Posts tagged 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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Fire Mitigation, Landscaping and Defensible Space

Dry winter and spring can make for very fire prone conditions.  The Firewise website has a bunch of great tips.  It’s important when installing new plants and trees to be aware of how this could impact your home in a fire.  They have a form that helps you to measure how your home is currently protected against wildfire.

Is Your Home Protected from Wildfire?

durango colorado fire prevention effort

Firewise is a national non profit organization.  The national Firewise Communities program is a multi-agency effort designed to reach beyond the fire service by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, and others in the effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire – before a fire starts.

VISION: Wildland fires can occur in areas of residential development without the occurrence of disastrous loss.

MISSION: To promote community-wide responsibility in the use of technology, policy and practices that minimize the loss of life and property to wildland fire independent of fire fighting efforts.

durango colorado landscape fire prevention ideas

What Kind of Landscaping is the Best Fire Defense?

Especially when you are installing a new landscape, make sure to plan for defensible space around your home.  This is very important in most states in the mountain west. For already existing landscapes, remove all dead material; including trees, shrubs and grasses.  The best defense is a healthy green wet landscape.

Defensible Landscaping from Gardenhart Landscape & designI have found so many good tips and information from the Firewise website.  I recommend protecting your home and community by being well educated.

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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Monument Plant (Frasera speciosa) Green Gentian in Bloom Now: The Tallest Wildflower I’ve Seen!

Monument Plant

View the Monument Plant near Durango Colorado

While I have been out in the alpine regions of Colorado, recently, I have been seeing the tallest wildflower blooming. These tall spikey, green multi-flowered plants are called the Monument Plant, (Frasera speciosa) or Green Gentian. I haven’t seen a good show of these wildflowers for many years.  So I started to wonder why they bloom en masse so infrequently.  I did some research and found out that the indicator to a good blooming period is for a wet July & August, 4 years prior….can you imagine that it takes four years for a plant to bloom like this?  It is a monocarpic plant, i.e., one which grows many years, flowers once, then dies.  Perhaps the most well know monocarpic plant is the Southwest’s Century Plant. 

A great local webpage by swcoloradowildflowers.com is found at http://bit.ly/a7sVWa which provides a lot more information and great photos!

I have seen great displays at Coal Bank Pass and in Crested Butte Colorado.  I recommend to get out and see some of these tall wonders.  They are amazing.

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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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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Fall Action Steps For Your Colorado Landscape From Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Last time I wrote about the cooler weather arriving here in Durango and some things we should be doing outside. I will continue with a few other things you should make time to do.

1)  Mulching your perennials with garden compost is a great idea and the plants will really respond in the spring. The compost that you have been growing all summer is done now and you should put it around your favorite plants. It will slowly leach nutrients into the soil with each freeze and thaw cycle and come springtime, the plants will spring forth!

2)  Resist the temptation to prune everything back to the ground in order to make it look neat and clean. Yes, you can deadhead the flowering plants and remove any broken branches or stems, but I would leave major work to be done in the spring, like Butterfly bush and other plants that need to be cut back each year.  Give your garden a nice look when the snow gently covers it all.

Great Fall Color

Great Fall Color

This Fall Pruning Job is a little excessive

This Fall Pruning Job is a little excessive

 

 

Fall is a wonderful time to garden in Southwest Colorado, it is not too hot to be outside. We at Gardenhart Landscape & Design are finishing up a few local projects and starting the design process for a home up on the Florida Mesa. We might be able to get a few things in the ground this fall if we hurry.

Here’s to a Successful Landscape,

Dave Hart

Follow me on BuzztownFacebook for more landscaping advice and tips.  http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

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