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”

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”

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.

Driveway Pavers Installation

The difference between a professional construction team, and an amateur ‘weekend warrior’ is obvious. Detail.

Consider the photo depicted in figure 1. When there’s limited access to install a back patio or walkway, sometimes the only solution is a straight line. The straight line can lead right through the front and rear exits of the home.

When Genesis consults on a project, access represents a key concern. Pricing and the time-table of the project depend heavily on the distance between crew vehicles and supplies and the paved area. Our goal is to get your home back to 110% as soon as possible, and sometimes this means unconventional measures.

Special Access Project
[Figure 1] This project required special access through the home to reach a back patio.

In figure 1 left, the crew’s only access leads right through the home. To protect against damage and dirt, Genesis developed a specific technique for through-the-home access. In figure 1, notice the tarp covering the floor, nearby cabinets, and furniture. This ensures not dirt, dust, or pebbles touch the residence. Temporary plywood flooring above the tarp further protects from grime and scratches.

Upon project completion, the crew rolls up the tarp and reveals the spotless condition of the pathway. It’s like Genesis was never even there, except for the beautiful new outdoor feature that neighbors will envy for years to come. This writer recommends inviting the neighbors over to gloat, I mean dinner.

For all your outdoor remodeling visions, contact Genesis today. Many members of our design team have been with us for 15 years or more, so we have the experience needed to raise your expectations of your property. Allow us to surprise you. For a free estimate, call toll free 888.389.5533 or visit our free estimate page.

Pool Fill: Remodeling with Purpose

In the world of home investment, swimming pools are a questionable feature. While useful for family get-togethers and outdoor excursions, many consider pools to be a liability which lower the value of the property. Many home owners and property investors choose to fill swimming pools, eliminating the need for maintenance and liability concerns.

Crews can remove a pool using several different techniques including semi-permanent pool covers, partial removal, and complete removal of the concrete or fiberglass structure. Figure 1 shows a Genesis crewman filling a swimming pool with clean dirt, completing a partial pool removal.

[Figure 1] Pool Fill Process: Compaction
 Several factors to consider when deciding whether to fill an in-ground swimming pool:

Evaporation. Uncovered pools constantly lose water through evaporation, which increases the water bill.

Chemical Reduction. Most swimming pools require the use of hazardous chemicals (when concentrated) to keep the pool clean.

Injury Liability. If someone becomes injured in the pool, insurance companies usually hold the home owner responsible. Remove the pool, and remove the liability.

Leaks leading to failure or repairs. If the pool develops a crack and leaks into the subsoil, erosion could cause the pool to fail. If the leak is caught before an accident occurs, a repair can still be costly.

Partial removal, as in figure 1, means the demolition of the pool floor, while leaving the side walls intact. This allows water to pass freely to the water table and avoid flooding. If the home is sold after the pool filling project, the partial structure in the yard should be revealed to the buyers. Future construction and landscaping in the area may depend on the knowledge of buried structures.

Complete removals involve the demolition of the pool floor, side walls, plumbing, and pool motors. This most costly option takes the property back to square one. While the hole gets filled with clean dirt, also consider adding nutrients to the top soil. This aids in plant health for future landscaping. Starting from scratch (literally) allows home owners to create a landscape to match their tastes and styles, a genuine expression of pride in ownership.

Whether transformed into a Japanese garden, or play area for the grand-children, the gained square footage from filling a pool can add both monetary and intrinsic value to the home. We’re sure you’ll love the results.

Contact Genesis today for a free in-home consultation. We’d love to help you traverse this important decision which affects your property. Reach us toll free at 888.389.5533, or visit our free estimate page.

5 Concrete Patio Designs that Rock (Literally)

We searched our image database to bring you some of the most interesting patio designs that incorporate natural stone designs. Natural stone, while very beautiful, can also be more expensive than manufactured stone. To provide the best service to our customers, we often suggest natural appearing stone or using natural stone as an accent to concrete pavers.

Take a look at these photos and let us know what you think in the comments section below. Hope you enjoy!

Patio #2
Patio #2, river stone wall-bench combo with grey bull-nose wall cap.
Patio #1
Patio #1, incorporates natural stone in garden retaining wall.
Patio #4
Patio #4, rustic pavers framed by natural field stone and green shrubs. A stack stone water fall finishes the ensemble.
Patio #3
Patio #3, this flagstone patio looks warm and inviting, makes a great evening getaway!
Patio #5
Patio #5, neutral hue pavers accented with split face fire-pit. The stone cap of the fire-pit adds a sharp finish!

Genesis is a home remodeling specialist serving Southern California since 1993. For a free in-home consultation call us at 888.389.5533, or visit our free estimate page.