Spring Prep for Flower Beds

Are you excited to see the beautiful blooms in your flowers beds this spring and summer? Get your flower beds ready now with some preparation. Using the right prep can ensure you get long-lasting, colorful flowers with more blooms. Here are some prep tips to get the best flower bed results.

Preparing the Soil

You want to add new soil every year to give your flowers improved nutrients. You want a soil mix that is made for flowers. This is usually labeled as a flower soil mix at your local landscape supply store. A good flower mix has organic materials like compost, mulch and other nutrients. If you have an existing flower bed, you can till in a few inches of new flower mix to enhance your soil. For new flower beds, you can use straight flower mix to fill raised beds.

After you get your flower mix, you may want to add fertilizer. Flowers love phosphorous fertilizer, which is the second number listed on most fertilizer bags. You can add fertilizer to your soil before you plant and every six weeks after you plant your flower bed (this can differ with certain types of flowers).

Before it is time to plant is also a good time to update the edge or walls of your flower beds. Adding new landscape timbers or updating to stone walls can improve the appearance of your beds.

A trip to your landscape supply store can help you get everything you need to prepare your flower beds. Make sure to also get some extra mulch to cleanup your landscaped areas once everything is planted. With a little prep, you can have gorgeous flower beds that you can enjoy all spring and summer.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220

When to Use Landscape Stones and Rocks

You have many choices when you are building hardscapes to add to your landscape design. Cement, brick and pavers can be used to create many hard surfaces and structures. However, using natural stone and rock has its advantages over man-made materials when it comes to durability and beauty. When creating your outdoor space, here are some good areas to use landscape stones and rocks.

Retaining Walls

Modular blocks may look uniform for retaining walls, but if you prefer a natural appearance, stone is the best option. Fieldstone, flagstone and ashlar can be cut to create stunning retailing walls. The natural uniqueness of stone can build a wall that looks like no other, giving a beauty that cannot be duplicated.

Paving

If you are building a patio or pool deck, flat natural stones like flagstones or cut fieldstones are excellent for paving. They offer a solid, durable surface for your outdoor living spaces. Natural stone is a wonderful choice for paving garden paths or edging ponds.

Edging

Rocks and stones make a great edging material for your landscaping. Lines and linear direction are important elements in landscape design; small landscape stones can edge your gardens or paths to create the lines you need for a well-blended design in your landscaping.

Fire Pits, Fireplaces and Outdoor Kitchens

Focal and functional features like fire pit and fireplaces are perfect for natural stone. They withstand heat and blend your fire features into a natural setting. Outdoor kitchens are another area where a natural stone floor or stone veneer for cabinetry can be used to enhance the beauty of your outdoor living area.

Natural stone can be more expensive than man-made pavers, but the benefits can be worth the extra investment. Check out the natural stone options for your landscaping project at your local quarry.

Posted on behalf of:
Culbreth Stone
1968 US-41
Pelham, TN 37366
(423) 930-8249

The Top 3 Stones to Use for Landscaping

Stone is the perfect material to build your hardscapes in your landscaping. Stone blends naturally into your setting while providing a durable surface. The type of stone you use depends on the project you are doing and your desired result. Here are three of the stones popular for using in landscaping projects and their best attributes.

  1. Fieldstone. Fieldstones were created by glaciers and are irregular in shape. Many have been above ground, giving them round, smooth edges from exposure. Fieldstones can be used “as-is” to build retaining walls, seating walls, fences and other structures. They can also be cut to make a flat surface. Their irregular shape offers a natural outline for pavers around ponds or to create a garden path.
  2. Flagstone. Flagstone are quarried sedimentary rocks that are cut into slabs. The flat surface of flagstone and semi-uniform shapes makes them a natural choice for patios and pool decks. While they can also be used to build retaining walls and other structures, you will often see them uses as natural flooring.
  3. River rock. Another popular option for landscaping is river rocks and boulders. These are natural rocks, usually round in shape from exposure to water. These are beautiful options for edging or focal points. Boulders can make a natural divider or fence for lawn edges or even used as furniture.

Using stone in your landscaping adds texture and dimension. While there are many man-made pavers that are functional for building hardscapes, nothing man-made has the same durability and beauty of natural stone. Visit your local quarry or stone supplier to learn more about the options available to enhance your landscaping with natural stone.

Posted on behalf of:
Alliance Stone
5420 Campground Rd
Cumming, GA 30040
(404) 759-0617

Why Is Quality Top Soil for Gardening Important?

If you are trying to create a healthy garden, flowers, vegetable or both, one of the basic rules is having good soil for your plants. Adding top soil to your existing planting areas is important, but you may wonder if there is really a difference between top soils you can purchase. Any veteran gardener will tell you that the quality of top soil you add is a vital component of success. Here are a few tips to ensure the top soil you buy for your garden is good quality for the best results.

Make Sure It Looks Clean

Good top soil should be free from sticks, rocks and other contaminants. A quality top soil will be filtered and run through a screening process to remove debris that is not helpful to the soil.

Ask About PH Balance

A knowledgeable landscape supplier will be able to tell you the PH balance of their top soil. You want a blend that will be a good base for your flowers and produce. You can add fertilizer to enrich it, but it should be a well-balanced soil to begin with.

Buy Top Soil from a Bulk Supplier

While you can find bags of top soil at many stores, it is not necessarily the best way to purchase good soil for your gardens. You often cannot see the soil and have no idea whether it looks clean or healthy. Buy from a bulk supplier – even if they do offer bags. A quality supplier cleans and creates their own top soil and you can be assured of the consistency. Ask about bulk delivery or buy it in bags for easy transporting.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220

What Is Ashlar Stone?

If you are researching using natural stone for your next home improvement project, you will come across ashlar stone products as options in come top-end quarries. This can be confusing, as you may see different types of ashlar, like fieldstone ashlar and flagstone ashlar. To help eliminate any confusion, here are some basics on this type of stone product and how it can be used to enhance the beauty of your home.

Ashlar is Not a Stone

The first thing to understand that ashlar is not a type of stone, but a masonry term used when referring to stone cuts. Ashlar is stone that has been carefully cut or shaped, usually into rectangles of different shapes and sizes. It has been used for centuries and offers a stunning appearance for many types of natural stone surfaces, which is why you will find different types of ashlar made from varying kinds of natural stone.

Uses for Ashlar

Ashlar is versatile, and the different squares and rectangles can be configured together to create a unique pattern or no pattern at all. Ashlar is popular for stone surfaces like fireplaces, siding and other flat surfaces. While ashlar cuts can be blocks to build masonry, they can also be thin to cover surfaces, a more economical option for a stone look without building from stone.

There are many options and uses for ashlar cut stone that can create beautiful and unique surfaces for your home. However, you want to find a quality quarry that has the skills and supply available for a varied choice in the pieces you use. Talk to your contractor or landscaper about using ashlar stone for your next project for a classic style that will last for decades.

Posted on behalf of:
Culbreth Stone
1968 US-41
Pelham, TN 37366
(423) 930-8249

5 Reasons to Use a Stone Fabricator

If you love natural stone and want to use it for creating unique surfaces in your home, a stone fabricator can give you more options for your projects. While many pieces of natural stone are pre-cut, there are large slabs that can be molded and cut into different shapes and sizes to meet your needs. To design a spectacular kitchen, bathroom, fireplace or outdoor living space, using a stone fabricator can have these five advantages:

  1. Unique cuts. Pre-cut natural stone is fine for pavers and certain projects, but items like countertops and mantels may need specific dimensions which a stone fabricator can create.
  2. One slab. Lots of homes have natural stone surfaces made from several pieces of stone, but one large slab of stone for a table or bar is an impressive centerpiece.
  3. Customized pieces. Instead of trying to make your design fit the stone, you can have pieces fabricated to compliment your design.
  4. Exposing the best elements. A quality stone fabricator knows how to bring out the best elements of the stone for an exquisite surface.
  5. More options. When you buy pre-cut natural stone, you are limited on how you can use your pieces. With stone fabrication, you get to choose from a variety of different slabs and have the stone cut any way you want to fit your needs, whether it is small custom coasters or a giant top for your bar.

If you want to have natural stone that is customized to your style and needs, find a quality stone fabricator in your area. You will have more options and the ability to create fantastic surfaces for your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Alliance Stone
5420 Campground Rd
Cumming, GA 30040
(404) 759-0617

Advantages of Adding Mulch to Your Landscaping

Fresh laid mulch can make your gardens and landscaping areas look neat and tidy, but there is much more to mulch than just appearance. Mulch is a landscaping staple for the many advantages it offers. Mulch comes in many forms, including many types of bark or wood mulch, pine straw and other options. Here are some of the advantages of adding mulch to your landscaping besides aesthetics. 

  • Moisture control. Mulch is often used to hold in moisture in the soil. During the hot summers, water is at a premium. Keeping the moisture in the soil saves on irrigation and benefits your plants, trees and shrubs.
  • Preventing erosion. Mulch can help prevent erosion of top soil, especially on slopes and hills, keeping the nutrient-rich soil in place to feed your plantings.
  • Protecting roots. Mulch is used to protect the roots of trees and shrubs. Spreading mulch around the trunks of trees and around large shrubs can benefit the health of these larger plants.
  • Weed control. Laying mulch can prevent weed growth and keep your landscaping neat with low maintenance. Weeds not only detract for the beauty of your landscaping, they steal nutrients from the other plants.
  • During the winter months, mulch can insulate the soil and anything underneath. Often mulch is used above in-ground plumbing or septic areas to prevent freezing.
  • Adds nutrients. Some mulches breakdown over time and add extra nutrients to the soil.

While it is not mandatory to use mulch in landscaping, the benefits are plentiful. To determine the right mulch for your landscaping needs, consult with your local landscape supply store.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220

Creative Ways to Use Boulders in Your Landscaping

Boulders are nature’s building blocks, coming in all shapes and sizes, with variances in color. From small boulders that are easily moved to large boulders that weigh hundreds of pounds, each is unique and can make a wonderful addition to your landscaping design. Here are some creative ways to use boulders in your home’s landscaping to add interest and function.

  • Driveway perimeter. Tired of people accidentally driving on your lawn? Large boulders are the perfect perimeter for your driveway to keep vehicles off your lawn. Unlike a fence that will be damaged if it is hit by a vehicle, boulders will stay intact and withstand a bumper hitting them every so often.
  • Garden edging. Small boulders make a great edging for garden areas and borders for your lawn. You can use similar sized boulders or add in different sizes for depth.
  • Creek beds. The most beautiful drainage option is the dry creek bed that offers a natural option to reduce water on your property. Boulders of various sizes can be used to enhance the effect of a natural creek flowing through your yard.
  • Giant boulders are a great option for patio furniture. They can be used as end tables, planters and even chairs. Boulders are wonderful for seating around the fire pit, with no worries of sparks ruining your natural furniture.

There are many ways to incorporate boulders into your landscaping in interesting and unique ways. Boulder come in many options and can vary in color and will last a lifetime. To find the best options, visit a quality quarry that offers many sizes and shapes of boulders for your use.

Posted on behalf of:
Culbreth Stone
1968 US-41
Pelham, TN 37366
(423) 930-8249

Caring for Your Flagstone Patio

Flagstone makes a beautiful patio to enjoy and brings a natural element to your outdoor living space. It can last for decades and is a wonderful choice for creating a lovely patio for your home. Flagstone is also low maintenance, but it is not completely without need for care. Weeds can grow between the pavers and moss can overtake the surface if your pavers are not maintained. To keep your flagstone patio looking beautiful, here are a few tips.

  • Preventing moss. Moss loves to grow on wet rocks and flagstone can be inviting to the green fungi. You can clean moss off your flagstone by scraping it away, but it will come back if you don’t plan for prevention. Dryness and light are your best tools to keep away moss. Keep sprinklers away from your pavers and cut back branches to let sunshine warm your stones to prevent moss growth.
  • Weed prevention. While you can pull the weeds and grass between your pavers or use weed control solutions, you will want to consider having the pavers reset for smaller spaces if you continue having weed growth. A professional paver installer can help reset your flagstone and add preventive fillers to reduce the number of weeds and keep maintenance low for your patio.

If you are only considering adding a flagstone patio, understanding the simple ways to keep it beautiful should be another selling point. Unlike many other patio materials, flagstone is naturally meant to withstand the elements and has already survived for many years in the outdoors. It is a gorgeous addition to any outdoor space and is easy to keep looking wonderful if you know the tricks to keep moss and weeds away.

Posted on behalf of:
Alliance Stone
5420 Campground Rd
Cumming, GA 30040
(404) 759-061

Creative Landscaping Uses for Railroad Ties

Railroad ties are a cost-effective landscaping element that are very versatile and easy to incorporate into your yard. Most railroad ties are very sturdy with approximate dimensions of 7” x 9” x 8’ but can vary slightly. The rough exterior can create a rustic look if desired, or they can be used as covered support for many different projects. Here are some creative ways to use sturdy railroad ties in your landscape design.

Flower Beds or Garden

Want to build an above-ground flower bed or garden? Railroad ties are perfect and easy to use. They can be stack 2-3 high to build an 8’ x 8’ garden bed to plant flowers, herbs or vegetables. Railroad stakes can be used to keep them in place, then fill the box with nutrient-rich soil from your local landscape supplier.

Edging

Railroad ties make a great edging or border for your garden areas if you like the rustic look. They can also be a great border for your driveway to keep vehicles off your lawn.

Retaining Walls

If you are building a retaining wall, railroad ties are hefty and sturdy, making them a good choice for low walls. Railroad ties are excellent building materials that are easier to use for straight walls and usually less expensive than many types of stone or pavers.

Fencing

Railroad ties can make an interesting fence, with posts that can last for decades. They are much thicker than average fencing, creating a unique look that is very sturdy.

Your local landscape supplier with ample space is the place to go for railroad ties. Due to their size, only suppliers with room for these large timbers keep them in stock. Call around your area to find a supplier that can fill your order to use railroad ties for your next landscaping project.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220