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How to Make Your Lawn Beautiful: Featuring Weinmayr/Jay Associates, Inc.

By Kristen Bosse

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Our company has been in business since 1969, doing residential, commercial, public, institutional, historic, healthcare and senior care work. Our recent growth has been in sustainability and healing environments.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We are a full service Landscape Architecture and Land Planning company, providing everything from small scale site consultations to discuss improvements to walks, patios, driveways and plantings, to land planning for subdivisions, and full construction documents for bidding. With residential work, to keep costs down we often generate "Performance Documents" describing the look and feel of the job and hand it to a contractor we have confidence in to figure out how to build it. We like to be involved during construction to make sure the contractor has the right idea.

How do you approach a job?

We ask a client to think about their program for the site, which may include parking for so many cars, a pool and bath house, and a vegetable garden, and separately any thoughts they have about how to accommodate these. Together we will work to develop and clarify the program, and we will talk about different options for accommodating all the different elements. We try to come up with at least three alternative designs in the schematic phase. The first is generally the most intuitive and often the best. The second and third force us to think outside the box and we frequently come up with more interesting solutions.

What's a simple and quick fix to up the aesthetic appeal of a home?

Crisp edges and healthy plant material. Edge the beds and the walks and clean up the plant beds with a fresh layer of mulch. Prune the dead wood out of the trees and shrubs. You can give many small trees and shrubs a better form and a healthier appearance by limbing them up, removing all leaves and twigs in the lower 1/3 of the plant. Avoid too much mulch. Plant beds should be full of plant material. Plant perennials between new shrubs to fill the space and move them elsewhere as the shrubs grow. If you're putting your home on the market, load the front with annuals for lots of color and make sure they get the water and fertilizer they need.

What is a simple DIY project that you feel really increases the aesthetics of a yard?

Many homeowners will plant trees, shrubs and flower beds where they want them and the lawn is whatever is left. The lawn should have a well considered shape, whether it is a crisp rectangle, a geometric form laid out with straight edges and perfect arcs, or an organic shape with no straight edges at all. Lay out the lawn first, then border it with plant material and make sure the plants are given room to grow with-out deforming the lawn.

For someone who wants to make their lawn brilliantly green and their plant material more vibrant, what do you suggest they do?

You may need to look up the preferred conditions for any failing plant material, including the lawn grass, and consider whether it is getting the proper light, moisture, and soil pH. Have your soil tested to determine if it is deficient in some way. The U. Mass. Extension Service web site will tell you how. Healthy soil is alive with a huge variety of little organisms, each with a job to do to turn leaf litter into plant food. The consequence of chemical pesticides and herbicides is that you kill off everything that is working for you. Organic alternatives can cost more but save time and money in the long run.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

You can reach us by phone at 617-957-9733, by email at djay@weinmayrjay.com, or through our web site at www.weinmayrjay.com.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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