02.26.21

Built-in grills

Posted in Landscape Lights, Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized at 6:41 AM by Administrator

So many of us are moving towards having a built-in grill that I thought I would provide a few key factors on what to consider in a grill. The first is the size of the grill. I caution you from getting too big of a grill because you might not need the largest size grill that is available for sale. There are many grills that I can not envision in a person’s backyard but people want them because they might need the space someday. The bigger the grill the more gas it will require and the more space it will take up in your outdoor kitchen.

The quality of the grill will be largely dependent on the quality of the stainless steel. 304 stainless steel is the most common stainless steel. 316 stainless steel is marine grade and will last longer. The chemical composition between 304 and 316 is very different and we recommend only using 316 grade stainless steel if your grill is going to be exposed to ocean winds.

The three main brands of grills that we install are Kalamazoo, Napoleon and Lynx.

The Kalamazoo hybrid fire grill {K750} is made from 304 stainless steel, has 726 square inches of cooking area and costs $17,995. This grill can cook as a traditional gas grill or a charcoal grill or a smoker. It is very easy to use and it is compact.

The Napoleon built-in Presige Pro 500 is also made from 304 stainless steel and has 760 square inches (500 primary) of cooking area and costs $1,800. This grill has an infrared rear burner that can get up to 1800 degrees in a minute.

The Lynx 36″ Professional built in grill with 1 Trident Infrared Burner and 2 ceramic burners (L36TR) has 935 square inches (640 primary) of cooking area and costs $5,859.

As you can see, we normally install grills with 304 stainless steel but 316 stainless steel will be a better option for you if your grill is exposed to ocean winds.

If you have any questions about a built-in grill or want an outdoor kitchen, please feel free to call us at 978.948.2900. We look forward to listening to what you would like to have to entertain your family and pretty soon we will all be back to entertaining our friends as well.

02.19.21

Innovations in Outdoor Living

Posted in Landscape Lights, Masonry, Pavers, Plants, Pruning, Uncategorized at 10:39 AM by Administrator

Earlier this week, I attended a webinar held by New England Home – Connecticut magazine. This was a very interesting conversation as they had 7 panelists talking about some current landscaping trends and new innovations in outdoor living.

Because most of us are staying home almost all of the time, the trend has been to build multiple patios in a backyard but have each patio be small. After the small patios are built then the areas in between get planted to provide each patio with a private feel. This is helping families enjoy the outdoors while having some ‘me’ time. Interestingly enough, in my opinion, is that the trend is to plant pollinator gardens and food gardens because we gain a sense of calm and happiness by seeing the butterflies and birds around us while then being able to harvest our own food.

With our goal of being outdoors, a new innovation are screens that are motorized. By having motorized screens, you can be truly outdoors all day then lower the screens when the mosquitos arrive.

More and more people in Connecticut are choosing porcelain tiles for their patios rather than traditional pavers. The exterior grade porcelain tiles stay cooler than the typical paver and do not stain. I know that we installed porcelain tiles in an outdoor kitchen that we built in 2020 and they did stay cooler I expected.

Another trend in the outdoor living is that more outdoor kitchens included a pizza oven last year. Industry wide, pizza oven sales were up over 400%. The reason for this is that more than one person wants to do the cooking and by having a grill and a pizza oven then many families found it easier to get their children excited to participate in the cooking and spend more ‘happy time’ together.

Brown Jordan furniture has several new lines of chairs and tables that are able to be used indoors as well as outdoors. They have furniture to meet many different styles and plenty of colors to choose from. Their current lead time is 8 – 9 weeks. I think we are only about 12 weeks from Memorial Day so that might become problematic if someone wants to meet what I consider the start of summer (Memorial Day).

If you would like to discuss anything that was discussed during this webinar or would like to discuss your landscaping needs, please call us at 978.948.2900.

02.12.21

Dreaming of summer

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized at 7:17 AM by Administrator

As I sit here in the middle of winter, I am dreaming of summer and being sitting around on a patio looking at the lake. One company that is making pretty cool fireplace type units (they make the components that we can install) is Isokern. This video provides a couple of pretty cool ideas for an outdoor fireplace and was fun to look at it on a cold day.

Hope you enjoy and keep dreaming of summer as it will be here before you know it.

01.20.21

Can a stone wall be built this winter?

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized at 6:45 AM by Administrator

Artistic Landscapes is in the process of building a natural stone wall in Ipswich. Our goal for this retaining wall is to match an existing stone wall that is on another part of the property. We have tented the area and use portable heaters to help the mortar cure. A natural stone wall can be built during winter weather only if you make sure that you have heat to help the mortar cure and you do not freeze doing the work.

Natural stone wall being built in Ipswich, MA
We setup a tent with tarped sides to keep the work area warm as that helps mortar cure properly

The following picture shows one of the methods that we use to heat the work area and help the mortar cure. With this method, we heat the water so that the mortar will go into the wall while being warm and then the heat from the torch is captured within the tent. At that point, the whole work is warm. You must remember to keep the area well ventilated as you do not want to breath in the fumes from a portable heater as the fumes can be toxic.

Various methods can be used to heat the work area

For information about how Artistic Landscapes can help you with your landscaping needs, please call us at 978.948.2900. If you want to see a few samples of stone walls that we have on display, please visit our office on Route One (111 Newburyport Turnpike) in Rowley, MA.

01.18.21

Patio in Newton, MA

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized at 6:34 AM by Administrator

This family bought a house in Newton less than 6 months ago and needed to address a water issue as they noticed some water would come into their basement. They spoke with their neighbor (they basically have the same hill sloped towards each house) and asked if the neighbor has had any water issues. The neighbor explained that he had Artistic Landscapes install a drainage system and patio for him seven (7) years ago and everything has been great ever since.

Thus, we listened to our client’s goals and designed a curved, free flowing patio that also has a space for their grill. Unilock’s Treo pavers in the New York Blend color serve as the body of this patio while the Transition pavers in Charcoal accent the perimeter. We were able to grade the patio so that water will flow away from the house rather than towards the house.

Backyard patio in Newton, MA with Unilock Treo pavers and an accent along the perimeter of the patio
The backyard in Newton, MA with a cracked concrete patio and downspouts that emptied near the foundation

For information about how Artistic Landscapes can help you with your patio needs or help stop water from coming into your basement, please call us at 978.948.2900. Our office on Route One (111 Newburyport Turnpike) in Rowley, MA is currently not open to the public but we can meet you outside and look at the many paver samples and retaining wall samples that we have on our property.

01.15.21

Can I plant sod in the winter

Posted in Pavers, Plants, Uncategorized at 12:46 PM by Administrator

Artistic Landscapes is planting sod today, January 15th, in Newton, MA. As you will see, we built a patio and install drainage for this Newton family. During this project, we realized that the client’s soil is clay and they have had drainage issues and a very poor lawn (mainly weeds). We removed some of the clay adjacent to the patio and replaced that material with freshly screened loam.

In an effort to minimize cost, we have incorporated hydrate lime into some of the other clay areas. By doing all of this work, we are concerned with erosion over the winter and the upcoming Spring. Thus, we received a sod delivery this morning and we are in the midst of planting sod today.

Sod being installed by Artistic Landscapes in January – Newton, MA

For help about how Artistic Landscapes can help you with your erosion issues or landscaping needs, please call us at 978.948.2900.

12.21.20

Stone steps in Manchester, MA

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized at 7:02 AM by Administrator

This Manchester, MA family wanted a total makeover of the front of their house. We listened to what their objectives were then designed our stonework so that we could keep much of the existing layout while incorporating an entire new finish.

These steps and planters are built with stone veneer and granite treads/coping. The stones as well as the granite look differently when they are dry as compared to the look shortly after some rain.

Natural stone veneer by Delgado Stone with granite treads and coping in Manchester, MA
The same natural stone steps but viewed in bright sunny, dry conditions
Up-close view of the stonework related to the front steps
The granite treads and top landing of granite

For information about how Artistic Landscapes may be able to help you with your landscaping needs, please call us at 978.948.2900. We look forward to listening to your landscaping goals and areas that need to be improved so that we can help you.

12.18.20

Walkway and Plantings in Bradford

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Plants, Uncategorized at 6:41 AM by Administrator

This Bradford family needed to replace the broken concrete front walkway as it had become a tripping hazard. They were also ready to add some curb appeal to the front of their house as they have done extensive landscaping in the backyard but had not focused on the front yard.

We listened to their goals and built them a front walkway with Unilock’s Beacon Hill Flagstone 80mm pavers in the Fossil color as their front walkway. The perimeter of this walkway was defined with Eco-Priora pavers in Granite color.

Beacon Hill Flagstone pavers for the front walkway of this Bradford family’s home
The front yard for this Bradford family
The front yard before Artistic Landscapes arrived

If you have one of those walkways or a set of steps that is becoming dangerous to walk on as those minor cracks have been expanding, please call us at 978.948.2900 as we can help.

12.16.20

Natural stone walkway in Ipswich

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized at 6:51 AM by Administrator

This Ipswich family wanted a relaxed, casual walkway to access their backyard. They showed us a walkway that they love and asked us to duplicate that look. Thus, we were able to customize the feel of the walkway that they had seen into a walkway that works at their house.

View of the natural stone walkway from the front yard.
View of the natural stone walkway from the backyard

If you have seen some landscaping feature that you like but don’t know how to build it yourself, please call us at 978.948.2900 as we look forward to helping you. We look forward to looking at your pictures and listening to your landscaping goals so that we can best help you.

12.14.20

Paver patio in Charlestown

Posted in Masonry, Pavers, Uncategorized at 6:39 AM by Administrator

This landlord wanted to provide a patio for the tenants but had limited access and limited area to the courtyard. After listening to their goals and their budget, we developed a design that included loose tan stone as well as a paver patio. The patio is large enough that each tenant can have their own space for their grill. The patio is built with pavers manufactured by Unilock and their Treo Premier style and Fossil color.

Patio built with Unilock’s Treo pavers in the Fossil color for a Charlestown landlord
View of the Charlestown patio from one of the condos

For information about how Artistic Landscapes may be able to help you with your landscaping needs, please call us at 978.948.2900. We look forward to listening to your landscaping goals and areas that need to be improved so that we can help you.

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