Archive for gardening in Durango Colorado

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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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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Landscape Watering Dilemmas in Durango Colorado: How Much?

Wildlife Resistant Landscape

How Much Do I water these Trees and Perennials?

How much do I water my SW Colorado landscape?

There is a very similar outcome when you water too much or too little.  One way to really decide whether to water or not is to actually feel the soil.  If you will dig down about three inches and grab a handful of soil and try to squeeze  it into a ball.  If it sticks together, then it still has sufficient moisture.  The problem with over watering is that the water molecules replace the oxygen in the soil and causes distress to plants.

Durango Landscaping Services by Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Sod & Grass use different amounts of water than many Trees and Plants

Signs of Over watering from Gardenhart Landscape & Design

It seems to me that my garden has not been growing very well and perhaps it is because it has been over watered.  The soil at my house is very hard packed river bottom and even though we have  tilled the garden area and applied compost and soil amendments numerous times, we still do not have a “well-drained soil”.  Watering here is difficult, too much and it runs off and not enough we water only the surface, which encourages shallow roots.  Ideal soil will absorb water down to about eighteen inches or deeper, then allow it to gradually dry out over a predictable period of time.  The plant roots will seek the moisture by going deeper in the soil,  thus they are less susceptible to dry times.

Durango Colorado Landscaping Companies help figure out how much to water

How Much Water Does Sod Need?

In summary, watering is very site specific, depending on your soil composition and the requirements of the individual plants.   As long as the soil will absorb water, deep watering is preferred.  You must pay attention to what is going on with your plants and the soil they are trying to grow in.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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Best Trees to Plant in Durango, Colorado

Gardenhart Landscape & Design Recommended Everlasting Tree Varieties to Plant in Southwest Colorado

There are many great resources regarding recommended trees to plant in the Durango area.  Gardenhart Landscape & Design’s recommendations are based on years of landscape design and installation and appropriateness in our area with special attention to deer & disease resistance, overall hardiness, ease of care, beauty and  size.  Gardenhart’s list includes:

  1. Ginnala Maple
  2. Wasatch Maple
  3. Western Hackberry
  4. Russian Hawthorn
  5. Green Ash
  6. Thornless Honeylocust
  7. Brandywine Crabapple
  8. Gambell Oak
  9. English Oak
  10. Schumard Oak

Evergreens:

  1. White Fir
  2. Meyer Juniper
  3. Utah Juniper
  4. Limber Pine
  5. Austrian Pine
  6. Eastern White Pine
  7. Southwestern White Pine
  8. Scotch Pine

This link directs you to the unsuitable trees as recommended by the City of Durango.  The list of trees on the link are not planted in Durango because of one or more of the following undesirable characteristics: Prolific seed production, invasive habits, fruit, pods, thorn bearing, weak limbs and/or structure and insect and disease problems.

According to Ron Stoner, one of the city of Durango’s favorite trees is the Wasatch Maple.  It is very hardy and looks great!

landscaping in Durango Colorado

Fall Maple Color

Durango nursery lists all zone 3 shrubs and trees.

If you have other questions about type, location and watering schedule for certain trees, let me know.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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Best Perennials to Plant in Durango, CO That are Resistant to Deer & Rabbits

What to do about deer eating bulbs

delicate and tasty bulbs

Best Perennials to Plant in Durango, CO That are Resistant to Deer & Rabbits

How do you deal with the critters that are hungry?  Early spring when there is little to eat, the deer and rabbit are pervasive.  It is very difficult to keep them out of gardens and from eating my early blooming bulbs.  They both eat my daylillies and tulips  on the  south  side of my home every year. Daffodils, rhubarb and grape hyacinths generally go unscathed.  Amazingly also they will nibble on the fresh new growths of rose bushes, of which there is only one in our yard.

Several of our local Durango gardeners like to use a product called Bobex, which is sprayed on your plants.  It makes the plants unappetizing to these critters and they are less likely to eat them up. I do not have personal experience with this product, but some swear by it.  I also think that there are several other brands that work the same way, I would ask at your favorite garden center for their personal preference. Organic Gardening Magazine has several ideas on how to control garden pests.

Locally,  Durango Nursery and Supply’s recommended zone 3 perennials that are more resistant to deer is a very helpful list.  The only really proven way to control the deer and rabbits is to put up a very big and sturdy fence.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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Durango Colorado Tree Pruning Tips

Durango has been designated a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day foundation for 36 consecutive years.  In 1978 Durango City Council  adopted a resolution to assume ownership & maintenance responsibilities for trees on City property and in the Right Of Way.  Park Department personnel determined in 1980 that a formal tree management program was needed and they have taken the appropriate actions since.   The four requirements to obtain this designation from the Arbor Day Foundation:

  1. Ordinance for Tree Protection  and Licensing program
  2. Hold annual Arbor Day ceremony
  3. Establish Parks & Forestry Board
  4. Hire full-time Forestry Staff.

In the March issue of Lawn and Landscape Magazine they have focused on tree care.  This article on preventing tree topping gives several great reasons why this is not a sustainable practice.

Some photos of tree topping:

I notice this tree topping practice and cringe.  You might as well simply cut down the tree instead, because by utilizing this practice you are decreasing the health and vigor of the tree and thus make it  susceptible to diseases and insect infestation, thus it will  most likely die.  Fortunately, Durango has some control over the pruning practices that occur within city limits.  In order to prune trees in town for hire, the individual must obtain a licence from the city.  This process requires a written and a practical test overseen by the City Arborist.

If you are considering hiring a person to prune your trees and shrubs, be sure to ask for and see their licence from the city of Durango. You can call the city at 970-375-5010  to see if they hold a current licence or view their list.  This is a good way to determine the licensee’s understanding of horticulture and their skill with a saw and pruner. Also, you can report questionable persons or their work to the City Arborist, whose number is 970-375-7383.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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More Fall Action Tips From Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Fall is well on its way here in Southwest Colorado, the nights are cold and the days usually sunny and cool. Perfect weather to work in your garden or ride your mountain bike ( watch out for hunters, wear your orange ) in the woods around Durango.   Gardenhart Landscape & Design is working with a few clients to get some trees in the ground before winter really sets in, a good idea I wrote about several weeks ago.  More things to think about to get ready for winter…

1)   Start a calendar so you can track when and how much you water your trees and other plants.  It does not have to be very technical about how much water was applied, just give yourself in idea, a lot or not so much this time. You will use this information in the upcoming months to help you decide  when you should water during the winter.

2)   Turn your compost at least one more time, before it freezes, this will give the worms a good supply of water and table scraps to feed upon for the next few months. If you do not have at least two piles going, start another one now with all the leaves from your yard and the neighbors ones as well.

I hope this information is helpful to my readers and gives you things to do to help get your landscape in the shape you want, there are many things you can do.  Any questions about your landscape or topics you would like me to address?

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David Hart

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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