Creative Solutions – Narrow Easement / Retaining Block Steps

 

A narrow property easement can be problematic to landscape, especially if you have a sloping property and you need a set of steps alongside the house. That was the case at this beautiful home on Summit Lake just outside of Olympia. Foster met with the homeowner to come up with a Creative Solution.

The Problem: A narrow property easment didn’t leave much room for a set of steps. A steep property and retired homeowners with limited agility made it difficult to get down to the water from their existing deck.

The Objective: The homeowners wanted to make traversing up and down the hill less difficult and at the same time landscape the easment with a low maintenance design.

RSW’s Creative Solution: Foster designed Retaining Block Steps that were skinny enough to fit even the narrowest part of the easement. We even met with the homeowner and measured her natural gait to make sure the rise and run of the steps would be comfortable for her. The steps were carefully designed to meander down the hill making them more pleasant to climb than a strait run. We also added river rock to either side of the steps to create a virtually maintenance free area. We planted and barked an area at the top of the stairs to soften the appearance of the stone steps and add visual interest.Column 1/3

The Process: Since it was such a narrow area all work had to be done by hand. After excavating and grading the area a base laver of rock was used to set the retainer blocks following painted guidelines that traversed the hillside. The blocks were carefully set and leveled then another layer of crushed rock was added to create an even grade. Fabric was layed under varied sizes of river rock to either side to prevent perennial weed growth. We dry stacked angular granite pieces to create a raised planting area. This creates a planting area that is easy to maintain, plants can be groomed and beds weeded without having to kneel or bend over. Bark mulch (without fabric) was added to inhibit perennial weed growth.

 

Do you have a narrow easement or a steep property? Rodda & Sons West may be able to help you with a Creative Solution. Or, if you’re handy, this could be your next DIY project. No matter what you decide, we wish you luck with your landscaping endeavors. Don’t forget to give us a call if you need a Creative Solution.

Creative Solutions – Ugly Concrete Steps

Cover old concrete steps

Anyone who has ever tried to bust up concrete steps knows its a dirty, sweaty, horrible job to be avoided at all costs. So when a customer wanted to replace 13 steps and 4 landings of rebar reinforced concrete, Foster was motivated by sympathy for the crew to come up with a Creative Solution.

The Problem: Settling had pulled the original concrete steps away from the foundation creating a growing crack.  The steps were stained sagging and dated, with a too small landing with steps to the carport which were hard to see and confused arriving guests.

The Objective: The homeowners wanted to replace existing steps with new ones using Trex decking and vinyl railing for a clean look and easy maintenance. They also wanted a larger landing with steps coming directly from the parking area, inviting guests to their front door.

RSW’s Creative Solution: After taking a close look at the existing steps and brainstorming with the homeowner Foster discovered there was enough clearance under the front door’s sill plate for floating framing and decking. Also, the old steps had some settling but were  level enough to help support the new steps, this eliminated the need to bust out the concrete and reduced the amount of posts needed for the new framing and decking.

Cover Old Concrete Steps

 Process: Instead of toiling for days removing those old steps, Gabe and his crew were able to start framing the first day right on top of them. Joists and Jacks rested on the existing concrete against the house and were fastened to poured in place posts just off the other side of the old steps. This ensured the new steps would be installed level and also brought the edge of the new steps out far enough to completely hide the old ones. The homeowners installed the decking and railing themselves after we had completed the framing. Completed framing ready for Trex.

Cover Old Concrete Steps

Do you have some old steps that have only survived this long because you’re dreading that weekend with a jackhammer? Rodda & Sons West may be able to help you with a Creative Solution. Or, if you’re handy with lumber and nails, this could be your next DIY project. The homeowner above did a combination, letting us handle some of the more complex carpentry, and installing the decking  and railing himself. No matter what you decide, we wish you luck with your landscaping endeavors. Don’t forget to give us a call if you need a Creative Solution.

Referral Incentives

At our latest marketing brainstorm session an idea sprung up. Referral incentives. Our #1 source of new jobs is always postive testimonials and word of mouth referrals (by the by, we have a new testimonial form on our website, be the first to leave one!).  These days with such a glut of advertising thrown at consumers, they’re most likely to trust the referral of a friend rather than any advertising money can buy. 

As the discussion continued, some felt it was wrong to “buy” referrals with a reward system, it felt dishonest somehow. Of course, we would not want you to refer our services for any reason other than your genuine high opinion. On the other hand, we want to ensure that when an opportunity comes to refer us, you jump at the chance. Also, since you’re our best advertisers, we think you should be rewarded! But it doesn’t matter what WE think, we want to know what YOU think!

What do you think of referral incentives?

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Welcome to our new website! We have redesigned to offer a more interactive site, we hope you will enjoy it! We kept some of the old favorites, such as the Project Planning Guide, our History and photos of Our Team, see photos of our best work including many Water Features in the Gallery, check out the Sandscapes page, or get some help choosing plants with our Featured Beach Plants and Deer Resistant Plants.

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