RAIN GARDENS- Design and Installation

DESIGN AND PLANT CHOICES

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

INSTALLING YOUR CLEAN WATER PLANTING

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 amy@ateamlandscape.com

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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 amy@ateamlandscape.com

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Paver install- from start to finish

This project was originally installed as a patio behind the garage to fill the deep shade spot north of the Sun Porch. The owners decided a few years later that a sidewalk should be installed from the garage service door and brought all the way down the patio (thus enlarging it slightly). Since lawn wasn’t growing well from the shade and drainage from the downspout was a problem, the hardscape installation would be the perfect solution.

Once size was determined and staked out excavation began to create the 6” compacted crushed gravel and 1” sand base the pavers would rest on and would match the height of the existing patio.

Draintile was installed for the downspout with the outlet for the water in the adjoining planting bed.

Once the base was prepared the next step was to lay the pavers, apply joint sand and cleanup!

The original patio received a coat of paver sealer to help lock in the joint sand and freshen up the color.

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 amy@ateamlandscape.com

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Building a Ledgestone Firepit

Step One: Gravel Base – Dig out the area for gravel base, planning for 4-6” depth of compacted gravel and diameter 3’ wider than your steel insert. Once soil is removed add your crushed limestone and compact every 2” layer.

Step Two: Block Base – Lay the first block course and level as you work along. Key tools are a torpedo level, 4’ level and deadblow hammer.

Step Three: Block Layers – Use a concrete adhesive to adhere additional layers of block together being sure to stagger joints.

Step Four: Steel Insert – Install insert before adhesive hardens and you’re done!

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 amy@ateamlandscape.com

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Evaluate your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the first impression of a house. When done right the view from the street or driveway can put forth a positive and intriguing vibe. Research current landscape trends and hardy plant material or call in a landscape professional for a consultation to put together a plan that fits your time and budget to maximize the desired view from the street or driveway.

Beginning at the street the view includes the house itself but also the surrounding lawn, foundation plantings, trees or in some cases the lack there of. An appropriate balance of these landscape elements along with proper care to provide a neat and tidy look (but not blank and sparse) will provide that ideal first impression upon arrival. Often times a simple professional pruning and well placed plant addition can make all the difference.

Don’t let the overgrown shrubs bother you since they can easily be removed or cut down. Instead pay attention to problems like low spots or soil settling along foundations where water may be collecting and running into the foundation. Once you have evaluated problems start thinking about design!

Be sure to look at the front of your house from different angles and entry points such as view from the street, turning into the driveway focal point, walking up the side walk, front door entry waiting zone and don’t forget exiting your front door view to the street!

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 amy@ateamlandscape.com

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FAUX NATURAL STONE – GET THE LOOK WITHOUT THE PRICE TAG

Some of the following pictures are from the Rochester Concrete Products website and feature Rosetta Stone.

The natural look of beautiful stone walls, columns, accents and patios appeals to a lot of us. There is something about a carefully designed landscape that looks like a scene we might happen upon in the mountains or a walk in the woods. The wild grace of an undisturbed native environment, especially one that has a time weathered stone, invokes something beautiful in our minds. While a careful plan from a Creator has formed these natural environments with no effort,  we humans try to replicate them in our little domains through much effort to make it look unplanned and natural.

TRADITIONAL NATURAL PRODUCTS

 There is a myriad of products available fashioned from available stones and cut into all shapes and sizes. We can make walls, patios, walkways, columns and more. But along with the natural look comes the ‘natural’ shape, thickness and all the variabilities. Time consuming labor hours  with the price tag of stone cost and delivery quickly drive up the project budget. Experience and a craftsman eye are key to a successful and beautiful end product.

A NEW GENERATION OF ‘STONE’

The landscape industry is consistently expanding and working on new technologies to improve aesthetics, functionality and installation ease. While many products that try to replicate natural stone look fake and patterned there are some available that strive and meet the desired effect.  One of the most notable manufactures is Rosetta Stone. They have carefully selected stone to build their forms and patterns around then use high quality concrete with a through color mix to replicate our favorite looks. They have a great firepit kit that beautifully replicates the random cut stone look. Also available are column kits, wall stone and outcropping stone looks.

STRONG LOOKS UNDERFOOT

Samsung Techwin

Popular choices for ground surface include stamped concrete that can be formed, patterned and textured to replicate natural stone in color and feel. As with plain concrete, stamped concrete is subject to cracking in freeze thaw cycles. Other products include concrete pavers in cut or random sizes and may have a tumbled process to give a weathered look. These types of products are more consistent in top surface being level which provides an advantage to the inconsistent nature of flagstone especially with the use of furniture.

EXPLORE FOR YOUR LOOK

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 amy@ateamlandscape.com

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Natural Stone Landscape Options

Landscape Choices:

Edging- want a different look to your landscape edging?

Chilton Stone Edging

Flagstone (steppers)- clean walking from here to there!

Chilton Steppers

Flagstone (irregular or cut)- formal to rustic, pick your style.

Mississippi Bluff Limestone

Wall cut- tight joints for a clean look.

Mississippi Bluff Limestone

Boulders (accent or walls)- naturalistic style at its finest!

Small Boulder Raised Planting Bed

Mulch- low maintenance groundcover? Depends how you blow it!

Mocha Dark Brown Rock and Shakopee Red Rock
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Sitting Walls

Landscape Element: Sitting Wall

When space is at a premium or you would like the option of increased seating space for your patio look no further than the sitting wall. This hard working element creates definition, structure and interest with the bonus of extra seating. It never needs to be put away for the winter, thus creating winter interest (unless the snow gets to deep). When quality material and installation is used it won’t crack, fade or blow away. Many materials allow the seat wall to be free standing, part of a planter or even provide soil retention. The wall may even include a back rest if so desired. With the wide range of materials available the possibilities are endless to create a unique piece for your own yard. Natural cut stone, concrete segmental block, brick or any combination to fit the desired setting are available in a wide range of colors and textures. Many companies offer a full range of products to coordinate your sitting wall, patio, columns and fire features to create a beautiful outdoor room.

Check out A Team Landscaping for more ideas and inspiration! http://www.ateamlandscape.com

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