While my expertise is mainly on the inside of a home, I also know the importance of a beautiful exterior! With spring on the horizon, I want to let everyone know that now is the time to start thinking about your lawns and gardens. I know, I know. It’s still very wintry here in Houston. But the warmth of March will (hopefully!) be here before you know it. I am reviving this informative Q and A with Moss Landscaping, the experts who transformed the exteriors of my own home. Enjoy!
It’s been 5 months since we started work on The Boulevard Show House and I’m pleased to say that things are moving right along! We ended 2017 with new windows and are starting 2018 by turning our attention to the landscaping. It’s a mess, but we have recruited some experts to help transform this construction site into something beautiful.
We are excited to be partnering with Moss Landscaping on the exterior design. We sat down with Blair Chesnut, project manager and landscape designer at Moss Landscaping. She gave us the inside scoop on what they have in mind for our landscape design. From drainage and irrigation to aesthetic, they’re doing it all. And I can’t wait!
LU: Tell us about your role in the Boulevard Show House project and what Moss Landscaping is working on?
ML: My name is Blair Chesnut and I am the Moss Landscaping project manager and landscape designer for The Boulevard Show House. We are providing the formal design and installation of the home’s landscaping.
LU: What are you installing in the Boulevard Show House?
ML: Drainage and irrigation will go in first. Then we will begin prepping the beds and planting. At the home’s entrance, there will be a traditional English parterre garden. It will frame an obelisk focal point and feature annuals each season. We incorporated a series of accent trees, azalea hedges and rows of giant walking iris. They’re perfect for this classic, southern garden with a contemporary flair!
LU: What does your landscape design process look like?
ML: As a design-build landscape architecture firm, we oversee the process from conception to installation. And we often remain on the property for regular maintenance after we complete the project.
The project starts with an initial meeting with all the contractors to present the conceptual master landscaping plan. We want to ensure the design is cohesive with the architectural features of the home and with Laura’s vision.
LU: What services are you most excited to be including in the Boulevard Show House?
ML: The garden design! The colors and textures of the plants we selected will compliment each other beautifully and enhance the classic architecture of the home. We incorporated crepe myrtles, eagleston hollies and tons of azaleas, which offer seasonal interest throughout the year!
LU: How did the selection process work for our home? Do you conduct brainstorm meetings, walkthroughs? Do you need floor plans, dimensions, and images of home?
ML: All of the above! The more insight a client can give into their vision, the better! Many of our projects start off with the client sharing a Houzz or Pinterest page. This gives us great insight into their style and desired look. We ask for a survey of the property and use that as a base for our initial landscape design. We perform a site analysis to shoot grade elevations and ensure all measurements are accurate so the installation process goes according to plan.
LU: Introduce us to the team members involved in this project, what are their roles?
ML: The Moss Landscaping team includes myself, Joey Canahuati (Chief Operating Officer), Bruce Waddle (Installation Supervisor), Stanley Tomforde (Construction Department Assistant), Tacho Betancourt (Irrigation & Drainage Manager), Randall Wauson (Tree Care Manager), Joshua Robbins (Design Associate) and Ashley Olmsted (Marketing Director).
LU: What needs to happen first in order for you to install/renovate the landscaping on the exterior of the home?
ML: After the exterior work on the house is complete, we can begin the landscape portion. This prevents other contractors from having to “step through” the planted gardens to access their work. Our first task is to install the drainage and irrigation. This isn’t the most glamorous part of our scope, but it’s the most important.
Houston receives an excessive amount of rainfall and experiences extremely hot summers. But with planning, it has the the potential for amazing gardens. Proper drainage and irrigation at the start gives a garden a much higher likelihood of success! It can take a year or more for newly planted landscape to “mature” and bloom into its intended design.
LU: What is the process for selecting the landscape design for the home?
ML: A lot of factors come into play during the design process! Of course, Laura’s style is at the top of the list. We consider the architecture of the home and the amount of sunlight each area of the property receives. We look at the views from the interior of the residence to ensure the finished gardens become a visual extension of the home.
LU: Have there been any challenges?
ML: Fortunately, not yet! There are often unforeseen obstacles when rehabbing a historic home. We’re working with knowledgeable contractors who are ready and willing to do what it takes to make the Boulevard Show House a success!
LU: Will it be difficult to install these designs or get approval from Historic Houston Committee?
ML: We frequently work with neighborhood home owner associations, such as Piney Point, Hunter’s Creek and Carlton Woods. It’s important to reach out early in the design process to any neighborhood or historic association to ensure your proposed design meets their criteria. We find that good communication and an understanding of the neighborhood’s requirements help ease the approval process.
Boulevard Oaks attracts homeowners who appreciate the charm and character of this historic neighborhood. That’s what makes this project exciting. The Boulevard Show House is all about restoring the home to its original grandeur. We have already received positive feedback from the community for respecting the home’s historic significance.
LU: Tell us about Moss Landscaping. What is your specialty and the background behind your services?
ML: Moss Landscaping is a full-service landscape architecture firm serving the Greater Houston area, including River Oaks, Memorial, West University and The Woodlands. We have an in-house drainage and irrigation department and a full tree care division. From the maintenance and enhancement to design and installation, Moss Landscaping does it all!
Stunning! I can’t wait for my own English parterre garden. (*heart eyes*)
LU: How can people get in Moss Landscaping?
ML: If you’re interested in landscape work, you can submit a landscape request form on our website. The right team member will reach out to discuss your project. You can view photos of our projects and hear about upcoming garden events by following us on Facebook and Instagram.
LU: Do you have any advice for people wanting to design and install new landscaping in Houston?
ML: Yes! If you are building a new home, hire a landscape architect early on! The sooner you can finalize your landscape plan, the better. It’s easier to coordinate drainage, irrigation, and hardscapes with your general contractor and get approvals from home owner associations.
LU: Is there anything you would like to add about working on this project?
ML: We are honored to be a part of The Boulevard Show House! We love all of our gardens, but it’s an added joy to be able to help restore properties with such historic significance. It’s rewarding to work alongside talented leaders in our industry. We’re excited for the opportunity to bring Laura and Michael’s gardens to life!
Thank you Blair for sharing your expertise about all things landscaping! I can’t wait to see it completed and watch it bloom throughout the year. I know it’s going to be breathtaking. And I can’t wait for you to see it in person in the spring when The Boulevard Show House opens for tours. Be sure to check out the Show House website for more updates and pop over to Facebook for more behind the scenes sneak peeks.