Sod and grass replacement in Plano, Texas

We replaced all of the sod and grass at a home in Plano, Texas receently.  The grass had been killed by the freeze that we had in early 2011.  The homeowner thought that the grass would come back in the spring, but the weather had been so severe that only weeds came up in his yard.    Unlike other winters when the grass would normally revive, this year it did not.

The homeowner in Plano, Texas wanted all of the old sod removed and all of the weeds killed.  We had to “sterilize” the soil once the old grass and weeds were removed.  We treated the soil before planting the new sod.  We also installed a sprinkler system before planting the grass.  This will help keep the grass fresh and looking great.

The homeowner in Plano, Texas, liked our recommendation for adding a sprinkler system to his yard.  He is very pleased with the new sod and grass that we planted.

Retaining wall in Rockwall, Texas

We did a retaining wall in Rockwall, Texas for a new home.  The home had been built on a sloping lot that needed a retaining wall added.  The customer called us to get some ideas on building a retaining wall and what it would look like.  We took him to see some other retaining walls that we had built in the Rockwall, Texas area.  He liked what he saw and hired us to build his retaining wall

We built the retaining wall in Rockwall, Texas using the same kind of brick that was on his house.  The retaining wall is both quite functional and effective.  It compliments his home and adds value to it.

The customer that we built the retaining wall for in  Rockwall, Texas was very pleased with the job that we did.  When neighbors asked him who did the retaining wall, he told them Mike Riley’s Landscaping did and how pleased he was with the job that we did!

Stonework in Highland Park, Texas

We did a job in Highlad Park, Texas using stonework in the flower beds.  We used stones native to the state to enhance the flower beds.  The customer wanted “something different”, so we suggested using the various shades of stone found in the northern Texas landscape.  We selected different sizes, shapes and colors of stone to compliment the exterior of her home.  We placed them randomly in the flower beds.

We added more stonework to the home in Highland Park, Texas, by adding a stone path.  This really enhanced the landscaping.  We also added solar lights to the path so the beauty of the stones can be seen at night.

The stonework has added both value and beauty to the home in Highland Park, Texas.

Arbor in Fairview Texas

We just finished an Arbor in Fairview Texas for a large family who wanted a shady area over the patio.

What are French Drains and How Can They Help Your Property

French Drains carry water from one spot to another lower spot. On most lawns in new construction proper grading and compaction are almost never performed. Even if properly done time has a way of causing drainage problems from rain , heavy equipment , tree roots, and people can create the need for French Drains.

The first thing to do is assess where the low spots are and where to carry the water to and how it will exit the French Drain. Next can a trench be dug to accomodate the path between the two points. If not a bilge pump may be needed. If no problems then dig a trench as deep as needed between the points and at least 8 inches wide. Black fabric should be laid in trench and two inches of gravel. Perforated pipe should be laid on gravel sloping towards the exit point. Cover the pipe with fabric and backfill wiith gravel. Sod and soil can cover gravel.

How to put custom touches to a Landscape

How to put custom touches to a Landscape. One put a stone border around a flower bed to fit the nature of the bed. If it has an English wildflower feel to it use a small cottage stone thats cobbled on the corners. By contrast if the bed has a desert southwestern feel to it use a dry rough rock that has jagged edges. If a formal symmetrical garden use a smooth formed stone that will be consistent throughout. Two use designer color mulches in mosaics for an energetic flow and feel. Curves come in handy and will be striking from afar. Three put water in the garden such as a water pot that creates movement and interest among the plants. The sound of water is relaxing and calms the viewer. How to put custom touches to a Landscape fourth way is to put sculpture in the garden to make focal points to draw the eye to. Fifth is to remember to repeat forms in the yard such as curves in the architecture. Sixth is to add boulders in the beds instead of all plants to create the shape of a plant. Seventh is to use river pebbles to make a dry stream in the center with a sweeping curve eliminating weeds and maintenance. Eighth is to put address plates in the bed near the front of the driveway so to identify the house. Nineth is to use custom lighting to highlight the trees. Tenth is to put flowers in the corners of sidewalks and patios to create accent points. These give color and break up areas creating an inviting feel.How to put custom touches to a Landscape has been brought to you by Mike Riley. Every week we post a new post and next weeks will be on Halloween.

How to Protect Your Plants from a Freeze

How to protect your plants from a freeze . There are many things you can do to protect your plants from a freeze here in North Texas. Putting a thick bed of mulch is the best option which insulates the roots. Some plants need to freeze the plant itself so it will come back the next year. Hostas or ferns would be a good example of this. Palm trees would be an example of a plant you wouldn’t want to let freeze. Wrapping it in an insulated blanket would be one option but i have seen tarps, plastic, and burlap all used with success. If there are plants low to the ground putting a plastic bag over each plant and tying it or using a rubber band works also. Potted plants should just be taken inside until the freeze is over or stored in a greenhouse. How to protect your plants from a freeze is to build a cheap hothouse  with clear plastic and some 2 by 4 ‘s. Simply build a box large enough to fill your potted plants and build a frame using screws rather than nails as this makes movement less of an issue. Don’t forget to build a door or have room to lift the box off when you want to water them. Many have built this type of box before forgetting how to access the plants later. Duct tape on the plastic is easy but doesn’t look very good. Staples work but run the risk of tearing the plastic which isn’t good. A light inside is a good idea if in a garage or non climate controlled to provide warmth. Heaters aren’t advisable in the box but rather the room the box is in. Remember that plants in the outdoor landscape usually freeze every year and that is part of natures plan. A good middle number fertilizer promote strong root growth which is the key to a good healthy plant.How to protect your plants from a freeze has been brought to you by Mike Riley.

Lush Outdoorsman Landscape in Flower Mound

In Flower Mound, Texas a landscape we installed a completely changed the look of the house. This customer wanted to give this gift to his wife for their 25th anniversary and he did in grand fashion.

Vegetation Used

We built 1000 square feet of flower beds and a 300 square foot vegetable garden all edged with a stone wall mortared on a concrete footer. Japanese Maples, hosta, mondo, Mahonia, gardenia, Jap yew, knock out roses, ferns,ajuga, liriope, Crepe Myrtle,sage,salvia ,juncus,sweet potato, dianthus, and daylily are all part of the garden. That is a lot of variety in one garden, kind of like their marriage as they put it. They are both big fishers and love the outdoors. I sense that this couple really thought a lot about this over the years.

This Flower Mound Landscape revitalized a few of the neighbors to renovate their own yards. The houses are all two stories tall so trees were neccessary to tone down the scale of the gardens. A certain intimacy arises when bordered by trees and walls.

Container Gardens

The back yard was one big swimming pool and not much room for planting so we created a container garden in pots. A large rosemary and lily of the nile dominated the container garden but 3 lemon trees steal the interest in this Flower Mound Texas Landscape. Container gardening is under utilized here in America and it solves so many problems we encounter with space and size. In Europe, this is used on most patios and small entryways rather than beds. Its easy to take care of if hooked to a sprinkler.We hope to do more container gardens as Lots continue to get smaller in DFW. The Yards in North Texas are getting smaller as you get closer to the city. If you visit the neighborhoods in Flower Mound, Texas, you will notice the yards are bigger than most and I hope they stay that way.

Garland Texas Patio

In Garland a permit usually is involved in an Outdoor kitchen because of the plumbing involved. Water and gas lines must be considered first in the planning process. Direction of wind around grill and burners must be considered also. Countertops should have a 4 to 6 inch backsplash to shield the flame. This Garland Texas Patio has a covered roof and an Outdoor Kitchen made for a chef. In Garland there is a grill going in almost every yard every weekend but having a 5 star kitchen is not common for the area. Garland Texas is a town full of proud working people who like to enjoy the time off from work and grilling is a big part of the culture. Brisket, Ribs,smoked chicken, and Steak are all staples of the Garland community. Patios are also a big deal in Garland probably more than Plano or University Park because there are crowds outside all day not just parties.This Garland Texas Patio has hosted over 200 people in just the two months it has been finished. The lights and ceiling fan kept it open late at night during the get togethers keeping it cool and inviting. The Patio holds a big table and chairs with an outdoor rug sometimes using candles on the table for a softer more intimate light and fragrance. I find that the Lampe Berger flame burners do a better job than candles though. An outdoor mini theater is sometimes set up to watch movies and the patio is cleared and chairs are set up theater style. Fajitas were served and a dance was held on the patio after the film. I thought it was interesting that the dj set up behind the grill and countertop we built with his custom lights. I got the idea that more people should have wedding receptions on the Patio with an Outdoor Kitchen as they would spend the same amount on building it rather than renting some where commercial. This Garland Texas Patio is truly a gem.

Dallas Driveway

We did a circular Dallas Driveway in North Dallas recently. The project looked at first like a one month job with 2500 square feet of Asphalt to broken out and hauled off. Usually there is 4 inches of Asphalt at most and it is easy to remove. It would usually take 12 days to remove this by jackhammer or 2 with a bobcat. There was only one problem or rather 6 of them. 40 year old Red Oaks that are some of the best looking in Dallas today. Just losing one of them would be catastrophic to the look of the house and probably devalue the property by 6 figures( I don’t even want to speculate how much). What we found was 5 layers of Asphalt which I guess means it was overlaid 4 times. It took over a month and three weeks just to remove and haul it off totaling 1200 man hours. A custom Belgard paver with multicoloring was installed on top of a recycled concrete base and manufactured sand top. This was definitely a complex project and it was expanded to 3700 square feet because of all the curves and concrete stairs leading to the entry door. It is a truly beautiful Dallas Driveway.  One of the unique things about this that I never thought about until I saw it this fall is when the leaves fall on it the colors of the Red Oak contrast the driveway well. It reminds me of a postcard you might see on the North East coast such as Vermont or New Hampshire.  More pictures will follow as the pavers age and turn their final color. I was impressed at the levelness of the pavers considering how many different shapes and joints there are. We hope to further landscape the Residence to accent this Dallas Driveway when the weather is colder and larger plant material can be transplanted to frame the house with understory trees.