I find that most prospective clients I talk to don’t start planning for new landscape/hardscape work until near the end of Spring – the weather starts to heat up, the flowers start to bloom and suddenly the yard becomes a priority.
If part of your plan involves installing stone paving or walls, water features or a fire pit, you should really consider having your hardscape put in during the Fall/Winter months. This heavier, more structural work is somewhat sprawling and arduous, and in the colder months it is less of an imposition to have all of this activity going on outside when you are sealed up in your cozy house (as opposed to the heat of Summer, when most of us need all the windows open to stay cool).
It is a misconception that masonry cannot be done in the Winter. While it is true that it can be difficult to do any work that requires concrete or mortar outdoors since cement needs the right temperature and conditions to cure properly, most anything that could be done with concrete can be done with none whatsoever.
Some people express concern about whether or not dry-laid stone can be easily maintained. To that I would say that it is almost as easy as maintaining a concrete slab, but there are certain steps that one can take to successfully clean and restore a stone patio or wall.
Build your landscape structures in the Winter. That way, those structures can settle in, the stone dust generated during construction can wash away, you can plant your trees and larger shrubs so they can take root through the Winter, and then by next Spring you can get a running start on your perennials and ground cover.
by Mark Shepherd www.ShepherdStoneworks.com
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