When Joe Tekulve launched his high school lawn-mowing business 31 years ago, he probably didn’t anticipate that it would grow into one of the city’s premier landscaping businesses. From landscape installation and certified irrigation contracting to lighting, pavers and retaining walls, Joe and his crew of 35 (peak season) employees are the secret weapons behind some of the loveliest local lawns and gardens. Suffering from a bit of spring fever ourselves, we convinced Joe to flex his horticultural design know-how and double down on some surefire tips for both seasonal and long-term planting success.
Back to Basics
“The basics are the best because they’re proven in the area. There’s a lot of really cool plants out there, but they’re not all hardy in zone 6-7. I like to recommend spruce and maple trees, boxwoods, perennials, knockout roses and burning bush. Going off the grid can make it hard to keep them alive. Southern magnolias are beautiful, but several years ago many of them died around here during a harsh winter.”
Bulbs on a Budget
“I wish people would use more tulips and daffodils—they’re inexpensive and very hearty. The daffodils come back every year, but we tend to replant tulips annually.”
When adding landscape design for a brand-new home, Joe starts with foundation plantings.
“I’d go with boxwoods, Stella D’Oro daylilies and even birch trees because they are tall and thin. Getting out into the yard, I’d put in some shade trees—maples and oaks—and maybe some privacy screens using arborvitae or spruce trees. If the budget allows, I’d also add rock and outcropping; a decorative wall and lighting.”
When updating an older home, Joe recommends strategically removing plants.
“Renovation is underrated. Sometimes you need to rip stuff out and start over. A lot of foundation plants have a limit to their age. For example, sand cherries only last about 15-20 years. Other plants just won’t thrive after a while. Selectively ripping out the older plants can make the landscape look much fresher.”
“You’re always going to get a bigger impact with larger trees or plants. At Homearama, most of the winners put in really big plants. It’s important to invest in 3-inch caliper trees if you can,” Joe explains.
Paramount Landscaping, 8900 Glendale Milford Road, Loveland, 513.984.5200, ParamountLandscaping.com