Category: Landscaping Outdoor Decorating
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Spring has finally come, with the opportunity for outdoor parties and gatherings – it’s time to find a patio installer to expand your outdoor living space while enhancing your backyard.
It’s worth starting early… careful planning will take time as you will want to decide on designs and products. Good installers are often booked up in advance and will need to include your new patio into their schedules.
If you’ve decided that a patio would be a welcome addition to your home, your toughest decision may be choosing the right contractor to handle the project. While there are many options to pick from, it’s crucial that you select a contractor who offers the right combination of products, service, and quality. For example, you want to make sure the patio installer you choose has a reputation for doing the job right. Other factors to consider when selecting a contractor include:
Products – Ask what materials are offered for a patio. A pro will provide concrete, brick, stone, and pavers. If you choose pavers, make sure your contractor purchases them from a reputable manufacturer, as inferior pavers will fade and often are not as durable.
Warranties & Guarantees – Ask if the contractor guarantee their work, and if there are warranties on the products (usually pavers) discuss the specifics until you understand them and have both the guarantee and warranty spelled out in writing.
Websites with Portfolios – Top pros have websites that help educate the public about hardscaping issues such as the pros and cons of various materials used for patios. The consummate professionals will as have portfolios for you to peruse to see their work and what different elements look like so that you can make an educated decision regarding your patio.
Professional Organizations & Continued Education – Look for a contractor who belongs to professional organizations such as New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) that promote professionalism, safety, environmental protection, and education.
Local Knowledge – Many communities have specific codes and restrictions for patio additions-choose a contractor experienced in navigating these restrictions and regulations to create the sort of patio that fulfills your needs and wants.
When choosing a professional to lay your patio, you should take a practical approach before making your decision. Ask straightforward questions and look for some basic support. Here are some helpful hints on what you should ask before your dream garden project begins:
- Get some different quotes for your project, checking that they include all the products and services you will need. Make sure there are no hidden extras such as soil removal. TIP: Ask how long the project will last.
- Check how long the company has been laying paving products.
- Ask for some recent references of completed patio installation and read their online reviews. A reputable contractor will be enthusiastic about showing off recent work. Expect to see photographs and details of recent, similar work that you can visit for a reference. This is usually part of any professional presentation.
- Ask questions such as if the cost of a dumpster and jointing sand is included?
- Check if the contractor has the appropriate liability insurance.
- Ask for a final written quotation from your chosen contractor.
- A reputable patio installer will not cut corners but work to the highest standard to build a patio that is beautiful and will remain that way for years to come. A true professional will have no problem guaranteeing their work.
Starting with basic research and asking the right questions will help ensure that you choose a trustworthy and reliable contractor. Stories about unlicensed and even licensed contractors facing fines and imprisonment for shoddy work and fraud have consumers on edge about adding a patio. You want your patio and garden project to be completed to the highest standard; something you, your family and friends can enjoy for many years to come.
Americans love their lawns and as Americans we want them to be the best of the neighbor hood and the greener, healthier and lusher it is the better. Guess what? You can have that lawn you’ve always wanted without spending hours and weeks at a time taking are of it. Never heard that before? That’s right, an organic lawn is almost maintenance free! Besides the lush carpet feeling when you walk on it, you can have a peace of mind knowing that your family, pets, and beautiful wildlife are completely safe. Safe from artificial fertilizers and pesticides. In the pages ahead I will show you lawn care tips the organic way. You will learn what your grass needs to be healthy, how organic fertilizers can be applied safely, and how mowing can keep your lawn weed-free all season. I can promise you that growing a organic lawn will be so easy and rewarding that you will want to show your friends how to do it.
If you listen to what a lot of people say they would have you believe that it is impossible to have a weed-free, healthy lawn without using chemicals. You will also find that by not using chemicals you will maintaining will be easier and your effort will not be in vane.
When you stop adding synthetic fertilizers on the lawn you will find out that it doesn’t grow as quickly. This in turn will lead to less mowing for you! Lawns that are grown organically will also have deeper roots which will require less water which means more money in your pocket, especially during the hot month of summer. These lawns can with stand the toughest droughts because they have deep roots. If by some reason a problem does arise the fix is simple and safe.
When changing over to a organic lawn it is important to stop the old school ways of lawn care. To get started there are a few things you need to stop immediately.
Some lawn care professionals will tell you that aerating is a must to have a healthy lawn. This process is known to breakup and loosen the compacted soil to encourage roots to grow. This process is done in a variety of ways. Some have been known to use spiky shoes, rental equipment etc. This process opens the ground to let oxygen water and other vital nutrients flow into the root zone. In most cases aerating in not necessary. Compaction is the main reason to aerate but a most homeowners don’t have enough traffic to compact the soil for aerating to be relevant. Not even that, aerating can actually cause compaction by introducing the increase flow of air which spends up decomposition of the organic material that opens the soil and keeps it loose. Aeration does come in handy if you have a lawn that is composed of heavy clay. This is pretty common in new home construction sites.
As we all have seen, synthetic fertilizers cause our grass to grow at a high rate of speed which leads to more mowing. The organic decomposers that we can’t see such as earthworms can’t keep up with the amount of grass being laid down as organic matter. The end result is thatch. (I will talk more about thatch in a moment). We want out lawns to grow in a timely matter. Quick growth is not healthy and does not build strong roots that can stand droughts or invasions of foreign pests. Dethatching is not necessary if your lawn is growing at a normal rate as mentioned above. Too much nitrogen from synthetic fertilizers causes your grass to grow fast producing stem, roots and leaves quicker than decomposers can eat. If you don’t know what thatch is then go outside right now and grab a hand full of material right above the ground. Thatch is the clippings and dead material shed by your grass. This should not be more than an inch thick. Anymore than an inch will prevent air and water from reaching the soil. Dethatching can be done in a few ways. Some recommend using a dethatching machine. Another traditional way of causing thatch is spraying chemical pesticides. The pesticides kill the important decomposers in the soil from gobbling thatch.
Most people think that water is the key to a greener lawn. It is a very important key but it can be just as detrimental if it is over done. In establishing new lawns it is very important but if your lawn is establish it needs less than you think. When your lawn is over watered you will see that it becomes soggy. The sogginess strips the roots from getting the nutrients they need and instigates the growth diseases. The best way to ensure your lawn has the right amount of grass is to ensure the roots are plenty wet. The best way to encourage this is by building a strong content of humus. Unfortunately, humus doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Humus is the left over organic material that can’t be used by micro-organisms or plants so it becomes a big sponge holding 90% of weight in water. This is why when others soils without humus dry out the soil with humus will still be wet weeks later.
Mowing the grass too short? Stop now! A brown scorched lawn is a clear sign of a lawn being cut too short. Why does this happen? Well, every time you cut your grass in causes a temporary stress. The grass stops growing for a short amount of time but also start a process of rejuvenation. Believe me I have learned this the hard way. I remember cutting my grass only on Saturday. It didn’t matter if it needed or not. I would start my trusty lawn mower, lower the blade and cut away. I would rocks and other debris flying everywhere while leaving a cloud of dust behind me. Eventually, after the hot summers came over a couple of years with low amounts of rain I inherited a dirt lawn. There were some patches of grass but mostly weeds and dirt. It was then I seeded again and learned that mowing high is the best way to help your lawn recuperate from the stress of mowing. Your organic lawn will grow best when your blade is at its highest setting. This will give your grass an increase surface area that allows it to take in more sun producing stronger root growth. Leading to better drought tolerance and quicker recovery from dormancy. The taller your grass the less weeds you will see as well. Tall grass will always triumph over weeds and retain moisture by casting a shade over the soil stopping the lost of water through evaporation.
Believe it or not grass clippings will help your new lawn. Actually your new organic lawn is going to need them. I know I said that clipping cause thatch but that is when you are introducing an increased amount of nitrogen to the lawn. Without the synthetic lawn fertilizers being thrown out a will, the thatch will be very minimal. The clippings will decompose sending fresh nitrogen and other main nutrients to the soil to help your lawn grow and become healthier and greener than you ever thought possible. A lot of don’t know but the clipping contribute about 1-2 pounds of nitrogen to the soil per 1,000 square feet of soil. Mowing at the right height will hide these clippings instead of leaving them on the top of the grass for everyone to see. See organic lawns save you time and money. Keep the baggers and rakes in the shed and no reason to buy nitrogen fertilizers at the local stores.
So now that you have the know how of starting an organic lawn don’t hesitate. Your lawn now can be a place to relax and unwind besides worrying about it and making it stressful. Spend more time doing what you want and spending time with family. The organic lawn will be more rewarding than you ever could imagine.