Moorings area of Naples.  The homeowner wanted a design that would be tropical, lush and very green, while still maintaining a clean and contemporary feel. 

The rectangular pool features a entirely tile, submerged spa, and a tiled shelf and steps.  With an enlarged coping and turf running right up to the pool, this space has a soft feel that beautifully accentuates the geometry of the home.  A custom trellis with vines creates a feature wall on one end of the spa, with a stunning sunken fire pit directly adjacent.  Built-in benches, and tropical plant material make this fire pit cozy and cool.  LED lights were embedded into steps adding to the contemporary feel and making the space a feature both day and night. 

 

In the front of the home turf plays a large role.  The driveway, a combination of concrete pavers and Tabby concrete is broken up by a series of turf strips.  Turf block was used to create additional, discrete guest parking.  The landscape palette includes Sylvester Palms, Podocarpus, a variety of bromeliads, and an intricate mix of green, tropical plants to create a unique buffer. 

Published in Blog
Monday, 01 August 2016 00:00

Landscapes to Prevent Mosquitos

With mosquito-borne diseases at the forefront of our minds, it is important to many of our clients to design landscapes that will not harbor mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes take anywhere from 7 to 10 days to fully grow, meaning it takes just over a week of standing water to cause a bug problem.  With such an emphasis on the outdoors here in Southwest Florida, Outside Productions was curious: other than preventing standing water, what can be done to prevent mosquitoes from targeting your yard?

The below list of plants can be planted either in the ground or in planters, but to maximize their success, crushing the leaves to release the scent is the most successful. 

1. Citronella: known for its use in bug-repelling candles, the Citronella plant has a vivid green, lacy-shaped leaf that grows wonderfully in pots.  Crushing the leaves allows the scent to diffuse and as a result deters mosquitoes.

2. Lemongrass: popular in Thai food, the scent resembles lemons and does double duty for repelling mosquitoes and being useful in your kitchen!  It has a blade-like texture, similar to Fakahatchee grass, and also does remarkably well in planters. 

3. Lavender: Lavender is a miracle plant and can be used to deter many critters ithroughout the home.  Lavender has a few different species and does best in warm climates.  It is important for Lavender to be in a well-drained environment, so it is vital to select the correct place for the plant to be successful.  Similar to Citronella, this plant does best when the blooms are crushed.

4. Herb gardens: Herb lovers rejoice!  Herb gardens are a great tool for deterring mosquitoes. Peppermint, Basil, Rosemary, and Sage are all excellent at repelling mosquitoes.  Peppermint can also be used to relieve mosquito bites,  but over the oils and scents from these herbs will deter the mosquitoes. 

 

Published in Blog