02.28.15

Lighting Seminar with Founder of Unique Lighting

Posted in Landscape Lights, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:53 PM by Administrator

I attended an extremely insightful seminar with Nate Mullin, the founder of Unique Lighting Systems.  Nate offered some of the techniques that he has used over the last 25 years or so to achieve breathtaking landscape lighting systems.

If you would like us to design or enhance your current landscape lighting system,  please call Tony at 978.948.2900 or visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com.  We look forward to helping you and listening to your landscape goals.

02.23.15

Segmental Retaining Walls – why tier the layers

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:38 AM by Administrator

Segmental retaining walls are often used by us as a great cost-benefit to our clients when a natural stone retaining wall is not warranted.  If your wall is less than 48″ tall then we can design and build your retaining wall, but if the wall is going to be greater than 48″ then Massachusetts building code requires a licensed engineer design your retaining wall.  The licensed engineer is required, because there are more factors to consider such as the types of soil in that area, pressure that is going to be against the back of the wall and other technical items that are required by building code.

We often tier (the top of the wall varies in height) our retaining walls so that we don’t have a wall that is too tall in one area (might look like a fortress) and our walls can stay consistent with the height of the existing grade.  For instance, we built this retaining wall in Newton and stepped it up every 8′ or so as that helped us maintain the grading of the front yard.  We finished the wall with a pillar as that helped aesthetically and looks like an additional tier.Newton Stone Wall Along Left Side of Driveway

 

If you would like us to design and build you a retaining wall or help with your landscape, please contact Tony at 978.948.2900 or visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com.

02.20.15

Path Light for along front walkway

Posted in Landscape Lights, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:43 AM by Administrator

We select light fixtures for each client based on listening to our client’s goals and budget.  This light fixture is by AuroraLight and is a beautiful copper light fixture.  Most of the fixtures we install will include LED lightbulbs.

Aurora Serengeti Light

If you would like Artistic Landscapes to work with you on designing and installing a top quality landscape lighting system, please call us at 978.948.2900 or visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com.

02.16.15

Segmental Retaining Walls – what is on top of the wall

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:27 AM by Administrator

A clean way of finishing a retaining wall is with coping.  Coping has multiple functions.  First is that coping is a decorative way to finish the wall as the stone is normally a little wider than the wall thus there is an overhang on the front of the wall which many people find looks great.

Second is that coping minimizes the amount of rain/water that can get into the interior part of the wall.  A retaining wall is going to last much longer if water does not get into the wall as there will be less of an impact to the wall during the freeze/thaw cycles.

Third is that coping often extends beyond the back of the wall stones which allows the landscaping to be neat at the back of the wall while minimizing the amount of ‘dirt’ that washes up onto the wall.

Newton Stone Wall Along Left Side of Driveway

We recommend that an adhesive be used on all coping stones as you do not want any of the stones to tip or move after they have been installed.  If the stones are not appropriately adhered then the stones can become dangerous when someone walks on them – yes people will walk on top of the walls.

If you would like Artistic Landscapes to build you a retaining wall, please contact Tony at 978.948.2900 or visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com for more information.

02.13.15

Landscape Lights on a Decorative Feature in Georgetown, MA

Posted in Landscape Lights, Pruning, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:10 AM by Administrator

This family has an ornamental statue within their landscape that they love looking at and thinking back to the stories that ‘she’ represents.  Now that we have installed a light to up-light her, they are able to see her all night. Landscape Art at nightIf you are wondering if you have any specimen plants or sculptures that can be enhanced with night lighting, please contact Tony at 978.948.2900 or visit our website (www.Artistic-Lanscapes.com) to setup an appointment for us to help you.

02.09.15

Segmental Retaining Walls – what is behind the wall

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:10 AM by Administrator

We have found that segmental retaining walls benefit (last longer) when the walls are built with an adequate drainage behind the wall.  As such, we follow the rules of the NCMA on how to build a segmental retaining wall.  Behind every wall, there needs to be adequate drainage and this drainage area is achieved through backfilling with 3/4″ crushed stone.  The crushed stone provides stability while allowing water to move freely in this area and not cause pressure onto the back of the retaining wall.  We also use a layer of fabric to separate the existing loam from this drainage stone.

In some cases, a geo-grid is required to provide additional support for the wall.  We recommend discussing the appropriate way to build a wall with an engineer or experienced installer as they can determine the need for geo-grid.  In this case, we included geo-grid in the wall construction because the existing soil has a high clay content which might result in more pressure against the back of the stones than we like.  We backfilled a couple of layers of wall stone and then installed a layer of geo-grid and in some parts of the wall where we were concerned with the amount of pressure coming from behind the wall, we installed a 2nd layer of geo-grid.

Newton Wall In-process - Drainage installed and Filter Fabric

As the crushed stone was used to backfill, we ensured that the drainage pipe was still sloped at the right pitch to help carry water out past the wall.  We made the layers of geo-grid tight before continuing with backfilling.  This picture shows how the geo-grid needs to be (fully extended and taut) before backfilling on top of the geo-grid and wrapping the whole drainage area with soil stabilization fabric prior to finishing the area with freshly screened loam.

Newton Wall In-process - GeoGrid installed

Please contact Tony at 978.948.2900 or visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com to talk with us about designing and building your retaining walls.

02.06.15

Snow Removal is on-going

Posted in Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 1:25 PM by Administrator

Due to the significant amount of snow over the last 10 days, we are now removing snow from porch roofs as well as driveways and walkways.  We hope to remove enough snow for everyone who calls us prior to the forecasted snow.  With any luck, this weekend’s and Monday’s snow does not become more of a nuisance than it needs to be.

Snow on a roof in Amesbury

Snow on a roof in Amesbury with 1 ice dam left

If you need Artistic Landscapes to rake snow off of your roof or to remove snow from your property, please let us know at 978.948.2900 or email us at Tony@Artistic-Landscapes.com.

Granite Lamp Post in Andover

Posted in Landscape Lights, Masonry, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:30 AM by Administrator

We installed this granite lamp post and set of steps for this Andover family in anticipation of their son’s wedding.  These steps along with the lamp post made a nice, welcoming sight for the guests of the wedding ceremony.  We did include drainage behind the steps and set the lamp post with the decorative top piece of granite.

Granite lamp post and granite steps

If you would like to discuss ways that we can improve your landscape, please visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com or call Tony at 978.948.2900.

02.04.15

Pieris japonica ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ – evergreen

Posted in Plants, Pruning, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 6:58 AM by Administrator

We choose to plant a Pieris japonica ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ on each side of the steps that lead to the backyard because these evergreens are not liked, generally, by deer and the blooms of the plants smell very nice.  Based on the location of the planting bed, down below a natural stone retaining wall that we built in 2013, we wanted the family to know when the plants are in bloom even if they are not looking at the plants.  Thus, this evergreen was selected.

 

If you would like Artistic Landscapes help you select the appropriate plants and/or do an update to your landscape, please call Tony at 978.948.2900 or visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com for other contact information.

02.02.15

Patio built in clay conditions

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized, Winter Landscape at 5:58 AM by Administrator

We designed this backyard patio for a Newton family with the expectation that the soil had a high percentage of clay.  Clay soil does not allow for good drainage which often means that a patio will become wavy over time as the moisture content in the clay causes the pavers to move.  As such, we excavated much deeper than we would on a ‘normal’ patio installation and we used a layer of geotextile fabric to help keep the patio level.  We believe that by adding extra 3/4″ crushed stone in the base of the patio and installing the geotextile fabric that the patio will be perfect for years to come, but we were not sure because there is a hill just above the patio.  Thus, we installed a French drain in their lawn area and filled this drain with crushed stone and soil stabilization fabric.  This drain is a layer of extra insurance to make sure that this family will be enjoying their patio well beyond our 5 year guarantee.

Patio Excavated from a clay base

This is the view after we installed the geotextile fabric and crushed stone, but before we installed the coarse sand and pavers.

Patio Prepped with Extra Gravel

If you would like Artistic Landscapes to design and install a patio at your house, please visit our website at www.Artistic-Landscapes.com or call Tony at 978.948.2900.