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Hardscaping with Natural Material

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Hardscaping with Natural Material

So many options for hardscaping are available today, and synthetic materials provide a customized look for almost any taste. However, natural materials are timeless as well as eco-friendly. They can present a beautiful option.

Flagstones are one of the more popular choices for flat surfaces like driveways, walkways, and patio floors. Of course, the large, irregular slabs are heavy and can be tricky to puzzle together, but they create a great look, especially with contrasting color stones. A sitting wall of found stone is another natural element that can add interest to an outdoor area, made even more distinctive with upright stones spaced periodically in the wall.

Natural stone steps, birdbaths, and fire pits are just three more options for natural hardscaping elements. The possibilities are limited only to the imagination. All of these decisions – and their execution – are best handled with the help of experts like Knutsen Landscaping. Let us help you with your design and execution, whether you prefer synthetic materials, natural options as mentioned above, or your own unique mix.

Non-Invasive Plants

When choosing non-native species for planting, care must be taken not only that they will thrive in your climate, but also that they will cause no harm to people, pets, and native flora. Two good choices:

The bloodgood Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, var. atropurpureum) is a very common addition to landscaping. It will slowly reach 15-20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. The burgundy foliage, which turns a brilliant scarlet in the fall, is one of its biggest appeals. This slender, airy tree is well suited as a small lawn tree and for entry and patio distinction.

These trees prefer filtered to full sun and is best with regular water – weekly, or more often in extreme heat. In all, the bloodgood is one of the heartiest of all Japanese maples with good sun tolerance.

Dogwood trees are another great non-native option, and the Kousa or Korean dogwood (Cornuskousa) is a good choice.  Its elegant beauty and toughness make it an excellent landscape selection for urban areas as well as home landscapes. Easily the most distinctive feature is the explosion of white blooms in the spring (May-June).  The “petals” are not actually petals at all, but rather modified leaves called bracts surrounding the small, greenish-yellow flowers.

At maturity, these trees will reach 15-25 feet tall and around 25 feet wide. They prefer acidic, loamy, well-drained soil and average moisture, although they are somewhat drought-resistant. Full sun and partial shade are best, meaning four hours of direct sunlight each day.

You don’t need to limit yourself to native foliage, but check with Knutsen for further information and more options.

Knutsen Landscaping honored in BIA Remodeling Showcase

The Building Industry Association of Lancaster County recently announced the winners of its 2017 Remodeling Showcase Awards, a prestigious program that bestows the highest honors in the local residential remodeling industry. The Awards were presented on March 31 at a special reception and dinner held at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster. The Association’s Remodelers Council honored 20 winning projects from 13 companies, representing a total of over$5.7 million in local remodeling work and an array of tastes and styles.

The Remodeling Showcase Awards (formerly Remodelers Awards of Excellence) program recognizes excellence in design and construction of residential remodeling and rehabilitation projects by members of the BIA’s Remodelers Council. Entries are judged on workmanship/quality of construction, creativity, design, value and cost effectiveness, and sensitivity to design or intent, using a blind numeric scoring system. The three judges hailed from around the region and included an exterior building products professional, a kitchen designer, and an industry instructor.

Outdoor Living, Division 1: Knutsen Landscaping, Inc.
New, expanded outdoor living area to complement the owner’s pool and hot tub and afford a space to cook, relax by the fire, and watch television outside.

Helping New Sod to Flourish

First 2 Weeks

The key to establishing new sod is to keep it properly watered for the first month. Immediately after installing sod, water thoroughly making it spongy to the step. The new sod should be kept thoroughly wet to a depth of 4″ to 6″ and watered 2 to 3 times a day during the first 7 to 14 days depending on the season. Lift a corner of the sod to determine the depth of moisture. In the first week, it is very important to keep the new sod damp. During this time stay off the sod so it can take root and you do not sink in and leave depressions from your foot steps. During hot weather, sprinklers should run several times a day so the new sod never dries out. If allowed to dry out, the sod will shrink, brown, and can die. The roots of your new sod will penetrate the soil faster and root down sooner if properly watered. At the end of week 2, dry up the yard enough so you can mow.

Weeks 3 & 4

The following 2 weeks are used to transition from frequent daily watering to fewer cycles per day and increase the number of days between waterings. During week 3, reduce waterings to 1 time per day and skip a day between watering if the new sod is not drying out. By week 4, water 1 to 2 times every other day. After week 4, your new yard should be ready to go 2 to 3 days between watering. Water your lawn in the evening or early morning when less evaporation occurs. To reduce run-off on hills and promote deep root growth, reduce watering times in half. One hour later, run the irrigation cycle again and apply the rest of the water. This allows the water to soak into heavy soils.

Rest of the Season

Your new lawn will need more water the first growing season and especially the first 6 months. As it roots deeper over the course of a year, it will need less water. If your lawn looks dry, it probably needs watering. The key to new sod care during this time is deep watering less frequently. This will help the roots grow down and develop a deep root system that uses less water. It is OK after the first two months to stress your lawn a little. This means let your yard dry out a bit and when you see signs of stress starting to appear, make sure to water. This will also allow you to fine tune the sprinkler system and adjust heads for proper coverage and change nozzles for more or less water in certain spots.

Mow if Grass exceeds 3.5″

Your new lawn should be mowed at the end of week 2 or if you lawn exceeds 3 1/2″ tall. Back off on the watering so the turf is dry to the touch and firm enough to walk on without sinking in. If your new lawn reaches over 3 1/2″, mow off a third of the length even if it has not been two weeks. Do not cut shorter than 2″ for the first few times you mow. Exercise caution the first time you mow so you do not damage or pull up the sod. If some of the sod does move around, don’t worry. Just put it back in place and it will grow in.

Caring for a Newly Seeded Lawn

Watering

This may be the most important step. With the first watering, make sure that you apply enough water to wet the soil down to at least 6 to 8 inches. Apply the water gently so that you don’t wash the seed away or create puddles.

You may have to water several times in short intervals until the bed is thoroughly wet. After that, water often enough to keep the top inch or so of the seedbed moist until the seed germinates. Remember, seeds get only one shot at germination. If you let them dry out, they will die.

Sprinkle the seedbed lightly with a handheld hose several times a day — especially if it’s hot or windy — to get even germination across the entire lawn. However, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much water causes the seed to rot.

Watch the color of the soil surface. As the soil dries, the surface becomes lighter in color. When you notice about half to two-thirds of the surface lightening up, it’s about time to water.

Caring for your new lawn after germination

As your new lawn becomes established, you can start easing up on the water, depending on the weather. If you continue your everyday watering routine, you’re likely to overdo it and rot the young seedlings. Also, if the ground is too wet, you can inhibit root growth.

When you have a pretty even ground cover of new seedlings, try skipping a day of watering and see what happens. Watch the grass carefully. If the color starts to go from bright green to dull gray green, the grass needs water. You may have to water some quick-to-dry areas with a handheld hose.

If the grass doesn’t dry out, keep stretching the intervals between watering until you’re on a schedule of once or twice a week, or as needed. When you do water, don’t forget to water deeply, getting the moisture down 6 to 8 inches.

Mowing and fertilizing

You will need to mow the new lawn when it reaches 3 to 4 inches high, depending on the type of grass. Mow when the soil is on the dry side; otherwise, you might tear up the new turf. Make sure not to have your mower set too low. It is always good to mow grass at 3 inches or higher to prevent it from drying out. This is especially true for your new lawn.

You also need to make your first application of fertilizer about 4 to 6 weeks after germination. Young seedlings have a hefty appetite, so don’t skip this important feeding. It is very typical to have broadleaf weeds pop up in newly seeded areas. Whether it’s new soil or freshly cultivated soil, it is a prime target for blowing weed seeds to find a home. Don’t worry too much about the weeds until the grass is about 8-10 weeks established. After that you can apply a weed and feed fertilizer or a systemic spray to take care of the broad leaf weeds. Regular weed control and fertilizer applications as needed are recommended for a nice healthy lawn.

Get Your Yard and Flower Beds Ready for Spring

The rising temperatures remind us that spring is coming, even if we see more snow before it finally arrives. You might not be ready just yet to break out the gardening gloves or the mower, but it’s a good time to start making your plan of attack. Get ready for spring with these helpful tips for lawn and garden maintenance that will lead to a beautiful growing season. Continue reading “Get Your Yard and Flower Beds Ready for Spring”