Meet Paula Knox, Our New Branch Manager

I’m a California native and have been working in Sales and Sales Management for the last 20 years. I’m passionate about my family, which includes my parents and daughter as well as my brother and his wife,  who all keep my home busy with a steady stream of friends and DIY projects!  I’m also very active in dog rescue. Our fur family currently has 5 permanent members, with foster dogs making regular appearances at our home, so they can be socialized in preparation for finding their forever homes. I also spend a fair bit of time at cars shows and driving far faster than my mother is comfortable with — American Muscle is my personal favorite!

Featured Property of the Month: Charleston Village

Charleston Village is a small quiet community nestled under many large Redwood Trees in Mountain View.  We have partnered with the HOA and Common Interest Management to renovate nearly the entire property updating with new plant material as well as designing and building a much more efficient drip irrigation system. We are excited to watch this new landscape mature and look forward to seeing the water savings as this drought tolerant landscape matures.


10 Genius Life Hacks That Will Save Your Summer


Ella Fitzgerald’s famous song “Summertime” captures what we love most about the season: “The livin’ is easy.” For three whole months, we have opportunities to lounge on the beach, plan picnics in the park, indulge with chilled white wine and frozen treats, and tan on a dock — preferably somewhere remote — with our friends and family.
But all of these summer perks come with their own minor annoyances. Sticky popsicle fingers, dock splinters, and warm wine, just to name a few. Not to worry, though — we’re here to help. Take a look at our top 10 favorite tips from Dan Marshall’s book, Life Hacks, designed to make your summer livin’ a little easier.

  1. Grape Cubes The only thing worse than no white wine is warm white wine. And the only thing worse than that is watery white wine. Forgo ice cubes for this popular alternative: “To chill your drink instantly, freeze some grapes and drop them into your glass.”
  2. Eau Naturelle Treat yourself to a spa-level steam shower after a long day at the office or relaxing on the beach. “Help yourself to a few branches of eucalyptus and hang them from the showerhead. As you shower, the warmth and moisture will disperse the fragrance from the leaves, giving you a natural, sweet-smelling boost to your showering.
  3. Phone Lantern On your next camping trip, ditch the flashlight and use that extra backpack space for s’mores ingredients. “Put a water bottle on top of your phone to create a makeshift lantern. The light from the screen will turn the water bottle into a light…remember to turn off the lock on your phone to keep the light continuous, and make sure that the bottle has water in it for optimum refraction.”
  4. Ice Pop Drip-Catcher Refreshing, delicious, and perfectly sweet…what’s not to love about popsicles? Ah, yes, the sticky popsicle fingers. Say goodbye to the goo with this clever trick. “Just poke the wooden stick down through the middle of a [cupcake wrapper] to create a little cup to catch the offending drips.”
  5. No-Cramp Running This tip sounds crazy, but we’re willing try anything to avoid cramping on our (sporadic) summer jogs. “If you exhale when your left foot hits the ground, it stops you from cramping up.”
  6. Assisted Splinter Removal Nothing can ruin a good day spent on a dock like an annoying splinter. But here’s baking soda to the rescue! “Wet the area with water and sprinkle baking soda onto it, then cover with a [Band-Aid]. Leave it for a day or so. When you peel back the bandage, the splinter will be raised out of the skin, making it easy to pick out.”
  7. Milk Bottle Watering Can Maintain your beautiful summer garden (and save a few bucks) with this simple DIY watering can. “Find an empty plastic milk carton. Remove the lid and pierce it with a metal skewer until you have sufficient holes to resemble the nozzle of a watering can. Fill the milk carton with water and attach the lid.”
  8. Six-Pack Caddy On your next picnic, save yourself multiple trips to the car with this handy hack. “To create your caddy, simply save a cardboard six-pack holder. Put napkins, cutlery, salt and pepper shakers, and sauce bottles in the compartments.”
  9. Tanning Secrets With this clever trick, you can take a dip in the ocean and not have to worry about your unattended valuables disappearing. “Use an empty sun lotion bottle to store those precious little things like car keys [or] your phone.”
  10. Clothing De-Wrinkler Warm summer temps mean trading out those wool sweaters for light cotton blouses and tanks…which, sadly, are no strangers to wrinkling. Try out this hack and save yourself a trip to the dry cleaner. “Throw your shirt in the dryer along with a few ice cubes and set it to spin for five minutes.”

By Sydney Mondry

The Declaration of Independence, 1776

By issuing the Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, the 13 American colonies severed their political connections to Great Britain. The Declaration summarized the colonists’ motivations for seeking independence. By declaring themselves an independent nation, the American colonists were able to confirm an official alliance with the Government of France and obtain French assistance in the war against Great Britain.

The Declaration of Independence

Throughout the 1760s and early 1770s, the North American colonists found themselves increasingly at odds with British imperial policies regarding taxation and frontier policy. When repeated protests failed to influence British policies, and instead resulted in the closing of the port of Boston and the declaration of martial law in Massachusetts, the colonial governments sent delegates to a Continental Congress to coordinate a colonial boycott of British goods. When fighting broke out between American colonists and British forces in Massachusetts, the Continental Congress worked with local groups, originally intended to enforce the boycott, to coordinate resistance against  more…

2017 International Design Conference hosted by APLD

Waterfall design San JoseThe Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) will once again be hosting their 2017 APLD International Design Conference on July 13-17 in Boston, Massachusetts.association of professional landscape designers logo

This year’s pre-conference will feature sessions hosted by Vectorworks and DynaSCAPE. The pre-conference tour will be led by Darrah Cole, senior horticulturist and designer, and will take place at the Rose Kennedy Greenway park and garden.

The post-conference tour will travel to Sakonnet Garden in Rhode Island’s “Farm Coast,” as well as The Blue Garden in Newport, Rhode Island.

Participants will also have the chance to visit and take pictures of the gardens. The group will be accompanied by APLD member and photographer Tom Wheaton and fine art and commercial photographer Karen Maini.

Keynote speakers for the event will be Patrick Chassé and Julie Moir Messervy.

Chassé is a landscape architect, educator writer, landscape historian and ecologist, and earned his Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design. Before that, he earned his B.S. and completed graduate studies in botany, biology an environmental education from the University of Maine.

Messervy is the principal designer of a landscape architecture and design firm in Saxtons River, Vermont, JMMDS. She is an author of eight books on landscape design, as well as a lecturer. She’s written multiple articles and gives workshops and lectures around North America.

For more information on registration, click here.

Hardscape North America, GIE+EXPO release event schedules

logo for hardscape north americaHardscape North America’s (HNA) annual industry trade show will take place this year in Louisville, Kentucky, Oct. 18-20 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. HNA will be located in the East Wing of the center.

During this year’s HNA show, those in attendance will have the opportunity to attend Contractor Briefing sessions.

Cleary Brothers Landscape

“The briefings are designed to be quick, drop-in sessions where contractors can learn about trending topics in the industry and pick up innovative ideas to help grow their businesses,” said Charles McGrath, Executive Director of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI). “We’re excited to have a dynamic lineup of experts to share their knowledge.”

The briefings will last 20 minutes and will he held on Thursday, Oct. 19 and Friday, Oct. 20 in the trade show floor classroom located directly behind the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) booth (#20010).

Contractor Briefings include:

Thursday, Oct. 19

  • ICPI Installer Certification, Advanced Designations and Their Value

          Charles McGrath

9:30 – 9:50 a.m.

  • How to Make Your Personal and Organizational Success Go Off the Charts

          Gary Ross 

11:30 – 11:50 a.m.

  • The BIZ-BUILDER BLUEPRINT for Contractors

          George Hedley

1:00 – 1:20 p.m.

  • Five Ways Mobile Phones Are Changing Online Marketing

          Todd Bairstow

2:30 – 2:50 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 20

  • Opportunities for Permeable Pavers in Residential and Commercial Markets

          Dave Smith

9:30 – 9:50 a.m.

  • OSHA’s New Crystalline Silica Regulation

          David Murray

11:30 – 11:50 a.m.

  • Five Ways to Future Proof Your Hardscape Business

          Frank Bourque

1:00 – 1:20 p.m.

The annual GIE+EXPO trade show is set for Oct. 18-20 and will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Kentucky Exposition Center. The GIE+EXPO Workshops are scheduled to feature 10 logo for the green industry and equipment exposessions that will help landscapers grow their businesses. The lineup this year will feature two hardscape sessions with insights and tips for contractors who want to delve into that market.

Workshops for the event include:

Thursday, October 19

  • Hardscape Workshop 1: Production Management and Crew Motivation on the Hardscape Jobsite

          Frank Gandora, Creative Hardscape

8:00-9:30 a.m.

  • Hardscape Workshop 2: Hardscape as a Profit Center

          Frank Bourque

10:00-11:30 a.m.

  • NALP Workshop 1: 50 Sure-Fire Ways to Reduce Cost & Increase Profits

         Bill Arman and Ed Laflamme, The Harvest Group, National Association of Landscape                   Professional Consultants

1:00-2:30 p.m.

  • NALP Workshop 2: A Critical Analysis of the Six Estimating Systems Used in the Green Industry Today

          Jim Huston, J.R. Huston Consulting, National Association of Landscape Professional                    Consultant

3:00-4:30 p.m.

Friday, October 20

  • NALP Workshop 3: The Success Marketing Strategy for Growing Your Landscaping Business

         Christopher Yates, Success Landscape Marketing, National Association of Landscape                   Professional Consultant

8:00-9:30 a.m.

  • NALP Workshop 4: Teamwork – In Every Aspect of Your Life!

           Rich and Crystal Arlington, Rich Arlington & Associates, National Association of                             Landscape Professional Consultant

8:00-9:30 a.m.

  • NALP Workshop 5: Tips and Trends for Hiring and Retaining Employees

          Kent Kohn, Pro-Motion Consulting Inc., National Association of Landscape Professional              Consultant

10:00-11:30 a.m.

  • NALP Workshop 6: Sustainable Winter Management™

          Phill Sexton, Chief Knowledge Officer, Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA)

10:00-11:30 a.m.

  • NALP Workshop 7: How to Develop a Well-Trained, Safe and Effective Workforce! …Do We Really Know How to “Train Our Trainers?”

          Fred Haskett, The Harvest Group, National Association of Landscape Professional                        Consultant

1:00-2:30 p.m.

  • NALP Workshop 8: The 4 Keys to Crush Your Goals

           Jeffrey Knight, Director of Education, Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply

3:00-4:30 p.m.

Hardscape Demonstrations

(Held in the tented Hardscape North America Outdoor Arena in the Outdoor Demonstration Area)

Thursday, October 19

  • SRW Construction with a Focus on Double Tiered Walls and Proper Geo Grid Specification, Placement and Use

11:00 a.m.-Noon

  • Installation of Base Material and Pavers for Interlocking Pavements and Go Pro Time-Lapse for Construction Jobs

1:00-2:00 p.m.

  • Permeable Base and Paver Installation

3:00-4:00 p.m.

Friday, October 20

  • Tools of the Trade

11:00 a.m.-Noon

  • Hardscape Lighting

1:00-2:00 p.m.

  • Outdoor Kitchens

3:00-4:00 p.m

Source: 2017 International Design Conference hosted by APLD

How to Make a Kid-Friendly Garden

There’s a magical age when you’ll find your kids being both helpful and interested in your home projects. You’ll want to embrace it with a huge smile on your face and arms wide open. This year, for us, it’s gardening. Our last few summers have yielded wonderful herb and vegetable crops, and how exciting it is that we can teach the kids a little bit about how to plant a garden, and encourage them to maintain it with us all season long as it gives, and gives, and gives back.

There are obviously a few garden chores better left for the big kids and adults, the power tilling, the post-hole digging and fence installing, but there are lots of little tasks for your younger brood to help with too. Take these ideas, and let your kids help you in the garden this summer: