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Carpenter Costin's Blog

Making Space Beautiful After Removing A Pool in Beverly, MA

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Jul 23, 2014 12:06:00 PM

Beaux_arts_garden_before1Our client in Beverly owns a beautifully renovated, craftsman bungalow on a pristine lot. There was only one glaring eyesore...a round sandpit where an above-ground pool once stood.

What to do with the space?

Our landscape architect, Shane Mahoney, worked with the clients through various options, designs, and layouts. The more they brainstormed, the more they were drawn right back to a circular shape.

A circle form softens the strict linearity of the architecture and fence lines, while creating a strong anchor point in the corner of the yard. 

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The next step was to figure out how to make the circle form into a usable and aesthetic part of the landscape.

Inspiration came from formal European gardens of symmetry and balance. 

 

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Each of the four quadrants is a raised perennial planter that doubles as an intimate seating wall. These sections of the overall circle form are divided by two perpendicular bluestone walkways that deliver you to the existing lawn perfectly on-grade. 

Anyone else out there thinking of replacing an above-ground pool with a Beaux Arts Garden? Request a free consultation!

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Topics: Landscape Design, Landscape Construction

Keep Your Trees Safe During Construction

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Apr 17, 2014 9:00:00 AM

constructionThis is the time of year for renovations and other construction projects.  Before you begin,   consider consulting with one of our Certified Arborists to evaluate the impact this work may have on your trees and shrubs.

One of the most prevalent dangers is severing a tree’s root system, but soil compaction is another large problem that many people don't consider.  When heavy equipment drives over plant root zones, soil becomes compressed. When water can't penetrate the dense, compacted soil you end up with excessive dryness and roots suffocate.  Compacted soil also causes twig and branch die back, leaf or needle dryness and possibly even tree death.  

Learn the steps necessary to prevent plant injury by including an Arborist’s visit in your project’s planning process. For a free consultation with a Certified Arborist, before your next project, give us a call at (877)308-8733, or click below.

Request a Free Consultation


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Topics: tree care, Landscape Construction, arborist evaluation, Spring

Creating a Master Plan for your Landscape Design

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Apr 7, 2014 7:00:00 AM

A master plan is a comprehensive plan of action intended to guide growth and development. You can create a master plan for professional success, for personal growth, for a community, and you can create a master plan for your home and landscape design.

Your home, where you live, includes both the indoor and outdoor living space that should be complementary. You want a flow from one to the other. Your landscape should be a harmonious space from which you derive enjoyment.

Landscape design is an art, as and such it uses the principles of simplicity, good scale, balance, sequence, and focalization. These principles are the guidelines in designing each outdoor feature, whether it's patio, stone walkway, a flower garden, or a shrub border. 

When you decide to improve your landscape, your outdoor living space, a master plan is essential. A Landscape Architect creates a master plan by working with you to understand your goals for the space and how you intend to live in it. Analyzing your goals and researching the parameters of the site helps determin the optimum solutions in advance of actual execution.

Whether you implement your design in one season or break it down into phases and install over several seasons, a landscape master plan ensures continuity throughout the project. Master planning allows you a practical approach to construction sequencing and phasing, and gives you a better understanding of costs and maintenance.

Our Registered Landscape Architects are available to discuss master planning. Click the button below for your free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

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Topics: Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, Spring

Preparing for Spring Landscaping

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Mar 3, 2014 10:37:00 AM

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It doens't feel like Spring is around the corner but in reality now is a great time to start planning your Spring landscape. To begin, think about how you want to use your yard this year and consider areas for kids or pets, entertaining or outdoor living. If you're not sure, our landscape architects have great ideas and will help you envision your yard as a perfect place to play and relax. 

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Here are some ideas for Spring Landscaping:

  1. Bring warmth and fun to your backyard with a stone fire pit.
  2. Redefine the entrance to your home with a new walkway.
  3. Add a beautiful flowering tree for an interesting focal point.
  4. Introduce seasonal color to your property by adding flowers that bloom all season.
  5. Add outdoor living space with a new patio.
  6. Remove or transplant overgrown shrubs that detract from curb appeal.
  7. Install a stone wall to delineate a seating area.

Carpenter Costin’s landscape architects will work with you to explore the possibilities of your property and turn your dreams into reality.  Call now for a no obligation consultation on spring landscaping, 877/308-8733.  

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Topics: tree planting, hardscape design, Carpenter Costin, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, landscape tips, Spring Landscape Care, Spring

Beautiful Bluestone Patio

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Sep 19, 2013 3:33:00 PM

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We recently completed a beautiful bluestone patio that transformed the back of a house in Melrose. We worked closely with the clients and established a plan to remove the old and unsightly asphalt and concrete from the back area of the house and replace it with a beautiful bluestone patio.

You can see that one of the challenges this yard presented was the sloped landscape.

 

before 2 resized 600We put a lot of thought into figuring out exactly how the grading was going to work, in order to guarantee rain water would sheet-flow away from the house, and to make sure that the house, patio, driveway, and yard were all tied together properly.

 

A creative solution to the grading problem was to extend a stone retaining wall out of the foundation of the house and top it with a thermal bluestone cap.

This not only solved a grading issue, but the wall is a perfect seat, running along the side of the new patio.

after 2 resized 600Emerging out of the end of the seating wall is an uncapped retaining wall that returns back into the grade and allows a perfectly scaled walkway with granite steps to guide the clients or their guests from the driveway to the patio. Unlike the smooth, newly cut granite steps within the walkway at the entrance to the patio area.

The rough, recycled granite steps anchor the far corner of the space and lead one down to the sunken grass glade below.

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The finishing touches will come in the form of a custom deck being constructed adjacent to the patio and colorful perennials within all the planting pockets we created throughout the landscape. We can't wait to share the final results!

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Topics: Featured Projects, Carpenter Costin, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, landscape care, portfolio

Spring Landscaping Ideas

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Mar 12, 2013 10:49:00 AM

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After a long, cold, snowy winter, it’s time to get outside, take a deep breath and start planning how you are going to use your yard this year. As we all seek outlets for stress reduction and restoration, let our landscape architects help you transform your property into an attractive, welcoming and serene place to play and relax. 

Here are some ideas for Spring Landscaping:

  1. Bring the warmth and fun of a campfire to your backyard with a stone fire pit.
  2. Define the entrance to your home with a new walkway.
  3. Add a beautiful flowering tree for an interesting focal point.
  4. Introduce seasonal color to your property by adding flowers that bloom all season
  5. Add outdoor living space with a new patio.
  6. Remove or transplant overgrown shrubs that may be hiding your home.
  7. Install a fence or stone wall to delineate a property line.

 Carpenter Costin’s landscape architects will work with you to explore the possibilities of your property and turn your dreams into reality.  Call now for a no obligation consultation on spring landscaping, 877/308-8733.  Visit our website at www.carpentercostin.net to view our landscape portfolio.

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Topics: tree planting, hardscape design, Carpenter Costin, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, landscape tips

Featured Project: Natural Stone Patio and Water Feature in Reading, MA

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 18, 2012 3:47:00 PM

Transforming a barren slope into a tranquil sitting area with water feature.

It is amazing how many homeowners have areas of their property that they render useless for one reason or another. These areas are often hopelessly abandoned because they are deemed unusable, unsafe, or undesirable. Fortunately, with a little creativity and expertise from a Landscape Architect, not only can the abandoned be salvaged, but it can actually be transformed into desirable, useful landscaped areas.

The property in this featured project sits with a wooded slope directly to the rear of the house, rendering the “back yard” fairly useless – that is until a Carpenter Costin Landscape Architect took a look. With some fill, minor regarding, a natural stone patio, a water feature, and some plantings, the slope in the back yard was transformed into a tranquil, and very desirable patio area. Next spring when the plants fill in, and the pachysandra ground cover matures, this area will be the complete package of hardscape, softscape, and water feature.

See the images below for the transformation. To have a Landscape Architect out to your property for a free consultation, click here:

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feature before 1

The slope made utilizing this space a real challenge.

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Thinning out the trees, adding fill, and regrading helped make room for the walkway and patio.

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The area had scattered ground cover, but was undesirable to say the least.

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The new patio and two-tier water feature from the deck above.

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Before bringing in the fill, the slope was so extreme it made this area useless.

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Leveling off the slope made plenty of sitting room. As the plants fill in next spring it will make for a peaceful little landscape.

natural stone patio w water feature

A desirable, serene patio with a calming two-tier water feature.

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Topics: Featured Projects, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction

Why Fall is the Right Time to Add Walls, Walks, & Patios

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 17, 2012 10:40:00 AM

Fall is a great time for installing hardscape features, such as walkways, walls, and patios.

Even though the normal fall landscape tendencies include raking leaves and assuring your trees are structurally safe to withstand the load of snow, you don’t need to wait until spring to make landscape improvements - fall is a terrific time for hardscape installation. Take advantage of a few great months for landscape improvements and install a new hardscape fall hardscape installfeature this fall that will undoubtedly add value, and a new dynamic to your property. The fall landscape construction season can last from September until December depending on how hard the ground is.

Why Construct in the Fall?

Constructing hardscape features in the fall has a few main benefits over installing in the spring and summer months. During the spring and summer, you want to enjoy your landscape as much as possible, and could do without interruption due to construction. If you decide to construct in the fall, it ensures your hardscape feature will be ready come spring, and you won’t miss a single cookout or lounging opportunity. If you act fast, you’ll even be able to enjoy some of the nice nights this fall on your new patio.

Choosing to build in the fall also presents better conditions for growing turf and planting/transplanting trees and shrubs. You’ll have a better chance at establishing turf and plants around your new hardscape should you choose to install in the fall.

What to Build?

Adding a patio, walkway, or wall to your property will not only increase the property’s value, but it will also serve as a functional and attractive landscape feature. Looking for a timeless, durable entertaining space? A natural stone patio may be the answer for you. Tired of the heavily trafficked areas in your lawn wearing down to bare dirt? Add a walkway or stepping stone path for extra durability and appeal. Fall is a great time to install any hardscape - from a small natural stone patio, to a large concrete block retaining wall, or a durable new front walkway.

In addition, fall is also a great time for adding trees and shrubs, or transplanting existing plants to new locations.

Where to Start?

Start your fall landscape project with a free consultation with a Landscape Architect. During this consultation be sure to discuss all your wants and needs with the Landscape Architect and they’ll be able to discuss your various options, and work with you to find the hardscape solution that meets your needs, wants, and budget.

Don’t wait any longer to improve your landscape. Fall is a great time for both hardscape and softscape installation!

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fall patio hot tub

Install a stone patio around your hot tub this fall so you can enjoy the cool nights under the stars later this fall and winter!

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Topics: hardscape design, Fall Landscape Care, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction

Perks of Planting and Transplanting in the Fall

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 11, 2012 9:46:00 AM

Take advantage of the various benefits of planting and transplanting in the fall.

The kids are back in school, the Patriots have taken back to the gridiron, and pumpkins can be seen at your local farm stand – it must be fall. Even though we are experiencing the first signs of fall you do not need to give up on your landscape. In fact, the months of September, October, and November are great for landscape projects, especially the planting of new trees and shrubs, and the transplanting of existing ones.

Fall is a great time for root development. Planting in the fall months ensures that the newly installed or transplanted trees and shrubs experience the best conditions for developing a strong root system. The time spent developing the root system in the fall will pay dividends in the spring, as the trees and shrubs will be able to devote all their efforts to flower and fruit development. Building established root systems is critical to a tree or shrub’s success, which makes planting in the fall a wise decision.

An added benefit to planting in the fall months comes in the form of cost savings. By September, most nurseries are looking to move their inventory to prevent having to keep it over the winter. This makes sourcing plants a little more difficult for the Landscape Architect, as supplies will vary, but nurseries generally offer discounted prices in the fall in order to move said inventory. This means that you’ll save money on plant materials, which can add up for a savings in the thousands of dollars.

If you have an assortment of shrubs in your landscape, but don’t love how they’re configured, fall is a great time to transplant them elsewhere. Transplanting a few shrubs, and adding a few new trees and shrubs can truly reinvent your landscape.

Click the button below for a free consultation to discuss fall planting and transplanting ideas. You'll be glad you did come spring time!

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fall planting

Fall is the perfect time for foundation planting, and it is also a great time for lawn renovation.

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Topics: Fall Landscape Care, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction

Natural Stepping Stone Walks and Paths

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 7, 2012 10:18:00 AM

Consider a natural stepping stone path to guide traffic throughout your property.

It happens every year; the most highly trafficked areas on your property get trampled down natural stone stepping stone walkwayto bare dirt, leaving an unattractive series of paths across your landscape. Let this be the last year you have to look at these beaten paths, and add attractive stepping stone walkways to guide traffic across your landscape. Natural stone makes a great looking and durable stepping stone walkway.

The areas that are beaten down to dirt are done so for a reason – maybe it is the easiest path from the driveway to the front door, or quickest route from the back door to the grill. Whatever the reason, people choose it as the desired path; therefore, it makes sense to give it a desirable look and durability. Choosing to install natural stone as “steppers” is a great way to discretely improve your the path's durability, without sacrificing the natural look of grass and stone. Adding an engineered paver path or concrete walkway would undoubtedly increase the durability; however, it will sacrifice the natural appeal of the landscape.

One major benefit of a stepping stone walkway is that, when on a small scale, it can be an achievable DIY project. Natural stone can be picked up at your local landscape supply store and laid into the desired area. Once you have the stones where you want them you’ll need to dig a spot for the stone to rest, which is dependent on the thickness of the stone. You’ll want the stones to appear “sunken” in the lawn, but not too deep as that can become hazardous.

If you’d like to add a stepping stone walkway with large stones, or a full natural stone or paver walkway, we recommend dealing with a professional landscape construction firm since these projects will require additional equipment, grading, and expertise. Remember, as with any DIY project – safety first! Click the button below to speak with a Landscape Architect about natural stone walkways.

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walkway stepping stones

This is the best route from the gate to the back deck - newly installed stones will help limit wear and tear on the lawn.

natural stone path

This path leads from the back patio to a beautiful garden and sitting area.

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Topics: hardscape design, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction