Outdoor kitchens increase your living space and add tremendous value to your home. The traditional charcoal grill has graduated to a complete outdoor cooking environment. An outdoor kitchen can range from a simple expanded grill station to a grilling connoisseur’s dream complete with running water, an outdoor fridge, kegerator, pizza oven, and other limitless options. It is no wonder that outdoor kitchens are in high demand from our customers. We can design an outdoor room to fit into any home environment with all the trim and fixings.
Outdoor entertaining has come a long way from just firing up a barbeque grill on the back deck or placing a picnic table on the patio. No backyard retreat would be complete without an outdoor fireplace. These modern structures are surprisingly affordable and will be the best conversation place in the neighborhood. Many new outdoor fireplaces have a pre constructed concrete framework which can be surfaced with brick, natural stones or cultured stones tailored to complement the rest of your landscape.
Minnesota summers are too short. When the sun goes down, nothing attracts family and friends like a fire on the patio. A fire pit can warm the crowd, repel mosquitoes, and soothe spirits. An in-ground fire pit is the center of attention at any gathering. We can also customize an above ground fire pit built out of natural stone with a decorative, natural stone cap that doubles as a table. Whatever style you choose, you will find a fire feature in your yard to be a regular magnet for friends and family. As one of our pastors is fond of saying, it’s not a bonfire, it’s a BOND fire. :)
Timber walls are functional, practical, and affordable. The wood color and texture can blend in nicely with your yard, and usually lasts around 20 years or more.
Many of the manufacturers of block retaining walls have also developed columns and free standing sitting walls. This is an affordable alternative to natural stone. Columns are a great design element when defining a space in the garden, assisting traffic flow, and used as the base for pergolas and arbors. Colors, styles and patterns are unlimited and can be incorporated into any design. We recommend top quality products from these manufacturers: Anchor, Allan block , Keystone, Borgert and Interlock.
A classic look in the landscape that is making a strong comeback is the use of stone columns and pillars. Previously reserved for the wealthy, new production methods and cutting technologies have made them affordable to more homeowners. A great design element in defining a space in the garden or assisting in traffic flow, pillars can also be used as footings for pergolas/arbors etc. Again the colors, styles and patterns are limitless and can be designed to meet almost any look and budget.
The newest retaining walls on the market are concrete block retaining walls. They have a look of natural stone but large scale production makes them available at a price point appealing to most any client. Available in a wide range of colors, styles and sizes, they are useful in a wide variety of applications. Some of our manufacturers are Anchor, Allan Block and Keystone.
Another beautiful retaining wall option is stone materials such as Limestone, Sandstone or other stones from Minnesota quarries. Some of these stones are for walls under 3’ tall but can be tiered to accommodate the required heights. These walls, with their more classic look, are ideal for complementing the architecture of a specific styled home.
Boulders are a durable, affordable retaining wall option. When built properly they will last forever.
Typically we use 2’-4’ boulders to build our walls and install a heavy felt silt barrier behind every wall to prevent erosion. Boulders provide a natural, informal look for a retaining wall.
Many homes have natural stone accents in their architecture. That same natural stone can be mirrored in your landscape, offering a more natural and softer appearance than concrete for front entry walks and backyard patios and fire pits. We also use natural stone to create outdoor dining and kitchen areas and upgrading traditional concrete walks and patios. Natural stone offers many advantages over those traditional materials and stone is less likely to settle or heave, and reduces the amount of surface runoff. Natural stone is available in many varieties, such as Travertine Bluestone, Chilton and Granite, reflecting different colors, sizes and textures. Natural stone materials come in random irregular shapes or cut and patterned geometrical shapes and can be custom cut to fit your needs. We purchase our products through local distributors who supply us with top quality materials.
Brick pavers are an ideal replacement for concrete sidewalks or driveways that have settled, cracked or broken. Brick pavers can be used for many elements in the landscape, particularly front entry walks and backyard patios and firepits. We also use pavers to create outdoor dining and kitchen areas or to upgrade concrete and asphalt driveways. Brick pavers offer many advantages over those traditional materials in that they don’t crack and are far less likely to settle or heave. Brick pavers are more environmentally friendly as some are made from recycled materials and all reduce the amount of surface water runoff. Pavers offer unlimited options in color choices, patterns, sizes, textures and shapes in which they can be installed. We purchase our products through local distributors who supply us with top quality materials from Anchor, Inter-lock, and Borgert.
Newly installed landscaping requires frequent watering. Smaller perennials and shrubs can dry out in one day when temperatures are hot. The amount and frequency of watering depends on the size of the plant(s), the time of year installed, the soil medium, type of mulch, and of course, the sun exposure. For accurate results, check the root ball with your finger before watering.
When plants are newly installed the surrounding soil may be wet but the root ball itself could be dry as the roots are not yet able to access the water in the soil outside of the root ball. The plant draws the water out of the root ball faster than it can be replaced. It is critical to feel the root ball, not the surrounding soil, when determining whether a plant needs water or not. One sign of drought is wilt but be careful because over watering over an extended period can lead to root rot which also results in the plant wilting. Rain schedule also has an impact on supplemental watering. If we receive less than ½” of rain don’t count out watering still. Wind will also affect your watering schedule as it dries out soils much quicker.
Newly bermed or roto-tilled beds with compost and peat amendments will drain better. Early on more frequent watering is recommended. As the plants develop a stronger root structure the need for frequent watering and adding of nutrients is reduced but not eliminated.
The mulch you choose will also impact your water schedule. Rock heats up and dries soils and plants faster. Bark mulch absorbs and conserves moisture, keeping soil temperatures cooler and reducing the need to water.
Lawn irrigation systems are designed to water your lawn, not your landscape beds. It is recommended to adjust your sprinkler heads to accomplish this. Frequent watering of your lawn and landscaping with your irrigation system actually promotes problems such as shallow root systems and the formation of molds and fungi. The best time to water your lawn is in the morning before the sun gets intense. Watering during the hottest portion of the day is not ideal as a great majority of the water evaporates before it reaches the ground. Watering of lawns, landscape beds and plants during the evening or overnight is not preferred as the water remains on the leafy part of the plant and increases the potential for molds.
Evergreens require special attention in the fall. This is a time of year when vegetative growth stops and plants use the energy they produced in the summer for root growth and energy storage for the long, dry winter. If the root structure is dry going into the winter, evergreens will not have enough moisture to survive the desiccating winds of winter. This means keeping at least one spigot on well into November, sometimes until Thanksgiving. Be careful to keep an eye on the evening temperatures. You may need to temporarily shut off the water, open the spigot but resume watering when the temps improve during the day. Remember to include in this watering any boxwood, rhododendrons and all of your other evergreens (plants that retain their needles and leaves year round). When fall watering (late OCT-Thanksgiving) a good soaking every 5-7 days should be adequate. Your deciduous plants and perennials would appreciate a good soaking in early November also but it is not as critical as with evergreens. Fall watering is especially important the first year of a planting but should be done annually as well.
Water using a gentle rain wand on your garden hose.
SPRING & FALL
Temperatures below 75degrees full sun Photo of a Gentle Rain watering wand.
Perennials, grasses, & small shrubs Every other day for 10-15 seconds
Medium shrubs Every other day for 45-60 seconds
Large shrubs, small trees Every 3-4 days for 1-1 ½ minutes
Medium to large trees Every 5-7 days for 5 minutes
Temperatures above 75 degrees full sun
Perennials, grasses, & small shrubs Every day for 10-15 seconds
Medium shrubs Every other day for 1 1/2 minute
Large shrubs, small trees Every 5 days for 5 minutes
Medium to large trees
These guidelines apply for the first 6-8 weeks following the installation. At the 6-week mark you should be able to begin weaning the plants by adding another day in between watering and reducing the amount of water given.
Into the second season plants have become established, again reducing the amount and frequency of manual watering. In the event of a rain shortage or drought however, it is beneficial for the plants to get a good soaking every 10-14 days.
Backyard retreats, patios, walls, walkways, plants, trees, water features, fire pits, we do it all.
We always have fun extras to add to your garden. Here’s only a few examples.