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Hardscaping And Plants

Show #12/4312. Hardscaping And Plants

Summary of Show

Renovating The Front Entrance
All this with the thought in mind that regardless the size of your home NOTHING SAYS WELCOME LIKE A BEAUTIFUL FRONT ENTRANCE. The entryway to your home is something that every guest will see when they come to visit. Changing the entryway can provide some of the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to sprucing up your home.

Click here for more info

The General Contractor
Eric first meets Brad Smith THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR. This project started off as a fairly small project with a few retaining walls, but grew into something much bigger. Brad tells us about the project. The homeowners first contacted Brad about some old deteriorating cross tie walls that needed replaced. Brad gave them a proposal and a price, the homeowners liked it and he and his crew came out and replaced 4 cross tie walls with great looking modular block walls.

Click here for more info

Replace The Cross Tie Walls
After that step was complete the homeowners decided to REPLACE THE CROSS TIE WALLS coming down the driveway. So they entered into a second contract for that. The homeowners entertain a lot and have a lot of guests over and the old set up had very little parking space so Brad widened the driveway to make it twice as big. They removed, probably, 40 pine trees, then removed the old cross tie wall. They then dug back 12 feet for the new retaining wall.

Click here for more info

Driveway And Parking Area On Backside Of Garage
Instead of hauling off the dirt, which would have entailed another expense, they decided to add a DRIVEWAY AND PARKING AREA on the backside of the garage. This area added parking for another 8-10 cars and provided the homeowners the ability to bring trailers into the driveway area because it created a wrap around driveway. But, this meant they needed to create a retaining wall at the rear of the garage. So the dirt excavated from the front wall was used to create the wall in back of the garage. This area was a significant part of the renovation and was an ambitious project.

Click here for more info

Preparing For And Pouring Concrete
Because this is a hilly area it was a particularly challenging spot to pour concrete. Brad walks us through the process of PREPARING FOR AND POURING CONCRETE. First they prep the ground, they want to make sure that they get approximately 4 inches of concrete uniformly poured over the whole site. After they prep the ground they lay down a wire mesh that is actually pulled up in the concrete as they're pouring the concrete. The lower area needed to be poured with a pump truck because a concrete truck couldn't get down the steep slopes. On the slopes the concrete needed to be a little drier because they didn't want it running downhill while wet.

Click here for more info

Installing Pavers
The CONSTRUCTION SEQUENCE is as follows. First is the excavation, they then compact an aggregate base which is typically sand and gravel, add some water so when they put it under a sand compactor they get a nice rigid or semi rigid surface under the pavers. In the southeast they would call a place like Stovall to deliver the aggregates. They do attempt to move water away from the pavers area with drains, etc., then set up a border. In this design they used tan rocks in the middle, then a darker brown stone as edging.

Click here for more info


Landscape Design Of An Entryway
As one approaches the task of DESIGNING AN ENTRYWAY for the front of the house the structure of the house must be considered. Pamela talks us through her design process. There were 2 things that she wanted to accomplish in terms of making this house look better. 1st she wanted to cover up some of the walls of the home because there is so much wall showing. So she chose the spiral Juniper topiaries because they grow vertically and do a good job of accenting a narrow space. In addition she wanted to give the house a little more dimension so she layered the shrubs from taller on down to smaller. There are 4 layers if one includes the little annuals tucked in up front.

Click here for more info

The Correct Plant For The Space
Eric frequently drives by a home that underscores in his mind the importance of PICKING THE CORRECT PLANT for the correct place. In that yard the homeowners went out and bought some really nicely pruned leyland cypress, then planted them on either side of their doorway. Of course 8 or 10 years later those trees have effectively lifted the roof off the house and it looks ridiculous. So we must think about what plants are most appropriate for the space we are planting in. If we are planting around the home, as opposed to planting in a wide open space, there are many things to keep in mind. Pamela has some tips for when we go to a garden center.

Click here for more info

Plant Choices
They next talk about some of the PLANT CHOICES. The columnar head size juniper is a great selection. It doesn't get a whole lot wider and is a nice candidate for a topiary. The boxwood is Winter Gem, buxus microphylla and in some ways they are even better than traditional boxwoods.

Click here for more info

Plant Maintenance
They next talk about MAINTENANCE. There is a lot of time and money invested in putting in a landscape. What should we do to make sure our plants are successful? Pamela believes one thing that's important is to plant them in a good bed. What she did here, and this is clay, was to till the clay to loosen it, she then added about 6 inches of organic garden soil to the top, then tilled that in. After planting she put mulch on top, that will keep weeds down. She also used a drip irrigation system.

Click here for more info

 

Containers Around Front Entrance
It's often the little finishing touches that really add to the landscape. In this landscape Pamela has added a BEAUTIFUL FOUNTAIN. It's touches like this that say "welcome." When visitors get to the front door and are waiting for you to come to the door you want for them to have nice things to view.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford
Easy Garden Color

Proven Winners Flowering Shrubs
Welcome to Spring Meadow Nursery

Monrovia
Monrovia.com - Monrovia Distinctively Better Plants & Flowers

Costa Farms
Costa Farms - The leader in houseplants and bedding plants

Ball Horticulture
Welcome to Ball Horticultural Company

Containers:
Pottery Land
Welcome to Pottery Land USA!

Jam'n Designs
Home - JAM'n Designs

Pavers - Pavestone
Pavers, Paving, Edging, Retaining Walls, Patio Stones | Pavestone

Plant List

 

Show #12/4312. Hardscaping And Plants

Transcript of Show

Homeowners are spending more and more of their money on their primary residence as the slow economy has made changing homes difficult. The home we're visiting in this episode needed some changes - some structural, many cosmetic. Some of the biggest changes were implemented at the entryway. This home originally had a narrow driveway that was dark and not very inviting. The owners love to entertain, plus wanted to move trailers in and out of their driveway so they needed a wider area. And, they wanted to brighten the area. GardenSMART brought in a team of experts to tackle the many different challenges. First they addressed the fact that there was a section of the driveway that was cracked and broken. Additional concrete was needed for a wider driveway and additional parking. As well pavers were added. The pavers really present a grand entryway to the home. Once the structural changes were made we brought in a landscape architect to custom tailor a landscape design just for this home. The end result, we think, is stunning.

All this with the thought in mind that regardless the size of your home NOTHING SAYS WELCOME LIKE A BEAUTIFUL FRONT ENTRANCE. The entryway to your home is something that every guest will see when they come to visit. Changing the entryway can provide some of the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to sprucing up your home. And Eric thinks this project has turned out particularly well, it represents one of the most impressive residential hardscape projects he's seen.
Top

Eric first meets Brad Smith THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR. This project started off as a fairly small project with a few retaining walls, but grew into something much bigger. Brad tells us about the project. The homeowners first contacted Brad about some old deteriorating cross tie walls that needed replaced. Brad gave them a proposal and a price, the homeowners liked it and he and his crew came out and replaced 4 cross tie walls with great looking modular block walls.
Top

After that step was complete the homeowners decided to REPLACE THE CROSS TIE WALLS coming down the driveway. So they entered into a second contract for that. The homeowners entertain a lot and have a lot of guests over and the old set up had very little parking space so Brad widened the driveway to make it twice as big. They removed, probably, 40 pine trees, then removed the old cross tie wall. They then dug back 12 feet for the new retaining wall. This meant they had to excavate and remove 60-80 loads of dirt to prepare for the retaining walls.
Top

Instead of hauling off the dirt, which would have entailed another expense, they decided to add a DRIVEWAY AND PARKING AREA on the backside of the garage. This area added parking for another 8-10 cars and provided the homeowners the ability to bring trailers into the driveway area because it created a wrap around driveway. But, this meant they needed to create a retaining wall at the rear of the garage. So the dirt excavated from the front wall was used to create the wall in back of the garage. This area was a significant part of the renovation and was an ambitious project. When they decided to extend the driveway, making the driveway go all the way to the back of the house they had to get an engineer involved to provide an idea of the block they would need and how much concrete they would need, etc.
Top

Because this is a hilly area it was a particularly challenging spot to pour concrete. Brad walks us through the process of PREPARING FOR AND POURING CONCRETE. First they prep the ground, they want to make sure that they get approximately 4 inches of concrete uniformly poured over the whole site. After they prep the ground they lay down a wire mesh that is actually pulled up in the concrete as they're pouring the concrete. The lower area needed to be poured with a pump truck because a concrete truck couldn't get down the steep slopes. On the slopes the concrete needed to be a little drier because they didn't want it running downhill while wet. Concrete is a product that does move with weather, thus they create expansion joints in the concrete. They're trowelled in as the concrete starts to harden and their function is to compensate for the heat and cold. That is because concrete will expand and contract with the weather, thus will crack over time. It's not a matter of will it crack rather when. The joint is simply a place for the concrete to crack, since one doesn't want it to crack down the center of the slab. This project took a tremendous amount of concrete, approximately 75 yards. That would equate into thousands of bags we might pick up at the store. Certainly more than Brad would want to carry on his truck. Although this is more than one would want to undertake on their own, it's interesting to see how the process works.
Top

Eric next meets with Dan Kalar with Pavestone. Dan is an expert on pavers, works with the manufacturer and trains landscape contractors, masons and paver layers on how to install pavers so they maintain consistent quality. Eric wonders - Pavers are similar to concrete but with cars driving over them how will they hold up with the weight? Pavers are a flexible system, so they don't crack like rigid concrete. The pavers sit on a compacted base, with sand between each paver. That causes the interlock and that is why they're called interlocking pavers. Installing pavers can be difficult for a homeowner, thus not a job for everyone. The CONSTRUCTION SEQUENCE is as follows. First is the excavation, they then compact an aggregate base which is typically sand and gravel, add some water so when they put it under a sand compactor they get a nice rigid or semi rigid surface under the pavers. In the southeast they would call a place like Stovall to deliver the aggregates. They do attempt to move water away from the pavers area with drains, etc., then set up a border. In this design they used tan rocks in the middle, then a darker brown stone as edging. The options available to homeowners vary widely, there are many choices. The manufacturers have done a great job of trying to emulate natural stone. There are multiple colors and sizes available. The sizes range from what they call a 4 x 8 all the way to multi piece systems that look like cut flagstone. And, of course they do have have a textured paver, like they're using here. The focal point is a smoother paver, the outside is more textured. One of the hottest trends today is tumbled pavers. They take something like a cement mixer and put the pavers in, beat them up a little, wash them and they come out looking sort of used and old world looking. That seems to be one of the hottest trends. Eric likes this circle kit, it takes a lot of the guess work out of having to cut hundreds and hundreds of bricks. It is a tremendous added value product for the homeowner, the pre-cut aspect is truly a lifesaver and makes for a great DIY project because it dramatically reduces needed cuts. The kit approach has made it more economical to enjoy pavers. When Eric first came down the driveway he immediately saw this installation, it immediately catches your eye. Real estate agents say it is one of the best things you can do to dress up the home. It creates a focal point or a gathering area where people enter your home, one naturally comes to this area, it introduces the entrance to the home, makes people feel welcome and generally makes a warm and inviting area because of the earth tones. They marry beautifully with the house and the landscape and even the retaining walls. They are a great way to break the expanse of concrete.

We are fortunate on this project to be working with the very talented landscape architect, Pamela Crawford. Pamela is the author of 10 gardening books and the site designer. Eric compliments Pamela on the wonderful job and thanks her for joining us on GardenSMART. Pamela tells us a little about herself. She entered the landscaping business because she wanted very much to design things. She loves plants but had no talent with them. So she decided that if she learned more about plants and plant design she could make places look great with plants that are easy to grow. Pamela has designed many homes (1,500) and, as mentioned, written 10 books. A lot of the design focus on this home was around the front of the house. Pamela's focus on a project like this is to make the house look better and to make the house something the homeowner can just love. Redoing the front of the house makes the house look like it's been remodeled. Eric knows Pamela has put a lot of effort into this project and is ready to dive in.
Top

As one approaches the task of DESIGNING AN ENTRYWAY for the front of the house the structure of the house must be considered. Pamela talks us through her design process. There were 2 things that she wanted to accomplish in terms of making this house look better. 1st she wanted to cover up some of the walls of the home because there is so much wall showing. So she chose the spiral Juniper topiaries because they grow vertically and do a good job of accenting a narrow space. In addition she wanted to give the house a little more dimension so she layered the shrubs from taller on down to smaller. There are 4 layers if one includes the little annuals tucked in up front. Eric likes the way she has played off the architectural theme by putting taller elements in the corners. This draws attention to the area. As well the taller junipers are formal, yet playful. The spiral topiary and the structure of the house go well together. Pamela has used evergreens up against the foundation and importantly these will be a presence throughout the course of the year. But then she used plants that are either deciduous or flowering in the foreground. Importantly she has used a variety of textures. Pamela likes to use plants that have different types of leaves next to each other. If one looks at the Juniper, it has an evergreen leaf which is completely different from the green plants next to it, which have smaller leaves. The boxwood is an example. She also has used a lot of color. Many modern landscapes will have a group of green plants besides green plants and that is what is featured at the entryway of the home. Eric feels Pamela has done a great job of making this a very vibrant, very exciting area. There are some very exciting, terrific plant choices available today that provide color from the leaves. Pamela creates layers that range from dark to light. An example would be the dark green boxwoods, then the lighter spirea, then the burgundy of the Barberry, all accented by the little flowering annuals up front. Some of the other shrubs she has included not only have vibrant foliage but are blooming plants as well. There are so many shrubs out there today that are exciting. The breeders have been working to make them bloom more and longer. She has Weigelia Wine and Roses as well as Spiraea Double Play. You get color from the lime green leaves, then color from the flowers. The basic approach here is to have evergreens in the back, then some nice plants that work well with the home, accent it all with some nice, different colors and textures and it makes for a very interesting landscape.
Top

Eric frequently drives by a home that underscores in his mind the importance of PICKING THE CORRECT PLANT for the correct place. In that yard the homeowners went out and bought some really nicely pruned leyland cypress, then planted them on either side of their doorway. Of course 8 or 10 years later those trees have effectively lifted the roof off the house and it looks ridiculous. So we must think about what plants are most appropriate for the space we are planting in. If we are planting around the home, as opposed to planting in a wide open space, there are many things to keep in mind. Pamela has some tips for when we go to a garden center. The 2 most important things to remember are size and light. The size needs to be appropriate to the area where you're putting the plant. But it's not often that simple. For example, if you look at the tag on a juniper it says it will grow to 15 feet tall by 5 feet wide. But you're going to trim the plant so it keeps its spiral shape. So what you're really looking for is - maintainable size. The juniper here will stay just about the size it is now. The boxwoods, on the other hand, will actually grow quite tall if you let them. But it's very trim able, some pruning people call it putty in their hands. The way it's designed is that the boxwood might get up to about waist high. The spiral in back, much taller. Eric talks about maintainable height. The juniper could grow to about head level, it could get quite large, but it is very maintainable. It doesn't grow so fast that we can't prune it and keep it in shape. So the homeowner when choosing this plant needs to know they must keep it shaped.

Once you figure out their correct sizes you then need to consider light conditions. This area has sun most of the day, there's a break in the morning but a lot of sun in the afternoon. Plus since there is reflective light coming off the wall Pamela considers this a full sun situation. And, she has chosen plants accordingly.
Top

They next talk about some of the PLANT CHOICES. The columnar head size juniper is a great selection. It doesn't get a whole lot wider and is a nice candidate for a topiary. The boxwood is Winter Gem, buxus microphylla and in some ways they are even better than traditional boxwoods. They don't tend to be prone to disease and in some ways are easier to maintain because their leaves go all the way back into the interior of the plant whereas some boxwoods if you prune them hard you have basically a wide open cavity. The Double Play Spiraea with its bright chartreuse leaves is very impactful in the landscape especially when contrasted with the darker leaves of, say, the Royal Burgundy Berberis. Pamela has repeated the color theme throughout the planting with the Berberis 'Aurea' which is a bright chartreuse Berberis. Then the Weigelia Wine and Roses is one of Eric's favorites for blooming and magnificent foliage. It's another plant where one gets two for one - blooming and foliage. He has had the Weigelia at his house for about 3 years and it blooms beautifully and he is able to maintain its height. Another feature of Pamela's design worth pointing out is she has left space for seasonal annuals. That provides another opportunity for the homeowner to add a splash of color. She has done a great job of repeating the themes of dark and light, different types of foliage and different textures. There are 8 or 10 annuals in this area. It's easy to go to your garden center in the spring and buy 8 or 10 annuals and they really make a difference to the entry of a home. Eric gives Pamela an A+ on this design.
Top

They next talk about MAINTENANCE. There is a lot of time and money invested in putting in a landscape. What should we do to make sure our plants are successful? Pamela believes one thing that's important is to plant them in a good bed. What she did here, and this is clay, was to till the clay to loosen it, she then added about 6 inches of organic garden soil to the top, then tilled that in. After planting she put mulch on top, that will keep weeds down. She also used a drip irrigation system. This is a smart move as it takes a lot of the guess work out of watering. Another tip is to use a good slow release fertilizer. She recommends one that is designed for shrubs and one that will provide anywhere between 4 and 12 months of fertilization. The highest quality fertilizers release on the basis of temperature and water. It's the principle of osmosis that causes the fertilizer to release and that takes the guess work out of fertilization. It's very easy to fertilize now and it didn't use to be, thus something we should take advantage of.
Top

It's often the little finishing touches that really add to the landscape. In this landscape Pamela has added a BEAUTIFUL FOUNTAIN. It's touches like this that say "welcome." When visitors get to the front door and are waiting for you to come to the door you want for them to have nice things to view. And this fountain is, it's not only pretty but additionally has a great sound. Eric even noticed earlier several birds coming by for a drink, so it draws wildlife.

Pamela next talks about the container by the front door. Pamela does have experience in container planting, having written 5 books on the subject, it's something she's somewhat addicted to. This container was chosen because it looks good both with the house color as well as the door color. She chose a tall grass as the centerpiece because it fits the space well. She then accented it all with some simple red flowers. It's a great container, the white of the grass mimics the white in the glaze of the container. The container and plants go a long way to drawing this whole design together.

Eric thanks Pamela. She has done a wonderful job on this project and an even better job of telling the story on GardenSMART. Thanks Pamela
Top

 

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford
Easy Garden Color

Proven Winners Flowering Shrubs
Welcome to Spring Meadow Nursery

Monrovia
Monrovia.com - Monrovia Distinctively Better Plants & Flowers

Costa Farms
Costa Farms - The leader in houseplants and bedding plants

Ball Horticulture
Welcome to Ball Horticultural Company

Containers:
Pottery Land
Welcome to Pottery Land USA!

Jam'n Designs
Home - JAM'n Designs

Pavers - Pavestone
Pavers, Paving, Edging, Retaining Walls, Patio Stones | Pavestone

Plant List

 


   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
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By InstantHedge, Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge

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