Guru's Chronicle

Hardscaping

Pavers and Flagstone Installation


Whether you are planning on using pavers or flagstone for your walkways, patios or driveways, you will find they have a similar approach. The dry-laid stone technique is a process of laying individual stones on a bed of sand and aggregate, and then tightly compacting the sand to hold the design together. Here you can explore the Guru's guide to the dry-laid stone method.

Determining the depth for your foundation is where it all begins. We start by digging a depth of at least 6 inches for walkways and patios using material with 1 inch in thickness (pavers, Flagstone). In areas that may be prone to settling such as driveways or when using thicker materials (pavers, Flagstone), digging deeper is a requirement. Now is when drainage is installed. Those gutters will want to be diverted or if absolutely necessary ran underneath. Keep in mind the cost of your hardscaping before making a decision to try and save a dollar. If its expensive now. Fixing a problem is worse. Once the precise grades of depth is reached a plate compactor is used to compacted and level creating a solid, stable surface. this surface layer is called a base. Keeping it level from here. Next a 4-inch layer of compacted aggregate will go down. Keep in mind that driveways as well as areas susceptible to shifting or drainage issues warrant more aggregate. It is crucial to compact at least every 2 inches if not every inch during this process. Remember this is your foundation, Compacting establishes the strength needed to avoid a disastrous mistake. Now that we have a stable foundation set we can move on to screed leveling. To achieve the correct level you will screed 1 inch of sand. Pro tip, more is not better, using too much sand will cause the individual stones to shift as a sand settles with the weights of the stone. (Picture a seesaw) We screed sand by laying two 1-inch-diameter PVC pipes parallel on the compacted aggregate, Set several feet apart. Spread your 1 inch of sand all over your compacted foundation and level by pulling a two-by-four across the pipes multiple times until the sand is smooth. Remove pipes and fill voids by using a finishing trowel. You will repeat this step until project area is covered with sand. At this point we are ready for the stone, if you intend on using a specific pattern, memorizing it will be helpful. Start from a section you can work backwards towards the exit. You don't want to be caught stepping on the sand. Take into account that while you are laying your stone, you may need to make cuts to get that perfect fit. Now that your stone is laid out in your personalized design you will use a padded plate or roller compacter to complete the settling. This helps the pavers settle into that top quarter inch of sand. After you will fill the stones by spreading polymeric sand over the top the stones and then using a push broom, sweeping it into the cracks. Blow off the remaining dust and lightly wet with a garden hose and lastly step back and admire your hardscape handiwork.

A 15'x15' Paver Patio will start at $5,300

A 15'x15' Flagstone Patio will start at $6,400

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Fireplaces


As of today Landscaping Guru's team has never built a fireplace. Will you be the first?

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Gravel & Stone


Are you aware that many contractors will place river rock on slopes because it is inexpensive? This is a fast fix but with time the river rock tends to roll and will leave you with a lot of bare spots to fill and a big headache. Stone will almost always be a better option in areas that receive high amounts of wind as the stone will prevent the leaves and debris that get blown around from settling. With gravel and Stone it is important to understand the many different options available and their many different purposes. When there is an area with a lot of leaf accumulation, stone can be incorrect. Leaves will build up in the rocks, then break down and turn into soil which will attract all sort of weeds. In areas that will not receive yearly cleanups or areas with high amounts of foliage debris we suggest breeze. Pea gravel is often times found in walkways and play areas this becomes a danger as it tends to roll as you walk and become a mess in play areas. I recommend breeze for walkways and mulch for play areas as these are usually high traffic areas in your yard. When installing stone and gravel you will want to dig down a few inches to keep stone flush with the yard. To maintain and achieve the flush look, metal edging is most commonly used to go along with stone and it truly gives it a modern look. Remember, weed fabric is a necessity however, it is not a cure all. Fall and early spring maintenance for your stone is easy, just clean by using a leaf blower to keep leaves and debris from settling.

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Retaining Walls



Process of installation

Starting by digging to the proper depth. This should be at least two inch's deeper the the height of your block or, Timbers. Once a depth has been reached. A compactor will be used to Achieve a firmer foundation. We can then move on to adding a crushed aggregate. This base should be at least 2'' thick. A screed can be used to help keep the base layer of aggregate level. This base allows the wall to move without structural jeopardy. For taller walls, Areas with bad drainage or walls that are expected to have a major support to a building or structure more base should be considered. With more base aggregate the material will want to be compacted every 2''. The base allows support. Laying it out. The wall should have enough access behind the wall for drainage aggregate to be installed as well. It is important to remember on larger walls to add in a support material. For Landscaping timber walls this will include dead men. A timber will be placed inside the wall and dug into the soil to give extra support to the back of the wall. For block walls Geogrid will be used. This mat like material will be dug into the Earth giving support. For support it is recommended every 4' in wall height. Now we have a picture of our wall install process. Lets start the build. On top of your base material a string line will want to be run to keep your blocks in a row. Begin placing your Blocks along the string line. Keeping the blocks in a row grab a bubble level or two. Using a dead blow hammer tap the block level. Remember your first layer is very important. Its all up from here. For timber walls fallow this same process on a larger scale. Drainage will want to be installed Before backfill of drainage stone is completed. Depending on the needs of your wall. This step may be time to install. Stop every few rows to add drainage aggregate. Drainage aggregate should be or something similar to 3/4 inch granite. The product you have local might vary. Keep in mind to have no minus. The minus will cause the drainage stone to clog. Compact the drainage stone as you go. At 4' high don't forget your structurally engineered supports. As the top of the wall nears drainage will either have been installed into the build or run as a top. We don't normally recommend this for larger walls over 4'. Soil can then be added over a layer of fabric. This is your very last layer. Top few inches to prevent soil from ending up in your drainage aggregate.


For a boulder wall. The process of understanding a slope will be used greatly here. Your looking to achieve a grade that allows the gravity weight of the individual boulder to press into a dirt mound. Without the boulder sliding done the mound. With this process boulder walls will take up a significant more amount of space. Weed fabric may want to be placed under the boulders to keep them from obtaining any plants whos roots might disturb the wall. Ground cover plants might be a solution at this also.

A 35'x3' Block wall will Start at $3,900

A 35'x3' Timber wall will start at $3,400

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Kitchens

As of today Landscaping guru's team has never done an outdoor kitchen. Will you be the first?

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Water Features

Koi


Koi ponds start with a proper depth and dimensions. This gives the fish plenty of room. This larger body of water allows your fish to find their sacred space. For instance some areas of the pond will be warmer than others. Some places will have more oxygen. This depth also allows the fish and area to hide from predators. Deeper waters also can prevent freezing. More water also allows for less area due to the chlorine in tap water. More on this can be studied with the aquarium hobby. Filtration in a koi pond is achieved most often with filter membrane. However a natural biological filter can also be used. Sand, gravel, plants, and bacteria will all be used in cleaning up after your fish. In whom by the way we get to name at least one. Creating a path where water is circulated hopefully coming into contact with all of the water. To achieve this we use a pump at the lowest point and pump it back to the surface to be driven down a stream. Now we begin to build process. Once we have the area mapped out we begin to dig. We will then line the soil with the protective layer of fabric to keep the liner safe. We source all our materials locally so there's not much wait time. We then install a liner of the correct size to fill the entire dig. We run our housing our plumbing and then we can begin to cover the area with dirt, plants, sand, gravel, rocks, boulders, and decorations. You will then want to landscape the surrounding area. We normally add the fish in last to prevent any misfortunes that could occur.

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Pond's/Pond-less


Installation of ponds and pondless water features begin the same, we start by digging the appropriate levels of depth and then install a good liner. Always keep in mind when building any water feature that no parts of your liner should have any contact with the sunlight to prevent brittleness and cracking.

For a pondless feature you simply set a pump box at the deepest section of your reservoir and cover it with your access housing unit, no skimmer box will be needed. you will then run the hoses to a spillway area and cover the entire area with decorative stone.

When setting up a pond, an important step is to create a proper ledge around the liner dimensions of the pond. This is not only for safety but also to keep stone and debris from accumulating in the center of the pond which can cause a lot of issues. Ponds need a skimmer box for proper filtration, the skimmer should be nestled back into the dirt allowing the pond to maintain it's shape. Just like a skimmer in a pool, your skimmer needs the correct maintenance to maintain the balance of your water. You will then run your hoses to the spillway and get ready to enjoy your aquatic master piece.

Small Features $3,500 - $6,000

Large Features $10,000 - $75,000

Construction


Gazebo's


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Raised Garden Bed's


Landscaping Guru recommends using cedarwood for raised garden bed as cedarwood is naturally resistance to rot and insects. For added protection we suggest using a pressure treated cedar on the layer that touches the ground and rodent proofing the bottom edge of raised beds. A year to two years after a bed is built, you may notice your soil has naturally settled causing plant overgrowth with unhealthy results. To prevent the soil from being what we in the industry call "too hot", you will need to regulate it by adding compost as needed and making sure to mix it in with your existing soil to create the most productive soil for your bed. A healthy garden is a happy garden!

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Pergola's


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Property Maintenance

Aeration/Over-seeding


Did you know besides helping the environment your lawn's original purpose was to keep harmful insects, snakes and other unwanted visitors out of your home? Let's take s dive into grass, grass is so much more than something that just needs to be cut. Look at the base of your grass, right where the plants roots meets the soil, here you will find a thin mixture of dead and living plant material called thatch. While a thin layer is beneficial to your lawn health, a thick thatch is a breeding ground for disease and insects. The roots will suffocate from lack of air, leaving the grass vulnerable to heat, drought and stress causing the soil to harden. It is important to dethatch and aerate yearly. Aerification breaks up the hardened soil allowing fresh air, water and nutrients to spread throughout your grass roots by pulling plugs or "cores" of soil out of your lawn about every three inches. Optimize your lawn's potential with organic nutrient filled fertilizers filling any thin spots by over-seeding. Proper lawn maintenance is the most crucial step to a healthy yard, contact the Guru today and ask about our weekly, seasonal and yearly personalized maintenance investment options today!

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Spring/Fall Clean up's


Spring and fall clean ups should be done yearly. Not only does this maintain a clean looking yard. It also maintains weed growth and can stimulate plant growth. Spring and fall cleans ups can be the most cost effective way of controlling and maintaining a property. People can become blissfully unaware as of how much yard work should be done during these time. The truth is maintaining your yard during these times can prevent a renovation.

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Trimming


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Artificial Grass


A product that comes in many different varieties and styles. It'll have a lifespan of about 20 years. First you will want to dig down no less than 3 in and apply a 3-inch layer of decomposed granite. Make sure to compact the decomposed granite with a plate compactor. The granite will allow for proper drainage. For more heavy use we suggest a two to four inch layer of road base underneath the crushed granite. Some manufacturers recommend rolling the artificial turf to sit in the Sun for no less than 6 hours. Once a rough cut has been done seems will want to be sealed. Lawn spikes should be placed on the edges every 6 in. And a decorative coat or recommended manufacturers top coating should be applied.


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Xeriscaping


In 1981 Colorado was facing a serious drought, it was at this time Denver Water coined the term xeriscaping by combining the Greek word "xeros" meaning dry and landscaping. Statewide on average, Colorado sees about 17 inches of precipitation yearly. The need to conserve our most precious resource is still very much alive today as it was back in the 80's. Xeriscape is referred to a water free or low water consumption yard or landscape. Most xeriscapes will consist of rock, stone, and natural vegetation that are drought-resistant with the goal of reducing our reliance on water and extending water supplies. Typically, residents of Colorado utilize 50% of their water consumption on landscapes and lawns, with xeriscaping you can decrease this by 30 to 50%. Xeriscaping is a low maintenance, sustainable solution to Colorado's conditions that have many financial and environmental benefits. Don't hesitate to gloat a little while you will also be personally reducing your carbon foot print by not doing the bothersome chore of mowing your lawn!

Planting Recommendations


Did you know over-seeding with clover can reduce your lawns fertilizer needs? When lawn fertilizers first Came on the seen. They needed a target. Clover was once sold in grass seed mix. Early on people knew the benefits of clover in there lawn. It also helps the bees.

Bare Root trees can be a inexpensive way to achieving beautiful trees without the high price tag. Trees will want to be planted during the late winter and pruned appropriately before going into the ground. Make sure to keep them moist before planting, and don't let them, dry out.

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Irrigation


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Bee's


Bees have been dying out across the country for the past few decades in alarming numbers. We at team Landscaping Guru are doing our best to reestablish bee habitats. Staying away from chemically produced herbicides can greatly reduce the number of bee deaths. Planting locally grown non-box store flowers can furthermore help save the bees. Preferably natural native flowering plants.

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