Like so many of our friends and neighbors in Maine, members of the Terrapin Landscapes team are navigating brand-new terrain during the unfolding COVID19 global crisis. Whether we are continuing to perform essential tasks or sheltering with family, we are all discovering a renewed appreciation of home—and awakening interest in sustainable landscape designs that let us grow our overall self-sufficiency. While requests for edible landscaping elements were on the rise before coronavirus, we are now being asked about new or expanded gardens and irrigation systems, apiaries and bee gardens, chicken coops— even paddocks for goats and sheep! For great ideas on how you can make your backyard both beautiful and bountiful, read on.
The all-natural beauty and bounty of a backyard garden
Many of our clients are surprised to hear that productive home gardens do not need to look like traditional farms, with rectangular fields and parallel rows of plantings. In fact, the Terrapin Landscapes team specializes in designing smart and sophisticated gardens that blend seamlessly into the landscape during all phases of the growing season. Our experienced designers use fluid, organic shapes and soft edges, plants grouped in pleasing clusters, natural stone hardscaping accents, water features, and more to blur the lines between decorative and productive plantings.
“Homeowners favor landscapes that are artistic and reflect individual expression,” our own Mike Corsie explains. “These trends produce landscapes with less structure and softer edges. The goal is to feel like your garden and its surroundings have existed for years.” Whether you want the rustic florals of an English cottage garden or a more modern, streamlined landscape, we can create—and practically camouflage—the productive garden of your dreams.
Many edible crops are regularly featured in shelter magazine photo spreads for their beauty, not just their functionality. From the delicate flowers and lacy, climbing vines of sugar snap peas in the spring to the gorgeous shades of rainbow chard in the summer to the spiky purple and white pops of alliums in early fall, we can help you find delicious crops that also delight the eye.
Our garden designs feature heirloom, organic, non-GMO, and native crops. We encourage companion planting for increased productivity and all-natural pest prevention. We create kitchen gardens, herb gardens, and cutting gardens. Coordinate the colors of foliage, blooms, and crops with other elements in the landscape. Our team also builds attractive raised beds and tunnels, easy and automated irrigation systems, delightful follies for climbing vines, wood, metal, and stone fencing to keep out deer and other predators, inviting landscape lighting that lets you garden after dusk, and many other thoughtful design touches that encourage you to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
How about an outdoor kitchen or pizza oven by the garden, so you can pick the freshest tomatoes and herbs as you cook? Vertical gardens or trellises of beans shading a stone patio? Or exquisite stone benches, pathways, and patios that tempt you to watch helpful bees and butterflies do their bit to make your garden grow? Or a glass greenhouse to extend your growing season and elevate your mood during Maine’s long, cold, and dark winter months? The Terrapin team has incorporated all of these extraordinary elements into our award-winning landscaping designs.
The greenest garden possible
Terrapin also specializes in implementing sustainability strategies in home gardens. “Sustainable landscape design has become the latest fashion in garden trends,” Mike Corsie shares. “Homeowners and gardeners are becoming increasingly aware of the positive impact they can have on the natural world. Eco-conscious homeowners can minimize their environmental impact without sacrificing the luxuries of outdoor living. We design to conserve water and energy, reduce waste, and decrease runoff while attracting wildlife and supporting pollinators. And we help home gardeners increase the yield of their garden and protect their plantings completely naturally, without resorting to chemical fertilizers or bug sprays that can be dangerous for children, pets, and the environment.”
Our designers help you choose the optimal location on your property for a garden, choose ecologically friendly crops, catch rainwater and channel runoff, amend your soil, and choose plantings that will repel unwanted pests in your garden. We can also help you start a compost pile to turn food and garden scraps into rich, nourishing soil for future plantings.
If recent slowdowns and supply issues in the food chain have you thinking about growing more of your own food, talk to the gardening experts at Terrapin Landscapes. From small spaces to expansive fields, we can help you turn part of your property into a productive, rewarding, and stunning backyard garden.
Gardening for the birds …
Chicken coops are also fun elements of backyard foodscaping more of our clients are eager to explore. Even in Maine’s larger towns and urban centers, it is legal to keep up to six chickens in your backyard garden. Once they grow past the chick stage, chickens are low-maintenance pets capable of thriving even in Maine’s cold and snowy winters. A regular supply of farm-fresh organic eggs is just one of the benefits to tending chickens in Maine. The Terrapin team also appreciates their voracious appetite for bugs and ticks!
Not only can our designers help you create a chicken coop that blends seamlessly with your home’s architectural style and your backyard landscape, we can assist you in creating chicken runs or find unobtrusive and attractive ways to protect your other plantings if you want to let your birds free range.
Chickens add so much personality and rustic charm to any backyard garden—but like all pets, they can also scratch away at spots in your landscape. Let the Terrapin team help you protect your birds and your lawn and garden!
… and the bees
When the Terrapin Landscapes team designs a garden we think about attracting bees, butterflies, and bats—Maine’s top pollinators—to make every planting as productive as it can be. We encourage clients to plant beautiful native flowers, herbs, and crops these winged wonders love, like beebalm and blueberries and scarlet runner beans. In fact, one of the fastest growing trends in landscaping continues to be thoughtfully designed meadowlands that become peaceful and productive playgrounds for pollinators.
More and more homestead-minded homeowners are considering going beyond attracting bees to cultivating their own colony of bees. If your edible landscaping wish list includes a beehive, ask our designers about incorporating apiaries into your garden and backyard landscaping.
Whether you want to encourage more bees to spend time in your garden or cultivate them for honey, you are helping Maine’s ecosystem thrive—and the Terrapin team can help.
If the challenging times we are facing have you thinking about gathering your food closer to home, the Terrapin Landscapes team can’t wait to talk to you about your gardening, beekeeping, or chicken-raising plans. Let us show you how stunning, inviting, and rewarding a garden, apiary, or chicken coop can be.