Benefits of a Healthy Lawn
Lawn Care professionals such as Ultimate Landscaping & Construction Inc. share a basic goal: improve the quality of our lives and the quality of our environment. Turf areas under our professional care are denser and healthier providing the following benefits to your home environment and our city as a whole.
The front lawns of a block of eight average houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning-enough to cool 16 average homes. On a hot summer day, grass can be 10-14 degrees cooler than exposed soil and as much as 30 degrees cooler than concrete or asphalt.
A 50' by 50' well -maintained grass area will create enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four every day. Acting like a gigantic sponge, lawns absorb all types of airborne pollutants such as dust and carbon dioxide, as well as noise. Less weeds means less weed pollen; a relief to those with allergies.
Studies show healthy lawns absorb rainfall 4-6 times more effectively than farm fields, being exceeded only by virgin forest. Lawns return the moisture to the water table where it can again be used by everyone. A Penn State University study showed thick lawns slow the velocity of run-off and allow the water to infiltrate 15 times better from a high quality lawn than from a patchy lawn with a lot of weeds.
A healthy lawn prevents erosion by water or wind and the loss of valuable topsoil-less mud and dust in the house. If you've ever moved into a new home before it was sodded, you'll know what I mean!
There can be no argument that a beautiful lawn is immediately pleasing to the eye and relaxing in its appearance. Lawns help to soften and reduce reflected light-less glare.
While some may scorn its needs, others fine lawn maintenance requirements an excellent opportunity to enjoy reasonable exercise and a diversion. Homes, sports fields, and parks with healthy grass acts as a cushion to reduce shock and potential injury.
Appraisers estimate that a well-landscaped and maintained lawn adds 7% to the value of residential property. A recent Gallup survey concluded that a 15% increase in selling price can be realized when the home is nicely landscaped.
Decks and Patios
Through the ages, people have created many forms of shelter, inspired by necessity and pleasure. Where mild weather prevails, many of these living areas have been outdoors. An explosion of designs for outdoor living has now literally turned houses inside out. The new designers are no longer constrained by stiff and traditional forms. People are exuberantly extending their lifestyles to outdoor cooking, eating, sleeping, bathing, playing, partying and working. If you always thought that living happened in rooms inside, with a roof and all, like a dining room or den, per-haps you haven't yet thought of organizing your outdoor spaces with specific uses in mind. Even avid gardeners and traditional designers recognize the value of solid surfaces in their gardens as spaces for people to walk alone, congregate together, compete in games or work on projects. Other surfaces in the garden are built as decks or patios and can serve the countless purposes that rooms do. There's nothing that says a room can't be outside Each outdoor room spaces on the deck or patio should be designed for a specific use, as a room inside is, and harmonize those uses with the setting and with each other. Both decks and patios we define as level spaces that can be put to an almost endless variety of uses. The difference is simply that a deck is a wooden structure built a little or a long way above the ground, while all of a patio rests on the ground and may be surfaced with a variety of materials.
Usual and unusual uses:
Decks and patios are most commonly used as extensions of interior spaces for living, working, eating. The barbecue replaces the stove and there may even be built-in kitchen counters with sinks and storage cup-boards. Other decks and patios take on the intimate character of family rooms when furnished comfortably. A deck can be a quiet haven away from children. Or it can be specifically designed for the play of children. Some outdoor rooms have fire pits or niches with cosy mats and subtle lighting for the evenings. There are a good number of circulation uses for decks and patios. Sunny morning breakfast nooks can double as entry courts; boardwalks that connect house to deck and garden can be play ramps for kids or fine display areas for collections of perennial flowers. Some patios and decks have several levels, separating functions, age groups and activities. Sets of stairs can be sculptural links between them.
Will the deck or patio sit in full sun, a partially shaded spot, or near a pool? Are there any related maintenance concerning drainage? For example what type of access should the space afford to the house? How will the deck or patio relate to neighbouring homes? Be sure to ferret out and factor in these different considerations, along with your personal goals and preferences for how the feature should look and function.
In general, a deck or patio should fit the style of the house. In a period home, that might translate into paving and stone walls, while a modern home could accommodate sleek decking. Likewise, accessories, plants and enhancements minimalist or colourful, leafy and jungly, built-in seating or fire pits will also contribute to the design.
Materials and maintenance
Materials for outdoor spaces encompass a variety of synthetic and natural products, each with its own particular upkeep requirements. The elements can damage natural wood decks, for example, and they require regular attention (paint or stain, plus a clear coat of oil or water-based sealant). In terms of value with low maintenance, a long-wearing paver patio may be an attractive option. Again, research and planning are essential in selecting materials that match up with expectations.
Use the questions and requirements that arise when sitting and designing a deck or patio to create a realistic "must-have" vs. "nice-to-have" list. That list will, in turn, guide the budget. If things don't match up, revisit the choices and make compromises. Cost savings may often be found by simply swapping one material for another. A resourceful and flexible approach can help ensure a happy end result and good return on the investment.
The last thing anyone wants is to invest in a beautiful outdoor space, only to find out it must be ripped up because there was no building permit. There are codes and safety requirements in most towns if the deck is higher than 18 inches or larger than 100 square feet. Also, homeowners associations often have covenants governing outdoor structures and additions. Be sure to cover the bases before construction begins.
Can the paving be cleaned? How readily will it show dirt and dust? Can grass clip-pings and leaves be removed? Will weeds grow through it?
Do you want the paving to be permanent or temporary; are you willing to work it over each year? How will it stand up under your local climate conditions? What will be the effect on it of snow, water, frost, or extensive heat?
How does the cost of the material stack up to your budget? Have you considered possible hidden costs of "sleepers" such as drainage pro-visions, unstable soil, or special construction processes?
First things first
Regardless of the type of paving you choose, you will, in most cases, have to prepare some sort of foundation or sub-base that will affect the life span of the material. The foundation almost al-ways determines the appearance of the finished job; laying it probably contributes to the majority of the blisters on your hands. In our climate the soil is shifty and fluctuates between extremes of hot and cold, the paving should be protected with a pad of rock or gravel. This pad keeps water from collecting directly under the paving and protects it from the effects of the soil heaving because of moisture locked in the ground.
The success and durability of any garden paving rests largely with the stability of the ground below it; good drainage is a major ingredient. Often, a rock pad or bed of sand provides adequate drainage, but sometimes additional provisions are necessary. Special perforated plastic drain pipe placed in a narrow trench (about 12 inches deep, under the center or around the edge of the paved area) will draw off most of the water that collects under the paving.