Expert Tips: Creating and Maintaining the Perfect Landscape

Dan Eichenlaub of Eichenlaub Inc. gives the scoop on how to make your lawn look great.

photos courtesy eichenlaub inc.


Dan Eichenlaub and his brothers founded Eichenlaub Inc., a design-build landscape construction and maintenance firm based in Cheswick, in 1972. Today, Eichenlaub Inc.’s team members — who are certified in horticulture, landscape architecture, irrigation and pesticide application — tackle everything from small urban gardens to full-scale estate property management and the installation of commercial landscapes.

Eichenlaub, a former chairman of the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association who sits on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, answers our queries on how to create (and maintain) a pleasing landscape.


What are some of the key ingredients to make your landscape a success?
Features such as outdoor kitchens or grills, fire pits, water features and accent lighting are all popular. But no matter what the project, proper installation and maintenance are the most important keys to an enjoyable and lasting project.

Pittsburgh’s weather often is unpredictable. What plants thrive best in our rainy/cool/boiling-hot region?
There are many plants with different textures, colors and growth habits to use in the creation of extraordinary landscapes. The most important consideration is that the plant is hardy to Zone 5 (the United States Department of Agriculture designation on the Plant Hardiness Zone Map). Just because something is sold locally, it won’t necessarily survive here. Beyond the weather, consider animals that might share our space, [including] deer, raccoons and herons (which eat pond fish). Some of the numerous plants we suggest are Persian Parrotia trees, Henry Garnett Itea and Nikko Deutzia.

 What plants does every homeowner need for his or her landscape?
 Success is more in choosing the correct plant for your space and having variety. For instance, colored bark (red twig dogwood, white birch) or textured bark (hickory) can add year-round interest. Plant size at maturity and shape are important and many times are overlooked. The most important thing is to have a good plan that meets your desires while having the vision and patience to see it through.

 What do you suggest to add pizzazz to our porches?
 Color. Year-round seasonal flower and color displays, pots, urns and properly created hanging baskets are wonderful options. If there is space, a couple of pieces of furniture can add a functional and attractive point of interest. Properly designed and installed lighting will create a welcoming image at night. These items work with a well-thought-out landscape to create an awesome curb appeal.


Categories: HOME + Design