Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Shovel Ready

We love our decks at the Lake. But the space under them is often problematic: the shade retains wetness and moisture and makes it difficult to establish any kind of grass or plants. As a result, these areas often devolve into a sloppy clay look.

Enter Ben's Creek Nursery, with shovels ready and piles of natural beige stone to spread.

Judicious use of stone not only anchors the soil in wet conditions but provides a pleasing contrast with adjoining walkways and plantings.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Join Us!

We're hiring!

Here at Ben's Creek Nursery we are always looking ahead. Spring will be here before you know it, and that's when our maintenance work kicks into high gear. This includes lawn mowing, but also fertilization, yard clean up, fresh mulch, judicious pruning, and other common yard and garden maintenance work.

We are therefore looking to hire Landscape Maintenance Crew Leaders. Experience is preferred, but training will be provided and we will consider anyone who is motivated to work and get ahead in our industry. Compensation will be determined based on experience, and any applicant will have to pass a standard drug test.

We need the help of motivated people who are looking to get ahead in one of the largest, premium landscape companies in the Roanoke Valley. So come join us! You can come by the office to pick up an application, or get one by clicking here. Fill out, sign the form, and email, mail, or drop it off.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Two French Drains

Our guys were into a multi-cultural moment the other day: installing French drains at the local Virginia Pumping Station.

Actually, 'multi-cultural' is a misnomer; French drains are not named for the country, but for Henry French of Massachusetts who proposed the idea way back in 1859. The concept is simple: for water runoff, you construct a slightly sloped trench filled with gravel that feeds into a pipe and diverts the water flow.

In this case, it was the front foundation wall that needed enhanced drainage.

This is actually one of the smaller pipes at the Pumping Station, and is not a water pipe at all, but a vent. For example, the pipes that carry water are more than twice this size at 60" in diameter.

A lot of trenching on a job/problem this size is required to create the proper slope for the runoff pipes to divert the water as far as possible from the structure.

French drains are all too common, but what is a Virginia Pumping Station? We're glad you asked: it is the result of a controversial decision by Virginia Beach some 30 years ago to gain a fresh water source for its community from the Roanoke River, aka Lake Gaston. Among many others, the proposed project was emphatically opposed by the State of North Carolina, which feared reduction in its downstream water supply, and local residents of the Lake, who feared corruption of their near paradisiacal enclave. The opponents were not enough; all the petitions, lawsuits, and permit challenges failed, and construction of a massive water pipeline crossing the coastal plain of Virginia was completed. The Pumping Station begins the journey for the waters of Lake Gaston.

Whether you like it or hate it, Virginia Beach's water pipeline is a very impressive engineering feat: 76 miles of pipes carrying some 500 million pounds of water each and every day.

It might seem odd that a water pumping station would have problems with water flow, but such is common to buildings and homes of all types. As an architect once sardonically told me, 'Architects do not create water problems; they just perfect them.' Which is to say, any structure can have or develop water problems as water and water flows are the very definition of eccentric and unpredictable - see, for example, any text book on fluid dynamics for an example of science throwing up its hands in despair (I kid, but not by much).

But it is vitally important when water problems do develop that a careful, competent expert be brought in to correct the problem. Such was the case here, and Ben's Creek Nursery rose to the task to protect this important structure on Lake Gaston.

Call us today for a free evaluation of any drainage problems you may be having! Your foundation and house deserve no less.

Road-side view of the Pumping Station.
This low profile structure extends more than 35' underground,
and houses all of the wells, turbines,and pumps necessary for its work.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Snow Day

A night time scramble as the snow fell got our crews to Richmond before the crack of dawn this past weekend.

Snowfalls were about 5-8" in Richmond overall, although there were drifts considerably deeper than that in some of the areas we were involved.

Snow work is the type that, once you arrive, there is nothing else to do but get started. And our guys wasted no time ....

This little maple's aspirations will not be deterred by a little snow.
... so that, as the sun descended that afternoon, the parking lots and walkways were cleared and open for business.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Snow Day Anticipated

'Tis a Snow Day anticipated, and our crews are gearing up for our many customers who will need their parking areas and walks cleared of the snow and ice.

 Our bags are packed ......

... and we're ready to go!

For the rest of you, stay home. We go out in this weather because we have to, but there is no place like home during a snow storm. So stay warm, stay comfortable, and we will see you when the snows melt.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Flat Stone, Naturally

A natural flat stone patio sounds like something easy. I mean, it's natural, right? So it builds itself, right?

Not quite. 'Natural' refers to the random shape of each stone, like stones found in nature. This makes the construction of a patio like piecing together a puzzle. Ground preparation is critical to the final product; you can't put together a puzzle until you have a proper puzzle board. This begins with setting out the patio area with a peg line, and then shovel grading the ground and spreading sand and gravel for the base.

Then there is the placement of each and every piece of stone, in a random, or free form, pattern.

Stones placed, the gaps are then filled with a cementing material; in this case, polymeric sand. It is possible to fill with regular sand or gravel, but for something longer lasting, we recommend the polymeric.

Thereafter, our guys clean off the dust and dirt and pack down the installation.

Finally, they wash the installation down. Wetness will also enable the polymeric filler to set into a durable frame.

Presto! A lakeside, free form, natural flat stone patio, by Ben's Creek Nursery.

Garden chairs and fun provided separately.