Search This Blog

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hardscape finished

(Another view of our horrendous old stoop)

Well, our wonderful magic makers at Libardi Island Landscape really outdid themselves. They finished up on the masonry job here at our house and Don and I can honestly say that they exceeded our wildest dreams!

Here you can see a close up of the pavers we chose. Pete and Tony really recommended these imported pavers made by Rinox and we're so glad we listened to them. The color we chose is Milton Grey and the style is Trevia.

The biggest design problem we had encounted was tying in the different areas. For some reason, each spot was paved with a different type of material and none of them seemed to match with the other ones.

Today you constantly hear nightmare stories about contractors so it's such a wonderful feeling to know that you made one of the best choices ever. Pete (Piero) and Tony (Antonio) along with their crew never gave us one moment of worry. When we had a question, Pete would stop by in person and explain things and work them out with us. He kept us updated as to their schedule (the weather plays such an important role for them) and made sure that they would get this job done in plenty of time for us to get ready for our daughters graduation party.

This silly patio in front of our breezeway was such an eyesore. It was constructed with completely different materials than the walk-way just feet in front of it, different from the breezeway floor itself and different again from the patio just behind the breezeway. There was just no sense of cohesion here, instead we had a mish-mash of hardscape.

Just last week when Pete came by to check on a question we had with the sprinkler heads, he told us that he had a brain storm and urged us to consider connecting the various areas so that we really had one single hardscape. Such a simple thought but one we had never considered, what a Genius!

Here you can see Tony working on the intricate herringbone pattern which he recommended and we are madly in love with. Can you see our other floating platform in the back ground?

Finally, here's the finished walkway leading into the patio in front of the breezeway. This afternoon I took out most of that plant material and began landscaping my new beds. Stay tuned for one final installation showing the shrubs I've chosen to highlight our new stonework.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hardscape Time

(Ick, our front walk and stoop were an insurance agents nightmare. We no longer felt safe standing on that front stoop. Forget about any welcoming feeling.)

Hardscape is such an important part of any landscape package but easily the most expensive. When we bought our house (almost 11 years ago), we knew we'd need quite a bit of stone work down the road.

The front stoop was so small that you had to step back and down one step just to get the door open. That was pretty ridiculous considering our front lawn is almost 3/4's of an acre. The walkway from the driveway to the stoop was only set in sand and had been undermined by chipmunks more times that I can count.

A few years ago we began to look into estimates on having masonry work done here. The first time I asked for everything at once, the front walk and stoop, the driveway, the back patio and the pool patio. OUCH! That first estimate was the size of a down payment on a house.

(First view of the new stoop and floating platform)

Since then we've had one or two estimates a year, just for the work in front of the house. Not one of the people who came here excited us. Basically they offered a plan very similar to what was here. I'm the first to admit that I know nothing about this kind of design work but I knew that we needed some kind of inspiration. Along came Libardi Island Landscaping Corp. and suddenly we knew we were in the right hands.

(Preparing the foundation for the new walkway)

Pete and Tony Libardi were doing work on the house across the street from us and we did our usual "come give us an estimate" dance. Right from the start we knew things were different. They had done such a classy job on the house across the street. Pete came up with some ideas that I would have never conceived on my own. Not only would the stoop be larger but there would be a "floating platform" at the base of the stoop and then the walkway would be another level.

(Work on the walk way and patio in front of the breezeway begin today)

Today we are only half way through the job and Don and I are just ecstatic. These guys are awesome! Not only is their work amazing and their prices highly competitive, they continue to come up with new ideas.

Just in case you live on Long Island and are looking for a recommendation for some great masons, I took the above photo. We highly recommend Libardi Island Landscaping Corp. Although the job they did here was strictly masonry, they also did a totally awesome landscape package on the house across the street from us.

I've got to go back out and watch the magic they are creating,

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dogs Versus Cats as the Ultimate garden pet

(Man's best friend)

If you are a gardener and are thinking of getting a pet, here's some timely advice.

Get a cat. Dog's are cute and might be mans best friend but when it comes to gardening, they will make your blood pressure POP!

Cat's slink around the plants in your garden.
Good cat.

Dog's thunder through the plants in your garden.
Bad dog.

Cats will hunt down any vole, mouse, chipmunk or bunny eating up your garden.
Good cat.

Dogs will chase any vole, mouse, chipmunk or bunny through your garden, decimate a 15 foot swath and come up empty handed with a big goofy grin on their face.
Bad dog.

(What makes you think I was sniffing down that chipmunk hole again?)

Cats will wait patiently at the opening of a chipmunk hole for hours until the wee creature emerges and then pounce.
Good cat.

Dogs will dig out that chipmunk hole so far that you will be looking at China (most likely a Chinese gardener with a dog will be peering back at you).
Bad dog.

Cats are nice and quiet so you can hear yourself think. When a visitor comes by you can actually have a conversation.
Good cat.

Dogs are loud, rude and disruptive. Even if you put them in the house, shut all the windows and doors, you will have to ask your visitor to walk 50 feet down the driveway before you can carry on any kind of conversation with them.
Bad dog.

(If you think I can't still hear you, you're wrong!)

When cats dig holes in your garden, it's to bury their business.
Good cat.

When dogs dig holes in your garden, it's just for fun, and never where you need a new hole.
Bad dog.

(Yes, I know the compost heap was on the other side of this wall, I just wanted to dig on this side.)

You can carry home the biggest bag of cat food and not hurt your back.
Good cat.

If you try to carry a bag of dog food without wearing a hernia belt you will find yourself making best friends with the chiropractor.
Bad dog.

Cats do not steal your every garden tool and barbeque utensil every time you turn your head.
Good cat.

Dogs will steal anything not nailed down and chew the living daylights out of it. They will stoop so far as to stick their head under the barbeque vinyl cover just to get a hold of that scrubby grill brush that smells like burnt meat.
Bad dog.

When a cat is inside the house it will not enter a room if the door is shut.
Good cat.

When you have lever door knobs, your dog will figure out how to open any door they desire.
Bad dog.

(Of course I didn't make that mess. You should be more careful with your trash.)

Cats give themselves baths.
Good cat.

(I don't know what you're talking about. I like that smell.)

Dogs never give themselves baths. They will run through every mud puddle in the garden, prance around in a rain storm, attack the sprinkler and then balk at standing in the bathtub unless you join them. Then when they are soaking wet and you turn your back they will make a run for it, open doors and lay down on your bed, on YOUR pillow, not your husbands pillow.
Bad dog.

(Hey! How are you supposed to get a drink around here?)

(What do you mean by "this couch is for people"?)

At the worst a cat will use a plant marker as a back scratcher.
Good cat.

At its best a dog will chew your plant marker only enough so that you can still make out the name (but you will have no hope for finding out where it came from).
Bad dog.

(No words necessary)

Every cat I've had has come when I've called its name.
Good cat.

When I call my one dog by her name she looks at me with that teen-age look. (I see your lips moving but all I hear is Blah, Blah, Blah.)
Bad dog.

(Table? What table? How was I supposed to know not to sleep on the table?)

Cats sleep all day while you are working and then do what ever they do at night while you are sleeping.
Good cat.

Dogs drive you crazy all day long and then try to sleep on your bed while you are laying exhausted in it at night.
Bad dog.

Thus goes one week with Calie the wonder-dog. After a harrowing week of chasing my labradoodle Calie around the yard as she devasted multiple plantings, decimated a family of bunnies and traumatized a colony of chipmunks I've decided to post the pro's and con's to having a dog or cat. Before we had Calie, we were always a cat family so I know well what that was like.

My yard is totally trampled!