Bright, Bold and Beautiful World- Puerto Rico

Visited in 2019

Old San Juan is an entire color box

Every building is painted a different color. I bet you could find every crayon color!

Sanse or Fiestas de La Calle San Sebastian in January 2019

The festival created a fun and relaxed atmosphere as we joined in the crowds for food, music and shopping.

Bright painted wood and black painted metal creates a striking combo
Outdoor dining is the norm in this climate!
Art display near the Presidential House

Who says art has to hang on a wall in a museum!

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RAIN GARDENS- Maintenance

As with the establishment of any garden, watering frequency and amount is vital to plant health. Most young, establishing plants need one inch of water per week after the initial establishment period of 4-6 weeks. Keep a rain gauge in your garden to measure rain events and determine supplemental watering if needed. In subsequent years you will only need to water in dry periods.

One of the other keys is keeping the planting weeded. Mulching and use of pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen greatly reduces the chance of weed establishment in the early days of the planting. Spring and fall are usually the most critical times to stay on top of this gardening chore. Work with a perennial professional if you need help identifying a plant vs weed.

Caring for the plants involves pruning, deadheading and pinching. These three activities keep your planting looking fresh and beautiful. When you perform these takes it also gives opportunity to examine plant health and if there are any insect or disease problems present. Always use a nontoxic and natural control to insure beneficial insects are not harmed. Again seek the advice of a gardening specialist if you are unsure about what to do! After a few years you may need to divide and remove plants to continue a healthy ecosystem that remains aesthetically pleasing. This task is best completed in the spring when plants are 4” high.

Lastly, do not forget to appreciate and enjoy the fruit of your labor- a beautiful, sustainable and important habitat for ecological health.

Call on us for your spring landscape maintenance needs. We can get you started on the right path for a beautiful landscape that will bring you joy all season. Visit Email or CALL Amy 507-581-6886 to setup your groundskeeping consultation today.

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RAIN GARDENS- Design and Installation


Sedge grasses are great for wet areas of the rain garden

Check with online resources or landscape professionals for guidance on size of garden needed as well as proper depth. They also can help you determine how the water will enter your garden through draintile surface run off or dry creek beds. Once you have those figured out and sketch a shape for your area the plant layout process can begin. Keep in mind light conditions of the garden throughout the day as well as bloom times so that the garden will have a long period of interest. Some people choose to go all native or pollinator plants, mixed shrubs and perennials or all grasses. There are many resource lists online to help narrow down plant choices. Most planting plans are divided into zones based on where the water will be the longest.

Popular Plant choices:

Grasses: Fox sedge, Blue Zinger sedge, Feather Reed Grass and Little Bluestem

Perennials: Blue Flag Iris, Coneflowers, Liatris and Lobelia

Shrubs: Red Twig Dogwood, Bush Honeysuckle and Spirea


Ok, now we’re ready to get out the shovels and do some digging! Draw out the outline of your planting space with spray paint or use a garden hose so you can move it around to get the shape just right. Also outline the area that will need to be the deepest part of your garden to hold the water. Decide if you are OK with herbicide to kill the grass and plan to do your spraying at least 3 days ahead of digging. If you would rather go a natural route strip the sod off and use elsewhere in yard or flip it over to create a small berm as designed in your new planting area. After surface material is removed continue to dig out the flat bottom bowl to the depth you need and size you’ve planned out.

Next bring in the compost material estimated to incorporate into the bottom of the bowl and use a garden fork to manually dig it in or employ a tiller for mechanical help. After the soil has all been raked out you are ready to place the plants using the design for proper placement. Or if you have a lot of small plants you may want to spread mulch first and then put in plants after to insure no plant gets buried in the mulching process.

Use root pruning techniques to prepare plants for proper root growth, dig your hole and plant! Mulch should be a good quality type that is fibrous and meshes well to get so as not to float and disturb the plants in a rain event. Plan for around 2” mulch depth.

As a final step thoroughly water each plant to settle it into the soil, removing air gaps and providing necessary moisture for needed root growth. Follow a landscape professional watering plan for ideal plant health and establishment.

Step back, take a look and enjoy your accomplishment. You are now benefitting the birds, bees, family, neighbors and most importantly the future of clean water.

3 month old planting

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email

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RAIN GARDENS- nature’s rain-water filtering system

Rain Gardens accomplish many landscape goals and have gained popularity throughout cities in the US over the last few years. These gardens embody sustainability, resourcefulness, environmental positivity and when done right beautiful artistic expressions.

To put it simply, properly designed rain gardens are a flat bottom bowl shape to collect water in rain events and drain into the soil within a 24 hour time period. Designers go through a process to determine amount of water that will be collected, type of soil garden will be in and complementary design creation. Plant choices are also specifically designed for the location within the gardens. The main idea is to incorporate rain water back into the ground water system and replenish our aquafers instead of directing water into a storm water system that carry debris and chemicals with it. This system elevates flooding because rain water is designed to stay on site and not be carried off to some other holding area.

A few things that rain gardens are not: ponds or wetlands that would hold just enough water to breed mosquitos, weedy wild planting beds or high maintenance plantings that stick out like a sore thumb. A properly planned, planted and maintained site will be beneficial to all both aesthetically and environmentally. Contact us to help you out with coaching, design, installation or maintenance of your Clean Water Landscaping. Call Amy Voight 507-581-6886 email and checkout our social media platforms to inspire your own journey!

Downspout rain garden
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Replacing a Timber wall with Concrete Block

A common problem among existing retaining walls is that they are often built from timbers or railroad ties and have a shorter life then their concrete counterparts. As the wood begins to decompose the wall may begin to bow, crumble apart and wash out. The wall in this project was beginning to show signs of all of these with the additional problem of never being fully finished under the deck.

Wall project before

Previous home owners tried to dress up the area under the deck by enclosing it but this only invited humidity to speed up the rot process. We would also discover the posts of the deck either were not directly on footings or had rotted away.

This area of the yard was not a high priority for plantings and since access to backyard was also available on the other side of the house we elected to do the simplest wall – one wall L shaped with an 8′ height. In the future the deck could be remodeled to have a wood steps in front of the wall to once again provide access but was not necessary now.

Versa Lok Square Foot Block

The access to the backyard and final wall height for this project was a consideration for block type chosen. Our loader machine would have access to the backyard (face of the wall) only through the neighbors yard and the steep slope where the wall is provided additional challenges in getting product where we needed it.

Once all the under deck wood was removed we could start excavating our trench for the 8″ layer of compacted crushed gravel as our base. Next the base block layer was placed, leveled individually and centers filled with gravel.

Because of the height of the wall it was engineered to determine soil stabilization grid lengths and locations. We built up in layers compacting as we went to be sure settling would be absolutely minimal. Draintile was installed at the face ground level with outlets for excess water to drain. Drainage is also facilitated by the 12″ wide back fill of 3/4″ rock directly at the back of the wall. This block system incorporated pins as part of the installation process to tie the layers together and increases the strength of the wall.

Wall in Process

Want help with your wall project?

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email

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