Questions to Ask Your Landscape Designer

You’ve decided to install a garden on your New York City property. Rather than turn it into a DIY project, you’ve decided to hire a landscape design expert. But with the number of so-called “experts” in the area, how do you avoid the mistake of giving your hard-money to someone who has no idea what they’re doing?

Here are some questions to ask a garden design professional before hiring them:

“What’s your experience in the industry?”

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. If you’ve already done some initial research on local landscaping services, you know there are a bunch of them in NYC. Some focus on lawn care while others specialize in Xeriscaping.

Here’s the thing: There’s a huge difference between traditional landscaping and custom landscape design. While many of our competitors have extensive experience with lawn care or maintenance, very few understand the design aspect.

This is where Amber Freda Landscape Design comes into play. Amber, who started the business in 2004, has been there and done that in this ever-changing industry. For one thing, Amber is a regular instructor at both the New York and Brooklyn botanical gardens.

Aside from her teaching experience, Amber has also been a regular guest on the CBS New York Morning Show and featured in popular publications such as The New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV, and the Associated Press, among others. On top of all that, her client list includes notables such as George Soros, Brett Icahn, and Joseph Edelman.

It’s safe to say that Amber’s experience speaks for itself.

“What’s your typical process for a project?”

Far too many landscaping companies take a “cookie-cutter” approach with their clients’ projects. What do we mean by this exactly? Well, instead of starting from scratch every time and catering to a client’s specific needs, a landscaper might throw a bunch of things together because they worked well with a previously completed project.

Simply put, this is the easy way out for landscapers. Rest assured, though, that we never take such an approach at Amber Freda Landscape Design. Our team understands that each project differs based on a client’s style, vision, and space.

Whether you’re interested in a particular planting scheme or more custom features such as decks, pergolas, and patios, Amber walks you through the entire design process. Once we finalize the plan, Amber can submit the drawings for board approval.

There’s no need to worry about a “one-size-fits-all” process with Amber Freda.

“Who handles the installation of my project?”

It’s common for larger landscaping companies to hand projects off to third-party installation crews. As a result, certain parts of a project are missed and the client is left unhappy.

At Amber Freda Landscape Design, our landscape design professional oversees the design and installation of every project. In terms of the installation, we install all of the plants and planters ourselves, while our experienced general contractor builds out other features according to our specifications. The result is a space that feels functional, seamless, and well-designed.

“What kind of work have you completed in the past?”

If a landscaper is at all hesitant to show work samples, your best bet is to move on to the next one on your list. With Amber, there’s no reason to be concerned about our portfolio. We’re so proud of our work that we feature several pages of landscape design photos on our site!

We’re well-versed with designs involving backyards, rooftops, communal spaces, terraces, rooftops, and other spaces in New York City. So if you have a vision, we can bring it to life.

“Do you offer ongoing maintenance services as well?”

Perhaps you don’t have the time to maintain a garden but still want to enjoy the beauty of a green space. Not a problem! Our landscape design team offers ongoing maintenance of your garden to help keep your plants healthy and thriving throughout the summer.

Be sure to ask us about maintenance tasks such as pruning, fertilizing, pest control, leaf cleanup, deadheading, and weeding. We are also New York City’s choice for custom drip irrigation systems and landscape lighting.

Contact Amber Freda to schedule a consultation.

Tips for Creating a Bee-Friendly Garden

It’s a chilly 30 degrees here in Manhattan as we write this post. Believe it or not, though, spring is just around the corner. It won’t be long until we’re outside tending to our gardens and enjoying the best of Mother Nature.

Of course, spring is the ideal time of year to add some beauty to your favorite outdoor living space. In this post, we will discuss how you can create a bee-friendly garden in New York City. It doesn’t matter if you have a large backyard garden or a small patio, either.

Here are five tips for creating a bee-friendly garden:

Make use of the space you have available

This holds true for any garden, but especially a bee-friendly one. If you’re fortunate enough to have a fairly large outdoor space, fill it with lots of flowers. Just remember to leave room for you and other visitors to walk and sit.

As you begin this process, design wide paths or walkways. Trust us when we say it’s easy to get caught up planting a bunch of flowers and wind up with a narrow path. Obviously, the purpose of creating a bee-friendly garden is to watch bees and butterflies do their thing. That said, always be mindful of a honey bee’s personal space.

Add a water feature or two

There’s no question that bees appreciate gardens with a water feature. Maybe you’re wondering, “Do I really need to get some elaborate thing just so the bees have a water source?” Frankly, a birdbath with pebbles around the edge to create a shallow drinking spot will suffice.

Those with a larger outdoor space to work with may want to consider a small water garden. Again, it all depends on the location. But don’t think that a water feature is absolutely required for a bee-friendly garden.

Protect the bees from potentially harmful chemicals

You can go above and beyond to create a bee-friendly garden, from picking the perfect flowers to adding an incredible water feature. Unfortunately, none of it matters if the bees are exposed to herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals in the area.

Should you still feel the need to use these products, try to purchase the most harmless types. Read the products’ labels, follow directions, and use them sparingly. Consider asking a landscape designer if they have recommendations for non-chemical methods to control undesirable insects.

Opt for plants that bloom again and again

Wondering what plants will thrive in your bee-friendly garden? Here at Amber Freda Landscape Design, we tell clients to use a combination of plants placed directly in the soil and add potted annuals over time. Not only does a variety of plants look better, but it provides a continuous supply of pollen and nectar for bees.

So as you start brainstorming plants for the spring, give annuals some serious thought. Just know that many annuals are done by late summer.

Choose the best plants

Now that you know annuals and perennials tend to do best in bee-friendly gardens, decide which ones are ideal for your area. In New York City, you can’t go wrong with echinacea, cosmos, asters, sunflowers, cornflowers, borage, thyme, and zinnias. If you’d like to branch out from this group, know that the plants you end up choosing should grow well within our region’s temperature and rainfall range.

Let Our Landscape Designer Create Your Dream Garden

At Amber Freda Landscape Design, our team believes in creating beautiful, bee-friendly gardens. As opposed to traditional landscapers, we never operate under a “one-size-fits-all” or “cookie-cutter” approach. Amber will listen to what you have in mind, assess your location, and then go to work with the design.

When it comes to creating bee-friendly gardens, we never use harmful pesticides and fertilizers. By using only organic products, we hope to contribute to a healthier, more sustainable planet for bees and society as a whole.

Don’t just settle for an average landscape design service this spring as you begin your garden preparations. With Amber Freda, we will double-check that every project detail meets our high standards. Our ultimate goal is to create a space you will appreciate and use for years to come.

Contact Amber Freda Landscape Design today.