Landscape Design, Installation, Maintenance and Masonry

Dorm No More

June 2, 2020

With a long-overlooked, falling-down historic property in Kennebunkport, one couple took a renovation leap of faith. Standing at one of the highest points in Kennebunkport, where Cape Arundel juts into the sea, Lori Ray knew she had found something special. There, tucked into the woods—a stone’s throw from Ocean Avenue and a five-minute drive from the bustle of town—was a rambling 1905 structure laid with original heart-pine flooring and flooded in natural light. Marvin designed a new beveled window to bring natural light to the staircase. Note also the original commissioned painting in the style of Fernando Botero. Not that the place looked particularly special right then. “The property was in shambles,” Lori says. Except for a few tweaks to the kitchen, “the home had not received any remodeling since it was built, and it had suffered from its use as a tenement house for workers at The Colony Hotel,” just around the bend. “The home had been divided into several apartments, and it had two outdoor staircases to the second floor along with many makeshift add-ons,” she adds. In other words, the house had the bones of an elegant historic property, done over as a dorm. But Lori...

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Edible Landscaping and Foodscaping Ideas and Inspiration

May 7, 2020

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...

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Low-Maintenance Plants (and Other Ideas) for Easy Landscaping

April 13, 2020

Low Maintenance Landscaping - Terrapin Landscapes

Maintenance-free landscaping is a goal for many of our customers living busy lifestyles, and the solutions we share at Terrapin Landscapes go way beyond planting perennials instead of annuals. To see how we turn our deep knowledge of the Maine ecosystem and timeless landscape design trends into easy-care outdoor planting and landscaping plans, read on! Less lawn, more meadow Here is a hard truth: there are few things on your property that take as much time and effort to maintain as a uniform, green grass lawn. For all its popularity, plush and inviting turf is awfully time-consuming and resource-intensive to keep up. Regular watering in the warmer months. Weekly mowing and trimming. Pulling out dandelions, seeding patchy spots, keeping the kids or your pets from burning spots in the grass or digging divots … if you are looking for a plant-it-and-leave-it landscaping solution, a lawn just isn’t it. Terrapin Landscapes knows how much Mainers love their lawns. (We love playing catch and croquet and running barefoot through sprinklers in the summer, too!) And most of our clients want some kind of lawn expanse on their property. If you have the available space and enough sun, however,  we often recommend...

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COVID-19 Update

March 27, 2020

With the continued spread of COVID-19, times become more concerning for all of us. Terrapin Landscapes wants to assure you that we are prepared to serve you and your property safely.  After consulting with the our government and industry leaders to confirm our services are essential, we will continue to perform horticulture and construction services as they are needed.  Since our business plays a critical role in the integrity of many landscapes keeping our work space outdoors, we seamlessly adapted our practice to follow the strict CDC guidelines.  Here is a list of what we are doing here to keep our staff, work place and clients safe: Keeping a safe 6 foot distance or more from others at all times When two employees MUST work in closer proximity, they are working as a dedicated twosome always One person per company vehicle Employees are driving alone in their personal vehicle to a job site Less than 10 employees working in a day Staggered employee visits to the shop The shop is closed to clients Employees are going straight to the job site whenever possible without stopping at shop Employees will stay home if they are sick Daily or more disinfecting...

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Landscaping with Dogs in Mind: Making Your Yard Work for Everyone in Your Family

March 17, 2020

The Terrapin Landscapes team are true dog lovers and nothing makes us happier than clients who come to us hoping to make more dog-friendly landscape decisions. Hardscaping and landscaping for dogs means thinking about safety, usability, and aesthetics from your pup’s perspective—and no one turns landscapes and hardscapes into dogscapes quite like Terrapin.   #1: PATHWAYS The best dog-friendly backyard designs create opportunities for dogs to do what they do best— protect their people—while making sure that dogs are contained and protected while they play outdoors. For that reason, most dog-friendly landscapes incorporate some form of fencing around all or part of the yard.  Traditional fences can frustrate dogs by keeping them from monitoring what they see as potential threats. No matter what their breed, dogs are, to some degree, territorial. They naturally want to keep a watchful eye on your property and your family. Our designers can show you attractive fencing options that offer privacy while providing ways for your dogs to see passersby and keep a wary eye on the wider world. We’ve even helped clients create “portholes” in fencing their pups can peek through! Terrapin Landscapes designers know that planting near fence lines will also frustrate...

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Maine Landscaping Design Trends from the Experts

February 19, 2020

There may be snow and ice all around us, but the residential landscaping professionals at Terrapin Landscapes are already meeting with residential and commercial clients to plan projects and improvements to start this spring. Front yard landscaping ideas, pool landscaping ideas, driveway entrance ideas, walkway ideas—our offices are overflowing with sketches, swatches, and samples. Looking for inspiration for your garden design or residential landscaping project? Our landscape planners are seeing some clear (and exciting) trends for 2020—and we’re sharing them below! #1: MINIMIZING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT Terrapin Landscapes would never tackle a project without considering its environmental impact. From minimizing water and energy usage to avoiding invasive plantings to prioritizing sustainable, renewable materials and solutions, green thinking is a given at Terrapin. So where are low-impact landscaping trends going in 2020?  While water supply is not as much of a concern in Maine as water purity, we are seeing a growing number of clients and customers asking great questions about water retention, water recycling, and water runoff during the design process. An overall concern for water quality is driving more residential landscaping decisions in the coming year and our backyard designers are being asked to design architectural water features like...

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Not Just a Sign – The Travis Mills Foundation Project, Solid as a Rock

November 27, 2019

Travis Mills Foundation Project Finished

The Travis Mills Foundation supports recalibrated veterans and their families through long-term programs that help these heroic men and women overcome physical obstacles, strengthen their families, and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation. Travis Mills, who lost his arms and legs in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan in 2012 and had started a foundation to help combat-injured veterans in 2013, wanted to open a retreat. The Travis Mills Foundation bought the 11,000-square-foot house on 17 acres from the Elizabeth Arden Estate and Spa in 2015. The renovation took the building down to the studs and everything had to be redone to accommodate veterans who may be in wheelchairs or have mobility issues. The retreat had its grand opening in June of 2017, creating a beautiful environment for veterans to spend quality time with their families. The ambiance is non-clinical on purpose. It’s a place for veterans and their families to relax, not a hospital. The foundation’s goal for those who come to the retreat is that they increase their confidence and relax, creating a space for visitors to spend time with their families surrounded by the beautiful and tranquil Maine scenery. With that purpose in mind, a group of...

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Mike Corsie Names ‘Year Round Livability’ as a Major Trend in Outdoor Kitchen Design

October 15, 2019

Grill with Stone

The Team at Swenson Granite spoke to Mike Corsie, Founder of Terrapin Landscapes in Kennebunkport, Maine. What’s Cooking Outdoors: Trends in Outdoor Kitchen Design for 2019 Whether grilling by the pool at a bustling family barbecue or savoring a quick meal on the patio on a quiet evening, the simple joy of eating outside is a pleasure in and of itself. However, cooking outdoors with all the amenities of a fully-furnished kitchen can transform outdoor dining into an experience that will delight recreational cooks and professional chefs alike. From granite countertops to natural stone veneer, your local Swenson Granite Works’ store can provide you with a range of products to create a timeless outdoor kitchen that makes a bold statement of unmatched durability. This year’s outdoor kitchen trends offer exciting ways to create an inspiring culinary space in your own backyard. Year-Round Livability The backyard has always been a popular hangout spot for warmer days, but today’s homeowners are looking for ways to make their outdoor kitchens a more livable extension of the indoor living area. Mike Corsie, Founder of Terrapin Landscapes in Kennebunkport, Maine, names livability as a major trend in recent years. “Homeowners are using their outdoor spaces more...

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Why aren’t my Hydrangeas the Color Blue?

May 13, 2019

Hydrangeas, always a favorite for garden enthusiasts, are unique in that the color of their flowers change dramatically.  First, let’s clarify that the hydrangea in question are the hydrangea macrophylia, often called Mophead due to their large rounded blooms.  These are the “bush form” hydrangea, as opposed to tree form, which typically have white to light green blooms.  The most common variety of Mophead hydrangea, Endless Summer, is easily found in local nurseries and is the most popular due to the claim that the plant will continuously bloom all season.  There is a second hydrangea macrophylia, Lacecaps that stay white.   The color question is likely the most frequent query addressed to the gardeners from Terrapin Landscapes.  The question typically revolves around the fact that the blooms are a vibrant blue upon purchase, but it’s often noted that they start to turn pink as the plant gets older.  So why the color change, and what can be done about it? Hardy in zones 6 through 10, hydrangeas tend to be a bit fussy about where they live.  The color is in the soil.  So, what is it that allows us, as gardeners, to alter the color of our Hydrangea...

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Terrapin Sets Maine Flower Show Award Record

May 22, 2018

The 2018 Maine Flower Show Last month, we participated in the Maine Flower Show on Thompson’s Point. We really enjoy showing off our landscape expertise to many Mainer’s who are itching to see green grass and blossomed flowers. This year the theme was “Rooted in Maine.” A concept that evoked our desire to showcase the pride we have in our craftsmanship and horticulture activity. Our goal was to create a dining space that transported the visitor to a bouldered oasis at the base of their favorite Maine mountain, whether that be Cadillac or Bradberry. The stonework provided the framework for a landscape engulfed innative plants and trees, while the hand-carved bird bath boulder allowed the bystander to envision a place of respite for animals and avium, alike. At the end of the weekend, Terrapin Landscapes and partners walked away with six awards which set a new Maine Flower Show record! If you were at the show, you were able to read the description of the display, if you missed it, here is what the display read; “Maine is a unique place that is defined by rugged beauty and the character of its people and their traditions. The tools of...

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