Permeable pavers – site water collection and storage – use collected water to irrigate your garden



Sustainable Landscape Practices

Permeable pavers 

Permeable paving allows rainwater to rapidly infiltrate into the soil where it is naturally filtered, and not running off the land into storm sewers. Replacing impervious surfaces such as driveways and walkways with permeable paving reduces overall storm water runoff. When permeable pavers are combined with water retention systems the water can be used to irrigate your garden.

On site water retention 

Through the use of aqua boxes, rain barrels and cisterns capture and re-use water for your landscape irrigation. Systems of all sizes for above ground or below ground to allow water directed from roof and surface water for the a benefit to your landscape.

Irrigation retrofits

Evaluate your existing irrigation system and decide how to make it as water smart as possible. We can use drip systems and more efficient time clocks to monitor soil moisture and apply the correct amount of water. Advanced systems are monitored system via the Internet.

Click here to see video of the building of these sustainable systems (this video will be updated as the project progresses)

Organic 100% Natural Lawn and Plant Health Care Solutions



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Garden Gate is proud to annouce a new service – Organic 100% Natural Lawn and Garden Care Solutions

Click here or on the image to visit the Garden Gate organics site

Benefits of our healthy, alternative solution for the care of your lawn and garden.

  • A beautiful landscape that is safe for children and pets.
  • Eliminate the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Build a diverse, robust ecological system that holds nutrients and water.
  • Reduce pollution due to leaching and runoff helping to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  • Recharges groundwater and streams with fresh, clean water.

Pond Garden and Waterfalls gets make-over.



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Waterfalls and pond receive a make-over for Spring 2011.

In anticipation of the Sandy Spring Museum Spring 2011 Garden Tour we are giving our demonstration waterfalls and pond garden a complete make-over. The size will be more than double our previous pond garden. A new stone path will allow viewer to “walk on water” right through the center of the pond garden. Twin waterfalls and a floating “table” garden will provide sound and visual excitement. New fish and plants will top off the garden with a flourish of color and interest.

My Favorite Garden Design Reference Books

by Cathy Carr, APLD

My friend Jane Berger wrote the other day, asking what my favorite reference and design inspiration books are. Jane is going to cover the topic in an upcoming post on her well-respected blog, As I looked through my home library, the following books showed the wear of more than occasional review:

New Garden Design: Inspiring Private Paradises, by Zahir Sandra

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein

Contemplative Gardens, by Julie Moir Messervy

Gardening with Nature: How James van Sweden and Wolfgang Oehme Plant Slopes, Meadows, Outdoor Rooms and Garden Screens, by James van Sweden

The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design, by James van Sweden

Color in My Garden, by Louise Beebe Wilder

Time-Tested Plants: Thirty Years in a Four-Season Garden, by Pamela Harper

Designing with Perennials, by Pamela Harper

Gardens by Design,by Noel Kingsbury

Rain Gardens: Managing water sustainably in the garden and designed landscape, by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden.

The Well-Designed Mixed Garden, by Tracy diSabato-Aust

Cathy Carr Receives Houzz’s 2012 ‘Best Of Remodeling’ Award

Cathy Carr, APLD, of Garden Gate Landscaping, Inc. 

Receives Houzz’s 2012 ‘Best Of Remodeling’ Award

Silver Spring, MD – March 25, 2012 – CATHY CARR of Garden Gate Landscaping, Inc. has been awarded  “Best Of Remodeling” 2012 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design.  Her projects were chosen by the more than 1.2 million registered members of the Houzz community.

The Houzz “Best Of Remodeling” award for 2012 is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction award winners are based on homeowner members who rated their experience working with remodeling professionals in 12 categories ranging from architects, and interior designers to contractors and other residential remodeling professionalsDesign award winners’ work was the most popular among the 1.2 million members, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 16.5 million professional images to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site and iPad/iPhone app.

Garden Gate Landscaping, Inc., is a Design/Build firm that designs and then constructs the projects it designed.  Cathy is the firm’s senior designer.  She has received a dozen regional and national awards for her residential garden designs in the last ten years.  Images of some of her award-winning projects can be found on the Garden Gate Website,, or on the Houzz site by filtering for LANDSCAPE and the DC METRO area.

The Colors of Spring


by Cathy Carr, APLD Landscape Design Consultant

Yellow, pink, and green are the essential colors of spring.


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YELLOW is an emblem of hope and happiness.

The color of our sun, it illuminates and brightens.

I’m sure you’ve noticed: there are lots of yellow flowers in the spring. Most years in my garden, winter aconites (Eranthis) are emerging and even blooming by February. Oregon grapeholly, Mahonia spps., blooms fragrantly nearby. These harbingers of spring precede the softer yellow blossoms of winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), which punctuate bright green stems. Forsythia bloom later than the jasmine, in sunnier shades. Of course, daffodils (Narcissus) are also usually some shade of yellow, as are many crocuses.

Because the sky is so visible is early spring, the soft haze thickening the branches of deciduous trees is quite noticeable. The delicate, quiet, buttercup yellow blossoms of Corneliancherry dogwood, Cornus mas, and fragrant winterhazel, Corylopsis pauciflora, are especially stunning when fronting evergreen trees.

Pink is another recurrent color of spring.

PINK is a soothing salve, suffusing us with peace and contentment. Continue reading

Garden Gate Helps Build Outdoor Classroom


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Garden Gate Helps Build Outdoor Classroom 

Support for Atholton Elementary School and their2011 Green Team theme: No Child Left Inside 

There was magic in the air as many volunteers and donors came together on June 3rd to construct Atholton’s beautiful outdoor classroom. Garden Gate provided plants and labor led by our motivated contract administrator Rod Young and an expert Garden Gate crew. Together, they helped with the project that included an amphitheater-style classroom, tables for working in small groups, a bird blind for observing birds in their habitat, and a nature path down to the babbling stream. 

New research is showing that spending time outdoors improves student behavior, attendance and attitudes . Being outdoors reduces student stress and fosters a deeper connection with the environment while allowing an alternative way for students to learn. This completed project now serves as a model in Howard County and will benefit their students, staff and community for years to come.

If you have a worthy project for 2012, let us know!

Brookmont Community Church Goes Native


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Lending a helping hand to Washington, DC/Metro Area communities since 1964 Garden Gate Donates Day of Service, Expertise 

Brookmont Community Church ‘Goes Native’ 

This spring Garden Gate helped the Brookmont Community Church in Bethesda by donating a day of service. Brookmont needed assistance solving some drainage problems—water was seeping into the basement and a solution was needed. Brandon Sackett, one of our talented Landscape Design Consultants recommended a viable grading solution. However, Brandon immediately saw an opportunity to contribute more. 

Over the past few years the Brookmont has been working on ‘going native’ by both incorporating more native plantings into their landscape and using their landscape to help educate people on how native plants can be beautiful and beneficial for wildlife and plant communities. Brandon offered ideas on how to rearrange existing plantings and add others that would support birds and butterflies. To promote learning and enjoyment of the garden by even the youngest community members, Brandon placed cut walnut logs throughout the plantings so the Brookmont day care children would have a place to sit and watch the garden and its inhabitants.

Garden Gate was pleased to support this wonderful project and the people of Brookmont Community Church through the donation of time, design and materials.

2011 Sandy Spring Museum Garden Tour to Tour Garden Gate on Saturday, May 21st.


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2011 Sandy Spring Museum Garden Tour to Tour Garden Gate on Saturday, May 21st.

Treasured gardens await your visit on Saturday, May 21 when the Sandy Spring Museum holds their biennial Garden Tour from 10 am to 4 pm.  Enjoy remarkable, private gardens in the Layhill/Ashton area, as well as the garden of Garden Gate Landscaping, a national award-winning company–all will be awash with color, unusual plantings, and brimming with design ideas both traditional and contemporary. Owners will be on site for first-hand tips and to answer questions, and local artists painting en plein air will further enhance the lovely settings.

Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 the day of the tour. Box lunches for $7 must be purchased by May 18. Both may be purchased at the Sandy Spring Museum or with a credit card by calling the museum at 301-774-0022. Tickets will also be available the day of the tour at the museum and at individual gardens.

More info… here



THE NEW, THE OLD, AND THE BOLD- Here are 11 great plants for 2011


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THE NEW, THE OLD, AND THE BOLD– Here are 11 great plants for 2011. Enjoy the selection and see if there are any opportunities to liven up your garden with one of these great perennials, shrubs or trees.  This selection should have a little structure, color, fragrance and bloom for everyone. Which ones do you love?

Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise'

Dianthus ‘Raspberry Surprise’

Perennial-Grows 6-10” in height

Full Sun

Blooms in Summer

“New perennial offering very fragrant, double pink blossoms with a red center.”

Hydrangea arboresense 'Incrediball'

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’- 

Flowering Shrub-4-5’ in height

Full Sun to Partial Shade

Blooms in Summer

“Very cold hardy and reliable Hydrangea.  Excellent for cut flowers.”

Continue reading