Signature Landscapes founder Sharon Heinz draws on more than 10 years of landscaping experience to transform outdoor spaces, increasing the beauty and value of clients' properties. Using special imaging software, she generates before and after images of homes so that customers can see how lush greenery, flower beds, ornamental ponds, and other features will look. If desired, she and her team can also install fencing, gazebos, and additional built-in elements.
At Trim-A-Tree Farms, patrons choose their Christmas tree from a plot of still-planted leyland pine trees and chop it down themselves or have an able-bodied staff member cut, net, and load their catch. Guests stroll through rows of lush green trees ($7.50/ft.) in search of the right plant to fill lonely living-room corners as the aroma of pine needles induces memories of a past infatuation with an air freshener. Between passes through the farm, warm up with steaming mugs of hot chocolate or melt fingers over a bonfire's licking flames as little ones trot through fields atop Star, Trim-A-Tree's trusty chestnut pony, during complimentary pony rides. Though additional items are not included in this Groupon, ornaments from the gift shop revamp trees, and adventurous souls can indulge in free temporary tattoos that take the shape of holiday icons or Scrooge's evening gruel.
In the early 20th century, Tate Farms was a social hub for sharecroppers, who congregated at farmer John Patterson's general store, blacksmith shop, and gristmill. More than 200 harvests later, John Patterson's grandson, Homer Tate's descendants continue to uphold the farm’s legacy as a community gathering spot. However, instead of waiting for a new batch of horseshoes or gossiping about which neighbor might be a spy for the Kaiser, people now come to pick from 90 varieties of pumpkins on the 70-acre pumpkin patch. Leading visitors across the wider 5,000-acre fields, tour guides not only illuminate the farm’s history but teach visitors rural-agriculture info, including lessons on the role bees play in pollinating pumpkins and cotton.
Though the Tate family strives to preserve the past, they have retrofitted the farm with a brand new 14,000-square-foot covered area. Here, visitors sample fresh pumpkin pie made with the farm’s own pumpkins at the Country Café or head to the bakery for fresh pumpkin muffins and cinnamon rolls.
The meticulous lawn techs at JTL Lawncare introduce their powerful mowers to overgrown grass blades every 7–10 days to help customers spend less time with their lawns and more time with their families. When they aren't leveling verdant surfaces, the crew trims hedges, removes clippings, extracts weeds, purges gutters, and pressure washes driveways for an additional fee. They ask that clients clear their lawns of all toys, garden hoses, dogs, and outdated moats before each appointment.:m]]
Thoughtful landscape design takes time, much like courtship or training a cat to bark. That's why the designers at White Shovel spread out the process across three visits. On the first, they meet with homeowners to survey their home and get a feel for personal aesthetic preferences. On the second, designers offer up photos of several different designs, and clients determine which elements belong in the final product. On the third, the landscapers unveil the final layout and help homeowners wade through costs and materials.
Gabriel's Garden's beauteous bounty of home- and garden-oriented gifts can match your last-minute Mother's Day, or first-minute Earth Day 2011, shopping needs. Stock up on scented goodies such as the eye-catching Vance Kitira pillar candles (from $4.95) or the shea-butter-enriched Pre de Provence soaps ($1.50–$7.95) available in more than 30 fragrances—none of which, thankfully, are "Uncle Leroy's cigars" or "junior-high locker room." For long-term garden glory, plant a batch of Kalalou Botanical's recycled foam stems ($9.95–$27.95), or invite the animal kingdom into your home without even cracking a window with the pale-yellow bee charmer dishes ($2.95–$59.95) with adorable bumbling bee patterns.