What’s the deal with my retaining wall?

What is a retaining wall?

A retaining wall is a structure that retains or holds back soil.  It’s purpose, at least in residential applications, is generally to create a flat area above or below the wall to make the space more use-able by pedestrians and/or automobiles.  They can be made from pressure treated wood, boulders, tires, or most commonly, precast concrete block or formed in place concrete slabs.  When properly designed and installed, a retaining wall should have a lifespan of at least 30 years (most manufacturer’s warranty on their block), if not much longer.  Proper design includes picking the right materials for the application, designing for soil conditions and load, and ensuring your wall will drain correctly.

Why are so many retaining walls in Missoula falling over?

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How compost helps your yard.

Compost topdressing by Garden City Florascaping

Sustainable lawn care by compost dressing.

In the spring, the snow starts to melt, revealing the grass below. People begin to think once again yard work and the health of their lawn. Most people want to have a beautiful looking lawn while limiting the amount of maintenance required. One of the most effective ways to improve the health and beauty of your lawn is to apply a layer of quality compost.

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Patio design – why it matters for your landscape.

Why do we need a good patio?

In Missoula, our summers are short but oh-so-sweet.  Warm temperatures, long days, and clear skies all beg us to get outside and soak it up all we can.  We have many options for doing this, including the plethora of river and trail options around Missoula.  And when you’re done floating the river or cleaning the mud off your mountain bike, many of us reach for a cold beverage and a patio or deck in our back yard, just not quite ready to go inside and plop down in front of the TV.  Attitudes like this are what makes Missoula a special place.

paverstone patio by garden city florascaping

Imagine having a cold beer on this patio!

What makes a good patio?

To really get the most out of your patio, there are a few things you ought to consider.  What size do you need?  What shape is best? What’s the best material for it?  What’s the best location for it? Read more

Sustainable lawn care for dummies.

Lawn care for dummies.

Your neighbor makes it look so easy.  Effortless, almost.  His lush, green, thick lawn.  The sort of lawn you aspire to.  And then there’s your lawn.  It’s thin, pale, and weedy.  And frustrating!  You had sprinklers put in, and you water it every day (every other day if the City of Missoula is asking).  You’ve hired a lawn care service to mow it.  You even pay them to spray it and fertilize it to the point that you come home to flags warning you “KEEP OFF.  PESTICIDE APPLICATION” all in the name of killing those weeds.  Sure, it perks up when they spray it, but in a few weeks, new weeds pop up, the grass looks bad, and you’ve got to call them back.

You’re looking at your neighbors lawn, wondering what the difference is?  Granted, he’s retired and you’re not, so perhaps he spends more time on it that you realize, while you’re at work all day.  What’s more likely is he just knows the old school tricks we seem to have lost track of in this day and age of chemical lawn care and instant gratification.

The organic lawn care approach.

Before the advent of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, lawn care was simple:  you didn’t.  This was partly because many folks didn’t even have a lawn – until the middle of the last century, lawns were generally considered a luxury.  Widespread marketing to and “lobbying” of the rising middle class by the chemical and agricultural industries drove  the rise of the American lawn as we know it today.

Anyone with a little time on their hands can do a quick search online and read a multitude of articles detailing just what detrimental effects synthetic fertilizers and pesticides have on our environment and our health.  Without question, these things are bad.  This is why many Canadian provinces and even US municipalities are beginning to ban pesticides.

Well, what does this mean for our old retired neighbor with the best lawn on the block?  How is he doing it? Read more