Landscaping News and Blog

ZH Design Awarded Houzz’s 2013 ‘Best of Houzz’ Award

ZH Design of Media, PA Receives

Houzz’s 2013 ‘Best Of Houzz’ Award 

Philadelphia, PA  —  January 28, 2013 – ZH Design of Media, PA has been awarded  “Best Of Houzz” 2013 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design.  The inspired landscape design and installation firm was chosen by the more than 11 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Houzz “Best Of Houzz” award for 2013 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 community of 11 million monthly users, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 124 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app.

“ZH Design is so privileged to have such exceptional clients and the outstanding Houzz community to nominate and award our firm for our work and dedication.  We thank them so much not only for the award but for the outstanding service they provide homeowners and professionals alike with the Houzz site and apps.”  – Zach Hammaker, Owner and Founder of ZH Design.

 “Houzz provides homeowners with an in-depth, 360-degree view of building, remodeling and design professionals through images of their work, reviews and an opportunity to interact with them directly in the Houzz community,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community. “We’re delighted to recognize ZH Design among our “Best Of” professionals for design and exceptional customer service as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like ZH Design but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and evaluating their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

About ZH Design

Native Pennsylvanian, Zach Hammaker, founded ZH Design to provide creative solutions to residents’ outdoor living spaces after seeing a need for artful attention to detail and inspired design, paired with a commitment for quality customer service. ZH Design is a professional landscape design firm specializing in the creation of outdoor living spaces and pertinent gardens in the Philadelphia area and surrounding suburbs including the Delaware Valley, Mainline, Northern Delaware, and New Jersey. We offer complete landscape design, consultation, outdoor styling, and installation services.

About Houzz

Houzz ( is a leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, ‘advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.5 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc

ZH Design News

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7 Holiday Styling Tips To Stretch Your Decor Budget

With the holidays in full swing, last minute preparations are sure to be on everyone’s mind.  Here are some quick tips to spruce up your holiday décor without adding more expense to that ever growing holiday budget.


holiday decoration osage oranges with moss in old crate

holiday decoration wine crate cut greens osage oranges nandina berries winter containers holiday decorating variegated holly black mondo grass green ceramic low bowl osage orange

(1)   Forage your garden (or your neighbors!) for fruiting plants and textural greens to add to containers indoors and out.  Above are holly cuttings, nandina berries and leaflets, and osage orange fruits collected from the nearby woods.


holiday decorating cut white birch brances stacked front stoop porch design old milk crate

holiday decorating spraypaint bamboo stalks easy craft project

how to spraypaint branches for containers winter holiday decorating

(2)   Collect fallen branches or cut your own from plants in your garden with interesting structure, texture, or color.  Here, cut white birch limbs have been stacked on sheet moss and incorporated into a door stoop styling.  You can add fun and drama to your interior or exterior arrangements by spray painting the branches. Whether traditional holiday colors of white, green, or red fit with your style or metallic hues of gold, silver, or bronze work better with your décor, all are an inexpensive way to spruce up your home and a fun project to do with kids.


holiday decorating front porch stoop winter containers globe lights cedar roping

(3)   Use the containers and vessels you have. You’d be surprise what you can find lying around in your basement or another area of the house.  Old crates, outdoor planters, large vases.  Anything will do the deed.  Above, a combination of an old crate, grape crate, and ceramic outdoor planter were used for winter planting and arrangement.  The grape crate is used in the summer for herbs and the outdoor container re-purposed for a winter planted container of which the black mondo grass and variegated holly are used year round.


holiday lighting cedar roping with frosted globe lights

(4)   Incorporate fresh greens where they will be appreciated most.   Buying fresh cut greens in bulk or put together in swags or roping can add up very quickly, especially when you are looking at covering all the nooks and crannies of your home.  But there is nothing like the real deal.  It invokes more than just your sense of sight but your sinuses as well and evergreen tones remind me so much of the holidays.  Choose areas with a lot of traffic such as around your door frame.  Combine them with lights or other greens to add dimension.


holiday craft for kids spice ornaments anise star juniper berries peppercorns

(5)   Create your own unique ornaments for you, your friends, and your family.  Spices are used so much around the holidays in our favorite meat rubs, classic dishes, and pastries.   Why not bring them into our décor.  After all they are just as beautiful as anything else and they come from nature!  These ornaments were made with white peppercorns, juniper berries, and star anise.


christmas tree decorating cotton branches

(6)   Add permanent botanicals to your arrangements and holiday standards such as decoration for your tree.  They are unexpected and useful, especially to fill those holes in a tree or where a limb has broken off.  Here, cotton stems add whimsy and texture against the deep greens of a Frasier fir.


holiday decorating use a branch hung from ribbon as a mantle for a stocking

(7)   Don’t have a mantle to hang your stocking?  Make your own by simply finding a cut branch and hanging it from the ceiling with looped ribbon of your choice.  Greens, pinecones, and silver bell garland have been added to the white birch branch above for a beautiful wall scene.

Have any quick holiday styling tips you use?  I’d love to hear them!  Wishing you all the happiest of holidays!


Splashes of Style

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Plants in Focus: A Purple Gem in the Fall Garden

A stroll through my family’s Central Pennsylvania garden reminded me of what a sight Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’ is in the fall.  Known as Purple Beautyberry around the garden world, this shrub provides a stunning berry show starting September and through November.  Nestled into a mixed garden as a specimen or en masse for maximum effect, it is worth incorporating into your garden.  The deep purple tones of the ripe berries lying along the stem are such an eye catcher.  Not often do you find a purple tone in the fall garden aside from the ever popular asters

purple beautyberry form callicarpa issai

This cultivar ‘Issai’ has the most prolific berrying of most other cultivars and is tried and true in my experience.  It has a beautiful, arching habit, exaggerated when in fruit with the weight of the berries.  Its flowers are pink-lavender blooming in late June into early August and are rather inconspicuous, but pretty upon close encounter.

purple beautyberry berries fruit callicarpa dichotoma issai

Try planting in a large group above a wall or with ornamental grasses such as Black Flowering Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’).  Bring cut stems indoors for a beautiful addition to a flower arrangement or an added twist to a homemade wreath. 

purple beautyberry design idea above a wall arching form callicarpa dichotoma issai 


Plants in Focus

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Details in the Dirt: Putting a Spin on Flagstone Walkways

Flagstone walkways are no stranger to the Northeast.  The beautiful blue, gray, brown, and purple tones of the stone compliment its natural surroundings, grounding it into any outdoor setting as if it always belonged.  Its durability and accessibility allows it to be used indoors and out weathering foot traffic and harsh weather.  Both its function and aesthetic are worth its weight in gold as a walkway material in the landscape.

Outdoor paths take on many shapes and sizes depending on their functions and constraints of their location.  Each creating a different effect, but what most don’t consider is adding details along the way.  Cut flagstone gives a walkway a more formal feeling.  Where a cut flagstone walkway and irregular flagstone path meet, a detail can mean all the difference.

cut rectangular flagstone walkway with irregular flagstone apron

An irregular flagstone driveway apron meets with a formal front flagstone walkway

Try combining different materials with the flagstone or changing the layout.  Here I installed cut flagstone for a walkway to the front entrance of a home.  The use of the Delaware river gravel in the pockets allows for better drainage and slows the speed of the walk, making you enjoy the journey through the gardens.      

cut flagstone walkway river gravel pockets

Cut flagstone walkway with Delaware river gravel ‘pockets’

 Where your walkways connect with other spaces, such as a patio, is also a great area to add interest.  Introduce another type of stone or shape to define the walkways beginning and end, subconsciously helping the flow of the space with people.  I took a native fieldstone wall stone and set it on edge for a flush finish with the flagstone.  The orange tones of the fieldstone compliment the blues in the flagstone and the contrast delineates the circular patio from the walkway.

avondale wallstone edge to circular patio of irregular flagstone

Native fieldstone pieces set on edge to create a defined edge between a circular flagstone patio and walkway

Little details go a long way to make your flagstone walkway not only functional, but thoughtful and refined.

Details in the Dirt

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ZH Design

We provide creative, quality landscapes for the benefit of our clients and community. By extending people's living spaces outdoors, we aim to improve their relationship with nature and enhance their lifestyles..

610. 716. 0832

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