May 05 2015

For Cinco de Mayo we are spotlighting the Agave, a succulent, native to tropical America and Mexico. As seen in the photo above, they are silver-blue in color with spiked edges.  The Agave plant is actually a perennial, as it flowers once before the parent plant dies.  From there the plant develops suckers at the base, creating new plants called "pups."  Agave plants can grow beyond 12 feet in both height and width.

Requiring full-sun and well-drained, sandy soils, Agaves grow exceptionally well in Florida.  They require very little water and can live without regular irrigation once established.  As seen in the photo above, they work well as accent plants in the landscape and their unique color and texture beautifully contrasts green hedges. Be cautious placing them near building entrances, as their spikes can be sharp.

For centuries Agave plants have been used for everything from food to fabrics.  Before developing the flower, the Agave plant produces large amounts of sugar that are extracted to make agave nectar.  When these sugars are distilled properly and combined with cooked leaf bases, tequila is produced.  

Apr 28 2015

     A recent survey completed by the American Society of Landscape Architects came back with surprisng results about what is trending in residential landscape architecture.  While designs incorporating native and drought-tolerant plants topped the list, design elements such as fire pits and outdoor grills were not far behind.  Nearly 78% of the survey respondants said that they expect to regularly include fire pits in their designs, while nationwide only 40% expect to design spas for most clients. 

Fire pits, if placed in a key location can not only function as a social gathering spot, but can also provide aesthetic appeal.  When chosen properly, fire pits are safe for families with small children and can be used for everything from warming up on a chilly evening to cooking s'mores with the family.   At Outside Productions, Inc., we have noticed an increase in fire pit design not only on residential, but also on multi-family projects.

To successfully select a fire pit it is important to consider the following factors: 

- Dimensions: typically fire pits are 30"-60" in diameter, but it is important to select the best size for each unique space.  Another important dimension to consider is the height of the fire pit.  Raised fire pits tend to be a safer choice for families with small children or curious pets.  

- Material: fire pits come in many forms.  Prefabricated, stone finished, or even copper finished fire pits can either be purchased from retail stores or custom designed based on client needs.  Choice of material should be based on aethetics, cost, and desired fire pit mobility. 

 

 

Pictured above is a raised, 48" square, concrete fire pit.   

For more information on the ASLA trends survey see: http://www.asla.org/NewsReleaseDetails.aspx?id=46048

Apr 22 2015

Happy Earth Day

Written by Published in Blog

Happy Earth Day, everyone! This Earth Day we are spotlighting the Lignum vitae or "Tree of Life." The name originated from the multiple uses of the wood, which can be used to make everything from medicine to tea. Native to the Caribbean and Key West, due to deforestation this beautiful tree is listed as "endangered." With incredible purple flowers between February and May it is a great choice for both seasonal and year-round residents!

Images provided by Barbara Messner and Google Images