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Old 02-27-2011, 10:33 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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New Build Home

This was a design and install project for a new build home situated on 13 acres and over-looked a 4 acre private pond. The project was basically broken into three phases. Phase 1 being the flagstone wall and steps leading to entrance, along with the foundation plantings. Phase two was grading and seeding the turf area. Finally phase 3 was constructing a boulder wall and plant bed in the center island of the driveway and beach near the pond.

For the walkway, there was 7" of fall between the concrete landing where the steps were to be located, and the concrete driveway that the walkway would meet. Fortunately we were able to grade the base in such a way that the slope was not much of an obstacle. At the end of the walkway the client specified that he wanted something that looked like, "two half moons" for steps. So, we came up with the idea to use Physique wall block to build the risers for the steps, and then use the same Ohio Blue flagstone that was used for the walkway for the tread. The final product turned out very well and the client tells me that the walkway and steps are the first thing almost everyone comments on when visiting for the first time.

The next challenge was grading and seeding roughly three acres. The rough final grade has been established by the excavating contractor using a bulldozer. We used a power rake on the back of a utility tractor to prepare the seed bed. One unfortunate side effect of the power rake was that it dug up a TON of 3/4" to 3" rocks. We windrowed them as best we could with the power rake, and then used a 3 point landscape rake to pile them and then remove them with the front end loader. Additionally, there was an area near the pond where the soil was of a gravel like consistency that would not have been suitable for growing grass. We brought in 40 yards of quality topsoil and spread it with the front end loader and 3 point landscape rake. We then used a 3 point drill seeder to seed the turf grass. We broadcast a starter fertilizer, and used a straw blower to cover the new seed with wheat straw. Fortunately, we hit the time of the year right, and we got rain a few days after seeding and then continued to get rain throughout the rest of fall, and the seed never really dried out. By the following spring, the new lawn was looking good!

The final phase was constructing a raised bed in the center of the driveway. Fortunately there were a number of 18"-36" boulders located in a pile at the end of the property that I knew we could put to good use. We used about 25 cubic yards of fill dirt to raise the elevation of the center island. We built about of 2' high boulder retaining wall at the end facing the entrance and then sloped the rest back to meet existing grade. In the center of the island we planted a clump River Birch a long with many other perennials, some bulbs, and a few accent rocks. We then sodded the area around the wall and plant bed to meet the driveway. Since the couple had five young children that were always near the pond, we selected about a 400 square foot area, and brought in a few truck loads of mortar sand and graded it to create a beach for the kids to play in and keep their toys.

Overall this was a really fun project that I really learned a lot from.
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