Fiberglass Pool Removal

The location of this fiberglass pool removal job was in Huntley, Il.

This was an above ground salt water pool that had fallen into bad disrepair.

With the high water table, water was welling up underneath the pool ultimately leading to cracks in the middle.

This fiberglass pool was becoming a real hassle to maintain and the client wanted it removed.

We approached this fiberglass pool removal job with the same attention to detail that we approach all of our pool removal jobs.  One thing that did make this project stand out is that all the fill material was on site from when they excavated to put in the pool.

1. Call JULIE to do a utility locate prior to digging
2. Install plywood and/or wood chips to protect access path as needed
3. Pump out existing pool water and discharge to curb or on property
4. Safely disconnect and remove all pool utilities, gas and electric
5. Remove pool liner and dispose offsite
6. Break up and pulverize pool bottom into 10” recycled fractured concrete fill
8. Break up pool deck and pulverize pool deck into 10” minus recycled fractured concrete fill
9. Compact all fractured concrete in layers
10. Import fill, distribute and compact fill material
11. Import pulverized topsoil as needed
12. Grade entire disturbed area (all areas will be graded with positive drainage away from all structures)
13. Seed all disturbed areas with Kentucky Bluegrass mix with DS-75 Erosion Control (straw blanket)

This was a recent fiberglass pool removal and as a result we do not yet have photos to show how good the garden looks after the the removal exercise.

So if you live in the greater Denver or Chicago area and for whatever reason need your pool removed please make sure to contact us. Also make sure to visit our experience page to see some of our previous pool removal work.

 

Landscape Architect – why hire one?

At the bottom of our website you will notice the ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) logo of which we are a member.

What’s the significance of this and why should you hire a landscape architect who falls under this umbrella organization?

The Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship. Sustainability has been part of ASLA’s mission since its founding and is an overarching value that informs all of the Society’s programs and operations. ASLA has been a leader in demonstrating the benefits of green infrastructure and resilient development practices through the creation of its own green roof, co-development of the SITES® Rating System, and the creation of publicly-accessible sustainable design resources.

Residential Design

REASONS TO HIRE A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT

10reasonsheader
ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Vineyard Retreat, Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture/ image: Matthew Millman Photography

1. Landscape architects will increase the value of your home.
 
Hiring a landscape architect is one of the best investments for your home, adding as much as 15 percent to its value over comparable houses. A landscape architect is well equipped to design an outdoor living space that will not only add value, but also extend your living space while allowing you to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Arbors, installed seating, fountains, fire pits/fireplaces, patios, and even outdoor kitchens can create a space that is both inviting and environmentally sustainable. And research from Virginia Tech shows that landscapes literally grow in value over time, while traditional home additions or remodels start to lose value the minute the dust settles.Increase Value
ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Hill Country Prospect, Studio Outside Landscape Architects / image: Arlen Kennedy Photography and Robert Reck Photography

2. Landscape architects have a plan. 
A big advantage of hiring landscape architects is that they’re trained to think about landscapes as systems. They will assess your property’s problem areas as well as possibilities and create a solid plan that addresses both the big picture and exact details of how your landscape will look. They will also help you select the perfect materials, styles, textures, and colors for your landscape project. A landscape architect will handle all the details, saving you time and stress.
Plan2014 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Category, City House in a Garden, McKay Landscape Architects / image: McKay Landscape Architects

3. Landscape architects design low-maintenance gardens featuring beautiful native plants.
 For those who are looking for low-maintenance gardens, native plants are the way to go—and a landscape architect will incorporate them into your landscape design. Native plants reduce water costs and often reduce chemical applications, and insects like bumble bees and butterflies flourish among them. One trend that relies on native plants is called xeriscaping, which reduces the need for supplemental watering or irrigation.
LMaintenance
2015 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Category, West Texas Ranch, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc. / image: Terry Moore, Christine Ten Eyck, Trish Bigler

4. Landscape architects know where to place trees to lower energy bills. 
The proper placement of trees and large shrubs can actually lower energy bills by reducing heating and cooling costs, and a knowledgeable landscape architect knows exactly where they should be placed.
Permeable Paving
2014 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Category, City House in a Garden, McKay Landscape Architects / image: Linda Oyama Bryan

5. Landscape architects incorporate permeable paving.
 Permeable paving can offer solutions for driveway flooding or just add beauty to patios and sidewalks, while reducing runoff and encouraging groundwater recharge. A landscape architect will integrate permeable paving into your home landscape.

Lower Energy
ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Vineyard Retreat, Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture / image: Matthew Millman Photography

6. Landscape architects design beautiful rain gardens.
 A landscape architect will create a properly-placed rain garden for backyards that might experience seasonal flooding. Rain gardens also create a habitat for birds and beneficial insects. These gardens help to filter rainwater runoff away from sidewalks and lawns and allow the water to infiltrate back into the ground. They are more attractive than a storm drain or French drain.

Natural Pools
ASLA 2014 Award of Excellence, Residential Category, Woodland Rain Gardens, Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects / image: Rebecca A. O’Neal and Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects

7. Landscape architects design natural swimming pools. Unlike the aquamarine-colored pools of the past, a natural pool looks and sometimes acts like a natural pond, but also offers all the benefits of a chlorinated pool with less maintenance and harsh chemicals. A landscape architect will work with you to create a beautiful, all-natural backyard pool.Natural Pools 2
ASLA 2010 Honor Award, Residential Category, Bridle Road Residence, Rees Roberts & Partners / image: Scott Frances

8. Landscape architects can devise the perfect drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation systems water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternative to sprinkler systems. But an incorrectly-installed irrigation system can not only cost extra dollars on a monthly water bill, but it can also kill all of the new plants it’s meant to be helping. Over-watering is a huge problem in many residential landscapes and one that can be easily avoided by hiring a landscape. Be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.Drip Irrigation 2

9. Landscape architects offer expertise from start to finish. Landscape architects will remain involved with the construction and follow through. What the homeowner may consider a long weekend project might actually take weeks.Cobbles

10. Landscape architects will design a landscape you will love. Landscape architects will deliver a finished project that you will love but also comply with regulations and codes. It will be a special place that you and your family and friends will enjoy for years to come.Love
ASLA 2014 Honor Award, Residential Category, Vineyard Retreat, Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture / image: Matthew Millman Photography

With credit to The American Society of Landscape Architects

6 Winter Backyard Tips

Just because winter is just around the corner doesn’t mean your backyard must lie dormant until spring. Here are some tips to follow that will help make your winter backyard a little more appealing during those cooler months.

Heat your pool

If you have a pool, winterizing this part of your backyard is probably one of your first priorities at the end of summer. What if we told you you didn’t have to drain and cover your pool at all this winter? There are a number of innovative solar powered technologies to choose from. Ask us and we will point you in the right direction depending on your needs.

Cover furniture and water features

If you live in an area that suffers from harsh winters then it would be worthwhile to protect your various outdoor items that could get damaged by the freezing temperatures and snow.

For items like fountains or grills, heavy duty vinyl covers should keep them safe and dry all winter. For outdoor furniture, look for covers made from water-resistant material to prevent any damage to fabric.

Winter Storm Preparedness

Patio Heating

For any outdoor space in the winter to be appealing, it needs to be heated. If you don’t keep it warm then you’re going to prefer to rather stay indoors. Wood burning or gas fire pits always make a great option here, as they can double as both a heating device and a great patio centerpiece.

For the smaller outdoor space, try something like an electric patio heater, which is both powerful and compact, providing plenty of heat without needing a lot of room.

Landscape Lighting

With fewer daylight hours during winter, outdoor lighting becomes even more important in your winter backyard plan. When you have a great landscape lighting plan in place it would encourage you to spend more time outside. Different areas call for different types of lighting, just like inside the home. For romantic lighting over a table for two, choose low wattage bulbs, but for a well-lit area for the kids to play, go with brighter LED bulbs that will incidentally use up 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
Line walkways and patios with staggered path lights, adding in some ambient lighting within the beds for depth. Accentuate architectural details you want to highlight with strategically placed light fixtures.

Heat your driveway/patio

Staying safe and slip-free is the number one reason to install a heated driveway or patio snow melting system. The main reason people do this is for safety. Many driveways are impossibly steep and homeowners are afraid of the fall hazard presented by ice build-up on drives and walks. So, making these areas more appealing and spend more time out there.

Move your plants indoors

If you have plants that can be easily transplanted, try moving them indoors before you get your first freeze. For outdoor planters too big to bring inside, wrap them with a heavily insulated material, like burlap, to keep the soil warmer and prevent damage to the planter itself. To reduce the shock of moving from outdoors to indoors, now’s the time to bring plants in to overwinter.

Bonus Tip

In a previous blog post we spoke about chickens in the garden.

Here are some simple tips to make life more comfortable for the chickens during winter.

1) Close all the coop windows and vents except a few small vents up high.

2) Add a thick barrier of straw to the floor and walls.

3) Try the Deep Litter Method.

4) Make a wind block in a sunny corner of your run.

5) Add logs or stumps for the backyard chickens to stand on to get up off the cold, snowy ground.

6) Feed scratch grains or suet treats before bedtime.

 

Winter Storms preparedness

Know your risk

What

Winter storms occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. Winter storms can range from freezing rain and ice, to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures.

Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions.

Where

Winter storms and colder than normal temperatures can happen in every region of the country.

When

Winter storms can occur from early autumn to late spring depending on the region.

Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

  • Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Make an emergency kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency.
  • Keep space heater safety in mind: Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Remember to keep all heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.
  • Prepare your home:
    • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
    • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
    • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
    • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
    • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
    • If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat. Also, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.
    • Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
      • Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats
      • Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas log fireplace
  • Vehicle Prepardeness:
    • Fully winterize your vehicle: Have a mechanic check antifreeze, brakes, heater and defroster, tires, and windshield wipers to ensure they are in good shape. Keep your gas tank at least half full.
    • Keep an extra emergency kit specifically created for your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.
    • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
    • Sand to improve traction.
  • Make sure you have a cell phone with an emergency charging option (car, solar, hand crank, etc.) in case of a power failure.
  • People who depend on electricity to operate medical equipment should have alternate arrangements in place in case power is out for an extended period of time.
  • Plan to check on elderly/disabled relatives and neighbors.
  • Plan to bring pets inside.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it in case you lose power.
  • Fill a gallon container with water and place them in the freezer to help keep food cold.
  • A NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.

During Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

Cold Related Illness

  • Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness
    • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
    • Warnings signs of hypothermia:
    • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
    • Infants:  bright red, cold skin, very low energyIf you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Stay or Go

STAY:

  • If stuck on the road to avoid exposure and/or when rescue is likely
  • If a safe location is neither nearby or visible
  • If you do not have appropriate clothing to go outside
  • If you do not have the ability to call for help

GO:

  • If the distance to call for help is accessible.
  • If you have visibility and outside conditions are safe.
  • If you have appropriate clothing.
  • Once the storm has passed, if you are not already home, follow instructions from your local transportation department and emergency management agency to determine if it is safe to drive and, if so, which route will be safest for you to get home. Drive with extra caution.

After Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Winter Weather Watches and Warnings

  • Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme winter weather alerts:
  • Freezing Rain – Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
  • Sleet – Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Wind Chill– Windchill is the temperature it “feels like” when you are outside. The NWS provides a Windchill Chart to show the difference between air temperature and the perceived temperature and the amount of time until frostbite occurs. For more information, visit: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/windchill.shtml.
  • Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening. The NWS issues a winter weather advisory when conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.
  • Winter Storms Watch – A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information. The NWS issues a winter storm watch when severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area but the location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of a potential severe storm. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies, and gather any items you may need if you lose power.
  • Winter Storms Warning – A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
  • Blizzard Warning – Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
  • Frost/Freeze Warning – Below freezing temperatures are expected.

If you’re in the Chicago area and would like to discuss other winter landscaping measures including heated driveways then please contact us.

With acknowledgement to the  Department of Homeland Security

Above Ground Pool Removal

The process of above ground pool removal differs somewhat to the traditional concrete pool removal. Here we will discuss the process of above ground pool removal a little more.

As discussed in our various previous posts there are many reasons why one  would want to remove a pool. What’s most important once you make the decision is to choose a contractor who follows best practice. It’s not just a case of smash it up and haul away the rubble.

Above Ground Pool Removal

The first step is to call in  Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators (JULIE)  1 week prior to start. JULIE provides Illinois excavators and underground utility owners with a continuously improving, one-call message handling and delivery service committed to protecting underground utilities and the safety of people working or living near them.

You may be surprised by what’s buried in your yard. That’s because most electric, gas, water, sewer and telecommunications companies are delivering utility services underground.

Few people know that state law requires you to notify JULIE at least two business days before any digging project regardless of the project size or depth so that can assist in ensuring that none of the utilities get damaged.

Next step is to pump out existing pool water and discharge to curb or on property. We keep abreast of the regulations in both the Chicago and Denver areas to ensure that the discharge of this water is done according to state requirements.

All pool utilities, gas and electric then need to be safely disconnected and removed.

The pool liner is then carefully removed and disposed of offsite.
The remaining supporting structure is disassembled and all materials are then recycled.
We then bring in the appropriate type of topsoil to cover the disturbed area that was previously under the above ground pool.
This area is then covered with sod or seeded according to the wishes of the client.

We are particularly familiar with pool removals in Northbrook. If you live in that area make sure to call us first.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to do your own above ground pool removal. We have been dong this for years and we will be in and out with the least amount of hassle and in the quickest time.

Contact us today for a friendly chat.

Robotic Mower – Which one for my lawn?

The Robotic Mower

Robotic vacuum cleaners have been around for some time but the Robotic Mower is relatively new to the market.

Here we will discuss a little more about how they work, what features to look for and how to choose the right one for your lawn.

Why buy a robotic mower when traditional lawn mowers have done the job for years?

No more gas mower servicing.

More free time while the robotic mower does the job for you.

Some distance between you and those allergy causing particles.

Less time being exposed to those harmful sun rays.

Frequent mowing means a perfect carpet like lawn every time with no weeds.

How do Robotic Mowers work?

A base station is installed that connects to your house mains. This base station is where the robotic mower lives and gets charged when it’s not mowing the lawn.

A guide wire that starts at the base station is run along the perimeter of the area to be so that the mower knows where all the edges are. At the end of it’s mowing cycle it will return to base on its own to continue charging, ready for the next day’s mowing.

Complex areas can be broken up into zones and using various accessories these zones can also be dealt with by the robotic mower.

 

Every day, the mower cuts a few millimeters of grass and leaves the clippings on the ground, fertilizing your lawn in a natural way.

Obstacles are easily handled with the robotic mower detecting obstacles and mowing around them.

 

What are the typical specifications?

There are a number of makes a models designed to handle everything from the smallest area all the way up to more than an acre. Depending on the model selected the specifications will fall somewhere in this range.

  •  LAWN SIZE : from 1/20th to a 1 1/4 Acre
  •  MOWING WIDTH : from 7 to 22 INCH
  •  MOWING HEIGHT : 0.5-3.14 INCH
  •  MOWING MOTOR : 200W-400W
  •  SLOPES : up to 50%

What are the typical features?

There are a number of models to choose from that will have a combination of the following features.

  • Reliability
  • Excellent cutting result
  • GPS-assisted navigation
  • Weather timer
  • Low noise
  • Cell phone app. control
  • Quick charge
  • Latest battery technology
  • Remote object detection
  • Weather proof
  • Anti-theft alarm

 

Mackland LLC has extensive knowledge about Ambrogio robotic mowers having installed them for customers and using them for their own purposes in both the Denver and Chicago areas.

Don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong product for the job ask the experts for advice. As part of your Chicago and Denver area landscaping architecture project, we will even source, deliver and install for you.

6 Reasons to Remove your Swimming Pool

REASONS TO REMOVE YOUR SWIMMING POOL TODAY

1. Reduce Stress and Enjoy your Back Yard

• Having a swimming pool in disrepair is stressful and could be a liability
• Every time you look into the back yard you see it and it haunts you
• At night you may lie awake trying to figure out how to deal with the problem
• Neighbors may be complaining and you may start receiving letters from the City or Village

2. Increase Real Estate Value

• Gain a bigger yard with more usable space and a more marketable space for realtors to sell, even consider adding a garden train
• Houses without a swimming pool appeal to a broader market
• Houses being sold “as is” with a swimming pool in disrepair will decrease the value of the home more than
it will cost to remove it and may decrease surrounding property values
• The cost of removing a swimming pool in disrepair will be significantly offset by the value it adds to the
property and it will make the property easier to sell

3. Save Money

• Property Tax Reduction – Pool are considered usable space are you are taxed on it
• Reduce your Home Owners Insurance Premium – Pools are a safety liability
• Lower your monthly utility costs, energy costs are constantly rising, your pool will only become
more expensive
• Water costs are rising
• Repairing an old swimming pool will cost a lot more than it will be to remove a pool over the long run

4. Conserve Clean Water

• There is a shortage of clean water in the world

5. Public Pools are like Water Parks

• Public pools are up-to-date with latest safety features such as shallow pools for toddlers
• Public pools increase social interaction among children and parents, making a community
stronger
• Your taxes are paying for the public pools, so why not use them

6. Reduce West Nile Mosquito Breeding Grounds

• Abandoned pools are the ideal spot for mosquitoes to breed

Contact us about removing your swimming pool.

We do work in both the northern Chicago and Denver areas.

Restoring your lawn, seed vs sod

Restoring Your Lawn

So you are looking at restoring your lawn and you are not sure of the options. Let us help you with your decision.

The two main options are planting new seed or laying sod which is lawn that has been grown by a sod farmer and delivered to you in squares or rolls.

As with most things in life there are pros and cons with each option. Let’s take a deeper look at what may be the best approach for restoring your lawn.

Seeding Lawn
Advantages:
  • More grass types and varieties to choose from
  • Less expensive than sodding
  • Deeper root system
  • There is no thatch layer present which may harbor unwanted diseases or insect pests
  • Over seeding by the planting of grass seed directly into existing turf, without tearing up the turf, or the soil.
  • Easy to spread, and it only takes a few minutes to do it
  • Better to use on yards that are hilly, sloped, or have shaded areas
Disadvantages:
  • Initial establishment takes longer – maybe 2 or 3 months before the lawn can be used
  • Sometimes, not all seeds germinate and you have to spread new seeds in certain areas of your lawn
  • Time of seeding is limited mainly to late summer and early fall
  • Moisture is critical for the young seedlings – daily watering
  • Invasion of weeds into bare soil
  • The area is inaccessible until seed is fully established
Sodding Lawn
Advantages:
  • Instant gratification
  • Relatively weed-free in the beginning
  • Can be laid any time during the growing season
  • Sodded lawns control soil erosion on slopes and eliminate problems with mud while the grass is becoming established.
  • Instant accessibility to the area
  • Sod takes root better than seed and is much more reliable
  • Sod doesn’t need as much water as seed
Disadvantages:
  • A lot more expensive than seed
  • Less selection or control over types of grasses (shade or drought tolerance)
  • Labor intensive – harder to install than it is to spread grass seed
  • Sod is a crop, and it is grown in sun. When you buy sod to put in a shady area, it will have to adapt.

Contact Us for a chat. We will help you decide on the best approach based on your needs and on your Wauconda or Denver location.

Of course, don’t forget to take into account your irrigation requirements while restoring your lawn.

 

 

 

 

 

Heated Driveway – Melt That Snow

Staying safe and slip-free is the number one reason to install a heated driveway snow melting system. The main reason people have heated driveways is for safety. Many driveways are impossibly steep and homeowners are afraid of the fall hazard presented by ice build-up on drives and walks.

Benefits
  • Added home resale value
  • No salt or chemicals meaning less environmental damage
  • No driveway damaging snow plows
  • No need to own a noisy and space consuming snow thrower
  • No more physically strenuous snow shoveling
How Heated Driveway Systems Work

The two popular types of heated driveway systems both work by generating radiant heat underneath the driveway keeping the pavement warm during snowstorms.

Generally, two types of snow melting systems are available for use in exterior slabs ,  hydronic snow melt and electric snow melt systems.

Both rely on four key components to turn the entire slab surface into a radiant heat source.

  • A heating element, which is embedded in the slab.
  • Sensors to detect outdoor air temperatures and moisture.
  • A power source.
  • A controller to tie the heating element, sensors, and power source together.
The Technology

The first method uses a series of tubes and pumps to move hot water directly underneath the driveway, warming it up. The second heating method uses an electric current to generate heat on a wire or across a mat, in almost exactly the same manner as most indoor floor-heating systems.

Heated driveways are actually a radiant heat flooring system, which can be installed both indoors and out. For outdoor use, radiant floor systems are quite beneficial to those who live in snowy climates. When temperatures drop, heated water and antifreeze are pumped into the tubing, melting any snow that collects on your driveway. From the comfort of your home, you can flip a switch and watch the snow melt away. It’s also possible to automate the whole process. Sensors detect when the system needs to turn on so that you arrive home to a snow free driveway.

If you want a heated driveway, you don’t necessarily need to install a whole new driveway. Sometimes the tubing can be run under your current one.

Many factors influence whether you need to have the driveway replaced including time of year, soil compaction, trees in proximity, etc. Replacing the driveway ensures that the heated driveway system has been installed correctly.

Most underground systems are constructed with the ability to melt snow at a rate of about one inch per hour.

Mack Land, LLC in Denver and in Wauconda will help you decide if an electric or hydronic heated driveway system is right for you.

Hydrangeas – Plant – Grow – Care

When embarking on a landscape architecture exercise hydrangeas are a popular choice due to their captivating display of beautiful flowers and foliage.

Hydrangeas come in types that can flourish in sun or shade. They offer huge bouquets of clustered flowers, in various arrangements from mophead to lacecap from summer through fall. Varieties of hydrangea differ in size of plant and flower shape, flower color, and blooming time.

Although there are many types of hydrangeas, most can be grown in full sun or partial shade. Keep in mind, however, that many hydrangeas do not like extremely hot conditions, so try to locate them in an area where they can enjoy some afternoon shade. While they can be grown in a wide range of soils, hydrangeas typically prefer rich, moist soil that drains easily. Amending the soil with compost prior to planting could be helpful.

Hydrangea planting should be performed in spring once the threat of frost has passed. Water thoroughly after planting. You can also add a layer of mulch following hydrangea planting.

The colors of some hydrangeas—especially mophead and lacecap—can change color based on the soil pH, which affects relative availability of aluminum ions. Acidic soils with a pH of less than 5.5 produce blue flowers; soils with a pH greater than 5.5 product pink flowers. White flowers are not affected by pH.

PLANTING

  • VERY IMPORTANT: Choose a location where your hydrangea can reach its full size without pruning. For normal sized hydrangeas, expect the plant to reach at least 4 ft. X 4 ft. Hydrangeas are almost impossible to keep pruned to a smaller size than they ultimately wish to grow.
    They prefer full sun in the morning, with some afternoon shade; however, many will grow and bloom in partial shade. This is especially true for the bigleaf hydrangeas
  • The further north one lives the more sun hydrangeas need and can withstand. While mophead hydrangeas can grow well in all-day sun in Chicago, they would struggle to survive in afternoon sun in Atlanta.
  • Plant in well-drained soil! If soil is heavy, add roughage such as pine bark mulch (Make sure it’s ground BARK not ground WOOD).
  • Do not over water, esp. in clay soil. This can lead to root rot.
  • Do not plant too deeply. Plant at the same depth the hydrangea was planted in the pot.
  • Plant in early summer or fall.
  • Transplant a hydrangea when it has become dormant and has lost all of its leaves (late fall or winter).

CARE

  • For the first year or two after planting and during any drought, be sure hydrangeas get plenty of water. Leaves will wilt if the soil is too dry.
  • If your soil is rich, you may not need to fertilize hydrangeas. If your soil is light or sandy, it’s best to feed the plants once a year in late winter or spring. Too much fertilizer encourages leafy growth at the expense of blooms.
  • In the fall, cover plants to a depth of at least 18 inches with bark mulch, leaves, pine needles, or straw. If at all possible, cover the entire plant, tip included, by making cages out of snow fencing or chicken wire, and loosely filling the cages with leaves. (Do not use maple leaves, as they will break down too quickly.)

This is a very basic introductory guide for both Wauconda and Denver locations. Look for follow up articles on pruning, color change, drying, fertilizing, transplanting etc. etc.