When Do I Need a Gaithersburg, MD Retaining Wall?

After big storms, homeowners in Gaithersburg, MD, ask, “When do I need a retaining wall?” In several situations, a wall can give you peace of mind and increase your usable living space. Deciding when a wall will help your situation is a job for an expert, like the Senior Geotechnical Engineer we have on staff here at East Coast Landscape Design.

Here are 5 situations that are often improved with a retaining wall.

  • When you live at the bottom of a hill. If the slope above you is steep, you might be in the path of slicing soil after a big storm. A retaining wall can reduce worries about major damage to your house and provide more functional living space outdoors.
  • If your front yard or back yard is a hill. It’s hard to use your property for socializing and relaxing, for gardening and for playing if it’s all uphill or downhill. When you install a series of retaining walls, it creates terraces that are easy to use. You expand your usable space, which makes your home more attractive to homebuyers. In this case, a retaining wall often pays for itself by increasing the value of your property.
  • You are worried about the effects of runoff and erosion. A retaining wall holds back soil and stabilizes the area. Erosion is reduced and your yard looks far more attractive. You also have more land to enjoy and use for gardening and relaxing.
  • Soil fault lines. If your home is in the path of a soil fault line, a retaining wall can reduce the chance of damage to your home after a major storm.
  • Unstable soil close to your home’s foundation. After a big storm, you don’t want soil sliding into your foundation, which can cause problems with the structural integrity of your house. A wall can minimize or prevent damage.

If you’re wondering do I need a retaining wall in Gaithersburg, MD, to fix a major problem in your yard, you need to know first that it isn’t a do-it-yourself project you can handle in a weekend. It requires precise design, careful engineering and professional installation. That’s the only way you can be sure it will actually fix your exact problem and that it will last for years to come.

That’s why we rely on the skill and expertise of our Senior Geotechnical Engineer. He has years of hands-on experience with local soil and weather conditions. He works closely with the other professionals at East Coast to create a retaining wall that has both beauty and functionality. We do it all—design, excavating, grading, slope stabilization and erosion control.

Call East Coast Landscape Design today to find out when do I need a retaining wall in Gaithersburg, MD.

Basement flooding in Bethesda MD

Are you dealing with basement flooding in your Bethesda, MD home? We sure hope not – that’s one of the worst, most problematic things that could happen to your home. The reality is that few things are more destructive than water, and the damage even moderate basement flooding in your Bethesda, MD home can be catastrophic, with damages running into the thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

Before we can fix it though, we’ve got to understand what the underlying problem is. Where basement flooding in your Bethesda, MD home is concerned, there are two possibilities. The first and most obvious is a busted pipe. Easy to spot, and easy to fix, although the cleanup will still take some time. Still, if this is the issue, count yourself lucky. It can be (fairly) quickly resolved.

The other possibility is a drainage issue, or to be more specific, the lack of drainage around your home.

If your house was built on a low-lying area of your property, then it’s almost certain to have drainage issues, which the builders should have been aware of before they started building. What should have happened is that during the early stages of construction, they should have installed a French drain, which would have diverted water safely away from your house.

They may have done that, but in the intervening years, something could have happened to the drain to clog or damage it to the point that it’s no longer doing its job. If that’s the case, the problem is bad, but not as bad as it could be. We just find the problem with the drain, fix it, waterproof your basement, then fix the damage in your basement and you’re all set.

The worst case scenario is that, for whatever reason, no drain was ever installed. In that case, the problem is still fixable, but it’s a much larger project. We’ll need to do some serious excavation, exposing your entire foundation. This will enable us to install a French drain retroactively, waterproof your basement, then move to the interior to attend to the damages there.

The first thing we’ll do, of course, is come out and assess your situation so we can get a handle on the root cause of the flooding. Once we know that, we’ll give you a no-obligation estimate so you’ll know exactly what it will take to fix the problem once and for all. Then, assuming you’re comfortable with our estimate, we’ll get to work, and before you know it, the issue will be solved and you’ll have one less thing to worry about and tremendous peace of mind.

Problems like these are never fun to deal with, but you don’t have to go it alone. Call us today. We’ll be there when you need us.

Bethesda MD Drainage and Erosion Control

Does your Bethesda MD property have drainage and erosion control issues?  It may.  Here are some common signs:

  • After it rains, your yard is soggy and “squishy” for extended periods of time
  • Heavy rains tend to wash your soil downhill, causing it to collect and pile up at the bottom, changing the lay of your land over time
  • Streams develop at various points on your property during thunderstorms
  • If you have flower beds, your mulch keeps getting washed away
  • You see mulch or soil on your sidewalks after a moderate or heavy rain
  • You wind up with standing water on your patio and sidewalks
  • You’ve got water leaking into your basement
  • You’re starting to notice cracks in your foundation

Those last two are especially prominent signs that your Bethesda MD property has serious drainage and erosion control issues, and really get to root of why it’s important to fix them.  If they are left unchecked, then over time, they’ll only get worse and cause damage to your home that can run into tens of thousands of dollars (or more).  Not good.

Bethesda MD drainage and erosion control problems come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on the severity of your issue, there are a number of approaches we can take to fix it.  In cases where the problem is relatively slight, the solution could be as simple as planting strategically placed ground cover.

There are tons of great options here, so mostly, it comes down to us working with you to get an understanding of what your tastes and preferences are, because each of the different ground cover possibilities has a different aesthetic.

In this part of the country, broadly speaking, we can break ground cover into two categories:  Ferns and Other.  Where ferns are concerned, some of the more popular options are:

  • Royal Fern
  • Wood Fern
  • Lady Fern
  • Cinnamon Fern
  • And Christmas Fern

If you’re looking to simultaneously add a splash of color to your lawn and solve your minor Bethesda MD drainage and erosion control problem, then the following plants might be more to your liking:

  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Violets
  • Woodland Phlox
  • White Wood Aster
  • Virginia Bluebells
  • Or Great Blue Lobelia

If none of those are to your liking, there are plenty of other options available.  Just tell us what kind of “look” you’re going for, and we’ll see if we can find something that suits your tastes and preferences.

If ground cover doesn’t work for you, we can also look into the possibility of strategically planted shrubs.  Again, there are a number of shrubs that could work, so it comes down to your personal preferences.  Some of the options include:

  • Elderberry
  • Silky Dogwood
  • Ninebark
  • Or Red/Black Chokeberry

Unfortunately, some Bethesda MD drainage and erosion control problems can’t be solved by something as simple as adding ground cover.  That’s okay, there are other options we can employ, the first of which is the addition of a well-placed retaining wall.

These are incredibly effective erosion control solutions and can be used to safely direct water away from your home.

Sometimes a retaining wall on its own is enough, but more commonly, it’s a combination of a retaining wall and some type of drainage system that ultimately gets the job done.  As the name suggests, a drainage system’s primary job is to redirect the flow of water to a location where it won’t cause any damage or harm.

Broadly speaking, drainage systems come in two flavors:  Aboveground and below ground.  Both can work, and ultimately, which one is optimal in your specific case depends on the particulars of your property.

Really, all an above ground drainage system is, is a clearly defined channel that collects and manages where the water goes.  Below ground drains (like a French drain system) accomplish the same goal, but as the name suggests, are less visible.

Ultimately, drainage and erosion solutions don’t exist in isolation, and that’s actually great news for you.  After all, why “just” solve a problem when you can do it with flair and style that enhances the overall aesthetic of your property.  Yes, we’re talking about landscaping.

No matter how much you loved your home when you first bought it, if you’re like most people, you’ve got a “wish list” of changes and improvements you’d like to make, and many of those probably center on your property’s landscaping.

In addition to solving practical problems, landscaping can turn your average looking lawn into an eye-popping showplace that you and your family will absolutely love spending time in.

The problem though, is you don’t want to leave your property’s landscaping to just anyone. You want to work with a seasoned professional with decades of experience and a proven track record.

We are that company.  We’ve been proudly serving the region since 1979, and in that time, have created hundreds of lush landscapes for our legion of satisfied clients.  Be sure to spend some time checking out the “Design Gallery” section of our website and see for yourself.

Not only will it give you an opportunity to evaluate the quality of the work we do, but if you’re struggling to clearly define your own landscaping goals, the Design Gallery will give you plenty of ideas and inspiration.

We’d love to not just solve any erosion and drainage problems you may be having, but also help you realize your landscaping dreams, turning your home into the paradise you always knew it could be.  Give us a call when you’re ready to get started!

Fire Pits Silver Springs MD

Outdoor living spaces are evolving from simple areas with a few chairs and a grill. Now property owners can add an array of features and amenities. Along with customized seating and decorative built-in planters, fire pits are becoming popular additions on Silver Springs, MD properties. A fire pit can provide warmth on cool evenings and create an inviting place for family and friends to gather. The size and design of a fire pit can also vary, making it easy for property owners to find one that is perfect for them.

Since 1979, Mark Simpson and his team at East Coast Landscape Design have been helping their clients realize their dreams for their properties. Their three decades of experience has made them uniquely qualified to take on any landscaping project, including the design and construction of fire pits on Silver Springs, MD properties. They will work closely with their clients to ensure that the finished project meets and exceeds their expectations. It is this commitment to their customers’ complete satisfaction that has made them one of the premier licensed landscaping companies in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

When clients are interested in adding fire pits to their Silver Springs, MD properties, the professionals at East Coast Landscape Design know the right questions to ask. They know that their customers’ view their properties as investments. They will take the time to ensure that the fire pit is not only functional, but also adds beauty and value to the property. Some of the design options East Coast Landscape Design offers to their clients include,

  • Type of fuel burned.
  • Size and location
  • Materials used
  • Added features

East Coast Landscape Design is proud to be able to offer their clients the choice of wood, gas or duel fuel burning fire pits on their Silver Springs, MD properties. The size of the fire pit can also vary, depending on location. The licensed landscaping contractor will carefully evaluate the property to ensure that the fire pit not only fits the location, but that it also meets all safety requirements. The safety and satisfaction of their customers is important, and this has helped them earn the trust and respect of their clients. East Coast Landscape Design can also incorporate a variety of features into the final design of the fire pit, depending on the client’s needs.

There is only one goal at East Coast Landscape Design, to create functional and beautiful outdoor spaces that their clients will enjoy for years. They believe that any new structures should complement the existing environment, and will use natural materials whenever possible. When it is time to add a fire pit to a property, trust the experts at East Coast Landscape Design.

Fire Pits Columbia MD

Outdoor living spaces are no longer simple areas with a few chairs and possibly a grill. Now these areas can come with an amazing array of features and amenities. Customized seating and decorative planters are popular options, along with fire pits on Columbia, MD properties. A skillfully designed and installed fire pit can provide warmth on cool evenings and create an inviting place for family and friends to gather. Since the size and design of a fire pit can also vary, it’s easy for clients to find one that is perfect for their property and their budgets.

When clients are interested in having fire pits built on their Columbia, MD properties, the staff at East Coast Landscape Design knows the right questions to ask. They realize that their customers’ view their properties as investments. This is one of the reasons they take the time to ensure that the fire pit is functional, and adds value to the property. Some of the design options East Coast Landscape Design offers to their clients include,

  • Type of fuel burned
  • Size and location
  • Materials used
  • Additional features and amenities

East Coast Landscape Design has over thirty years of experience, and this makes them well qualified to design and construct fire pits for their Columbia, MD clients. Their vast knowledge allows them the opportunity to offer their clients the choice of wood, gas or duel fuel burning fire pits. The landscaping contractor is licensed and will carefully evaluate the property to ensure that the fire pit fits the suggested location, and meets all safety requirements. East Coast Landscape Design can also incorporate a variety of features into the final design of the fire pit, depending on the needs of the client.

Since 1979, Mark Simpson and his team at East Coast Landscape Design have been helping their clients turn their dreams for their properties into reality. Their vast years of experience ensures that they can take on any landscaping project, including the design and construction of fire pits on Columbia, MD properties. East Coast Landscape Design will work closely with their clients to ensure that the finished project meets and exceeds their dreams for the property. It is this commitment to their customers’ complete satisfaction that has made them one of the premier licensed landscaping companies in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

There is only one goal at East Coast Landscape Design, to create and install functional and beautiful outdoor spaces that can be enjoyed for years. They firmly believe that any additions on the property should complement the existing environment, and they strive to use natural materials whenever possible. With their record of excellence, property owners know that they can depend on East Coast Landscape Design.

Landscaping in Rockville MD: Tall Fescue Maintenance and Mowing

You may have heard that Tall Fescue is the best cool-season turf grass for landscaping in Rockville, MD. Cool-season turf grasses have their maximum growth during cool spring and fall weather, and may become semi-dormant during hot and/or dry periods of summer.

What makes Tall Fescue grass the better than other cool-season grasses? In general, Tall Fescue grass requires less maintenance (mowing, fertilizer, and watering) and is more environmentally-friendly than other cool-season grasses used in landscaping in Rockville, MD. (Please note that each fescue grass variety will require it’s own maintenance schedule, according to the variety that is used, and the conditions under which the grass is grown.)

Watering Tall Fescue Grass
During most of the year, Tall Fescue needs 1 to 1 1⁄4 inches of water every week (and it’s better to spread this out, and not provide all of that water at one time.) Using a screwdriver, you’ll want to check that you are watering enough so that the soil is wet to to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.

How you water will depend on your soil type. Sandy soils require more frequent watering (about 1⁄2 inch of water every third day). Clay soils accept water slowly; therefore you just want to water until runoff occurs, wait until the water has been absorbed, and begin watering again. Continue until the desired depth or amount is applied. Proper irrigation may prevent or reduce problems later in the summer. Watering between 2 and 8 a.m. decreases the incidence of certain diseases.

In the summer, either water as needed to prevent drought stress or allow the lawn to go dormant. Dormant lawns must be watered once every 3 weeks during a drought. A dark bluish-gray color and wilted, folded, or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water.

Aeration of Tall Fescue
Tall Fescue should be aerated in the fall, but usually does not require thatch removal. This is especially important if you have clay soil.

Overseeding Tall Fescue
Tall fescue should be overseeded as needed in the fall or spring for thicker sod formation and to repair thinning areas. (If aerating, aerate first, then put down seed.) Heat stress, insect damage, diseases, or other factors play a role in the lawn becoming thinner over the course of the year.

Mowing Tall Fescue
From March – May, you will want to mow to 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches. From June – August, you will need to mow to 3 ½ inches, before the grass gets taller than 5 inches. September – November, mow to 2 ½ – 3 inches, and remove leaves and other debris. December – February, mow to 3 inches, and remove leaves and other debris.

For more information about Tall Fescue for your landscaping in Rockville, MD, please contact East Coast Landscape Design. For over 30 years, East Coast Landscape Design has designed and installed beautiful landscape and hardscape projects around Rockville, MD, and surrounding communities.

How To Use Plants That Work With Your Silver Spring MD Landscaping Year-Round

You might have heard that home landscaping can improve your home’s value, and can even be fun, but maybe you have been afraid to try it because you don’t have the skills to do home landscaping. The most crucial part of landscape design is understanding the proper techniques. With some pointers, you could quickly make a Silver Spring MD landscape that you are proud of.

Try to use native plants when landscaping in Silver Spring MD. This involves incorporating flowers, trees, and bushes that are local. Native plants have the best chance of surviving in the toughest of weather conditions.

Before you begin your landscaping work, be sure to plan your goals and assess your budget. This will ensure that you have a solid plan in place so that you do not run out of materials before the job is completed. It will also give you a better idea of your design needs.

Make sure you plan thoroughly before you begin landscaping. It is a great idea to sketch out your landscaping design when it’s still a plan, so you can get a good mental idea of what it is going to look like. Make notes of the plants, flowers, shrubs, etc. that you plan on using to improve your landscape.

A great landscaping tip is to make use of the available spaces that you have. One particular helpful tip is to place bushes in areas where outside noise is a problem as the bushes will help drown out any unwanted sounds. Just make sure that you plan out your spacing carefully.

Now that you’ve learned more about Silver Spring MD home landscaping, hopefully, it doesn’t seem so complicated. If you ever do feel stuck – just give East Coast Landscape Design a call When your neighbors ask who did your landscaping, you’ll be able to proudly tell them that you did yourself (with a little help from East Coast Landscape Design).

Hedges Add Privacy and Beauty to Landscape Design in Bethesda MD

While fences can provide instant privacy to your yard, hedges add privacy and beauty to your landscape design in Bethesda MD. Here are some types of easy growing shrubs that work well in hedges for our gardening zones (6B, 7A).

  • Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
  • Columnar juniper (Juniperus scopulorum’Skyrocket’)
  • Columnar white pine (Pinus strobus’Fastigiata’)
  • English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
  • Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
  • Yew (Taxus x media)

For additional height, plant your hedge shrubs on berms (small hills or mounds). If you already have a fence, a hedge of shrubs can soften the look of the fence and give additional depth to your landscaping. To keep your shrubs looking their best, time their pruning (which is different depending on which shrub you choose) and make sure the bottom of the shrub is wider than the top.

For more information on hedges for your landscape design in Bethesda MD, please contact East Coast Landscape Design. For over 30 years, East Coast Landscape Design has been Bethesda MD’s leading licensed landscape contractor; we’ve created many landscape designs that include hedges for privacy and beauty for homes in Bethesda MD. Please contact us today.