Monday, 26 June 2017

Best Software for Landscape Design

As a professional landscape designer, I primarily use two software programs in my design practice: the first is Dynascape, and the second is Realtime Landscaping Architect by Ideaspectrum.

To develop a design, I first personally measure the site, even if there is already an existing survey for the property, as measurements for surveyors and measurements for purposes of landscape design are not similar. I take an accurate placement of the building footprint as well as all windows and doors, because this influences the landscape design, but rarely if ever serves the purposes of a legal survey of the property. - Which is why I do my own measurements. In addition, trees and significant shrubs are often surveyed. I like to verify these myself, and it is usually accurate, however I also need to determine with the owner which of these are to stay and which are to be removed . Other pertinent details are verified which could affect a landscape design. Not to mention, much of the unconscious design process happens for me during this crucial time while I am in essence "interviewing" and getting to know the site.

Then, I use Dynascape software to create the layout of the property and buildings, so that the landscape area to be designed is suitably represented on the drawing. Dynascape is a type of CADD program (CADD stands for computer-aided design and drafting). It supports the drawing of lines (vectors). While you can import images (rasters) and place them within the file, the primary thing you are doing with this program is drawing lines; accurate lines, which when printed, are to a certain scale such as 1/4" drawn = 1'-0" in the real world.

I further build the design entirely in Dynascape, a very useful design tool. Sometimes I still do studies by hand with sketches or using photographs, but it all ends up on the computer in the end, to produce a drawing for the client.

All-in-all, because of the templates, lineweight settings and ease of drawing of curves, adding plant symbols, and doing takeoffs of square and linear footages, this software program Dynascape is a timesaver. It also produces nice crisp legible black & white drawings which are legible and comprehensible to the layperson, so my clients get a better picture of what I have envisioned for them. The drawing is a great tool for discussion to further refine the design when meeting with clients. In many cases it is sufficient to hand off to a skilled landscape installer as well, without having to recreate a full set of construction documents.

Construction documents (sometimes casually called blueprints) are what builders use to build from; these are rather dry-looking and meant for one purpose and one purpose only: construction. Once the drawings are to this stage, the design has already been finalized - in larger projects such as commercial work and institutional work, several stages of drawing - from concept to further refined representation down to construction documents - are essential in communication between the design team, the owners and the municipal and government institutions involved in a major construction project. Many electronic files between the design consultants may change hands, and a common software platform such as Autocad is more appropriate for exchange of commonly understood files.

However, in skilled hands of a qualified, seasoned landscape installer, a conceptual drawing such as I produce with Dynascape is quite suitable for installation of the average residential landscape. I would further caution that if the landscape installer on a residential project cannot build without construction documents, that the installer might not be the best choice for a residential job, since people tend to like a softer, simpler landscape for their home; I have seen expensive jobs that l ook more like civic centers or hospital campuses than private estates, all due to hiring the wrong design and installation team for the job. If they have to be told how to plant and steak a tree, install expensive stone patios and other fine details, then you certainly do not want them learning these refined details on your project.

Realtime Landscaping Architect by IdeaSpectrum is the other software of choice. I use this software as a 3-D visualization tool. I take the drawing created by Dynascape, import it as an image, and pop-up the landscape from this flat image into a 3-dimensional virtual world. From there, I can demonstrate the project from any angle, walk through the site virtually before the project is built, and create movies of walk-throughs and fly-throughs, all useful to demonstrate the vision and the feeling of the project to the clients before it is even built.

There is good reason for the strong reviews of this software. It is extremely affordable, and surprisingly fast to render for its humble price point. In fact, it is so much faster than other platforms aimed at the professional designer, that I prefer it. It renders movies in minutes rather than in hours, and I can walk through the project at any point in its unfolding on the fly, to make changes quickly and see the results right away. Another strong point of this project is its soft rendering which gives a much better feeling of what a landscape experience is than some overly crisp harshly lit and angular rendering from other software platforms. The ability of the trees and plants to move in the breeze, the water rippling from a fountain with accompanying sound, the softness of the angles on the f orms and atmospheric quality of light give more of an impression of the actual space that is being designed and how it might feel to be in that space.

The other huge advantage to this software is that it is incredibly easy to build an entire landscape quickly. The modules for building instant houses, decks, pools, ponds, and fences make drawing these items as simple as drawing a line. Clicking on the resultant objects opens up options to adjust finishes, materials and other options. In addition, the software can import anything you create in Google Sketchup. This means that any custom item you wish to create can easily be dropped right into the landscape. A custom awning, arbor, pot or planter, can be brought right into the drawing. Also this means that the entire Google Warehouse of objects other people have created in Sketchup and uploaded, is at your disposal. I have imported cars, buildings, plants and a myriad of items that I just didn't want to have to create m yself. Also I have created a lovely Japanese-style custom arbor with translucent overhead panels into the 3-D drawing and it worked perfectly. While many of my colleages are still using Google Sketchup to render their entire landscapes laboriously, and with poor lighting effects, harsh angles and an overall "clunky" look, I am importing what I need from Sketchup or Google Warehouse into Realtime Landscaping Architect, and having it lit beautifully, rendered softly, and placed in a lovely landscape setting that took me far less time to produce. I can then on top of that create movies and walk-throughs on the fly and have the effects of breezes and sounds of water features, etc to further provide an enhanced virtual experience of the proposed landscape design.

The weak point of this software is that its terrain building is awkward and difficult to manipulate to render an accurate representation of the landform. They have promised that a new terrain module will be rolled o ut with the release of their next version planned within the next several months. I am really looking forward to that, in addition to other exciting upgrades. Other platforms can accommodate a topographic rendering from a topographical survey quite nicely, however Realtime Landscaping Architect has its own way of generating landforms that are somewhat intuitive but difficult when trying to wrestle it to stay put at the appropriate elevation. The walls are also tricky to wrangle if you want to represent a particular retaining wall at a certain height with a fixed top-of-wall and bottom-of-wall. Walls tend to pop up and down with the slightest adjustment to the terrain, even when you try to make the wall stay in place. The software takes a soft approach again, here to its disadvantage. This is why at this time it is strictly a visualization tool and not one that I can utilize to generate accurate construction drawings or even (at this time) accurate 3-D renderings. But since it is so quick to build a landscape and render the concept for the client instantly, its shortcoming here is balanced out by its quick landscape rendering to get the point across quickly and beautifully, and its otherwise incredible ease of use.

Realtime Landscaping Architect is an incredibly powerful 3-D visualization tool and a useful part of my professional design practice.

by Ami Saunders, MLA, Landscape Designer, Principal, SAUNDERS DESIGNS | Landscapes + Gardens

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Many Uses Of Flowers

Flowers are the most widely used species of plants in the world. Flowers are used as a symbol on certain events such as flowers used by the bride in wedding, flowers as a symbol to a girl's transition to womanhood on a debutante ball or the cotillion, as traditional flowers on Valentines Day.

Flowers are also used as a form of a gift on special occasions such as such as mother's day, Christmas, anniversaries, or even birthdays. Flowers can also be used as decorations for parties or gatherings.

The uses of Flowers are not only restricted as decorative and as symbol of celebrations or occasions, flowers can also produce a source of food. Flowers produce nectar, which the bees will extract to store as food on there hives, whereas human extract these nectar from the hives to produce honey, some flowers are also used for medical purposes or for shampoos.

Because of the flower's attractiveness and beauty many have Sprinkler System Installation Flower Mound decided to make a profit out of these flowers by selling those beautiful flowers and started their own flowers shops. Flower Express, one of the Philippines leading online flower shop; have built an online flower shop as a means for people to easily get hold to a large variety of flowers with just the use of a computer. Flowers Express's Flower gift Philippines and Gifts Philippines can provide a means of for people to choose from many variety of flower gift and gifts.

Flower gift Philippines is a branch of Flowers Express that specializes on selling different kinds of flowers. Flower gift Philippines sells many kinds of flowers local or foreign such as Alstroemerias, Carnations, Ecuadorian Roses, Gerberas, High-Style Collection, Lilies, Mixed Bouquets, Orchids, Spring Flowers, Tulips and many more. Flower gift Philippines can also provide their customers special arrangements for special occasions such as Anniversaries, Congratulations, Christmas, Get Well, Love & Romance, Sorry, Thank You, Welcome Home, and Valentines Special.

Gifts Philippines is a branch of Flowers Express that sells different kinds of gifts. Flowers Express doesn't only sell flowers to their customers but also some other gifts with Gifts Philippines. Gifts Philippines sells different kinds of gifts such as Chocolate, Fruit Basket, Gift Ba skets, Men's Fragrances, Wines & liquors, and Women's Fragrances.

With Flowers Express's Flower gift Philippines and Gifts Philippines, customers are provided with services that lets them buy flowers and gifts with just the help of a computer and an internet. If you want more information on Flowers Express's Flower gift Philippines and Gifts Philippines then visit

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Best Home Design Blog | Apartment Therapy

Dear Readers,

Please click on our 2012 Home Design Blog winner:

Bower Power

Bloggers: Katie & Jeremy Bower

Location: Atlanta, GA

De ar Readers, Please check out Katie and Jeremy's awesome blog and thank you for taking part in helping us to discover and celebrate the best in the home blogosphere. Bower Power will now join our pantheon of Best Home Blogs, and we'll see you next year.

Best, Maxwell


o Back Home Improvement College Station to Main Post & Past Winners

Click to see winners in each category:

o Best Home Design Blog: Bower Power

o Best Family Blog: Rockstar Diaries

o Best DIY Blog: A Beautiful Mess

o Best Recipe Blog: Munchin with Munchkin

o Best Healthy Cooking Blog: The Clothes Make The Girl

o Best Food Photography on a Blog: Nom Nom Paleo



Monday, 19 June 2017

California Residents Face Fines as Bone-Dry State Seeks to Reduce Water Use

Across the West, a historic drought - the worst in over a century - has sparked a water crisis that for the first time has forced California officials to impose mandatory statewide water restrictions.

"We need water," Gov. Gerry Brown said today. "We're gonna have to get water."

Watch: Extremely dry conditions fuel wildfires in at least five states.

There have no been no fewer than a dozen raging wildfires, from Idaho and Oregon to Arizona, Washington and Nevada.

The Bully Fire in Northern California chewed through 10-square miles and destroyed eight homes. The landscape has become a tinderbox and water reservoirs are now bone dry. About 2,200 firefighters have been working hard to keep the flames away.

Nevada's Lake Mead is now at its lowest point since the Hoover Dam was built, officials said.

In today's announcement, officials in California announced that it is illegal to let sprinkler systems flow into the street, hose down sidewalks and driveways or use an open hose to wash your car.

"I think my husband has been guilty of coming out late at night and doing a little secre tive watering underneath the trees," resident Pam Ferko said.

Scofflaws faced fines of up to $500 a day.

Previously, residents had ignored the governor's pleas to cutback - statewide, water usage actually went up - so now Californians are being encouraged to rat out their neighbors.

"Our water complaint calls have gone up exponentially from the last two years," said Terrance Davis of the state's Department of Utilities.

Lawn sprinklers and car washes aren't the only culprits though.

Agriculture uses 80 percent of the state's water. The drought is projected to cost $2 billion in crop losses this year, which will mean higher food prices nationwide.

Sprinkler regulations raise alarm: proposed regs require systems in all nursing homes.

Nursing homes across the country will need to install automatic

sprinkler systems throughout their buildings under a new regulation

proposed by CMS.

CMS published a proposed rule in the October 27, 2006, Federal

Register that would require all long-term care facilities to install

sprinkler systems. The agency did not propose any date for compliance,

but instead asked for public comment on the duration of a phase-in

period to allow long-term care facilities to plan for and install the

systems. The comment period closed December 26.

CMS acknowledged that installing sprinklers will be both an

expensive and time-consuming effort for nursing homes, but one that will

save lives. Under the new regulation, nursing homes would have to

install sprinkler systems if they want to continue to accept Medicare

and Medicaid dollars.

"Automatic sprinkler systems are integral t o increasing safety

in nursing homes, and we look forward to their installation in all of

the nursing homes across the country," said Leslie V. Norwalk,

acting administrator of CMS, in a press release.

Good for the industry?

As expected, fire protection consultants applauded CMS'

decision. "It's an excellent move and a needed move.

Obviously, it's going to save lives," says James K. Lathrop,

vice president of Koffel Associates, Inc., in Niantic, CT.

"My professional opinion is that this is one of the best

things to happen recently in terms of life safety," agrees A.

Richard Fasano, manager of the western office of Russell Phillips &

Associates, LLC, in Elk Grove, CA.

Both Lathrop and Fasano noted that the nursing home industry

supports the installation of automatic sp rinklers in facilities.

"There hasn't been any opposition to this at all," Fasano


In fact, the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the industry

group that represents for-profit nursing homes, worked closely with the

National Fire Protection Association on the sprinkler issue and other

Life Safety Code[R] issues.

"Our first, most basic priority as providers of quality

long-term care is to guarantee the physical safety of frail, elderly,

and disabled residents within a facilit y," said AHCA President

Bruce Yarwood, in a press release. "[Although] major nursing home

fires are rare, fire prevention remains a top priority for our


Smoke Sprinkler System Denton alarm proviso

As an interim step toward the requirement for sprinkler systems, in

March 2005 CMS began requiring all nursing homes that did not have

sprinklers to install battery-operated smoke alarms in all resident

rooms and public areas.

The proposed rule includes a sunset provision for the smoke alarm

requirement, which CMS will phase out to coincide with the requirement

of facilities with full sprinkler systems.

Save a life, even if it costs

Installing sprinklers decreases the chances of fire-related deaths

by 82%, CMS said, citing a July 2004 Government Accountability Office (GAO) rep ort, Nursing Home Fire Safety: Recent Fires Highlight

Weaknesses in Federal Standards and Oversight. The report examined two

2003 long-term care facility fires in Hartford, CT, and Nashville, TN,

that resulted in 31 resident deaths.

The GAO report cited sprinklers as the single most effective fire

protection feature for long-term care facilities. If the Hartford and

Nashville nursing homes were equipped with automatic sprinklers, "I

don't even think we would have ever heard about them," Lathrop


The proposed rule will require every long-term care facility to

install "an approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system"

in accordance with the 1999 edition of NFPA 13, "Standard for Sprinkler System Installation Denton the

Installation of Sprinkler Systems." It also requires the testing,

inspection, and m aintenance of those systems by facilities in accordance

with the 1998 edition of NFPA 25, "Standard for the Inspection,

Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems."

AHCA said it plans to work with Congress to help provide resources

for nursing homes that will need to tackle the high cost of retrofitting

older facilities with sprinkler systems.

Under existing CMS regulations, newly constructed nursing homes and

those undergoing major renovations, alterations, or modernizations must

install sprinkler systems. However, until now CMS has not required older

homes to have such systems.

In its proposed rule, CMS estimated it would cost thousands of

dollars to install a sprinkler system, depending on the size of the


Yarwood said it is important that CMS recognized the need for a

phase-in period to allow nursing homes planning and installation time.

CMS also acknowledged that facilities might need to reallocate their

resources and possibly secure additional capital resources to fund the

improvements, as well as possibly temporarily relocate residents during

installation. CMS said some facilities may choose to move rather than

install a system in their current location.

How much time do you have to install?

In the final rule, CMS said it wants to see nursing homes install

the sprinklers as quickly as possible, but acknowledged that new

regulations should not place undue burden on facilities. "The cost

of installing sprinklers is substantial, and we do not expect long-term

care facilities to have $75,000 to $615,000, depending on the size of

the area requiring sprinklers and the cost of installing sprinklers,

immediately available to purchase and install sprinklers," CMS

stated i n the rule. "At this time we do not know what would be the

exact length of the phase-in period."

For illustrative purposes, CMS offered cost estimates that looked

at five, seven, and 10-year phase-in periods to implement the sprinkler

requirement. "I think 10 years is more than liberal," Lathrop


Based on a 10-year time frame for implementation, CMS estimates

that the regulation would affect 2,462 nursing homes--1,947 that are

partially sprinklered and 515 without any sprinklers.

The estimated cost for installing a sprinkler system in an average

size building (50,000 sq ft) without any existing sprinklers would be

$205,000 to $307,500, depending on the cost per square foot, CMS said in

the rule.

If a long-term care facility is part of another building, such as a

hospital, then the regulation will require sprinklers only in the
< br>long-term care section.

RELATED ARTICLE: CMS to hold off on 2006 Life Safety Code for now.

While CMS moves ahead to require nursing homes to install automatic

fire sprinklers, the agency is doing so without adopting the 2006

edition of the Life Safety Code[R] (LSC).

In its proposed rule, published in the October 27 Federal Register,

CMS clearly stated that it is not prepared to adopt the 2006 LSC. The

agency said it supports the NFPA's decision to include an automatic

sprinkler system requirement for all long-term care facilities in the

2006 LSC. However, "we have decided to proceed with this rule,

without adopting the NFPA 2006 edition of the LSC, because we want to

avoid further delay in requiring an automatic sprinkler system in

long-term care facilities," CMS wrote in the rule.

To adopt the 2006 LSC, CMS stated it would have to go through

notice and comment rulemaking. "In addition to the time that it

takes to carefully analyze the LSC in its entirety, the rulemaking

process itself is a time-consuming process that, even in the best case

scenario, takes 18 months to complete," CMS wrote.

Because of the large scope of the LSC, that process could take even

longer, CMS stated, speculating it would not be able to adopt and

enforce compliance with the 2006 edition until 2008 or 2009. Then the

2008 or 2009 publication date of a final rule would begin a probable

phase-in period, which could be anywhere from three to 10 additional

years, CMS stated.

"We believe that delaying the rulemaking process would be a

disservice to all long-term care facility residents who reside in

buildings that do not have sprinklers," CMS stated.

CMS said it will continue to work with the NFPA to revise and

refine each edition of the LSC "We are currently examining the 2006

edition of the LSC in its entirety and exploring the possibility of

adopting it for all Medicare and Medicaid participating healthcare

facilities," CMS stated. The agendy said it welcomed public comment

on its decision to proceed with rulemaking on the sprinkler requirements

separate from the 2006 LSC.

While some may be disappointed that CMS did not adopt the 2006 LSC,

the agency's approach will allow it to create an implementation

period to give nursing homes time to install new sprinkler systems, says

A. Richard Fasano, manager of the western office of Russell Phillips

& Associates, LLC, in Elk Grove, CA.

If CMS adopted the 2006 LSC, nursing homes would have to

immediately comply with t hose requirements on the date the new code took

effect, Fasono says. "I think CMS is wise in taking the approach it

did."--Joanne Finnegan


Joanne Finnegan is a senior managing editor at HCPro, the parent

company of CLTC.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

ABC News Fixer: Dont Get 'Ghosted' By Lawn Scammers and Other Spring Lawn Care Tips

If you've got a lawn and hate to mow, beware the lawn service "ghosts."

"Ghosting" is an insiders' term used by lawn care professionals to describe workers who promise to come out and treat a homeowner's lawn but who don't actually do any work.

Homeowners who've been ghosted will find service flags stuck in their lawn and a receipt in their mailbox, but not much else. Complaints about ghosting and the "splash and dash" -- which is like ghosting, except a little bit of fertilizer or herbicide is thrown around -- abound on online lawn care forums.

Some consumers are catching on. More than 3,500 complaints were filed last year in the Better Business Bureau network against various lawn care services, including gripes about shoddy workmanship, contract issues or problems with billing and collections.

"Either the grass [problem] is not 'cured' or the lawn is not any better than before they came ... or the contract is never-ending, so they get stuck in that long- term contract," said Steve Bernas, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, citing some common complaints.

David Feeney of Land O' Lakes, Fla., caught a lawn ghoster shortly after installing a home security camera in 2010. On the video he posted to YouTube, which stops and starts when motion is detected, an employee from a lawn service can be seen driving up to Feeney's house, placing a flag in the yard, knocking on the front door and leaving without doing any work, as he looks over his shoulder.

"The lawn really looked g reat, and I think that Sprinkler System Mckinney was probably why the guy decided not to do anything," Feeney told the ABC News Fixer. "It was a Friday afternoon. Maybe he wanted to get done early and go have a beer.

"I was pretty shocked," Feeney added.

After Feeney examined the video - and the $42 bill for the nonexistent service - he complained to the lawn service, which apologized, withdrew the bill and let him cancel his account.

Bernas of the BBB said it's tough to prove "ghosting" without crouching behind the curtains or installing a security camera. "It's a spray," Bernas said. "How can you tell?"

Consumers need to check out the company and know exactly what they're signing up for - and not agree to a plan over the phone without first seeing a contract, Bernas said.

Are you having a lawn service problem? Tell it to the ABC News Fixer by CLICKING HERE.

Here are some tips for keeping your lawn and your wallet green:

Be specific. Do you just need mowing services, or are you looking for fertilizing, weeding, aerating - the whole gamut?

Find out what products and brands will be used and research the safety of any pesticides or herbicides. Are there any precautions for children, pregnant women, the elderly or pets? Ask about using less harmful alternatives.

Request a yard inspection and estimate before agreeing to anything. Be wary of anyone who will quote a price for elaborate lawn work without seeing your yard first.

Check reviews online. Get recommendations from family and friends. Talk with neighbors who have nice lawns.

Get written estimates from at least three companies.

Understand the contract. Are you paying for each mow or by the week? Does it include special services like edging or pest control? Who takes away the clippings? And what happens if it rains -- do they skip that week?

This is a big one: Does the contract automatically renew from season to season and year to year? If you aren't happy, what are your cancellation rights? Does the company offer a guarantee?

Make sure the company meets local licensing requirements a nd has liability insurance for its workers. Ask whether they use subcontractors.

- The ABC Sprinkler System News Fixer

CLICK HERE to go to The ABC News Fixer homepage

Follow The ABC News Fixer on Twitter

Friday, 16 June 2017

Brick Chips Landscaping: A Product Review


Install once

Saves money - because you do not have to replace it yearly

Save time and labor yearly

Protect the environment - no need to use chemical grass and weed sprays

Retains moisture in the ground


Keeping the brick chips contained

Foundation Plants Mulched With Brick ChipsCredit: Southerngirl09The Benefits of Landscaping With Brick Chips

Using brick chips as landscaping mulch will not only save you time and money, it will also add interest to your landscape beds.

I enjoy lawn work, and I enjoy gardening. What I don't enjoy is pulling grass and weeds. I have tried many ways to stop the growth of grass and weeds in my landscape beds. What I have not used, and what I will not use, are chemical sprays. When our home was built, the landscaping contractor placed hardwood mulch in all of the beds in the yard, including the foundation beds.

Once the hardwood mulch started to deteriorate, my husband didn't want to replace it with more wood mulch. There were several reasons for his decision. His first reason was that he felt that wood mulch seemed to attract more insects and bugs. Secondly, if the hardwood mulch contained any pine, it would be an invitation for termites. Thirdly, a couple of years ago, we read an article stating that some hardwood mulch was made by mulching old shipping pallets. The article went on to say that these pallets could have had many different items shipped on them, including any or all types of chemicals. After reading about the chemicals, we decided we did not want hardwood mulch in our landscaping beds any more.

Our last custom built house was a contemporary rancher. We used white rocks all around the house, and in a large area landscaped with multi size rocks. Not the usual style house built in Virginia, but we liked it. We called it our middle life crisis house. Anyway, I digress; we found that by having the rock all around the house, it helped to protect the foundation, kept away grass and weeds, and we liked the look.

Our current house, however, is not a contemporary house, so we needed something else. After looking around, we found two possible items to use for mulch. One product was lava rock, and the other product for consideration was red brick chips. We decided on the red brick chips, and we are very pleased with the results.

The areas we decided to use the brick chips in are the beds that surround the house, where we have foundation shrubs planted. Brick chips are not practical for areas where you want to dig, and plant your annual flowers. They are hard to move, and they should be considered as permanent mulch. While they can be moved, it would be quite a job.

Pl an Before Installing Brick Chips as Mulch

The only con I listed about brick chips is containing them. Since I didn't want them in the grass, then I needed to devise a method to contain them. My solution was an easy fix for me. On the sides and the back of the house, I simply installed bricks that blended in with the brick chips and our foundation bricks. I dug a shallow trench in which to set the narrow side of the bricks in, and I laid the bricks end-to-end long ways. Setting the bricks this way, made a nice border to keep the brick chips contained. Also, this solid row of bricks makes trimming the grass with the string trimmer easy.

On the front of my house, a sidewalk runs in front of one of the shrub beds. Installing the brick chips there was easy, since the sidewalk acted as the barrier for holding in the brick chips. Sometimes, after a hard rain, a few of the pieces will wash out onto the sidewalk, but they can easily be pushed back. The other side, on the front of the house, presented more of a challenge. This shrub bed is much larger, it is rounded on two sides, and these sides have no barrier to keep the brick chips in place. One side of this shrub bed backs up to the house foundation. And the other side of this shrub bed borders the front stoop, the front steps, and a large concrete pad, which adjoins the sidewalk. Around the grass side of the shrub bed, I have liriope planted. So, just behind the liriope, I installed some of the plastic edging to keep the brick chips contained.

Bagged Brick Chips EURCredit: Southerngirl09Find a Supply of Brick Chips

When I first started this project, the brick chips were being sold in bags by one of the home improvement stores in my area. This was easy; I could easily borrow my son-in-law's truck, and I could haul what I needed, when I needed it. Just as I was ready to complete the project, the home improvement store stopped selling the bagged brick chips. I called around, and I found that landscapers in the area, who sold wood mulch, also carried the brick chips. But in order to purchase the brick chips from them, I would have to buy them by the ton, and they would have to be delivered. That meant an increase in cost for the brick chips. Plus, I would have to move them from the pile, to the bed, using a wheelbarrow. And if I shoveled the brick chips from the wheelbarrow, that would entail more backbreaking labor. My daughter is one of those people who can find just about anything, so she took over the job, and she found that a local Southern States store carried them in bags. So, I was all set to complete this job.

Before installing brick chips as mulch, be sure to pull or dig up all grass and weeds in the area you are going to mulch.

Next, lay down newspapers, to prevent weeds or grass from growing. Use newspapers about five to six layers thick to cover the area where you will be putting down the brick chips, and be sure to overlap the edges. Another alternative to using the newspaper is kraft paper or cardboard. Be careful when cutting out the paper around the base of the plants, so as not to damage the shrub(s). While laying out the paper, use some bricks to keep it in place, since any small breeze can move it.

To place over the paper layer, purchase a high quality black landscape cloth, one that is guaranteed for the longest number of years. Be sure to overlap the fabric so there is no way for light to get through to encourage a weed seedling. As you lay out the landscaping cloth, move the bricks off the paper, and use them to anchor the landscape fabric, being carefu l not to tear the fabric. You can also purchase Landscape Anchor Pins (they look like large staples) to hold down the paper and fabric during installation. I prefer using the bricks since they can be used for many different jobs.

How to Install Brick Chips

Finally, add the brick chips. I use two to three inches of brick chips. Once you have covered the area with brick chips you are through. And I mean you are through! Every spring you can sit back, watch your neighbors haul wood mulch, and spread it. You will occasionally have to pull a small sprig of something that is trying to grow on top of the landscape fabric, but this is easy and not too frequent.

In Closing

Red Brick Chips Add Beauty to Your GardenCredit: Southerngirl09

I am pleased with my brick chips landscaping beds. I like the way they look. In my opinion, landscaping brick chips are a win-win fix to an age-old problem - getting rid of grass and weeds from landscaping beds.

You might also find the following do-it-yourself articles interesting.

House Number Sign

Home Burglary Prevention Tips

Choose Schlage Door Locks

Install Outdoor Motion Lights for Security

Install Motion Detector Lights Inside Your Home for Your Safety

Install Dusk to Dawn Lights for Added Home Security

Residential Outdoor Lighting Options

Every gardener and handyman or handywoman needs at least one of these multipurpose stools. I liked these carts so much that I have one outside for gardening, and I have another that I use inside the house. Oh, they make great gifts, too!

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