Archive for Durango Colorado Landscaping Tips

Durango Landscaping Contractor Gardenhart Landscape Design Recommends Recycled Plastic and Steel Edge

Durango Colorado Landscaping Companies Use Quality Edging Products for Results

When we look at landscapes everywhere, various elements are delineated by landscape edging, grass areas from perennial beds, vegetable gardens from the compost pile, gravel walkways from shrub beds and many other applications.  I think that the material we use is an important piece of the design.

First, before we discuss the different materials , I should say that here in Durango Colorado, our ground freezes in the winter, so we need to use an edging material that will resist frost heaving.  This process will tend to push some edging material out of the ground, creating an unsightly and dangerous situation.  An installer should use the pins or stake materials provided with the edging.

Lets discuss the general types and their suitability.

1)  Steel, usually available in 10′ sections, green and brown, they are easy to transport and not to difficult to install.  They have slots for the stakes to hold them together and to hold them in the ground.  Gardenhart Landscape & Design has installed hundreds of them over the years as it was the only option.

steel edge Durango Colorado landscape ideas

Stakes hold pieces together and in the ground

Landscape architects Durango Colorado

Defines grass from plantings

Durango Colorado steel edge installation

application next to sidewalk

Steel edge application for sidewalk

2) Aluminum, available in 10′ as well, not easy to find, need to purchase pins to hold it in place and only comes in silver.  Can be difficult to cut and work with.

landscape ideas durango Landscape architect

aluminum edge separates grass from plants

Landscape Architect Durango Colorado  ideas edging

pins similar to steel edge

3) Plastic, comes in a roll, 10′ long ,black , comes with stakes to hold it down and dowels to join the pieces together.  Inexpensive and available in big box stores.  I find it difficult to work with and does NOT stay in the ground, however well installed.

gardenhart landscape & design durango colorado

plastic edging in ground

landscape architect Durango Colorado

edge separates materials

4) Recycled Plastic, 20′ piece, tan in color, difficult to transport for most people, rather expensive and requires special pins to hold it in the ground. I have used it in several applications and am starting to prefer it over steel.  Lots of Gardenhart’s clients like the recycled aspect of the product.

recycled plastic edge ideas landscape how to install edge

installed above grade

Durango landscape ideas borders planting areas

similar to Trex but for edging

In summary, we at Gardenhart Landscape & Design, strive to use products that represent the wishes of its clients while providing a high quality landscape design and installation.  We are open to learning about new developments in our industry and providing them to our clients in the Four Corners area of Southwestern Colorado.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Durango, Colorado

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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Selecting a Landscaping Professional: What Questions To Ask in Durango Colorado

Questions to Ask a Landscaping Professional in Durango Colorado

In a previous blog, I was writing about how to select a landscape architect, designer or contractor to design and complete landscaping projects on your property.  I am assuming that you read that post and now you are ready to actually call someone and set an appointment for them to come to your site and talk about what you want to accomplish.

One of the first things you should notice is do they answer their phone or promptly call you back. It should not take them days to return your call, by the next morning if not sooner. Once you have them on the Landscaping Durango Colorado Gardenhart Landscape & Designphone, they will probably ask you a few questions about what you are hoping to achieve, how you got their number and then they might want to schedule and appointment to meet at your house.

This is where you really can decide whom you want to work with, you can get an understanding of them as a person. Do they listen to what you want and ask lots of questions or have they decided what you need? A good designer will gather as much information as possible about how you hope to use the land and incorporate that into their planning.

If you did not discuss their qualification before meeting them, you should do so now, asking about schooling and what area of the country have they done most of their work, are they familiar with the soil, plants, climate attributes specific to your geographical area?

Check out this article for even more details.

I recently looked in our local Durango, Colorado yellow pages and counted over fifty companies listed under Landscaping Contractors, obviously, they have different levels of experience, some who have been in the industry and this locale for many years and have numerous references. There are others who have a shovel and a pickup truck and can plant a bush. Your job is to determine who will give you the best value, a functional outdoor space for an appropriate price.

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

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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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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Hiring A Landscape Architect, Designer Or Contractor in Durango Colorado

Choosing the Best Landscaping Professional in Durango Colorado

You may be confused by the many companies and individuals listed under the general heading or an internet search for landscaping.  Not surprisingly, there are different skill sets for architects, designers and contractors. In this post I hope to offer some understanding of the differences between them and help you to hire an appropriate

Gardenhart Landscape & Design builds rock wall skid steer moves boulders for wall landscape design

Landscape Contractors use equipment to construct the design

company or individual for your project.  One note of caution, currently Colorado does not license or regulate the title “Landscape Architect or Landscape Designer” so anyone can use these titles to describe their abilities, regardless of their education and work experience.

I will outline  the skills involved in each of these areas as well as their education and what situations they are most suited for.  Of course, there is always some overlap within all aspects of professional life, but this will get you started.

Landscape Architect: Most likely with a Master’s degree from an accredited university, a member of a large firm that does large-scale public works projects, parks, airport design, regional transportation designs etc.  Capable of guiding public meetings and creating numerous concept and design drawings.  Also able to produce residential design and planting plans as well.  They are more often hired by municipalities and developers for their abilities to promote and sell the concepts to the public or investors.

Landscape Designer:  Hopefully holds either a Bachelors of Arts or Science in Landscape Architecture from an accredited university.  They may also hold horticultural degrees from colleges or vocational schools, but it is important for them to have some formal schooling.  They are capable of producing detailed drawings, to scale, showing all aspects of the proposed work, along with recommended plants and hardscape materials.  They will be more informed about what plants do well and the climate demands of the specific location.  They may not want to install the project, but want to sell you the design and let you find someone to do the rest.

Landscape Contractor:  The owner will often have some schooling in landscape or horticultural programs and has learned lots by working in the industry for several years, figuring out things as needed but many of these contractors may or may not have design experience beyond what they have seen others do. Many landscape companies do lots of different types of work, sprinkler installation and repair,  tree care, aerating and fertilizing , lawn mowing and weeding etc.  Other companies will specialize by installing landscape features such as retaining walls, water gardens, flagstone patios, outdoor kitchens along with lawn and planting areas.

If you have read this far, you probably are interested in finding out about me, David Hart owner at Gardenhart Landscape & Design, working out of Durango Colorado, in the southwest corner of the state. To be clear with regards to the above post, I consider myself a “Landscape Designer”.

landscape renovation repair of retaining wall durango landscape designerColorado landscapingl

Gardenhart Landscape & Design re-builds a boulder wall near Durango Co.

I graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture in 1983 and have lived in the Durango area ever since.  Gardenhart Landscape & Design is a design-build firm, providing comprehensive oversight from start to finish.  We incorporate a natural, native look into all of our projects, using best practices in the industry.  These include native plants and stone, low water and fire resistant design principles and a deep understanding of the local soils and climate.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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Fencing that Protects Trees from Wildlife in SW Colorado

Fencing: The Most Effective Control

Trees in our landscapes are prone to damage from many factors, including wild and domestic animals. Let’s talk about one method of control that can lessen the impacts on our trees.

Fencing can be a very effective method to prevent animals from coming into contact with our plants, if we can fence the entire property with an eight foot wire fence and provide a gate for vehicular access, then you have gone a long way to prevent damage from deer and elk and the damage they bring to our trees.  However, this is not usually a practical solution for the average homeowner, the neighbors and the City will have something to say about the prison look you have introduced to the neighborhood.

Effective deer fencing in Durango Colorado

So, given that we cannot control the larger movement of animals, let’s just stop them from hurting the individual tree, or groups of trees.  We can put up fences to protect the trunks from rubbing of antlers and the feeding on leaves.  I like to use Remesh, the wire grid that concrete installers put in large slabs to strengthen and prevent cracks from happening in concrete.  You can purchase it at lumber stores, it comes in 150′ x 5′ rolls and is made from 10 gauge wire.  It is very heavy , usually rusty and is rather unpleasant to work with, but it will stand up on its own when cut into a circle and placed around the tree.

Individual fence around a tree to protect deer & wildlife

This fence will last for many years, some clients remove it during the summer, when deer and elk are less apt to be in the yard, looking to feast on your plants, or rub the velvet off their antlers, then put it back up in the fall.

I hope this is helpful, let me know if you have specific questions about containing and eliminating damage from specific critters you may have.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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Is Your Spruce Tree Browning? Answers to Common Spruce Tree Problems

common spruce tree pest doesn't harm tree

Cooley Spruce Gall

Cooley Spruce Gall

My neighborhood spruce trees have been attacked by aphid-like insects, Cooley spruce gall adelgids that make the ends or the new growth of each branch brown.  Colorado State University Extension has the best description of this pest.

My neighbor has asked to remove his tree because of his mis- diagnosis of the problem.  This gall doesn’t harm the tree, it just makes it look less healthy than it could.  Even applications of pesticides are not that effective in controlling the problem.  The indicator that I find strange is that it needs a douglas fir species to complete their life cycle, since we don’t have Douglas Fir in our immediate neighborhood, I’m quite perplexed to see such an abundance of the spruce gall affecting about 30 trees.

Western Spruce Budworm Damage

Western Spruce Budworm Damage

Western Spruce Budworm

Utah State has a great description of the Western Spruce Budworm  as does the Colorado State Extention.  This is a very debilitating worm that can kill off stands of spruce, douglas fir, white fir and subalpine fir.  Its larvae feed on young developing buds, needles, shoots, and other plant parts.

Spruce Tree Fungus

Spruce Cytospora Canker

Cytospora Canker

Colorado State Extention Description is very good.  This canker  is a fungi in the species cytospora and can kill the plant.  This canker affects many different kinds of trees and the only evergreen tree that is affected is the spruce.  The other trees that are also affected include apple, ash, aspen, birch, cherry, cottonwood, elm, maple, peach and willow.

Spruce Tree Rhizosphera NeedlecastRhizosphaera Needlecast

The Rhizosphaera Needlecast symptoms of the disease are discoloration of the needles, needle drop, and eventual defoliation. Infected needles turn yellow in July and then reddish-purple in August. The needles eventually turn brown and fall off one to several branches. A severely affected tree will have many bare branches. Premature needle drop is the primary damage, causing the tree to become unsightly. However, branches that are defoliated for four or five years may die. If left uncontrolled, the disease can eventually kill the tree.  New Mexico State University has the best description.

How to distinguish between Needlecast and Cytospora

Overall, if you have browning needles on your spruce tree, they may be one of these problems.  It is best to determine which one it could be and utilize a control as soon as possible.  There are a few others possibilities that may make your spruce turn brown, although I haven’t seen much evidence around Durango Colorado.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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