Thursday, 17 May 2018

Protecting Your Yard from Outdoor Pests

The last few years have seen an explosion in the number of ticks in Bergen County. Ticks carry Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other illnesses. Concern over contracting one of these ailments can ruin outdoor time for you and your family. Borst Landscape and Design offers a comprehensive approach to pest management in Bergen County, which is both effective and eco-friendly.

Borst’s Pest Management Program utilizes the latest organic treatments to prevent ticks, fleas, and mosquitos in our area. They also use eco-friendly solutions to keep deer away from your property. Any Bergen County homeowner will tell you that tick-carrying deer can be a huge issue.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help avoid pests:

• Good fences make for good neighbors as the saying goes. They’re also a deterrent to pest-carrying critters like deer, raccoons, and stray animals.

• Mow your lawn frequently, cut tall weeds and grasses at the edges, and remove any leaf litter from your property. That goes for other potential pest hideouts like junk or damp wood piles.

• Put down a barrier of wood chips or gravel between wooded areas and your lawn. This makes it harder for ticks to migrate.

• Dump any stagnant water, which serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

• If you have pets, ask your veterinarian for a flea and tick treatment.

• Before heading outdoors, use a good bug repellent. Afterward, do a thorough check. Ticks are tiny but determined and can land almost anywhere – even between your toes. If you do find one, use tweezers to remove it. Here’s another safeguard: run a sticky lint-roller over your clothes. You might be surprised at what it picks up.

Borst Landscape and Design is the Bergen County landscape service that protects your family through superior organic pest management. You’ll have a worry-free yard, in more ways than one!

The post Protecting Your Yard from Outdoor Pests appeared first on Borst Landscape & Design.

from Mix ID 8230377

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Story Of A Landscape: Early Involvement Produces Prize-Winning Project

Unfortunately, for many homeowners, landscaping is far down their list, whether they’re building or remodeling. So, you can imagine the delight of John Shandra, RLA, to be brought into the Focht project as the owners were contemplating an addition to their rural home.

Not only was he able to give them the outdoor rooms and pool they wanted on a challenging site, but the project was recognized by Hardscape North America for its combination of hardscape products on a residential project of more than 4,000 square feet.

He explains that the couple had bought the property for their retirement, returning to Pennsylvania after having lived in California. He believes that West Coast connection may have fueled their desire for a large outdoor living space.

Photo: EP Henry

Shandra was brought into the project by the landscape contractor, Anawalt’s Landscape Contracting of Bernville, Pennsylvania, who had been referred to the Fochts by their general contractor.

“The general contractor was somebody who the landscape contractor had worked with in the past,” he says. “I work as a consultant for the landscape contractor regularly, so we are used to working together on projects.”

The property itself is approximately 50 acres, with no more than 40 percent of that cleared, Shandra explains. And, if offers plenty of topographical changes.

“Where I’m based (Norristown, Pennsylvania), it’s fairly flat, but once you get into the Berks County area, it’s hilly,” he says. “There are definitely grade changes to the property and a couple ridges run through it.”

Also running through the property is a stream that widens into a pond behind the house. Rather than install a manmade water feature, the stream/pond provides a definite focal point to the landscape. However, as the list of client-desired options grew, Shandra realized an important aspect of the job would simply be defining and retaining the backyard.

Photo: John Shandra, RLA

“There’s an EP Henry product called Mesa, which is a bigger block,” Shandra says. “We built approximately 430 feet of 5-foot high retaining walls in two terraces to build the backyard up. We had to create flat space.”

From there, Anawalt was able to install three separate patios coming down from the house and defined by shorter retaining walls. One adjoins a room in the home that Shandra describes as a combination kitchen and family room.

“It has a ton of cabinetry and cooking equipment, and it has a glass wall that opens up onto the patio,” he says. “One of the few things they told us was they were bringing this table back from California, and they really wanted space for it and chairs.

“We also always knew there was going to be a fire pit,” he adds.

Shandra says the fire pit is interesting because the clients really didn’t have any plans for it until they saw their spa going in and then requested it be in the same style.

Photo: John Shandra, RLA

The fire pit is a main feature of the upper level of the patio, at the same level as the kitchen/family room. It also has a large dining table and living room-type furniture.

A few steps down is the outdoor dining room space. There a large table and chairs allows for larger groups to dine with plenty of room for circulation.

“Then, you step down a few more steps and that’s where the swimming pool itself is,” Shandra says. “There’s a large patio space that goes around the pool with room for lounge chairs and small tables and chairs for more dining or sitting and relaxing.”

While the spa is designed for year-round use, with equipment in the house, the pool is not, although it does have a heat pump system to extend its seasons. Equipment for that is below the first large retaining wall.

Shandra says the three patios incorporate some 3,400 square feet of EP Henry pavers, which are installed in what he calls a “random rectangular pattern.”

Photo: John Shandra, RLA

“There’s definitely a repeat in the pattern, but it has a random flow to it,” he says, adding that the material does a good job of mimicking the bluestone popular in the area, without the higher cost of installing bluestone.

In much the same way, the clients opted to go with EP Henry’s cast stone wall product, which was just coming on the market when this job was being built.

“You have the look of a stone wall, without having to excavate and have footers and foundations and then do the block work and stone veneering,” says Shandra. “We did bury a course of the wall to help hold it in place, but it goes in pretty darn quickly.”

While a small portion of the wall near the spa could be used for seating, it’s main role is retention. The walls also play a role in draining the site. Shandra notes that there’s enough elevation change on the property that the flow naturally goes toward the stream and pond.

“Water runs downhill through a series of plantings and then across a pretty big grassy area toward the stream,” he says. “Behind the walls there’s clean stone and piping to carry away any water that just percolates. We didn’t want to trap water behind the walls.”

There’s also a three-quarter-inch pipe to handle overflow from the pool.
Planting on the patios includes a mix of ornamental grasses – at the clients’ request – as well as a mix of herbaceous plants, shrubs and ornamental trees.

“Because this is almost in the middle of 50 acres, we didn’t have to worry about privacy plantings or border plantings,” he says. “Almost all of it is ornamentals with a lot of perennials.”

The job is also not extensively lit. Shandra says he abhors over-lighting, and lights from inside the house provide quite a bit of illumination for the patio space. However, the stairs have integral lighting under the treads and seven of the larger trees along the pond and stream are also lit.

Photo: John Shandra, RLA

Shandra says he’s most proud of meeting the challenges of the job, which was built in approximately 10 months spread over a year Anawalt Landscape Contracting. That includes dealing with the home and the other existing features, including the stream and pond.

“It just really works,” he says. “It’s a project that fits into the setting well. When you walk to the other side of the pond and look toward the house, it really is seamless.”

However, he adds, there certainly were challenges.

“It’s hard when the homeowners are asking for all these pieces, and we have to say there isn’t enough room for that,” Shandra says. “It was a challenge just to express and explain things. Eventually, they understood it and it worked out well, but it was a lot of work, a lot of drawings and a lot of explaining.”

Photo: John Shandra, RLA

Communication seems to have been the key to the project’s success, however. And Shandra says this job also taught him to listen better.

“The homeowner was only available for very brief conversations and emails over a long period of time during the project,” he says. “It was a situation where we had to make every conversation count and really focus on the task at hand.”

The real bottom line, though is taking a difficult site and making it do what the client wanted.

“The house kind of got shoehorned into the valley and around the stream,” Shandra concludes. “We did a good job of nestling the backyard into the space we had and doing it well.”

The post Story Of A Landscape: Early Involvement Produces Prize-Winning Project appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

Friday, 11 May 2018

8 Modern Bathroom Trends To Use In Your House Design

Kitome-Modern Bathroom Trends

A modern bathroom should evoke feelings of relaxation and rejuvenation, a place where you can unwind and take a minute for yourself.

As such, your bathroom style should reflects this. For some, a modern bathroom design can evoke white, minimalist and clean designs. For others, it’s about getting back to nature with natural stones or living walls.

Here are 8 bathroom trends to incorporate into your design:

1. Smart bathrooms

The rise of the smart home has introduced some truly exciting technology to home designs. Most people may have heard of voice-controlled lights or blinds, but everything from self-cleaning, seat-warming toilets to full waterproof entertainment systems can be set up with a little forethought and investment.

2. Statement basins

The statement basin is a unique spin on making your simple utilities into a centrepiece of the space. A statement basin can include minimal aesthetic additions to a vanity or complex, carved patterns adorning it.

3. Resort aesthetics

If you’re really keen to emphasise the luxuriousness of your personal getaway, adopting a day-spa look could be just what you need.

The centerpiece of a resort style bathroom design is the bathtub, everything should revolve around the bathtub. From there, decorating with neutral, soothing colours and textured materials will allow you to capture the feeling of a weekend getaway every single day.

4. Metallic finishes

When applied to a bathroom, a metallic touch can serve as both contrast and accompaniment to the atmosphere of a room. Contemporary designs employ metallic finishes to contrast with a neutral backdrop . They act to draw the eye towards a feature or area of the house you want to be the focus point.

Keep in mind that there are practicalities (and sometimes drawbacks) to your choice of metal. Brushed nickel is one of the more durable, low upkeep choices available, however it is not as striking as other metals. Chrome on the other hand is extremely versatile and looks amazing but it is easily scratched and requires constant cleaning from fingerprints.

5. Rustic Colours

Even among those who like to get back to nature, there is differences of opinion on how best to achieve that look. If you find yourself more at home with the image of a country homestead over a cabin deep in the bush, you might want to consider a design that evokes the rich, wooden aesthetic of a country villa or townhouse.

For a lot of people – particularly urbanites – a weekend retreat out to the bush can be just as relaxing as a day of pampering. The chief consideration is, of course, to decorate in the way that most appeals to you and fits your idea of the perfect escape.

6. One material rooms

The one material room needs to be handled with expertise and care. They are tricky to pull off and hard to compromise with (after all, it’s easy to see even the slightest mismatch or inconsistency), but when that perfect balance is achieved the results can be absolutely stunning.

One comparatively simple way some people manage to pull off the look is through the zen ‘white-everything’ approach. This will also make any colour or aesthetic contrast pop amazingly well.

Just be sure if you’re thinking of this design approach that you are able to handle the uniform nature not needed. The look certainly is not for everyone, and can be somewhat overstimulating for a few people. Definitely one to research first.

7. Freestanding bathtubs

Much like statement basins, freestanding bathtubs take a central utility of the room and transform it into the design focal point.

The most popular style of freestanding bath that you will see is the minimalist, angular block-style. Usually stark white and contrasted against a black-and-white or other high contrast setup. However, there are many, many ways to make a tub stand out, from from its shape to its positioning, it’s not uncommon to see a statement bathtub take central position on the floor of a larger room.

8. Floating Vanities

On top of the aesthetic choices for your basin, a prevalent theme among recent bathroom decoration trends is to create space beneath the vanity to give the illusion that the vanity is floating away from the floor.

Adding space by ‘floating’ cabinets is a common trick used with bathroom design to make a space appear bigger, but also can be installed for comfortable height and highlight your floor and wall.

Customise your bathroom

The modern Australian bathroom is positioned between simplicity and elegance, but ultimately the design choices in your bathroom should evoke your personal aesthetic. Everybody deserves a space in their home to unwind and relax, so use our house customisation guide create a bathroom space that is truly yours.

The post 8 Modern Bathroom Trends To Use In Your House Design appeared first on Kitome.

from Mix ID 8230377

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Story Of A Landscape: Prize-Winner A True Showcase For All Involved

Imagine being called to install a job that’s going to showcase hardscape products to homeowners all over your area. Then, imagine being able to use the best and the newest from two major hardscape-material providers to do the work.

Scott Gifford, owner of Cincinnati-based Outside Insight LLC, doesn’t have to imagine it. And, as icing on the cake, the project — done for Semco Outdoor Landscaping and Natural Stone Supply with the aid of Belgard and Unilock — was honored at Hardscape North America for its use of a combination of hardscape products in a commercial project of less than 20,000 square feet.

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

Gifford explains that the owner of Semco decided to put in an outdoor display to feature the materials of both hardscape manufacturers and got buy in from the duo.

“The design teams at the two companies came up with layouts, and lists of materials that would be installed,” Gifford says. “We were contracted independently through both to install their portions of the displays.”

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

He adds that he has “great rapport” with the Semco owner, but the two jobs were both bid, and there was some negotiation involved. Gifford also has some 23 years of experience in the business and is ICPI- (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute) certified.

“We’re an authorized contractor through Belgard,” he says. “Unilock has tried to get me to be an authorized contractor for them, but I install from five or six different companies.”

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

Still, this was far from being a typical job. For one thing, the owner of Semco had graded the area adjacent to the building and installed a concrete pad, so there was no site preparation involved.

“We just capped all the material on top of it,” Gifford says. “That way it’s easy to pull up and replace when a new product comes in or something is discontinued.”

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

Consequently, he says his job was mainly to follow the plans and “fit things in,” although that proved to be an educational experience at times.

“Even in an ideal world, there’s just no way we could install all the materials from even one paving company,” he observes. “There were some materials that we hadn’t touched before. Some of it was new, which was good for us, too. We’ve since done installs where we worked with materials we had installed on the display, and that made it a little easier for us.”

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

The list of items Gifford and his eight-man crew were called on to build covers pretty much the major backyard wishes of most homeowners, including multiple patios with seating walls, pathways, a water feature, fireplace and fire pit.

And, their presence at Semco is to help fuel the wishes and desires of backyard renovators, along with making it a convenient place to stop and shop.

“They’re really showing off the materials,” he says. “Homeowners can come, contactors can come, designers and architects can come there and meet their clients, walk around the displays, have discussions, pick materials and pick colors.”

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

Gifford adds that Semco has an indoor meeting area for those people to get together and discuss their plans. And, while he did the installation, he sees it as a better way to do things than sending possible clients out to look at someone’s backyard.

“It’s not unusual for them to come back and say, ‘We like it, but we don’t like the color,’” he says. “At Semco, we can work out that detail because the colors and layouts are there, and you can see them in real scenarios, rather than dropping off some color swatches at the front door.”

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

The project also incorporates landscape material and lighting, although to spread some of the work to others Semco had those elements installed by different landscape companies.

Even so, this was not an easy project, Gifford stresses. His crew spent 1,400 hours at the site, and things didn’t always go smoothly as designers for the two suppliers changed both design elements and material during construction.

Still, that wasn’t the biggest challenge the job presented.

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

“Getting the materials adjacent to the different areas of the project was a challenge in the larger spread-out area,” he says. “We also had to learn about some products we hadn’t utilized before.”

The upside of that, of course, is that the Outside Insight crew got a head-start on its competitors in terms of learning how best to install those new products. That, and the $45,000 project has really allowed the company to showcase its skills.

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

“We’re particularly proud of how the extensive layout allows us to refer clients to choose materials by observation,” Gifford says. “And, it also shows our customers our ability to implement these plans.”

While he’s not sure how long the displays will remain in place, for now, he’s happy to continue referring his customers to Semco for choosing products and in turn the company recommends prospective customers to him, Gifford says.

Photo: Outside Insight LLC

As for the award, Gifford says he’s a bit surprised, mainly because he had entered another job that had made the Belgard catalog, and which he assumed would be an award-winner.

“When that one didn’t make it, I was a bit disappointed,” he concludes. “But, I was pleasantly surprised to be a part of such a prestigious award.”

The post Story Of A Landscape: Prize-Winner A True Showcase For All Involved appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

Friday, 4 May 2018

The Best Soil for a Raised Garden Bed

Adding raised beds to a garden is a great idea. The elevated structures yield more produce than row crops. Plants are more vigorous during the early season due to the soil warming faster than in a garden. Plus, every gardener loves early season growth.The Best Soil for a Raised Garden Bed

But, your soil in a raised garden bed must be at its best and that’s the great thing about raised beds. You fill them with whatever you’d like. Raised garden beds are your own controlled experiment trying to find the perfect combination of materials to produce the best outcome.

Different Situations Call for Different Soils

Different plants prefer different soils types and no specific combination of ingredients will make the perfect all-around raised garden soil. Some plants (e.g. blueberries) need an acidic soil mix and other plants (e.g. garden plants) grow best in neutrally acidic soil. Also, local weather conditions will dictate the best soil mix. Arid climates will want a soil that retains moisture while rainy climates will need something that drains well.

Best Soil Mixtures

If you research what various “experts” on this topic say, you will find that they do not all agree. But that is expected as the best soil mixture for one garden may not be the best mixture for another gardening situation. In general, the best soil combination should have a good base and high-quality amendments to feed the plants.The Best Soil for a Raised Garden Bed

Mike McGrath of You Bet Your Garden recommends a mixture of garden soil and high-quality compost. When mixed together, these ingredients will not need to be tilled and will be a basic soil mixture that can be amended to suit your specific climate and plant needs.

Another raised bed gardening expert, Mel Bartholemew the creator of Square Foot Gardening, recommends a combination of coarse horticultural vermiculite, peat moss, and compost. After mixing these ingredients they will provide enough fertilizer and nutrients for the plants to grow.

Soil Mixture Does Not Need to be Deep

When creating a high-quality soil mix, it does not need to be spread very thickly. The nourishing mixture will support a wide variety of plants even if it is only six inches deep. It should be soft, airy, and friable. Sinking your finger into the soil up to the top knuckle is a simple test to determine proper garden soil. If the soil is hard, take steps to amend it and lighten it. And lining the bed bottom with landscaping fabric is a good idea to prevent the roots of the plants from ever reaching the native soil, and to prevent weeds from growing up into your rich soil.

Mulch is ImportantThe Best Soil for a Raised Garden Bed

With shallow soil, mulch plays an important role as it helps hold in moisture and protects the soil from damaging rays of sunlight. Once the seedlings have started, thin them out to allow the hardiest to take hold and mulch around them. A couple inches of mulch will combat the summer heat and weeds, retain moisture, and minimize nutrient loss.


Raised garden beds provide many benefits, but these benefits will never be achieved if you start with the wrong soil. Get your raised garden bed started right and contact Fra-Dor for your compost, garden soil, and mulch needs. We provide what you need and you won’t have to worry about loading numerous bags. And to make things really convenient, we deliver too.


The post The Best Soil for a Raised Garden Bed appeared first on Frador.

from Mix ID 8230377

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Story Of A Landscape: Clay Brick Maintains Look For Historic Campus In Tennessee

When King University (until 2013, King College) needed a new walkway, it went with a tried-and-true product that complements the school’s current campus, which dates to 1917: clay brick.

And to install the brick, locally based general contractor BurWil Construction, Inc., turned to a sub BurWil trusts, Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping of Johnson City, Tennessee.

It was a wise decision on BurWil’s part. The project received an honorable mention in the category of clay brick-commercial in last year’s Hardscape North America competition.

King University Photo: BurWil Construction, Inc., Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping

Adam Dennison, Poor Boy’s owner, says his company does quite a bit of hardscape work for BurWil, including both pavers and retaining walls, and is an authorized Belgard contractor. This job, he says, was straightforward.

“The old walkway had been brick, as well, and just due to time and weather and wear-and-tear it had deteriorated,” he says. “It had reached a point where high-heeled shoes were going down in the cracks and it was becoming a hazard. They needed to get it redone to make it safe and more functional.”

King University Photo: BurWil Construction, Inc., Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping

The new clay brick pavers were the largest part of the job, although Dennison says BurWil also did several other things to make foot traffic easier on the campus, including concrete steps, handicapped access ramps and some hand railings.

“It was a whole big area that was redone,” he says.

BurWil also played a role in the sidewalk repair. Dennison explains that to provide additional stability to the pavers, that company installed 12-inch concrete curbs on either side of the 10-foot-wide walkway.

King University Photo: BurWil Construction, Inc., Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping

“The idea was to give it more stability,” he says. “They do have to use it to give access to vehicles such as electrical repair trucks, and they wanted to make sure if people were going to drive up on it, it wasn’t going to fall apart.”

Poor Boy was responsible for putting down the gravel and sand base, however, as well as the actual installation of some 12,500 square feet of the clay brick pavers, which were supplied by General Shale, a block and brick manufacturer also located in Johnson City.

Dennison says it took his company almost two-and-a-half months to complete the job, averaging 10 men on the site. He charged $75,000 for that portion of the job.

King University Photo: BurWil Construction, Inc., Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping

The biggest challenge, he says, was simply the weather.

“It was during the winter,” Dennison explains. “It was wet and muddy. We were trying to screed gravel and sand, and often it would be frozen and then we’d have to bring in heaters to thaw the material, so it wouldn’t be an issue later.”

The actual installation of the bricks was straightforward, too. Dennison says they were simply butt-jointed and tamped, and the joints were then sanded.

Less bothersome than the weather was the student population – part of the work was done during a school break, and BurWil established alternate walkways during construction – and the trees along the route.

King University Photo: BurWil Construction, Inc., Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping

Dennison says he can’t say whether tree roots were a problem for the old sidewalk, since he wasn’t called to the site until after the old brick had been removed. However, he says the presence of older trees on the campus was a concern.

“It was kind of a maze because BurWil had the trees staked off, so we could only get so close to them,” he says. “We’d have to weave our way through to get to whichever side of the project we were working on.”

Fortunately, he adds, none of the trees were damaged during construction.

“They’re pretty old, and they were trying to take care of them as best they could under the renovation.”

King University Photo: BurWil Construction, Inc., Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping

That care for the trees is one of the reasons this project is a success and a prize-winner, Dennison believes.

“It just all goes with the historical aspect of the college,” he says. “The whole campus is that same style of brick, and that color, and that’s the reason they went with the clay pavers: to keep the same feel throughout the campus and make it match.”

While he’s proud of the great look and feel of the project – and the award – Dennison says for him the best thing about the job is the showcase it has provided to Poor Boy.

“There are so many people in the community who have seen it and see it every day,” Dennison concludes. “It’s been a big focal point for our company.”

The post Story Of A Landscape: Clay Brick Maintains Look For Historic Campus In Tennessee appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Planting for Pollinators: Butterflies and Bees Abound

There’s something pleasant about sitting on your deck, seeing butterflies flit through your garden or bees snuggling into the center of a flower. But besides their pretty appearance, these two pollinators are absolutely essential to our ecosystem. You can give them a hand with these simple tips, courtesy of the organic landscaping experts at Borst Landscape.

When it comes to designing a garden, there are several steps you can take to make sure your setup is friendly and accessible to important pollinators like bees and butterflies. Butterflies and bees don’t just work in the spring or summer, so incorporate a variety of plants that will bloom from early spring all the way into the fall. Planting them in clumps, instead of just a single plant or two, is also helpful. Avoid hybrid flowers that are mainly engineered to look pretty; frequently, the nectar, pollen and fragrance have been scientifically-removed, so they’re useless to pollinators.

Balancing the management of harmful pests with the preservation of helpful garden visitors can be a difficult balancing act. It may be tempting to use pesticides to keep unwanted bugs off of your blooms, but many formulas kill bees which are already facing an uphill battle in today’s environmental conditions. If you must use one, read the label carefully, and spray at night, when pollinators are taking a time out.

On that same note, butterflies spring from caterpillars, so include some plants that will host them. Considering that hungry caterpillars will eat them, plant those selections somewhere where their chewed-up appearance won’t bother you. Dead branches make a nice home for bees, so – assuming they’re not a safety hazard – leave a few of them untouched as well.

Like hummingbirds, pollinators are attracted to nectar. Make your own by mixing four parts water to one part table sugar (never use honey, fruit juice or artificial sweetener). Add something red to the feeder to get their attention. Besides sweet, butterflies and bees also love salty. Mix a little sea salt into damp soil, created by a dripping hose or bird bath, to give them an alternate treat.

Making your garden pollinator-friendly not only boosts your own blooms, it contributes to the well-being of Mother Earth. If you need specific plant recommendations or other expert ways to nurture your yard organically, the experts at Borst Landscape are happy to help.

The post Planting for Pollinators: Butterflies and Bees Abound appeared first on Borst Landscape & Design.

from Mix ID 8230377