by Brady Pugh
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Something hugely influential in my life is reading. Whether it is fantasy, finance, sci-fi, religious, business related or a book on parenting, reading has shaped the course of my life. The lessons I’ve learned from books have helped develop me into the person I am today and definitely helped design our business model. Here are a few of the books I have specifically chosen to help us build our business here at 5 Sons Naturescapes.
The Total Money Makeover ~ Dave Ramsey
This book is a personal guide to finance laying out a game plan challenging many common beliefs about life, money, and debt. The seven step plan is easy in concept but challenging in practice because it is a long term behavioral shift about personal financial practices. This book started my quest to become financially literate and change the direction of my life long before the business began. We use what we learned as a principle to run our business debt free.
Entreleadership ~ Dave Ramsey
Entreleadership takes the practices of The Total Money Makeover and integrates it with Dave’s game plan for building a successful business. This book is excellent for anyone looking to start a business and wanting to understand the basics of being an entrepreneur and business owner. His “Momentum Theorem” is something I’ve applied to several aspects of my life. This book is absolutely essential reading when considering starting a business.
Outliers~ Malcolm Gladwell
I finished this book recently and it truly challenged my beliefs about natural abilities in relation to success. Gladwell’s premise says natural ability will only take a person so far and how location, culture, opportunity, and hard work are the driving factors determining a person’s overall success. He discusses the commonalities between success stories such as The Beatles and Bill Gates and discusses the practices of education within different cultures around the world. This is a very enlightening read for anyone looking to challenge their ideas about how to be successful.
The Ideal Team Player ~ Patrick Lencioni
Patrick Lencioni lays out the ideal team player model in this book. Humble, hungry, and smart are the three essential virtues he lists and how to propagate an effective team within your organization through hiring and culture. Lencioni starts all of his books with a narrative about a problem or issue within a fictional organization. The CEO and other executives work to correct these virtues in themselves in order to drive their business to the next level. His easy writing style makes his writings great for anyone looking to improve the organizational health of their business.
Who Moved My Cheese ~ Spencer Johnson
I love this book! This parable is all about how to deal with change in your work and life. “Cheese” is anything a person desires to have in life like money, relationships, a certain item or possession, health or spiritual peace of mind. “The Maze” in the book is where you look for what you want. The characters in the book run around this maze doing their best to make decisions despite drastic changes to their environment. This book is great for helping to ease the mind about changes a person may be facing and how to drive on to the next step.
Reading is important. I believe the books we read shape us and change us and help us become life-long learners.
I am issuing a challenge.
Pick up a book, any book, and read! A half-hour every day isn’t much but, it could be one of the most important moments of your day. Happy reading!
New Construction and Soil Prep for Healthy Turf
When building a home, one of the things easily forgotten is establishing turf. We often see it done at the last minute without much planning or thought. We believe the initial preparation of soil is the most important step in having a beautiful and healthy lawn to enjoy for years to come. Without a plan, homeowners will spend years on treatments creating expense with less than satisfactory results. Here is our five step plan for establishing turf.
Prepping Your Site
Before breaking ground for a new home, take the time to prep the site. Remove rocks, stumps, waste and any existing vegetation that may already be established. A soil test kit can be purchased to help determine your soil type and the necessary amounts of organic matter, fertilizer, and lime to incorporate into your soil prior to establishment. If possible, consider removing all top soil from the site and stock pile it on the property before breaking ground on the home’s foundation. These simple steps will help greatly after the home construction is complete. It sets the stage for establishing the landscape.
Grading and Preparing the Soil
After the home is complete it is time to establish the grade of the lawn. Use a box scrapper or soil conditioner to roughly grade the property and remove any remaining debris from construction. After the rough grade is established, reapply the previously stockpiled top soil evenly around the property. This is also the time to mix in organic material such as peat moss or compost as well as fertilizer and lime to ensure the lawn has proper nutrients for establishing your turf.
Seed or Sod
More often than not the decision between seed or sod comes down to budget. Sod is the fastest and most effective way to establish a lawn but it also comes at the highest price. Seeding takes a lot of management and effort to ensure initial establishment. A third option, recommended for sites with steeper grades or large areas, is hydro-seeding which combines seed in a mixture with mulch and fertilizer sprayed onto the desired area. Education on the desired choice is absolutely necessary before installation.
Type of Grass
The biggest piece of advice we offer is on grass type and diversity. Choosing a quality mixture of several different kinds of grass seed will ensure the long term health of turf. Care must be taken to choose seeds based on amounts of sunlight and shade along with desired look of the lawn. Mixtures are more resistant to disease and adaptable to different site conditions. Selection of high-quality, blended seed mixtures will greatly improve the establishment of a healthy lawn.
A Healthy Lawn Takes Time and Effort
Once a new lawn is established, the most important thing to remember with turf is the time and effort necessary for a beautiful lawn. We recommend annual aeration and over seeding. We also recommend fertilizing twice a year to contribute to soil health. We cut turf at a higher setting on the mower deck. The taller the grass the deeper the root system will be! Cutting grass at a taller height will ensure the vitality of your roots. Grass grows at the same rate whether it is tall or short and will need to be mowed the same number of times during the week according to rain , sunlight, and season. Short grass will struggle at times and may die off in spots. But, tall grass allows for a healthy root system to establish so during harsh conditions or off season the turf remains viable.
We hope these tips are helpful!
Landscaping most often tends to be the last priority of a home owner during new home construction. But there are many things to consider and include in the planning process. Here is a countdown of the 5 reasons why a well thought out plan should be developed before construction begins.
5. Camouflage your Outdoor Utilities
Every home requires gas, water, internet/cable, and any number of other utilities. Unfortunately, these utilities are often placed in highly visible locations around your home. Nothing ruins the aesthetic of your home more than a gas meter centered under the middle of your front bay window (we’ve seen it!). Camouflaging your utilities with strategically placed plantings or landscaping features will greatly improve the curb appeal of your home.
4. Install retaining walls
Retaining walls are essential in most home construction projects to ensure proper grading away from the house. Retaining walls can be constructed out of a variety of different materials to meet the aesthetic preferences of any home owner. Properly constructed retaining walls work in tandem with buried downspouts to ensure maximum water flow away from your homes foundation.
The following picture show a dramatic before and after of a much needed retaining wall.
3. Plan your outdoor living space
Planning your outdoor living space doesn’t have to be complicated. It does require forethought to ensure it meets your needs and wants. The most common “living space” we see in new construction is a plain, square cement patio that’s too small to fit a standard set of patio furniture. If you’re unsure about what functions you might want from your outdoor living space you don’t have to rush to make a decision. Take your time planning and don’t waste money on something you don’t like.
2. Control the flow of drainage
Eave spout placement is critical to all home designs. Equally critical is where the water from your eave spouts end up within your landscape. Too often we see poor or no planning for eave spouts which results in water collecting around a home's foundation or water running across sidewalks and driveways. Planning for eave spout outlets, using properly installed drainage tile, can easily prevent common water issues around your home.
The following pictures of bad examples.
1. Plan for the long term
The most important thing to remember with your landscaping is to plan for the long term. Landscaping can be expensive. Without a proper plan in place, a home owner can spend a lot of time, effort, and money on poorly thought out projects. Homeowners want their landscaping decisions to stand the test of time. Take it slow, don’t rush, and make decisions that will let you enjoy your landscape for years to come.
The following picture is an example of a computer generated rendition we are capable of doing in our office for any customer.
Creating beautiful outdoor spaces with passion, honesty, and integrity.