slide4Whether you spend time in your East End home during the summer season or all year round, privacy is probably important to you. And it seems harder to come by all the time. There’s more traffic on the roads. The quiet of a weekend morning is often shattered by whining leaf blowers and buzzing lawnmowers. The right landscaping can give you more privacy. Plants can serve the same purpose as a fence or high wall, but they can do it in a softer, more attractive way.

By Anne Halpin Vines are seldom the stars of the garden or landscape, but  they play important supporting roles in many successful landscapes. Vines enhance the focal points and features of the garden, and in the right location at the right time of year can have their chance to shine, too.  You might choose a flowering perennial climber such as clematis or trumpet creeper or climbing roses to bring glorious color to the garden for several weeks in spring or summer, year after year. Or you can plant annual vines like canary creeper or morning glories to brighten the garden all summer. You could select a climber like jasmine or moonflower for its enchanting fragrance.

By Anne Halpin

It’s time to savor the warm weather and glorious sunsets of summertime on the East End. After the seemingly endless bitter cold and snow we endured here this past winter, it’s time to unleash our inner beach bum. One way to make the most of summer this year, even when you’re not at the beach, is to create your own little tropical paradise at home. It’s easy to use tropical plants to turn your deck or patio into the perfect setting for a summer party, or just a quiet island of color and greenery where you can kick back with a book, take in the sunset or gaze at the stars.

slide5Peonies. Maybe you’ve never heard of them. Maybe your grandmother grew them. But if you don’t have them in your landscape or flower garden, take another look. They bloom for just a few weeks in spring, but oh, what flowers! Big, round, sumptuous balls of wide petals in so many shades of red, rose, pink and white, with a beguiling sweet fragrance. They rule the garden, and they make wonderful cut flowers, too.

Winter is the perfect time to assess your home landscape to see if you are happy with the way it looks and functions, or if there is room for improvement. Planning now for changes or additions you want to make in spring puts you ahead of the game. You can consult with landscape and design professionals to zero in on changes you want to make, then get your project into their schedule before the spring rush hits.

slide3 Evergreens bring color and form to the winter landscape when flowers are gone and other trees are bare and gray. Evergreens, as their name implies, stay green all year around. And they’re not just green. They come in vivid bright greens, deep forest greens, soft blue-greens, even bright gold. There are blue-toned varieties of Atlas cedar, spruce, false cypress, Leyland cypress and juniper. For golds look into Japanese holly, junipers, Leyland cypress, false cypress and Scotch pine. Some evergreens take on ruddy or bronze tones in winter. Evergreens offer a diversity of sizes and shapes, and an array of textures from prickly to soft to leathery and glossy.

slide10The glorious days of autumn are upon us; summer heat and crowds are giving way to soft golden light and the celebration of the harvest season in farms and vineyards. For those of us lucky enough to be here in fall, there’s still plenty of color to be had in the landscape. Here are some great sources of color for fall landscapes.   

Have you ever wondered what makes some homes look so special? In a neighborhood of houses, some stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t always have to do with size or location. Some properties just look pulled together — the house and grounds unite into a seamless whole. What’s probably going on is that the landscape has been carefully crafted to suit the house. When the landscape is in tune with the house, the result is a garden that feels like home. It happens from a unity of styles — a formal landscape surrounding a formal home, or a casual country garden next to an informal, relaxed house. Matching the style of your landscape is one important way to unify house and grounds. Another way is through color. Zantedeschia aethiopica, Pericallis x hybridus, Euphorbia 71158KThe purple, green and white color scheme of the garden harmonizes beautifully with the blue trim and gray walls of the house. The first step in coordinating colors between your house and landscape is to go outside and take a good look at the house. Then create garden and landscape elements — flowers, of course, but also structures like fences and gates, arbors and awnings, even pots on a deck or patio — that connect with the colors of the house.

belvedere_great pool detailDSCF3323 Ah, for a quiet Sunday morning in summer. Do you yearn for your own little oasis, without the buzzing of lawnmowers, the whining of leaf blowers, the impatient honking of car horns? Most of us can’t surround ourselves with acres of woods or fields to gain privacy. But with the right landscaping we can all create our own small havens and shut out the rest of the world, at least for a while.