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Retaining Wall Basics


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More about stumbling blocks ...

Posted on March 22, 2016 at 4:02 PM Comments comments (230)
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”
          ~ Romans 14:13

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Love this!

Posted on November 19, 2015 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (236)
Seems perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday ...

It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.”
Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost
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I wonder ...

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 1:42 PM Comments comments (362)
I wonder if the snow loves
    the trees and fields,
    that it kisses them so gently?

And then it covers them up snug,
    you know, with a white quilt,
    and perhaps it says

"Go to sleep, darlings,
    till the summer comes again."
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A Stumbling Block or a Stepping Stone

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 12:31 PM Comments comments (173)
Isn't it strange how princes and kings,
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a list of rules;
A shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping-stone.
By R. L. Sharpe
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ORNAMENTAL PONDS: Crystal Clear Water

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM Comments comments (576)

Did you know that it's easy (really!) to enhance and maintain water clarity in your ornamental ponds?

Here's how ...

The secret is to maintain a balanced ecosystem (pH around 6-7) which is a fancy way of saying that you need the RIGHT kind of bacteria to flourish. 

During the winter months, bacteria becomes dormant.  Start by seeding your bio-filter with beneficial bacteria (available at your local pond supply store, PetSmart, or online) - depending on the size of your pond, this will take approximately 7-10 days before your will notice a change in the climate of your pond with ever-increasing improvements noted daily.

In addition, shade will reduce algae growth and can be simulated with lily pads which provide not only a practical purpose but an attractive addition.  Shoot for 50% water surface to be shaded.

With these quick fixes in mind, your ornamental pond can provide years of enjoyment and relaxation with very little maintenance.


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Retaining Wall Basics

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 3:32 PM Comments comments (409)

Like you, I'm ready for the return of Spring weather and spending some time outdoors.  One of my favorite projects for this time of year, is designing and building retaining walls.  If you're planning to upgrade your surroundings, make sure that the contractor you choose provides you with a durable wall that will last a lifetime.

Over the years when I've been called in to repair and/or reconstruct an existing wall, I find one of two problems exist ... either 1) a shallow footer; or 2) backfill using dirt only without stone drainage(sometimes both!).  Because dry dirt takes up less room than wet dirt, each time it rains or you water the planting bed within the area, the dirt will expand as it absorbs the moisture which puts hydraulic force on the wall.  As it dries, it shrinks and takes the pressure away.  This process repeats over and over and after just a few years the wall will bulge, crack, and eventually fail completely.

Keep these practices in mind when choosing a quality-driven contractor:

  • The concrete footer is critical to the durability of the wall (recommend at least 32" deep, 8" wide with a concrete mix of 3,000 psi).

  • On the back side of the retaining wall, make sure that a 4" perforation pipe is included for drainage with backfill comprised of #2 stone and a soil separator incorporated between the stone and top soil.

Not only are retaining walls functional, they are pleasing to the eye and can improve curb appeal and the resale value of your home.  By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to bypass contractors with limited knowledge and questionable work practices and find the contractor worthy of your trust.

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The beauty of Fall ...

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM Comments comments (283)
Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.  ~ Emily Bronte
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The Objection of Being Stepped On

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM Comments comments (88)
"At the end of the row
I stepped on the toe
Of an unemployed hoe.
It rose in offense
And struck me a blow
In the seat of my sense.
It wasn't to blame
But I called it a name.
And I must say it dealt
Me a blow that I felt
Like a malice prepense.
You may call me a fool,
But was there a rule
The weapon should be
Turned into a tool?
And what do we see?
The first tool I step on
Turned into a weapon.
     ~ Robert Frost, The Objection to Being Stepped On
Write your post here.
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Posted on May 6, 2013 at 2:04 PM Comments comments (230)
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
Whatever the weather
We'll weather the weather
Whether we like it or not
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The real meaning of plant catalog terminology

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (712)
The real meaning of plant catalog terminology:
     - A favorite of birds  means to avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, or clotheslines.
     - Grows more beautiful each year  means "looks like roadkill for the foreseeable future".
     - Zone 5 with protection  is a variation on the phrase "russian roulette".
     - May require support  means your daughter's engineering degree will finally pay off.
     - Moisture-loving plants  are ideal for landscaping all your bogs and swamps.
     - Carefree  refers more to the plant's attitude than to your workload.
    - Vigorous  is code for "has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world".
    - Grandma's Favorite --- until she discovered free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids.
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