Leaf Removal Prevents Home and Garden Damage

Here a Leaf, There a Leaf 

Don’t be a procrastinator!  As we journey further into Fall, it’s important to get the leaves off the ground quickly and to mow your lawn until the first frost.  This will keep the grass strong and healthy.  If leaves aren’t removed and remain on your lawn as they fell, they’ll  deprive your lawn of important sunlight and rain that will help it stay healthy through the winter months. Also, if leaves are left on the ground, it will lead to mold and pest problems (mice, rats, etc.) because the water will get trapped in the lawn.

And be sure to remove leaves from your deck — leaves that accumulate on decks can lead to algae, mildew and mold, which will cause the wood to rot.  

And keep in mind, leaves do not just fall on your lawn and deck  — they fall in your gutters! Clean your gutters every month. Clean gutters will save you from experiencing  serious problems with water around your house whether it be landscaping erosion, water in your basement or damage to wood around your roof. But be careful on that ladder, and work in pairs to be sure you don’t have any ladder accidents.   

The DC Ladies are GardenWise

Hello @DCLadies!

We started to follow @DCLadies on twitter last year because we loved their name! Soon we were visiting their fabulous site each week. Their one paragraph bio made us read on . . . “A forty something mom and her twenty something daughter team up to give you an eclectic mix of what is fun, fashionable, family related and just plain fabulous in our Capital Area for women.” Well, Shelley and Sarah deliver, with original content ranging from DC events, DC style, DC Food, and stories for everyone in and out of the district to enjoy.

Today, GardenWise shares our Landscape and Gardening ideas and tips with The DC Ladies, and we couldn’t be more excited. J. Mark White is a native Washingtonian and he founded GardenWise on Capitol Hill in 1994. Metro-DC is so special, with the most incredible spaces to add gardens. As summer begins, make your garden spaces all they can be, whether you’re in an urban area with limited space or in a neighborhood with larger garden spaces. Remember, you already have the space! How you define it and use it can forever change how you live your life at home.

As everyone in DC knows, a DC Lady can be a Foggy Bottom Lady, a Capitol Hill Lady, or a Penthill Lady. But in the Metro-DC area, a DC Lady can also be an Arlington Lady, a Silver Spring Lady or an Alexandria Lady. While we love our neighborhoods, combined we make up the DC Ladies, and that’s what we loved about this site, it’s for everyone!

Something we must remind all the DC Ladies, if you take on a larger gardening project or one that involves hardscape (retaining walls, steps, brick work, etc.) talk to a trained and educated landscape professional whose job it is to avoid the traps untrained folks will fall into. Broken gas lines are just the beginning — replacing improperly designed and installed plantings, walkways, arbors, brick and stone work, water features and irrigations systems can be quite costly, and will only take away from what should be a fantastic and inspired gardening experience and result.

Pictured: GardenWise, Inc. projects on Capitol Hill and in Georgetown (photo credits: Home & Design Magazine and Lydia Cutter)

Gardenwise on Leaf Removal

Leaves, Leaves, Everywhere!

It’s really important to remove the leaves from your lawn — if they’re left there they’ll  deprive your lawn of important sunlight and rain that’s going to help it through the winter months. Also, if leaves are left on the ground, they could lead to mold problems and even pest problems (yes! mice, etc.) because the water will get trapped in the lawn.

Don’t be a procrastinator!  It’s important to get the leaves off the ground quickly and to to mow your lawn until the first frost. This will keep the grass strong and healthy. Be sure to remove leaves from your deck — leaves that accumulate on decks can lead to algae, mildew and mold, plus cause the wood to rot.

And remember, leaves do not just fall on your lawn and deck  — they fall in your gutters! Clean your gutters every month. Clean gutters will save you from experiencing  serious problems with water around your house whether it be landscaping erosion, water in your basement or damage to wood around your roof. But be careful on that ladder, and work in pairs to be sure you don’t have any ladder  accidents. 

Getting Ready for 2011          in 2010, DC Style!

A new GardenWise project in DC, pictured left, includes a new front entrance that is under construction. Improvements include new stone entry walk, and a front porch with surrounding seat wall.  An array of new plantings will include evergreens for year round interest, and  a variety of perennials and ground covers that will provide texture and variety for seasonal interest.


J. Mark White in Home & Design magazine


A Design Team Transforms a Georgetown Rowhouse 

By Catherine Applefeld Olson | Photography by Erik Johnson

H&DHome & Design features Landscape Architect J. Mark White of GardenWise, Inc. who transformed the previously ignored Georgetwon space into a Zen garden, another bridge to Morris’s fascination with the East and an extension of the home’s interior.  She enjoys meals at a table under a bamboo-topped pergola, which canopies a mother-of-pearl lantern, while an oversized ceramic vase turned into a gurgling fountain encourages visitors to just sit and relax.  White also combined plants typical of the traditional English garden – such as the climbing rose on the arbor – with elements of the Japanese style garden, including the pergola made of stone and cedar and topped with bamboo. 

HOME & DESIGN Story Link http://bit.ly/jp3Lx













J. Mark White Guest Stars on “Let’s Talk Live!”


D.C. Garden Design & GardenWise, Inc.   

WJLA’s NEWSCHANNEL8 featured J. Mark White of GardenWise, Inc. as a lead guest on their signature program, Let’s Talk Live, to discuss Washington, D.C., Garden Design, and great tips for getting gardens ready for different seasons.  Mark gave easy to follow tips on how to make the most of your outside spaces with program hosts Doug McKelway and Natasha Barrett.  Mark also shared some “behind the scene” secrets with Natasha from his episodes of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” that were filmed on location in Washington DC.

J. Mark White Discussing Garden Design on WJLA NewsChannel8's "Let's Talk Live!"

See J. Mark White in Chesapeake Home


Crafting A Classic


chesapeake homeLANDSCAPE ARCHITECT J. Mark White, President of GardenWise, Inc., had enjoyed a long and congenial history of creating gardens for the homes that architect Rob Morris designed and built. So when the opportunity arose for Morris, of the Arlington,Virginia-based Morris-Day Designers and Builders, to design and build a home for White, he jumped at the chance.

Morris had purchased a large piece of land in the Cherrydale neighborhood, which he planned to subdivide into four or five homes. He developed prototypes for these future homes that were loosely based on the turn-of-the-century architecture already there—“We’re known for doing a lot of work in old neighborhoods,” he says.“This was not an affluent area when it was originally developed but one that was full of hardworking, middle-income people. Then post World War II, it was augmented with colonials. This place was very quiet until the 1990s, when gentrification began.”

After working together on some modifications to the layout of one of Morris’s home plans, the two agreed upon a Greek Revival-style structure that mirrors homes throughout the South. Although the house boasts 3,000 square feet on two above-grade levels, it doesn’t appear overwhelming.  “When we are designing new houses in older neighborhoods, we try to take care that the new ones are visually compatible with the existing homes. We also were careful that the house looked smaller when viewed from the street…we really do try to reinforce the earlier generations of homes,” says Morris. “We hid a lot of the additional space by using dormers and attic rooms, as well as front porches and bay windows that are more finely scaled.”

It worked perfectly for White, who notes that his sense of style is strongly based in tradition but with a dose of modern vitality. “One of the great things about working with Morris-Day is that their homes are very well crafted and true to a historical foundation at the same time,” says White. “I really appreciate their craftsmanship.”

Some of those well-crafted details include windows with individual glass panes, thick columns, and substantial exterior trim. By incorporating these details, the focus really is not on the size of the house as much as on the exterior architectural elements and White’s landscaping.

On the first floor are the living, dining, family, breakfast, and powder rooms, as well as the kitchen. Part of a butler’s pantry provided space for a bathroom that White’s clients can use when visiting. (White’s office is a sort of carriage house that is separate from the main house but still on the property. It is a light, airy place that opens onto the patio and fountain.)

The family room boasts details such as built-in bookcases and paneled walls. “Everything really flows from room to room, and the openings between rooms include very big arches,” says White, who adds that he requested built-in shelving to display his collection of white pottery that dates to the 1930s. “Then there are natural stone mosaic tiles around the fireplace.”

“But my favorite place is the breakfast room, which has plenty of windows and gets a lot of light. It is the room most closely connected to the garden, and it overlooks the water feature through the room’s French doors.”

The second floor has a master bedroom and bathroom, two bedrooms with access to a hall bathroom, and a guest suite that consists of a bedroom and full bath. Above this is an attic, which is strictly used for storage.

White and Morris collaborated on the interior design as well. “We worked with pieces Mark had, pieces we selected together, and things he chose,” says Morris. “Anything that is attached to the house—such as the Farrow & Ball wallpaper, the interior tiles, flooring, and paint colors—we were involved with.”

When it came to the landscaping, White notes that he has been strongly influenced by English gardens for their use of color and the Italian Renaissance for its formal vistas and structural stonework, which he believes, “probably typifies how Americans are influenced by different cultures.”

“Since the house is a Greek Revival-style building, I really wanted to make use of a lot of Southern plants such as magnolias, dogwoods, camellias, and crape myrtles.” White adds that when it comes to color, he was inspired by the English Garden style, which typically includes white, yellow, and blue. “In the garden, I planted a lot of different things that are growing at various times of the year. I wanted my garden to be multi-seasonal with a ‘Japanese Garden’ style incorporated into the design. This was achieved through the use of traditional Japanese plant material like bamboo, which represents resilience and strength, and evergreens such as azaleas, nandinas, and yews, which signify timelessness.”

The grassy front lawn sweeps up from the street to the house, showing off the surrounding plants, and it is this lawn that is perhaps the most labor-intensive area outdoors, notes White. His back patio is paved with bluestone bordered in Belgian block, as is the walkway in the front of the house. The patio is the spot where, weather permitting, White indulges his passion for entertaining. “The patio is sort of an extension of the house…I do a lot of entertaining and have a gas grill there,” he says.

From the patio, a gravel path leads to a round water feature, which is the primary image seen from the house. “The water feature is a very traditional caststone basin that spills into a lower pool. I incorporated cobalt blue glass mosaic tiles in the lower basin, giving it a more contemporary edge,” says White.

To acknowledge the usual headaches —the inevitable weather delays, errors, broken delivery dates, and so forth—that come with new construction or remodeling, Morris reports that, “if you are used to this, it’s more like managed chaos than a nightmare.”

But the final result was well worth the effort. “In the end, the level of detail people should expect in homes that are worth living in is often lacking in new homes,” says Morris, “but this house looks and feels as though someone cared about it. This is a timeless product.”


GardenWise, Inc.: www.gardenwiseinc.com or 202-543-3422 / 703-243-5982

Morris-Day Designers and Builders: www.morris-day.com or 703-524-5220

Farrow & Ball: www.farrow-ball.com or 888-511-1121

CHESAPEAKE HOME Story Link: http://www.morris-day.com/publications/ChesHome-MarkWhite.pdf