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community gardens / apartment landscaping in the city

Does your apartment offer these lifestyle amenities?

EMI Landscape

Scioto Mile – courtesy MKSK Architects

If you live in Columbus or the surrounding areas you could not have missed the prolonged boom in new apartment building that has been going on for the past several years. Every part of the city from Dublin to Grandview and from the downtown area and the Short North to Grove City have seen en explosion of new apartment construction. Every time we see a new building go up, we may wonder just who will be moving into these new apartments and whether some of them will struggle to find tenant. Quite to the contrary, the downtown area, with its seemingly incessant grown in new apartment development, proudly sports a 97% occupancy rate according to The Columbus Dispatch and the City’s own development reports. Millennials as well as empty nesters, it would seem, are increasingly choosing apartment living over the suburban iconic three-bedroom and two-bath- white picket fence abode.

And why not? As with other broad, societal transformations, there are a plethora of factors driving these housing trends. Apartment developers and managers are offering residents a great many new amenities and lifestyles in their complexes. Gone are the days when a weight room and a small swimming pool were the main amenities of apartment buildings. These are still big draws no doubt, though you will likely find a fully equipped gym sporting the latest in fitness equipment and flat screen technology. But that’s not all. The new apartments now offer doggie parks, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, vegetable garden plots and more. The facilities and landscape have changed quickly to keep up with the new life of the apartment denizen.

EMI’s landscaping has been a leader in these types of maintenance upgrades and in adding new lifestyle-driven landscape features at many area apartment complexes. Many of our clients have been demanding features such as community gardens so tenants can grow their own vegetables. Bird watching areas and butterfly gardens have been popular as well.

Many of the new apartment projects are located in areas close to restaurants and shopping and offices. The new tenants, it would seem, prefer walking or biking to work and use automobiles recreationally. This explains the many single building, multi-story complexes in busy areas of the city. Such developments are also driving the trends in city planning and streetscapes, causing a boom in commercial landscaping as well. After all, if you are walking to work and along local streets for your shopping and entertainment, it’s not a concrete and asphalt jungle that is most enticing.

So watch for streetscape and other transformational commercial landscaping projects to blossom around these developments. The new tenancy attracts small restaurants, shops, upscale grocers and florist, not just bars and coffee shops.

A significant portion of the apartment construction boom centers around new building catering to new residents; Columbus is still attracting new residents at a brisk pace and the metro area population crossed the 2 million mark in 2015 according to an article in The Dispatch. However, many older area apartments are feeling the squeeze and are upgrading their facilities and adding new amenities and features both in order to compete with the new apartments developments for new tenants as well as to retain existing residents.

The building boom is slated to continue for the for seeable future. Significant development projects are in the works in several areas of the city including the downtown areas of East Franklington and the Scioto River Peninsula as reported in Columbus Underground.

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commercial landscaping services best trees for City Street plantings

How to select the best trees for City Street plantings?

EMI Landscape

There are literally hundreds of tree species available for planting in North America. However, when it comes to streetscapes and plantings, a good arborist will tell you, there are just a dozen or so which are ideal or suitable for the purpose. In the big cities like Chicago and New York, just a few species make up most of the trees planted along the street,

One has to consider the mature size of the tree and choose a type that will be suitable for that specific street, the width, the location and height of the buildings. Large canopy trees are usually preferred, growing 30 – 50 feet tall. The spread of the tree must be considered. The type of leaves and the canopy are also important.  Debris and leaf removal is a very important consideration. Some trees such as hornbeam drop a lot of small dead branches, which makes them quite unsuitable for streetscapes. Others trees have fruit which drop and rot on the pavements and streets; the most extreme example of this being a female ginko tree. Some have a lot of pollen. Some trees even drip sap, at certain times of the year, which is harmful to  the paint on automobiles and bikes. These and other characteristics must be taken into consideration when selecting trees for planting along a city street. Appearance and beauty are very important but selecting trees  for this purpose based on appearance alone is bound to lead to problems  in the long  run.

The most important factor is the ability of the species to survive and thrive in urban environments and handle air and ground pollution as well as compact soil. Site-specific factors such as soil moisture, wind factors, shade and others should also be considered. Hardiness and climate zones will further factor in to your decision. Since so many factors come into play, commercial growers focus on a few sturdy and suitable species. This sometimes limits what is available locally in sufficient numbers for the street in question.

One factor that is often ignored is diversity. As mentioned earlier, in many cities, just a few species make up the vast majority of the trees planted along the streets. This leads to monocultures andmakestrees susceptible to disease and pests, which can wipe out large numbers of trees in a city. It is advisable to scout the adjacent streets and try to avoid the same species as everyone else. Alternating along the same street can also be a useful and quite attractive strategy.

Armed with a bit of research and the help of a good arborist,you should be able to make a choice that will serve you well for several decades.   Here is our go to list for Central Ohio species that will thrive and serve well for streetscapes and pavements.

The following lists of recommended trees may be helpful but are not intended to be comprehensive.

Large Canopy Trees with mature heights over 40’

Italian Alder Alnuscordata
Common Hackberry Celtisoccidentalis
Turkish Filbert Coryluscolurna
Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba cultivars
Kentucky Coffeetree Gymnocladusdioicus
Sycamore Platanusoccidentalis
Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor
Bur Oak Quercusmacrocarpa
Chinkapin Oak Quercusmuehlenbergii
Regal Prince Oak Quercusrobur
Shumard Oak Quercusshumardii
Baldcypress Taxodiumdistichum
Sterling Silver Linden Tiliatomentosa ‘Sterling’
Green Vase Zelkova Zelkova ‘Green Vase’


Medium CanopyTrees  with  mature heights of 25’ – 40’

Trident Maple Acer buergerianum
Japanese Katsuratree Cercidiphyllumjaponicum
American Yellowwood Cladrastiskentukea
Hardy Rubber Tree Eucommiaulmoides
Carolina Silverbell Halesiacarolina
Golden Rain Tree Koelreuteriapaniculata
Amur Maackia Maackiaamurensis
Whiteshield Osage Orange Maclurapomifera
Elizabeth Magnolia Magnolia acuminata ‘Elizabeth’
Galaxy Magnolia Magnolia x ‘Galaxy’
Sunburst Magnolia Magnolia x ‘Sunburst’
Yellow Lantern Magnolia Magnolia x ‘Yellow Lantern’
Persian Parrotia Parrotiapersica
Amur Corktree Phellodendronamurence
Japanese Flowering Cherry

Award winning Celebration Garden at Wedgewood Golf & Country Club

EMI Designs Celebration Garden at Wedgewood Golf and Country Club

EMI Landscape

EMI designed the “Celebration Garden” for Wedgewood Golf and Country Club in Powell, Ohio. The Country Club was featured in a recent article in Wedgewood Life Magazine and was awarded a “Knot Best of Weddings” award for top wedding vendors across America! We love that budding romance is being celebrated in one of our beautiful installations! We congratulate Wedgewood Golf & Country Club for being selected to be at the very top among the highest-rated wedding professionals in the nation. What’s even more impressive is that the selection is made from reviews by real couples, their families and their wedding guests.


Fall Seasonal Pot Display

Forty Days to Fall Color

EMI Landscape

With only some 40 days left until fall officially starts, its time to start thinking about fall color! With all of the beautiful red yellows and oranges in the trees wouldn’t you like to spruce up your landscaping with some gorgeous fall flowers and pumpkins and decorative kale?  Each year, our teams get about the city and create splashes of seasonal color. At apartment complexes, building entrances, clubs,shopping districts  and businesses;  our seasonal plantings enhance the natural beauty of existing landscapes.  It also makes good business sense to treat your customers and clients to well-maintained exteriors. Curb appeal is as important to your business as it is to real estate.

Gay Street

I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues – Dr. Seuss

EMI Landscape

As summer draws to a close, this is a great time to take a look at your trees to see if any of them are showing signs of stress. Dead branches, discolored leaves or patchy spots on leaves are some of the signs that your tree may be in need of attention. Stress, left unattended in trees, can result in damage or reduced growth and decline. Eventually, the affected trees will start to look unsightly. They may lose branches, decline over a period of time and die.

The causes of stresses in trees are quite varied. They may be acute and result from such things as storms, construction damage or wounds. Tree stress can also be gradual, incremental and build over time. Such chronic stress factors include, excess moisture or drought and poor soil conditions that deprive the tree of nutrition.

As in humans, stress in trees makes them more susceptible to disease and to harm from insects and parasites. A periodic check-up is the best way to make sure your trees remain healthy and enhance the beauty of your property for years to come. Most stress causing factors can be remedied with early identification, before the tree begins to show signs of significant stress-related damage.

One of our certified arborists will come out and conduct an onsite inspection of your trees, make an evaluation and suggest treatments and effective solutions. If it’s an issue that can be treated we will offer a suitable treatment plan. If replacement seems like the best option, we will offer a plan to do so. Our goal is always to prevent damage and disease and to preserve your trees. Replacement can sometimes be the only option for badly affected or damaged trees. If that is the only option we will work with our clients to get the necessary zoning requirements met and the tree replacements approved.

Are your trees stressed?  How can you find out and what can you do to ensure their longevity?


Do You Have Landscape Renovation Needs?

Do You Have Landscape Renovation Needs?

EMI Landscape

Properties can easily become untended over the years – often due to poor or outdated design and material usage. We work to create landscapes that are easier to maintain while also working to increase the property’s value and enhances “curb appeal”. Let our staff of professional Landscape Architects survey your property and suggest improvements to your site, including:

  1. Creative Incorporation of New Structures/Plantings into the Existing Landscape
  2. Replacement/Repair of Outdated or Dilapidated Structures
  3. Removal of Older Plantings Not Suited to the Proposed Landscape Environment

Learn more about our commercial installation services…

The Responsible Approach to your Environment

The Responsible Approach to your Environment

EMI Landscape

The environments we experience on our beautiful Earth are precious – and so is your property and those who live/work/play on it. At EMI, we are continuously conscious of available green practices and water-saving techniques to position ourselves as responsible comrades to this Earth.

Practicing Water Conservation:

  1. Our solutions work with weather satellites
  2. Xeriscaping tactics reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation
  3. We use water-saving irrigation heads
  4. We install rain sensors (to avoid watering while raining)
  5. Our services ensure proper adjustments to avoid watering of sidewalks and other unnecessary areas
  6. We can utilize rain gardens to capture water naturally

Learn more about our environmentally-sensitive practices…