Granite Steps – A New Hampshire Favorite

custom granite stepsNative to New Hampshire, also known as “The Granite State”, granite is a popular material to use in outdoor steps—with good reason. Granite is a type of natural stone, which makes it far more durable than concrete.

On top of that, it’s virtually maintenance free, and wrought-iron railings can be easily and securely installed.

Several different finishes are available for granite steps as well. A “thermal” top (made by running a high temperature flame over the granite) is an excellent slip-resistant finish that gives excellent traction, and quite important in New England’s wet and icy winters.

However, the advantages of granite can be lost if you don’t have a solid foundation for your steps. Without a correctly prepared base, your granite steps will shift and settle into the ground, becoming crooked and uneven. When it comes to installing your steps, it is critical to have a well-prepared base for them.

1½” of compacted gravel is a suitable base for granite steps, providing a strong foundation. Better yet, a four-inch thick concrete pad poured over your gravel base provides an immovable foundation that will stand the test of time.

Making sure that your steps are installed correctly can be a challenge, but if properly installed, your granite steps will last practically forever. Best of all, you’ll never need to replace them again!

If you have any questions, or would like our skilled team to install your granite steps for you, call us today at (603) 883-4109.

Which Is Better-Grass Seed or Sod?

Sod or Lawn Installation?The cooler fall season is the ideal time to revive your lawn. As we approach fall, the question often comes up which is better – grass seed or sod? The answer, of course, is “it depends!” If you want a lush, green lawn you can get there either way. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

The advantages to installing sod. Probably the number one advantage to sod is the instant gratification. We will often install sod on construction projects that have a pressing schedule where the client wants “instant grass.” Sod will take root within three weeks’ time and can be walked on. Sod is also a durable choice for installing a lawn in the middle of summer. Sod is also effective when erosion control is needed. While it can be tough to get grass seed establish during summer months, sod will thrive if installed quickly and watered regularly.

The disadvantages to installing sod. The first thing comes to mind is the cost. It is labor-intensive and time-sensitive. Sod must be installed within 24 hours of delivery or it will die on the pallet. Although not a deal-breaker for most folks, sod is also limited in grass types. Sod is a full-sun turf grass, typically comprised of a mixture of perennial rye, bluegrass, and fescues. It requires at least four hours of direct sun to become established as a healthy lawn. A sod lawn that is installed in shady areas can be susceptible to fungus and will not likely look as good two years after you put it in.

Advantages of grass seed. The number one reason our clients opt for seeding a lawn is because far less expensive than installing sod. They are willing to pamper their newly seeded lawn and wait for the results. As landscapers, we like the versatility of seeding. Being able to custom blend seed for the site conditions – like sun or shade – yields great results in the long term. Grasses that naturalize themselves in the lawn also tend to be more disease-resistant and acclimated to the environment. Hydro seeding is an excellent option that gives you fast growth and a healthier lawn – although not as instant as installing sod.

Disadvantages of grass seed. It takes a full year to establish a healthy lawn from seed. Perennial rye comes up quickly; but bluegrass has to reseed itself throughout the season. Watering times for newly seeded lawns need to be adjusted from light watering several times a day to less frequent, deeper watering throughout the summer months. The third major disadvantage with growing a lawn from seed is weed competition. Lawns that are seeded in the fall stand a better chance of becoming established that lawns planted in the spring. Either way, a comprehensive lawn care program is necessary to give seeded lawns fighting chance during their first year.

The best advice we can give you is to let Dube’s Landscaping help you to decide what lawn option works best for you!

 

The Perfect Patio Design

patio design services in nhWe’ve all watched the HGTV channel and seen remarkable transformations to backyard landscapes in 60 minutes or less. I love HGTV because it inspires homeowners to improve their yards. Unfortunately, the best landscapes are well thought out and develop over time. This is especially true with patio design. The backyard patio area is an area that is used for entertaining, so it must be easily accessible and spacious – but it is also an intimate space, used as a private retreat from the noise and the stress of everyday life. The perfect patio design is one that allows for activities in both the public and private uses of this very important outdoor room.

Location. Location. Location. Just like in real estate, the location of your patio is an absolute. It’s worth taking some time to walk around your yard and get a sense for where you feel the most comfortable. The back of the house is where patios are installed most often, but not always. If your backyard faces southwest and is very hot, or if it is in open view of the neighbor’s backyard, you will have to consider adding some type of screening for privacy for shade. This will increase the cost and complexity of the project. Being creative in locating the perfect spot for your patio sometimes can simplify the project. Patios used for entertaining will need frequent access to the kitchen, so it’s best to locate the grilling station nearby.

The Public Room. If you do a lot of entertaining there are certain elements you’ll want to consider in your patio design. Size, traffic flow, and accessibility are key components to designing a patio for public use. Remember the 3 foot rule: any closer than 3 feet, and you’re in someone’s personal space. Be sure to allow an extra 3 feet around tables and seating areas, and make your patio 3 feet wider than you think you need. Nobody likes to stand on the edge of a patio. Food preparation is often the main event at get-togethers. That could be as simple as an outdoor grill, or as elaborate as an outdoor kitchen prep area with bar seating.

The Private Room. A patio that is designed as a personal space should have enclosures – or “walls”-that create a feeling of security. Personal patios often have a more elaborate planting design and elements that soften the environment. A small Koi pond or pondless waterfall provides just the right atmosphere for relaxation. If the patio is enjoyed after the sun goes down, low-voltage landscape lighting can set the perfect mood. Of course, fire pits or an outdoor gas fireplace is enjoyed by everyone – whether two people or twenty!

At Dube’s Landscaping, we are patio design specialists.
Call us today – we want to walk around your yard with you!

9 Tips for Building an Outdoor Kitchen

 

This infographic gives nine tips from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet on building an outdoor kitchen.

outdoor-kitchens-101

Launching Our New Website

We've just launched our new website! We'll be posting photos of our projects which may give you some new ideas for your own yard!