Posts tagged www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

Which Patio to Install in your Durango Colorado Landscaping

So you want to spend time in your Durango Colorado backyard, and are in need of a patio, but which type of material should be used?

So you are thinking about  building or replacing the patio area on your property in Durango, CO.  It’s a good idea to envision how your family will use the space before you invite a contractor over to look at your site.  I will touch on three different hard surfaces that are common to use in the construction of backyard landscaping in Durango, Co, concrete, flagstone and manufactured pavers.

Concrete ideas:

Concrete is widely used in outdoor situations, it is versatile, durable, available in

landscape construction concrete patio backyard patio design Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Concrete is good choice for small patio areas.

different colors and relatively easy to work with.  Concrete is great for very high traffic areas and for use in areas that will have patio tables and several  chairs and it is also easy to sweep or wash clean.  It is also possible to stamp patterns into concrete or to acid wash for a different look.  Concrete is readily available in all areas of the country and many contractors are familiar with its use and limitations.

Flagstone:

stone paving walkways Durango Colorado landscpe design ideas for patios

Flagstone is appropriate for low impact areas and informal uses.

Gardenhart Landscape & Design landscape design ideas pavestone patio

Landscape pavers are a good choice for a small patio that gets a lot of traffic.

Many people like the natural look of real stone and choose a flagstone patio for their outdoor hardscaping area.  Flagstone is available locally in several colors and textures at either Eagle Block or Durango Nursery and Supply.  In my opinion, flagstone is most appropriate for use in walkways and informal sitting areas, such as a place to sit and ponder the view or visit with a few friends.  Flagstone requires some skill to cut and fit so that it looks natural and so that it stays in place and does not settle over the years.  Take a look at our Pinterest Patio page for more examples of Flagstone Patios.

Pavers:

In recent years, manufactured pavers have come solidly on the market, available in many sizes, colors and textures.  Pavestone and Belgard are some of the more popular companies, but there are many to choose from.  Individual pieces are set on a sand base and compacted into place once the installation is completed.  They are very durable and suited for use in many applications, including high use areas.  The wide range of colors and textures make them a practical choice in many outdoor applications.

Gardenhart Landscape & Design would be happy to help you decide what materials would work well for your application and why they are appropriate.  We are located in Durango, Colorado and work throughout the Four Corners area.  Watch our you tube video about how we installed a pavestone patio.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Durango, Colorado 81301

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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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 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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Landscaping Can Prevent Damage From Avalanches in Southwest Colorado

Landscaping Tips to Prevent Damage From Avalanches in Durango, Colorado

This past January a snow slide hit a house.  This Durango house was adjacent to a cliff, with little landscaping above it.  If you are located in potential slide area, Gardenhart Landscape and Design recommends planting evergreen trees above and throughout the avalanche run out zone. Another thing that you could do would be to protect the home with rock outcrops above the home.  Overall the best landscaping tactic is tree planting, as the trees will slow down the overall run-out.

Obviously when looking at new homes, it is best to be wary of purchasing anything that abuts any cliff or dirt, especially brand new construction.  The amount of drainage from such area may be unknown, and destructive, plus weather patterns may change.  The major accumulation of snow would be the north side slope, but a west and south-facing slope may melt faster.

 

durango colorado avalanche damage how to prevent with landscapinglandscaping tips to prevent avalanche, mud and water damage

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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Snow Loads in Durango Colorado; when to remove the snow

Durango snow on roof

Snow removal from roof

Snow loads can be dangerous.  It is important to know how heavy the snow may be, because it can do some serious damage if you are not careful.  Check out these articles for recent roof damage around Durango Colorado:http://www.durangoherald.com/sections/News/2010/01/29/Roof_at_Iron_Horse_collapses/

http://www.durangoherald.com/sections/News/2010/01/26/Slide_hits_Animas_home/

This article has great information regarding the snow weight and what that may mean to you: http://www.durangoherald.com/sections/News/2010/01/30/La_Plata_County_digs_out_snow_weight_device/

I found this article to be interesting because of several roof failures we have seen here in the Durango area.  The article mentions some of the larger structures that have collapsed recently, but I am aware of a lot of problems that do not make the newspaper.  While roof  failure is a significant possibility, there are other reasons for not wanting tons of snow on your roof.   Many roofs are leaking from snowmelt and ice dams.  This is a serious problem that can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home and it’s contents.  Gardenhart Landscape & Design has worked on several roofs to remove the snow and thus stop the flow of melting water into the residence.

Another concern of mine is snow accumulating on manufactured homes and modular structures that are not constructed for snow loads typically found in Durango and the surrounding La Plata County area.  Many of these homes are built in other parts of the country and transported to Durango that do not have building codes that require roofs to withstand up to 40 lbs.  per square foot.  So, help out your friends and neighbors, remind them to monitor their roof loads so we all can get through this winter season safe and look forward to SPRING!

I really appreciate metal roofs and how they assist the snow load to move off the roof.  I see a lot of houses in Durango that have a shingle or shake roof that accumulates the snow.  If you are thinking about building and need suggestions about what kind of roof to use, I recommend a metal roof that has a good pitch to it.  This will alleviate a lot of hard shoveling and getting up on the roof to remove that load.

Cheers,

David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design

970-749-1555

http://www.gardenhartlandscapedesign.com

Facebook for more sustainable landscaping tips.

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