Archive for April, 2013

How Do You Select A Landscape Architect, Designer or Contractor for Your Durango Colorado Landscape Project?

How To Select a Landscape Professional for Your Durango, Colorado  Landscaping Project

If you are considering having improvements made to your outdoor landscape this summer, you might be wondering who to turn to for the best advice and the most value for your dollar.  After a quick look at the FourDurango Colorado Landscaper Gardenhart Landscaping Corners Directory Plus phone book under the heading for Landscape we see no less than five landscape architects, seventeen landscape designers and SIXTY FOUR people and companies listed as landscape contractors.  How do you get started?

1)  Do a web search, the first two pages will narrow the possibilities down considerably, leaving you established companies with satisfied clients and their referrals.  I would then look at all of their websites, looking at the content and photos of work completed and read the referrals.

2)  Contact the individuals if they are named and get a firsthand account of their experience with the company.  If they give their name, they are probably willing to speak honestly with you about the landscape designer or landscape contractor.

3)   Call and set up an appointment with the companies or individuals that you feel most reflect the type of work you wish to see on your property

Gardenhart Landscape & Design and I, David Hart, hope that this gives you a good place to start on your search for help with creating the landscape that you have always dreamed of, easy to take care of, affordable, wild fire resistant and practical for our climate in the Durango Colorado area.

In upcoming posts, I will give you some ideas about the skill sets comparing Landscape Designers, Landscape Architects and Landscape Contractors.  You might be surprised that they are quite different.  I will also discuss what to ask during your first interview with a possible designer, architect or contractor.

Thanks,
David Hart
Gardenhart Landscape & Design
970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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DURANGO LANDSCAPER BUILDS A FLAGSTONE WALK OR PATIO

landscaping a patio timber walls compaction sand plate compactor flagstone patio

Compacted sand ready for flagstone to be laid o

BUILDING A FLAGSTONE PATIO OR WALKWAY

The purpose of this post is to outline how Gardenhart Landscape & Design cuts and fits flagstone, for use either in a patio situation or pathway application.  There are probably other methods in use by different contractors, but this is the technique I learned thirty years ago by a Master Stonemason.  Of course, I have my own take on what looks proper and it will vary with the individual who places and cuts the stone.

We will start with the assumption that you have determined the location of the patio and proper drainage issues resolved, you have also decided what material will contain the sand base ; natural stone, treated timbers or some manufactured flexible edge product.  You have also properly compacted a sand base to set the stone upon and allow you to level the individual pieces of stone.

Tools Needed to Build a Flagstone Patio or Walkway

A quick review of your tools might be helpful here, the most important one being an angle grinder with a diamond blade.  Lots of you might have a grinder and you only

Durango Colorado landscapers cut flagstone tools used

Hand tools used by Gardenhart Landscape & Design to install and cut flagstone

need to get to the hardware store for a diamond blade. Before you go to the store, make sure you also have the following tools on hand: safety glasses, hearing protectors, dust mask,gloves, stone mason’s chisel, hammer, carpenters pencil with hard lead, tape measure and a level.

The first thing I do is to unload about half of my stone from the pallet and lay it out around the work site so that I can see each piece, but be sure not to put them in the patio area just yet.  This helps me find pieces that will naturally fit in specific locations.  Then, starting at the edges, I place the most obvious pieces first, curved pieces against the curved edge or square pieces along straight area or in corners.  Always keep in mind how to fit them naturally together and how much cutting will be required to fit them together.

Cutting Stone:

So now you have placed all the easy pieces of stone, the ones that fit for the most part

flagstone patio Durango landscaping patio design outdoor hottub area flagstone patio

Place pieces that naturally go together, starting with the edges.

and might require minimal cutting and you have used most of the pieces you unloaded from your pallet.  Time to get the pencil and start marking where you will cut the pieces  so that they fit well together.  I make my gaps between individual stones about the width of my thumb or a little larger, try to be as consistent as possible.  Mark with your pencil where you will cut , put your safety gear on and start cutting along the line you marked.  Do not be in a hurry, let the blade work its way into the stone, if it sparks you might be trying to go too fast or pushing too hard.  Do not worry if your blade does not cut completely through the stone, you will be able to break it.  Now, you have cut several pieces and broken the waste off with your chisel and hammer you can slide the stone next to its neighbor and start to see what your patio is going to look like.

colorado flagstone walkway and patio

After cutting, all pieces should fit with similar sized joints

Repeat this process, unload more stone , find ones that seem to go with what you have already cut, place and mark them and then cut them to fit.  Soon, you will come to the conclusion that they all do not fit without being cut on at least three sides and the fast progress is over.  Try to minimize the cutting and waste, remember that you paid for stone by the pound and you do not want to go back for more.

Of course,we at Gardenhart Landscape & Design offer this information in the hopes that you decide that this process requires experience and skill and you will hire us to do your landscaping instead of doing it yourself.  As with many things, there is always details that are hard to share but easy to see in the finished product.  We have a you tube video that shows this process too!

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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