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How Does Your Drainage Flow?

During a landscape consultation I will often start the conversation with a discussion regarding grading, drainage and standing water. A general rule of thumb is whether after a heavy rain there is any standing water or particularly damp areas 24 to 48 hours afterwards. The reason for this conversation is that if we don’t solve these issues for the homeowner first, everything else we do (hardscape, landscape, etc.) could be for naught. Sunrise recently was called to help a homeowner who had a beautiful landscape plan installed by another company but they were now having problems with standing water. They had spent over $80,000 to have a new deck and plantings installed but no one thought ahead to piping downspouts or creating pathways for the water to flow into and now many plants were getting destroyed. The ideal way to avoid any water problems is a property that was properly graded at the time of construction. Often we deal with instances where this is not the case, or time has created altered conditions that necessitate corrective actions. The first choice is to address the situation above ground through re-grading or perhaps something like a dry rock creek bed. We also can ease the problems by underground piping of downspouts or by the use of drain boxes and pipe. Sunrise almost exclusively uses schedule 40 PVC pipe. It is more expensive but washes out clean of leaves and debris and will last many times longer than the corrugated black pipe which can accumulate material over time and clog or get crushed for various reasons. Least desirable would be some kind of sump construction which may ease the situation but is not a permanent solution. Similarly a

Should I Build a Patio or Deck?

Limited space and the demand for efficiency are usually the primary reasons to build a deck. Town homes and Condominiums almost always utilize decks because building a patio takes up too much yard space. If you are in a single family home, however, a patio is a great way to create a warm, welcoming place to entertain and dine. Patios have several advantages to decks, the first being long term maintenance. Most patios that are properly installed require almost no maintenance in the long term. Decks require routine maintenance in the form of pressure washing, staining, and replacing rotted or warped boards. Patios allow the living space to be integrated into the landscape more elegantly compared to decks. Decks are separated from the landscape because of their square shape, railings, color and height. Patios can be curvaceous, organic, and crafted from natural stone to blend into the surroundings. Normally, patios are built at ground/grade level; decks are usually above grade level and leave the people using the deck more exposed to the elements and prying neighbors. By being built on the ground level, patios are easily integrated into the landscape by the use of adapted shrubs and perennials. A ceiling can easily be implemented by planting trees nearby for shade and visual enclosure. To create a truly comfortable outdoor room, patios offer the warmth of an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Combine the fireplace with a patio, a nice set of outdoor furniture, a soft landscape surround, and you’ll have an outdoor addition to your home to enjoy year round. Sunrise has a team of Landscape Designers who can meet with you to discuss your landscape needs and dreams. Any of our experienced designers will

How to Design a Nice Back Yard

First, make a list of things you like or would like to do outside. Which areas of the yard would you like to use, the back yard, front, sides? Then think of ways to accommodate those activities. Maybe you have a few younger children who will appreciate a nice lawn to play in; you’ll need to make a way for the sun to grow a good stand of grass, or even start with a fresh sod installation. Another great way to provide wholesome outdoor exercise is to install a play set. Most of the time, it’s ideal to build a wooden frame surrounding the play set and fill the inside with soft, cushiony play mulch. Since the average backyard isn’t perfectly level, it will be necessary to build a retaining wall to have a flat, level area for the play set. Sunrise can help you design and build this. Most families enjoy grilling, bonfires and eating outside. The most common way to address these needs is to build a patio or deck. Patios for entertaining or dining should then be designed for the specific use that they will provide, like seating people at a table, or centering the guests around a cozy fire pit. Trees provide benefits like privacy, shade and screening into the design and make the space more comfortable. Pergolas provide partial shade and create a sense of enclosure by the overhead beams of wood, which act as a ceiling visually. But privacy doesn’t necessarily mean planting a tightly spaced row of Green Giant Arborvitae trees either, along your property line. By simply guiding the eye away from distractions with a partial screening, you can accomplish the same thing. All that