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Landscaping is a lot like a haircut, it frames your home and communicates your personality to the rest of the world. Are you looking for practicality, invention, liveliness, or charm? How about something classic, or no-fuss, or exquisitely breathtaking? While every homeowner has their own design style, preferences and budget, they also look to the experts for advice. Much like requesting the perfect ‘do from your stylist, landscape architects are there to assist you with the most appropriate look to complement your villa. Costa Farms Nursery in La Romana is the preferred landscaping service provider for Casa de Campo homes and projects.
In 2016, they earned global status as the International Grower of the Year, excelling in horticulture expertise, energy and production practices, and are also notably the landscapers behind Costasur’s 2km Vista Lagos parkland. In a community with over 2,200 properties, choosing how to uniquely and elegantly design the area around your villa is essential. Blending into the essence of Casa de Campo as well as magnifying its natural beauty is one of Costa Farms’ specialities. To understand optimum landscaping here in the resort, we met up with Costa Farms for the ins-and-outs:
When is an appropriate time to begin landscaping on a villa under construction?
It is important to start the design process as early as possible, even before construction begins. This allows our architects to create a concept that is completely aligned with the project at hand. It also allows us time to adapt all trees and palms so minimal impact is felt during transplanting.
The best time to execute a design is when all exterior jobs are done— this includes hardscape, plumbing pipes, electrical pipes, trenches, exterior painting, etc. When all these are done, it’s the optimal time to work. Some jobs can be done earlier, like large palms and tree installation, and ground fillings and conditioning can be started too.
What are the best plants to consider growing in our climate?
The list is as large as our facilities in La Romana, but some all-time favorites include Bougainvilleas (Bougainvillea glabra), Hibiscus spp, Crotons (Coaedium variegatum), Heliconias (Heliconias spp), Areca Palms, and Aglaonemas.
Any particularly beautiful plants that flourish and thrive here?
Here in the east coast, we must take into consideration poor soil and plants that can thrive with the microclimate we have in La Romana, which include ones like Guayigas (Zamia spp), Sea grape (Cocoloba uvifera), Ficus green island (Ficus microcarpa), and Grey bottom wood (Conocarpus erectus sericeus). We like to mix endemic species that naturally thrive in our conditions with imported varieties that create a unique look.
Do you have any what not-to-do tips?
We strongly advise our clients to plant the recommended density (plants per square meter) for each plant. Too dense will create future maintenance problems. If you fall short, then it’s going to take forever to have the desired look…. balance is the way to go. Plants that grow best in shade must be in shade and sunny plants be in full sun.
Another important tip is to invest in good and abundant soil; in the long run, you will have a healthy good-looking garden if you invest in a good foundation, which in this case is the amount of soil needed for large plants, bed plants, and lawn. Finally, waiting for the right moment to start the landscape construction is key. Too early can mean damaging part of the already installed garden— it will look bad in the end or cost you extra money.
How does Costa Farms harmonize landscaping with the design of each villa?
Architecture is one of the priorities during our design process, aside from client views and needs. Privacy is taken into consideration, as is celebrating the entrance of the house, framing a view to the sea or golf course, and more. The style and scale of the project is very important; some with a contemporary design might call for the landscape to highlight the architecture, while others might evoke a lush tropical garden to invite the visitor to discover every space.
What trees provide good shade?
Saman (Samanea saman) is a favorite, because it is a mushroom shaped canopy that creates a soft shade where lawn and other plants can grow and people can enjoy a living room-esque feel in the garden.
Are there plants that deter mosquitos and flies?
Some say the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) will repel mosquitos just by placing them in the garden, but it has limited effects. The Neem tree first and foremost keeps itself insect free. It only has limited effect on the surroundings, but a big tree, planted in a small yard, will make a difference to the overall number of insects present. If you live in a tropical area and want to repel mosquitoes, then one small tree in the garden will not prevent bites. A big tree in front of the door will reduce the number of mosquitoes entering the house. Planting a Neem tree can help, but don’t expect miracles.
Same with small plants like Citronella or mosquito plants, a type of Geranium that smells wonderful and helps naturally repel mosquitoes, (the plant itself does not act as a deterrent to the pests), but when a leaf is crushed and rubbed on the skin, it acts like a mosquito repellent. The Citronella geranium is not to be confused with other mosquito plants like Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus, known as Citronella grass, from which Citronella oil is made as a repellent. Neither of them are grown in the Dominican Republic.
What do most residents in Casa de Campo request in their landscaping?
Many residents ask us to include different types of palm trees like Royal Palm (Roystonea spaniolana), Coconut palm (Coco nucifera), and medium palms like Fox tail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata), Spindel palm (hyophorbe verschaffeltii) and the very popular Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), which is commonly used as a hedge to divide your property or create privacy.
Many clients also insist in having a tropical and lush garden, and among the use of palms they ask for tropical plants like Philodendrons, Elephant Ears and Philodendron Selloum. Bamboos and Bougainvilleas are also requested frequently under the tropical discourse.
What are some plants that would make a client’s landscaping unique to other gardens and homes?
There are so many, but two that stand out are our unique spectrum of colored Aglaonemas from Asia, as well as succulents and cacti collection that appeal to gardens and terraces for inviting spaces.
In the Dominican Republic, any time of the year is appropriate for garden repair. Whether you’re designing your landscaping from scratch or in need of a fresh facelift, Costa Farms Nursery is minutes away from Casa de Campo. They’ll create free digital designs and quotations for any type of landscape project, tweaking them until they have your ultimate seal of approval.
View more before and after photos of Costa Farms Nursery’s Landscaping in Casa de Campo:
Costa Farms has a team of highly qualified agronomists and landscape architects as well as more than 15 years of experience in the design, installation, and maintenance of gardens and green areas. Located in La Romana, Dominican Republic, they have more than 45 years of experience in the production and merchandising of Ornamental plants in national and international markets.
Follow them on Instagram: @costafarmsrd