Thursday, July 23, 2015

What to Expect When You're Constructing

Managing expectations is a great way to have a successful construction project. If you are having work done on your property it is good to know what to expect so that you can make sure your needs and expectations are communicated to the contractor. Because of this, I thought that it would be helpful to walk you through the steps of our project.

First, when you sign the contract and send us your down payment, we will contact you as soon as we receive it. We'll let you know that we have your contract and we will put you on the schedule soon.

Once we have processed your contract and have you on the schedule, we'll give you a call the day before we start work to let you know that you can expect us. If you have a desired date to start the work it is a good idea to let us know well in advance so we can plan our schedule around it. Although it may not always be possible to honor your scheduled date due to weather and project constraints, we will stay in touch with you if we need to reschedule.

On the day of your project. Expect our crew to arrive early. Our work day starts at 6:30am during the season which means we may be at your property as early as 7:30am! Unless we specify, there is no need for you to be home during your project. If you have pets or delicate items in your yard, near our worksite, you may want to bring them inside while we are working.

We will bring our materials to the site and get started on your work! Our crews work hard, and it is distracting if they constantly get interrupted. If you have questions or concerns, its a good idea to direct them to our project manager.

Your yard may look messy while we are working. At the end of the day, we will do our best to tidy up as much as possible.

When your project is completed, we will give you a call to make sure you are satisfied. For larger projects we may schedule a walk through with our project manager. For most projects we try to save you money by putting seed and straw on the ground that we have disturbed. You should have grass within a few weeks. If you would like, we can put down sod so that your project looks picture perfect as soon as we are done.

If you have any questions about our service. Please don't hesitate to give us a call at 301-603-1080

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Ways to Green Your Construction Project

As I mentioned in a recent post, trends show that more and more people are demanding green options in their landscape construction projects. Here are a few simple, low cost ways to help make your construction project more environmentally friendly.

1. Use recycled materials- Use reclaimed bricks or blocks to help cut down and waste. You may even get a discount for saving on costs of materials.

2. Think Permeable- Use permeable pavers or concrete when hardscaping to prevent runoff and erosion.

3. Use Native Plants- If you are incorporating plants into your construction project use native plants to cut back on watering and fertilizer needs.

4. Use Lighter Colors- Using colors that have a high SRI (solar reflectance index) will help reduce the heat island effect which can affect our climate. To do this choose lighter colors when installing hardscaping and roofs.

5. Replace Tree- If your project requires the removal of trees, consider replacing the trees with native one planted at a safe distance from your house and other hard structures.

If you need other tips don't hesitate to set up a consultation with us by calling 301-603-1080 or emailing

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Landscape Design Trends 2015

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ALSA), going green is a trend for 2015. Some of the projects that are expected to be in highest demand are:

  • Native plants (85 percent)
  • Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants (83 percent)
  • Food/vegetable gardens (79 percent)
  • Fire pits/fireplaces (78 percent)
  • Low-maintenance landscapes (78 percent)
  • Permeable paving (77 percent)
  • Drip/water-efficient irrigation (74 percent)
  • Rain gardens (74 percent)
  • Lighting (72 percent)
  • Rainwater/graywater harvesting (71 percent)

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    Clearly people are looking for more eco-friendly options in their landscape. Using native plants and drought-tolert plants is a low cost way to make your yard more environmentally friendly.  Permeable pavers are great for creating a hardscape space that doesn't compromise drainage.

    Still, the trends report from ASLA sites that the classic outdoor structures are still highly popular. Outdoor structures were ranked in order of popularity:

    • Pergolas – 51.0% 
    • Decks – 45.0% 
    • Fencing – 42.0% 
    • Arbors – 41.0% 
    • Porches – 38.0% 
    • ADA accessible structures (ramps, bars, shelving, etc.) – 31.0%
    • Pavilions – 31.0% 
    • Utility sheds (tool sheds, garden sheds) – 29.0%
    • Play structures (treehouses, swing sets, etc.) – 25.0% 
    • Gazebos – 19.0%

    Pergolas ranked number one! If you are interested in installing a pergola, check out our showroom in Laurel, MD where we have 2 on display. Decks are number two on the list and we offer great decking solutions too! 

    If you are interested in finding out more about landscape design trends in 2015, call 301-603-1080 for a complementary consultation.

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    Retaining Walls: What material should you choose?

    Often times when we schedule a retaining wall estimate, we will ask if the home owner has a material in mind. You see, there are lots of different types of material retaining walls can be built from. Today I wanted to go over a few types of materials and discuss their pros and cons to help demystify the selection process:

    1. Wood- Wood is usually the cheapest option. So if budget is the most important aspect this may be a good choice for you. However, wood is more susceptible to rot, weather and insect damages. It's lifespan will be about 10-15 years. If you plan on staying at your property for a long time, this might negate any cost savings.

    2. Segmental Blocks- Segmental blocks are interlocking concrete blocks that fit together like a puzzle. Most segmental retaining walls come with a lifetime guarantee on the material. Segmental walls are also durable and can last a lifetime if installed correctly. The downside is that they are slightly more expensive than a wood retaining wall.

    3. Cinder Block Wall with Veneer- Cinder blocks are more durable than wood but slightly less durable than the interlocking system. It rarely comes with a lifetime warranty and may cost more than segmental blocks. This type of wall usually requires a good design and engineer to ensure stability. However, the wall is versatile and you to put your personal touch on it by choosing virtually any finish.

    4. Natural Stone Stacked- Using natural stones is the most natural solution as it uses materials directly harvested from the earth. These walls can be very costly because of the number of stones required to make the wall. It is also difficult to create curves in this type of wall.

    5. Green Wall- Green alternative to regular retaining walls, incorporates plants into hardscape. Self irrigating and low maintenance. Can be more expensive due to materials and labor costs.

    While there are more types of materials these are the basics. I hope we have helped to clear up any confusion regarding retaining walls. Good luck on your project. Feel free to give us a call if you'd like to set up a consultation 301-603-1080

    Tuesday, June 2, 2015

    Why Trees Should Be Inspected

    So you have a healthy looking tree.... with a huge cavity. But the tree looks otherwise healthy so you don't have to worry about it right?

    Watch this video and think again:

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015

    Sustainable shop

    We recently finished work on our show room! We will begin selling materials soon in addition to offer construction, landscaping and tree services throughout Maryland, DC and Virginia. Creating our showroom has been a process. But we think that our customers will find great value in seeing the products we offer and the quality of our installation first hand.

    We tried to keep sustainability in mind even during the creation of our shop. First of all, we used recycled materials for half of our show room. These were pavers and blocks reclaimed from previous jobs. Secondly, the wood we used for our pergolas is FSC, which means that is certified sustainably harvested.

    Our Azek and Timbertech deck are durable and require little maintenance. This helps to cut back on the financial and environmental cost of replacement, repair and maintenance.

    Come check out our show room for yourself! We hope to see you soon!

    14608 Old Gunpowder Rd. Laurel, MD 20707

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    5 Potted Plants for Valentine's Day

    Looking for a way to sweep your sweetie off his or her feet this Valentine's day?

    Instead of traditional bouquets, check out these potted plants that will brighten your home for years to come!

    1. Chrysanthemum- Mums are popular in the fall. They come back yearly and provide a pop of color in cooler weather!

    2. Flowering Kale and Cabbage- For your health nut, Colorful, flowering versions of their favorite veggies.

    3. Heuchera- Colorful leaves that stay bright through the winter. They come in a variety of colors so you can choose his or her favorites.

    4. Orchid- The elegant orchid makes a great gift.

    5. Bonsai- For a true tree lover a bonsai makes a great gift. These miniature arbor sculptures also look beautiful.