10 Deer-Resistant Plants to Add to Your Memphis Landscape

A gardener’s fight against deer is both common and frustrating.

No one wants to spend their free time and hard-earned money to plant and maintain flower beds that simply won’t survive due to these beautiful, yet destructive, mammals.

Protect both your time and money by adding these 10 deer-resistant plants to your Memphis landscape.

Angelonia

Angelonias

Angelonia is known for its continuous color that bloom during all four seasons of the year. This perennial can reach 1 – 3 feet in height and 1 – 2 feet in width and will work well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Full Sun

Benefits and Features: This perennial is deer resistant and drought tolerant.

Bleeding Heart

bleeding heart plant

Bleeding Heart is known for its heart-shaped pink or white blooms that arrive in the spring, summer and fall months. This perennial can reach 6 inches to 3 feet in height and 1 – 3 feet in width and will work well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Part Sun and Part Shade

Benefits and Features: This perennial is deer resistant.

Dianthus

dianthus

The dianthus plant is known for its grass-like, blue-green foliage and starry flowers which come in most colors with the exception of blue. This perennial can be used as a ground cover but can also reach 3 feet in height.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Part Sun and Part Shade

Benefits and Features: This perennial is deer resistant, drought tolerant, used for slope and erosion control, attracts birds and is low maintenance.

Globe Amaranth

globe amaranth

Globe Amaranth is known for its pom-pom flowers that come in pink, red and white. This annual can reach 1 – 3 feet in height and up to 1-foot-wide and will work well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Full Sun

Benefits and Features: This annual is deer resistant, drought tolerant, attracts birds and is low maintenance.

Lamb’s Ears

lamb's ears

Lamb’s Ears is known for its silver-felted foliage and blue, pink, red or white flowers that bloom in the spring, summer and fall months. This perennial can reach 6 inches to 3 feet in height and 12 – 48 inches in width. Lamb’s Ears will also work well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Part Sun and Part Shade

Benefits and Features: This perennial is deer resistant, drought tolerant, attracts birds and is low maintenance.

Lantana

lantana plant

Lantana is known for its brightly colored flowers that bloom during the summer and fall months. It can reach 6 inches to 8 feet in height and up to 4 feet in width. Lantana will work well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Full Sun

Benefits and Features: Lantana is deer resistant, drought tolerant, works well as a ground cover or to assist in soil and erosion control, attracts birds and is low maintenance.

Lily of the Valley

lily of the valley plant

Lily of the Valley is known for its scent and small, bell-like white or pale pink flowers that bloom in the spring. This perennial can reach 6 – 12 inches in height and 6 – 12 inches in width. Lily of the Valley will work well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Part Sun and Part Shade

Benefits and Features: Lily of the Valley is deer resistant, works well as a ground cover or to assist in soil and erosion control and is low maintenance.

Rosemary

rosemary plant

Rosemary is known for the aroma and activity that it brings to any garden as pollinating bees love this perennial. It blooms throughout the year, winter months included, and can reach 1 – 8 feet in height and 2 – 4 feet in width. Rosemary will also grow well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Full Sun

Benefits and Features: This perennial is deer resistant, drought tolerant, used for slope and erosion control, attracts birds and is low maintenance.

Russian Sage

russian sage

Russian Sage is known for its tall wands of blue flowers and silver foliage that show well against most other flowers in the garden. This perennial blooms in both the summer and fall months and can reach 3 – 8 feet in height and 2.5 – 3 feet in width. Russian Sage will also grow well in containers and gardens that require little maintenance.

Water Requirements: Low

Sun Requirements: Plant in Full Sun

Benefits and Features: This perennial is deer resistant, drought tolerant, excellent for privacy, attracts birds and is low maintenance.

Spirea

spirea plant

Spirea is known for its long branches of white or pink flowers that bloom throughout the year. This shrub can reach 1 – 8 feet in height and 6 feet in width.

Water Requirements: High

Sun Requirements: Plant in Full Sun

Benefits and Features: This shrub is deer resistant, excellent for privacy and used for slope and erosion control.

No one wants to spend their time and money to plant and maintain flowers that won’t survive due to deer. Protect your free time and investment now by planting these deer-resistant flowers and shrubs.

What Are The Best Types of Masonry for Your Memphis Landscape Design?

outdoor entertainment area and pool

Planning to build a new landscape?

You want it to be beautiful, be functional, fit your budget, and reflect your lifestyle or brand. Your choice of masonry will be influenced by all of these factors.

These days, there are so many choices that it can get a bit confusing.

To help you choose the best types of masonry materials for your property, we thought we’d first introduce you to some of the masonry materials that we’ve found best suited to the Memphis area.

Here is a list of the most popular hardscape materials for Memphis area properties.

Traditional Brick Masonry

No guide to Memphis landscape masonry materials would be complete without mentioning brick. Through the years, brick has always played an important role in Memphis architecture.

Many of our historic homes and commercial buildings feature brick facades, and the area has always been a center for brick manufacture.

Brick is a handsome choice, both as a paver and for walls or other vertical elements. Standard brick is available in a wide variety of warm tones — from traditional red brick to lighter beiges and even white — and textures.

Natural Stone Masonry

Stone is a classic masonry material for landscapingCertain types of stone complement specific regions. The ones we recommend most highly for the Memphis area include:

  • Oklahoma Veneer: This is a versatile stone that features a range of warm tones, including browns, tans and orangey hues. Its multiple tones and hues lend interest to the landscape. Oklahoma veneer is a versatile stone.
    It is available in cut stone suitable for formal installations, as well as what we call “chunk stone” — randomly sized pieces that, when installed, create that classic wishing well look for walls and fireplaces.
    This stone is also available as a ledgestone — thin pieces of veneer which are typically stacked horizontally to create a rustic effect in walls and as focal pieces in the landscape. Ledgestone can also be used as a flat paver or for vertical work.
  • Kansas Brown Stone: This stone also comes in warm shades of brown. It is a little more uniform than Oklahoma veneer and is a great choice for a structured, formal look. It is a nice choice for walls and structures
  • Arkansas Field Stone: Another stone that comes in a range of browns, Arkansas Field Stone is a type of sandstone. It is commonly used as a ledgestone and lends a natural look to fireplaces, walls, and waterfalls.
  • Pennsylvania Bluestone: If you are looking for cooler hues, this may be the one for you. As its name suggests, it is a type of sandstone originating from Pennsylvania. It is available in a range of grays, some of which really do have a bluish tint.
    Like Oklahoma veneer ledgestone, Bluestone can be used in vertical masonry work as well as paving and patios.
  • Crab Orchard Stone: If you prefer local materials, look no further than Crab Orchard. This Tennessee stone is an exceptionally hard variety of sandstone. It is highly sought after for its beauty and durability.Depending on the quarry, it comes in a variety of colors, often including striking swirls of grays and pinks. Crabstone is a very popular flagstone and architectural stone.

Natural stone can be cut in a variety of ways to lend different looks to your outdoor entertainment areas.

Concrete Masonry

beautiful pool and patioConcrete is an affordable masonry option that can be surprisingly attractive. We’ve used a number of concrete products, including:

  • Poured Concrete Flat Work: For patios and walkways, poured concrete is an economical choice. It needn’t look like a common sidewalk, either. Highly decorative and beautiful effects can be achieved through various methods, from incorporating exposed aggregate to polishing, staining and stamping.
  • Concrete Pavers: These durable and often beautiful products are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Some even mimic the look of natural stone. Pavers are ideal for walkways, patios, and even driveways. They can be combined with other materials for infinite design possibilities.
  • Concrete Segmental Block: Larger than most brick, these blocks offer the advantage of fast construction, making them an affordable choice for building retaining walls and other structures in the landscape. They are especially well suited for utility purposes, but some manufacturers offer decorative choices as well.

Choosing The Best Types of Masonry Material For Your Memphis Property

Before you choose your masonry materials, consider what’s already there. If you have existing architecture on your property, try to select materials that complement it.

Look for colors, shapes and textures that repeat existing elements to tie your new construction in with the old.

One pleasing way to do this is to mix different types of masonry, such as brick and natural stone. For instance, perhaps you love the look of natural stone, but your house is built of brick. You could include brick in the vertical part of your garden wall, and use stone for some steps leading into a terrace — and then select a nice capstone to tie the two together.

Like this idea? We have many more!

Just give us a call at 901-755-3207 or fill out our contact form to have one of our expert landscape designers help you find the perfect look for your property.

Request a Consultation »

How Long Does the Irrigation Design and Installation Process Take?

You’re fed up with moving sprinklers around, hauling hoses and filling the watering can.

You know that installing a landscape irrigation system is the solution.

But you also know that an irrigation system is a custom item that takes time to design and install.

The question is, how much time should you plan for? Is it already too late to have your irrigation system in place this season?

Irrigation System Design and Installation Timeline

Knowing in advance how much time to allot for your irrigation system’s design and installation will help you plan your upcoming entertainment schedule and other events.

Here is what you can expect:

Phase One: The Site Visit

The first step is to call us and make an appointment for an on-site visit from one of our irrigation design estimators. Allow about one week between your phone call and your initial appointment.

During the visit, our estimator will measure your property and speak with you about your irrigation needs, including your budget and your goals for your landscape.

You should expect this visit to take about an hour.

Phase Two: Irrigation Design Proposal

Within seven days of your site visit you will receive a proposal from us for your irrigation system.

Since no one likes budget surprises, we do a computer-modeled layout of your system before sending the proposal to ensure an accurate cost estimate.

Phase Three: Irrigation System Installation

green grass and nice landscapingWe typically install the system within 2–4 weeks of a proposal’s acceptance, depending on time of year. Early spring through midsummer are our busiest months.

During those times we generally run about four weeks out. At other times of the year a two week waiting period is common.

How much time to allow for the actual installation of your irrigation system depends on its size and complexity.

For a typical 8–12 zone residential system, average installation time is about 3.5 to 4.5 days.

Usually, it takes longer to install an irrigation system in an existing landscape than a brand new one. Existing landscapes typically require more hand digging to avoid hitting utility lines or damaging the roots of mature trees and shrubs.

Existing turf must also be repaired after trenching as opposed to simply laying sod or seeding over the top of a new lawn.

Finally, if the irrigation pipe must cross a driveway or sidewalk, it is much less time consuming to lay it before the pavement goes in than to bore under existing pavement.

What is the Best Time of Year to Plan for an Irrigation System Installation?

We can install an irrigation system any time of year that the ground is not frozen. One of the biggest misconceptions, however, is that the system price will be lower during the off season.

Actually, the opposite is often true.

That is because the price of the PVC pipe we use fluctuates depending on the price of natural gas. Therefore the material cost of installing an irrigation system often rises significantly in the winter months.

What Can a Property Owner Do to Help the Irrigation System Installation Process Go Faster?

beautiful landscaping and irrigationBefore working on a property, we put in a call to the One-Call system.

This is an agency which informs us of any underground buried utility lines that we will need to avoid on the property.

However, the One-Call system only includes primary gas, electric, cable, and telephone lines running from the street to the house.

Often, additional (and unlisted) utilities are present on the property. These may include underground dog fences, auxiliary gas lines, or electric cables running from the home to an outbuilding or outdoor fixture.

If you can, it helps to contact the installers of these extra utility lines and have them locate and mark their locations in advance of our crew’s arrival.

Are You Ready to Schedule Your Irrigation System Design?

Depending on the time of year, you can expect to start enjoying your irrigation system between four and a half to seven weeks after your initial phone call. Why not get the ball rolling now?

Give us a call at (901) 755-3207, or contact us online to schedule your estimate.

Top 4 Outdoor Entertainment Ideas for Your Property

outdoor entertainment area with tv

Imagine having your family and friends over to watch the big game this football season.

You check the surveillance app on your iPhone to be sure the kids are okay by the pool before grabbing the remote. With the click of a button a 65” outdoor TV screen rises from its hidden location in your seating wall. Everyone grabs a bowl of chili from your outdoor range and takes a seat by the fire pit just in time for kickoff.

With today’s outdoor entertainment options, this imagination can become a reality. In addition to outdoor living amenities such as outdoor kitchens and pizza ovens and fireplaces and fire pits, you can now enjoy all the technology you enjoy inside your home outside of it, too.

While Michael Hatcher & Associates, Inc. is an industry leader in outdoor living, we also work closely with Phoenix Home Entertainment to bring you the finest home entertainment systems available in the Memphis area.

But, in regards to your outdoor entertainment, what are your options?

Here are a few entertainment ideas for your outdoor living space.

Outdoor Audio

Our team at Michael Hatcher & Associates, Inc. installs advanced audio systems for outdoor living spaces. These systems can include features such as in ground, buried subwoofers and satellite speakers that look like landscape elements as to not take away from the look of your outdoor living space.

These systems are easy to operate, too. Separate zones can be set up so you and your guests are not listening to the same music your kids want to hear. Our team can also allow you or your guests to stream music from a smartphone.

Outdoor TV

Enjoy an outdoor television screen anywhere on your property, including your custom patio so you can catch the game or watch the news. These screens are waterproof and can be installed as fully retractable so that it disappears when not in use.

Our team can provide you with access to any source or streaming service requested, all operated with a single remote control or even a smartphone or tablet.

Surveillance System

Larger properties present safety concerns, especially when kids are involved. A surveillance system allows you to view play areas remotely.

Security cameras can be made nearly invisible or mounted to deter intruders. Be sure your internet connection is strong to ensure your view from your phone is strong as well.

outdoor entertainment area and pool

Landscape Lighting

Enjoy your outdoor entertainment area at night as well by installing a custom lighting system. Most of the newest landscaping lighting is LED, which is a big energy saver. These types of bulbs are also available in a wide range of colors, styles and beam spreads.

Many people are also opting for more subtle lighting treatments such as built-in lighting under stair treads and seat walls that gently illuminate walkways without creating a glare.

Michael Hatcher & Associates, Inc. can design your custom lighting solutions and integrate them into your overall control system, making operation as simple as a single touch or even a preset time that adjusts to dusk and dawn year-round.

outdoor entertainment area with landscape lighting

Outdoor Entertainment Area Controls

No matter which outdoor entertainment technologies you decide to go with, however, you’ll want easy access to their controls. Our team can set up controls in multiple ways, such as keypad locations built into the landscape or remote controls in your home. However, many of our customers find that the best interface is their smartphone. With a single app you can control your pool, audio, lighting and more right from your phone.

Are Your Ready to Get Started On Your Outdoor Entertainment Area?

Of course these outdoor entertainment ideas are just a start. Michael Hatcher & Associates, Inc. has installed many other types of backyard entertainment technology such as pop-up pool screens to outdoor home theaters.

If you’re considering taking your outdoor living space to the next level, give us a call or fill out our consultation request form for personalized designs and advice.

The 3 Best Water Saving Technologies for Your Irrigation System

efficient irrigation systemConcerned about your water bill? You’re not alone. Water rates nationwide have climbed 33% since 2010. Rising water rates can put a major crimp in your budget.

Here in Memphis, we are lucky to enjoy some of the lowest water rates in the nation.

Even so, irrigation is a significant expense. Memphis water rates vary from about $0.80 to over $2.80 per one hundred cubic feet, depending on location, property type and water use.

This can translate into hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month to keep a large property looking its best.

There are many ways to reduce irrigation water consumption without giving up your beautiful lawn or landscape. Some of these include plant selection and proper watering techniques. Today, however, we’d like to take a closer look at the various irrigation water saving technologies that can help you keep your watering expenses down.

A Quick Water Saving Fix for Smaller Budgets

For smaller properties with limited budgets, one of the most cost effective things you can do to save water is to install a Rain Bird ST8 Smart Irrigation WiFi Timer. This new technology gives you, the homeowner, control of your irrigation system via devices such as phone, tablet, etc. You can easily create multiple watering schedule to keep all aspects of your landscaping healthy while lowering your water bill as well.

Irrigation Water Saving Technologies for Larger Properties

For commercial and larger residential properties, we recommend investing in something more sophisticated than a simple rain shutoff. A more advanced water saving system can determine and deliver the exact amount of water needed in each of your zones, which will result in far more savings and a healthier landscape.

We use two types of landscape irrigation water conservation systems for our customers: smart panel technology and evapotranspiration manager technology. Let’s compare the two.

Smart Panel Irrigation Technology

A smart panel is a unit that integrates wirrigation zonesith your irrigation controller and monitors the weather with an on-site weather station. Most will read the temperature, rainfall, and solar radiation. Some will also read wind.

Considerably smaller than an electric meter, the weather station can be mounted inconspicuously on a building or other object.

A smart panel uses the information it gathers to calculate whether your sprinklers need to run, and, if so, how much.  It then communicates this information to your controller so your landscape receives the correct amount of water.

Most major irrigation manufacturers offer smart panel systems. Most of these are brand-specific, so if you want to retrofit an existing irrigation system you will need one that works with your controller. This investment can easily yield 20–25% savings on your water bill.

Smart panels are an excellent choice for most residential and small to medium-sized commercial applications. However, they do have some drawbacks. Because the weather station for most units is wired in, location options are limited. If it’s sitting in the sun or shade, it won’t be 100% accurate right out of the box. Typically, when we install one we let it run for 30–60 days and then go back and fine-tune the adjustment to suit your property.

Evapotranspiration (ET) Manager Technology

Larger properties with more extensive irrigation needs are frequently better served by a more advanced system: ET Manager Technology. This is similar to the smart panel, but instead of an on-site weather station it uses a built-in antenna to receive hourly weather updates from a weather service provider. In contrast to a smart panel, which updates once a day, the ET manager receives signals every hour from up to six different stations. Because it is wireless, it can be installed anywhere on your property.

ET technology is definitely pricier than a smart panel. However, its more accurate data results in better performance. Actual dollar savings depends on water rates, but our ET clients frequently enjoy 30–40% savings on their water bills. For large and water-intensive properties, an ET manager will quickly pay for itself in increased savings.

Maintaining Your Water Saving Devices

Once installed, landscape water conservation technologies require minimal maintenance. We conduct an annual inspection on the properties we manage to keep rain gauges and other elements clear of leaves and debris, check that all wiring is in good condition, and ensure that the equipment remains calibrated and in good working order.

Call Us for a Custom Estimate on Water Saving Systems

Which are the best water saving technologies for your property? The answer depends on your budget, your property, and your goals. Our irrigation specialists will complete a property assessment for more specific pricing as well.

When in doubt, we highly recommend doing a cost analysis to determine payback on specific systems. To speak with one of our qualified landscape professionals about cutting your irrigation costs with water saving technology, contact us online or call us at 901-755-3207.

Fire Pits Vs. Fireplaces: Find the Best Option for Your Outdoor Living Space

outdoor kitchen

If you are planning an outdoor living area, why not include a fire element? A fireplace or fire pit is a built-in heat source that will let you enjoy spending more time outdoors throughout the year.

A fire element also creates a striking and attractive focal point that will help define your outdoor living space visually and create a comfortable place for family and guests to gather and relax.

One of the first things to consider when choosing a fire element for your patio is what type to install. Let’s take a closer look at fire pits and fireplaces and the pros and cons of each.

How Does Your Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace Reflects Your Lifestyle?

How will you be using your outdoor living space? Are you looking for a formal, elegant installation or the appearance of rugged strength? A fireplace may be your best bet for either. Fireplaces also provide some wind protection and are easily tied into a new or existing structure such as a gazebo. This makes them a good choice if you’re hoping to get maximum use of your outdoor space regardless of weather conditions.

On the other hand, a fire pit may be perfect for you if you are after a more casual, relaxed atmosphere. A fire pit can break up and provide a focal point for a large, open space, or it can lend warmth and intimacy to a smaller area. A fire pit’s open, circular layout is perfect for sharing stories or roasting marshmallows with your favorite group of people.

Finally, you’ll want to consider fuel options. Wood is traditional, and many people love the crackle and aroma of a genuine wood fire. However, wood must be hauled in, it can be messy, and it can impact air quality. Wood burning fire elements also require regular cleaning. Natural gas is becoming a popular, easy-care, clean-burning alternative that is available for outdoor fireplaces and fire pits alike.

Sizing Your Fire Element

masonry fire pit

When sizing your fire pit or fireplace, consider the scope and size of your space. A six-foot fire pit would fit well in a large, expansive space such as a two-acre lot overlooking a lake. However, it would completely dominate a small, intimate backyard setting. For fire pits, 30-36” is standard, but they can be made as small as 24” in diameter or as large as six feet or more.

Fireplaces can also range from three feet in width to over six feet. Keep in mind, though, that the fireplace’s height and wing walls will make it a more imposing structure.

It’s also a good idea to take the context of the property into account. For example, putting a fire pit in the middle of a 10’x15’ patio could work very well if the patio is surrounded with open space. However, in a tight urban backyard surrounded by walls, an identically-sized patio might fare better with a small fireplace at one end.

Choosing Materials for Your Fire Pit or Fireplace

Whether you are planning a fire pit or fireplace, choosing materials that echo the architectural elements of your home or other aspects of the environment will help create harmony throughout the space. Fortunately, there are a tremendous number of materials options available. Brick, block and natural or cast stone all offer many choices in color, texture and size. It’s simply a matter of choosing the ones best suited to your application.

What Will It Cost to Install a Fire Pit vs. an Outdoor Fireplace?

Not surprisingly, the beauty and ambiance of an outdoor fireplace carries a larger price tag. Expect to invest more for a good quality, custom fireplace.

In contrast, you can have a well-built, custom masonry fire pit installed on your property starting at a much lower range.

Of course, the final price will depend on the size, materials and design of your piece. Both fireplaces and fire pits can be simple or elaborate. Your piece can be as custom and intricate as your budget and imagination allow.

Outdoor Fireplace Accessories

brick outdoor fireplace

For many families, all that is needed to enjoy their wood-burning outdoor fireplace or fire pit is a simple fireplace set consisting of poker, tongs and shovel. However, you may want to consider the convenience of a gas starter. This is a built-in gas line that makes starting your fire a snap.

Similarly, if you are planning to install a gas-fired unit, why not be easy on yourself and include an electronic starter? This simple device allows you to start your fire at the push of a button.

There are also many features that can be built into your outdoor living area to enhance your enjoyment of your fire pit or fireplace. Some of these include built-in seating walls, accent lighting and masonry steps. You can even have a cover built to fit over a fire pit that functions as a table when the fire pit is not in use!

Enjoying these accessories while basking in the warmth of a fire on a chilly evening is not to be missed!

Need Help Choosing an Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit? Contact Us!

Regardless of your space, budget, and taste, we can help you choose the perfect fire pit or fireplace to enhance your outdoor living area. Just give us a call at 901-755-3207 or contact us online to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable custom outdoor living space designers.