Deck vs. Patio Paver?

deckThe decision for the right design for your outdoor living space can be a tricky one. Two worthy opponents vying for your attention are decks and patios. 

Both are good choices, but which will work best for you? How will either hold up in the often-harsh Ohio winters?

In this article, we’ll give you a deep dive into decks and paver patios so you’ll be armed with the right information to make the best decision for you.

What are the basic differences between a deck and a paver patio?

Let’s start first with patios. Level with the ground, a paver patio often serves as a connection between your yard and your living area. You can spruce it up by adding shrubbery, flower beds birdbaths, water or fire features, etc. 

Decks, though, are elevated from the ground. While they can be freestanding, most decks are attached to homes or other structures. Because of their height, some safety features may be necessary – like a railing or built-in bench. 

What are decks and paver patios made from?

Most decks are made of wood. While it gives your deck a more natural look, wood can also be difficult to maintain over the long run. Other materials that can make your deck more durable include aluminum, composites (resin and wood) and polymer (plastic).

Paver patios are typically made of stone, brick, tile or concrete. Especially attractive features of pavers include the wide variety of available colors and the ability to lay the individual tiles in striking patterns.  

patio paverWhich is easier to install?

If you’re wanting to extend your living area from a second floor or want it to serve as a balcony, decking is your obvious choice because it’s elevated. Likewise, if ground-level outdoor living is your jam, a paver patio is the right choice.

As for the installation process itself, most decks are installed in the following stages. Keep in mind that your deck can be customized to your specific needs, so the steps may vary.

  • We’ll first make sure there are no underground services (water and power lines) running across the deck area.
  • The outline of your deck is made with string.
  • Any necessary removal of sod is made.
  • Support posts are installed and held in place with cement, and beams and joists are installed.
  • Decking boards are nailed in place.
  • Finally, features including stairs, railing and staining are added. 

As for paver patios, the installation process includes:

  • Removing sod and plants from the designated area down to the level of undisturbed soil
  • Compacting the soil to avoid settling
  • Installing a treated fabric that will prevent freezing and thawing of the deep soil
  • Spreading a six-inch layer of gravel and sand that serves as the setting bed
  • Laying the pavers and sealing the final product. 

Which is easier to maintain?

Depending upon the material you select, your deck can take a real beating during the winter months. Wooden decks are highly vulnerable to the continual freezing and thawing of water we see during our Ohio winters. You’ll also need to regularly power-wash, stain and seal your wood deck.

As for paver patios, the necessary maintenance is not nearly as intense. Since pavers are extremely durable, all that’s really needed is sealing – and even though that’s recommended to deal with our cold winter months, it’s not entirely necessary.

What are the pros and cons of a deck?

Here’s where we get to the meat of the matter. As for decks, the pros include:

  • Decks are a better option for uneven terrain.
  • They’re customizable to your individual style and tastes.
  • Decks provide an immediate boost to your resale value if you’re looking to quickly sell your home.

Cons for decks include:

  • The costs of installing a deck are often higher than a paver patio.
  • They often have a shorter lifespan because of vulnerability to harsh weather, rot and termites.
  • More maintenance is required than with a paver patio.
  • There are weight restrictions, which can be a problem during heavy snows and added features like a hot tub or an outdoor kitchen.

What are the pros and cons of a paver patio?

The advantages of choosing a paver patio include:

  • Maintenance is substantially less than a deck.
  • More privacy is available through a paver patio because it is low to the ground.
  • They have a far longer lifespan – roughly 25 years or more of use is common.

Among the con sides of paver patios are:

  • They are not a good choice for uneven terrain.
  • They are vulnerable to cracking – although this is easily fixed by replacing the individually damaged tiles.
  • Pave tiles can be stained by mildew, mud and other natural occurrences. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there’s plenty to like about paver patios and decks. We understand that choosing one over the other can be difficult. Our decades of experience, though, can be invaluable in guiding you towards the right choice. 

For ideas of how we can help, check out our online photo gallery of recent projects. 

Then, give us a call at (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email

 

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Pergola vs. Sunshade?

pergolaIt may not feel like it, but by the end of March spring will have sprung – even for those of us here in the Buckeye State. With late-March and April highs projected to be in the mid-to-upper 60s, things will seem downright balmy.

With the arrival of the sunnier and warmer days of spring comes thoughts of outdoor living and entertaining. A vital part to enjoying your yard during the spring and summer months is providing yourself and your guests with shelter from the sun.  

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth and informative look at two of the most popular options for relief from the vertical rays: pergolas and sunshades.

What is a pergola?

While it can be connected to your house or freestanding, a pergola is an open structure with no walls, but is supported by several posts. Typically square or rectangular in shape, its roof is partially open with a lattice or trellis design that provides you and your guests with a bit of cover. This design makes it easy for air to circulate and for some sunlight to pass through.

The main purpose of a pergola is to establish the perimeters of an outdoor living area. 

How large are pergolas?

While some pergolas are large enough to provide shade for crowds of 30 or more, others can be intimate enough for just two. 

In other words, your pergola will be built to your specific needs.  

What are pergolas made of?

You have a variety of choices for your pergola materials. Popular choices include wood, steel, aluminum, and metal.

How long should my pergola last?

It depends on two things: the material you select and whether or not it’s properly maintained.

For a wood pergola, you should expect to enjoy 10 years or more from your investment. Metal, steel and aluminum pergolas will last even longer.

The trick is to avoid the DIY pergola kits you see in the big box stores. While their prices are appealing, you’ll be fortunate to get more than two years of use out of their products. 

patio paverWhat are the pros and cons of a pergola?

As with just about anything in life, there are pros and cons to installing a pergola.

Among the pros for a pergola are:

  • It will not obstruct the view from inside your home.
  • The necessity of relatively few materials
  • The versatility to add curtains or grow vines along the posts for privacy and decorative tastes and styles
  • Materials can be stained or painted to reflect the appearance of your home.

The cons sometimes associated with a pergola include:

  • Fading of the materials over time
  • The possibility of termites if your pergola is made of wood and proper treatments aren’t made

What is a sunshade?

Often referred to as shade sails, sunshades are another highly effective way to give you and your guests a bit of shade. Sunshades are typically made of specially treated fabric that’s mounted to steel posts and tightened to avoid flapping in high winds. 

How large are sunshades?

While they can be custom-made for your specific needs, sunshades are readily available in sizes as small as 10-feet to over 25-feet. You may need more than one sunshade to cover your outdoor living area.

Are sunshades waterproof?

Not entirely. While a light rain will roll off from the edges of your sunshade, a heavy downpour will likely result in some rainwater passing through.

Can I leave my sunshade up all year?

It’s not recommended. Most sunshades are not capable of supporting heavy snowfalls during the winter months or withstanding hurricane-force winds. 

How long should my sunshade last?

Much of the answer to that question depends on the installation of the sunshade. For example, while it’s not unusual to enjoy as much as 10 years of outdoor living with your sunshade, improper installation can cause it to become loose or even sag – which in turn leads to faster deterioration. 

What are the pros and cons of a sunshade?

While sunshades do provide great ventilation and are relatively easy to install, there are a few negatives to keep in mind.

Among the cons for a sunshade are:

  • They’re not built to withstand heavy weather
  • They present a legitimate fire hazard
  • Your investment can be damaged by birds, large branches and other obstacles. 

The Bottom Line

The decision to go with a pergola or sun shade is obviously your choice. We’re fans of both options, but can help you understand the pros and cons of each as they relate to your situation. That way, you don’t have any buyer’s remorse down the road. 

To find out more about how we can help you, and to get the ball rolling, visit our online Dream Builder page so that we have an idea of what you’ve got in mind. 

You can also give us a call at (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email

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Can You Lay Pavers in Cold Weather?

paversFew people associate winter weather with doing landscaping projects. To be honest though, that’s often the best time for finding bargains. Because many remodeling and home-focused businesses often experience a slowdown in business during the winter months, shorter waits for installation are also the norm.

That’s certainly the case with pavers. 

Available in a wide variety of shapes and colors, pavers are an especially effective way to create an environment specific to your tastes and style. However, should you have pavers installed during cold weather?

We’ll talk about it in this article.

Can Pavers Be Installed During The Winter?

As long as the ground is not frozen, we should be able to install your pavers. Another factor to keep in mind is the amount of moisture in the ground. Because pavers require a stable sub-base to keep them anchored and secured, the ground needs to be firm enough to hold the sub-base.

How Does Winter Weather Affect Pavers?

The constant cycle of freezing and thawing water during the winter months can take a toll on even the sturdiest of hardscape features, including pavers.

The ground underneath your pavers will expand during the freeze-thaw cycles, then contract during warmer temperatures. Although natural and unavoidable, the continually expanding and contracting of the ground can actually lead to your pavers shifting out of place.

While this is happening beneath the surface, the condition will often express itself through “frost heave” – an actual swelling of the soil that pushed upwards and breaches the surface. Beyond looking unappealing, frost heave can structurally damage the integrity of the surrounding pavement and even the foundation of your home.

How Can I Prevent the Shifting of Pavers?

Several preventative steps can prevent your pavers from shifting.

The main thing is to insist upon a proper installation process. Because accuracy and professionalism are vitally important to the installation of pavers, it’s definitely not a DIY project. At a minimum, there should be a gravel base and a layer of bedding sand at the proper depths beneath your pavers. 

Because it’s important for water to be routed away from pavers, there should be a slope leading away from the center of the foundation.

Afterwards, the soil needs to be compacted properly so that there’s no settling once the project is complete.

paversWhat Can I Do to Protect My Pavers During The Winter?

Many have found that an especially attractive feature of pavers is the fact that you only have to replace individual tiles as they are damaged, rather than replacing the entire surface.

Here are a couple of proactive steps you can take to make sure your pavers last for years of enjoyment.

  • Seal your pavers. A protective layer shields your pavers from the harshness of winter. This layer prevents scrapes, chips, and erosion normally associated with the cold months. Sealers for pavers can be either topical or penetrating. We recommend the penetrating sealer because it’s actually absorbed by the paver and gives you the most amount of protection.
  • Don’t salt your pavers. It’s typical to salt our driveways during freezing conditions, but that’s not recommended on your pavers. Interestingly, when it meets rainwater, the salt can seep into the pavers and freeze. The resulting expanding can then lead to the winter heave effect we talked about earlier. 

What Other Landscaping Services Does Hidden Creek Offer During Winter Months?

Hidden Creek Landscaping is a full-service landscape provider. As such, we’re proud to offer a variety of landscaping services throughout the year – including the often-severe Ohio winters. 

  • Yard aeration: This process is vital to the health of your lawn. By breaking up the soil and dirt, oxygen and water are allowed easier passageways. 
  • Winter fertilization: Because your lawn uses up most of its required nutrients during the spring and summer months, it needs a bit of help during the winter. With fertilization, you reverse any damage that may have been done to the root system just beneath the surface. The payoff for this step comes during the warmer months when your landscape is able to experience a full bloom. 
  • Winterizing your sprinkler system: Often overlooked by homeowners, making sure your sprinkler system is ready for the winter can prevent damage to the pipe seals and valves. 

If you have a redesign or remodeling project in mind, we can certainly help with that as well – even in winter. We’ll make the time to listen to your ideas and get to work on a solution. 

To give us an idea of what you have in mind, complete our Dream Builder form to get the ball rolling. For design inspiration, look at our online design center for examples of our work with previous and current clients. 

To find out more, call Hidden Creek Landscaping at (614) 779-0846. You can also reach us via email

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Patio Building Materials to Withstand Cold

patio materialsFrom snowstorms generated by Lake Erie to the moderate cold of the central lowlands, winter weather in Ohio can be like living in different regions, depending on where you live. Here in our neck of the woods, the winter months are typically marked by freezing temperatures and gusting winds.

If you’ve been blessed with a patio or are thinking of having one installed, it’s vital that you select materials that can withstand what Mother Nature can throw your way. 

Here, we’ll talk about patio building materials that are best equipped to withstand Ohio winters so that you can enjoy outdoor living year-round.

Do You Want a Deck or a Patio?

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re quite different.

Often attached to a house, a patio is very versatile. The designs are varied and the materials are as well. For example, good materials for patios include concrete, stone pavers, tile and brick.

Decks, on the other hand, are usually made from wood or utilize a wood composite. While they too are often attached to a house or other structure, it’s also not unusual for a deck to be freestanding to take advantage of certain views.

What Patio Materials Are Best for Cold Climates?

Again, you have quite a few choices for materials for your patio. Knowing which one will do a better job of withstanding the elements while needing the least amount of maintenance can save you a lot of money and headache. 

Cement: Say goodbye to the days when concrete patios were simply gray slabs. With advancements in coloring methods and stamping techniques, a concrete patio can be formed into practically any shape and hue.

While concrete can withstand a lot of things, it doesn’t always perform as well in extremely cold conditions. One of the main reasons is that concrete is porous – meaning it has small holes through which air and water may pass. That’s not a good thing when water lays on top of it and freezes. The added stress to the surface can easily lead cracks and other structural damage. 

Concrete sealing can be an effective preventative action. The sealing coats the surface and repels water – all while strengthening the bonds within the concrete. 

Pavers: Available in brick, concrete, stone and other materials, many homeowners prefer using pavers to add a touch of elegance and texture to their patios.

Unlike cement, pavers are individual tiles installed in the pattern you wish. This essentially lets you expand your personal and architectural tastes outside of your home.  

patio materialsThe advantage to this approach is that if you do notice bits of a tile falling away from the effects of the continuing freeze-thaw cycle, you merely have to replace the affected tiles rather than the whole patio.

Slate, travertine (made from limestone), porcelain and terracotta pavers are especially effective at withstanding frigid weather. 

Brick: We humans have been using brick for our homes and shelters for thousands of years. Like other materials, there have been tremendous advancements in brick to produce various combinations of shapes, colors and textures.

While brick has proven to be effective in standing up against just about a weather onslaught, freezing temps and water are often too much. As water is absorbed into the brick and then freezes, it can shatter its internal structure.

As for maintenance, brick is relatively easy to keep up. Regular cleaning, and spot checks for damage caused by water and freezing should keep you in good shape. As with concrete, sealing your brick patio can be especially effective against the cold elements. 

How Do I Decide Which Patio Material is Best For Me?

We understand it’s a lot of information to take in and process. That’s why we sit down to talk with you one-on-one about your patio needs and wishes. Our process is one that’s entirely collaborative. 

Getting started on your new patio is easy. Simply complete our Dream Builder form to get the ball rolling. 

Here’s how our process works.

  • During our initial consultation, we’ll discuss budget and design options. 
  • Then, we present our schematics and have a preliminary budget review to discuss materials and amenities. 
  • Together we review the final plan to lock down the details, so that everyone is on the same page. 
  • We’ll then schedule a visit to your home to assess any potential obstacles and talk about them with you before proceeding to the completion.
  • Once your patio project is complete, you will have a walk-through to make sure everything has been done to your satisfaction. 

As for the design of your patio, we invite you to check out our online design center for examples of work we’ve completed for previous and current clients. 

Our mission is to design and install the patio of your dreams, while making sure it can withstand the harsh Ohio winters.

To find out more, call Hidden Creek Landscaping at (614) 779-0846. You can also reach us via email.

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Planning Your Commercial Projects for the New Year

The new year is almost here, have you started thinking about your resolutions? One of the things that shouldn’t be overlooked with the new year and season are your commercial landscaping goals for 2019. Here are some steps for planning your commercial landscaping projects for the new year:

Plan

The best way to start a commercial landscaping project, or any project at all, is to know what your end goal is. Realistically, you want a landscape that is pleasing to bystanders and ups the curb appeal of your business or space. Aside from the basics, what else do you want? Do you want a space to entertain clients outside, with a sitting area or gazebo? Do you want a water feature to give your project a feel of elegance? The more ideas you have about your space, the more we can help you make your dreams into a reality. You can check out our online galleries, or pull photos from other projects that you have seen to give us a better idea of what you are thinking. The more info you give us, the better off we will be to start designing!

Design

We structure our commercial landscaping projects into three distinct parts. First, we help you design a plan. At Hidden Creek Landscaping, we have over two decades of combined experience with designing and implementing commercial spaces. We make innovative plans and carefully craft each project to fit your space, preferences, and requirements. We factor in everything from topography, vegetation, draining, water, and climate conditions to make sure that everything is accounted for. Some of the design services that we offer include master planning, consultations, green roofs, irrigation designs, hardscape element planning, construction documents, illustrating and 3D renderings and planting design ideas. After our design phase, you will have a comprehensive and detailed plan of exactly what your project will look like upon completion and just how much it will cost. From start to finish, we will help you plan every meticulous detail of your commercial landscape.

Build

The next part of the commercial design process, after you have your comprehensive plan and design, is to build. Our company has produced countless showcase designs and we have an overwhelming amount of commercial landscape experience. We use computer-aided design software to help create fast and accurate price estimates with our construction projects. Some of our construction services include paving installation, masonry, irrigation installation, water features, lighting, shade structures, green roof installs, softscapes, seasonal displays, retaining walls, swimming pool and more. Best of all, if you are interested in a service not currently listed on our site, contact us today and we will explore your project to see if we can accommodate your needs!

Maintain

Once your project is planned and executed to perfection, it is time to think about long-term maintenance requirements. Before we even begin the process of designing, we will ask you about your long-term goals and expectations. We know that your property is unique and will have its own set of maintenance requirements. We will work with you to make a long-term plan to keep the health and appearance of your space healthy and beautiful. We offer maintenance services that will help keep your new project thriving all year around. Whether its snow removal, lawn fertilization, fall cleanups, or seasonal displays, we’ve got you covered.  Our crew is experienced with ground maintenance and committed to upholding the highest standards in the industry. We take a proactive approach to maintaining your space.

Why should you choose Hidden Creek for your commercial projects?

When it comes to your commercial project, you don’t want to put your renovation in the hands of just anybody. At Hidden Creek, our reputation speaks for itself. We have a 97.5% client retention rate over the last decade. We are locally owned and operated and our work consistently outperforms that of our competitors. We use the most modern and up-to-date technology in the industry and are committed to creating and maintaining the perfect space for you.

If you are interested in planning a commercial renovation project in the new year, contact us today. You can also check out reviews and photos of our past projects on our online gallery. When you choose to work with Hidden Creek Landscaping, you are putting your project in the hands of experts that are committed to excellent service every step of the way. Don’t wait, start your 2019 commercial landscape projects today!

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Caring For Your Landscape In Winter

Winter landscaping can seem a tad challenging. In fact, you probably haven’t given much thought to your landscaping in the winter months. Taking care of your yard now can set you up for success in the future. Here are some of our top tips for caring for your yard and garden this winter:

Break out the Fertilizer

Fertilizing your lawn before the weather gets too cold is a great way to set it up for success during the springtime. Summer can deplete a lot of the nutrients from your grass, so fertilizing can reverse this damage and help replenish the roots of your plants. Your lawn will be in full bloom when the weather gets warm again if you decide to fertilize.  

Aerate Your Yard

Aerating your lawn is the process of breaking up soil and dirt to allow oxygen and water to get into it. Aerating your lawn will keep it healthy and thriving. It helps the roots of your plants to grow deep into the lawn, which leads to healthier grass and foliage. The soil in your yard will naturally get compact over time, making it hard for air and water to seep down into the roots of your plants. Aeration will help break this up and reverse it. This will make sure that your plants are well nourished, even during winter.

Clear it Out

Although this tip may seem like common sense, it is important to keep your yard free in the winter time. If you leave things like furniture and toys on your grass during the cold season, it can lead to dead patches when the weather gets warm again. Make sure that your yard is cleaned up and cleared out, especially before the snowy weather begins.

Do Some Last Minute Raking

If you still have leaves in your yard from the fall, break out the rake and get them cleaned up before the first snowfall. Not only will this help you clear out your yard, as mentioned above, but it will also help open up your root system. This is a good way to prepare your yard for seeding and to help with the aeration efforts of your soil.

Don’t Step on the Grass!

Although you are probably used to strolling through your yard at your leisure, stepping on the grass during the winter can be incredibly damaging. When people tread through the snow, they tend to take the same path each time. As you walk through your yard, the snow will become continuously compacted. While one walk through the yard won’t do too much damage, continuing to tread the same paths can make it hard for grass in that area to grow.

Make Sure Your Lawn is Mowed

Speaking of grass, it is incredibly important to keep up with your mowing schedule all the way up until the first snowfall of the winter. Leaving tall grass for winter weather can have devastating effects on your yard. Longer grass will trap in moisture and will stay wet throughout the season.

Evaluate Your Hardscape

While your yard will not be as visually pleasing in the winter time because of the lack of foliage, you can still up your curb appeal by adding and updating hardscaping features to your space. Benches, gazebos, walkways, and other features will still be visible in the winter months and can give your landscape a welcoming vibe. Winter is the perfect time to take on these projects because you will be putting less maintenance into your grass and garden. 

Taking good care of your lawn in winter is half the battle to keeping a successful landscape all year long. Practice these maintenance tips, and contact the experts at Hidden Creek Landscaping for all of your winter landscaping needs. Together, we will make sure that your yard is beautiful and healthy for the new year.

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Making Your Yard Festive for the Holidays

The holiday season is here, have you done your decorating yet? While many people will deck their halls and make the insides of their homes a winter wonderland, the yard and landscape are often overlooked. Don’t skimp out on your curb appeal- follow these tips to make your yard festive and welcoming for the holiday season:

Touch Up Your Walk Way

You want your guests to feel welcomed and excited to enter your home. To help with this effect, consider redoing your walkway. With the increasingly shorter days, a little extra lighting will keep everyone safe, especially as things get increasingly icy with the cold weather. Additionally, if the stones or bricks that you currently have lining your path are dingy, old, and worn down, it may be time for a makeover. You can take a seasonal approach to this project by lining your space with lights shaped like elves or candy cane or focus on fixtures that you can display throughout the whole year. Regardless, both you and your guests will be thankful for the extra lighting

Add Planters

Another way to add life to your space in the cold is by investing in holidays planters. This beautiful burst of color will help to make your yard and deck beautiful and vibrant. You can buy planters with evergreen and birch to last throughout the holiday. Spruce up your planters with pinecones, ribbons, and ornaments to give them a night holiday feel. Planters are an elegant way to add some decoration to your home for the season.

String Some Lights

The same old Christmas lights can seem a tad boring, but with a little creativity, you can add a fun new twist. You can line your house and porch with strings of lights but have also you considered draping them throughout the trees and other foliage? Instead of traditional white lights, invest in other colors to add some flare. You can also get icicle-like hanging strands that can give your front porch a great wintery theme. Add some lights to unusual places, like light posts and mailboxes, to add some shimmer. The more lights, the merrier.

Add Some Foliage

While many of your plants will suffer in the winter months, maybe it’s time to rethink your landscaping scheme. Wintergreen boxwood, coneflowers, blue spruces, and catmints are just some of the many plants that can survive and thrive in the winter. Adding new foliage will help to give a feeling of life to your yard that may otherwise be looking a little barren in the season. If you are confused or unsure of what plants will do well during the season in your space, give us a call. We can help you make a landscaping plan to meet your needs and to help your yard stay vibrant the whole winter long.

Revamp Your Deck

If you don’t have a porch or deck, now may be the perfect time to consider adding one. With the weather getting colder and colder, you will want a space where you can enjoy being outdoors, even for a little. A furbished deck or patio is the perfect spot to sit outside and entertain company. You can add a firepit or heat lamps for warmth and decorate your space to entertain. In addition to keeping you happy and cozy, these additions will also help with your curb appeal and the overall value of your home. If you already have a deck or porch but just aren’t crazy about their look, feel, or layout, use this time to do a quick remodel. You’ll be so excited to have them when the weather gets warm again.

No matter how you decide to decorate for the holidays, don’t skip out on your landscape! And, as always, if you need any help, call the experts at Hidden Creek Landscaping. We will help you get your space ready for the holidays and the new year!  

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Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

With the harsh winter weather coming up fast, it is important to take some time to prepare your home for the elements. One preparation that is often overlooked by homeowners is preparing your sprinkler system for the cold weather. Doing so can help avoid damaged valves, seals, and pipes when warmer weather returns. Without proper winterizing, you may be faced with steep costs to repair any damages.

Where to Begin

The most important thing to remember when winterizing your sprinkler system is that any water remaining in it must be blown out. Harsh winter temperatures can cause any water left behind to freeze and expand, resulting in damage to the metal and plastic components of the sprinkler system.

You will need an air compressor to prepare your system. You can rent an air compressor from an equipment rental company, hire a plumber who is qualified to perform this service or contact the company that initially installed the system and have them do it.

What You’ll Need

If you have an air compressor, you should have the following items to winterize your sprinkler system:

  • Safety glasses for eye protection
  • Your sprinkler system user manual in case you have any questions
  • Metal fitting for the airline on the compressor
  • Insulated blanket (if applicable)
  • Stop and waste valve key (if applicable)

The Process

The first step in preparing your sprinkler system for winter is turning off the water supply to the system. Your shut-off valve will be in a valve box, which is typically found in your basement, garage, or another space that will protect it from freezing. Your shut-off valve could also be located up to five feet underground, and you will need a key to turn it off. It should not require much effort to turn your shut-off valve off; however, you do not want to force it and risk damage to the valve. Sprinkler systems that utilize a pump for the operation must be drained and disconnected. If possible, store your sprinkler system pump inside for the winter months. For pumps that are permanently in place, this is where you will need the insulated blanket to protect it from the elements.

The next step in the winterizing process is clearing out any water in the backflow device. If your sprinkler system operates on privately owned water, you will want to check the installation plan. Most sprinkler systems typically utilize public water sources and either have a pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) or an atmospheric vacuum breaker (AVB). You will find the AVB located below the valve, and it can be cleared out with the system. In contrast, you cannot use an air compressor to clear out a system with a PVB. For ones with PVBs, you will need to clear out the system first then rotate the test cocks and ball valves a few times. You will then want to position them half-open in order to avoid moisture from building up.

The third step in winterizing your sprinkler system is to actually clear the water out of the system. You will want to clear out all the water in the valves and downstream part of the system. While using the air compressor, it is recommended that you reach a range of 40-80 pounds/square inch. The following are recommendations based on the type of material of your sprinkler system:

  •       50 pounds/square inch maximum for polyethylene pipe
  •       80 pounds/square inch maximum for rigid PVC tubing

In order to find the best volume for your sprinkler system, simply take the gallons per minute and divide by 7.5, which will give you the cubic feet per minute of compressed air needed.

Things to Remember

It is important to note that the size of your air compressor must be considered during this step. Large air compressors should be operated with a regulator to avoid clearing out the water too quickly and causing damage to the sprinkler system. Smaller air compressors can certainly be used for this step; it will just take longer to complete the process.

You will then need to hook up the air compressor to the blowout valve. Turn the compressor to the appropriate psi and begin running it. We recommend that you run the compressor two times for each zone of the sprinkler system.

The final step in the winterization process is to set all the valves on the backflow device to half-open. You will also want to keep the compressor controller plugged in since it is a source of heat to prevent condensation.

You have now successfully prepared your sprinkler system for the winter. Once the spring arrives, you will need to prepare your system for use again. You will need to ensure all valves are closed before re-pressurizing the system. Once the water flow is operational, you can then reopen the valves.

If you have any questions about this, or anything else related to landscaping, give us a call today!

 

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Our Favorite Fall Landscaping Features

Just like many of you, we love fall! The air is crisp, the weather is cool, and the seasons are changing before our eyes. And do you know our absolute favorite part of the season? All of the fall landscaping projects that you can add to your outdoor space! Here are a few of our favorite fall features:

There’s No Place Better to Sit Than a Fire Pit

What’s better than snuggling up by a fire pit while the weather gets cooler? Adding a fire pit to your home will help you spend more time outside and is the perfect way to entertain guests during the fall. What’s better than sharing memories and stories by the light of the fire underneath the stars? If you add a firepit to your home, you are sure to enjoy hours of outdoor entertainment and break up the monotony of staying inside all day due to the cold weather.

Perfect your Patio

A patio is also a great way to entertain in the cool months. If you deck your space out with comfortable seating, lighting, and heating, you will have a brand new area to entertain guests and enjoy your yard. While a patio can be enjoyed all year round, you will absolutely love having this space at your disposal during the autumn months. Grab a bottle of wine and some blankets and enjoy the evening on your patio space.

The More the Merrier

One of the most scenic aspects of this season is the falling and changing leaves and colors. Simply put, the more plants you have the more you get to enjoy the reds, yellows, and oranges that signify fall. Now is the time to add additional foliage to your yard. Adding flowers, trees, and shrubs will make your space beautiful now, and will also help it flourish in the springtime.

Potted Plants

In the spirit of adding more foliage, do not underestimate the power of potted plants. Adding rustic looking pots around the area and filling them with fall-friendly flowers it a great landscaping project. These are easy, DIY projects that can make your space more inviting and can help your colors coordinate properly.

Pumpkin Displays

Pumpkins are a trademark sign of Autumn. Invest in some pumpkins to display both in your front and backyards. Choose varying sizes and craft a display that gives your home a cozy and festive feel. You can mix things up by carving a few with the kids and adding different fall elements like hay and corn to your displays. Pumpkins are a super easy way to get the desired look for the season. You can also add to this effect by adding gords of various shapes and sizes.

Time to Mulch

Mulching can be a pain, but getting it out of the way while its cool will save you hours of hard work in the harsh sunlight. Mulching your yard has another benefit too; it will make all of your plant colors pop! Your plants and shrubs will need a little TLC for the harsh winter that is just around the corner. This will give them the nutrition and sturdy base they need to survive frigid temperatures and cold weather. Your yard will surely thank you as it thrives with this new mulch job.

Let There Be Light

Since the days are growing shorter, you are going to need to compensate by adding additional lighting. Add some soft, inviting light to your front and back porches to help with entertaining. Invest in smaller outdoor lights around your plants to show off your landscaping at night time. Adding lighting around walkways and paths is always a great idea for both safety and aesthetic. The days might be shorter and the nights might be darker, but this additional lighting will give your space a cozy, homey feel.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to fall in love with fall! There are so many outdoor projects and touches that you can add to your space to make it warm, welcoming, and ready for Autumn. If you have ideas for a landscaping feature, don’t forget to consult the experts at Hidden Creek. We will have your space up in running in no time at all!

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Everything You Need to Know About Greenscaping

You’re probably familiar with landscaping but do you know what greenscaping is? Greenscaping deals with all kinds of landscaping practices that protect and preserve the environment’s natural resources while improving the look and appearance of your garden or personal space. Simply put, greenscaping is a form of ‘environmentally-friendly’ landscaping.

Over the years more companies, organizations, and factories have chosen to convert their landscapes into greenscapes in hopes of making their practices holistic and nature-friendly. The practices used for landscaping often have a detrimental effect on the planet’s ecosystem not to forget that these practices can cost a lot of money in the long run.

Importance of Greenscaping:

Have you ever wondered about land usage in the United States? Think of all the malls, retail centers, recreational facilities, resorts, golf courses, amusement parks, public parks, the roads, and the highways in our country. All these places use a ton of resources; concrete, trees, lumber, asphalt, etc. Think about the millions of gallons of water used, the pesticides and chemicals that are exposed in the environment through popular and unsafe landscaping methods. The processes and materials used are both economically and environmentally costly. Greenscaping can eliminate these redundant costs to create beautiful outdoor spaces.

The Four R’s of Greenscaping:

To make the most of greenscaping it is necessary to understand the four R’s of greenscaping. By setting short and long-term goals gradually you can make your practices environment-friendly. Even the tiniest of improvement can have a huge impact. All you need to do is to focus on the four R’s: reduce, reuse, rebuy, recycle.

Reduce:

The first step for greenscaping is to reduce the composition of natural resources. This can be done through a couple of holistic practices that include:

  • Substituting the plant lumber for recovered plastic lumber. By doing so, you are helping conserve plants and trees and natural ecosystems. In addition to this recovered plastic material has a longer life than wood, plastic does not require routine upkeep. This reduces the maintenance and replacement costs.
  • Conserving water through the process of ‘Xeriscaping’. Using native plants that are indigenous to the region’s climate and soil require fewer pesticides and chemicals. Adding compost to the soil improves water absorption, which reduces water requirement.
  • Reducing pesticides by “spot treating”, aka only using them on specific affected areas instead of an entire patch of land. This reduces the number of chemicals released into the environment. Consider using organic and bio-based fertilizers and pesticides.

Using compost as the top layer of the soil can improve water absorption and decrease the use of fertilizers by up to 50%.

Using mulch over the plant’s root zone can reduce moisture evaporation and conserve water. Mulch also prevents the growth of weed.

Reuse:

You would be surprised to know that just how much of the materials can be reused. You can effectively use many items which would otherwise go to waste. Consider the following tips for reusing materials:

  • Create your own mulch through tree clippings and wood chips. This will give you the benefits of mulch and save you the disposal cost.
  • If you plan to remove plant or shrubs from your property then donate those to a local community or shelter.
  • Reclaimed water, gray water, and collected rainwater can all be used as alternative sources of irrigation. This saves water resources and money.

Rebuy:

Rebuying requires making purchases that are more mindful. It means looking for products that fit your needs but also help to protect the environment. A simple change in habits can fix this problem. When purchasing an item look for materials that have been recycled or buy biodegradable materials. Recycled products are more durable than virgin materials and cost much less. Buying recycled material also helps sustain the ecosystem, as less waste is disposed into the ecosystem. There are plenty of environment-friendly brands out there that sell products that are not harmful to the planet. Consider the following tips when you make your next purchase:

  • Compost, when used in the form of blankets and berms, minimizes the risk of soil erosion, and mitigates pollution. Due to its organic natural compost, make an excellent air filter media for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Purchase plastic lumber instead of wood for benches, signs, and other outdoor structures. Plastic lumber is durable and has a low maintenance cost.

Recycle:

The most beneficial habit you can adopt is recycling. By recycling already used materials, you can save resources and money and in certain cases even generate revenue. Consider the following ways to recycle:

  • Trade the leaves, clippings, and trimmings found on your site to a compost manufacturing facility for fresh compost.
  • Recycle old tires from your vehicles and equipment.
  • Use biodiesel and organic lubricants for your working equipment.
  • Use recycled glass for filter media and golf course bunker.

Greenscaping is an effective and sustainable process to upgrade your property. Not only does it benefit the ecosystem but also keeps your finances in check. If you are interested in learning more about ecoscaping or exploring your ecoscape options give us a call today. Your expert landscapers at Hidden Creek can help you make your space eco-friendly in no time at all.

 

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