by Eric Pugh
For the love of Landscaping Paths
There are four primary types of paths in a landscape.
1. The worn path is simply a path that people or animals walk as the traverse your yard to get from one place to another. Minor improvements can be made by adding mulch or gravel to the more worn parts along the way. This is an inexpensive and natural way to improve your yard.
2. The natural stone path is a more informal and semi-permanent. Natural stones are used to define where the user walks and keeps a little more order in your outdoor space. These paths can be made with tight fitting, cut stones or loose arrangements with grass, mulch or gravel material between them. The surface may be rough and not the best for wheelchair access or those that need a smooth walking surface. Quality stone material is more expensive but durable over time. The stone can be reused or repurposed if you change your mind making this a very flexible option.
3. Concrete path or sidewalk is the most permanent and formal path in the landscape. It is a relatively inexpensive option to install, but can be more disruptive to an established landscape. While there are more creative ways to decorate with concrete these days, concrete paths tend to be plain yet very functional. Concrete sidewalks are extremely durable but less flexible if you change your mind and difficult to match if you need to repair. Property owners need to expect the best laid concrete will develop cracks over time.
4. Improved paver paths are the most versatile option. There are any number of shapes, colors, and patterns available when using pavers. While pavers are expensive to install, they are a modular product and it is easy to spread out a larger dream project into smaller more manageable projects over time, even years. The flexibility of pavers allows you to change your mind as your outdoor space requirements change. Paver can be repurposed and used anywhere in the landscape. New Paver products and installation techniques have been recently developed that are adding flexibility and durability to rival even concrete in the landscape.
DID YOU KNOW? Another exciting development in landscaping paths is the heated coil for property owners who live in winter climates. The heated coil can be added under any paver or concrete path or patio during construction. This thermostat controlled system keeps your paths clear of snow and dries quickly so you can get more use from your developed outdoor spaces throughout the year. No more scooping snow or scraping ice. And no more adding salt to the landscape to keep your paths safe. Can you imagine just flipping a switch from inside the comfort of your home to keep your sidewalks clear?
7 Simple Tree Tips
by Eric Pugh, Natural Resource Forester
Everyone gets excited about their yards in the spring from their lawn to their perennials and annuals and their trees. Here are some tips to consider about planting, pruning, and caring for your trees through the seasons.
*Eric has his B.S. in Forestry from Iowa State University and is currently serving on the Winterset, Iowa Tree Commission.
Edible Landscaping: Five Tips Plus Some Inspiration
by Monica Pugh
I grew up gardening. My grandparents lived next door and vegetable gardens and fruit trees surrounded our houses. But my grandparents lived during the depression when gardens were necessary to survival. They did not know any other way. I spent many summers "helping" with weeding and snapping beans and shelling peas. My grandmother made the most amazing slightly blue bread and butter pickles. I never understood why they were blue until I started pickling myself. Bread and butter pickles have the spice numeric in them and she tinted the batch with blue dye to make them green. They were sometimes more blue I suppose due to the amount she added. She canned all summer long and filled her basement pantry with all the colorful jars. I loved the smell of her kitchen.
When Eric and I moved to Pammel Park just outside of Winterset in 1991, we had our first space to garden. I was also fortunate to have a great neighbor, Dorothy, who grew, canned, and froze everything and anything she could. I learned so much from her. As a child, I took gardening for granted and often found the chores tedious and annoying. But I was so excited as an adult to plan and start a garden for my young family (Brady, Brenden, and Logan). I did not even think about the fact that none of them, at the time, would eat anything I grew...they would not eat vegetables I bought from the grocery....including my husband...yes, Eric, my forester. But my excitement could not be squashed as I figured they would be so excited with the growing process...they would gobble them up.
We planted everything. It was a beautiful garden! Potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers..... radishes... I love radishes! They are so easy to plant and quick to emerge. I exclaimed to the boys and Eric we had a radish big enough to eat! I pulled it, washed it, and sliced it up for each to have a taste. And they all gagged and spit it out!
Let's be honest.....Vegetable gardens are a lot of work. And if the vegetables aren't going to be consumed, why bother? So I stopped gardening and just started buying veggies from the grocery. And then I forgot how much work they are and started gardening again. Just a small space and I quickly remembered how wonderful and fresh and green things tasted from my own garden. We haven't always had the space to garden as we moved around. But when we bought our current house nine years ago we decided to start adding edibles into our landscaping. A different way to garden than I had been accustomed...our goal is for our grandkids to be able to find things in the yard they can enjoy...like raspberries, asparagus, and strawberries amongst all the wonderful rocks and flowers.
I say we because NEVER SAY NEVER....at the age of 35 my husband tasted fresh, steamed broccoli for the first time and thus began his journey into eating almost everything green. The sons...of 5 Sons... are also pretty good veggie eaters now too. They still don't like radishes and only Ayden will eat pickles.
We don't just put in everything and anything in our gardens...we grow what we think we will enjoy and tuck them into spaces in our landscaping because we don't have a regular garden space. We also frequent the Farmer's Market to supplement what we grow. I'm okay with letting others do the work! I do keep my eyes open for organic produce.
Can you imagine having this paradise in your back yard?
Creating beautiful outdoor spaces with passion, honesty, and integrity.