Small Landscaping: Big Ideas.

Not all of us have a vast area for the grand landscaping of our dreams. Some of us have small yards, patios, and porches. Some of us do not even have yards; we have balconies and rooftop decks. Whether you have a grand garden fit for a Queen or a small space, you can maximize your landscaping.


When you think landscaping, you think these huge yards with massive gardens and flower beds. We all know that ‘one yard’ in our hometowns that is absolutely jaw-dropping beautiful. Even when you define landscaping, improves the aesthetic appearance of (a piece of land) by changing its contours, adding ornamental features, or planting trees and shrubs, you can see it generally refers to land. Where does that leave us small landscapers with big ideas?

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As landscapers, we have vast knowledge and handle multi-layered designs. However, we can also help with a small dream oasis to maximize your space. The elements of design are always used. This is any kind of design whether it be interior decorating or exterior landscaping. The principles of landscape design include the elements of unity, scale, balance, simplicity, variety, emphasis, and sequence as they apply to line, form, texture, and color.  These elements are interconnected.


Does all of that sound complicated? It really isn’t, we use these as a guide to make a beautiful harmonious garden space for you; no matter the size you are working with. Landscape design is a process of creating, developing, and implementing practical and pleasing outdoor spaces.


In the palette of landscaping, the designer is dealing with materials with different kinds of weathering and patina over time and living plants that are subject to a myriad of weather conditions, different soil types, insect and disease problems, and a vast host of other environmental and physical circumstances. The landscape designer must deal with the seasons and climate of their region. Plants that celebrate the seasons with the unfurling of leaves in spring, the aroma and visual delight of flowers, and the stark bareness of branches and the bleakness of the color palette in winter.


Landscape changes are never constant; in Virginia the four seasons we experience come and go. How the designer successfully combines plants and other material components in your design involves paying careful attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of practical horticulture, and a good understanding of the basic principles and elements of design. The designer faces the challenge of creating a plan that is pleasing to the senses and that visually, functionally and aesthetically improves the appearance of the landscape at an affordable cost, big or small.


In small spaces the elemental principles of design are never more present. It takes a very subtle touch to make sure the space is kept balanced and flowing.  If one element is out of balance it can throw the whole space and it’s harmony off. Using stone textures, mixed with the varying heights and textures of plants, adding a water feature, and integrating color will leave any small space the perfect escape. Don’t let a small space be a discouragement; design something wonderful with your landscapers today!!


Happy Memorial Day!


Roanoke Landscapes would like to wish you a safe and happy holiday. We would like to thank all the troops for their past and present service and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in helping build and maintain our beautiful country. Thank you.

Here is an interesting article written by Brian Hicks that tells how Memorial Day started:

Memorial Day

Freedom Isn’t Free! Thank you for your service.

Memorial-Day-Photos-4 Video: History of Memorial Day

Tribute Video

Video posted by: armyveteran101st

Noise Problem? Deflect The Noise With Lanscaping.

Your garden should be an oasis; a peaceful and serene place you go to relax.  If your garden is plagued with a barrage of noise pollution such as the sounds of traffic, schools, train lines, airports and other public places that create large amounts of noise pollution a natural and beautiful way you can eliminate some of the noise is to use landscaping as a noise deflection.  There are many harmful effects that you may not associate with noise pollution. Studies have shown that being subjected to this kind of pollution can cause problems with your sleeping patterns, stress, hearing loss, hypertension and various other harmful complications.

You can reduce this unwanted noise, even by 50%, with a well-structured approach, because plants are one of the most effective treatments for noise pollution at absorbing those sounds. With a combination of distance, vegetation and structures you can create that serene relaxing oasis you have always dreamed of.

Below are a couple of diagrams that show how the multi-faceted natural approach can help you achieve your desired outdoor space.

barrier1noise barriernoise barrier2

Bigger is not always better: it is the job of your professional landscape company to help you attain the best and most cost-effective way to help sound proof your gardens.  Layering and using varied plant materials, textures, colors and shapes will help ensure you have a functional and effective noise deflecting space as well as aesthetically pleasing.

JOHN2A well-built series of small berms between the source of the unwanted noise and your yard is one of the most cost-effective ways of alleviating or diminishing the bothersome sounds.  Randy Brannan, owner of Roanoke Landscapes here in the Roanoke, Virginia area, says the berms should have gradual slopes to them; this helps to prevent erosion. They are beautiful ways of eliminating a nuisance, adding a tranquil, easy-going space and adds value to your home.

barrier4Adding a water feature such as a waterfall, a bubbling fountain or a stream is also a way to reduce the noise along with the well-structured noise deflecting landscape.  This will add a tranquil element to your garden.  The fountains create a ‘white noise’ that is soothing to the ears and easy on the eyes. You can have a water feature that is adjustable; one that creates a lot of noise and large splashes at the most bothersome time of the day for the outside noise intrusion (like rush hour traffic times) and when the outside noise levels are lower you can adjust it to a more gentle and placid sound.

Creating and regulating effective sound control requires the professionally trained designers.  These professionals are versed in every aspect and nuance of the techniques required for successful noise deflection. Always discuss your specific issues with your designer in order to attain the most effective solution for your noise problem.

One more helpful tip: Be aware that more modern, hard and sleek designs can exacerbate the audibility of the noise problems, especially in more urban and city areas.

Call us today to design your new garden space free of those pesky outside sounds.

Why It’s Important To Use Mulch!


mulch1Using Mulch around your trees and shrubs is one of the best ways to increase root development and improve plant health.  Over many years numerous studies have shown that consistently keeping a 2″-4″ layer of mulch conserves soil moisture, increases nutrient levels, reduces soil compaction, and will help moderate soil temperatures. Mulch beds bring an aesthetically pleasing view to your garden and they can also reduce trimming and mowing in your yard.


If you have a tree cut down ask your tree service to shred the tree for you to use as mulch for your garden. Fresh wood chips make for an excellent choice in mulch, unless the tree was diseased.  Regardless if you have fresh wood chips, other types of mulch or ground covering plants under your trees and shrubs make sure to keep them off the trunks and buttress roots of the plants.  If they are against the trunks and roots it can keep moisture levels high in the bark and the roots and this can promote the growth of fungus. This can also hide the fruiting structures of root fungi decay. It is best to keep the ground cover plants at least a foot away.


There are many types of mulch.  As you notice in the picture at the beginning of this article there are also several colors. There are four main colors most people use.  A more natural fresh-cut wood usually a yellow in nature, a red, brown and black mulch.  Most mulch contains bark, leaves, and wood. This type of mixture provides more nutrients to the trees and plants. Just to give you an example: if you apply a 4″ layer of mulch in the spring by autumn the layer will have decomposed to an inch or less. The decomposing mulch works its way into the soil bringing those nutrients to the plants and trees and reduces the soil erosion by compaction.


These are some easy DO’s and DON’Ts of Mulching:


  • Mulching Trees, the mulch should be a uniform circular pattern and resemble a donut.
  • Keep the mulch away from the base of the tree and only 1″-2″ when you start the mulch around the base of the tree.  This will help prevent bark and root decay which can cause the plants and trees to die or stunt the growth.
  • It is good to have a defined edge for the mulch to sit in and to prevent it from merging into the lawn.
  • When you re-mulch your beds you might need to remove some of the old mulch to allow the proper depth when installing fresh mulch in the beds and around the trees.


  • Try not to have excess build-up of mulch around the base of the shrubs and trees.
  • Avoid using chipped mulch from local municipalities or tree services because it can be full of viral infections that a tree had when it was removed and turned into mulch.  Growth of saplings can also occur with this type of mulch.
  • Do not put mulch over landscape fabric. This will not improve the soil. When the mulch decomposes it cannot enter the soil if there is a fabric barrier between it and the soil.  The mulch will also break down creating allowing weeds to germinate above landscape fabric.