Thursday, January 29, 2015

DIY-Build A Sandbox!

A sandbox can offer the novelty of some of the seaside in your backyard and will provide hours of fun for kids. After children have outgrown it, there is the option of covering it with topsoil and use it as a garden box, or turning it into a dirt box that older children will also love.

Necessary tools and materials:

Wall blocks and Masonry glue (sold with blocks)
Landscape fabric /weed blocking fabric
Earth staples
Carpenter's level
Tarp or old bedspread


Step one:
Choose the placement for the sandbox. If you have a huge backyard, pick a shady area under a tree. If you have a small yard choose a spot that has the least amount of sun during the time you know youngsters will be playing the sandbox.

Step two:
Pick the blocks you will use to make the sandbox.

Step three:
Using the measuring tape, measure out the area of the sandbox. Mark what will be the corners using rocks and sticks or more professionally with lay out the shape of the sandbox with some stakes and twine to be used as markers along the edges as a template to dig.

Step four:
Using the shovel start digging the centre of the sandbox and work your way out to the marked edges. Dig to a depth of 5 or so inches.

Step five:
With the same measurements you have taken for the area of the sandbox, cut the landscaping fabric and put it at the bottom of the hole. This will keep insects, weeds and creatures from getting in the sandbox. Secure the fabric to the floor with the earth staples (which can be purchased wherever landscape fabric is sold)

Step six:
Determine how much sand you need. Do this by Using the (depth x width x length in feet). Divide this number by 27 and you'll know how many cubic yards are required. You can always confirm with your sand provider. The sand you will need is known as "Play Sand" or "Sandbox Sand." It is sterilized and sifted, and hence has no big particles that children might swallow or choke on. It also won't get stuck to to children and their clothes.

Step seven:
Set the wall blocks around the border of the sandbox, fixing them to each other with the masonry glue.

Step eight:
Continue to lay the blocks on top of each other to make the walls of the sandbox the height you want it to be, remember that you may require extra sand if you make a higher wall for the sandbox

Step nine
Double check measurements for the sand, order and fill the box. It is now ready to be use.

Tips and Warnings:
1) Place the sandbox in a spot that you can easily see from the house and from all angles of the yard to ensure the safety of children

2) If you are putting the sandbox near to a tree, avoid the tree roots as best you can.

3) Cover the sandbox with an old sheet or tarpaulin when not in use to keep small animals from with it as a litter box and to stop sand from washing away during rain.

4) Chose wall blocks that will fit the style of your yard. Blocks come in a variety of shapes colors and textures. Curved blocks can be used to make sandboxes that are round or kidney shaped, while square blocks make square and rectangular boxes. Choose blocks with smooth surfaces to keep scrapes and scratches from climbing or falling on them.

Please visit these links for more information on: How to Build a Sandbox and Build a Sandbox.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Checklist For Patio Building

You have decided to build a patio. There are many things to consider when building a patio or pergola so it is a good idea to have check list on hand to ensure you are tackling the right things at the right time.
1) First on the check list is to make sure you have secured all of the approvals and permissions to build your pergola or patio. Each council has different rules and regulations, and heritage listed houses will be even further limited as to scope. So be sure to get the paperwork in order before you do anything else.
2) Next on the list of things to do is the choice of whether to self build or hire a contractor. There are a number of factors that will influence this decision.
  • Do you have the skills to build your own structure? Or perhaps do you have mates that can you ask to help?
  • Do you have the right tools to build or if not, can they be hired easily and cost effectively?
  • Can you afford to hire a contractor, as this is another option to consider?
3) After you know that you are allowed to build a patio, and who is going to build it, the next step is to establish a budget. What can you afford? Can you afford to hire a company to come and do all the work for you or do you have build it yourself?
A tighter budget might mean buying a kit or going on readily available plans from a library or hardware store, where as a larger budget will mean selective the best option from a catalogue. Your budget will not only influence design, it will also influence material selection. Make sure you keep your budget in mind when making these important decisions.
4) Design, style and layout are the next on the list. How the patio functions and looks is your step when building a patio.
  • Will it be attached to house or free standing?
  • Will it be covered and how? A shade cloth, PVC or a retractable roof cover?
  • Does the style complement your house in the context of your property?
  • Will the patio be appropriate to your lifestyle? Large, small, wrapping around the house?
  • Do you need any special considerations such as ramps, railings or built in cooking equipment?
  • Will you require windows, sliding doors, planter boxes or lattice work?
5) The final stage on your road to patio completion is to decide on the materials you would like to use.
The materials you select will depend greatly on your budget and also the style of your patio. A modern, custom designed affair would most likely suit the more modern materials such as powder coated metals and new plastics and composites. Where as a more traditional structure aside an older house will most likely suit timber and more natural materials. Your budget will also have to be considered when choosing materials for the structure and the roof cover. However, do keep in mind that investing in good quality, durable materials will save you time and money in repairs and maintenance in the long run.
With this basic patio check list, you can be sure that you have covered all the major concerns before you begin building your patio or pergola.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marbled Finish with Dry Brush Application

Using NewLook's Translucent Enhancer to get a mottled marbled look using the Dry Brush Application Technique.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Do You Need A Backyard Fire Pit?

Depending on how the weather turns, you may find that you enjoy sitting in the backyard at specific times of the year. It is not uncommon to consider different ways to improve your back patio or deck - maybe you've considered a gazebo or garden, or even a firepit to keep yourself warm on cooler evenings. Do you need a firepit to enhance your backyard entertaining, however? It can be a solid investment or a folly, but if you consider the pros and cons you will find you've made the right decision for home improvement.
Here are a few points to consider if you have thought about installing a fire shoppe in your backyard:
1) How often do you sit out in the backyard? Do you think the addition of a firepit will inspire you to spend more time outside? The good thing about firepits is that you can use them year round - for cozy conversations during the fall and winter and marshmallow toasting and hot dog roasting in the summer. If spending time outside is a favorite activity, you may want to improve the experience with a comfortable firepit setting.
2) What is your budget? Firepits come in a variety of styles and sizes. Some are merely portable iron bowls you can find in a home improvement shop, while others are brick structures that require professional construction and installation. Some will burn wood, others work with gas. The type of firepit you want may not correspond with the money you are able to invest, so make sure you go over your finances before you make a firm decision.
3) Are there any obstacles to installing a fire shoppe? Having a place where you will have an open flame may affect your home insurance. Also, if you live in a condo or other planned community there may be restrictions to what you can have installed in your yard area. Check with your insurance company and HOA or board to see if any regulations prevent you from setting up something.
If nothing stands in the way of your plan to enhance your backyard relaxation, you next want to research what kind of pit you want. Do you have an existing deck or patio? You may be able to build onto it and install a gas line for it. If not, you may wish to landscape the backyard altogether with the firepit as the focus. A local contractor or backyard leisure store can offer you many ideas.
Enjoy your nights before the fire, no matter the time of year. A backyard fire shoppe will keep you warm.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Other Uses For Stone Veneer

If you thought stone veneer was just for front facing a home to add curb appeal then you only know half the story. Real thin stone veneer is a beautiful product that is excellent for retaining walls, fireplaces, interior wall coverings, as well as for facades and exterior wall coverings.
But why limit yourself there? This stone is so easy to install and maintain that you could probably find many other uses for it. How about adding stone veneer at the end of a counter top or around a kitchen island? What about installing stone veneer in the bathroom on the walls? Not only can natural stone enhance the feel of any décor, but it adds value to your home as well.
Four Applications, Many Styles to Choose From
Use Stone Veneer for the interior panels in your home: Either one wall or throughout a whole room. Stone veneer can be an elegant and regal alternative to wallpaper or paint. You won't have to redo it in a few years either because it is outdated or out of style. Stone veneer adds a timeless beauty to your home that is always updated.
In addition, stone veneer is durable and easy to clean. It adds a sense of old world with a modern touch to nearly any room. Kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, studies, libraries, and family rooms are just a few ideas which stone veneer could be used for.
You could use Stone Veneer to build a retaining wall in your backyard!
Liven up the garden, add some charm to an existing retaining wall, or elevate a garden or flower bed. Thin stone veneer can be applied to any existing or new retaining wall to make it look like a gorgeous rock wall instead of a plain old flower bed. With the proper applications and installation, your stone veneer wall will last many years and prove to endure even the most severe weather conditions - yet still manage to look beautiful for years to come.
Stone veneer can be used for fireplaces. A stone veneer façade on an indoor or outdoor fireplace can make it look like you've spent a fortune! Outdoor patios in need of a touch of class can be transformed simply with the addition of a stone fireplace.
Re-facing or building new indoor fireplaces can be a simple and easy project with the addition of stone veneer. Unlike fake manufactured stone, real stone veneer stands up to the intense heat of the fireplace.
Consider using stone veneer for siding on the exterior of your home. Add a level of sophistication and charm to the exterior of your home. Stone veneer can be applied either on the lower half of a wall or as the whole front or exterior of a home. This will add that touch of elegance, class and distinction that is emulated from the upscale homes of the rich and famous. Give your home the same elegant curb appeal with durable, fade resistant, chip resistant, weather resistant, and warm looking stone veneer.
What To Expect
You can expect to find hundreds of styles, patterns, and colors of stone veneer. You can choose from existing colors and patterns that are available or custom order your veneer to suit your unique taste. Stone veneer installs much more quickly than the fabricated stone since it is lighter in weight. It is also more durable since it is resistant to weather, sun damage, and even chipping.
Upgrade your curb appeal, backyard elegance, or old world style interior with modern and fabulous thin stone veneer. You will save money and have a long lasting product that will be sure to add a touch of class to any home indoors or out. In summary, you can apply stone veneer to indoor or outdoor fireplaces, walls, and facades. You can expect the beauty of natural thin stone veneer to ad charm and class to your home, no matter where you decide to put it within your home.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Landscape With Boulders

It may sound a bit of a stretch to say; landscape with boulders, but it all depends on how you plan to acquire and position your boulders. Now, you can actually create your own boulders using a process that allows you to make your own fake boulders very inexpensive and the cost to make these fake boulders is one of the perks to this project.
In order to make your own boulders you just need to determine what size boulders and where you want them to be placed. The rest is just following some very easy, step by step plans, that you can acquire online. The process is unique and that makes discovering this method important from the standpoint of cost savings and customizing your project.
Creating your own landscaping rocks and boulders is not only economical but a lot of fun as well. Just imagine having the perfect landscaping design, using rocks and boulders that you didn't have to buy or have moved to your property, that is exciting just thinking about it.
Boulders can actually convert your landscaping project from normal to extraordinary, simply by being able to position the right size boulders in the right position to accent the rest of your lawn. Boulders add so much depth to your landscaping that you will gain rave revues from neighbors and those that happen to drive by your property as well.
If you consider the more elaborate landscaped lawns and public areas, they usually contain boulders to really set their landscape designs apart from the normal hedge or shrubs and a few select plants scattered about. By adding the boulders you can separate certain plants and shrubs that allow you to included more species of plants which adds more variety and attraction to your lawn.
Landscaping with boulders has always been a problem when moving or positioning these large rocks is involved. The cost usually deters the thought of even using them altogether. With modern technology and a few good plans you can now landscape with no limits in sight.
Depending on where live, you may have a certain type of boulder and rock that is native to your area. Some places have limestone rock formations, others have granite or field-stone. Being able to incorporate the native type of boulder formations will allow you to blend your landscaping project with the rocks that are found in your area, making your landscape look natural as well.
Boulders that are light weight and easy to move can allow you to reposition your layout from time to time and this is an added advantage that you won't find using real heavy boulders. This alone is an added value that you get by using fake rocks and boulders.
Not having to use any special tools and forms to make your own fake boulders is a plus that comes with some rock building plans. Free-standing boulders without forms are a great way to make and move your boulders into any position you choose. Rocks are always the icing on the cake, as far as award-winning landscaping designs are concerned. Now you can add rocks to your lawn or backyard and know that you have created your own masterpiece in landscaping.
Before you begin your next landscaping project, consider incorporating rocks and boulders that you can build and place without having to increase your budget. Fake rocks and boulders are the way to go.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Winterize Your Fountain

It is time to winterize your fountain to protect it during the cold winter months ahead. We walk you through the steps and even make a suggestion if you don't want to tackle it yourself.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How To Start An Herb Container Garden

How To Start An Herb Container Garden
A tasty addition to just about any meal, herbs are extremely easy to grow at home. In fact, if you have no backyard, be excited because herbs are ideally suited to container gardening. Since you can keep your container in the kitchen, you'll find it easy to use them more often, and they'll be a beautiful addition to your décor. Because some herbs, such as mint, will take over a regular garden, the container garden provides an added benefit by keeping runaway plants under control. There are just a few easy steps to follow to have a lovely and useful garden of your own.
First off, you'll need to choose a container. The only limits here are your imagination and food safety. Your only limitation when it comes to choosing pots for herbs is that you need to use containers that are food safe. Make sure you're not using pottery glazed with lead based chemicals. Plastic or glass pots as well as unfinished terra cotta will be safe. Almost all herbs will thrive in small pots or you can put several together in a window box, an old wheelbarrow, or anything that can hold the soil.
Choosing your herbs is really a question of taste. You may love the taste of rosemary and hate the taste of oregano. Perhaps to you parsley is just plate decoration while marjoram is divine. Choose which herbs you'd like to use and then plan accordingly. Pay particular attention to which herbs like more sun or less water and be sure to put like plants together when you craft your herb container garden.
Many of the herbs you will want to grow can be purchased as plants right from the start. Some herbs, however, will mature quickly and easily from seeds, so plan on putting together a mix of plants and seeds as you start on your container herb garden. Grassy green herbs like chives, mint, and parsley really perform best from seed because they're very difficult to transplant and they grow very quickly. The bushy, woody herbs like oregano and rosemary are much better to start as plants. You can also get a number of the softer herbs like basil and mint as plants. The wonderful thing about those is that you'll be able to enjoy them in your cooking almost immediately.
If you keep your container herb garden indoors, you may be able to keep the garden going year-round, but even indoors you may need to replace a few plants. Still, fresh herbs in a stew in the dead of winter are a surprising and wonderful delight, and experimenting with which herbs you can keep indefinitely is well worth the effort.
Once you're underway, you'll find your container herb garden a rewarding and creative use of time. Beautiful and useful, the garden can change your kitchen into the envy of your friends and they joy of your family.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Crushed Stone Pathway featuring TechniSoil & EdgePro

This is a short demonstration video on how to build a natural-looking, crushed stone pathway, featuring TechniSoil Pathway Stabilizer and EdgePro Paver Restraint.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Thank you for being a customer at Dixon Landscape Materials. We look forward to serving you in 2015. We wish you peace, happiness, and abundant good health in the new year.