DIY: How to build a Flagstone Wall in your yard

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A flagstone wall is a great option for your landscape (Photo credit: click here

Flagstone is a type of is a generic flat stone, usually used for paving slabs or walkways, patios, fences and roofing. Flagstone is usually a form of a sandstone composed of feldspar and quartz and is arenaceous in grain size (0.16 mm – 2 mm in diameter). The material that binds flagstone is usually composed of silica, calcite, or iron oxide. The rock color usually comes from these cementing materials. Typical flagstone colors are red, blue, and buff, though exotic colors exist.

These type of slim stones stacked into a low wall make an attractive way to delineate space and add a sense of structure to a landscape. you can use it in the front or backyard (most frequently they are designed for the backyard areas).

Remember the differences in stone thicknesses make it almost impossible to build a flagstone wall with an exact horizontal top and a perfect edge. It’s much easier to fit the flagstones without regard to thickness, and then choose flat pieces to create a level top. Low walls also can provide additional seating or a platform on which to display potted plants.

How to build a simple flagstone wall:

  • Dig a trench a couple of inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the flagstones.
  • Fill with pea gravel and/or sand and tamp to make level. A depth of 2″- 4″ is more than enough to have a good drainage
  • Lay out the flagstones to see their shapes and sizes, and try to imagine how they will be pile up in the final wall.
  • Stack the smaller stones first.
  • Save the largest, prettiest flagstones for the top layer.
  • Backfill with gravel (3/4 to 5/8 inch size)

If you are planning to have a great finish choose a stone of consistent thickness. Flagstone might be limestone, sandstone, shale — any rock that splits into slabs.

The cost? Be ready to spend between $300 – $500 for stones and sand for a wall 10-12 feet long and 1 foot tall. Of course the price here depends on the region you are buying the materials. Big stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s have plenty of options with good prices.

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What’s wrong with my grass?

These are the most common types of weeds that can damage your grass:

1.  Creeping Charlie (aka Ground Ivy)

creeping charlie cedar rapidsCreeping charlie is a very stubborn weed. It is most commonly identified by it’s purple flowers and round leaves. This weed grows low to the ground and quickly spreads across the lawn, choking out grass and small plants in it’s path. Creeping charlie thrives in shaded areas. Trimming back trees and shrubs will introduce more sunlight to the area and help thin out the weed. Keeping a healthy lawn is the best way to prevent a creeping charlie, or ground ivy, invasion. Thick, healthy grass will crowd out the weed, giving it little opportunity to grow.

2.  Dandelions

Like creeping charlie, dandelions grow best in open, sunny areas and they spread very easily. When trying to manually pull dandelions, if the entire root is not removed it will regenerate and produce again. Dandelions are also known for their white seeds that blow in the wind and spread the weed. Not only will a regular lawn treatment program keep dandelions out of your lawn, it will also keep dandelions from neighboring lawns from spreading to your lawn.

3.  Foxtail

foxtail weed cedar rapidsFoxtail is hard to identify when it first starts growing because it has wide leaf blades that are very similar to turf grass. However, it will grow shoots with 3 to 10 inch seed bearing flowers. These flowers are yellow-brown with a fuzzy texture. This weed grows in both moist and dry soil and is tolerant to a wide range of conditions. Foxtail rarely grows in a well-kept lawn, however applying a pre-emergent herbicide is the best preventative.

4.  White Clover

white clover cedar rapidsWhite clover is most commonly found in lawns with sparse, weak grass.  It typically has 3 leaves and grows a white flower with a brownish-green center. It is a low lying weed that spreads across the lawn. Clover grows best in soil that has low nitrogen levels. Keeping your lawn well fertilized will help your existing grass become stronger and more resilient and also make conditions less desirable for clover. You can also keep white clover out of your flower beds by maintaining a thick layer of mulch around your plants. While you can hand pull these weeds, the best treatment for killing clover is regular herbicide applications.

5.  Crabgrass

crabgrass cedar rapidsCrabgrass thrives in bare, sunny areas in your lawn. It sprouts in late spring and continues to grow all summer long. Crabgrass is killed off in the fall by cold weather, but by this time the seeds have already spread and are preparing to continue reproducing next spring. There are various ways to treat for and prevent crabgrass, including: maintaining proper mower height, over seeding the lawn to reduce barren spots, hand pulling the weed and applying a herbicide treatment, and maintaining a lawn fertilization program to keep the good grass strong and healthy.

(From the website https://www.lawn-tek.com)

Keeping your grass green and healthy

We all love to see our garden clean and healthy. In New England we have tough conditions for all plants and grass gardens, but even in these conditions we can make our grass happy by applying for some simple concepts.

Grass picture wise home building

Spring is over (officially, at least), and now the summer is coming and is time to water your grass frequently. Ideally the best option is an irrigation system, that can be installed for mild to moderate prices, depending on the size of your garden. But before installing your systems remember to measure the pressure. The average water pressure for most homes and businesses is between 30 psi and 50 psi, and most sprinkler systems are designed to use pressures of around 30 psi. The better the pressure the easier it will be to align your budget, because you will probably need a lower number of sprinklers.

Watering is one of the most important things for your grass, but also remember that some pests love it and if you have a lot of moisture you can specifically be susceptible to have lawn grubs there.

Grubs are a big problem in the Northeast, Midwest and Southwest, where irrigated turf provides a grub oasis in the otherwise desert country. Grubs make their presence known by creating patches of dying lawn as they devour grass roots. Sometimes you’ll also notice places where the lawn has been burrowed as hungry skunks or armadillos dig for grubs. Treatments for grubs include milky spore, granular pest control products and nematodes.can kill it if you don’t pay attention.

Fertilizers and aeration are also important, and you have to look for a professional recommendation – or at least study a lot in the internet – to adapt your grass needs for the specific fertilizers you have available. If you put too much or too little you will spend money and will not see any clear benefit.

One think that is specifically important is to mow it adequately. Use the 1/3 rule – removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade will stress out your lawn. If you cut or take out too much of the grass blade, your lawn will have a difficult time thriving and will instead look burnt out. Your lawn’s appearance is enhanced by sharp mower blades. Cleaner cuts of grass are provided by sharp blades. Grass will be able to recover from mowing faster when it is cut by sharp blades.

 

Spring time: 5 shrubs that add color to your garden

  1. Lavander – Thrives in full sun in well-drained warm soil and the flowers last for over 10 days when cut, and they also keep their fragrance after drying. Ideal as a ground cover or low growing hedge plant. Lavander grows 15″ tall x 24″ wide normally, and they are consider a sun perennial shrub. Lavender is heat, drought and wind-tolerant. Grow in a light, sandy, somewhat dry soil in full sun to encourage good growth. They don’t like heavy or wet soils.

Lavander Hidcote Wise Home Building

2. Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to North America and one of the most popular wildflowers grown. They tend to blanket open fields, often surprising the passerby with their golden-yellow beauty. These hearty flowers really enjoy the sun. They prefer full sun, though they’ll grow in partial sun. Generally grow between 1 and 3 feet tall (though they can grow taller) and can spread between 12 to 18 inches, so plant seeds closer to prevent lots of spreading or plant further apart to make a nice border. Check your plants regularly to see if they need watering. Make sure they don’t dry out.

onlineplantcenter-perennials Black-Eyed Susan Plant Wise Home Building

3. Lilacs – they come in seven colors, but most are familiar with the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), which blooms in the northern states for 2 weeks in late May. There are early-, mid-, and late-season lilacs, which, when grown together, ensure a steady bloom for at least 6 weeks. Lilacs are easy to grow and a low maintenance makes them easy to deal with. They can grow from 5 to 15 feet tall, depending on the variety. The fragrant flowers are good for cutting and attractive to butterflies, but they also attract a lot of bees and hornets.

lilacs Kate Aspen Blog Wise Home Building

4. Rugosa Rose – The Latin name Rugosa means ‘wrinkled’ and refers specifically to the crinkled, serrated leaves with pronounced veins. Rugosa rose leaves occur in leaflets of 5 to 7 leaves. As with most roses, rugosas will need a spot in full sun to partial shade. You will get the most blooms in full sun. They are known as rugged roses because they can be virtually maintenance free. Rugosas can handle many less than ideal growing conditions, including light shade, salt air, frigid temperatures, drought and high humidity.

Rugosa Rose Wise Home Building

5. Patriot Hosta – they form a leafy garden dense enough to choke out weeds. If planted in rows, they are impressive enough to serve as borders. This plant group offers many different looks, including variegated leaves. This one is a good example of a perennial that can tolerate a lack of water and sunlight – but they are not cactus, ok? Note that “tolerating” dry shade is not the same as “thriving” in it. Most of the plants for dry shade listed below will grow better if supplied with average amounts of moisture. Before planting dry-shade areas, you can improve your chances by mixing organic matter into the soil, thereby increasing the soil’s water-retention.

onlineplantcenter-perennials Patriot Hosta Wise Home Building

5 ways to lower your electrical bill

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To save money is a huge task in the modern years. In our house we have a lot of stuff that can drain our savings. Here you have some tips that can help you save money:

1.Check your HVAC air filters regularly: Dirty air filters clog free flowing air, and make your AC work harder. We recommend to check them (and clean it up, of course) every other month at least. When you have to purchase a new filter, it should have a recommended time when it’ll need to be replaced. Some need to be changed monthly, while others can last up to six months.

2. Buy energy star appliances: Keeping your old freezer in the garage from your mother is guzzling down money compared to top quality and energy efficient appliances nowadays. Every appliance today has a Energy Star feature, so next time you will buy another one check this information.

3. Change your bulbs: Switching to energy efficient light bulbs are a great start point to saving on your energy bill. Not only will that reduce the amount of watts used, but they last a lot longer too. LED bulbs are ideal for that, and some of them also can be bought in colors (save money and have fun also)

4. Run dishwasher full loads: Always run your dishwasher full loads. Full loads use the same amount of energy and hot water as smaller loads. If you just have 2 or 3 pieces to wash, remember that your faucet in the island is not a decorative piece in the kitchen.

5. Plant shady landscape: Shady landscape will protect your home from scorching heat which will reduce your air-conditioning costs in summers and block high winds that will reduce you heating costs during winters. Looks like a small thing, but can make a huge difference in your bills year after year