Spring Newsletter, 2014

Keep Out the Mess with a Mudroom

   Spring can be the messiest time of year with the mud and rain showers, and the last thing you want to do is bring that mess inside your home with you. By adding a well designed mudroom to the entry of your house, you can stop the mess. Here is a list to keep in mind while you design your mudroom:
  • Slate is the best choice for flooring, as the textile will prevent slipping and the color camouflages dirt well.
  • You will want to have seating for the ease of taking on and off shoes or gear. Consider a built in bench- it is great for seating and you can lift the lid or build cubbies underneath for storage.
  • If possible, try to incorporate a sink into your mudroom. It will make cleaning messes easier, as well as cleaning pets.
  • Make a message center. The entryway is the perfect spot for everyone to read a message or look at a calendar. A modern way to do this is to paint an area with chalkboard or magnetic paint.
  • Create open storage. Although you may want cabinets or a closet, also be sure to add open storage space that will allow wet garments and gear to dry out.

Green Thumb

By: Wayne Coolidge
   As I grow older, I am finding that my interests are changing. Last year, Wendy and I planted our first garden. It was a pretty big garden for our rookie year, measuring 20’x30’. We started without fencing, but that changed halfway through the season after multiple run-ins with groundhogs (which decimated a majority of the vegetables). We installed temporary metal fencing, but after that not working along with many failed attempts of the Havahart traps, we had to take care of the vermin problem a different way. I’ll admit it wasn’t fun and I don’t want to have to go through that again. The solution, we later researched, is to install a metal fence that goes into the ground and then runs outward for 12” to stop critters from burrowing underneath.
   Of course being in the construction business, another temporary fence isn’t acceptable to Wendy. She wants a pretty white picket fence that will hide the metal fencing, and since I am at it, she has put in a request for an arched, gated pergola at the entrance. But wait – there is more, I promised her a greenhouse with full length glass panel walls and a ceiling from windows that we reclaimed from a demolition job.
   Seriously? And I thought gardening would be relaxing… 

How to Add
Hardscape to Your Home

   Adding hardscape to your home can happen in many different ways. It can be as simple as adding a stone walkway to your entrance, or as intricate as building an outdoor patio and kitchen. With all the options available, it is almost guaranteed you will find a hardscaping project to suit your needs (and your wallet!) that will last for years to come. Read on for some tips of how to select what it right for you.
   First and foremost, you will want to look over your entire property and landscape- even if you only want to add one area of hardscape. Many people will choose to add onto their hardscape overtime, so you will want to think how your current project will be affected in the long run. It’s just like building a house; you wouldn’t consider just building one room without thinking ahead of how it could affect the rest of the house.
   One of the most common problems with hardscape design is drainage. You will want to consider how runoff could be affected by the hardscape, especially if you are including a wall. Otherwise, this could pose problems for you in the future, like flooding or erosion. One idea is to include the water runoff into your design, like a fountain, rather than having to place a drainage pipe.
   When choosing your design, you will also want to consider the natural lines and curves of the landscape. If you get caught up in the idea that you want a straight line in the middle of a wavy landscape, it could look out of place. Walk around the area and think about how you can naturally work a hardscape into the existing contours.
   Hardscape materials include concrete, stone, wood, brick, and pavers. To choose the material that is right for you, consider what style hardscape you want. Be sure to match the style to your home so that it flows together. For example, it would probably not make sense to put a formal, extravagant entryway in front of a rustic log cabin. You should also choose more than one material or color, taking note that they complement each other and your home.
   Although you may think you want to do-it-yourself, it is truly in your best interest to call a professional. They have knowledge and experience to do the job correctly. They will make sure they have the correct amount of material, drainage will be properly addressed, and the structure will be stable. This ensures you that fewer problems will arise in the future so that it will last you for many more years to come.

Test Your Sump Pump

  The warmth of Spring brings melting snow and thawing ground. This can pose a threat of flooding, so you will want to make sure your sump pump is working correctly. To test your pump, pour several gallons of water into the sump slowly- as to mimic the normal flow of water into the sump. Listen to the pump, and ensure that it kicks on at least twice. Perform this test a couple times per year, especially after a dry season or before a wet one.

Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs

   Winter is the best time to prune trees and shrubs since they are dormant during this time. By doing so, you allow them to have the best re-growth in the spring. Pruning is also easier in the winter because there is no foliage in the way. Here are some basic guidelines on how to prune:
• Choose a mild, dry day
• Begin by ridding of branches that are dead or diseased
• Remove or thin out overgrown branches to allow more light and air to reach the top of the tree
• Be sure to keep branches that are important to the structure of the tree
• Always cut at the meeting point of two branches, called the node

Fun Suggestion

Build your own greenhouse!
Here are the basics:
  • Frame the bottom with 2x4's
  • Cut rebar into 30" pieces and pound halfway into ground
  • Bend PVC pipe over and insert onto rebar
  • For extra security, screw metal banding or pipe hold-down straps to bottom where PVC meets wood
  • Cover with plastic
Google Plus
Copyright © 2014 W.A. Coolidge Company, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 1701
Dover, NH 03821-1701