Water-less Gardening: Saving Money with Xeriscape

Landscaping requires lots of irrigation, which hurts wallets and the environment. Grass lawns require as much as 10 gallons per square foot per year!  A small lawn at 30 feet by ten feet, 300 square feet, would consume 3,000 gallons of water a year. That’s a lot of water!

Xeriscape flowers. Image via Quadell on Wikimedia Commons

Fortunately there’s a way to show good taste in plant selection and landscape design, while still saving money on monthly water bills. Xeriscape landscape designs reduce water consumption by utilizing low water use plants. These low-water plants look beautiful and resist drought, so the landscaping looks great year round, even in the summer. Continue reading “Water-less Gardening: Saving Money with Xeriscape”

Grand Theft Paver: Deputies Arrest Alleged Hardscape Theif

On Tuesday December 11 2012, Rachel L. McCarty of Reddick, FL arrived home from work and hit a big bump in her driveway. She got out of her car and discovered approximately 300 square feet of her driveway gone. She had not authorized anyone to remove the driveway, and didn’t know who would have targeted her for such a crime. She called the police and reported the crime immediately, but the ordeal didn’t stop there. Continue reading “Grand Theft Paver: Deputies Arrest Alleged Hardscape Theif”

Rainwater Collection Systems for Driveways

Image via Juni, from Kyoto Japan on Wikimedia Commons.

Rain purifies the air, and cleanses the ground. It can be polite, or a terrible force of nature to be feared. New hardscape designs always include a drainage plan, and installers meticulously carry out those plans.

On a driveway, rain combined with improper drainage leads to erosion and possibly even wash outs. These unacceptable safety hazards drive the meticulous nature of designers and installers when it comes to drainage plans. I consider this to be a reactive behavior in construction. Continue reading “Rainwater Collection Systems for Driveways”

Xeriscape: Water-Defying Landscaping

On a recent trip to Ojai, CA with family I noted something beautiful: desert landscaping in a raised planter bed lined with local boulders. The shopping center on West Ojai Ave., Hwy 150, incorporated the local horticulture as a design theme throughout the shopping center. It really worked for me.

Agave Attenuatta
Agave Attenuatta flowers. Also known as “Foxtail Agave”. Photo via Xemenendura on commons.wikimedia.org.

The crisp green Agave plants arranged in a harmony outside the store, and a subtle winter rain brought out the scent of maple from the deciduous trees overhead. The sharp yellow leaves speckled the ground and I noticed inlaid cast-metal leaves in the pavers, to remind guests and residents of this most regal autumn season’s dressings. The drizzle of rain didn’t detract from the dessert plants as one might expect, as the darkened soil enhanced the Agave’s color. Continue reading “Xeriscape: Water-Defying Landscaping”

Natural Stone Patios and Driveways: Thoughts on Design and Installation for Homeowners

As a design and installation company, Genesis sees a lot of driveways. We recently just hit our 10,000th job! Most of those hardscape projects incorporate manufactured concrete pavers, but every once in a while we meet a customer who wants something different, natural stone paving.

Man-made concrete paving stones offer thousands of color combinations, 8000 psi pressure ratings, and nearly a dozen local manufacturers. However, natural stone can offer a different aesthetic than man-made stone, to dramatically change the feel of a property.

Here are several factors to consider when choosing natural stone for outdoor use:

Load Strength

Depending on the type of traffic in the paved area, different kinds of base must be used to protect the stone from cracking in the future. High load areas, such as a front driveway where cars are frequently parked, should be installed with a concrete slab under the natural stone. This slab protects the brittle natural stone from pressure by vehicle tires. Light load areas like a back walkway can be sand-set. The time saved in sand-setting shows up in the final cost of the project. Continue reading “Natural Stone Patios and Driveways: Thoughts on Design and Installation for Homeowners”

Outdoor Patio Designs: The Devil is in the Details

Looking to create a beautiful outdoor space for your home and family? Don’t want to settle for a simple potted plant? Great! Genesis is here to help. We’ve been designing outdoor spaces since 1993, and we love creating outdoor patios.

Patio Design by Genesis Ref# PT0020

A back patio carries a huge amount of potential for a home. This space can be accessorized to become an extension of the home as an “outdoor room”, or a stand-alone space with specific uses. To achieve the “outdoor room” consider a design which links the visual style and space with the adjoining rooms inside the house. A simple solution is a ‘glass wall’ without curtains or blinds and a large sliding glass door. A pergola can be constructed around the patio to guard against sun in the Summer and rain in the Winter season. It’s also important to match color, texture, and architecture style; varnished wood to varnished wood, blue accents, and even furniture styles can connect two spaces. Continue reading “Outdoor Patio Designs: The Devil is in the Details”

San Diego Outdoor BBQ & Backyard Remodel

The image featured in the previous post, Outdoor BBQ: Living Out of Doors, was taken at a San Diego project Genesis recently completed. Pleased with project, we decided to make a video showcasing the project. I hope this is the first of many “Design Portfolio” slideshows which we feature in our online media.

Enjoy the video below and feel free to check out the project page on houzz.com.

http://www.houzz.com/projects/123688/San-Diego-Backyard-Pool-Remodel

Request a free estimate on your outdoor remodeling and design project by calling us toll free at 888.389.5533, or visiting our free estimate page.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3AAkMQVdtQ]

Outdoor BBQ: Living Out of Doors

 

Outdoor BBQ and Patio Design by Genesis

Ever feel like there’s an old friend you keep forgetting to call? Someone you would visit often as a child? I’m here to tell you you’re not crazy. It’s the sun. And he misses you.

So many individuals spend the majority of their weeks indoors. They get ready for work inside, drive inside their cars to work, then sit at a desk all day, to come home and watch TV inside on the couch at night. Some people only see the sun long enough to walk to and from their cars between places where they sit inside.

The solution is transitioning into an outdoor lifestyle. The beginning of this is eating outside. In this blogger’s opinion, the spaces where we eat define our lives. Some people choose to eat in front of their televisions, while other eat by their computers. Few families gather for nightly meals around the dinner table, and still other people eat in their cars and are constantly on the run.

While “inside” is safe and comfortable, the fresh air and adventure exists out of doors. Choosing to eat one meal a week outside can change the tone of that entire week, making work more productive and television more entertaining. Outdoor barbecues are a great way to start this outdoor lifestyle. Break the weekly routine with an outdoor dinner party with friends and family!

Check out this backyard we renovated in San Diego, featuring a natural stone theme. It includes a swimming pool remodel, retaining walls, and fully paved deck and yard. This customized outdoor living space shows how a yard can become a resort. With this level of outdoor amenities, transitioning into an active outdoor lifestyle will be a breeze.

The natural stone theme of this home gives the feeling of nature with all the comforts of home. The crystal blue pool compliments the raised BBQ/ kitchen area and tells a story of many wonderful Summers to come. So, what are you waiting for? The sun is waiting.

Request a free in-home estimate today by calling Genesis toll free at 888.389.5533, or visiting our free estimate page.

 

Custom Pool Designs

Who wants to be a copy cat?

Pool Design by Genesis

When you choose to install or remodel a swimming pool, you’ve decided you want something different. It’s different than the existing yard, but also different from the other yards in your community. You’ve got a vision, and want someone to bring it to life (and possibly even spice it up a bit).

You’ve come to the right blog! Genesis has been an outdoor-remodel design company since 1993, including both pool installs and remodels. Not only does Genesis provide professional designs, but also the construction experience and knowledge to execute the design. Inexperienced designers can overlook pivotal, yet small, issues in the design process. Some of these issues include the heat island effect, traction of the deck surface, and planning for future landscaping or construction additions.

Dark pavement gets hot quickly, and radiates heat into the yard. Called the “heat island” effect, a surplus of paved areas can raise the temperature of the home by 5-7 degrees F. The scientific reason for this phenomenon includes the albedo rating of the paving material. Albedo means solar-reflectivity, and lighter paving material is more reflective. You can read more about albedo and solar-reflectivity on this article: Environmental Benefit Of Interlocking Pavers. With interlocking pavers, the home owner can choose a beautiful blend of light colored stones, getting the full benefit of high albedo ratings without sacrificing on aesthetic beauty.

Pool Design and Installation by Genesis

Interlocking concrete stones also offer superior traction, even when wet. Because of their modular nature, the edges of the stones provide a great textural rhythm for maintaining grip.

Paving stones also lend themselves to future construction and additions unlike any other paving material. When a utility line below the pavement surface must be accessed in order to lay new plumbing for landscaping, the stones can simply be “unzipped”. Concrete must be cut with a saw or jackhammer, creating an awful mess and noise. Also, paving stones can be seamed with future paved areas or additions, such as a pergola or hot tub. If you have big plans and small budget, consider creating one portion of your vision at a time. This allows you to make headway on the design, and increase the value of the property. By choosing Genesis for this work, you’re building a relationship with professional who understands this crucial investment for your home.

To schedule a free in-home estimate, call Genesis at 888.389.5533 toll free, or visit our free estimate page.

Rumford Fireplace

The Rumford Fireplace was invented in 1796 by Count Rumford. He designed them to be the most efficient residential wood burning fireplace in the world, and for 200 years the record still stands.

Count Rumford’s success in this fireplace design, along with several other inventions including a new naval signalling strategy, earned him a knighthood and position as a Count of the Holy Roman Empire.

These beautiful wood burning fireplaces live either inside the home, or as an element of an outdoor entertainment area. Heavily depending on masonry skill for assemblage, Genesis loves installing these fireplaces. Take a look at some of the photos below to see why. It’s a classic style, colonial ingenuity, and expert craftsmanship in a trinity of wood heating.

[Figure 1] Rumford fireplace via rumford.com.
[Figure 2] Rumford fireplace closeup via rumford.com.
[Figure 3] Rumford fireplace via rumford.com.
What makes the fireplace “work” is the idea of increased airflow through the chimney. Conventional fireplaces leave wide open space above the flame, allowing cold air to mix with the hot air from the flame. This creates turbulence and back-flow, and smoke begins to leak from the chimney into the room or living area.

A Rumford fireplace solves this problem by reducing the space above the fire to a narrow opening, which does not open until the top of the chimney. The hot air from the fire heats the clay chimney bricks, creating even more air flow. The shallow base brings the back wall closer to the fireplace, and the radiant heat from the flames disperse into the room more easily. Not only do Rumford fireplaces burn cleaner, they also burn hotter.

Gas burning Rumford’s also work like a charm, capitalizing on the style of the masonry and efficiency of natural gas. The principles behind the wood burning stoves hold true with natural gas, fumes from the fire stream through the efficient chimney system, while heat radiates throughout the space. The only question left is which stone patterns and colors to choose!

Pre-manufactured hearths guarantee that quality standards are met, while also cutting installation costs.  Genesis takes pride in the outdoor entertainment area’s we’ve created over the years, and highly recommend the use of pre-manufactured Rumford fireplaces for outdoor heating. Allow us to create a Rumford stove and surprise you with its efficiency and style.

To view more examples of beautiful Rumford fireplaces, visit rumford.com. Jim Buckley is an expert in these stoves. Then come on back and get your free estimate on installation and design by Genesis!

Call us today for a free in-home consultation at 888.389.5533, fill out our free estimate form online, or email us at info at genesisstoneworks.com. We’d love to design your outdoor paradise.