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Carpenter Costin Blog

Creating a Driveway in Salem, MA

1a

We recently worked with a client who purchased this stately late-1800's home on a main street in Salem, MA who loved the home, but desperately needed a driveway.

This property is full of history and character but completely void of parking! Based on the layout of the lot the front yard became the most convenient place to park. Though this parking situation worked reasonably well in the dry summer months, it was no secret that a proper driveway was in order...sooner than later.  

Easier said than done.

2a

The entire front property was pitched down to the house causing rain water to run into the foundation and seep into the basement. Fixing the pitch and drainage problem wasn't as simple as regrading and throwing in a new driveway; there were limitations.

Water couldn't be dumped out to either side because bounding both the east and west sides of the front yard were neighbor's shared driveways. In order to install the new driveway without adding water run-off to the neighbors' properties, and keep the water out of the client's basement, we had to resolve all the drainage within the confines of the 50-foot by 50-foot front yard area.

2dOur solution was to make the new brick driveway into a very subtle pyramid shape in order to divide the water flow into four quadrants and sheet flow each section down to each respective corner of the new driveway (divide and conquer!) This system consists of perforated drainage pipe and a series of dry-wells to deposit the water back into the ground in areas away from the driveway and the house foundation.

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The main goal with this project was to create a functional and aesthetic parking court in the front of an historic house. The client wanted to make certain that the driveway and landscape were scaled properly to the house and complemented the neighborhood vernacular.

We needed to install a new driveway and new plantings that looked like they had always been there, while functioning perfectly in regards to drainage of water and accomodating the need to park several cars.

Mission Accomplished!

1b

Winter Tree Care and a 10% Discount

tree_removal_bucket_truckAvoid tree loss and property damage  

Most damage during severe weather events occurs due to falling trees and limbs.  During winter months, storms with high winds can break off branches or cause trees to fall, resulting in property damage, power outages or even personal injury. The weight of ice and snow accumulations can bend and break delicate evergreens.

Now is an important time to have your trees inspected for decay, broken or hazardous branches, and weak branch unions.  There are some basic procedures that can help reduce the risk of tree and property damage.  Carpenter Costin’s certified arborists can inspect for conditions and defects that could predispose your trees to failure. In the winter you want to be sure to:

  • Clear dangerous branches away from your home
  • Remove dangerous and unwanted trees and shrubs
  • Rejuvenate shrubs and hedge to thicken and invigorate
  • Prune disease-prone fruit trees
  • Prune to improve vista

Please give us a call to arrange a complimentary appointment for a Carpenter Costin certified arborist to give your trees a thorough inspection and evaluation before winter hits.  Based on our assessment, Carpenter Costin may recommend treatments, pruning or installation of support cables.  As trees provide great value and beauty to your property, removal should only be considered only where high risk conditions exist. 

We offer a 10% discount on winter tree work between December 1st and March 31, 2013.

Don’t let your trees become casualties.  Call now to arrange a Free Tree Inspection by a certified arborist.  877/308-8733.

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Tight Spaces For Tree Work in Somerville

Tight_Spaces_(1)Carpenter Costin's Tracked Lift once again makes getting into tight spaces possible! Glen Park in Somerville offers a new constructed play area with slides and all manner of climbing fun. This is a well-planned park, but unfortunately the tree work was left until the end of construction, making it almost impossible (without the tracked lift!) to gain access.

The newly surfaced play areas and fencing wouldn't allow for the use of traditional equipment, but the tracked lift was able to navigate a pedestrian walkway.

If you need tree work done in a tight space and don't think we can gain access - think again! Give us a call at 877-308-8733 or contact us here for a free consultation about working in tight spaces.

Winter Tree Work in MA - 10% Discount

It's time for winter tree work. Have your trees serviced between Dec - Mar and get a 10% discount.

Tree removal and tree pruning in the winter is ideal for a number of reasons. Firm ground, low foliage, and reduced outdoor activity make tree service easier for the Arborist. Carpenter Costin's 10%  winter discount makes tree service much easier for the property owner as well.

Tree service in the winter is also recommended for areas that are constantly used in the growing season, such as golf courses and athletic fields. Servicing trees in these locations during the winter will ensure that there is no damage to the turf.

With clear sight lines, Arborists can easily analyze and prune out dead wood and hanging limbs, and identify any structural weaknesses that can be pruned or cabled to ensure safety.

Consider Carpenter Costin's winter tree services to help improve the appeal and safety of your trees. You'll be glad come spring time.

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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

HWAAn insect is threatening to destroy one of our most valuable native trees—the Eastern Hemlock.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a tiny, aphid-like insect introduced to the U.S. from Asia.  Since 1988, when it was discovered in the state, it has slowly spread throughout the region, usually by wind and birds.  In addition to being small, HWA is different from other insects as it lays dormant much of the growing season and becomes active throughout the winter, producing new egg masses as early as February.

HWA can be easily recognized by the presence of white cottony egg masses on Hemlock twigs.  Damage is caused when the eggs hatch and the young feed by sucking sap from the twigs, killing them.

Trees infested with HWA, untreated, may decline and die very quickly.   Once HWA has been identified, it should be treated immediately. 

Effective treatments are available to manage HWA.

Call now, 877/308-8733, to have your Hemlocks inspected by a certified Arborist and protected against this deadly pest.

Beautiful Bluestone Patio

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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!

The Perfect Touch: A Danvers Paver Driveway

drivewayYou might think of your driveway as an after-thought to your landscape or yard work, but pictures from this project will change your mind! A beautiful driveway is the perfect touch for curb appeal, welcoming visitors, and creating a clean and polished look to your property.
We just completed a beautiful 3,000 square foot driveway in Danvers, MA using a premium combination of pavers. The different shades and shapes create an interesting and beautiful look.
photo 2A horseshoe section of driveway delivers you to the top parking court area and garage, which sits about 15-feet above the grade of the road.
Some of the details include a double interior banding of weathered brick type pavers throughout the horseshoe
section of the drive, with a single banding at the top section to delineate the parking court area.
Our Carpenter Costin masons custom built an inlaid, 6'-diameter compass rose as a center piece for the parking court area. Look at the detail!
photo 3
Installation of select landscape boulders, plants, and high-quality Kentucky bluegrass sod softens the hardscape edges and finishes off the overall aesthetic.
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We love sharing projects like this to start sparking ideas! If you're intersted in speaking with a landscape architect who can give you ideas about giving your outdoor space the perfect touch, call us at 877-308-873 or request a free consultation.

What Causes Trees to Split?

describe the imageBetween wind and rain, Mother Nature can take a toll on your trees and put your homes, cars, and family at risk! A couple of weeks ago we got a call about an Oak tree in Swampscott that started to split on a calm day. During the month of July we had five calls for similar issues; trees or branches failing for seemingly no apparent reason. 
It's hard to remember now that we're enjoying the summer heat, but we had two significant storms this winter. Those hurricane force winds have damaged our trees, and now that the added weight of water and leaves are in the tree canopies, we're seeing the flaws manifest. 
This reminder reinforces the need to have a free arborist evaluation. A professional eye will see what you may not before you end up with a tree on your roof!

Are Your Plants Out of Control?

Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was customary for home builders to overplant house lots with evergreens.  Now those Rhododendrons or Arborvitaes may be towering over, smothering or just plain hiding your home.

One option is to cut all those evergreen plants down and start over with smaller plants.  Another idea is to cut back and prune those out-of-control shrubs so they fit into the desired space. Yearly pruning will keep your plants from overgrowing their spots and covering your home.

How to Tame Out-of-Control Plants

  • Prune annually to keep plants contained to their site
  • Prune after blooming for the best crop of flowers next spring
  • Cut back new, ‘leggy’ growth for a neater appearance
  • Prune to separate and define plants
  • Thin overgrown shrubs and ornamental trees to improve light and air circulation
  • Don’t attempt this if you are not sure what you are doing, it is easy to damage your plants

You’ll be amazed the difference a little pruning can do to make your property look fantastic.

Need some help? Contact us and we’ll send an arborist out to meet with you for a free consultation.

Faster and Safer Tree Work with our NEW Tracked Lift!

track lift resizedOur mission has always been to offer the best possible professional tree work, landscape design, and lawn care for our clients. We've been doing that for over 60 years and have some of the most delighted clients around. Now we can provide these services faster, safer, and more cost effectively. We're so excited for our newest piece of equipment, our Tracked Lift!

The tracked lift is so compact that it will fit thru a standard single door. The makeup of the lift allows us to move easily over soft, muddy or delicate finished surfaces without the damage that would be done by other types of wheeled equipment. It can even climb stairs!

Carpenter Costin will be using this beauty for things like:

  • Tree removal without climbing
  • Pruning large hedges without need for a ladder
  • Accessing yards that would otherwise be inaccessible because of fences and small gates

Track lift2 resizedLast week we had the perfect project for our new lift. Our client in Salem, MA had a large maple tree that was posing a hazard to a home with a slate roof. Not only do you want to avoid injury by having a tree fall on your house, but in this case it would be very expensive to repair or replace a slate roof! Like many properties in Salem, this home has a narrow driveway and two small garden gates for entry into the backyard. Without our new tracked lift, we wouldn't have been able to access the tree. Thanks to our new machine we were able to quickly and safely remove it for a much lower cost to the client.

We expect the tracked lift to be involved in a lot more projects going forward. If you have tree or yard work that needs to be done but thought it wouldn't be accessible, get in touch! We'll be happy to show this guy off!

 

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