Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swales are Swell!

Spotlight on Bioswales

If you have a mud run in your yard a bioswale might be a perfect option. Swales are ditches lined with rip-rap (rough stones), compost or vegetation to help direct and filter water. In general a bioswale is made by creating a wide gently sloped ditch and filling it with a natural filtration device such as those previously mentioned. Swales are a great way to naturally and sustainably prevent erosion and run-off. Swales work by filtering out pollutants and distributing the flow of water. The construction of a swale can be quite specific from the grade of the slope to the amount and type of materials used, or it can be more informal. To find out more about swales, give us a call to arrange an appointment 301-603-1080.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fire pits 101

The best part of camping is the campfire: roasting marshmallows, telling stories around it, watching the flames burst and wane. Want to bring that feeling of sitting around a campfire home? By installing a firepit you can do that, safely and beautifully.

What is a Firepit?
A firepit is an enclosure made of fire proof materials used for building a containing a fire.

What does a firepit look like?
There are many types of firepits you can install from metal ones that are moveable to ones that are made of concrete blocks and fixed in the landscape. In general a fire pit is a circular enclosure with a lower set center where you can build a fire.

Why install a firepit?
Installing a firepit can add a centerpiece to your yard that can transform it into an outdoor oasis. You bring the campfire feeling to your home and create a focal point to build memories around. Imagine roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories in your own backyard!

Which type is right for me?
If you have a limited budget, you can get a movable metal firepit for a few hundred dollars. If you are looking for a more upscale feel and would like to have a permanent structure incorporated into your patio or deck, a concrete block or natural stone firepit is a better choice. It is more durable and can be built to match your other outdoor features.

We install firepits and would be happy to help you explore options and make a decision. Call us for a free consultation 301-603-1080.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Earth Month

A lot of people make New Years resolutions but what about making a "green resolution" for Earth Day? In honor of Earth Day, which is this month, I thought it would be nice to try to find ways to incorporate a little more "green" into our lives. I got inspiration from another blog to cut down on using paper towels, which we seem to use like water at our house. For the company, my goal is to encourage our employees to be more energy efficient in their operations.

If you are looking for simple ways to be a little more environmentally friendly in honor of Earth Day here are some ideas:

1. Turn out the lights and turn off/ unplug appliances when not in use
2. Walk, bike or take public transportation instead of driving
3. Recycle!
4. Donate old clothes or electronics instead of throwing them away.
5. Program your thermostat to use less energy when you are asleep or away from home.

Here are some ideas on how to be greener in your yard:

1. Use native plants
2. Solve drainage problems to prevent run-off and erosion
3. Use permeable pavers and concrete for hardscaped surfaces.
4. Mulch to help prevent run-off and erosion
5. Use materials with a high SRI (lighter color) to prevent the heat island effect.

I hope that these ideas can inspire you to change something this month!