Ecoyards provides complete lawn and landscape services with an emphasis on quality customer service and environmental responsibility.

Posts in the category "Seattle Hardscaping"

Choosing the right patio material

March 7, 2012 @ 11:59 am
Old Dominion, paver patio, seattle

Old Dominion circular paver, Ecoyards

Patios can extend your outdoor living space, give structure to your landscape, and provide a great place to hang out. There are many decisions that go into installing a patio. Once you have a design in mind, deciding what material to use can be tough. Initial cost of installation is only one of numerous factors. You also should include durability, maintenance over time, and how the patio will be used (for example, pea gravel may be great in the side yard, but not an ideal surface for patio table and chairs).

Here’s a brief summary of some of the materials that can be used:

Bricks can give you a traditional, classic beauty that will hold their natural clay hue over time. We have helped our clients incorporate some “reclaimed” bricks from other old projects into their new projects, giving the patio an aged look; you may not always be able to find reclaimed bricks.

Poured concrete is simple, smooth, and among the cheapest options for patios or walkways. One of the disadvantages is that they can crack over time. Proper installation (including pouring concrete over a thick compacted base of sand or gravel) can help prevent cracking, but if your house is in an area where soil settles over time or the earth beneath shifts, cracking can still happen. Concrete also is impervious, so water runs off the surface rather than seep into the soil or gravel below.

seattle, flagstone, slate, ecoyards, patio

Natural stone (slate) walkway

Natural stone is attractive, durable, requires little maintenance but it is among the most expensive materials for patios. Bluestone with its distinctive smooth surface and blue-tan hues are ideal for formal landscapes. Flagstone (such as slate or limestone) lend a formal feel to a landscape, but also can be laid randomly to give a less formal feel. Natural stone is durable, slip-resistant, and can be installed so that moss or other groundcovers can be planted in between the spacing, allowing rain to seep through and adding a living feature to your patio. We typically install flagstones over a base of sand and gravel, though clients can choose to mortar flagstones on top of a concrete slab.

Pavers made from pre-cast concrete are the most popular choice for Ecoyards clients. These pavers range in size, color, and texture, giving homeowners numerous design options. Pavers can be installed over a concrete slab or a compacted base of sand and gravel. Once installed, pavers require very little maintenance. Recycled pavers such as those offered by VAST are made of 95 percent post-consumer recycled materials –plastic bottles and scrap tires — rather than traditional concrete or clay.

Permeable pavers are becoming increasingly popular choices as a way to help control stormwater pollution, but they are generally more expensive. Many cities and counties are using permeable pavers, such as UNI Eco-stone, interlocking concrete pavers, as a more effective method of controlling stormwater (all the stuff that washes into storm drains when it rains) in big projects.

 

 

 

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Ecoyards Achieves Landscape Industry Certified Status

September 28, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

At Ecoyards, we pride ourselves on our professionalism, knowledge, and high standards in the landscape industry. This year, owner Andy Nicholls took the extra step to become a Landscape Industry Certified Manager through the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). On Sept. 21, PLANET announced that Andy has successfully earned his certification. He is now a nationally-certified landscape manager in Seattle. PLANET is an international association serving lawn care professionals, maintenance contractors, installation/design/build professionals, and interiorscapers.

To get his certification, Andy underwent an exhaustive written examination that tested his knowledge, skills and theory in all aspects of working in the landscape industry. He had to demonstrate mastery of seven topics covering leadership and corporate citizenship; production operations/horticulture; sales and marketing; strategic planning; human resources; risk, law, and contracts; and corporate financial management. The program requires that he maintains certification through mandatory continuing education.

Landscape Industry Certified, Seattle, Ecoyards

For our customers, it means you can expect the same high quality and professionalism that you’ve come to expect from Ecoyards. Andy’s certification, however, means he’s taken the extra step to validate his skills and knowledge in the industry.

For more information, visit landscapenetwork.org.

 

 

 

Filed under Seattle Drainage, Seattle Hardscaping, Seattle Irrigation Services, Seattle Landscape Design, Seattle Landscape Maintenance, Seattle Lawn Care, Seattle Rain Gardens, Seattle Water Features · No Comments »

Photos from recent projects

June 14, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

Here are a few photos from projects recently completed by Ecoyards in West Seattle –

 

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Ecoyards – Techniseal Certified Applicator

May 7, 2011 @ 8:05 am
Roman Cobblestone, paver patio, West Seattle, Ecoyards Lawn and Landscape

Roman Cobblestone paver patio, West Seattle

Ecoyards is now certified through Techniseal’s Certified Applicator Program. This program focuses on specialized cleaning, sealing and joint stabilization of paver patios. We feel this certification is important because Seattle’s wet weather can be tough on pavers.  Common problems in our area include the following:

  • Erosion problems with joint stabilization sands.
  • Organic build-up on pavers (moss, algae, etc.).
  • Excess moisture can contribute to efflorescence, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon that occurs with leaching of salts and other minerals that are deposited on the surface when water evaporates.
  • Other problems not necessarily specific to our climate include oil and grease stains.

Techniseal is an industry leader in advanced care and maintenance products for pavers, retaining wall products, slabs and natural stones. Whether it is to protect and preserve the appearance of new pavers or to restore older surfaces and enhance their value, Techniseal has a full range of products for the treatment and protection of hardscapes.  Some of the products that Ecoyards uses from Techniseal are described below.

Polymeric Sand –

Polymeric jointing sand is a mix of sand and binder, specially formulated for filling joints when installing pavers, slabs or natural stones. The sand is applied dry and is activated with a light watering.  It starts to set a few minutes after wetting, and quickly becomes resistant to erosion due to water (rain, splashes, sprinklers, etc.). Once it’s completely cured, polymeric sand provides the following benefits:

• Inhibits weed growth.
• Deters ants and other insects.
• Eliminates joint erosion caused by rain, power washing, and wind.
• Turns flexible when wet, which allows the sand to follow slight movement of the pavers.

Cleaning Products –

Concrete pavers are low-maintenance and provide long-lasting beauty.  However, like concrete slabs, pavers are not impervious to oil and other substances that can stain the pavers and become difficult to remove. Treatment for pavers is generally carried out in three steps:

  1. Use specific cleaners to target stains such as oil, grease, rust, paint, or tire stains, or any buildup organic debris.
  2. Priming the surface with a paver primer / efflorescence cleaner.
  3. Protecting the surface with an appropriate protector (see below).

Protectors –

Protectors are transparent resins that protect pavers and slabs made of concrete and natural stone. Protectors form a micro-porous layer that lets water vapors out but keeps out contaminates.  Protectors come in a variety of options that enhance the appearance of pavers.  Homeowners can choose from a “wet look” or a “natural look.”  Various finishes include a glossy finish or a matte finish.

Call or email us today if you need help with cleaning and protecting your paver patio, driveway or walkway.

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Ecoyards wins Angie’s List Super Service Award

December 21, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

Ecoyards Earns Coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Ecoyards has been awarded the prestigious 2010 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor bestowed annually on approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.

“Our Super Service Award winners are the cream of the crop when it comes to providing consistently high quality customer service, as judged by the customers who hired them,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.

Ecoyards is thrilled to have one this 2010 award in three different categories – Landscaping; Lawn and Yard Work; Hardscaping and Pavers.  Thanks to all our great customers for posting positive reviews on Ecoyards.

Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List, but members can find the 2010 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.

Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.

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Free flagstone pieces

February 24, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

We have approximately 15 pieces of extra flagstone available for free to the first taker.  These flagstone pieces were salvaged from a flagstone, seattle, ecoyardslandscape project we completed in West Seattle.  If you are interested in picking up the flagstone, please send us an email though our contact info in the right sidebar.  We will update/remove this post when the flagstone is gone.

Update:  the flagstone was snatched up quickly, and is no longer available.

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Recycled pavers

February 19, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

At Ecoyards, we’re always looking for better ways to create beautiful, sustainable landscapes while being kind to Mother Nature. So we were pretty excited when we recently connected with VAST Enterprises – makers of composite landscape pavers. VAST pavers are made of 95 percent post-consumer recycled materials –plastic bottles and scrap tires — rather than traditional concrete or clay. They’re manufactured with zero emissions and zero waste. They’re also the ultimate recycled product since they can be removed and made into brand new pavers.

VAST composite paver

We’ve spent some time looking into VAST pavers, and we’re happy with their natural look and durability. We’re excited to start offering Ecoyards clients another environmentally-friendly option to build their patios, driveways and walkways. The pavers are lightweight but sturdy and have a lifetime warranty against cracking. While the cost of VAST pavers are nearly double that of traditional concrete pavers, they’re much easier to install so the overall cost of a project to the consumer is comparable to traditional installations. The pavers are brick-shaped and come in six different colors.

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Our super award

April 16, 2009 @ 1:52 am

At Ecoyards, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We’re happy to report that the users think so, too. We recently won the top award for quality service from a popular online company Web site. We mentioned the name here once before, but have been advised that we’re legally not allowed to mention it unless we buy the rights to do so. (Without giving it away, it rhymes with Flanjie’s Wrist). We don’t agree with that policy, so it remains the company-that-shall-not-be-named. 

To be eligible for that award, we’ve had 100 percent positive customer reviews. Users of that site can login and search for “Ecoyards” to view our positive customer reviews and read about our award.

We work hard to help our clients figure out their lawn and landscaping needs, whether they’re looking for a complete makeover, a small paver patio, or to renovate a tired Seattle lawn.

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Paver patios and walkways

April 2, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

One of the most requested landscape features we get at Ecoyards are paver patios, walkways and driveways. Pavers offer many benefits over concrete. They come in a variety of rich colors, textures, and styles to fit your landscape design. Pavers are much easier to adjust and repair than concrete slabs that tend to crack over time. Paver Walkway, SeattleThey’re also aesthetically pleasing. Take a look at some of our paver patio and walkway photos.

At Ecoyards, we’ll work with you to choose the right material for your patio or walkway. We use local suppliers that produce their brick pavers and other materials locally in the Puget Sound area.

To properly install your paver patio or walkway, we excavate the underlying soil and create a base of compacted crushed gravel that’s a minimum of four inches for regular foot traffic and even more for areas where vehicles will be driving over the pavers.  A good low-impact tip is to keep the excavated soil on-site rather than transporting it across town as fill material.  In some cases the underlying soils can be amended with compost and used in planting beds.

The next step is to place a thin layer of bedding sand, which proves a smooth, level surface for the pavers to sit on. We then set the brick or stone pavers in the style that you like, cutting pavers to fill gaps along the edges. We set edge restraint systems around the perimeter to prevent settling and spreading.

Once the pavers and edging are in place, we compact the pavers down using a vibrating place compactor to ensure that the pavers are set. Voila! Your patio is ready for you to enjoy.

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Cool season crops

March 8, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

The weekend brought a fair amount of snow to the lowland areas of the Puget Sound, but there was still enough breaks of sunshine and warmth to think about starting your vegetable garden.

This is a great time to plant some cool season crops, or vegetable plants that are best suited for cooler temperatures, an average of 50 to 65 degree F. Cool season crops include beets, lettuce, collards, radish, peas, leeks and spinach and others. They’re grown in the spring or fall, and often don’t thrive during the warmer summer months (they’ll bolt, which means they’ll go to flower, leaving you with a bitter crop).

By contrast, warm season crops shouldn’t be planted until later because those crops require warmer temperatures to thrive. These crops includes tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, squash and corn. In the Puget Sound, warm season crops generally shouldn’t be planted until mid-May. If planted too early in soil that is cold and damp, these seeds won’t grow well and may not set fruit for a long while.

Raised vegetable bedI recommend growing vegetables in raised beds, wherever possible. Your bed could be as simple as a large mounded pile of soil, or as fancy as one made from cedar boards or, as pictured to the left, made from RomanStack blocks. Raised beds help drain water better and warms the soil up quicker so that you can extend your planting season. It helps keep weeds out of the bed, and prevents your soil from becoming too compacted from excess foot traffic. Ecoyards has made several lovely raised beds for clients, including the one pictured at left.

The soil in my cedar raised beds is much warmer than elsewhere in my landscape, so I went out this afternoon, added organic matter to the beds (compost and a little alfalfa meal) and dug it into the soil. I was ready to plant. I planted peas (‘Cascadia’ and ‘Sugar Snap’) spinach (‘Olympia),  radishes and a gourmet blend of lettuce from seed. I also transplanted some collards and broccoli that I picked up at Swanson’s Nursery.

Here are some cool-season crops that you can start outdoors from seed: radish, swiss chard, beets, mustard greens, onions, parsnips and spinach. Here are the cool-season crops that do best when started indoors and transplanted (or you can pick up vegetable starts at a local nursery): cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and celery.

Western Washington University Extension has some great resources for all aspects of gardening.

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Forsythia - Seattle, Ecoyards. Cedar fence and gate with dark stain, Laurelhurst, Seattle - Ecoyards. Landscaping projects by Ecoyards, photographed on Saturday, April 18, 2009. (Photo by Dan DeLong) Old Dominion paver walkway, Seattle - Ecoyards

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