Just a reminder to be careful when applying deicers to and near concrete.

Magnesium chloride and Calcium chloride are two common salts whose ions react with the calcium hydroxide and calcium silicate hydroxide which do the binding in concrete. Another common deicer is Rock salt (halite) which is basically sodium chloride and is much less reactive with concrete. Physical reactions can also cause salt scaling and spalling as the salt changes the freezing point of water on the concrete and a rapid temperature gradient occurs which can break the concrete bonds.

You must have safe walking surfaces and concrete can be repaired more easily than broken bones, but don’t apply too much and spread evenly without piles.

Try to use rock salt on concrete if you can. Asphalt does not have the same issues with salts. A blend of salt and sand is a great way to get the results with less salt.

Spalling

When the sun starts setting early and the evenings get cool and crisp, folks often consider adding a fire feature to their outdoor living space.  There are several different types of fire features that can provide warmth, ambience, and beauty to any outdoor space.

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Have you ever found yourself confused with how to fertilize your lawn and outdoor plants? If so, you should know that the process isn’t as hard as it seems.
With some basic guidance and a little work, you can give your plants everything they need to thrive and grow beautifully.
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Dealing with drought is one of the toughest parts of maintaining an outdoor landscape, especially in notoriously dry areas like northern and southwestern Virginia. Without regular showers, you’re often forced to water your landscape by hand, which can be time consuming and costly.

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Implementing a professionally designed landscape feature is one of the best things you can do to improve your home’s daytime appearance and atmosphere. And to carry over those same aesthetic benefits to the evening and nighttime, outdoor lighting is the perfect solution.   However, properly illuminating your home and its landscaping features isn’t as simple as making a stop at Lowe’s or Home Depot. It’s actually quite an involved process with many variables to take into consideration. To learn all about exterior lighting, read on to our comprehensive guide.
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In my last post, I addressed plant options for steep, eroding embankments. Like I mentioned, plants are only effective in situations where the embankment is less than a 40% grade. For steeper embankments, excavation and retaining walls are the only options. Although pricey, retaining walls are highly effective, and they can actually be an elegant addition to your property.

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Clients frequently approach me with this question: “I have a steep embankment, which I hate to mow, got any ideas on how to deal with it?”  Well, there are several good solutions that don’t involve string trimmers, herbicide, and heartburn for the rest of your life. In fact, there are several species of plants that can turn an eroding embankment into a stable slope.

 

The simple fact is that if your bank is too steep it will erode regardless of what’s planted on it.  So before you try to plant, make sure that your bank is no steeper than a 40% grade.  If you’re dealing with a slope that exceeds 40%, you should reduce the slope by excavating it from the top, or by building a retaining wall at the bottom. more…

Outdoor kitchens aren’t just for Hollywood chefs or celebrities anymore. They’re actually becoming a popular upgrade to the average patio and deck. And although they no longer reserved for the rich and famous, the features of these kitchens are rather luxurious, including built-in grills, sinks plumbed to accommodate subzero temperatures, and under counter refrigerators. more…