Fire pits extend your backyard through fall and winter
Fire pits can extend back yard use through fall and winter making them appealing to many homeowners. Fire pits are growing in popularity so much so, that some builders are including them as an option when building a home. If you are not building a home but still desire a fire pit, we can help you make that happen. Even the most “green” DIY’er can make a fire pit with supplies from GE Landscape Supply.
Fire pits can be made out of several different types of hardscape material. We offer 2 styles of fire pits- round and square. Using our metal frame and paving stones you will have the ease of creating without the hassle of cutting the pavers. This project can easily be done in an afternoon and ready for your family to gather that night.
Fire pit safety
As with most hot things, using them properly and safely should be a conscience effort. Here are the top 4 things to watch out for to keep your fire pit safe and enjoyable.
1. Select a safe spot
Make sure when you build your fire pit that you do so on a level surface made of stone, concrete, or brick. Your fire pit should be at least 10 feet from your house and area free of trees and other flammable foliage.
2. Burn the right wood
It is best to burn dry, seasoned wood. This means dead wood that has been cut at least 6 months earlier. If you do not gather your own wood, often times you can get enough packaged wood at convience stores to get through the evening gathering.
3. Start the fire safely
You should never use lighter fluid, gas, or kerosone to light a fire. It is best to wad up old newspaper tightly and tuck under smaller dry logs and light the paper, which in turn will light the wood. After the flame takes hold of the smaller kindling you may add larger wood pieces.
4. Be prepared to extinguish the fire
Keep a bucket of sand, a fire extinguisher, or a garden hose nearby. When you are done for the evening you should always extinguish the fire before leaving the area. Don’t assume that it will die down on it’s own
Fire pit cooking
Fire pits are a wonderful gathering place but they are functional too. There are many ways to cook using your fire pit which will make it all that more enjoyable.
1. Cooking using long skewers- This is probably the most common ways to cook over the campfire. It makes it easy to roast a hot dog and make smores.
2. Cooking using a grate- We have the optional grate with our fire pit kits. The grate adds versatility in cooking options. With a grate you can cook burgers and even cook using cast iron skillets.
3. Cooking using coals- Cooking with coals is a lot of fun. Use a cast iron dutch oven. They work much like a crock pot but using the heat of the red coals. You can make a variety of things in a dutch oven from main dishes to desserts.
The Common Conundrum!
A common question we get at GE Landscape Supply is how to deal with drainage issues? A lot of people in newly built houses tend to find that after a few years the soil around the foundation starts to settle. This can cause cracks around your foundation or allow water to seep into your basement. To fix this issue simply use either our topsoil or clay and pack it around your foundation. Make sure the soil is sloping away from your house for proper drainage. If you plan on growing anything in the soil, use our regular topsoil, if you do not, then use clay. To top everything off, use either mulch or any of our decorative rocks to provide an attractive ground cover.
Another drainage issue we discuss with homeowners is standing water after a major rain event. Creating a dry creek bed can help solve this problem. To do this, first make sure the ground is sloping away from your house. Also, create a small swale for the water to travel down. Then simply remove all the grass and lay down some landscape fabric, as this will help prevent weeds and help keep your rocks from sinking into the soil. Once the landscape fabric is down, put your favorite type of decorative rock on top and you're done!
DIY Bubbling Fountain
Have a rustic looking vase, some spare pieces of flagstone, or an old flower pot that's collecting dust? You can easily use it to create an outdoor center piece that not only looks good, but sounds great! By creating a bubbling fountain, you get the benefit of the sound of water without the maintenance of a pond.
Bring your boulder, vase, flagstone, or whatever item you have into us and we can help you design a bubbling fountain out of it. We'll help determine the best catch basin, pump, and tubing for the project.
They can be installed above or below ground depending on what you have designed and can be constructed in a short amount of time. The only maintenance involved is removing the pump in the winter and adding more water as needed. Other than that, a bubbling fountain is maintenance free!
Tips for Creating an Outdoor Kitchen on a Budget
It’s safe to say that everyone’s dream house probably includes a spectacular outdoor kitchen, complete with a built-in grill, refrigerator, sink, bar area and lots of seating. All of these amenities give you the comfort of your home outside, but full-functioning outdoor kitchens can become quite expensive. It’s best to stick to the basics when you’re on a budget.
One option for creating a beautiful and functional space for entertaining, without the cost, is an outdoor bar. This project is affordable and great for the DIYer. A popular way to achieve this is by creating a buffet-style serving area complete with countertops, a built-in ice bucket and a few stools for extra seating.
Save even more of your budget by keeping the features of your outdoor kitchen or bar simple. Concrete countertops and a cinderblock frame may not sound like very attractive options, but done right, can be quite eye-catching. The great thing about concrete is that it can be painted to look like granite, marble or another beautiful stone without the cost.
Finally, you can save money by opting for a propane grill to avoid having to run a gas or electricity line to your outdoor space, and opting out of a built-in sink. A garden hose spigot can double as a sink faucet. Place a decorative bowl or bucket underneath, and you’ve created an attractive and unique outdoor sink.
GE Landscape Supply’s design team can guide you on what products to choose and how to complete this project. Contact us today!
Four Factors to Consider when Landscaping with Boulders
1. Does using boulders physically look right?
It seems simple enough but you do need to consider if the boulder matches the style of your house and landscaping. There are many kinds of boulders with different colors so you should be able to pick one that matches the look you are going for.
2. Consider the scale of the rock.
You should not only consider the space where the rock is to be placed but also the overall space of your landscaping. If you have a tiny front yard make sure if you use boulders they are proportionate. On the other hand, boulders can seem huge when looking at them in the rock yard but then really don’t make the statement you were hoping once in place. A professional can be very helpful in this process. Bring your picture in and measurements and we can help you get a boulder just the right size.
3. How are you going to move the boulders once delivered?
The weight of boulders is easy to underestimate. GE landscape supply does deliver but if there is much moving around during the completion of your project you may consider renting a bobcat if your boulders are fairly large.
4. Plan for a pleasing arrangement of boulders.
For ease of placement it might make more sense to select medium sized stones and group them. It is easier to maneuver and also looks much more natural. If you use a larger boulder and surround it with smaller sized boulders it will give an anchored look. Also, consider burying a part of the boulder slightly so it looks like it was naturally there for a while.
How to Create a Kid-Friendly Outdoor Play Space
Small children are often always underfoot, and it can be difficult to get things done, especially when it comes to gardening or outdoor projects. Creating a defined space for them can provide a much needed break for mom and dad, and done the right way, can provide endless hours of learning and fun.
Here are a few ideas for creating a kid-friendly outdoor play space:
• Sandboxes- This is a classic for little kids. The box perimeter can be created with wood or stone and filled with a variety of different sands. Give your sand box a unique design by marking off a section for a water play area and letting your kids play in the mud. Additionally, adding a crawl space-type cover to your sandbox in the form of side-by-side doors is a functional and practical way to protect from the elements and pets.
• Natural play gardens- A great alternative to a sand box is a play garden. Fence off a little area or box it in with stone, throw down some soil or mulch and let your little ones dig, plant and explore. This is a great idea for creating an outdoor classroom for your children and exposing them to the beauty of nature and gardening.
• Hopscotch stepping stones- Why not add a little fun for the children into your garden design? A few simple stepping stones laid out in a hopscotch pattern is sure to bring endless smiles.
GE Landscape Supply provides a variety of hardscaping supplies to meet all of your project needs. Check out our top-notch products and design services pages. Contact us today!
How to Create a DIY Wow Factor for Your Yard
Obtaining that perfect wow factor in your outdoor living space may feel like an overwhelming task, but you can achieve the design you’re looking for without spending a lot of money or hiring a professional landscape designer. The options for creating a stunning focal point are endless, but hardscaping is one of the most affordable, effective methods.
The most popular hardscape do-it-yourself projects include:
• Decorative rocks and boulders- The right decorative rock can bring life to any garden or home. Stones are often used in landscape beds, in driveways, bird baths, drainage systems and more. Decorative rocks are low-maintenance, hold their color, and offer homeowners an inexpensive way to get a lavish look.
Boulders are also an attractive, affordable way to add curb appeal to your property. A few small boulders placed along a garden path can create a remarkable design statement. Alternatively, large boulders strategically placed and stacked can create a work of art for your outdoor space. Boulders are also great for use along waterways. Surround the boulders with native plants, and you’ve created a beautiful masterpiece for your yard.
• Dry stack walls and retaining walls- Dry stack walls are an affordable do-it-yourself alternative to expensive brick and mortar landscaping. Most projects can be completed within one weekend in just a few, simple steps. GE Landscape Supply’s guide on How to Install a Retaining Wall provides photos and step-by-step instructions that can be mastered by any do-it-yourselfer.
Free standing retaining walls are great for extra seating in your outdoor living space, and are visually appealing from both sides. They also create outdoor ‘rooms’ for entertainment purposes.
• Fire pits- Adding a fire pit to your backyard or patio creates the perfect focal point for your outdoor living space. A GE Landscape Supply kit is an affordable, do-it-yourself alternative to hiring an expensive landscape designer. By using this GE Landscape Supply installation guide, most fire pits can be installed within just a few hours. GE offers fire pit kits with or without a cooking grate, and offers a fire pit cap to add to either kit for a more finished, designer look.
• Flagstone pathways- An inviting flagstone pathway is the perfect way to welcome visitors to your yard or favorite flower garden. This type of path is a practical way to control traffic patterns and provides a beautiful and timeless, yet practical feature to your outdoor living space, while also increasing your property value.
GE Landscape Supply’s guide on How to Install a Flagstone Walkway provides photos and step-by-step instructions that can be mastered by any do-it-yourselfer.
GE Landscape Supply offers a variety of materials for all of your hardscape needs, along with installation guides to make your DIY project simpler.
How to Select Flagstone
This can seem daunting at first, as there are many different colors, shapes, thicknesses, and cuts of flagstone. But find comfort in the fact that by having a wide variety you are sure to find the perfect match for your outdoor project! GE Landscape provides complementary design services and experts on staff to help find the best solution for your application, but here are a few tips to consider as you layout your vision for your project.
• Flagstone comes in many colors, shapes and sizes. Each is unique as they come from different quarries.
• Are you looking for a clean-cut piece of stone that is square or rectangle sizes. Standard cut pieces are very contemporary looking when used. They give the appearance of a natural tile.
• Decide if you want a more natural look. In that case you may choose irregular shaped slab pieces. This is beautiful when laid down and resembles a puzzle.
• Decide how much traffic the area will get. This will help determine how thick your stone should be. The higher traffic areas may require thicker stone, especially in commercial settings.
• How will you use the flagstone? This will help determine if you need a smooth surface or can select a more rustic flagstone.
• Are stacking the flagstone? Depending on the project when stacking the flagstone the size and shape will be a factor.
What is Hard Scaping?
It occurred to us that people in the industry throw about terms and assume everyone knows what we are talking about. As a company we are focused on helping, educating and equipping do-it-yourselfers when it comes to backyard projects. We know what it is like to have a vision of your project but need a bit of help or a comfort level in describing it to when you purchase materials. Lets start with the basic term of hardscape.
Hardscape refers to the paved areas and decorative elements like sidewalks, patios, walkways, fountains, outdoor kitchens, ponds, water features and firepits primarily. It refers to anything using hard materials such as pavers, rock, flagstone, retaining wall blocks, and boulders. The term excludes plants, shrubs, trees and bushes.
At GE Landscape Supply, we specialize in hardscape material! We have all the materials to create your hardscape vision. Pavers, flagstone, decorative rock, boulders and retaining wall blocks are a great start to building an area that will last through time.
Have a vision but need a plan? Bring a picture of the area that you want to hardscape and will design a complementary plan for you.