Sunday, 25 June 2017

How To Landscape A Sloped Lot

While a house in a hilly area comes with a promise of stunning panoramic views of the surroundings, to their utter chagrin, homeowners quickly realize that working on a sloping backyard can be a harrowing task. However, the old adage, "More work equals to better results" certainly holds true in case of landscaping a sloping yard which presents innumerable opportunities for aesthetically pleasing inclusions that would otherwise look mundane.

When planning a landscape for a hilly yard, it is quintessential to include this topographical feature as a crucial c onsideration when deciding on every aspect of the landscape, from the type of plants that you intend to use to the design of the garden. Preplanning will help you to tackle the more cumbersome aspects of landscaping a slope while yielding astounding results. So, here are some tips on how you can landscape your sloping backyard to create a stunning medley of colors and textures.

Get to know the terrain

Grading the terrain: Before you draw up plans for landscaping your sloping backyard, it is imperative to study the terrain and the slope to ensure that your landscape will be able to efficaciously handle the drawback of gardening on a slope, while making the most of the natural features of the terrain.

A simple thumb rule to understand how the extent of slope will impact your gardening efforts is that the steepness of the slope will be directly proportional to the water you will need for your plants. Because steeper slopes tend to funnel moisture away from the plan ts, forcing the water and soil to flow downhill, it is vital to get the slope graded. As a matter of fact, most experts suggest that getting a sloping yard professionally graded can help you to save a significant amount of money on watering the steep terrain in the future.

Visual analysis: Alternatively, you could also do a visual analysis of the area. Gauge the severity of the slope and create a quick diagram labeling the steepest portions of the yard; make a note of the amount of sunlight that the different portions of the yard receive. You may also want to include comments on any drainage problems that may be encountered in specific areas.

List the various elements of the landscape: With the diagram in hand, you will be in a better position to place the various landscaping elements in the drawing such as tress, flower beds, fountains, walkways, boulders etc. It is cru cial to accurately anticipate the area that the plants and shrubs will cover at maturity so that the landscape does not look too crammed.

Mark the areas for planting: Ideally the trees should be planted at the bottom half of the slope so that they can add stability to the landscape and prevent soil erosion. The steepest sections should have shrubs with deep reaching fibrous roots that will hold on to the soil while the wider plants that will cover large areas at maturity should be planted at the bottom of the slope so that they can create a neat hedge while affording you all the privacy that you need to enjoy your garden.

Preventing soil erosion

Stability and accessibility: Soil erosion is a huge concern when gardening on a slope; however, depending on the steepness of the area, you will also need to give a thought to accessibility requirements such as a ladder or other forms of assistance for climbing. The type of soil and the steepness gradient will also impac t the stability of the yard.

Drainage and soil erosion: The direction in which the water drains from a slope will have a bearing on the extent of soil erosion; for instance, if the water runs down straight to the lower ground, there will be massive erosion. Using non porous material for landscaping on a steep terrain will further augment the soil erosion problem.

Solving the soil erosion problem: There are several anti erosion measures that can yield remarkable results such as:


Laying garden paths across the slope

Using boulders and logs to reduce drainage

Building retaining walls with small rocks

Planting specific types of grass

Interlocking walls etc

Using the right types of plants can not only add to the aesthetic appeal of your garden but also help to reduce soil erosion. As a matter of fact, mixing different types of greenery is the ideal way to reduce the water from draining away too quickly. Plants such as deep rooted shrubs combined with trees like manzanita and juniper will hold the soil tight Sprinkler Installation Flower Mound for the shallow rooted perennial shrubs and flowering plants like clematis and day lilies.

Preparing the ground

With a list of plants that you intend to use to reduce soil erosion, you are all set to prepare the ground for your landscape

The compass points need due diligence: Knowing the direction in which your yard faces will prove immensely useful when choosing plants for the landscape. Slopes that face to the south or west tend to drain faster and will have to be watered more than yards facing the east or north. So, if you are handling a western or southern slope, pick drought resistant shrubs or your water bills may go through the roof.

Ground cover will help: Although for regular areas, bare soil will be adequate to grow a bountiful flowerbed; the story will be diff erent with sloping surfaces where the soil will dry up and erode quickly due to the slant. Use ground cover plants such as Vinca, Sedum and Liriope muscari for best results.

Use good ol mulch: This is a natural and affordable way to deal with soil erosion; also it helps to fertilize the soil. However, it is certainly not a permanent solution as the soil will drag the mulch away slowly, leaving bald spots in your landscape. Another issue is the fact that dry and dead leaves, twigs and branches are not exactly a visually pleasing sight.

Choosing plants for your sloping yard

Ornamental grasses: Local, ornamental grass varieties with their deep reaching root system that spreads horizontally is ideal for controlling erosion. Since grass is low maintenance, you will not have to worry about fertilizing the ground. Some attractive ornamental grass species include:

Little bluestem

Inland sea oats

Plains lovegrass

Texas beargrass

Estern woodland sedge

All of these grass varieties thrive when planted on hilly terrain.

Ground cover plants: For a slope that receives a fair mount of sunlight; prostrate juniper should work just fine while for a shady area, you might want to use creeping boxwood, also known as pachysandra. Other ground cover plants include wintercreeper and periwinkle which also flourish on hilly grounds.

The decorative varieties: Plants that can be used in different areas of the landscape include:

California Privet: This is a tall shrub that can grow to a height of 10 feet and has a foliage width of almost 4 feet; the shrub grows in part sun and part shade producing cream colored flowers. The plant is hardy and drought tolerant so it's an ideal choice for steep slopes.

Japanese Spirea: This is another plant that is a fabulous choice for a sloping yard; the deciduous shrub grows almo st 6 feet tall with a foliage width to match. The leaves grow in a riot of colors from rich burgundy to bright green and every hue in between. The flowers are equally beautiful, an eclectic mix of purple and pink. However, the plant does need full sun and flourishes in warmer weather

Verbena: With its airy stems, the shrub can be coupled with plants that sport dense foliage. The plant is a superb choice for a sunny slope and works well as a foreground shrub. It grows about 6 feet tall with a foliage width of 3 feet. Its drought tolerant and the purples flowers can add a touch of color to your landscape.

Oleander: A favorite with homeowners all over, few plants can create a Mediterranean ambience like Oleanders in white and pink. The plant can grow tall to almost 20 feet with a foliage width of 12 feet. The flowers bloom in bunches almost continuously and are available in a myriad of colors such as yellow, white, pink, red and apricot. It's extremely drought tolerant an d easy to grow.

You could also try growing hibiscus and roses on a terrace. Remember to water a slope; a drip hose will be more appropriate than overhead sprinklers.

Innovative planting ideas

Bordered Tiers: Use boulders or landscape timber to create the appearance of tiers. When using timber, you will need to stick the pieces together and drive a rebar through them to hold the wood in place. Use glue to stick pavers on the timber and your tiers will be all ready. Use plants such as day lilies, lavender or other flowering perennial shrubs. You can use decorative stone or mulch to hold the moisture in.

Planted slope: You could also use a combination of flowering shrubs, evergreens and perennial flowers scattered all over the yard. Alternatively, create neat rows of greens and flowers for a formal look.

A flowing deck: You could also build a series of decks, each falling successively with the slope of the yard. Try building a series of walkways and s teps connecting the decks. Use flowering shrubs and solar lighting to create an enthralling ambience.

Plant in basins: Another innovative approach is to chuck the traditional rows of shrubs in favor of basin like formations. Each basin will serve as an exclusive spot for certain types of plants.

Completing the landscape

To add the finishing touches to your landscape: Remove the grass and other growth from the areas designated for the walkway. Use gravel, stone or Sprinkler System Flower Mound any other type of hardscape material to cover the surface and pack pea gravel or sand in between.

Use large boulders placed across the yard to create a natural and earthy appeal; the large stones should be placed at the bottom of the slope away from the steep areas for safety. Once all the stones have been placed as desired; bury them one fourth of the way into the ground, so that you get stability along with a natural look.

Finally add the finishing touches with a fountain placed in a central location, you could also use ornamental lights or antique wooden benches or wrought iron furniture to complete the landscape.

By: Ella Schwartz

Article Directory:

Ella C Schwartz is a writer for Hunterstruct Construction, offering design, building, structural repair and home renovations in Vancouver and throughout Southwest British Columbia, including the BC interior and Sunshine Coast. Best known for its functional and great looking sundecks, Hunterstruct showcases its best Vancouver decks on the website. We love building, and it shows!

Friday, 23 June 2017

The 404 Show 1704: What is Amazon gonna do with all these Whole Foods?

The 404 Show 1704: What is Amazon gonna Best Home Improvement College Station do with all these Whole Foods? (podcast) - CNET

Who else better to talk about Amazon's jaw-dropping purchase of Whole Foods than the man who covers the company for CNET? Ben Fox Rubin is back to share his thoughts on the deal and sticks around long enough to get an E3 2017 debriefing.

The 404 Show # 1703Your browser does Best Home Improvement College Station not support the audio element.

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Watering Made Easy Sprinkler Stations Popping Up All Over.

KINGWOOD, Texas -- "I just got tired of struggling with my

lawn sprinkler..." is one reason given by Eric Eden, the president

of Watering Made Easy, when asked what inspired him to develop the new

"Sprinkler Stations." Apparently Eden is not alone; with their

purchases, consumers across the U.S. are showing they want a new

solution as well.

A straightforward concept, a Watering Made Easy Sprinkler Station

is an underground sprinkler that works with a regular garden hose.

Sprinkler Stations collapse level with the ground when they are not in

use, out of the way of lawn mowing and other activities. Best of all,

they stay aimed between waterings.

"These are perfect for consumers," says Eden. "They

are so easy to install, people can do it themselves. The value of a

Sprinkler Station r egisters with consumers because it is permanent

solution with a retail price in line with basic surface


No more dragging a sprinkler into the yard and aiming and re-aiming

it (while getting soaked), and then moving it to mow the grass. No more

buying and collecting a pile of old sprinklers in the corner of your

yard. No more bricks holding down your sprinkler or letting a spike bore

a hole and fall over.

Place the included Quick Connector on a garden hose, turn on the

water and click the hose onto the Sprinkler Station. The sprinkler head

pops up and waters your lawn. Unplug the hose when you are finished, and

the sprinkler head falls flush with the ground, and stays aimed.

Watering Made Easy offers three models of Sprinkler Stations,

designed to water various shapes and areas.

* The Original Sprinkler Station is an impact sprinkler that sprays

a large area, 70-foot diameter, part or full circle.

* The Sprinkler Station Jr. sprays a small/medium area, 30-foot

diameter, part or full circle.

* The Sprinkler Station Squared can spray a small/medium area, 9 x

18 foot, 4 x 15 foot, or 4 x 30 foot rectangle.

Most people who buy Sprinkler Stations are not https: // considering an

automatic underground sprinkler system. They are tired of hassling with

a surface sprinkler, but not comfortable with the cost and maintenance

of an underground sprinkler system. Some people use a Sprinkler Station

to reach a spot that their underground sprinkler system misses.

Watering Made Easy Sprinkler Stations are easy to get too.

Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouses carry the Original Sprinkler

Station and the Squared Sprinkler Station in all of their stores, along

with other websites and retailers across the U.S. Watering Made

Easy's website has a search feature to locate retail partners at and also has images and videos of

Sprinkler Stations in use.

W atering Made Easy is bringing "Irrigation-Style"

watering products to the hose-end sprinkler market. They are actively

seeking additional retail partners who believe in offering quality,

innovative products. They are also looking for landscape companies to

resell and install Sprinkler Stations as well as homebuilders that

believe in providing complete solutions for their customers.

Please see for more information. Contact

Watering Made Easy at 1-877-280-4485 or by email at

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Landscaping - 5 home improvement projects for under $1,000


You ca n accent the exterior of your home with simple landscaping work that you can do yourself for well under $1,000. Look over your yard and see what needs the most work.

Do you have unruly areas next to the house that could be better defined as a garden with edging or landscaping blocks? Problem areas of the yard can be fixed up with strategic plants, from evergreens to ground cover, and sunny areas can be accented with a simple flower garden and some mulch. Shrubs can be used to block road noise in high-traffic areas. If you are not sure what types of plants do best in your area and soil type, consult your local experts (nurseries or university extension offices).

10 homes with incredible vertical gardens

Photo courtesy of Hector Armando Herrera

It's time to think outside the flower box.

For many homeowners, a love of the outdoors clashes with the realities of small spaces. How do you plant a garden when you hardly have the space for your barbecue grill, let alone that patio set you've been dreaming about? The answer for many homeowners is simple: Move the garden on up.

Vertical gardens give homeowners the luxury of having their own plants while maximizing the space they have for entertaining, relaxing and cooking out. Some make interesting living art pieces, while others provide an extra level of privacy from nearby neighbors.

A well-placed vertical garden could also give your house an especially unique curb appeal that sets it apart from every other house on the block.

Don't have much of a green thumb? Not to worry. Many vertical gardens are stocked with succulents and o ther low-maintenance plants that are easy to care for and help keep water bills low. Others are planted with built-in irrigation systems that can be programmed to care for a homeowner's garden even when they can't.

Whether they use small focal pieces full of succulents or a three-story wall designed to control temperature and light, these 10 homes and their amazing vertical gardens are sure to inspire.

Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, and Landscaping

10 Easily Growing Foods from Your Backyardby Titia Geertman4 weeks ago

A lot of people who have gardens don't often realize that many plants are looked upon as unwanted weeds, but can actually be used as veggies or in snacks. This goes for plants, flowers and weeds.

Moringa Stenopetala - the African Miracle Treeby Emily Tack2 years ago

Moringa Stenopetala is the "African Moringa" tree. It is also called "Mother's Helper", because it helps increase the milk supply for nursing mothers. The leaves are nutritious, and delicious, too!

How to Earn Money Selling Dayliliesby Barbara Kay Badder2 years ago

Learn how to make money selling daylilies. You'll find all of the information you need to buy daylilies, choose plants, care for them, where to sell them, how to pack and ship, and licensing.

How to Keep Soil Moist Without Excessive Wateringby Sean Hemmer4 years ago

Keeping soil moist while avoiding excessive watering is a key when growing most plants. Excessive watering is a novice mistake that can easily harm and even kill plants. There are several methods can be used to reduce...

How to Grow Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa)by Jill Spencer2 weeks ago

Learn how to grow Asclepias tuberosa successfully in your home landscape. Commonly called butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa is a no-fuss perennial plant that produces clusters of bright orange flowers in summer,...

Garden Design - How to Sprinkler System Plan a New Gardenby Dolores Monet2 days ago

When you plan a flower garden, do not forget plan on the time it will take to keep your garden looking its best. Here are some tips on the chores needed to maintain a flower garden.

Gardening on the Cheap: 3 Ways to Get Lots of Plants for Super Cheapby Sarah12 months ago

Seed saving, cultivating cuttings and dividing plants are fun and frugal ways to fill your yard with as many plants as your heart desires. Learn the basics and garden on the cheap!

Spathodea - Flame Of The Forest - African Tulip Treeby Rajan Singh Jolly7 months ago

Spathodea, Flame of the forest, African tulip tree, Pichkari, Nandi flame are the names of the same tree. Learn about the various facets of this wonderful tree, its medicinal properties and uses.

Sn ake Plant Propagationby Sean Hemmer4 years ago

The propagation of the snake plant is very easy via cuttings or divisions. Cuttings are slightly more complicated than divisions but both are easy none-the-less. Only a few materials are needed to Sprinkler System perform divisions and...

Affordable Vermicomposting: 6 Easy Steps to Making a Worm Compost Binby Kevin J Timothy9 months ago

Making a compost bin shouldn't have to cost you a fortune. Learn how to get started with yours by sundown. Starting lowering your carbon footprint.

Body Shop Painters - Get the Credit You Deserve

GLEN MILLS, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE: AXTA), a leading global supplier of liquid

and powder coatings, has launched a Master Refinish Certification

program as part of its Learning and Development offering in North

America. The Master Refinish Certification program provides a path for

refinish customers to advance skills and abilities from industry

standard to expert through four educational stages. Students can earn

the Master Refinish Certification using Axalta's refinish brands,

including Cromax, Spies Hecker and Standox.

In addition, many of the courses that lead to certification qualify for

I-CAR credit hours. I-CAR is the international, not-for-profit

Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair and is dedicated to

providing the information, knowledge and skills required to perform

complete, safe and quality repairs.

"Our customers asked for a program that would help develop talent in

their businesses," said Patrice Marcil, Axalta's North American Learning

and Development Director. "The Master Refinish Certification program

does that through a progressive learning journey that begins with

knowledge-sharing in the field, advances to skill-building in the

classroom, progresses to real-world application in the body shop and

positively influences decision-making. Ultimately, the Master

Certification program provides a well-rounded education that helps < br>
boosts the overall skillset of the refinisher whose experience adds

value to the business," Marcil added.

Axalta's Learning and Development programs are designed to improve

customer performance by developing the skills and knowledge to help

eliminate waste, reduce costs, keep cycle time to a minimum and increase

retention by investing in employees' careers. Programs are offered at

Axalta's 11 Learning and Development Centers in North America, in an

office or shop, virtually online through,

or through a mix of blended learning methods, as needed per customer.

To learn more about the Master Refinish Certification program and to

register for a course, customers can log-on to www.axaltalearningcam

More information about learning and development can be found by visiting

About Axalta Coating Systems - Celebrating 150 Years in the Coatings


Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and

providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable

solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish

applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, our coatings

are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the

materials we coat to last longer. With 150 years of experience in the

coatings industry, the approximately 12,800 people of Axalta continue to

find ways to serve our more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries

better every day with the finest coatings, application systems and

technology. For more information visit axalt

and follow us @axalta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

How to generate Electricity | hubpages

Fossil Fuels

In a coal or oil fired power station, the fuel is burned (converting its chemical energy into heat) and the heat used to convert water into steam at very high temperature and pressure. This then drives a steam turbine, a device which harnesses the energy in the steam (heat and pressure) to produce rotational movement (mechanical energy). The rotating shaft of the steam turbine is coupled to the armature of the alternator, so the final result is electricity.

Wind Power

Windmills have been around for centuries and all have harnessed the energy of moving air (wind!) through rotating sails or fan blades. Traditionally, the mechanical energy was used directly, to turn a mill wheel. A modern wind turbine simply couples the rotating shaft to an alternator armature. The last link in the chain is always the same - electricity from mechanical rotation.

Hydro Electric Power

Here, the source energy (there always has to be one!) is gravitational pot ential energy. A mountain stream is dammed in a high place, to create an artificial lake or reservoir. Farther down the mountain, the power station is equipped with water turbines. These are simply highly efficient versions of the old fashioned water-wheel; effectively they harness the kinetic energy of a carefully channelled waterfall to produce mechanical rotation. The rest you know.

Tidal Power and Wave Power

These new technologies extract energy from the long-term bulk movement of water in a tidal estuary and from the short-term wave motion of the surface. The principle remains the same, to harness the 'free' natural energy in moving water to drive a mechanical turbine.

Solar Power - local

In a sense. all energy on Earth is solar energy, as even fossil fuels are chemical 'memories' of ancient sunshine. But we're talking here about generating electricity from solar energy, and strangely enough, it's not very easy. The problem is that you can't easily convert sunshine into mechanical rotation to drive alternators on a commercial scale. Solar panels have no moving parts, and so the electricity they produce is 'DC' or direct current. This is like the electricity from a battery. It's great for local use, e.g. running a small irrigation pump, but the big problem with DC is that it is hard to distribute. (No time to explain that now - maybe another hub!)

Solar edmond-wa/electricians Power - commercial

Photovoltaic units, as described above, are best suited to localised applications like space or water heating. However, commercial-scale solar power plants, though still expensive to build, are becoming viable, the more so as the price of fossil fuels increases.

No single design for commercial solar power has yet won through, but all are based on the same idea - a large array of reflectors to collect the sun's rays and focus them onto a receiver which is effectively pipe-work containing a heat-absorbing fluid. Technologies are already well developed to store the collected energy as heat and to convert it to electricity using steam or gas turbines at a steady rate, night and day. The biggest problem is that the sun moves (OK, the Earth rotates!) and so ingenious tracking mechanisms are needed to make the reflectors follow the sun through the daylight hours.

Ironically, the part of the world best suited for deploying this technology is the part that least needs it - the oil rich deserts of the Middle East.

Geothermal Energy

This is another underdeveloped source. If you drill down into the Earth's crust, at first the temperature drops, because the sun's warmth can't penetrate. But deeper, the temperature rises. Volcanoes are evidence of this - molten lava is pretty hot! That well of energy is there to be tapped. As always, the final conversion process is the familiar steam turbine. And, like solar energy, it is environmentally friendly, provided you don't accidentally trigger a local volcano! But it is not as simple as it seems. The process of taking heat from a hot rock cools the rock locally. There's plenty Best Electrician Service in College Station more heat surrounding it, but can it flow quickly enough to your collectors? Again, it's another technology whose time will come, but not a panacaea.

Nuclear Energy

This is the controversial one. Nuclear fission is a process in which unstable (radioactive) atomic nuclei break down, releasing energy in the form of radiation (escaping particles). By concentrating these nuclei together, a controlled chain recation is produced releasing huge amounts of energy which is used to convert water into steam. The process of generating electricity in a nuclear power plant is simply by steam turbine, exactly the same as in a fossil fuel plant. The public fear of nuclear power is twofold: the risk of meltdown - an uncontrolled nuclear reactor is not very different from an 'atomic' bomb; also the by-product, radioactive nuclear waste, is none too pleasant.

As an aside - Nuclear energy does not obey the classical Physics law of conservation of Energy. It does however obey the Modern Physics law of conservation of Mass-Energy which al lows for interconversion of matter and energy according to Einstein's famous equation E=mc This fundamental difference means that Nuclear Energy is potentially the most fruitful source of all. It is important that proper scientific research & development into nuclear energy, and Nuclear Fusion in particular, should be allowed to continue.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscape Designer

If you're considering working with a landscape designer, finding the right fit -- and avoiding surprises midway through the project -- is largely about knowing which questions to ask upfront and being familiar with the range of services these professionals provide.

We reached out to four seasoned landscape professionals -- Peter Reader of Peter Reader Landscapes in London, Beth Mullins of Growsgreen Landscape Design in San Francisco, John Algozzini of K&D Landscape Management in Chicago and June Scott of June Scott Design in Southern California -- to get the inside scoop on the range of services available and the 10 essential questions potential clients should ask before hiring a professional for the job.

First, get your ducks in a row. Before reaching out to a professional, write a wish list for your garden remodel, establish your priorities and budget, and decide which parts of the process you'd like to hire a pro for help. With this on paper, you'll have a clear sens e of what you're looking for in a designer before you begin to contact professionals.

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscape Designer

1. What services do you offer? First and foremost, determine what services a landscape designer offers to see if he or she is the right person for your project."The best question a potential client can ask is: 'Are you experienced with the scope of work we want, and can you design and manage it?'" Algozzini says.

Generally speaking, landscape designers fall into one of three categories, depending on the services they offer:

Design only. Some designers specialize only in the design process. This typically includes a site analysis and discussion of a client's needs, a preliminary design, revisions based on your feedback, and a final detailed master plan for your garden. This detailed planting plan and construction document is then hande d over to you (or a landscape contractor of your choosing) to take it from there.

Design-build. Others offer the design service described above, as well as overseeing plant purchase and all installation. Contractors are needed for permitting and hardscape installation -- sometimes the landscape designer is also a registered contractor, and other times they have landscape contractors on their team or ones to recommend and oversee.

RELATED: Choose From the Best Design-Build Firms

Full service -- design-build and maintenance program. For the highest-touch service, some landscape designers will offer all the above, plus oversee ongoing maintenance of the garden.

2. Can I see examples of your past work? "Consider the style of the designer in relation to the garden you want," Reader says. "If you want a modern, clean-lined city garden, have they designed any before? Or if you are looking for a cottage-style garden, do they have the plant knowledge to deliver?"< br>
Alternatively, if a designer's portfolio doesn't include the particular style you're looking for, check out his or her credentials for evidence of the training to make the vision of your garden a reality. Degrees from accredited landscape design colleges and memberships in professional organizations are both good indicators.

3. Do you offer garden consultations? Some landscape designers will offer one- to two-hour garden consultations. During this meeting, a designer will typically come over to your property, join you for a walk around the garden, listen to what you'd like to accomplish with your remodel and begin to bounce some ideas around for the design.

This is a great opportunity for you to determine whether you have a fit with the designer, and for the designer to see if he or she fits with you as a client. "It is Sprinkler System Installation Mckinney important for a client to determine what role t hey want to play," Mullins says. "Are they interested in a collaboration, [want to] defer completely to the designer or have a clear idea for their garden and just want someone to implement it?"

Don't expect an initial consult to be free of charge -- it is, after all, two hours of a professional's time -- though some designers will put the consult fee toward the cost of the design if you end up hiring them.

4. What ideas do you have for our garden? After you've shared your wish list and budget with the designer, and the designer has had a chance to view your property, ask what vision the designer has for your landscape. Designers have different mediums of presenting their ideas for your landscape, ranging from a collage-style mood board with inspiration images for plants and hardscape materials to a two-dimensional, to-scale drawing created with a CAD program or by hand.

This is the time to speak up about what you like and dislike in the design or if you see anything that's missing from your wish list -- for example, more space for tool storage, room to grow vegetables or an area with shade. Following this meeting, a designer will draw up a revised design drawing based on your feedback.

5. What is your process? A designer's process depends on the services he or she offers (see question 1). Get to know the process -- and whether you or the designer is responsible for overseeing each step -- from the beginning so that you'll know what to expect once the project is underway. If you're hiring a designer who speciali zes in design only, ask yourself whether you have the time or experience necessary to oversee the project installation or if the designer has contractors to recommend.

As a responsible client, you also need to be honest with a landscape designer regarding your budget for the project. "Knowing a budget beforehand is crucial," Mullins says. "It doesn't mean that a designer needs to spend the budget but dictates what [he or she] can realistically design for." If a look you like is over your budget, designers often have creative ways to stretch your budget and give you the best garden for your space.

6. What is the estimated cost? Clear communication regarding the estimated cost of the project and your budget is essential. Ask your designer for a range of cost for both the design and the installation. Most installation estimates are drawn up by a contractor based on the cost per square foot of installing areas of hardscape outlined on the plan for the yard.

Scott shares another key question to ask your designer: "How are changes in scope handled during the design and installation process?" Given that unanticipated design changes often come up midproject, it's important to be clear on whether a designer will charge additional fees for the time it takes to change the design plan or installation.

7. Are there any ways to reduce cost? Pathways, patios, retaining walls and decks are generally more expensive than planted garden areas, so the more hardscape there is in the design, the more it's likely going to cost to install. Plus, the materials used for hardscape can vary widely for both the product and the installation.

It's best to have a conversation with a designer when you are discussing the initial plan about ways to reduce the cost of the landscape to stay on budget. The designer will have ideas about where you can save money without compromising style, and what elements are worth a splurge.

8. How long will installation take? The time it takes to design and install a landscape depends on a number of factors: size and scope of the project, availability of contractors and other installation specialists, ordering and delivery times for materials and plants, dry weather for laying hardscape, and unexpected setbacks during installation. Instead of asking a landscape designer to have the installation done by a certain date, ask for an estimated range for the project to be completed.

As eager as you may be to enjoy your new landscape, keep in mind that skilled installation of hardscape and careful planting takes time. "While landscaping on TV is inspirational and great entertainment, the actual site work rarely has a team of 24 [people] working around the clock," Algozzini says. "High-quality work is both art and science, and takes time to install."

RELATED: How to Work With a Landscape Professional

9. When will the garden grow in? The time it takes for a garden to grow in depends on the scope of the design, what types of plants are proposed and how mature the plants are when they're planted. A smaller area with ornamental grasses and perennials can grow in within a single season, but larger and more complex designs with trees and large shrubs can take years to reach maturity. Ask your designer which plants make sense to splurge for semimature specimens (like focal-point trees or shrubs needed for screening) and which plants can be purchased small and fill in quickly (like most ground covers, vegetables and ornamental grasses).

10. How much maintenance will it take to keep the garden looking good? Different styles of gardens and plants require very different levels of care. Be upfront with your landscape designer about how much maintenance you are willing to commit -- either your own time or that of a hired gardener -- going forward. Once you've invested in hiring a landscape designer and installing a garden, you'll want to keep your landscape alive and flourishing for years to come. Ask your landscape designer if he or she has recommended maintenance gardeners or specialists to take care of the garden going forward.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Littler Combines With 170-Lawyer Firm in France

PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Littler, the world's largest employment and labor law practice

representing management, has combined with Fromont Briens, one of the

largest labor and employment law firms in Europe. With offices in Paris

and Lyon, France, the Fromont Briens team consists of 170 lawyers that

focus on all areas of labor and employment law. The combination follows

Littler's expansion into Germany and Canada last year, and its

development of a labor and employment practice of unparalleled scope

across Latin America.

"We are excited to welcome Fromont Briens to Littler Global and to

connect our extensive global platform with a firm highly regarded for

counseling multinational and French companies on complex labor and

employment matters," said Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, co-managing

directors of Littler, in a joint statement. "Alongside our team of

nearly 30 lawyers across four offices in Germany, adding a major

presence in France will significantly expand our footprint in

Continental Europe and further enhance our ability to provide

comprehensive counsel on the myriad employment law issues facing global


Fromont Briens represents multinational companies based in the United

States, France and throughout Europe in a wide variety of industries,
< br>including energy, technology, retail, manufacturing, financial services,

pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The firm's attorneys counsel and

defend employers in a range of areas, including individual and

collective labor relations, business restructurings, employee benefits

and compensation policies, employee retirement and savings plans, and

social security and pension matters. Fromont Briens also conducts

compliance audits, due diligence reviews and training seminars to help

clients mitigate risk.

"With numerous Fortune Global 500 companies maintaining their

headquarters in France, and Germany and the U.S. serving as major

trading partners to the country, establishing a French presence was an

ideal next step in our continued global expansion," said Peter Susser,

Littler's Global Practic e Leader and chair of the firm's International

Employment Law practice. "All Littler Global members have been very

impressed with the top-notch services Fromont Briens provides to

clients," added Stephan Swinkels, who served as executive director of

L&E Global, an international alliance of labor and employment law firms,

prior to joining Littler as a shareholder last June. "The firm also

shares our commitment to innovation and using technology to drive

greater efficiency in the delivery of legal services."

Fromont Briens' international team is led by Guillaume Desmoulin and

Sophie Pelicier-Loevenbruck, who counsel national and multinational

companies on such matters as labor relations, social security law and

business restructurings. Grgory Chastagnol, a member of Fromont Briens'

management committee, has been involved in discussions with Littler from

the outset. Additional members of the Fromont Briens management

committee include Cdric Guillon, Gilles Briens, David Calvayrac and

Philippe Clment.

"Littler Global offers an unparalleled ability to help companies

navigate the challenges and considerations that come with managing

employees in various global markets," Guillaume Desmoulin said. "We have

developed strong working relationships with Littler attorneys,

particularly those in Germany, and feel the firm's strategy for global

expansion and client service model is a perfect fit for our practice."

"We are thrilled to join forces with Littler and look forward to

collaborating with our new colleagues across the globe," added Grgory

Chastagnol. "Considering our complex legal environment and major

evolutions over the past few years, operating in France presents unique

issues for employers. Fromont Briens' extensive knowledge of labor and

employment law in France and Littler's position as the world's leading

employment law firm is a powerful combination to service multinational


Littler's international operations span three continents - North

America, South America and Europe - and include Canada, Colombia, Costa

Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala,

Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

The firm's global capabilities also include U.S.-based lawyers with

exceptional international experience, who are dually licensed

practitioners in Australia, Brazil, China, the United Kingdom and South

Africa, among other countries.

"Fromont Briens has developed a well-deserved reputation in France and

throughout Europe for providing counseling, litigation, auditing and

training to employers based on the deep subject matter knowledge of its

attorneys," said Dr. Thom as Griebe, one of the founding partners of

Littler Global member firm vangard. "Having worked with Guillaume and

his colleagues over the years, we are excited to add a strong

neighboring partner that will bring significant value to our global


As part of the firm's commitment to keeping global companies informed of

labor and employment developments impacting their operations, Littler

will host its inaugural Europe Conference on November 10, 2016 in

Berlin. For more information and to register for the event, please visit

About Fromont Briens

Founded in 1993, Fromont Briens has grown to 170 lawyers practicing

in Paris and Lyon and representing French and multinational companies in

all areas of labor and employment law. The firm and its attorneys have

been recognized as leaders in labor and employment law in Cha mbers &

Partners and Legal Attorney College Station 500, and has received ISO 9001 certification from the

International Organization of Standardization for developing a strong

quality management system.

About Littler

Littler is the largest global employment and labor law practice, with

more than 1,000 attorneys in over 70 offices worldwide. Littler

represents management in all aspects of employment and labor law and

serves as a single-source solution provider to the global employer

community. Consistently recognized in the industry as a leading and

innovative law practice, Littler has been litigating, mediating and

negotiating some of the most influential employment law cases and labor

contracts on record for over 70 Best Attorney College Station years. Littler Global is the c ollective

trade name for an international legal practice, the practicing entities

of which are separate and distinct professional firms. For more

information visit:

Saturday, 10 June 2017

California water: End of the LA lawn (Opinion)

"We're so used to Southern California having these beautiful, lush lawns and palm trees and seasonal flowers," she told me by phone from Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, where she is general manager at a landscaping business called A Greener Tomorrow. But now, because of the drought and new water regulations, "I'm telling you, all I see is Arizona and Las Vegas."

"Who's going to be willing to pay?" she said. "You can't maintain a lawn!"

The idea of Los Angeles -- much less Bel Air and Beverly Hills -- ripping out its water-sucking lawns and oh-so-thirsty flowers is indeed a shock, especially if installing and maintaining those lawns is your livelihood. But consider the context: California is in an extreme drought. Snowpack in the state, one measure of how much water will be available this summer, is at an all-time low, at just 5% of normal. Rivers are running dry, as I found last summer on a three-week trip down the San Joaquin. With no water at the surface, farmers are turning below the ground, pumping out groundwater at such an alarming rate that the land actually is sinking. In some places, that's happening at the truly astounding rate of almost 1 foot per year.

I see where Uribe's coming from. The 35-year-old loves the colorful, landscaped version of Los Angeles. And she fears a drab, monochromatic future -- a blah city, all dirt and rocks.

But this is a crisis. And the California lawn is a reasonable casualty.

I applaud Gov. Jerry Brown's recent push to require all cities and towns to cut their water use by 25%. To help local entities with the new mandate, the state plans to support the replacement of 50 million square feet of lawns with drought-tolerant plants (otherwise known as "cash for grass"), create a rebate system so residents will get help replacing water-hogging appliances with more efficient models, require golf courses to cut water use, and ban watering the grass found on public street medians, among other provisions.

The total savings, according to the governor's office, will be 1.5 million acre feet of water over nine months. For context, 1 million acre feet is said by environmental groups to be as much water as 2 million families would need in a year.The state's focus on lawns makes sense given that grass and other landscaping account for up to 50% of all urban water use, said Ellen Hanak, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. "It's nice for us to have trees and landscapes, but we could do that with half of the water," she said. "It's not like it's going to mean the end of our economy or the end of our way of life."

If anything, the requirements don't go far enough.

Each year, California uses 6 million more acre feet of water "than our rivers and aquife rs can sustainably provide," according to a 2014 report from the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Those groups found 14 million acre feet of water per year Sprinkler System Installation Greenville could be saved if a number of changes were made to the way cities and farms operate. Among the recommendations: More-efficient farming techniques, including drip irrigation and "smart irrigation scheduling," which waters crops exactly when and where they need it.

So Brown's plan won't fix California's water woes.

But it's an important start.

Next, the state should direct its focus to farms, which consume 80% of all human-used water in California and generate only 2% of the state's gross domestic product. It's reasonable, if politically tricky, for the state to focus more attention on the industry that consumes more water than any other. California can create a water budget that allo ws farms, people and fish to thrive.Much water can be saved with newer technologies, without forcing farmers to give up the land they use to grow crops, said Heather Cooley, water program director at the Pacific Institute.

She praised Brown's order as "a very positive step forward."

"California is facing a drought of epic proportions, and we need to work together to reduce the use of water so there's sufficient water for cities, for farms and for ecosystems," she told me. "We need to be preparing not only for this drought but for the next one."

And that's the crux of it.

This California drought has been extreme. But in the future, as the climate continues to warm, Cooley and others say the state likely will see more hot, dry years like this.

They won't seem so abnormal, sadly.

All the more reason it's good for California to Sprinkler System Installation Greenville deal with its grass problem pronto.

If it's smart, it can do so without looking like the Arizona desert.

Friday, 9 June 2017

La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Fordham lanza su Instituto de Ingls Jurdico

NUEVA YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Fordham (Fordham University

School of Law) lanza el Instituto de Ingls Jurdico (Legal English

Institute, LEI), un nuevo programa diseado para ayudar a los abogados

internacionales y estudiantes de derecho a mejorar sus habilidades de

ingls jurdico a la vez que aprenden los fundamentos esenciales del

derecho de los Estados Unidos. Los cursos se ofrecen tanto en una base

de crditos como sin ellos. Las clases incluirn Introduccin al Sistema

Jurdico de los Estados Unidos y Estudios sobre el Derecho, Fundamentos

del Derecho Privado, Habilidades de la Prctica del Derecho, Trabajo con

Contratos, Pragmtica de la Comunicacin para Abogados e Identidad

Jurdica Profesional, entre otras. El programa de tiempo completo dura

todo un semestre y el programa de otoo comienza el 8 de agosto de 2017

y contina hasta mediados de diciembre. El programa de primavera

comenzar el 2 de enero de 2018 y continuar hasta mediados de mayo.

Los estudiantes que deseen obtener un diploma del programa de la

Maestra en Derecho de (Master of Laws, LL.M.) tambin pueden utilizar

el Instituto de Ingls Jurdico (Legal English Institute) como cimiento

para los estudios de LL.M. Al completar dos semestres del curso de

graduado despus del LEI, los estudiantes pueden obtener el diploma de

LL.M. en Derecho de los Estados Unidos y una de las otras siete

especializaciones de la Facultad.

El Instituto de Ingls Jurdico recibe favorablemente a participantes

que han estudiado derecho fuera de los Estados Unidos. Los participantes

del programa son elegibles para una visa de estudiante F-1.

Los alumnos que deseen estudiar en el Institu to de Ingls Jurdico

pueden comenzar el programa en agosto o en enero. La fecha lmite de

inscripcin para el programa de otoo es el 15

de julio de 2017.


Desde el 8 de agosto de 2017 hasta mediados de diciembre


Fordham Law School

150 West 62nd Street

New York, NY 10023