It has been a long and hard winter, but it's time to wake up and smell the roses! No wait, not the roses, still too early. How about the fresh cut grass? No, still a bit of snow left and the frost line goes down 18-24 inches! How about the mulch or mushroom compost? No, those piles are still frozen at the garden center too! So, what can we do until the ground thaws and we can plant or begin construction for a backyard patio? Well, we can talk about one of the most important concepts when starting an outdoor living project: Preparation. Now let's start by briefly touching on a few house keeping items. First off, what is outdoor living? Yes, indeed a very important question since the title of this blog is Suburban Outdoor Living. Outdoor living is a fairly common term that has been used for many years traditionally to describe outdoor elements such as furniture, pools and other items and to promote the concept of transforming the outdoors into a livable space. More simply, to bring a room from the inside--out. Now I am not trying to break any copyright laws or rules of vocabulary, but I am going to be using this term more loosely as to encompass all types of landscape projects originating outdoors. Whether it be a vegetable garden, a brick paver patio, your lawn, an outdoor kitchen, a flower beds, a pool deck, an evergreen hedge, a fire pit, or a shade tree alley. Why you say? Because these are all aspects of outdoor living. They are all apart of the experience we have when we are spending time outdoors so they need to be deemed relevant.
Now you might be asking why we are talking about the concept of Preparation like it is new? I mean, are we trying to reinvent the wheel? No of course not. However, after close to 3 decades in this business, we still see simple mistakes being made that have a drastic impact on the success and longevity of a project. First off, poor planning always leads to problems and problems lead to disappointment. Now mistakes will happen and no one is perfect, however there is a trickle down effect. When we don't communicate the importance of how a project is prepared, important aspects can be missed (and if a project does not succeed, wouldn't it be likely you would have reservations on trying it again? Yes indeed). Whether it be preparing a landscape bed, which requires a mix of a nutrient rich amendment (e.g. Peat moss or mushroom compost), new topsoil and existing soil, or a paver patio which requires 6" of coarse gravel and 1" of leveling sand compacted at 2" lifts, these steps are vital to the long term success of the project.
When you are ready to begin a project, consult one of our trained designers to ensure you understand the proper steps and products needed to be successful. Subscribe to our You Tube page (JimMelkaGardenCtr) to view how-to-videos we will be posting this season. Also, follow us on twitter (@jimmelka), Facebook (Jim Melka Landscaping & Garden Center) and sign up for our email list to receive helpful tips and special offers on everything Outdoor Living. Thanks and stay safe out there.
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