Best of the CRANDIC Spotlight: Iowa City Landscaping

Iowa City Landscaping – Courtesy Andy Swartzentruber

Questions and answers with Andy Swartzentruber, landscape architect for Best of the CRANDIC winner Iowa City Landscaping

What is your all-time favorite tree and why?

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa). This is a species of prairie tree with extremely thick and refractory bark. Because of this, and because they are so drought tolerant, they could compete with prairie grasses. They have a distinct “twisted” shape as they mature, and it is not uncommon for this tree to reach heights between 75 and 100 feet. You are a year-round beauty.

Which plant should disappear from Iowa landscaping?

Purple pygmy barberry (Berberis thunbergii). While the burgundy foliage is attractive and creates contrast, this plant is very thorny, making it difficult for homeowners to care for. This plant is also somewhat invasive, which is another reason I tend to avoid it.

The exterior of the new Hancher Auditorum. Friday, September 9, 2016. – Zak Neumann / Little Village

What public landscaping project in Iowa City are you most proud of?

As a company, we are proud of the landscaping that we installed in the Hancher Auditorium in 2016. This project looks better every year as it starts to mature.

Is there a winter landscape tip that you can give our readers to prepare their farms for spring?

Take the winter months to evaluate your gardens and landscaping. Take any necessary changes or additions into account. I would recommend anyone interested in hiring a designer to plan and install a project to contact them during the winter months. This ensures a timely installation once the warmer weather returns. It’s never too early to start planning for spring.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 289.

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