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 info@greenfutureus.com

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)

  • (http://www.asla.org/NewsReleaseDetails.aspx?id=46048)

    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: