Five Senses of Koi

Five Senses of Koi

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(Photo by Julie Charlier from Exterior Concepts Holding Pond)

Five Senses of Koi:

1. Taste

Those whiskers are called barbels and koi have them to help taste. In a way, they are similar to your tongue, as they have taste buds on them. Many, many years ago, koi had three barbels, but now they only have two. Koi also have taste buds on their mouth and lips, so they have an excellent sense of taste.

2. Smell

Koi do have a very good sense of smell. Their extremely acute sense of smell and their sense of taste are their primary senses in finding food in their natural environment. When food dissolves in water it can then be detected by their nose, with the nares that are located at the base of their nostrils. The nares can be thought of as U-tubes, as the water enters through the forward opening and exits through the rear opening. Water does not flow to any other part of the body from the nares.

3. Hearing

Yes, koi do hear, even though they have no external ears. This is accomplished by the koi sensing vibrations in the water. Koi hear with what is called the Weberian Ossicles, a group of bones that are connected to one end to the forward swim bladder and on the other end to the auditory center, a sensing organ that resembles our inner ear. Koi, like other fish, are very sensitive to sound and can be stressed to the point of becoming ill by loud noises, especially on a constantly recurring basis.

4. Sight

Koi see exceptionally well. They have such good sight they could probably even read a book. They actually have a greater range of vision than we do, as they have bilaterally placed eyes that are independently moveable. They also see color and black and white. The eyes of the koi are more vulnerable than our eyes because they do not have eyelids; so, great care must be taken when they are netted and handled.

5. Touch

The most sensitive area for this sense is located about midway down the side of the fish, called the lateral line. Holes in the scales lead to a canal beneath the surface that contain neuromast cells. Water movement in any direction striking the sides of the fish will cause the mucous in the canal to vibrate. These vibrations stimulate the cells that are linked to the nerve system and provide koi with one of the most effective survival techniques (flight reaction).

Originally published in Portland Japanese Garden’s Member Newsletter, July 2013

 

Enhancing Your Lawn Through Hardscaping

Enhancing Your Lawn Through Hardscaping

An Interview with David Hetrick of Exterior Concepts on FloridaStateHomes.com

 

This article can be found on FloridaStateHomes.com at: http://www.floridastatehomes.com/articles/enhancing-your-lawn-through-proper-hardscaping-exterior-concepts

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

David has a bachelors degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and pursued post-graduate work from Philadelphia College of Art. David comes from a long line of carpenters, and has grown up with an appreciation for water and the outdoors. David has been in business over 30 years, and we work with all facets of outdoor living.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Exterior Concepts specializes in woodwork including custom decks, gazebos, pavilions, shade structures and pergolas; water features including ponds, waterfalls and fountains; hardscapes including stonework, interlocking pavers and patios; and additional structures and accessories including retaining walls, spas and hot tubs, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, misting systems, outdoor landscape lighting and custom landscaping.

How can retaining walls and other stonework help homes seem more warm and inviting?

Retaining Walls enable you to terrace land to make it usable and add outdoor living space. Stonework a nice medium. Using the same medium as the retainment wall is a nice way to balance the project.

What are some ways I can integrate walls, water features, and other hardscapes into my gardens and plants?

Water is movement, and a sense (sound). We like to integrate our hardscapes and our water scapes in order to find a nice balance on all of our projects.

What are some reasons I can utilize a patio on my lawn? Is it worth the investment?

Utilizing patios on to your lawn gives you more outdoor living space, gives you an extension of your home, and adds additional square footage to your home as well. More living space can be more inviting, and the space can be utilized for many activities. Rather than cooking in your home, you can have an outdoor kitchen. Rather than sitting by the fire in your home, you can sit by an outdoor fire pit.

In general, why is it important to include some types of hardscaping on my lawn?

Balance, functionality, and aesthetics.

Any other tips you can offer to someone who is looking to enhance the appearance of their lawn through masonry?

Masonry is simply another type of medium that is all about balance and finding the correct mediums that work well with your existing home.

What’s the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

The best way to get in touch with us if through email: extconceptstampa@gmail.com, or (813) 731-2792, (216) 269-8051. It is also helpful to look through our website www.exteriorconceptsonline.com to get some ideas on your next project.

– See more at: http://www.floridastatehomes.com/articles/enhancing-your-lawn-through-proper-hardscaping-exterior-concepts#sthash.qWQbzmrk.dpuf

Showcase display for Old Castle Paver and Ornamental

Showcase display for Old Castle Paver and Ornamental

This is a display for Old Castle Coastal that Exterior Concepts participated in the design, as well as the construction of. Old Castle Coastal is now the largest and highest in quality manufacture of pavers in North America, and one of the top internationally. At one time or another we have used every manufacturer of pavers out there, at the request of a customer or contractor, usually to match existing pavers. We have enjoyed a great and working relationship with Old Castle and use them whenever possible. Old castle also has a beautiful new line of pavers called the Belgard line, as well as very personal and knowledgeable sales department in Doug and John, as well as others. Approximately a year and a half ago Doug and Kevin informed me they were looking to enlarge, refurbish, and redesign the existing outdoor show room to display, numeroust new products(the Belgard line and/or wall stone Weston wall, Highland stone, ETC.) The display contains a sample of almost every style and color scheme of pavers possible. They also display every style and color variation of various retainment as well as free standing walls manufactured by them.20130926_113826

After doing business with them as long as I have, I volunteered to design and supply the materials and labor for a good portion of the showplace. Besides the construction of wood or composite deck (which would not have made much sense installing at interlocking paver manufacture’s showroom), and a low voltage lighting system, we had used every medium, variable, and skill that we possess in our arsenal.

To begin we installed 3 water features. The first was a large Koi pond with waterfalls and ornamental arched paver bridge. The interlocking paver bridge is a concept that came to me maybe 15 years ago. I first had the chance to implement and construct the bridge approximately six or seven years ago, and since I have lost track of how many we have installed. It has been very popular addition to some of our more complex plans, or customers looking for something different. I do not know if there are other companies in the states using this in their designs, but it isn’t an idea that I have seen in any books or magazines or by any other hardscape company, but one that just came to me, the same way many of my most creative ideas have come about. During the 30 minute shower that I take every morning to meditate, plan my day out, and pray to stay in the moment. Usually I snap out of it when the hot water runs out. (makes me wonder what kind of creative ideas I could come up with if I invest in a larger hot water heater, I imagine it would be a business expense and tax write off.) The bridge is constructed using pressure treated lumber and plywood, then base and pavers for travertine depending on the theme of the project. Recently I have designed a modification of the original designed hardscape bridge that does not just arch, but curves right or left as well.

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The koi pond is a relatively standard design of ours with a few twists. First we constructed a retainment photo11    wall to get the necessary height needed for the main waterfall; we were very limited in the space and depth needed to construct a waterfall due to the amount of paver patios and walkways. The main waterfall was built around a biological waterfall/ filter, and a secondary waterfall was constructed using the water output from the ultraviolet clarifier. One difference was that although natural field stone was used as our 6” – 8” in height rock ledge for the waterline walls (so no liner is exposed directly to sunlight let alone the naked eye) so the majority of the pond is outlined along the water line with Highland stone along with the Highland wall cap this was done not to only give the Koi pond a little more creativity, but also to show the variety of applications that Old Castle Coastal Highland stone can be used. Many ornamental concrete fire pits, benches, freestanding walls and retaining walls were constructed and interwoven in the display using the Weston wall or Highland stone. This pond was stocked with Japanese koi and aquatic plants, and along with the other two water features. A Hudson auto fill valve was installed to keep the pond at a set level keeping the waterfalls virtually maintenance free.
The other two water features were pondless water features the first was a 3 basalts (a tall slender ornamental stone, drilled through length wise). The Highland wall, lined with a 45 mil. U /V protected liner with padding and was constructed to serve as the pond reservoir. The pump was encased with an AquaScape manufactured snorkel and then the reservoir was filled with Mexican River pebbles.

The third water feature was a large pondless water feature approximately 10’x 10’ x 6’ – 7’ in height constructed entirely out of Highland stone. 5 spillways were formed using bluestone and were built into the Highland wall. The pond reservoir constructed in Highland stone was finally filled with Mexican River pebbles. The main retaining wall of the water feature was constructed using four courses above the highest spill way to give us enough space to build a raised landscape.20131004_131131

The next project was to construct 2 unique pergolas / shade structures. The first was an approximately 8’ wide by 40’ in length curved pergola to cover a natural Tennessee Crab Orchard flagstone walkway, 1”x 2” slats( 1“ o/c) were bent and attached above the Pergola to emulate the curved stone walkway.  20130926_112640   20130926_112603

The second was a very unique octagonal Pergola with an 8′ wide by 12′ in length arched appendage/ shade structure covering a matching paver patio and walkway.

At last the usual finishing visual elements were installed, including a full landscape that was installed among the hardscape. A lot of our customers seem to like the idea of hiring one company that will handle the entire design and install. Landscaping is an important element in our designs, bringing living space and softscape together where they complement each other, and most of our projects end up coming with a landscape plan as well as lighting or irrigation. With the raised bed above the waterfall we were able to landscape with a variety of shrubs including jasmine and other flowering vines that would eventually flow down interweaving with the water spillways, complimenting and emphasizing one another. Next we installed a full irrigation system to work with the landscape plan.

Various free standing ornamental block walls were constructed throughout the project for seating, as well as a Belgard outdoor kitchen and Belgard fireplace.

My thanks to all the employees of Exterior Concepts, each one( including myself) had a hand in the construction of this project. Most of all my many thanks to Doug, John and the rest of the sales team at Old Castle Coastal, as well as Rick, Tyler and the rest of the yard crew for their participation in bringing product when needed. As always it was a pleasure to work with the Old Castle team, and also have the peace of mind to know that I can send my customers there to pick a paver or retainment wall products and colors knowing that they will receive the best service and direction.
Sincerely,
David Hetrick

Cypress Pergola

Cypress Pergola

A mammoth cypress pergola that we recently constructed for Landscape Fusion, a landscape company in South Tampa with excellent designers on board, and  a company that we have been working with on quite a few recent Outdoor Living projects. This particular pergola was designed by owner Mike Loomis. It was very simplistic in design, but the size of the components of this pergola really set it off.

Mos pergolas or shade structures basically have four components. First are the post, in this case pressure treated, octagonally cut 6″x6″ timbers were set 3 feet in the ground encased in concrete. Once the pergola was completed, cast concrete columns were wrapped around the 6″x6″. The second component is the girders. We will usually overlap these a minimum of 16″ beyond the posts depending upon the size and design of the pergola. With this particular pergola design, large cypress 8″x12″ beams were notched into each other to form a large rectangle with ornamental protruding ornamental ends on all corners. The third component of a pergola are the shades. To function most optimally they should be laid spanning as close to North to south as possible. We will vary the size and spacing of the shades depending on design, but our norm is usually 18″ on center. For this pergola 6″x8″ cypress beams were notched 3″ into the girders, also with a decorative end on both sides. The final component are slats that are attached above the shades. Our standard are 2″x4″ usually 8″ o/c, but in smaller structures we have used members as small as 1″x2″, a 2″x4″, 8″ o/c actually provides almost 50% shade on top of the percentage provided by the ornamental shades. Their main purpose is to keep the shades from buckling, not so common using 6″x8″ beams, but possible with a standard pergola using 2″x6″ or 2″x8″ as shades.

This pergola was constructed over a Belgard Paver Patio that would become an outdoor dining area bordered on one end by a swimming pool and the other by a belgard outdoor fireplace. The project was also fully landscaped by Landscape Fusion with large Sylvester Palms Lining both sides of the Pergola.

Water Sculpture/Tampa

Water Sculpture/Tampa

This formal water feature was a new design quite different from our traditional waterfalls. I have designed and constructed a vast array of designs in water features from mountain streams to copper sculptures, but this was a new design. Not only do I really enjoy designing and constructing new ideas, but there is the challenge of making a new concept function correctly and to the customer’s satisfaction.

To start with, I was given a medium size open courtyard (approx. 20’ x 20’) in the front of the home to work within. An L outer wall with a large 8’ wide by 6’ tall opening faced the street. Below this a concrete basin was constructed 12’ wide, 18” tall, protruding 2’ into the courtyard and encased by cultured stone, with a bull nose paver that would blend with the interlocking pavers that would eventually be laid down in the courtyard.

      To build our pondless waterfall we first routered out lumber on both sides to encase our plumbing, and a hollow 8’ wooden mantle was constructed at the top of the wall to encase our spillway, and allow water to spill evenly across the 8’ span. The wood was then stuccoed to match the existing wall and then painted. A 6’ x 8’ pane of textured glass was then installed to create this unique water feature. Low voltage outdoor lighting was eventually installed to create an even more dramatic effect at night.

Back Yard Construction… Process & Product & Procedure

Back Yard Construction… Process & Product & Procedure

This years Tampa Home Show has spawned several projects that seem to have very similar characteristics . Since this years show, we have been asked to design seven projects that although different in design have most of the same elements. (Paver Patio, koi pond, screen enclosure, retainment, outdoor lighting, landscaping). Several also had hot tubs designed into them. At this point, we have completed three of them, are in the middle of construction on a fourth, and waiting approval from H.O.A.’s on two others.

One such job was a project completed for John and Kate (and their two yellow labs Brutus & J.J.) Step one was to install a large koi pond with two waterfalls. Our larger koi ponds are usually hand dug to a depth of 3′ to 4′. The upper lip is framed using concrete block than a 4″ to 6″ rock ledge is formed. A buffer of padding is laid in then a 45 mil. U/V protectant liner is fitted into position.

Our standard construction of a koi pond involves installing three different types of filtration systems. First a skimmer is installed which filtrates all surface debris. A basket, or net depending on the model fits inside this skimmer and is the first stage of the filtration system, collecting larger debris such as leaves, twigs, etc. This filter requires only a few minutes of your time every other week to empty. It may require more frequent changes in the Autumn depending on the amount of foilage in the area that may be dropping leaves. A filter mat is fitted in the bottom of the skimmer, above the pump, acting as the second stage of the filtration system. This mat will filter out smaller debris that makes its way past the net or basket. The mat requires less frequent changes than the net or basket.

For maximum koi pond circulation, the skimmer should be positioned on the opposite end of the pond from the waterfall. This is also where the submersible pump is housed, there for acting as the flow intake for the entire system. The exception is a system where an external pump is used and/or a bottom drain is added in addition to the skimmer. We have also been installing automate fill valves in our jobs, These are ran from a hose bib, and housed in the skimmer.

The second filter is a biological filter/waterfall. The entire body of water is filtered through the biofalls. In addition this filter is mainly designed to create and colonize the beneficial bacteria necessary to help clean the ponds water, as well as create an ecosystem necessary for healthy koi as well as other fish. To accomplish this the water is plumbed into the bottom if the filter and then flows upward through a series of mats and/or mesh bags containing either lava rock or bio balls. This filter should only need to be cleaned out about once annually simply by removing the bags and mats andthen hosing them off.

A check valve is installed in line with this filter so that the water inside the filter doesn’t drain back into the pond if the pump to the waterfall is shut off. (If the koi pond is already at it’s maximum water level, the additional water will overflow the pond). A ball valve is also added in line to this filter to allow us to control the amount of water flow to the waterfall. Although I usually like to have the maximum amount of flow over a waterfall, we do find it necessary sometimes to cut the flow rate back, often to divert water to a second waterfall or another filter, such as an ultraviolet clarifier, as in John and Katie’s situation, one in the same, the water that was diverted through the ultraviolet clarifier was the same water that would form our secondary waterfall.

This leads us to our third filter. The ultraviolet clarifier is basically an in-line, ultraviolet light that cleanses the ponds water of such things as parasites and insects, but mainly the microscopic organisms that tend to discolor the water. The ultraviolet clarifier basically does for a koi pond the same as shock and chlorine will do for a swimming pool, but is completely harmless to koi and other fish or other water life and aquatic plants.

To install this filter a tee is installed in the main line from the pump to the biofalls. A ball valve to control water flow is installed in-line to this filter also. The flow rate to this filter is somewhat important. The formula for flow rate for most ultraviolet clarifiers is approximately 50 percent of your ponds volume per hour (example: meaning a 1000 gallon koi pond would require 500 gallons of water to cycle through this filter every hour). If the flow rate is too great the ultraviolet light will not have enough time to kill the micro-organisms adequately. If the flow rate is too slow the ultraviolet light will not kill the organisms as fast as they can reproduce.

There are other filters that are optional, but that we have installed in koi ponds on different occasions or situations. One such filter is the bead filter. The bead filter is a pond filter very similar in design to a pool filter. It is made to filter out solid debris as well as create the beneficial bacteria needed for a healthy pond. Another, relatively new filter, is the ‘Iongen Electric Pond Clarifier’ made by Aquascapes out of Illinois. One function of the Iongen clarifier is that, like the ultraviolet clarifier, it is an in-line filter providing clear water without the use of chemicals. Although I do not feel that this filter is as efficient as the U/V; one positive side is that it will filter a koi pond up to 25,000 gallons in size, where as an ultraviolet clarifier in the same price range usually is made to filter a pond up to 4000 gallons in size. This filter also controls the build up of other algae that the U/V clarifier does not. This filter works by having a microprocessor inside the Iongen control panel causing the outermost atoms of copper, silver and zinc to lose an electron creating a positiveion. The positive ions are swept from the filters zinc probes into the pond where they can begin to treat the water.

Most of our pond supplies, as well as our stone is purchased through Wesley Chapel Landscape Supply. There are many different types of stone that is available to us, but the only stone that is indigenous to Florida is lime rock, and we rarely seldom like to use that in our ponds or waterfalls. Most of the stone available at the local nurseries, landscape suppliers, and stone yards is imported from Arkansas, Tennessee, North and South Carolina. Unless we are trying to match an existing design or medium I usually tend to use Pennsylvania Antigue fieldstone and boulders in our ponds and waterfalls. Even though the travel distance is further, the price is comparable, and I feel the Pennsylvania stone has a lot more character and looks much more natural in ponds and waterfalls than the others.

The next phase of this project was the installation of the interlocking paver patio. Our patios have been constructed using natural stone, travertine, or brick, but usually are constructed using interlocking concrete pavers. Although pavers are used  throughout the country, I would have to say that they seem to be more indigenous and prevalent here in Florida. Because of the materials used in the make up of concrete pavers being so readily available in Florida, the cost of manufacturing as well as installation of Pavers is extremely reasonable. The cost of the installation of interlocking concrete pavers in the northeast part of the country is 2-3 times more than that here in Florida. In addition, concrete pavers seem to be a better match with the style of home built in Florida. A concrete paver may blend better with the facade of a stucco faced home on the beach than it would on a mountain side in Tennessee.

Thirdly, one of the main considerations one must think of when choosing the installation of a stone or paver patio versus a wood or composite deck is elevation. Besides the option a railing or a bench, a wood deck stays relatively the same in price until you get into the second story range (with the exception of a slight raise in cost due to each additional riser in staircase). A patio that is raised due maybe to a drop in elevation of ones yard would require retainment. Most of our retainment walls are constructed using 6″ x 6″ timbers, or ornamental concrete block, such as the Highland Wall Series. Natural rock, brick, or stucco are other options and can be viewed on our website under retainment systems. Unfortunately, depending upon the amount of drop in elevation, the retainment wall in many cases can cost as much or more than the patio itself. Being as Florida is the only state of all 50 that does not have one area that exceeds 500 feet above sea level, elevation and retainment is seldom a variable. Many of the backyards that I look at here in Tampa seem to be flat blank canvases, actually making it more challenging to create a unique outdoor living space. With John and Katie’s project we did have enough of a pitch in elevation to allot us the opportunity to install a two-tiered patio, adding a little more character.

The process and procedure of installing a patio is pretty standard and is usually followed by most legitimate or quality paver companies in the Tampa area. After deciding on and laying out the design, the first step is excavation. Usually it will take approximately 6″ of excavation below the desired height of the patio, provided standard 23/8″ thick pavers are being used. Even if the existing grade is greater than 6″, all grass or sod should be removed. Next, a minimum of 3″-4″ of base is laid in, graded and then compacted using a vibratory plate compactor. Crushed concrete or crushed asphalt is the usual base of choice. In almost all of the patios that we have installed, a soldier row is used as a border. A soldier row is where a series of a full concrete paver (usually a 4″ x 8″ or 6″ x 9″) is used to outline the patio. This can be viewed on our website under the hardscape heading. The soldier row may be a different color (often solid) complimenting or pulling out some of the color used in the patio. In some case we will take the brick used as the soldier row and drop a percentage of them into the patio as highlights. Next, unless butting up to the home/building or a retainment wall) a bead of portland cement is poured in and beveled, preventing the pavers from shifting or pushing outward. When installing a driveway the portland cement should be poured underneath the soldier row also to compensate for the added weight and use of automobiles. Finally sand is brushed or washed into the uniformed gaps between each paver. At an additional cost Polymeric sand can be used instead of the basic masonry sand. Applied correctly polymeric sand will set up more like a grout and is essential when using some of the higher end hardscape lines such as the Belgard Series. We suggest and offer the option of sealing your pavers, but it is recommended that a wait time of at least 60-90 days be given from time of install before sealing your pavers. There are several manufacturers of Interlocking pavers in Florida, and we have worked with all of them, but as with John and Katie’s job, they chose to use Old Castle Pavers. They have a large office, brickyard, and display here in Tampa on Busch Blvd. and have a vast variety and selection. They also carry the Belgard Series as well as different lines of some of the retainment systems we use, including the Highland Wall which was used on this particular job.

The next phase of this project was to construct a screen room/enclosure. Actually the footer for the screen room is poured before the patio is installed so that the pavers can be laid over the footer. I feel that this is a cleaner look when the screen room is bolted through the Interlocking pavers showing no exposed concrete.

Screen enclosures obviously are very popular here in the Tampa area as well as the rest of Florida. Usually they are screen constructed around the swimming pools, but we do get a lot of inquires to install screen rooms over decks, patios, ponds, etc. Folks that would like to have the same luxuries that a screen room provides without the desire of a swimming pool. A screen room does provide many positive benefits. They provide more privacy as well as security from neighborhood children and pets as well as wild animals. On a comfort level a screen enclosure will allow you to enjoy your outdoor living space while providing protection from bugs and mosquitoes as well as excess heat and ultraviolet rays. Lastly a screen enclosure will keep your outdoor living space considerably cleaner, which is especially nice when a koi pond has been installed.

The finishing touches on this job would be irrigation, outdoor low-voltage lighting, and landscaping. As was the case with John and Katie’s job, a lot of homes will have an existing irrigation system. Rerouting or modifying a system is very simple, and in most cases there is little or no charge. We usually include it as part of the job. With John & Katie’s job, approximately 1,200 sq. ft. of paver patio was added in addition to the 3,500 gallon koi pond. Therefore several heads needed to be capped off and eliminated from the system. Other pop up heads are usually re-routed to the newly designed and formed beds.

A full outdoor Lighting System was installed on this project. Two brands of low-voltage outdoor Lighting were used to complete this project. Spotlights were used to uplight a few small specimen trees within the screen room and an existing Live Oak that was outside the screen room, as well as both waterfalls. ‘Miami Pathway’ lights were used to accent the planting beds. These lights as well as the transformers we use are supplied by Garden Light Inc., one of the premier lighting manufacturing companies in the country, and who just happen to be located here in Tampa. The other style of light is a paver light manufactured by Kerr Lighting. This is a light that resembles a paver in shape and form (coming in 4″x8″ and 6″x9″ sizes) Usually a paver will be removed from the soldier row and substituted with the light, illuminating and accenting as well as outlining the patio while still keeping a flush and level profile.

I can’t emphasize enough how key an outdoor lighting system is, and how much a lighting system enhances our work. In most cases I feel our outdoor projects take on an entirely different look in the evenings. Another thing to think about when designing an outdoor living space is what time of the day as well as the season will the space be being used. In many situations, including my own, the adult or adults of the household are working during the day, and the only time besides weekends that they have to enjoy their outdoor living space is in the evenings. This holds especially true in the winter months when it is already dark and most folks are just getting home from work.

Last would be the landscaping, which tends to tie all the mediums together. I will usually design specified planting beds into our plans and have a pretty good visual idea of how I want to use them, but in this area I like to get as much of the customers input as I can, being as we all have different tastes, likes and dislikes. In many instances, as I did with John and Katie, I will take the customer with me to the wholesale nursery we use the most and tour it in a gold cart. This way I can get a better feel for the customers taste as well as talk with them about the characteristics of the different shrubs and trees. Due especially to the severity of the past two winters, I do try and steer customers towards lower maintenance and more cold tolerant species. Upon agreement and imposing a plant and shrub specimen list intoour landscape plan, the plans are purchased and installed by our crew. Once again any grass or sod that wasn’t removed during the excavation for the patio or koi pond is now removed. The shrubs are installed sometimes mixing in a few large ornamental boulders to add balance and flow with the koi pond. Two types of fertilizer are added to the soil, 10-10-10 and milorganite. Landscape fabric is then laid down and a ground cover laid down after that. We leave the choice of ground cover up to the customer, but my preferences are pine bark or river stone. The pine bark is considerably cheaper, but the benefit of stone is that it is a one time install, and there is a variety of stone that can be used.

I may have left out a few things, but I believe I covered most of the aspects, process and procedures of taking a job such as this (from the production side) from beginning to end. The one thing that must be shared and is the single most important part of a job is why I do what I do is the experience, friendship and gratitude that one receives when having an opportunity to meet and work with two wonderful people like John and Katie. I can only hope that myself and my employees have made an impression in their lives as well. Thank you John & Katie.