Hardscaping & Landscaping Blog

Spring Refresh

Now that Spring is almost here most of us are starting to venture out of our homes and into the slowly thawing landscape to find that our yards are not as fantastic as we know they could be. This is the reality of living here in Minnesota, but don’t let that get you down. Alternatively, focus on how that makes now the perfect time to think about how you can refresh your outdoor space for the upcoming season. Sure, there may be water pooling in your yard, cracks in your concrete, or crumbling in your pavers or retaining walls now, but these situations all present opportunities for reinvigorating your yard to make it even better than it was before.

What can I do about water pooling in my yard?

Pooling water is a very common issue in Minnesota. We see it year after year when all the snow melts or the Spring rains come along. While this is certainly common, that doesn’t make it something you have to put up with. Instead, reclaim your yard by adjusting its drainage. There are several ways to accomplish this.

The first way is to adjust the grade, or slope, of your yard. Typically, you want water to run away from your home and any other structures on your property. This will prevent water from leaking in and damaging your home, garage, etc. You can also make sure any solid surfaces like patios and walkways are built to follow this grade and push water where you want it to go, thereby preventing it from pooling in an inconvenient location.

Additionally, you can install a new drainage system to re-route water away from areas where it tends to collect. This can be done either with a drain pipe or French drain, which catch water from one area and drain it to another, more suitable area, or by building a runoff structure like a creek bed or rain garden. Drains make for very functional, sensible options, while creek beds and rain gardens offer a way to elevate your drainage solution from mere function to a beautifully revived outdoor space.

What can I do about a patio that has cracked or deteriorated?

Unfortunately, this is another all too common occurrence we see in Minnesota due to the freeze and thaw cycle that we live with. Whether your patio is made of concrete or pavers you will likely have at least one of these situations happen during the life of your structure. Oftentimes it is something that we first notice in the spring, and again, this is something we can easily fix for you in order to make your patio space a place that you actually enjoy.

When you encounter cracks or deterioration in your patio the first thing you need to do is determine the cause behind it. Water is usually the culprit. Excess water will cause the ground underneath and around your patio to expand and contract, most notably when the ground freezes and later thaws out. This, in turn, puts stress on the patio and leads to cracks or damage.

If you are seeing any of this with your current patio now would be an excellent time to get an estimate for what we can do to take care of this. We will take a look at what happened and determine if you need any sort of drainage like we mentioned before. We will then excavate the current patio area to the proper slope, perform any necessary soil correction, and then build up a strong base before pouring your new concrete or laying your new pavers. This way we will have done all that we can to prevent future cracks or damage.

Furthermore, there are many customizable features we can add to your patio space to really make it special. You can incorporate colors and stamp patters to mimic the look of stone, or you could go all out and choose from numerous concrete and stone paver options. If you are looking to make your patio a fun hangout spot, think about adding a seating wall around the perimeter or a fire pit to create an even more welcoming environment. All of these are great options for creating a fantastic new space to enjoy with friends and family.

What can I do about a crumbling or leaning retaining wall?

If your retaining wall looks like it has seen better days you are not alone. Over the years they can start to crumble or even lean, neither of which is ideal. Water plays a big part here as well. When a retaining wall does not have proper drainage the water build up will do a couple of things. It will eat away at the surface of the material the wall is built from, making it less stable, and it will increase the pressure put on the wall by the materials it is holding back, causing it to bow out or lean over.

Rather than live with an unsightly and failing retaining wall, take the time to meet with a knowledgeable contractor who can plan out and properly build a wall that will last you for years to come. If you are looking for a basic solution concrete block is a durable material that will get the job done efficiently. However, if you are looking for something more attractive you can always go with a rustic boulder wall or other stone material.

Retaining walls also make for a great solution to homes that sit upon slopes and hills with little useable outdoor space. They can be built to create a tiered landscape providing you with a flat surface for a patio, play area for the kids, or outdoor kitchen and grilling station, any of which would help maximize the use and value of your property.

While we love to call Minnesota our home, this state of ours does present us with certain challenges. One of the best parts about living here is getting to appreciate the outdoors with the change in seasons, even if that does lead to concerns about pooling water, cracked patios, or leaning retaining walls. Nonetheless, Minnesotans are resilient, and instead of being deterred by this, we choose to see Spring as a respite from Winter and a wonderful time to refresh our outdoor space in preparation for the warmer months ahead. Contact us now to get ideas for how you can update your space and make it better than it has ever been.

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